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.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Written 14 February 2011

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the emails, they were great! Sounds like you guys had a really good Stake Conference! Lots of good talks about missionary work! We also had a good Sacrament meeting where everyone talked about missionary work, and once again, I was one of the speakers. :) It was a really crazy day yesterday. First of all, we had to do a division here in our area, because besides our Ward, Manchester, that we are taking care of, we also have to take care of two other Wards that don´t have missionaries there. So we had a confirmation there yesterday and Elder Clegg went there to be with him and I stayed here in our Ward with our investigators and our confirmation as well. We had another baptism this week!!!!! Woo hoo!!!! He is a really great guy!!!! Super elect and he will really help out the ward there in Bairu. Yesterday, after we got back from picking up investigators to go to church, I got to confirm Rosângela (first confirmation I´ve done on the mission. Usually it is the bishop or the other members.) So that was really cool. Then they didn´t have anyone to help bless the Sacrament either, so that was the first time I´ve blessed Sacrament in Português and since I´ve been on the mission, that was really cool, and finally I gave my talk yesterday. It was a pretty busy day for sure. Right before I got up to give my talk, one of the young men in our Ward came up to me and said that there was a guy waiting out in the foyer for me. So I got off the stand real quick and went out there to see who it was, and it was another investigator who happened to walk into the church to see how it was, :) (oh yeah!) so I invited him in and he sat in and watched the rest of Sacrament meeting. I went back up on the stand and gave my talk.

Afterward, I was waiting for Elder Clegg and Renan, the Bishop´s son, to get back from the other church and end the division and we went to lunch and visited more people to end the day! This week went by really, really fast as well because we have been running around everywhere, working our butts off even more than before haha it´s been going really good here, I´m loving this area so much. I got an email from Elder Glade today again talking about the area and how much he loves this place. I´m loving it as well!! It´s cool to keep in touch with Elder Glade, he´s the coolest!

That´s kind of sad that we have 100 guys in our Stake that could serve missions, and we only have 40 that are actually serving. Glad I´m one of those numbers as well. I got an email from President today telling us that when Elder Scott came and visited our mission, he said that Rio has the potential of being a really influential city with the gospel. Elder Scott said that if the membership in Rio grows, Rio will be the Headquarters for the training of the leaders of the Church here. This was back in 2008. Our President told us that we are fulfilling that prophecy because we have had so many baptisms and new members in Rio these last couple of years, and it is growing so much, so fast!!! I love being part of this!!!!!! It´s the coolest thing to see this amazing miracle of the Lord and to be one of the missionaries that is here, helping this prophecy come to pass.

Last night after we went to sleep, I wake up to the light being turned on in our room and see two missionaries walk in. Elder Paixão and Elder Lane. I thought I was dreaming or something, it was really weird. I guess they came here from Rio yesterday to do something with the Government for Elder Paixão. They said that they were banging on the door for like ten minutes buy I didn´t hear a thing, I was out cold haha. So Elder Paixão already has been in that house and said that he climbed in through the window and got inside the house haha pretty funny. They are cool guys. Today we are having a big district activity that should be really sweet! We also have Zone Conference this Friday and it is going to be right here in Juiz de Fora, so that will be nice not to have to travel for the first time for zone conference.

The mission is really going by a lot faster this last week. With more responsibility I just lose track of time and of what day it is, and the weeks seriously seem like days! I do laundry one day, and the next day it seems, I have to do it again because I´m already out of clothes haha. I love the mission so much and am so grateful for my Bishop here, he is an amazing guy! Elder Glade said that he helped him out a ton on the mission, and he has helped me out so much as well!! He is an amazing bishop and loves the missionaries. I am so grateful to be here in Manchester and be here in this amazing mission!! I can´t believe I only have ten months left, that´s so weird! I´m not ready for the real world yet!

Well, I hope that all of you are doing great! Sounds like you´re keeping busy as well with everything! Tell everyone hi for me. Tell President Jaussi hi for me as well. Have an amazing week and I´ll talk to you next Monday!!

Love, Elder McDonald

Written 7 February 2011

Hello Everyone!

Thanks for all of the emails, they were really great! Sounds like you guys are just as busy as I am out here hahaha. This week was really, really great! Lots of walking and working really hard in the hot sun, but it all paid off in the end. When I got here, a lot of the members in the Ward were really unexcited because of the old missionary that was here before me that didn´t want to do anything and just complained about everything, which is pretty sad. But I´ve been working really hard, trying to gain their confidence again and we´ve been visiting a lot of them just to help them out and get them excited again and it´s been working really, really well! They are starting to get really excited again and are helping us out a ton! Like I said before, the Bishop here is amazing and I think I´ve gained his confidence a lot more now so things are going great here! We marked an activity with a family here and we have a ton of members going there and they are all bringing friends that aren´t members for us to teach and have an activity so it is going to be amazing!!! Elder Fernandes came and did a division with me here and we had a lot of success with planning this activity with them. He´s hilarious, oh man! He makes me laugh all the time when he calls me during the day, he´s a great missionary and a great district leader.

Well, let me get to the best part of this week here!!! We had three baptisms yesterday!!!!!! It was so sweet!!!! It´s the first baptism they have had here in the Ward for almost three months because of the other Elder who was here before and didn´t want to do anything, so the members were really excited and we had a huge turnout at the baptism service with a lot of support from the members and everything!! It was really, really great! We completed a family and baptized the ex-wife of a man who got baptized like 5 years ago and also his two kids! We were really blessed!! We have been working our butts off out here and the Lord has blessed us!! It is really cool to see that the Lord will bless us when we do everything that we can and we show that we have a desire through our works! So we found this family on Friday afternoon, I called Elder Fernandes and he came and interviewed them on Saturday, and we baptized him yesterday! I will try and send you guys a picture!! This family is so cool, they really were prepared by the Lord!

So this week, we´re still going to work our butts off and keep baptizing here! This area is Zion, I swear! It´s so awesome, I´m loving it! I have been really blessed with amazing areas on the mission and am really seeing the hand of the Lord in all of this work and how he is using me to help out his children here that are prepared to be baptized by me personally! It´s really cool. That´s really funny about Elder Clegg´s dad, that he served with you Dad. He has less time on the mission than me though. That´s really a huge coincidence. I also met a lady here in our Ward who was visiting my last area, Galeão, and she said that she saw me at church all of those Sundays during January and now I´m here in her Ward! That was pretty sweet as well, she knows all of the people that I met there in that Ward! The members here are amazing and we have a ton of help.

Today Elder Fernandes called and asked if we wanted to do something with them so we are going to meet them there in their area after this and go do something! The missionaries here are really sweet, we are all really close and it´s been really cool to hang out with them. I can´t believe how fast these last two weeks have gone by though, it´s been pretty ridiculous!! I can´t believe I´m on my last year of the mission!

Well, I hope that you all have an amazing week and keep working hard as well! I know that the Lord is blessing all of us. I´m so grateful to be a missionary and help people out and forget myself. I´ve been learning a ton everyday out here, it´s been amazing!! Love you all so much!!

Love, Elder McDonald

New Area (Written 31 January 2011)

How are you all doing?

I´m doing AMAZING!! I´m in an awesome new area (Zion) and I was so excited Monday night when we got the news around 11:30. I´m in Juiz de Fora now in an area called Manchester!! I have been wanting to serve here my entire mission so far!! This is where Elder Glade was serving right before we both got sent to Usina and he was always talking about how amazing it is here, and he was right!! The bishop is amazing and the ward members are so awesome and they leave with us to teach and help us out with everything we need pretty much!! It is incredible!!! I have been incredibly blessed to be here. I got two emails from President this week that I read today. He said basically,``New area, new companion, new calling. Let´s go to work! Congratulations! Stay happy! I love you.`` haha President is the coolest!! My new companion is Elder Clegg and he has about 9 months on the mission now. He´s from Pleasant Grove so now we have two Utahns here. Did you ever have a companion named Elder Clegg on the mission, Dad? He said his dad also served in the Ireland Dublin mission around when you served. That would be really funny. This week was good, just trying to get to know the area and the members and try to find more people to teach. We did a ton of street contacting this week, more than I´ve done until this point on the mission so far. It´s been really great here. Our house is amazing as well! We have a sweet spiral staircase that goes up to the roof where we have our washing machine and our sweet balcony that overlooks the city! It´s amazing here! It´s just the two of us in our house, so it´s really nice and quiet. I like it more than living with four, gets really hectic to get ready with only one shower. Our district leader is the coolest as well! Elder Fernandes, he´s hilarious. He looks exactly like the guy on twilight, the one who is the werewolf, Jacob? Makensie will know his name haha. He gets really annoyed because all of the girls that are here think the same thing and are always bugging him. Jacob! Jacob! It´s funny listening to him tell his stories. He is Brasilian but he grew up in Salt Lake with his mom who lives there, and now he´s back in Brasil for the mission. One of the few Brasilians that speaks fluent English and Português. He´s now worked with almost all of the Elders from Riverton, Elder Joseph, Elder Kunz, and now me. Today, the Zone Leaders called us up and we are going to play Risk at their house with our district, it will be great! Our zone is amazing! I have two Elders here that are from my district in the MTC, and I´m working with one of the Zone leaders, Elder Almeida, who was my zone leader in Volta Redonda, so it´s good to see him again, he´s awesome.

Last night we did divisions and I left with the Bishop to teach some less actives that he´s been wanting to visit, it was awesome! I talked to him a lot about the area and he told me about what he wanted us to do to help. He is incredible. He´s been Bishop here for 9 years now and he loves to leave with the missionaries and loves missionary work. He served in São Paulo and said that he had a companion named Elder McDonald as well, pretty funny. I am loving every part of this area so far; we just need to find people to teach and baptize now and it will be even better! I will have to send Elder Glade another email and tell him that I am now in his favorite area on the mission. He will be really happy I think!

This area is a lot cheaper. A LOT cheaper! I have hardly spent any money here so far. Maybe 30 reais. That´s been a blessing as well, because my last area was really expensive, with all the vans and buses. I haven´t gone to the bank at all this week.

Sounds like you´re new calling is going great mom! We´re both learning together now and both have a lot more challenges. I´m trying to get to know everyone as well, plan everything out, and do all the great stuff that comes along with that as well. Both learning together now haha. I met an awesome less active guy last night and he has the nicest house I´ve ever seen here! He lives in a Private community, kind of like a cabin here, and he´s a really awesome guy! I have met a lot of awesome people here already! We also visited another guy on Saturday who has been less active for a while now, and we got him to go to church yesterday, it was amazing! He really likes the missionaries. He was showing us pictures of his family and stuff and he had pictures with Elder Glade and other Elders that passed through here, it was funny to see.

How is the weather there now? Here it is a lot less hot than it was in Rio, there in the center. It´s been really nice. I got an email today from Luciana as well and she said that her and her family are sad that I left haha but they said that they got the package that you sent them and are really grateful and that she loved the pictures that you sent her. I do miss the members that were there in Galeão; they were amazing! At least I left my address with most of them that I wanted to, so that was good.

Well, I can´t think of anything else to tell you guys! I´m staying really busy here and this week was the fastest week on the mission so far! I can´t believe that January is already over! Pretty crazy! Here in a little bit, I will only have 10 months left, that´s so weird. I´m loving this area and this work keeps getting better everyday! My companion is awesome and we are both working are tails off here!! I´m praying that the Lord with bless us with success if we just keep sacrificing more and do everything that we can! I love the mission! I love all of you! I hope that you all have an amazing week!

Love, Elder McDonald