Monday, July 28, 2014

Good Weather and Awesome Waterfalls

Adriane, Adenilson, and their kiddos.

Hey Family,

As always, another crazy week for us. It was actually a little stressful at the start, since like EVERY SINGLE appointment we made fell through, but we stayed busy, sharing the gospel with everyone. I´m happy to hear everyone had a good week, too. Knowing how efy is, Natalie probably met lots of new people from around the country who probably became her best friends, in just a week. Efy is cool in that way. Parabéns for Ryan and the graduation. Yaaaaay accounting. How long will his course at Gonzaga be? One year? Will they still be in Spokane while I´m home? Will my room not be mine once I´m back at home?

Whenever you send the next package, mom, one thing I´m really needing is socks. Good black socks aren´t cheap here in Maricá, like 3 bucks a pair, and I´m left with lots of pairs that have holes in them. Sometimes I walk 500 miles, and sometimes I walk 500 more. 

The weather has gotten waaaaaay better. Everyone here gets their winter jacket, a blanket, and bundles up in their house... because it´s 60ish degrees. I find it kind of humorous, but it´s the culture her. It has been raining every once and a while as well, which I love, but my umbrella broke the other day. I opened it up, and one of the metal arm things snapped. It still works, it just has a limp in one of it´s legs, more or less.

This week, we have been working more with a family to complete, Marlo and Juliana. Marlo wasn´t able to go to church yesterday, because their house ,  has been flooding, so he had to build a little wall thing, but Juliana still went with her parents (Another family tp complete, Ana and João) and her cute little kiddos, 2 little boys named Rafael and Pedro. Marlo´s been reading the book of mormon and said he feels ready for baptism! We had to remark his baptismal date for the 9th of August, but he´s way excited. On that same date, we have 3 baptisms planned in the branch, so it should be a special day in Maricá. 

We´ve also been working with a lady named Cristiane, who was starting to lose faith in God, and since we met her, she´s been feeling a lot happier about life. She´s divorced, has two kids, and works a lot, so she feels overwelmed about life, and since we taught her the plan of salvation, she has been progressing a lot. She´s been to church 2 times already.

Adenilson and Adriane and their family is also going really well. It seems like every sunday, something comes up which makes it hard for them to progress, but we´re teaching the importance of sanctifying the sabbath and their getting more and more interested with each message we leave with them.

This Saturday, Elder Heidenreich and I are starting a... (drum roll please)..... ENGLISH CLASS!!!! We´ve been planning it for a few weeks now, and together with the institute and self-sufficiency classes that will start this saturday, we´re teaching English! Which means I need to get back to studying english because I can´t speak no more. Writing these letters home has gotten harder and harder with each and every week. But we´re hoping to find lots of people to help through this english course. 

I love all the Brauns in the whole world! You are all wonderful and not a day goes by that I´m not grateful for my wonderful, supportive, and gospel centered family that has been a blessing in my life.

Elder Braun

 A wonderful water fountain that I just could not resist to take a picture of. I hope you enjoy.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Power of Prayer

Hey Family!

Would you believe it if I told you this week was boring? Don´t, because it wasn´t!! I hope everyone has fun on their different road trips and travel safely. When I read the stories about the fires in Spokane and the rain in Rexburg, all I could think of was the Adele song called ´´I Set Fire to the Rain´´. If only the two things were happening in the same place. That would be perfect.

Elder Inácio and I have had lots of miracles recently. We´ve had lots of reasons to be thankful, and our work has been progressing little by little. I´ll let you know right now why there´s no photos in this email, because I lost my camera last week and was freaking out. Luckily, a brother in the branch who was giving us a ride called me saying I left my camera in his car, and that he would give it to me tomorrow. 6 months of photos almost lost. 

Our branch president has planned a self reliance class, with scripture study and english study that way we can invite our investigators and less actives and.... everyone! Elder Heidenreich and I will be teaching the english course. I´m still not really sure how, but we´re excited! It starts next Saturday.

We recently reactivated a married lady whose husband isn´t a member and started teaching him last week. heir names are Marlo and Juliana. They´ve been going super well, and Marlo even accepted a baptismal invite! He says he already has a lot of respect for the church because of the importance it teaches about familes, and they have two little ones, one that´s 3 and the other is 9 months. The only issue is that he works in the army and studys, and is at home for only 4 hours each day. I´m still not sure how he managed to find time to read the passages we left with him in the Book of Mormon, but he´s really enjoying it.

We´re working really hard to help the few members in Maricá help us do missionary work and receive our investigators in a more friendly manner so that they can recognize better that this is the true church of Christ. I love you all and love this wonderful Gospel! Without the sealing power restored through Joseph Smith to seal our families for eternity, there would be no validity in any other ordinace that we do. This is the Lord´s true church.


Elder Braun

Monday, July 14, 2014


Lagoa de Araçatiba

Dear Family,

Last Thursday, I hit the one year mark of my mission. It gave me an opportunity to look back on all of the wonderful tender mercies and tender moments since I left the airport in Spokane and started what I was called to do. It´s been a crazy up and down rollar coaster, but I´m pleaed to say I have very little regrets and I can´t wait for what the rest of my mission has in store for me! 

Wow, hearing about all of these lost packages frustrates me quite a bit. One of the best things ever as a missionary is receiving a fancy package from home. As far as packages goes, I haven´t heard of other missionaries having problems, it just seems like I´ve had bad luck :(

Transfers are this week! Not a whole lot happened in the mission, probably because of the new mission President. I´m staying in Maricá with Elder Inácio, the other two elders in our branch are staying with us as well. I was super worried because I LOVE Maricá. I have no idea how I´ll be able to leave this place, because I love this people and the members are getting animated to help us, we´ve been able to reactivate lots of members recently, and investigators are really progressing now.

We had a big branch activity on Saturday that lots of people went to. It was called a Festa Julhina. Lots of people dressed up like cowboys, eating weird food like sweet potato candy (for being a fan of sweet potatoes, I´m surprised that it actually was kinda nasty), and other stuff. Our mission president didn´t authorize (is that a good word to use?) us to attend the party, so we worked like normal. The members weren´t very happy about that, but obedience brings miracles. We´re looking for miracles here.

Our investigator Shirlei is progressing really well, she said she already knows that the church is true, but she wouldn´t give us a sure answer if she´ll be baptized until our visit with her... tonight! Pray for us! Ana and João are also doing really well, we just need to help them be patient and prepared for their wedding. Ana told me that mom accepted her friend request on facebook? carumba gente

We´re really excited in Maricá, especially since we´re having some great growth in the branch because of members coming to church every sundaynow and reactivations. Now we´re working really hard with the leadership and members to work with us so that we can prepare new converts to fill the church house. Our goal is to have a piece of land already bought to build a chapel before the end of the year!

I love you all! I love packages too, so don´t give up on me and the world sketchy postage system! 

Elder Braun

Monday, July 7, 2014

Families and Birthdays!

Me and Elder Bitnoff, one of the Elders from my district in the MTC. His first area in Brazil is Ramos, 
my second area! He arrived about a month ago... 11 months after he started his mission.


What a wonderful week it sounds like you´ve all had. I can see Natalie has certainly taken in some of the Brazillian culture in her life, wearing shorts that almost don´t exist (watch yourself, missy). It sounds like these past few weeks were a blast, and although I would have loved to be in Star Valley celebrating with everyone back at home, there´s no other place I´d rather be than right here in Maricá.

We met our new mission president last Friday, which was an awesome experience. President Cabral is definitely a powerful man, and as stake president in Fortaleza, he had so much growth that the stake he was leading divided 2 times. 

I´m pleased to say that my week was quite swell as well. Thursday (July 3rd) was Elder Inácio´s birthday, so I made him a cake that ended up kind of being brownies. I´ve lately fallen in the habit of forgetting to take pictures of cool things that I see or do, so unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it and I´m realizing that right now. Drats. 

Saturday was one of our investigators birthdays, so we went to her party she had to say hi and wish her happy birthday. It´s the same investigator that works for one of the city representatives campaign (Vanda), and she invited us to leave a short message with everyone at the party! Golden! We shared with everyone a breif message about the Book of Mormon and how blessed we are to have the fullness of the gospel restore through the words of our beloved prophets with the book. Lots of people were interested and Vanda shared her testimony of the Book of Mormon with them. What a party! Vanda is progressing really well, but because of her work duties, she still has not been able to come to church. Luckily, she went to a relief society activity last week, met some of the sisters there, and instantly started to be friends with them. 

We recently reactivated a part member family, where the mom is a member and the dad isn´t, they have a daughter who is a member, but her husband isn´t. Ana and João (the mom and dad) have already committed to stay firm in the church, we´re working really hard for them to get married now. Juliana and Marlo (the daughter and her husband) also came to church, and it was Marlo´s first time. He loved it! Since he works in the Army, during the World Cup, he´s been working a ton (14 days in a row, away from his family), but after the world cup, he´ll be back at home like normal, and we´re super excited to help prepare him for baptism!!!! :) !!!!

This month is ´´Missionary Work Month´´ in the branch, with lots of activities and such planned for the members to get more involved with missioanry work and helping the elders. This Saturday, there´s a huge activity planned, and that morning, they will be working with us, knocking allllllll of the doors close to the church and inviting everyone to the activity.

We also have another investigator who came to church for the first time yesterday, Shirlei, who has a son who´s a member in Rio. She loved it, had lots of questions answered by the members, and even offered to help out with the activity this Saturday by making a cake to share. I mean, I won´t complain or anything. 

I´ve learned a LOT these past few weeks about love and charity. With transfers next week, I´m trembling with the thought that I might be transferred. Elder Inácio and I are building a great rhythm together, and we´re starting to get great results in Maricá. I feel like my work here is only beginning, and the love I have for everyone in this area is incredible. I love this work and the gratifying feeling I get from planning and teaching with all the power of the Spirit I´m capable to harness.

Elder Braun

Elder Inácio and I after a lesson with Ana and João