Elder Braden McDonald has been called to serve in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission.

He will be returning on December 21, 2011 and will speak in Church on January 1, 2012.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Week 5 in Rio das Ostras

Braden writes that there are two people very interested in the church;

It is a little tough having people keep their commitments here, but we have been praying this week so we will be blessed from the Lord.

Braden wrote;
It was way funny yesterday too on our way back from church, because the chapel (which is in an old house) is right on the beach, so when we were leaving, my trainer was like: Alright Elder, get ready to close your eyes. It was pretty funny. Not only are there women with basically no clothes on on the beaches, but men....very fat men with speedos. It isn´t pretty.

We have a Zone Conference this Thursday so we have to travel to Rio again for that at like three in the morning again. Yippee! It will be pretty awesome. Then we have General Conference on Saturday at one to three and then five to seven. I´m way excited for it, but I can´t believe it´s already time for conference again! Seems like it was just like two months ago. We have to try and bring all of our investigators to that as well so it is going to be very exciting.

Braden writes about visiting a home to eat,
Usually we dish up our own food because we know how much we can handle, but she did it for us last night and it was kind of depressing looking at all of this food that we had to find a way to get inside of us. It was really, really good though. Don´t worry, I´m not fat.

He writes about some experiences;
We had some good lessons this week for sure. We taught a lady who is having problems with going to church and it was a really Spiritual lesson for all of us. The Spirit was really strong there and I hope that we helped her out with her problems and that she finds her way back into the church again.

Hope everything is going great for you all and I will talk to you next week and make sure that you watched conference. :)

Love, Elder McDonald

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

1 Month out in the Mission Field

Braden had a busy day on his normal Preperation Day (P-Day). He writes,

The reason we are writing today instead of yesterday is because we had to drive to Rio yesterday and change our addresses from São Paulo to Rio. That was crazy. Sunday night we left Oyster town here and headed for Cabo Frio, spent the night there at the other Elders apartment (which is way nice: four bathrooms!!) And then we had to wake up at three in the morning and get a bus to Rio, which took another three hours or more. We got there at like 8 and waited for the other Elders, changed our address, left, got an expensive snack at the bus station, got back on the bus, got stuck in traffic on the same street for an hour (no joke) haha and then headed back to Cabo Frio... got back on the bus for Rio dos Ostras, and by that time our P-day was over and we were both tired from all the travelling, so naturally, we went to work until 9. It was pretty crazy. So today we are writing emails and trying to get groceries for this week cause I don´t have anything except some eggs I think and then we have a district meeting at 2. It´s great fun here!

He is getting the hang of the language better,
I have such a long way to go with this language but I absolutely love it. I´m not totally lost when people talk to me anymore and it feels awesome!

He's been out a month now and is in need of some things,
Another pillowcase would be nice too.

He's on a get-in-shape program:
Another elder and I are doing boot camp every morning trying to get ripped and in shape haha. It´s great, he´s hilarious. I love the mission and it just keeps getting better with learning the language and knowing more, I love it.

He is looking forward to General Conference this year,
I hope that you enjoy General Conference. I get to listen to it in Português this year so that will be cool; we are going up to Macaè to watch it, so that will be sweet.

He is still enjoying many spiritual moments, as they experienced someone joining the church last Sunday;
The Lord has blessed us in a way that we never would have expected and it is so amazing!

We are so proud of Braden. By the way, he said he is very grateful for those who have written to him recently and he said he will write back to you as soon as he can.

Monday, March 15, 2010

More Missionary Experiences

Braden has been in his first area called Rio das Ostras for two weeks now. The chapel they go to is right next to the beach. He performed his first baptism in Brazil on Sunday, March 7. The week before he had experienced his first baptism there, and he was in charge of leading the music for that program. So, he has been very busy already.

He wrote on March 8,
The beach here is so pretty! Our chapel is like right next to it, it´s awesome. So I had my first baptism yesterday!! It was so cool! He was so happy and so excited; It was great! I was a little nervous about saying his name and the prayer right, especially since it´s in Português now. It all turned out well though.

Braden's time is not without some humour. Because he couldn't really understand the language that well he found the first week somewhat difficult as he went out and taught people. He writes what his companion said when they had been at an investigators house a long time,
"I saw you dozing off over there McDonald."
Braden added,
It was pretty funny. He said that was how he was his first week too, just out of it because he didn´t understand anything that was happening.

Braden sounds like he is experiencing the ups and downs of mission life:
He writes,
The people that we taught this week were pretty awesome, but all of them fell through with coming to church and getting baptized this week. It was very disappointing. We worked so hard though and sacrificed so much, so we know that the Lord will bless us. We are just going to keep giving it our all. My companion said that this last week was like the hardest he's worked for a very long time, so I felt good about that. I feel like we gave all we had to the Lord and I know He will bless us. This is such an awesome place and awesome experience for me! I love it.

This week, Braden wrote on March 15,
...the power went out in all of Rio das Ostras last night too right after we got done teaching a lesson and it was pitch black! It was crazy! No lights except for motorcycles or cars. Pretty crazy but pretty dang funny too. Last night teaching was really funny too cause it was like 120 degrees inside this house, no fan, nothing, and I was wet with sweat and red. And then the kids there were yelling and crying and it was just crazy; I look over at my companion and he is like having a nervous breakdown with all of this noise and I was trying not to laugh. Finally he just says very calmly for the kids to stop fighting and he takes the toy away from them that they were fighting over. And then right after, he leans over to me and is all, I couldn´t think! I can´t tell you how much my head hurt!

He writes about how he is learning the language better and that they are being blessed;
We had our first zone conference last Thursday in Cabo Frio and it was really awesome! We took a nice bus up there and it was so pretty on the way. We passed a ton of places that had awesome beaches and stuff. Today, we also had our interviews with the President in our chapel and that was really awesome! I actually understood everything that he said to me today which was really amazing! I still have a ton to learn though. But this last week I made about 54 contacts with people on the streets and I felt really good about that because my companion said that he didn´t even have that many his whole first transfer and it´s only week two for me. The lessons are getting better as well and I am getting less nervous to teach. It takes a ton a patience because I want to just be able to speak and understand, but I know that I will get there eventually if I just keep speaking and trying, even if I make a fool of myself.

Braden had another funny experience this last week. He writes,
We were at a member's house and we were eating lunch and I finished and didn´t really want anymore, so she asks, "Do you like the food?"
And I thought she was saying, "Do you want more food?"
So I say, "no."
And she's like, "What?"
And the other missionaries are just laughing, and I'm like, "What just happened?"
And I didn´t even realize what was going on until we left her house and they told me what I said and what happened, so I felt like a jerk and an idiot. It was bad haha.
I felt awkward when I saw her at church on Sunday.

Elder Braden McDonald concludes his letter of March 15:
This work is so awesome though! It´s so exciting and so cool when you see people's lives change and you're there to witness it. This really cool girl we are teaching has been reading everything we have asked her to and has kept all of her commitments and came to church with us yesterday. It has been really awesome! ... I have faith that she is going to be baptized this Sunday, along with her brother. It has been awesome how it has all worked out. We met her through her brother while we were teaching at one of her brother's friend's houses. ..it´s so awesome how the Lord prepares the way for us. I have already had some amazing experiences with people who are elect and are prepared to hear and accept this message. Conversion really is the most amazing miracle! I love it here and I love the experiences that I am having. I am learning more everyday and time is just flying by!
Elder McDonald

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rio das Ostras

Braden is now in his first area, Rio das Ostras. He writes about when he left Sao Paulo,

We got to the airport and got on the plane and it was only about an hour flight to Rio, if that. And I lucked out so much because I got a window seat so I got to take a ton of pictures as we were flying over Rio and I have to say that it is the most beautiful city that I have ever seen in my life! I was amazed at how awesome it is! There are mountains and beaches and trees all over the place here! We flew over a ton of buildings and stuff, and there are a lot of little islands by the bay and stuff. . We flew by The Cristo Redentor on the mountain and it was amazing! So pretty! And no, I didn't feel any effects from the earthquake; I didn´t even know about that until you said that. So this week has been pretty crazy but really awesome! A lot of changes for sure. We got off the plane in Rio and the mission president and his wife were there to pick us up and he gave us all a big hug and helped us with our stuff. He is the most amazing president and he is such an awesome man. Before he got to this mission, our mission was the second to last baptizing mission in Brazil, but since he´s been here, it is now the 2nd highest baptizing mission in Brazil! It is so awesome! We came back to the mission office and the A.P.´s talked to us, all in Portugues, and it was pretty great. After that, we took the bus to the mission president's house (we take the bus everywhere) and then we had dinner with him and his wife. It was so good! The food here is amazing! They also have an apartment that overlooks the beach and it is incredible! The actual city of Rio is absolutely gorgeous! You are right between the Mountains and the beach and everywhere you look is like paradise! So awesome! After dinner, we took some pictures and had a little interview with him and then he showed us where we would be serving and who our trainers would be. My area is called Rio das Ostras ( River of the Oysters) :) and it is so amazing! It is about three hours from Rio. My trainer and companion is an awesome guy! He knows how to work hard and he has helped me get the hang of most things. He is from Nevada and has been out about 9 months now. It was so cool when the mission president showed me his picture because he said that he was about to put this elder in as a Zone leader, but he felt inspired at the last minute to put him as my trainer and it was such an amazing experience for me to hear that because I knew that he was going to be a hardworking missionary who is obedient with exactness, and that is just what I need. By the way, the mission president doesn't speak any English, so that has been fun too. :) In our area, there are only four missionaries, including me, and they are all so awesome! They are so welcoming and loving. We didn't come to our new area until the next day because it was about 8 when we finally got everything figured out and stuff, so we slept at some other Elder´s apartment that night who lived down the street from the mission home. It was very crowded. I didn't have a pillow and I still don´t have a pillow yet, but I´m going to get one today. It was fun making a pillow out of my sweater and my towel; and when I woke up a little cold, I put my towel on my legs; it was great. haha. It´s been so sweet here though. We got a ride from the bus station in Rio to Rio das Ostras from a member here and he is such an awesome guy as well! It took us about three hours to get here, and he bought us some food which was very awesome; very nice of him. Then right when we got here, my companion, who is also our district leader, had to interview a 16 year old boy for a baptism. That was before we even went to our house. So I talked with the other Elders there, practiced my Portugues with them, and took some pictures of the chapel because it is so cool and way old! Looks like it was made 200 years ago, it´s so sweet! After that, we went to our apartment, which is very nice and very awesome, and dropped off my stuff, and then headed out to a members home for lunch. We had rice and beans and some nice meat stuff! It was way good. It was pretty cool talking to the members, even though it´s still really hard for me to understand what they are saying. After lunch, I was the lucky winner who got to share the thought with the family in Portugues, so I shared a scripture with them and bore my testimony. It went pretty great and The Spirit was definitely strong, even though I might not have said everything correctly. After that, we went out and started doing contacts and we taught a few lessons as well. I hadn't shaved so I had some nice scruff going on, but anyway, it was really awesome! I was pretty exhausted for sure, but that´s just a sign of a good day´s work. My companion has been doing a great job of speaking as much Portugues as possible with me so that I learn quicker, because that was one of the things that his trainer didn't do with him that he wishes he would have. So I live with two Americans and one Brazilian. They are so awesome! So pretty much we had our first baptism yesterday; second day out in the field, and it was amazing. The Spirit was so strong there! I got to lead the music even though I didn't know the words in Portugues. After that, we went to lunch at another members house. The food here is so much better than in the U.S. There is no comparison. We are going shopping today for a bunch of stuff and I´m way excited to get some awesome food. After lunch yesterday, we went on splits and we went to teach a family, but they didn't end up being home so we went contacting, and we walked past a street, but the elder I was with decided to stop and go back down it and we ended up meeting a family there and teaching them! It was so awesome! They were really poor and so nice and receptive. The Spirit was so strong there and we left feeling like a million bucks! I only have a few minutes left, but just know that everything is going amazing here and I´m absolutely loving it here. It is so much better than the CTM and MTC. I love you all and hope to hear from you again by next week!

Love, Elder McDonald