Monday, June 13, 2016

"There and Back Again" - Week 101

June 13th, 2016

President Uchtdorf has stated that "We are not made for endings" and that we feel the way we do when we find ourselves having to face the end of a cherished relationship, a rewarding task, or the end of what we've become accustomed to because "We are made of the stuff of eternity". As eternal beings and sons and daughters of the Eternal God, we naturally find it difficult to accept such endings.

     I find myself at this point of my mission with a bitter-sweet understanding of this truth. I´ll be leaving behind a very large family; people that I knew personally in the pre-mortal realm, to whom I was miraculously guided while serving my mission. I was allowed to share in this last sacrament meeting my testimony and farewell to the ward. It was saddening, yet at the same time thought provoking. I know that the Lord has never before taught me how to love so deeply, my investigators, my ward members, my leaders, and my family at home, until I was prepared to do so through my mission. There's still a long way to go, but if there's one Christ-like attribute I can say has been my focus as a missionary, it's been love. And by the grace of God, through His children that He has placed in my path, I have learned just a little more what it is to truly love and be loved. The Dominican Republic will forever hold a special place in my heart, and the experiences that have shaped my life, I will hold close as cherished memories.

     This week our group, those of us who were part of the leadership council, was invited to the council to share our last testimonies. This is something I've been seeing every transfer for a year now, watching friends and colleagues share their testimonies, and suddenly it was my turn. It was a sobering experience and one I'll never forget. After the testimonies, President Corbitt stood and shared some words. He spoke about "the wall", the name for our group. He spoke about the painful experience of having to send home over 21 missionaries in those beginning months, his "own sons" as he calls them, being deceived by the adversary. The emotions ran high in that room as he spoke of the Lord planting a Wall to change the culture and turn the mission around. He had us all stand up, and said that virtually everything the Santo Doming East mission has accomplished, all the miracles we are now seeing, being what the Area Presidency of the Caribbean now calls "the Model Mission" stands on the shoulders of these men. The change in this mission that I've personally seen is enormous. It was a humbling experience to witness my President express himself like that, and an incredible honor to be a part of it. I hope my comments won't be misconstrued. I don't mean to brag, and neither does President Corbitt. We all fully acknowledge that the Lord has done it all, and will do much more. He could have done the same with a bag of rocks. In this case He did it with a bag of bricks, and formed them, shaped them to His use, and created a wall. It stands as testimony to me that the Lord places us, if we're willing, precisely where we need to be when we need to be there.

This week, Aridson, Marileidy's husband, will be baptized. It's a tender mercy form my Father in Heaven to allow me to see this family take this eternal step toward exaltation. When I informed President Corbitt about it, he said "What a way to go out!"! And I feel the same way; infinitely blessed.

I am so very far from perfection. And I'm certainly the first to admit that there are many things I could have done much better. But I wouldn't trade these last two years for anything. All the trials and hardships, tears and laughter... It's all been part of a beautiful plan. I love this gospel, I love this church, and I love my Savior. He is the Christ. God loves us. This is His work and His glory, and nothing else is more important in our existence.

"So long boys. See you in the funny papers"

Elder Brady

Baptism of Moises

The Redeemer of mankind

Monday, June 6, 2016

"The Only Living Boy in The Dominican Republic" - Week 100

June 6th, 2016

     Well, things are just fine and dandy. It's interesting  to see just how much our perspective can change with relatively so little time. I want to kick the bucket with my boots still fastened tight! I'm not going to let my mission slip away from me without giving it all I've got. Not much to say this week, and there will probably be less to say next week. Hope all is well at home. Love you all!

Elder Rosales and I

We went to a mall in the west mission
to meet up with some of the missionaries from our group.
Pretty fun. We all came together, and now we're all goin home...

East Mission-  President Corbitt has a nick name for our group.
He calls us "The Wall".
He says that the Lord planted a wall in the santo domingo east mission
that put a stop to the disobedience.
We're actually his first group and arrived when he did.
President Corbitt is definitely part of the Wall.
 All of us in this picture have been zone leaders,
three zone leader trainers, and we're all best friends.
I love these guys​

Monday, May 30, 2016

"Life and Death" - Week 99

May 30th, 2016

    Life certainly has it's twists and turns that are almost always unpredictable. This Saturday one of my converts and dear friends, Padilla Hernandez, passed away of heart failure. I had the blessing of baptizing this man almost 9 months ago while in Villa Mella. With special permission I was able to visit the family yesterday. His wife, Beatriz, whom I also baptized, was there with her many children, two of which, her daughters, I know personally as well. It's amazing for me to see just what an applicable difference the knowledge of the plan of salvation makes in the lives of those who truly accept the Lord. We shared some stories, some laughs and some tears. It was a nice visit. I wanted to visit them all earlier anyways but couldn't. I'll be going back next Monday. The last time I saw Padilla was the day of his baptism. It does however give me an irreplaceable peace of mind to know that he died a confirmed member of the Church and that one day we will see him again clothed in white. It has served for me as a testimony builder, and has only strengthened my faith. Families are forever and this Gospel is the truest thing that exists.

With love,
Elder Brady

Baptisms! Marciel, Rhadames, and Mercedes.
Mercedes, the elderly lady is actually the mother of the former president Alcantara.
He's in Cuba right now serving a mission with his wife and was ecstatic to hear the news.
She's known the church for almost 30 years,
just needed a little nudge toward the waters. Her other son baptized her. 

Visiting the house

At Padilla's baptism

​I love this man. He'll be greatly missed.

​Something I drew for the family and gave to them.
Because of Him, we may all receive eternal life.

Monday, May 23, 2016

"One Last Adventure in the Mountains" - week 98

May 23rd, 2016

     I'd like to comment briefly on a certain event that occurred this last P'day. As you may well know, Elder Davis and I went back to Sabana Grande de Boya for the afternoon. This little excursion turned into something of an adventure...

     As a preparation for this story, you must realize that this small isolated town in the middle of nowhere has somewhat of a strange feeling to it. It's a quaint little village with simple people who live simple lives. But something about it just rings bells in my memory whose chime I hadn't heard in a long time. It was an awkward time in both our missions in which we were still trying to get a handle on the language and missionary work. Thus our visit was like two middle aged men going back to their junior high and strolling the hallways.

     Everything was going just fine and dandy. We had visited most everyone we wanted to, and we're ready to go home. We decided to just write our families up there to save time and money. As we were nearing the end of writing, The elders currently in that area inform us that the last bus out of Sabana may have already left. So we packed up our things and ran to the nearby house of a member I knew. Out of breath, we explained to him the situation. In an instant we jump into his four wheel drive magic carpet and fly to the bus station. It had already left. We were trapped in Sabana! There was no other way to get back. We could have payed a taxi to take us back, but it would have cost us an arm, a leg, and Elder Davis's left ear so we decided it wasn't worth it. But we for sure didn't want to stay the night in Sabbana. So we went to Natanaiel's house, one of the most faithful member's I've ever met. He called some guys, and said there was someone who could take us back for an arm and a leg, but Elder Davis would be able to keep his ear. So we took it! Lo and behold, it was Tony! Tony used to take Elder Atkinson and I up to Gonzalez all the time when I was back there. Soon enough we were in the car on our way home, with Tony at the helm leading us out once again. Such a sense of dejavu... But Sabana wasn't going to let us go that easily... oh no. We had to replace a broken light bulb, then after having done that, we had to get gas, and by miracles, the station was open when normally it would have been closed at that hour... We finally arrived at the apartment in Cancino at exactly, no joke, 9:30 PM... Unbelievable. Then we finished the exchange the next morning, and all was well. The town didn't want to spit us out, but we made it.

Well, hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Brady

Monday, May 16, 2016

"Time is Ticking" - Week 97

May 16th, 2016

     Everything is fantastic in Los Solares. We're replenishing our pool of investigators, getting to know new people each day. It's been an absolute blast being with Elder Rosales! He's an excellent teacher and came very prepared to work hard and share the gospel in his mission. He's willing to do what's asked of him and to help in what is needed. I see in him a very skilled missionary and future leader of this mission. He will help many other missionaries in the near future, I'm sure of it.

     When I first got to the mission, I remember thinking just how fun mission work was! Now almost two years later, I feel like I love it and enjoy it more and more everyday. The work of salvation is a serious thing. It's not without disappointment and it's certainly not easy, but I couldn't think of a more rewarding more joyful way of spending my time and energy right now.

     We went to Sabana Grande de Boya, my old area to visit today. Lot's of fun, but at the same time very nostalgic. Have a good week everyone! Love you all!

Elder Brady

Monday, May 9, 2016

"Me Quedo!" - Week 96

May 9th, 2016

     All is well in Zion, and I'll be staying here to start someone's training till I finish this last transfer. It's gonna be a blast! I'll miss Elder Charles for sure, but I'm excited to meet and help someone new. Love you all!

Elder Brady

Last time with these punks!

Matthew 11:5

All tuckered out

The District

Hermana Bocanegra goes home!

Love this guy

Elder Romero Rockin out!

My good buddy Elder Chub and I

Monday, May 2, 2016

"Faith; A Principle Worth Living by" - Week 95

May 2nd, 2016

 Well, first off... Happy Mother's day! The world would be a much much darker place without the kind and sweet disposition of selfless service and intuition of mother's all over the earth. I for one, am particularly grateful for my own mother's selflessness and sweet nature. Mom, you're my hero! To all mothers wherever you may be, I salute you. And to my mother, I adore you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. :)

     Well, we've learned quite the lessons of faith and submission to the Lord this week. Marileidy was married, baptized and confirmed a member of the church! She shared her testimony in sacrament meeting and I'm sure there were more teary eyes than dry that day. She's gained such a beautiful testimony. The day before her marriage she was feeling really discouraged and down because she didn't have any money to pay for the marriage the next day. She had 40 Pesos (not even a dollar). Aridson, her husband, had tried selling his phone to get the money, but that very day the phone stopped working. The adversity was strong, but our faith was stronger. I asked her if she believed in miracles. She said, of course, but if tomorrow morning I wake up and only have 40 pesos, I'm staying in bed. We told her that she should ask anyone she hadn't yet asked to contribute, and later that night I would call and ask her how much she had. She would tell me, and I assured her that no matter the amount she had I would say "Marileidy, we've received the grace of God, and you will be getting married tomorrow morning." Even if we called her right then and there. We applied the eye of faith and truly saw it before it happened. After having her spirits lifted and faith increased, she was excited for the following day. By the grace of God, after doing what I'm convinced was absolutely everything within our power, with the help of some wonderful members in the ward, and one of the most hectic weeks of my mission, we received His grace, and I was able to tell her just that on the phone that night. The next several days, everything fell into place. The Lord certainly does hear and answer our prayers. My testimony is stronger every day and my faith in Jesus Christ continues to grow.

Love you all,
Elder Brady

Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Our Redeemer, our Savior, and our Hope, is a living, breathing, active thing.
Our belief that He carried out an infinite atonement,
and that we, by His grace and mercy have rights to access it's enabling power,
should change the way we look at everything. It is not just a dream, this is reality.