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't...so 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 in...so 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