Sunday, September 29, 2013

More pictures from Brandyn at the Provo MTC

My District!

Elder Engle and Elder Young at the Marriot Center

'I am eating about five cups of Ramen each night to keep the weight on before I go to Brazil.  I have gained 2 lbs. since I have been here!' 
Fun Times!

The MTC is being remodled, so we might be moved to the west building this week.

The view from my classroom window

I put Elder Richards to sleep while I was practicing for a musical number I  preformed in church.

Elder Young and Elder Hinckley (from Indiana)

Elder Young and Elder Gundred

Brother Beck's class

Brother Beck's class

Elder Richards, Elder Young, and Sister Haight (from Indiana) before she left for Brazil

My Notes!!

Elder Richards (going to Cuiaba Brazil) and Elder Young (Teresina, Brazil)

Where the Elders play soccer

working hard!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy Early Birthday Brooks and Braxton!

Happy early birthday Brooks and Braxton!!  I can't believe you guys are already almost 9! (see bonus math problem for the twins" under p.s.) I hope you have an awesome birthday.  I'm glad we got to celebrate your party before I left for Utah. & congrats on the football games!  Football season is the best season of the year.  (futbol in Brazil)

So many amazing things have happened since last Tuesday.  If I had time to write about them all I would end up sending a book home every Tuesday. :)  

Thank you everyone for all of the emails, letters, and packages.  My district loved the brownies! & I didn't know that you knew my favorite kind of tootsie roll was the blue kind. :) It made my day. 

I'm so excited to see Elder Palmer here this week!  I'll look for him at lunch tomorrow.  It's fun having people here that I know & it's crazy how many are from our stake.  Sister Haight left on Monday; I'll attach a picture we took before she left.

One of the highlights from this week was singing Nearer My God to Thee it was arranged for us, and with a choir twice as big as the MoTab, it sounded amazing.  What I loved more than the arrangement, though, was the meaning the director gave to the words when he told us how it was written.  You may have heard the story before, but it gave me a whole new perspective.  

Originally the hymn was written as a poem for a protestant preacher in the early 1900s.  His sermon was about why God gives us trials & addresses the question: if there is so much hatred and sorrow in the world, how could there be a God?

The song answers that question, referencing the story of Jacob & Esau.  At surface level, the situation Jacob after he receives a blessing from Isaac doesn't seem promising.  Jacob is threatened by Esau and follows the advice of his mom & leaves the family to get away from his brother.  Jacob has lived righteously his whole life,k yet is told to leave home.  He goes, and that night, sleeps on a rock in the wilderness - no home or source of comfort.

The message the song portrays is how God turned Jacob's bad situation into a good one.  Jacob had a dream (an "endowment of knowledge") that taught him the steps he needed to take (Jacob's ladder) to reach Heaven.  God, all along, had been with Jacob and gave him comfort through his trials.  God allows us to have trials for the same reason a steel refiner heats steel to a hot temperature.    A refiner heats steel to make it malleable so that it can be turned into something greater.  God refines us with trials and comforts us through it all  (when we pray and study the scriptures) to refine us to be more like Christ.  

After understanding the story behind the hymn, it made it that much more powerful to sing Nearer My God to Theewith 2,000 other missionaries.  It also gave me perspective on how to view the hard times I will have in Brazil.  (The "furnace of affliction"in Teresina may be more literal than I now realize. :)

Nearer, my God , to Thee, Nearer to Thee!
Eén thought it be a cross that raiseth me.
Still all my song shall be 
Nearer, my God, to Thee,

Though like the wanderer, (Jacob) 
The sun gone down,
darkness be over me,
My rest a stone
Yet in my dreams I'd be 
nearer, my God, to Thee

There let the way appear, Steps unto heav'n 
All that thou sendest me, In mercy giv'n 
Angels to beckon me, 
Nearer, my God, to Thee.

Nearer, to Thee.

(I'll finish the rest of this email after taking a laundry break)


this is the twin's ps. from the main letter

P.S.  math problem for Brooks and Braxton

Add the digits of Bryce's next birthday together 1/11/14(1+1+1+1+4) and you will get a number that is the same as your age.

Add the digits of your birthday together (9/27/13) and you will a number that is the age Bryce will be when he celebrates his birthday after his mission.

Food for thought.
Have a great week!



And one more story:

You don't need to put this on the blog, but I thought it would be fun to share with the family.  Every day at gym time I run, do a workout and then either play 4 square or volleyball, which is a lot of fun.  Right when you walk in the door, they have a big MTC fitness records board.  The records are super high because of the millions of missionaries that have been through the MTC the past couple of decades.  My goal was to attempt to beat one record, fail or succeed, each week.  On Saturday I tried to beat the bench press record (sitting plyo) which was 150lbs, 133 reps.  I spent the whole gym time until I had to stop because gym time was over to try and beat the record.  I set the record at 1,351 reps.  When Blake, Ben, and Brooks and Braxton come that would be fun to see if they can beat it. :) 
 Our family thought that the 1,351 must have been a typo so we asked him in an email and Brandyn responded -

haha. No, it wasn't a typo.  It wasn't free weights though, so that made it a little more doable. :D 

On Saturday I tried to break the sit up record which was 1,701 sit-ups.  Since it was September 21st, the 190th anniversary of Angel Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith, I tried for 1823; but reached 1,704.  I had to stop because gym time was over.  It's fun to have something to look forward to every gym time.  I am trying to set a precedent for myself to work hard throughout my mission.  When it gets tough in Brazil I'll remember that there was a reason I tried to beat the MTC gym records. :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Elder Young in the mission Training Center

Elder Christie and Brandyn doing Ninja poses, Elder Tracey on left in back and Brandyn's companion , Elder Richards on the right in the background.

Living on Romen in between meals

He loved the brownies his family sent him from Dear Elder
Beautiful Utah mountains

The Provo Utah temple - Brandyn loves going there each week
Brandyn with his district walking to the temple

Elder Brandyn Young is LOVED!

An early morning walk to the temple

Elder Brandyn Young's second week in the Provo MTC


Thanks again for the wonderful emails, packages, and pictures.  It is so good to hear from you.  Thanks also to the Vincents last week for sending those cookies!  They were really good and I shared them with the whole district.  I also got the brownies today!  It made me so happy.  The MTC bookstore also gets shipments in on Tuesday, so it was a good day.  We have an early dinner so Elder Engle and I always clear their ramen noodle shelf. :) (Elder Engle used to compete in state eating contests, so we always try to see who can eat the most during mealtimes.  

 It's great to hear how everyone is doing.  & that's so awesome, Blake, about you in debate!!  I would reference the Standing Alone President Monson mormon message but I know you have already seen it lots of times.  & I'll be looking for your message in a bottle when I get to Brazil. :D  

& way to go Ben!!  I hope you're enjoying the new schedule with games every week.  It makes Friday feel like a holiday when the team (and especially you) do well on Thursday night.

Good luck Brooks and Braxton in football!  & I hope your elbow and shoulder get better Braxton.

I have so much to say, but little time to say it all, so apologies if my email is a little bit random.

No news yet on the Visa, but I would be completely fine with staying here in Provo until the six week mark.  It is SO AWESOME here.  There really is no place like the MTC.  If I get time, I'll attach a couple more pictures.  & I would love to hear that story Dad from President Durrant!

One miracle that I meant to mention last week is that ever since the Tuesday I entered the MTC, my ear has been totally fine.  I can hear perfectly!  It makes a huge difference and I am so grateful for the blessing Dad gave me before leaving for Provo. 

The sleep schedule change (10:30 to 5:30 Utah time) has also worked out a lot better than expected.  I've made sure to be in bed by 10:30, even if our light doesn't go off, and haven't been tired at all during the day.  It's weird though, because it hits me right at 10:30 which works out well.  Even though there are a lot of rules here that some would view as strict and constricting, I'm grateful to have learned already that rules are really to help you have the best experience possible, and I have seen that blessing in different ways every day.  

This morning we went to the temple!  It was amazing.  Elder Kamilos is here and it was so cool to just be able to talk with him & all the other friends from home in the Celestial Room.  I am constantly amazed by the little miracles that happen every day.  Even though we do similar things every day, as far as our schedule and classes, every day is super different because of the things I learn.  

Portuguese is still coming along well.  We now have two people we are teaching and have taught several lessons in Portuguese.  My companion, Elder Richards, and I both made our own Portuguese language books.  On the front of mine, there is the scripture:

"Go forth and do as I have commanded Thee, and no man shall pierce thee.  Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.  Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you."
-Moses 6:32-33

Every time Elder Richards and I teach a lesson or say a prayer in Portuguese, I have felt "filled" and able to speak the words (in Portuguese) that I need to say to bless the person I'm teaching the most.

I am going to finish up my laundry and then finish up the rest of my email. :)

Tonight we'll be singing in the BYU devotional, which I think will be broadcast on BYUTV, or at least recorded onto the BYU speeches website, so keep an eye out, just in case!  I can't say enough about how awesome choir is.  I am thinking about doing a solo or duet singing or playing piano for a Sunday or Tuesday night devotional (they have one every Tuesday and Sunday) so I may try out this week or next.  Could you send the Jon Schmidt hymns book or at least a copy of the songs, "Our Savior's Love" and "Hymn of Nature"?  I looked through the MTC music library but wasn't able to find it.  It would be fun to play a musical number for when Elder Fawcett enters the Provo MTC in a couple weeks.

On Sunday we heard a talk from the director of "17 Miracles" and "Ephraim's Rescue" and it was really neat.  Tonight I think we will get to hear from an apostle, since we are going to the Marriot Center, so I am super excited for that.  I sat next to Elder Hinckley, as well, on Sunday during choir!  He is the Elder that went to high school with Elder Vincent, Haight, and Kleinhenz. It was fun to talk with him.  Elder Kamilos also is singing in the choir.  He's sitting next to me as I type. :)  It is also neat to get to visit each of the districts in our zone (includes all those going to nearby areas in Brazil) each week as online coordinators because I get to see a lot of people I know from EFYs and home that are going to Brazil. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Elder Young in front of the Provo Temple

This one is for Braynt!
Elder Young!!!  He is loving his mission so far.  We miss him sooo much, but are so proud of him!

The Provo Temple

Elder Young with his companion, Elder Richards in front of the Provo Temple
The Provo Temple
The view from Brandyn's classroom window

Elder Young at the Provo MTC

Elder Young and Elder Tracey(played HS football too!)
Brandyn rooms with Elder Richards, Elder Tracey, and Elder Gundred
Elder Richards(Brandyn's companion),Elder Young, Sister Haight and her companion
Cookies from the Vincents!  Thank you!!!

Brandyn at the MTC

Brandyn with Uncle Jeff and Vincent on the way to the MTC
Uncle Jeff dropping Elder Young off at the Provo MTC
Class at the MTC

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Brandyn's first week in the Provo MTC

Oí Família!

It is so good to hear from you!  Thanks for the many letters, emails, and packages.  I am blown away by how amazing the MTC is!  And by the news that Hayden and another person from our ward is going to Brazil!  I talked to Sister Haight (her class is down the hall from mine) and she was really excited about Hayden's call.  (She has a letter with messages from all of us who went to Spain (Seth, Connor, etc.) and are now on missions that I think she'll send to Bryce to write so that we can all keep in touch). Blake, the MTC is like EFY times ten for six weeks. :) Instead of moving to the MTC it's like I Moved To the Celestial kingdom.  My companion is great and I love my district.  There is so much to say! about all the things that have happened since Tuesday I'm not sure where to begin.

It's good to hear you are all doing well.  I hope Ben is pancaking defensive linemen (and using the swipe move on Offensive linemen) and that Blake is enjoying basketball, debate, and writing and memorizing a ton of poems.  I hope Brooks and Braxton are doing well too!  Thanks for the emails and letters from you guys!  I only have a little time to respond, so I may only be able to write a main email today.

Last Tuesday it was great to see Uncle Jeff's family and Christy.  & especially eat at Inn n' Out!  That morning we went to the MTC and Sister Jones (Janaya, who was at the Jordan River Temple and was in my company at AFY) was getting her MTC service hours in, helping unload arriving missionaries!  I think Uncle Jeff took some pictures.  (I'll try to attach some pictures to the email, although the computers have been having a little trouble lately.)  It is so much fun to see Elder Gauldin and Maites and I'm excited to see Elder Kamilos tomorrow!  I have also seen Sister Fawcett and friends from previous EFY's.  It's so much fun to be here in Provo.  I have tried to look for Sister Eams for the Hapgoods but haven't yet.  I'm not sure where she's serving (the MTC is organized by mission) so she may be at the West Campus.  

We are already immersed in Portuguese.  Elder Engle and I are trying to speak in all Portuguese (we call it an English fast:) todo a dia!  We started yesterday and have only stopped to talk in English to our own companions.  My companion is Elder Richards and he is a lot of fun - he's a great missionary and is super prepared with everything, spiritually and physically, for Brazil.  He was struggling a little bit with the language and feeling a sick yesterday so Elder Jensen and I gave him a blessing.  That night he was completely better and is catching on the language really well.  Six from our district are going to the Cuiba mission, including him (I told them about the member from our ward going there), two going to Brazilia (I told them to look out for Bryce and showed them pictures:) and five are going to Teresina.   We have all Elders in our district and one tri-panionship.  I can't even describe how much fun it is, and how prepared everyone is in my district is to go out and serve.  
Elder Tracey and Gundred are our roommates, and Elder Tracey is our district leader.  They are awesome.  Elder Tracey is going to play rugby at BYU when he gets back and played two years of rugby in college before his mission.  He was also a DE and Mike Linebacker in high school, so it's been fun to talk to him.

Since Saturday we have been praying in only Portuguese, and it is coming along really well.  It is so neat to pray in another language, because I've found that God answers in Portuguese when I pray in Portuguese, and helps me to know what words to say "in the very moment."  It's amazing to see how much we are all being helped to learn the language - we have already taught three lessons from Preach my Gospel in Portuguese. Something I never imagined I'd be doing within five days!

My teacher in classroom study is actually the nephew of Brother Richardson!  Heºs an amazing teacher.  Kind of a mix between the teaching styles of Brother Bills and Brother Richardson.  He learned Spanish on his mission and picked up Portuguese teaching English in Brazil (or Portugal.) We also have a teacher that went to Teresina on his mission and he has so many cool stories. I'm so excited for Teresina. I loved talking to Uncle Jeff about his mission on the way to the MTC.  I hope by the end of two years I'll have served as well as he did, and still be able to speak Portuguese twenty years after my mission.  

Choir on Sunday was unbelievable - there are at least a thousand in the choir.  We sang "Where Can I Turn for Peace" and the director had us sing it as though it were an investigator talking to missionaries and it was so powerful.  Everyone was in tears by the end of choir practice.  I'll never think about the lyrics the same, it asks questions that everyone in the world has and answers them simply and powerfully.

Someone in Brazil that I will teach:

"Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace,
When other sources cease to make me whole?

Where is the quiet hand, to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?

The missionary:

He, only One.
He answers privately, reaches my reaching!
In my Gethsemane, Savior, and Friend.

On Sunday night we listened to a devotional by Andrew Heaton (are we related to him?) about prayer that was really neat.  It is so cool just to be surrounded by so many committed missionaries all getting ready to serve God for two years.  Just seeing the all the missionaries in the MTC meet for a devotional is inspiring.

We also watched a talk by Elder Bednar about conversion that changed my life.  It was about turning out, to serve others, rather than serving a mission for yourself.  The Gospel is to be lived, not merely to be known.  We grow our testimony of Christ when we study and pray, but we are converted when we ACT on our testimony.  I can't wait to go out and just serve Heavenly Father for the next to years.  I know there are people in Brazil being prepared to hear about Christ, and how he can change their lives.  

I love you all - vocé tem uma semana marvilhosa!

Elder Young

Elder Young at the airport on his way to the MTC

Brandyn being set apart as an Elder at the Bradfords

Dad, Mom and Elder Young at the airport saying goodbye!
Brooks, Brandyn and Braxton at the airport
We love Elder Young!!!!
Going through security
One last goodbye for two years