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