Monday, August 25, 2014

"It´s A Jungle Out Here" - Week 7

On Aug 25, 2014, at 4:08 PM, Spencer Brady wrote:

Dearest friends and family,

Wow... What a couple of weeks! Fristly, thank you all for the love and support! Secondly, I am loving this! Couldnt be happier! Thirdly, please pardon the spelling errors. I type as quickly as I can and I´m not a great speller to start with. Plus, spellcheck doesnt work on these blasted computers, seeing as how everything is in Spanish, and doesnt recognize any of the words in my letters. Therefore, everything I send out is completely underlined in red, and I just hope for the best! Ok... and here. we. go.

The Dominican Republic

1. Culture- The people here are absolutely nuts! I love them to death! And they´ll love you to death literally, if youre crossing the street. The driving here... I cant even call it driving! It´s like an unsuporvised go-kart race! If they think they can make it, they do! Nah, its all pretty safe i guess! No worries mom! They´re the best! For the most part. People are nice in Utah, but this counrty takes friendly to a whole new level. (That´s why youve got to stay away from some of the women) Just kidding! But not really at the same time. People are crazy. Everyone is blasting their music in the street, from their houses, from their cars, in a box with a fox... Everywhere! Dominicans party hard. But everyone is so nice and so willing to have a conversation with you. Plus, nobody´s really ever doing anything more important anyway. They love to sit out on lawn chairs in the street. Playning checkers, eating, chillin, listening to music with their shirts pulled up over their bellies. The Dominican way is strangely appealing... Ïts nice though, cause when we schedule appointments, any time works fro them. But there´s also a different kind of dominican that isnt lazy. I´ve met people who´s work ethic is unbelievable! On fridays we teach some english to a group of guys who are learning, while they teach me some Spanish. They´re great! So bright and so intelligent. One of them, George, we also teach gospel lessons to him and his friend Louis. His english is almost perfect! He´s extremely smart, and extremely talented. Hes an amazing singer. Hes also very driven in his work, and committed to his family. He has a wife and a 2 yr old son named brandon whom he loves very much. It really makes me wonder why a guy like this is still living in the kind of house he does, if you can call it a house. so small, so poor. If he were only given some opportunity, he could really make a big difference in the world! I love talkig with him. He´s a man of great faith, and a promising investigator.

2. Distractions- This is something I had never thought would be such a big problem in the field. Especially in a place like this. It can be hard at times to have a spiritual lesson in the midst of loud music. Or maybe the Yuca truck comes  by as you´re trying to share your testimony in broken Spanish, blairing through a megaphone trying to sell platanos and what not. Or perhaps a five year old child throughs a big fit durring the middle of your lesson, and the single mother of four, doing her absolute best and best she knows how, has to take her inside every five minutes to spank her untill she stops crying and falls asleep in her loving arms. Distractions. It can be the hardest part. I quote my companion, Elder Marroquin, when I say ¨Freaking Satan! Let us work!¨ And it is very true.

3. Food- I havent even tried an empenada here yet! They´re supposedly the best thing to taste. No worries. I´ll get around to it. We eat rice... and beans... and when we go out we usually get chicken from ¨Pica Pollo¨(a cheap fast food place, very popular here) Oh, but the best, is the soda! There is a green apple flaver of a brand called Red Rock that is to die for! anyway, food is kind of boring so far

4. The Members- Here in the dominican Republic are some of the best members in the world. I´m convinced of it. They give everything to the church, and are so grateful for the gospelin their lives. There are very few of them, but where quality is concerned, none are lacking. One member, named Niola, is kind of our ward mother. We have FHE with her and her family. Such great people. She loves hearing me speak english, and she makes fun of my Spanish every chance she gets! I love it! She´ll come with us durring our lessons sometimes. She´s very dedicated to the church. All of the members are.

Well, it´s raining non-stop here. Starting to get used to being wet. Its the best! Anywho, if there´s one thing i´d like to leave you with it´s this simple principle. Im learning very quickly that the amount of knowledge you have, of the language, of the scriptures, of anything... doesnt matter. Not if you dont have love. If you aproach people with a kind smile and first let them know that you are their friend, there is no size of language barrier that can keep you from connecting to them. Kindness is universal. The Light of Christ is in every living soul, and we are all we are all connected by it. Love is the only thing that can break through to a hardened heart.

Thank you all for everything!

Elder Brady

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Elder Brady enters the Mission Field

Presidente Heriberto Hernandez

Republica Dominicana   Santo Domingo   Gazcue   Avenida Bolivar #45   Teléfono (809) 687-5080   Fax (809) 685-8309

Dear Brady Family, 

For me, it is a great pleasure to inform you that your son, Elder Spencer Brady arrived at the mission home safe and sound and ready to start his mission.  We want to thank you for having sent him to serve in this marvelous work.  His own life and that of his family will be greatly blessed. 

Your son will have very special experiences in these two years of service.  The people of this country are very kind and have the desire to know the truth.  We are sure that with your support and love, and the guidance he will receive here in the mission, Elder Brady will obtain success. 

We are at your service to respond to any inquiry that you may have with respect to your son or his mission.  We expect him to communicate with you each week via letter or e-mail.  He will also communicate with you personally by telephone on Christmas and Mother’s Day. 

Elder Brady will receive all of our love and care.  Without any doubt, he will be a blessing in the lives of the many people he will bring to the light and the truth. 

May you receive blessings in abundance from the Lord. 


President Ahmad Corbitt
Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo East Mission.

Today we received these Great photos of Spencer!
 First one is of Spencer and his new companion, Elder Marroquinn from Guatemala, who is on his last transfer.
 Second is of Elder Brady, Elder Marroquinn, and  President Corbitt and his wife. He looks happy and eager! Sooo proud! Thanks again for ALL the support you have all been so far! He appreciates it!

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Todo... We're not in Kansas anymore..." - Week 6

On Aug 18, 2014, at 4:15 PM, Spencer Brady wrote:

Hey yall!
Life is absolutely fantastic in the field! Its crazy! I'm in an area called La Victoria, Im in a jungle. Dirt roads, shacks for houses... Its so poor here. The people are great though! My comp is Elder Marroquin from Guatemala! We house with Elders Martinez, and Cornejo from Guatemala and El Salvador. 
Im being forced to learn Spanish in a very progressive way. Im very lucky to have been put with E. Marroquin though. He's an amazing Missionary and has some english under his belt. This is his last transfer, so he's determined to make it count! We're good buds. We have a lot of fun! I teach him englich, and he teaches me spanish.
Im learning to live without the finer things in life. Shower curtains, toilet seat, air conditioning, good food, etc... The shower is one solid stream of cold water! Its the best! when we dont have water, we take bucket showers. Gotta love those! The fly colony in our apptment host their meetings in our kitchen and I think the cockroaches in the bedroom are planning an insurrection against us. gotta be carefull with those fellas.
The other day I saw a horse just chillin on the side of the street as if he were in line to buy an empenada. So many dogs and cats everywhere! Oh, we have a pet! Well, i think he's our neighbors dog, just about the only semi-cute mutt in the country, we call him doggy and he sits with us durring personal and comp study. I've seen feelers wigling from inside an electrical outlet. I've seen a triantula the size of my hand... Fun stuff!
Last night we got lost for the first time. We kept walking in what we thought the right direction was, but ended up in the middle of a place that looks excactly like the set of Jourasic Park. That's how it is here, one area is beautifulo, the next looks like the set of The Walking Dead. 
One time durring a lesson, by candle-light, we heard shouting outside. The guy we were teaching asked my companion to stand up from the couch, and from underneath the cushion, he pulls out a huge pistol and sticks it in his pants. Since i dont speak spanish (and neither does anyone else her, they all speak Dominican... very different) I was confused. everything is out of context. Afterward my comp told me he was a cop, and works at the prison thats in our area... So all is well! He has four daughters, but isnt married because he doesnt have the money. They attend church every week, and one of their daughters, Isabella, is 8 and will my baptised in a month. She says she'd like me to baptise her. Im so excited. I love these kids! Everytime we walk past their home, they come running! and holding our hands they walk with us to our next appointment.
The other day it rained way hard! We were trying to find the house of a contact, and we could remember what street she was on. none of them have names here. My compainion was excited, cause his last comp never liked going out in the rain, but we had a ton of fun that day! Just picture everyone on the side of the road under shelter, and two missiononaries walking in the streat under the pooring rain with big dumb grins on their faces waving to everyone! It was great. We spent 25 minutes looking in this thunderstorm when we finally found her house, and she wasnt home. Oh well! 
Thats when we went contacting where the streats turned into rivers. We chose one path that took us to a swampy farm land with chickens practically swimming in the marshes. Every house on the road was vaccant, and where the road ended, we both decided to turn left to one house we could see. Turns out a lady lived there that has belonged to a pentacostal church for seven years, and said she felt like a prisoner. This last month she finally got out of it and said that no body from her church will talk to her. She felt foresaken. At the end i shared with her my simple testimony with the very limmitted spanish i know, and she began to cry. She was prepared to hear our message, and the lord guided us to her humble home. 
Another time, we were contacting and after leaving the house of a woman who said she wouldnt recieve another visit, an older man from that house, perhaps her father, came out calling for us. With his shirt unbttoned and half-way on, like most Dominicans, he was rubbing some kind of herb-like plant on his belly.He said he had been having the worst stomache pains and had been praying for someone to come and help him. He recognized us as representitives of Christ, and wanted us to give him a blessing. So we did. And afterward, he kissed our hands and told us how he prays and gives thanks to God every day for missionaries like us and for the help that our countries give his people. It was awesome.
I've learned that dominicans cannot sing. Church is interesting here! The people are so great though!
Anyway, the heat is hot, and the mosquitos bite! Im starting to get used to being itchy. It's fantastic here! Im loving every minute of it. Thank you all for your love and support!
Love, Elder Brady
Ps- Sorry there are no photos, cant get them off the ipod and onto the computer. Next week! love love love!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"Out of the frying pan, and into the fire!" - Week 5

On Aug 7, 2014, at 3:10 PM, Spencer Brady wrote:

Hello everyone.

Welp, just about wrapping up my time here at the CCM. It's been a good stay, and i've learned a lot. I'll miss my companion, my district, and the teachers here a lot, but it's all good! Ready to go out into the wild and not understand a lick of what anyone's saying... It's the best! I love it! 
I suppose i'll share my "in-field experience" i had last week. We went on splits with missionaries in the city, and we're going again tomorrow. It was crazy awesome!
My companion was Elder Estepan, whose english was pretty good, so i was lucky. great missionary who taught me a lot. I'll share with you an allegory he told me. 
Before the mission, you're on the street with an eyesight restricted by buildings and limited by a horizon. While you're on the mission, you are raised high above the street to a bird's-eye view with a perspective on life unlike you've ever had before. So far, its completely true, and im excited to be lifted to those heights.
Anyway,  the city... Wow. Chickens, cats, dogs and trash everywhere. Crooked side-walks, tin-roof buildings stacked on top of each other, slums on slums on slums! Dogs runnin and barkin on the roof, music in the air, good smells, really bad smells, everything was so foreign. Kids under the age of 4 dont wear clothes and people over the age of 70 dont either!
Our first appointment was with a member named Jerson to help him with his mission papers. Going up the narrow and winding stairs to his apartment, we had to duck under low hanging telephone wires. If people are home here, their door is open, and they have a metal-barred door/gate shut and locked. We entered this humble home, passing the shower curtain covering the bath near the doorway, to see the small room in which they lived. 3 beds, a bookshelf, fridge, small stove and interestingly enough, a computer. Wires spread everywhere across the cement walls. Jerson had to leave for work, so we sat down on the lower bunk-bed and taught people who i think were his family, (some of them). All members, three women. They had questions about a book one of them was reading online that was written by a member and was about Kolob.She insisted she got it from, but upon further inspection, it was from blogspot. Elder Estepan talked with me later about it being a problem with new members trying to dive into deep doctrine before learning the more basic. Especially when using resources that are not church approved. It was a great discussion though. I'm able to bear my testimony, sing a hymn, and pray in spanish. That's about it right now... 
When we contacted, i could introduce, ask a few questions, and then follow well enough to understand what was going on. But during lessons, they speak so darn fast, I just sit there with a big dumb grin on my face, and afterwards ask my companion what happened. All good though!
Our last meeting was this woman's first lesson, whose name i cant remember nor could i pronounce it at the time. Even though I couldnt understand what was being said, I could feel the spirit so strong. Elder Estepan afterwards explained that that's the only thing that matters. That they feel the spirit, and that we teach them to recognize what they're felling as such. 
All in all, it was the craziest and most fun day here yet! I'm so excited for the field. 6 hrs walking in unbearable heat, my feet were mashed sausages, and that was only half a day! Wish me luck for tomorrow!
Also, transfer is Tuesday p-days in the field are Mondays, so you probably wont hear from me for about a week and a half. During that radio silence, I'll really be experiencing the field! 
Thank you all for the Love and support!
Elder Brady 

#1- bit of fun in the room, usually if we have five minutes we're napping.

#2- my roomies outside studying

#3- Hermano Nuñez, my companion Elder Orchard, and I. Love these guys.