Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Querida familia,

It has been another amazing week.  I love the pumpkin picture - my companion thought it was funny you were wearing Rex Kwando pants, Ben. haha.  

Nice job Brooks and Braxton!! interception, two touch downs, two tackles and a safety?  Brooks, you should be playing with Brooks Ellis on the Razorbacks and Braxton you could just take Kyle Van Hoy's place on BYU. :D I love the end of football season when it starts to get cooler & all the trees in Fayetteville change color.  Ben, that'll be cool to have your last game on Halloween, too. They should use a pumpkin instead of a football just for fun. :) 

& nice job Blake in debate!  My companion says he'd vote for you if you ran for senator, even though he's from Minnesota.

This week was awesome. So many miracles happen every day.  I left my journal at the apartment, but I will try to remember a couple to share with you.  The families in this area are super nice.  I am also amazed at how many people know how to play musical instruments.  The Miller family has four kids and each play a string instrument and piano & love The Piano Guys.  Most adult members in the ward also play piano (the Bishop and his wife play really well) and a couple Elders in my zone play.  We get lots of opportunities to practice.  

There is a big military base here, so a lot of members have served all around the world and know different languages. So it's also been fun to practice Portuguese when meeting with members.

A challenge that we often give to members is to share the Gospel with their friends.  Brooks and Braxton, it's been fun to use you as an example when we make a challenge.  Anyone who is under 10, I say "Hey I have a two brothers who are twins, that are close to your age!  They are really good missionaries & even gave their friend Salvador a Book of Mormon with their testimony inside.  Salvador goes to church with them on Wednesdays and they like to talk about the scriptures with him."  When they hear that my brothers are already missionaries it makes them want to tell their friends why reading the scriptures makes them happy.  The lesson in primary was about testimony and missionary work (Elder Payne and I like to join in & sing with primary) so it was perfect.

This past Tuesday, we were going to visit a family and we saw two guys moving out of their apartment.  We asked them if they needed help and they said "Yes!  Elders come in!"  We assumed since they called us Elders that they were members.  So we went in and helped them. 

When we first started helping them, they talked to us & about the church a little mockingly, and told us some Mormon myths that I had never heard before, haha.  We were a bit weirded out, but just kept showing interest in them and being kind.  It turns out he was in the military for 23 years and has lots of awesome war stories.  As we got to know them and served them, they began to be more friendly toward us.  Toward the end of the visit, he said (paraphrasing), "You know what, I really need to come back to church. You Elders are very kind to come and help, how did you know I needed to see you?  We're moving to the Lone Mountain area.  Could you say a prayer with us? I'm a little worried our new ward won't welcome us."  We assured him that they would love him to come back.  He was near tears; it was a neat experience.  We looked in the area book, and his records weren't even there.  So we are trying to contact the Lone Mountain ward and make sure they are looked out for.

I've found that a lot of missionary work (and life in general) is just being in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.  When we are "just [being] good girls and good boys" as Elder Bednar says, Heavenly Father will use us as tools in His hands to help out others.  Act on every good thought.

Elder Payne & my verse of the week is D&C 58:27 "Verily I say...be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness."  

Another verse I found that I love is in Jacob 3:1-2. In Jacob 2-4, Jacob gets on to the Nephites for being wicked.  He leaves two verses, though, for those who are pure in heart.

"But behold, I Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart.  Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in our afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction.

O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever."

Have a fun Halloween! *insert pumpkin emoticon here* 

Amor,

Elder Young

Saturday, October 26, 2013

New pictures of Elder Young serving in Vegas until his visa comes

Welcome to LAS VEGAS Elder Young

My first Vegas Companion, Elder Payne
In a Vegas neighborhood
At Zone Conference -a lot of the same cars with bike racks on them!
Vegas!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 7 - First Week in Las Vegas!


Hola!

So good to hear how you all are doing.  Good luck Brooks and Braxton on your last game this Saturday!!  That's exciting about getting to go to the temple Thursday.  We will get to go to the Las Vegas temple next week.  Good luck this weekend too to Blake at debate!

Las Vegas has been great. (rhymes for Blake)  I love my companion & the ward is super strong.  haha yep the members feed us well & the food is delicious.  The family's house that we ate at last night - the mom is the closest thing to a professional chef.  She had us suggest what we want to eat next time, so I told her about heaven in a bowl. :) They have roast every Sunday as well.

Our district is great too - I know our zone leader from Denton EFY!  I'm learning a ton.  I definitely rely on Elder Payne a lot.  He is an awesome missionary & super dependent.  

There are a lot of Waites here in Las Vegas, but I haven't found the Waites that we know yet.  I'm in the Las Vegas Northwest Area in the Mountain Shadows Ward.  We are near an air force base, so a lot of members serve in the military and have traveled all around the world.  Quite a few are from Brazil, so it's been fun to speak with them in Portuguese to keep it up.  Elder Palmer, who we carpool with a lot, speaks Portuguese as well.

There are so many amazing things that happened this past week!  I don't know if I'm going to be able to come home after two years - missionary work is awesome.  There is a Gladys Knight event in a couple weeks we are all super excited about that we've been telling our contacts.  She came to Little Rock not too long ago to do a devotional.  She'll share her testimony and sing with a choir from Las Vegas - she lives not too far from here.  There are lots of church orchestras and choirs here because of all the talent that comes from the Las Vegas valley.  There is so much missionary work to do here that we don't normally knock on doors - just contacting and referrals.  

Some of the neatest experiences so far have been in lessons with investigators.  I know what you mean now, Dad, when you told me there is nothing like teaching someone how to pray for the first time.  I never realized how much I would love those that we teach.  Every lesson I can feel God's love for the people we are blessed to help.  It's almost brought me to tears a couple times teaching others how to talk to Heavenly Father.  There are so many people in need, and it's humbling to act for Christ in helping them.  I know that Jesus Christ is leading this work; it's amazing how many miracles happen every day.  

You all should watch the Mormon Message "Bloom Where You Are Planted" about a youth orchestra here in Las Vegas!  Most of our missionary efforts here focus on inviting people to these events.  Each is centered on Christ.  It's been fun to connect with so many people - with it being football season and so much musical influence in my area, it's perfect.  Yesterday I found out one of our investigators is from Fort Smith!  He played on Northside (the team the broke my femur haha) and it was fun to talk to him.  Also a member in our ward's dad played with Steve Young on the 49ers.

It doesn't get too cold here, but yes, that would be awesome if you could send a jacket (maybe my black dress jacket that I could wear with a tie and white shirt) with the package.  My new mailing address is 

Elder Brandyn Michael Young
9270 S Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas, NV 89123

For the spiritual thought this week I want to share a scripture I used in my talk - Isaiah 32:20.  It says "Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters."  

It's a verse that could have a lot of good interpretations.  The interpretation I thought was interesting was in relating it to Alma 32, which talks about how faith is a seed.  In order for a seed to grow into a plant it needs water and light.  D&C 88:7 talks about how light is truth.  Water reflects light.  In the same way, we can reflect truth.  So in the analogy, light is truth and water is the example of others.  Jesus Christ, our perfect example, is the "water of life" and "whosoever drinketh of this water, will never thirst." Later in Doctrine and Covenants 88, verse 74, it talks about how we need to "Sanctify ourselves, Organize every needful thing, and Work."  

With that said, the interpretation I got of the verse is "Blessed are ye that [Sanctify ourselves, Organize every needful thing, and Work] beside [Christ]."  Without Jesus Christ in this work, we are nothing.  Yet with Christ, and the Holy Ghost, we can teach and serve with power.  I know that Christ is the center of this work and I am so grateful for Him in my life.

Tinha uma sema otima!

Elder Young

Saturday, October 19, 2013

More MTC pictures from Elder Young


Brandyn has been drawing temples on his folders/journals
One of Elder Young's teachers is Sister Dangerfield
Drawing while listening
Brandyn's temple drawings!  

The Provo MTC

Elder Dale and Elder Young
Talent!
Roomates (Elders Tracey, Gundred, Richards ,Young)
Elder Young's MTC companion Elder Richards
Elders Richards and Young


Elder Halverson

The Provo MTC!!!

Who needs a bike?
Elder Young and Elder Engle at the MTC

Elder Oryang (going to Mozambique) and Elder Young
Brandyn's district

Elder Kamilos, Elder Young, and Sister Davis from FAYETTEVILLE
The District !!!
Elder Young
Elder Richards(Brandyn's comp) and Elder Young
This is the editors addition:  Out of all of the MILLIONS of missionaries that have gone through the MTC over the decades Elder Brandyn Young broke this record!  The previous record was 133 reps in the hour they have for PE and Brandyn did yes 1351reps of 150lbs.  !! It is not a typo!!
This is the plaque on the wall at the MTC - he beat two records
                     He did 1,704 sit ups in an hour and the old record was 1,701!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Last Day of the MTC!


Last day of the MTC!!
It's good to hear you all are still doing well! & had a good Columbus day yesterday.  The only thing better than a teacher in-service day is a snow day or Christmas.  It's crazy how fast time has flown!  The MTC is already putting up decorations for Halloween and Thanksgiving.  I even saw some workers starting to put up Christmas lights around campus.  Even though we are far from home (many here are from a different country) they make it fun & celebrate all the holidays.
There aren't really words to say how much I have loved the MTC.  After the mission I really want to teach here.  The past six weeks were beyond-descriptively amazing.  Elder Richards (meu companheiro) left this morning for Washington.  It was hard to say goodbye but I know he'll serve well.  There are five left (of 13) from our district, and we all leaving tomorrow morning.  Every night we meet together and sing "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" before leaving for different parts of the country.  When we all get back I want to start a barber shop quartet (or octet - 8 are going to BYU) with our district.  Our residence is kind of like our house in that there is always someone singing beautifully.  And 1M (the main building) is like our house in that there is always someone playing the piano beautifully.  The time I've had with my MTC district has been so much fun & super spiritual.
So excited for Bryce going to Brasilia!  Elder Shipley and Elder Clayson from my district are going to the mission home in Brasilia when they get their visa. Hopefully he'll still be there when they arrive.  Elder Clayson is my companion until tomorrow.  He is awesome.  Wonder what the chances are he'll also be companions with the elder Elder Young.  I've shown them a couple of his letters and they know to look out for him.
Mom, I'm glad your talk went well in stake conference!  Thanks for sending it.  I'm looking forward to reading it on the plane.  I also have to ditto what Bryce said about General Conference.  I came to conference with lots of questions and they were each answered.  I've learned that principle applies to prayer and scripture study as well.

Haha, Blake, thanks I'll try to remember to not gamble.  It's crazy that we were just in Las Vegas a couple months ago!  It will be fun to go back - I'll look for Seth Waite too.  A lot of missionaries here have told me to look for family and friends in Las Vegas.  I'm excited to meet so many new people. 
For the last time, the five of us went to the Provo temple this morning.  I always love going to the temple.  I've had so many special experiences - every time I learn something new.  We did sealings again and I realized the blessing it is to be born in the covenant.  I know that those blessings are real.  Thank you Mom & Dad for being married in the temple. 
I am still amazed at all the "tender mercies" I see every day.  God is in the details of our lives.  If you look for the ways He blesses you, you will know He is there and cares for each of us individually.  We're children of God.  That's why He loves us.  That doctrine is so simple, yet filled with implication.
Thanks for the many prayers; I pray for you often as well.  Good luck this Thursday, Ben!  Enjoy a four day week - I'll let you know when I get to Las Vegas!


p.s. Something that is kind of neat that sums up my experience at the Mission Training Center is the acronym MTC...MTime with Christ.  In reality, we live our entire life with Christ by our side, but never have I felt Him so near as I have here at the MTC. 



Ate logo e com amor,
Elder Young

Elder Young has been reassigned to the Las Vegas Nevada mission until his visa comes for Brazil!

Família,

I just got my re-assignment and will be serving in Las Vegas!!  So excited.  I'll leave next Wednesday early in the morning and will be able to call you as soon as I arrive.  I'm going with two others from my district.   

I'm glad we'll be leaving Wednesday because that means we'll be able to sing in the world-wide MTC broadcast on Tuesday!  It may just be exclusive to MTC's around the world.  

My companion, Elder Richards is leaving Tuesday for Washington, and others in the district are going to Texas, DC, Georgia, Nampa Idaho (I think that's where Elder Hinckley is going!), and places all around the US.

Later tonight I will give you more details about the times and travel plans.  We had a few minutes so I thought I'd send a quick email.

Love you all!

Elder Young

Friday, October 11, 2013

More pictures from Brandyn of the MTC

The other Elders on Brandyn"s district
Elder Young with some of the Elders that are also going to Teresina
Irmao Beck in the middle with Elder Young and others in his district
Elder Gundred, Tracey, Richards, Young, with MTC President and his wife, Sister Bally
Brandyn with Trevor- his EFY Counselor, who is also in Vocal Point!
Elder Young!
Elder Young and Elder Woodworth

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

BYU Vocal Point came to the MTC!

À melhar família em o todo mundo, 

It's been another awesome week.  BYU Vocal Point came to the MTC!!  So many cool things have happened since last week that I want to tell you about, along with some insights I found studying scriptures and listening to General Conference.

First of all though, congrats Blake in debate!  & that poem is awesome.  You never cease to amaze.  & good job, Ben, against Bentonville. Even with the swollen ankle!  Did you get it taped?  I know how much that hurts. It's kind of funny though that your rival is named after you.

Thanks also for the pictures!  & for the many prayers.  I can feel the power of those prayers every day.   

One thing that has been on my mind this week is a verse in 1 Nephi, the first chapter of The Book of Mormon, verse 20.  It says:

But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender cmercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of ddeliverance.

I have been amazed at all the little things that happen every day that help me know God's hand is in my life.  Just this morning, getting to go to the temple with hundreds of other missionaries was a miracle in itself.  For the first time I was able to witness a temple marriage; it was awesome.  I know with no doubt that families can be together forever & that relationships in this life are not "till death do ye part."  Our friendships & family relationships can last forever.  

The only way I can describe the way it feels to be in the temple is to take the happiest moment you have ever had (Ben, think of the relief you feel after a hard fought football game) and multiply that feeling by a number between like 10 and infinity. :) I love the temple.

Another neat "tender mercy" has been meeting so many cool people here in the MTC.  Missionaries come from all around the world to prepare to serve others all around the world.  It's been fun to have Elder Fawcett here to teach me some Samoan.  It's been my goal to lear "hello, goodbye (God be with you), and thank you" in every language before I leave the MTC.  I can't thing of another place in the world with so many 18-26 year olds (a time in many peoples' lives when they lose sight of who they are) who are focused on bringing others to Christ & speaking such a diversity of languages to do so.

(going to take a laundry break & come back to finish this email)

Sunday at breakfast I met the Sister in the Mormon Message "The Song of the Heart" https://www.lds.org/youth/video/the-song-of-the-heart?lang=eng from Hawaii.  It was really cool to hear her story - she's serving in Taiwan!  At the end of the devotional Sunday (after GC), Vocal Point sang "Nearer, My God to Thee" so it was neat for her because that was the song she sang in the Mormon Message.  Another missionary here played international level tennis, has gone skydiving 300 times, and is in the Mormon Message by Richard G. Scott called "A Secure Anchor" https://www.lds.org/youth/video/a-secure-anchor?lang=eng about Helaman 5:12 and rock climbing.  The stories of people here are incredible.  I'm usually more excited to go to mealtimes to meet new people & hear why they chose to serve a mission than to go to mealtime to eat. (Although the food here is so good - I've gained five-ish pounds:) 

I'm starting to understand how God places people in our lives to help us develop certain character traits to become more like Christ.  Each of my teachers, for example, is very different, but gives me a new perspective on how to be a better missionary because of his personality & example.

Yet another tender mercy (that I mentioned in an earlier email) is that ever since I've been here, I can hear perfectly and have absolutely no problems with my ear.  It would be a lot harder to learn a language without a working ear, and I know that Heavenly Father is helping me though that specific blessing to fulfil my purpose on a mission.  (missionary purpose: "To Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance,baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.")

Thank you Dad for the blessing you gave me the Sunday before leaving for Provo.  

Overall, I am just super grateful for "how merciful the Lord [has] been" in my life. (a Neal A. Maxwell talk Ben and I listened to when we used to listed to GC talks before going to bed https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2004/04/remember-how-merciful-the-lord-hath-been?lang=eng)  Without the Bible, The Book of Mormon, prayer, family, friends, and a living prophet on the earth today, as we had in Biblical times, I don't know where I'd be.  Because I've been blessed with each of these, I have a testimony, know where I am, and what I'm doing.  I know my purpose^.  I know as well that each of the messages in General Conference https://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2013/10?lang=eng were inspired. Especially Elder Holland's talk.  I know it was meant for a lot of friends going through trials - the Atonement is for everyone.  I am so grateful for that blessing in my life.

I am grateful, most of all, for Jesus Christ.  I know that He lives!  He is everything to me.  I'm serving my mission for Him.  

I love you all so much.  I'll let you know as soon as I can where I'll be reassigned.  So excited!  The call from the 1st Presidency will most likely come this Thursday or Friday.  & I will fly out this weekend or early next week.  Thanks so much for the letters and packages (mom, I got your packages!  muito obrigado)  I'm hoping that I'll get a chance to respond to the letters this P-day.  I feel so loved here at the MTC. 

Good luck this week.  We just found out yesterday that a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will be speaking tonight at our devotional.  Eu estou muito animado!  MTC is actually heaven.  I'll share some of what he says in my letter to you next week.

Com amor,

Elder Young

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"Um Outro Semana Otima ao CTM"

Oí Família!

As always thank you so much for the pictures, emails, & packages. I'm grateful for so many thoughtful friends & family. You are all amazing!

I loved hearing that about Brooks saying his testimony in church on Sunday. & about reading the Bible and Book of Mormon for two hours! Holy moley that's awesome. I still remember one morning before I left, reading the scriptures with Braxton and Brooks and being amazed by how much they know. Keep it up!!

That's neat too about Julia Hapgood's baptism. There is always a neat feeling at baptisms. The Spirit is always really strong testifying that the person being baptized is coming closer to Christ.

In response to the question

"What I feel we did in our home that best prepared me for my mission" for Mom's talk in Stake Conference, I wrote a couple thoughts I'll copy & send for this week's spiritual thought.

"Every day I am amazed at the strength of the testimonies of each of the missionaries I serve with at the MTC. I'm grateful to have been raised with five brothers who also have strong testimonies to prepare me to now join an army of 80,000 full time missionaries.

One of the biggest motivators for me has been understanding why I'm here - my purpose for being on a mission and my purpose in life in general. I am grateful that you taught me at very young age, answers to questions many people wonder about for a lifetime. I know that we lived with God before this life; we are here to learn how to become more like God and Jesus Christ; and we can live eternally with Him and with our family. Of course my depth of understanding of these principles grows every day, but the simplicity of the Gospel is always constant. Through Jesus Christ we can return to live with God again. He is perfect, and therefore, through Him, we can be perfected. We keep our covenants with God through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, and receiving (an action word) the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Being a part of a family has also helped me understand the relationship I have with God and others. We are brothers and sisters and He is our Father. It's amazing to me that we can talk to God, as we talk to our own father, whenever we want to. He is always there.

When I listen to the insights of Elders in my district I'm reminded of the simple, powerful testimony meetings we had as a family during Family Home Evening. I often think back on the way I felt during these times when I need a reminder to stay focused or work harder.

Another important principle I'm glad is learned is work. Before my mission I learned that work is enjoyable. No moment in the mission field or MTC is ever wasted. Having a very tight schedule through high school prepared me to use every moment of the day productively on my mission.

I remember when I was young (younger :D I will always be Young) you and Dad would praise us when we were obedient. Every time after family prayers I looked forward to running up the stairs and getting ready for bed because I knew I would be rewarded with a bedtime story and praise for being obedient. I'm learning that God blesses me in similar ways when I'm obedient on my mission (getting to bed by 10:30, etc.).

Regular family scriptures study was one of the biggest influences in preparing me to serve a mission. I always loved when Dad would take the character of Captain Moroni or Lehi & use apples, ice cream, napkins, and any object he could find to act out Bible and Book of Mormon stories. It made me realize that the Gospel is fun to learn about. It's fun because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of joy. Jesus Christ is the only way to be truly happy. I'm grateful to have learned that at a young age."

It has been a great week. Even though we do similar things every day, we make each day different. I love it.
Tryouts went really well. I am going to tryout again on the piano this week and sing "I Stand All Amazed."

Also, I saw Elder Palmer for the first time this morning in the temple! It was so neat to see him there; he's staying at West Campus, so that was the only time I could've seen him before he heads out next week. I'll leave the 14th of October for wherever I get reassigned. I'm actually really excited to serve in the states for a while until the Visa comes. I'll let you know if I find out. They'll let us know the Thursday before the week I leave where I'm reassigned, and I should be able to email you to let you know the details.

Eu amo voces muito,

Elder Young
My District

Just having fun!

Celebrating Brooks and Braxton's Birthday.  My district all sang Happy Birthday and we ate cinnamon rolls.

My favorite drink in the MTC -poweraide and cranberry juice

A lot of carts are all around the MTC because of the construction going on

The view from my classroom window.  I love Utah weather!

Elder Richards (Lehi) and Elder Young (Nephi) as they moved their sheets to a new residence
from their old one (a 40 second trek through the MTC wilderness.)