Monday, May 25, 2015

"Sembrando y Cosechando" - Week 46

May 25th, 2015

     !Esta lloviendo gatos y perros por aquí!... Hope you like my idiom that makes absolutely no sense in Spanish... but seriously, it is raining cats and dogs over here. We always come back to the house drenched. I'm surprised I don't have walking pneumonia by now. Or perhaps I'm just sick with preaching pneumonia... And that's stronger than the latter! It's also very hot here. Half the day is scorching, then the floods come and cool it all down. The weather here is more bi-polar than... well, I cant really think of a quippy simile right now, but you get the point.

     It was a pretty good week. In our stake, we're doing these things called "cosechas". And very aptly named it is, because the word means "harvest". All of the missionaries of the Zone come to one area, spread out and work there. We contact and visit less actives. It's pretty cool to see a bit of all the areas in the zone, and it helps the missionaries of that area a ton. We have them every Saturday and ours is in June. We're pretty pumped for it. 

     As district leader, you have the opportunity to go on many over-night exchanges with those of your district and the Zone Leaders. This can be a double edged sword. Depending on who you're with, it can be a really great experience, or a terrible one. I've found that for the most part they're awesome. You get to spend a day in a different area, with a different person. You learn a lot of new teaching strategies, are presented with teaching opportunities, and get to connect with the members of your district. This week I had one with Elder Lopez from El Salvador in their area Santa Cruz. 

     The whole day we seemed to be running into a lot people of Evangelic denomination. I really don't know how they are in other countries, but here in the DR, encounters with those who have a firm belief in that particular faith, we generally tend to avoid. I think second to the Catholic, they're the religion most popular in the country. They are generally very nice people, with big hearts and great admirable faith in Christ. However, they certainly do like to fight about it. Sure, we could show them scriptures that would raise quite a bit of doctrinal questions in their minds, and we do if the setting is right, but they mostly just want someone to fight with. That's why the best thing to do, is to listen to them patiently, answer questions truthfully and frankly, bear your testimony when you find they take a breath in the conversation (they'll talk your head off till the second coming if you let them), and leave them with a pamphlet and your number telling them to call you if they have more questions. This way we don't waste time with someone who is only interested in contending with us. Of course its a balance, just as is everything. We want to clarify, answer questions and defuse as many misconceptions as possible, but one must go about it with tact and we shouldn't ever fall into contention with them. Poisonous darts, and sharp tongued remarks must be deflected and countered wisely. They usually indirectly call us sons of the devil! The situations are easy enough to handle if you know how, and the best way to handle them is to avoid them completely. But they're pretty fun...

      Anyway, we finished the night at the house of a family who had been given as a reference from contacting at the university. It was just one of those lessons that seemed to go perfectly. My companion and I were exactly on the same page, the family kept asking questions that made for perfect segues to the next topics, we used examples, we had an awesome discussion about the apostasy. If they don't understand the apostasy, they won't understand the restoration. I usually never do this, but we shared the entire first lesson our first visit. They just had tons of great questions pertinent to the topic. While we shared the first vision, the Spirit was incredibly strong. They felt it, and we knew it. All was well on board until the mother's brother in-law walks in. He starts goin off on some rant, asking them if they knew what the Bible said about all this. It happens often. Your in a great lesson, havin a great talk, then along comes the adversary, Mr. Satan himself, manifested in oh so many forms of distractions, and POW! Spirit gone! WHAMY! Lesson destroyed. And that's what usually happens. But not this time. 

     Before I even opened my mouth, all three of them that we were teaching jumped down his throat. They said "We've been reading from the Bible this entire time. These boys have been showing us things about the Bible we've never heard of before. You have no idea what you're talking about!" And well, you get the jest of it. Three very religious people who prior to our visit had never investigated the church were defending it for us. In the words of Tenacious D, "Needless to say, the beast was stunned. A whip-crack with his whippy tail. And the beast was done." Our assailant put his tail between his legs, left the room, and we continued with a splendid lesson. 

     As much as that day was a testimony of prevailing truth, it was also one of the importance of planting good seeds. She told us that long before she had learned so much about our church in one night, she knew that we had love. 16 years ago, Sister missionaries had passed by her house, saw she was pregnant, made her sit on the couch, and mopped the floors for her. That act of service stuck with her forever, as did a great impression of the church. Everything we do influences something else. Every act is a seed planted. Hopefully much of what we plant in our daily lives are good seeds, but naturally there also many bad impressions, hurt feelings, and opportunities to serve untaken. What would have happened if those sisters didn't insist to serve her that day, or worse yet, left a bad impression. The events that transpired the other night certainly would have been different, and she would never have received us, or even defended us like she did. Every drop in the ocean makes a ripple, and eventually those ripples will reach others and touch their lives. Thanks for everything back home, and keep on planting good seeds for the harvest!

Much love,
Elder Brady

Monday, May 18, 2015

"Zone Activity" - Week 45

May 18th, 2015

     Pretty good week, not too much out of the ordinary, but we did have a dope zone activity today. I've got a bunch of pictures for ya, but not much else, and no time to write, so have a great week and I love you all!

Elder Brady

My homeboy ZL Elder Jimenez. Please excuse the Fabio hair style. 
It will very soon be cut

Two guys you don't want to mess with in a relay race.
La Zona Villa Mella (Sorry its super blurry)

Today was Elder Kreutzkamp's birthday 
(the one I drew as a lady for those that remember)
 and so I brought him some doughnuts. They grow up so fast...

Passing eggs with Books of Mormon to the finish line.

Frisbee is always fun!... Until someone throws it on the roof

Good thing Elder Cook has spider monkey-like climbing abilities.

We played a fun game of Telestrations, 
passing pictures of things and guessing them down the line 
until the end when the finished product is absolutely 
nothing like what it had tarted as. Lots of fun

Monday, May 11, 2015

"Juke-Box Hero (in this case the juke-box WAS the hero...)" - Week 44

May 11th, 2015

     Sorry this is late, the computer keeps turning off...
Pretty good week, we had our stake conference, and they talked a lot about the temple. The Santo Domingo Temple President actually came and addressed us as well. It was nice to see that focus, and I think it was the perfect thing for these people to hear. Of course, my highlight was talkin to the fam. That was awesome! Thanks for everything everybody. Love you all!

Elder Brady

You wont believe it, but we found and ate at a Johnny Rockets! 
They had a juke-box with all kinds of old 50´s songs... 
I was in heaven. Let's just say we sat very close to this while we ate, 
and even though every other song had to be some dominican merenge or something, 
it was still quite enjoyable.

We went to Sambil, a big mall in the capital.

P-day! Found a bridge!

Me and some Teddy Rosaveltesque Juan Pablo Duarte

I know... I couldn't believe it either... 

The entry way is a gigantic fish tank

An area in our district I had an exchange with. 
You can see the house and car in the background, this is a pretty rich area.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

"WHAMY... from Elder to Sister" - Week 43

Tuesday May 5th, 2015

     Well, this week we had our temple trip. It was wonderful. The Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo temple has become a home to me. It's such a beautiful place of prayer, meditation, and inspiration.
     This upcoming week is very special as well, in that Sunday is Mother's Day. I'd like to send a shout out to my Mama. She's the best mom I ever could have wished to have. She's the most selfless, hardest working, strongest person I know and I'm blessed to have her in my life. Motherhood is a sacred calling, and she magnifies her's incredibly. I'm so thankful for her and everything she does. Love you Mom.
     This week we'll be workin our tails off with some progressing investigators we have, and hope to see some success there. Thanks for everything everyone, and have a stellar week.

Elder Brady

My dear old friend Reed and I. 
He's always chilin around there with his rip-stick. 
Love this guy.
La Zona Villa Mella al viaje del templo! 
Santidad al Señor, La Casa del Señor.

Hermano Nuñez dropped by and bought us ice cream. 
Super nice of him.

Learnin how to cook Mom!

     Firstly, I apologize to the children of America who may see this. Secondly, I can explain... 
Elder Kreutzkamp in my district calls every night to give the daily report, and every time he does, he comes up with some new joke or something. Sometimes he's been put in jail, and other nights he's batman. One particular incident, he quoted Titanic, saying "draw me like one of your french girls", and I said "done!". 
Be careful what you wish for folks. This is what awaited him the next day at our district meeting. Just goes to show, and to warn those in my district that you don't mess around with "slim"(or in this case Elder Brady)! You give me guff about having to give a talk I assigned you, WHAMY, you get drawn as a woman. You call too late at night, WHAMY, you get drawn as a woman. You don't do anything to deserve it at all, but I just feel like it... WHAMY, you get drawn as a woman. Please excuse me for the un-missionary-like conduct, but I simply couldn't resist sending it.