Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pictures From This Week

In front of the Campinas Temple

The Campinas Temple

From left to right: Elder Carr, Etevaldo, Mariana, Jefferson, me.

From left to right: Elder Raesch (from Cidade Nova), Elder Carr, Diego, me, Elder Stott (from Cidade Nova)

All of us at Etevaldo's baptism again, with Almir (our ward mission leader) and his son, Matteus.

Campinas Temple

Week 80: Almost a missionary's worst nightmare, avoided!!!

Hey everybody!!!

So, as the excitement in my text shows, we had a great week! Why? Because, WE HAD 4 BAPTISMS!!!! Frick yeah!!!! Its been a crazy week with some crazy stories, but here we go!!!!

Diego: He had been visiting our ward for a few weeks, but lived in Cidade Nova, so he wouldnt be a baptism of our ward. But, Elder Carr and I took advantage of him being there, taught him, interviewed him, and sent him over to there, all ready for baptism! We then had the blessing of having our appointments fall through on Saturday night, so we went over there and watched his baptism! It was awesome!!

Etevaldo, Mariana, Jefferson: ALL 3 of them were baptized!!!!! It was a super awesome experience!! Mariana and Jefferson, being Etevaldos grandkids (hes 74), were good with everything and just went with the flow. On Tuesday, we talked to Etevaldo (also known as Daniel, which is his last name) about baptism, and at first he was like, "Eh, I dunno if I want to...", to which his wife (who is nice but already is firm in her church) said, "Liar! Youre just afraid of being baptized!" "Quiet, woman! Im not afraid to be baptized! Thats ridiculous!! Dont listen to her, IM not afraid to be baptized, Ill be baptized." And, as it turns out, he was literally afraid to be completely under the water. So much so, that we had to try to baptize him 5 times, until we got it right. The first three times, the member (Matteus) tried to baptize him, and he would hold onto the wooden gate outside of the font, lock his knees, and at the last moment, popped up, so he wouldnt go completely under the water. Elder Carr switched into baptismal clothes to enter and help him out, as the guy was baptizing Mariana and Jefferson. Elder Carr entered, and they tried again, and again, he resisted. And then, Etevaldo stood up, put out his hand and said, "I dont want this anymore." Finally, we all talked him into trying one more time. Matteus did the prayer, we said amen...and then Elder Carr kicked Etevaldo's leg out from under him so that he wouldnt lock it. And so it was, the baptism FINALLY happened. Afterwards, Etevaldo felt like a freaking champ, victoriously laughing and accepting praise for his courage. It almost became the missionary's worst nightmare (someone deciding not to be baptized when theyre in the water), but in the end, it all worked out. And, Etevaldo brought 2 other grandkids that he wants to be baptized, Luiz and Eduardo. Were gonna help them be baptized on March 8.

Rodrigo: Got busy, but wants to be baptized. He'll be baptized sometime.

Alessandra: Same thing, but she'll likely be baptized sooner (possibly this week? :D)

Alex: Doing super well, believes in everything, wants to be baptized this weekend! Itll be awesome!

Other notes:
AMong this, we also officially reactivated a family this week! Rogério and Elaine were baptized a few years ago and immediately went inactive. THey started talking to us, and theyve come to church for the past 2 weeks! Rogério is actually Alex's friend, so we're gonna use him to help us out! And, he has an 8 year old kid that were gonna help baptize!!

We went to the Campinas temple last week! It was super duper pretty and big. Ill send pics.

And, for those of you that are counting down, this Wednesday marks the beginning of the Doctrine and Covenants I-miss-Elder-Youd challenge! Start reading one section per day (including the 2 official declarations) until I get home! (Starting on wednesday) 140 days left!!! Lets do this!!!

Alright, thanks for everything! Have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Youd

Week 79: Slump Day

Hey everybody!

So, its been a pretty good week for me, albeit kinda crazy busy. Weve been on a week-long divisions with the Assistants to President Farnes, Elder Marchant and Elder Dallto. They spent a couple days with us, and a couple days with other areas, but all in all, it went really well! And we're really getting some good success here! Here are some of our top investigators:

Alessandra: Shes back! We finally got ahold of Alessandra, and she's still doing really well! We immediately went to see where she was, and shes still fixing her life to get baptized. She said that she still wants this in her life, and she accepted to be baptized this Saturday! So, weve just gotta get her interviewed again, and she'll be baptized!!!

Daniel, Jeferson, Mariana: They went to our integration night on Thursday, and then they went to church on Sunday. Daniel is actually loving church, and we think that Daniel will want to be baptized with his grandkids this Sunday. So, we'll see what we can do to help.

Alex (new!): A new kid that we found, that is GOLDEN. Hes single, 25, and understands everything that we teach him, and is absorbing it up like a sponge. He asked us to come by this morning, so I literally just got out of a lesson with him, where he agreed to prepare to be baptized this Sunday!!! He is super awesome, and we have good hope for him, and for the others!

Other notes:

Yes, it was Valentines Day this week. But, Brazilians celebrate Valentines Day in June. I suppose its too hot during February to have a Valentines Day cuddle, so they put it to their winter. Smart move, Brazil.

But, it is Carnaval! They have celebrations here in Itú (very sinful celebrations) but luckily they happen during the night, so we dont have to see them or anything. Dont worry, Im safe and protected from wickedness here ;)

And what is Slump Day? It means I have officially reached 1 year and 6 months on my mission!! Its so weird to think that my mission is almost over (in 149 days), but dont worry, Im still firm and strong!!

And, Im gonna go to the temple in Campinas this week! So actually, today isnt my official P-Day, Im just allowed to send emails. So, Ill keep on sending emails! Thanks for your love and support! Have a great week!

Elder Youd

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 78: An interesting start to a fun transfer!

Hey everybody!

Its been a pretty interesting week here in Itú. As I mentioned, Elder S. Costa left to finish his mission training, and Im now here with Elder Carr! We're working well together, and its super fun so far, even if we didnt have a whole lot of success this week. Here are our top investigators:

Rodrigo: We've officially cut Rodrigo. He abandoned us on the day of his baptism for the 3rd time, and hes not wanting to tell us what his difficulties and fears are, so unfortunately theres not a whole lot more that we can do for him. But, perhaps we'll visit him this week, just to try one last time. But I dont think itll happen.

Etevaldo (New!): A seemingly crazy guy that we met on the street this week, but that actually has some interest. And more importantly than him having interest, he lives with 9 other people. All of them are kinda crazy, but they are already wanting us to baptize the kids in the family, Jeferson, Mariana, and Danilo (and possibly Kauã and Breno.) They all have dates for the 21st. Ive never really gotten into the baptize-primary thing, but we'll see what happens.

Sonia, Fabio (New!): A couple that we found. Sonia is super interested in learning stuff, and Fabio is at the point in his life where he wants to have a church. So, we'll see what happens.

Other notes:

The crazy wizard homeless guy went to church again, this time dressed as a wizard. Its a shame that we werent there, otherwise I wouldve taken a picture with him. Perhaps next week.

And our second training went well. Its super cool to be able to go to all of these wards, hear the experiences that the members are already having with missionary work, and help them learn how to be better member missionaries. This week we're going to Salto!

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

Elder Youd

Week 77: Still trucking along!

Hey everybody!

So, its been a kinda odd week for us this week. My companion and I had set a goal to not let this week be like normal end-of-the-transfer weeks (a bit calmer, less success, more of a transition period), but aside from our best efforts, it ended up being such in results. 

So, yes, we do know the transfers! Elder S. Costa is going to Sorocaba to train a new missionary and finish his mission, and I'll be staying here. My new companion is Elder Carr. We actually already lived together for 2 transfers in Júlio de Mesquita, and we were both District Leaders in the same zone at the same time when I was in Amador Bueno, so it'll be a super fun transfer! We'll see how everything goes!

Some info about our top investigators (even though we're gonna be working in a different part of the area soon, so we won't be working too much with these people anymore):

Rodrigo: He gave us an excuse as to why he disappeared suddenly, saying that he had to help his lady friend at the last minute with her new apartment (an "emergency"). We remarked him for baptism for this weekend, but we'll see what happens. If this continues too much more, we really wont be able to help him keep commitments.

Vera: She passed the baptismal interview, and said that, if everything went right, she'd be baptized this Sunday. We talked to her husband, who supported her in this decision as well. Unfortunately, a couple women from her apartment complex that attend the church that Vera attended saw that we were talking to her. When we went to pick Vera up Sunday morning, the 2 women were waiting outside her door, and started screaming at us about how she's only doing this things because we insist, that she doesnt want to talk to us anymore, how her Pastor will decide whats best for her, etc. Vera started talking to us, and started prepping to go to church, but they told us (literally): "You arent letting her decide! Youre forcing her to do something that she doesnt want to do!" and then to her (literally): "No, Vera. You will talk to the pastor, and if HE gives you permission, you can go to church with them. Only after you get permission from the pastor." Then, another person opened their window and said, "Vera, dont go with them! You dont know what youre doing!" So, we didnt have much of a choice but to leave. We'll go back this week, ready for anything to happen. It was intense, especially for 8:30 AM.

Other notes:

We had a multi-zone conference this week, and we had the privilege of seeing the movie Meet the Mormons! It was the first time that the film was being shown with Portuguese overdubs ever (President Farnes has connections), and it was super cool!

We did have some people at church this week, and one that we knew...on Friday, we were in the park, and we saw a homeless guy dressed up as a wizard. He yelled to us, "Hey Elders! Im gonna go to church this week!" And...he went. Not as a wizard (which wouldve been awesome), but it was still cool. But we wont be able to contact him, because we dont know what street he lives on. ;)

ALright, thanks for everything! Have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Youd

Week 76: Not EVERY week can be a successful one!

Hey everybody!

So, its been a pretty interesting week for us this week. Actually, I dont know if "interesting" is the right word, but it was a week. Unfortunately, it was a rougher week with less success for us, but not everything is going bad!! Here are some details about our top investigators:

Rodrigo: The pervert ditched us the day of his baptism! Actually, we had marked for him to be baptized on Saturday morning. Friday night, we follow up with him and ask if hes still good, and he replies positively. So, we fill up the baptismal font on Friday night, but on Saturday morning, he calls and asks to move it to Sunday because he has to go to the hospital (he had food poisoning.) We move it to Sunday. 9 AM Sunday morning, we go to his house with a ride, and he answers and says that the doctors found something else, so he has to do a urine test, and asks for us to come back at 10:30. We make the mistake of saying that we'll come back, instead of waiting with him. And, when we come back at 10:30, his dad answers the door and says that Rodrigo went out at 9:30 to hang out with a lady friend. Despite our best efforts, we werent able to get ahold of him. So, we'll see what happens this week. Theres not much more that we can do to help him, but perhaps he'll have a final change of heart this week.

Alessandra: Her father unexpectedly passed away this week, so weve mostly been helping her cope through this. Per her request, we went with her to the funeral, which was a very unique and humbling experience. We'll see if we can continue working with her this week. Usually when things like this happen, people either turn much more receptive to act and change, or they shut down for a time. So either we'll see a lot of progress soon with her, or we'll have to stop focusing so much on her, just visiting her enough to know that we havent abandoned her.

Antônio, Alessandra: A bright point for the week. We had practically dropped them as investigators, but they called us and asked us to visit, and theyre a LOT more receptive! Alessandra is letting us help her calm down and become more comfortable with baptism, accepting a goal for this weekend! We'll see what happens!!

Vera: Went to church again. Said that it was just alright, again. Shes kind of a crazy surprise, so we'll see what happens with her.

Other notes:

This week will start our 8 week Zone Tour, giving trainings to every ward and branch in the Stake. Our Stake President likes us a lot, and weve become close with him. I also spoke at Stake Priesthood Conference yesterday, as an introduction to our Tour. And then, as the Stake President was talking, he said a lot to help us out, and also said that "We can trust in them, even if Elder Youd is a Missouri redneck." So, now Im the famous redneck missionary, so thats cool.

Alright, thanks for all your love and support! Love you all!! Have a great week!

Elder Youd

Fun at the Big Things Park in Itu

Week 75: The countdown is official. 177 days

Hey everybody!

Its been a pretty crazy week for me. Ill be quite honest with you, I wont have a lot to say about my investigators this week, because Ive basically been outside of my area from Tuesday until Saturday morning, making short stops at home to change clothes and things like that. Its been a pretty nuts week, but weve got some good things going for us!! Heres the info (That I have) about our investigators:

Rodrigo: Is actually doing really good. Was interviewed again, passed, and is seeming really cool about baptism this weekend. Came to church yesterday. We'll see what happens.

Alessandra: Is starting to fall down a bit. She quit her job so that she could have a freer schedule (including Sundays), but now shes been using the last 2 Sunday mornings to visit her mom. So, we'll see what happens there.

Vera (new): Kind of a crazy lady that is weirdly progressing. She talks like Audrey Hepburn at the beginning of My Fair Lady (Before she gets talking lessons) and says a lot of weird things, but by a surprise, went to church this Sunday. So...we'll see what happens with her.

Other notes:

I have my official release date. There was a bit of confusion with a lot of people, based on some rules that exist here, but we finally figured out that I'll be getting on a plane and returning home on July 14, which is in 177 days! So, all of you that are missing me a ton, start counting down!

Ill have to send some legit pictures today. Theres a famous park here in Itú, where there are a bunch of abnormally large things. So, we were early for lunch one day, and we had 30 minutes, and we were right next to this park, and I had my camera with me. So...I have pictures with some abnormally large objects. (thatll make up for the shortness of this email.)

My companion and I are starting a new project, working for the Stake President. Starting on February 1, we're gonna go to a ward in the stake every Sunday to give a training on how members can help with missionary work. So, thisll be kinda crazy but cool for us. We'll see how it goes. 
Alright, Ill talk to you all later! Love you!

Elder Youd