This week I got the package!

November 24, 2014

So I decided to send all the pictures in the beginning this week, so I wouldn’t run out of time in the end haha... 
Baptism this week
Burning brush in member's backyard...not a good idea...too much smoke

Bee nest we knocked down
Coconut tree
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Shirt I made for 1 year anniversary
Drawing of me and all my compaions
Elder Imerador ready to burn his tie to mark 6 months anniversary
Tie burning

So for Christmas this year President Bonini wants us to skype on the P-Day before Christmas so that would be the 22nd... 10:00am Fortaleza time. So let me know if that works for you guys or not. If not we can work something out. 

I liked the story about Coach Rhoads and re-living the glory days of 7th grade baskebtall... I can’t believe Jence is playing handball now, haha that’d be pretty sweet to watch her if they make it to the olympics. And our ward mission leader was talking about the 3rd Hunger Games movie that came out.. and I started thinking about how I couldn’t even watch the 2nd one when it came out because I was already on the mish haha, It’s been a while. But I’m excited to watch them all when I get back #trunkyness

Sounds like Thanksgiving will be quite the party.. our Zone Leader, who went home last week, talked about Thanksgiving just about every time I talked to him, haha. Here in Brazil they have a holiday for just about everything you can think of... they even have a kids day where you buy your kids presents! (I always wondered why we don’t have this in the United States)... however, the festivities and fun of Thanksgiving don’t exist here.

So this week I got the package! It got from the United States and into my hands in less than a month! Elder Imperador likes his new shirt (BYU)... I had to open the package, I couldn’t wait... Elder Hodge tried to convince me to leave it under the tree until the 25th, but we resolved to just put everything that was wrapped  under the tree... and the stockings as well. However, I had to open up at least something in that first day, so I opened up that book of stories told by the general authorities through the years (It is Better to Look Up) and Elder Hodge already read the whole book! haha 

So this week we’ve been creating a ward mission plan with our ward mission leader. A plan that has specific action and specific follow up. Our bishop is going to invite the mission president to talk in a fireside to the ward where our ward mission leader will present the plan to the ward with specifics about how and what everyone will do and the mission president will inspire everyone to do it. We hope that he´ll be free on that day but we´ll see what happens. A week ago (P Night) we started teaching our bishop’s sister who’s going to live here in the ward. She’s not a member, but all her brothers and sisters are, and now she’s coming to church with her fiance who was baptized a few months ago. In the first visit with her, we taught her about the restoration and the blessings of baptism by the restored priesthood. She agreed to read the Book of Mormon, search for her own personal confirmation, and be baptized this Saturday. So yesterday was the first day we were able to return to teach her again. She said she had been praying to know if the Book of Mormon was true and one night she had a dream where Elder Imperador and I appeared in front of her house to talk with her. As we talked she felt something touching her heart and she said she heard an angel saying that this was her answer she was searching for, but there were still other things that would be made known unto her. It’s amazing to see God’s hand confirming to others that this is the truth, and that they should be baptized. Her baptism is marked for this Sunday morning and the confirmation afterwards during sacrament. 

I don’t have time to write more but hope you guys have a good week. Don’t forget to read the Ensign this week! Elder Neil L Anderson told us that the conference Ensign should sit right next to our scriptures in importance for these next 6 months until new revelation is given by the living prophets. Hope you guys have a good week and enjoy the cold! Here it’s hot all the time. Have a good week! Love You guys! 

Élder Udy

We had our mission conference

Nov. 17, 2014

     Oi... So this week was transfers... but all 4 of us are staying here in Guadalajara! So now I’m in my 4th transfer here... however there will be a lot of missionaries leaving the mission on the 15th of December so there will be basically.. an expected emergency transfer... so we’ll see what happens. I can’t believe Slippery Rock lost to Hickory! Seems like they can never manage to make it to state playoffs.. however basketball will be starting soon... maybe the basketball team will have success this year :) 
     So this week we had our mission conference with half the mission. Since our new mission president changed some rules in the mission (like district meeting with only your own district and not being able to watch Disney movies on p-day), of course there’s some missionaries and members who say that there are an extreme amount of rules, and they’re not big fans. However, during the conference President Bonini talked to us and expressed his feelings to us about how we are here to please the Lord... and not members, missionaries or anyone else. I felt grateful to know that my mission president isn’t worried about pleasing men, but is devoted in his calling to serve the Lord. Do what the Lord wants him to do. He inspires us to always do what will please the Lord instead of what will please others... because a lot of the time... most of the time.. desires of men aren’t the desires of the Lord. He cited some parts of the general conference talk "Which Way do you Face" and explained how we are here to please the Lord and to do his will.

     Unfortunately this week’s baptism was postponed, but this Saturday will be the baptism and hopefully the weeks that follow as well. We hope to baptize in all the coming weeks... and especially Christmas week. This week we were able to meet and teach lots of new families.. and parents that are already married! I was reading a talk from President Monson, I think, last week where he talked about a general authority that went to some mission, I don’t know which... and interviewed some of the missionaries. One of the missionaries he interviewed had great success on the mission, and the general authority asked him "I suppose most of the people you’ve baptized here have come from references from the members." .... and the missionary responded... "Actually everyone me and my companion baptized we found while we knocked doors"... so the general authority asked him "What did you do different then the other missionaries to have so much success" ... the missionary responded "Every person I met in every door I tried to baptize. Even if they were smoking or drinking, I imagined the blessings they could receive from being baptized and entering in the temple." He went on to say "When I looked at people this way, I could bare a powerful testimony of the gospel and how it would bless their life" ..He was optimistic, diligent and bore powerful testimony.

     These are 3 things that we applied this week and saw a difference in our results... when appointments fell through, we would knock on the door of the neighbor.. and if that one fell through, we went to the other neighbor knowing that some family would accept. President Monson taught in the same talk that we have a "Responsibility" to see our family and friends as they can become. I am discovering that is a key for missionaries and members in helping the Lord bring others to his true church. If we see those around us in the way they can become and think about the blessings they can receive, blessings of eternal life and exaltation, we will have an increased desire to help them, even when they don’t seem to have much desire to help themselves. However, sooner or later, we will find someone that will want that help, and we will be blessed for our diligent service. 
     I’ll send some pictures from the last week. Hope everything’s good back in good ol PA. Hope Cole is excited to drive soon! Have a good week.. thx for the email :) Love you guys. 
--Elder Udy

We had a service project on my 1 year anniversary

November 10, 2014

Oi, tudo bem?? This week we had a service project on my 1 year anniversary that was pretty wild. Elder Hodge had the idea of helping one of the recent converts clean up her back yard... so Thursday morning we went over to help her. His idea was to clean up all the weeds and leaves. There were... a lot... and make a big pile in the back of the back yard.. and burn them all... the only problem is that we are in the middle of a city... it’s not like good ol' Slippery Rock where you can burn whatever you want and no one will mind. So we started to burn the weeds on the command of the member that was helping us... and we found out that all the neighbors in the area are old and already have trouble breathing... just imagine when the smoke started to enter into their back yards. So the project didn’t really go as well as planned...

 but on the bright side, we did end up cleaning the back yard up alot... and she has a coconut tree... I think I drank 5 coconuts. 

So that night we went to Cezar’s house to burn a shirt and Elder Imperador will have 6 months soon so he decided to burn a tie with me... I designed all my companions on the back of the shirt... I almost decided to keep it because I liked it so much. Of course we had to drink Coke as well.. Here in Brazil (Fortaleza) everyone has a weird obsession with Coke. It’s like the grass water (from Cuiabá) of the north east. Everyone loves it. I’ll send some pictures of the shirt.

I always new Brandon Davies was an animal! Everyone always talked about how they didn’t like him, but now he’s starting in the NBA, haha. Sounds like the young men had a good activity... it’s always good when the branch president or bishop is present. Here our bishop has the problem that he has no time... so he’s almost never able to be present in anything except interviews and church. It makes a huge difference for the members when the bishop is present because they feel his love and concern for them. 

So the two brothers didn’t get baptized yet.. hopefully this week. We just have to prepare them a little more for the baptism. Next P-day I’ll know if I’m being transferred or not... it’s pretty likely that I will be because I’ve been with Elder Imperador 2 transfers already and in area 3, but you never know haha. I don’t have much time but I’ll send some pictures of this week. Have a good week. Love you guys. I’ll try to send more next week.

-Élder Udy

P.S. Thanks for the addresses and other stuff... o and for future reference, the secretary of the mission said that sometimes Brazil is taxing up to 600 reais ($200) if they discover something expensive is in the package that isn’t written on the label.. so he said not to send things that are very expensive... thanks for everything, have a good week!!

Don't drink the water!

Nov. 3, 2014

     Mom, sounds like Halloween was fun... someone’s got to keep up all the traditions haha.... 6 pumpkins all by yourself. Here we have Halloween, kind of. Its called Day of the Witches... but no one dresses up or does anything cool like Trick or Treat... it’s just another hallow day they have here in Brazil.... they have a lot here haha. I can’t believe I’ve been here for a year already! I’m going to celebrate on the 6th with our district and some of the members... I’ll take pictures and send them to you guys in the next week.
     So we bought a Christmas tree last week...

I never thought I’d see a Christmas tree so beautiful in a missionary’s house. I still remember that little tree.. like 6 inches tall.. that the Elders had in Slippery Rock one year for Christmas haha...  
          I feel your pain with the sickness.. I got sick this week too, but I’m better now... here in the mission we usually don’t go to the doctor though unless we’re on the verge of death... all the members think the missionaries are crazy, but its worked until now. This week one day we decided to visit one of our bishop’s counselors one day. So when we got to his house, naturally he asked us if we wanted a cup of water... and naturally as missionaries we accepted. The only problem is that these members drink the tap water, and Elder Imperador didn’t know when he accepted... we were both really thirsty. So the member brought out 2 litters of refrigerated tap water. You know what they say about the water in Brazil... but I didn’t really care.. I figured after a year I’d become used to the water and could drink it without worrying... so i drank about 1 liter of the water... and for the next 5 days I came to the conclusion that Americans weren’t built to drink the water in Brazil... Brazilian missionaries don’t even drink the water! haha just the members here.. but Brazilian missionaries no. But I wasn’t too sick and got better fast. I wanted to drink a lot in the members house because we didn’t have water in our house... the place where we always ask for water ran out... sometimes we have to boil water and refrigerate it to have water to drink haha.... water’s pretty rough in this area.
     So last week we found a less active mom with 3 kids... I don’t remember if I wrote about them or not... but the 2 older ones are 11 and 14... and are going to get baptized.... this week while we were in church in fast and testimony meeting the younger one wanted to bear his testimony.. so he opened up to a scripture I had showed him about baptism in 3 Nephi 11:33 that says he who is baptized will inherit the kingdom of God... and he went up and shared the scripture with the ward and talked about the baptism haha, These two brothers have been going to all the activities.. mutual, seminary, Sunday meeting, morning and night.. once I asked him what he wants to do when he gets older and he said he wants to be a missionary like us haha. So anyways that’s about all I got for this week.... by the way.. next time you order a pizza be grateful that it makes it to your house every time because here we order a pizza and they say it’ll take 30 minutes and after an hour we call them asking about our pizza and they say it’s already left and when it finally gets to our apartment at 11, after 2 hours of waiting, we’re already asleep haha... who knew it would be so hard just to order pizza. 
     So anyways hope you guys have a good week. Hopefully you’re feeling better. Don’t forget to celebrate on Thursday for my 1 year mark #tranqueza love you guys! Have a good week.  Tenha uma boa semana! 

-Elder Udy