Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thunderstorms in Boituva, Brazil

Ok so we are in a huge thunderstorm here in Boituva, Brasil, (About Boituva, Wikipedia sez it has 41,402 people (as of 2005) and is known as a skydiving capital and for its pineapple. The name means 'many snakes', and the altitude is 637 meters.) and the past three emails have been deleted as the power keeps cutting out. I will send a few short emails to try to equal a good one...I have been instructed by Elder Martins (my trainer aka My Father in mission lingo) to have the mail sent to the mission home. We will get it about every two weeks. But I still wanted you to know where I am. Um, as far as Christmas goes. CD's would be great, I have just found out that the only music I am allowed to listen to is Mormon Tab, instrumental hymns, classical, and efy music.

OK, so this place that I am serving in, Boatova, is about as far away from the mission home as I can get. Which still isnt saying much considering how small the mission really is. but still, we travelled from 1130 today until about 430...gosh I am exhausted. And thirsty. The worst thing is not being able to drink the tap water, but I can deal with it pretty easily. So I am in a thunder storm here right now, thats the reason the internet keeps failing. Pretty exciting. ANd I need to buy an umbrella hahah. Gosh I will get soaked! I am excited to get to work though. Elder Martins seems like a really really great guy, I think we will get along well and work really well together.

Quick shout outs to Katrine, Cami, Caryn, Grandmother and Papa Jim, grandma jeanie, I got your letters! Thank you so much! I will reply as soon as possible. that is a promise. Im sorry if it takes a little bit longer than expected, but I am really pressed for time out here.Ok, really quick before i send another email...

We left the MTC early yesterday and went to the Mission Home. President and Sister Cooley are pretty cool people. THey are from MEsa Arizona and are retired farmers. Both absolutely love football. Yes. You read right. Although unfortunately they are die hard ASU fans. BUt i think i will get along with them very well throughout the rest of the misison. I hope you got the picture that they took of us! If not it should come soon...Sending another letter shortly

I hope Elder Schooley was able to send you the email. FUnny story, that whole group in my district that is going to FLorionopolis is delayed indefinitely. There is horrendous flooding, so they are stuck at the MTC, i must admit I am a little envious. I enjoyed my time there, although Im sure once I get into the work here there will be none greater. FOr example, last night I went out on splits with one of the APs, Elder Prando. We visited a woman to follow up on her reading of the BoM. Plus later I had to teach english! Gosh that was scary. It was an hour of me talking to this brazilian and teaching him, totally alone. E. Prando was busy teaching another set of people. THen at the end I had to prepare a spiritual thought to end the lesson. Sooo I reached in and pulled out good ol Ether 12:27 about weak things becoming strong. I cant wait until I actually get to teach. Will be starting tomorrow!TOnight we will be just doing some more street contacts and things like that. We are opening the area here. That means that there has not been elders for a little while. SO we are going to have a lot of work to do, but with the Lord all is possible.

Scripture of the week i think is not only Helamen 5:12, but also 2 Nephi 32:3. With Christ and Heavenly Father all is possible. Just gotta ask and rely on them.I miss you so much! Please please please keep writing me. ...i know this is worth it. I will be back before you know it.Keep praying. The church is true. Love you all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Only One More Week at CTM

Photos (Elder Briggs & Elder Coleman) (Group Photo)
Mom asked Bryan what he wanted for Christmas and this is what he said...

... what I really need is just more letters and especially pictures. I love getting pictures from everybody, but yeah, thats the tough part because it is really an individual thing...but yeah, friends and family i need more pictures of you, Christmas Cards would be great too. Some music would be cool too. Not just the generic church stuff, but some actual cool music. Maybe some Groban or ask Jacot (Jazz Teacher) for some awesome gospel music recordings like Witness and Ezekial, etc.

I must admit I am a little bummed that I am missing the annual Briggs clan Thanksgiving celebration. I have been thinking about that a lot lately just like wow, i cant believe it is time for the celebration already. Gonna definitely miss seeing everybody, and I am just gonna miss the holiday itself! Definitely only an american holiday haha. Speaking of thanksgiving, and facebook, why dont you snag dale when he is home for thanksgiving to help you with the facebook stuff! Then you could also tell him that he needs to write his most loyal member of FOND. Forrrr sure.Congrats Kelsey on the (Most Friendly) Best List! on to the weekly stories and news. Went proselyting for the last time on Friday. We went pretty close to the first place, but not. We were in downtown Sao Paulo in some sort of shopping district. It was pretty cool. There were just people everywhere going around into shops and just walking and chilling and all of the above. Our district set a goal of getting 300 cards out in that hour and a half and we hit that and farrr surpassed it. Try 425 cards and 12 Book of Mormons on for size. It was awesome. I could talk to people, understand people, really feel the spirit as I bore my testimony and could see it in peoples eyes. Oh just awesome. The very coolest experiences are where you have more than 10 seconds with someone and can actually talk to them, and share the message of the Restoration and of Christ. Very very cool when you can see that light go on in their heads and you can feel the spirit and tell they are too.Rest of the weekend not much happened. On Tuesday we lost some members of the district early to their missions. Elders Funk and Coleman and Sister Young left for João Pessoa and Santa Maria. Just wierd transfer schedules and all that stuff. I will definitely miss them though. Elder Funk was the only other elder in the district that did not either live in or go to school in the Jello Belt (Arizona-Utah-Idaho). We were able to talk about football and basketball and other stuff. Just great. Plus we took an absolutely sick picture which I have attached to this email. I definitely think it deserves a pulitzer. Elder Coleman was the class clown and yeah, funny kid. First three ish weeks thought he was just plain strange, but once you get used to him you look forward to every minute you get to spend with him. I swear, funniest kid ever. Just does and says the funniest things at all times.I just can not believe I have less than a week left here in this SP CTM. Sooo freaking intense. Not quite sure how I feel about it. Part of me is raring to go and get out into the field and begin teaching, but another part is just like....ehhhhhh you sure youre ready there big guy? Right now in class we are doing the fourth lesson which is about things like Word of Wisdom, Tithing, Law of Chastity, etc. Gosh, those are definitely going to be interesting to teach. Hard enough in English! HA. But again, I am out here to do the Lords work, and he will prepare me if I show the faith and the diligence. There is a unique purpose for me here in SP North. I was called through inspiration because there is a niche that I can fill here that no one else can. I am His tool. He will guide and direct me.... Keep going strong. Helamen 5:12

Jason: Thanks for the news bud! Football is so depressing but I guess I am addicted and cant live without it. You are a stud btw. You know. Love ya man.Katrine: Gosh you are doing awesome with this writing stuff! I am so glad that the first letter got to you...was a little worried for a second. But yeah. Awesome. You are gonna have a wondeful time in London! So excited for you. Cant wait for the letters to show up.Bethanie: Loved the email but you need to include an address if I am going to write back! We need to talk about that wonderful Atonement, I am also just beginning to understand and appreciate it and have some stories for ya.Everyone else that is reading this blog.: Right now, find a picture that is of you and me, or just you, or of whatever, and send it to me with a letter. Doesnt matter what the letter says, I just want to hear from ya. Been gone a bit, want to keep in contact. You guys rock!FOND FTW

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nov. 12 Letter (Note New Address on the right!)

( R Photo, Elder Briggs Hair Day - everyone did their hair like Bryan, L photo, Brother Soares,) I guess yes and no, time is going fast. It is a wierd thing...kind of like I am in a black hole or something. Every day seems like it just will not end...but then at the end of the week its like, what? Its pday again? Didnt we do that yesterday? Its freaky...ive heard rumors that the twilight zone is gonna make an episode about it..hahahBut yeah, I would suggest just sending everything to the mission home from now on, anything sent after friday probably will get to the CTM either right when I leave or maybe barely I would rather just have a lot of stuff waiting for me at the mission. Give props to Grandma Jeanie, she is a postcard writing machine haha. Seriously, if I have a letter for me its like a 75% chance that it is from Grandma Jeanie. Also got some more letters from friends this week, so I really appreciate that.

So how did the musical end out? One of my friends (Amy Jones, you remember her?) Said she saw you at the show but couldnt get over to ya to say hi. But yeah, Everyone is really happy with the blog mom, gotta give you massive props. I love being able to email you and dad every week, just makes the distance feel a heck of a lot smaller. Miss you bunchesAnd kelsey, but a pro. I bet you cracked some skulls haha, love the picture. Heard your team lost though, sad. Bet they couldnt run worth a darn up the middle on ya though. Good luck with the college apps!

Ok so what happened this week. Well last week was not much, just the end of the week as AP and getting used to all of that stuff. It all went fairly well. I think I have assumed the new role without much friction. Only way that I can do it is by love and example I guess. Just gotta show all the elders that I care about them, that they can approach me about anything, and be an example. Easy thing about elders, most all of them want to do the right thing anyways. Allow people their agency, dont restrict them to much, and people will most always do whats least 19 year old missionaries that is haha.Monday was AP Briggs Hair Day. The entire branch decided to do up their hair like me, in tribute or making fun I have not determined yet, but whatever, it was freaking awesome. Everybody put up the front of their hair and everything, entire day. Nothing much else eventful has been happening. Giving the third lesson in Portuguese this week, without any assistance from notes or anything! Going to be so nuts! But I can handle it. The language has been coming a lot faster the past couple weeks, there are a lot of things that I can just say now, and read, but still the difficulty is figuring out what these brazilians are saying! Fast fast fast mouths.

Again Sao Paulo temple today, pretty awesome. Very very beautiful inside. Guess I am lucky to have a temple in my mission boundaries for the entirety of my stay here. Definitely a very cool place. We go proselyting for the last time on friday. Have set a district goal (there are 12 of us) of giving out 300 cards in our hour and a half that we have. I konw we will be able to do it, just gotta open our mouths, and the Lord will help us. Do not hide your talents. I miss ya tons!Oh just finished the New Testament in english. Was pretty cool, never done that in its entirety before. Again just further strengthens my testimony that Jesus is the Christ and that he has given us a gift more precious above all other gifts. That gift is the ability to feel right in the world, and the ability to have real happiness. Dont know why it took me until the field to really begin to understand my relationship with Christ, but my testimony grows daily. Right now I am reading BoM in portuguese, only in 2 Nephi 20 but it will come. Love that book as well. It is truly written of God for us. I miss you all!

Katrine: Sorry havent gotten the letters yet, but Im sure they will come soon, just write the next to the mission. I am sending out a letter for ya today.

Daniel: Again, you are awesome..definitely miss you as my roommate. Just keep working that UW man, I bet you are schooling everybody! And Heidi told me about your little tear episodes...haha jk but for cereal, miss ya too]

Jason: thanks man! Love hearing the news and so glad to hear about whats up with ya. Keep it up, I will send you another letter pretty soon probably. And you are a stud, pure and simpl,eAmy: Nice work on the costume! Keep going strong haha, even if you cant handle cold anymore.

Heidi: Loved the email! Cant wait for the letter to come through! Good luck at school! You will have to tutor me when i get home. Say hi to the gang for me. Glad the JAH hotline is still going strong.

Beat Dale, he needs to write me...Bye all!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Pictures from the CTM

(Pics - Me & my roommates & Halloween at the CTM...)
Have I got a lot of stuff to talk about this week..hopefully I remember it all hahah. Seriously, tons went down.Ok, so, sarting with Pday last week. I did get the package you sent, and I loved that pictures and the letter and everything... And the other pictures were marvelous...I can never get enough. I hope that you continue to send pics down to me and everything! Just wonderful, makes it seem less like I am on the other side of the world. The reeses are wonderful, thank you, and yeah, cant wait to get to the mission and have that other stuff waiting for me! I think you could probably wait for another 10 ish days before giving the mission address. That would probably be about right.
Ok so next day, Friday. We went prosleyting again. I thought it would be the Avenida Paulista, and I was super excited, but it wasnt. Oh well, still a good place. I was absolutely terrified for the first hour for some reason...couldnt get any cards out. But then I just listened to the scriptures (cant remember which one...i think dc 88) that says that I need to open my mouth, and it will be given me what I should say. It worked. In the last half hour I gave out 15 cards to people. The best experience was with one sad looking girl, and I was able to approach her, talk to her, and as I bore my testimony about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, I could just see it in her eyes that the Holy Ghost was testifying the truth to her. I hope she acts on it.
So, do you remember how I said that I hoped that I would be able to go for all two years without having to be in a leadership position? Well, they got me in the first 2 months haha. Goodness, I guess its that whole thing about its not who would be the best leader, but the one that needs to be leader most, the one that will learn from it, and humble and better himself. You are now talking to the Assistant to the President of the 1st branch of the Sao Paulo CTM. Oh has only been a few days but I hope I can live up to the calling. I need to be a real example now. This must be my wake up call from the Lord. Plus, cool experience, it was an answer to a prayer of mine. I wont talk about it now...but its in my journal, so you can read about it in a couple years.Elder Schooley and I are starting to work really well as a companionship. We taught part of the 4th lesson this week, which is about commandments. The situation we were given was a couple that is living together, with one kid and one on the way. The father is an alcoholic, and the mother is a smoker. Of course, we had to teach about the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. Sounds tough, but we nailed it. I am loving teaching, because I am not teach lessons, I am teaching people. I am able to talk to them, bear my testimony, and see the Lord work mighty changes. They greatest part is that I know that what I am teaching is right, and that I can truly be a difference maker in someones life. Now all i need is to be able to just talk in Portuguese!
I did get my ballot, but I gotta tell the whole story. Pretty fun. So First off, thank you Grandmother and Papa Jim for sending me the ballot and the voters pamphlet, it was a lot of help! But it arrived on Nov. 3. Of course, that left me the night to vote and the next day to send in the ballot. So the voting experience was awesome! First time, and I was really surprised by what happened.I have always thought of myself as at least mostly republican, but the ballot that I sent in was pretty evenly a split ticket! It was a ton of fun being able to think about politics and make choices and excercise my right as an American citizen! But, the ballot did not get sent in. I gave to to my teacher to mail for me but he forgot...but stilll, wonderful experience all the same! Crazy that Obama won in such a landslide! I expected he would win, but not by that much. Hopefully he does what he promises and unites the country. Brazilians love him btw. Mostly because he is african american, but yeah, thats the feelings here.Received a couple letters this week from friends, so thank you Lauren and Andrea! I hope you are just rocking BYU! You will have letters of your own in a few weeks.Everyone else, write me more! I love getting the letters and the emails. Just amazing. Daniel, miss ya man. Such an awesome story, and I am sooo happy for ya haha. What a stud. See ya soon! (Only 22 More months!)Tchau Everyone!oh yeah, Ashley, could you get me Deans mission address?
Thanks!Love you guys!