Saturday, August 31, 2013

Email 2: Ben-vindo from Brasilia!

Oi, pessoas!
I am happy to say that I am typing this email from a computer lab in the CTM (pronounced "say tay em ee"), from Brazil! After a long and tedious flight partway across the world, I landed safely in South America!
Btw sorry if i don't cap, this shift key is TERRIBLY tiny. So when I don't cap, just get used to it.
This CTM is absolutely amazing. It's the church's second largest building in the world, just behind the conference center. There are a ton of stairways that all look the same, so it's kind of like a maze. Perhaps there's some sort of spiritual undertone to this, but I can't think of is like a maze? I don't know, but I keep on thinking of "Life is like a box of chocolates" when I do those types of analogies, which feels weird since missionaries can't watch non-church movies, and Tom Hanks hates Mormons. I'm getting off subject.
There are definitely a ton of amazing things about the CTM. The food, while it doesn't look that great, tastes phenomenal. If the food always tastes this good, I won't ever have a bad day, with the exception of yesterday. yesterday at dinner, i looked inside the burrito-type thing they gave us and thought that there may be fish in it. I shrugged my shoulders, and started eating it anyways, and then I started to feel funny. My companion (Elder Burton, who came on the same day as me and who is ridiculously funny) asked me what was wrong, and then I told him that I was allergic to fish. He went up to the cooks and asked if there was fish in it, but since they only speak Portuguese (a lot of the workers aren't even Mormon), they didn't understand him. They said "nao" to him, but apparently there was something lost in translation, since 5 minutes later, one of the cooks comes up to him with another fish burrito. My guess is that he actually said it correctly, and they just wanted to mess with him. Or try to kill one of us. Regardless, it was funny, and I took a Benadryl, and now I'm fine.
Also, I have 3 Brazilian roommates, who I don't understand as much as I want to, but from what I do understand, they're super nice elders. The first one moved into our room yesterday, and he just looked like a ginger from South Jordan Utah, so Elder Burton and I were trying to speak Portuguese super well to impress him. As it turns out, he's from Portalegra, and we just looked like idiots. So that's cool. Regardless, when we can communicate, I like them a lot. Also, I love hanging out with the Hispanic missionaries. As it turns out, they struggle with the language as much as we do, and probably even worse since it sounds so much like spanish, but ever so slightly off. One of the Chilean missionaries taught me secrets to better ironing shirts. Apparently, turning them inside out is key. So that's cool.
There are some small downsides to being here. Firstly, the district that I'm in here isn't as tightly knit as the one in Provo. There are a couple grumbly bears in the group that bring our spirits down (namely, Elder Burton and I, since we both enjoy not being grumbly bears), and some of them don't quite recognize how lucky they are to be one of the 100 or so missionaries from North America that aren't among the 1100 waiting for their visas. I still haven't quite caught up on sleep yet, especially since I had to be up at 5:45 this morning to go to the Sao Paulo Temple (which is super cool, since it's made of primarily wood, but it's also a lot smaller than the pictures of it portray.) I think they switch off taking the missionaries to that temple and the Campinas temple, which I'm curious to see. Also, I'm doing alright with the language, but I still wish that I could do better with it, primarily to communicate and not sound like I'm five years old. It'll come, I just need to work on patience. Also, I ripped a pair of my pants yesterday while sitting down, which was embarrassing. I'll give you three guesses where it ripped, but I'm guessing you'll only need one. I felt rather silly, but luckily we were headed to bed 10 minutes later.
Our practice lessons are going well. I've improved a whole lot since the first lesson I taught in the MTC, where I just read off a script and didn't listen to what the investigator said. Of course, my MTC "investigator"/teacher was hard to understand because he was speaking a different dialect of Portuguese, from Capo verde. Honestly, it's slightly hard to learn Portuguese here because Brazil has so many little changes in the language based on the area. It's cool though.
I'm not going to send pictures today since the mission said they sent one or two pics to Mom and Dad's email accounts, primarily me with my just-as-jaded-as-me mission group.
Also, super cool: on P-days, we can walk around part of Casa Verde (the part of Sao Paulo that we're in, not the aforementioned Capo Verde) and go shopping and stuff. I don't know if we'll do that today, since Elder Burton's card is frozen and I don't know if mine is or not), but regardless, it makes me feel legit. The CTM isn't quite as prison-y as Provo.
Alright, thank you all so much for the emails! I feel so popular, like a king, or an actor, or one of those celebrities that are famous for reasons I don't know. I bet they get a lot of emails on their P-days. I'm gonna start responding to other emails, and if I have time, I'll email more! I'll be able to write longer emails out of the CTM, when I'm not pressured to just 45 minutes a wek.) Tchau! Eu amo voce!
Elder Youd
PS- Don't send me packages in the CTM. If you really love me and want to send packages, send them to my mission home in 3 weeks. But I appreciate the thought anyways.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I'm here!!

Hey, I won't be able to email long. I just wanted to email both of you to tell you that I got here safely! I'll be able to email more on Friday, but here are the details. Food is AMAZING. It's super cool to be able to walk out onto the streets of Sao Paulo. It kinda feels like I'm in a Jason Bourne movie, you know, the part where he's walking around in foreign cities that aren't fancy. The buildings all are simple, but the view is absolutely beautiful. Also, the people are so nice here, and I've only seen them for a day. Even if they don't know you, they are super kind, which I'm still getting used to. Also, this keyboard's shift key is tiny, so I keep on having to take more time to capitalize things. It's throwing off my groove. My companion is Elder Burton. He's going to my mission, but he was in a different district than me in Provo. I found out some official statistics. This week, 25 of us North Americans got our visas (either to go into the field or to come to the MTC.) 15 of us came to the CTM. There are about 1100 people waiting for their visas. This place has so few people, and most of them are spanish speakers learning Portuguese. The building is BEAUTIFUL though. Absolutely stunning. You should look up the pictures of it, and then imagine it as twice as pretty. Weird for a place that is rarely used, eh? Also, go to to look up stuff on packages. Don't bother sending any packages to the CTM. If you are, wait until I'm in the field. Also, don't try to smuggle things to me. Even if your intentions are good, it could end up being a huge legal thing if you try and sneak stuff in other things (such as a camera in a cake mix, etc.) I think they sent you an email about it. Hopefully they'll get you some good information. Well, my time is up, but I'll email you more on Friday! I love it here! Love you! Elder Youd

Letter from MTC Brazil President

 Dear Parents, We are happy to send the good news that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil MTC. What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they come through the front door of the MTC for the first time. We promise to take good care of your missionary.

 They now have companions and are settled into their rooms. They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study. The branch presidents and their wives, will soon give them a second greeting. These couples are rewarded in their callings through the love they always develop as they embrace and watch over the missionaries.

The MTC has a full time live-in physician to care for their health needs. He is assisted by his able wife. We are also happy to report that the Cafeteria food is abundant and very good.

 Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple. This will be either Wednesday or Friday, depending on individual assignments.

 Your very important young person is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of others. We hope you will be encouraged and comforted by this quote by President Lorenzo Snow: “ There is no mortal man that is as interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the Gospel as is the Lord who sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord's children".
 Please accept our love, President Ralph Degn and Sister Mary Ann Degn 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION . . . DO NOT SEND PACKAGES to the Brazil Missionary Training Center. All packages must be sent directly to the mission where your missionary will be serving not the MTC. If you have already mailed a package to the Brazil MTC and it arrives after your missionary has left for the field, please understand that the package can not be forwarded to his or her mission and will be returned to you. WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE SENDING HAND WRITTEN LETTERS. Please write your missionary´s first and last name. Your missionary will provide you with his district and box number. Also, please DO NOT SEND ANYTHING BY FEDEX, DHL, UPS, or other private carriers. The cost to get this type of correspondence is exorbitant.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Time Flies and so does Michael!

Well, as most of you have heard (or read from this blog) Michael will be leaving the MTC Provo for the MTC Brazil on Tuesday, August week! Kind of crazy, but what a blessing to have his visa come through when so many others have been waiting for so long. But then again, Michael does kind of break the mold when it comes to life! Another cool thing is that one of his best friends growing up, Daniel Argyle, will be leaving for his mission in Santiago, Chile, on Tuesday as well, and he will be heading down to the Chilean MTC. Watch out South America! Two of the best elders are heading your way!

 Michael wanted everyone to know what the Brazilian MTC address is so that you can send letters to him. The MTC president has asked that we do not send care packages to him while he is there (see letter to parents), but he would LOVE letters!

 His Brazil MTC address is:
 Elder Michael Bryan Youd
Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission
Brazil Missionary Training Center
Rua Padre Antonio D'Angelo, 121
Casa Verde
 02516-040 Sao Paulo - SP

New Countdown to Brazil!

Friday, August 23, 2013

A funny thing

(Michael's email from the Provo MTC on August 23)

Hey everybody! Sorry if this email seems kinda silly with grammar, but I only have 30 minutes to type to everybody, so you can deal with it.
I was gonna tell you all about my MTC experience, about how my district is awesome, about how my companion and I didn't get along at first but then we did and now it's a touching moment, how I'm getting the language strangely well, and how the food is okay but the vegetables are frozen and terrible. That was my plan until Thursday. Then a funny thing happened on Thursday morning...

I got my visa.
That's right! There are 70 missionaries in the MTC waiting to get their visas, and I was one of the 5 this week that got them. I fly out on Tuesdaymorning. My flight leaves at 8:45ish, and so I'm leaving the MTC at 3:35 AM. It'll be a LOONNG day.
So there are a couple things I need you (family, not friends) to do. Mom, I need you to get me those shirts that you said you'd get me because you didn't like the ones from Kohls. If at all possible, get them today and send them in one-day shipping. I hope you didn't forget about them, because as I'm here doing laundry for many pungent shirts that I've had to rewear, I'm sure that I didn't. (Sorry it's early, and I'm grumpy in the mornings.) Also, when you post this on the blog/Facebook/whatever, I need you to get my call packet and put in my Brazilian MTC address. I never put it up because I didn't expect to be going to the Brazil MTC, much less in two weeks after I arrived here, especially since there are elders and sisters that have been in the field for 6 months and haven't received their visa. So I'll call it a blessing from the Lord, but just to myself, because there are so many people that probably deserve to be there more than me right now. I read some of the emails (Thanks for sending them!) Also, if any of you want to write me, try I don't know how it works for Brazilian MTCs, but it works here. I'm not going to waste time and try to explain it to all of you, so just look it up and read about it. Most of you are adults, you can figure it out.
So now that I can give more details about the MTC, here we go. It's absolutely amazing. My companion is Elder Ashford, from Austin TX. He's a pretty smart kid, and the type of person you can see going at 18, as opposed to some other elders I've seen here that should not be here. At first, he and I didn't get along at all, but after companionship inventory, we figured stuff out and now we're working like a well-oiled machine of spirituality! Also in my room are Elder Jacobs from NJ and Elder Marchant from Washington. Elder Jacobs has a speech impediment (can't pronounce his Rs), but we didn't figure that out until day 3, we all just thought he had a super strong New Jersey accent. He loves to talk. A lot. All the time. But we love him though. Elder Marchant is a more quiet elder, but he does super well, and his laugh is super awkward. It's hard to explain, so I won't.
Our district is 12 people, all going to either Sao Paulo west or north, split in half, 4 brothers and 2 sisters each. There are some other Sao Paulo districts. Btw if any of you talk to Uncle Russell tell him that one of the kids from his ward is in my zone, going to Sao Paulo North as well.
I'm actually catching onto the language super well. They say that the first week of the MTC is like drinking water out of a fire hydrant, which worried me because I'm already at a disadvantage by having a smaller-than-average mouth, so I couldn't retain much. But luckily I learned that this was just a metaphor, and that I could handle this better.

I've seen a ton of missionaries that I know here, including Elder Judkins, Elder Reber, Elder Blanchard, Sister Francis, Sister Tolley, Elder Peterson, Elder Carbine, and Elder Blaylock. It's been super cool, and I am slightly sad that I won't get to see them, but a lot of them are gone already, so it's alright. All of them seemed to be doing super well.
The food here is alright, but the veggies are terrible. Also, I've found a connection to sprinkled donuts.
Alright, I don't know when my next Pday will be, but I can assure you that I'll be writing from South America! On to individual emails!!! Bom dia! A igreja e verdideiro!
Elder Youd
PS- If you're looking for a good devotional, check out David A. Bednar's "Character of Christ." Absolutely phenomenal, and if nothing else, Elder Bednar does a killer Cookie Monster impression, which is hilarious.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

MTC Day!

Michael left Missouri for Utah and the Provo MTC this morning (Wed, Aug 14th, 2013).  It started VERY early with a traditional Youd Boy Breakfast at IHop at 4:30 (note to anyone who is considering are at the mercy of a graveyard shift cook who has about an hour left on his shift...just saying!).  All in all, the mood and conversation was chipper considering the hour of day!

After breakfast a quick trip over to the airport and then goodbyes again.  Daniel Argyle, one of Michael's best buddies from forever, got up extra early and met him there to send him off also.  Mom did pretty well holding it together, Dad & Jon got the Bro Hugs, and he was off!

At the other end, Grandma and Grandpa Jones and Aunt Tammy met him at the airport in Salt Lake.  They always take such great care of the Youd children when they are in Utah! (Thanks guys!!)
A quick lunch at Wendy's in the little window of time before drop off time was much appreciated.

Then it was off to the MTC!  Elder Youd's check in time was 12:30, so it was a hectic morning, but he looks pretty excited when he was being dropped at the curb.  He will be a great missionary!!!  Be sure to check back often to this blog to follow his great adventures.  He also wanted me to remind everyone that letters and care packages are always appreciated!  :)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Leaving Information

You should read this giant post. It's my last one for two years. And if that isn't enough to convince you, there's probably a funny joke in the middle of it that will make you laugh.

I would love for any of you to keep in touch with me over the next two years. If you wish to join my email list anytime during my mission, or if you just want to talk to me, my email address is:

I'll be able to email about once a week and I don't have a lot of time to do so (especially at the MTC), so don't be offended if I don't get back to your personal email immediately. It's likely that I just didn't have time. Or maybe I just don't like you. But it's most likely the first one, so email me. Also, one of my family members will be keeping a blog of my weekly updates, if you are interested in following me that way.  You should visit it. It's purple. And I like purple.The website is:

Here is my address for the next 6 weeks, if you wish to send me letters or packages at the MTC (which you should):

Elder Michael Bryan Youd
2013 N 900 E Unit 300
Provo UT 84602

After that, assuming I make it to Brazil on time, here is my address in the field (which you also should write to):

Elder Michael Bryan Youd
Brazil São Paulo North Mission
Rua Dr. Rui Batista Pereira, 165
Jardim Caxingui
05517-080 São Paulo - SP

Just a reminder, my farewell talk is tomorrow at 10:00, and I'd love to see any and all of you there. My phone is getting shut off tonight, so if you want to talk to me, you best make it happen today. I thank all of you for your support over these years, and I hope to hear from you. And if I could leave you with one last message to inspire you, it would be this…

Don't listen to Nickelback. They seriously are the worst.

See you in August 2015.