Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas Eve Everybody!!!! I cant believe it is here already...GOsh, I remember three christmases ago perfectly....let alone the one last year. I miss you guys a ton, but Christmas here is pretty cool.
So, Christmas Eve is one of the party nights here in BRazil...I like to liken it to new years eve back in the states. And then new years here is just insane. I will talk more about that next week.Lets see, the ZOne CHristmas COnference was pretty legit. We watched a couple movies with President and Sister Cooley, I had to bear my testimony in Portuguese (new brazilians did it in english and the departing missionaries gave testimonies as well). The two movies we watched were A Beautiful Life (I think, the old movie where the main characters are George and Mary Bailey `you want the moon mary?´) was awesome and the other was The Nativity Story. Both were in portuguese, so that made things pretty interesting. Luckily there were portuguese subtitles so i could follow that way. I definitely miss white christmas and miracle on 34th street and all of our favorite movies, hope they are just as good as always!
Saturday was the branch xmas party, was absolutely loco. Were a ton of skits and food and just crazyness. Love the people here, they are so great. Yeah, brazilians are hilarious, always happy and energetic and full of crazy ideas. The food was awesome too. They actually had turkey too! Woot! Talk about good ol home cooking. Im sorry, I keep forgetting to take pictures of food...maybe tonight when we go to a members house for their big celebration.
Today was a pretty interesting pday. Elder Martins and I made the long voyage into Sorocaba to play soccer and eat food. THere were probably 50 elders there hah, was pretty fun. Everyone running around having fun. Dang, some of the brasileiro missionarios are freaking balling at soccer. It was definitely impressive. THe food was great, good ol churrasco, aka barbequed meat sort of shishkabob style, except only meat, no vegetables. Was great. I loved the scriptures mom. Funny thing is, the second one, Moroni 9:21, i just started using recently to help investigators realize the importance of prayer. Great minds think alike huh? Another good scripture for this time of year is of course that in Helamen ch 10ish verses 1-12. I cant remember really right now...sorry.
I miss all of you a ton! I cant believe you are getting so much snow that the concert was cancelled! So so jealous. It is freaking burning up here. I think i might start sleeping with some ice to get into the christmas spirit of cold and snow a little better. Brincadeira haha.
Just got Dale´s letter today! Give him the secret handshake and some food or something. Hes gotta be lonely without his most loyal member of FOND around! Glad he stopped by though, say hi for me and all that stuff. Maybe even play some guitar hero with him haha.
GJ! GOt your package, thank you so much! I am going to open ALL the little presents tomorrow morning, to try to simulate xmas best I can...loved the tie though, gotta have some bronc colors with me!Lauren! Allstar, thanks for the package! Gosh, especially loved the picture that you sent haha. I will write a letter back as soon as I can. Got a couple letters from you too...but yeah, you said there was a pic of the fam but sorry to disappoint ya, there wasnt. I cried. Hard. SeriouslyKatrine! Hope London is treating you well! Got your letter, and will reply as soon as I can!
Merry CHristmas to All, and to All a goodnight!Elder Briggs

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Miss the Snow....

Merry Christmas from Brazil...only a few more days.

Oh gosh I miss the snow! I am never going to forgive the weather for not snowing my senior year of high school...oh gosh that was soo lame! Its been pretty stinking hot here. Well, hot, mixed with rain, just good ol tropical weather haha. It rains so hard here. It is unbelievable! Just pounding rain, literally. Elder Martins and I have to take shelter sometimes under little overhangs haha. Then, we clap our hands, hope someone answers, try to teach, then we sprint across the street to another house. Great great fun, let me tell you. So I loved the book that you sent!

Haha, oh no brother lurch i do not like the mormon church (revised words to the Dr. Suess Book, Green Eggs & Ham - Bry's Mom has the revised version) . Just priceless! Elder Martins didnt understand it really though...obviously Dr. Seuss isnt as big in Brazil...completely separate language. But I loved it, made me pretty darn happy.

Um, well, yeah, we never cook for ourselves. Dinner is at 9 to 930 when we finally get back to the apartment. Then it consists of chocolate milk, and then perhaps some cereal, maybe cheetos, sandwich, I dunno, whatever grabs me at the moment. Definitely the meal of kings. But the lunches are pretty good. Thats so cool you are having the mishies over for christmas day. That happens sometimes here, but not with E. Martins and I. Our branch is just too small, and people here are in too humble of circumstances I think to really be able to handle to additional hungry missionaries on their christmas day.

But yeah, I will be calling around noon your time, 6 pm my time. Thats the plan right now at least. And everything should be good, I have got that calling card that you gave me. Im going to give it a try sometime within the next week, just to make sure it works.

So aweseme to hear about the stuff going on at the church! Wish I could be there to see it. SOunds awesome, and a great mish opportunity! Haha, talking and thinking like a missionary. Wish I could hear Kelseys solo at the concert, well, again, know that I will be there in spirit! Ok, Brasil update, not really sure what to put in this email. This past week just absolutely flew by. I do not know why. Its not like we had any huge success or anything. But I guess its just what happens when you lose yourself in this work. We just keep teaching different people and trying to find more people to teach. Thats the cool thing about Brazil, we never ever do Tracting. Every day is all appointments, and then during the day we talk to random people during the day as we are walking to appointments to schedule more appointments. However, a lot of those fall, but enough hold up to be able to teach. Teaching is so great. It is an amazing experience to help people grow closer to God.

Miracles happen out here. Prayers are answered. Just yesterday, we were talking to an old lady that cant read, so we told her to just pray to God and ask if we were true representatives. As we asked her about her experience, we asked if she got an answer:`during no, but after, something just entered into my heart, something so warm and grand and peaceful, i do not know how to describe it. I have been happier the past few days than I have ever been!´it was definitely pretty cool. Plus we are making some good progress with others, but the biggest difficulty is getting people to go to church. A lot of them say they will, but then they end up forgetting. But, put your shoulder to the wheel push along.

This work is amazing, no matter what, it just keeps going, and Heavenly Father is always with us.I should get your package on friday! We are having a zone conference, and yeah, all about christmas. I am definitely pretty excited. Going to wear that santa hat that you included in the advent calendar package. Thank you so much for that! You have no idea how much it helps me everyday. ...Today is the official half way point of my first transfer in the field. Yippee!Email you in 7 days! Talk to you in 8!

oh yeah, some quick mentions, I have sent letters to the following people, so you can expect to get it sometime...not sure when

KatrineCamiCaryn...I know she probably isnt allowed to get on the internet to see this, so just let her know somehow, maybe when she calls home for xmas or something..

AmyHeidiJason....Lost your address for Seatle, sorry bud. Your email, and Mr. Stewarts, are included in Heidis letter. Hope you are able to get them!

Daniel....included with heidi, wasnt sure what your address is oging to be, cuz arent you entering the frat soon?S.

Stephenson...and the activity day girlsand then the entire family!

...I love you! Miss you! But I know this is where I am meant to be. My calling as a missionary is true. I have grown so much, and these experiences are not only to help others grow closer to God, but myself as well. Keep the faith! I love you. The Church is True

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mission Lingo

Thank you soooo much for the package. It did come, and it is amazing. I lovebeing able to open a new envelope everyday and knowing that you guys arethinking about me just as much as i am thinking about you. Makes me feel almostlike i am at home. It is great. I especially love the envelopes with the littlespiritual thoughts in them. Thank you! Plus, i think dad is responsible for thisone, the one with the husky basketball schedule! Just awesome! ...Miss ya and love ya withall my heart. Best family I could have ever hoped for.Quick thanks to sister stephenson! The package from you and the activity daygirls was amazing! I wrote a letter in response, hopefully you get it within thenext month. But the package was incredible, and the cards and the blanket havemade me soo happy. It is wonderful.

So, about the food. The food is pretty decent here. Lots of rice beans and meat. Pretty good, and yeah, basically I am eating one real meal a day. Breakfast is just whatever we have in the apt, which can be bread or cereal or something. Lunch is the big meal of the day, and we are supposed to have it withmembers everyday. However, that has fallen quite a few times so far. With somany inactive members, they usually forget that they are supposed to provide lunch for us. However, when we do get an active member, it is such a good meal. I keep forgetting to take pictures, but its nothing that abnormal, like seans guinea pig picture haha. And of course, Im trying to drink lots of water mom. Especially since it is sostinking hot here! like seriously, 90s and humid, every day. Plus wearing that good ol missionary attire makes things extra sweaty. But, as you know, its allworth it.

The work is so rewarding. For example, yesterday my comp and I walked a bit further than planned because of a wrong map. Basically, eight kilometersto deliver one of the gift DVDs that the church gives to help us talk to people,and to help people get into the spirit of christmas. But yeah, was a pretty farway, and the person wasnt even home! But, last night, we were able to teach two really good lessons. Felt the Holy Ghost so strong, both sets committed to go to church, and i have a feeling one of them (Tiago and Elisandra) will be baptized next month...but we shall see. Baptism is a goal, but shouldnt forget thatbaptism is nothing unless the people are truly ready and will be able to keeptheir baptismal covenants. But yeah, the teaching is going pretty well. We have a bunch of investigators that are progressing, and the one, Maria Souzanna, will be baptized on January17. She is such a neat lady. She is the one that we gave the blessing to. Very,very strong faith. It is so exciting when we talk to our investigators and you can see that light in their eyes that was absent before, see that they are beginning to know God and Christ and are gaining testimonies of their own.

Wednesday is my pday (personal day). And it will be the entire mission, unless I am assigned to the office, but that wont happen, at least for a while. There the pday will be on saturday. Pdays are so wonderful though. Relax, write letters, get to communicate with you! The Fam! Gosh I love it!Thank you so much for telling me about the stuff is going on at home. Makes mefeel connected, and not so much like I am on the other side of the world. It iscrazy though, I have already had two weeks out here in the field! Love the work,even if it can be exhausting at times.

So some fun stuff just for you to know. Mission lingo

Father: Your first companion, your trainer

Mother: The person that took you out working the first night out of the MTC

Born: I was born in Boituva...aka, the first area of your mission

Die: You die when you leave the mission field and go home

Kill: If your companion is going home at the end of his mission, you say thatyou killed them kind of funny, just thought you would find it interesting.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stories from Boituva, Brazil (New mailing instructions)

Bryan has new mailing instructions posted to the right...he really appreciates your cards & letters and asks you to please, please write. He will truly appreciate a Christmas Card with a picture this Christmas...even if it's late.

...Ok, so the story for the week. As I said, Elder Martins is my trainer. He is Brazilian and is from Minas (sp?). Pretty cool elder. Speaks very good english so that helps me out a lot. I am still struggling with the language a bit. Things are different than in the CTM. People just speak so fast here, and then there are all the fun idiomatic phrases that just make no sense when you translate them in your head...but Elder Martins is always there to rescue me when I just get completely overwhelmed.

Teaching is crazy. Every first lesson that we give is about five minutes long. Then we invite to read the Book of Mormon and also invite to baptism. I wasnt sure how I felt about it at first, because I am here to help people, not sell the church. but now i think i kind of like it. it is a good way to guage how interested a person really is before really starting to teach them about the gospel. I am walking sooo much. Luckily this town is pretty flat overall, but still, walking soo much. My feet are killing haha! Blisters and aches galore..but it is all worth it, especially when you find someone that needs to hear the message of the restoration, that needs the gospel in their life. it is just crazy being here, being an instrument in the Lords hands. You never now how He is going to use you, how he has prepared people.

For instance, on Monday we were making a visit to someone that we had met on the streets. However, it was either a fake address or they werent there, but someone else came to greet us. This man, named Luiz, is incredible. He was so excited during the first lesson, and has such great faith in Christ. He has committed to be baptized near the end of the month and to go to church with us this week. So exciting. Also, God works miracles with us. We were visiting one of our investigators, but she was not home. So, we began talking to this lady next to her house, and it turned out to be her mother (named Maria). Maria was a sad old lady. During our lesson she was crying a lot and talking about some things that were going on in her family, etc. So, we offered to give her a priesthood blessing of comfort. It was the first blessing that I have really been able to participate in. After the blessing she stopped crying. She said that she had goosebumps and that she was just happy! The power of God is a wonderful thing. Over the rest of the lesson a lot of her family came in, and we were able to teach them all. Maria may go to church with us as well. Just so exciting! This is the best part of the work, when you can see the blessings coming into peoples lives.

It rained sooo hard yesterday! Felt like I was in a hurricane. Of course we were out working, but gosh, it was just crazy! I got absolutely soaked! Oh, thats one thing I need, a rain tie, or a tie that can get soaked and not be ruined haha. Ok, I love you all! Please keep writing me.

Family, I miss you sooo so much, I love being able to communicate with you this way. I miss you! I love you!

Amy, Ankit, Katrine: I will do my best to reply to your emails in letter, thanks for thinking of me! ...

Some more info that I forgot. There is a way bomb ice cream place here. Basically its called the ice cream palace (translated). Pretty decent ice cream for wayyyyy way cheap. In fact, I am going to go get some ice cream when we are done here. Pday is just as amazing out here as it was in the CTM. Such a relaxing day, even though we did have to clean the apartment and start laundry and all that stuff. The hardest part about being here in Brazil is the inability to drink the tap water, and the lack of a washer and dryer! Was not expecting that. Oh well, I can survive. I do like it here a lot though. We are just in a little branch of about 30 active members. There is a big inactive list that we are working with and definitely we have a lot of work to do. We need to get families into the church. Families that can support themselves as they make this drastic change in their lifestyles.

Boituva has such a crazy dichotomy. There are some amazingly nice houses, with shiny cars and the works. But then the adjacent neighborhood all the houses are...not really houses. I dont know how to explain it. But it is amazing how some of these people live with absolutely nothing! And then they have a sony flat panel tv...just strange. I love the brazilian people though. They are all so nice. I cant wait until my companion and I start really seeing success here. Elder Martins is an excellent missionary, and I think we will be able to work miracles. Here are some pictures (See posted below)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Photos from Brazil

New photo's from Brazil