Friday, November 29, 2013

New picture from Elder Bryce Young

This is Idamar and his family and Ellen, a member

Happy Thanksgiving from Bryce

Thanks for the Christmas music! I've listened to the other Reprise CD so many times. It's great to hear another one.
Saturday and Sunday we went to stake conference. The last speaker, Elder Cruz, among many other things referred to examples of youth in the old testament to teaching how we are capable of staying away from the depraved things of this world. Daniel and Joseph of Egypt were the two that demonstrated obedience to commandments that are most attacked in our day--the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. I enjoyed seeing high relevance in between ancient scripture and modern living.

I saw a direct application of the counsel in Doctrine and Covenants 46:2 to "conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit." during the conference. Elder Cruz asked the choir to perform a second time the opening hymn "This Is The Christ" between the first and second parts of his discourse. He encouraged us to pay special attention to the words. I was always curious about the full meaning of that verse in D&C, but I believe I understand it a little better now.
After much searching this week, we found a two less active members that invited us in. After getting acquainted with them and sharing a scripture, one of them said they will go back to church this week. That was the greatest part of my week. Idamar has been helping us do visits, too. He's so excited. He animates me.

Last night we participated in a family night with João Vitor and part of his family. We read the story of Moroni and his title of liberty, and then asked everyone to make their own title of liberty to post in some place in which they will always see it. They were so excited.  I am continually taught by the sincerity of children. I marvel at how attentive they are in the right moments. One of the most palpable lessons I have learned so far is that a strong stable home makes all the difference in the future of a child. I have seen teenagers teaching little kids to smoke while listening to poisonously affective and crude music while walking on the road. You can see the uncertainty on their faces. I have also seen two little cousins holding hands skating down the road to greet us and tell us about a family night activity they have planned with eager smiles on their faces. The difference between those who understand the importance of a firm family and strong home, and those who are lost in poory aimed curiosity is tremendous. It is sad to see, but very affective in teaching observers why we are living--what we're here for. I am glad that I have learned this lesson here. I hope to be able to communicate clearly this truth to future generations.
What I'm learning here feels like the continuation of a long observational learning process that started a long time ago. I don't have any short specific to-the-point experiences this week for you guys, but I do know that even though we don't see many of the results, missionary work is important and I know that God really cares about all of us individually. He uses imperfect beings to accomplish his perfect purposes. We are his tools and he sharpens us by sanding off our rough edge weaknesses. We get dull faster than any cheap knife, but he still chooses to help us and use us the best he can.
Have a hungry thanksgiving break.
Elder Young

Friday, November 22, 2013

Still Serving in Santa Maria

This week's crowning experience is recorded in my journal. This email functions as a journal as well, so I'm not going to write everything again; it can be saved for later reading. I will share a summary, though. 

João Victor was confirmed yesterday at church. Yesterday afternoon Elder Magana and I visited a street contact, Tiago. We taught him in the park and João comes out of no where on his bike and he happens to know Tiago (who is a lot older). He talked about the church and invited him to come this Sunday to Stake Conference. Almost as a side note (João is funny, he always forgets things) he mentioned that his grandma asked for a priesthood blessing. We went to her house and gave her a blessing. A big dresser had fallen on her leg 2 months ago, and due to her diabetes, the wound hadn''t healed and had caused quite a bit of damage. She said that she had gone to so many hospitals (the healthcare is pretty poor here) and had given up on waiting for doctors that couldn't help her. She isn't a member but said she recognized us as servants of the Lord and wanted a blessing. I was privileged to her João's side of the story too. It is usually very difficult to find him at home, but yesterday, instead of taking his normal path on his bike to his other grandma's house, he felt like he should take another one. That's when we found us at the park. We were able to help him realize that he felt the influence of the spirit guiding him the very day that he was confirmed and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. He said he was planning on telling us the next day, but remembered when we saw us at the park. His grandma said she had prayed that morning that someone would help her that day and had faith that it would happen. Later that night we were able to share the experience again together with João at a family night in a member's home. 

We started teaching Elisson and his brother Gilhermi last week. They went to church this week and last. They already have a few friends in the church so I'm looking forward to seeing how they progress. Last night we did a family night and showed the Restoration film. Joáo Victor and his family went, along with Lucas and his friend, whom we will start to teach this week. Many great things are happening, but these are the most relevant this week. 

One more week and this transfer is already over. I hope I stay for another one. 

Have a great week!
Elder Young

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

News from Elder Bryce Young

This week Elder Adams came to Santa Maria Sul and I went to his area with his companion. While he and Elder Magana were walking they asked someone if they knew anyone they could visit. They said something like "you could visit that house with the green gate over there" so they went. They knocked on the door and found themselves in the middle of a big argument between a mother and her daughter, Mona Lisa, and Sara. They listened and tried to calm them down. The mom explained how much she has provided for her kids in the past. She was upset because her daughter doesn't respect her as she should. After some talking, Elder Adams and Magana were able to explain what they do and teach a little about the restoration. Elder Magana and I went back to visit them again on Wednesday. Mona Lisa mentioned that she had been praying that afternoon that God would help her because she didn't know what else to do to help her daughter. When they knocked on her door she welcomed them in right away. She read the restoration pamphlet and told us that after weeks of not sleeping straight, she was able to sleep the whole night. She said she usually takes medicine for back pain and forgot to take it that night as she read the pamphlet. She described her feelings in a way that we often describe the influence of the Spirit at church. We invited her to read more and to come to church. She couldn't come to church but she's progressing in her reading, as well as her daughter. Sara is reading the Book of Mormon and her mom mentioned that her behavior has changed every since she started. It's a privilege to be able to see the change they can make in their life if they want. We invited them to a family night we planned for today. I hope they can come and build friendships with the members. 

This week went by super fast because I spent two days in other areas. I enjoy learning from other missionaries and seeing their areas. Their examples caused me to reflect on how we can better involve the members in our visits. Our planners get filled up before the week even starts. It's crazy. 

I just got an email from Elder Santos telling me that Vanessa (from Porto Nacional) got baptized! The less actives we were working with are going to church now! I'm really happy about that. 

I'm enjoying Elder Young (the younger)'s emails. Thanks bro. And thanks for the constant updates on life at home. 

I love you guys,

Elder Young

p.s. Christy sent me this quote from the book she's reading that I puts into words an idea that could be of profit to many.

"I'm glad that I'm not required to believe in the infallibility of any human being. My faith in the gospel has never depended on the behavior of people. I know my own weaknesses too well, and observe similar tendencies in others too often to believe that anyone is perfect. But since I believe in a God who is a wise and concerned Father, I'm willing to trust him to guide his sons to whom he has given the responsibilities of leadership as he sees fit. Sometimes they may do things I can't understand, but that doesn't change my relationship to God nor my faith in Him, nor my obligation to behave as I know I should. Free agency is a wonderful gift and a very great responsibility." 
Vanessa's Baptism

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Joao Vitor's baptism

Joao Vitor's baptism -He is a great kid!

After Joao's baptism he said, "Estou tao limpo!"  - "I'm so clean!"

Monday, November 4, 2013

Elder Bryce Young in Santa Maria


Haha, the pizzas are real pizzas, mom. Tortillas is a Mexican thing. It's hard to find tortillas here. They were for a big family night, yes. At family nights here the members have a tradition to invite basically the whole ward. Iza makes a delicious banana/cinnamon pizza. Oh, how it is delicious. 

On Halloween we knocked on more than 30 doors but no one gave us candy. And I spent so much time ironing my costume. We did see a black cat and see a few orange houses, though. That's the closest we got to Halloween. 

We went back to visit the little boy with the bouncy ball and his family. It was one of the saddest moments I've experienced teaching a family. After hearing about how the gospel can bless their family, the dad told us that he respects our beliefs but doesn't agree with a lot of things. He started listing things, but as he listed them and explained he realized that we believed what he believed on about every point. But he didn't accept to read the Book of Mormon because he didn't agree with the concept of vicarious ordinances as he understands it. It was sad for me because I saw the Mom listen to the message of the Restoration in interest. I saw the little 4 yr old boy, Rian, run to his room to get his little Bible and accompany us as we read. As I bore my testimony about how much the gospel can bless their family, I felt an overwhelming feeling of love for them and I told them that I loved them. I saw them in my mind as the family they could become. He said he plans on having two more kids and I imagined them all growing up together with these two wonderful parents, knowing how they can build a safe home as a refuge from a cruel world. Seeing all this in my mind and hearing him reject what he didn't understand was very hard, especially after witnessing this happen countless times on my mission, and knowing that we were at THAT house for a reason. I've never felt so strongly to knock on a random door as I did that day. I left dwelling the gift of agency we've all been freely given and its purpose. I hope that someday he and his family can be invited again to accept the gospel. 

João Vitor got baptized yesterday. I really like João. He's a special kid. As he left the bathroom after changing clothes he said "Estou tão limpo!" - "I'm so clean!"
I'm excited to continue visiting and teaching him this week. 

This week we gave a blessing to a member, Fransisca. She was feeling a lot of pain and couldn't sleep. She felt a lot better immediately after the blessing. She went to church this Sunday for the first time in many months to bear her testimony. She said she couldn't let a month go by without sharing her experience with others. She said she felt something tell her twice that she should call the Elders while she was lying in pain. She bore her testimony about the priesthood. I believe her experience was a blessing for her and for others because many testimonies of this subject were subsequently given.

Have a great week!

Elder Young