Monday, October 27, 2014

"The Whiskered Menace" - Week 16

October 27th, 2014

It´s been a good week! Very busy though. A lot of preparation for the baptism, buying refreshments, getting interviews for Dislaila and signatures from the Zone Leaders, alot of lessons and traveling. But the Baptism was great! We did it Sunday instead of Saturday, and the result was awesome. So much more support from the ward having it right after church. It was a very nice day that I dont think Dislaila will ever forget. She was so happy! The other two that were baptized were Willy and Elvis. Couple a punks! But we love em!
Lets see... This week I tried Jagua! Its a juice thats made from a fruit that only grows here in the Dominican Republic. I´ll try to describe it best I can... Imagine drinking something that smells like gasoline and tastes like finger-nail polish remover with a slight tang. It is disgusting! But apparently its very healthy for you. I can hardly believe its edible. And to think it comes from a fruit that tastes the same! Im thinkin maybe people should look into this as a serious canidate as a replacement for fossil fuel, cause this thing packs a punch!
The other night, we were sitting on our beds, just talking, and hoping the power would come back on so we could make a shake, I saw a mouse scamper into the kitchen. Thus, the usual protocal was iniciated, and rodent purge had commenced. I turned on the iconic song from the opera ¨Rigoletto¨ as loud as i could, we grabbed our broomsticks of wrath, took our positions so as to counter any hope of escape the creature had, and as though it were in slow motion, in a furious fit of rage, we bagan the expulsion of this demon who had slunk its way into our abode. With the incredible thrashing of weaponized mops and brooms we ravaged the kitchen in search our enemy. After all was said and done, the horrific screams, splintered broomsticks, bloodshed, and a sore loss of dignity, Rigoletto ceased. The mouse had won that battle, successfully hiding in some space up inside the oven. But victory was ours the next morning when our furry little foe was found dead on his side, harboring what i thought to be a slight smile, mocking us from the grave. And thats all I have to say about that.
This week a saw a Dominican bludgen a giant tarantula with a soccer ball! That was a sight. The spider was interfering with our sport night! We have one every wednesday that we invite investigators to. Its a grand old time, even though i cant play at all! Im seriously terrible at soccer.... Oh well.
Today I played a purly Dominican game called Vitilla... Its basically baseball without running for poor kids. The bat is a broomstick, and the ball is the cap from a water jug- super hard to hit! But its pretty fun. They can throw those things really really well too! 
Thanks to a package ive recieved, (Shout out to Mom!) I have a tiny little spice kitchen in my house. We´ve been using it to add some variety in our regular diet of rice and beans. Elder Bodily and I love it! The Latins in our house arent as fond of flavourful food as we are! But its all good.
Anyway, as always, thank you all so much for the love and support!

Elder Brady

Elder Bodily tanning on our roof for p-day. Funny... His first name is actually Tanner.

View from the roof.

Bien Venido a La Victoria! (The city part)

Wash day!

Playin some vitilla in the street!

Halloween is in the house!

Those cobwebs were actually inside the cupboards before...

The Bat hanging from the pull-up bar has been affecionately named by Elder Zarate as "Saint Batthew"!


Happy day! Its a reversed Oreo... "Salvation Eddition"!

The Crew!Ha! What punks!

The other guys made us a bunch of pasta while we were out...Yum?
Celebrating Elder Bodily´s one year mark!

Unlimited Empenada night with some of our favorite members, MiguelAngel, Genesis, y DanAngel...awesome!

Monday, October 20, 2014

"Life is like a package of pens in the D.R. never know what you're gonna get" - Week 15

October 20th, 2014

Explanation to my subject line-  We have this Super Market in our Zone called Olé, that Ive come to hold a hateful grudge against. Firstly, they didnt have tomatillos for me to make my salsa, and secondly this... I bought a big pack of pens that explicitly says on the cover "pens of all colors" with a rainbow assortment inside. Blues, greens, reds, and purples of the most brilliant shades. I thought to myself, "Hey, these would make great scripture marking pens". To my shigrin I found as I opened the package at home, all of the pens to be the exact same color. Every single blasted pen that appeared to be part of a beautiful array, were all of the same dissapointing dulled blue. They didnt even write very well... (insert pittiful sigh here) I spent like 80 pesos on that thing! Even though thats not even two dollars, my plight was real. I could impart some kind of object lesson here... something deep about how sometimes in life we dont get what we were expecting.... but really it was just a dissapointing purchase at a crappy store!
We have this one family we teach, that absolutely love it when we come by to share the ¨word¨, the only problem is getting them to church. We teach them in back of their house, and everytime we come they invite all their neighbors to listen. Sometimes the crowd is actually pretty big, and i feel like we´re preaching a sermon. Its awesome! One time, they offered us coco, coconuts, which he grabbed off their tree, got a machete, chopped part of it up, and we drank the milk from it. So good! Then they gave us the meat inside. Twas quite good. Another time they gave us a dominican treat called arepa. Its like a mushy cornmeal cake, that is usually served frozen or cold. She had just cooked it, so it was hot, and i actually like it served warm allot better. 
We have a baptism this next Saturday. Dislaila, 11 years old. Super excited. We would have had two more, but they fell through. Rachel and Sandra. They are so ready.... but they just wont come to church! One of the frustrations of the mission. 
Well, The Dominican Republic is a cool place. Sometimes i feel like im in the movie Nacho Libre, cause i can say probably every minute walking on the street... "and that, is a crazy lady!"...because its true! Also every night there is a party. And Dominicans party hard! We steer clear of those.
My last Intercambio was much better.... Elder Estrada de Guatemala, although everytime he introduced himself, he was from another country. Peru, Panama, Venezuela... everywhere but Guatemala. I think i might start telling people im from England, Canada, Australia.... They certainly dont know the difference in my accent. Might as well have some fun with it right?
Well, sorry I dont have any photos this week. I really havent taken any. Ill be better next week. But thank you all so much for everything!
!Para Siempre Dios este con vos!
Elder Brady

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Dazed and Confused! Como Siempre!" - Week 14

October 13th, 2014

So... Another week!

One of the ¨perks¨of being the District Leader´s companion, is the opportunity to go on intercambios with our other missionaries in the district. These splits are usually inconvenient, uncomfortable, and just not fun. 
This last week Elder Bodily went with Elder Coc in his area, and Elder Valdez came with me in our area. He´s 100% Dominican! Thus, it was a fun-filled time of 24 hours trying to understand the guy. Hes a good person, and of course we got along just fine, but some of his excentricities made me glad we were only companions for the day. He has 6 months in the mission, and is still in training! The president kept him there because he simply wont do anything. Unfortunatly there are a lot of ¨dead¨missionaries like that. And plenty of them in our Zone. At night Elder Valdez set up some speakers he brought, and plugged in his Hymns, which of course were in Spanish. And like every other Dominican, the music was incredibly loud! That was super fun to study to in the morning! All that really istnt anything to complain about, but there were some hygienical differences that raised some red flags! The guy was allways spitting, in the streets, everywhere, which isnt too uncommon here. But he was also always farmer blowing, and snott-rocketting... IN THE HOUSE! I dont have the social tact to confront a person about a situation like this in English let alone in Spanish... Im just glad he was sleeping in Bodily´s bed, and not mine! So I thought I´d judt share with you that interesting experience. Looking forward to many more intercambios.
Our Zone, Los Restauradores, is kind of full of ¨Tigs¨and disobedient missionaries. We dont have any Sister missionaries to keep us in line! I wish we did. As an example of the ¨tigaraje¨in our Zone, our last meeting, we talked alot about some of the fairly recent rules regarding what we can and cant do on P-days. Things are much more restrictive now than they once were, and many missionaries are having a hard time adjusting. At the close of the meeting, Elder Ponce, from our district, got up to the pulpit, and admonished every one to fast and pray for the President to change his mind about the rule, saying something like, Ï believe in God, but I dont believe President is making the right choices¨... HA! Talk about apostisy! Our Zone leader had to get up and say that we´re not dong that. So yeah, thats our Zone right now. The ZLs even have a sign in their house that says ¨Los Restauradores, El Mejor Zona¨ to which one of them added to the word ¨mejor¨the suffix ändo¨which then reads, ¨Los Resauradores, The Bettering Zone¨ acknowledging our need for improvement. The President will actually be coming up to give us all interviews this week. Which will be awesome, cause this Zone needs a good kick in the rear end. And trust me, Im not a crazy ¨flecha¨missionary, who is super, annoyingly obedient. Im just a normal missionary, who loves the work. But trust me, this Zone needs improvment.
So, Elder Bodily makes these really cool agenda covers, and has taught me how to make them using contact paper, thread and photos of our choice. I just made mine today using Caravaggio´s Ïnspiration of Saint Matthew¨for the front, and for the back, the Chi-Rho, symbolizing Christ, from the Book of Kells. That was for all you Art History geeks (Shalise)
Anywho, Thanks a bunch for everything! I love you all!
Elder Brady
Elder Zarate bought a Christmas tree. Latins get prematurly excited for this holiday!

Lunch time!

Nuestro Habitacion... Bodily has a hamock

I'm a bit afraid!

This is our palace!

Monday, October 6, 2014

"Note to Self... Never "Black Man Grip" a General Authority" - Week 13

October 6th, 2014

So... Conference was awesome! 

We watched it at la Capilla with the ward. Of course Elder Bodily and I were watching it in English in another room, thank goodness! We took our shoes off, loosened our ties, and enjoyed our time of peace through the inspired words of our prophets. Ill have to admit though, it was a long work and meeting filled week. We've both been a bit sick this weekend, me with a fevor and headache, and my comp with a cold, so at one point we must have been enjoying our time of peace a bit much. After the last session our Bishop teased us and said that as he walked past the room, he saw through the window, Elder Bodilys feet up on the table with his head tilted back, and me with my face planted gracefully upon the table. Woops... But all is well, he's a funny joking guy, whose trust we've already gained. 

Something else, Elder Martinez, one who spoke Spanish this conference, serves in the Caribean Area. I have had, on two seperate ocassions, the opportunity to meet and listen to him speak. Once in the MTC, and the second in a Zone Conference. He's an awesome guy, but pretty strict with missionary behavior. In the MTC he demonstrated how we should properly greet and address people we come in contact with as representitives of Jesus Christ. That being said.... and me being the complete oaf that I am... At the zone conference... Well, firstly, here in the DR, everyone does the whole "black person" handshake... with the switching hand placement up top thing. Everytime my bishop shakes my hand, he does that and pops my thumb... so... I had gotten really used to it. Needless to say, for some reason I completely forgot his last talk, and wrongly sensed that this kind of handshake is what he was going for. He quickly and kindly corrected me, saying ¨Only this Elder... Only this...¨ Ha! I learned from it and shrugged it off my shoulders just like everything else. But the true inner sense of embarrassment came as I watched him speak to millions around the world in General Conference, all the while in the back of my head hoping that, as unlikely as it is, he doesn't use my story as an example of what not to do as a missionary in some parable! Nah, it was pretty funny...

Had the chance to see all my buddies from the MTC at our mid-training meeting. That was super fun. Man... If I still sound as gringo as some of them, I appologize to Domincan ears everywhere!

Alright, Thanks for all the prayers! Love you all!   Elder Brady

Us, at the Nuns' Sanctuary

At the Sanctuary as well. Elder Cornejo named him "Elder Brady"! :)

Sanctuary again... The prettiest place here. Untouched by the garbage!

We attended the Baseball game of one of our investigators named Adrian.
It was a fun Pday!

Traveling is miserable here! So hot!