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, June 28, 2010

Week 12 in Volta Redonda

(I must preface this by saying the we had sent Braden our pictures we took of our Disneyland trip)

Hey Guys!

Hahaha Those pictures are nuts! My companion and I were laughing at how crazy you all look going down splash mountain, but it sounds like you all had an amazing time! I about freaked out when you all said that a Lady from São Paulo moved across the street! I got way excited! I can keep my Português when I get home! Between her and Brother Salas and Brother Donner as well. I´m going to bring Sam home with me as well so we will have even more Brasilian awesomeness! Sam, I got you´re message and they make me laugh everytime. Everytime I think of Rebouças and you, I just laugh and wish I was back there in Oyster Town again. My friend Sean, who used to come over with me and Dylan remember, he got his mission call to Salvador Brasil and is leaving in August and he just emailed me today so I need to send you an email to send to him since I can´t. And Sam, can you put up my address on Facebook for me, if you already haven´t? We have a new rule for the mission that we can´t put up anymore pictures on facebook from the mission until we get back home, so don´t do that anymore alright? haha This week was pretty crazy but really, really good. We had interviews with President on Thursday and he asked Elder Glade, ``How´s living in Batman´s Cave?`` haha it was hilarious; he knows that our house is pretty crazy on the outside. You guys got that picture right?

Zone conference this last week was so amazing; so spiritual. It was in Petrópolis, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life!! It is a jungle!! The trees there are so tall and there are so many of them everywhere, it´s so awesome! So that night, we got about three hours of sleep because we had to get up at 2 to be ready to leave at 3 and it´s pretty impossible to get any sleep with all of the missionaries in our zone smashed into the van. We watched mobsters and mormons and charly on the way there and back and everyone was getting depressed during charly, forgot how sad it is. I was just thinking about Megan the whole time when she used to watch that everyday and about the taco as well haha. And Mom, no I didn´t get the package. Nobody got any mail this time, so I might have to wait a few more weeks, I don´t know when we will get our letters.

So Elder Godoy was at our conference on Wedensday, he is in the Area Presidency here in Brasil. He shared some amazing experiences and training with all of us; the Spirit was so strong there. I´m telling you, I´ve never cried so much in my life than on my mission because of the Power of the Spirit that is here. He was asking all of the Elders, ``what was the last thing that you´re parents said to you before you left?`` One of the Brasilian Elders said something that touched me. He said that before he left, His mom promised him that She was going to get back into the church while he was in the mission. The Spirit was so strong and there wasn´t a dry eye in the chapel I´m pretty sure. I was so surprised at how many of the missionaries there don´t have support from their families and they are some of the most powerful missionaries that I have ever seen or met in my life. Elder Godoy shared an experience when he was on his mission. His parents weren´t members and they didn´t want him to go on his mission, and anytime that he would write home that he was having difficulties with something, they would tell him that he needs to leave and come home. He decided that he needed to just keep going and being an example to his family even though they didn´t support what he was doing. It was an amazing experience for everyone there! We all learned so much and were so full of the Spirit when we left.

We had an activity on Saturday with the ward and the church and it was so awesome! We had a ton of less actives come and it was so cool to see them come and participate! Luiz was there and Cosme and Dulciene was there as well. They are some of the most amazing people I´ve met here in Usina, but they don´t go to church so I was so excited to see them show up and talk to them. I absolutely love the people here!! I don´t want to leave here! Bishop gave me one of his ties yesterday and it is way sweet! I love him and his family so much, they are such amazing people! I feel like we have made a difference here for sure! When we first got here, the members weren´t as united and happy, but I can notice a complete change now! We didn´t do anything, it was the Spirit of course, but it was so cool to watch the change and take a little part of it! We have transfers today so I don´t know what is going to happen; I can´t believe it is already transfers again, this is ridiculous! Time just keeps getting more and more crazy! We met another awesome lady here who we have adopted as our mom out here. We went over there last week and she cut our hair and she always makes desserts for us, it´s so sweet! She is such an awesome lady, her name is Márcia. She has a son on the mission in São Paulo, but she isn´t a member. We have been trying to work with her, but she still hasn´t accepted to be baptized. I think that we have definitely made a difference though and I hope that one day soon she will be baptized.

I don´t want to leave here haha it´s going to be tough!!! I definitely need to come back here after the mission and visit a ton of people! We talked more with Ozair and he and his family are so awesome!!!! He is the one who has the son that looks exactly like Matt from work, it is ridiculous!!! He is such an awesome guy and he is going to start helping us a lot more in the work, we are going to go do divisions and stuff with him. The members here are getting so much more excited to do missionary work.

I wish you guys could meet these amazing people that I´m here with, we will have to all come down to Brasil when I get home and go to all of my areas. Everyday just keeps getting better and better and my love for the people just keeps getting greater and greater! I love this work, I´m so grateful for The Lord for giving me this opportunity to serve these people here in Rio! I love you all and hope that you all have an amazing week!

Love, Elder McDonald

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Week 11 in Volta Redonda

Hey Everybody!!

Happy Father´s Day Dad and Grandpa!!!!!!! Hope that you all are having a great day and great week!!! I almost forgot about Father´s day, because Father´s day here isn´t until September. Sounds like you guys are all going to have fun this week in Disneyland! What is this? Couldn´t wait up for me? Haha. It´s all good, as long as we go when we get back too.

This week was pretty awesome as well; didn´t have any midnight baptisms again, but it was still really good. That family is so elect and so awesome, I love going over there and talking to them. Luciane was telling us about her feelings from the baptism and it was awesome! The water was really cold and she was shivering, but she told us that as she went down and came out of the water, she had a warm feeling take over her body, and then she got cold again. But it was so awesome to hear that, man!!! We told her that it was the Spirit that she felt; that´s something that you really only hear from the stories for sure, it was so awesome! Also, one of her sons, Mateus, had a fear of drowning, but after he was baptized, he didn´t have a fear anymore! It was so cool to hear about these awesome experiences and to actually be living them now! I never would have thought that these kinds of miracles would actually happen to me, but now I have a strong testimony that The Lord is a Lord of Miracles, and that they haven´t ceased in our days.

We also had another awesome thing happen this week. We were at a Ward activity on Wednesday and all of the sudden we got a phone call from the Zone Leaders and Elder Souza told us to go into a quiet room and put it on speaker phone so that we could both hear it. At first, I thought we were going to be in trouble or something, then he said that he was going to say this part in English for us, and neither of us had an idea what was going on. So all of the sudden he just says, in his Português-English accent, our...mission.....is.....the....number.....1....in......Brasil.... haha Elder Glade and I were just freaking out, it was so sweet!! Everything just kept getting better and better!!! The Lord is blessing us so much!!! Elder Rasband was here the week before I got in the field and after he left, he sent back a letter and said that he wishes that he could clone our mission and put it in all the other missions in the world; that was a huge compliment!! Everyday that I am out here, I just think of how immensly blessed I am to be a part of this awesome mission with so many miracles and amazing opportunities that we are having!!

I can´t believe that it is almost the end of this transfer already!! We already have zone conference again this Thursday!! HOW?! It´s ridiculous! Time just keeps getting faster and faster! We are going to have an area authority at our zone conference so I am really excited about that!! We had a stake conference broadcast a couple weeks ago with Elder Christofferson, and I had no idea that he spoke Português, so that was really sweet. He said in his talk that he would be visiting our mission later this year; they have had a lot of General Authorities here lately. Elder Scott, Elder Nelson, Elder Rasband, it´s been really awesome! I didn´t get to hear any of them though!! What is this?! Still got time though.

I´m getting nervous that I´m going to be transferred, I am not ready to leave yet. I don´t want to leave my ward and all of these new recent converts that we have met and baptized. I am going to miss them all so much when I have to leave. Just another thing that has to happen on the mission, but it´s tough. I´ve made so many awesome friends with the members and the people here. It will be sad when I have to leave.

Well, everything is still going great though. Having the time of my life here. We were in the grocery store the other day and they were playing a bunch of Supertramp, it was sweet. I also found out that Irmão Felipe in the bishopric has the same birthday as me! That was way sweet! He´s one of the coolest people I´ve met here; him and his wife are awesome! He just got back from his mission not too long ago, just a few years is all. Well, I hope that you all have a fun time at Disneyland, send me some pictures and stuff alright? Love you all!


Elder McDonald

Week 10 in Volta Redonda-Portuguese

Querida Família!!

YEAH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


HOJE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eu não sei exatamente por onde começar, mas cara, como eu tenho muito a dizer!

Assim, no início desta semana, o nosso Presidente recebeu uma revelação e desafiou todo a nossa missão para conseguir 100 batismos esta semana, um batismo

para cada dupla.

Esta semana começou agitada, trabalhando duro, mas não encontrando nada! Ainda ontem, até 8:30 da noite, ainda não tinha nada. Os líderes da zona do enviaram as sisters para nossa área e nós trabalhamos com eles para

encontrar uma família para batizar. Fomos a duas casas, mas nada aconteceu com eles. Precisávamos batizar a noite passada, nós tivemos 96 batismos das 08:30 da última noite. Saímos da segunda casa com as irmãs, e decidimos que precisávamos orar. Nós

caminhamos, descendo pela rua um pouco, e Elder Glade disse uma oração, e fomos para uma família, que foi realmente eleita e que encontramos na semana passada. Nós os

encontremos na rua, bem, ela nos encontrou

na verdade, e começou a fazer perguntas, ela

parecia realmente interessada desde o início. Então, nós trouxemos ela e seus dois filhos à igreja, ontem pela primeira vez, mas normalmente eles tem que ir para igreja duas vezes para ser batizado. Mas nós decidimos que nós teríamos cabeça e convidaríamos para ser batizada hoje à noite. Então nós caminhamos cerca de meia hora tão rápido quanto poderíamos sem correr, e finalmente chegamos a casa. No início não pensávamos que ela estava em casa, porque era realmente escuro, mas batemos na porta, e ela saiu poucos minutos depois. Entramos e sentamos, começamos a conversar com ela e nós perguntamos o que ela pensava da igreja. Ela disse que adorou e que aprendeu muito. Ela estava participando como um louca durante as aulas lá, e isto foi muito incrível! Ela também nos contou que ela recebeu uma resposta durante a igreja de hoje, um resposta que ela vem buscando há 20 e poucos anos. Estávamos aprendendo sobre os dons do

Espírito na igreja ontem, e um dos presentes é

saber que Jesus Cristo é o nosso Salvador. Ela disse que recebeu uma resposta na igreja que ela sabia que era verdade e ela recebeu testemunho disto. Todos nós quatro estávamos apenas olhando com admiração, dentro de sua casa na noite passada, o Espírito foi extremamente poderoso, e todos nós sabíamos que ela era, absolutamente, eleita e que ela tinha sido preparada pelo Senhor para nós. Ela tinha acabado de se mudar recentemente para sua casa, bem como cerca de 20 dias antes, ela tinha orado para ser capaz de encontrar uma casa em Volta Redonda. Eu não tenho dúvida em minha mente que o Senhor preparou desta maneira para ela nos encontrar e para

nós a ensinar. Ela havia sido preparada durante anos e anos, antes que tivessemos encontrado.

O Espírito era tão forte durante a lição que nós

estavam ensinando aqui na noite passada, e antes de tempo, nós a convidamos para ser batizada .... que noite! Primeiro, ela apenas disse: “Hoje a noite?! Sério?” Mas ela tem

tanta fé e o Espírito era tão forte lá, que aceitou o convite para ser batizada! Até então, eram cerca de 9:15 ou algo assim, então nós chamamos a Líderes de zona para dizer-lhes para chegar aqui e nós corremos para a ala dos líderes e dizer para chamar o Bispo e toda a gente!

Voltamos para a casa dela, Elder Glade começou a entrevistá-la; Durante a entrevista, Elder Glade perguntou se ela teve problemas com a Palavra de Sabedoria, e ela só disse que ela tentou beber chá e café antes, mas ela ficou doente, então ela não bebe nunca.

ELEITA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SANTO

MOLY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nós estávamos começando arrumando tudo para pegá-la e seus filhos para levar a igreja (ela tem dois meninos gêmeos que são dez ........... eles foram batizados também!!!!!). Ela tem uma perna machucada, então tivemos que pegar um carro para ela para levá-la para a igreja. Até agora, era cerca de 10:30. (Nós tivemos a permissão dos Assistentes do Presidente e fazer de tudo para isto, à propósito, não se preocupe. Ele enviou Elder Glade e eu um e-mail hoje que acaba de dizer

PARABÉNS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Isto foi

incrível! Chegamos à igreja, concluída as

entrevistas com as crianças e tem tudo pronto para comerçar. Nossos membros da ala é tão espetacular !!!!! Tivemos cerca de cinco deles lá para ajudar, ainda tivemos este membro incrível que eu conheci em Barra Mansa, que veio com os outros elderes, ele era tão incrível! O Espírito era tão forte e meu coração estava tão cheio

por causa do amor que eles deram e ajudaram.

Eu tive um espantaso privilégio de batizar todas elas, e que foi uma experiência incrível!! Tudo sobre isto foi incrível !!!!!! Ela era tão eleita e que foi a primeira vez que qualquer um de nós teve um batizado completo em uma família, ao mesmo tempo!! Muito incrível! Este foi um verdadeiro milagre para nós !!!!!! Eu não conseguia dormir ontem à noite, porque eu estava muito feliz!! Eu nunca quero deixar a missão agora !!!!!!!

Acabamos de ter 107 batismos na missão desta

Semana !!!!!!!!!!!! INCRÍVEL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eu sei

sem dúvida que o nosso Presidente é inspirado por Deus para fazer a Sua obra aqui no Rio de Janeiro (AKA SIÃO). O nosso bairro está tendo tanto sucesso agora e nós estamos sendo abençoados por nossa obediência e nossos

sacrifícios!! Meu testemunho tornou-se muito

mais forte! Eu sei que através da nossa obediência e sacrifícios, podemos ter milagres!! Esta é a prova disto!! Este é um novo recorde para a nossa missão, e ela só vai subir a partir daí! Esta é apenas um começo! Eu sou tão abençoado por fazer parte deste milagre maravilhoso aqui na Missão Rio de Janeiro! Missão Maravilhosa !!!!!!!!!!!!! Eu sou tão grato pelo Presidente Bezerra e a Sister Bezerra e as suas inspirações e ajuda! Estou muito grato pelas orações de todos vocês! Orações realmente são respondidas,

Eu sei que sem sombra de dúvida que isso é verdade! A fé é um princípio de poder !!!!!!!!! Eu nunca vou esquecer essa experiência que nós tivemos, três batismos Milagrosos as 11:30 h da noite !!!!! O Senhor VIDE !!!!!! ESTE É

SEU TRABALHO !!!!!!! ESTE É A verdadeira Igreja de CRISTO !!!!!!

Amor, Elder McDonald

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Week 10 in Volta Redonda

Dear Family!!

YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE HAPPY BEFORE IN MY LIFE THAN I AM TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don´t know exactly where to start, but man do I have a lot to say!!!

So at the beginning of this week, our President received revelation and challenged our whole mission to get 100 baptisms this week, one baptism for every companionship. This week started off really rough, working really hard, but not finding anything! Even yesterday, until 8:30 at night, still had nothing. The Zone Leaders sent the sisters into our area and we worked with them to find a family to baptize. We went to two houses, but nothing really happened with them. We needed to baptize last night, we had 96 baptisms as of 8:30 last night. We left the second house with the sisters, and decided that we needed to pray. We walked down the street a little bit, and Elder Glade said a prayer, and we headed for a family that was really elect that we found last week. We found them in the street, well, she found us actually and started asking us questions; she seemed really interested from the start. So we brought her and her two kids to church yesterday for the first time, but usually they have to go to church twice to be baptized. But we decided that we would head over there and invite her to be baptized tonight. So we walked about a half hour as fast as we could without running, and we finally got to her house. At first we didn´t think she was home because it was really dark, but we knocked on the door, and she came out a few minutes after. We went in and sat down, started talking to her and we asked her what she thought of church. She said that she loved it and that she learned so much. She was participating like crazy during the lessons there, and it was so awesome! She also told us that she had received an answer during church today, an answer that she has been searching for for 20 some odd years. We were learning about gifts of the Spirit in church yesterday, and one of the gifts is to know that Jesus Christ is Our Savior. She said that she received an answer at church that she knew that was true and she had received witness of that. All four of us were just staring in awe inside of her house last night, the Spirit was extremely powerful, and we all knew that she was absolutely elect and that she had been prepared by the Lord for us. She had just recently moved into her house as well about 20 days before, and before that she had prayed to be able to find a house in Volta Redonda. I don´t have a doubt in my mind that the Lord prepared this way for her to find us and for us to teach her. She had been prepared for years and years before we had found her.

The Spirit was so strong during the lesson that we were teaching here last night, and before long, we invited her to be baptized....that night! At first, she just said, ``Tonight?! Seriously?`` But she has so much faith and the Spirit was so strong there, that she accepted the invite to be baptized! By now, it was about 9:15 or so, so we call the Zone Leaders to tell them to get over here and we run over to our Ward Mission Leaders house and tell him to call the Bishop and everybody! We go back in her house and Elder Glade started interviewing her; during the interview, Elder Glade asked her if she had problems with the Word of Wisdom, and she just said that she tried to drink tea and coffee before, but it just made her sick, so she didn´t ever drink it. ELECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY MOLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were getting everything arranged to get her and her kids to the church (she has two twin boys that are ten...........they were baptized as well!!!!!). She has a hurt leg so we had to get a car over to her house to drive her to the church. By now, it was about 10:30. (We had permission from the Assistants and President to do all of this by the way, don´t worry. He sent Elder Glade and I an email today that just said PARABENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) It was so amazing!! We got to the church, finished interviewing the kids and got everything ready to go. Our ward members are so awesome!!!!! We had about five of them there to help out, we even had this awesome member that I met in Barra Mansa who came with the other Elders, it was so awesome!! The Spirit was so strong and my heart was so full because of the love that they had to drop everything and help us out. I had the AMAZING priviledge to baptize all of them, and that was such an amazing experience!!!! Everything about it was incredible!!!!!! She was so elect and that was the first time either of us has baptized a complete family at the same time!!!! So Amazing!!! This was an absolute MIRACLE for us!!!!!! I couldn´t sleep last night because I was just too happy!!!! I never want to leave the mission now!!!!!!!

We ended up having 107 baptisms in the Mission this week!!!!!!!!!!!! INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know without a doubt that our President is inspired by God to do His work here in Rio de Janeiro (AKA ZION). Our district is having so much success now and we are being blessed for our obedience and our sacrifices!!!! My testimony has become so much stronger!!! I know that through our obedience and sacrifices, we can have miracles!!!! This is proof of that!!!! This is a new record for our mission, and it will only go up from there!!! This is only the beginning!! I am so blessed to be a part of this wonderful miracle here no Missão Rio de Janeiro!!! Missão Maravilhosa!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so grateful for President and Sister Bezerra and their inspiration and help! I am so grateful for the prayers of all of you! Prayers really are answered, I know without a doubt that this is true! Faith is a principle of power!!!!!!!!! I will never forget this experience that we had, 3 Miracle baptisms at 11:30 at night!!!!! The LORD LIVES!!!!!! THIS IS HIS WORK!!!!!!! THIS IS THE TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST!!!!!!

Love, Elder McDonald

Week 9 in Volta Redonda (Translated in Portuguese by Sam)

Samuel Junior June 11 at 10:55pm

HI, how are u, my friend? How is your family? I hope u and all are okay.

So, big hug to u and all,


Here is the translated message:

Hey pessoal,

Como estão indo todos? Obrigado por todos os e-mails, eles foram muito bons! Parece que você teve uma semana louca mãe, o mesmo aqui haha.

Fico feliz que vocês que já passou. E parece que você teve uns bons momentos no Arizona Pai, que ótimo.

E Sam, eu não esquecerei de você também, não se preocupe. Haha eu estava rindo quando peguei seu email e você disse que eu parei de mencionar você nos emails, safaduuu! Tudo está indo bem

aqui, gostaria que tivéssemos mais sucesso e mais batismos, mas eu sinto que nós estamos sacrificando bastante e dando o nosso máximo. Podemos sempre fazer ainda melhor

Esta semana foi mais uma cheia de coisas engraçadas, é claro, sempre é com Elder Glade aqui. No outro dia ele foi me contando sobre todos

seus amigos que estão em suas missões e como alguns deles são Assistentes e Líderes de Zona e outras coisas e como, quando eles voltarem, eles

todos estarão dizendo: “Eu fui assistente, eu fui um Líder de Zona, o que você foi Elder Glade...? Eu era patético hahaha eu estava rindo muito mesmo”

Em todos os dias de almoço com os membros, temos o arroz, o bife de feijão, batatas, e algo mais. Apenas, alimentos pesados, sabem? Não é de admirar que estamos morrendo a cada vez que nós tentamos trabalhar logo após o almoço, não conseguimos nos movimentar. Não fiquem surpreendidos se eu tenho um ataque cardíaco com todo este colesterol. Haha Estou apenas brincando, eu estarei bem.

Esta semana, nós decidimos ir trabalhar em uma área mais humilde, para ver se poderíamos ter mais sucesso lá. Nós encontramos mais algumas pessoas lá, alguns deles não estavam mais interessados, mas nós encontramos um indivíduo, Marco, que chegou à igreja ontem e nós vamos firmá-lo para ser batizado esta semana. Encontramos também um cara que não entendeu uma palavra que nenhum de nós estava dizendo de toda a lição, e nós não notamos até que tentamos fazer-lhe pergunta e ele só olhava para nós sem expressão, isto foi um pouco estranho.

As Sisters ainda tiveram um milagre esta semana; elas encontraram o homem mais eleito que eu já conheci na minha vida. Fomos em sua área para

entrevistá-lo, e ele estava compartilhando uma história sobre como ele sabe que nossa igreja é verdadeira e sobre as experiências que teve em sua

vida, e ele estava pronto para ser batizado ali mesmo! Então, ele vestiu de branco e perguntou a Elder Glade para batizá-lo e foi uma grande experiência espiritual; o Espírito era tão forte lá.

Depois, ele perguntou se ele poderia carregar o seu testemunho! Foi incrível! Eu nunca vi alguém tão eleito e, nem tinha, nenhuma das outras pessoas que estavam lá para o batismo. Era uma experiência tão poderosa. Eu conheci o mais legal de ex-missionário daquela ala também. Ele acabou de voltar de Brasília, há alguns meses e ele foi

dizendo-me que não passa um dia que ele não pense sobre sua missão. Ele é um cara realmente fantástico, e ele quer que a gente vá jogar

futebol com ele em algum momento de sua igreja no Aterrado. Aquela experiência, realmente, fez a nossa semana muito melhor.

Bem, espero que vocês todos estejam indo muito bem e que vocês estejam apreciando sua última semana de escola. Eu amo todos vocês e espero que vocês todos tenham uma boa semana. Eu irei falar com você na próxima semana.

Com amor, Elder McDonald

Monday, June 7, 2010

Week 9 in Volta Redonda

Hey My Family!

WE BAPTIZED!!!! It was the same man, Marcos, that we´ve been working with these last couple of weeks! We met him doing a contact on the street and asked if we could stop by one day and leave a message, and it just took off from there. He had problems drinking coffee and smoking, but we were able to get him to stop doing both. Everyday that we went back, we noticed that he looked happier. He was a little nervous to be baptized, but we helped him to prepare to get ready. When we went to pick him up to go to Church yesterday, he had on a white shirt, and nice Sunday clothes and he shaved his beard as well! I was so surprised but so happy, it was amazing!! His life had been completely changed, all because of the Gospel. This has been the most amazing experience that I have had on my mission so far; we watched his life completely changed and the Lord blessed us to be a part of this awesome miracle. I have never worked harder before in my life and never have sacrificed so much, but the Lord has blessed me tremendously.

So what´s with this new car business?! That was pretty surprising for sure, carac! But it sounds really awesome for sure! I´m sure I´ll enjoy it when I get back! I can´t believe that this is already my sixth month of the mission, that is ridiculous! Time is just flying by! Today I´m in Barra Mansa again on divisions with the Zone Leaders and Elder D. Silva; it´s been pretty crazy! They´re pretty hilarious for sure. They are obsessed with the word ``crap`` and they think it is the funniest thing ever, oh man. And last night, I couldn´t sleep because Elder Corréa was snoring all night haha oh man. But Elder Glade is in Rio today doing some stuff to get ready to go home next transfer! I can´t believe he is already almost leaving. We have been here in a member's house all day and it´s the nicest house I´ve seen in Brasil yet. We were playing soccer all day and we had a churrasco again, which is always good!

Today I can´t think very well and it´s really hard to write, I can´t concentrate, so sorry this really seems scattered. My English is dwindling gradually I think. I went on divisions last week with Elder Souza, one of the Zone Leaders here in Barra Mansa, and that was pretty sweet. We had a service project the next morning that lasted for about 4 hours. It was pretty crazy. The members there were laughing at me and just saying, oh man, you´re lucky. You get to come on a division to do a service project. It was pretty crazy. We had to haul all these bags of dirt up this little hill thing with these wheelbarrows and by hand and we had to do about 3,000 bags, not even joking. It was crazy, we were pretty exhausted for sure.

Sorry this email was really short, but I will write you all a better one next week, it´s been a really crazy week. Tell Dylan and Sam thanks for the emails and that I will write them next week. I love you all and thanks for the emails. Have fun with the new car and going to Disneyland (SAFADUUUS!!) And I will talk to you next week!

Love, Elder McDonald

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Week 8 in Volta Redonda

Written by Elder McDonald on 31 May 2010:
Hey Guys,

How´s everything going? Thanks for all of the emails, they were really great! Sounds like you had a crazy week mom, same here haha. Glad you made it through it. And sounds like you´re having a good time down in Arizona Dad, that´s great.

And Sam, I didn´t forget about you either, don´t worry. Haha I was laughing when I got your email and you said that I stopped mentioning you in the emails, safaduuuu! Everything is going good here, wish we had some more success and more baptisms, but I feel like we are sacrificing a lot and giving our all. We can always do better though.

This week was another one full of funny stuff of course, always is with Elder Glade here. The other day he was telling me about all of his friends that are on their missions and how some of them are Assistants and Zone Leaders and stuff and how when he gets back they are all going to be like, ``I was Assistant, I was Zone Leader, What were you Elder Glade?`` ``...I was pathetic.`` hahaha I was laughing way hard.

Everyday for lunch with the members, we have rice, beans, steak, potatoes, and something else. Only the heaviest foods, you know? No wonder we are dying everytime we try to work right after lunch, we can´t move. Don´t be surprised if I have a heartattack from all this colesteral. Haha just joking,  I´ll be alright.

This week, we decided to go and work in a more humble area to see if we could have more success there. We found a few more people there, some of them aren´t interested anymore, but we did find one guy, Marco, who came to church yesterday and we are going to firm him up to be baptized this week. We also found a guy who didn´t understand a word that either of us were saying the whole lesson, and we didn´t notice until we tried to ask him questions and he just stared at us blankly, it was a little weird.

The Sisters had a miracle this week though; they found the most elect man I have ever met in my life. We went over into their area to interview him, and he was sharing a story about how he knows that our church is true and about the experiences that he has had in his life, and he was ready to get baptized right there! So He got dressed up in white and asked Elder Glade to baptize him and it was such a spiritual experience; the Spirit was so strong there. Afterward, he asked if he could bear his testimony! It was incredible!! I´ve never seen someone so elect and neither have any of the other people that were there for the baptism. It was such a powerful experience. I met the coolest returned missionary from that ward too, he just got back from Brasilia a few months ago and he was telling me that not a day goes by when he doesn´t think about his mission. He is a really awesome guy, and he wants us to go play soccer with him sometime in his church building in Aterrado. That experience really made our week a lot better.

Well, I hope that you are all doing great and that you are enjoying your last week of school. I love you all and hope that you all have a good week. I´ll talk to you next week.

Love, Elder McDonald

7 weeks in Volta Redonda-Portuguese

Hey família, como vai?

Com certeza, parece que todos tiveram uma semana bastante agitada, caramba! Temos estado muito ocupados aqui também. Sim, eu ainda estou aqui em Volta Redonda, Usina; estou muito feliz com isso! Nossa Zona e no Distrito mudou muito, agora somos só nós e as Sisters do nosso distrito. Temos um monte de gente nova na nossa zona, bem como novos líderes de Zona. Temos Elder Corrêa, que foi o meu velho Líder de Zona em Rio das Ostras, como isto é bom. Eu estava dizendo a ele que eu não posso ficar longe dele, não importa quanto eu tente. haha. Ele é um cara bom. Estamos tentando mudar o que estamos fazendo aqui, para que possamos ter algum batismos, e temos tido muito sacrifício e trabalhos extremamente difíceis, e nós, finalmente, encontramos algumas famílias realmente eleitas, ontem e sábado. A primeira “família” é Douglas e Luciana, mas não são casados a fim de que não conta como uma família. Eles parecem realmente interessados e eles foram realmente receptivos com a gente, por isso esperamos que possamos ensiná-los e levá-los ao batismo. Ele ensina artes marciais brasileiras. Ele estava nos mostrando em seu estúdio, foi muito legal. Encontramos também um casal realmente impressionante, ontem que nos os ensinamos, e eles eram casados!!!!!!!! Aleluia! É um milagre, com certeza, e eles foram muito receptivos também, assim estou animado para ensiná-los. O problema é que ambos estão em casa somente nos fins de semana, então não temos ninguém para ensinar durante a semana. Eu sei que o Senhor nos deixou aqui com um propósito, há alguém que ainda precisamos ensinar aqui e nós estamos esperando para podermos ajudar mais pessoas a entrar neste Evangelho.

Então, fomos descendo a rua um dia, e aconteceu de corrermos para um homem que estava vestindo uma camiseta Utah State University. Que loucura é esta? Eu não posso ficar longe de Utah aqui haha, apenas brincando. Talvez, eu tome isto como um sinal de que eu deveria ir para a escola quando eu chegar em casa, mas talvez não o farei. Eu não me importo agora. Tivemos outra experiência com a ladeira, transportando e carregando as coisas novamente, todas essas coisas parecem encontrar-nos muito. Nós estávamos ajudando alguém a mudar de sua casa, e ela tem essa estrutura de cama enorme que tivemos de arriar em um conjunto de escadas íngremes que você já viu, e até um outro conjunto que foi ainda mais acentuada do que aquelas. Eu me sentia mal por Elder Glade, porque ele tinha o lado mais pesado e eu estava tentando não rir, assim eu não iria largá-lo, porque era tão ridículo. oh cara! Apesar disto, estou tão feliz que estou com Elder Glade ainda, ele é hilário. Ele estava fazendo esse contato com um cara na rua ontem, e que nenhum de nós sabíamos explicar porque ele falou muito estranho, e depois Elder Glade falou “ O que há de errado com aquele cara? O que você é, um duende?” Haha Foi muito engraçado, eu não conseguia parar de rir. No outro dia, estávamos no ônibus e ele estava caindo no sono, assim que sua cabeça estava inclinada para baixo, entende? E uma garota punk estava olhando para ele rindo e, em seguida, ela começa a bater palmas bem alto para tentar acordá-lo, mas não funcionou. Então, eu estou apenas sentado rindo e meu bumbum com uma parte para fora. E, então, ela desce do ônibus na parada e ela passa por sua janela e bate mais uma vez para acordá-lo, mas ainda nada. Então, quando finalmente ele acordou, eu disse a ele o que aconteceu e como ele é, por que você não me acordou para que eu não parecesse um idiota? E eu apenas disse que ele parecia tão calmo e eu não tive coragem de acordá-lo.

Ele teve um sonho louco na outra noite que ele estava me dizendo que em nosso caminho para casa voltando da igreja e eu estava tentando não morrer de rir por causa disto, também. Ele disse que tinha um sonho que ele estava ensinando um investigador e um tanque, subitamente, aparece do nada e atira nele, e ele, tipo assim: “ Heh, isto é apenas um sonho, nada vai acontecer.” “Derrepente, ele se atira para fora da cama e ouve um som alto e é uma doideira. Ele não sabia o que fazer. Ele, tipo assim: eu devo orar? Aconteceu alguma coisa com o Élder McDonald? Preciso fazer alguma coisa aqui? Então ele se levanta e verifica se eu ainda estou lá, e eu ainda estou apenas dormindo drurante tudo isso. Então ele decide apenas fazer uma oração e voltar a dormir. Oh cara, era muito engraçado. É apenas um daqueles sonhos onde você acorda muito confuso e você não tem idéia do que fazer. Clássico.

Nós tivemos alguns bons momentos aqui com certeza. Ainda estamos trabalhando nossos corações aqui tentando encontrar pessoas para ensinar que vão realmente seguir com seus compromissos. Isto, definitivamente, tem sido um desafio enorme, mas estou aprendendo muito todos os dias. Eu estou aprendendo como é importante ter o Espírito conosco em nossas aulas, porque sem ele, estamos apenas dizendo palavras e ninguém está aprendendo. É realmente difícil manter o espírito com todas as distrações que estão acontecendo durante as aulas, mas estamos ficando cada vez melhores e as nossas aulas têm sido muito, muito melhores. Nós ainda temos muito a fazer para melhorar, mas estamos orando para obter mais ajuda diária. Eu sei que, enquanto estamos sendo obedientes e se sacrificando bastante, o Senhor nos abençoa. Isso me lembra da Escritura em 2 Nefi que diz que, “ é pela graça que somos salvos, depois de tudo o que podemos fazer. “ Enquanto nós estamos fazendo a nossa parte aqui, o Senhor nos ajudará. Ele sabe de nossas lutas e sabe do que precisamos experimentar a fim de sermos mais forte. Ele tem um propósito para nós aqui, e estamos trabalhando todos os dias, tentando seguir o Espírito e descobrir o que precisamos fazer para ter sucesso aqui na Usina. Estou contente por eu ainda estar aqui com o Élder Glade.

Eu amo todos vocês e espero que vocês todos estejam fazendo o bem. Eu amo todos vocês e espero que vocês tenham uma boa semana. Falarei com vocês na próxima semana.

Amor, Élder McDonald