Monday, December 28, 2015

"Tiva" - Week 77

December 28th, 2015

     Well, we were able to assist in the baptism of just about the cutest old lady you'd ever meet. Her name is Natividad (or Tiva for short), and fittingly so, her birthday is Christmas day. She was baptized the following day by her grand-daughter's husband. It was really special. Her entire family are members, and have helped her along quite a bit. She's almost 80, and has known the church for some time. The last three years she's attended regularly, and has simply never wanted to be baptized. But something changed in her. Our first Sunday in this ward we received a whopping 13 referrals of partial member families, including that of Nativity's. It's now strengthened my testimony on the efficiency of working with members, and the success of finding people to teach through their families. We mentioned the success story in our ward counsel last night hoping to raise the bar after seeing the goal of referrals given for the year of 2016 at a low 200. That would be more or less only 2 referrals that I would have to give annually as a member of this ward... which is not much, and could be much higher considering the potential this ward truly has. If every member were to give just one referral each month, we would end up with 1200 referrals at the end of the year. It doesn't seem that hard to reach with the right programs put into place, and enough follow-up to see it through. With referral numbers like that in contrast with what they've been in the past, I can only imagine the baptismal rate. Anyway, all is well and I'm extremely excited for this next transfer. Looking forward to all the intercambios. Thanks for everything you all do for me! I love ya tons. Have a happy new year!

Don't have time to upload photos... :( next week I'll have double!

*I had to add a this is one from last years Christmas! :)

Monday, December 21, 2015

" Feliz Navidad! Prospero Año y Felicidad!" - Week 76

December 21st, 2015

     Things are well. We've been seeing an innumerable amount of miracles this Christmas season. I myself have been trying to focus much more on our Savior's love, and extending that love to others. It's a very interesting time. I'm re-learning about the necessity of reliance on our Lord Jesus Christ. During the Christmas season the Lord works miracles in the hearts of those willing to let Him in, and I'm fortunate enough to witness them. Things are swell though. We've just been having a ton of service projects this week. We've painted the house's of our ward's second counselor, mission leader, and an investigator family that are super awesome. Service projects kind of spark a bit more pep and love into the missionary work for me. I love em! They keep me going. Any opportunity at service, and we'll jump at it.
     We're excited for Christmas. Hope you all get the best of this one, and that you remember why we celebrate it. There is so much noise in this world that just doesn't matter, but if we take a moment to truly ponder the significance of that one silent night, the peace will soon flow into our hearts and dwell within us as long as we let it. I love you all! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Elder Brady

ps. ¨Keep the change ya filthy animal.¨ - Home Alone

This little girl made a paper tie for me.
It's a wonderful work of art. She's such a cutie

Service project painting! Fun stuff!

Cookin up some Arroz blanco, chuleta guisada, y habichuelas negras.... yum!
My companion really likes your apron mom.
He never cooks, but I made him help me today,
and he got pretty excited, taking pictures and what not. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

"Baloy Valoy!" - Week 75

December 14th, 2015

 Twas a good week. We were able to do some pretty fun exchanges. One of them was with my old area El Eden! When I left, one of the district leaders in Villa Mella took my place as zone leader, and is now finishing the training of Elder Lemus. It's funny, cause we've had an exchange before when he was still in his training, so it was fun. Got to see some of my peeps back there. The other intercambio that we did, was with a companionship that's really having some problems as companions. It's sad to see such things in the mission, when it could all be solved with better communication between each other and more love. Hopefully we were able to help them see things from a different perspective. It's hard but rewarding at the same time to work with them and their zone leaders to try and help them out. Oh boy... the mission's a wonderful thing. It would help so many boys grow into men if they would just let it. Whelp, everything's fine and dandy here! Love you all!

Elder Brady

Lt. Elder Brady reporting for duty.
The Young men's president in our ward is in the Dominican Republic Air force,
so I borrowed his style for a quick pic.

Temple trip this week! Amazing as always

Elder Gaitan and I

As you all know, I am naturally attracted to anything bizarre,
and this certainly fits the category.
It's one of the most uncanny and unsettling sculptures I've ever seen.
Full of monsters, faces on tongues, boat-tombs,
Hugo Chaves, fountains, and Jesus,
this quintessential master piece brings the personal history
and imagination of it's creator to life.
Mingled and entwined within its painted cement structures,
lies a strange stomach-turning story dying to be told.
It's name- Baloy Valoy
 (The meaning of which is non-existent in any given world language)

I was able to meet the genius behind the work.
I think he thought we were going to make  him famous in America...

Madness meets Masterpiece

On the exchange, I was able to visit with Hector Santana,
who's baptism was delayed due to probation with the law,
but will be baptized very shortly.

My son (Elder Lemus), me, Elder Quintero, and Elder Gaitan

Monday, December 7, 2015

" We're a Traveling Circus" - Week 74

December 7th, 2015

     Things are great in Los Solares. I've recovered quite a bit from my illness since last week, so things are getting rolling along once again, and it sure feels good. This week, we were able to do an intercambio with Elder Pawn-Kalilikane, and Elder Monroy. I went with Elder Pawn (from Hawaii) in his area. It was a fantastic intercambio. And my buddy Elder Davis is also Zone Leader over there living in the same house, so we were havin a lot of fun. We lived together toward the beginning of our missions back in Sabana Grande de Boya, and we're from the same group (We started our missions together in the MTC). He's one of my best friends on the mish. The exchange was cool. I discovered that Elder Pawn is a very humble, sincere and genuine leader. We talked at length about what it truly means to be a leader, and how we can best fulfill that assignment. Touching upon various aspects of leadership; Zone meetings, meetings with the Stake President, instruction and empowerment of District Leaders, behavioral correction when needed, etc... I'm super grateful for this assignment, and for the opportunities I'm given each day to serve others. I'm also very excited for our temple trip this week! We'll be going this Wednesday. We also have 2 other exchanges in the week, so that'll be fun. Anywho, love you all!

Elder Brady
Our Intercambio.
Left to right, back to front;
Davis, Pawn, Me,
Rios, Gaitan, and Monroy

Our house... is a very very very fine house.
With two cats the yard, life used to be so hard,
now everything is easy cause of you...
I'll light the fire, you place the flowers in the vase that you bought, today...
-Crosby, Stills and Nash

Monday, November 30, 2015

"The Midnight Phone Call" - Week 73

November 30th, 2015

    Things are great! Even though I've been a bit sick this week, it's been a good one. It started off as kind of a flu type of thing, and now it's fading into a cold... Super weird, but it's alright. I almost never get sick, but this time around I was mighty thankful for Mom's pharmacy that is usually used for my companions. It's slowed down here for that reason, but it's been good.
    We had a mission Tour with Elder Cornish this week. It was amazing. That man is undoubtedly inspired. The main focus was basically our purpose as missionaries, and our own conversion, which is something I think the mission definitely needed.
    So, I forgot to tell last week, but something pretty funny happened. The Elders previously here in this area were Stephens, and Ventura. They both went home this transfer, thus here we are blanking. Elder Stephens was my district leader way back when, so I know him well. Anywho, our first night in the house, we were there in bed, around the hour of 12, trying to fall asleep, when suddenly we heard a strange sound coming from the cell phone... at midnight! "Brady... Brady!... BRADY!... PICK UP THE FREAKIN CELULAR!... Brady..." coming from the cell phone, with the title "ward mission leader" calling us. We were freaked out! The time, the place, the name, the sound... Everything was creepy! We called him back, thinking it was an emergency. He didn't answer. We knew it was just a voice recording that Stephens had put as the ring tone, but we still went to bed uneasy. The next day, we called him back, and he said that it was just a false alarm. Apparently he received a call saying that somebody had gotten into the church building... So yeah

Anywho, Love you All!

Elder Brady

Monday, November 23, 2015

"Gobble, Gobble... Count Your Many Blessings" - Week 72

November 23rd, 2015

     Things are splendid in our new area! I couldn't be happier to be here in Los Solares serving along side Elder Gaitan. He's a powerful missionary, and we really seem to understand each other. His thoughts and reasoning are similar to mine. We've gotten to know a good amount of members so far, have received blessings from the Bishop, done several services in their houses, and have had great experiences with the ward leaders. Yesterday, we received 13 referrals from members, and we hardly did anything... Our ward mission leader is really on the spot, and has coordinated times to leave with members every day of the week! Its apparent that we already have a very high level of trust from the members and they're ready and willing to work. We're excited for the results to come. I've never served in a ward quite like this. Of course, the ward counsels are mad houses like usual, but at least there isn't as much apostasy as there have been in other wards... We haven't done any exchanges yet. People call us "supers" as if we're from the Incredibles, or some Pokemon in it's evolved state... Its funny. We had a meeting with the president about the purpose of this assignment. There are four of us, and we split the mission in two. We're basically supposed to capacitate all the zone leaders who are new as leaders this transfer, and those that are blanking. We're pretty much just gonna be helping out certain missionaries and companionships. The calling is an experiment here in the mission. Our president wants to elevate the teaching skills and ability of the mission. It'll be fun. The house here is nice, and its super huge! The nights are much better now that I don't have to be taking calls and numbers, and all that other zone leader stuff! Its paradise! Any who, I'm so grateful to be serving a mission. I give thanks to God for the trials and tribulations he's provided me for my own personal growth, and I'm thankful for the power of the atonement and it's role in my life. I'm thankful for my Savior, and for the gifts and blessings I receive from a loving God every day. I was blessed with the most wonderful family on earth, and I love them dearly. Have a happy Turkey day! love you all!

Elder Brady

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Gone Baby Gone" - Week 71

November 16th, 2015

      The time has come... I have had 10 and a half months in Villa Mella. I've seen missionaries come and go, and have enjoyed my time thoroughly in my respective areas. With a bit of sadness, I pass the torch to someone else, as I have been called to serve somewhere over the rainbow. It's called Los Solares, of the Zone of Hainamosa. I'll be with Elder Gaitan, and will be white washing again. We've been assigned as zone leader capacitators. Basically we just do a whole lot of exchanges with new zone leaders, and elders that are white washing. It's awesome because I'll get to see a lot more of the country, and be with a ton of different people. In the mish it has the nickname of "Super Lider de Zona". Which is funny, because I no longer have the burden of a zone on my back, I'll just be goin around servin a bunch of missionaries and I still get to be part of the mission counsels. I'm super excited about it, and from what I hear, Elder Gaitan is excellent. It'll be a blast. I wanted to stay and finish my kid's training, but I know who's comin in to do the job, and he's a great friend of mine, so he's in good hands. The area I'm going to is actually where he started his mission, so that's funny. Any who, we'll see how it all goes this week. Thanks for all the love and support! Have a great week!

Elder Brady

My companion, being a vampire.
He was obsessed with those plastic fangs mom!

Some good friends in Vista Bella

Se Bautizo Padilla! I never got this one sent out

Monday, November 9, 2015

"Oh Lucy... You Got Some Splainin to Do!" - Week 70

November 9th, 2015

     Well, things are splendid as always! This week we had a baptism scheduled for a man named Hector, who is currently living with his brother, the first counselor of our ward. He's a great guy, and one of the most spiritually prepared investigators I've had in my mission. He's not a member, but he's part of the ward choir, and is one of the most faithful members of the Elders Quorum (Even though he's not a member). He's what we call a "miembro seco". Well, during a review of the questions for his baptismal interview, I asked him if he had committed a serious crime... When he responded "Does homicide count?" I was needless to say, a bit taken back. After talking a little more, we found out that it was actually a charge of attempted homicide, and he's on probation for six months. He used to have a bad drinking problem, and one morning he just woke up in prison. He doesn't remember a thing about that night. This event occurred four months ago. I think it was one of the hardest things I've had to do, to tell this man that he wouldn't be able to be baptized until after. But he's keeping strong, and has a firm testimony. He's made a lot of serious life changes. It'll just make this christmas that much more special for him. We'll be working with him a good while to prepare him even more. I really hope I don't get transfered this time around. It's kind of fun being in the same stake for almost a year. Every stake conference the service project is like a big reunion from all the members and converts I've gotten to know. Everyone knows me well, and I know them. Any who, here's some long belated photos I owe ya'll.

Elder Brady
Some friends at a service project.
The one on my right is Luis Nery, from Ponce.
He's a convert of mine from about 6 months ago.

Dileni! Se Bautizo´!  I never sent the pic

Padilla! Se Bautizo´tambien! I love this family so much!

Nobody had any idea what it was before.

The top of the "F" hit the fan during the move... don't judge me...

Me and my boy... 

Nuñez came and visited us

At the temple with Hector and his nephew. Love these guys

Monday, November 2, 2015

"The Work Progresses (or some other cheesy line a missionary would say)" - Week 69

November 2nd, 2015

     This week, we'll be taking advantage of the Stake conference, which was wonderful, in asking for referrals. We've set goals in each district, and we're expecting greater results. This week we had a special meeting, in which we all planned in the stake center as a zone. It was really pretty special. Everyone separated into different rooms, while Elder Ruiz and I went from companionship to companionship, observing, helping, capacitating, getting to know their investigators, and counseling with them about those specific needs and challenges in their distinct areas. For lack of better words... Fue muy chevere! Afterward, we all talked about the importance of effective planning, and several bore their testimonies of the spiritual experiences they had in planning that day. I think that will help us put works to our faith. Not much else new. I'm behind on quite a bit of photos, so here they come. Love you all so much!

Elder Brady

Monday, October 26, 2015

"Opening Our Eyes, and Elevating Our Perspective" - Week 68

October 26th, 2015

  So this week, we had our zone meeting. A week earlier Elder Ruiz, the Sister Leaders and I were talking about some of the zone's needs, and how to address them. We revised the area books of all the missionaries, and this way we were able to have a bit more information in order to help them in their individual areas. Well, the Desarollo went super well, and was very spiritual. Elder Gee spoke about developing missionary skills, and talked about how Christ is the perfect example of an excellent, capable, and apt teacher, so we analyzed a lot of attributes of Christ. Then Elder Ruiz talked about how to study effectively, and it was precisely what we all needed to hear. After an excellent practice-capacitation on filling out teaching records in the area book by Elder Quintero, we had a break, and Elder Lemus and I set up these flag like things taped on bamboo sticks stuck in foam cups filled with rocks. We had set it up the night before, trying to see if it would work. They were set up in various points around the room, and it made no sense whatsoever to anyone else. I started by telling a story I remembered from Art History. In the Early Renaissance, the artist Donatelo, was commissioned to sculpt from marble a statue of St. Mark. He worked on this statue for months and months, slowly chipping away with a hammer and chisel, according to the plans he had made for his masterpiece. When he was finally done, he invited those that commissioned him to see the finished piece. When they saw it, they were sorely disappointed. They told him that the torso of St. Mark was completely out of proportion, that it was way too long. They were furious, and would not accept it. So, Donatelo, being very wise, simply told them to come back the next day and he would have it fixed. You see, he knew what the commissioners were forgetting. He knew that the statue would be placed upon a high pedestal next to a cathedral, and that passers by would see it from below. So when they came back the next day, he hadn't touched the marble. He only put it on a higher platform, forcing them to elevate their sight, and change their perspective. He had planned that, and acted accordingly from the very beginning of making the sculpture, purposefully making the torso a little bit longer. Thats the key- Perspective. God's ways are higher than ours, and so are His thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9. We talked about how we are the chisels in the hands of the sculptor, and we only need to be willing to change our point of view, and try to see things the way the Lord does. This way, we'll be able to receive the revelation necessary to help sculpt the Lord's work the way He wants it in our individual areas. We talked about how this relates to faith, and how raising our perspective can help us cultivate greater faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then I asked them what they thought the weird flag-like things were that were still there from the beginning. Then I had them all go to the stage behind us, with the curtains still closed. On the stage, behind the curtains, we talked about 2 Kings 6:15-17. They are more those that are with us, than those against us. We just need to open our eyes and see God's army in chariots of fire swirling around us, ready to help us fight our battles. At that point, I opened the curtains, and had them each stand on a point I had marked X on the floor of the stage. From that point they saw those same flags, but from a different perspective. And when they looked at them from that point of view, they spelled the word Fe (Faith). It's all about perspective. After that, the Hermanas shared some excellent temas about goal setting, and keeping a positive attitude. I was able to really get a lot out of those two, they came super prepared. Afterward, we had several elders and sisters share their testimonies, a musical number from Hermana Hinrichsen on the violin, and we ended. It was a very spiritual meeting, and an animo booster for sure.
Anywho, all is well in Zion. Love you all!

Elder Brady
* Yes, the last several photos are from previous emails...
the computers in his new area do not have the ability to upload photos. :(
So for now I am adding some repeats! :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

"Come on in Boys! The Water is Fine!" - Week 67

October 19th, 2015

     This weekend, Hermano Pedro Hernandez (Padilla), was baptized in Vista Bella and I had the privilege to attend and perform the ordinance. I've had five months working with him, and several months before that he was contacted by missionaries. I've witnessed for five months, ups and downs, highs and lows, first his baptismal dates fall, goals met, goals failed, week after week, month after month, good days bad days, failures and triumphs, invitations declined, and invitations accepted. I've had the blessing of seeing the Lord work in the lives of this family, witnessing the conversions and baptisms of first his daughter, then his wife, and now him. It's been a long and arduous road, but one most worth taking. I can't believe the change he's made in his life with divine aid. If you could see who he was when I first met him, and who he is now, you'd have the same testimony in the healing power of the atonement and the process of repentance as I do. It's incredible. He's left drinking, coffee, and has repented of past infidelities in his marriage. This man is my brother, and this family my family. Missionaries don't often get to see the fruits of their labor like this, so I'm counting my blessings and walking on clouds. I know it was the Lord who truly prepared the way for him to make this covenant. If it weren't for obedience to the opposite sex rule, and the new policy of minors and spouses, I know he wouldn't be where he is today. We never would have been able to involve him in the lessons. In a year from now, the Hernandez family will enter into the temple of the Lord and be sealed for all eternity!Que asombroso es!

     Other than that, things are going well in El Eden. We're finding more and more members, and more and more families. This week we didn't spend as much time in the area as I would have liked due to the meetings we've had, but we'll be making up for that this week. The zone is swell. This week will be our desarollo meeting, and we'll be talking about chapters 2, 8, and 10 of PMG, so we're excited. I'll also be taking some time to talk a bit about faith. I've really been searching for some external remedies to treat internal sources of discouragement. It's not that the zone is discouraged... not at all. But we could all be a bit more invigorated about missionary work, and I'm thinking that faith is attribute we can develop more. Drawing upon that same source of faith in Jesus Christ will give us more confidence, making us more powerful messengers of the gospel, thus finding more success in the field. External to internal, and visa versa. I've always thought it was a question of perspective, and that concept has been reassured many a time. Other than that, Elder Lemus is progressing very well. He's learning a ton, and gaining more and more experience.

Anywho, Love you all!

Elder Brady

Monday, October 12, 2015

"All is well, All is... wait, is that Pica Pollo?" - Week 66

October 12th, 2015

     New area , and new everything! "La vaina ta buena paka!" as they say in dominican... -"thing's are all good over here!" We made it safe and sound to El Eden, and I receive my little boy this Tuesday. His name is Elder Lemus, from El Salvador. He's a real good guy, and we have a pretty good time together. He's learning a lot about the mission, and it brings me back to my early times, the first weeks in the mission, adjusting to all the new and strange cultural aspects of a completely foreign experience. He's battling some very common homesickness, but he's soldiering on quite well.
     The ward here is better than I thought it would be, but still very apparent that there's some "heating up" to do with the missionary work. The Bishop is basically a psychopath, but as they say, "Entre locos, se entienden" and I believe I can get into his mind and carry out the plans he has for the ward. I've dealt with a lot of different types of people, but this is a whole new species, so it'll be fun to discover what makes things tick here in El Eden. Things are swell here. With a positive attitude, hard work, tried and tested strategies, creativity, obedience, and revelation from the Lord, miracles come to pass. I'm a firm believer in said miracles, and we'll be seeing many of them soon. Our first night in the area we put a date with a man who has 4 months receiving the missionaries, but just hasn't been able to commit himself to baptism. He's now preparing to be baptized the 5th of November. I know this was gift from God, for him, for the ward, and for the work. Things are a bit complicated, what with being in a different house than the other Zone Leader and what not... the communication is fun! But things are going really well. Other than that, I thought I'd end on a high note, stating that the runs I've had these past several days from some pica pollo I ate have now come and gone. All is well in Zion. Thanks for all your prayers everyone!

Elder Brady

Monday, October 5, 2015

"She'll promise you more than the garden of Eden..." - Week 65

October 5th, 2015

     Well, transfers are in... Some interesting news! I'm staying in the same zone as zone leader, but this time I'm going to El Eden, another area in the zone. I'm white washing, and training... So that's a lot. But I'm super excited about it! It'll be interesting, to be zone leader, while not living with my old companion. I'm gonna have at least 10 and a half months in this same zone... But it's really good. I love the zone, and I'll just get to know more of it. Sorry guys... no time today. But everything is great! I love you all!

Elder Brady

Monday, September 28, 2015

"I Went Down to the River to Pray... " - Week 64

September 28th, 2015

     This week was great! We had a baptism! I wish I had photos to show you all, but the internet center I'm in right now unfortunately isn't the most state of the art, and the computers won't read my card... Anywho, it was a very spiritual experience, (a pesar de las circunstancias). It was the first baptism I've done with such little water and such little light. Earlier that day we were at a service project, moving dirt and painting at the house of an investigator family of the Sisters. It went great, and they certainly needed it, but we were dead afterwards from the sun and from shoveling. However, service projects like that, even though they exhaust me, also rejuvenate the soul. After that, several hours before the baptismal service, we went to the church to fill up the font and the generator wasn't working, which also means that the water pump doesn't work either.... so the water level barely reached our knees. It was also very dark, so Elder Daniels, who was acting as one of the witnesses, had to hold a light from our cell phone over us. It was great! Baptizing in the dark... What an experience! Her name is Dilenny. We've been teaching her for about three months. She was crying as I baptized her, and it was obvious to everyone there that the Spirit was present. She has a lot of support from the young adults in the ward. Actually, in the time that I've been here, she's met a special guy... She and one of the other young adults, a friend of mine, Carlos, are planning on getting married! I can hardly believe it! I knew them both before they knew each other! Love is real... Anywho, things are pretty great. Love you all!

"But Pete and I's been saved!"
"Baptism! You two are dumber than a bag o' hammers!"

Elder Brady

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Cave Dwellers" - Week 63

September 23rd, 2015

Great week... Didn't have any time to write the last two days, it's been super busy.

     Well, last week the night before the leadership counsel, the assistants called and told me I was giving talk in the counsel. So the next morning, I got a cake and brought it to the capital. I did the same example I did earlier, but this time applying it to "how to conduct an effective zone meeting". We talked about the way we transfer the info. we receive to the rest of the missionaries. It went well, and they all liked the cake.

     This week we changed our p-day to Tuesday so we could go to some caves called Los Tres Ojos, and an aquarium. It was dope! We found a real life Gollum. His name is Bienvenido, and I couldn't resist taking a picture with him. He basically lives in the caves. He's the only person in the world, as he says, who is authorized to climb and dive in the caves. He really was Smeagol. We had a real good time there.

     Not much time, sorry this letter stinks... We got to head off to do zone interviews with the President. Hope you all have a good one!

Love Elder Brady