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, November 29, 2011

Oh no! It´s almost December!

Hey guys, thanks for all of the emails and the information! I had no idea that Jeremy was leaving on his mission this week to Argentina, that´s pretty crazy. I have been trying to think about all of the lessons and the things that I have learned on the mission, there have been a lot of awesome experiences that will change my life forever and will change my vision of a lot of things. The more I learn, the more I find out that I know nothing. Funny how that works out. The Lord wants us to be humble though so that we can be teachable, and I know that I still have a long way to go to be able to learn and have knowledge.
This week was really cool though, we had interviews with President and I asked him how he deals with stress and how he is able to concentrate on one thing when so many things are happening in his life. He taught me an awesome lesson. He made a comparison talking about what happens when we shake a bottle of soda and open it and what happens when we shake a bottle of water and open it. Then he shared a cool scripture of when Christ says, ``I am the Living Water.`` I had never looked at it that way.  President told me that with everything happening in our lives, we decide how we are going to deal with it and how we will react to stress and how we will control our thoughts.

There weren´t too many other things that happened this week, not a whole lot of news. I´m still really nervous and scared to come home though, but it´s normal....probably haha. I can´t believe that we are already entering into December this week, such a weird thought. I don´t know where time has gone, seriously.
Well, I hope that you all have a great week. It is nice and rainy here so that keeps the heat down, but it is still really humid. I just can´t win seems like. I love our Zone, I´m grateful for the missionaries that I have met here on the mission and all of the lessons that I have learned from them. I love you all and hope that you have a great week.

Love, Elder McDonald

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hey Family,

How are you all doing? Hope that everything is going great for everyone there. Thanks for all of the emails and the flight plans.....you want me to be trunky, don´t you? :) It´s not going to work though, sorry. I still have time on the mission and I´m going to enjoy it haha. This last week was incredible!!! The conference that we had with Elder Bednar was so amazing!! We had front row seats basically so that just made it that much better. At first, I thought it was going to just be Elder Bednar, but low and behold, he was walking in with Elder R. M. Costa who was in the Presidency of the Seventy but is now the President of the Area Brasil. That was really cool. As you can imagine, the Spirit was amazingly strong during the whole conference. Elder Bednar is really funny, really direct, and really inspired. I learned a ton from him.
He came up to the pulpit and was like, “Alright, first of all I want to teach you all about how to take notes. Don´t write down what I say. Write down what the Spirit tells you.”
 He kept talking about false church traditions which I thought was pretty funny. He talked about how people always pray in church, “Please bless all of the people who weren´t here this week that they can be here next week.´´

He´s like, ``I don´t ever want to see any of you saying that prayer in Sacrament meeting! You should be praying, telling the Lord that you are going to go get the people who aren´t there in that VERY second. The only thing you need to ask the Lord is for inspiration so that not everybody in the congregation, when they leave to get the people, don´t all go to the same house!”
 Haha, I thought that was so awesome. He taught about how we need to pray and act, not just pray to express and then do nothing about it; we need to make our prayers happen.

He also talked a lot about how we are all agents and not objects. I loved how he taught because he didn´t give a talk at the pulpit. He got up there, and the whole three hour conference, he was asking us questions and we were asking him questions, it was really cool. There were a lot of missionaries who asked some really good questions. Going back to the agents and the objects, he said that we should never ask people questions that we are looking for a specific answer. He said that is playing the game, ``try to guess what is in my head`` and that turns these people from agents to objects. That was really cool I thought. I decided that I need two more years on my mission to do it the right way now haha. It was funny talking to my ward mission leader because he said that it wasn´t until the end of his mission that he learned how to serve a mission the right way, and by that time it was already over; but he said that his mission was for the future now. That was something that really hit me. During my whole mission, I was trying to learn what I needed to do, basically how to be a missionary, and at the end, I finally found out how to do everything, but then it´s over. Funny how that works, huh?
President Bezerra said that at a conference once. ``It´s funny how at the end of the mission, we finally learn how to teach right, but it´s too bad that we don´t have two more years to stay and work like that.`` It´s interesting how the Lord works, but it´s all part of the plan and part of the process.

I love the mission so much. I can´t imagine how my life would be without the mission. It changed everything. I learned and grew so much, and I still have time to learn and grow more. I know that the Book of Mormon is true now without a doubt. I know that the Atonement is real and that Christ lives and he did everything that he needed to for our Salvation. I am grateful for agency and the learning experiences that I have had here in these last months of my life. The Gospel is Perfect. I love all of you, hope that you all have a great week.
Love, Elder McDonald

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hey Everyone,

How are you all doing this week? Sorry the email last week wasn´t as long, even though it was still pretty long. We were in a hurry to get over to Káthia´s house to have the Churrasco; it was really, really good by the way! We had a lot of steak and chicken with some nice guaraná! We will do a Churrasco there in the summer, don´t worry. I think I have the technique down; we will have some really good bananas and ice cream that I learned how to make as well.  I promised Elder Glade that we would have a Churrasco. So we´re all ready to go :)
I´m really excited for this week! Elder Bednar is coming on Thursday and he is doing a special conference just with the missionaries in the morning!! It´s going to be amazing! Even though, I bet we are going to have to get up at about 3 or 4 in the morning just to be ready and make sure that we get there on time. Even though we live really close to the center of Rio, you never know what will happen with Rio traffic in the morning. It was really funny when President Lima called us and was telling us the schedule and everything that we have to do to prepare for the Conference; he told us that we need to cut our hair. He´s like, ``I don´t care if you cut it last week, cut it again! If you think that your hair is short already, cut it again!! Get the picture.....cut it again!`` I love President.
This week we had a ton of miracles happen here in our area. We found a lot of awesome people this last week. We had been walking around our entire area, going after less actives, trying to visit them and see if they still live here in the area or if they moved. We climbed up so many stinking hills, but we were able to survive and not die, in spite of the sun that was burning everything pretty much. We found the coolest family every!! Antônio and Rosa, they are the coolest! They were really excited when we went in and talked to them, they aren´t members but they have already heard about the church. The man that lived in the house before them happened to be a bishop and when he moved, he left a box full of Liahonas and the Book of Mormon, smart bishop :) They showed up at church by themselves yesterday and brought their entire family and loved the church!! It was the coolest thing! They look like they are members already and we are going to baptize all of them this week!! FAMILY!!! WHOO!!! Jenifer´s parents also came to church yesterday; it was the first time that her dad came to church! Tainá was giving a talk yesterday, so I think that is why the whole family came to watch; we are working with them still, but they need to get married before they can get baptized.

I love miracles!! I love missionary work!! It is the coolest, I feel so good helping people and seeing them come to church and feel the Spirit! I don´t want this to end! I am so grateful for all of the amazing experiences that I have had on the mission and for all of the other hard experiences that have taught me to depend on my Savior and to have faith in the Atonement! I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Without them, there is no hope or purpose in this life. I am so grateful for the Atonement and for the hope that we have to become clean from the consequences of sin. I love the Book of Mormon. I know without a doubt that it is true! I know that the Spirit testifies that to me every time I read it; I know that I have received an answer that it is true through reading and hearing the words that are written in it. I´m grateful for my testimony. I´m grateful for all of you and for the support, the prayers, and the love that you all have for me. I know that I don´t deserve it, but I am trying my best to be better and to deserve it. I hope that you all have an amazing week! Love you all!
Love, Elder McDonald

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hey Everyone,

Sorry, I´m a little short on time today to email everyone, I had a lot of stuff to read, but thanks for all of the mail and all of the information. Sounds like there is a lot of good stuff going on up there. Well, here I am, the first day of my last transfer in the field. I´m really scared!!! Oh man!! This can´t be happening already, I honestly don´t believe it. We were talking to the assistants last night and they passed us the transfer. Looks like I´ll be ending as a Zone Leader here in Mutuá with Cavalcanti, I´m pretty excited! I was expecting that to happen though. It will be cool.

I´m trying to think about what happened this last week. We did a few divisions and I was with Elder Braithwaite for a few days this week here in our area while Elder Cavalcanti went and helped Sanchez in his area. It was pretty fun. On my birthday, we went and ate at the Bishop´s restaurant…I really don´t feel any older or any different. Today we are going to have a big Churrasco, I´m really excited, it´s going to be great. We only had a few people get transferred in the Zone, but I was really happy that most of them stayed.

We are working with a few less active families now and still working with families that we can baptize. We had a really awesome lesson with Jorge and Sandra this week and Jorge really wants to get married and get sealed!! It was an incredible lesson and the Spirit there was amazing as well. I love this work. I am going to cry for a month straight when I get home, I´m sure. Don´t worry, it won´t be because I´m sad, just because I will miss the mission so much. I need to enjoy every second of these next 6 weeks and I pray that I can continue to have a ton of miracles in this last transfer of this amazing Mission!
I love all of you so much! I love my Savior. I will write everyone else back next week. Sorry about the lack of time. Talk to you next week.

Love, Elder McDonald