December 14, 2011

A LITTLE SURREAL



Hi Everyone,
Wow. I can hardly believe the time has come for me to be writing my last family email to you all! Where has the time gone? Honestly, I think I just thought my mission was going to last forever and now that it´s come down to the end, I feel a little unsettled! But I know the Lord has a bigger and better plan than I could ever understand, so I´m just going to try to hold on to the ride! This last week (and a half since I last wrote really) has been a rather long and trial filled time, but always with big blessings. First of all, I have a wicked gripe (that´s what they call colds) that I can only blame on myself since we got caught in a freak rainstorm over the weekend and I unwisely ignored the Spirit when it told me to bring my umbrella. Ironically, later on that same day the Spirit told me to NOT leave the keys in the chapel library where I again ignored the prompting and found myself cursing my stupidity when we arrived to the house later without the keys in tow. Hermana Bradley strikes again! Haha. Now I´m just trying to not let my head explode with this head cold of death, but I hope to make a full recovery before Tuesday when I´ll get to see all your lovely faces!!!


Anyways, as for the work, which is way more important than my cold anyway, it´s going amazing! We had Alondra´s baptism on Saturday and it was quite possibly my favorite service I´ve had here in Villa Carmen. It would have been almost perfect, had we started on time instead of waiting 45 minutes for a special person to show up...but all´s well that ends well right? Right. We´ve also been blessed to find 2 new young families lately, and I am so sad that I won´t get to see them progress! But I´m happy to know that I will get to hear all about them from Hermana McEntire in the future. We also were able to put baptismal dates with Saul and Noeli, who both finally made it, not only to church, but the ward Christmas party as well! I just love those two and how they ALWAYS read everything we assign them and ask so many questions and just hunger for more knowledge of the gospel. Why can´t everyone be like that? Haha. Anyways, the Christmas party was a HUGE success as well and it just made me sad to know I´m going to have to leave this ward family! It´s crazy how fast people can become like your family when you´re on a mission. But I just have to keep telling myself that I will come back someday.

Here at the end of this crazy mission business, I can´t help but compare it to a rollercoaster. There´s moments where you´re up in the air with your stomache in your head wondering when you´re going to puke, and others where you´re laughing your head off and wishing it would never end. But by the end, when it´s all said and done, you want to go again, and you can´t. So you just have to content yourself with the memories and move on. However, I will always ALWAYS be grateful for the decision I made to come on a mission. For all the good, bad, hard, sad, and high moments. It was all worth it. I love this gospel. I love my Savior. And I am determined to continue being a representative of Jesus Christ for the rest of my life! Love you all and SEE YOU SO SOON!!!!!
Hermana Bradley
(For the last time! Sad!)

December 5, 2011

P-Day Baseball, Mission Reminiscing, and a Dead Bird






Greetings Family Dearest!
So it´s been one very long week and yet at the same time I feel like the time is just whizzing right by...how do missions do that? Anyways, I have some very interesting stories to share this week. First of all, remember how I said my companion and I were having some problem with rashes on our arms and legs? Well we found out the problem after 3+ weeks. Hermana McEntire climbed onto the roof of our 4 story apartment building to check our tinaco (a giant water tub where the water pumps up to and sits until we use it) and found that the lid had been either stolen or blown off. To our HORROR she found a dead bird in their that had been decomposing for weeks...which means we´d been washing our clothes, our dishes, and ourselves, in contaminated water for weeks. I was downright hysterical at the thought and basically yelled at the poor president´s wife that someone needed to come fix it NOW. Haha. Well apparently when you scream alot people listen because by the afternoon two office elders and a member came and cleaned it out with disinfectant and bleach, so now we´re just waiting for the rashes to go away. Trials. Bleh. But it´s over.

On the brightside, today we had a multi-zone activity and played some baseball...the first and last time I will ever do so in a country that is known worldwide for it´s baseball craze. Hermana McEntire LOVES baseball, so we decided we should experience a little culture for my last real pday in the field since next week we´re going to the temple (which means I´ll be emailing wednesday). I even got out in the hot sun, hit a grounder, stole 2nd base, and made a run for our team. Not half bad for an hermana playing with elders! LoL.
The good news is that we had stake conference yesterday and BOTH Esperanza and Alondra went with us. We actually couldn´t get ahold of Alondra before and so we walked the 30 minute trek to her house early in the morning only to find her apartment empty. But then as we were on our way to the stake center with Esperanza one of the other missionaries called us and told us she´d arrived nice and early and was there. It made my entire week! Not to mention she was there in a brand new blouse and skirt since she didn´t have one last week. She is so amazing and I am SO excited to see her get baptized. She makes me laugh with all her crazy random questions too. I just love her.

As each day passes and my departure from the lovely D.R. gets closer, I find myself getting a little sadder. Even though there have been SO many trials...there are so many people I love and will miss. Not a day goes by that someone from the ward asks me sadly with puppy eyes ¿Cuando se va? and I just want to tell them never. The idea of taking this name plaque off and never being able to wear it as a full time missionary again just makes me want to cry. I think I´m going to have to go on a mission again in the future...so hopefully I find a willing husband! Haha.

I am so grateful for this gospel and the love the Lord has shown me through his children here in the Dominican Republic. I never thought I would grow to love a place and a people so far away from my own home. My testimony of this gospel has become so much stronger in just being able to see the hand of the Lord in the lives of the people here, and as well in my own. The Lord is SO aware of us, moment by moment. I hope I never forget all of the lessons I have learned out here and continue being a witness of the Lord, just as I and every one of my investigators promised at baptism. Jesus Christ is truly our Savior and this really IS His church. We may be imperfect, but it is by the small and simple that the Lord works great miracles. I love and miss you all!
Hermana Bradley

November 28, 2011

Progress Nonetheless




Hallo!
Well, another week down and I must admit that it wasn´t the greatest week of my mission, but progress nonetheless. And the spacebar in this lovely internet cafe doesn´t want to work so I´ll probably be making this short. First, the good news. Judy was baptized Saturday! Despite a whole slew of trials in trying to fill the water font when the chapel had nothing in the cistern and dipping her under in 3 feet deep water...Honestly I wanted to cry a little bit, but Judy felt special and was happy and even shared her testimony, so that is all that matters. Another wonderful miracle is that Alondra now has a fecha and is super excited about getting baptized December 10th. She even made it to church for all three hours on Sunday and met the bishop. She is SO funny and every time we talk about her baptism she just says determinedly ¨I´m going to get baptized before you leave Bradley.¨ LoL. Another funny story from Saturday was that of Felix, one of the recent converts in the ward. He showed up to English class that morning a little late and when he saw me his eyes got huge and he rushes up to and starts telling me he had a dream this morning about me yelling at him with my finger pointed telling him that he didn´t learn English because he didn´t want to. So of course he jumped out of bed and came to the class. Basically, I´m so outspoken that ward members even DREAM about me giving them reprimands. But hey, at least I´m making a difference right? Haha. All the other stories from the week have to deal with strange skin rashes and digestive problems that I don´t care to relate. Hopefully we can get the doctor to shed some light on the situation. Other than that the work rolls forward. Love and miss you guys!
Hermana Bradley

November 21, 2011

A Little Nostalgia



Hi Fam!
So this week has been another good one full of work and progress and of course trials. But the blessings always outweigh the trials. Always. This Sunday Anthony FINALLY came to church. We actually passed by his and Carla´s house Satuday to help them clean so they could come early Sunday. When we passed by that morning and walked up to their apartment building Anthony was sitting in the window still with his head on his hands looking like a little kid on Christmas morning. It was great. He really liked church and we´re set to pass by again on Tuesday.

Judy´s baptism was announced in church and she is just so excited to be baptized since she´s been waiting for a long time apparently. We feel very blessed to have found her. Our miracle reference. Each week I just get a little more sad knowing that I´m going to have to say goodbye to so many people I love. The ward of Villa Carmen has greatly changed in my time here and I feel like a mother chick who doesn´t want to live her chickling to fly alone yet. But, there´s still 4 more weeks, and I know Hermana McEntire will take good care of all these wonderful people.

In other news, I´ve been thinking alot lately about things in the D.R. that have just become normal to me that probably would have made me crazy at home. Here´s just a few examples: cold showers where there´s not even a knob for hot water, people cutting their lawn with machetes, bus drivers that get out of the bus just to fight over getting cut off when the other driver pulls out his pistol (don´t worry that just happened this morning haha), mopping the entire house by hand, speaking Spanish so fast that your tongue can´t keep up (the newest hermana in the mission told me she can´t even understand when I speak Spanish because I do it too fast lol), never leaving anywhere without a giant backpack and umbrella, not flushing toilet paper, and falling asleep to the brassy ringing of bachata or loud bass of reggatone. And you know what? I know I´m going to miss it. Missions are such crazy things! But coming out to serve the Lord was the best decision of my life and I wouldn´t take it back for anything. Thank you so much for all of the love and support you have all lent me through it. I couldn´t have done it without you guys, and every one of you knows who you are. :) Anyways, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, and only request that you eat some stuffing in my honor since Dominicans don´t believe in that kind of food. Haha.
Love,
Hermana Bradley

November 15, 2011

November 14, 2011


Hoooola,
Well, here we are another week down the road and as hard as I´ve been racking my brain, I can think of nothing new to tell you guys! The mission can sometimes be a little scarce on news. But that´s not to say we´re not working or seeing progress, because everyday there are miracles. We now have to investigators set to be baptized the 26th, Felicia and Judy. They are both very special women and it´s a great blessing to see the gospel change their lives. We also continue to teach our golden family, Anthony and Carla. Although they haven´t been able to come to church yet, each visit we see the Spirit light up their faces as we study the Book of Mormon and share the truths of the restored gospel. It´s incredible how the Lord truly prepares people and softens hearts. Another blessing has been the cool breezes and rain that have come in this week. I even find myself getting cold here! Which probably means I´m going to die of hypothermia when I get home. Haha. Well, other than that, I´m drawing a blank of anything exciting to tell you all....except that I am coming home in 36 days!!!! (For those of you who didn´t already know, I´m coming home December 20th) Haha. I´m trying not to be trunky though. Poor Hermana McEntire has to put up with me daydreaming about snow and Christmas lights at Temple Square. But, there is still work to do! Anywho, love you all and have a great day!
Hermana Bradley

November 8, 2011

And the Last Transfer is...


Playing with the vine at Botanical Gardens

Elyse Bradley elyse.bradley@myldsmail.net

Greetings Family!
How are ya´ll doing this week? I´m sure just dying to know how transfers went for me. Well let me tell you, some pretty exciting news.....I´m staying in Villa Carmen.....with Hermana McEntire. Haha. Yeah kind of anti-climatic, but that´s okay. I´m content with it as we have some really special people we´re teaching right now and I´ll get to work more with them and hopefully see a few more of my brothers and sisters enter the waters of baptism!

I´m especially excited to see what happens with Anthony and Carla. Last week we got to meet with them twice and Anthony is zealously reading AND meditating over the Book of Mormon. Every time we visit them the Spirit is like this electrical current in the air and we just walk out with dopey grins on our faces. LoL. We even taught them about the Word of Wisdom, which we were a little anxious to do since we know they will have some trials to overcome with it. But they knocked our socks off when they both firmly committed to giving up their addictions. They couldn´t come to church Sunday though because of a prior commitment, but they both said they´re really excited to visit the church next Sunday. They have an ADORABLE little boy named Aaron and I just can´t wait to see what blessings the Lord has in store for them, because we were definitely led to this family.

We also are now teaching a new young woman named Judy who´s dating a member and seems really interested in learning more about the gospel. Yesterday we finally got to visit with Esperanza after almost 2 weeks and even though she feels she has some doubts about some things, she still feels the Spirit strongly when we visit and wants to keep learning. So as always, there is work to be done!

This last week I also got to go to leadership training where we got to talk about how we can better build up Zion and strengthen the members and less actives. It breaks my heart to see so many of the Lord´s children that have received the truth just fall away. There are so many lost sheep that need rescuing! My mission has forever changed me in that respect. I want to be a missionary for life! Well, that´s all I can think of for now to tell you guys! Hope you´re enjoying the early snow! Love you!
Hermana Bradley

Hna McEntire and I for Halloween dressed as eachother

October 31, 2011

You Think I Look Like Who?!?!



Hola Familia,
So this week was yet another one of ups and downs, but we ended it with an up! Elicia, after almost 3 transfers of teaching, was finally baptized this Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. It was so adorable as she just started giving everyone up on the stand hugs after her confirmation. I just love her so much! We were also able to attend ward council with our new Bishop Diaz, who´s the 26 yr old return missionary, and it was AWESOME! I can´t wait to see the ward grow under his care. The new relief society president Hermana Tejada is great too and and know we are going to see some miracles. In other news, we found some new families this week, including Anthony and Carla, a young married couple who visit the Catholic Church but are very sociable and willing to share with us. Anthony was actually a contact from about 2 months ago that we never could find home before, so about a week ago I suddenly remembered him and we decided to drop by one last time. I LOVE when the Spirit guides us! We also found Jessica, who´s a less active of more than 10 years and has children who are very interested in learning more about the church their mother was baptized in, so we´ll see. Unfortunately, we´ve also had to drop a few people, such as Richard and Kary, which makes me really sad because they now pretend that no one´s home when we pass by. :( Why can´t people just say things to your face? Sure it´s harsh, but at least you know where you stand and you don´t have to wonder. Oh well. Maybe some other missionaries in the future can pick up where we left off... As for everything else, all is well! Transfer calls come before next pday, so we´ll see where I get to spend my last transfer. I think I´ll be staying here, but who knows? And for the humorous experience of the week....so yesterday Hermana McEntire and I went to visit Michael, one of the recent converts who complete one year as a member. So we sit down to share and just chat for a minute about look alikes. Well Michael suddenly tells us to wait so he can go get a magazine where there´s a movie star that he insists looks alot like Hermana McEntire. So while he´s looking for it we try to guess who, maybe Lindsey Lohan or someone like that... but know, it was even better. When he finally finds the picture and passes it to us, I just BURST out laughing, literally until I was crying...as it was a picture of an OLD and WRINKLY Mel Gibson. Hahaha. Poor Hermana McEntire was a good sport but I couldn´t even control myself as Michael insisted it was just his eyes that reminded him of her. LoL. I haven´t laughed so hard in a very long time. Anyways, as for today, Hermana McEntire and I decided to wear eachother´s clothes and nametags to ¨be in costume¨, but it hasn´t proved very entertaining as none of the other missionaries have noticed. Oh well. It´s been funny to just see eachother in our clothes and nametags. Well, I hope you all have a nice chilly Halloween! Love you guys!!!!
Hermana Bradley

October 28, 2011

Stuff




Hello Peeps,
So I´ve officially run out of clever salutations and subject matter. Sorry. You all know I was never very good at the creativity thing anyway. BUT, I do however feel the need to thank ALL of you for the birthday love you sent via mail...because it all finally arrived today at the office and I got so much chocolate they´ll probably have to purchase two seats on my plane home just to fit me. Hope you all still love me when I come home fatter than I left lol. No but really, thanks everyone for thinking of me and making me feel loved...it makes all the difference. Anywho, this week was pretty much the same as the week before. We seem to be stuck in a rut lately of finding new promising people and then having them stand us up, which doesn´t exactly give us warm fuzzies, but oh well. On the brightside, Esperanza...our shining ray of hope...went to church again yesterday and told us after we watched the Restoration DVD (which by the way is officially my favorite movie even though I´ve seen a bajillion times, I am going to be such and RM nerd when I get home) that she´s felt more peace in her life since we started visiting her. :D I love when people actually like our visits instead of rolling their eyes when we show up...which is what seems to be happening with everyone else. Struggles. However another tender mercy was Diana and Melhissa showing up to Friendship Night on Tuesday when we thought no one was going to even come. We watched a short video on the ten virgins and then played Big Booty and it turned out really great. Another thing that is constantly blessing me and helping stay focused are the Conference Addresses that I keep reading from the past two conferences. This morning I got to read President Monson´s talk about gratitude and it really just brightened my day to remember all the wonderful blessings I have received here in the mission and the little daily miracles. Life really is so much better when you focus on what you DO have. Hermana McEntire and I are also trying to cultivate more humility as we are putting President Uchtdorf´s advice from a past conference into practice: Humility isn´t thinking less OF yourself, but rather thinking less ABOUT yourself. I just love that advice...and as we all know Hermana Bradley still has alot of humbling to do. LoL. Anyways, this Saturday we´ve got Elicia´s baptism planned and we´re praying our little hearts out that it all goes smoothly as this has been in the works for months. So please keep Elicia in your prayers! As for everything else...lo mismo. :) Love and miss you all! Til next week...
Hermana Bradley

October 19, 2011

The Work Still Goes On


Hola Peeps!
Hope this email finds you all when in our lovely Utah! I can´t tell you all how excited I am to see those mountains and snow! All in good time though...Anyways, this week in the work was a little rough. Multiple times during the week members fell through on going out with us which was really frustrating...note to self...do not do that to the missionaries when I get home. Not cool. But it´s ok because the work still goes on.

We are now teaching quite a few families and some really receptive jovenes that we hope to see progress. We also found Esperanza last Sunday and yesterday she came to church with us! She told us when we met her last week that she´s always wanted to visit the church but was too timid to just come alone, so she prayed and told the Lord unless he sent someone to her door she wouldn´t go. Well...He sent us alright and she went for all 3 hours and really liked it! It was so neat to have one of the recent converts explain how he visited so many other churches but just didn´t feel right until he found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She looked right over at my companion at that moment and said, ´That´s how I feel!´ Love it!

I also got to give my third (and hopefully last) talk in Spanish on Sunday where I was able to invite the ward to participate more in la obra misional, so it was good.

My birthday this week turned out to be another trial of patience as we woke up to not only rain, but a lack of public transportation because the buses decided to go on strike last minute. Needless to say, the DR sure knows how to celebrate my birthday lol. Oh well. Other than that, things are pretty much the same here. Workin and sweatin! I can hardly believe how fast the time is flying though!

Today we had fast p-day as we went to the botanical gardens with Hna Hernandez and had a picnic lunch, so fun! Well sorry this is a shorty, but I hope you all have a wonderful week, and thanks again for all the birthday wishes!

Hermana Bradley

October 10, 2011

Little Miracle Week


Hi Peeps,
Well, don´t know what to tell you all this week since things are pretty much the same. Up days, down days, and everything in between. On the upside, today I got to play Ticket to Ride with my district for pday and it made me miss game nights at the Haycocks SO much and I can´t WAIT to play with you all again! I also realized that I am one very big nerd, because nobody knows about half the games and movies I play since I´m older than everyone and apparently a home body. Haha. Oh well.

Yesterday at church we had a hard Sunday as very few of our investigators and new members were there. However, our new bishop is really open to working with us on lots of things and we are excited to have a new mission leader in the coming weeks.

In other news, this last week I saw a little miracle that I thought was so cool. Hna McEntire and I were sitting on the bus on the way home from a meeting when I young woman got on who for some reason immediately caught my attention even though the bus was full of people. I felt the need to invite her to church, but didn´t see how I could do it since I was sitting a few rows behind on the inside and she was standing up by the door. So I said a little prayer and asked the Lord to help me find a way. Literally a minute or two later the woman sitting by me got up to get off and all the other people in the aisle moved, so this woman plopped down right next to me! So of course I struck up a conversation and invited her to church. She hasn´t come yet, but I know the Lord wanted her to have the invitation and it was so neat to see my prayer answered so fast!

Another little miracle happened a few nights ago while we were walking home. I decided to follow my stomach to an empanada stand, and low and behold but who finds us there is a brand new family that just moved into the ward and needed to know the meeting schedule! Wow. Isn´t the Lord amazing?

Anyways, teaching right now is getting harder as we are having to drop lots of people that aren´t progressing. It can be frustrating, but it is necessary to spend time looking for people who are willing to make changes in their lives and ACT. I´m just trying to stay focused here on the work...but trunky thoughts are ever present! Haha. Well, hope you all have a great week, and if it snows again please go play in it for me!!!!
Hermana Bradley

October 3, 2011

COME LISTEN TO A PROPHET


¿Que Tal Familia?

Ok first of all, let me just say that conference was the HIGHLIGHT of my week and I wanted to cry when President Eyring started to say ¨And to conclude this conference...¨ But I consoled myself with the thought that I will be home with all you lovely people to see it next year, so it´s ok. I was also absolutely beside myself with glee when President Monson announced the new Provo temple. I can´t wait! And when he said ¨We´re all in this together¨ in his final talk I had to seriously restrain myself from breaking into High School Musical singing. Haha. He was so funny this session and it just made me love him even more. We are so blessed to be a part of this wonderful gospel and have an inspired man leading us! I especially loved President Uchtdorf´s talk on how the Lord loves us as individuals and Elder Carl Cook´s talk on ´looking up'. I´m now just trying to put all of their amazing counsel into practice.

We were also blessed to have 5 different investigators attend the various sessions, which was a tender mercy and a great blessing. Basically, I have nothing I can complain about this week...except for maybe the heat, which has been especially fuerte lately, but that´s nothing new. For the moment we still have running water so I just count my blessings. Haha. We also had a really spiritual lesson with Richard these week, a 14 yr old young man whose family we´re teaching. We got to meet with him one on one though and he shared with us that he prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true and felt his heart skip! He wasn´t sure what that meant, so we´ve encouraged him to keep praying, but he´s really motivated to read the Book of Mormon and pray, so we´re really excited for him.

This week we got to go out with a bunch of members we´ve never gone out with before as well which was amazing. Emmanuel is an RM who served in Florida and shared a powerful testimony with one of our new investigators, Raquel, who´s husband is less active and who has been investigating the church for years but has yet to be baptized. The Spirit was so strong and it was incredible! Then we have continued to find new families and new people to teach, so much to the point that I feel out of breathe all the time! But work is good.

Hna McEntire continues to make me laugh as well...the other day as we were door contacting a woman said ¨Encantada¨ after Hna McEntire introduced herself and poor Hna McEntire thought that was her name and said, ¨Oh nice to meet you Encantada¨. Haha. Oh the mission.

Anywho, today we got to visit the Parque del Este and see all the missionaries in the capital and everyone is now coming up to me and saying ¨Hermana Bradley, you´re STILL here?!?¨ Sheesh...you´d think I was an elder or something. And it doesn´t make things better that another Elder felt the need to yell out today that I´m turning 25. When did I get so old? All of this elders are like 5 years younger than me!!! Oh well, I guess I´ll just be the grandma of the mission for the next 12 weeks. Anywho, love and miss you all, hope you have a nice breezy week!

Hermana Bradley

September 26, 2011

What's in a Mission?


Helloooo
Well, it's been another week. What can I say? Trials and blessings, every day. That is a mission isn't it? Blessings first though. We had Alexandra and Porfirio's baptisms on Saturday, and even though the ward didn't have a great showout, it was a good service and I love seeing people I love enter the waters of baptism.

Another blessing is that we have a new bishop who is a young RM and really interested in the mission work, so we're excited to work with him! This week we also finally started our Noche de Amistad and had a good turnout of 12 people despite the downpour of rain that day. We hope to see more in the next one.

Another tender mercy has been Elicia, our sweet 73 year old investigator of months who just gave up her coffee cold turkey. She is such a sweet old woman with a tender spirit and we are now preparing for her baptism on the 8th of October. This ward also continues to improve in enthusiasm for the work almost weekly as we continue to receive new references. We're also teaching an amazing family right now that's promised to go to general conference this weekend, so we're praying hard.

Oh and we had transfers...I'm staying here with Hna McEntire and Hna Vera has already gone to her new area of Mendoza. So yeah! That's the week. I won't bother to complain too much about the fact that we're without water again, haha, but just enjoy your showers in my honor for a few days ok? Love and miss you guys, and make sure you all take time out to listen to OUR PROPHET AND APOSTLES this weekend! So excited!
Hermana Bradley

September 20, 2011


Hola Hola,
So this week was SUPER busy, hard, exciting, exhausting, and great. I´ve found that usually when some really great things are about to happen Satan doubles his efforts to discourage us, but no matter, because we are still seeing miracles! First of all, Felix´s two siblings Alexandra and Porfirio, who the missionaries have been visiting since before I got here, are going to be baptized this week! The Lord really opened doors for us on Friday as we went to go teach them and it was just incredible how smoothly their interviews and everything went, especially since just the day before we were starting to wonder if we´d have to drop them. I love when the Lord just makes things happen!!! We also had a wonderful opportunity to serve with the Oriental Stake in the worldwide service day of ¨Limpieza de Las Costas¨. We got to put on some helping hands vests and pick up garbage for a few hours and it felt SO good to get out there and work! I didn´t even mind the sweat. LoL. Between our little group of 4 we picked up almost 45 pounds of garbage! Aside from that, the Lord continues to lead us to new investigators each day. Yesterday we made an unplanned stop at a new members house and found a neighbor there visiting her who told us just the day before she had this random desire to sit down and read a religious pamphlet in the house, but couldn´t find one. So when we gave her a pamphlet of The Restoration that reminded her of the day before when she had the impression and her face just lit up. So cool!!! Basically, the work of the Lord rolls on! I can´t believe how much there is to do and I feel so blessed to be here right now. We still trials everyday of course, the least of which trying to get things figured out between three of us instead of just two, but with LOTS of prayer and humility, we are learning together and it´s incredible. I am so grateful for all the lessons my mission is teaching me everyday! Love and miss you all!
Hermana Bradley

September 14, 2011

Become


Familia y Amigos,
Buenas Tardes! Como le va en todo? Buuuueno, aqui en la Republica Dominicana hace MUCHO calor, pero ya ustedes sabes, la mision no es facil. :) Pero....hope you all are enjoying the cool breezes back at home! Things here lately have been fraught with trials, I can´t lie. BUT, each day I realize that these trials are especially designed for me and that I´m learning to overcome my weaknesses. I reread a fantastic conference talk today by Elder Robbins on ¨What Manner of Men Ye Ought to Be¨ and found alot of wise counsel to apply to companions, investigators and especially myself. I encourage you all to check it out. Despite the struggles of fallen through baptismal dates and a lack of ward coordination, the Lord also sent an extra dose of help via our special conference with Elder Cornish. His messages were so incredibly inspiring and based on doctrine that it made me want to go out right away and apply everything. I love being in the presence of inspired leaders and feeling of the genuine love they have for us as missionaries as well as the people. Elder Cornish was actually a mission president here in the D.R. a few years back, so he knows what things are really like and knows how to really encourage us. It was a privilege and blessing to be taught by him this week. Another great blessing this week was seeing the baptism of Elsa. I´ve never had an investigator so excited to be baptized! Every time we visited her during the week she was just counting down, and seeing her dressed in white on Saturday was amazing. No matter how hard the mission gets, NOTHING beats the feeling of seeing people enter the waters of baptism wtih a true commitment to endure to the end. I was writing a letter this week and realized as I wrote it that before my mission I hadn´t really known what true joy was, because I hadn´t really known what true suffering was. But through the refining process of this mission, I have truly come to know both, and I wouldn´t change that experience for the world. It has shaped me into the person I needed to become...and is still refining me. As Elder Oaks explains ¨The final judgment is NOT just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts...what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect...of what we have BECOME.¨ So true! Anyways, I hope you all have a lovely week, and thank you so much for all the letters and emails this last week, I needed them so much!
Love you!!!
Hermana Bradley

September 6, 2011

The Almost Perfect P-Day




Hello People I Love!
Sorry I can only send a mass email this week, time got cut short as a result of internet problems. It WAS the perfect p-day...including pizza, frozen yogurt, cultural trips to the park, and lots of air conditioned buildings...until we tried to do our emails. Haha. Oh well, that´s just life. But anyways, on the brightside, this week was a great week for mission work! We had Kenia´s baptism on Saturday and it was pretty neat to watch her son Felix baptize her. Kenia also shared a beautiful testimony in fast and testimony meeting yesterday. I´m so grateful to be a part of this work and see the gospel bring families closer together. Elsa already had her interview as well and will be baptized next Saturday, so we´re all really excited for that. This will be my first baptism of someone I contacted, taught, and baptized, so it´s pretty incredible! We also put a baptismal date with Alfredo, the son of Celeste. After he gets baptized, that will have been 3 sets of mothers and sons I will have taught and baptized on the mission. So cool! As for the homefront, after almost 3 weeks of fighting through waterless conditions, the water has magically fixed itself! I´m not sure if a grouchy neighbor was doing something to our water pump or if it was just a matter of figuring out how to open and close the apartment valve, but as a companionship we now give thanks daily in our prayers for water to shower and clean with. LoL. Sometimes the Lord has to give us trials to make us recognize better the blessings. This week we have some special conferences planned with the new area seventy Elder Cornish that is here visiting, so we´re all excited for that, and yeah. Basically, things are going great. And for the funny story of the week...This week as Hermana McEntire and I were indulging in buying some bread from a street vendor, he started accusing me of being a detective. The problem is that he used a word in spanish for detective that I´d never heard of, so I just looked at him confused and said, ¨I don´t understand what that means¨ to which he replied sagely ¨Oh yes you do! You get to know people really good and be their friends and all.¨ I started laughing and asked him if he´d ever visited the church to which he laughed back and said no. So I told him to visit the church first and then decide if we were detectives. Dominicans can be so funny. Anyways, hope you all have a lovely Labor Day free from work and school! I promise to write more individual emails next week!
Love,
Hermana Bradley

August 30, 2011

HELLO AGAIN




Buenas Tardes Familia!
Well, I don´t really know what to say because I feel like I just barely wrote ya´ll, but oh well. We had a good weekend and lots of lessons to finish out the week, so that´s great. Kenia and Elsa also were at church with us on Sunday and we´re really excited for their baptisms in the coming weeks. Today and yesterday our companionship has had some stellar study sessions and I am blown away by how amazing the new program is for new missionaries in the field. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to learn from it with Hna McEntire. This week we started to focus alot on finding new investigators and simply sharing short messages with contacts that were willing to give us a few minutes. What amazing results! One thing I love about the people here is that they are always willing to talk about God. But it can be a double edged sword because alot of times they just want to ¨listen to the word¨ without committing to do anything. Every mission has their trials. Speaking of trials...believe it or not we don´t have water in our apartment again. I won´t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say we could use some prayers! LoL. On the bright side, today we had a great pday together with our zone. We played volleyball again (btw I´ll probably be coming home browner than a brownie, hope you can all recognize me lol), ate some good food, and for the first time in my mission I succumbed to playing the official game of the DR...dominoes. Of course considering my partner was Elder Green from England, we didn´t do so well. Dominicans definitely have more skills in that game. Haha. But it was good to play for a day. Basically, I´m just trying to make every day count instead of counting the days. Each day is filled with new trials, but at the same time the Lord is constantly reminding me of all the wonderful blessings He has given and continues to give me. Some of the new missionaries were talking about the trials of adjustment today, and as I listened, I realized that really, none of the trials can even compare with all of the blessings. Watching people you grow to love embrace the gospel and change their lives is priceless. No matter how much sweat or tears come as a result, the gospel is still is true, and mission work is still the best kind of work any of us can do. Thank you so much to all of you for your love and support. Now go out and do a good missionary deed!
Love,
Hermana Bradley

August 24, 2011


Hooola!
So my first week training has been amazing and I am loving the work! Even though the trio has trials, Hna Vera, Hna McEntire, and I are seeing amazing miracles! Hna McEntire is from Richfield, UT and learning so fast! It´s so easy to train someone who is so willing to work hard and learn! I feel so blessed, and most of the time she teaches me things, so it´s pretty neat. We are also now doing the new 12 week study program for new missionaries, and it is incredible! Such an inspired program! We can already see the results in our area and we´re determined to keep working hard. This week we put baptismal dates with Elsa and Kenia, both of which made it to church on Sunday to round of a nice number of 7 investigators. I was especially floored when Felicia, a contact from a few weeks ago, walked in right before the meeting started. The night we contacted her I remember I was sick with a really bad migraine, but we were determined to finish our contacts. So I sat down beside her on the park bench and invited her to church. It was kind of funny because she answered my invitation with ¨Can´t you see I´m really irritated right now¨, but I think my confused and slightly nauseous face softened her heart lol. So she came to church and really liked it! So neat! Elsa is another contact from a few weeks ago that told us she´s always wanted to be a member of the church because of the example her older sister set as they were growing up together. She is already making sacrifices and changes in her life and is preparing for September 10th, so we´re really excited. On a funny note, Hna Vera surprised me the other day when we left an appointment and I jokingly said that Satan interrupted the Spirit while we were teaching by making the phone ring. Out of nowhere Hna Vera responded in English ¨Freaking Satan!¨ and both Hna McEntire and I just burst out laughing and asked where on earth she learned that. It was so funny. Anyways, today has been a wonderful pday with the temple visit in the morning and megacentro here in the afternoon. I LOVE THE TEMPLE! Can´t wait to go more often when I get home. We also got to meet some newbies who are coming in next transfer. So crazy how fast time is going by! Well, love and miss you all, hope you have a wonderful week!
Love,
Hermana Bradley

August 16, 2011

Just a Little Change


Buenas Tardes!
Hope everyone had a good week, especially loved hearing about the reunion at Paul and Pat´s for Tannon´s farewell, wish I could´ve been there! He´ll be a great missionary! Anyways, things this week are looking to change as we got transfer calls and even though I´ll be staying in Villa Carmen with Hermana Vera, we´ll be going to get a new sister tomorrow as I´m going to train! So crazy! Honestly, I´m a little bit nervous as being in a trio has never been a pleasant experience for me, but I´m determined to make the best of it and I know the Lord will help us work efficiently as long as we dedicate our all. Our zone is having almost a complete turnaround as half are finishing their missions, so things will be interesting. I´ve also heard that training is now a very rigid program so we will be doing things alot differently. As long as the work moves forward, I´ll be happy! This past week we put a baptismal date with Elicia, the mother of Celeste, our most recent convert. Elicia is a very special old woman that has a heart of gold. The ward has really begun to reach out to her and we are excited for her baptism on the 27th. We also received a few member references this week and are looking forward to working with some new investigators including a young single adult named Lisbeth and another young man named Guevert who is full of questions and a desire to change his life. I love finding people that have a thirst for the gospel! Other than that, not much else has changed. Just lots of working, walking, and sweating! Haha. Today we finished the transfer off with another zone activity playing ping pong, eating ice cream, and hunting down Chinese food for lunch, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. It appears that the mission hasn´t rusted my ping pong skills as I still kicked every elder´s trash...well Elder Castro beat me once, but only once! (As you can tell I´m still very humble about it lol) Anyways, have a wonderful week and remember I love and miss all of you!
Love,
Hermana Bradley

August 10, 2011

Forgetting My NativeTongue

Que tal Familia?
Wow, I almost started typing this email in Spanish without even thinking about it! Ya´ll are going to have to help me assimilate back to English when I get home lol. Anyways, this week was great as we got to see the baptism of Celeste. President Hernandez and his wife even attended the service, so that was pretty neat. Little by little we´ve been gaining the confidence of the ward and especially the bishop through our hard work here in Villa Carmen, and things are really starting to turn around. I love being able to see changes like that. On Sunday we also had a huge blessing as Penelope finally came to church after 6 weeks of our Thursday afternoon appointments. I think she really felt the difference in Spirit as it was fast and testimony meeting. I can´t wait to see her continue to progress. Each day I grow to love these people more and more and it just makes me impatient to help them receive the blessings I know they can receive through the gospel. One thing I´ve had to learn over and over again in my mission is that TIMING is everything, and the Lord´s timing is always better than our own. Hermana Vera and I are also excited for the coming weeks as Kenia, Felix´s mom our next door neighbor and recent convert, told us she wants to be baptized. Felix got baptized a few months back by himself and now his whole family is sharing with us. What a wonderful blessing a good example can be in a family!
We also had a good laugh this week when we went out one afternoon with Michael, one of the single adults in our ward. As we were walking in the street past a bunch of teenage boys playing basketball and purposely ignoring them as they were all staring and whistling, one of them very loudly and bitterly told his friend ¨Ellas no se casan¨ (They don´t marry.) I had to strongly resist the urge to turn around and yell ¨Of course we do! Just not to little boys who play in the streets¨ ... but I decided to hold my tongue and just laugh. I can´t lie though, I´m very much looking forward to returning to my own country where I am largely ignored by the opposite sex. A blessing I used to take for granted.
Today has also been full of laughs and fun as we FINALLY had a zone activity. After playing some volleyball and bruising up our arms good, we played some games and ate lots of food. I made truffles as a dessert and they were a big hit. Although some doubts arose when one of the Elders asked me what the secret ingredient was and I, thinking of the process of making them in our hot kitchen, responded quickly ¨Sweat!¨ Hahaha. But anyways, things are going well and we are working hard and trying to aguantar...yet another word I can´t remember in English...the heat and sun. Hope you all have a fantastic week!
Love,
Hermana Bradley

August 2, 2011

Little Miracles


Hi There Family!
So it has been a week of work in Villa Carmen! Gustavo was FINALLY baptized on Saturday after lots prayers and trials...including the baptismal font overflowing and flooding the front doors of the chapel. Good thing all the chapels have tile floors! The service went well though and it´s been great to see how Gustavo´s countenance has changed through the process and how the ward is bringing him into the fold. Celeste also made it to church on Sunday so we could announce her baptism, so we´re planning that for this next Saturday, and after that hopefully Cesar´s the following week! I am so amazed at the progress I´ve seen in this area in just the few short weeks I´ve been here. My testimony of how the Lord prepares people continues to grow with each transfer. This week we taught Armando, who we´ve been visiting for a few weeks and always has these great big doubts when we arrive and by the time we leave has a big smile on his face. This week he committed to coming to church and praying specifically about the Book of Mormon, so we are excited to see his progress. We are also still visiting with Penelope, who was a contact from my first week here. Penelope is one special woman. She currently visits an evangelical church, but is searching for the truth and is visiting with missionaries of various faiths. However, yesterday we saw a miracle as we shared about the law of chastity and eternal families. Her husband left her a few years ago and she´s been struggling as a single mom ever since. However, we made yesterday´s visit with Felix, a new convert of about 7 months, and his testimony was JUST what she needed to hear, and is now committed to attending church with us next Sunday. I feel so much love for her and can´t wait for her to feel the Spirit at church! As far as the weather goes...it´s been pretty nutty lately. Lots of sun and heat in the mornings, and then torrential downpour in the afternoons. There is supposedly a hurricane moving our way, so who knows? Nonetheless, the work of the Lord moves forward and I am loving it! Thank you so much for all your love and prayers. Oh and Happy August!!!!!
Love,
Hermana Bradley

July 25, 2011

A Rainy Drought


Querida Familia y Amigos,

Que tal? Hope you all had a nice 24th full of barbeques and fireworks...the land of the DR unfortunately does not celebrate our dear pioneers. I actually forgot about it until ironically Elder Castro, who's in my district and is from El Salvador, wished me a happy pioneer day. What has happened to my Utah pride? I am ashamed...lol. Anyways, this weekend has been yet another long one of trial as we've been living without water for the last 4 days. Can I tell you all the honest truth? I am STINKING tired of not having water in my apartment. No matter what area I am in...what house I live in...what companion I have...I always have to pass through at least a few days without water. Heavenly Father must really want to try me, because I am about ready to throw a giant tantrum. LoL. Supposedly they're fixing the water today, but we will see. Ironically enough it's been raining lots and I'm pretty sure the plants in front of our apartment building have received a better bath than me in the past week. Haha. Ok enough complaining...on to the good news.

This weekend we had the baptism of Yanell and it went great. A good number of members showed up despite the rain and we had a nice spiritual service. I'm sad though as she is moving out of the ward with her mother to the other side of the city, but I know her and her family will greatly strengthen the church wherever they go. Also have a good anecdote this week from contacting. Hermana Vera and I were knocking doors when an elderly woman opened her door and insisted we enter when we said repeatedly that we were just passing by. She then told us "Oh Clara is in the back in her bed, recooperating, go and see her", assuming that we were friends of Clara's. Well my companion just burst out with "Oh Clara, is she still recooperating from her operation?" as if we had known her for ages. Haha. So the family all shooed us to the back to meet Clara, supposing we were old friends. It was slightly awkward...but we got a return visit out of it so I can't complain!

Next weekend we have Gustavo's baptism planned, FINALLY, as he got to church yesterday, dressed up in his white shirt and tie like he's been a member for ages. Celeste is also set to get baptized within the next few weeks, and we are working hard with a few young single adults as well. The ward of Villa Carmen has some really wonderful members that go out with us on a weekly basis and I am again reminded of how much better of a member missionary I need to be when I get home. Anyways, hope you all have a great week, love and miss you!
Hermana Bradley

July 18, 2011

ALL SMILES


Hello!
So this week was a wonderful blessing as I not only got to meet my new mission president and his wife, but also see the baptism and confirmation of Elix! Interviews with President and Hermana Hernandez were wonderful and I am really excited to work with them for this last part of my mission. There are lots of things to put into practice, and the first is a focus on the attributes of Christ and how we can cultivate them to better meet the need of our investigators. Elix´s baptism on Saturday was great and we had a good number of people show up, some of which were from the English Class and saw a baptism for the first time. Then on Sunday, it was great to see her confirmed. Afterwards she came and sat down beside me and leaned over very seriously to ask me ¨Is it alright for me to take the sacrament now?¨ Of course!!!! LoL. Then she went out with us in the afternoon to visit some investigators and we had an incredible visit with Ana, the investigator that Felix met the other week on her porch and brought her to church. It´s amazing to see how much she´s changed in just the 2 weeks we´ve known her. She has lots of trials to overcome, but she´s excited to make the church part of her life and is praying about the Book of Mormon. Yanell received her interview yesterday and will be baptized next week, and the week after that we have more baptisms planned. The work is moving forward and we´re just trying to keep up. I love seeing the gospel light up the lives of these people and my testimony grows stronger each day as I see their examples of faith and determination. I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Love,
Hermana Bradley
P.S. Happy One Year Mark To Me!!!!!! (Don´t worry though...I´m not trunky or anything lol)

July 11, 2011

Protest Monday



Hello Fam!
So turns out today is a special day...aside from Slurpee Day (which I hope you are all taking advantage of since I can´t lol), the reason being that the entire country of the Dominican Republic is protesting the abuse of the government with gas prices and other things. Supposedly by the afternoon every business and public transport will be closed. It will be interesting to see what type of ¨protests¨ come out in the afternoon. Anyways, this week has been pretty normal. Sunshine, sweat, random downporing of rain, and lots of mission work! Although Hna Vera and I did take advantage of the Saturday night rain and ran around like little girls for a few minutes. Sometimes you just have to do things like that. Also had the chance to try out another delicious Dominican fruit called Limoncillo...wow are we missing out in the states! As for the work, we are busy prepping Elix for her baptism and helping our other investigators overcome their impedimientos...can´t remember that word in English! Elix, who has my same name even though it´s spelled different, is amazing! Her aunt Maria was baptized a few weeks before I got here and now she is ready to follow. When we walked out of relief society yesterday she came up to me and asked very earnestly ¨One day can I go out and preach with you guys? For like the entire day?¨ Of course my answer was ABSOLUTELY! :) In sacrament meeting I was again given the ¨privilege¨ of giving a talk on missionary work...although I think it was quickly forgotten as my companion proceeded to give a boche...oh darn I can´t even remember the word for that...reprimand I think?...anyways, her talk was fuerte as she reprimanded the ward for not treating sacred things with reverence. It was great. We also had 3 new investigators show up to church yesterday, so that´s always encouraging. Right now I´m just trying to focus on being as obedient as I can so the Lord can bless us in the work. The longer I´m out here the more I realize that the blessings of heaven really are predicated upon obedience, and even though sometimes it seems like the rules are endless out here, I know that we have them for a reason. Rationalizing disobedience only leads to laziness and dissatisfaction, and neither of the two are conducive to missionary work. I am determined to remain dedicated and focused until my last day, and I refuse to let other people´s disobedience affect my own commitment. I remember in one of the past general conferences one of the apostles explained that it´s easier to be obedient100% of the time rather than just 99%. I am so grateful for this opportunity to preach the gospel and renew my own commitment to living the commandments as I teach these eternal truths to others. Seeing the gospel change lives inspires me to be a better person and overcome my own endless weaknesses. I love the gospel and the power of the atonement in our lives when we truly repent and recommit to following the footsteps of our Savior. Much love!
Hermana Bradley

July 5, 2011

Happy 4th of July!!!

Hello Family!
I hope you are all having a wonderful toasty 4th of July with BBQ and fireworks. Dont worry...its just raining cats and dogs here in the D.R. Oh well...better rain than scorching sun in my opinion. Anyways, my first week in Villa Carmen has flown by and I can tell from here on out my time in the mission is going to fly. Hermana Vera and I have lots of work to do in this area as we have 3 baptismal dates set for the 16th, Gustavo, Yanell, and Eli. Im really excited to work with them and see progress in this area. One thing different about Villa Carmen is that the majority of the area are apartment buildings, and all of them are basically identical, so I am having a fun time trying to memorize the area. We climb lots of stairs each day, and every house we enter is identical in floor plan, so its a little strange. We are also working right now with a young man named Cesar who has lots of questions and wants to be baptized, but due to some mission rules has to attend church for 3 months first, so we are pushing forward and hoping to help prepare him for baptism next month. Hermana Vera and I are enjoying eachothers company as I teach her English, which she is actually interested in, and is also helping me perfect my grammar, which is in sore need of some improvement. Its always interesting coming to a new area as everyone immediately asks "What happened to the other sister?" and are hesitant to accept a new sister, but Im used to it by now. Basically all is well and I am feeling good. Sorry I dont have any more stories of running into walls to report, but if any new disasters befall me, I will be sure to write them in the next letter. LoL. Have a wonderful week!
Love,
Hermana Bradley

June 27, 2011

Me Voy!




Hoooola!!!
How is everyone this fine week? Well I´ve got some news to report! Transfer calls came last night and it turns out I´m headed to the other side of the street! Haha. I´m staying in the same district but going to the area of Villa Carmen with Hermana Vera. I am really excited to learn yet another area and serve with Hermana Vera as she is a great missionary and has alot of energy. I think we will have alot of fun together. The new president arrives in just a few days and we are all anxiously awaiting to see the changes that will come. Today we got to spend P Day with the President playing dodgeball and having a barbeque. I somehow managed to make a spectacle of myself as the last person (much less sister missionary) standing in our zone as we battled another zone. Now everyone thinks I have dodgeball skills when really the elders just didn´t want to peg me. Haha. Also, a funny story to relate from the week. Thursday for zone meeting we took pictures and as we were walking out of the chapel I had a bit of an accident. There are columns right outside the doors and instead of paying attention to where I was going I started laughing at my companion who´s shoes say ¨pecadora¨ on the inside because that´s the brand. Well, justice speaks swiftly because as I turned around I ran straight into the sharp corner of a column. I had a bump the size of a small egg on my forehead immediately, but thankfully the swelling went down quickly and my head is back to it´s normal size. Although I´ve learned my lesson not to make fun of people when I´m not paying attention to where I´m going. Haha. As for the work, it´s about the same. We have a baptismal date set with Hamlet and Leidy now, but they failed to make it to church so it will have to be pushed back. Sometimes it´s hard to see people fail to meet with the commitments when you know things would be so much better for them if they would just do it. But I know the area of Los Trinitarios will be in good hands with Hermana Mejia and Hermana Loftus. Anyways, I hope all is well at home and that the house sells quickly. Keep me updated on any new developments and for any of you that see Sara, give her lots of hugs for me! Love and miss you all!
Hermana Bradley

June 23, 2011

LOTS OF SUNSHINE


Hola!
Well it appears that summer has officially arrived in the DR and I will now be sweating for the duration of my mission. At least I won´t be suffering from seasonal depression right? Sometimes you just have to look for a bright side, a lesson I am reminded of constantly out here. This week was mostly hard. Between fallen through appointments, water and light problems in the house, and just overall personal difficulties, it has been a growing week. However, the Lord blesses us with the strength to overcome whatever trials we confront as long as we confide in Him, and this week strengthened my testimony of that principle. Yesterday I had the stressful privelege of giving a talk in sacrament meeting on the fly about missionary work. I have to admit, even after almost a year in the field and testifying daily, getting up to speak publicly still makes me want to wet my pants. But I survived anyway and hopefully the ward got something spiritual out of my jumbled words. As for the work, right now we are focusing on Hamlet, who lives in the sketchy part of town with his family and is determined to avoid the trouble of the street life. As we´ve begun to share the gospel with him he has made great efforts to keep the word of wisdom and law of chastity, involve himself in activities at the church, and study the material we leave him to read. So, even though he didn´t make it to church yesterday, we have high hopes that he will be baptized next month and continue to grow spiritually. We are also making great efforts to find new people to teach as our pool is constantly being cleaned, which is a good thing. Next week President Antivilo will leave and President Hernandez will arrive, so it should be interesting to see the changes that come as a result. The longer I´m out the more I realize that change means challenge and challenge means growth. Love and miss you all!
Hermana Bradley
P.S. I can´t believe Sara is home! Hope you all take good care of her!

June 13, 2011

"NO I AM NOT A NUN"



Dear Fam and Friends,
So I just have to start with a little funny story. Today for P'Day my companion and I decided to go eat at a pica pollo that happens to be owned by some chinese people. Well after ordering our food I went to sit down while my companion payed and the chinese girl leans over the glass and asks her if I´m a nun! My companion laughed and said no, that we both are actually missionaries. Afterwards Hermana Mejia told me I should probably stop putting my hair in such a tight bun. Hahaha. Oh how I love the mission! Anyways, things here in Los Trinitarios are moving right along and I´m surprised to find myself halfway through this transfer. The only mark of time passing is the fact that it is getting A LOT hotter and I know that I can only expect more sweat and sun for at least the next 4 months. What a joy. In spite of the heat though, Hermana Mejia and I are working hard as we have lots of progressing investigators and new ones with potential. Right now we are visiting Teresa and Sebestian, the daughter and son in law of our bishop, who show real potential and have come to church the past two weeks in a row along with reading the material we leave them. Sebastian recently found out he has a malignant tumor in his back and both he and Teresa have alot of blessings and comfort to gain from the restored gospel. We hope to put a baptismal date down with them both before the end of this week. We´ve also been blessed to find a promising new investigator in Hamlet, a 22 year old young man who showed up to church last Sunday after weeks and weeks of us passing by and inviting him. Basically, the work is taking off and we are just trying to stay focused and help the ward support the work. Friday night we had a very successful, albeit small, Noche de Amistad where we brought two investigators and shared a message from the New Testament. The big hit of the night however was the activity. I decided to make good use of all the games I learned from my Jeru friends and taught everyone how to play Signs. Everyone loved it and we hope to see even more members and investigators next week. Another funny experience of the week was our visit with the Terrero Dominguez Family. We passed by their house intending to share a brief scripture because the power was out (as always), but when it began pouring rain we stayed longer. After sharing a very spiritual lesson, we knelt down to pray and asked Cesar, the father, to offer it. Of course he started making an excuse and right after he made one there was a HUGE clap of thunder and flash of lightning. So we utilized the moment and said it was a sign that he needed to offer the prayer, and when the heavens speak, men comply, which Cesar willingly did. LoL. Then right before leaving Cesar assured us ¨Don´t worry, it hasn´t rained enough yet for you to get wet.¨ However, the flooded street proved otherwise and after wading knee deep in dirty street water and listening to everyone yell from their porches ¨Don´t get wet!¨ we arrived sopping wet and laughing to our apartment. Experiences that I won´t soon forget. Anywho, hope all is well at home. Love and miss you all! Until next week...and I can´t believe Sara is going home next Tuesday! Ahhh!!!
Love,
Hermana Bradley

June 6, 2011


Dearest Family and Friends,
The rain doesn´t appear to be leaving anytime soon and I´m starting to understand a little bit of what Sara must feel like in Washington. I´ve only seen the sun a handful of times this week. The only difference between us is that it´s hot and sticky here, so I don´t miss the sun much...at least not yet! My feet seem to be constantly wet, but I just count my blessings that the rain is here to bring down hotter temperatures. In the last week I´ve seen a big change as my first week in the area was rather hard. Following the example of my companion, I´ve begun to ask the Lord daily to help me see a miracle and have a mission experience. And I am here to say that the Lord truly does answer prayers! Not only were we able to see the baptism and confirmation of Jerhemi this week, but we´ve already put down another fecha with Yanci and had 7 investigators in church compared to our 2 from last week. We also had a really neat experience visiting an old contact we made. Almost 2 weeks ago while sitting on a park bench for a minute to rest and strategize, we contacted an man named Medina and invited him to church. He was very amiable, so we exchanged addresses and gave him a pamphlet of the restoration without thinking too much of it. But then Sunday when we had some unplanned extra time in the evening and two members leaving with us, we decided to drop by Medina´s house. After searching for almost 20 minutes and knocking on his door in the dark (because of course the light was out...like always), we were almost scared away by a gruff WHO´S THERE? from the other side of the door. However, when Medina opened and saw it was us, he quickly changed and told us that he had lots of questions and read the pamphlet and wanted to know more! It was a really neat experience, and helped me realize that you never really know what might come of a simple invitation. We also taught the first English class of Los Trinitarios, and were happy to see more than 20 people show up. Turns out English is a pretty popular interest! We hope to see some fruit come out of that service as well. Hermana Mejia and I are also earning reputations for ourself in the ward...me as the ¨peleona¨ and her as ¨la risita¨. We had an especially good laugh on Saturday during the baptism of Jerhemi as we attempted to sing a special musical number as the 4 ward missionaries. Unfortunately the elders had intercambios the last minute and poor Elder Newell just had to wing it when he showed up, which resulted in him accidentally singing in a wrong part, causing Hermana Mejia to laugh so hard she had to hide her face behind the hymnal and leave me singing alone for a moment. Oh well. Hopefully the Spirit was still there! Hope you all have a good week and to finish off here´s a great quote I read from the June Liahona this morning. ¨Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more....To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.¨ - Elder Richard G. Scott. So here´s to some stretching and discomfort!
Love,
Hermana Bradley

May 30, 2011


Hello,
So arrived all safe and sound Tuesday afternoon in Los Trinitarios after a fiasco of directions and winding roads. Of all the areas I´ve seen in my mission, this one by far is the most confusing. Half the streets don´t have signs and NONE of them go in a straight line. But at least I have a companion who knows where she´s going, otherwise I would be completely lost! The ward here is really great and I feel right at home among the members. Hermana Mejia and I have done some adjusting, as being together again is a little different considering we both operate differently now, but we are learning. We´ve done a variety of interesting activities to contact and teach people such as rescuing fish from a gutter with a teenage boy to cleaning a filthy kitchen filled with dirty dishes. It was great! I love serving people almost more than teaching! And Hermana Mejia is really great at taking advantage of any opportunity to serve. This weekend however turned out a little difficult as the majority of people left for the campo since everyone likes to go visit their mothers for mother´s day (it´s the last sunday of the month here). Yesterday we spent the entire afternoon walking around with very little lessons, but we did our best. We also had the opportunity to attend the baptism of two youth who´s extended family are members but their parents are not. It was neat to see this brother and sister enter the waters of baptism together. The little girl, Mirta, reminds me SO much of Lia and everytime I see her I just have to give her a hug because it makes me feel better. Next week we already have a baptism planned for Jerhemi, an 18 year old young man who is SO prepared to be a worthy priesthood holder. He´s been investigating for over a year because his girlfriend is a member and now that he´ll be an adult he can be baptized, and he wants to go on a mission. It´s incredible to see the light in his eyes even though he has yet to be baptized. I´m excited to see him progress as I continue to serve in this area. Overall, things are going pretty well. Each day I become more aware of my faults...sometimes it´s a weary process. But like its says in Ether, the Lord gives us weaknesses to make us strong. I am focusing right now on cultivating a spirit of Peace with me in whatever situation I find myself in. Still have lots of patience to learn as well...but hey, baby steps! Hope everyone is doing well at home! I haven´t gotten very many letters lately, so if you were thinking about shooting me a line, do it! I´m in a news drought from home. :) Love and miss you all!
Hermana Bradley

May 24, 2011

CHANGE IS IN THE AIR



Dear Family,
As most of you may know, these last few weeks have been very hard on me. However, I want to thank ever single one of you for your prayers and support, as I have felt them and seen the change come in just the past few days. I´m beginning to see a pattern emerge as I recognize Satan doubling his efforts on me right before wonderful miracles happen. Despite that, I am happy to tell you all that I have been feeling much better these last few days, and I am confident that the Lord will continue to help guide me through these dark storm clouds of doubt. Saturday was a very special day as Ines was finally baptized. We were all a little worried because she works outside the city during the week and no one had really been able to talk to her since Wednesday since her cell phone died. But when she showed up at the chapel a mere 15 minutes before the service was supposed to start, we were all grinning from ear to ear. Englibert baptized his mother and she was confirmed yesterday. It was the most spiritual and special baptism I have attended yet and I will be forever grateful that the Lord allowed me to be a small part of it.
In other news, transfer calls came last night and it turns out I´m going to be with my trainer Hna Mejia again, but in a new area called Los Trinitarios. I head out tomorrow morning and I´m excited to learn new things and meet new people. Although I will miss alot of people here in Los Frailes, I am looking forward to change and different challenges. I am quickly learning that I thrive best when I´m scrambling to catch up with things rather than plodding along comfortably. Also, had a funny story to share from a visit we made yesterday. Mercedes is an elderly woman we´ve been visiting with for a little over a month, but has yet to visit church. We had decided to drop her for a time to see if that would motivate her, but then we were close to her house yesterday and decided to pass by. She was thrilled we were there and began asking us questions immediately about the plan of salvation pamphlet we left here. After answering her questions and sharing our testimonies, we asked Mercedes to offer the closing prayer. She said the sweetest prayer and even asked the Lord to bless us with a car so that we wouldn´t have to walk so much in the heat and could visit her more often. Hermana Reay and I could hardly stop ourselves from laughing and left the appointment grinning. It´s pretty special when people offer sincere prayers in your behalf after knowing them for only a few short weeks. I hope she continues to progress after I leave. Yesteray Hermana Reay and I were also able to sing a special musical number in sacrament meeting. We chose to sing I Feel My Savior´s Love, and it was wonderful to bear our testimonies through song to the ward. I love the Spirit music can invite when we sing from our hearts...even if our voices are imperfect.
Overall, the work is...well, work. But I know that this gospel is true and that we never have to fear when we are constantly looking to our Savior and striving to do everything in our power to cumplir...(can´t remember the word in English haha) with His commandments. Thanks again to all of you for your support!
Love,
Hermana Bradley

May 16, 2011

A Little Puffy There...


¡Buenas!
So this week has quite possibly been the longest and hardest week of my life. But I´m trying to press forward and focus on my blessings as I know it is only when we open our eyes that we truly begin to see the hand of the Lord in our lives. Had an interesting experience yesterday as I work up in the morning very confused because my right eye just didn´t want to open. When I got out of bed and looked in the mirror, I was horrified to see that my eye was puffy, red, and swollen shut. So of course when I showed up to church all of the ward was in a flurry suggesting possible theories of what it could be and what remedies there were. I decided to stick with a benadryl and leave it alone...which worked just fine. It´s back to normal size today and just slightly puffy, but we still have no idea what it was. The work in Los Frailes continues to try us as we clean our investigator pool and try to coordinate appointments with members who don´t often come when they say they will. It can be very discouraging. However, after lots of tears, prayers, and hard work, Ines is set to be baptized this Saturday. Working with Ines has been special for me as I was one of the missionaries who baptized her son Englibert. With the change he´s made in his life thanks to the gospel, Ines was inspired to investigate the church even though she practically vowed to never step foot inside it. She reads her book of mormon faithfully and continually hungers for more knowledge. She will face some economic trials as she will have to quit a job in order to join the church, but I know the Lord will bless her for her sacrifice. Each day my testimony grows stronger of how aware the Lord is of His children. He KNOWS us, He KNOWS our situations, and He is constantly guiding us with an ever patient hand as long as we´re willing to follow Him.
Love,
Hermana Bradley

May 9, 2011

A Little quote Happy...


Querida Familia y Amigos,
Fue una gran bendicion a escucharles ayer en el telefono! Espero que paso una buena dia del madre mama y que sabe que te aprecio tanto. Ok, that´s enough spanish. Sometimes I find it hard to switch over from typing my letters to the president in spanish and then typing in english. I hope you all laugh at me good and long when I get home and can´t even speak my own langauge. Anyways, this week was both a blessing and a trial as we finally moved houses. Now that we have running water we´re much happier, but moving everything was pretty exhausting and I´m still battling a runny nose and cough so it´s been interesting. However, I am very much enjoying our new porch with the hammock my companion put up, so there are perks! This week we also fought alot with discouragement as it appears very few of our investigators want to progress. So we´re cleaning the pool again and starting from scratch. I know there are people out there that are prepared, we just have to find them. I´ve also been diving into old conference editions and finding so much direction from those talks. Here´s a few....

Hope and happiness and joy are not products of circumstance, but of faith in the Lord. Faith requires work and comes by righteousness and obedience, not by miracles or mere belief. -Elder Andersen

To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven. -President Monsen

We might see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today. Our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever...The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation. It takes us as men and women of the earth and refines us into men and women for the eternites. -Elder Wirthlin

We don´t acquire eternal life in a sprint, this is a race of endurance. Discipleship is a journey. We need the refining lessons of the journey to craft our character and purify our hearts. -Elder Uchtdorf

I´ve drawn alot of strength from those quotes over the past week and come to realize that through the trials I´m experiencing out here in the mission field, the Lord truly is helping to refine and mold me...but He´s got His work cut out for Him. :) I want you all to know though that I am so incredibly grateful for all your support, love, prayers, and letters. On the hardest of days I draw strength from all of those. I know that this gospel is true and that like Elder Wirthlin says, it is a gospel of transformation. We only have to open the door and let our Savior in to see what marvelous things He can do with our lives. I love my Savior and I know that this is His gospel. My testimony of Joseph Smith grows stronger each week as I bear testimony of him and his divine calling as the prophet of the restoration. I feel so blessed to live in the last days where we have a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monsen, and other apostles leading this church under the direction of Christ himself. I hope you all never hestitate to go out and share your testimony with others in whatever setting you may find yourself. Share the good news...there´s nothing better to do with our lives.
Love,
Hermana Bradley