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