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