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, October 11, 2010

Week 27 in Volta Redonda

Hey Guys,

This week was pretty good; pretty interesting. We visited Sebastião again this week; he was voting last week when we tried to baptize him, like we thought, but this week he didn´t want to get baptized anymore. It was pretty disappointing. Everything pretty much fell through, but when we got to church there was a man who walked in by himself and he is really awesome! He said that he lived in Denver, Colorado for about four years and just returned this last year and wants to return there way bad. He is a really cool guy and he loved church yesterday. Yesterday was really good; the Spirit was really strong during all of the meetings and I was so grateful that it gave such a great impression for him on his first visit! It was incredible! The testimonies were amazing! We had a couple that had just returned from a mission in the Campinas Temple and both of them got up and bore their testimonies, it was very powerful! They are awesome!! We were so blessed by the Lord for the success that we had with the people in the church that we had. Irmã also brought one of her friends to visit the church as well. My testimony was strengthened a ton, knowing that if I am doing all that I can, the Lord will bless me. He blessed us with the people that came into the church yesterday. We were doing our part and the Lord did His. Such an incredible experience for me.

Saturday was pretty hilarious. We had lunch with Irmã and Vaviane, they are hilarious! Lunch wasn´t quite ready when we showed up, so they gave me a puzzle to do and said that when I finished it, they would let me eat hahaha. It was too funny. Needless to say, I finished it very quick, of course, and ate without any problems :). They always make the best food, it´s so great! They have a huge house and Vaviane, her daughter, lives in another house that´s above theirs, but still attatched. It was the first time that we ate there and I was giving her a hard time, saying that I´ve been here for 7 months almost and this was the first time that she invited me up to eat in her house for all this time. It was pretty funny. They are the funniest to joke around with. We had lasagna with some other stuff and it was so good! But I put way too much on my plate the second time and got way depressed looking at all this food that I still had to eat after I was already about to explode. It was good though, I made it through! :) Then they brought out dessert, and of course I can´t turn that down. We had cookies and cream ice cream with this Strawberry truffle type thing and it was amazing!! Oh man! We started talking about Elder Young´s fiancé who got baptized while he was on his mission still and how her parents didn´t want her to do it and didn´t agree with it. Irmã told us the same thing happened with her when she was baptized. None of her family agreed with it or supported her with her baptism, but she went through with it and was an example for all of them afterwards. She was telling us that she never thought that her example would be important to them, but then she told us in tears about what happened with her mom just a few months ago. Her mom was in the Hospital really sick, way up in the north part of Brasil, and she went up to visit her. She was on her mom´s bedside for those days that she was up there, and her mom was telling her how sore and sick and scared she was feeling. Irmã told her, Mom, we need to talk to our Father. Irmã said a prayer for them both and afterwards her mom was telling her how much better she felt and how at peace she was and how proud she was of her. It was incredible. She was telling us how it does make a difference for people when they see us and see our example. It was a really powerful experience for me. One that I hope I won´t ever forget from my mission. This family is amazing! They were telling us that we can return anytime that we want after the mission and stay with them. They are amazing! One thing about this area is that there are amazing members whose testimonies have strengthened mine so much; seeing their sacrifices and challenges that they have had in their lives and how they have stayed firm in the Church after everything that they have gone through. The mission really is such an incredible experience; I absolutely love it!

Mom, I finally got the package that you sent! Thanks, it was great! I was very happy to see that you sent some piano music, it´s an awesome piece! Very pretty! Can you send some more music with the next package?

This week another funny experience happened with us on the bus. We were climbing up this huge hill on the bus, and about halfway up the hill, the bus started having problems and started slowing down a lot. All of a sudden, it just stopped and died halfway up the hill. Then, because it´s a stick shift, the whole bus started shaking like crazy, like what happens when you kill a car with a stick. It was nuts! I was holding on for dear life and I had all of these Elderly ladies standing in front of me, almost falling on top of me and smashing me. I was still standing up as well because all the seats were taken up already, and Elder Young was sitting down in the front and said that some guy fell on his lap. It was hilarious!! I was dying laughing afterwards, too funny. Everybody was pretty shooken up afterwards. This is my Disneyland here, crazy rollercoasters every now and then. Gotta love the bus, it´s great.

Well, I hope that everything is going great with all of you guys. Until next week!

Love, Elder McDonald

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Week 26 in Volta Redonda

Braden has been in his second area in Brazil for quite some time.  He writes,
It´s crazy how much more I love Conference on the mission!! I learn to appreciate it so much more out here, it´s incredible.

I feel like I need to be more grateful for what I have and thank all of you for everything that you have done in my life for me. I know that I wouldn´t be out here without you guys. I am so grateful for our family and have absolutely no idea what I would do without you all. Thank you so much for everything and sorry that I haven´t always been deserving of everything. I am trying to be better. I am trying to use my time more wisely here in the mission field and not to waste any minute that I have out here.

It was cool to see Elder Godoy give the closing prayer in the Sunday morning session. He came and visited us in our Zone Conference in June and it was funny to see him speak in English this time; he is an awesome apostle as well!! Elder Costa and Elder Mazzagardi are also Brasilians and their talks were some of my favorites as well.

One of the funniest things that I have ever seen in my entire life happened this week. I was studying for language study one of these days last week, and Elder Young was sitting there thinking about our area or something. He has been really stressed out with this area because we haven´t had a baptism here for a long time. Anyway, he ended up falling asleep as he was sitting in his chair, leaning against the wall and the window. I´m still studying there and I hear him start to moan in his sleep a little, ``uhhhhh. uhhhhhh.`` so I look over and it was normal, just sleeping with his mouth open and I´m used to it by now because he snores everynight anyway haha. Anyway, he stops moaning, and I go back to studying. All of the sudden he starts up again, and I look over at him and say, ``Elder``. He starts moaning a little louder, then I yell out, ``ELDER!!`` trying to wake him up. He keeps moaning louder and by now I´m freaking out, wondering what is going on. I look at him and he´s trying to open his eyes but he opens one only half way and all I see is white. I´m sitting there like, oh man, Is he having a seizure?! What is going on?! ``Elder, Elder! Wake Up!`` He finally shakes his head and wakes up and just yells out! I ask him, what happened? He starts telling me that he was hearing me call his name and everything and he was seeing me sitting there studying, but he couldn´t wake up. He said that he was a prisoner in his own body. I just started laughing hysterically because it was too hilarious!!

Anyway, we almost had a baptism that we found Friday night. We found him on the street, went to his house, taught him, he accepted to be baptized, brought him to one of the sessions of conference with us, got interviewed, and everthing was set. But we went to pick him up yesterday and he wasn´t at home. I think he went to go vote which was pretty frustrating, but it ended up that we didn´t baptize him. But, we are going to visit him today so hopefully he will be baptized this Sunday still :)

It has been pretty sad without the Sisters here for sure though, they always brought the Spirit more strongly and were amazing missionaries. We got two more American Elders in their place and they are also awesome as well, Elder Campbell who is training Elder Isom. They are awesome missionaries. It was cool to talk to Elder Isom and talk about everything that is going on in the states there since he´s fresh out of there haha. It is cool to see someone new because I see how much I have grown and I remember exactly how he feels right now; he will be an awesome missionary.

I love you so much and am realizing how much I am blessed to have you guys. I hope that you all have an amazing week!! I will talk to you next week!

Love, Elder McDonald