Monday, December 22, 2014

From left to right: Me, Ruan, and Elder Marciano. Ruan is a very eager and joyful kid.

 from left to right: Elder Marciano, Lucas, me. Lucas is just flat out cool.

Week 69: A giant accomplishment, or 3 more giant accomplishments to add to the 2 giant accomplishments from last week. Oh, and one other accomplishment too!

Hey guys! you could perhaps tell by the rather lengthy subject...We baptized 3 people this week!! Its been a crazy week, and somehow in the end, everything worked out as we wanted it to work out! We have seen SO MANY blessings this week, that Im honestly a bit overwhelmed by how many things went right. AND, to add to it, we also successfully reactivated a person this week. Here are the details!!
Lilian, Ryan- My goodness, this family was elect. We taught them the commandments this week, and they accepted very easily all of the commandments. To our surprise, Lilian has already started going deeper into gospel knowledge. Lilian has started listening to every single conference talk, ever since the church was organized almost 200 years ago. She downloads a few talks, and listens to them while shes working. They were interviewed on Friday, passed, and on Saturday, they were baptized. Elder Marciano baptized Lilian, and I baptized Ryan (who always jokes that my accent makes me sound like Im from Portugal, which is as far from the truth as can be, but its cool, we're friends.) 2 baptisms!!
Daniela- FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY!!! WE FINALLY BAPTIZED DANIELA!! Daniela was avoiding us a bit at the beginning of the week, but we went to visit her on Thursday, and we firmly stated that her baptism would be on Saturday, and that João Vitor wouldnt be able to baptize, since he wasnt ordained. We explained that the ordinance of baptism is much more important than who baptizes (as long as the person has Priesthood authority to do so), and that the only thing that a lot of things will go wrong before the baptism, but that the only thing that will be perfect is her right after the baptism. And oh, how everything went wrong. She had to show up late, and the Bishop (her 2nd choice) couldnt baptise her because he couldnt make it later in the day. Her Mom showed up late, so we had to wait to do the service separate from the service we had for Lilian and Ryan (we wanted to baptize the 3 of them at the same time.) And all of the youth were getting rowdy, so it was hard to control. So, we convinced her to let Elder Marques baptize her (he also taught her a lot during divisions, so we were good with this). When her Mom came, the mom was complaining that she needed to leave quickly, so make the baptismal service as fast as possible. So, we tried. And it was going so, so slow, because of the length of the hymns, youth not being quiet, etc. But, everything changed when Elder Marques and Daniela entered in the water. Everybody got quiet, and it suddenly became an incredibly spiritual experience. The mom stopped talking about how she needed to leave. Afterwards, everything was great. The Young Womens president gave a touching welcome talk, and all of the youth, including Daniela, began to cry. It was, all in all, a very spiritual experience. And, in this process, we managed to finally get Daniela's brother, João Paulo, to come back to church. Ever since we had started to talk to Daniela, he had always avoided us. But, he also cried during the baptismal service. And that Sunday was fast and testimony meeting, and João Paulo gave his testimony, apologizing for having gone inactive, and stating that he really does know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ. What an experience this was.
(And, fun fact: During these crazy days of getting 3 people ready for baptism, I was sick! When I send the pics of the baptisms, you can see, especially in Daniela's baptismal pic, that I was super sick. I didnt throw up. I think it was a migraine? A super duper duper strong headache that made me feel weak and sick everywhere else. I dunno. Ive never had a migraine before. But, I survived.)

(Other fun fact: When these 3 and Lucas were confirmed on Sunday, we realized something legit. From the baptisms these past 2 weeks, Elder Marciano and I managed to baptize someone for every organization: Quorum, Relief Society, Young Women, Young Men, and Primary. So that was cool.)
Stephanie (new!)- Our baptism for this week, that fell from heaven. Shes a family member of the bishop, already has a testimony, and wants to be baptized. Its just a matter of getting her mom to give permission, and then baptizing her. Pray for Stephanie!!

Other notes:

I got two packages from my Mom, who loves me more than anybody else! Thank you, Mom!!

And, Christmas is coming!! During this time of the year, let us remember the true meaning of Christmas. Go and watch a super cool 3 minute video about Christmas. Its for free! Watch it!!

Alright, well Im gonna go now! Ill send pics of the 5 baptisms from the past 2 weeks! Love you all!!

Elder Youd

Week 68: Thanksgiving week, with 2 baptisms!

Hey everybody!!

So, its been a great week for me! Weve been working our butts off, and it FINALLY payed off! Why? Because...WE GOT 2 MORE BAPTISMS!! Frick yeah! Ill tell the deets about how Ruan and Lucas were finally baptized! Here are the deets:

Ruan- A very calm baptism. Unfortunately, Veronica wasnt able to make it to the baptism because she had last minute visits from 10 different family members at the same time, but she sent his dad to acompany him to the baptism, which I really think helped his dad like the church more. I got to baptize Ruan, and he was confirmed on Sunday. Yay!!!!

Lucas- Also, a very calm baptism. We were only able to visit him on Wednesday, which is when he explained that he wasnt able to make it to church last week because he had to leave unexpectedly, and he left his cell phone at home. So, we asked, " you wanna be baptized this Sunday?" "Sure." "Cool." And, he was! Elder Marciano baptized him, and he will be confirmed next Sunday. Yay!!!

Daniela- She was the one that got away this week. A super complicated situation. Basically, she was gonna get baptized on Saturday night after a youth activity (which was her decision, and it would have been cool), but unfortunately, her stepdad brought her to there, and he got SUPER grumpy with us at the end. "NO! I dont want to stay here to watch a baptism! I havent eaten in hours, Im STARVING!!" "Well, the baptismal service would be only 15 minutes." "Not a chance!! Thats way too much time! Daniela, we're going!!" And so she had to leave. And she was sick on Sunday, so that didnt work out. BUT we'll try to baptize her this week! Please pray for her that she can finally be baptized!!

Lilian, Ryan (new!!)- Friends of Yara that have been coming to church for a couple weeks now. We were avoiding teaching her for a bit because we knew that Yara would try and slow things down, so we waited for the perfect opportunity, worked!! Lilian and Ryan will be baptized this weekend! Yay!!

Other notes:

December has started!! So...that means that Christmas is coming!! Yay for Christmas!!!

There really isnt too much to say today. Sorry, our normal LAN House was closed, so were at the crappy LAN House, and I wont be able to send the pics of the baptisms of Ruan and Lucas! But I will next week!

Alright, love you all!!! Have a great week!!

Elder Youd

Week 67: Happy belated birthday, mom!!!

Hey everybody!!!

So, I remember about 6 months ago, I was looking at the calendar for the year, and I realized that I would be able to wish my mother a happy birthday ON her birthday, seeing that it would be on a Monday. For 6 months, I was excited for this moment...until I learned 3 weeks ago that Id be having a Tuesday P-Day on my mothers birthday. So...that was poorly timed. But ah well! Happy (belated) birthday Mom! I promise, I wont miss the next one! ;)
Well, its been a kinda rough week for us this week. We had plans to baptize 2 people, and it ended up being none. BUT I know that this week, we WILL baptize AT LEAST one person. Im starting to go a bit nuts without baptizing, but then I remember that Im in Brazil, where I am blessed to be able to baptize a ton of people, and that I shouldnt complain that Ive gone 6 weeks straight without baptizing. So, here are our top investigators:
Lucas- We taught him some more, and he accepted to be baptized on Sunday. Without a single problem. But, when Sunday showed up, Lucas didnt. We tried to call him, go and pick him up during church, and visit him after church, and he simply...disappeared. So, that was weird. We'll visit him this week, and probably baptize him this week.
Daniela- Also would have been baptized this week, but she wants her mom to be there, and her mom wasnt able to get the day off. We tried to tell her that we could make it later in the day so that her mom could see it, but then the whole family that is helping us teach her (and caused her baptism to be delayed by a month) went against us and said, "Just wait more time Elders! You dont understand!" So, we will baptize her this Saturday. Although, the funny thing, João Vitor wasnt ordained a priest, so he wont even be able to baptize her. We talked to Daniela, and the Bishop is gonna baptize her. So thatll be cool.
Juan- Passed the interview this week. Will be baptized on Saturday. End of story. He will be.

Other notes:
We went to the temple today!! I didnt bring my camera with me to the LAN House, but Ill send pics next week!

Alright, so this is a shorter letter because, as usual with P-Days when we go to the temple, Im a bit short of time. BUT I love you all, hope that youre all doing great, and that you all have a great week! Love you!
Elder Youd

Week 66: A whole week on division with the assistants!

Hey everybody!!!
So, if I were to tell all of you that I had a calm, normal week of work, I do believe that I'd be lying. As it turns out, this week was the week for Elder Marciano and I to become guiney pigs for a new project that President Farnes has. During the transfers, President Farnes called 4 assistants (which is different, he normally only has 2 assistants), all of whom have a speical purpose to help out the mission. So, these 4 elders are going to different areas and doing divisions with the Zone Leaders, for the whole week. And, seeing as Elder Marciano and I were the only companionship of Zone Leaders that stayed the same this transfer (we're just that good), we were the guiney pigs for this. So, this week, I didnt even work with Elder Marciano, but I worked with Elder Farias and Elder Carney. Both of them actually started working in the field in Brazil at the same time as me, but I have a bit more time than Elder Farias (he wasnt in the CTM for 6 weeks), and Elder Carney was waiting for his visa for a time, so he has 6 more weeks on his mission than me. But, we all worked our buns off this week, and we now have some really good things going in our area! Here are the top stories!
Lucas: We were SO close to baptizing him this week. SO. SO. SO. SO. Close. He accepted all of the commandments without a doubt, and we interviewed him on Saturday morning, to be baptized on Sunday after Stake Conference. He passed, and Elder Farias said that it was an incredibly easy interview. He was COMPLETELY ready to be baptized. But, on Saturday at 9:30 PM, Lucas' dad called us and said, "Look, Lucas is 22 years old and can make his own decisions, but I had a good conversation with him and we decided that hes not ready to be baptized yet." We talked about the purpose of baptism being the first covenant that we make with God and how its not a giant decision if he wants to receive Gods blessings, but then we asked the Dad, "What do you think hes lacking to be baptized?" And the worst part was, he couldnt think of anything!!! "Uh, uh...I dont know, but hes just not ready quite yet." So, we marked to go to Stake Conference with Lucas on Sunday, and as we were going, we were talking to him. Although we were on a train, the Spirit was super strong as we were testifying to him of why he needed to be baptized. And we were at the point that Lucas would accept to be baptized on that day, but when we got to the chapel at Franco da Rocha (where the conference was held,)...we were informed that the water ran out at the church, and we wouldnt have enough water to baptize. So, we lost the battle, but not the war. He will be baptized, soon.
Matteus: The Bishop talked to him, and helped Matteus understand that he needs to be baptized, as soon as possible. We started talking to Matteus, and he accepted a date for the 22nd. We were SUPER excited, until Matteus' adoptive mother (who is a member) came in and literally started screaming at us about how Matteus isnt worth baptizing, how he wants nothing with anything, how we're idiots because we want to baptize him, etc. It got intense, and then she asked (in a very yell-ish voice), "Matteus, do you want to be baptized?" "Yes." "Why? WHY? WHY?!" And before he could answer, she said, "See? He doesnt even know! The other Elders understood that hes not ready,but YOU TWO just want to throw him in the water." We finally had to stop the lesson, just to remind Matteus that all of us (including the screamy mother) love him and that we want the best for him. But, we explained to his mom that this is a commandment of God, that not being baptized would be just as much condemnation as baptizing him and him going inactive afterwards, and that we were willing to answer before God for what we're doing, and she should be ready too. She backed down a bit after that, but this made Matteus have fear of baptism again. So, that was a giant punch in the face.
Gabriel: We wanted to baptize him this week, but we could never find him at home. However, in the process of never finding him at home, we found 3 of his friends (Alex, Guilherme, Daniel) and his brother (Jorge) and marked baptismal dates with all of them. So, that was cool.
Daniela: Seems firm to be baptized this week. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pray for her, that everything will go well, and with my other investigators as well!! We want to help these people get baptized, so that they can open the doors of the Atonement of Christ in their lives!!

Other notes:
IMPORTANT NOTE: Next week, Ill send emails on Tuesday, not Monday. And itll likely be Tuesday afternoon/night, because were going to the temple!!!! PLEASE REMEMBER THIS, EVERYBODY THAT WOULD BE CONCERNED IF I DONT SEND AN EMAIL ON MONDAY! I WILL WRITE NEXT TUESDAY!!!
Alright, I think thats it everybody!! I love all of you! Sorry that I dont have any super funny stories this week, but thanks for all of your support! Have a great week!!
Elder Youd

And the generations of missionaries: Elder Casagrande, me, and Elder Taveira.

Week 65: Well, here goes 5 more weeks in Jaraguá!

Hey everybody!
Thats right, I already have the transfer calls, and...Im staying here with Elder Marciano! Actually, everybody in our house is staying the same, but weve also got a bunch of missionaries coming to our zone, shutting down one area and opening three. So, all in all, this could be a crazy 5 weeks. But, yeah, here are some things about our top investigators:
Lucas: Still perfect. He has accepted to live all of the commandments that weve taught him (we just have one more that he needs to know), and he is loving our visits. We have a goal to baptize him this weekend, and we really think that its possible. He even had a dream that his (recently deceased) mom was encouraging him to join the church, so that was awesome!! He is an incredible person, and Im excited to baptize him.
Daniela: Basically a member of the ward. Shes showing no problems right now, and is already integrated with the Young Women. Now, we wait until the freaking 23rd, just so that João Vitor can baptize here. But, Ill be here, so thats good.
Ronni: Still avoiding us. Punk.
Veronica, Ruan: FINALLY went to church this week, and they loved it. For the time being, theyre gonna start going every Sunday, and although Veronica cant be baptized yet because her husband doesnt wanna get married, were gonna try and get Ruan baptized.
Matteus: I know, you havent heard from him in a while. Hes been going to church every Sunday, but its been the same story with baptism, where hes not understanding a whole lot of why he needs to be baptized. But, the Bishop finally decided to talk to him, and as we know, the Bishop here does miracles, and so well see what happens.

Other notes:
Sorry that I dont have a voice recording again this week. This computer reads my camera, but for some dumb reason doesnt read my computer. So thats stupid, and I dont like it.
We had a homeless drunk lady come into church this week, after the meetings. We asked her if she needed anything, to which she said no. She then stood up, and thats when we realized that her pants and underwear were at her knees. She then sat down at another bench for 10 seconds, then left, letting every man, woman and child see her bare bottom. So that was weird.
But yeah, thats my week! Ill send some pics now! Love you all!

Elder Youd

We all got shirts from a part of the São Paulo government. So we are wearing the shirts. And mustaches. One more transfer.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 64: The Celebrity Americans

Hey everybody!!!

So, its been an alright week for me here in Jaraguá. Filled with ups, downs, in betweens, and a whole lot of craziness, it was a week that honestly freaking flew by. But, Ill give some deets here now. Top investigators!!
Gabriel- So, I talked to Elder Marciano about it, and we decided that Gabriel needs a little bit more time before he gets baptized, and for two reasons. Firstly, hes progressing really well and seems to be taking things in, step by step. And also, and much more importantly, he has an awesome friend named Alex that we can baptize at the same time, and the two can help each other stay firm. So, Gabriel is good, but we just want to work with him more and get a second baptism in the process. Well see what happens.
Ronni- The dirty pervert hid from us this week. We tried to get in touch with him every day, but he just hides from us. But, like a hunter with his prey, I will find him, shoot him, and then claim my dead animal prize. Or, Ill just find him and baptize him, because thats more Christlike. One of the two.
Lucas- Progressing SUPER well. He went to church alone this Sunday, arriving half an hour early. Hes reading and praying and doing everything that were asking him. So well see what happens with him. We just need to teach him the commandments, and then we'll have him ready to be baptized, hopefully soon!!
Evandro/Diani (new!)- A "married" couple that we found, that want our help. They want to get married, find a church, and help Evandro stop drinking. (Hes not an alcoholic; he just drinks every once in a while, and hes super weak with drinks. Like, he drank one can one night, and was blubbering.) So it shouldnt be too difficult with them. They werent able to make it to church this week, but well see what happens with them.
Other notes:

We had a super cool moment this week. Seeing that our zone didnt have any baptisms planned for the weekend, me and Elder Marciano decided to challenge the missionaries in our zone to try and visit the people that had been interviewed, passed, but just werent baptized. The zone did it, and the missionaries of Jaraguá 2 (Elder Marques, Elder Bustamante, who live with us) were able to baptize one of their investigators by a miracle this weekend! It was pretty awesome, and I took a picture with the woman as well. Ill send it here in a bit.
As the voice message (hopefully) will tell (if it is able to send, freaking LAN Houses here), me and Elder Jacobs went to a private school with a member this week, and talked to little kids about speaking English/being an American. It helped my deep-rooted patriotism grow (little kids thinking that I know famous people because Im American), and a lot of them ended up taking pictures with us! So that was quite a funny experience.
Alright, time to respond to individual emails and try and send some stuff! Hopefully it works! Love you all!

Elder Youd

Family Nights in Brazil!

Pictures from 2 family nights that we did. The one where my eyes are giant was super fun. And irmã Ruzanna made fun of me a lot for the big eyes.

And More Pics...

A view from the top of the Banespa, the tallest building in São Paulo.

And these two kids heard that I had never tried coconut water before, so they bought it. The cool thing was, the seller cuts the coconut open, and you drink from inside it. It was cool, and I took a pic with the two kids. And the coconut.

More Pictures

 The Sao Paulo Temple

Me with my friend Patrick, right before he went to his mission in Recife. 

Week 63: Sometimes you just cant win

Hey everybody!!

So, as the title reads, it was one of those weeks this week. At this point in my mission, I know that these types of weeks happen every once in a while (I cant JUST have miracles happen here, gosh!) But, weve still got some good things going for us!! Heres some basic information about our top investigators:

Daniela- We were ridiculously close to baptizing her this week. We had taken away all of her doubts and fears, and the last question was who would baptize her. She decided that she wanted her friend, João Vitor, to baptize her. The only problem is, João Vitor wont be able to baptize until he is 16 years old, which he doesnt become until the end of November. We worked hard with her during the lesson and finally had convinced her to let another member of the ward baptize her...until João Vitors brother, Matteus, entered into the freaking room and asked, "Wait, didnt you want Joao to baptize you?" "Yeah, but I think itd be better if this other person baptized me this weekend." "Wait...Elders, cant she wait a month longer? I dont think thatd be too bad." And she heard that, and it was over. So, us and the Bishop are gonna try and work with her to be baptized sooner (many times, when you wait a long time to baptize somebody, they end up not getting baptized at all here. Its a different culture, but its a much faster-moving culture.)

Ronni-Its gonna be luck with this guy. We did a family night with Ronni and a couple other people at the church on Monday about Family History, and in the middle of the lesson, Ronni starts asking us, "Elders, can I be baptized in a river? I heard from my neighbor that it says in the Bible that a true baptism has to be by running waters." We simply told him that, although Jesus was baptized in a river, we arent required to be baptized by running waters because there really isnt a purpose to it (you need to have the age of conscience to know what youre doing, waters to immerse you because this is literally what baptism means, and authority from God to make this covenant, but running waters dont serve a real purpose.) We said that he could be baptized in a river if he REALLY wanted to (All of the rivers here are trashy), but that we have this baptismal font for this reason. He then became SUPER angry with us, saying that we were condemning souls because of this, that well have to answer before God for this giant sin that were committing. So, we burned him a bit and then left, not knowing what to do. But, a few days later, we went back, and avoiding the subject of running waters, asked him if he was good with baptism. He said, "Yeah, Im super excited to be baptized this next weekend!" So, either we will baptize him, or he will burn the church down. I dunno.

Gabriel- Went to church for the second time. We didnt get to teach him this week, but hes actually progressing, so well see what happens.

Elias (new!)- An older man that we found this week. We were knocking on doors, and he saw us knocking and called us down to talk to him. We taught him, and he was incredibly interested. He went to church this week, and said that he wants to come every Sunday. We just need to get him married (he already talked about how he wanted to get married before baptized,) And then well get him baptized!!

Other ntoes:

We also brought a drunk couple to church this week. The woman had hurt her knee, and was trying to sit down, so we helped her, talked to them (or at least tried, they were very drunk,) and then brought them into church. So that was fun.

And I went to 25 de Março again! We went to the same Churrascaria, and I bought some ties, a fancy watch, and a new towel! So that was fun. Ill try to send pics here.

Alright, thats my week! Thank you all! Love you!

Elder Youd

PS-Ill try to send pics and a voice recording!!

The 4 of us that started our missions at the same time, during the transfers a couple weeks ago.

Week 62: A shorter week, a shorter letter

Hey everybody!!

So, just to explain to you all, this letter will be a bit shorter today, seeing as Im going to be kinda busy this P-Day. Were going back to 25 de Março, the place where you buy artificially produced stuff for super cheap, so we want to leave early, and I want time to write to my fam (they come first ;)). But, this week went by. SO. FAST. We actually had 3 divisions in a row, which exhausted me. On Tuesday, I worked here with Elder Jacobs, for him to do an interview at the chapel that night. Unfortunately, Ronni didnt get there until 9:20, but I didnt want to waste time, so we interviewed him there, and we didnt get back until 10:15. On Wednesday, I went to Franco da Rocha with Elder Pfeifer, where we worked pretty darn hard for the lack of time that we had. And on Thursday, we had a division with the Assistents to President Farnes. I worked with an American, Elder Anderson, and we only worked until 6 PM because he had to be back at the mission office that night. But, needless to say, its been a very quick-moving week. And Im guessing that nobody is awake right now because, for some reason, Brazilian daylight saving time is the opposite of the united states. So, while you guys went back an hour, we moved forward. So while its 10:30 here, its only6:30 there. So youre all likely sleeping, so that kinda stinks.

Top investigators:

Daniela- Finally went to church this week!!! And she has a date for this weekend. Well see what happens.

Ronni- Was interviewed this week, passed, accepted to be baptized on the 1st of November.

So yeah, Im really sorry that this letter is so short this week, but know that I love you all, and I owe you all a GIANT email next week! Have a great week! Tchau!!

Elder Youd