Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tinham uma feliz anno novo! (new pictures)

Familia!

It was great see you on Christmas!  I'm amazed at how much you've each grown in only four months.  It's kind of crazy to think it's already been 4 months! Time's definitely flown.  Blake, I foresee by the time you leave on your mission, you'll be the number one shot putter in the nation, and still choose to serve a mission over going to the Olympics.  It was fun to hear you all play piano too.  Brooks and Braxton, you've gotten really good.  Ben must be teaching you or something.  :)

Glad you had a good Christmas.  I was happy Rynda could be there to translate elder Elder Young's & my Portuguese.  It was neat to hear Bryce's testimony in his now native tongue. :) When you have the chance to focus on others for two years, helping them to change, you are the one changed the most.  

We've been praying a lot to find new people to teach and this week we found an amazing family.  They are Muslim and have very strong religious beliefs.  They love learning new truths, and it's evident they love God and want to do all they can to draw closer to Him.  Every time we go to their house, Nagi, their dad, goes "Brothers!  Salama likem.  How's it going!?  Come on in."  Nagi's name in Arabic means "beloved friend."  We have lots of really good discussions.  They came to church this Sunday and really enjoyed it.  

We were blessed to find six others to teach; I wish I had time to tell you about each.  It will be hard to leave this area if I get transferred on the 7th.  The people here are so amazing.

This week's scripture:

"For the Lord hath heard thy prayers, and hath judged of thy righteousness, and hath sent me to declare unto thee that thou mayest rejoice; and that thou mayest declare unto thy people, that they may also be filled with joy."

Mosiah 3:4

This scripture came as an answer to prayer.  We were able to find many people the morning I read that to "declare [the Gospel (good news)] that they [could] also be filled with joy."  

Hope you are having a good Christmas break - have a happy new year!

Love,

Elder Young the younger
Elder Young loved getting the pillow case from the primary from Fayetteville 1st ward and the pictures from Braxton and Brooks!

Las Vegas at night

Cute little reindeers Elder Young and Elder Payne passed out as the went caroling

Elder Young's 1st Christmas in the mission field -stockings made by mom!

Merry Christmas!

Elder Erickson

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Pictures from Elder Brandyn Young

Elder Young playing in the ward talent show

Laser tag activity

Elder Young with President and Sister Neider

The missionaries singing "Peanut butter and Jelly" for the ward Christmas Program


Feliz Navidad! From Elder Young( the younger)

Merry Christmas!!

Hope you all are enjoying Christmas break. Thank you so much for all the gifts, letters, and emails sent from home!  I'm happy to hear you all are doing well.  and got to see the Hughes brothers!  I'm really glad Blake and I were able to see that last year.  Did you go to the ward in Branson?  I wear my Branson shirt a lot at morning sports and a lot of Elders ask what that means. :) It gives me a chance to tell them about their instant ward choir and Silver Dollar City during Christmastime.

That's awesome that Elder Young was able to give us a referral all the way from Brazil!  We will give Valder a call soon.  

This week has been good.  It's a lot of fun going caroling while sharing the Gospel.  Instead of knocking we just sing Christmas songs out of the hymn book.  Within a couple weeks, all those we had been teaching either got baptized, stopped keeping commitments, or moved, so this week we did a lot of finding.  We were struggling to find new people to teach, so we decided to try caroling.  Yesterday we fasted for help to find and found 4 new people to teach! Miracles happen.  I know that fasting and prayer work.

The families here in Las Vegas are amazing.  They invite friends over for family evening often.  Our tree is overflowing with presents, cookies, and cinnamon rolls.  

This Tuesday we went to seminary and challenged the youth to share the Gospel with their friends over Christmas break.  It was perfect because the lesson Brother Dahl gave was about missionary work - speaking with the "tongue of angels."  In Luke 2:8-15, it talks about the message the angels delivered to shepherds in the field.  Looking at that story from the perspective of the angel gives it a new light.  What would it be like to be the one chosen to declare "glad tidings of great joy," the greatest news ever given in the history of the universe?  That's the job of a missionary.  Gospel means good news and we have the responsibility to share it.  The good news is that Jesus Christ lives and loves us.  He came to the earth, sent by Heavenly Father, to die for us so that we can live.  He's felt the depths of sorrow and suffering so that we can experience joy in full. 

Every time I read Luke 2:14, I think of the hymn Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains:

Far, far away on Judea's plains,
Shepherds of old heard the joyous strains

Glory to God in the highest;
Peace on earth, goodwill to men!

When the shepherds saw the angel at first they were afraid.  But then the angel was like, "Whoa! Whoa!  Hold on a second.  Of all nights to be afraid, this is not the night.  Unto you a Savior is born!" and then he describes the blessings of peace and joy Christ would bring.

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, bfeast upon the cwords of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will dtell you all things what ye should do.  Alma 32:3

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and speak with the "tongue of angels." Share the Gospel blessings of peace and joy with others.  Then you can be considered an angel.

Have a good week!  

=|>>>*

Elder Young the younger  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Las Vegas in December


Elder Young was very happy to eat at In and Out Burger!

It snowed in Las Vegas!

Merry Christmas!


Feliz (early) nacido familia,

Thank you so much for the packages and Christmas presents.  Brooks and Braxton I loved the pictures!  I got all of the pictures from the primary too.  Elder Payne and I also loved the stockings.  We are going to put those ornaments on our tree when we get home.  It's crazy how much it is snowing in Arkansas!  Holey moley.  That looks like fun. :) Thank you for the pictures Rynda.  

This week's verse comes from a letter from Moroni:

"I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that He, through His infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on His name to the end."
Moroni 8:3

This week my testimony has been strengthened of the power of prayer.  This week Elder Payne and I had a lesson with one of our investigators, Brother Knauls, (the dad of Emma, who was baptized a couple weeks ago).  He is an ex-marine sniper, who almost played in the NFL, but dislocated his knee.  He could have gone back after healing, but decided to get married and be a dad.  He says being a dad is far better than being in the NFL.  It's been neat relating with him on a smaller scale, with my femure and playing football, and my choice to go on a mission instead of playing football.  He is the guy who played football for Northside and keeps me updated on how the Bulldogs are doing. :) 

Brother Knauls, because he is an ex-marine and has been through a lot, has PTSD. Yet he is still really funny and optimistic.  He's really fun to talk to and makes us laugh every time we come over.  On Tuesday, we taught him a lesson about the power of prayer.  He testified to us that prayer is what gets him through PTSD and He relies every day on the power of faith.  

Robyn has also turned 180 degrees from the first time we saw her.  She was the investigator that recently lost 3 family members and had to move out of her apartment because they weren't able to pay rent.  She has a husband named Rob (Rob & Robyn Kaulfuss) and two sons, both Eagle scouts! (or at least scouts, I think she said they are Eagles) who are 20 and 23.  They both also played football in high school.  Josh and I were able to relate because he was injured playing football and did home bound school.  We went over to help them move.  They are the neatest family.  They've been through a lot, but because they are now looking to God, they are happy through it all.

We taught them CPR: church, pray, read.  Those three things bring you back to life, and keep you going.  She committed to reading the Book of Mormon on the way to Virginia (they are going to live with her Sister in law) and has been praying through the whole moving process.  She went to church with us last week and it completely changed her perspective on her situation.  The talks were on self reliance.  It was perfect.  She and her family plan to attend church in Virginia.  She thought it was neat that Elder Payne and I both have 6 kids in our family.  I showed her a picture of us in front of the Washington DC temple and she says that's something she wants for her family, to be sealed in the temple.

The trip is 36 hours and they plan to sleep in their car and eat PB&Js on the way.  I really wish there was a way I could help them out financially, but I know the spiritual blessings we give her will help her in the long run.  


There have been so many experiences I've had, in meeting people, that testify to me that there is a reason I am in Las Vegas for a season (that rhymes:).  I've been able to relate with some of our investigators in a unique way.  I know that I am here for a reason.  There is a Brazilian family that Elder Payne and I are trying to get to come back to church that love it when we come over and sing.  We also are teaching them the missionary lessons again in Portuguese.  

Overall, it's been another good week.  I am so grateful for the blessings Elder Payne and I receive each day.  So many miracles!  I wish I could video all that goes on in the life of a missionary and send it too you - there is nothing in this world that draws you closer to Christ.  I love the people here so much, and I can't begin to imagine how much Heavenly Father loves them too.

I love you all!

Have a great week - Merry Christmas! =|>>>*

Elder Young the Younger

p.s.  I have a lot of pictures to send, but will have to attach them next week because I'm out of time.  We ate at Inn 'n Out today!  It was so good.

















Elder Erickson says hi and happy new year

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

12-9-2013 Elder Young (The Younger)


Hellooo family!

It sounds like you all are snowed in!  The pictures look like a lot of fun.  Did Rynda decorate the big tree in the front yard again!?  The lights look awesome.  & all of you look so much taller!  How did you get so big Brooks and Braxton?

I loved getting all of your emails.  It's so fun to hear from you every week.  From now on, we only have 45 minutes to send emails to family, so I'm typing extra fast.
I loved all the pictures you sent Rynda. I still remember putting up lights with you a couple Christmases ago. That was fun.  Las Vegas, as you would expect, looks really cool too with all of the holiday lights.  Sometimes Elder Payne and I feel spoiled because the members always take us in and give us lots of Christmas cookies and hot chocolate.     

It's been fun too to carol to everyone we visit.  I never realized missionary work could be so fun and rewarding.  If I've learned anything in the past couple months, it's that there's no other way to work than to give God your all.  Elder Payne is a really hard worker and I enjoy having him as my companion.  

This week, Gerrardo and Justin, two inactive members, decided they wanted to come back to church!  Elder Payne and I were walking in an apartment complex and Justin ran up to us and said "Elders!  How's it going!  I've been wanting to go back to church for a long time now and I'm so glad I found you."  We sang "Lead Kindly Light" with him and had a prayer.  The Spirit was so strong, we were all near tears - he had a sincere desire to come back to church.  He came and loved it.  It had been 30 years, but finally he was ready - I talked to him before sacrament meeting and he expressed to me how much he was ready to be done with his old life and come back to Christ.  We testified to him that there is never a point of no return when Christ is in the picture.  He was so happy all throughout church and it made our week.  

Experiences like that make everything worth it.  On occasion, those you love and teach, after offering them a blessing that will change their life forever, reject all you have to offer.  It's like offering someone blueberry cheesecake that makes you as strong as superman but they settle for a PB&J!  I think Alma describes it best:

And now, my brethren, I awish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great banxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and notcprocrastinate the day of your repentance;
 28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and awatch and pray continually, that ye may not be btempted above that which ye can bear, and thus becled by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, dmeek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;
 29 aHaving faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the blove of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his crest.       
 This week we had another lesson with an investigator, Robyn, who recently lost 3 family members & is about to lose her small apartment.  We taught her about the personal application The Atonement has for each of us.  We then sang "Lead Kingly Light" (we like to sing that song a lot :) and testified to her that God lives and loves her even through all she's going through.  She had started to turn away from God in her life, but the last verse helped her realize how God has helped her out in the past and "will still" help her through her struggles.  We read her the "Footprints in the Sand" poem about how Jesus Christ carries us through our trials, and that's why often we only see one set of footprints and assume they are our own.  The lyrics of the hymn we sang:
  1. Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom;
    Lead thou me on!
    The night is dark, and I am far from home;
    Lead thou me on!
    Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
    The distant scene--one step enough for me.
  2. So long thy pow'r hath blest me, sure it still
    Will lead me on!
    O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
    The night is gone.
    And with the morn those angel faces smile,
    Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!


    It's humbling to see the light that the Gospel puts into the lives of those God has prepared to receive it.  The change we have seen in Beverly is so neat.  I am amazed each day at how much God really does love us.  He takes care of us - we are His children.  Just like Dad's favorite verse about the Savior - he will never forget us; our "walls are continually before [Him]."

    There is nothing in this life that will give us more happiness and security than a testimony of Jesus Christ.  He is The Way!  And is everything to me.  I love Him and I know He lives.  

    Have a good week and enjoy the holidays!

    Love,

    Elder Young

    p.s. Happy late birthday Josiah!  Hope you and the Rippelmeyer family are doing well.

    p.p.s. Elder Erickson wishes you all a very merry Christmas.

Dessert at the Millers -Heaven In A Bowl



Another note with a picture from a member about Brandyn!


We love Elder Young! Thank you for sharing him with us. We are trying to keep 
him we'll fed! This was the desert he requested. :) 

Myrinda Miller
E P M Consulting
Sent from my iPad 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Beverly's Baptism





"GOD IS ALWAYS WITH US AND WILL BEAR US UP"



Aloha!

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.  I am still full from Thursday. :D Good to hear about you all sharing your testimonies on Sunday and congrats BEN!!  I love that verse in 1 Nephi 21:15-16.  Elder Payne and I have also found when we pray for others individually, God teaches you how best to help them, according to your willingness to act.  "You Are My  Hands" by President Uchtdorf http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/you-are-my-hands talks about that same principle in more depth.  President Monson's favorite scripture talks about the same idea, in Doctrine and Covenants 84:88:

"And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face.  I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."

Elder Payne and I were trying to think of a fun way to teach to members an article in the September 2013 Ensign called "Take My Yoke Upon You," which talks about how God is always with us and will "bear us up."  http://www.lds.org/ensign/2013/09/take-my-yoke-upon-you The article is based on the scripture

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

It's always fun when there are little kids, because we have them try to beat Elder Payne or I in arm wrestling.  Then we have them try to beat us with their dad's help and they can do it.  We then teach that the parallel that when we have the help of our Father in Heaven, we can overcome any trial.  Christ says to take His yoke upon you and he will make your trials easier to bear by strengthening your back.  When we ask for strength he will give it to us.  Often though, that strength comes through more trials that strengthen our strength, but in the end it is always worth it.

Yes & yes! President Neider lets me play the piano a lot.  Elder Payne and I go to play sports at the church every morning with the zone, so we get a lot of exercise too.  On the 15th, Elder Shreve (our district leader, leaving January 2nd!) and I are doing a musical number for a devotional fireside.  The song is called "Shine Again For Me Star of Bethlehem."  

I'm super excited for Christmas.  We just watched the Mormon Message "The Reason Behind Christmas" http://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages?lang=eng as a district.  Elder Payne and I will go caroling soon to proselyte.  Burnie, a member that helps us out a lot, is a really good singer and will be coming with us too.  He is the man in the picture with his arm around Beverly at her baptism.  Because I am running out of time I'll attach my letter to the mission president:

President Neider,

It's been a good first week of a new transfer. I feel like Elder Payne and I improve each week as missionaries. This past week Beverly was baptized! It made us so happy - we had worked with her a lot through lots of obstacles, but finally she made it! Ten minutes before the baptism was about to start she almost left because she was so nervous, but we talked with her and a sister in the ward helped her decide to turn around and get baptized. She walked back in the chapel and was so grateful she did. Beverly has grown so much since I first met her and smiles now every time we see her.

It's been a lot of fun being companions with Elder Payne because we both love to sing. On Thanksgiving we made origami missionary shirts and drew Thanksgiving colored ties on the front. On the back we put a scripture about gratitude and wrote "Happy Thanksgiving." Throughout the day we stopped by members houses who had non-members at their homes and went "Thanksgiving Caroling." We sang Count Your Many Blessings and gave them the gift. Often they allowed us in to share a spiritual thought. We tied the topic of gratitude into the third lesson in Preach My Gospel for a spiritual thought. It was a success - we had dinner with a part member family and referred their family to the sisters in our area because they were young single adult age. The sisters have been in contact with them and we stop by their house often to encourage them to come to institute. We found a couple other new investigators and went to visit progressing investigators Thanksgiving caroling.

Overall, it has been a great week - we have been very blessed with lots of neat experiences to share the Gospel. The members here are amazing.

Have a good Thanksgiving!

Amor,

Elder Young

Eu amo voces!

Elder Young






Friday, November 29, 2013

New pictures from Elder Brandyn Young

Elder Payne and Elder Young


The Hagfeldt family in Vegas made Brandyn and his companion a Brazilian meal.  The dad of the family also served his mission in Brazil
Such a great idea for a missionary to leave with a Thank You note in it for dinner appointments!

A message to our family about Brandyn from a wonderful family in Vegas!


Hi Elder Young's mom :)
 We had the missionaries over for dinner last night and since your son is going to Brazil, and my hubby served his mission in Brazil, we wanted to make him a Brazilian dinner! So we made Feijoada! That was my husband's favorite meal people used to make for him when he was on his mission. Elder Young and my hubby had a great time talking about Brazil and the food and the people and the language. I know your son is anxious to get there, but we are so happy and blessed to have him here in Vegas and in our ward while he awaits his Visa. He's doing really well and teaching the Gospel with the spirit so strongly, I know he's touching many lives and looks very happy! He can play the piano so beautifully and that has been a blessing in our ward too. The canned soda in the picture is also a Brazilian drink and he loved it too :) He really wanted me to email you this pic. He said "My mom would be so excited to see this pic!!" 
 So he's doing great and we're loving having him in our ward :) 
Love,
Amber Hagfeldt 

Happy Thanksgiving from Brandyn

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope you all are loving turkey break.  It's so good to hear from you all.  Ben, that picture of a guy on a horse made me laugh so hard! :D  All the other missionaries turned around and looked at me weird.  Then they looked at my screen and laughed too.  

It's been a good month - I can't believe December is next week!  I'm excited for all the holidays coming up.  The members here are like family & take care of us super well.  I'm glad you got the picture!  Mom, you and Sister Hagfelt would be best friends if they lived in Fayetteville.  They have two kids, a boy who has autism and a girl, and are the nicest family ever.  Brother Hagfelt served in Brazil as well, so it's been fun to talk with him in Portuguese.

That must be so fun having Rynda home - I always loved when she came and visited.  Learn as much Portuguese as possible from her so that you are all ready if you also get sent to Brazil!  High school flies by so fast, so make the most of it Blake!  I would love to try those zumba Brazilian dances, haha.  That sounds fun.

That's exciting news that Kevin Burns is home!  It's always neat to see how much people change from the time they leave to the time they get back.  Elder Burns must've been an awesome missionary.  I loved what Bryce said about how a mission changes you:

What I'm learning here feels like the continuation of a long observational learning process that started a long time ago.  ...Missionary work is important and I know that God really cares about all of us individually.  He uses imperfect beings to accomplish his perfect purposes. We are his tools and he sharpens us by sanding off our rough edge weaknesses. We get dull faster than any cheap knife, but he still chooses to help us and use us the best he can.

Going on a mission has helped me discover my many weaknesses and "polish" them through the enabling power of the Atonement.  I love reading Bryce's letters every week.  

Good luck this week in basketball!  The last time I remember playing team basketball over turkey break was during the ice storm.  (It just started to get cold this week!)  We play basketball most mornings at the stake center.

I loved the Silver Dollar City pictures and letter - thank you Rynda!  The blue tree is so cool.  That's fun that you got to hang out with the twinners, Rynda.  That's a hard challenge, haha, trying to be serious on all the rides!  I remember going to SDC, and Brooks came with Abby, Tim, and I. We had so much fun.  Brooks and Braxton, you are getting so tall!  You definitely have been eating your vegetables.

This week, probably because of Thanksgiving, I have felt an overwhelming gratitude for everything.  Even for simple things like rain, carpet, a bike, etc.  It rained for the first time on my mission!  for three days straight.  I loved it.  We are lucky to have a part-time car.  I don't think I'll be that fortunate in Brazil so I'm counting my blessings. :)  In a member's home, Burnie, I saw a quote that I liked: "Life isn't about learning how to dodge the storms, but rather how to dance in the rain."  (I'll have to tell you more things about Burnie another time - he's awesome)

A scripture we shared this week with a lady named Katie that I love is in Alma 26:35-37:

35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all apowerball wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a cmercifulBeing, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
 36 Now if this is aboasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo.  (Whoa)

37 ...Now my brethren, we see that God is amindful of everybpeople, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.   

God is amazing.  Every time I read that verse I think a time this past summer when we sang All Creatures of our God and King in church, and I felt so much gratitude for life, friends, family, and The Gospel.  Elder Payne is an a really good singer, so Burnie, Katie, he, and I sang Praise to the Lord, The Almighty and we all were near tears.  

There is nothing like the opportunity to teach others about Christ 24/7.  I have learned you learn more teaching than you do learning!  Listening is such a valuable Christlike attribute.  I love the people here so much.   My favorite hymn sums it up well "I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me.  Confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me." 

We are children of a living God - who is actively involved in our lives.  He knows the details.  We are His hands.  I like the analogy that God is weaving a quilt and we can only see one thread at a time.  Some threads are dark colored (trials) and others are brighter.  Someday we will be able to look back with a broader perspective and see the whole picture - the whole quilt.  That image will be so breath-taking that "eye hath not seen...the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."

One of the dimensions of worshipping a living God is to know that he is alive and living in the sense of seeing and acting. He is not a retired God whose best years are past, to whom we should pay a retroactive obeisance, worshipping him for what he has already done. He is the living God who is, at once, in all the dimensions of time—the past and present and future—while we labor constrained by the limitations of time itself. - Neal A Maxwell

This life is such a small moment in the span of eternity, but it means so much.  That's why it's essential to record experiences that make us grateful.  This Mormon message is what encouraged me to keep a gratitude journal every night.  https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2009-05-22-o-remember-remember?lang=eng (O Remember, Remember, President Eyring) It has brought so many blessings.  As a missionary you give lots of invitations to people to help them draw closer to Christ, so here is my invitation to you:  Keep a daily gratitude journal starting Thanksgiving.  When you count your blessings, God opens up the "windows of Heaven." 

Another idea an investigator brought up to Elder Payne and I, is something called thanksonly prayers, where you tell Heavenly Father only things you are thankful for, and don't ask for anything.  Every day we try to do that, and it's neat to see how it changes your outlook.

There is so much more I want to tell you, but I will have to write it down and save it for next week.  I love you so much!  You are always in my prayers.

Amor,

Elder Young