Monday, May 26, 2014


Dear família,

CRAZY week for us in Maricá. Congrats to Ryan for being accepted at Gonzaga! That´s awesome they´ll be staying with the rest of the fam at home, and Certainly Natalie will love the company.

It was a relatively sad week in Maricá since my companion Elder Porfírio decided he would go home and no one could do anything about it. It was really tough for me to accept the decision he made, since I´ve had marvelous experiences during my mission, but he was certain that no one could change his mind.

But I´m keeping my head up and looking towards the bright future that we´ll have here in Maricá rather than looking behind. My new companion is a Texan named Elder Heidenreich. He´s from Dallas and knows where Longview is, so that´s cool. He had to go home for a surgery about a month ago, and after he recooperated, he came right back down to Brazil last week. He´s been serving for 7 months, and is super excited to get back to work after his month long break. He´ll stay with me for this week, and next week, Maricá will have two companionships! So I´ll be showing him the area, our investigators and members, and next monday, we´ll find out who our new companions are. I´m stoked to stay here in Maricá since I already have a huge love for this branch. I have no doubt that it will become a ward in the nw future now that the members have been learning our to help us do missionary work and fulfill their callings.

We had a change in the branch leadership, and we´re SUPER excited about the future here because of it! Our new branch president served as MISSION PRESIDENT in Recife, Brazil between the years 2002 and 2005. His name is Saul and has already put together some incredible plans for the members and misionaries have some great progress.

I wantto thank everyone who sent me words of encouragement this week. I don´t have enough time to read them right now, but I´ll print them out and read them on the bus ride home. I don´t have a ton of time right now to say much more that happened this past week, but I am truly grateful for the love that my wonderful family members and friends have shared with me. I´ve gained a great love for the Lord´s atonement in my life and mission and have become amazed at how much I´vegrown these past few weeks. Keep Spokane funky fresh and let everyone back at home know that I love them!

Tchau tchau,
Elder Braun

I left my camera at home and don´t have any way to show you all my pictures from this past week :(

Monday, May 19, 2014

Nobody Said It Was Easy

Dear family,

I´ll be straight up. This week was pretty rough. Not an easy week, that´s for sure. But you have to have some difficult weeks to be able to enjoy the rest of your time serving a mission, right? I don´t think there are lilacs here in Brasil, mom. I honestly don´t see many flowers here, but every now and then, there are people who have flower pots and grow them. I like to take my chance and smell them whenever possible.

Unfortunately, what we never would have expected, Jessica´s baptism fell through this past week. Elder Porfirio and I were so excited for her, especially her ability to recognize the spirit grow with every lesson we taught her and her family. But on Wednesday, she said she wasn´t sure she could get baptized anymore because she wasn´t sure she could keep every commandment. We promised her blessings, invited her to pray and read the Book of Mormon, but she still wasn´t feeling like it was the right thing for her. She didn´t return to church on sunday and we´ve had trouble reaching her by phone. Satan knows what will strengthen us, and for that reason, he has a powerful ability to tempt us right at our strongest moments. 

On the bright side, we were knocking doors close to our house last week and that family I told you about, Julia and Tiago, is an AWESOME family. They read the book of mormon and understood it! (That´s actually a really big miracle here) They even accepted baptism, but they weren´t able to come to church this past sunday because of a family emergency. They´re really interested and are truly seeking to understand our messages and applying the doctrine of Christ in their own lifes. 

I have a question for everyone at home. Anyone is invited to help me out, whether it be mom, dad, siblings, cousins, etc. We´ve been having difficulties involving members in our teaching and integrating of investigators in the church. There aren´t many members here in Maricá, and none of them have cars, and very few live close to the church, where we´ve been encouraged to work. Every time this week we invited a member to visit someone with us, knock doors with us, they weren´t available and they said they´d talk to us when they would be. When we call back, they usually say the same thing. We haven´t had much luck with investigators wanting to visit again because frankly, they don´t like it. The members don´t talk to them, instead of a beautiful chapel, it´s an old, rented party house, and they don´t feel like it´s the restored Church of Jesus Christ we´ve been teaching them about. If anyone has helpful advice, I would be sooo grateful. I love this area so much, but there needs to be some changes here if it´ll ever progress enough to become a ward.

Please don´t forget to pray for me. At times I just don´t know what more I can do to help these wonderful people feel the same love for this restored gospel that I have. Please pray for my companion as well. He´s having difficulties and could really use some help understanding his purpose as a missionary and the sacred significance of his calling. I know that my Redeemer lives, and that through his atonement, we can receive relief and comfort from our trials and infirmities. It was never easy for him, so we have no reason to think that our life or trials we pass will be easy for us. I love you all and wish you the best!

Elder Braun 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Long Time, No See

Mother's Day 2014-Google Hangout with the Family

Hey Family,

It´s been a good 16 hours since we had a wonderful chat. I guess that would explain why I didn´t receive an email from home, but there´s no hard feelings. I honestly have no idea what to say in this letter since I told yáll about everything that happened this week, but I guess there´s nothing wrong with receiving it again in written form. 

Elder Porfirio and I were doing a lot of door-knocking this week, and we found a great, MARRIED, family named Tiago and Julia. They have been looking for a church and had never really found one that felt right to them. They accepted to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Wha-What!

Jessica accepted baptism and is preparing to be baptized this sunday (18th)!!! We are super happy for her and the progress she has had with her parents, who only need to get married in order to be baptized as well. Things have been going super well for us here in Maricá, and hopefully everything keeps improving.

I really don´t know what else to say, but Mother´s day was awesome! We always joke with people when they ask ´´why don´t you guys have holidays like the rest of us?´´ and we tell them, ´´as missionaries, the only holidays we have are Christmas and Mother´s Day´´. Haha. I love you all and wish you a wonderful week! The gospel blesses familes! Let´s strengthen our family while we share the gospel with everyone they know so thay can have the same happiness that we have!

Elder Braun

Monday, May 5, 2014

Time to get Louco

Me and Elder Porfírio and a member family in Maricá.

Hey guys!

I hear that Melanie is roommates with Katie at BYU? Like, Melanie my cousin and Katie my best friend? Is that true? If so, DANG that´s cool. How´s it going for everybody at home? What does this new company do that Dad will be working for? At times people here in Brasil like to ask what my parents do for a living, and it would be nice to have some sort of idea what Esterline specializes in. Way to go Dad!

Like I said last week, I´m training now and my new son´s name is Elder Porfírio! He´s from a city called Sobral in Brazil, it´s close to Fortaleza, and I like to call him my little fireball. He arrived here in Rio super animated to work, he has a great knowledge of the scriptures and the missionary lessons, and we´ve been working hard since day 1. And some miracles have definitely resulted! He´s a convert, was baptized when he was 16, served in the army in Brazil, and is 22 years old. Weird, huh? Training a guy who´s more than 2 years older than me? But he´s seriously great. He was super scared when I told he we were serving in a branch, but he´s already been a great help. 

We had a guy get reactivated this Sunday! His name is Adalberto and when I was still with Elder Evans, he stopped us one day on the street and said ´´I´, mormon!  The church is here in Maricá?´´ He´s from Recife, but moved to Rio because he had cancer and had to have serious treatment, but he´s starting to recover. I gave him one of my white shirts and ties, and he was super grateful to have found us so that he could return to church and continue being nurtured by the good word of God! He was an awesome miracle for us, and it makes me wonder how many there must be in this giant area that are members who never were able to find the branch here in Maricá

After the wonderful feedback from our activity last week, we´ve decided to have activities on a more regular basis in Maricá so that members can invite their friends, the Missionaries can receive more references, and more people can receive knowledge of the Restoration of the Gospel. Our next activity will be on the 24th of May, and we´re gonna have a dinner at the church house with a great message planned. The members are all really excited and we´re happy about that.

A man named Paulo that has been investigating the church for about 20 YEARS accepted baptism! His wife is a member (who has already received her endowment), as well as their daughter. He never was willing to give up drinking, but with the help of his doctor who told him he needs to stop because of his growing problem with diabetes, he has finally stopped. He has been calling himself a member of the church for years, has even taught the Gospel Principles class a few times. We have his baptism marked for this Saturday, the 10th of May.

I love you all very much and am SOOOOO excited to talk to you on Sunday. You guys in Washington get out of church at 2, right? I´ll try and call around 2:15ish or 2:20 (6:15ish) Here in brasil. I´ll be able to use Google+ to talk to the siblings who are interested to talk to me too! If Google+ doesn´t work, I´ll use Skype as my backup plan, so have that up and ready just in case. If Skype doesn´t work, I´ll just scream, maybe it´ll be loud enough for you to hear. Can´t wait for the 11th!

Elder Braun