Monday, October 13, 2014

Taken from the top of the Banespa, which is the tallest building in São Paulo

Taken from the top of the Pico de Jaraguá, which is the highest point in São Paulo

Wedding picture of Debora and Leandro

Patrick's going away party

Pretty sunset view of the Pico de Jaraguá

Week 61: Baptism from heaven!!

Hey everybody!!

So, its been quite a swell week here in Jaraguá with Elder Marciano. Weve had good stories, good experiences, and above all, a baptism this week! Heres the story, along with other things:

Antônia (baptism!)- This is Patrick's mom. For those of you that I didnt tell, Patrick is a convert of 4 years in the church. Hes incredibly active, and hes actually leaving to go on a mission in Recife this Wednesday. In the past 4 years, Patrick managed to baptise his brother Shaggy, but his parents, not being legally married, couldnt be baptized, seeing as they were breaking the Law of Chastity. I cannot express how many teaching records I have found for Patrick's parents. Dozens and dozens of missionaries have tried to get them married, only to arrive in vain. But, a miracle happened this week. We heard through the grapevine that Patricks parents were separating, although we didnt know why. But, when we heard it, we didnt waste a single moment. We went to their house on Thursday, and asked her what the situation was. Antônia was very calm and said, "Eh, it wasnt even a fight of a separation. We just decided that it wasnt right for us, and there was a wrong feeling about it." We brought the convo to baptism and asked, "So what is preventing you from being baptized?" "Now? Absolutely nothing." "Do you want Patrick to baptize you before he leaves for his mission?" "Yes. Patricks going away party is this Saturday. Lets do the baptism right afterwards." So, thats what we did. It was a beautiful and very emotional service for all of us. Looking back, we recognize that God wasnt necessarily focusing his blessings on us (although this was a giant blessing in my life,) but also on Patrick, who has practically given up the last 4 months of his life to help us missionaries 3 or 4 days a week, and basically the past 4 years to help this work go forward. It truly was a blessing to see Patrick baptize his own mom, 4 days before he leaves for 2 years.

Ronni- We had plans to baptize Ronni this week, but they were in vain. Until Wednesday, Ronni was good and comfortable, but from Thursday to now, hes been avoiding us. But, were gonna try to talk to him on Tuesday, see what happens.

Denise (new!)- I actually dont know her, but I helped find her. Between the conference sessions, I did a division with another American Elder that was listening to conference with me in English (Elder Jacobs), and we found a group of kids playing. Trying to do quick contacts, we invited the group of boys to visit the church. The next week, while I was on a division with another area, the mother of 2 of these boys came into the church while Elder Marciano was there, saying that the boys told her about the church, and she just wanted to know what time the services were. So, he gave her a tour of the church, which she was hesitant to accept at first, but then she accepted. And Elder Marciano said that she loved it, adn became emotional, particularly when she saw the baptismal font. She said that she believes that this is the right church for her and her family, so were gonna teach her, her 4 kids, and her mom tonight (shes recently divorced.) So pray for these people!!!

Other notes:

Im finally at a LAN House where I can send photos, so Im gonna try and send a few. If it works, Ill try to send more next week. But todays just a test, dont hold me to it.

To make my mom feel better, Im getting a bit fatter!! After being in this area for enough time (where EVERYBODY feeds you), Ive managed to gain 3 kilos (6-7 pounds). So well see what happens! My goal is to get strong and beautiful by the time I get home. Itll happen. Im already beautiful, so I just need to get strong.

Alright, thats it for me! Have a great week! Love you!

Elder Youd

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 60: Here we go again! 6 more months of spiritual invigoration!

Hey everybody!!

So, as my last email to you all stated, I am still here in Jaraguá. We got the transfer call, and Elder Berrios went to Itú, which is pretty far away in the country. I am now here with Elder Marciano, from Rio de Janeiro. He was actually the Elder that trained Elder Ashford, my MTC companion. So, weve been working pretty well together, and we have a ton of prospects for the future! Here we go:

Luan: Weve set a new goal for Luan. Actually, he set it for himself. Luan recently fell back on his old habit of smoking, so weve set a goal for him to stop smoking for 15 days. When he is able to do it, he will recognize that its time to be baptized. So, so far, were 4 days in or so. Our goal is for the 18th.

Ronni- Ronni tried to be kinda nasty with us this week and tell us that were just taking advantage of him and trying to baptize him to get more people into the church, and that hes an adult and should be able to decide for himself what he wants. We agreed wholeheartedly that this is his decision, but then we told him that its his decision that will decide his salvation. Our salvation doesnt depend on his, but we are simply helping him because we want to help people. We then told him that, by giving up 9 days before his baptismal date, that he is telling God that God shouldnt help him, that he doesnt want Gods help. We then told him that Jesus Christ will never give up on him, but that he needed to do his part. But, we have Ronni back! Hes still going strong to be baptized, hopefully this weekend!!

Veronica- Doing super good. Still not married, but we marked to help her be baptized in a long time, November 29. Perhaps I wont even be here for that, but its alright.

Patrick's mom (new!)- Patrick is a kid who has been working a ton with us. Hes a recent convert of 3 years or so, and hes actually leaving in two weeks to serve a mission in Recife, Brazil. His mom, although she goes to church every week, is not baptized because shes not married. Missionaries have been trying to help her for years, with no success. But, we just learned yesterday that she is separating from her husband, but she is staying here. So, theres a chance that we could have a miracle baptism happen before Patrick leaves for his mission!! Please pray for my investigators!!

Other notes:

Today, before coming here, I went to a place called the Pico de Jaraguá (Jaraguá's Peak). Its the highest point in São Paulo, and it has a beautiful (albeit polluted) view of the city. It was a pretty long hike, but we made it there! Ill send pics when I can!!

We also got to watch General Conference this weekend (thus the subject of this email). It was absolutely lovely to hear the words of a living prophet and apostles of the Lord!! If any of you wish to hear what prophets and apostles have to say to us (hint: you want to), go to and watch it.

Alright, everybody have a great week! Love you!!

Week 59: Its that time of every 6 weeks again!

Hey everybody!

So, as I write this, we are again waiting for our transfer calls. It seems (to me) that every transfer passes by faster and faster. So, as per usual, we await the call from the Assistants to tell us who is going, who is staying, and who is coming. So, there really isnt a whole lot to say this week. Weve basically been prepping the area for the next transfer, depending on who stays, who goes, etc. Our idea is likely that Elder Berrios will go (hes been here 6 months), Ill probably stay (Ive only been here a bit more than a month), and aside from that, we have no idea. But, here are our top investigators:

Ronni (new!): Hes an ex investigator who is back in the picture. A long time ago, he was almost baptized, but then decided at the last minute that he didnt want to. However, he always is at the church hanging out with his friends (hes 25ish), and we finally decided to talk to him again. With the help of a member of our Bishopric, Ronni accepted to be baptized on the11th of October!! WEve just gotta help him feel more ready for baptism this time, but I think itll all go well.

Luan: Well, we tried to warn him against breaking the Law of Chastity, but he didnt want to listen. And, it seems like he is now realizing that he should have listened sooner, seeing as now hes going to be a daddy! Hes actually been a lot more receptive ever since he realized that his girlfriend was pregnant, and were just trying to help him make the right choices, because hes wanting to have dumb reactions. For example, he finally decided to get his first tattoo that day. On his neck. And the worst part is, it has a spelling error. He wanted to say "Tudo muda", which means "everything changes", but it ended up reading "Tudo mudar", which means "everything to change" or "everything change". So, were helping him out.

Other notes:

Divina and Tainá are doing great. Tainá went to the temple for the first time this weekend, which is awesome, and Divina not only went to church again this week, but she was at the church with other people during the week! Its awesome to see how everything good is happening in that family.

Also, our mission has been having a competition (per zone) to see who could get the highest number of a few types of things (People with baptismal dates at church, people that visited church, and lessons that we teach with a member of the church present.) Weve been competing all month, and somehow, our zone won! So, while the details arent that important, what is important is that we are all gonna be going to President Farnes' house tonight to eat pizza with him and his family.

Well, if Im still on when I learn about transfers, Ill write a second email. If not, youll know next week! Tchau!!

With love,
Elder Youd