Thursday, March 27, 2014

Elder Michael Bryan Youd
Missão Brasil São Paulo Norte
Avenida Nova Cantareira, 1146 fundos
São Paulo - SP - 02330-001

Week 32: Do you believe in miracles? Batismo!

Oi everybody!

Thats right...we had a baptism this week! Helison, after a miracle lesson, was baptised this week! Hes doing incredibly well, and we are all very happy here. But Ill give the details, along with the rest of our investigators:

Helison- So yeah, we went to visit Helison during a division (we had a Zone leader with me.) Helison wasnt thinking of baptism at the beginning, but by the end of the lesson (where we cleared up the doubts that he had about the Book of Mormon), he agreed to be baptized on Saturday! It was a stressful next 3 days, because we couldnt get ahold of him because of his busy work schedule and his lack of credits on his cell phone, but he showed up on Saturday night, and all went well. I got to baptize him, and he said that he felt something incredibly special when he was baptized. Its great to see the joy that comes into people when they decide to follow Christ. Baptism 8!

Joelson- He has plans to be baptized this Saturday, but hes still super nervous. In particular, hes having a harder time stopping coffee and beer than he thought that hed have. So were working with him. Pray for Joelson!

Hilda and Placido (new!)- An older couple that we found knocking on doors. Weve already taught them 3 lessons. Hilda had a dream that confirmed that the church is true, and Placido at least believes that the book of mormon is true. But they both have giant fears to be baptized, so weve got our work set out for us.

Other notes:

I received a note from my old companion, Elder Palhares. From Vila Medeiros, my old investigators, Fransisco and Darci, were in fact baptized, although it apparently took a long time. Yay!

Training is very interesting. Elder Taveira is super anxious to do things, although he also makes a lot of mistakes, which is funny because I remember that, when I was little and made a ton of mistakes, nobody understood my Portuguese, so they didnt have any impact. But, for example, were going to have to teach a JW differently, because he decided to say that if anything isnt written in the Bible, it has no foundation. So itll be interesting.

And Ill write a testimony, basically translating what I tell investigators every day.

I know that I am here on the Lords errand. I know that the church that I am representing right now is the Church of Jesus Christ, built on the firm foundation of prophets, apostles, and authority of God, and that through the ordinances performed in the church, with the authority of God, that we can receive the greatest gift of all, the right to live in the presence of God, with our families for eternity. I know that these things are true, because I prayed to God, the same prayer that we invite people to do, and I received a confirmation that these things are true. I know that this is true.

Strange cultural thing of the week: corn flavored ice cream. Some things, such as the avocado milk shake, are really good. Others are just as disgusting as they sound. Dont try corn flavored ice cream, kids.

Alright, thats it for this week! Até mais! Love you all!

Elder Taveira and I

ES and I wearing soccer jerseys.


ES and I, with the family of Rita, Juca, Fernando, and Fabiana. Great members, great friends. And we decided to put on soccer jerseys.

Week 31: I'm a Daddy!

Hey everybody!

For those of you who dont already understand the meaning of the subject, transfers were this week, and...Im training! Im the first companion of a brand spanking new missionary, Elder Taveira, from Recife. So I get to help him get accustomed to the mission, learn how to teach. Its actually a pretty big responsibility, and I am quite excited to help him out. Hes already learning super quickly, and its gonna be a super fun 6-12 weeks.

Theres not a whole lot this week to tell in respect to investigators. Just quickly:

Joelson- We remarked a date for Joelson, for the 29th of March. But weve basically gotta get him confident for baptism, and get him to stop freaking out about every little detail. But he wants to get more comfortable, so we still have potential.

Helison- He didnt come to church this week (we dont know why), but hes still receptive to our lessons. He opened up to us last wednesday about where he really is, and where is faith is. Weve got some roadblocks in the future, but for now were getting closer to helping him recognize his confirmation.

Other notes:

Some people have asked me about the world cup, and how Brazil is preparing for it. There are a lot of details that I cant go into here (we are not permitted to talk about things about the government), but i can say that the schools started a month early this year, so that they can take a month off during the world cup. Ive heard that 90% of the stores will shut down, only the giant warehouses and the supermarkets will stay open. And so I expect that we wont be teaching a whole lot for those 6 weeks.

For those of you that have asked me about different Brazilian foods, heres something unexpected: using avocados as a sweet. If you put an avocado, milk, sugar, and some ice (if you want it to be colder) into a blender, you get a type of milk shake-ish thing that is actually super duper good. I dont know the exact amounts, so dont ask me.
But thats my week! If my camera has battery, Ill send photos! Love you all!

Elder Youd

A typical Brazilian rain. Pretty intense!

We went exercising one day, and to celebrate that we exercised outside on Pday, we went and bought açai, with leite condensado, frosted flakes, and banana. It was super good.

Week 30: Well, we went down with a fight!

Hey everybody!

So, this week was a bit difficult for us. As you all know from last week, we had 4 people that were preparaing for baptism this week. Unfortunately, after fighting our darnest, we didnt have any baptisms this week. Here were the situations:

Ana, Gustavo: We had to leave them this week. Both Ana and Gustavo decided that they didnt want to be baptized. Ana has a 61 year old boyfriend that she wants to keep "staying with" on the weekends. She knows that its a sin, but in her words, "But we like it. We like to do it." And Gustavo has decided that he will be baptized in another church, because he wants to win his ex girlfriend back. So they stopped answering the door when we went there.

Joelson: He was doing good and ready for baptism, until the day of the interview. I told the story on the recording, but he was interviewed, but he needs more time. We will keep on working with him, just to get him confident for baptism.

Helison: We just couldnt find him this week. He was working long hours, so it was just a matter of time. BUT he came to church again on Sunday, bringing his girlfriend Raquel (Pronounced "Hacky-el", no idea why), and he was participating in the classes. So he still has potential.

So, thats how we ended our transfer. Luckily, I know that there are still people that are ready to receive the Gospel, so I keep on moving forward, constantly praying. Please pray for my investigators!

Other notes:

I plan on putting more funny stories and cultural information in my emails (I think I was doing that in the beginning, but I got lazy.) So this week was Carnaval. If you read about it online, youll likely have to repent for looking at inappropriate material. Basically, people go nuts at Carnaval, drinking, dancing nude, fornicating in the street...if you live in Rio de Janeiro or parts of São Paulo. Luckily, everybody here in Sorocaba went to those areas to party. So the streets were completely empty last Tuesday. The only awkward thing was when people had televisions on, because it had naked women dancing on the screen. Yikes.

We learn about transfers today. I have no idea whatll happen, although theres a chance that Ill move up to Senior companion next transfer. But we will see.

Alright, Ill send more photos now! Love you all!

Elder Youd

Monday, March 3, 2014

And just as a reminder!

Elder Michael Bryan Youd
Missão Brasil São Paulo Norte
Avenida Nova Cantareira, 1146 fundos
São Paulo - SP - 02330-001

"So send a letter there. To me."

This is the Google Earth picture of the house that Michael is living in!

Week 29: We will win, or we will go down with a fight. Let's do this.

Hey everybody!

Its been a pretty good week here in Júlio de Mesquita, and weve been trying to work hard to get things rolling. And by the end of this last week, we realized that this week could be one of the more intense weeks of our missions. Why? We have 4 investigators that could be baptized this week, but none of them are firm firm or completely solid for baptism, so we just have to work a lot, pray a lot, and see what happens. So heres whats going down:

Ana and Gustavo: Ana loved church, but she still doesnt feel ready for baptism. We explained to her that there will be an other elder that will interview her before baptism and be able to discern if theyre ready or not. She liked the idea, but then shes had fear since then, so shes been running from us the rest of the week. Gustavo wants to be baptized, but he doesnt feel ready yet (because hes not ready yet.) He has problems with the Word of Wisdom, and so we have to work with him this week to help him rid his addictions to coffee and cigarettes in particular. But they both have potential to be baptized this Saturday, if they want to.

Joelson: Finally, after 5 weeks of working with him, Joelson accepted a date for this Saturday! We told him about the purpose of this life (to prepare to return with God), and he liked that, so he accepted for the 8th. However, hes still a bit worried about getting baptized, although we havent figured out why yet. So weve still got to work with him.

Helison: He went to church this Sunday, and really seemed to like it. Hes actually a very smart kid, something that we werent expecting by his appearance, and he has a large knowledge about religion. So he accepted a date for the 8th, and wants to know if this is true. We have a ton of confidence about him, but we just need to work with him before saturday, specifically because he smokes.

Other notes:

For those of you that have commented with me that I should do more fun stuff, we played some one-on-one soccer last P-day. And all of us were hurting like crazy for the next 3 days. My body may be getting skinny, but Im not yet ready to be a soccer player. My body HURT.

Thanks to all of you that know me well, and sent me Oscar results. It made me laugh, I think I had three or 4 people tell me. You all know me too well and all of my weird loves.

Alright, thank you all for your continued support! I do ask that this week you keep me and my investigators in your prayers, specifically Helison, Joelson, Ana, and Gustavo. Theyre good people that are ready to be baptized. They just need to show their faith, so that they can enter the path that leads to eternal life. Love you all!

Elder Youd

Week 28: Do you keep ALL of the 10 commandments?

Listen to my voicemail for more information. The Sabbath Day is Sunday, because the Lord said so.

Oi everybody!

This week has been a good week, although a bit more difficult than Ive had in weeks past here. But we're still having success here (and still a lot more successful than Vila Medeiros), and we have some people close to baptism!! Here they are:

Ana, Gustavo: Ana prayed to God, and believes  that this is true! She wants to change her life (specifically, she feels bad that she stays the weekend with an older gentleman that shes not married to), and she even came to church this Sunday and loved it! Weve got a lot to do before this Saturday (her baptism), but we are getting there! And Gustavo is wanting it as well, but he had to work on Sunday so he couldnt come to church, so well have to remark his date.

Lizandra (new!)- We had talked to her one time, and had a good lesson where she gave the closing prayer, something she said she had never done before. She doesnt have a problem with the Book of Mormon or anything specific in our religion, but she doesnt want to enter any church because she feels unclean. We explained the Atonement for her, and she seems a lot more interested now. Pray for her!

Helison (new)- We had marked a date with Helison a long time ago, but his life was super busy at the time, and so it didnt work. But we quickly talked to him, and he wants to know if its true! We remarked him for the 8th, and hes super excited!

Other notes:

I got another package from my Mom this week, this time in a Pringles can! Ive been waiting for this one for 4 months, so if you sent me a package, itll come. Eventually.

Also, a member of the ward loves me! Her son recently came home from a mission (early, because of a knee injury), and he had a pair of shoes, and since his feet are giant, and my feet are giant, I got a free pair of shoes! Thank you, Irmã Sandra!!

And for your information, I officially passed my 6 month mark a couple weeks ago. Im officially past the 25% mark :P

Thanks everybody for your love! Alright, on to individual emails! 

Lima's Baptism. Yes, Lima does look like the crazy guy from the "Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up" episode of the Twilight Zone.

Week 27: A baptism to cure my aching Valentines Day Loneliness

Oi everybody!

Thats right, we had a baptism this week! That older gentleman, Lima, had miracles happen in his life, and he was baptized this week! It was a truly wonderful experience, part of which I recorded in my voicemail thingy. So Ill stop wasting time and get right to it!

Top investigators:

Lima- Somehow, despite the fact that, until last Sunday, he had been continuing his habit to drink every day and smoke a pack of cigarettes every day (habits that he's had since he was 15), Lima was able to stop all of this in just one week, along with start to live the other commandments. And so, he passed the interview, and he was baptized this Saturday! Elder Sepulveda did the baptism, and I did the confirmation on Sunday. He was incredibly excited, and is learning everything he can about the Church. It has been quite incredible this week.

Joelson- He prayed this week, and he only got the answer that he will know that these things are true. He has confidence that hell get baptized one day, but we're trying to help him stop procrastinating. But, he did come to church with Aline this week, so weve still got progress with him yet.

David- We unfortunately had to cut David this week. Not due to a lack of interest, but because of a lack of time. Hes working longer shifts at nights now, and hes basically using all of his free time to sleep. But we might return sometime this week or next week, just to see how hes doing.

Ana, Gustavo (New!)- Ana had gone to church 30 years ago, when she was 18. She liked it a lot, but didnt know why she wasnt baptized. So we taught her and her son, Gustavo, and they both accepted dates for the 1st of March!! Theyre both very receptive, and they have a lot of potential.

Other notes:

It was Valentines Day this week. Luckily, Brazil doesnt celebrate it on the 14th of February (I think they have a day in June?), but my aching loneliness was cured by a baptism. I was actually on a division in another area on Valentines Day, and at the end of the night, a very drunk less active member found us, and we helped him get home safely. And then he kissed both of us Elders on the cheeks (a normal thing in Brazil, but missionaries dont do it.) So technically, I got my Valentines Day kiss. But aside from this, baptisms and singing "All By Myself" got me through.

Alright, thank you all for everything! On to normal emails! Love ya!

Elder Youd

In the Jungle, The Mighty Jungle

Week 26- A dog peed on my foot this week

There's really no other way to interpret the subject. I was standing at a door, a dog came up to me, and peed on my foot. I didnt laugh.

Oi everybody!

What a week it has been here in JDM2. After a slow start Monday and Tuesday, and a Multi Zone conference wednesday, we had a burst of fire working thurday until Sunday. Weve really started to get some good progress going here, and we have some super good progress for the future.

Top investigators:

Joelson- He still hasnt prayed about the Book of Mormon, and hes quit alcohol, although hes still drinking coffee. What he really needs is the support of his wife, who is just afraid to tell him that he should be baptized. But, he did share the gospel with a neighbor whos going through some serious problems right now, so we might talk to this neighbor soon. And if Joelson is already sharing the gospel, it means that he must at least think its true, if not know.

David- We havent been able to teach David since finding him the first time, but miracles are happening with him. His work switched him to work nights, which leaves him open to go to church on sundays (albeit while very very tired). And hes already legally married, and hes already been to church one time. So we just need to teach him and get him living the other commandments. The baptism might not happen this saturday, or it might, but it will happen.

Lima (new)- Holy crap, this has been an interesting week. I wont even bother talking about Lima. Just listen to the recording, and youll understand. Basically, Lima is a wild card, that we could baptize this weekend, or he could fall of the face of the earth and maybe end up destroying his life. Kids, dont drink.

Other notes:

Edinaldo, our recent convert, accidentally relapsed with his drinking last week. He didnt quite understand the concept of being able to repent continually, so he was ready to say that hes never coming back to church. We luckily explained to him that he can repent again, and he was incredibly relieved. So he will get back on the right path.

And we had another confrontation with an alcoholic less active this week. I was on a division with Elder Carr, and we just happened to find him. He first told us that he wanted to come back to church, and then that he didnt, and then he tried to punch Elder Carr (but he was drunk and old and a tiny South American, so it was mostly just really funny.) And after I realized that teaching him would get nowhere, I ended up screwing with him a little bit, mixing in phrases in English and Portuguese.

Just as last weeks theme seemed to be praying for an answer, this weeks theme seems to be freaking alcohol. Kids, dont do it. I know you think that itll be fun, but Im working with people, people that have destroyed their lives because of this stuff. Pray for help to get out of this vice, and then talk to someone who can help you. Just dont do it.

Alright, thats my week! On to individual emails and pictures!! Love you all!

Elder Youd