January 25, 2011

There was a bee...

¡Hola Hola!
As you may have guessed from the subject, yes, there WAS a bee, actually, more specifically a wasp, and yes I got stung. Today we went to Parque del Este to visit with all the other missionaries from the capital and apparently I still need to learn Spanish because an Elder warned me that there were wasps in the area, but I clearly didn´t understand the warning. So now I have a big red welt on the back of my calf. Lessons learned the hard way I guess. But anyways, the work continues to roll on here in Los Frailes. Hermana Louis arrived on Friday afternoon and now we are officially a trio. I´m re-learning patience all over again with cultural and personality differences, but that´s mission life. I just need to suck it up. However, recieved some good news today that Elder Nelson will be visiting our mission next month! Which means we´ll combine with the West Mission to hear him speak to us! So exciting! We´ll also be going to the temple this month, so lots of blessings this transfer.

La obra misional is going well. Kelvin and Yaselis have their baptism set for this Saturday and they have already been interviewed. They are both so ready and so excited to have an eternal family and I feel so blessed to have been able to be a part of their journey. Another blessing has been the progress of Dulce, a sweet sister we´ve been teaching for the last few weeks who has a member daughter that´s married and living in Utah. Dulce was able to come to church yesterday for the second time and she is quickly gaining a testimony of the clarity and truth the Book of Mormon contains. Her husband Guzman has beliefs that are a little different, but with the help of the Lord his heart is being softened and he is very receptive of us. We hope to see Dulce baptized before the end of this transfer.

This week I´ve been tearing through issues of the Liahona. Since I finally finished reading Jesus the Christ, I just can´t get enough wisdom from our modern day prophet and apostles! Such a blessing! There is a FANTASTIC article by Elder Oaks in the January issue called ¨Fundamentals to our Faith¨ that I would highly recommend. So powerful! And I love that he gave it at a university conference...one of the ivy leagues. I also was re-reading Elder Scott´s fantastic address from conference and discovered my new motto from his talk ¨We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become.¨ I think for me one of the hardest things is just being content with my best efforts. I need to recognize that everything is a process, and as long as I am trying to be what I want to become, everything will work out in the end. Another wonderful blessing from personal study lately has been reciting the Living Christ. I finally finished memorizing it (in English) and I have found it incredibly helpful spiritually and metally to recite it at least once a day. Then when I´m reading scriptures or sharing with investigators, parts of it will come to my mind and help me better express my testimony or apply a principle. Experiences like that happen every day out here, and each one gives me strength and helps remind me that what I do every day makes a difference. Satan works hard to convince us otherwise, but every day, every moment counts. Anyways, I hope all is well at home. You´re in my thoughts and prayers always!
Hermana Bradley

January 17, 2011

Transfer Time

I cant believe its time for transfers again! But anywho, received the call last night that I will kicking here in Los Frailes with Hermana Diaz still....and another hermana. Thats right, the Lord in His infinite wisdom has decided to BLESS me again with a trio. It should be an interesting transfer...one Dominican, one American, and one Haitian. Haha. But really, Im just happy that I get to stay here and continue working with the people here, especially since we have a baptismal date! After an incredible week visiting Kelvin and Yaselis each day, they have committed to be baptized at the end of this month and I am SO incredibly excited for them! This little young family is so special and it has been a blessing to see their progress. They were able to attend both sessions of area conference with us yesterday and their testimonies grow stronger daily. They will be a great blessing to many people both within and outside the church.
Another wonderful experience we had this week was with Dulce and her husband Guzman. We have been visiting with Dulce for a few weeks now as she is very interested in the church and how it has blessed the life of her daughter, who converted as a teenager, married an RM, and now lives in Utah. However, the health of Guzman is not the greatest and he showed little interest in sharing with us initially. But the Lord always provides a way where there are righteous desires! We passed by on Friday with Hermano Abad, an elderly member of the ward, who was key in discussing the gospel with Guzman. Both agreed to attend conference on Sunday, arrived together, and enjoyed the company of old friends from the ward as well as the counsel from area authorities. Such a blessing!
We also had an interesting experience with a contact this week. We greeted Daniel in front of his house and introduced ourselves. He then proceeded to tell us that he was an atheist and explained all the reasons why. He had recently experienced a trial with a home robbery among other things, and just proclaimed that God would not let things like that happen. Afterwards as Hermana Diaz and I were discussing it, both of us realized that, in all reality, atheists believe in God just as much as anyone else. The problem is that they do not WANT to believe in God because they have not yet learned to grow from their trials. Not an easy lesson to learn, as we are all continually learning it. But it was an eye opening experience nonetheless.
This week marked 6 months in the mission for me, and I can hardly believe it has ONLY been 6 months, and that it has passed so quickly. Time in the mission is like nothing else. But I am learning to enjoy things in the moment and trying hard not to live in the past or worry too much about the future. It is a constant battle out here, but I can feel the centimeters of progress. Slowly, ever so slowly. Thank you to all of you for your love, support, and letters! They help get me through the hard days and make the good days all the better. I could not do this work without all of my cheerleaders at home. Love you guys!
Hermana Bradley

January 10, 2011

Listen to that Voice

Dear Family and Friends,
I hear you are all freezing back at home! Even Sara and Alyse keep writing about getting bundled up. But if ya´ll would like to be warm, just come on down to the Caribbean, it´s SWELTERING again and I am missing the snow of home. On the bright side, I´ll have a nice ugly missionary tan when I get home! Anyways, the work here is going well, and Hna Diaz and I are working hard to prepare some of our investigators for baptism. The family we were meeting with right before Christmas finally returned and we got to teach them the plan of salvation this week. As we were sitting there and I was testifying of the Savior´s role in our Heavenly Father´s plan for us, Kelvin and Yaselis were holding hands and smiling and WOW you could practically reach out and touch the Spirit it was so strong. Moments like those remind why I came out here. Because this gospel IS true. We CAN have eternal families, and the Lord has prepared a way for us to achieve that. Another neat experience this week was with one of the young adult single sisters in the ward. We´ve been visiting her and her brother for awhile now, and she´s coming back to church, but the ward here doesn´t have alot of support for young singles. We passed by her house on a whim this week and as we sat down to share a scripture, I was browsing through my list of favorites I have, just to help me remember, and one stuck out to me. As the thought came to my mind I immediately asked myself ´´Why would I share that? She´s doing great.¨ But the prompting came again strong, so I swallowed my pride and shared it. As this sister read the scripture, she began crying and smiling. Afterwards she explained that she´d been feeling very alone and discouraged and had been praying for help, and our visit and scripture had been just what she needed. Wow. I love this work!!! The Lord loves His children, and He uses each of us to help support one another. And to think I almost ignored the prompting. I have lots more to learn out here. Yesterday we visited with one of our Haitian investigators, and took our lider misional Hno Pierre with us, who speaks Creole (a dialect of French spoken in Haiti) and got to listen to Justín not only bear her testimony of Joseph Smith, but bear it to her neighbors who were murmuring about it. Then Hno Pierre proceeded to tell the murmurers in Creole that they would have made great pharisees in the times of Jesus. Hahaha. I almost died laughing when he told us afterwards. Sometimes I wish I could speak Creole...but I still need to master Spanish first. We also had a bit of excitement this week when the colmado (small corner market) next to our apartment building was robbed. The thieves shot at our complex gatekeeper and broke a windshield of a car parked in front of our building. At the time I was a little freaked out, but afterwards I remembered mom´s words ¨I´m not worried about you dying. If you die in the mission field, it´s the Lord´s will¨ Haha. Thanks mom. Really though things are good and I know that as missionaries we are protected by the Lord. It is such a blessing to be out here serving my brothers and sisters and doing the work of my Heavenly Father. Thank you all of you for your love and support. I have continued to receive lots
of letters and emails from all of you, and I am so grateful for them. Although the mission is wondeful, it can also be very trying, but it always helps to know that I have people who love me and are praying for me. Thanks again to all of you and have a wonderful week!
Hermana Bradley

January 3, 2011

Buya o Booyah

Queridos Familiares,

Hope you all had a fantastic new year! It was good and noisy here in the D.R. We are blessed to live almost next door to a "drink" or bar...and they thoughtfully played loud music from the moment I got in bed until the moment I woke up. Luckily we walk so much that I slept through most of it anyway, but oh how I love trials of the mission. The experience did however give me the opportunity to learn another Dominican word...at least I think it´s especially Dominican, but who knows. Aside from ruido, they use buya here when they say something is noisy. I proceeded to explain to my companion and Maria Isabel, the young single adult rep that goes out with us, that we use booyah in English to rub it in someone´s face when we win a game. Haha. I love languages.

This week has been busy with lots of appointments and work in the ward. Hna Diaz and I joke that we could both spend the rest of our missions in this area and still have work leftover. It´s so big and there are SO many people and SO many things in the ward that need support. But I love it so much. It´s nice to know that there´s work to be done. We had a really neat experience one morning this week as were were going out to visit our investigators and could hardly find anyone in their houses or on the streets. After walking around for 2 hours straight without talking to almost anybody, we were inspired to stop by a recent contact. We were blessed to have a very spiritual lesson and found out that when she was younger, this woman went to church all the time with her neighbors. We hope to see Lucia and her friend Mariel progress as we continue to visit them. Another highlight of the week was going out christmas caroling. Since they celebrate here til the 31st, it wasn´t that strange, but peope don´t really go out caroling so it was nice to do something different. We got a few of our less active young single adults out and visited a bunch of less active families. I think I´ll carry on that tradition once I get home. We also had the chance to visit a man in our neighborhood who´s not a member, but called us and asked us to come visit and later for a priesthood blessing. So Elders Yates and Williams, who are also serving in this area with us, came to give the blessing. I am so grateful to be serving with worthy priesthood holders! What a wonderful experience it was to witness a blessing to a nonmember! Not something I will soon forget.

And of course, like with every week with Hna Diaz, we had lots of laughs. This week we had the opportunity to share a lesson with an elderly woman who´s evangelical. After a slightly difficult lesson in trying to get a word in edgewise, I asked her if she was willing to give the closing prayer, like we always do. However, I noticed that Hna Diaz was giving me a look of terror as I invited her. Confused, we continued the lesson, the woman offered the prayer, and we left. As we were walking away reviewing the lesson, Hna Diaz commented that she once had an experience with an evangelical investigator who prayed for half an hour straight. When I realized this was the reason for the terror in her eyes...the thought of listening to a prayer for half an hour...we both had a good laugh. Everything here is going great and I am counting my blessings every day for this experience. I also received lots of letters from friends, the VV8 ward and a surprise package from Jared and Jolene. Thank you so much to all of you! Your support means more than you know! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Hermana Bradley