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!