December 28, 2010

Feliz Ano Nuevo

Dear Family and Friends,
It was so so wonderful to hear your voices and talk to you all. I love
and miss you more than words can say! After I got off the phone I told
my companion that I was pretty sure I could make it through the rest
of my mission now lol. Some days I still wonder though... Anyways,
Christmas here was fantastic, and still continues as everyone
celebrates the holidays until the 6th of January where they give gifts
for the Day of the Kings. Somebody please tell me why we don´t do this
in America? Any excuse to extend Christmas is a good idea if you ask
me! So everyone is still in high spirits around here as the holidays
continue. I got to attend our mission Christmas program this past week
as well where we sang the whole 8 hymns of Christmas there are in
Spanish. Not going to lie, I won´t miss singing Christmas hymns once
the holidays are over. I love them and all...but the same 8 hymns? I
need more variety in my life lol. We also had an unexpected adventure
this week as we got to go visit the CCM in the west mission so I could
get my TB shot checked...which by the way I´m happy to report that I
am officially Tuberculosis Free! Hooray! We got dropped off on the
wrong street and the genius who invented the street system for Santo
Domingo needs to get his or her head checked because the streets here
are LOCO! We walked around different blocks for almost 45 minutes to
arrive at the CCM which was less that a quarter mile from where we got
dropped off. Gotta love the adventure. The work is going really well
to as people are always a little more willing to talk about the gospel
during this time of year. Even though the majority of our
investigators have left for the campo, we´ve been able to find new
families and visit with others. We had 5 investigators at church on
Sunday, two of which we were on the verge of dropping. We´ve also had
some neat experiences in listening to people describe how they have
felt the Spirit. Mayra, one of our investigator´s who lost her husband
a few months ago, told us how she felt it while reading the
restoration pamphlet alone in her kitchen one day. I LOVE hearing
people describe feeling the Spirit! Every day is incredible as we see
miracles moment by moment. I am so grateful to be a part of this work!
Oh and I also received a stack of letters on Christmas. Thank you
Megan, Kimber, Martha, Vandenberghe family, and Wirthlin family! So
wonderful to hear from you! Anyways, this cafe is awful and the
computers keep shutting down so I´ll wrap this up, but I love all you
guys and miss you lots! I hope you all have a safe happy new years and
remember to count your blessings! Love you!!!
Hermana Bradley

December 13, 2010

Everything Including the Kitchen Sink

Dearest Family and Friends,
Hello Hello. Um, my exclamation mark doesn´t work on this keyboard, so just imagine every sentence with one at the end, because I am so excited to be here in Los Frailes. The work here is AMAZING and I almost feel like I´m on a different mission compared to my last area. Haha. Okay not really, but the area is very different and I am loving every minute of it. We are farther from the city and therefore all the streets are filled with little houses or colmados...which are little corner markets that sell basically a little of everything. It´s funny because they blast music really loud almost all day long and I can´t help but think how much I´ll miss them when I have to go home. Half the streets are unpaved and dirty, and almost everyone burns their trash so I smell like campfire the majority of the time. But I love it. There are so many people to meet and teach. My second day here we taught 10 lessons, which I didn´t even know was possible. Hermana Diaz is amazing and I love her. We get along great and laugh all the time over our memory problems. I can´t ever remember where we are and she can´t ever remember the names of people we meet. We make a good team lol. However, all of this wonderful work isn´t without it´s trials. Gratefully, most of our trials are with material things and not investigators. Yesterday we came home to find the kitchen flooded as the kitchen sink was regurgitating dirty sink water from our neighbors apartments up above. The plumber that was working above us doesn´t want to take responsibility for it and we don´t have money to pay for the repairs, so we´re trying to work that out. Then today when we got back from visiting with other missionaries in the parque del este we discovered that when I shut our bedroom door to keep out the bad smell from the kitchen it now we have to call a locksmith before we will be able to sleep tonight. Haha. Ah trials, but the work continues to move forward. I am constantly amazed by the Lord and His love for us. I was able to attend two baptisms this week for the elders that we share our ward with. The first was a family of three with a mother and her two young children. The boy and girl were both giggling nonstop as they walked into the font and I couldn´t help but laugh too. The Spirit works in interesting ways sometimes. Then that same evening we got to see another young woman from a less active famlily baptized. After she came out of the water her little 4 year old brother started yelling ME ME ME. LoL. He´ll have to wait another few years. This week I´ve also been enjoying feasting on the words of our prophets and apostles in the conference ensign. What a blessing that is. This morning I read President Uchtdorf´s talk on pride and felt the drive more than ever to conquer my weaknesses and give myself over wholly to this work. Truly we become the hands of the Lord when we forget ourselves, submit our will to Him, and commit to doing whatever it takes to bring about His work. I am imperfect and small, but through Him I know I can do great things. I love this work and despite the trials, both great and small, I know I am where I need to be. I love you guys and I am so grateful the Lord has blessed me throughout my life with such amazing examples, both in my family and with my friends. If it weren´t for all of you, I know I wouldn´t be out here. So thank you for making a difference and impacting my life in such a way that I can be out here helping others.
Hermana Bradley

December 6, 2010


Hello My Family Dearest!

First of all, I apologize for not getting my email out last week. I typed it up all nice and pretty and then saved it in drafts without sending it. Oops. But now you get a double dose this week! Anywho, things here in Gazcue have been moving fast this week and tomorrow is tranfers. I got the call this morning that I am off to the lovely area of Los Frailles in Las Americas. I´m sad to leave the ward and members here, but I know the Lord´s hand is in this work and that there is work for me to do there. I will be with Hermana Diaz, who´s also Dominican, so I´ll say goodbye to English again for awhile. I think I´m getting better at it though. Slowly but surely, I will be fluent!

As for the work this week, we´ve had some high highs and some low lows. On Tuesday when we visited Yaquelin we found her very very upset and practically unwillingly to speak to us. We left her house feeling drained and confused, but after lots of prayer on her behalf, we passed by the next day and found her better. The Lord truly does answer prayers, and sometimes we have to recognize that we have to take things to Him...that we can´t fix them...but He ALWAYS can, as long as we put our faith and trus in Him. I´ve found myself on my knees many times this week for a myriad of reasons, but I can testify that every single one of my prayers has been answered, and I have no doubt that the Lord hears and answers our prayers when we offer up our prayers with sincere faith and intention.

Another wonderful blessing this week was finding a new family, and wow was it an experience! We have been praying to find families lately as that is a focus right now in the mission. So Wednesday, we walked up to a door and greeted a woman washing dishes. She curtly left the doorway to beckon the houseowner. When this man walked up to the door with a giant frown on his face I was almost ready to turn around and run away. He was not very friendly looking! But we introduced ourselves hesitantly and when he told us his name was Flamarion I responded that it was a very unique name, to which he replied jokingly I needed to be punished from the heavens for saying so. Haha. It was a good ice breaker...which led to him inviting us in and an hour long discussion on religion. To see the change come over this man from the moment he came to the door to the moment we got up to leave, was AMAZING. He expressed a desire to learn more and visit church with his wife and two children in the coming weeks. So even though I´m being transferred, I´m exciting to hear of this family´s progress. And again, how amazing the Lord answers prayers.

We also had an incredible lesson with Alix this week, who has been reading the chapters we leave him religiously and then coming to us with questions. We had the chance to visit him with a returned missionary who could answer all of his questions about the priesthood, and what a blessing that was! Then on Sunday we were floored when he showed up to church again and was already asking questions in Sunday School about the plan of salvation. I love to see this gospel inspire people to change and learn more about the plan the Lord has for them. So amazing!

And for the moment of laughs this week...Hna Mejia, Ward, and I successfully crossed a 7 lane autopista this week. Running across the lanes and getting stuck in the middle for some time was quite the experience, but we did survive. However, I don´t think I´ll be trying it again anytime soon. Hermana Ward and I are always joking that when we get hit by a bus we´re going to have them put "Death by Guagua" on our tombstone. Don´t ask me why they call buses here´s a Dominican thing.

Anyways, I hope you are all happy and healthy. This gospel is true and I am continually amazed by the hand of the Lord in our lives. I recently read a quote from President Howard W. Hunter that I´ve been pondering alot lately. "Our detours and disappointments are the straight and narrow path to Him." As I have continued to experience the ups and downs of this work, I have been able to recognize the reality of this statement. It is at our most difficult and trying moments that we truly grow closer to our Lord. He tries us because He loves us and knows that it´s the only way to bring us back to Him. When we rely and truly submit our will to Him, we become instruments in His hands and bring both ourselves and others closer to Him. I love you guys!!!!

Hermana Bradley

Extra Christmas Spirit

¡Hola Hola!
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are enjoying the chilly weather! Down here in the Dominican Republic, neither of those exist. Hahaha. However, they make up for the lack of Thanksgiving here with extra Christmas spirit, for which I am grateful. Mom´s love of Christmas lights lives on in me and I can´t help but feel my spirits lift everytime we get to pass the presidential palace which is decked out with tons of lights and a nativity. I love Christmas! Not to mention I had the wonderful surprise of receiving a Christmas stocking from Richelle, hand delivered by her parents this week! Thank you Richelle and your family! That present made my week!!! The other wonderful blessing of this week was watching Matthew get confirmed yesterday in church. Words cannot express how much I love this family, and Matthew is such a strong little boy! His family has many challenges that lie ahead, but he is unafraid to tell his mom and grandma when they need to change something for the better, and I love that! Children are amazing. I was pondering on the scripture this week in Mosiah 3:19 where it talks about man being a natural enemy to God and how we need to become like children, willing to submit to the will of the father. Truly we all need to become like childlike in that manner! Today I had the wonderful blessing of receiving a conference edition of the Engisn and I am so so excited to study the words of our prophet and apostles all over again! It´s like food for the soul reading those! I´ve drawn alot of strength over the past week from old Liahona articles and things from the missionary reference library. Still plowing through Jesus the Christ and loving every minute of it! I can´t wait to start Our Search for Happiness again too. Truly we have inspired leaders of this church! As for the work in´s still a little bit slow right now. Honestly, this last week as tried me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The Lord requires all of it, but in return He blesses us. I´m learning the meaning of HARD in a whole new light. But I have confidence in the Lord´s plan for me and I draw strength from the knowledge that He will never give me more than I can bear. I love this gospel and I know with every part of me that it is true. I know I wouldn´t be able to last one day on the streets of the D.R. if it weren´t true. Just as Alma 26:12 says, I know that I am nothing, but through Him I can do all things. He loves every one of us more than we could ever fathom. We just have to open our minds and hearts to realize that. So, even on those days when I feel like I don´t accomplish anything or I didn´t do something perfectly, I know that I am still at least trying to do the Lord´s work. As I was reading Sister Wixom´s talk this morning, we don´t have to be perfect, we just have to be honest and sincere. How true that is! So I will continue to strive for the strait and narrow path with my imperfect self. Thank you for all of your love and prayers!
Hermana Bradley
P.S. Sorry for the confusion over my address for letters, here it is again...
Hermana Elyse Bradley
SDQ 4102
2250 NW 114th Ave Unita 1A
Miami, FL 33172

November 30, 2010

Another try at the correct address for letters only

Hermana Elyse Bradley
SDQ 4102
2250 NW 114th Ave Unit 1A
Miami FL 33172

package address

Sister Elyse Bradley
8532 NW 66th St.
Miami, FL 33166

November 22, 2010


Hola Familia,

So this week I was able to witness yet another wonderful blessing as the son of one of our converts, Matthew, was baptized yesterday. It was quite the miracle as there had been miscommunication with the ward over the week and alot of things had to fall into place to get it worked out, but just as the scriptures say, all things work together for those who love the Lord and this week I got to see it. I was also grateful that we are currently serving in our ward with the office elders, who helped us out big time by getting hoses and buckets to fill the font at the last minute. Mission adventures I tell you!

Another really neat experience happened earlier this week when we went to an appointment with Jaquelin. Everyone here lives in apartment buildings for the most part that are fenced in, so often times you have to buzz through an intercom to be let in. So when we went to visit Jaquelin and buzzed her apartment, we were disappointed to find no answer. Despite this, the Lord always provides a way. Within a few minutes two other women walked up to visit someone else in the complex and let us in through the gate. However, we had another problem when they headed for a different apartment building because the door to Jaquelin's building was also locked. We buzzed her house again but no answer. Then another tenant walked out and held the door open for us, so we decided to go and try knocking her door, but to no avail. So we knocked the rest of the doors in the building and in the process found another very sweet woman named Mari who is interested in visiting with us. After visiting Mari we again knocked Jaquelin's door and to our surprise she opened is as she had just gotten home. We taught a powerful lesson on the gospel and atonement, and left the appointment feeling profoundly blessed. How amazing the Lord's hand is in everything!!

This week I must admit I got hit with a wicked bout of homesickness and found myself lacking in motivation, but I find that those days that are the hardest I learn the most and often have the most spiritual experiences. Being a missionary is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and it doesn't get easier. It's just hard. But at the same time I get to be part of the Lord's work and see the gospel change people's lives, so it's a trade-off. One thing I'm always eternally grateful for however is the family, friends, and experiences I have been blessed with. I know everything in my life has helped prepare me to share the gospel with these people, and even though I am weak and flawed, the Lord still manages to make use of me. I'm so grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. Love and miss you guys lots!!!!

Hermana Bradley

November 15, 2010

Counting the Blessings

Saludos Querida Familia y Amigos!
This week has been full of many wonderful blessings and I am continually amazed by how much the Lord gives each of us every day. Firstly, I had zone conference this week where I got to hear one of our area seventies, Elder Coleman, speak to us. I always feel so pumped and ready to go out and share the gospel after meetings like that. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in numbers, streets, appointments, and such that we forget what the real purpose invite others to come unto Christ. And that can be done in almost every moment through the words we say and actions we take. One of our new focal points of the mission is to teach investigators the importance of prayer and their opportunity to receive a personal confirmation through the Spirit. It´s been wonderful to see how that has impacted our work as we put it into focus. It reminded me of one of the general conference talks...I think it was Elder Bednar....who referenced the importance of both personal revelation as well as revelation by church leadership. In the Lord´s kingdom, truly both work together for the good of all. I also received letters this week from Grandpa Joe, Kellie, Lisa, Maren, Brittany, and Julie Tanner. If any of you are reading this, THANK YOU! Every one of your letters had words I needed to hear and only made my week that much better. :-)
As for the work, we again got to teach Matthew this weekend as he prepares for baptism. It was so neat because his aunt was telling us how he was adamant in telling his grandparents (whom he lives with during the week) that he HAD to go to his mom´s house this week for "church class" with the missionaries (our lessons) and so he could attend church. I love the pure intentions of children! We also were blessed to see five other investigators attend church along with Matthew, all of which were cousins or friends of Baya. Both us and Baya were grinning from ear to ear all block. I also had the chance to go on splits this last week for the first time ever. Generally splits aren´t allowed in our mission for a myriad of reasons, but we got special permission from the president for me to go out with Irina, a young woman who´s going to El Salvador on her mission in a few weeks and wanted some extra prep. We had a wonderful afternoon proselyting and teaching lessons! She´s going to make an amazing missionary!
Anyways, things are going well and I am enjoying the challenges and blessings out here in the field. The Lord is blessing my companionship as we continue to learn and grow together, and my testimony is strengthened everyday. As I´ve sometimes battled with discouragement, I have found myself relying on the support I receive through letters and email, which has helped tremendously. I can´t say enough how blessed I feel to have such wonderful family and friends supporting me. Thank you to every one of you for the ways you have done so and continue to do so. It´s hard to get discouraged when I think of all of you cheering me on from home. :-) Have a wonderful week and I love you all!
Hermana Bradley

November 9, 2010

Well Worth the View

Hello Hello Family!
It´s been another long and eventful week for me here in the tropics...and I have been reminded yet again that I AM in the tropics. Thanks to the storm that passed through Haiti and parts of the D.R. last week we´ve had lots of rain and wind. I have actually gotten cold the past few nights...never thought that would happen! It´s been nice to have a change of pace though, and not gonna lie, I don´t miss sweating in the hot hot sun. But it´s bound to come back soon so I´m trying to just enjoy it lol. I can´t believe it snowed at home! I miss snow!

Anyways, aside from the weather, Hna Ward, Mejia, and I have been busy working with investigators, both new and old. Right now we are teaching 9 year old Matthew. He´s the son of Grace, who was our baptism from last transfer. It´s a totally different experience teaching children from adults, but it´s incredible to see the impact of Grace´s example on her children. Having the opportunity to be there and listen to her teach him how to pray as well as bear her own simple Awesome. We also are still teaching some family members of Baya. Baya sells fruit on a corner a block from our apartment and he´s such a great member missionary! He is always sharing his testimony with others and setting a wonderful example in church by arriving early and fulfilling his assignments. Now we´re teaching his two brothers and sister in law, and hope to see them baptized by the end of the transfer. Yesterday we had the opportunity to visit a less active member in the ward who´s a single mother. We just stopped by and I shared a scripture from 2 Nephi 4...the one Sara sent to me a few months ago, but our visit was an answer to her prayers and she expressed that to us. Such a neat experience to be a tool in the hands of the Lord!

Basically, the work is going very well. Apparently my Spanish is improving as I´ve had many members of the ward tell me so in the last few weeks...although I feel like I´m the same, but I don´t know when I´m speaking correctly or not so I guess I´m not a good judge lol. I did have an elderly gentleman ask me yesterday while we were contacting if I was Espanola. He said I looked and sounded like I was from Spain. So even though I´m pretty sure he was a little drunk, it made me feel better about my Spanish haha. My testimony grows stronger and stronger every day as I learn to put my faith in the Lord and rely on His guidance in this work. I am nothing without Him, but I can do everything through Him. I remember someone saying to me before I left that a mission makes the rest of your life possible. I feel that each day is a mountain to climb, but the Lord helps me through it every time and I know by the end I will look back from the top and think to myself that while the view was well worth it, the climb was what I´ll remember most. Thank you for all your prayers and support. I love you guys!!!!
Hermana Bradley

November 1, 2010

Hombre or Hambre

Saludos Familia y Amigos!

Como esta todo? Todo es bien aqui en la republica dominicana! Haha well mostly good, except for apparently a big storm is brewing and we´re going to get hit tonight or tomorrow. Who knows? Maybe I´ll get to swim in the streets in the mission after all! Really though, this week has been spectacular. Since Hermana Ward´s arrival on Tuesday we´ve been working hard and walking lots. I get to now speak both Spanish AND English as I help translate for Hna Ward. I feel like I´ve turned a corner in being able to understand the Dominican Spanish now and can get by mostly on my own. Although there still are moments of langauge my subject line suggests haha. Hermana Ward made that mistake earlier this week and I was almost rolling on the floor with laughter. Big difference between ´¨I have man¨ and ¨I have hunger¨haha.

Anywho, we´ve had a good week as we had 5 new investigators come to church yesterday and are hoping to finally baptize Ronaldo in the coming weeks, who we´ve been teaching since I got here but wanted to wait til November to be baptized. We´re also now teaching more of Ronaldo and Baya´s cousins who seem really receptive and willing to make an effort, which is refreshing. We also are continuing teaching Juan and Rudy who have such a desire to overcome their trials and addictions, but at the same time it´s a long road to recovery. It´s inspiring though to see people with such desire. Grace also came to church yesterday and continues to amaze me with her willingness to stay on the strait and narrow despite negative influences. Nothing in this world is better than seeing someone change their life around and embrace the blessings that come from repentance and baptism.

Basically this week has been full of blessings and I am again reminded of how aware our Heavenly Father is of each and every one of us. Yo se que este evangelio es verdadero, sin duda. Mi testiminio crece mas fuerte y firme cada dia y cuando compartamos nuestros testiminios, recibimos gran bendiciones. Dios es nuestro amoroso padre celestial y el tiene un plan por cada uno de nosotros. Estoy agradecida por esta oportunidad para compartir esta mensaje de amor y esperanza con todos. Por favor, comparta su testimonio en cada momento con todos!

Con Amor,
Hermana Bradley

October 25, 2010

Translados and a Rat

¡Hola Familia!

Lots of things to report this week. Firstly, I received my transfer call last night...and I will be staying here in Gazcue with Hermana Mejia! However, the new sister from the CCM will be joining us to make a nice little trio. I´m excited for the change...and maybe a little excited to have someone to speak English to haha. I´ve felt a little stifled in being restricted to only Spanish for the last 6 weeks. She´ll arrive tomorrow afternoon and then we´ll get straight to work.

As for the work...things are good. Hard, but good. We had two new investigators come to church yesterday, but two of our progressing investigators failed to make it, which is always discouraging. Church here is always at 9am and most people don´t like to get up before 11am on the weekends, so church on Sunday is a sacrifice. But sacrifice brings forth blessings and we´re trying to remember that as we wait on our investigators. Last monday we had a neat experience as we participated in a noche de hogar with a less active family we tracted in to that is from Peru. One of the stake presidency families hosted and the Spirit was so strong as we listened to a simple lesson about how we are all children of God.

Currently we are working with a gentleman named Juan who attended church last week and has really shown a willingness to change his life. However, he has alot of trials to overcome as he prepares for baptism. Last night we taught him and his good friend Rudy about the word of wisdom, and it was so neat to see these two friends commit to keep this commandment and also to helping eachother. The Lord truly does bless us with support as we express righteous desires to follow His will

Hna Mejia and I had quite the adventure this week as well. I decided to fish my English hymn book out of my suitcase so we could practice for language study, only to find that the edges had all been nibbled away on my leather cover...which led to the discovery of a mouse in my suitcase. That was fun. Actually, it really wasn´t haha. But I´ve now learned the important lesson of not leaving things open including windows for mice and rats to crawl up. Living on the third floor of a building apparently isn´t enough of a deterrent for Dominican rats lol.

Anyways, things are good and finally cooling down...slightly. Well, I still sweat, but not as much lol. I´m trying to work hard and keep my mind focused on the Lord´s children and how I can help them. Hope you all have a great week and Happy Halloween!

Hermana Bradley

October 18, 2010


Dearest Family and Friends,
I'm short on time this week because yet again my email time got cheated. Gah. Trying to master patience over things that are beyond my control. Patience is going to be the theme of my mission haha. Anyways, this week was marked by my first baptism, Grace. Wow. So amazing. The ward here in Gazcue really has embraced her and I am so excited to see her continue to progress. After the baptism I was on one of those spiritual highs that feels like fire and wishing I could feel like that always. So awesome. Sunday we also had 3 different investigators attend church, which is the most we've had since I've been here, so that was really neat. Transfers are next Tuesday so we'll see what happens, but I'm content knowing that the Lord is in charge. Today we went and visited the national botanical gardens and I felt like I was at Disneyland on the jungle cruise ride...except it wasn't as cool because there wasn't indians or alligators here lol. Pictures will come, eventually, hopefully. The work continues to roll forth and I'm learning more everyday. My spanish is improving, especially when I remind myself that I can't learn it on my own merits, but only through the Spirit. I've decided that my theme for this next week is going to be gratitude. I've been studying in Nephi lately and wow, what an example. If Nephi can do THAT, then I can surely do this. All things are possible with the help of the Lord! Oh and I finally got the family reunion pic! So fun! And thanks for the stamps mom! Anyways, hope everyone is happy and well at home. Love and miss all of you!
Hermana Bradley

October 12, 2010

package address
Sister Elyse Bradley
8532 NW 66th St.
Miami, FL 33166

October 11, 2010

What's my name?

Saludo Familia y Amigos!

So yet another week has passed me by here in the lovely tropics of the D.R....and indeed they are tropics as I still have a dozen bug bites on my legs to prove it. Ugly. I hope you all still love me even if I come home with hideously scarred legs haha. One elder today told me that every time he gets into a new area he is bitten for the first 3 weeks, then they stop. But if you get transferred every 6 weeks... Anyways, I'll just hope I don't get dengue.

Anywho, this week. This week was really neat. Yesterday we finally got Grace to church and she is now set firmly for baptism this coming Saturday. So excited. I cannot even tell you how amazing it has been to watch the change come over her life through the gospel. Before, she had problems with so many things, but now you can just see the peace and light of Christ in her face. I love it! Our other investigator Ronaldo that was set for baptism this past week has struggled to commit to it. He knows it's true and wants to be baptized, but thinks he needs to learn more still. But we're all still learning. He was very disconcerted though when we explained that we might be transferred in the next 2 weeks and unable to attend his baptism. So we will see.

Yesterday after church Hna Mejia and I went out tracting with Jose Alfonso, one of the young single adults in the ward. As we were walking to an appointment we passed by a woman sitting on her porch and waved, and in her infinite wisdom to follow the Spirit Hna Mejia stopped, walked back, and started talking with this woman. Soraya then invited us in and we were able to teach her about the Holy Ghost and a little of the gospel. I have never been in a lesson yet where someone was so loving and receptive. We're planning on another visit on thursday, so we're excited to see.

Now for the funny moment of the week. For some reason I have a problem with introducing myself. On occasion in the MTC I would almost introduce myself as my companion. I never actually did it because I always caught myself, but this week I finally succumbed. We were contacting on the street and I just said "Hola! Soy Hermana Mejia....oh....espera....ella es Hermana Mejia....Soy Hermana Bradley." Haha. What a struggler I am! We had a good laugh though.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes I've been getting! I feel so loved! And I feel old. Although apparently I look like I'm 12 because everyone here things I'm lying when I tell them I'm 23 (almost 24 now). Maybe it's because I speak Spanish like an infant lol. I hope you all have a wonderful week! By the way mom if you could forward my emails to these people each week I'd love it. :-) Also, I've attached my two Miami addresses, both are cheaper and fatster to send to, but one's for packages and one for letters.

Hermana Elyse Bradley
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission
SDQ NW 114th Ave. Unit 1A
Miami, FL 33172

October 5, 2010

Elyse has an address in Miami where letters can be sent and she will receive them in a timely manner it is:

Hermana Elyse Bradley
SDQ 4102
2260 NW 114th Ave Unit 1A
Miami, 33172

October 4, 2010

Such is Life

Querida Familia y Amigos,

Another week come and gone, and this one really did fly by. So how did everyone like conference? I love hearing the words of the prophets!! Especially when it´s in English lol...yes I got to watch in English even though I missed some parts because we were late. Dominicans tend to run late in everything...if you thought mormon standard time was bad...I´m trying to cope with the adjustment though lol. But anyways, I especially loved Elder Oaks and Andersen´s addresses. And of course President Monson, we are so blessed to have a living prophet. It was also neat to bring some of our investigators to the sessions. One investigator, Ronaldo, who´s from Haiti and doesn´t speak alot of Spanish, came and said he felt the spirit so strongly that he feels confident baptism is the right decision. He´s set for baptism next sunday, so we´ll see. Time for more prayer!

Hna Mejia and I started teaching a family that lives right by us, Keiry and Rafael and their little girl Keira. They are so sweet and we are really hoping to make headway with them, but timing always seems to be off. Satan has a way of using time against us. But the Lord´s way is always best, so we will rely on Him.

Last night we taught one of our investigators Alejandro on the doorsteps of an apartment complex about the articles of faith. He´s shown interest as we´ve taught his brother Estalen and asked questions, but you can tell he´s been holding out a little bit. However, under the street light on the sidewalk last night, Hna Mejia and I bore our simple testimonies and we felt the spirit so strongly. I often struggle with my inability to express myself in Spanish, but the more I trust in the Lord the more I realize that what I say has nothing to do with it, but rather what Spirit I invite through my words and feelings. We have to love and care about our investigators and want to the Lord´s will before anything can truly be achieved.

I learn more everyday about how imperfect and lame I am...and how much better I can be if I just put my faith and trust in the Lord. He shows me His love through so many ways and yet I still find things to gripe about. I´ve been humbled alot this week by just opening my eyes and recognizing all the things I have to be grateful for. If ever we´re struggling with something, we should stop and count our blessings, just like the hymn says. Love you all!

Hermana Bradley

September 27, 2010

When it rains, it pours

Hola Hola Familia!
Second week of the transfer and I feel like I´ve been out here my whole life! Ok not really, but time really gets pretty warped out here. I´m doing good though, especially now that my bug bites are healing and the heat rash on my stomach is subsiding lol. I even washed all my sheets and clothes in the sink, by myself! Got to love serving in a foreign country! Haha. But really, things are good. Today we´ve been visiting an area called The Conde that´s full of shops and is very touristy, it´s been fun and kind of reminds me of disneyland.
This week has been full of interesting experiences. Firstly, Hna Mejia had training two days this week and it was quite the fiasco. The first day they sent me to Mendoza to work with some other sisters, but the travel time took so long that really it wasted a whole day of work. I got to see another area though and swim through gutters in Mendoza because it POURED on us. My shoes took two days just to dry. The second day the assistants wisened up and I just stayed in the mission office with the clerk Hna Whittaker and helped her get caught up on some office work. It made me miss office work believe it or not! I´m such a nerd I actually like addressing envelopes and sorting mail.
Other than that we´ve had some good things and hard things with investigators. Our progressing investigator Grace didn´t make it to church, so that was tough. But we´re continuing to visit her and she shows a sincere desire to change those things in her life that aren´t in harmony with the gospel. We have Oct 10th set for her baptism, so pray for her with us. We also found a family to start teaching! Hooray! They actually live right next to us and their names are Keirys, Rafael, and a little daughter Keira. They are SO sweet and we really hope to get them started on the lessons. We also finally got to visit with Nayeli, who was the first lesson I taught the day I got here. She´s very receptive but her mother won´t let her attend church. Hopefully prayers will soften her heart. Yesterday we had the privelege to attend the baptismal service of Patricio, one of the elders´investigators, and we even had two investigators attend the baptism. It was really neat to participate and I even got to direct the music. I need to practice that more though lol.
Basically, things here in the DR are good. Still hot and sweaty, but cooling off, and as always full of opportunity to share the gospel. I´m so excited next week to hear what the prophet and apostles have to teach us! Hopefully they let me listen in English, yikes. But either way, the Spirit still speaks the same language right? That´s what I have to keep reminding myself. Anyways, love you all! Until next week!

Hermana Bradley

P.S. Megan Settles, if you´re reading this, I need you address, email it to me would you? And quit moving lol.

September 21, 2010

P.S Jen! I got your letter too! I´ll be sending something your way soon! Give Specoll a hug for me lol

Sept. 20, 2010

My Dear Familia,

Bienvenidos from the beautiful area of Gazcue! So, it´s been one crazy week, full of adventures, challenges, and of course the work of the Lord! Not going to lie though, it has been hard. Lots of adjustments and new things...and of course that bit about speaking spanish all the time. But all is well in Zion. My new comp is Hna Mejia who´s from right here in Santo Domingo. She is very patient with me and I feel very blessed to have her as a trainer. She´s been out for about 6 months and knows the area fairly well. We live in an apartment just a block away from the stake center and mission office. The ward here is awesome and the members are so welcoming. Although the sisters here before me left big shoes to fill, eveyone loved them and is sad when they find out I was sent as the replacement. Haha. The weather Really hot. And humid. I have to drink ten times more water than I´m used to. I´m sweating my body weight away, literally. Pretty sure I´ve lost weight in just the last week since all my clothes are looser. So hey, fringe benefit I guess!

Let´s see what else...oh for the first 3 days I was here our apartment did not have electricity, or luz as they call it here. Good thing I brought flashlights! It was interesting to say the least... Honestly I kind of feel like I´m at girls camp. I did my first load of laundry today which was a cross between using some type of washing machine thingy, a sink to rinse, and a line to hang dry. Definitely missing the washing machines of the MTC. Ummm oh the bugs here really like me. So much that I have approximately 27 mosquito bites on my legs currently, all below the knee thanks to my skirts. Lots of repellent and anti itch cream is in the works. Today we also go to to the store for the first time so now I actually have food to eat. We also went to payless since my comp needed new shoes...who knew they had that here?

Anyways all that´s really the lame stuff. The amazing stuff is the work! The people here are so willing to talk about God and I love it. We always have a pool of investigators and continually find more. But it´s a little difficult for me since I don´t speak spanish so well. Lots of smiling and nodding my head is going on lol. I can speak ok when it comes down to it, but I get intimidated and just lose my head alot. I feel like I´m always repeating the same stuff, but I guess my testimony doesn´t change a whole lot. I also had the opportunity to share a lesson with a member family in English since that´s all the father speaks. It made me realize why the Lord sent me here...because I needed to be humbled by learning a knew language. I will never look at non native english speakers the same way again. Each day is trial of my faith as I try to adjust and follow the promptings of the Spirit. There are moments of discouragement, but also moments of peace and joy. Yesterday Hna Mejia and I taught a first lesson to two brothers Alejandro and Istalen. It was messy for my parts, but we could all feel the Spirit strongly and I found myself just relishing the privilege to be a part of it. We have three progressing investigators right now. Grisel has been taking the lessons for while but is struggling to give up smoking. Please keep her in your prayers. Grace is another one who has three children and who´s mother is a member, but she is also struggling with the word of wisdom. There are many obstacles that face each of us, but as I work with these choice spirits, I feel the support of the Lord with both them and me.

I am so grateful for this gospel and the many ways it has blessed my life. I know that it is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He is the only way. Our Heavenly Father is mindful of us always, and He answers prayers. I can´t tell you how many of my silent prayers have been answered just in this first week. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all things shall be added unto you!

Hermana Bradley

September 10, 2010

Sept. 9, 2010

Hola Familia y Amigos!
Esta semana ha sido muy bien. He cantado la cancion secreta oracion muchas veces por causa de un elder en mi distrito le gusta mucho, y ahora me gusta tambien....casi. Haha. Ok enough spanish for one day. So this is my last week in the hallowed (and very narrow might I add) halls of the CCM. While I will most definitely be sad to say goodbye to friends and teachers, I am so excited to get out into the field and start doing some real work. Plus I'm feeling pretty good about my Spanish, which means it's time to be humbled again, and I'm fairly sure the field will do just that. :-)

So, as for exciting adventures this week. Last week for simulation Hna Peterson and I got to teach a room full of males the law of chastity. It was great because we thought we were going to teach a room full of young women originally, just like all the elders had done. But of course our teacher in his infinite wisdom decided to make it more difficult, so we taught a bishop and a bunch of young men. Definitely a highlight moment for me. Not. Oh well. Still learning.

I also had a wonderful surprise this week when I received not just one package, but TWO! One from Hna Petty at the MTC and the other from my family delivered via the Andersons. So happy! I cannot begin to express how that one bag of snickers has brightened my life. Seriously, it's borderline pathetic. But I am happy so it's all good. Here's your enterainment for the week though: yesterday as I was passing one of the latin elders in the hall he started barking like a dog so I called him "Elder Perro" only to hear all the rest of the latin missionaries go "Ohhhh!!!! Ouch!" Apparently saying that means something different than I point for the innocent gringa.

Some other highlights of the week included a lesson by my MDT teacher about "Hasta el Fin", and since it's too complicated to explain via email, suffice it to say it broadened my horizons on how I need to pray, study, and pretty much do everything in it EVEN UNTIL you succeed. So amazing. We also got to watch an amazing movie on Sunday called How Rare a Posession. I'd never heard of it and if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It's about the Book of Mormon and an Italian Priest's life ambition to be baptized. DiFrancesca is seriously my hero. Such dedication.

Anyways I'm running short on time and I'm sorry I didn't get any personal family emails out this week, I'll make up for it next time. Know that I love you all, I'm doing great, and I can't wait to get out there and WORK!

Hermana Bradley

September 2, 2010

Subject: The Perfect Monday

Aug. 26, 2010

Familia y Amigos,

Hello hello! Another exciting week in the Dominican Republic to report! First of all, I finally got mail! Oh happy day…thank you Kimber and Sara…return letters will arrive shortly. J So, on Monday we had to bid a fond farewell to our seven Haitian missionaries as they returned to there homeland. Because of this, we were finally able to take pictures…so I now have some legit tropical pictures. But who knows when I´ll be able to develop them. One thing at a time I guess. Later that day we got to visit the university again where Hna Peterson and I had amazing experiences. We prayed for the Lord’s help in guiding us to people He had prepared to hear our message, and we were so blessed! In a little less than two hours we were able to talk to about seven people, three of which were really excited to hear what we had to say, and two that we gave book of mormons. It was incredible! A young man named Juande was my favorite. I told Hna Peterson it was her turn to lead us and start a contact, so she started walking over to this student that was sitting under a tree with his knees up and his head hiding. I thought to myself “Oh no, he’s not going to want to talk to us. As soon as he looks up and sees us he’s going to get up and walk away.” But I was dead wrong. The moment we approached and his head come up, I could see in his face that he was ready. Such a bright countenance! We were able to share the first vision in Spanish and our testimonies, and then gave him a book of mormon and asked him to pray about it. He was so open and positive. Ah I just loved it. After that we were both so happy. Then when we got back to the CCM Hna Peterson had a package waiting for her from…which apparently delivers here just fine. (Hint Hint haha j/k). Inside the package was a huge stash of candy, albeit it was pretty melted. But in her infinite kindness, Hna Peterson shared with me and I savored a snickers bar like it was the last piece of chocolate on earth. I will never take that candy bar for granted again, because most of their chocolate down here isn’t that tasty. Basically, between the snickers and contacting on Monday, it was the best day ever lol.

Tuesday was another exciting day as we finally got to visit the store and leave the CCM. But, saddest story of my life. I have been waiting weeks to buy new shampoo because the stuff I brought from home hasn’t been so great on the hair. So I spent a good five minutes carefully choosing which scent of herbal essences I would buy. Made it to the register with it because it was on my receipt, but by the time we got back to the CCM my precious raspberry shampoo had disappeared. I almost shed tears…pathetic I know. But my love for shampoo and clean hair is pretty high up there. And to top it off they were fresh out of snickers at the store. Sad day. But I will not be discouraged!

Now for the funny stories of the week! Yesterday in the computer lab Hna Peterson and I were practicing our Spanish on the TALL program until we got kicked out because another class needed them. Elder Lisle from district 3 likes to make jokes and said something smart, so I jokingly made an angry face and walked up to him pretending like I was going to give him a good punch in the nose. Apparently my face was more serious than I thought because I have never seen a boy so fear struck in his life. Hahaha. He claimed he was only afraid I was going to encroach on the ‘elder bubble’ that’s enforced between us, but I suspect otherwise lol. The other thing of this week that brought joy to my heart was this morning when I shared with Hna Peterson my strange dream of being stuck in a train station. She proceeded to interpret it as being stuck here in the CCM, between places, not going anywhere. Suddenly I felt like I should’ve watched that movie the Terminal so I would be better prepped for coping. But only 3 more weeks more inside these gates!

Anywho, life is good and this gospel is amazing. I continue to learn more each day about our Heavenly Father’s love for each and every one of His children. He teaches us through our weaknesses and trials, which ultimately make us stronger and bring us closer to Him. I know this gospel is true and I love being able to share it in broken Spanish with the amazing people of the Dominican Republic. Never be afraid to share your testimony with those you meet! The Lord is working through all of us in different ways. Be prepared to seize the moment! Love you guys!
Hermana Bradley

August 24, 2010

All packages should go to this address and not the one listed.  I cannot change the one to the side.  She will probably not get any packages sent into the country.
Sister Elyse Marie Bradley
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission
8532 NW 66th St.
Miami, FL 33166

August 22, 2010

Family Dearest,
Bienvenidos! Actually, I don't know if that's a proper salutation or not. Clearly I'm still learning lol. So how is everyone? I hope fantastic, because the gospel is true and life is good! I was so happy to finally hear from Sister Marchant through the email chain. I love hearing about the work moving forward in Korea. I wish I could read all of my missionary friends emails..but alas no time. Amanda Bailey also sent me an email - thank you so much! So good to hear from you! You are going to change kids lives in NC and I'm so excited for you! Keep me updated!. Bonnie - thanks for your email as well! So glad to hear the fam is doing well. Give the kids and Mas a hug for me, and tell Becca good luck! As for news from my Jeru friends...I'm a little in the dark. For all I know they have all been translated since my departure, which wouldn't really surprise me. But if you are a Jeru person...or one who considers me a friend, I would sincerely like to know what you are up to. Write me on takes five seconds...ok ok, maybe like 10 minutes. But seriously, I'm in a dry spell for lettters and it's killing me. Maybe the postal service down here just hates me, but I haven't gotten a thing for 2 weeks. I know, wah wah. I'll stop whining now.
Anywho, things here in the DR MTC are about the same as they were last week. Haha, really things are great though. Today for service we got to weed the gardens around the temple. Call me crazy, but I think I actually enjoyed it. Just getting out and DOING somethings feels good, even if its humid and I sweat like crazy. Yesterday was another trip to the university where Hermana Peterson and I were able to talk to Francisca, Horace, and Juana. The campus is pretty dead right now because most people are on vacation, but next week it starts up again so that will be nice. My Spanish has progressed enough now that I can usually express myself so people understand me, but my comprehension of natives when they speak is still a struggle. Poco a poco right? Right. Francisca was especially open with us and we were able to share a Book of Mormon. It made me anxious to get out in the field. The MTC is great and all, but I'm getting impatient. yet again I find the Lord teaching me patience. Obviously I don't come by it easily lol. This week I started having parts of my dreams in Spanish...I was pretty excited lol. If only I could sleep more....I've been struggling a little with sleep here. But I think once I get out into the field I will sleep better. I've also been playing lots of ping pong this week. I was excited to finally find an elder that can beat me something to work towards lol.
I continue to count my blessings every day and I am especially grateful for this amazing opportunity to serve the Lord and share His gospel with His children. I am starting to udnerstand what it's like to have that constant companionship of the Spirit...such an amazing gift. The Lord's hand is in each and every one of our lives, every moment of every day, and all we need to do is open our eyes to see it. Bless you all!
Hermana Bradley

August 12, 2010

August 12, 2010

A Mí Querida Familia,
Every week I dread having to sum up my experiences in one brief email to you...but have no fear, because I will prevail! My first week here in the D.R. has been one full of trial and error. As Dickens would say, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. And living within the gated walls of our little MTC is proving to be a challenge for my wandering spirit. I´m only beginning to understand the meaning of how a mission is hard. But at the same time I´m getting just a small taste of how incredibly rewarding this work can be. I know it will only continue harder and better as I go out into the field.
So...some experiences to share! I´ll start with a funny one. First, my sweet companion Hermana Peterson is such a trooper with Spanish. She uses what she knows and just gets by with a limited vocab as best she can. She really is amazing and I admire her perseverance. However, the other day as we were talking with an elder from her old district she tried to ask him where his drawings aka dibujas were since he´s big into drawing. But instead she said "Donde esta su bruja?" which means "Where is your witch?" to which he replied "En mi cuarto!" (In my room). Hahaha. I almost died laughing. I love spanish.
On a more spiritual note, I had two really amazing experiences this week. First was on Monday where we got to go visit the university and basically meet people as we shared folletos (pamphlets). I'll be honest, I was scared out of my mind to talk to these people in Spanish. But as we started out, my fears became less and less important as I realized that these people desperately needed to hear what I had to say...even if it was a few broken words of Spanish. We ended up having some really neat conversations. However, it instilled an even greater desire in me to learn this language. Poco a poco...I will get it. :-) The other experience I had was last night with our MED teacher Hn. Mediavilla. After my companion and I taught him our lesson both of us expressed some frustrations in not being able to say what we feel in the language. However, he shared a wonderful scripture from Moses about our Heavenly Father's love and sorrow for us. It made me more determined than ever to do this work with all my heart.
Today has been pretty exciting as well since we got to go to the temple this morning and then do service this afternoon. The session was in English, much to my dismay, but it was probably better that way. Maybe I'm not ready to tackle that task in Spanish yet. The Santo Domingo temple is beautiful though, and very small...which is almost a nice change I think. Service was exciting as Hna. Peterson and I got to pick up trash between bushes at the university. I now know the full meaning of "noxious weeds" least I think that's what they're called.
Well I'm running out of time, but basically life is good. I have many things to be grateful delicious food (I love la bandera!), a ping pong table (I have to exercise control daily not to sneak down and play outside of gym time lol), air conditioned buildings, amazing teachers and leaders (Elder Vinas visited us this week!), a great companion, a wonderful district, and of course this wonderful gospel! thank you so much for all of your love, support, and prayers, I wouldn't be able to make it through a day without them! I love you guys!!!!!
Hermana Bradley

August 6, 2010

Hola Mi Familia!
So you get an extra email this week since they allow us to contact you about our safe arrival. I decided not to call you from the airport because I figured it would just make me homesick. Besides, every pay phone in the entire Miami airport was occupied by the poor desperate elders. Just know I love ya'll! Anyways, the trip down was pretty long and tiring, but I think my trip to Jerusalem still takes the cake for most exhausting. Our flights were booked from Salt Lake to Dallas, Dallas to Miami, and Miami to Santo Domingo. I had a really neat experience talking with a man named Ferdinand from the Philippines. I was only able to give a pass along card though because in my desperation to stay underweight for travel I failed to have an extra Book of Mormon with me. Never again! I would have gladly sacrificed anything in my bag to have had one to share...oh well. Next time then.
Santo Domingo is beautiful...and hot. We flew in around 7pm at night and when we walked outside it felt like walking into a sauna. I felt so bad for all the elders that kept their suit jackets on. The travel experience as a whole was kind of crazy. Nobody knew where we were supposed to go once we got off the plane and there were so many lines! Tourist changers....immigration...baggage claim...customs. Although, I suppose it wasn't really that bad compared to security and customs into Israel. I didn't get body searched this time though, what a disapointment. :-) Some of the elders were totally shell-shocked though, wandering around with lost looks on their faces. Poor little boys getting sent into a third world country when they've hardly traveled farther than state boundaries...hahaha. I do feel bad for them though.
The MTC here is right on temple grounds and my new companion Hermana Peterson and I have an entire 8 person bedroom to ourselves because we're the only sisters here. If I felt like the minority in Provo, here it's even worse. I'm just glad I have a companion at all. I wasn't really a big fan of being stuck in a threesome with 2 elders for the trip over here. We also have a beautiful view of the temple from our bedroom coming forth soon! Today we're jumping into orientation and we've been sufficiently chastised for not "speaking out language" enough. The Spanish here is crazy though! Coming out of the airport I swore they were speaking some form of Chinese and not Spanish. And they mumble alot. I hate mumbling....especially trying to understand Spanish mumbling. I will keep trying though! Anyways, they're telling us to finish up so I better go.
Thank you for all your love and prayers! I am safe and sound and loving every minute of being here! My P-Day is thursdays now, so I'll write again then. Oh and here's my new address for the next 6 weeks before I head out into the field...
MTC Address:
Hermana Elyse Marie Bradley
Avenida Bolivar 825
Los Robles, Santo Domingo
Domincan Republic
Hermana Bradley

August 4, 2010

Voy a La Republica Dominicana!

Dear Family & Friends,
So in a little less than 24 hours I will be on my way to the beautiful country of the Domincan Republic! I can't wait!!!! Today we went to the temple again and as I walked out I just felt all the silly stress leave me and I realized I don't need to fear about anything, because I have the Lord to back me up. Such a good feeling. I'm especially excited to get there and visit the Santo Domingo temple, which I just learned is right next to the MTC! Dream come true. Although going to the temple and having everyone speak Spanish, that could be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it.
This week has been full of ups and downs, like always. But just as Hermana Petty and I were discussing, the lower the lows the higher the highs. There must needs be opposition in all things, and I'm learning that lesson good and well. :-) Something that I've been trying to focus on this week is how to plan better. We've been taught quite a few times on the importance of setting goals and challenging ourselves. I love that quote that says "People rarely change unless invited to do so. " Well I've been invited to change about a million different ways in the past few weeks, and I'm still getting the hang of it. But I think I'm making progress. Hopefully.
As for my foot problems, last week proved exciting with a trip off to the podiatrist. Getting out of the MTC was kind of nice...and weird. Being in Provo where I've lived for the past 5 years of my life while having a black badge on felt stranger than I thought it would. Suddenly I was out around real people and was strange. Anyways, the podiatrist said I had a pre-existing condition in my foot where a bone in the back of my heel protrudes slightly, which was agitated by my new shoes. Because of this, my heel started to swell a little and now is pinching my achilles tendon. Luckily he said it wasn't that serious and just gave me some inserts for my shoes so that it doesn't pinch the tendon. I've been wearing for almost a week now and they work well in every pair of shoes except one. Plus I'll get to wear sandals once I get to the D.R. So...todo bien.
Another thing I've been reminded of A LOT this week....well every week really, is that I can't do this. At least not by myself. Everytime I try to speak spanish, share a lesson, or even bear my testimony, I fail miserably if I simply rely on my own knowledge and ability. The Lord has supported me so much these past few weeks, and yet I still seem to forget on a daily basis that it's HIM that's doing all of this, not me. But just like everything else, I'm still learning.
Yesterday Hma Petty and I taught our first lesson in Spanish. It was crazy! I was saying things in Spanish I didn't even know I could say! Suddenly Spanish makes sense and I can just string the words together to makes sentences that are actually understandable. I don't think I ever really understood what the gift of tongues was until I got here, but I sure do now! It's amazing to be sitting there thinking things in your head in English and then have them come out of your mouth in another language! I feel blessed to have that experience and just hope that as I continue to study and put faith in the Lord, He will bless me.
I'm so happy to be out here serving a mission and I am learning new things about this gospel, the Lord, and myself each and every day. I know now more than ever that this is where I'm supposed to be and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm grateful to have so many incredible people in my life that love and support me. I feel the support of your prayers constantly, so thank you! So long for now, and the next email you get will be coming from the Caribbean!
Hermana Bradley

July 28, 2010

The Clock is Ticking!!!

Dear Family and Friends,
Oh man does this email countdown thing stress me out! So if I don't type out sensible things, I apologize, I'm racing against the clock. Anywho, week two at the MTC was just as amazing and full of learning as the first. My head just might explode, but in a good way. I've found that the hard days are usually the ones I learn the most, and they're always followed by a good and encouraging day. The Lord knows what he's doing. It's incredible how much the Lord can bless you when you're putting your faith and trust in Him above all else. His blessings never cease to amaze me.
First of all, can I just say that I LOVE my companion? Because I do. Hermana Petty and I were definitely meant to be together for these first few weeks. She is such a source of strength and inspiration to me. I only hope that I can take what she's taught me and use it to strengthen my future companionships. But it's sure going to be hard to measure up to her. Her crazy Aussie ways crack me up. She loves to make incomplete similes like..."That's cool as..." which with her accent, sounds a little sketch, so of course me and my English ways just make something stupid to finish it. It keeps us entertained. :-)
Next item of business, I leave in a week! I already got my travel itinerary and I've been the lucky one made group leader since my name starts with a B. Stupid alphabet. Hopefully it doesn't prove too stressful though. We've got a layover in Texas and Florida though, and we leave here at 3am. So excited for that one....yeah.
I've been playing hard at gym time lately, which has been nice. We don't get nearly enough exercise around here and it drives me a little crazy. All I want to do is leave and just go walk around for an hour or so to absorb things, but alas I can' I play frisbee and other things during free time. The other day the sisters in my district and I decided to play mini soccer and I took a good hard hit to the knee which of course left a lovely bruise because I bruise like crazy. And my foot problems with my heel aren't helping either, but I'm supposed to go to the podiatrist tomorrrow to figure that one out.
So, this past week I've been blessed with the opportunity to hear some amazing devotionals and firesides. In class this past week we watched two past devotionals by Elder Holland and Elder Bednar about how to become a missionary. Hearing apostles of the Lord witness of our divine callings as missionaries sure boosts morale. I could listen to them talk all day, but there's too much work to be done.
I've also been feeling the weight of responsibility in becoming a missionary this week in the sense that I'm helping people come unto Christ and find eternal salvation. That is not something to forget. So when I get discouraged I've been taking the advice of our leaders and singing a hymn, saying a prayer, or just looking down at my nametag and reminding myself whose name is on it. I am a representative of Christ and He has called me to do this work. I CAN do it.
We also had a chance to teach the first lesson as a district this week, which was very interesting. The more you teach, the more you learn, and the more you realize how inadequate and ignorant you are. But it's still good lol. I really love those moments though where I get to see the elders and sisters in my district bear their testimonies of what they know. Sometimes I only see silly little boys in front of me, but they continue to surprise me, and the more they teach me, the more respect I gain for them and the sacrifices they've made to be here.
Today we got to go to the temple for the first time since it opened and I have MISSED it so much! I'm so glad I've able to go before I head out to the DR. AND I got to see my friend Suzie as I walked awesome. Tender mercies of the Lord. Days get hard, but I know this gospel is true and that Jesus Christ is our Savior.
So I'm out of time, but I love you all and would love to hear especially from Moriya, Lia, Kellie, and Bonnie! Could you get word to them mom? I miss them! Until next week!
Hermana Bradley

July 21, 2010

First Week Gone?

Dear Family,
Buenos dias! Greetings from the MTC! So...where to begin? This last week has been a whirlwind of learning and spiritual growth. I feel like I've been here forever and I never want to leave! However, it turns out that contrary to what my original MTC departure date said, I will be leaving after 3 short weeks after all. That's okay though, because I'm excited to go meet the people of the Dominican Republic and begin the Lord's work! So...I'll try and cover what feels like a lifetime since I saw you last.
The first day was pretty crazy, but I think because I prepared for the worst, it really wasn't so bad. I LOVE how everything is scheduled out for us and split into different kinds of study, but sometimes it's still hard to keep up. My district is AWESOME and I'm really sad I'll have to say goodbye to them in a few short weeks. My companion's name is Hermana Petty and she's from Australia! Sometimes I just make her pray so I can listen to her lovely accent. It reminds me of my dear old friend Liz...even though her accent is British. They all sound the same to my ignorant ears lol. Anyways, she is amazing and so prepared to teach the gospel, but a little shaky on the language. On the other hand, I feel like I can just get by on the language and no nothing about preaching the gospel, so we make a good team. She'll be going to the San Diego California mission at the end of her 9 weeks. There's 4 elders and 1 sister in my district going to San Antonio Texas, another sister going to the Argentina Mendoza mission, and then 4 elders that will head to the D.R. with me in 2 weeks. But for now, we all laugh alot together and try to learn spanish. Unfortunately I tend to open my big mouth too much and now everyone wants me to move to the intermediate spanish class. But I want to stay with my district, so they'll just have to put up with me. It's funny though, I feel like in the last week I have grasped the language more fully than 2 years of high school spanish and 3 semesters of college spanish. I guess that's what happens with the gift of the Spirit!
Yesterday we had our first TRC meeting where we spent 15 minutes speaking in spanish to 3 different people about the gospel and their lives, and then we spent 30 minutes with a volunteer "investigator" teaching the first lesson in English. While it wasn't a perfect lesson by any means, I think Hermana Petty and I work well together and really sought to teach by the spirit. After the lesson I was so excited and happy that we had made it through it! I walked out the door with the stupidest grin on my face and turned to Hma. Petty and said "That was so much FUN!". I have always known the gospel was true and that missionary work was important, but I don't think I expected it to be this fun lol. The Lord has so much more to teach me. But really, it was an amazing experience and I can't wait to go in again next week and smooth out the wrinkles. The more practice teaching the lessons and contacting, the more I like it.
We've had some incredible firesides and devotionals this past week as well. On Sunday we had the adminstrative director of the MTC speak to us about the importance of prayer. He emphasized to us that each person has to establish a relationship with the Lord through prayer. Their communication with God is the "main event" and we should be doing everything we can to strengthen that, instead of simply acting as their "guide" to the Lord. That's what I love most about this gospel, that is unique and individual. We don't have to depend on anyone else to know if it is true. We simply pray and ask for ourselves. :-)
I'm so glad Sara is enjoying her new area in Tacoma with Sister Fox. Her new investigators Amanda and Ariana sound amazing! I can't wait to hear of their progress.
Well I'm almost out of time, but I want to try and bear my testimony in the broken spanish....without accents. So ignore my poor grammar...
Yo se que dios ama todos sus hijos. Se que jose smith fue un profeta verdadero de dios y que el libro de mormon es la palabra de dios. Yo se que esta evangelio es verdad y que jesucristo murio por nuestros pecados. Digo estas cosas en el nombre de jesucristo, amen.
Hermana Bradley

June 22, 2010

The Call

Dear Sister Elyse Marie Bradley:

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months. You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, July 14, 2010. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language.