Monday, April 27, 2015

"Showdown de la Banda Pollo Loco!" - Week 42

April 27th, 2015

     Hello everyone! It was a pretty average week again, not too much to report... I've got a little story about some chickens, but that's about it. We're also going to the Temple this week, so I'm super excited about that. I'll tell you how that goes next week. In the meantime, everyone have a great week, and may God be with you!

Love you all,

Elder Brady

It was time for that little goatee to go. 
My companion bought a straight edge razor... Let the shaving begin!

     Several weeks ago, the owner of our little apartment building decided to renovate the upstairs space. This includes building an external staircase next to the side of the house. Through what seemed like ages of loud and constant banging, breaking, and building, a flight of stairs were made. As an indirect result of this, the neighborhood gang of chickens have found an "In" to our home. You see, they've been wanting to enter for quite some time now; always strutting and bobbing their heads up and down the street like they own the place... The nerve! Finally they found their loop-hole. I think they have an inside man on the construction crew. The steps go right upside the railing of our patio, thus providing the perfect entry. They'd steal in at night, while the lords of the house slumber. They'd leave nice little presents for us to find in the morning, with their chief rooster mockingly awaking us. They were trying to send a message... Poop! They pooped on our porch!... A lot of it! Son demonios vestidos como pollos! They're animals, all of them! Well, they didn't know who they were messing with. They waged a war they couldn't finish, and brought feathers to a gun fight.
     One day, we caught them red-taloned, right in the act! They squealed and ran around the lower area, enclosed and entrapped! They were done for, and they knew it. I think I actually heard one of them offering a Hail-Mary (this country is heavily populated by Catholics you know...) In that moment I thought of the options at hand, mulling over them in my mind. We could have broken their kneecaps and sent them on their way, or boiled them, set 'em on a pile o' rice and called 'em lunch! But we didn't... Being "forgive and forget Christian folks", I knew all we had to do is scare them enough that they'd never return. So Elder Zarate grabbed one, and I looked it in the eyes. A Chuck Noris style stare down is what we had. The theme song from the final scene of "The Good the Bad and the Ugly" began to play in my head. He started to bleed from his beak it was so intense. We let them go. And as they scattered away I shouted "And you tell your friends!... George Nelson... Born to raise hell!". I haven't the slightest idea why I said that, it just came out. And that was the tale of the face off between the Pollo Gang and Elder Brady. They've never shown their ugly mugs around my part of town again...

Ten months ago, these four left the Salt Lake City airport together,
 unknowing of who the heck they were, and what they were getting into. 
We had a leadership meeting Wednesday, 
and all four of us are district leaders. I love these guys.

My turn...

Nuff said.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 41

April 20th, 2015

Well, the transfers are in! Drumroll please....................!!!  We're both staying! Yep, another transfer together! It'll be fun. We're gettin some new guys in the district, and I'm super excited. Don't have much to say this week other than the transfers, but I've got some photos for ya'll.

We said adios to Elder Carrera today.
 Goin back to Guatemala after two years! 

La Zona Villa Mella!

A bunch of goons

Me and my Cooksito

Me and my Stiffler

I really ought to stop it with these faces...

Me and my Brockbank Redemtion

I made fajitas for Elder Carrera's last meal in the mish!

The Last Super

Thanks for everything! We'll see you all next week.

Elder Brady

Monday, April 13, 2015

"Elder Brady and the Cold Case" - Week 40

April 13th, 2015

     Well, this week was pretty much average, except for some not so average parts... and the unusual amount of rain we've had.

     We had four baptisms in our district this week, which is great! We've hit a bit of a dry spell in our zone lately, and the ones we've had may be some of the only baptisms in our zone this transfer, so I'm pretty proud of our boys for pullin it off. It was a white weekend! 

     One of the converts is a little girl who is eight, and I interviewed her for her baptism the week before. She just might be the cutest little girl you'll ever lay eyes on. We became fast friends by the end of the interview. After that, Elders Zarate and Carrera asked her who she wanted to do the baptism. She thought a bit, looked around, then pointed to me and said "el rubio!"... So I agreed, but then had the other missionaries that had taught her ask her again if she was sure, and of course she changed her mind, and Elder Carrera did the baptism. So funny! I was just the only white guy of anyone she knew, so her initial decision was easy!

     Also, on the not so happy side of things, and rather on the macabre, I'm afraid this next little tale drifts into Edgar Allen Poe's realm of occult experiences. One dreary Tuesday, one which started just like every other Tuesday (with a prayer, a 12 degree shower, some corn flakes, contacts in the morning, and a rigorous study session of my pillow for thirty minutes in the after-noon), we had a lesson with one of our investigators, Jaime; like we always did, every Tuesday, but this time the mood was perfectly set, as it was raining profusely. We taught the Book of Mormon to him, and all was well. Then at the end of the lesson, he asked if we could go to the church to speak in private. We closed with a prayer, and hopped in his van unknowing of what was going on... Yes... I know how that sounds... We trusted him, okay?

     We got to the chapel, took a little side room to ourselves, and began to talk. Now, to preface this, I must tell you that it was incrediblely hard to understand this man. Normal Dominicans are hard enough to understand... They speak fast, and the actual form of Spanish they use is a shortened, changed, slang version. The Dominican language is like Spanish´s much less sophisticated 4 yr old cousin. Jaime was also talking very quietly considering the topic of conversation. Needless to say, I understood the jest of what he was telling us, but afterwards I had to ask my companion questions like "What the heck was he saying about a monkey?" -this was a true question...

     Anyway... Jaime has grown suspicious of his father, he believes he was kidnapped as a child, and that his"father" is his abductor... I know right?... Quite the bite to swallow. It's not uncommon for children to block out traumatic experiences from their memories, and then later in adulthood, have those memories come back. Jaime remembers a man in a big monkey suit taking him and his twin sister a long time ago. His sister was hit by a car and killed, and he's now starting to see some strange circumstances of her death. Every time he confronts his dad with one of these concerns, he's met with a strange deflected response. He's researching genetics, blood-types, birth certificates... The guy is seriously paranoid! He must not have a very good relationship with his dad to be able to accuse him of that. He's getting scared now, because he thinks they're trying to kill him. They left a tank of gas open underneath his bed while he was sleeping... There are plenty of other strange occurrences that he told us about. He's most likely over-reacting, but who knows. I felt like I was in a crossover episode of Law and Order and the X-Files, set in the town of Dual Spires (for those Psych fans)... Some wierd stuff. But I thought it was pretty funny, so I shared it.

Well, thanks so much for all the prayers and support you all give me. They mean more than you'll ever know.

With love, and a scary story fit for one of the Simpsons' Tree-house of Terror episodes. To be continued...

Elder Brady

Monday, April 6, 2015

"My Conference Weekend" - Week 39

April 6th, 2015

     Well, I think I have some kind of repetitive spell on me, because so far, the two General Conferences I've had on my mission, have both been preceded by a mission tour given by someone that speaks in General Conference. I love it! Last time, it was Elder Martinez, and this time it was Elder Clayton. I also got to hear from Elder Holland just weeks before as well. I hope I keep the spell for the rest of my mission!

     I have a little story; one that is a confirmation to me that we all go through certain things in this life for reasons unseen until we've passed a particular stage of that trial of our faith. The Lord places people in certain places, with certain people surrounding them, having a plan in mind. 

     Thursday, after our district meeting, I planned to go down to the capital to watch the funeral over broadcast at the home of my Mission President. As Elder Valdes and I were leaving, we were called back in, and another Elder was on the phone with President. He passed it over to me, and my President informed me that this elder's companion was having some troubles and doubts about staying on his mission due to some troubles back home, and was planning on coming down to see the president. I said that the Lord had presented us with a rare opportunity, so he asked me to do an intercambio and talk with this elder on our way down to his house. Well, we had a great many talks as we traveled, and this guy is really going through some hard things. His two cousins and twin brother had already left the mission because of these, and things seemed to just keep piling up against him in his life. We had some really good talks and the only thing I could do in the end was bare him my testimony, and my own experiences I've had recently. 

     After the service, he had talked with the President for quite some time, and everything was done. We left, and took a walk around the temple next door as we talked. Before we went to the metro station, we decided to stop for some food. I gave him the choice of fast food restaurants, and he chose Wendy's. So we went to Wendy's... Lo and behold, when we walk in, we are greeted by a group of familiar faces sitting at a table saying "mormones! mormones!" There they were, my old MTC teachers, all of which no longer work there. Hermanos, Nunez, Rodriguez, and Rubio, and Hermanas Escobores and Gutierez. So, we bought some fries and a frosty, and just sat and talked and laughed with them, It was great! At our departure, my good friend that has stayed in contact with me since the MTC, left with us on the metro for his house. He told me he'd call me that night. Well, that was the end of that, and this elder and I went to go buy a cake before we got to our areas; it was the birthday of an Elder in my district, and we planned to surprise him with a cake and candle when he got home that night. After I said good bye, and told this heavy hearted Elder I'd be praying for him and routing for him all the way. My companion and I got to the other house, and hid in their room. Elder Carrera loved it! And it felt good to celebrate that with him. 

     Later that night, Hermano Nunez did call. We talked for a bit, and he eventually asked me how my family was. I told him about the events that had taken place the last week, and he said "you have to be kidding me." I assured him I wasn't, and he said "you don't understand..." after a small silence he continued. "My father died just the Monday before..." We talked for a while, in disbelief that the same thing had befallen both of us so soon. He said, "I have to see you". So we set up to watch General Conference together.

     Saturday we went up to the Santa Cruz chapel to watch it in English in a separate room. He came and brought subway sandwiches and krispykreme donoughts! It was wonderful to watch it with him. We enjoyed our time talking inbetween sessions; sharing laughs and sharing grief. He emailed me today, saying that for conference he was waiting for a specific talk directed to him, and he realized that being there with a friend who understands was the blessing. I felt exactly the same. 

     Now just think of it... This other elder and I both were meant to go down to the president's together, we talked, and lifted each other up, he chose to eat at Wendy's, we almost magically met Nunez there, which led to him calling me later, which led to the discovery of our mutual dilemma. We watched conference together and supported each other, and it was all due to the perfect planning of our Lord. There are no coinsidences. 

     It was said several times by several people this general conference, that "God succors us, so we can succor others".  I know I've been succored by God in this time, and I was able to do just a bit of that for other people. In return, I received even more comfort and succor from others as well. It's a continuous cycle. It is evidence to me that everything happens for a reason. We are all pieces of a wonderful mosaic, and if we are where we're supposed to be, next to the other pieces, playing our part, the big picture is a beautiful thing, even if we can't always see it from our point of view.

Thank you so much for all your love, prayers, and support. 

Until next week,

Elder Brady