Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Week 99: My last email as Élder Youd. - July 6, 2015

Hey everybody!!

So, this is the last email that I'll be sending you all as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (technically, como um missionário de tempo integral de A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias.) Technically, I won't be going home until next Tuesday, but I won't have time to send emails next Monday, seeing as I'll have meetings for the whole day on Monday. So, I do believe that this is it.

Top investigators:

Juliana, Aginaldo: They have a baptismal date marked for this Sunday, so please pray for them. They already passed the interview, so thisll just be a matter of keeping them excited until Sunday (they werent able to go to church last week, for this they werent baptized last week.)

Jamarius (new?): He was an investigator when we got here. Hes a Haitian that doesnt speak any Portuguese or English, so its SUPER hard to talk to him. At the beginning, he didnt want anything to do with us, but he went to church last week and he seems interested in baptism now (we think? Its hard to read someone that doesnt speak any common language.) So, we'll see what we can do this week.

...we have some other people that have potential, but I won't be here to get them baptized, so I won't waste your time with their details ;)

So...yeah. I'm in the last week of my mission. It all goes down like this (but remember that I, being the charming human being that I am, will likely be hamming up a couple free dinners. Why yes, I do make members love me ;D) :

Today is as normal.
Tuesday, I'll be going to the temple in Campinas, which should take my whole day.
Wednesday, I'm headed to São Roque to say goodbye to some people there.
Thursday is work as usual, and at night, a couple super cool members are gonna take us to a rodízio de pizza (basically, an all-you-can-eat pizza place. Theyre good.)
Friday and Saturday, work as normal.
Sunday, I'll go to church, we'll have a baptismal service right afterwards (please pray for Juliana and Aginaldo!), I'll go to lunch, and from lunch, I'll get a van to take me to São Paulo. I'll sleep in the mission office that night.
Monday, I'll have autosufficiency meetings all day (basically, I'll learn how to use money. Now that I'll be using dollars and not the Brazilian Real, I probably need to be a bit wiser with my money. No more multiplying by $3.20 to justify buying pizza.) That night we'll have dinner with President Farnes.
Tuesday, I'll go to 25 de Março in the morning to buy some souvenirs, and go to a meeting, and then I'll head to the airport. I get my first plane out of São Paulo at 11:30 PM. I'll head to Miami, then to Dallas, and then to Kansas City at 1:52 PM on Wednesday.

And that is my mission.

It really has been an incredible 2 years. In the past 2 years, I've sweated, I've been exhausted, I've lost a ton of weight, I broke my ankle, avoided dangerous protests (I'll have to explain that one to you when I get home, Mom), but most importantly, I've seen the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ change and mold the lives of hundreds of people. I have seen miracles that I cannot deny were done only by the hand and grace of God. I know that this is the Gospel of Christ, established in His church. I know that God has a plan for us, a plan that will let us overcome our faults and weaknesses, and through the Atonement of Christ be sanctified and return to His presence, with our families. God is proactive in helping His children repent of their sins and come back to Him, so I thank God for the privilege I've had to be a tool in His hands.

Thanks everybody for your support the past 2 years!! I'll be seeing you all soon! Love you!!

Élder Youd

PS- Just to remind all of you, I'll be speaking at church in the Gallatin Ward on July 19, so be there at 10:00 AM to listen! Please come if you live close by, itd be great to see everybody!!!

Week 98: Lifting senior citizens! - June 29, 2015

A picture of my zone with President and Sister Farnes, and an area 70 (we had a meeting with him last week, it was good.

Hey everybody!!

So, its been a good week for us this week. Unfortunately, we werent able to baptize, but we have some good people lined up for the next 2 weeks. Some information:

Jaqueline, Monica, Lucinea: (Jeffersons family) They freaking love us. They made us lunch this Sunday, and theyre starting to get a lot more interested. Its going a bit slow with them, just because theyve been such firm Catholics for so long, but they are progressing. Lucinea, Jefersons mom, even said that she wants us to teach her husband so that the whole family can go to church together. Yay!!

Guilherme (new!): A referral from another part of Sorocaba. Hes been dating a member there, and hes already gone to church 3 times. Hes a bit shy, but very direct. We invited him to be baptized, and with one word, ("Tá"), he accepted to be baptized this weekend! So, we'll keep on working with him.

Juliana (new!): A 20 year old girl that has a ton of interest. She reads everything that we give her, and she is absorbing info like crazy. The only problem is that she went to church with her boyfriend...who is almost 60 years old. So, that was a bit odd. But, she has a date for this weekend, and her man-friend, Aginaldo, seemed to like it. So, we'll see where that goes.

Other notes:

Next week, we're going to the temple!! So, dont freak out because Im going to write you all an email on Tuesday instead of Monday!!

About the subject line: As we were walking one day, a lady called us over to her house to help her. She was a home-care nurse (I think thats what thats called), and the 90 year old woman that she was taking care of fell out of her bed (I thought they had rails for that?), so my comp and I had to dead lift her back into her bed. That was an interesting experience. I hope that, when I get that old, nobody has to manhandle me as much as we had to manhandle her. That was weird.

My goodness, we are getting close to the end. Next Tuesday will be the last email that I send to all of you. So...we're almost at the end.

Thanks for everything! Love you all!! Tchau!!

Élder Youd

And heres a pic of the lunch that Jefersons family made for us!

Week 97: I still got a bit of steam in me! - June 22, 2015

Hey everybody!!

This week was great! We worked super hard, and in the end...we baptized again! Its cool, even at the end of the mission, we're managing to get things done. This baptism makes it so that I have baptized 5 people in the past 5 weeks, and we dont plan on stopping here! So, heres the basic information:

Antônio: That 61 year old man that was a stroke victim. Hes been super excited about baptism all week, but when he was interviewed for baptism on Friday, he said that he'd have to go visit his ailing mother that week. My thought was, "Wait, if I have to wait to see my mother, you should too!!" :P So, I said, "Hey, do you know whatd be even better? If you called and said that youll visit on Sunday afternoon, AFTER your baptism! And so it was! Antônio was baptized on Sunday after church, and he was super happy about it! Yay!!

From left to right: Elder Da Silva, Adauto (a kid thats headed to the MTC this Wednesday to go to his mission in Salvador, so we gave him a going away present), Antônio, me.

From left to right: Elder Da Silva, Antônio, me.

Lucinea, Mônica, Jackeline (new): The family of Jeferson, who we baptized last week. After having gone to his baptism, Jefersons family (that used to HATE the missionaries) loves us!!! They went to church on Sunday and absolutely loved it! So, we'll go there this week, and we'll see what we can do!

Other notes:

Got into risky situations 2 times this week. Listen to the voicemail for more. Kids, if you think that someone is drunk, dont accept a ride from them! (Dont worry Mom, I wasnt in too much risk! :P)

I had mentioned last week that I stepped in wet cement. I went back there this week. Its confirmed, it dried with my footprints in it. I have forever left my mark in Brasil.

Alright, thanks for everything everybody! I know, we're getting super close to the end! I only have 3 more weeks of work, which is NUTS! Dont worry, Im working like crazy here, but I am super excited to see all of you again!! Love you!!

Élder Youd

Week 96: Without limits to baptize. - June 15, 2015

Hey everybody!!

So, this week was crazy-go-nuts. We worked our rear ends off, and...we baptized 2 people this week!! It was a TON of work, and we kinda had to lose all of our limitations in order to baptize, but in the end, everything worked out well. Here are the stories:

Raymundo: So, he went to church last week, but when we went back, he said that he didnt want to be baptized anymore. So, we kinda hada crazy lesson where we talked about authority until he understood. Finally, in his own kinda-crazy way, he understood what we were talking about, and then from that point on, he was firm for baptism. He was baptized Sunday, after Sacrament Meeting. The man was happy.

From left to right: Elder Da Silva, Raymundo (the older one), me.

Jeferson: My goodness, what a crazy Sunday. Jeferson had been going to church for over a year, and the only reason why he wasnt baptized was because his mom wasnt letting him get baptized (shes a family-tradition-but-inactive-Catholic and hes 15.) We went there, and had a crazy-amount-of-pressure lesson to get her to let him be baptized (anyone thats underage has to have a parents signature to be baptized.) And as she finally said, "If he wants to be baptized and says so right now, Ill sign", his fear of his mother came in and he said, "I'll pray about it." So, we thought that that would be it. BUT, on Sunday, he came to church, super happy, with a signed baptismal form in hand. So, we planned the baptism for that night. Only problem: his member friend, Luiz, started trying to convince him out of it ("If you get baptized today, nobody from the ward will come. I wont even come. Itll just be you and the Elders. But, its your choice.") But, for every excuse that Luiz gave, we fixed the problem (talked to everybody and made them promise to come, got Jefersons family to come to the baptism, even made a cake for him so that it would be a special occasion and not a rush job.) Even when Luiz brought Jeferson TO OUR HOUSE to tell us that he wouldnt be baptized today, we finally got around it. It was a ton of crazy stuff that we did, but in the end, Jeferson was baptized, in an almost-perfect baptismal service (a lot of people, a beautiful musical number, water was warm. The only thing that we messed up is that we burned the cake a little.)

From left to right: Elder Da Silva, Jeferson (the younger one), me. Note that I look quite strong in this photo. :P

Other notes:

I got my miracle birthday cake. Because I moved to this area last week, I didnt know the members well enough to mooch off of anybody and get a birthday cake. But, at the end of the night, our last plans fell through, and so we decided to visit a recent convert that lived close by. We talked for a while, and then she said, "Do you guys want something to eat? We have some chocolate cake thats left. Here, eat some cake!" So, I ate my birthday cake. It was a good birthday. Im 21 now.

I walked in wet cement the other day. Itll dry with my footmark in it. Its official, I have forever left my mark in Brazil. Unless they fix that, in which case I wont.

In case you cant tell, the ones on the left are mine, and on the right are Elder Grovers. Its super deep.

Thanks for all the love and support from all of you! Im working like crazy here, but Im super excited to be home and see all of you again! 29 days! Love you all!!

Elder Youd

Week 95: Birthday tomorrow! - June 8, 2015

Hey everybody!!!

So, its been a good first week here in Barcelona for me. Im here with my new companion, Elder Da Silva. Hes from Pernambuco, and he is a super good human being. We're having a ton of fun, working and getting lost. We both arrived here in the area at the same time, so we have no idea where we are or where we're going, so we're learning together. Quite an adventure, especially for an old, dinosaur missionary like me. But, we're getting some good things going. I'll give a couple names of investigators, but honestly, we have a ton of people that could be baptized in any moment, so it won't be as progress-y as the other emails. here we go:

Raimundo: An older man from Pernambuco as well. He and Elder Da Silva connected really well, and the man has a date for this weekend. Super excited for him.

The Haitians: We're teaching a couple guys from Haiti. Its weird, because they only speak french and creole. With the little Portuguese that they knew, they told us that they wanted nothing...but then they went to church, even though they didnt understand anything? Its a bit weird, but whatever. We'll try and baptize someone that doesnt speak any common language. Google Translate will be necessary.

Jefferson: a kid thats been going to church for months now. The only thing stopping him from being baptized is the fact that the mother isnt letting him, but for some reason, the Elders never went there in the past to talk to her. So, we'll see what we can do.

Other notes:

Its my birthday tomorrow! Im super excited, itll be good. We'll work during the day, and then we'll buy a pizza at night or something...man, birthdays really arent that exciting on the mission. Its all fine, I'll be home in 36 days.

Speaking of which, my flight plans changed! As it turns out, Im gonna be home a day earlier now! I'll be leaving São Paulo on Tuesday at 11:30 PM, then getting to Miami, going from Miami to Dallas, and from Dallas, I'll get a plane thatll land at 1:52 PM in Kansas City on Wednesday! AAHHHH!!!

(Yes, Im starting to get pretty darn trunky. I am working incredibly hard right now trying to get things rocking and rolling here, but I am quite excited to be home and see all of you again. I have been here for a very long time.)

Alright, thanks for all the love and support and birthday wishes! Have a great week! Love you all!!

Elder Youd

June 1st Pictures

From left to right: Elder Grover, Sonia, Me (and some kid in front, I believe its her grandkid.) I very much look like a tired missionary in this picture.

From left to right: Elder Stott, Elder Carvajal, Lurde, me, Elder Grover

From left to right: Elder Stott, Elder Grover, Sonia, me, Elder Carvajal.

From left to right: Xuxa (a member who helped us), Lurde, me (using an oversized jumpsuit), and Elder Grover.

Week 94: Well, I wasn't expecting that - June 1, 2015

Hey everybody!!

So, its been a really good and crazy week here in São Roque. And, as the subject of the email goes, it will be my last week in São Roque. Thats right, after only a month of being here, I am being transferred again, for the last transfer of my mission. But, more on that later. Heres the story of the baptism we had this week!!! (2nd week in a row!!)

Lurdes: So, after quite the fight, we were able to help Lurdes stop smoking. She was interviwed on Friday, and was passed to be baptized; however, she was stressed and said that she felt too angry at her life to accept baptism. The other Elders (I wasnt there on Friday) tried to help her, but she wouldnt accept it. So, we went back on Saturday...I think I may be too old on the mission, because I have officially gotten to the point where I have lost all patience for this type of flakiness. We came in, I acted super excited that she passed the interview, and then she said, "I already told the other Elder that Im not going to be baptized this weekend. Im too angry." Normally, I would have talked about some sort of doctrine to help her out, but I just said, "Of course youre gonna be baptized this weekend. We filled up the baptismal font, we have your baptismal service ready, and the ward already knows. Of course youre gonna be baptized." To which she (surprisingly) responded, "Youre stubborn, arent you?" "Yes, sister." "Alright, I'll be baptized tomorrow." And, she was!! She didnt bend her knees during the baptism, and so I almost fell in the water with her while baptizing her, but all in all, it was good.

And, thatll be my last baptism in São Roque. We got our transfers cal yesterday, and it appears that I am going to be transferred inside of the zone. I am going to be a Zone Leader (again) in Barcelona, opening up the area with Elder Da Silva, from Recife. I already know him. Hes like, the nicest human being in existence, and hes a musical genius, so we're gonna have a really fun transfer!!

Also, just to remind you all (hint hint), its my birthday next week!! Next Tuesday, I'll be turning 21, which is super weird. It does not feel like its been a whole year since my last birthday. Time is going by super fast! Its super weird that this is my last transfer on the mission. So, I'm gonna do everything I can to take full advantage of it!!

Alright, thanks for all of your love and support! Here we go for one more transfer! I'll send you all the baptismal pics from the last 2 weeks! Love you all!! 44 days! Tchau!!

Elder Youd