Monthly Archives: February 2014

O Copo do Mundo! 2.‏ 22.2014

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Boa Tarde!
It is 1:30 over here and about 80 degrees outside and Its the best time of the week when I get to talk to all of you back in the states!

I am sending you a photo of the latest marketing from Coca-Cola. They are little coke bottles that are driving EVERYBODY CRAZY. In order to get one, you need to grab 4 points from bottle caps on various coke products. Then you bring R$3,80 (US $1.58) to a trade center to get a randomized bottle. Coke has made it so that it isnt enough to buy the soda, you have to buy the collectable “minigarrafinhas” also! Missionaries are asking investigators and members for their coke lids. Everyone wants their set! We went to a trade center this morning and people are going crazy to complete their set, buying, selling, trading its taken over!
I was joking with Elder Wilde saying I just wanted one of Brazil, but now we are probably going to the trade center every p-day until its over! LOL Coke owns Brazil!

We are getting ready because on Tuesday we are starting our Zone conferences and that will be a lot of of fun. We are also preparing for a really famous member of the Church is going to come to Juiz de Fora on wednesday to give a sermon. His name is Carlos Wizard Martins and he is the founder of the most sucessfull english schools here in Brazil. We have been spereading the word and there will be a Lot of people who will come to the church on wednesday just to hear him. I hope that we get some great references from this sermon! We have been going to the English Schools here in Juiz de Fora to spread the word and everyone looks at us so funny when we walk in. They bombard us with questions about the states and we feel like celebrities. Its pretty nice!

On another note, I have been seeing a lot of blessings for work that I did in other areas that I passed through. I got a call from an Elder and he told me that Alberone (an investigator that Elder Sales and I tought in Teresópolis) got baptized with his 2 children. Also Rafael (a recent convert that we baptized in Teresópolis) has baptized over 5 of his brothers and cousins since I got transfered out of there! Wendel and Celina are doing great too! They were reactivated by the sister missionaries in Leopoldina and on Sunday Wendel is coming to a preisthood meeting in Juiz de Fora. I am so happy to hear how the Lord knows His sheep and that they are counted in His eyes.

I have been reflecting a lot about how very little we do, in the big picture, as missionaries and members of the church. And yet the very little that we do after trying our best and maybe failing in the attempt of reaching some great goal. If it just a step in the right direction, the Lord will bless us hundred fold and we will know His almighty hand. The Lord has great blessings for those who seek to do His willl. He promises to all of us.

“for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”
I have felt His hand and know that His angels protect His children.

A fé é tudo!
Elder Yost

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Happy Valentine’s Day! It was a great week of Transfers! ‏ 2.15.2014

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Feliz dia dos Namorados! That is the equivalent of “Happy Valentine’s Day” In Portuguese!
Alright so my Valentine ’s Day wasn’t very romantic. That being said the past 2 Valentines Days i have spent with men preaching the Gospel so not much room for romance! LOL

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words so I hope that you all like the Photos that I attached!

One photo is of me and Elder Wilde who is eating a cup of Recess Peanut Butter Cup Cereal. the other is a photo from last Monday with us, Elder Ludgero (the traveling AP that went home with honor on wednesday), and the sisters from our ward that were both transferred! We have 2 new sisters in our ward and one is from LIMA, PERU! She is super funny and speaks English; it’s easier for us to understand her trying to speak English than her trying to speak Portuguese. to the untrained ear, Portuguese and Spanish sound a lot alike but the difference is actually pretty big! The new sisters are great and they are doing a great work white washing an area!

The transfer went great! We had a group of 16 new missionaries, 10 being sisters! 4 American, 3 peruvians,1 Costa Rican, and 1 Puerto Rican, each group that we get keeps getting better and I love the energy that “Greenies” have, SO GOOD!

Our plans in the transfer changed about 3 times as we had Americans get Visas at the last minute.
We had people who had to come to the mission headquarters due to medical treatments and other unexpected challenges. But in the end, miraculously, everyone is in their areas safe and sound and the work here is progressing.

I love our mission president, he is great and I see how much weight being an ecclesiastic leader is at times. He had to interview every new missionary as well as each missionary that was going home, that seemed like it exhausted him. And we as missionaries have to be his support
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I love a story in the Bible, in the book of Exodus Where Israel is at war. The account read the following;
“So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. ”

It is so important to support our ecclesiastic leaders. Whether they are bishops or Branch or stake presidents, as we support them in their callings, the Lord will help his children do the work that He called them to do! That is something that I have learned here in the mission field!

Have a great week!
A fé é tudo!
Elder Yost

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UFO’s in Varginha! ‏ 2.8.2014

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Bom Dia! Espero que tudo esteja bem e de que vocês estão tendo um ótimo fim da semana!
Happy Saturday!

It is so great that P-day is on Saturday for us here in the staff because I don’t feel so lame about being happy for a Monday when most of the world hates Mondays.

We are happy here in Juiz de Fora and just loving the life of being a missionary.

There is something that is called the “trunky call,” it is when the secretary calls you and asks what airport you want to go to when you go home. I have tried everything to avoid it, but this week I got the call… That was rough! I got 4 months left that is plenty of time! I am always joking with my companion because I tell him that he only has 2 transfers left. Well right now it just hit me, that if he only has 2 left, that means that I only have 3 left! AGH!

So last week I talked about taking advantage of today, I was trying to find the Thomas S. Monson quote but had to opt for the Kung-Fu Panda quote (a close second). Here is what I wanted to cite:
“Sometimes we let our thoughts of tomorrow take up too much of today. Daydreaming of the past and longing for the future may provide comfort but will not take the place of living in the present. This is the day of our opportunity, and we must grasp it.” Thomas S. Monson
It’s true! We must grasp it!

Alright this time it isn’t a Lie about the aliens! So we went on a road trip with President Cascardi to finish up the interviews in the mission. We went from Juiz de Fora to another city that is called Varginha. A trip that is longer than going from Irvine to Las Vegas! Varginha is a small city that has an obsession with a story that one day some people in the city reported a UFO sighting and the Brazilian army rolled in to the city. Due to that the city has a giant flying saucer in the middle of it and a big statue of an alien. If it were the States there would have been a diner inside of the saucer, a souvenir shop to the side and maybe even a whole amusement park about aliens. There wasn’t any of that, but it is the only claim to fame in that city.

President Cascardi drives really well and we were driving in the middle of the mountains when it got dark so he turned his lights off so that we could see the stars (while we were driving). These moments take my breath away! It is so freaking beautiful here! I love Brazil and I finally got my official Brazilian identity! I am one step closer to becoming a Brazilian! YES!

One of the big lessons that we learn as missionaries is the importance of being obedient to the Lord’s commandments. The human being searches for security that is a natural instinct. We want to have our happiness and peace secured. The Lord has given to us a guide of how to find security and happiness; they are a set of “rules” called commandments. When we understand the fact that God is a perfect being with a perfect love for us, we know that the commandments were made for us to make us happy and secure. I know that as we keep the commandments, God will bless us in so many ways just like it says in Mosiah 2:40

“And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.”

I know that its true!
A fé é tudo!
Elder Topper Yost

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Fevereiro já!? ‏ 2.1.2014

Fevereiro is the Portuguese for February!
This letter will be a shorter one sorry!!
So since the last time that I wrote you, Diogo and Telbia were baptized! We had a great baptismal service where the stake president spoke and there were special musical numbers from the ward and I got the opportunity to sing “Love at Home,” in portuguese, it is a great hymn with sublime truths. I love singing hymns its good stuff, really! They fell in the water and were baptized by Niralto, so that was super great! Like I commented last week, Diogo and Telbia have come a long way in the last 4 months of investigating the Church. They have left behind bad habits, taken up their cross and have come to know their savior. We went to visit them the other day and their family has a new light in it. That is the best thing that a missionary can see. We get to see first-hand how Christ changes people’s lives, it really is amazing. As missionary service is voluntary, our “pay” is the joy that we receive from our work, there is nothing like it!
We have been doing a lot of traveling and I got to see Elder C. Silva and Elder Nunes this week. They are doing great! we got to laugh about funny stories and talk about old investigators and such. President has been saying a lot to missionaries a sad truth about some missionaries’ attitudes that focus on being home. he said “Missionaries too often spend the first year of their mission thinking about home as they adapt to the mission life, then after the first year they spend the last year focusing on home and what they will do when they get back. And what is incredible is that after they get back, what do they think about? The mission! We need to focus on today and what we can do here and now.” That is so true! We have so many things in our life that happen. So many great experiences that can just fly by if we don’t take advantage of each and ever moment! Its kinda like the kung-fu panda line. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is ours (that’s why its called the present).”

The Lord lives and is always at our side despite what challenges each day brings. just as Thomas S. Monson Said “Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, He is with us. He has promised that this will never change.”
A fé é tudo,
Have a great week!
Elder Topper Yost

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Diogo and Telbia’s Big Brazilian Wedding ‏ 1.25.2014

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Bom Dia!

It was a great week! (I feel like I say that a lot!) But it really was! We had miracles; last night was a wedding of 2 of our investigators and tonight will be their baptism. Are we just stoked out of our mind? You bet!

This month is a month of interviews and we are 5/8ths done! The week started with splits with the Zone Leaders in Volta Redonda, we got to work with Elder Charles (my ex-comp) and Elder Jack Nielson (pretty much my favorite missionary ever!). It was a short split because we had to help out with the interviews, but even though, we had some cool lessons!

I was with Elder Nielson, and we got to visit a man who was run over by a car last year (ouch) and he was a little resistant to go to church for fear of having to walk around on his bad leg. We had a lesson driven by the spirit. We read some Enos with him and told him that the fight for the forgiveness of sins is worth the sweet confirmation of salvation. We testified of the Book of Mormon, and when we left, we looked back and he already opened up the book and was reading. It was sweet! We had no other plans after that and we decided to tract by the spirit, we found a great new family for them to teach and had a great lesson.

Last night, like I said, Diogo and Telbia got married! Our ward did a great job! I was worried because every time that we asked them or the ward’s relief society president what we could do to help out they said that it was all under control. That stressed me out! But we got there at 8pm last night and it was the best wedding I have ever seen. The violinist was more or less spot-on, and the most important thing was that Diogo and Telbia were glowing and looked great! We went to take pictures with them afterwards and Diogo hugged us said that he will always keep us in his heart. Their Children were all in tears and the spirit was super strong the entire night. We are excited to have their baptismal service tonight. Just to let you know, Diogo has overcome heavy drugs, cigarettes, and gotten married so that they can be baptized.

From Diogo’s experience I strengthened my testimony that the Lord is so merciful with his children. He is always finding new ways to bring every one of His children home. All of them, without exception, He does that because He Loves us. He will never abandon us. His mercy is available to all of us sinners as we seek to do His will.

A fé é Tudo!

Elder Topper Yost

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GIANT ALIEN/METEOR SIGHTING/ATTACK IN JUIZ DE FORA! 1.18.‏ 2014

You see, I thought a really cool subject line may catch everyone’s eye! LOL

Another week in Paradise! We had a great week and are excited for another one right around the bend!
Starting in a semi-chronological order, President called a Third assistant! His name is Elder Ludgero and he is working as a traveling assistant for the last 4 weeks of his mission! Basically the President sends him from one area to another to help the missionaries that are struggling. He is a great missionary and we really don’t see him that much, even though he is our companion!

We had interviews with some zones this week so we went traveling to Petrópolis and to Teresópolis! Those are probably the most beautiful cities in the whole mission! They are old and in the middle of the Brazilian southern jungle mountains. We got to see Elder Conceição, my old companion, as well as while we were in Petrópolis, I saw one of my first investigators at the beginning of my mission. His name is Felipe and we invited him to go back to church.

The Hilight of Petrópolis was eating nice food with President Cascardi! He took us out to eat Portuguese food. We had “Bacalhau” which is Portuguese cod! That was amazing! The best food I have ever eaten. If you know where to get Portuguese food, go and try bacalhau. GOOD STUFF!

When we went to Teresópolis we went on exchanges with the zone leaders there. I went with Elder Sipião and we visited his investigators. I was happy because they are getting ready to baptize some investigators that I found and taught while I was there. They are getting ready to baptize Alberone and his daughter as well as more of Rafael’s brothers. I got to see Rafael, we baptized him in October or November, and he is super excited to work on preparing for a mission! It was so great to see him!

We are having exciting changes in our ward here! The Bishop is going to call a new ward mission leader and so we are excited to help him out and get the members stoked about missionary work. Also, we are working with some great investigators and are going to baptize a family this week!

Diogo is an ex-crack user, he has been clean for the past few months and has a great story of how he has changed his life because of the gospel. He is Niralto’s nephew and has been coming to church for the past few months. Last night he told us his story about his fight with drugs and, wow, it was amazing to hear how the gospel has filled his heart from the scars that were left from fighting his addictions. It is amazing to see that Niralto joined the church at the right time last year so that Diogo could gain the blessings of the church this year. I wish I could explain more in detail, but that will have to wait for the future. It is an amazing story that makes me thing of the classic bible story of David and Goliath.
As we know the story of David and Goliath, David (a small shepherd boy destined to be King) challenged the Philistine’s greatest warrior, a giant named Goliath. While in the face of his adversary, “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel,” with the help of the Lord, David was able to conquer Goliath. The same can happen with us. The world places in our paths giant obstacles that by some may seem insurmountable. But, with the help of the Lord, He fights our battles and we overcome, with Him, our challenges.

He lives and knows us!
Have a Great Week! A fé é tudo!
Elder Topper Yost

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The Big “Thang” (thing) Theory‏ 1/11/2014

This week was pretty chill, not a ton of exciting stuff to report. I had my first Leadership counsel with the Zone leaders here and Elder Wilde and I gave a pretty great training. I got to see old missionary friends and afterward we had more dominoes with President Cascardi (SCORE). Unfortunately we had to send home 2 missionaries early this last week. That made me think about my mission a bit. I couldn’t imagine coming home earl. That would destroy me. I am so happy to be a missionary because missionary life is the best! I didn’t think that a year ago, but now I really love the life of a full time missionary. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the whole world. It goes by so quickly I can’t believe it! It feels like yesterday was Christmas and we are almost halfway into January! Wow!
We are catching the fitness bug here in our house, cross fit is good stuff. Cross fit is a series of high impact and high repetition exercises done in short amounts of time. Elder Palmer, our financial secretary is getting me into it and cross fit is getting me into shape. I decided to put completing an “Iron man” triathlon on my bucket list/ New Year’s resolutions. That will be a lot of work!
We have an awesome investigator and I just wanted to tell you all a little about him. His name is Edwaldo and he is from another state here in Brazil called Marinhão but is working in Juiz de Fora for the next half of the year. We found him last Saturday night as we were looking to contact another referral that we had. After teaching to him the restoration last Saturday (I love when I get to work in my area!) he went to church on Sunday along with his brother. They are very humble, Edwaldo doesn’t know how to read but he felt the spirit and recognized it at Church. We have been helping him get ready for baptism. Funny story, we were teaching about the priesthood and at the end of the lesson we asked Edwaldo to pray, he was having a tad bit of trouble so his older brother got up, put his hands on Edwaldo’s head and started to give him a mini “blessing” and I was trying so hard not to laugh, I am happy that they are excited to learn. And learning gospel principles takes time. We are excited for them to come to church again on Sunday.
I was talking to Elder Wilde today how we as humans are always looking for the “Next Big thing” (The Big “Thang” theory); the next thing that will revolutionize the world. We are looking for the next new technology, the next new movie or song or band or trend. Well I feel that at times in this search for the “next big thing” we forget about the most important thing ever which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The lord said in Matthew 6: 33:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
When we seek God’s kingdom, we learn that the things of the world does a pretty good job taking care of themselves. Trends come and go, like fashions, bands, and iPods, but Christ and his gospel is what will always be there to bless and guide us!
A Fé é tudo!
Elder Yost

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