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