Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Week 99: My last email as Élder Youd. - July 6, 2015

Hey everybody!!

So, this is the last email that I'll be sending you all as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (technically, como um missionário de tempo integral de A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias.) Technically, I won't be going home until next Tuesday, but I won't have time to send emails next Monday, seeing as I'll have meetings for the whole day on Monday. So, I do believe that this is it.

Top investigators:

Juliana, Aginaldo: They have a baptismal date marked for this Sunday, so please pray for them. They already passed the interview, so thisll just be a matter of keeping them excited until Sunday (they werent able to go to church last week, for this they werent baptized last week.)

Jamarius (new?): He was an investigator when we got here. Hes a Haitian that doesnt speak any Portuguese or English, so its SUPER hard to talk to him. At the beginning, he didnt want anything to do with us, but he went to church last week and he seems interested in baptism now (we think? Its hard to read someone that doesnt speak any common language.) So, we'll see what we can do this week.

...we have some other people that have potential, but I won't be here to get them baptized, so I won't waste your time with their details ;)

So...yeah. I'm in the last week of my mission. It all goes down like this (but remember that I, being the charming human being that I am, will likely be hamming up a couple free dinners. Why yes, I do make members love me ;D) :

Today is as normal.
Tuesday, I'll be going to the temple in Campinas, which should take my whole day.
Wednesday, I'm headed to São Roque to say goodbye to some people there.
Thursday is work as usual, and at night, a couple super cool members are gonna take us to a rodízio de pizza (basically, an all-you-can-eat pizza place. Theyre good.)
Friday and Saturday, work as normal.
Sunday, I'll go to church, we'll have a baptismal service right afterwards (please pray for Juliana and Aginaldo!), I'll go to lunch, and from lunch, I'll get a van to take me to São Paulo. I'll sleep in the mission office that night.
Monday, I'll have autosufficiency meetings all day (basically, I'll learn how to use money. Now that I'll be using dollars and not the Brazilian Real, I probably need to be a bit wiser with my money. No more multiplying by $3.20 to justify buying pizza.) That night we'll have dinner with President Farnes.
Tuesday, I'll go to 25 de Março in the morning to buy some souvenirs, and go to a meeting, and then I'll head to the airport. I get my first plane out of São Paulo at 11:30 PM. I'll head to Miami, then to Dallas, and then to Kansas City at 1:52 PM on Wednesday.

And that is my mission.

It really has been an incredible 2 years. In the past 2 years, I've sweated, I've been exhausted, I've lost a ton of weight, I broke my ankle, avoided dangerous protests (I'll have to explain that one to you when I get home, Mom), but most importantly, I've seen the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ change and mold the lives of hundreds of people. I have seen miracles that I cannot deny were done only by the hand and grace of God. I know that this is the Gospel of Christ, established in His church. I know that God has a plan for us, a plan that will let us overcome our faults and weaknesses, and through the Atonement of Christ be sanctified and return to His presence, with our families. God is proactive in helping His children repent of their sins and come back to Him, so I thank God for the privilege I've had to be a tool in His hands.

Thanks everybody for your support the past 2 years!! I'll be seeing you all soon! Love you!!

Élder Youd

PS- Just to remind all of you, I'll be speaking at church in the Gallatin Ward on July 19, so be there at 10:00 AM to listen! Please come if you live close by, itd be great to see everybody!!!

Week 98: Lifting senior citizens! - June 29, 2015

A picture of my zone with President and Sister Farnes, and an area 70 (we had a meeting with him last week, it was good.

Hey everybody!!

So, its been a good week for us this week. Unfortunately, we werent able to baptize, but we have some good people lined up for the next 2 weeks. Some information:

Jaqueline, Monica, Lucinea: (Jeffersons family) They freaking love us. They made us lunch this Sunday, and theyre starting to get a lot more interested. Its going a bit slow with them, just because theyve been such firm Catholics for so long, but they are progressing. Lucinea, Jefersons mom, even said that she wants us to teach her husband so that the whole family can go to church together. Yay!!

Guilherme (new!): A referral from another part of Sorocaba. Hes been dating a member there, and hes already gone to church 3 times. Hes a bit shy, but very direct. We invited him to be baptized, and with one word, ("Tá"), he accepted to be baptized this weekend! So, we'll keep on working with him.

Juliana (new!): A 20 year old girl that has a ton of interest. She reads everything that we give her, and she is absorbing info like crazy. The only problem is that she went to church with her boyfriend...who is almost 60 years old. So, that was a bit odd. But, she has a date for this weekend, and her man-friend, Aginaldo, seemed to like it. So, we'll see where that goes.

Other notes:

Next week, we're going to the temple!! So, dont freak out because Im going to write you all an email on Tuesday instead of Monday!!

About the subject line: As we were walking one day, a lady called us over to her house to help her. She was a home-care nurse (I think thats what thats called), and the 90 year old woman that she was taking care of fell out of her bed (I thought they had rails for that?), so my comp and I had to dead lift her back into her bed. That was an interesting experience. I hope that, when I get that old, nobody has to manhandle me as much as we had to manhandle her. That was weird.

My goodness, we are getting close to the end. Next Tuesday will be the last email that I send to all of you. So...we're almost at the end.

Thanks for everything! Love you all!! Tchau!!

Élder Youd

And heres a pic of the lunch that Jefersons family made for us!

Week 97: I still got a bit of steam in me! - June 22, 2015

Hey everybody!!

This week was great! We worked super hard, and in the end...we baptized again! Its cool, even at the end of the mission, we're managing to get things done. This baptism makes it so that I have baptized 5 people in the past 5 weeks, and we dont plan on stopping here! So, heres the basic information:

Antônio: That 61 year old man that was a stroke victim. Hes been super excited about baptism all week, but when he was interviewed for baptism on Friday, he said that he'd have to go visit his ailing mother that week. My thought was, "Wait, if I have to wait to see my mother, you should too!!" :P So, I said, "Hey, do you know whatd be even better? If you called and said that youll visit on Sunday afternoon, AFTER your baptism! And so it was! Antônio was baptized on Sunday after church, and he was super happy about it! Yay!!

From left to right: Elder Da Silva, Adauto (a kid thats headed to the MTC this Wednesday to go to his mission in Salvador, so we gave him a going away present), Antônio, me.

From left to right: Elder Da Silva, Antônio, me.

Lucinea, Mônica, Jackeline (new): The family of Jeferson, who we baptized last week. After having gone to his baptism, Jefersons family (that used to HATE the missionaries) loves us!!! They went to church on Sunday and absolutely loved it! So, we'll go there this week, and we'll see what we can do!

Other notes:

Got into risky situations 2 times this week. Listen to the voicemail for more. Kids, if you think that someone is drunk, dont accept a ride from them! (Dont worry Mom, I wasnt in too much risk! :P)

I had mentioned last week that I stepped in wet cement. I went back there this week. Its confirmed, it dried with my footprints in it. I have forever left my mark in Brasil.

Alright, thanks for everything everybody! I know, we're getting super close to the end! I only have 3 more weeks of work, which is NUTS! Dont worry, Im working like crazy here, but I am super excited to see all of you again!! Love you!!

Élder Youd

Week 96: Without limits to baptize. - June 15, 2015

Hey everybody!!

So, this week was crazy-go-nuts. We worked our rear ends off, and...we baptized 2 people this week!! It was a TON of work, and we kinda had to lose all of our limitations in order to baptize, but in the end, everything worked out well. Here are the stories:

Raymundo: So, he went to church last week, but when we went back, he said that he didnt want to be baptized anymore. So, we kinda hada crazy lesson where we talked about authority until he understood. Finally, in his own kinda-crazy way, he understood what we were talking about, and then from that point on, he was firm for baptism. He was baptized Sunday, after Sacrament Meeting. The man was happy.

From left to right: Elder Da Silva, Raymundo (the older one), me.

Jeferson: My goodness, what a crazy Sunday. Jeferson had been going to church for over a year, and the only reason why he wasnt baptized was because his mom wasnt letting him get baptized (shes a family-tradition-but-inactive-Catholic and hes 15.) We went there, and had a crazy-amount-of-pressure lesson to get her to let him be baptized (anyone thats underage has to have a parents signature to be baptized.) And as she finally said, "If he wants to be baptized and says so right now, Ill sign", his fear of his mother came in and he said, "I'll pray about it." So, we thought that that would be it. BUT, on Sunday, he came to church, super happy, with a signed baptismal form in hand. So, we planned the baptism for that night. Only problem: his member friend, Luiz, started trying to convince him out of it ("If you get baptized today, nobody from the ward will come. I wont even come. Itll just be you and the Elders. But, its your choice.") But, for every excuse that Luiz gave, we fixed the problem (talked to everybody and made them promise to come, got Jefersons family to come to the baptism, even made a cake for him so that it would be a special occasion and not a rush job.) Even when Luiz brought Jeferson TO OUR HOUSE to tell us that he wouldnt be baptized today, we finally got around it. It was a ton of crazy stuff that we did, but in the end, Jeferson was baptized, in an almost-perfect baptismal service (a lot of people, a beautiful musical number, water was warm. The only thing that we messed up is that we burned the cake a little.)

From left to right: Elder Da Silva, Jeferson (the younger one), me. Note that I look quite strong in this photo. :P

Other notes:

I got my miracle birthday cake. Because I moved to this area last week, I didnt know the members well enough to mooch off of anybody and get a birthday cake. But, at the end of the night, our last plans fell through, and so we decided to visit a recent convert that lived close by. We talked for a while, and then she said, "Do you guys want something to eat? We have some chocolate cake thats left. Here, eat some cake!" So, I ate my birthday cake. It was a good birthday. Im 21 now.

I walked in wet cement the other day. Itll dry with my footmark in it. Its official, I have forever left my mark in Brazil. Unless they fix that, in which case I wont.

In case you cant tell, the ones on the left are mine, and on the right are Elder Grovers. Its super deep.

Thanks for all the love and support from all of you! Im working like crazy here, but Im super excited to be home and see all of you again! 29 days! Love you all!!

Elder Youd

Week 95: Birthday tomorrow! - June 8, 2015

Hey everybody!!!

So, its been a good first week here in Barcelona for me. Im here with my new companion, Elder Da Silva. Hes from Pernambuco, and he is a super good human being. We're having a ton of fun, working and getting lost. We both arrived here in the area at the same time, so we have no idea where we are or where we're going, so we're learning together. Quite an adventure, especially for an old, dinosaur missionary like me. But, we're getting some good things going. I'll give a couple names of investigators, but honestly, we have a ton of people that could be baptized in any moment, so it won't be as progress-y as the other emails. here we go:

Raimundo: An older man from Pernambuco as well. He and Elder Da Silva connected really well, and the man has a date for this weekend. Super excited for him.

The Haitians: We're teaching a couple guys from Haiti. Its weird, because they only speak french and creole. With the little Portuguese that they knew, they told us that they wanted nothing...but then they went to church, even though they didnt understand anything? Its a bit weird, but whatever. We'll try and baptize someone that doesnt speak any common language. Google Translate will be necessary.

Jefferson: a kid thats been going to church for months now. The only thing stopping him from being baptized is the fact that the mother isnt letting him, but for some reason, the Elders never went there in the past to talk to her. So, we'll see what we can do.

Other notes:

Its my birthday tomorrow! Im super excited, itll be good. We'll work during the day, and then we'll buy a pizza at night or something...man, birthdays really arent that exciting on the mission. Its all fine, I'll be home in 36 days.

Speaking of which, my flight plans changed! As it turns out, Im gonna be home a day earlier now! I'll be leaving São Paulo on Tuesday at 11:30 PM, then getting to Miami, going from Miami to Dallas, and from Dallas, I'll get a plane thatll land at 1:52 PM in Kansas City on Wednesday! AAHHHH!!!

(Yes, Im starting to get pretty darn trunky. I am working incredibly hard right now trying to get things rocking and rolling here, but I am quite excited to be home and see all of you again. I have been here for a very long time.)

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

Elder Youd

June 1st Pictures

From left to right: Elder Grover, Sonia, Me (and some kid in front, I believe its her grandkid.) I very much look like a tired missionary in this picture.

From left to right: Elder Stott, Elder Carvajal, Lurde, me, Elder Grover

From left to right: Elder Stott, Elder Grover, Sonia, me, Elder Carvajal.

From left to right: Xuxa (a member who helped us), Lurde, me (using an oversized jumpsuit), and Elder Grover.

Week 94: Well, I wasn't expecting that - June 1, 2015

Hey everybody!!

So, its been a really good and crazy week here in São Roque. And, as the subject of the email goes, it will be my last week in São Roque. Thats right, after only a month of being here, I am being transferred again, for the last transfer of my mission. But, more on that later. Heres the story of the baptism we had this week!!! (2nd week in a row!!)

Lurdes: So, after quite the fight, we were able to help Lurdes stop smoking. She was interviwed on Friday, and was passed to be baptized; however, she was stressed and said that she felt too angry at her life to accept baptism. The other Elders (I wasnt there on Friday) tried to help her, but she wouldnt accept it. So, we went back on Saturday...I think I may be too old on the mission, because I have officially gotten to the point where I have lost all patience for this type of flakiness. We came in, I acted super excited that she passed the interview, and then she said, "I already told the other Elder that Im not going to be baptized this weekend. Im too angry." Normally, I would have talked about some sort of doctrine to help her out, but I just said, "Of course youre gonna be baptized this weekend. We filled up the baptismal font, we have your baptismal service ready, and the ward already knows. Of course youre gonna be baptized." To which she (surprisingly) responded, "Youre stubborn, arent you?" "Yes, sister." "Alright, I'll be baptized tomorrow." And, she was!! She didnt bend her knees during the baptism, and so I almost fell in the water with her while baptizing her, but all in all, it was good.

And, thatll be my last baptism in São Roque. We got our transfers cal yesterday, and it appears that I am going to be transferred inside of the zone. I am going to be a Zone Leader (again) in Barcelona, opening up the area with Elder Da Silva, from Recife. I already know him. Hes like, the nicest human being in existence, and hes a musical genius, so we're gonna have a really fun transfer!!

Also, just to remind you all (hint hint), its my birthday next week!! Next Tuesday, I'll be turning 21, which is super weird. It does not feel like its been a whole year since my last birthday. Time is going by super fast! Its super weird that this is my last transfer on the mission. So, I'm gonna do everything I can to take full advantage of it!!

Alright, thanks for all of your love and support! Here we go for one more transfer! I'll send you all the baptismal pics from the last 2 weeks! Love you all!! 44 days! Tchau!!

Elder Youd

Week 93: Finally, we're back to baptizing!! - May 25, 2015

Hey everybody!!

So, its been a pretty great week here. We worked hard, had some good stories, and above all...WE BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!! FINALLY!!! It took a good month to get any work really rocking and rolling here, but we were blessed to help Sonia get baptized this week. I'll talk more on that now. Top investigators!!

Sonia: So, we started talking to Sonia, the mother of a member here. WE started talking to her about baptism, and at first, she was a bit hesitant. But, she wasnt really that hesitant. She said, "I do really love the church, but I feel like I should wait a bit of time to get baptized, right?" "Oh, but what you really want is to follow God, right?" "Thats true." "So, to follow God, you need to be baptized." "So when can I be baptized?" So, we had her service this sunday. It really was a beautiful service, and she and her kid were super happy about it all. So, baptism!!!!

Rafael: Was interviewed and passed this week; however, he just wants to make sure that his father at least knows about his baptism before he gets baptism. He's marked for this weekend.

Paulo: Our only obstacle to get Paulo baptized will be to get his mom to support him. She's a less active member that felt like her life got tougher after baptism (because she had to promise to God to live the commandments, and now she feels more guilty when she breaks commandments.) But, we were able to get her to church this week, and she felt pretty welcome there. So, we'll see what we can do.

Jozaynne: Cut us this week. So that wasnt so fun.

Cícera: Has kind of stopped wanting to talk to us, seeing as she has gotten back together with her ex-boyfriend. She says that we dont understand her situation because we're men and she's a woman. So, we'll send a couple sisters from the Relief Society to talk to her this week, as a last attempt.

Other notes:

Tomorrow I will officially pass the 50-days-until-Im-home mark. For those of you that are worried if Im trunky, dont be too worried. The end of my mission has given me an energy boost, and my comp and I are working our buns off. However, yes, I am excited to see all of you here in a few weeks! (After this email, I'll likely send only 6-7 more.)

Speaking of which, remember that first Sunday when Im home, July 19, I'll be speaking at church, and all of you should come to talk to me and see me! I wont be in Missouri for a terribly long time, so take advantage of it!!

Quirky fun fact about this area: There are a bunch of random X-Ray readings laying around in the streets. In the past 2 weeks, we have found 5 different X-ray pictures randomly. Next week, Ill take pics of our discoveries.

Alright everybody! Thanks for all the help and support! I'll try to send some pics! Love you all!!

Elder Youd

Week 92: Renewing my visa. That seems slightly counterproductive - May 18, 2015

Hey everybody!!

So, this letter is gonna be pretty short today. As you can tell by the late time, I am writing a lot later than usual. Truth is, yesterday, I had to grab 4 hours worth of buses and trains to get to São Paulo, and from there, I woke up at 4:30 this morning to go to the federal police to get my visa renewed. (Dont worry, they accepted me. Im not being deported this time :P). And then, I grabbed 4 more hours of trains and buses to get back to São Roque. So, you could say that I am tired, and that I dont have a whole lot of mental capacity to focus. But, I'll do the best I can.

It was a good week for us this week. We havent had a baptism (yet), but we're really establishing a big teaching group with a ton of potential, and we're ready to see the blessings come a-rolling. Here is some basic info:

Jozaynne: Starting to flake a bit on us. She mostly just got nervous about baptism, and so we simply helped her understand the purpose of baptism more. So, pray for Jozaynne!

Cícera: She was gonna get baptized, but unfortunately she had some last minute things come up. But she said that she really wants to be baptized this next week!!!!

We also have some good people that are coming to church, including Rodrigo (a 13 year old kid), Sonia (the mother of a member), and Lourde (a woman who wants divine help to stop smoking.) So, pray for these people please!!!

...so, I am really really sorry. This letter is very very unfocused. I promise you all, that next week I'll give you a really juicy letter, filled with pictures, a voice recording, and all sorts of things! (Im running on about 5 hours of sleep, so I'm not exactly the most focused Elder right now. But, a good nights sleep will help.)

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

Elder Youd

Week 91: The last phone call of my mission. Thats weird - May 11, 2015

Hey everybody!

(Sorry, this is a shorter email today. I talked to my family yesterday, so I feel like I dont have a lot to say.)

So, its been a pretty crazy week here in São Roque. Weve been working a ton here, and we've got some pretty good things going here. Here is some info about our top investigators:

Jozaynne: (That was Josani from last week, her name is actually much more complicated to spell) She was interviewed to be baptized last week and passed, very excited to be able to be baptized. She only wasnt baptized on Sunday because she had to do a Mothers Day Lunch with her family. BUt, shes super excited!!

Cícera: Unfortuantely didnt go to church yesterday, so we'll have to see if we can keep on working with her or not. Her friend, Cynthia, has basically abandoned us, so we'll see what we can do.

Sonia (new!): Wife of a member. My companion didnt inform me of her existence until yesterday while we were at church, and she was too. Shes already been 3 or 4 times, and she absolutely loves it there. So, we will absolutely be going there this week, and we will, with the help of God, baptize her this Sunday.

Other notes:
Just to make my mom proud, I am making this ward absolutely love me. Im slightly hamming it up and putting on that famous Youd charm, and this ward is loving it. Things are going super well here!

I had my last Skype call of my mission! I talked to my family last night, and honestly, it was a bit surreal to be thinking that I'll be home here in 2 months. They can testify, I didnt really know what to talk about. Nor do I now. I'll try to keep on writing long, juicy emails, but at this point, I basically just know how to either talk about straight up mission stuff (my investigators) or post mission plans. Im having difficulty finding middle ground, but I suppose thats alright.

And, in post mission plans, mark your calendars for July 19. Seeing as I get home on July 16, on that Sunday (July 19), I'll be giving my homecoming talk at church in Gallatin. For all of you who want to know more about how my mission was (aside from me responding, "It was good,",) go there. You wont regret it.

Alright, I dont have a lot more of these emails to send to you guys! Love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Youd

More Pictures - May 4, 2015

Me with the member Angeó. He actually just entered the CTM, to prep for his 2 year mission in Brasilia. 

The brick factory, where I worked a lot. Super duper cool. Pictures don't quite do it justice.

And me with Etevaldo. He's old and not completely there, but hes a good person.

Me at one more big thing. Its a giant public phone. And its famous in Brazil.

Week 90: Welcome to São Roque!! - May 4, 2015

Hey everybody!!

I am writing this from my new area, São Roque! Actually, my new area is technically a little city called Mairinque, which is right next to São Roque, but Im part of the São Roque ward. And so far, I AM LOVING THIS AREA. This is good, because it is incredibly likely that this is the last area that I will serve in my mission. Im already creating a really good relationship with the ward, and so far, they are loving me too (I already have 2 dinners marked for the last week of my mission.) I am here with Elder Grover. Hes a newer American from Utah, with a little more than 6 months on the mission. He has the ticks that every newer American (including myself) has at the beginning of the mission, and its actually kinda funny to see someone that, in a lot of ways, reminds me of myself when I started this crazy journey. I think this is the first time that I realize that Ive actually changed a lot here. Not in a I-changed-my-whole-personality way, but more in the little things that add up. But, we're actually getting along well, so its gonna be a good transfer. Im also living with Elder Stott, a newer American as well (I was actually his Zone Leader at the beginning of his mission, hes super fun and a giant hipster), and Elder Carvajal, a Chilean missionary with 10 months on the mission, who is super chill and understands English perfectly. So, its a super fun transfer.
Top investigators (all new!!)

Cícera: We have a date marked for Cícera for the 17th, which is super firm. We just have to help her with a few little things, and she should be an easy baptism. Shes 24 years old, has a kid, and just wants Christ more in her life.

Josani, Camila: 2 teenage girls that went to church this week. They both are good, although Camila has to get married before baptism, seeing as shes living with her boyfriend.

Ana Paula: A 20 year old girl that has finally decided to get baptized this weekend. She just wasnt understanding the connection between the Restoration and baptism. But, she'll be baptized this weekend.

Other notes:

Fun fact: São Roque is a city famous for its vineyards, so we drink a lot of grape juice. I like grape juice.

I get to talk to my family this weekend! LAST CALL OF THE MISSION!! AAAHHH!!! Family, just an idea, I'll likely be on to talk to all of you around 4:00my time, which is 2:00 Missouri time. We're gonna be having lunch with the family (who is super cool), so I think that everything should be fine. Is that fine with all of you?

Im distracted in this LAN House. Theyre playing Queen's greatest hits.

Im at 72 days left, which is cray-cray.

And I'll keep this letter short to send more pics of me saying goodbye to friends and family in Itú! Love you all! Have a great week!!

Elder Youd

And me and Pedro.

Me with Haroldo and his family.

Week 89: Off to the hills again!! - April 27, 2015

Hey everybody!!

This email will be slightly shorter, but what I have to say is actually more important!! So, lets go with points, from the most important to less important but still cool:

-We had a BAPTISM this week!! Lindaura was baptized!! It was actually super fun to teach her. Shes kind of a funny, slightly eccentric old lady that talks a lot, but she had a super strong desire to be baptized. Like, every lesson she wouldnt stop talking about how much she wanted to be baptized. So, in the end, everything went smoothly, and it was a super nice baptismal service. Her neighbor, Valdir, baptized her. (Which, as a fun fact, means that I have baptized 10 people in the last 10 weeks, which is cool.)

-Im going to be transferred! After 4.5 months in Itú, I am going to a little city called São Roque to finish my mission. Its right next to Sorocaba, which is a super cool city that I lived in for 6 months. Im going to be comps with Elder Grover. Hes a pretty new American (I think he has about 6 months on the mission), but I dont know that much about him aside from that. And, from what Ive heard, São Roque has had a history of having super receptive people. But, itll be fun. I'll likely pass my last 2 transfers of my mission there. (This letter is shorter, because I still need to go say goodbye to some people and get some stuff ready.)

-And, speaking of the end of the mission, I got my travel plans today. It seems like I'll be leaving São Paulo close to midnight on July 15, arrive in Miami in the morning of the 16th, from there go to Dallas, and from Dallas go to Kansas City, arriving at 1:52 PM on July 16. So, thats a weird thing to know! :P 

Alright, everybody have a great week! Thanks for everything! Love you!!

Elder Youd

Week 88- The Last 12 Weeks - April 20, 2015

Hey everybody!!

Its interesting, when you start working as a missionary in the field, you go through a training program called "the first 12 Weeks." And Im officially in the last 12 weeks of my mission. So, of course Im not getting trunky or anything, but, we're getting close :)

Its been a pretty busy week for us this week. Weve been working a lot, and although we didnt baptize anybody this week, we have a ton of potential baptisms lined up for this week, such as-

Lindaura- A sweet old lady, and the neighbor of a member. Shes gone to church a couple times, and yesterday she said, "Im so happy, Elders! Im here, and Im going to get baptized here!" So, well help her prepare for this weekend.

Mariana, Bianca- 2 teenage girls, one of which is the granddaughter of a member. they went to church last week and LOVED it. they both want to be baptized as soon as possible, but the only difficulty is that their parents arent so hot about that idea. So we'll see what we can do.

Shirley- the newlywed wife of a member thats returning to church, Cido. Shes gone to church a bunch in another ward, and just started coming here. So, we think that she should be cool.

Other notes-

We also were able to reactivate a woman this week, Elizabeth. She had left the church a few years ago because of doctrinal disagreeances (I dont know if disagreeance is a word), but when we visited her, she said that she had been missing something in her life, but didnt know what it was. So, she decided to come back to church, and shes loving it! Yay for reactivation!! :D

Alright, I think thats it for me this week! thanks for all the love and support everybody! Have a great week! 86 days!!!

Elder Youd

Week 87: After 87 of these, its getting hard to come up with original titles - April 13, 2015

Yeah...Ive been writing these emails for a long time. Im sorry, I'll only have to come up with 13 more of these subject lines.

Hey everybody!!

So, its been an alright week for us this week. Unfortunately, our baptisms fell through at the last moment (more later on that), but weve got some really good things going for us here in Itú. Here are the top investigators:

Eduardo- We were SO close to baptizing Eduardo this week. We talked to his parents, took away all of their doubts, and helped them feel comfortable with their kid being baptized. Just that, on Sunday morning, they told us, "We cant make it to church today, we have a last minute thing. But we can still do the baptism tonight!" BUt, when the night came, his mom said that she wanted to know the church just a bit better first. So, she's gonna come to our integration night on Thursday just to get to know the church  a bit better, and his baptism will be on Sunday.

Dode- ALso was almost baptized. He was progressing really well, and on saturday, he went to a Churrasco (Brazilian BBQ that usually involves a lot of beer) and didnt drink a thing. But, on Sunday morning he disappeared. So, we'll see what we can do this week. His friend, Luciano, also did the same thing the week of his baptism, and he was baptized, so we'll be fine!!

Other notes:

We had a ton of referrals come to church this week. And all of them commented with us how much they loved the church and how they want to know more about it. So, we could have a bunch of baptisms this week of people that youve never heard of before. We'll see what happens!

And my super duper elect baptism, Haroldo, was confirmed this week. But, not just confirmed. He already came to church with a white shirt and tie!! So, hes doing awesome as usual.

Alright, thanks for everything!! 93 days! Love you all!!

Elder Youd

April 6, 2015 Pictures

From left to right: Haroldo, Elder Farias, me, Luciano.

A lot of people at the baptism.

From left to right: Bruna (Haroldo's wife), Victor, Haroldo, me, Elder Farias.

From left to right: Luciano (note the missionary nametag), Almir (our ward mission leader), Haroldo.

From left to right: Just kidding. A lot of people at our Easter Activity.

I totally beat Elder Farias at the egg race!

Week 86: Marriage - April 6, 2015

Hey everybody!!!!

So, its been such a crazy week for us this week!! We've been dealing
with a bunch of things, from General Conference, to a crazy big
integration night, to 2 baptisms, so I didnt know exactly what subject
I should have used. So, I'll explain my subject in a bit (although
some of you likely know why :P)

Top investigators (and baptisms):

Haroldo (new!): Well, he was baptized this week. He was honestly
likely my most elect baptism that Ive had on my mission until now.
Every other baptism that Ive had on my mission, Ive had to solve some
sort of problem, be it doubts, lack of time, or sickness, or
addictions. Not with Haroldo. I used most of my voicemail to explain
his story, but hes the husband of a member who is returning to church,
and now hes baptized! In one week, he got super integrated, learned
everything, and was baptized!!! It was awesome!

Luciano: Was also baptized this week! We baptized him and Haroldo
together on Easter afternoon. Luciano was worried about falling and
messing up again, but now hes determined to stay firm, and is even
thinking about serving a mission! Super cool!!

Flavio: Luciano's friend. He is looking for something truer than where
he is going right now, and hes progressing really well. We just have
to help him get married to his girlfriend, Naiani. But, it should be a
good baptism.

Other notes:

We had a giant ward integration night on Thursday, which we called the
"Pascoatividade", or "EasterActivity" (its Portuguese wordplay, I
promise that its clever. Itd be "Páscoa Atividade", but we combined
the words. I felt like I had to explain that. Jokes are less funny
when theyre translated.) We had over 60 people there of all shapes and
sizes, and everybody loved it, including Haroldo and his wife, Bruna,
and Luciano!

And, we had General Conference this weekend!! I wasnt able to listen
to all of it (we kinda had our hands full with a bunch of stuff, and
the internet connection was bad for our English room), but I loved
what I heard! In particular, there were a TON of talks about marriage.
My goodness, it was just one marriage talk after the other. So, that
involuntarily entered into my mind ;)

And, on trunky notes, today marks that I have 100 days left!! So,
we're entering into double digits! Its crazy how fast the end of my
mission is going by, but Im trying to make the best of it (thus why Im
still baptizing :D) And, Ill send some good pics this week!

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

Elder Youd

The announcement that we had for our ward integration night!