Saturday, September 11, 2010

Last blog post from Brazil

us playing basketball for our morning exercise

Elder Gratil (Arizona) and I going for the pool...we didnt actually jump in but it shows our excitement to finish the mission!

Hey mom!

See ya on Thursday!

That’s weird...never thought that this would ever come.

Anyways, what do we have planned for that first Thursday?

I didn’t really want much planned, but I was thinking that I wanted some Longboard Louies or Parilla for lunch, and then some king, curry style, for dinner. Actually, one of these nights I will make a Brazi dish for us...Brazilian stroganofe.

I am very excited that all those people will be down for my talk at sacrament meeting. I am glad that they didn’t give me a topic for my talk, cuz I wasn’t going to follow it anyways. I wrote my talk the other day in one of my morning study sessions, hope it goes well!

I am super excited to ride home with Kelsey from SLC to Bend. It is going to be really weird for me to ride these airplanes...I think this is the longest I have ever gone without flying. Every time I see an airplane in the sky these days I get super excited ahah...that is trunkeza at its purest.

Anyways...onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn to the week. This week has just FLOWN by. Elder Gratil and I call it the golf ball theory. When you make a long putt, the ball goes slowly, ever so slowly to the cup, kind of seems like it stops at the rim, then it just falls in super fast. That is what this last transfer was like. It was going slow, slow slow, and then all of a sudden we are just done.
Anyways, this week started off with our first transfer meeting, talk about who is going where on the mission this next transfer, trying to solve little problems, etc. Then, Tuesday was a day in Jaraguá. I went out with a Brazilian from my group, Elder T. da Silva. The whole day was basically a day for me to visit people, say goodbye, and visit recent converts of mine who have kind of started to fall away, and get them back. It went really well. It was super strange seeing some of these people for what may be the last time. I guess it won’t be the last time, cuz we will visit them when we come back this December. But yeah, just a super weird feeling.
It was Tuesday when I finally started to realize that I would be going home, that the mission was ending.The next day was my last mission council. It was a pretty fun day, where we taught about how to be Zone Leaders and how to help other missionaries become better, preparing the mission for the future. This council was just weird for me because I had to say goodbye to some people ... something that I just thought would never happen. I have made a lot of good friends here on the mission.
Of course, more than anything, I have learned and grown a lot. I have learned about God, Christ, myself, my family, etc. I know who I am. The mission has instilled a new sense of self worth and self confidence that wasn’t completely there before. I have strengthened weakness, and some strengths, as I, as Dad put it, went through extreme "stretching" experiences.The next couple of days were also spent in division, one out in Jaçanã, the other here next to the office. They were perfect examples to me of what I am going to miss, and what I won’t. I won’t miss leaving lunch into the scorching sun of the afternoon. I won’t miss the rude remarks and gestures that are usually directed towards the Mormon missionaries. However, I will miss the friendships, the people that automatically trust in the power and authority of the calling, and most of all, the lessons and opportunities every day to help people come closer to their Lord and Savior.
Thursday night in Jaçanã Elder Adamson and I found this really cool old couple, but they were having some difficulties in their life. The man had just suffered a stroke, and is struggling to regain is motor skills and forces to be able to walk and do everything that he used to do, although the mind is still perfectly intact. The woman is always hunched over by a bad walk and hobbling around on bad knees. We were able to teach about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, apply it to their lives and their family, teach about the restoration of the priesthood, and give them blessings of health. It was a super cool experience. I will definitely miss those everyday opportunities.
The mission was great. I have gone through some of the best, and hardest, times of my life here ... from depressed companions to awesome experiences that prove to me the love that God has for His children. I know that He lives, that God is literally our Heavenly Father, that there is a plan for us, and that He wants nothing more than our happiness on this earth and wants us to return to Him to receive eternal life. I know that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer for the sins of the world, to be the shining example for us all to follow. I know that He died for us, but that he also resurrected, that He lives, that He loves us, and that He is our friend at all times. I know that if we really have faith, if we really trust in God, and follow his commandments, and the gospel of Christ, that is our path to happiness. Everything is guaranteed in the gospel of Christ, happiness, salvation, etc. When we are outside, it is a dog eat dog world.
I am very grateful for the opportunity that God gave me to preach His gospel for the past two years, to be an instrument in His hands so that He could reach out to His children. I know that His kingdom has been restored to the earth, that we have a modern day prophet and 12 apostles as well. That the Book of Mormon is true. That the Bible is too. That we may all know for ourselves through humble prayer. God answered my prayers, He answers them daily, and this testimony of mine is strengthened and confirmed every moment.
This is my testimony, and I say it in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

One of the most tiring weeks of my entire life.

Photos, Elder Briggs, Schoen, Calvert
Father, Son, Grandson

Mission Pres & Wife, & companion

Elder Calvert sleeping on the floor

So, before you start freaking out any more, the package got here yesterday. Thanks! It was awesome! Oreos, goldfish, mac and cheese, everything that I would ever need. It was awesome. The flying monkey toy has been especially popular here in the office haha. Definitely a hit. Also, congrats on those new paintings, they are great! I was definitely proud of my momma when I showed them off.

I got an email from Nathan Rau wondering what time that I would be rolling through the SLC airport. I guess you know already, but yeah, I will make an effort to leave security to be able to see some people real quick at the SLC airport for anyone who can make it. My plane arrives in SLC at 10:05 and leaves at 11:20, so I will stay only a few minutes outside of security before going back to the terminal. I feel like a little bit of a celebrity haha, everyone sending me emails trying to get just a little space of time to see me. Also, GO DAWGS!!! The huskies play the cougs today! I am so stoked for it. I really really wish I could walk it. It is going to be awesome. What has all the talk been about the game?

Onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn to the week So, this past week was one of the most tiring weeks of my entire life. Sorry for the drama, but it really was. However, it was a good week as well, just draining. We had another week of four days straight of training, but this time it was out in Sorocaba, a city about an hour and a half out of São Paulo to the west (wow, I guess my mission really is small huh). Anyways, it was a week full of training, setting stuff up, sleeping in odd places, and doing normal missionary work after a full six hours of training in the morning. Totally worth it though, the training was a big hit and all the Elders are excited to be working with this stuff. I really wish that this stuff could have come earlier in my mission...would have made a cool difference.Anyways, the coolest things in this past week were these last two days, Thursday and Friday. Thursday, after the training, I went out to Salto de Pirapora for a day of work with my beloved son, Elder Schoen, and my awesome grandson, Elder Calvert. It was sweet. We were able to have some great lessons and found some great people together.

I was just super impressed with Elder Schoen, it is crazy seeing him now versus when I was training him, and Elder Calvert is a true stud. His portuguese is awesome already and he is already just an awesome teacher and missionary. I cant really describe how, but he is just would have to be a missionary to know, it is just all the little things that he does. Anyways, the fun part of the night was sleeping on the makeshift mattress that Elder Calvert made for me (a blanket folded in half on the ground) and just talking at night. It was hard saying goodbye to them yesterday...I may not see either of them for a long time.The other cool thing was that MY dad, Elder Martins, visited the office yesterday. It was way cool seeing him again and talking to him again. His english has gotten really good and he is planning on being married next year with his Fiancé. Just was way cool. Anyways, today should be a fun pday. We are all (all is in us 6 in the office) going to the Taverna Gaucha in downtown São Paulo for some churrasco and pizza for lunch. Then, who knows, I just need some relaxing. Love ya mom! Love ya dad! Love ya kels!Bryan

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jacob 6:12

Pics: Bry in Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo Temple at night

It's great to read all the talk about the upcoming UW BYU game next is going to be pretty big. I really wish that I could be there with my family of cats and dawgs to watch it. I will hear about the end result.

Cool thing that Kelsey & Mom ran into Sean and Jonathan at BYU. BYU just has everyone there doesn't it? Anyways, I may try to leave the airport secured area in SLC just to say hi to some people during my layover.
About the flight update from Elder Hurst, you need to talk to President Rau about my release, and when it will be scheduled. Also, I have not received the package yet, but I'm sure I will soon, don't sweat it.
Onnnnnnnnnnn to the week.
Well, not a ton to report from this last week, as things didn't give way to much excitement. The main developement here on the mission is that I spent all week giving a 4 day leadership training about a new system that just came in from Salt Lake. They were four days of training, starting at 9 am and going til 3 pm, that involved doctrinal teaching and practices. We taught the missionaries about 8 key things...The Doctrine of Christ; The role of the Holy Ghost; How to help investigators receive revelation through church attendance, reading the Book of Mormon, and praying; Teach People, not lessons; We invite, they commit, we follow up; starting to teach. President Cooley did all the doctrinal teaching, whereas Elder Alves and I showed them how to use it and led all the practices. It was a pretty effective, but tiring, week. Everyone learned a lot and is really excited to get out into the field and work. I really wish actually that I could have gotten these trainings a lot earlier on my mission, they are really good and help us to be real teachers of the Gospel of Christ. It was a lot of fun and we are scheduled to give the training again next week, but in the far away part of the mission. Well, since I really dont have much more to write this week, I will put in some of my favorite scriptures:
Jacob 6:12 (Book of Mormon);
O be wise; what can I say more?
Moses 1:39 (Pearl of Great Price);
For behold, this is my work and my glory - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
Matthew 6:24 (Bible);
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Moroni 7:33-34 (Book of Mormon)
And Christ hath said; Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved./And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

One of the Craziest Weeks in the History of Ever

Pic - Division in Trujillo...the Stake where I started my mission.

Shout outs to: Sean Layton - Thanks for the email man! Can't wait to see ya.

Parker Beazer: You ain't no elder anymo', but I got your letter

Katrine: Got your letter, will send one out soon

Onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn to the week.................

This was one of the craziest weeks in the history of ever. The mission is determined to not let me "rest in peace" as there are new issues coming up, huge new trainings (4 days long!), and this past week was a 4 day long division out in Sorocaba (Sorocaba is to Sao Paulo as Sacramento is to San Francisco). It was killer! Elder Alves and I left the office Monday afternoon and we just got back on Friday night. We did divisions with all four stakes in Sorocaba.
The best stories from the week come from the divisions with Elder Lopes (Zona Sorocaba) and Elder Payne (Zona Barcelona). The division with Elder Lopes was a lot of fun. The day started out with our lunch appointment falling, so I became the designated chef and made a Brazi style stroganoff. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm good. It actually turned out pretty well. After that, Elder Lopes and I left to begin our search for new people to teach in the area. All in all, we were able to mark two baptismal dates together during the day. The coolest lesson of all was with this girl named Camila. We were teaching her and her boyfriend in front of their house right at the end of the day. It was a great first lesson. While they didn't really have any religious background, they were able to understand concepts like Prophets, Apostles, Apostasy, Restorations, etc. There were both really interested and really wanting to know the truth, committing to pray to ask God if the things were true. Even better, when we went to go give the Book of Mormon, she said to Elder Lopes, "so, do you guys baptize?" Of course we do! We were able to make a baptismal date for her the next month.
The next day I went to Barcelona for a division with Elder Payne. We had a pretty good day together, but things didn't really pick up until that evening. We had made the goal in the beginning of the day to find two people that wanted to be baptized. Our ending time was going to be 6:30. At 5:45 we started teaching this pair of teenagers about the restoration. I used weird examples like a commandment against mowing lawns to help them understand that there is only one God, and that His commandments are the same for us we need to find the church that teaches the right things. In the end, they were really excited and both accepted baptismal dates! Pretty exciting thing. There were super excited to be able to pray on their own to receive and answer from God, instead of having to have some indoctrination shoved down their throats. Go Power of Prayer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Bryan is coming home on September 16 - if you are in Bend, Oregon he'd love to see you that weekend before he heads to UW for school. He will be speaking at church on September 19 at the 9am meeting - Bend, OR Stake Center. Save the dates.
Things have been pretty basic for the past 10 days. The biggest thing for me is that I am still getting used to and trying to find the right rhythm with my new companion, Elder Alves. He is a great guy, great missionary, but just is different after working for four months with Elder Parsons. We had a few divisions this week, mission council, and I got attacked by mosquitos for the first time in forever. They bit me four times in the face! How inconvenient.

The first division tht we did this week was out in Barueri, where I stayed with Elder Sena. There weren't really any big cool experiences, but it was fun talking with him for a day. Elder Sena is from a state in Brazil called Bahia, and he has a really strong accent from there, and is a really funny guy. The other two divisions were done in the northern zone of Sao Paulo, in areas called Pirituba and Santana. Santana was fun because we ate lunch at a member's house who had just gotten back from a vacation to Seattle! It was way trunky talking to them haha...made me miss the emerald city a lot. She looked at your website, Mom, and she really loved your paintings. The day in Pirituba went pretty well as I went out with Elder Warner from Orem, UT. We had some fun and taught a really cool person that is finally going to be baptized after years of investigation. Yes, Little & Fabian, Aslaine is going to get baptized in September.

The other big event of the week was mission council, where we have a meeting with all the Zone Leaders of the mission. We talked about some mission goals, problems, etc. Our training was about working with members in the missionary work, and igniting the missionary fire in the hearts of the members. Definitely something tough to do. I used the example of how I didn't really do any "missionary work" before the mission, mostly because I didn't realize how important missionary work is. Now that I am here, I know...but all the members are still in the same pickle. We talked a lot about preparing spiritual lessons for the members to help them feel the power of the Holy Ghost, taking members with us to teach investigators, etc. Went really well.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I am a Grandfather

On a division. my companion is the one on the far right with Lion hair.
A dog named "Poopey" i guess it is "doll" in German.
Me and the washington kids that came in, one on right is elder schoen's son - Spencer Calvert, friend of my Sis from BYU - Small World.
Me trying to sneak into the van that took my old comps to the airport...gonna miss those guys

It has been way too long since my last pday. I am exhausted!!! Really definitely needing this day of rest. Super happy to be emailing yall as well. I am in my last transfer! We are in August as well...I can officially say that I am coming home next month.
Shout out to Krispy Kremer your letter!
Onnnnnnnnnnnnnn to the week
Well, things have been pretty crazy in the past ten-ish days. It is that whole bujumbled story of transfers, doing divisions, watching people go home, getting new companions, starting my last transfer on the mission, etc. To tell you the truth, I am not even really sure where to begin. I guess the main thing is that my companion Elder Parsons (now just Brent Parsons) went home! That was a sad parting. It was the longest time that I had ever spent with one companion. He was definitely one of the best, we had a lot of fun together and I feel like we had a lot of success as well here on the mission. He is gonna rock life back at home.
My new companion is Elder Alves from Fortaleza, Brazil. He is definitely a lot different from Elder Parsons, so I am getting used to it still, but he is a really hard worker and really wants to do things the right way. It is weird, since he has such a different way of doing things...I have been used to one thing for the past four and a half months. Well, it is going to be great though. Best of all....I GO HOME NEXT MONTH!!!!
As for the whole thing of transfers. We had some cool divisions to make sure that all the transfers things were correct and to see how some people were doing. The best division was in an area called Cerqueira César, which is the downtown area of the mission. This is the area that gets the Avenida Paulista, Faria Lima, Oscar Freire, etc...all the chique places. It was tons of fun out there. Actually, it was rough, as I walked SOOOO much, we didnt get into many homes to teach lessons. However, I did make a sweet contact with this lady as she was walking around with her fancy dog and pushing her baby in the stroller. She spoke perfect english (common for rich Brazilians). I don't really know what is going on with her, but she seemed super interested in the church.
The Elder that I went out with, Elder Schenatto, is a brazilian that also speaks decent english. He is now training an Idaho boy funny...imagine a shy kid from the middle of nowhere...and now imagine him walking around Brazil's version of Wall Street and Time Square..big change. Transfers went pretty well. There were a couple last minute problems and we had to change some things around, but mostly it all went very smoothly. We have 8 new zone leaders, 15 trainers, 1 new assistant, and 10 new district leaders...basically a total change on the mission. Plus, we are having fun integrating this new program that we received from Salt Lake a little while ago. Going pretty well so far.
The coolest thing about the transfer is that Elder Schoen, my son on the mission, is training again. Im a grandfather! Again! Even cooler, he is training someone from Redmond, WA. Even better than that, he is training someone that has met my family - dated my sister's roommate at BYU. Small world, right? But the guy is legit, I bet him and Elder Schoen are going to have a great time together and lots of success. Well, that is about it for now. I have a new companion. My old companion is at home. I am a grandfather (That is when the person you first trained, is now training someone new, that person is your "grandson" - mission lingo). We are at the start of my last transfer. I am not trunky, but stoked.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


(maybe reminding him of a dentist?)

Onnnnnnnnnnnnn to the week

This past week has been a lot longer...ten days. ten days between pdays is super rough on the missionary body. Anyways, totally was all worth it because we got to go out with President today to this sweet place called EMBU. It is a place with lots of souvenirs and crafts and arts and stuff like that. I bought an awesome BLOWDART. So cool, definitely going to put that up on the wall. also, i got some other souvenir type things. best of all, super fun pictures. The weird part though was that there were a lot of weird weird i mean naked and abstract. Strange, to say the least. Anyways, was good for laughter.

During this past time we have finished all of our zone conferences, started preparing for some way cool stuff, and did more divisions. This week our divisions were done all in the zona norte of sao paulo, in Jaçanã, Santana, and Jaraguá. The one in Jaraguá was definitely interesting because I went there for church as well last Sunday. Was cool seeing a bunch of people and such. When we came back a couple of days later to do the division, we visited some of the people that I had worked with and it was a lot of fun. It is always interesting going back there. It is a great area, but also way difficult as well. Please, just do your home teaching and fulfill your other callings.

The other days in Jaçanã were spent doing a lot, and alot of walking. I dont think I have walked so much since the beginning of my mission when i was a greenie just raring to get to work. Anyways, we walked a lot. When we got home on Thursday night i just about fell asleep right then and there. It reminded me of a missionary that said "I am so happy here on the mission. it is the best. I dont know why I am so happy, because I am so tired. just oh so very very tired" Yeah, ditto.

The fun story of this week comes from the division in Jaçanã. I went out with a Brazilian from my group, Elder Moraes, and we had a long fun day of door knocking. To tell the truth, the day was going pretty terribly from about 2-5ish. We were just walking around in the hot sun, knocking on lots of doors, without getting into a single home. So, we decided to say a prayer on the sidewalk asking for a couple of specific things. First, we were dang thirsty. Second, we needed someone to teach. My prayer went like this"heavenly father, thank you for this day, for this division, and for being here in Jaçanã today. Father, we haven't had any success yet, and we are really thirsty. Please bless us that we can find a cup of water, and an elect family for us to teach. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Well, three doors later we found someone who did not want to be taught, but did kindly get us some water to drink. Hallelujah! First item in the prayer. About half an hour later we found a Bolivian family of three, in which all accepted baptismal dates! God answers prayers, no matter how insignificant they may seem. We got water, and our elect family. Go team go.

Love ya!

(sorry, no description of pictures this week; posted by assistant bloggrandma, GJ)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Everything is Big in Itu

Only 2 months to go......


Bry with "Big" phone in Itu
Bry with the Brazilian version of Steve Carrel

Shout outs to
Dale Everett...Got your birthday card! Love it! So...shiny?
Grandmother and Papa Jim....Got your birthday card and Thanks for the letter.
Sean Layton & Nathan Rau...WELCOME HOME! See you in a couple months (it sounds so far away when you put it that way...but it is such a short time in mission terms)

Onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn to the week.
So, things have been great this past week. We had some awesome divisions out in the interior, and some good times preparing and giving the first of the three zone conferences. It has been a lot colder the past couple of days, with a good dose of rain as well. I was actually soaked today, and super cold. Nothing like a hot shower and sweat pants to make a cold day better.
Starting last Thursday, we had a division with Itu. Itu is this quirky town in the interior who's slogan is "Everything is big in Itu". They have got big street signs, big stop lights, big telephones, big everything. It is a fun place. Even better, there are lots of good Acai places to get your purple miracle berry fix. Awesome. Anyway, I spent the day out there with a Brazilian named Elder J. Silva. He is a great kid, in his own weird way. Actually, he looks remarkable like one of the monsters from Space Jam...but in a good way. I really like him, it was a fun day of mostly door knocking. What basically sums up the entire story was our first visit...we knocked on a door (actually it is more like clapping your hands outside the front gate) and a lady answered. We told her that we are true representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that we were sent to leave a blessing in her home and bring more happiness to her life and the lives of her family. She just said "of course!" And then invited us in. Turn out that her husband has been in recovery for the past five months from surgery on a brain tumor. He hasn't been doing too well. Immediately we read in Lucas 10, where it talks a little about our mission, and we then gave to him a health blessing, and then we offered a kneeling prayer with everyone present. The Holy Ghost was super present and it was a very spiritual thing. We then let them know that were were sent by God and that the power that we did the blessing by, the Melchizedek Priesthood, was restored in our days, as Christ called a prophet again to lead His church. It was awesome, they told us that they really wanted us to come back, and even gave us a reference of someone else to teach! Was awesome!

The next day was equally as cool.I had a division in Sorocaba, in an area called Santana, with Elder Chaves, Elder Perry's (my ex comp) current companion. Their area was a little down and not having much success. Somehow, during the day, we were able to mark three baptismal dates! It was incredible. The best lesson of all was actually on Saturday morning, when we went to teach an investigator, but he wasn't there. So, we decided to look for someone right around there, and we found this 20 year old single mother. We taught a great first lesson, but then the coolest think of all was the baptismal invite. We invited using Moroni 7:33-34, and then I bore my testimony to her about Christ, His gospel, and the importance of baptism. We asked "will you follow the example of Christ, being baptized?" She said "well, sounds like it will really help me out, yes, I want to be baptized". MIRACLE

Since then, the coolest thing was our pday today, where I was able to play basketball for the first time since I left the Missionary Training Center. It was tons of fun. Unfortunately, it was kind of raining and wet, but we were still able to play for a while. I was definitely a little rusty in the beginning, but I was able to find my groove after about 15 minutes. I am really looking forward to getting back to school and doing intramural sports....mostly flag football and soccer. Can't wait!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Red, White & Blue

It was a Happy Fourth of July here...we celebrated here by wearing red and blue ties, drawing an American Flag, singing the National Anthem, and just being proud of America on that Sunday. It was pretty fun. Elder Whitesides and I even sang the National Anthem at someone's house tht night. Unfortunately, there was nothing else of Americanness. I wish I could have seen some fun parade and more red, white and blue. Brazil does have a kind of Independance Day, but it isn't as widely celebrated...most people are just excited to have a day off of work. Not like it is a World Cup game or anything.
Speaking of the World Cup, Brazil is out of the World Cup! People were oh so sad here about it. The people on the streets were in terrible moods for the rest of the day...imagine being in the bad mood and hearing the Mormons knocking at your door. Oh well, we still had some success thought, marking a baptism date with an awesome couple that we were able to find out in Sorocaba on division.
Onnnnnn to the week.
Well, the past seven days have been full of roller coasters and unexpected things in the work. Elder Parsons and I have been getting our frequent-busrider miles as we constantly travel around doing our divisions. Last week we spent the weekend out in Sorocaba, in the Cerrado and Barcelona areas. The Cerrado day was very interesting, as that was the day the Brazil was lost and thrown out of the World Cup. It was nuts. During the game people were just screaming, loving life, so excited for Brazil to win and go on to the semis...however, those Dutch had another idea. That made the work extra fun, as I mentioned above, as people were extra irritable all day. When I would talk to people on the street they would just be like "look, today isn't a good day, just leave me alone" and would look at mee with a crazy look like they wanted to hit me just for looking like a Dutch person...stupid white skin! The next day was just a little bit better, but everyone was still in a general state of depression. The thing that got everybody happy again was that Argentina was CLOBBERED by Germany. Bazil hates Argentina like UW hates UO. Even much worse. It was a fun day though. I was able to go out with a Brazilian the first day, and an American the other.
During this week we also had our Mission Council, the time when all the Zone Leaders come to President's house and we have a meeting about the affairs of the mission, about where things are going, what needs to be changed, improved, etc. We talk a lot about teaching with the Holy Ghost through a few key things 1) Testifiying and sharing spiritiual experiences 2) Using the scriptures 3) Asking good questions and inviting people to participate in the lesson. 4) Help investigators make and keep commitments. All the zone leaders will be teaching about this at Zone Conference. The council was also lots of fun because Sister Cooley made cinamon rolls. and we took some fun pictures with the missionaries that are leaving the mission...OH TRUNKEZA!
In other news, I am fighting the trunky bug as most of my mission friends are going home, including two companions of mine (Elder Perry and Elder Parsons). The only companion of mine that is still going to be on the mission at that time will be Elder Schoen. Crazy.
Anyway, just trying to keep going hard at full tilt.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Talk About Intimidating

Pics. 2 year countdown.
Mom sent me a box of Mac & Cheese with my birthday package - Yum.
Kickin up my heels with Elder Parsons.
Lunch at Outback Steakhouse.
Really nice neighborhood in Sao Paulo suburb.

Reading about my friend, Jonathan's homecoming is really making me trunky and ready to come home. To make matters worse, my companion is in his last transfer. We went to the mall today and saw some of the sweet new technology and new movie promotions, plus we ate at Outback. It's okay though, I will survive. I just got to make it through this pday and I will be back to normal. Kudo's to Jonathan and Kevin for giving awesome homecoming talks. It makes me super happy to read about it.

onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn to the week.

We are getting ready for another transfer. My companion, Elder Parsons, has just entered into his last transfer on the mission! It is super trunky up in this joint. Don't worry, we still focus and we still work and all that...but our converstions tend to turn to going home more and more often. Even worse, I have been considered a part of his group ever since I got to the mission, since my group was very small, and it is going to hurt so bad to have to watch all of my best mission friends head to the airport on that van with me wtill waving goodby from the office. Oh well, still 5 weeks until that moment. It's nuts how fast time just goes by here on the mission though. Ridiculous!
This week we have been worrying most about the state of the mission and the impact of the World Cup. Luckily, the impact hasn't been super huge, yet, as most Brazilians are kind of down on the Brazilian tem this year. They always complain that the team doesn't have a couple of players that they wanted, so there was no way for Brazil to win the Cup. It is like us Americans saying that there is no way to win the Gold in the Olympics because Lebron James isn't playing...they forget that we still have all those other best players in the world. Anyways, work will probably start to get a little difficult as the cup winds down. Everyone here is super excited to see Germany vs Argentina game, and the Brazil vs. Holland game....definely HUUUUUGE games on the world stage.

Also we did a division this week in this place called Alphaville/Aldeia. I don't really know how to describe in words. Let's just say that I didn't feel like I was serving a mission in Brazil was so different! The best way to explain the place was like a mix of Park City with SoCal. That area is where some of the richest people in Sao Paulo live. It was all gated community, but I felt like I was back in the states. Tons of people spoke English, there were no gates or barbed wire surrounding the houses, most houses had lawns, etc. People were out walking their dogs. I was just dumbfounded! It was a way cool division though. I spend the day with a guy from Orem, UT named Elder Warner. He is about the most American looking guy on the mission. Six foot flat, blond, blue eyes, strong jaw, normal name is Steve...there is no fooling anybody. Anyways, it was great fun.

The coolest lesson of the day was with an older couple that is a reference from a Seventy. Yes, a General Authority's reference, he is the second counselor in the are presidency. Talk about intimidating. Anyway, we were teaching about the Gospel of Christ (Faith, Repentance, Baptism by immmersion for the remission of sins, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands, Endure to the end) it was going awesome. The spirit was super strong, there were understanding the purpose of the gospel, what faith and repentence are, everything. However, without going too much into details, by the end the man said "Look, I feel indebted to you guys, all the help that you have given us, but I don't think I will ever be baptized." A definite smack that came out of left field. Anyway, he went on talking about how he hadn't felt his answer yet about the Book of Mormon, and how he felt that he was betraying his old faith, etc. I looked him and his wife in the eyes and I asked "Do you want to know the truth? Really?" They replied that they did want to receive the answer about the Book of Mormon. So I said "I know that if you kneel right now and ask God with real intent, with a pure heart, with faith in Christ , you will receive your answer this very night" We then proceeded to have a kneeling prayer which he offered, we sang "Que Manha Maravillhosa" (The First Prayer), we left Moroni Chapter 10 for them to read, and then we just left without much of a word. It was one of the craziest experiences of my mission. I don't know if I have ever felt the spirit so strong and such a stonge prompting from the Holy Ghost. The mission never ceases to amaze me sometimes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Happy Briggsday!

Pics...Happy Briggsday! They couldn't figure out what all those letter meant, so instead of happy Bday Elder Briggs they wrote Happy Briggsdayt. Also some classic street decorations for the world cup.

So yes, I am 21 years old now. I told my president that I was going to be able to drink legally in the United States, and he just kind of rolled his eyes. Ha. Ha. Anyway, he and his wife bought me a can of soda as a joke. It was pretty funny. It was a pretty uneventful birthday other than that...the work must go on...right?
I am glad that my UW schedule has worked out. I am super stoked to have econ with Laura and physics with is going to help me out tons.
Big congrats to Kendyl...that is just crazy. She is married. And Kyle is getting married soon. And Lauren is going to have a baby? But, yes, give the biggest congrats to Marnie! Yes!!!! So awesome she is getting married. Hopefully there are some cute Seattle girls my age at the wedding.
I can't believe Jonathan is home already and can't wait to see pics. That is absolutely nuts! I want to hear all about the homecoming events. Nathan and Keven are home as well. And Sean gets back in a few weeks. Right? Just awesome.
Onnnnnnnn to the week.
Shout outs to all of you who wished me a happy birthday, especially to Amy Jones, Bre Aasland, and the Smiley Family that sent me big messages. Y'all Rock.
So, it has been a loooonnnnngggg time since my last email. We changed our pday to Saturday this week since Wednesday was transfers and is a day that we spend working and pretty busy. Everything went smoothly. So, all of last week was spent doing investigatory divisions to find out more stuff for transfers, and having the transfer meetings with the president to figure out what needed to be done on the mission. I will send a couple of pics.
The transfer meeting are pretty cool. We just start with a prayer and then we are off to the races. The process is different in almost every mission, according to every mission president. However, President Cooley has a pretty simple process...start at the top and work our way down. That means...replace the zone leaders, find your trainers, solf the problems, and then just go, filling in all the holes that were made. It sounds simple, but it can take foever. President usually asks for our advice, but always makes the final decision. It ended up pretty well. Definitely was a good transfer.
Since then, we have done just a couple more divisions, going to Pirituba and Osasco. It was pretty normal. Both days were spent in pure "finding" mode. That means that we didn't have a single appointment marked, and we had to find people to teach through our own creativity. So, we had fun just talking to everybody. It actually works out pretty well, and is a lot better than just knocking doors. We found a couple of really cool famiieis that are super interested in teh gospel . Both of the families were found in street contacts, where we just asked, could we go to your house now? And we did! Good good stuff. The also accepted baptismal dates and are now preparing to reach the waters of baptism.
I have alwas promised myself the entire mission that I couldn't start thinking much about going home until after my birthday...well, it passed! I am coming home in less thatn 3 months y'all! Just have an awesome summer vacation and then I am back in action!!!
(the y'all is coming from Bry's Texan companions...sorry for the delay in posting this, bry's p-day was delayed and we were in Seattle for his friend, Jonathan's "homecoming" from Brazil, and Kevin's homecoming from Florida- if it was a preview of what Bry's experience will be it was absolutely the date for September 19 so you can see Bry when he returns - Bry's Mom)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

World Cup & I'm Legal

Elder & Sister Araujo, President Cooley & Wife, Myself & Elder Parsons
Elder Parsons & Bryan (Turning 21 in 2 days!)

Ping Pong Set that mom sent being put to good use

Action shot - Elder Parsons camera fell while we were waiting for the countdown, elder Parsons is there already and the other Elder is trying to help, While me and Elder Mason are just laughing

So this past week has been pretty crazy. I am absolutely exhausted right now. Yesterday was probably the most tiring day I have ever experienced in my entire life. I felt like I wanted my soul to leave my body so that it could just sleep for hundreds of years. The reason why is that we finally got called in by the Brazilian Government to renew our Visas this week. However, there was a catch...we had to get up at 3 am to do it. So, we woke up early, got a van over to the police headquarters, and we waited for 4 hours, standing, outside, in the fridgid cold, for the place to open. Once we got in, we waited for about another 4-5 hours for everyone to get their fingers printed and visas renewed, along with the other hundreds of foreigners doing the same thing. Even better, we didn't eat breakfast or lunch during this entire time. I was soooo tired! Even worse than when I get up at 4am for cold duck least then you can dress for success with lots of long johns, mugs of cocoa and soup, and things to shoot. Anyway, it is all over now and I am offically legally allowed to stay in the country until September. Yee Haw!

The rest of the week has been pretty exciting. This week is the week of preparing for transfers. So, we have had more transfers meeting with the president and we will have another one on Monday. This transfer is especially stressful because we have tons of leaders leaving the mission. But, it will all work out fine. We will finish up the transfers the Monday after we go to the CTM to visit the new missionaries. I love that part.

We did some divisions this week too. The most exciting one was on Tuesday...the day of Brazil's first game in the World Cup. The World Cup has not been hintering missionary work too much so far. Usually, during all the other games, a lot of people are still on the street and going about their business. However, during the Brazil games, EVERYTHING STOPS. Work places are OBLIGATED to let their employees go home for the game. How is that for a crazy culture.

The day was spent with Elder Gratil, the only other American elder to go home with me in Septmeber. Ironically enough, this was the first time that I have ever worked with him on the mission. When we got to the mission field, it was the last time that we saw each other for NINE months. It was awesome. He has turned into an awesome leader and missionary. We taught some cool people, but during the game we had no other choice than to just go back to the mission office and wait out the game. Brazil won. We are all just hoping that Brazil never plays the USA, and then loses, cause then we will probably have to stay off the streets for a while.

U-S-A All the WAY.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Every Day Has It's Own Story.

Pics: Biggest box of Tic Tac's in the World!
World Cup Street Decorations

Bryan's birthday is June 22 - it's not too late to send a card and make his day - Bry's Mom
Got my birthday package, those homemade oreos are delicious and all the other stuff is a dream come true. So awesome that my packages arrive in 10 days instead of 2 months. I can't believe that everything is going so fast now.
As for the D&C tradition, yes, read D&C chapters backwards everyday counting down, I'm on section 99 now...hope you all can do it

Onnnnnnn to the week.
So the last week has been spent doing divisions. We did divisions with 3 zones in Sorocaba, and one companionship in a new area called Caieras. It went pretty well. Every day has its own story and all that. We went to Cerrado, Trujillo, and Santana. It was sweet! The best part of it all was that, in every division, we were able to mark baptismal dates. That's the funny thing about divisions, they require more faith...everything always seems to fall and we have to trust in the Lord and just keep going. This way, we usually find lots of really cool new people that want to be baptized. One of them, a 17 year old guy named Alisson (yes, "girl" name) was one of the most elect guys I have ever seen. He was invited by his girlfriend to her baptism, loved it, got some materials from the missionaries in that other neighborhood, and got in contact with the missionaries in Trujillo. When we got there, he told us about how he was changing his work hours so he didn't have to work Sunday, said he had read three chapters in the Book of Mormon already, and then asked us what he needed to do to prepare to be baptized. So incredible! I couldn't believe it. But yeah, definitely is already prepared...he just needs sto go to church a couple more times and then he is good to go. The other cool miracle was in Santan, where I was on division with my old companion Elder Perry. Everything fell, and we ended up just making contacts and following the spirit wherever it took us. Eventually, it took us over to this street where we just decided to knowck the doors of a really nice house. The people said they didn't have any time, but we asked them who they know that might want to hear about Christ. The little daughter (9 years oldish) said that we should go next door. So, we knocked, waited, and a 28 year old woman answered the door, came, opened the gate, and told us how she had found a Book of Mormon in the house, started to read it, and wanted to know what she needed to do to get another one to give to a friend. AWESOME. Another date marked.
Yesterday, we went to the new area of the mission, Caieiras. This place is fresh. No missionaries have ever worked there before. So, it was a cool experience. People were just staring us down in the street wondering who we were....made street contacts so much easier. I met lots of really cool people that were anxious for us to come over and talk to their families about Temple Sealings and Eternal Marraige. It was Way Cool. Plus, we were able to mark some baptismal dates out of nowhere. I love missionary work.
Well, I think that that's about it for the week. Right now I am in food high from the Iron Man Whopper from Burger King...It was the first time that I had onion rings since I came on the mission.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Saw the Duck

Pics - 4 of 5 missionaries from Washington serving in the Mission....Pic. Mission Councel...It was super cool this time because we have the goal in the mission of 30 baptisms a week. Last week we got it so we made some posters and bought chocalate for everyone. Pic. Elder holding a box of chocolate that we had modified (I did the design with words and paint)
I am super excited to get my birthday box, but I think my blog is broken. I am not getting many letters recently (except for the one from Makelle, thanks cuz!) O poor and lonesome me...I used to be the letter king on the mission! I guess that's what happens when you start getting close to the end and everyone will be home soon anyways. (PLEASE WRITE..., send a card, postcard...tell me what's happening out there in the US, I love any news from home)
Well, onnnnnnnnnn to the week.
This past week was pretty awesome. We had a couple of zone conferences with Elder Araujo of the Seventy. It was great! To tell the truth, we were kind of worried about the conference before hand because we had things that we thought the missionaries of the mission were really needing to learn and know, and we had no idea what Elder Araujo was going to talk about. However, God knows what he does. The conference was perfect! He hit every single topic that we wanted to hit...even in the minor details. He also taught everything in a way that was incredible, really, the best ways to teach obedience and missionary vision that I have ever heard. So yeah, it was sweeeeet.
The story of his that I liked best was about obedience and is called "Eu vi o pato" or "I saw the duck". Let me tell it.
So, two young children (you can imagine me and Kels when we were younger) were going to spend a couple of weeks out in the countryside with their Grandmother and Grandfather. It was going to be a splendid time. They got there and were greeted by the normal warm and welcoming arms of the Grandparents. Both Grandparents were especially excited to teach new skills to their future generation. On the first day, in the morning, Grandfather took his young grandson out to use a slingshot, while Grandmother taught her granddaughter how to make strawberry pie in the kitchen. Grandfather lined up a bunch of cans on a ledge and, showing his grandson the technique, shot each and every single one down. He then gave the slingshot to his grandson to try. But, try as he might, the grandson could not hit a single can. So his Grandfather encouraged him to keep on practicing until he got it right.
Throughout the entire morning her practice and, he got nothing. The afternoon, also nothing. Of course, the young child began to lose his patience and saw his grandmother's favorite duck waddling around and thought "I can't hit anything anyways", took aim, and BLAM! Hit the duck in the head, quickly killing it. The young child became petrified at the thought that he had killed his grandmother's favorite duck, so he quickly gathered it up and buried it under the nearby oak tree. At that moment, he heard everyone calling him for dinner, so, with sweaty palms, he took off and went to eat with everyone. It was a wonderful dinner, with everything that this younun like to eat. Hoever, in the middle of dinner, his grandma asked "has anyone seen my duck? I am quite worried and I haven't seen him for quite some time today."
Her grandson got nervous and said "Grandma, you know what ducks are like. They just start walking and walking and end up getting lost! That's probably what happened, he probably lost himself out in the fields. I bet he'll come back."
At that very moment, his little sister nudged him in the ribs and whispered into his ear "I saw the duck, and I know where it is now sleeping under the oak tree." You can just imagine the horror of the little boy at the thought of his loved grandmother finding out that he had killed her prized possession. They all quickly finished dinner and Grandfather said "Tonight, I will teach my grandson how to play chess."
Grandmother said "come help me wash the dishes my Granddaughter."
The little sister, with a gleam in her eye, said, "No, I want to play chess with Grandfather, my dear brother wants to wash the dishes." Her brother immediatly started to complain and then she whispered "I saw the duck." To his defeat, the brother dutifully went to wash dishes as his little sister went to play chess. This same event happend numerous times throughout the week as the little sister kept blackmailing her brother into doing stuff such as sweing, cleaning, etc.
Finally, at the end of the week, Grandfather was going to take the Grandson into town, when, again, the sister said "I saw the duck." However, the little boy was so sick of the week of blackmailing that he said "Enough! I don't care anymore! Grandma, I killed your duck. It was me! I was using the slingshot and I couldn't hit a single can. Then...first time, I killed your duck. Forgive me Grandma." His Grandmother replied, "Grandson, you know I love you much more than my duck. I know you killed him. I saw you kill him from the kitchen window and I watched as you buried him under the oak tree. I just wanted you to tell me and I wanted to see just how long you would let your little sister blackmail you throughout the week."

This happens in our own lives as we make mistakes, and naturally, we try to hide them right away. Satan, on the other hand, tries to take control of our lives by saying "I saw the duck" and blackmails us into doing his will. Heavenly Father, on the other hand, already knows and wants us to be free in our lives. Obedience is the first law in heaven. His commandments are not to restrict us, but to set us free. As we saw in the story, as soon as the boy confessed his mistake everything was forgiven, and he was able to have fun again.
Cool story huh? Obedience is something that I have really started to understand more as the mission went on and on....
We also did a division this past week in the Sao Paulo North Stake with Elder Pratt and Elder Viana. I stayed with Elder Pratt during the day and it was a lot of fun. We put our musical talents to use singing for people, playing the flute, etc. It brought some great spirit to our lessons and really helped us connect with people. However, the miracle of the day came at the end when we decided to get some acai (sound familiar?). There, I just started talking to the owner and his wife and things just went on from there. They were super impressed with the mission lifestyle and loved the message of the Restoration, even to the point of accepting baptismal dates! They are definitely an awesome couple.
After that, all our time was spent planning mission counsel. We had lots of material and we took a long time in our training. It actually ended up being awesome as all the zone leaders participated and spoke up and we got a great discussion going. We spent most of our time talking about finding people and how we need to open our mouths and speak to everyone, have faith to find, and work with the members. The coolest scripture that we shared was Doctrine & Covenants 35:12, which basically says that good people have been prepared by Heavenly Father to receive the "Fullness of (His) Gospel". It went super well. Everyone said it was the best ever. Even President Cooley gave us a congrats and said it was super good. There's nothing like a compliment from the President to make you feel good on the mission.
For some reason I have been singing a lot recently in my missionary work. It has really been working some miracles for us out here. You could even read Elder Parsons' blog (see link on my blog) for some of the other experiences. It's going great. The scar from last week is getting a lot better too. Now it is just to the level where you have to get pretty close to really see it. I'm thinking that I'm going to use it for dinner conversation during dates when I come home.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Please Send Birthday Letters

Make his day....Bryan's 21st Birthday is June 22, please take a moment to send him a note, birthday card or post card, and better yet - include a photo. 98 cent postage. Send to:
Elder S. Bryan Briggs
Missao Brasil Sao Paulo Norte
R. Dr. Rui Batista Pereira
165 Jardim Caxingui
Sao Paulo - SP 05517
These young women (including his sister, Kelsey on the upper left) are from his home ward in Bend, OR. Each girl wrote a note on the back and we are sending him the letters so he can put them up on his Birthday.

I got Clotheslined


Just call me Scar (from the Lion King) - story below

The chapel in Casa Verde with Sao Paulo looming behind

Acai...the miracle food that tastes oh so good.

Shout outs to: Elder your letter, sweet to see you are in training! Krispy Kreme Master...thanks for the email! Though yall had forgotten about me...just a friendly reminder, I get home on the 16th of September and I expect everyone to be at my welcome home talk on September 19th at the Church. Makelle....hey cuz! Got your letter! I will send one back asap. And don't worry, I will give you the inside scoop.

Side note...I don't know why I use yall so much these days. I think it's a variety of things

1)I had a Texan companion

2) My mission President is a retired farmer

3) there is no way for me to say voces (plural version of you in Portugese)

onnnnnnnnnnn to the week.

So there hasn't been a whole lot going on in the lasst week. Since we are going to host an area seventy for this zone conference, we haven't had to prepare any trainings to give. So, we have just been doing lots and lots of divisions. There have been some really successful ones too. For example, yesterday in casa verde (CTM) we were able to teach 15 lessons and mark 6 dates...and all before 7:30 pm! It was pretty sweet. A great division. Elder Nannanga and I went out and we knocked some doors on this weird random street. Our prior plan had actually fallen so we just went wandering until we found a street that just felt right. We taught some way cool people. The funniest lesson was with this old guy that was born into the Catholic church, but now has some really interesting views. When we first started talking he was like "well we all know that Christ was really quite a messmaker" we werre just dumbfounded. I said" actually, I have never heard that before. Prince of Peace is usually a more common term for him" but then he went on talking about how Christ was part of an anti-roman band and etc...ect...I thought it was funny because we know from the Bible that Christ even paid taxes to Caesar. Anyway, the lesson with him was sweet! When we got to the part about the restoration he was like "oh good, the earth really needed a prophet like the olden days" and then he went on to accept being baptized! Crazy. I wasn't expecting it at all. It started with us asking for a cup of water. Go Elders Go!

The other cool lesson was with a 15 year old that we met as he entered his house. We taught a super fast lesson about the gospel of Christ (Faith Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, Endure to the end) in about 45 seconds. We then invited him to be baptized and he was like, of course! So, we marked a date to come back and talk more with him and his family too. I didn't have any more Book of Mormons so I gave him one of our little books about the Law of Chastity. I figured his parents might dig that.

Today was temple day. It was awesome! There was a young couple going through so that they could be endowed and then receive eternal marraige! It is way cool that they can be together forever.

True love is like that.

Anyway, the temple was super spiritual today and I was able to receive some awesome answers to my prayers to know how to better help the mission. Plus I received some other spiritual confirmations.

God lives.

Jesus Christ is our Savior.

The Book of Mormon is true, and, accordingly, the Church is true too.

I already know that, but it is awesome having it reinforced every once and awhile by the Holy Ghost. I actually felt the described "burning in the bosom" today. Sweet.

However the story of the week.

I am going to take a note out of Dane Cook's book and say the basic end and go back through and tell the story.

I got clotheslined.

So, last week, on Wednesday night, a few elders came to the office to sleep over for the night to receive their new district leader training the following day. They came in from way out in Sorocaba (about a 2 hour bus ride). Wow, I just reallized how small my mission is. Anyways, they ended up getting in kind of late at about 10:25pm. So I just told them where they needed to go to sleep and then I went to bed (in the top bunk). There I was. Peaceful and snug as a clam in my top bunk bend in the 11pm darkness when I hear the piercing sound of an air horn. Yes, an AIR HORN. The type rednecks use at sporting events. I could not believe it. Immediatly I knew who it was...the younger companion of one of the new district leaders. Elder Alburquerque (yes, Bishop, his real name) yelled out the window "Elder ___ sotp it! Don't you realize what time it is? We have neighbors!" But, this Elder did not think of the noice or about the fancy neighborhood that we are in, and just kept honking away on that horn. Needless to say, I got angry. Both my comp and I jumped out of bed (yes, literally kamikaze-jumped off the top bunk in the pitch dark) and rushed out to stop him. As we ran through the kitchen we got to the outside door, which we had to unlock and then found, to our dismay, that it was stuck. Meanwhile Elder ____ just kept making noice and my comp and I were just panicing and getting even madder. We finally got the door open and sprinted down the outsize hallway. My slightly shorter companion rounded the corner and kept going to the back room.

I got clotheslined.

Literally, I was clotheslined by an actually clothesline. My understanding of the word has a whole new meaning! The clothesline got me at about eye level. First off, don't worry Mom, I'm all right. I just have a little scar now. I look like Scar from the Lion King. It is cool. It will be great dinner conversation on dates after the mission. Anyways, I was hit hard but I was so angry that I just kept going. We threw open the window, scolded the elder, and confiscated that nasty little airhorn. Poor kid, he doesn't seem to have all the nuts and bolts up top. Fun story huh? Really don't worry about my eye, it is completely alright.

Love Bry,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Double Whopper

Favella with Fancy Sao Paulo in the background
In Jd do Russo with Elder Barroso & Elder Maximiano
Pasta Primavera

FYI Bry's Birthday is coming up - this June 22nd. Please take a minute to send him a Birthday letter, card or postcard, it will make him so very happy (especially if you include a photo). Stamps are 98 cents. - Bry's Mom

Not a lot of things have been happening since last weeks transfers. Everything went pretty smoothly and the mission is up and running for the next 6 weeks.

The biggest changes happening is the weather - with it getting cooler and cooler and a lot more rain. Bad for working, awesome for sleeping. Unfortunately, the mission doesn't exactly give you the best sleeping opportunities. It rained a lot through the night and all morning. Right now the blue sky has broken out. Yippee!

So this past week has been, yep, you guessed it, more divisions. We are just chugging along, visiting the zone leaders and other missionaries. This past week we visited Jacana, Jardim do Russo and Pirituba. The first and the last are zone leader divisions, and they were good fun. I got to work with some good mission friends of mine and see who the work is going for them. We have recently really been emphasizing a special baptism invite (found in Preach My Gospel) and how to invite someone to baptism using the book of Mormon. (My favorite is Ether 4:17-19). It is awesome.

So we got to see how the zone leaders are incorporating these new things into their own teaching and within their zones. The other division in JD do Russo was a different one. We went there to see all of their 15 baptismal dates. And yes, they are all real. It was actually pretty impressive and we had a fun day. It was especially cool to be back in my zone (Jaragua) and see how those missionaries have progressed and made a difference in the area...because it wasn't going too well before.

I have learned how to make a couple of different dishes here in Brazile. They are as follows: Stroganofe (kind of like American, but I think it's better). Pasta Primavera (so good) and Frozne bought. Whenever we happen to not have a lunch date, that is what we end up out pretty well. Speaking of food, I just had an incredible experience today. There is a mall close to the office called the Shopping Eldorado. It is waaaaay nice. Best part, there are some American restaurants there (Applebees, Burger King, Pizza Hut, etc.) I had Burger King for the first time since I've left home. The double whopper was so good, it felt like a magical burst of celestial glory. Epic.

Then, we went and saw the theatre there. It is huge! And super nice. They don't just have the normal movie posters, but they have stands of movie posters with the trailer of that movie playing. This world has gotton so nuts since I've left home...I can't believe it. We ran into a member there and he said that this theater was nice, but that it wasn't anything like another one that was 20 minutes away. I think that should be on our list when our family comes back to visit.

Things are going great down here. Not much more to report.
Elder Bry

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The work never stops...


Newbies receiving their trainers

On Division in Barueri with Elder Mason & Elder Sena

Last weeks letter...(Mom blogger was out of town, sorry for the delay)
It was awsome calling home on Mother's Day, I love calling home (note, Bryan can only call home for 1 hour on Mother's Day and Christmas Day, so we have only talked to him 4 times during these 2 years) It is so weird to call home, it felt completely normal. I don't think I have completely realized that it is my last call home from Brazil before I home home. So strange. My life is that of a missionary now. That's it. It's is going to be awesome to come home, but I still have no idea how I am really going to react to returning. I'm stoked, it's going to be awesome. It is so wierd that I will be a 21 year old sophomore - just like my sister and her friends.
onnnnnnnnnnnto the week.
Things have been pretty hectic in the past week. Lot's of things happening every day. We did 3 divisions, had the call home on Sunday, visited the newbies (new missionaries) at the CTM (Mission training center), did some more trainings, emergency transfers, had transfers this morning, what a crazy week.

Our three divisions last week were in 3 places called Pirituba, Osasco, and Barueri. It went pretty welll. All Three nights we slept at the Pirituba house with Elder Fabian and Elder Little. It was fun, they are part of Elder Parsons' group. The days in the three areas all went pretty well. We spent most of the days contacting addresses gained from the street contacts and talking to people in the street. We had some success in all of them, finding some awesome new people that really want to know the truth of the Restored Gospel. It was fun. One really cool experience that we had was doing division with the zone leaders in Osasco. That stake has organized a cool english class system. Three times a week, the church has free english classes (and super well done) for anyone who would like to participate. There are over 400 students (from 8 years old to 80) going to the church regularly for these classes. The Elders take advantage of the opportunity and speak English with the students and also are able to get some addresses to visit and teach. Way cool. However the rest of the day was rough because of a sudden and torrential brazilian rainstorm that went into the night. The weather is starting to get colder here.

As for the newbies, it has been a lot of fun. It was so cool to go to the CTM to meet them all and bring them up to speed on the mission. We talked to theme about the mission rules, mission culture, and how to invite people to baptism. It was a great group with 5 American Elders, 3 Brazilian Elders, and one American Sister. We went there the next day to get them and they had an exciting day learning other rules and just waiting to meet their trainers this morning.

Also, another interesting thing that happened was planning transfers. The way it works is we have a couple meetings and use the Mission President's picture/area board to make the changes. Things are inspired by the President of changes to be made. He also wants our suggestions, and the suggestions offered by the zone leaders. Then, when it is all finished, we called Monday night to let everyone know if they are transferred or not and where they are going. Over the next day, however, a couple emergencies came up and we had to make a couple changes. One, which was good, was an elder that wanted to give up on the mission suddenly decided he wanted to stay after all. We then had to arrange things to find a spot for him. Then everyone arrived here at the office this morning at about nine am to meet their new companion and leave. Also at the same time, we had a new training that we made for the new trainers, and showed them the new missionaries and got them paired up. It's all very exciting and stressful. I am completely wiped out right now, just ready to sleep. However, we are leaving tonight to go out and do some more divisions. The work never stops.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dia das maes is the greatest!

Pics - not necessarily in the right order:) Jaragua with Rick, feijoada, complete with pig ears and feet...yum, Harley Davidson...just for Grandpa Chuck. Elder Bramwell and Elder a sweet training in Baptismal suits. Batismo e nois!

You should read some funny stories on Elder Parsons' blog every week it is
Things have been pretty tiring this past week. We did two more zone conferences, two more divisions, and a day of transfers. I am wiped. At least we actually got a p-day this week. So nice. I got to get my hair cut too! It was fun. It was this crazy maxon guy who just started asking us tons of questions. There seem to be a lot of masons here in Sao Paulo...I've never met one before back home. Maybe it is more of an East Coast thing than a West Coast thing.
We had two really good zone conferences again. As a treat Presidente took us out for McDonalds shakes! It was awesome. It is supper funny driving around with them in the car, they really remind me of you and Dad...but Presidente hasn't made Sister Cooley sit in the back seat yet. Anyway, all those conferences went well and now we are on to a different phase, transfers.
Transfers happen every six week - each missionary may change area's and companionships. We were in a meeting together for about 6 hours on Monday doing this. Things aren't done yet. Our next meeting will be this Monday after we go to the CTM to meet the new missionaries and choose their trainers. It is way cool how it is all done. Definitely revelation.

Other than that, we have gone on a couple more divisions. Saturday was way fun because it was in Jaragua! Go old area! It was great seeing the progression of some of my old investigators and baptisms. Most of them are doing great. They will have two baptisms this Saturday. So stoked! They are way solid people. One of them, Rick, is a 23 year old who is their neighbor! Of couse, if I were God, I would definitely put the elect next to the missionaries as well. Anyway he is way excited to be baptized and serve a mission. Go team go.
Also yesterday was a fun division in a place called Santana. It is a very well-to-do community in the northern part of Sao Paulo. It was great being out there with one of my best mission buds Elder Pratt (yes, great great grandson of Orson). He is a great missionary. Actually, I think he is writing Kels. Ha. Ha.
Having a good time and trying to relax and hang back today. We will be doing 3 more divisions this week. I can't wait for Sunday. Dia das maes is the greatest!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Music to a Missionaries Ears....

Pics: Me and Elder Borrego...he says "Hi Mom". Elder Albuquerque and Elder Whitesides in the office.

Shout out...Katrine, got the letter, will send one out. (Love to get letters!)

onnnn to the week
So, wow, my head is totally out of whack right now. The past week was spent in a few divisions out in the interior in Sorocaba again. Oh, coolest thing about that - there is an Elder Borrego in Rio Acima, Sorocaba whose Mom follows loyally the blog (Hi Mom Borrego). She even printed it out and sent it to him! It was funny. Anyway, he is a great Elder and I had fun on Division out there. I also did a division in my first zone....Trujillo. It was great to go back.
Best story was of a guy that just stopped us randomly on the street and asked us what we do. I went on explaining that we are representatives of Christ and that we hlep people become baptized, receive the Holy Ghost and endure to the end. He then started talking about his day of finding a new job and running into us and being happy. He said "I was already baptized, but I feel as if my baptism isn't worth there any way that I can be baptized again?" Music to missionary's ears. It was cool. We ran into a lot of other cool people the rest of the day. Great fun.
On Sunday, I was able to go out to lunch with Elder Schoen! It was super fun. We went to church with him (he baptized that week btw) and then went to lunch. Teh couple is young and super cool. The best part of all is that both of them speak english and they have family in the states and thusly, sweet hookups. Long story short, it was the first time I have eaten Ranch Dressing on the mission. Even better, it was Hidden Valley Ranch. Soooo good. Gosh, matou saudades.
Since then, we have been preparing pretty hard core our zone conferences here on the mission. We decided to do this sweet new thing where it is kind of a "workshop" instead of a powerpoint training. We set it up so that there would be 4 stations, each station being directed by the zone leaders, and that the missionaries would rotate. We had our first one yesterday and it went really well!
Some missionaries even commented about it being the best zone conference ever. So, hopefully we can duplicate the success tomorrow and friday with the other missionaries. That has been my life during the past week...preparing and giving conference, doing divisions, and meeting with the Prez.
Elder Bry