Monday, September 30, 2013


Zack on the streets of Negreiros, where he lives.     
Hola familia! 

I loved Reading your emails this week, as always.  Its one of my favorite parts of the week.  It sounds like everyone is doing great at home.  5Ks, bishopric changes, and what not!  Sounds wonderful.  First off, I would love to thank all of you for the mail.  We get mail whenever the Zone leaders go to Piura, and apparently they went this week!  I was blessed to get mail from Elli, Lexi, Baylee R, Missy, Connors mom, Chris Hall, Ali Ball, Sister Lund and Sister Richards, and Nicole Harvey.  I was so touched to receive all of this, and am so blessed so be surrounded (or rather, have been surrounded) by so many wonderful people.   Also, I received a PACKAGE!  The one mom sent me on September 5.  It got here on the 24, so it seems like the mail is pretty fast and reliable.  Remember the next time to send it with President Chad A. Rowley's name on the first line.  I love the Swedish fish and Circus Peanuts!  WONDERFUL!  Some people have been asking me for package suggestions. ..  Really, there is only a few things, but maybe a laminated map of the world, the USA, and Peru.  And Candy.  Always room for candy.  I sent a letter home last week, so lets hope it gets there.

This week went really well.  This email might be a little awkward for you to read...because it might be a little more positive than normal!  Things really picked up this week.  I think that I am adjusting to this lifestyle, or maybe I was just on a Swedish fish high...but it went well this week.  Still hard as ever, but better.  Elder Mamani and I both started to kind of crack off each others shells this week and we are really becoming friends.  He has realized that I can't really speak that well, and I realized that he is here to help me.  We starting to be buds, starting to joke around more, and starting to feel the Spirit stronger in unity.  Today was wonderful, he has been helping me to improve my study, and today we had a wonderful talk about what I had been studying.  Things have improved lots, and only every once in a while will a 'Zack Thrash' occur, but we are doing well as a compañerismo.

Thats the whole thing, kitchen, closet, beds, and the study...there is a small bathroom behind...but thats home!

Mi español está mejorando cada día.  I am not close to fluency, or anything like that, but I can understand like 70 percent...on a good day, and I am starting to contribute in lessons, not just prayers, testimonies, or a memorized line, but real contribution.  This week I really had a hard time with the language and total.  Sometimes, I feel sooooooo overwhelmed and sooooooo incapable and not able to do half the things I really need to do.  But I have learned to recognize that it is ok.  I'm only 18 years old...I'm speaking a different language...and living a new life.  It's ok to feel overwhelmed, and I only need to take it one step at a time.  That step, I decided, is 100 Percent, daily obedience.  If I am obedient in every aspect, I will learn, and grow into the missionary I want to be.  

This week, we have been working a lot with Omar and his family.  They always seem to be progressing and be doing awesome, but they buckle hard when it comes to church attendance.  I love to visit them, and they are basically our friends.  This week, we tried to find new people and are focusing in on retention with Leyla and the other baptism we had, Deisy.  We are still teaching Leyla, and she is wonderful.  I have been teaching her English, and we have really grown to be great friends.  

Now for some Questions!

Better with the companion this week?  
Totally, this week was wonderful!

New investigators? 
Not many wonderful ones, but we are searching!

We have 5 with baptismal dates in October, and we are working with another one hopefully in October

How are YOU? 
I am good, every once in a a while I feel super incapable, but I am doing well and the happiness outweighs the bad times.

Funniest thing... 
I saw a dog today gnawing on another dogs amputated leg. Not really funny, but yeah...its Peru.  Everything is kind of funny in its own way.  We taught a very animated lady that was kinda freaking out...and that was kind of funny too.

Most spiritual time of the week... 
This week, I actually felt like I contributed and legitimately helped someone to be better.  We were helping a member who her husband just left one day.  She has been super sad and struggling so much.  I bore a testimony of the Atonement and how it fills us, and how Christ understands us because of it.  I think it went well, and I really felt the Spirit.

Fun Pday? 
What did you do?  We kind of just chilled today.  We went and hung out with the Zone leaders, they are in our district, and bought our food with them.

What type of food do you eat? 
For breakfast…SUGAR CEREAL almost everyday.  Also lots of oatmeal and fruit.  Then for dinner, almost always noodles with a hamburger patty, hot dog, with fry sauce, ketchup, and mustard.  I'm trying new things, to cook, but its difficult. 

Do you ever mutter things in English under your breath when you are frustrated?  
Really don’t speak that much English.  SO lamente some phrases that Elder Mamani knows like..."can I get an amen" and occasionally I get to speak with some other gringos.



Do you still teach Leyla?  What do you guys do about her now?  
English and retention.

Something you learned? 
The importance of convenios, or covenants.  Sorry.  Sometimes when I speak English I throw in Spanish.  IT'S HAPPENING.

This week, I get to go to Piura for a training for the greenies, Zone Conference, and General Conference!  Should be a good week!

I'm out of time.  I love you soooooo much!  All of you.  I pray for you and hope that everything is going well at home!  I am so grateful for all of you and love you so much

Elder Bradshaw Numero Dos

Monday, September 23, 2013

A baptism!

Dear Familia

Buenas tardes!  I hope everything is going well at home.  I am trying something new, to write while I send photos in another window, lets hope it goes well.

Elder Bradshaw, Leyla and her brother.

This week was great!  Lots of ups and downs, but overall, It is worth all, just because I grew so much.  Lots of bad things, but lots of AMAZING things.  I think that’s how a mission will go for the most part.  I guess ill start with the bad things, then move into the good.

Starting last Monday, my shoulders, back, and head started hurting really bad.  I don’t know what it was, but it was horrible.  I couldn’t really turn my head, carry really anything, and I just hurt.  On top of that, my stomach went through a tough time for a day or so.  I just hurt so bad that I could hardly function.  By the time that Thursday rolled around, I was going to call Hma. Rowley.  I prayed and prayed and asked to be healthy.  When I woke up on Thursday, it still hurt, but I prayed again.  I jumped out of bed and I was completely fine!  Another miracle.  It was a great experience.  I am fine now, I just think I need to lighten my load a bit.  Be more relaxed, drink more, rest more, and stretch.  Don’t worry though, I am completely fine.  Maybe just a bit sleep deprived.  But really...who isn’t?

Even though my companion are very different, for some reason we really connected this weekend.  We were buds.  I have tried serving him and that has helped.

This week, I really tried to focus on being a missionary.  I am kinda tired of being a follower.  I realized that I was called of God by a Prophet to preach the gospel.  Not just watch my comp do it.  I have worked and worked at that and its paying off.  I loved this weekend!

This week, we had baptisms.  I baptized Leyla!  Such a wonderful experience.  This week I really connected with her and we became little.  As I was baptizing here, I felt the Spirit soooooo strong.  It felt like I was getting hit with soft pillows while kettle corn with extra sugar popped in my chest.  It was sooooo special.  I never want to forget it.  She is the kind of baptism that it is meant to be.  She is a convert, not just a number.  She is so awesome, she cried after the baptism when she gave her testimony.  Only her brother and grandma came to watch her baptism though, which is kinda sad.  We also baptized a 19 year-old mother and also there was another child in the ward.  That was the highlight of my week.  

Zack's first baptism...Leyla...the little girl right next to him.

The familia de Omar consists of Omar, Marialene, Marlene(the gma), and Juan Antonio, the nine year old kid.  All of them have baptism dates and are super fun to teach.  They are progressing super fast and I am so excited for them.

The food is great here.  Our pension is better now, and so is my cooking.  They have everything here from fruit loops to fry sauce (yes...they have it).  This week, a member took us out to dinner.  I was expecting a little bit of rice with a chicken leg, the usual, but then the lady brought a HUGE plate of fries, and a HUGE plate of rotisserie chicken!  WAHOOOOOOO!

Funniest Moment: When Elder Mamani microwaved a metal package, or being in a small van with 23 others when someone's suitcase fell off the top on to the road, and watching everyone freak out and the little Peruvian man “tom cruise” run to go pick it up.

Emails are fine.  Letters are always better but its ok because I can print them, or take photos on my camera and read them later.

Today we played a little soccer with some members, it was fun!

Well, I am out of time.

I love you all so much!

I am doing great.  And I am soo happy right now.  You are all in my prayers everyday!

Love you so much

Love Elder Bradshaw

Monday, September 16, 2013


Howdy all
This week was a good week.  Guess what?  When people say missions are hard...they mean it.  This is the hardest thing I have ever done.  Not because I am walking around in a desert with huge gusts of wind with another language all around me, but because it is so hard to be away from my family for so long.  But I am starting to adjust and am improving everyday.  Still when I wake up, its the hardest hour of the day because every night I dream of family, of friends and home.  It's tough...but once I get studying and working I am usually fine.
Zack and his zone at the beach...Zack said that he TOWERS over everyone!

This was a growing week.  I learned so much.  My companion loves to teach me in sort of a 'immersion by fire' kind of way, which is so tough...but I have learned so much.  

I don't really know where to start, so I'll just go into the week.  
Monday and Tuesday were pretty good.  Just regular days.  But a regular day here usually includes a taxi ride with 6 or 7 people packed into a car the size of my rabbit...with cars driving on both sides of you...going the opposite way...with horrible Latino music blasting.  Or waking up with a black spider on your face.  Or finding a cockroach in your food.  But all is well.  I always wish I had snapchat or a phone just to send pics of the weird things I see, because there are lots! (All of the things previously mentioned, just so you know, actually happened)

Wednesday was a kind fun day.  We did inter-district cambios this week, so I packed up my day pack and left to another companion for a day.  It was awesome.  I was paired with Elder Martinez, an Argentine who has been in the mission for 21 montys and is our Zone Leader.  He is such a cool guy.  I learned so much from him about how to be a great missionary.  Elder Mamani is a great missionary and trainer, for sure, but it was nice to see a different example of a great missionary.  Wednesday night I returned and resumed our regular deal.

Thursday and Friday were just fine days...nothing great, nothing bad.  I decided just to try to learn from every experience possible, whether I messed up in a lesson or anything else, for that matter.   I've just decided to kind of laugh it off, and try to do better.  It's kind of hard, but it is a better way to learn.  I had two opportunities to give blessings this week.  That was quite the humbling night.  The second blessing was to a little boy who father left the church and his family.  I was really struggling before I gave it just because it was kind of a hard day.  But when I went to give the blessing, I cleared my mind, and prayed with faith.  It was amazing, words came, and they weren't my own.  I thought of Sam and Josh, because this little boy was just like them, and then I just spoke some decent Spanish.  What a cool experience. 

Saturday was the best day of this week by far!  We went into Talara in the morning for a Zone Conference with the President!  It was so cool to get some advice from such a great guy!  I really really like him.  After, I had an interview with him.  It was like talking with a friend!  We discussed how I am doing and some scriptures.  It was a great day.  After, we just worked.  Elder Mamani found a familia a couple of weeks ago and we have been teaching them a lot!  They need to get married soon, but I would expect to have a family baptized in Octubre!  We have three this Sunday, one in Octubre, and hopefully that other family soon.  The ten year old boy, loves to read the Book of Mormon!

Sunday was great, we had a stake conference which was good.  President was there, but it was a broadcast from Elder Bednar and Scott from SLC to all of Peru.  It was great, but I had a hard time listening.  We were there waiting for our investigators before, and none came.  Hardly anyone from our branch came.   SUCH a bummer.  Then, we were sitting in the meeting, and I looked out the door...boom one investigator!...Boom one Menos Activo (less active)...!  I was so excited!  We then started to watch more, but I was still a little bummed because the familia de Omar didnt come.  I was pretty disappointed....but then I looked out, and there they were! Their whole family!  So rewarding! We showed them around, and they loved the chapel.  All great people and perfect investigators!

So now for moms questions...I have 1 hour and 15 minutos in the internet cafe.  No mail this week.  I sent photos.  Things with my companion got pretty low this week which was hard...and totally my fault becuase I was pretty frusturated with being critiqued one hundred percent of the time...but we talked about it and we are super good buds now!  I am lucky to have him.  Most spiritual moment:  I had a great study session yesterday where I really received some personal revelation for some things I needed.  Funniest moment?  I don't's hard to tell.  Everything is just so different here, and I wish I could show it all to you, but it's all kind of funny in some way.  Favorite food?  I haven't really had really any great food yet.  Although, I am learning to cook on a budget and to plan...which is tough (I had two hot dogs and two oranges for breakfast today) but I really like the pinnapple juice or the passionfruit juice.  We just switched pensionista so our food now is WAY better...No more cucarachas (cockroaches)!  Laundry is good.  I am healthy.  And today...we are going to get icecream!!  I am really excited!

I am running out of time, but know that I love you...and pray for all of you...all the time!  I am excited to be here and am adjusting more everyday.  I can basically communicate the basics in Spanish now, and I am learning more everyday.
Buds:  Zack and Elder Mamani

Love you so much!  Sorry that it is a little scattered!  
Love you
Elder Bradshaw

Monday, September 9, 2013


Dear Fam,

Zack's CCM group gets to Piura

First of all, before I forget,  if you are going to send me a package or mail through the post service, put President Chad Rowley on the first line,  I  don't know why, but it doesn't work otherwise.  Also, I can't send mail through pouch, so I have to limit my letters sent.  Dinner or a letter sent?  haha  But I can receive letters through pouch, and know that they make my week.

SO, Again, I am so sorry for the venting last week.  Right after that letter, I felt a lot better.  This whole week was a lot better.  Small miracles.  Someone could make a movie called 20 Miracles for this last week.  

Right after I turned off the internet, I went and took a nap then we went to proselyte.  We have been working with a little girl who is ten named Leyla.  Leyla has a strong testimony and would have been baptized forever ago, but her mom is a Jehovah Witness and wouldnt allow it.  We went to their house after and taught them. Her mom had a huge change of heart and is letting her be baptized on the 22!  I am so excited for her.  She reminds me so much of Elli.  Same mannerisms and everything. Miracle 1.

Tuesday came around and it was just another prosyliting day.  We worked hard and everything went well.  We found an awesome little family who is just perfectly prepared.  They are so friendly and kind.  They have family members in the church already, so it was an easy in.  We taught them and I really connected with the boys.  In fact, a little too much, my companion got a little mad at me for playing too much.  jaja  Miracle 2.

Wednesday.  Wednesday was a treat.  My companion is the District leader and he was called to a District leader conference in Piura.  So that morning, we woke up real early and I dropped him off at the bus station with some other elders.  I was then on splits with two other elders.  One really chill latino, and another gringo.  Elder Cook has been out one transfer longer than me, and feels the same way as I on a lot of things.  Him and I talked and talked all day.  He showed me some tricks to kick the homesickness and we instantly linked.  We had all day together, and it also helps that the area we were in was on the beach.  Owww it was a wonderful day.  It was nice to vent a little to someone who will understand.  Plus the Latino elder and I clicked also.  He is a great friend. Miracles 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Thursday.  We had a zone meeting,  so we got to go into Talara again, and I had more time with some Gringos.  There are 6 English speaking greenies in our zone, and we are all new, so it was wonderful. Also, we were given mail!  I got a dearelder from Ali Ball, a pouch from Meg, a letter from Madi Reese, and a dear elder from Gma B.  It made my week.  There were some things in those letters that I just needed to hear.  It was perfect.  Miracles 8, 9, 10.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were pretty basic days, but with how well I was feeling from the earlier days, I was fine.  I gave my first blessing in espanol also a sacrament talk.  Wow!  Great time.  We worked real hard this week and we got another baptismal date.  And a member invited us over for cake and a killer breakfast. Miracles 11, 12, 13, 14.

Today was also wonderful.  This morning, we woke up early and had a Zone activity.  We went to the beach!  It was beautiful.  We had most of the zone there, so it was nice to talk with some other english gringos.  We hiked on some St George-like rocks, caught crabs in the tide pools, walked down the beach to a light house, and played a little soccer.  It was so nice.  It was exactly what I needed.  I got pretty fried though. I have some great friends in my zone.  So fun!  ...and now I am writing. Miracles 15, 16, 17.

This week was so much better than the past week, but still, it  was so difficult.  Whenever it got difficult, I thought of the letters I received, the good times that I had this week and at home, and about the gospel.  I can literally feel your prayers and fasting pushing me.  Not just mentally, but physically I can feel something pushing me forward.  I am so grateful for the family and friends I have praying and fasting for me.  It really is amazing.  I can't even describe how I feel. 18

I havent really swallowed the Two years thing yet.  That seems like too long of a time to be away from my family.  I have a great companion, and he has taught me lots, but he is kinda like Jackie Chan in karate kid.  He doesnt really respect my opinion and he doesn't let me choose, and he is pretty harsh sometimes, but I am grateful for him.  This next week we have District conference (I am in a branch, and District Conference is like a Stake Conference for wards) so the president is coming. I am really excited to see him and to be with my zone some more!  This week still was a challenge, but through the Savior and His teachings, I can conquer whatever is placed in front of me.  Missions are humbling and super challenging, but I am doing my best, and the Lord is doing the rest.  Never has my love for the gospel, my friends, and my family been higher, and never have I felt so much love.  19

I owe everything I am, was, or hope to become to my parents.  I love you so much.  Elli, Happy birthday on the 21!  I colored that day in my planner!  I will try to send a letter, but its pretty expensive.  Lexi, tranquilo!  School is supposed to be fun.  Make good friends and have a good time. Always keep that in mind.  You only get it once.  Dad, I prayed for you lots this week.  And I am so glad for the  eventful week you had.  Mom,  I love you so much.  So much!  Taylor,  thanks for the wonderful example, you are so great to me.  

I love you so much! I have the best family ever! 20

Elder Bradshaw

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Finally in Piura


First week here is almost done!  Such an up and down week!  I don't even know where to start.  I would love to thank everyone who wrote an email to me this week!  I took pics of all of them and will read that later.  Don't worry family...I read all of your emails!  

So... I'll just start on last Tuesday.  Tuesday, we got on the plane after I called you.  On the flight, we flew over tatioone (star wars)...the set of "Holes"...and I think I may have seen the "3 Amigos" running around.  It was THAT dry and THAT flat.  All of a sudden we landed at this little tiny one building airport. The drive to the mission home was short but fun.  Somehow we had like 25 missionaries in one van.  Quite the deal.  Piura is like the perfect place of Peru.  It's colorful, it's green (where there is water), its clean, nice, and beautiful.  We met the President and his wife.  I really like Pres Rowley.  I am really excited to get to know him more.  That day was really fun to be with all of my friends, and to just see a little of the mission.  That night, Elder Baker and I slept in a hotel with some others and the APs brought in tons of Pizza hut pizza!  So good!

Zack with President Rowley and Elder Mamani

In the morning, we had a meeting in a stake center with the Pres. and all the newbies.  There, we got our companions.  My companion is Elder Mamani, a little Bolivian who goes home in two months or so.  He is very knowledgeable in the church and scriptures and English slang...actually strike that, NO English but "freaking", "how are you" and "Elder BRAUUUNCHAHA"  (I don't know how its so hard! :)  We left and got on a bus to go to our areas.  We drove about two hours from Piura to the Coast.  It is just outside of Talara (which is a coastal oil port).  Our area consists of Negreiros (where we live), and a couple other 3 Amigo-type towns.  Its pretty third world-like.  We live in an upstairs apartment of out pensionista.  It's a small room with bunk beds and a little bathroom.  It really isn't that bad.  Its clean and works well!  The area where I live is soooo dry.  It's flat on all sides, and the most desert-y thing ever.  It's the coldest part of the year right now and it's 80 degrees.  We have taught lessons in homes that are basically concrete blocks with plywood walls.  It is extremely humbling, but the people are happy.  I love all the members that I have met. 

This week has been the hardest week of my life.  And I am not over exaggerating. jaja  It's hard to really leave everything behind.  Basically, everything I have ever known is different.  I can't talk, I can't read, I can't understand,  I don't have any friends, I have no one to talk to, no one that understands how I feel or what I say.  It is quite the deal.  My companion and I get along, but I think he gets frustrated with my language ability.  I can't express any of my thoughts at I think he thinks that I don't know anything.  This morning he kind of railed on me for some miscommunication, and I don't like that kinda stuff...but I am over it.  I am learning and I am grateful for him.  Really the only things we have in common are the Gospel, the Scriptures, and the Spirit.  
I have grown incredibly close to Christ this week though.  Before this, I trusted in Christ, and had faith and knew that He is there and helping me.  But now,  I have never felt Him so close.  I have no doubt in my mind that He is there...crying with me, guiding me, teaching me, and directing me.  He has been the only friend to understand me.  I am sorry to vent, but I need to a little.  Sorry.  I am not going to lie...this week, I have wanted to come home.  I know I won't.  I love Him too much and I love you guys too much to do that. 

I modified the Missionary purpose this week to help me.  Here it is! "My purpose of as a missionary is to help others have a mom like mine, a dad like mine, an awesome brother like mine, two beautiful sisters like mine, a wonderful group of friends like mine, amazing grandparents like mine, an extended family like mine, a testimony like mine, a hope like mine, a love like mine, a salvation (pending), and a happiness like mine, by inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."  That is my purpose, and that is what I am trying to do.  The love I have for my family and friends has grown so much this past week.  It is incredible. I love you all sooo much.  I can't even express it.  And I mean it. Also, I was reading a little in Acts, about Saul, and his conversion.  There are some scriptures in there that have been so helpful to me.

I am so sorry to vent so much.  Honestly, up to this point in my life... I have never been homesick or so lonely.  Whenever we work, I feel better.  The problem is that we have 4 hours of studying which is sometimes hard to get through.  

So my area...We drive around in these little motorcycle things with three wheels.  They are super weird looking, but they everywhere.  They people always try to trick them out with decals and stuff and it kinda fun to ride in it.  There is always music playing...whether it is "another one bites the dust" or this horrible cover of the Celine Deon Titanic song that I am listening to know.  It is really fun.  They houses are all different colors and are all smashed into a tiny area.   

I am fine family.  I am sorry, I just needed to vent a little bit.  I am already feeling better.  I love you all so much.  I loved hearing about your trip!  Jackson Hole sounds so fun!  I am sorry, I couldn't upload any pictures.  I will figure that out next week.  I am excited to work more this week!

I love you and please know that I am fine.  Its an adjustment and learning process and I am just struggling like everyone else.  Its normal.  Ether 12:27.  I have learned so much already. 

I am out of time!  I love you so much!

Elder Bradshaw