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 

 



 




Friday, November 22, 2013

Elder Young at a dinner appointment

It is the best treat ever for me (mom) to get a picture from Brandyn's mission and a note saying he's doing great!  I cry every time!  I am so grateful for the members that take care of our missionaries!!!

Loving Las Vegas

1st baptism!  This is Emma Knauls and her little brother, Gary.  They are an awesome family.  Emma reminds me of Lyndee - she is really smart, really funny, and loves life.  I loved teaching her and Gary - we would play games and draw pictures to learn Gospel principles.  If I get a chance in the main letter I'll mention some cool things about Brother Knauls and some fun object lessons Elder Payne's taught me.

This is Emma Knauls

Pictures from Elder Brandyn Young in Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Scenery in Las Vegas



Las Vegas

Las Vegas!

At the Las Vegas Temple

Elder Payne and Elder Young at the Las Vegas Temple


Sunset in Vegas

The sunset over Elder Young's apartment complex

This is a picture from when Brandyn was in the MTC!  It made him laugh to see they had green jello on the menu!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Nothing Can Keep Us From The Love Of God"

Ben!!  Hope your birthday was awesome.  A member gave Elder Payne and I some ice cream and root beer, so we had root beer floats all week in anticipation of your birthday.  We have a big rocking chair in our apartment, so I felt like I was in Heaven eating ice cream, rocking on my rocking chair, rocking out to Mormon Tabernacle Choir, celebrating your birthday. :) A fun fact: The next time your age will match the # of letters in your name, you'll be on your mission! (Ben-13, Benjamin-18) & nice job on a good season.  I bet that feels good to be finished with football until next year.  

Thank you so much for the package!  I got it today.  The jacket is perfect.  Everyone in the district is really jealous I have such an amazing mom. 

& Blake!  I'm not surprised, only amazed at how awesome you are doing in debate.  Your skills - speaking with others, testifying what you know to be true, and are going to help a lot on the mission.  And your success in basketball!  A sophomore with the most rebounds in a varsity game.  I told Elder Carroll about you and he thinks you are a "stud." :)

Good job to Braxton too!  That's awesome you had the highest scores out of everyone in pass & kick. You definitely won in my book.  (and I only read true books like The Bible, Book of Mormon, and books from the Mission Library.)

Brooks, I hope you start feeling better soon!  Strep throat is no fun, but I know you'll get better if you keep eating your vegetables.

That's neat that the primary program was this Sunday.  In our ward, the bishopric rearranged the priest quorum as well.  I loved what you wrote, Dad, about the humbling responsibility you have as a Bishop.  I'm glad you are feeling better too after the ER.

Because we've had a busy P-day, I only have a couple minutes; but I'll share what I can in the short time I have. (a deep parallel to missionary work lies in the previous sentence)

One man we are teaching is recovering from a life of a lot of bad choices.  He's trying to get his family back and making corrections through the Atonement.  A verse Elder Payne and I shared with him was in 2 Nephi 31:20-21.  This was my last companion, Elder Richard's, favorite verse.

It says:

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a asteadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of bhope, and a clove of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and dendure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eeternal life.

 21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the away; and there is bnone other way nor cname given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the ddoctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of theeFather, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is fone God, without end. Amen."
We testified to him that he is doing what he needs to do: Trying to do what's right. It will take time for him, but his eventual goal is to baptize his son, Kaleo.  It's evident that he loves his family.  Because God is his Father, we testified to him that God loves him to.  We are the family of God.  

I know that "this IS the way."  As we go through trials (Brooks strep throat, dad going to the ER, and even events as broad as the tsunami in the Phillippines), I know that there is a purpose.  God loves us.  As we follow Him, we can have the confirmation that we are walking in "the way" to peace and happiness.  Because of that knowledge we can have joy even now, today.  

I know that Christ's Gospel has been restored on the Earth.  "Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ" and He who IS The Way will lead you with a "perfect brightness of hope."

I am so grateful for the blessing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life.  I know He lives.

I love you all!

Elder Young

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dinner at the Corcrans

Elder Young is doing well. We had him and his companion Elder Payne in our home tonight for dinner. We always let them choose what they want to eat and it was his turn to choose. He chose to have a traditional Sunday dinner from your home so we made roast, mashed potatoes, and rolls. We also made a dessert he called "Heaven in a bowl". Attached is a picture of him with dessert. He is a wonderful young man and we enjoy having him in our ward.
Enjoy the picture,
Joshua, Jennifer, Bryan, Cameron, and Brittany Corcran


More pictures from Elder Brandyn Young

It looks like he is eating well!

Elder Young's District in Las Vegas

Another AMAZING week in Las Vegas


Familia!
I love hearing from you every week.  It's neat too to get Bryce's emails - they are always packed with awesome experiences.  & nice job Braxton!!  Holey moley!  You're going to Paris?  If they had an Eiffel tower in Arkansas I bet you could kick a football over. :D  I used to love doing punt, pass, and kick.  Austin Allen would always beat me, but I usually had a chance against him in pacer. :)  That's awesome too about Brooks Ellis.  Brooks, that's going to be you in a couple years!  & good luck this Thursday Ben.  Watching film the Friday after your last game (if you win!) was always fun at Woodland.  Thanks for forwarding the pictures too of Bryce at the baptism.  Now that I realize the good work that goes into preparing others for baptism, it makes me so happy to hear about the elder Elder Young's successes. 
This week has been AMAZING.  I know I say that every week, but it really has.  I wish there was a way to share everything, but because of time, I'll share a couple experiences.  (I am working on writing letters too, sorry it has taken so long!)  A couple cool things I discovered this week are:

-We are related to my mission president's wife! Sister Neider - she is related to Brigham Young.
-I met a missionary from Rogers, Arkansas at the mission Halloween party!  His name is Elder Dunn and has been out for a little over a year.
- & There is also a Sister Cummings in my mission who is related to a Hal Cummings.  Are we related to Hal?
Every Monday, W, & F, Elder Payne, Latu, and Jensen, and I go work out at a member, Craig's, house & it's always really fun.  A lot of the members here in Las Vegas are in either ex-marine or in the air force, so the workouts are super intense.  Elder Latu used to play football in Hawaii (DT) and I think Craig was in the military.  Craig taught Elder Latu and I hand to hand combat moves that we can use if we decide to play football when we get back, haha.  The mornings we don't go to Craig's house we play sports at the stake center, so we get plenty of good exercise.  & yes :) the members here feed us very well - I'm glad you got the picture from the Corcrans!  They are an awesome family.  I felt like I was at home feeding the missionaries - they have roast every Sunday & always have delicious dessert.   

On Halloween night we had a big mission get together.  We watched Ephraim's Rescue and then had a brief testimony meeting.  It was fun to see Elder Gwilliam and Phipps there and talk with lots of missionaries.  After the testimony meeting, a quartet sang "Come Thou Fount" & I felt like I was in Heaven. :) Elder Dean and I are planning to sing a Christmas song for the talent show coming up next month.  Tomorrow is a big Gladys Knight event that a lot of investigators will be going to.  (suvchoir.org has more info about Gladys' events).  She'll share her testimony and how she came to know Jesus Christ.  Excited doesn't adequately describe como muito animado I am for tomorrow!
Each day is filled with "coincidences" - so many that it's hard to write them all in my journal.  One experience that is fresh on my mind happened last night.  Elder Payne and I just finished a lesson with one of our investigators, Beverly, and saw a man bringing in groceries.  We offered to help and he gladly accepted.  We got talking to him and it turned out he had a bad back and was praying for someone to help him out.  He had just recently been divorced and was moving into a new apartment.  He said, "Thank you so much, ... I was in your shoes once - I served a mission in Tallahassee, Florida!"  We talked with him about his mission.  He was super excited to tell us about it and shared his testimony with us about how merciful God has been in his life.  He hadn't been to church in a long time and it asked us if we would give him a blessing for his back and for comfort through a difficult divorce.  We offered him a blessing.   Earlier that day in church, Brother Boston, the man in our ward in charge of helping people find jobs, made an announcement in priesthood about how those who are out of work can call him for help.  Lots of jobs recently opened up and he said he is more than willing to help those in need.  As it turned out, Lohman, the man who we helped with groceries was searching desperately for a job, so we gave him Brother Boston's number.
I am humbled by how many people Heavenly Father puts in our way to help.  That's true for all of us.  God answers prayers through us, so it is so important that we are ready to serve at any moment.  That's something that President Monson's life exemplifies.  "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God." - Mosiah 2:17
All of our investigators are progressing well.  Watching how the Atonement of Jesus Christ works in others' lives is one of the neatest blessings of missionary work.  A couple weeks ago at the end of one of our lessons, Elder Payne felt really strongly that we should sing a hymn.  Beverly was having a hard time understanding why she is here on earth, and how to find purpose in her life, so we taught her about the plan of salvation.  Then asked her if we could sing "I Am a Child of God."  Elder Payne is a really good singer (tenor) so a lot of times we just walk around singing hymns and get funny looks. :D  But the hymn I feel was exactly what she needed to hear.

I am a child of God,
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.

 I am a child of God,
And so my needs are great;
Help me to understand his words
Before it grows too late. I am a child of God.
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will,
I'll live with him once more.
I am a child of God.
His promises are sure;
Celestial glory shall be mine
If I can but endure.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.
When we sang the line "Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way..." the biggest smile went across Beverly's face. :) She doesn't smile very often, so that meant the world to us.  Now three weeks later, she's come from never smiling to always smiling. She has a baptism planned in a couple of weeks! with another one of our investigators, Sister English.  We are about to head off to teach Emma and Gary, (7 & 10) who are getting baptized in two weeks!  It's exciting to see how God works in the lives of people you love.  Emma and Gary are really fun to teach.  Elder Payne knows lots of object lessons, so we try to keep it interesting.  I don't know how I am going to leave Las Vegas to go to Brazil.  I already love the people here so much. 
I love you all so much too.  And am grateful for the perspective to know that we are all children of God - God is literally our Father.  I'm grateful to be able to talk with him whenever and wherever.  And I'm grateful to be able to email you all once a week.
Have a good November & happy early birthday Ben!! O~ O~ O~
Amor,
Elder Young (the younger)