February 28, 2011

Lucky Number 13

Family and Friends,
I feel like I just wrote ya´ll...oh wait, that´s because I did! This week, although short, has been rather long. But the good news is that transfer calls came and I not only get to stay in Los Frailes for another transfer, but Hermana Reay, and AMERICAN sister, is going to be my new companion! I am so excited to work with her and continue to see the progress of the work here in this area. This week we had lots of miracles occur, and I know more are bound to come as we continue to dedicate all of our efforts to the Lord. Many of our investigators are progressing rapidly and we had an incredible turnout of THIRTEEN investigators in sacrament meeting yesterday. I was blown away. We also put down a baptismal date with Mayra, who we´ve been teaching for over 2 months now. She still has to quit coffee, which will be a trial, but we know with the help of the Lord she can do it. Please keep her in your prayers. I also had the oportunity on Sunday to give my first talk in Spanish. I chose to speak on Elder Christofferson´s general conference address ¨Reflections on a Consecrated Life.¨ I don´t know how much sense I made, but I learned alot in preparing for the talk and have a renewed desire to consecrate everything I have to the Lord in this work. Today I was reading some scriptures on patience, as we all know I lack alot in that area lol, and I read in Mosiah 24 about the trials and afflictions the people went through during that period. I realized that in order to truly be free of our afflictions, we only need to exercise our faith and patience. Once we learn to do that, the Lord makes our burdens light and we can then be free of our trials. It´s not the deliverance that makes us free, it´s our attitude. Again, it reminded me that I have much yet to learn. Anyways, thank you all of you for your love, letters and emails in the past weeks, they´ve helped alot, and responses are forthcoming in the mail. Next week I´m going to try and send pictures. Love you!
Hermana Bradley

February 23, 2011

Week of Miracles and Blessings!

Dearest Family and Friends,
Wow I have been so blessed this past week I don´t even know where to begin...despite the fact that we still don´t have running water. I guess the Lord blesses us with other things when we´re deprived of the basics lol. First, last Wednesday the Lord worked a wonderful miracle for us. We were running really late with appointments and had to choose between two new contacts. So we chose Ludmilla because she was closer. When we arrived at her house for the lesson, we were delighted and surprised to find that our other contact, Junior, was in fact at her house. The two are friends and we were able to teach them together about the restoration of the gospel. Love little miracles like that! On Thursday I received a very large and heavy package from my favorite Sister Bradley of Washington. I was grinning like a little kid on Christmas for the rest of the day! Then Saturday I had the profound privelege of listening to an apostle of the Lord. Elder Nelson arrived to our mission and happily greeted each of the missionaries in attendance with a handshake. I loved watching the line of missionaries as they filed away with big smiles on their faces. Both Elder and Sister Nelson spoke to us about focusing on the work here at hand and keeping an eternal perspective. Elder Nelson also left us with a very special priesthood blessing and I will not soon forget the experience. Later that day we had the baptism of Englibert, which went wonderful. Although his member girlfriend was a little shocked since he kept it secret until a few minutes before the service. She almost missed the baptism! My favorite part however was watching the entire ward raise their hand in sacrament meeting to welcome the newest member. Before the counselor even finished saying the sentence the entire congregation had their hands up. Englibert is truly going to bless this ward and the Lord´s work. Sunday was another miracle as we went out tracting and found the Jiminez family, a wonderful new family that is very receptive and we hope to see again before this week is out. And now for today! Our zone FINALLY got to go to the temple (which is why I´m writing today)! I love visiting the temple! I think I could spend a whole day just sitting on temple grounds and feel completely content. Afterwards our zone went to the zoo where we saw lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). Pictures will be forthcoming! So all in all, it´s been a fantastic week. Although there are always still the hard moments, the Lord is blessing us richly in His work and I am learning to focus on what is good and move on with things that need improvement. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support, I have felt them alot this week. I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!
Hermana Bradley

February 15, 2011

Happy Day of Friendship

Hola Querida Familia y Queridos Amigos!
Hope you are all having a marvelous Valentine´s Day. Here in the DR everyone refers to it as the Day of Friendship and Love, which I think is much more productive, especially as a missionary lol. Let´s spread that to the States too! Anyways, this week has been another long and trying one, but sacrifice brings forth blessings and the blessings are many! First of all, we have a baptism set for Saturday! Englibert is so ready to be baptized and we are all anxiously waiting for the weekend now. I was practically beaming when my district leader told me that Englibert basically taught HIM about the sacrament and why we partake of it each week. It is so incredible to see people change everything and have the light of Christ light up their lives. We will also be having our conference with Elder Nelson of the twelve on Saturday, so it´s going to be an exciting weekend! Another wonderful blessing this week was seeing 9 of our investigators in sacrament meeting. So amazing! The Lord truly is preparing people to receive His gospel and we are working hard to help these special people progress. I also struck by what a blessing it is to partake of the sacrament each week. Those moments during the passing of the sacrament are some of the most sacred I´ve experienced in my mission, and I´m so grateful that we have the opportunity to be forgiven each week of our weaknesses and mistakes. Sometimes it seems like I´m drowning in a pool of my own weaknesses, but going to church each week and remembering that the Savior overcame all of it for me, helps me get through.
In other news, we haven´t had running water in the house for four days and counting. I´m dying with only buckets to shower, but hopefully it´ll get fixed soon before I lose all sanity. Haha. Yesterday in church I had a funny experience when one of the elderly ladies in the ward approached me to ask me a question and addressed me as Hermana Bradley Cooper while looking confused at my nametag. If you don´t know who Bradley Cooper is...he´s an actor who happens to be very attractive, and one of the young single adult sisters started calling me Bradley Cooper to remember my name, and now it´s starting to spread. Haha. Hopefully that doesn´t stick too long. I also learned an important lesson this week. Never EVER tell investigators that something in there house is bonito...aka pretty or nice...because they will insist on giving it to you afterwards. I now have a very manly looking bracelet that has the Dominican Republic flag on it lol.
Anyways, all in all, things are going well. The mission work is taking off this week and I´m just trying to focus on the needs of these people and what Heavenly Father would have me do to help them. Every day out here is a trial, and I´m learning that I don´t have to be perfect to do the work of the Lord. As my dear Liz reminded me after she got back from her mission, ¨You don´t have to be perfect, you just have to die trying.¨ LoL. So let´s all keep striving to be the best we can and forget the rest!
Love you guys!
Hermana Bradley

February 7, 2011

nothing like a little influenza

Hello Family!
I am happy to report that this week I am feeling much better, even if my body has decided to tell me otherwise. Last Tuesday I woke up nauseated and by the evening I was throwing up hourly. We spent almost two entire days in the apartment and my poor companions had nothing to do but write letters. However, after lots of fluids, a trip to the witch doctor (I´m convinced they don´t have real doctors here), eating lots of bananas with toast, and plenty of sleep, I´ve mostly recovered. Unfortunately as a result, we didn´t get out to visit too many people. We have however begun AGAIN teaching Hermano Calderon, the eternal investigator of 16 years. We basically told him that we aren´t going to leave him alone until he is baptized, so will see how that goes lol.
I also have to apologize for the lack of letters recently. There hasn´t been any outgoing mail for 3 weeks now and I have a stack of letters just waiting to go out, so if you are waiting to hear from me, know it is coming! I finally got a stack of letters this week from lots of you and I am so grateful for all your love and support! Thank you so much!!! Also another side note with the mail, it has been rather unreliable. So if you have sent me a letter and I never wrote you back, it´s because I never got your letter. I ALWAYS write back, even if it takes me awhile. It´s one of my personal mission rules lol. Just so everyone is clear on that note. :-)
Anyways, this week, aside from sickness, I also got to teach our lovely Saturday English class. Every week the class grows and this week I was alone teaching about 18 adults and children. I know I am not the world´s best teacher, but I´m pretty sure they will all at least have the song "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" memorized by the end! And how to say "My name is ____. I am ___ years old". Baby steps right? We also had a bit of excitement in the ward this week as Elder Coleman of the Seventy showed up to Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. Sadly Kelvin and Yaselis, our new members, weren´t there and missed the visit! When we passed by later to tell them the bad news, they quickly began praying that they would have another opportunity soon to see a leader of the church visit. :-) I just love this family!
And for the comedic moment of the week...Today we went to the salon, like always, and as we were leaving I was looking at my pictures on my camera. Little did I know that there were 3 little steps in front of me descending into the parking lot. I very ungracefully tumbled to the ground with a clatter and just sat there stunned. And of course the salon is right beside a car wash so at least 5 men descended upon me all at once. Talk about embarrassing. I have never liked playing a damsel in distress, so I felt especially stupid as they all hoisted me up and fussed over my bleeding knee. But all is well and I will now have a lovely scar to remember the D.R.
All is well here and I hope you are all enjoying the chilly weather at home. I´ve been told it´s snowing more in the States than ever. Count the snowflakes like blessings! This gospel is true and we are so blessed to live in the dispensation of the fulness of times! Love you all!
Hermana Bradley

February 1, 2011

I Am A Child of God

Hello Family & Friends!
This week was long and hard, but I am happy to report that Kelvin and Yaselis were baptized and confirmed this weekend. We prayed for an received a miracle after we arrived to the chapel early Saturday morning to find the building without power or water. The power and water arrived just 15 minutes before the service was supposed to start, but thanks to the Lord everything went smoothly. While baptisms are special, I´m pretty sure watching people get confirmed and receive the Holy Ghost is my favorite. There are few things that feel more wonderful than watching people you´ve grown to love receive such an incredible gift. Both Kelvin and Yaselis continue to thirst for knowledge and search the scriptures. I love visiting them!
This Sunday we also finally received a new ward mission leader that we´re very excited to work with. Hno Delgado joined the church about a year ago after he married Hna Delgado and gained a testimony for himself. He will be a great blessing to the ward and the mission work here in Los Frailes.
The rest of our investigators have run into some trials this week, but we´re going to keep working with them as we push forward in the Lord´s work. We had an interesting lesson this week with a new investigator who has lots of questions. Consequently his friend of another faith was there as well and decided to argue with us. We spent a good half hour bearing testimony of the fact that each of us is a child of God...not just a creature. We don´t do anything to EARN the title child of God, we ARE children of God. Whether or not we live up to our divine potential as herederos...I can´t think of the word in English haha...is up to us and the decisions we make. I know that we are Children of God and that each of us is incredibly precious to our Heavenly Father. We got to talk about this in our Sunday School class and it made me so happy to hear all of our investigators and new converts firmly testify of that fact. This gospel IS true.
Anyways, I´m short on time. But know I love and miss you all. Always in my thoughts and prayers!
Hermana Bradley