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, July 25, 2011

25 July 2011

Hey Guys,

This week flew by for me as well. This whole month actually. The time just keeps going faster. I can´t believe that I`m going on my fifth week in this area already, it is insane. Sounds like a lot of cool stuff is going on. Sounds like trek was really cool for Makensie. That is really cool that she is going to get her Patriarchal Blessing this week.  He is a really amazing guy. If I would have known that you were going to visit President Jaussi, I would have told you to tell him hi for me as well. I really hope that he is still Stake President when I come home to report on my mission, but he should be, right? Speaking of Patriarchs, we are going to eat lunch at the Seventy´s house this week, Brother Athos, who is the Patriarch of this stake as well, that will be awesome

This week we are going to have interviews with President Lima, that will be really cool, I`m excited. The best news that I have though is that we baptized yesterday! It was really awesome, we had a lot of members there helping us, mostly the returned missionaries haha. It turned out really cool. Her name is Janaína- her parents also were at the baptism and stayed for the rest of church as well and they loved all of it. Janaína was baptized in the morning and then confirmed during Sacrament Meeting. Poor girl, it was really cold yesterday and the water was even colder, but it all turned out great. We are working with her parents and her brother to get the whole family baptized. The dad, Paulo, is really excited, but her mom still doesn´t think she is ready, but we are preparing a good lesson to share with them all tonight. This area is amazing, have I mentioned that already, heh heh. I love the people here. Yesterday was awesome, we had Churrasco again for lunch! Everyday that have baptized here, we have had Churrasco for lunch. We had another family night over at their house as well and we made American cookies for them all again, they loved them.

Danilo, a returned missionary in the ward, took a picture of us with him and put it on Facebook and he´s had a few people from my old Ward, Usina, in the same Stake that have commented on it and have asked how I am and said that they miss me, that made me happy haha. I feel loved. I am going to die when I have to come home, it´s going to be so hard. People always ask me if I get homesick. I always tell them no way, and that I am going to be homesick only when I actually go home and leave my mission. I need to get as much as I can out of this time that I can. It´s going way too fast

Well, I hope that you guys enjoy the rest of your summer and that everything goes well for you all this week. I´m still here working hard and loving my mission. I love you all. Have a great week!

Love, Elder McDonald

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

18 July 2011

Hey Everyone,

Sounds like you all had a pretty busy week, that´s cool. Sounds like the weddings were great as well. Dad, send me a picture of Jacob´s wedding as well, I want to see it. The picture that you sent is really good; Makensie and Johnathan look a lot different to me, the others look pretty much the same. Sounds like you guys are doing a lot of fun stuff this summer. I can´t believe that July is almost over already though, that is nuts.

This week was good, not as exciting as last week though. Yesterday was pretty funny, I learned how to be a good marriage counselor. There is a companionship in my district and they aren´t getting along too well, so yesterday I sat them both down in a room and had them tell me what was going on. Lots of venting, but I`m hoping it helped. I told them that I´m not their babysitter and that they know what they need to do, so just do it. My companion thought it was funny, he thinks it´s exactly like a married couple situation, going through counseling, we were laughing about it afterward. I`m glad that my companion is awesome and that I´ve never really had any big problems with my companions, I´ve been blessed.

We had a few days this week where it was really hard to find new people to teach. We were walking around the streets all day looking for people to teach, talking to everybody, but everybody was ``too busy`` or didn´t want to talk to us, which means the same thing, right? But oh well, it´s part of it. On Thursday, I had to go do five baptism interviews, four in a city called Itatiaia and the other one in Centenário, so I was all over the place that day. Right after lunch was when it started and I didn´t get home until about 10:15. The first two interviews were sad, they didn´t feel like they were ready, even though they were overly ready; I used every scripture I could think of, but they just didn´t have any desire for the baptism to be Sunday. The second two were really awesome; the Spirit was really strong during the third interview, especially when he gave the closing prayer. I love interviews, they are so cool.

Other than that, nothing really new happened. Our ward mission leader looks exactly like Leonardo DiCaprio; I forgot to take a picture with him yesterday, I need to do that and send it to you guys. There is a really cool National Park here in Itatiaia that I am dying to visit. There are tons of waterfalls in there and caves and it´s a jungle to say the least. I want to go there on one of these P-days.

Well, I don´t really know what else to write. I`m doing great! I still love this area, the people here are amazing! Hope that you are all doing great as well! Have a fun week and I will talk to you all next week.

Love, Elder McDonald

Monday, July 11, 2011

11 July 2011

Hey Guys,

This was such an awesome week here! I love this place! I have to say that this is the best area that I have been in my whole mission. We have so much help and support from the members here, it is amazing! Most of the ten recently returned missionaries in the ward help us a lot and the Bishop is amazing! I still get a lot of jokes about McDonald´s, but what´s new? The love that here. We had two baptisms yesterday; they were two kids in this amazing family that I was talking to you guys about last week! Their parents finally let them get baptized, it was so cool! I told my companion that they were the reason that I came to this area and they are the reason that he stayed here one more transfer, such an elect family. Now we just need to get the mom, Rose, married and baptize her and her other two kids. The dad was already baptized a long time ago, but we are working to get him back to church; he is going to another church right now, but we´re hoping that with the baptism of his kids yesterday, the Spirit will help him come back. The more and more that I´m here on the mission, the more I realize that I don´t do anything. The Lord does everything.

Earlier during the week, I was getting nervous because Vitor and Vitória´s parents weren´t wanting them to get baptized at all. We brought Elder R. Corrêa over there to interview them and they were really excited to get baptized, but up until Saturday, they still weren´t firm to get baptized. We had been praying and fasting for them and the Lord heard and answered our prayers. When we went there on Saturday after the conference in Petrópolis on Friday, the first thing that Vitor said when we got to his house was that his dad gave him permission to get baptized! I got so happy! The baptism yesterday was one of the most spiritual baptisms that I have ever had. One of the returned missionaries, Monique, gave an amazing message at the baptisms and I don´t think there was a dry eye in the room. The Spirit was so strong there. Their mom, Rose, was really happy and had tears in her eyes after she saw them both come up out of the water. Rose reminds me a lot of you, Mom. She is really funny and loves to joke around a lot and she looks like you I think. This family is incredible. Another returned missionary, Edimar, came with us to pick them up yesterday morning and that helped a ton. The people here are amazing! I`m in heaven here, I`m telling you. This place is incredible. The Lord is blessing us a lot.

Luciana and her family sent me another email (the awesome members from Galeão) They told me to tell you guys hi and that they love you haha. They are awesome, I really, really miss that ward as well. I really have been blessed with amazing areas. I´m grateful for that. She said for me to pass by there again before I leave to come home because she wants to give me some stuff to take home with me, oh goody :) I really miss the people in that ward, they are so cool. I honestly am going to have to visit the mission again after I get home; visit these amazing areas that I passed.

The Zone Conference that we had on Friday was amazing. We woke up at 3 in the morning after going to bed at 1 because of the crazy buses that stopped passing at 10:30. We were still in Resende after the interviews in my area and we went to the bus station to go to Volta Redonda. We sat there for about an hour only to find out that the bus that we wanted wasn´t going to pass again until the next day, so we had to walk another half hour or so to another bus station on the complete other side of the city, only to find out that there wasn´t any buses there either. So our only alternative was to take a taxi to Volta Redonda. Yikes. That wasn´t cheap. At least we will get a reimbursement for that as well. So we finally get there, go to sleep, get up two hours later and have another three hour bus ride to Petrópolis. It was cool. We met President and his family and they taught us about the new ideas for the mission. President said that when he was set apart as mission president by Elder Christofferson, Elder Christofferson said that he was called here to establish a temple in Rio. That was our focus before with President Bezerra, but it is even more so now. It is cool to see the differences between my two Presidents, they are a lot different, but I know that they are both called of God. It will be cool to work with him these next few months, I can´t believe I am even saying that. A few months is all. Scary.

Well, I love you all. Hope that you had a great 4th of July. Sounds like that Kansas concert was awesome, I´m jealous. I´m loving this area!! I´m doing amazing!! Talk to you all next week!!

Love, Elder McDonald

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth of July, 2011

How´s everything going?
This week was amazing! We had transfers on Monday, they called us at about10:30 at night, that was nice. I got transferred to an area called Manejo and it is amazing!! It was where President Bezerra was trained and it was his favorite area on the mission so I feel really honored to have been sent here,I´m loving it here so far! It is in my old Zone as well, Volta Redonda. It is in a city called Resende. My companion is amazing, his name is Elder Gonçalves,he´s the best junior that I have had so far on the mission, he knows how to work. My zone leaders are also amazing, I´m finally with Elder R. Corrêa, a really cool Elder that came out in the field with me, he´s incredible. It was a really crazy week and flew by really fast. I got here on Tuesday afternoon and we went to visit some members. When I was still in Usina, I came out here on a division one time so I knew a really cool family and I went back there and said, ``Hey remember me?`` It was really funny, they are awesome. They have a son who just got home from his mission not too long ago and his name is Danilo,he was really happy when he saw me. He´s an awesome guy and he helps us a ton.This Ward has ten returned missionaries, it´s awesome! Two of the returned sisters that came home just a few months ago left with us last night to visit people, they are amazing! We had a bunch of investigators at church yesterday,so that was awesome to start out the transfer well. We had two confirmations,and one of them is a deaf lady. She is an awesome lady! Her and her son were baptized last week and confirmed yesterday. We also visited another awesome family that I met on Thursday, such an elect family. The missionaries have been working with them for a long time; they were pretty much eternal investigators.The mom, Rose, didn´t want to let her kids get baptized, and she can´t get baptized yet because she isn´t married and she´s living with someone. So we went over there and left a powerful message. The Spirit was so strong there; Ihaven´t felt the Spirit that strong in a long time. I was telling her about an experience that I had when we baptized Ronan and Eduarda, two kids in my last area, and how them being baptized made a huge difference in their family and everyone ended up going to church, including their dad who never listened to our messages when we came over. I was looking at her and she started getting teary-eyed and I knew that she could feel the Spirit because it was incredibly strong. That was an amazing experience for me. Then, the next day, I went on a division to Barra Mansa to interview some people there while Elder R. Corrêacame here to my area to interview Rose´s kids. Rose loved him as well; he is an amazing missionary. She finally decided that she would let them get baptized if it is really what they want (they have been dying to be baptized for the last few months). We are going to work with them this week, such a great family! We also met a really awesome lady, Maria, who went to church with her nephew and they both loved it. Maria accepted a date to be baptized this Sunday, so we will work with them as well; it will be a busy week! We are going to have a Zone Conference this Friday in Petrópolis again to meet our new President and his wife, President and Sister Lima. That is going to be awesome!
We have a General Authority that lives in our area; he was a Seventy, the SãoPaulo Temple President, the Fortaleza Mission President. We went to his house yesterday to give his wife a blessing; his house is incredibly nice. They both speak perfect English. Supposedly when we eat lunch there, they get the missionaries phone numbers and when we leave, they call our families. That will be cool. Be expecting a phone call in a few weeks. Our bishop is a really awesome guy! I feel so welcome in this Ward already, it seems like everyone already knew me. It was the first Ward that I came to where they announced that they had a new missionary and I had to go up and introduce myself and bear my testimony,  that was pretty cool. These returned sister missionaries, Anelise and Monique, are really awesome. The both of them and Danilo help us out the most with teaching people with us and helping us out with the work. This Ward is amazing with helping the missionaries out, I love it already. My areas just keep getting better and better, as well as my companions. The Lord has been blessing me a ton on the mission. I´m so grateful for Him. I have been trying to sacrifice a lot more to thank Him for everything that He has given me. I must have done something right to deserve all of these blessings. My district is amazing; I have really hard working Elders in my district so that is good that I don´t have to get on anybody´sback about doing better. The Mission is so amazing! I love my new area, it´s so cool! I want to try and visit Usinaheh heh. My companion said that when President Bezerra would come here to visit, he would always cry because he had so many spiritual experiences here. I´m scared that the mission is going to end too quick, but I`m going to enjoy my time while I`m still here. I love you all! Hope that you have a great Fourth of July! Say hi to everyone for me! Oh, and by the way JJ is engaged now and is getting married on the 24th of August!!!! How crazy is that? I just got an email from him today, I will have to write him. Love you guys!!
Love, Elder McDonald