Monday, December 30, 2013

A Christmas to remember...and to forget

Wow!  Quite the week.  

I want to remember it and I want to forget it too.  Wow.  

I loved talking with you guys so much.  It feels like a dream...but I loved it.  Every second was so precious and so wonderful.  I hope that you could understand a little bit of my struggling English.  It's quite the weird feeling, to start forgetting what you have always known.   
I loved the call so much.  But...after the call, it really stunk.  We returned to our room and I read all of the letters and just laid there on my bed.  I wish we would have left, but it was almost night and we didn't have too much time, so we just stayed there.  Oh it was horrible.  It felt like I just said goodbye again at the airport.  I read everything and opened everything...then put the candy with my food, and put everything else in a cupboard and I haven't looked at it again.  It really hurt.  But the day after, I was just fine.  Just a trunky overdose after the call.  ugly ugly ugly.

So after or crazy festive Peruvian Christmas Eve with fireworks, fruit cake, and a so-so dinner, on Christmas Day, we got to go to the beach which was awesome.  I loved that so much!  I loved my district so much  and we always had such a fun time.  We BBQ'd some chicken and played frisbee and soccer.  Oh it was soooo fun. The beach and the call were definitely my favorite things.  Quite the different Christmas...but it was great.  
Zack's Christmas Day BBQ on the Beach with his district and other members

The day after Christmas, it was our last District meeting before the transfer, so we went and ate at a chinese restaurant.  A Chinese Restaurant in Peru....I don't even know, but it was so fun.  My district was so awesome this transfer,  I love all of them so much! We have had our transfers, and practically the half the zone was transfered.  There were only two companionships of twenty that remained,  me and elder Rodriguez and one other.  I am excited to see who else came this transfer, but I am really sad because Elder Cardoso left.  He has been one of my best friends from the mission, so that kind of stinks.  But, one of my friends from the MTC came, so thats fun.  So I'm starting my 4th transfer in Negreiros, and I think my last.  I will have 6 months here which is a lot of time!  I love it, but I'm looking forward to seeing some other areas.  

Also this weekend, I had a work visit (I don't know what they are called in English) with Elder Cardoso, so I went to his area and we had an awesome time.   He has been an awesome District leader for me and we've become great friends.  We had a great day.  

We found a family of members who have five kids under the age of ten, and two of their daughters aren't baptized, so we are working with them to baptize them.  They are so awesome and are crazy.  All of the kids were running around the first time we went to their house screaming Hermano braaashaaaaaoo,  Hermano braaaashaaaaoooo.  Over and over and over.  Sounds like a Palmer family reunion!

This week with new year, I really don't know whats going to happen with another holiday.  All I have heard is to expect tons of drunks, and P day for three days. So, were going to see.  I don't really know whats going to happen.  We might go to the branch party, or buy a big soda and celebrate ourselves.

Interesting news...this week...I ate a huge fish ovary...looked like a cartoon witches nose, with blood veins and all, mixed with moon sand (that stuff that is always advertized on tv).  All I'm going to say is that it was horrible.  

Most Spiritual time: 
Today I prayed for an opportunity to find a new person to teach, and we left, walked 2 minutes and someone walked up and asked us to visit them.
Funny story time:
The fish ovary was horrible.  And, this isn't that funny to me...but our apartment hasn't had water in the sink or shower for 4 were hoping.  We filled a five gallon bucket and a couple of pans and stuff, but were struggling!  

Christmas thoughts?  
I loved it here, but it was really hard.  
What did you think of the phone call?  
So great, but so hard too.  After I was so trunky for a couple hours.
Have you enjoyed your packages?  
I loved the extra letters and thanks to every-single person who sent one
Have you enjoyed your ipod and speakers?
 sooooooooooooo much.  THanks sooooooooooo much.

Well my time is up.  
Love you sooooooo much!  
Have a wonderful week at Targhee!  Say Hi to everyone for me!  Sounds like a blast  and be safe, and Lexi, get better!

Elder Bradshaw

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Letter from last week!

Hola Familia!

Wow!  Christmas in one week and my five month mark tomorrow.  Quite the time.  

Ok everyone is getting pretty excited about all the Christmas things, so I'll jump into that first... The 23 of Diciembre (Monday)  we have a Multi Zona conferencia with two other zones, and Presidente Rowley, so that will be kinda fun.  Then Tuesday I will have my Pday. ( so expect emails to come a little later).  Then Wednesday is Navidad!  Wow!  I can call you guys at whatever time you want.  It would be good if you told me what time you would like, and Taylor too.  If you could, could you make me a Skype account and send me all of the info for it.  I would love to do 10 minutes with him. Since my Pday is Tuesday, you will have to coordinate, then tell me the time (and I don't know what time differences there are too for here Ghana and in the USA) and then Wednesday I call.  I am getting pretty excited!  Christmas packages aren't here yet, but I think this Monday I will get them.  

I am so happy for all of the great things that are happening at home.  Sounds like everything is going awesome!  Harp, dance, christmas,  freezing cold!  Wow!

Ok, now for the week......This week was quite the stretching week.  Lots of patience, lots of work, and lots of disappointment.  We worked super hard this week, and because of this, I am dead tired, but it seemed like we didn't get much done.  I felt like we were swimming in circles.  Tons of appointments fell through, and we didn't get tons of really awesome lessons with the people we are focusing on.  Our investigators right now aren't really progressing and I feel like we hit a concrete wall.   I am still happy, and love everyday, but its a little frustrating when your happiness is in the hands of others agency.   

The mission is focusing a bunch on less actives.  When we report our numbers, we report a new number for Rescued People.  This for us, and for the mission is as important as a baptism, so we are doing tons of menos activo work!  I love it though.  We have two families that are almost rescued, so that is pretty fun.  

Something funny that happened this week:  
We were walking through Negreiros yesterday in the night, and this crazy guy started after us.  I don't know if he was drunk, or if he was mentally challenged.  So, he started after us, and first of all, I have never ever dealt with a situation like this ever, and second...I had no clue what he was saying.  All I could get out of it was that he wanted our food, something about baptisms for the dead, something about  Jesus, and that he was from Ecuador.  Kinda weird, strange, but kinda funny. 
- Most spiritual part of the week:

1. I was on a Work Visit (I dont know if its called that in English), with another elder, and we went to a Recent convert, and he shared his testimony, and it was soooooooo strong.  I want all my converts, menos activos, and...heck!  I want everyone to have a testimony like him!
2. the more I work, the more I study, the more I teach, the more real this gospel becomes to me, and the more real Christ becomes as a brother, friend, Savior, and Redeemer.

- What are you loving about your ward?  
I have really grown close with them recently.  Especially with President Gaston and his family.  We live with them, and recently, we have really become awesome friends.  Its like they adopted us.  Yesterday was our Pensionista's Bday, so we ate lunch with them,  I shared my candy, and we had cake.  They are really awesome.  And because we are really becoming friends with them, we are working better with the members too!
Here's a super blurry picture of Zack with his Pensionista's family birthday celebration
- Any new successes this week?  
I confirmed someone a member of the church and gave them the gift of the holy ghost in spanish!
- How's your companion? 
Were killin' it.  Hes a great guy and a great friend.  Were learning tons together. We go to Piura tomorrow for his training!
- How do you feel like the language is coming?  
I guess you'll see on Christmas!
None this week

Mission Christmas Plans? 
the 23 we have a party, and a zone activity the 25

Ok, there is my letter.  
I am so sorry that its a little boring.  I have a lot going through my mind right now.  Nothing bad or sad, just lots happening.  Can't wait to talk next Wednesday!!!!!

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, December 9, 2013

Three Great Lessons

Wow Diciembre!

Before I forget, thanks soooooo much for the mail from Ali Ball, Madi Reese, Rachel Hubert (Arequipa!!!!!!!), Sister Richards, Sister Lund, Mom, and Emily Jorgenson, and the best sisters in the world.  I  Looooooooved them.  And thanks so much for the packages from Mom, Gma P, Gma B, and Ali ball.  I am pretty sure I have many cavities now.  But I'm happy!  So, thanks!

It is so crazy to hear that there is a place in this world that is cold.  We are entering summer here, and everyday its getting hotter.  And hotter. And hotter.  With a sun that cooks.  We have a lot of wind here, so that's helpful, but still.  oooooooooooohhhhh.

Dad, I just laughed out loud when I saw your comment telling us to get reservations at a nice restaurant.  jaja...but there is a good Chicken place that I will be sure to take Elder Rodroguez to.

I am so glad to here about some of the things that you are doing there.  That is soooooo cool and I love that you are enjoying it so much.  It makes me so happy to hear about that.  

This week was a really good week.  I can really feel the Spirit working within me.  We had three lessons this week that just rocked!
1.  With Hno Mumfry....We had a lesson with the brother of Marlene (the grandma of the Omar family who was baptized recently.)  He sat down, and it was like Ammon and Aaron.  It was like we knew his thoughts and questions before he even spoke.  The scriptures he read, were perfect, and we were able to answer his questions well.  All of the questions he had, were soooo perfect.  I loved it.  We put down his date for the 29 de Diciembre.  He is really quite the cool guy.  This I know...the words I said, weren't mine, but were from the Holy Ghost.  Quite the cool feeling...the feeling that comes when you're doing your best and the lord helps you.

2. With Hna Marlene.  We had a lesson where the guidance of the Spirit was so strong.  Scriptures came to mind, the words were there...and everything went super smooth!

3.With Hna Fiory (wife to Mumfry)  She is a super hard core Evangelico....and has been for lots of years,  she goes preaching, goes to her church tons, and knows the bible like crazy. We are the first missionaries to even enter her house, so that right already a small victory.  We sat down with her and started reading 2 Nephi 31 about the baptism of Christ. Then her questions started.  Boom boom boom.  Questions from all over the place.  But we have two things which she doesn't have...1...The Holy Ghost...and 2...the truth.   The holy Ghost helped us remember so many things, from the bible, BOM, and even more.  With the help of the Bible and the Holy Ghost, and many many many questions later...she now has doubts about her church.  We feel that she knows that we have the truth, but she doesn't want to leave her church. It was a real testimony builder for me...of the Holy Ghost and the other things that we taught that day. 


Most spiritual part of your week:
Just seeing the Holy Ghost work with me and Elder Rodriquez many. times.

We had a Mission Night for mutual...but someone cut the power, so we gave our talks in the dark outside of the casa capilla (chapel), and called it good.  It was pretty fun.

We went to the beach today with our district!  And it was super fun!

How are things with Elder Rodriquez? 
We are really doing well.  We are becoming great friends and I feel like his training is going well for him.  He's a good guy and it's pretty fun to be companions with him.

Did you hear that Nelson Mandela died this week?
No, but I did see a black person today.  

What are you studying right now? 
I study the lessons that we are going to teach that day.  Today I studied the Priesthood and the Great Apostasy! Quiet the deal there!  I loved studying that!

Ok, time for bad news. 
Omar and Maria Elena couldn't marry this week.  They had some problems with money and with their papers, so we're waiting a little longer!

I love you so much!  Keep doing what is right!

Elder B

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving in Peru

Hola familia!

Most of the Piura Mission...they all traveled to by bus to see Elder Nelson speak...Zack is on the far left...smiling!

I don't know why, but I loved your emails this week!  It was super good to hear from you all.  I don't really know where to start, so it just jump to it.

This week was a good week, nothing really too special, nothing really bad.  It's kind of an adjusting stage for me right now, from a trainee, to a trainer and leading an area.  I am pretty sure that I am learning more than Elder Rodriguez from this experience, but everything is going really well!

Believe it or not...I didn't eat dinner this Thanksgiving. We had branch council, so we went to that, then didn't have time to eat anything.  Earlier that day, a member fried some fish for us...head, eyes, tail and all...for us, so I guess that will count as my Thanksgiving Day dinner. Luckily, I realized that we weren't going to be able to eat on Thursday.  My package hasn't arrive yet, so we improvised. Wednesday night, we bought a huge 2.5 liter Coke, and cooked up some Arroz Chaufa (basically fried rice).  We also had some cookies.  It was something small, the rice was burnt, and it was only halfway tasty...but it was a Thanksgiving I will always remember.  I didn't rest the whole day, I walked miles in the desert with the sand blowing in my face, and there was actually nothing resembling Thanksgiving at all...but it was something special.  I truly felt grateful for the blessings I have, which is basically the Gospel.  We knelt before we ate, and I offered a small prayer of thanks.  I don't know what was really different...I just felt sooooo grateful for everything.  So I guess the moral of the story is...on the mission, you realize what you are truly grateful for. 

Training is going really well.  Elder Rodriguez and I get along great, and we teach well together.  He is a great guy, and he's got real good intentions and all.  He's just really really green and sometimes I feel that I am with a 13 year old.  I have to remind myself that he really only has three weeks in all of his he will learn more.  I am just trying to help him out with whatever I can.  He is improving so fast, but I am still pretty sure that I am learning more than he is ;).  I am seeing a lot of the things that Elder Mamani would get mad at me for, and I am trying my best handle them in the way that I would like to be treated.  I am super grateful for this opportunity to work with him.  I wouldn't change anything about my situation, but wow, its just a time of stretching for me.  I am loving it though.  We are studying and doing everything to train him well.  Because he needs it...and actually, I do too!

I can truly feel myself becoming consecrated to the work.  I'm not counting down till Monday anymore.  I am constantly thinking of investigators, and what they need and how we can best help them.  I am truly finding so much joy here...everyday I love it more and more.  I can feel myself growing everyday, and I feel so much more mature right now than I did 4 months ago.  My love for the Savior, the gospel, and everything else has amplified these 2 weeks like one hundred and fifty percent.  I can feel myself growing into the missionary that the Lord wants me to be.

This week, my love for the Book of Mormon grew exponentially.  I love to read it with menos activos, investigators, members, my companion, and everything!  Today we have a lesson planned when we are going to give a Book of Mormon to an investigator, and I am sooooo excited to share it with him.  

Most Spiritual part of your week: We had a lesson yesterday with a Menos Activo and I could just feel the spirit working within us,  Words were just coming, we were answering all of their questions, and it was just really great!  

Funniest: I don't even know...

Best part of your week:  Everyday is just awesome.  Hard to choose.  

How's the training coming:  It's awesome, I love it.

How is Omar?  Is there a wedding coming up?  What are you doing for that? 
They are planning on getting married this week, but we are waiting for a responce from the government for their papers and everything.  we will find out today!  If they can marry, they will be baptized this sunday!  I love them so much!  We bought Omar a tie today, and Maria Elena a picture frame for their wedding!  Pray that they can marry!

How are you feeling?  Great,  finally got over that cold!

Mail? no mail, no packages yet.  Think this Thursday they will come.  I would like to email everyone and thank them for things, but seriously...I have no time for anything.  I wake up at 6:30 and work work work till 10:30.  No rest, no time to do anything personal.

Photos? Don't have my camera!

Pday?  Cut my hair, went to Talara, bought some wedding gifts (I never thought that I would do that)

What are you grateful for this week?  TODO. (all)

Mom, I searched today for something to send to you.  A nativity set or something,  Talara has NO CULTURE.  Only oil.  I am going to search more next week!

I love you sooooo much!  All of you.  I expect to know plans for how to CALL YOU for Christmas soon!.


Elder Bradshaw!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Zack...the Trainer that Trains...

Hello All:

Wow!  What a craaaazy week!  I'll just jump right in because I know mom is dying to hear! (guilty!)

So...I spent Monday night with some other Elders in a different apartment and then we took off to Piura, to pick up my new companion, in the morning.  It's a two hour bus ride which is kind of a pain.  When we got there, we had a little bit of a training with President to learn what kind of trainers we should be.  Presidente Rowley is quite the guy and I am so grateful that he is my president!  We talked a little bit, then they opened up the divider in the stake center and called out names...I am with Elder Rodriguez.  He is a 18 year old from Lima, who studied to be an English teacher, so he speaks pretty good English...which, I have to say, is nice in some cases.  He is a good missionary and has a great love for the work, I am excited to work with him more and more during these next 12 weeks in Negreiros.
Zack's new companion Elder Rodriguez...Zack...Zack's trainer.  He called this picture...'The Family Tree'

After that meeting, we jumped on a bus, and went directly back to Talara.  Had twenty minutes in the apartment.  We left his stuff in our apartment, and then left to the Zone Leaders room to sleep.  We had to do that because our room is soooo far away from the rest and we had to be at the bus at 4 in the morning the next day. 
So...the next day, at four in the morning, we jumped on a bus...again...and went to Piura...again.  It really was pretty miserable.  Starting that Saturday and Sunday night, I was averaging like 5 hours of sleep.  I didn't sleep at all on Monday night, and not too much on Tuesday night.  Because of this and all of the traveling, my body just started to shut down.  I had ehem...some 'stomach' issues, a horrible cold, and my body just ached for a couple days.  The good news is that this didn't stop me from having an awesome experience.  

From Piura on Wednesday, we left to Chiclayo, which is about 3 hours on a bus.  There, we had the oportunidad a listen to Elder Nelson, Elder Waddell, and the Presidentes of the Piura Mission and the Chiclayo mission.  Right now, there is a huge reform in the mission, with a shift of focus onto 'less actives', and using the Ward councils.  So, this was the prevelent theme during the entire conference.  I loved one comment that Elder Nelson made...He said that we are never alone.  We will always have the ancestors of the people we are contacting cheering us on to help their living decendents, so they can help them.  I loved that and can see that happening here.  It was really cool to be in a room with 400+ missionaries, and a couple general authorities.  When we shook their hands, I could feel their power, happiness, and love. Mom said that Elder Nelson always speaks with love, and I felt that here!  

After that, we returned home.  So, in two days, 14 hours of bus travel... and 10 of that was sleep for me!  It was a great opportunity.  

It is so different working as trainer!  I now have a say in what we do and I don't have to worry about getting chewed out after.  Because of this, I can feel the Spirit so much more. I am really loving the mission right now.  I am so happy!  It is a harsh transistion going from a little personal responsibility to 100 responsibility for myself, a companion, and an area.  But during this part my life, I can feel the Lords hand even more.  I am so happy!  I can feel myself growing much more now.  And, I am able to really feel the Spirit in everything I do.  I love love love it right now.  I do know that, of course, hard times are going to come, and that there is a ton of stress that is just waiting to fall down on me, but I know the Lord will help me!
Monument in Zack's town of Negreiros


Most Spiritual part of the week? 
This entire week has been a spiritual experience and I have learned so much from it.  

Yesterday, we had a training for us and all of the ward council about the new program, that I mentioned...with less actives and ward councils in Talara.  But, for some reason, the President of the Branch invited the whole branch. So, he went and borrowed this huge combi (a huge ghetto van) and we went to pick everyone up.  We filled the van with kids, less actives, investigators, teenagers, babies, you name it...and went to this training in Talara. So, there we were, pulling up to the chapel, storming into the meeting.  Late.  With the whole army of Negreiros.  Kids, babies, less actives and all. 

It must have been the most boring thing in the world for them...but It was a great meeting for me.  After the meeting, we all repacked into the van, all twenty of us (we usually have 40 attend church every week) then we left.  On the way home, they pulled up to a bakery and people started jumping out of the van to buy bread.  I was just stuck in the back,  packed in like a sardine...yelling,  "No compra! No compra! Guarda el Dia de Reposo!  No compra!!!"  (
No purchase!  No purchase!  Keep the Sabbath Day! No purchase!)  I saved about half the van from sinning, but was too late for the rest.  It was pretty funny, and we all had a good laugh.  

How's the new family that you 'accidentally met when you had the wrong address? 
They are doing good, we met with them once this week, and they were great.  We have a meeting with them today at 6:30.
Bought some potatoes.  And some chicken.  We're going to cook something.  I'll figure something else out

P-day fun? 
I bought a new backpack today, because the one is too big, and my side bag is starting to do harm to my back.  Nothing to worry about...but I needed to change it!
Exercising?  Yes siree!

What are you grateful for this week? 
My oportunity to train.  I have learned a lot, and grown so much in this time.  I'm so grateful for this time I have to train.  Also, I am so grateful for the Libro de Mormón.  I love reading it and finding all of the little secrets that it holds. And sooooo much more!
Some way that you served someone this week? 
I have been helping out Elder Rodriguez quite a bit this week.  I bought him his food, cooked for him, and just been trying to helping him out.
Where are you in your 'water ski turn' this week? 
(In relation to the water skiing analogy included at the end of this letter...)
Right now, I'm carving an awesome turn...shooting sprays on the red rocks...on the perfect glass water...2 'S' turns before Good Hope Bay at Lake Powell.

I love you all sooooo much!  I am doing soooo good and am so grateful for your prayers and I am praying for you too.

Elder Bradshaw
The 'Water-skiing' analogy of a mission that we sent to Zack last week...adapted from Shauna Anderson...
This mission can be related to a water skier...actually more like Grandpa Bradshaw water skiing, you'll see what I mean here in a minute.  When you was like when you jump into the cold water at Lake takes a minute to be able to breathe (in my case) and you move around and warm-up and soon your are comfortable...that was you at the MTC.  Little bit of a shock...but you adapted and were comfortable. 

When you left for the 'real' was like when you say "hit it!" when you are holding on to the end of the rope behind the boat.  First thing that happens after that is that you get pulled under water and have to fight it for a while, water going up your nose...getting sprayed and pulling with all the strength that you have...and then finally coming up out of the water, still a little unstable and shaky...and then finally, you begin to plane...and you begin to look around and see the scenery and it becomes a little easier just staying behind the boat.  Now...I'm going to add here that there will be times when you make a deep cut and have to hold on tighter because there will be more pressure and more resistance, but then will come out of that deep cut and fly again.  And that, my my analogy of your far.  You are up and behind the are just in a really deep cut right out...the wake is coming up!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Faith, Work, and Obedience

Hello All!

 Alcanzé!  Terminé mi capacitación.  (Yay...I've completed my training!)  Thats quite the good feeling!  Now that its over, I dont know, it just feels weird.  Like the first day of summer. 
Thanks mom for the email you wrote to Elder Mamani.  That was good of you to translate it...but I have to say that 'Google translator' is a liar...but really...I only had to do a few corrections. 
This week was a great week.  Elder Mamani and I just clicked.  We had a blast, found some new killer investigators, and overall...had a great time.  I was really sad to see him go, but also, I am excited for my new adventure...

......DRUM ROLL PLEASE......

Like my older brother Taylor...I am going to be training too!

I'll just let that sink in for a bit...because it's been 3 days and it still hasn't seemed real for me.

Elder Mamani has two more transfers (for some reason we thought he was done...but I guess he's not), so I dropped him off this morning, and I am now chilling with the others that are going to train from my zone.  They are way cool, and weve had a good P-day, with Monopoly, cookies...and they have a guitar in their apartment, so I played a little bit!!!  Tomorrow, I go to Piura to pick up my new companion. I am soooo excited, and soooo scared. I know I can direct the area...but my teaching and speaking skills are struggling.  But, I am putting my full and complete trust in the Lord.  I know what kind of companion that I want to be, and I can already feel a love for my "hijo".

I don't know how or why...but Saturday, I was praying that my next companion would be the Lords will.  And I trust in the Lord and I know that my President is inspired.  I am so scared, but... SMALL AND SIMPLE THINGS, right?  I feel like during this next 12 weeks (in which I will still be in Negreiros) I am going to be so pushed and twisted, but I also feel like I am going to learn so much.

I have been praying so much...and I feel like the best way to help my new companion, is through FAITH,  WORK,  and OBEDIENCE. This is my personal goal, and am so grateful for this opportunity to help another.  I feel completely insufficient, but with the Lord...I know it will be ok.

OK! funny stories...Today we were driving in this huge Leishman van-taxi and a tiny moto-taxi buzzed by and clipped off the mirror of our van.  So...what was a hot, crowded, bumpy bus ride, instantly turned into 'Gone in 60 Seconds' as we chased down the little moto-taxi that was trying to escape.  All-the-while, our driver was yelling at him.  Needless to say, we escaped without harm.  Higher heart-rate...but no harm.

Another cool experience.  We agree that the Spirit is the power by which we can remember all things...but what happens if it helps you to forget something?  We were trying to go to an appointment with someone we contacted.  In this instance, I was the only one who noted it in my agenda.  Of course, I accidentally mixed up the A and the E in the address because the sounds are different in Spanish...and we went to the wrong house.  I got a little 'talking-to' from my comp.  But, long story turns out that this family that we 'accidentally' went SO ready for the gospel.  Like, they have had dreams of us with angels coming from the sky and all.  So....they now have a date in December for their baptism!  Mysterious ways, I tell you.

I am out of time.  I love you all so much.  I can feel your love,  your prayers and your fasts.  More to come next week!

Love you all SO much!

Elder Bradshaw

PS...received some email from a few friends and family this week and last...thank you know who you are and you REALLY helped me. Thank you.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Little Steps of Light

Hola Familia!

I hope that everything is going well at home.  Mom you are scaring me with your knee,  I don’t want that!  Be healthy!  Also, what day is Thanksgiving?  I honestly have no clue. 

This week was great!  I am really growing to love Negreiros.  Especially the people!  This week went really well.  We had the baptism of Analy (a 14 year old girl) which went really well.  Like the others, I can really see the gospel helping her in her life.  It was a great experience to baptize her, but what I love most about baptisms by the time after that we give the converts a bear their testimonies.  They are truly powerful and incredibly spiritual.  I love the people here, and am so glad for this opportunity to serve them. 

Elder Bradshaw and Elder Mamani with Analy at her baptism Sunday.

Sorry, my English is starting to fail a little.  Word orders, spelling, and other things, so please excuse my grammar!

The family de Omar and Maria Elena is really progressing , but even more impressive than the little their awesome grandma.  Marlene, who was recently baptized.  I'll tell you what...she is quite the member!  Because of her...her sister in another city...who she invited to church, is wanting to be baptized!  And because of her...we are now teaching her brother who is way golden.  She now has a calling in the primary, does whatever it takes to attend church, reads, studies, and is now getting ready to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead.  Everytime we visit them, there always is a “Esta familia es lo maximo”  (This family is the best!) or “Hna Marlene es un converse perfecto!”  (Sister Marlene is the perfect convert!) As I have said before, I love this family so much.  Please pray for them as they prepare for their marriage and Marlene has a surgery tomorrow too!  So please pray!

Zack and Elder Mamani with the Maria Elena, Said Thomas, Omar...and their grandmother Marlene.

I had a pretty cool experience this week.  This week I have been focusing on the Spirit, and how it is important in this work.  With the language, its easy to get side-tracked and to be a little self preoccupied...but when you clear your mind, there always is a small whisper, or a prompting.  Yesterday, we were with a 70 year old member who is really struggling financially and physically.  We gave him a blessing.  When I placed my hands on his head, I cleared my own, and just followed what was there.  It felt like I only had a little bit of light in a dark room, and with each new step, with each moment, there was only enough light to take one more step, then another, then another.  I felt the Spirit so strong, and I know that we are never alone.  If any of you are having problems or need a little bit of help...pray, then clear your own mind, listen, and then act.  I promise you will receive something.



Pday fun? 
We don’t really have much time for anything,  there was a zone activity, but our area is so far away, and we didn’t have the money or the time.  We got a little bit of sleep though!

Most spiritual experience:  
Probably the blessing which I gave! 

Funniest thing:  
We were cleaning our apartment, and just outside of our apartment, there was some long wood boards with 3 lizards hidden within.  We started trying to catch them, and we were really successful, we caught two, then a huge board caught the other.  And now, I have the image of an eyeless lizard with its intestine hanging out of its side.  But it was pretty funny. 

What are you grateful for this week?
My family, the gospel, the scriptures, prophets, the comfort that the Spirit gives, and prayer!  Ill make a list.  I don’t have much time right now!

Something you learned this week? 
The importance of following the little guides and whispers of the spirit.

How's your teaching pool at the moment? 
It's good.  We have the family, and Marlene´s brothers family which are our focuses right now.  Were going to put down a date for baptism for Mumfry (her brother) tonight. 

Did you have a baptism on Sunday?  Si! honest here...tell me...are you writing in your journal?  If you are not...then get with will be so sad if you don't do this...I promise you'll never regret writing in your journal.   
I write in my journal every night!  I know it is important and I love doing it.

Do you have any questions for us? 
No, just be safe please.

And any ideas for Christmas?  
I don’t know any ideas for Christmas.  SURPRISE!  Caramels, and about that? 

This week was great.  We got to go to a talent show with some other branches in-which the total of the family de Omar (see above) participated.  It was awesome.  Said Tomas (6) dressed up in a clown suit and told jokes.  He “roasted" a few missionaries and it was great. 

I love you all sooooo much. Be safe and have a great week!  As always, thanks for your prayers and emails...they mean a lot.

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meeting Wonderful People

Hi family!
I hope that you are all well and healthy!  It sounds like you had a good week, and I cant believe its getting cold there!  In the day, everyday, it's like 85 degrees.  We're close to the sea, and it's so flat, that there is so much wind.  In the nights its actually really cold with the wind.  I feel it getting hotter everyday, and I am in the coldest part of the mission, but I think I will get transferred in the heat of summer, and that’s when Piura, Land of Eternal Heat, comes in.

This week was good.  I liked it...a bit different and interesting...but good.  We have been working with a lot of less-actives, with I actually really like doing.  You don’t count it as a baptism...but for me, its just as rewarding.  We found a member whose name is Hno. Pozo.  His wife died a while ago, and after, no one helped him, no one visited him, no one did anything really for him.  And because of this, him and his family (all of his family has families too) kinda distanced from the church.  We found him in his little office of his elementary school that he runs, and taught him the plan of salvation.  We were the first ones to visit him and help him after his wife had died.  It was so sad to see him so sad, but now, he has attended three times!  I can see the gospel bringing light into his life.  We had also visited his two daughters, who have attended as well, and I can really see the light of the gospel within them, as well.  That’s my spiritual experience of the week.  Hno Pozo gave a beautiful testimony this week in church and I am really grateful for the opportunity to help him!

Our investigators are doing well.  We are going to baptize Analy (14 year old) this week, and are working with the family too.  They went to another city this week, so we didn’t really have much contact with them, but they are doing really well.  And of course, Maria Elena reads every day and has a ton of questions for us everytime we come!  They are sooooo awesome. 

This week we had the opportunity to go to Tumbes (the northern part of the mission) for a multi-zona conferencia.  It was soooo cool.  That night, we had to sleep in another apartment in Talara with 5 other missionaries and had to wake up at 3 in the morning to drive 3 hours in a crowded, hot, sweaty bus on a windy, bumpy road, but it was cool.  We drove through tons of little towns just like the towns in costa rica, Tamarindo!  It was quite fun.  The conference was really awesome as well. I learned a lot about the kind of missionary that I want to be.

Zack's in the back!   Zone Conference!

We also found out that we get to go to Chiclayo in two weeks!  Chiclayo is a different mission, but Elder Nelson is coming, so the whole mission is going!  Sooo!

It was fine, better than worse.  I liked it,.

Probably seeing the gospel change the people we teach.  With almost all of them, I can literally see a difference from the beginning of the visits, to now, it is amazing!  It is another testimony to me that this is true, that Christ does live and that his Atonement does heal people.

None today!

(funny that you got to baptize a 11 year old girl like Elli and a 14 year old girl like Lexi)  
Her name is Analy.  We had been teaching her, but her dad is a pretty strict Catholic, and we couldn’t meet with them for a while.  But we finally met up, and she is progressing now!

I am trying,  its tough,  I bought more fruit, and carrots today!  Im experimenting. 

-PHOTOS?  Sent them!

-MAIL? Not this week! 

I love you all sooooo much!  Know that I am good and enjoying it!  Just a little bit of a rough patch today.  I love you all sooooo much

Elder B

Monday, October 28, 2013

Best Week So Far

Hola Familia!

This week was really good.  Much much better.  Actually, the best week of my mission!  So I guess I will just get started!

This week we worked pretty darn hard and we were pretty darn successful.  Our focus has definitely been Omar and Maria Elena and Juan Antonio and America Marlene (yes...that is her name).  ´merica.  J.A. (or otherwise known as Toto) and ´Merica were confirmed this Sunday so that was pretty awesome!  We have been visiting them often, and they are wonderful people.  They have such strong testimonies of the church and are going to get married on the 7 of December.  Can't wait!!! ...And after that will be their baptism!  Can't wait even more!!!  I love love love this family and they are truly converted and not just numbers.  Marlene told us yesterday that she is a member for the rest of her life.  Tonight we are going over to talk about temples and make a goal for here to go!  Today I studied a little bit about the temple to help explain it to her...and I realized what a great blessing it is in our lives.  The covenants, the blessings, the Spirit, the knowledge, and the power of the endowment.  I am so grateful I've had that opportunity, and it is sooooooo wonderful.  I can't wait for her to experience that!  Also this week, it was Said Tomas' birthday.  He is their crazy 6 year old kid. Like, seriously CRAZY.  Like one of my little cousins on red bull packed into a little 6 year old Latino body.  Insane.  The family invited us over for a party and cake and it was so fun.  I love this family so much.

Our other investigators are wonderful but there are only a few that are really progressing.  We've been looking for this 14 year-old girl that we couldn't find for quite some time, and she is going to get baptized on the first week of November or so.  Also, we have some others that we plan on working real hard with.

This week President gave us an article to read, which is called The Fourth Missionary... I loved it and it completely changed my outlook of my mission.  (I'm sure anyone could look it up.)  The whole thing is based on how the desires of our hearts help decide what we do and the blessings we receive.  So, this week I have been trying hard to put my heart into the heavens and let the Lord do whatever he wants with me.  In the short time that I have studied this, and done this, it has helped me quite a bit!   I've felt the Spirit soooo strong this week, and I really feel like it is guiding me in my speaking and my teaching.  I am really starting to enjoy this.

Things with my companion have been going much better.  I can feel your prayers and see the results of those prayers in my life right NOW.   He told me that I finally have his respect, so its all good!

I received a package from G and G Bradshaw and tons of mail this week!  Yay! and thank you means so much to hear from each of you.  I love you all and I am almost out of time. 

Sharing American candy with the Zone Leaders and having banana splits.
Have a wonderful week and know that I pray for you everyday. 

Lexi...keep doing whats right, and be a friend to everyone...because everyone deserves it!

Love all you so much!

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, October 21, 2013


Hello Family! 

This week was a lot better. 

I felt the Spirit so much more...and worked really really hard.  I always don’t know where to start.  It's pretty difficult because all of the days seem the same sometimes.  I loved reading your letters, I had teary eyes, and I can really feel your love super strong right now.  And sometimes I just need to feel that.  Gracias.

Last week, I forgot to say that I got a package from Ihrkes!  THANK YOU so much!  We use the cards with the kids and the gum is delicious!  I also hear that I have another one, so thanks sooooo much!

This week, and the last, we worked really hard in our finding efforts.  And good is really paying off.  We found lots of investigators who are completely ready to hear the gospel, including some families!  Right now, we have 11 investigators with baptismal date for the 17 de Noviembre, and we are going to do all that is possible to make that happen.  We are super pumped for them!  

Elders Bradshaw and Mamani  at the baptism of Juan Antonio and his grandmother, Marlene

We also had the baptisms of Marlene (the grandma in the photo) y Juan Antonio (the 9 year old).  I was able to baptize Juan Antonio and it was a great experience.  He is really my bud and we are pretty tight.  I am pretty sure I have done over 100 thumb wars with him, and he is quite the cool kid.  Also in the photo, there is one with Omar and Maria Elena, and they are going to do all that is possible a marry this November.  We talked with them yesterday, and they are pumped to do whatever is possible to find the money and papers for their marriage.

Zack with the beautiful Familia de Omar that he loves...with Omar and Maria Elena, Juan Antonio...and Marlene

We also found another family.  La familia Guerrero.  They are awesome and we are working hard with them.

Something really funny happened this week!  We were walking down the road, and started talking with this guy.  He was a little loopy and like 75 years old, but we sacamos un cita (sorry don’t really know how to say that in English) and went to his house,.  At his house (which was horribly filthy and dark and smelly.  We tried to teach him, but I don’t really even know what was happeneing.  He spoke Spanish like an Italian (with the little sing) and didn’t understand anything at all.  The closest thing I cant think of is Golem on Lord of the Rings.  He was exactly like golem..  Quite the experience.

This week I really gained a testimony of work...hard work...and hard work with the Spirit.  I really like my area, and I love the people.  We've got a power packed four weeks ahead of us...and I am learning oh so much. 

Sorry that this is a little shorter letter this week, but I wanted a chance to write to some friends...and to Taylor specifically.

Thanks so much for your support and for your love.  I love you soooooo much.  All of you.

Elder Bradshaw 2

Monday, October 14, 2013


Buenas tardes familia!

My keyboard is so messed up so I am so sorry if this letter is feo.  This week was a quite a week.  I don’t even know really how to explain it.  So I guess I'll just jump into it. 

This week was pretty regular.  We have been working tons with Omar's family.  Juan Antonio, the nine year old, and Marlene, the 65-ish year old abuela (grandmother), will be baptized this Sunday, so were preparing them.  Omar and Maria Elena need to marry first, so were hoping that that will go ok for them.  It's kind of a pain for most people to marry, and it takes a long we are praying for them lots!  They attended church this week and appeared to really like it.  Juan Antonio actually bore his Testimony!!!  That was quite a shock but it was wonderful.  They all are doing wonderful, and these two will be baptized this Sunday. 

This week we worked really hard to find some new investigators.  We found two families and they are both seem to be really prepared.  I don’t want to spend too much time talking about them, because we don’t know too much about them, but I am sure that at least one of them “seguirá el ejemplo de JesuCristo al ser bautizado”.  Pero vamos a ver. (will follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized. But we'll see.)

This week wasn’t really that exciting, but it's all good.  This Friday, my companion went to Piura (which is a two hour drive in a tour bus)  for a training for the Lidres de Distritos (District Leaders), so I was left in my area with a missionary from my group, and one that arrived 3 days before… That was quite the experience.  They were both latinos, so we could function, but it was quite the test!  It was good to see that I am picking this up a little bit, and that I can do it.  It was also pretty fun.  

Zack in front of the Talara Cathedral.

It really sounds like you guys have had a wonderful week.  Park City (I don’t even want to see pictures;), yard work, and the Music and the Spoken word!  Sounds wonderful! 


Best part of the week: 

Funniest part of the week?  
My daily Spanish failures are pretty funny.  Like yesterday an investigator fed us, and I told him thanks, but he said “give thanks to God”, then I told him “thanks” again, I don’t know why, but it happened.

Not this week.
Do you ever feel like you are in danger?  
I feel pretty safe most of the time.  My area is way chill!  It's kind of like the 'St George' of this region,  no one is out at nights, it's pretty good.

Do you ever speak in church?  You could be a cheerleader for ward members to invite their friends to church! 
I have spoken in church like 3 times.  We are trying to work with the members, but there isn’t much of a response.

How's the cooking.   
If you could send me some way basic recipes.  I usually eat some hamburger meat, some hotdog, noodles and ketchup for dinner.  Breakfast is usually an egg or two, oatmeal, and some fruit.

Gaining weight or losing weight?
Think I'm gaining. 

I am doing really good now, don’t worry about me.  I am going to work sooooo hard this week to learn all I can.  I am so grateful for the loving family I have at home cheering and praying for me.  I love you all sooooo much.  Tengan una buena semana! (Have a good week!)

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week of Conferences

October 7, 2013

(Editors note:  We are assuming that Zack is thinking more in Spanish due to some of the bad English found in this least we are hoping that is the reason!)

Hola familia,

Tal vez yo quiero a escribir total mi carta en Español.  Pero no pienso que ustedes les gustaría eso mucho, entonces, ingles. (No...we don't understand what he's saying here...)

Sounds like everything is going well at home.  I am so proud of Lexi!  First place dance trio at the Shakespeare Festival...that’s awesome.  My years in competitions were solid 2nds, so that’s pretty impressive.  Fall break sounds awesome too!  It is comforting just to hear that everyone is ok. 

Before I forget, um, My companion keeps on asking me to ask you to send him sunglasses like mine. Don’t send them, I'm only asking so I can tell him that I asked.  He also asks me to present him a gringa, so…ladies...the offer is out, check and check.  I can pass both those off with him.

This week was good.  

One highlight was my improvement in teaching!  I actually really taught this week and I am excited to work more on that.  I really liked it actually.  

It's been super busy, but everything is going smoothly.  I have basically adjusted now, after 6 weeks, and I am doing well.  

Zack with Elder Michael Smith...from Alpine

The highlight this week was definitely going to Piura for a 5 week training with all of the newbies.  We went on Wednesday and it was so wonderful to see all of my MTC buds.  I sent one pic with Michael Smith.  All of my friends are doing well, and it was fun to see their progress in Spanish as well as everything else.  Everyone had a kind of “what just happened” look on their face.  Everyone talked a little quieter, and everyone was just so full of stories and pictures.  It was just wonderful.  I loved it.  

Zack's MTC group gathered for 5-week training

We also had a Zone Conference the next day, which was fun.  There is a lot of “less active” work here, and were starting a new type of program to help with that.  My zone is pretty awesome and I love to spend some time with them.  

We also had General Conference this weekend and we watched it LIVE.  Same time as you guys!  We were in Talara both days...all it was super exhausting.  I watched the first session in English, and then the rest in Spanish.  I didn’t really get too much out of that part conference, which is kind of a bummer, but I did learn some. 

One thing that I learned is the importance of member missionary work.  I don’t really like the phrase “full-time  missionary.”  In reality, God has 15,000,000 “full time missionaries” and 80,000 two-year devoted missionaries.  We have all been so blessed with this gospel, and part of this gospel and our baptismal covenant is to share it.  It might be kinda hard in Alpine, but always, we can spread it! 

Things with my companion are doing good now.  Sometimes I still get “zack-thrashed”.  He tells me that I don’t know anything, or offends me pretty bad lots, but I have learned to push it aside.  Everyday is a rollercoaster, but for the most part...we're good.  Today we are buying matching ties, so I'm thinking that’s a good sign.  I pray for patience everyday, and then I hope that I don’t run out. We are starting to become friends, tell stories, and joke more.  Transfers are today and tomorrow.  It’s a twelve week training thing, so I am half way done!  Both of us are staying in this area, and its all good.  I think I can do one more.  I think I will be here until Christmas.  My companion will leave this area in November.  It's pretty sure that this will happen, but we will see.

Omar family? 
They are wonderful!  We did a family night with them, and Omar bore a really strong testimony of the Gospel which made me happy.  I took over some Swedish fish and they loved them!  This week, they attended conference with us (Sunday morning)...and everything went perfectly.  Members came and sat by them, the talks were exactly what they needed, and it was great.  Only, they kept on falling asleep. Jaja.  We have a baptismal date with them on the 20th of Octubre, but they need to marry first... (no one here is married, Chastity is a HUGE problem).  So I think their baptism may come a little later.  They are doing wonderful.

Most spiritual time of the week?
Omar's testimony, Elder Uchtdorf's talk Saturday morning (I listened in English), and the last song at conference (Tis eventide).  I don’t know, I just felt the Spirit so strongly.  I thought about you guys lots this weekend and all the fun memories we have had on conference weekend.

Best time of the week? 
5 week training

Not this week!

Learn anything from Conference?
I loved Elder Dubes talk about looking forward.  That’s a big help for me right now.

Are transfers next week...isn't training a 12 week program?  
I'm staying here.  I'll finish my training and probably have one more transfer here.  I like my area most of the time. 

Zack likes his area 'most of the time'.

Keeping your room clean?
As clean as Peru can be.

P day fun stuff? 
Going to play a little bit of soccer with the ZL's...and buy matching ties.

I loved writing you guys!  I love you so much and hope that everything is going good there.  Tenga una semana muy Buena!

Love Elder Bradshaw!

...I always hate closing the email window