A new area, a prank, and learning Spanish

March 30, 2015

Opppaaa bom dia... Sounds like things are good in Slippery Rock. I was thinking about Elder Anderson the other day... wondering if he was still on the mission or if he had already gone home.. It seems like yesterday that he was just starting!! The time goes by so fast. I had wondered as well if you guys ever got my letter... sometimes I’m afraid to write letters... because who knows if they will arrive or not haha. (We just received a letter Tyler sent 3 months ago!) O and Elder Bishop trained one of my companions, Elder Imperador. He has about the same time as me on the mission. The world’s pretty small. This week I met a member in my new ward that served with Trevor Pearcy in Londrina, Brazil. 

So this week was eventful. Here we don’t exactly walk on the beach haha. We’re like half an hour from the beach (walking distance), but there’s one ward in the zone (stake) that has all the water front. So in reality only one area in the zone touches the beach, but the area is huge haha.

This week when I got here, my new companion, Elder Vallo, said we received a reference from a member in some street that I didn’t know, so we went there to see who it was. When we knocked on the door someone answered who didn’t have the same name as the reference, so we talked a little and asked if we could teach him about the gospel and he let us in. So we sat down with this guy and his cousin. They started telling us about themselves a little bit as we talked. One seemed like a perfect investigator and the other was atheist and apparently they were always fighting with each other because of their differences in beliefs. So as we taught over the course of about 15 minutes they started fighting with each other a little and then all of a sudden the one that said he believed in God pulled out a foot long knife from his shorts, hit it on the ground screaming, “I can’t take you anymore” and went over to his cousin and held it at his neck... and then they just started laughing... and I was kind of confused by this point, and the one guy looks at me and says, “Dude, I’m not atheist, I’m Mormon!” haha quite the joke to play on the new missionary in the area haha. Apparently they are recent converts of 2 weeks. So that was interesting. I think they’re going to try to do the prank again when another missionary comes to the area on exchanges, quite the experience. 

So as Zone Leaders, Elder Vallo and I go on exchanges 2 times a week. Once on Tuesday and once on Friday, at least this is the pattern. It’s a lot of exchanges haha. Quite different from where I was at in Parquelandia where our district was our companionship, 4 sisters, and the assistants that never had time for exchanges. This week I went on exchanges with Elder McReynolds who is one of my friends from the MTC. I met him in the Atlanta airport on the first day of the mission. He’s one of the other 3 Americans from my district in the MTC that are here in Fortaleza. So it was nice to see him again and be able to help him with the problems of missionary life. Also I’m starting to learn Spanish again. I’m going to start reading El Libro de Mormóm more. Actually, our whole house has begun to speak Spanish haha. The other 2 Americans that live with us also want to learn spanish, Elder Benitiz and Elder Alexander. O by the way, Elder Benitiz said his parents are from Puerto Rico and I think Dad passed in the area where his dad lived... Its like Ponce of something like that. I’m pretty sure it starts with a P and its close to the beach. 

So this week I’ll try to take some pictures cuz I’m going to go on an exchange in the area that’s by the beach. I hope Cole and Dad can manage to get the Mustang running and looking good. It must need a lot of work, but now that Dad has been released hopefully he has more time. Anyways, that’s about all I got. I hope you guys have a good week... Love you guys. 

-Élder Udy

Zone leader near the Beach

March 23, 2015

Hey... so I laughed a lot when I read that Jackson told May to just pick the NCAA teams that have better mascots, haha.. 

I can’t believe Peyton is going to South Dakota. I always here about missions in the US and before the mission I didn’t really want to serve in the US, but now it seems like it would be great. It's definitely different from Brazil, however with diligence and obedience and the Spirit, I believe any missionary can have success in converting people to the gospel. 

So this week is transfers.. I’m being transferred to be Zone Leader in the zone that is on the Beach. Zona Litoral. My New companion will be Elder Vallo. He’s from Argentina... I think this is his last transfer so hopefully he’s not trunky #BotaFogo He’s a good missionary though. I’ve known him for a while. There’s 22 missionaries in the zone, and they're all Elders! When there’s Sisters it’s more complicated because you can’t go on splits to help in the area or to help them with difficulties. 

So this week our baptism didn’t work out. We were focusing on the importance of the Book of Mormon a lot with our investigator. Anyone that reads that book with an open heart in the spirit of prayer will be converted. However, if someone doesn’t read it, conversion can turn into a slower process. So our investigator doesn’t really like to read much, so turns out he wasn’t ready this week for baptism, but hopefully soon he’ll be baptized with his mom as well.... That’s exciting what you said about the investigator.. you guys should watch the Restoration movie with her. We always watch one that’s like 20 minutes that the missionaries have here. Maybe she’s already watched it, but if not it’s always good to help people feel that this really is the church of Jesus Christ. 

So I don’t really have much to say today, but I should have more to say next week because everything will be new. Anyways, I hope you guys have a good week.  Até próxima semana. Amo vocês! Tchau!

Élder Udy

Preparing for a baptism

March 16, 2015

Ward activity
Dad’s really getting more photogenic over the years. I’ve never seen such a natural smile on him like in that picture haha. Sounds like you guys are having fun with lots of activities and things going on in the house. That’s exciting that the missionaries have an investigator that is progressing. What did she say when they invited her to be baptized??? Hopefully she’s gaining a testimony. 

So next week is transfers. I can’t believe I only have 5 more transfers on the mission!

...It seems like here in the ward they like to ask the missionaries last minute to give talks haha. They asked Élder Tamanho last week when he got to church to give a talk just like they asked me a month or so ago. And they asked Élder Millett to prepare a talk Saturday night for Sunday (yesterday) haha. So now it must be Élder McDaniels turn. I just think about how you used to not like how the Branch Presidency asked people to talk the Wednesday before Sunday... but at least that’s better than the Saturday before Sunday... or the hour before sacrament meeting haha.

So this week we are planning on having a baptism. He is a 16 year old kid who is a friend of the couple that was baptized last week. The other day we were teaching him and some of the people that live in his little alleyway came to listen as well. We watched the 20 minute film of the restoration, and we were talking about how the true church and gospel was restored.  One lady that was there listening started to bare her testimony about how she knows the church is true. She said "If you look around you’ll notice that this is the only church that has 12 apostles just like Jesus established. So this is the true church" (keeping in mind that we hadn’t taught about the restoration or the 12 apostles yet.) Of course just because a church claims to have 12 apostles doesn’t make is stand out so clearly to everyone as the true church, but we thought it was interesting how everyone we were teaching seemed to have a testimony, even though small, about the truths we were teaching. 

So this week we´ll be preparing “D” for his baptism. But, that’s about all I got for now. Hope everything’s going well in the home land. Have a good week! Love you guys.

-Élder Udy

This week I learned an important lesson

March 9, 2015

I’m glad to hear that everyone still thinks of me in good ol Slippery Rock. Sounds like Cole is still the same as he was when I left haha. I laughed as I read about the snow camp out that they have these days haha. I’ll always remember when Dustin Goetman and I dragged the other leader’s “house” to our camp a mile away on little toy sleds... in the middle of a blizzard haha... and when I woke up I had to heat my boots on the fire because they were frozen solid haha. Those were the days, but I’m sure it’s nice to have a cabin with 7 bedrooms with heaters and with Bed and Breakfast as well haha. 

So this week there were 3 people baptized. We had planned K and T’s marriage and then their baptism after, however when our investigator, who had been reading the Book of Mormon everyday since we last saw her, found out there would be a baptism this week, she asked to be baptized sooner.. so that’s not something you hear everyday on the mission... but we worked it out, and she was so excited. I’ll send some pictures afterwards of the marriage and baptism. It was lots of work to get all the documents right and everything, but it all worked out :) 

Some of the members gave them church clothes, and they were so happy on Sunday to be confirmed as members and to have church clothes as well. One of their neighbors went to watch their baptism and loved it, and now we’re working with him so he can be baptized soon as well. The happiness we feel as missionaries is really incomparable when we help a family enter into the covenant of baptism and set goals to enter into the temple to be sealed. 

This week as well I learned an important lesson while we were preparing the sacrament on Sunday. Usually we don’t prepare the sacrament on Sunday, but we got there early and one of the 18 year olds form our ward was preparing it alone, so we went to help him. He’s a recent convert of 11 months. 11 months ago him, his 2 brothers, and his parents were baptized. So we were setting up all the trays and putting the little plastic cups in the water tray, and when we finished the young man we were helping went over to the kitchen door, closed it and locked it. Elder McDaniel and I kind of wondered why he closed the door like that, but we didn’t think much of it. Then he kneeled down and just kind of waited for us to kneel down as well. Humbly we kneeled down to join him, and he offered a prayer of gratitude for the privilege we have to prepare the holy sacrament and asked that the Lord would bless our hands and the bread and water. I immediately remembered so many times that Dad had told us that we should arrive at 9:30 at the church to have the sacrament all ready by 9:50. I think we often forget, or maybe it’s not even possible to fully comprehend, the sacredness of the Lord’s doings in His church. I learned a lesson that what happens in the Lord’s church Sunday morning, especially the preparing, blessing, and partaking of the sacrament, is holy and we should always remember to treat these things with the highest respect. 

So I’ll send some pictures right now so I don’t forget.. because that seems to happen a lot. Have a good week. Amo vocês!

Élder Udy

We had a mission conference

March 2, 2015

Sounds like Cole is getting bigger.  I want to see the videos of them skiing, but  I’ll just have to wait a few more months. I can’t believe its already March. The second year of the mission is going by so fast. I’ve already been out for 1 year and 4 months! So much left to do and so many things to learn. 

So I’m glad BYU won against Gonzaga. I think the loudest place I’ve ever been in my life was in the Marriott Center watching the BYU Gonzaga game (2 years ago) #Hypeee So anyways.. This week was really good. We had a mission conference again with half of the mission and I think we felt more hype while we were there than I felt watching the BYU Gonzaga game 2 years ago. This week after the conference we were determined that we were going to find more people to baptize. We were planning one night, and we decided that we would pass by one of our past investigator’s home in the area, if time permitted. So the next day it worked out, and we went to teach this lady again. When we got there to teach her, we found out that she had been reading the Book of Mormon, 1 chapter per day, ever since we stopped teaching her about 2 months ago. She is now in Mosiah, and as we started the lesson we found out that she has begun to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, that it is true, and then we helped her to understand that this means as well that Joseph Smith was a Prophet sent from God to restore the church of Jesus Christ, and that she has to be baptized to enter into the kingdom of God. She understood everything with the help of the Holy Ghost and accepted to be baptized on the 14th.

While we were at the conference, one of the sister missionaries had prepared a brief talk about Joseph Smith. She seemed to know every detail of his life and at what date they all occurred. Her testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith was so strong, and at the end of the talk she said, "Every member of this church should have a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. Every. Single. Member." The truthfulness of our religion depends on the fact that he was a true prophet and his successors really are true prophets of God. So this week we’ve been testifying to our investigators with boldness that he was a prophet, that this is the true church of Jesus Christ, and that we need to be baptized by someone holding authority to enter into God’s kingdom. 

It seems like God always has miracles waiting for us if we just have enough faith to continue even when it seems like things aren’t going to work out....  So that’s about all I got today. Have a good week :) Love You guys!

Elder Udy