I've never eaten so much cake in my life

July 20, 2015

So this week was great. We had lots of things that happened and I don’t even know what all to write in this email because there’s not much time. So I’ll start with the baptisms that we had this week,  We baptized a mom and daughter. Next week is going to be the baptism of her other daughter that is 14 years old, but I’m being transferred to Zona Aldeota, and I’ll be Zone leader of the secretaries and the sisters, haha. It’s the down town super chique zone, so I’m pretty excited. My companion will be Élder Vasquez who was my zone leader the transfer before I came to Beira Rio. I’m really excited because he’s my good friend. So this week I saw a lot of progress in the woman we baptized as she progressed for baptism. She said that in the past she had never had much desire to go to church because the churches all teach things that contend against the others. She said that one time she said a prayer on her knees in her house asking God to show her which was the church that she should go to, but since that day, it’s been a long time, and she had pretty much given up. When we started to teach her we established her baptismal date and told her that God would prepare her for the 19th of July. We then told her that she needed to ask God if the church was true and if Joseph Smith was a true prophet. She asked just as we had invited her, but she hadn’t received an immediate answer. We continued promising her that God would prepare her to be baptized on the 19th and that she would know that the church is true. After she went to church for the first time last week, she said she liked it a lot and that she would continue going. She continued to say that she had never had the desire or feeling to go to church before, until she went to the Church of Jesus Christ. We shared Ether 4:11 with her and told her that she had received her answer. In the lessons with her, she accepted everything we taught her... She has a lot of faith. She was able to leave behind her addictions in that same moment to be able to be baptized and enter into God’s kingdom, and to help her daughters do the same. 

Also, this week was my birthday and I have never eaten so much cake in my life. You know how it is here with the people when it comes to eating, they always want you to eat more, haha. "M" (recent convert of 3 weeks) made me a 2 layer cake that I sent you in a picture, it was with that kind of frosting that you like, Mom. Then everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to me. They tried to make it a surprise but I already knew because none of them are very good at hiding anything haha. They are a great family.  

Also we went to "E" (another recent convert from January) and she had bought me a cake as well and they sang “Happy Birthday” to me Brazilian style and they had a candle in the cake that was impossible to blow out. I sent a picture of the cake. 

Things here are going great. I’m really excited to get to know more people in what will probably be my last area. Élder Vasquez goes home after this transfer so I’ll be his last companion! Again! haha but he’s a great missionary and I’m sure he’s got lots of energy still. So anyways, I don’t have much time because the emails on transfer days are always busyyy, but I hope you guys continue having a great vacation. Have a good week! and enjoy vacation! Tell Grandma and Grandpa (Bitter and Udy) I said hi and I love them. Hope Cole enjoys working on the good ol ranch haha. Have a good week!!! Até depois!

-Élder Udy 

The Lord is blessing us

I have little time to write today because I had to do a survey about the mission. 

So this week was really good. Sounds like for you guys it was too. It must be fun to go on vacation, here we don’t do much vacationing, however, sometimes we get to ride on the bus to go on splits and to some district meetings, haha. 

So this week we had 2 baptisms here in the ward. I’ll send you the pictures. One was a lady, that we baptized that is 30 years old, she is the sister of one of those kids that received the priesthood the other week, and the other was a 15 year old girl, who is another recent convert’s sister. 

So I’m 98 percent sure that my camera was robbed the other day when I was on the bus and it was in my bag and the zipper was open. So now I’m just asking everyone to send me their pictures. The camera was good while it lasted, but I’ll still be able to send pictures, so it will all be fine. So this week for my birthday everyone’s inviting us over, haha. All of the recent converts and investigators. So I’m sure it’ll be nice. It’s good to have you birthday in an area where you’ve been for 4 months instead of an area where you’ve only been there for a week like last year. So I’m sure I’ll have some pictures to send this week. 

So these days Elder Menezes and I have been challenging everyone who doesn’t have a marriage problem (meaning those who aren't living together without being married) to be baptized in 2 Sundays. We teach people about how God loves us and about how his gospel was restored and how important it is that they are baptized, and how blessed they will be. What really makes the difference is when we testify sincerely that the gospel is true and really was restored, and that they really will be blessed if they are baptized and keep their covenants with God. We are also singing hymns in every lesson to bring the Spirit. It really is the Spirit that converts people, not time or any other method. We leave our house set to return to our house at night with at least one new baptismal date. I only have 3 minutes, but this week we found a family, mom and 2 daughters, that was extremely prepared and open to hear us. The mom and daughter went to church Sunday and will be baptized this coming Sunday. The Lord is blessing us a lot and increasing our faith. 

I hope you guys have a good week!! Love you guys and have a good vacation! 

Élder Udy

When it rains here, no one wants to leave their house

July 6, 2015

So I received the email from the secretary today asking me which airport I’m going to return to #Trunky So I told him Pittsburgh International, but I just wanted to make sure with you that it’s right. And as for the debit card, I think it would just be easier to withdraw some money I have now on my card and you can just keep the other card until I get back home because I don’t think I can activate it here, although maybe I can, but every time a Brazilian looks at that debit card I have, they ask all kinds of questions and immediately lose confidence that my American debit card will work on the Brazilian credit card readers. But if you think it’s better to do it another way, let me know. 

So sounds like things were pretty busy this week. I still think the old high adventures were better. I remember when we went on the canoe high adventure, Joel and I would sneak up on ducks in our canoe and try and shoot them with the bow and arrow we had. Now the kids just eat funnel cakes and play on the merry-go-round for high adventure, haha. But I’m sure it was fun at Cedar Point and playing laser tag as well. Hopefully vacation’s fun. What all are you guys going to do again? Hopefully Bandit manages to survive this time haha. He must have really gotten old while I’ve been gone.

This week things went great. I sent a picture of the baptism of M, J, and D. It was quite the preparation, but it ended up going well. 

Sunday morning when there’s rain in Pennsylvania it’s just another rainy day. However, Sunday morning when there’s rain here no one wants to leave their house because no one seems to own an umbrella, haha. But there were still quite a few investigators at church including "Ja" who is going to be baptized this week. She is one of our recent convert's older sister. The first time we went to teach her brother and friend, she just pulled up a chair and started listening as well. Last week we challenged her to be baptized and she accepted. She’s already been to watch 2 baptisms and goes to church every week and is excited to be baptized this week. 

Here things are going great. The Lord is blessing us a lot and helping us find people to baptize every week. We found a woman this week who is a single mom with 3 daughters 8, 6, and 4. She was working every Sunday selling fruit downtown, but when we taught her she said that she felt so good and loved everything we said. We challenged her to change her work so that she could be baptized, and she talked with her boss and she said this Sunday she has to work, but after this Sunday she won’t have to. She said her daughter was asking her the other day why we hadn’t passed by yet because we had passed by the 2 days before and her daughter wanted to talk to us again haha. So we’re going to prepare the mom and her daughter to be baptized on the 19th. 

This week I was pondering about how we can strengthen our testimony to be able to touch others and I started to think about the spiritual experiences I’ve had in the past. I learned that when we ponder on the sacred experiences we’ve had in the past, we can be touched with that same spirit that we felt in the past, and in the same way that the experience strengthened us in the past, it can strengthen our testimony again and again. 

That’s about all I got for this week, but I hope you guys have a good vacation! Nothin’ like the good ol 3 week vacations that always interrupted summer basketball, haha. Love you guys, have a good week! 

Elder Udy