Thursday, February 26, 2009

Splash Mountain...

Ok, first picture is part of the path through the field between Novo Mundo and Boituva. In fact, you can see Novo Mundo there in the background. Second picture, just before my adventure Spash Mountain style. Third and Fourth, Elder Cruz and I were just having fun during our little party for first week of the transfer. We got icecream, ordered pizza, and talked about disney movies and home alone haha. Gosh, i really want to watch home alone again. And Lion King is amazing.
Well, my whole email just got deleted halfway through..darn it ok, start over. ...say hi to caryn for me! Ask her if she ever got my letter...cuz i sent one a while ago. And sorry GJ, i didnt get your email..not sure what happened there.
Ok, so, it is going great with my new comp. We are already pretty good friends, which is great. Getting to know him better has been a lot of fun, especially since its all been in portuguese and i have been talking and understanding pretty well (thank you gift of tongues). Anyways, Elder Cruz is from Balneario Camboriu, Santa Catarina, Brasil. He has lived there for a while, but before then, he lived in Ogden, Utah for three years. The kid is about as american as it gets for being a brazillian. Plus, his namorada is going to school at BYU. Found out some fun things about the family too. Turns out his brother is a Disney star. Go ahead and google Moroni Cruz, and you will find that his younger brother has been in quite a few disney shows, High School Musical, and will star in High School Musical: Brasil. Pretty exciting huh. But yeah, things are going great, we are teaching well together and have had quite a few adventures already.
First adventure...Splash Mountain. So, this happened on saturday. We started out in Novo Mundo (a neighborhood about 30 min walk out of Boituva) and we were coming back through a field and forest and all that fun stuff. IN fact, same path that we took when i took that picture of me in front of those trees that you liked so much. Anyways, there is a good little stream that we have to cross right at the very end. Only thing is, it is just big enough to make trying to jump over it not a very wise option. Usually, there are some wood boards there to kind of serve as a make shift bridge. However, of course, they were not present at this time. So, using my keen intellect, we decided to hike up about 100 yards to cross at a dam (picture included). I have crossed once before, and was pretty confident. How you go about it is walk across while holding firmly to the metal fence on the top, thereby seeing you safely to the other side. Long story shirt, i didnt hold firmly enough, slipped, and fell. Yeah. Fun stuff. I got pretty wet and dirty and a little banged up. But, luckily, a member lives real nearby so i was able to get all fixed up and everything. Dont worry mom, everything is great right now, totally healed and clean and safe :) But it was pretty funny haha...
Adventure 2. The Lord of the Keys. So, this happened a lot more recently. Was Monday night, and Elder Cruz and I were returning home from Novo Mundo. It was late, we were tired, and definitely pretty hungry. So, we got home to the apartment, put the key in the door, and it snapped. Yes, you read right, we broke our key in the apartment door, effectively locking us out at night...during Carnaval no less. So, a lot more things happened, called our leaders, figured out Plans A, B, and C...and ended up having to go with Plan C, which was spend the night at a members house. Whoa, that was weird. I mean, would have been completely normal and pretty cool if i wasnt a missionary. But yeah, interesting experience sleeping on the floor in dress pants haha. but, everything turned out all right, we got up in the morning and searched out a key maker and he got everything fixed up for us.
So, another funny story. This next story is more inspiring. We had an amazing sunday. Elder Cruz and I marked five baptism dates. Two families and one funny old man named Vicente. But yeah, it is amazing seeing the strength and testemonies that they have been developing. This really is the best part of mish work, seeing that you are making a positive difference in the lives of cool.
Well, i think that is about it for now... I love you all! Miss you guys a ton, especially the last couple days for a reason...i was really `trunky` go figure...but, I know that i am in the right place. Gosh, i just cant ever say enough about how grateful i am for the mission. really is an amazing experience unlike any other. The Church is True. Love you...Keep up the awesome work! Glad that you guys are writing Jonathan, i just wrote a letter to him today, but i will include a little line saying that you received his letter and are writing back.
btw, quick shout out to Bishop Sansborn, I sent a letter to you today, so you can expect one whenever it gets there from here

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cow Preaching

Well, here are a few pictures this week. The first couple may seem a little confusing at first, but it has a great story behind it. Ok, not really, we just wanted to take a picture preaching to cows. Sorry, we are college aged guys...cant help it sometimes. But, i must say, it was well worth it. Some of the best pictures ever.The last is of The Trujillo Zone before transfers. We were really changed a ton. One guy finished the mission, both district leaders became Zone leaders in different places, Martins became Zone

Leader, another became district leader in a different place, anotehr was just transferred...crazy. Changed almost completely. Who knows how long i will stay here in boituva. I am think either just this transfer or one more after...vamos ver. (more photos to come, having problems downloading to blog)

Well, things were a bit different this week. First off the big news is that I have finished my second transfer in the mission field! WHOAOAOOAOAAAAAAAAAA! Cant believe its been this amount of time, but i know i have already talked about the whole time mission space continuom so i will just stop myself here. Second amount of big news....elder martins was transferred.

My new companheiro is Elder Cruz from Florionopolis, in the state of Santa Catarina. Pretty crazy. He seems like a pretty cool guy, but he has been kind of sick today so he hasnt felt very talkative at all. Plus, he doesnt speak any english, but that will really help me establish my portuguese. Right now, I am thinking and speaking, hopefully with elder cruz i will develop the ability to just speak portuguese, without having to concentrate real hard on what people are saying and what i will reply haha. But, we will get along well together and get to work. I will apologize right now i dont have any pictures of him as of yet, you will just have to wait for a week.

Secondly! Kelsey! Nice work! I knew you would get into BYU....never really was any doubting going on. But seriously, so exciting. Congratulations! I guess i have yet one more reason to make visits to BYU after the mish is over right? But seriuosly, so exciting...gotta announce it to the world...MY SISTER IS GOING TO BYU yee haw.

Lets see, gosh, the transfer this week was just so huge, i am having a hard time remembering everything else that has happened. All that i can really remember right now is that Elder Martins had a lot of fun together, working together in our last week. Both of us thought that he would go, but its too bad, really, he became one of my best friends. But, gotta keep putting that shoulder to the wheel and pushing along.One cool thing that has continued to happen has been my spiritual growth, especially in the study of the scriptures. It is amazing the things you can find when you actually take the time to read the words of the prophets, the words of the Lord. Seriously, i have a really strong testimony of the scriptures now, and how through them we can literally here the Lord speaking to us personally. Way cool.

Love you all, will send some pictures in the next email.
Sorry, i am a little scatterbrained today. For the transfer I had to get up at four in the morning to catch a bus to Sorocaba to catch a bus to Sao Paulo, and I have spent the entire day returning too.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pancakes and Buckets

From Bryan's letter home on February 11, 2009

ok, these pictures in order backwards...lets see if I remember. One is of us cleaning the baptismal font with sponges. Another is of the entire branch at the baptism, another is me and Geronimo, and the last is a picture of the marvelous homemade pancakes and syrup! Hope you enjoy!

Hey! Big week! Will reply to some stuff here first and then get to the usual. But yeah, cant believe i was quoted in a talk! how flattering. Dad told me that the grandparents are going to be mailing their talks to me, that's exciting..i cant wait. You can tell GJ that I received her valentines card! Thanks GJ! Loved it! You are an all star with writing letters! Sorry I don't reply as much, but I hope you know I appreciate it! And your box I haven't received yet, but I think I will next week...It is always harder to receive boxes in the end of the transfer, because all the times that we receive happen more in the first three weeks of the transfer. But yeah, I am confident that I should get the package next week or the week after next.

Funny to hear about Kelsey getting hit on by the waiter at her Grade dinner. Gosh, I miss those grade dinners haha, but congratulate Kelsey on the 4 point! And she gets her BYU reply this week? I thought it wasn't until the 28th. Oh well, just know that I am praying along with you guys!

And that DVD would be excellent. We use DVDs sometimes, like the Restoration, Joy to the World, FInding Faith in Christ....but it would be sweet to have a nice change up.

That is excellent that the missionaries were able to come give you a blessing, they are always looking for chances to serve,especially when it is helping such good friends. Glad everything is recovering nicely. Wish I could have been there to help! Elder Anderson just wrote to me saying how great you guys were and that he was tracting in 10 degree weather haha. Sounds like a great guy, glad you have been able to spend time with him, teaching investigators and learning more about mission life.



Ok, so, as you can see, I am pretty excited about what happened this past week haha. I had my first baptism on the mission. Was amazing. Although there were some roadbumps getting the meeting ready. Elder Martins showed up at the chapel at 8 in the morning on saturday to clean the font, the area for the baptism at 4. Not only did we sweep and clean and wash the baptismal font, but we spent four hours filling it with buckets. Yes, you read right, we filled up a baptismal font using buckets. Never thought that would ever happen. But yeah, then, we used up the entire water supply of the chapel before the font was completely filled! Haha, gosh it was adventurous. But everything turned out all right. Nearly the entire branch showed up to support Geronimo. It was a great program. I got to give another talk (woo hoo, Article of Faith 4) and we did some musical numbers, and Elder Martins performed the baptism. It was such a spiritual experience. There was just a different feeling there, and Geronimo was so happy. Was very, very cool. I am still amazed by the change that has come over him in the past two months (whoa, two did that happen) but yeah, its pretty amazing. Just another testament of how people can change for the better when they allow the Spirit to work with them, when they gain their testimony. Amazing.

Lets see, yesterday was a pretty great day. It never stops to amaze me when we go to follow up with people about the book of mormon and their reading and they talk about the amazing answers to their prayers that they have received, that they know without a doubt that the book is true. It is so cool, just like I have said before, you start to see a new light in their eyes, a new brightness to their smile. So cool. Plus we are making some great progress with some investigators that we have had for a while. THey are hilarious, basically members without being baptised. They give us references, answer intense questions for us when there are other people at the lesson, everything. Hopefully we will be able to mark a baptismal date with them soon.

Also, thanks for the pancake recipe mom! Went excellent! I cooked a nice big batch for us this morning (admittedly, it was a little interesting finding the ingredients during the week, especially since evaporated milk is more directly translated to milk dust) but yeah, turned out great! I was really missing pancakes...but now that is all taken care of.

I miss you all! So much. Wrote a letter for Uncle Mike and Aunt Alane & fam this morning, so you guys should get it in about 2-3 weeks (if you are reading this).

But yeah, love you mom. Got your letter last week, was soo cool reading about your history in the church. I really loved it and loved reading your testimony. You are such a powerful example for the entire family mom, thank you. I love you

Love you Dad, Love ya kels! Loved that story about the waiter at Arianas haha, get used to it kelsey.

I know the church is true. I know that I am here in Brazil for a reason, and that I am called by God through a living prophet. There are so many small miracles that I see every day that are just one more testament about the veracity (veracidade in portuguese...not sure if it translates) of this church, of the book of mormon. I know that we are all beloved children of God, and that He wants nothing more than our happiness. Sure, there are times when we have difficulties, when it seems it is too much to bear, but I know that with Him we can survive, we can push forward. As we do so we will be able to look back with fondness at those times of difficulty, not because of what happened, but because we can see how we have been able to grow, how the Lord was encouraging us to progress in some specific way. I love this gospel. The purity and simplicity is absolutely beautiful, and I KNOW that we can all be together forever as we truly follow the teachings of our Lord and Savior. Always remember that there is always this hope, that we always have this faith, and the ability to receive strength. I know that my redeemer lives, what comfort this sweet sentence gives. he lives.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Love you all! Miss you! Cant wait til next week!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Quick Shout Outs - First Baptism

Quick shout outs before i start talking about the past week. Thank you Elder Spencer, Triple A, Jason, Sister Martins, Grandma Jeanie, and Katrine for your letters! It was awesome getting to hear from you. I am sending letters to Triple A, Jason, Elder Spencer tomorrow. Sorry Katrine, not sure if you have gotten the other letter or two that I sent, so I am going to wait for those replies so we dont get a weird conversation split up over three letters. Awesome to hear London was great though! And happy belated birthday.Speaking of birthdays, happy birthday papa jim! That is going to be in a couple days I hope it is great! Hope you and Grandmother received the letter that I sent. Love you guys!

So on to the week. Really, not much has happened that has been huge. Elder Martins and I keep teaching our eleito, and things are going wonderful there. He is going to be baptized this saturday! How amazing! My first baptism on the mission! Gerônimo is pretty awesome, so strong. I have a feeling he will be a good leader in the church someday. The craziest thing about the baptism is that he specifically asked for me to do the confirmation! How cool. Of course, I have a lot of portuguese study, prayer, and fasting to do, but it is going to be amazing.

I WILL NOT forget my camera cord next week for those awesome pictures.Lets see, it has been raining like no other the past week. I swear, I come home every night with a drenched shirt and wet socks haha. Its pretty fun though. The storms come out of nowhere so Elder Martins and I usually hide out under some little overhangs for a little while. Usually is pretty dry there, and 90% of the time the storms are only like 10 15 minutes long.Oh, here is the interesting stuff. Friday was zone conference. You can ask Elder Anderson what goes on there, but yeah, was pretty exciting. We got some excellent lessons from our mission president, from the APs, and from some other missionaries out here in our neck of the woods. The best lesson was by the assistants, talking to us about not only following Christs example in our life, but also in the way we teach. Was excellent.

Also, monday i made another exchange. I went to Sorocaba so that our district leader could come out and interview Geronimo. I stayed with our zone leader elder clifford (have you sent his letter yet kelsey??). But yeah, was pretty cool. It was an amazing area. Had a lot of fun seeing a different city, talking to different people, and working with Elder Clifford. He is a pretty cool kid, returns home in July. It was pretty funny. When I first arrived he was telling me how excited he was to speak english in the streets with someone, but he kept on slipping into portuguese randomly. Gosh, he is going to have fun when he gets home haha....i cant wait until i am so into the language that that just randomly happens.BUt things are going great here. We are finding awesome new people to teach, and really making progress helping the branch here grow. It is awesome here...I hope i dont leave too soon. But, in two weeks is transfers again, already, somehow.

Gosh, how is time flying by this fast! yesterday i swear I was talking to you guys on the phone, and now it is already february! Not too sure what is going on...but I am loving it while it lasts.Again, I love the mission. I dont think i can say that enough. There have been amazing things that I have learned here on the mission that I dont know I would have been able to learn anywhere else. Not just cool things about the scriptures (believe me, there is some cool stuff that you realize when you study them hardcore) but also just the simple and plain truths of life. Jesus Christ is our Savior, God is our Heavenly Father. They are always ready to helps us overcome our trials, to always move forward and reach our full potential. Someone once told me that when you are able to see the Lord´s hand in the hard things in life, that you are really able to get the strength to overcome them, and to be grateful for them. I really am grateful for the mission, for the miracles that happen everyday, for the amount I have grown. I know this church is completely 100% true, and that we always have a source of strength with prayer, with the scriptures, with the prophets, with our friends and family. Oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me.