I have more certainty than I've ever had that God lives and answers all our prayers

June 29, 2015

Sounds like life’s good at home. I can’t believe Cole got such a good deal! Who was it that interviewed him?? I knew there were better jobs in life than working at Oakview for minimum wage, however Cole will be folding clothes instead of doing man’s work. I’m sure he´ll like it there. It’ll be nice to buy clothes from him at the Nike outlet, haha. Is Cole excited to be moving? Probably not.. but he´ll be going on his mission soon and off to college anyway. Sounds like Jackson and May are enjoying the married life and finding fun things to do in Utah. I still want to know if Jackson’s going to sell his car to me when I get home :) I liked the picture of Ben’s daughter in the Mustang too, haha. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a little blonde girl like her haha. Hopefully you get better from you black eye, Mom. I was remembering the other day when I hit Cole in the eye with that stick and he went to school, I think it was the first day of school, with a black eye haha. 

So this week was really great. Israel and his less active friend that’s been going to church with him for 6 weeks  received the priesthood, and I had the opportunity to give the priesthood to Israel which was cool because I’ve never done that before. This week they’re going to get some church clothes so he will be able to pass the sacrament next week. It’s great to see the progress of the recent converts. Also, this last week we decided to have a fast on Tuesday to find some golden investigators. So we started looking and talking to everyone and after teaching one lady who just about punched us when we told he about the first vision, we found a 19 year old guy that was sitting on his door step reading the Bible. We went over to him and started talking to him about what he was reading. He said he wanted to read because he worries about his salvation, and then we started to teach him about salvation. We soon entered and discovered that in his house lives a family of 6 people. After teaching them for one week, 3 of them went to church this week, J (19 years old), M (23 years old) and D (13 years old) and they’re getting ready to be baptized this Sunday. D was really ready to be taught. Before we even taught him his Mom told us how D had told her that he wants to be baptized, before we even taught him! We hope to see the whole family at church this week and to start working on the parent’s marriage so they can be baptized as well. 

So to help them feel welcome in the ward we organized with all the organizations (Elders Quorum, Relief Society, and YM) to pass by their house this week to visit them/ invite them to mutual or what not. All the members were excited to help and to see the ward grow.

... Satan really is the father of lies as it says in 2 Nephi 2:18. He makes people, especially youth, believe in various theories about the existence of God and the truthfulness of the church. I´ve already seen multiple friends of mine from BYU fall away from the church because of doubts that turn into barriers for their spiritual growth, and I remember a talk that Jeffery R Holland gave https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/lord-i-believe?lang=eng, I think its called "Lord I Believe" when he says that we should always recognize what we already do know to help us discover what we don’t know yet. He says leading with our unbelief is like stuffing a turkey through the beak, haha. Everyone has doubts and everyone falls down every once in a while, but this must be one of the reasons that we have families in this life. To help us get back up and reach exaltation. This week on my mission I have more certainty than I have ever had that God lives and hears all of our prayers and that the Atonement is very real. I saw it this week change a family in 5 days from breaking all kinds of commandments to being ready to be baptized. No normal worldly influence could have made them change if not the Spirit made possible through the Atonement. I feel the power of God as I study and teach. It is all so real to me this week. Satan wants to trick everyone, but we have our families to help us. 

Well I don’t have much more time, but I hope you guys have a good week. Don’t forget to buy pizza for the missionaries :) haha Love you guys and hope your eye gets better!

-Élder Udy   

Crazy how small the world can be

June 22, 2015

Cole finally got a smart phone! Its about time, haha. Even here in Brazil where phones are about 6 times more expensive, everyone has smart phones, haha. Sounds like Dad’s really living the life there without a job, haha, it’s like a mini retirement, so has it been decided where he’s going to work?? Is it going to be in Washington for sure?? The Cavs lost??? Everyone here was telling me they won?? But then again no one in Brazil even watches the NBA haha at least not here in the north western part of Brazil. I met a guy this week who is less active, he is 19, who plays like semi professional travel basketball here.. I don’t really understand the system, but he travels all over the state, and we were going to plan at church to play today during our p-day... however he didn’t go to church  -_- so the plans didn’t go too well, haha. But one of these days it’ll work out. I can’t believe the Cabin has a toilet now! Chique! I miss the good ol cabin. I feel like I haven’t been there for 5 years. 

This week we had our mission Leadership Council which is always quite the experience. We talked more about following up and after the council this Sunday I was seeing how these things that we learn on the mission apply in all parts of life. While we were at leadership council we talked about faith and miracles. Then while we were talking, someone entered into the church and Sister Bonini and one of the Assistants went to talk to him as we continued the training in the chapel. When they came back they told us what happened. A man was there and he said that he had always wanted to enter into this church, but it was always closed so he never entered. He lived on the other side of the road. They then told him about how the church was the restored church of Jesus Christ and about how his family should be baptized and he said he would come back on Sunday, and they invited him to be baptized in 3 weeks and he accepted and said he'll bring his whole family! 

Also, this week we learned about teaching by the Spirit. In D&C 42:14 it says that if we don’t receive the Spirit we "shall not teach" and many times many members and missionaries think this means that we aren’t allowed to teach if we aren’t feeling the Spirit. However, that’s not what it’s saying. It’s saying that we don’t have the capacity to teach the gospel without the Spirit. We preach the gospel, but never teach. The spirit teaches. So if we don’t have the Spirit the person WON’T be taught. It’s the Spirit that changes the person. So our most important role as instructors isn’t to perfectly explain apostasy and the components of the church, but our most important role is to make sure the person being taught feels the Spirit and is moved by the Spirit. 

Also this week was Israel’s baptism. I’ll send a picture to you guys.

You don’t need to send a package for my birthday, but I'll accept presents in October :) haha Have a good week. Love you guys.

--Elder Udy

P.S. I forgot to say that this week I was waiting at a bus stop to get on the bus during splits and there was a guy that looked at me and said, “Elder Udy, I met an Elder Udy in my mission.  I think he’s your brother!”  His name on the mission, I think, was Elder Martins and he’s been home for only 3 months.  I think he lived with Jackson when Jackson was ending his mission, and Elder Martins was just starting.  Pretty crazy how small the world can be.

Faith can bring power from heaven

June 15, 2015

So sounds like your week was pretty exciting. Is there anyone in the family that’s not married yet?? haha Seems like everyone’s getting married while I’ve been on the mission. That’s exciting that most of the family was able to go to Heather’s wedding. I miss being in the temple. I’m sure it was great for everyone to be there together.

Here our week was great. We’re planning Israel’s baptism for next week and finding lots of people to teach. Here in Fortaleza the people are very receptive.  Here you can talk to anyone in the street and they’ll be happy to have you visit them in their house and talk about "the Word of God.” My new companion Elder Menezes is great. He´s really dedicated. He’s from São Paulo and arrived from the CTM into the mission with me. He’s really excited to do everything he can to help the zone baptize more. This week we’re planning on having 10 baptism in the zone. 7 of the 9 companionships will have baptisms! 

This week I read a talk called "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" by Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy. www.lds.org/new-era/1982/10/faith-in-the-lord-jesus-christ?lang=eng It's kind of old. I think he gave it in the 80s but it changed my attitude about what faith really is and how it works. How faith can bring power from heaven into our lives and those of the people around us to help us pursue our righteous desires. 

So I don’t have much time, but I’ll write more about how this talk made a difference in my mission next week. But, I hope you guys have a good week and that Cole has a good birthday! Sounds like he’s been enjoying his time with Dad and his friends.  I hope you guys have a good week. Love you guys! I'll send a picture of me and Elder Menezes. Boa Semana!!!

-Élder Udy

My new companion is Elder Menezes

June 8, 2015

Mom, I hope you had a good birthday! I felt the desire to drink a cold Pepsi on the deck when you said that’s what you were doing... And it sounds like Cole’s feeling my (summer job hunting) pain. Tell him to just create I-phone apps to make a living :) or mow laws, maybe he can go door to door selling his lawn mowing service or do something creative because everyone wants to make more than minimum wage. 

So this week (tomorrow) I’ll get my new companion, Élder Menezes (o cara). Everyone loves him. This is going to be his first area as zone leader. I Think we arrived in the mission on the same day, but I’m not really sure because there were like 40 people that got here on that day, and I was extremely confused the whole day, haha. But I’m really excited to be his companion. It’s going to be a great transfer. 

This morning I was reading the Liahona (conference Ensign) that we got this week. I was reading some of the parts that talk about the family because we are teaching one family about marriage that went to church this week and love the church and have been together for 23 years and still haven’t gotten married!! They want to get married, but he has to get a day off from work to be able to go downtown to schedule the marriage. Also, we are teaching another family, well mostly just their son that’s been to church 3 times now, and while we were talking with the family yesterday they started telling us how hard it is for them to raise their kids. As they were telling us about their problems, I just kept thinking about how the gospel could be an answer to their problems... As we talked to them the other day they started to like what we were saying, and they said that they are going to go to church. As we were walking home I thought about how we could pick some parts from the talks of the living apostles for them to apply in their lives and learn for themselves that these men are true apostles, and that the church is true. I decided on a talk from Quinten L Cook from the conference, The Lord is my Light (see link below).

Also this week a lady that used to live in our ward came to visit. She moved to another city a few years ago, but she is one of the first members of Fortaleza. She was baptized about 30 years ago, and I was so amazed at how she really lives what it means to be a member missionary. She talks about the gospel wherever she’s at and she does it in a way that people like to hear. Because of her devotion to being a member missionary and being obedient to God, she has the Spirit so strong with her. She taught a lesson with us and her testimony made the investigators really feel the Spirit. Members can make all the difference. I learned that a member can always have the Spirit with him or her if he or she strives with real intent to keep the commandments and share the gospel with anyone that’s receptive. She said she asks people on the bus or in any place, “Are you religious? Would you like to visit a church that is marvelous?” And she just converses with the people. I want to be like her after the mission. 

Well, that’s about all I got today. I’ll try to send some pictures.  Have a good week. Love you guys! 

Elder Moroni and Elder Alexander before they go home

-Élder Udy

With the help of the Lord, all things are possible

June 1, 2015

So today we went to downtown Fortaleza for Elder Moroni, so he could buy things for his family. I had to really focus so that I didn’t get truncky while we were there, haha. I don’t think my next companion will be in his last transfer, so hopefully I’ll be able to avoid these problems of tranqueza.

So this is the last week of this transfer.  It is only 5 weeks. The time goes by so fast! This week this 13 year old kid came to church all by himself, and he went to play soccer at the church with the young men during the week too all by himself, and we were pretty happy to see that because usually no one does these things completely on their own.  After he went to church he said to us, “I decided that this is the church that I’m going to continue going to for sure.”  He was even asking the members at church how baptism works and what he has to do to be baptized!  His baptism will be the 14th this month. This week we’re going to have to talk to eevverrryyy onnnneeee to find some new investigators to baptize, but with the help of the Lord all things are possible. 

I’m glad to hear that Grandma and Grandpa are back at home. I’m sure Grandpa was getting tired of sleeping in a chair. But anyways, I don’t really have much time today because we had to go downtown, and it took a while. But I’ll write more next week :) Have a good week :) Don’t forget to buy pizza for the missionaries :) One of the members here bought us a chocolate pizza this week, and it was sooo good :) Have a good week, love you guys! -Élder Udy