Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Leone e familia

The Leone e familia (Leone's wife, Leone, Davi, Gihermi, Ana Luiza)

Happy New Year!!!

I hope the electricity doesn't get jealous of our time together again today. Everyone is so big and deep-voiced!--with the exception of Mom and Rynda. I'd like to use the excuse that my excitement in seeing you kept me from communicating fluently in English. Now I'm "that guy" who says he forgot English, but it was perplexingly difficult to form normal Bryce phrases while I talked to you guys. 

I sent you a picture of a family we met last week. Leone, (hard name I haven't gotten the hang of -- his wife, Daví, Gilhermi, and Ana Luiza). We found Leone walking back from a service project in our normal clothes. He saw our name tags and started to talk to us. He went to our church 20 years ago and wants to go back now. He is very talkative and doesn't let a question pass in his mind without verbalizing it. This makes teaching him interesting. We have to be ready for any and all questions. He has gone to church 2 weeks in a row now and says after praying for God to open his mind, he is understanding the Book of Mormon and is considering and accepting alternate points of view. 

We met Maciel a while back but have only been able to teach him on Saturdays or Sundays. This week out of nowhere he said he would go to church and went. He says he wants to go to church and get baptized. After watching the 20 minute restoration video he accepted the 26th as a goal for his baptismal date. We want to teach his family as well. 

I've decided to start everyday with a question. I make it the focus of my personal study and ponder it throughout the day. My goal is to be able to answer it, or at least have a path cleared and planned to how I can answer it with my week's efforts. I have found that this motivates me and helps me understand goal setting and "taking things one step at a time." One of my continuous questions is "What can I learn today that I can teach to someone else?" I saw that questioned answered as I thought back to what I taught during the day. I kind of answered that question in reverse. As I thought about what I taught, I understood what I had learned to make that certain teaching moment possible. This happening reminds me of a saying by one of the McConkie's that we can learn by listening to what we say when teaching others. It's thrilling to explore that concept.

There is a crazy lady who runs to hug us every time she sees us on the street. Yesterday we did everything politely possible to avoid it, but she squeezed us like stress balls and called it a hug. When she sees us she yells "Irmãos!" and runs to us with arms open wide. We also saw about 10 men playing soccer in the street with dresses on...End of the year festivities  here could be more aptly called end of the year oddities. I enjoy the daily surprises they bring.

Happy new year! I hope you guys keep up the family traditions! I laugh thinking about all those times mom had to get us excited about banging pots and pans. She was so insistent on banging pots and pans at midnight. Keep it up mom! Bang  those pots and pans for the  neighbors to  hear. 

Elder Young

Friday, December 27, 2013

New Pictures from Bryce

A Brazilian postal worker

Enjoying Christmas Day watching the Christmas devotional with his snacks he enjoys

Christmas Day!

Practicing for the performance at graduation -Bryce playing the Brazilian National Anthem and the other Elders are singing

Elder Young's snacks on Christmas

Monday, December 23, 2013

Elder Bryce Young's Christmas 2013 letter

Last week the power went out in Santa Maria so we couldn't send emails. Sorry, mom, I know you probably worried about that. We do have good plans for Christmas. Irmá Rita, who is kind of like the grandmother of all missionaries who come to Santa Maria was so excited to hear that we wanted to eat lunch with her on Wednesday and started talking about how she's going to prepare the turkey and everything. Then we'll skype from her son's house. I've gotten to know their family pretty well and I love the friendship we have. Sorry about the lack of pictures. There are just a lot of things to think about the whole week and I don't have the same kodak moment awareness that I used to have. 

Last week I wasn't able to tell you about the graduation we participated in. Nearby Santa Maria, a language school had their graduation at the stake chapel, in Gama. They have it there every year, but this year our zone decided to participate in hosting the event. The public events rep for the stake organized our participation. Our zone, 14 missionaries, acted as hosts to show people around. We handed out books of Mormon and other things as people walked in. Weeks before we learned and rehearsed the Brasilian National Anthem. Luckily I found the sheet music online and practiced as much as I could the week before the event. I played the accompaniment on the piano and the rest of the missionaries sang the song in front of about 400 people at this graduation. It was funny because almost our whole zone is American, and we knew the words to the anthem better than the Brazilians that were there. This event was a good way to associate those weird kids who walk around in nice clothes (us) with the church. It was a good missionary opportunity as well. I was glad we could do something new and creative that week.

The night of the graduation, after getting off the bus at our stop. We started walking a different way home without really realizing it. Maybe Elder Magana did and I just wasn't paying attention. It wasn't until after we got home that I realized it. On our way we noticed an old man with a bandage on his head leaning against his truck. He was thinking about what he could do to get the furniture on his truck into his house. His wife had gone to get the neighbor to help. We asked if we could help and he thankfully accepted. I could tell he wasn't in good health conditions and he was very grateful for the help. I was happy to see how all the little occurrences of the night, including our taking a bus route we usually don't take, led to us finding that old man in the window of 1-2 minutes that he could have been helped. 

This week I started reading Grandpa Royce's journals again. I love reading the stories found in them. They've helped me escape stressful days and moments for a time. I really enjoy seeing how the beliefs and ideals of Grandpa shaped Dad's childhood and future as a Dad.

Yes, I'm with the same companion and will be until at least January 6th. 

Skype -  can you tell me the skype usernames and passwords? I'm planning on skyping you guys Wednesday afternoon after we eat lunch. It will probably be around 4 o'clock our time, which is 12 o'clock your time. Maybe sooner maybe later. I can only skype for 40 minutes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time

I remember when I signed up for so many snow alerts in Fayetteville (to alert me if school was cancelled) that I woke up on snow days with 10 text messages all alerting me that school was cancelled. Oh what joy filled my heart with each one I read. I remember when we went sledding dressed in giant trash bags and playing backyard football in the snow. The most we can hope for on Christmas here is rain. This Christmas I've seen more Christmas trees and lights than I did last Christmas. That makes me happy. 

Yesterday we found Wilson, who recently moved to Santa Maria. He served a mission in Sao Paulo in 1985. He showed us pictures and the flip charts with pictures the missionaries used to use. He has been inactive for awhile but said he will go to the Christmas activity this Saturday and to church on Sunday. His mom is also a member.

Slowly we're getting to know many people who still live in Santa Maria who have stopped going to church for some reason. We've been able to have a member come with us to visit many of these people too. I hope that with these few visits they can feel welcome at church again. 

This past Saturday we made pancakes with a member family. They enjoyed maple syrup and thought it was weird. 

We've taught the first lesson to many people these last weeks but only a few are progressing. We're continually looking for new creative ways to find people.

I hope you all feel warm anticipation for this month as I do.

Elder Young

Monday, December 2, 2013

Loving The Language

The computers we are using today are slow so I am not able to type as much today. The week flew by and I did a poor job of categorizing my thoughts to send them to you all in a nice package. We found more than 10 new people to teach and invited them, but none of them went to church. We managed to involve the members a lot every day, which makes things more fun and better for everyone. 

How I wish you all could meet the people I've met here. And communicate with them the way we communicate. I love sentence structure here. It provides a verbal environment in which you can build so many great expressions that I never could conceive in english. It's like leaving earth an discovering there's another world with different elements, different nature systems, etc. -- something like that. I don't know. But really, language has an interesting connection with culture. I believe our langauges have a lot to do with how we see the world. Our vision of things is built upon what we can communicate.

Thanks for the news and friendly emails,
Elder Young