Monday, February 24, 2014


Hey bretheren,

As I´ve said many times already in my mission, and will probably many more in the future, it was another crazy week here in Rio! Unfortunately, mother, I didn´t see Jon Schmidt here in Rio. I didn´t even hear anyone talking about him passing here, but he was probably in Zona Sul, the super rich part of Rio where Americans live and...well, rich people. I´m like almost seriously busting a gut about what happened with the letter I sent to Natalie back in September. Seriously? It finally arrived, and was completely opened. Brazillian class, setting new limits. HA.

Because of scheduling conflicts with the guy in the ward who was going to help us move to the new house, it  won´t happen until tomorrow. The new house won´t be furnished, but we´ll be bringing everything from our current house to the new one. us 4 elders will still be living together, but the new house is part of the other elders area, so Elder Acevedo and I will have to walk 20 minutes just to arrive in our area.... and our area is freaking ginormous. Lots of walking, taking the bus, and planning will have to be done to get as much work done as possible.

So Carnaval will start here next week. For those of you that don´t know what carnaval is, it´s mardi gras here in Brasil, but on steroids. At least that´s what I hear. Everyone goes to the streets, does lots of promiscuous activities (I fascinated myself and my english vocabulary with that word), wear skimpy clothing, and pretty
much give in to anything and everything Satan would want us to do. It´s so bad in this area that all of the youth in this area have a youth conference the entire week awhere they go camping somewhere else and have like a miny EFY to stay away from the apostasy that goes on during Carnaval. One of two things will probably happen with us as missionaries in Ramos. We´ll either try to work as normal, staying away from the busy streets that will have the most activity or we´ll go on a division in a different area that isn´t as cray cray. Should be an interesting week.... wooooo.

Elder Acevedo and I have been teaching lots of new people, especially since we´ve opened this area and had to start everything out fresh. There´s a super cool married couple that we started teaching last week. They´re names are Jorge and Regina. Regina has been having lots of health problems as a result of smoking, and they became really scared. Trouble breathing, lotsa of chest pains, and difficulties using muscles. Her neighbor is a member and this member, Marle, said that Regina wanted a health blessing. We were able to visit them, teach a bit about the priesthood and authority, and I gave her a blessing. Her response after the blessing is seriously unreal. She said she started feeling much better. 3 days later when we followed up and taught them the Restoration, she was feeling almost completely better. Still some chest pains, but she thanked us so much and have received our lessons super well. Thery´re reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and have accepted everything, but for now they just need to get married in order to be baptized. Hopefully that won´t be a problem for them and we´ll get them in the wedding process as soon as possible.

I want to end with a funny experience that happened last week. Elder Acevedo and I were doing contacts at 8:00 at night, and suddenly there was a giant green explosion, probably 200 feet in front of us. Seriously it had to have beaten any 4th of July fireworks show I´ve ever seen. A transformer exploded, and all the community lost power. It was like 8 o clock, and pitch black. Luckily, we were close to a members home and we were able to pass by there rather than stay the rest of the night in the completely dark streets.

I love you all! I love telling the members and investigators here about how much the Gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed my family. I want every family here in Brasil to have and feel the same happiness in their families that I was able to have during my life. Tchau!!

Elder Braun

Sorry, I didn´t have a chance to take any other cool photos this week :(

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dee El

Our Zone of studs.... and two sisters

Me and Elder Acevedo after a huge dump..... of rain.
Hey Family,

I loved the letter this week! Especially that sweet story you shared about me as a kid saying a prayer and wanting help. I loved it, because there have been some lessons throughout my mission where the investigators we teach say they don´t know how to say a prayer and they ask us missionaries for help to do so. Super precious. Also, just an FYI, we have Zone training once every month, the first week of each month, which is when we get mail/boxed. At times, in special situations like a big mission activity, we receive mail two times a month. That might happen this week since we will have zone conference, which only happens once every three months.

Goodness stinkin gracious what a crazy week here in Ramos. Elder Acevedo and I have been working like crazy, talking toeveryone in the streets and inviting everyone to receive a message about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here´s some crazy stuff that happened this past week:

-Maybe the title of this email gave it away, but I have been called as the District Leader! There wasan emergency transfer last wednesday, and our DL, Elder Bendoski who was serving in Ramos 2, was transferred to a different area. Elder França, a brazillian elder, replaced him, so now I´m back to being the only American in our house. I got a call from president saying that I now have the responsibilities that he had, which includes being leader over three companionships, one being a dupla of sisters. So yeah, wooooooo!!!! It´s been kind of a surprise and a lot more work and responsibility. I keep in touch with all of the elders and sisters in our district to see how their investigators are progressing and what not. It´s cool, but Itotally wasn´t expecting it, having only 1 week as senior companion when President Lima called me.

-So we´re moving!!!! not to a new a new area or anything like that, but our house is too small for 4 elders, and President Lima told us we needed to look for a new place to live. One of the members here offered a house that they own that has been vacant for a long time. President checked it out, liked it, and we´ll be moving in this Wednesday. I´ve been keeping in touch with Pres. Lima a lot this week, if you hadn´t noticed... Also, this new house will be a 45 minute walk to our church building and 25ish minute walk just to get to our area. And our area is huge, so we´ll be walking tons. Let the weight continue to drop! Send me lard or something to keep my weight in balance. No don´t do that. I kid.

-I lost my missionary manuel on a bus when I was traveling to Ramos two weeks ago with Elder Acevedo. I always keep it inmy shirt pocket, but with all my suitcases and my new companion, I seemed to have forgotten to put the manual back in my pocket and lost 100+ reais, my identification (the secretaries weren´t too happy about that), and my white bible.... Sadness.

- The man, Valdir,  that we had been preparing for baptism last week had a huge financial problem. when we passed by for him to be interviewed for baptism and said he didn´t want to get baptized anymore. It was really sad and he kinda went crazy, but we´re gonna work with some ward members to find a type of service for him to do to earn a bit of money and help him out with his tough situation.

So wooooo Ramos training district leader funness that´s fur sure. It was actually a pretty stressful week, since I´m still trying to get to know the members in this enormous area,and haven´t been having the success that we would like. I still do my best to serve the Lord always with a smile, but prayers will always be appreciated to help me
out. I love yáll, my american beauties!

Com Fé e Amor,
Elder Braun

Curious about the story about Steven when he was 3? Here it is:

Jan 4, 1998
"Steven is talking... and we understand him. One night I asked him to say the prayer. 
"Help me" he replied.
I told him he needed to say the prayer by himself because he was a big boy and could do it by himself.
"Help me, mommy" he repeated.
When I said 'no' he looked at Bryan. "Help me, Bryan".
"You can do it", answered Bryan.
"Help me, Jeffrey."
"You can do it", answered Jeff.
He continued around the table. "Help me, Valerie"
"You do it by yourself", she replied.
"Help me, Michael".
"You do it", Mike answered.
"Oh, man!" Steven said in disgust. He had asked everyone and no one would help him so he decided to do it himself. It went something like this: "Heavenly Father. Thankful for food. Please bless Mommy and Daddy, Jeffrey and Bryan, Michael and Valerie, Justin and the new baby. And bless the food and we'll be happy. In Jesus Christ, Amen."
So of course we all had to cheer and ever since then, he wants to say the prayer at meal time, by himself."
 -Brenda Braun

Monday, February 10, 2014


Dear Family,

I love when your email is full of questions to answer. It helps me tothink of stuff to write. And with so much going on this past week, I´m certainly going to need all the help I can get remembering everything. First of all, my new area is called Ramos!!!! It´s part of the city of Rio and has a wonderful view of the Christ statue from just about
every párt of the area. That´s something I didn´t get in Alcãntara. You can probably do a google search to see some pictures of the area. It´s HUGE, and it was divided between my companion and two other elders.

Moving all my stuff was craaazy. I had all my bags with me on the buses that took me to a big bus station where we have transfers, then I took them on another bus that took me to a chapel in Rio where I met my new
companion, THEN we went to our area with both of our bags. An area I didn´t even know where it was, and with a brand new missionary, but all went well and we made it without trouble.

Okay, I´ll stop beating around the bush. My companions name is Elder Acevedo, and he´s from Peru! There aren´t too many Hispanics that serve here in Rio, so I was pretty surprised to have the first elder I train be Hispanic. He speaks Portuguese pretty well, though. He just has a strong accent. He was in the MTC for 6 weeks like I was, but he showed up here in Brazil all ready to teach, so that´s awesome. Sorry I don´t have any pictures of us both yet. I´ll get on to that and send you some next week.

So our area is suuuuuuper different that Alcãntara, especially since it´s a lot closer to Rio. There´s a lot more people in this area, both members and people in general. A member told us that roughly 3 million people live in the limits of the wards boundaries. Yeah. 3 million people for Elder Acevedo and I to teach, that´s like.... at least 25 people every second of so. We can totes do it. The area also has a much bigger difference between wealthy people and, well, people of more humble circumstances. In the center of the city, there are nice apartments where wealthy people live, and there´s lots of favelas too. There´s just about any store we´d need to buy anything in our area, so that´s cool on p-days.

Our house isn´t too bad, but it´s super tiny. The other two elders serving in the ward (Elder Bendoski from Florida and Elder Xavier from Brazil), both of which are also new to the area. There´s one bathroom, one shower (which is much more normal than the one in Alcãntara), a kitchen, and two little bedrooms. It´s pretty crammed, but I think President said we´re going to plan on finding a different house to live in.

Elder Leite stayed in Alcãntara and has a brazillian companion now. In our new area, we spent the first week doing toooooons of street contacts, trying to find someone, anyone to teach, and we had some pretty good success. There´s one guy named Valdir who the past missionaries had been teaching who said he wanted to get baptized the first time we showed up last tuesday. He has been to church 2 times already and loved the members instantly. We´ve been teaching about commandments, the importance and significance of baptism and helping
him understand the gospel of Christ. We marked this saturday for his baptismal date and he´s super excited about it. Valdir lives by himself, is 65 years old and retired, but has been recently taking classes so he can return back to work. What a great miracle for Elder Acevedo and I.

Lots of running around this past week, trying to get to know the members and whatnot. There were over 150 members who attended sacrament meeting, which is pretty big for Brazil´s standards, but this ward is also a lot older than Alcantara. The chaple in Ramos was the second one build in Rio.

So that´s about all I have time to cram in this letter. I love you all, the Lord has been blessing me with such a great desire to share his gospel. Even when at times I feel stressed with the responsibility that comes with being trainer and opening an area, he has blessed me with many people to start teaching. I love and miss you!

Elder Braun

Monday, February 3, 2014

I'm Training!!!!!

So yeah, I just received a call and I will be training!!!! I´m also opening a new area called Ramos which is close to the center of Rio. I´m super excited, a little nervous as well, but mostly excited and anxious!!! I´ll be sad to leave aLcãntara. Like, super sad, but I´m super excited for the future of my mission!

Where Will I Go?

 Photos of Bruno and Ranna at the baptism. Herik, a member, baptized Ranna. 
Herik is one of Brunos best friends and was a great resource to help them receive the gospel.

Dear Family,

The package from Michael has still not arrived here, but we have a zone training so  there´s a good chance that it may be in my possession soon. Another Craaaaaaazy week for Elder Leite and I. This week is transfers, but unlike how the mission usually posts transfers (on the website), we´ll be finding out later today by telephone. So
yeah, I´m pretty anxious to know since there´s so much going on in Alcãntara. Lots of progress with our investigators, and the members are super animated to help out as a result of the success we´ve been having.

I´m very sad to hear the news about Johni this week. I´m always comforted to now that God really has a purpose for each one of us, and his wonderful plan of Salvation gives me hope. I´ll definitely include her in my prayers, but I won´t promise that I´ll join the convent like Clovis suggested.

The news you heard about Ranna was correct. She got baptized on Saturday! Bruno wanted to wait a little bit and invited his parents to attend Rannas baptism that way they could understand why he wants to enter in this covenant. his parents are super devote in their church, and was afraid thay would be angry against him, but they seemed to really enjoy the spirit there. I´m not super worried about him not following the example of his wife and being baptized as well. He has a strong testimony and desire to follow Christ and loves this gospel.

Also, we´ve been teaching a little old lady named Maria da Ludes and goodness gracious she´s amazing. The Elders in Trindade taught one of her daughters and passed the reference to us since Maria lives in our area. She felt abandoned by the church she was attending and was searching for God´s church. She immediately accepted our messages and felt the spirit super strongly. Yesterday was the second time she attended church and she accepted the 8th of February to be baptized! She hasn´t received a lot of support from her children, so we´ll work
 with them to understand the importance of this gospel and how we can be blessed by it.

Like I said at the start, there´s a lot going on here in Alcãntara, and if I leave, I´ll be realy sad because of the wonderful friendships I´ve made with many of the members and investigators. I love hearing the news about the missionaries in preparation at home!! Keep up the work everyone. This planet is in desperate need for young men and women willing enough to leave the temptations of the world to preach the gospel of Christ. I love you all and wish you the best!

Elder Braun