Monday, January 27, 2014

Tell Your Parents That You Love Them!!


Wow!  casi en Febrero!
(Wow!  Almost February!)

I hope everything is going good in Utah. 

I am so sorry for everything that has happened to Lexi.  Keep on moving.  It will all be alright.

This week was a really good week.  It all just came together.  Kinda strange.  I always know you are praying for me...but I didn't know that you were fasting for me.  But the majority of the problems that I had last week, just kind of fixed themselves.  My companion is starting to self operate, the appointments didn't fail too bad this week,  I got along great with my companion, and overall, I was just, happier.  Could have been the beach party with tacos last P-day, or perhaps the prayers and the fasting.  Probably the latter!

Beach Taco's make everything better!

Zack with Elder Rodriquez at the beach last p-day

Story time.....

This week I was on a work visit with another Elder from my district  (elder Zacarias, from El Salvador...he knew Grant Rowbery there)...SO...I was in another part of Talara. 

We had a good work day, then we passed by to visit a less-active family.  We were waiting to enter, and there was like10 kids circled around me asking me tons of questions like “how do you say chair in English” and stuff like that.  I answered and joked around with them a bit, and finally when we entered the house...all of the kids did too. 

I was sitting on a bench, and the 10 kids were sitting on a couch in front of me.  Finally, one of the kids asked me what is in my bag...and I responded “the word of God!”  All of the kids got really excited and started asking to see it.  So I whipped out my Libro de Mormon, and we had a little story time.  With the 10 little kids quietly watching me, I told the story of Lehi and Nephi (the Helaman 5 Nephi/Lehi) and then taught a little about obedience.  The kids were so attentive, and when one started to talk, the others always silenced him, and kept on listening.  I taught a little about obedience to your parents and obedience to God, and then committed them to be obedient to their parents...and to tell their parents that they love them.  It was quite a good experience.  I loved it.

The rest of this week was just such hard work.  And I am SOOOOOO TIRED.   But I am loving it so much.  Transfers are in 2 weeks, and it's 100% that I am leaving.  I have really bonded with the people here over the past 5 months.   I love them, and I am really going to miss it.  Its been a place of growing, a place of happiness, and just a great time.  Looking forward to the possibility of seeing a green plant though...just hoping to see something more than dust, desert, wind, and flatness, and a new area and companion.  But I am really going to miss it here.

Remember the story that I told you about our plan to get the Sacrament Meeting attendance up a bit...well it worked!  we passed our goal and had 63 people in the church this week!  Usually it's around 45...and twenty of them were menos activos!

Also, there is a Stake Conference in Talara in 2 weeks, so the missionaries are forming a choir.  A little Peruvian choir director came out from Piura, and we had a little practice.  If you ever thought choir in Utah in high school or middle school is weird, then...woooooow this was an experience.  I don't even know how to explain it.  LOTS of breathing exercises...and hand movements...and really, really...really, high voices coming from this little Peruvian man.


Best part of the week? 
At the church.  We had an investigator come, and had tons of menos activos and members there.

Have you taken the Christmas stuff out of the closet yet?

Pday fun? 
Going to play some futbol with some young men and some other missionaries.

Tacos at the beach!  And some missionaries from my district.  Me, Elder Zacarias (from El Salvador)  Elder Rapoza (Sandy, Utah) and Elder Rodriguez.

Bright spots in your week?  
It was, overall...just a brighter week.

Hand of the Lord in your work? 
I feel the Spirit so strong everyday.  I am loving it so much.

Funny stuff?
For some reason...there is so much abuse of little cats.  We saw some kids rolling a tire down the road with a baby cat flopping around inside of it like a hamster tube.

Zack with Elder Zacarias (from El Salvador) Elder Rapoza (Sandy, Utah) and Elder Rodriguez

Well...That's all folks. 

I hope that everything is going well and that you all have a wonderful week!

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, January 20, 2014

Search for that good little thing

Hola familia!

Wow I have 6 months here in Peru!  WOW!!
It really has passed by so fast, and I'm loving it.

Not much happened this week.  It was one of those growing weeks.  I was tested a lot...but it's all good.  I learned lots...So I'll just get started...

So this week, I just felt like I was spinning in circles.  Working working working, and just falling short of the goal.  There were just so many things happened that I didn't have any control over, and made this week a pretty tough one.  We did have two awesome baptisms which was fun.  And just let me say here,  I believe that there is no such thing as a completely bad day, or week, or month.  Always there will be something good that happens, and we need to search for that little good thing. Whether it will be a lesson guided by the Spirit, someone who comes to church, or sometimes a Chalaca (cheap frozen fruit juice), soda, or a cookie.  

We had the opportunity to baptize Maria Luisa, and Renata this week.  Their parents were baptized a while ago, and as a family they were moving around tons and passing through tons of problems.  As a family they have passed through so many problems.  It has been so interesting for me to watch them realize the importance of the Gospel and how Christ is the only one who can help them.  It's been awesome to be a part in that process of helping them to come closer to Christ.  Hno Chumpitaz (the dad)  is the coolest guy, ever.  What ever you ask him to do, he will do it, and he will do it on time...which seems to be really really really rare here.  He is also one of the funniest guys ever (as you can see in the photo.)
Zack and Elder Rodriguez with the Chumpitaz Family (notice the chairs set up outside)

Elder Rodriquez, Hmo. Chumpitaz, Maria Luisa, Renata, and Elder Bradshaw!!

In preparation for the baptism, so many things went wrong...we ended up scooping water out of the chapel AGAIN.  This time, the water was seeping through the ceiling into the chapel.  I decided a last minute take out all of the chairs, the pulpit, and everything, to have the servicio bautismal outside of the church in the patio because the water was dripping everywhere...and the Spirit would not have been there.  So that was interesting...and it was good.  

This week, there was so much work to be done...and I just felt so alone doing it.  Just everything went wrong, and I felt like a was completely alone to handle all of it.  But it's all good.  I learned tons. 

Here in Negreiros, there is a huge problem with people coming late to sacrament meeting.  So the last Sunday, Presidente Gaston, Elder Rodriguez, and I all challenged each of them!  Last Sunday, in Sacrament meeting, we had 27.  This week, after the challenges...we had 42!  Our goal was 40, so we were pumped!  That was probably my bright part of the week!  

I'm sorry, not much happened this week that was all that great.  The familia de Hno Omar is doing good.  Maria Elena has been searching for work and doing stuff to get her title to teach, so its been really slow with them...I don't think I will be here to baptize them which breaks my heart, because I would love to share that day with them...but it's all good.  If they are converted to Jesucristo, that's what matters to me. 

Preguntas! (Questions)
Are things with the Omar family still progressing smoothly?    
Doing good, just a little slow...but that's not all bad
I forgot to ask you on's the training going...for you and Elder Rodriguez?
I have learned sooooo much from this experience.  I am just trying to help him as much as I can.  This week was a good week for us.  Sometimes I need to have a little more patience with him. But this week was good.  I have learned alot...and he has learned alot too.
6 months this week!!!   holy cow holy cow holy cow holy cow! Any celebrations?  
I am pretty excited!  It has really gone by fast.  No celebrations, but it's all good.
Any spiritual experiences this week you would like to share?  
I had an AWESOME scripture study where I had like 7 or 8 questions that were answered in one chapter.  WOW!
How have you seen the hand of the Lord in your work this week?  
It's been tough, but He has been tugging me along.  
P-day fun?  
What do you do for exercise...besides walk and walk and walk.  
ab exercises, running occasionally, and push ups.

Elli is wondering if you have shared any of the bracelets that she made with any children...
I havent yet,  I am waiting for a good oportunity.  its hard to give stuff out when teaching.  But this week I am going too.  I have got some good friends for elli here!
we have passed by, but nothing.
Anything funny to share?  
Everyday something funny happens, but nothing really to write this week!  sorry!

Thanks for you support and your prayers.  Life is a roller coaster, and a mission is like a a ride on the Peruvian freeway, in a little moto taxi with semi's and tour busses skimming by with a teenager driving it, talking with his friend who is hanging off the side.  Sometimes you think your going to die, but in the end its fine,  just rattles you up a bit..

I love you so much.  have a good week....and now...TACOS and BEACH!!!

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, January 13, 2014

I love it here!!

Hola familia!

This week was a wonderful week!  I loved it so much.  I love being here in Negreiros, and I love the people here soooooo much.  I am dreading leaving here in a month or so.

But I am safe, nothing bad has happened.  When Elder Rodriguez and I left, we started talking and talking and talking...Wow!  We know the seriousness of what happened, and we've been really careful.  We went to teach him again, but he wasn't there.  Probably out 'working'.  

This week was wonderful...I'll just get started....

We found a part-member family and we are going to baptize their two little girls this week,  (10) y  (8).  They are such a wonderful family and I love them, but they are soooo  crazy.  There is 5 kids under the age of 10 in the house. They are so awesome, and so crazy.  We have been teaching them tons, and one day we stopped by to teach a little bit more.  We entered, and started talking.  They have two little baby cats (like super tiny cats), and they kids started literally throwing them around. At the wall, at the ground, at their crazy little sister, didn't matter, they were just throwing them everywhere.  The cats were doing flips, and everything.  The kids would pick up their cat and just chuck it up in the air, like 8 feet high, then just let it fall.   We didn't teach anything...but wow quite the experience.  They started with 5 cats, and know they've got 2.

This week I really saw a huge miracle happen, one that meant a lot to me.  
First of all, thanks so much for your support with the family of Omar and Maria Elena.  I can tell that you are praying for them.   Omar seemed better last week.  But, when we passed by this week, he was horrible.  He was really sick and just suffering.  It looked like he didn't have any interest in us or anything.  We had Presidente Gaston with us, and it was just an ugly lesson.  I felt so bad after it.  He thought that he had to get it appendix taken out.  We gave him a blessing, and then we left.  
That night, I called them, and didn't get a hold of them.  The next day, we passed by, and they weren't there.  I thought that he went in for surgery and was going to be hospitalized more.  I was soooooo sad.  They have passed through so many difficulties and it has been so hard for me to just sit there and watch it.  That night when I was praying, I begged Heavenly Father to give them a break, to help them rest, and that everything would be ok.  
The next day, we passed by again, and his car still wasn't there.  Holy cow...I felt so bad.  We left and visited a couple more families, and then we had to pass by his house again later.  We passed by, and his car was there!  We quickly went, and started helping them to wash their car.  We helped them, and after we started talking with them.  Omar seemed better, so I was feeling good.  We talked and talked, then Hno Omar stopped.  He looked me in the eye.  and said, "That blessing worked.  When you gave me that blessing, I had lots of faith.  And everything went well.  We went to the doctor, and everything was clean.  I know that God is merciful, and I know that He loves me, and I am ready to get married."  

I have never smiled so big in my life.  Ear to Ear, beaming, sooooo happy smile.  The Lord has responded to my prayers, your prayers, my companions prayers, and the prayers of the branch. 

I know that God lives and loves every one of us.  I know that He is merciful and loving and that he wants the best for us.  I am so grateful for this experience, and every little miracle that I have seen here in Negreiros.  I love it here so much.  I love the dirt roads.  I love the steaming sun.  I love the confusing Spanish.  I love the strange food.  I love the people.  I love all of my friends that I have made, from 2 years old to 75 years old.  It has been so good!

Now for some questions.

Main question:  Are you safe?
I am totally good!
Next question:  Can I call the President and ask him to do an overnight transfer for both of you after that little encounter? 
Don't even worry about it!
Miracles this week? 
See above!
Testimony builder of the week?
See above!
Funny things? 
See above.  It's raining cats and dogs!
Sister Richards, sister Borden, Ally Melendez, Ali Ball 
Pday fun?  
We're going to play some futbol today.
Do you miss me or dad the most? 
Your favorite Peruvian food...or your favorite thing to eat there?  
I love the alfajore cookies.  and recently I have found these things called chalacas.  Its basically frozen fresh fruit juice that is like 20 cents in a plastic bag that you can buy from basically every other house.  It helps with the heat.  I love mango with milk, peanut with milk, kola, and they are all good!
Most spiritual thing?
It's been a good week here in Negreiros! Looking forward to another good one!

Love you so much....All of you.  I hope that everything goes well at home and they everyone is happy!

Love you so much!

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year...and then...Holy Cow!!!


Feliz año!  Dos mil catorce!  (Happy New Year 2014!) 
I hope all of you had a wonderful new year.  I passed it by going to sleep at 10.30!  But that's ok...I hope that all is going well. Sounds like you had an awesome ski trip.  Sounds so fun.

Don't worry about me and all of the Christmas stuff.  I really loved it, but it was just a little tough.  And its really my fault,  after the call, I should have worked...but instead I read the letters and opened everything.  

This week was soooooo interesting, so I guess I will just start in. 

So, its the first week of the new transfer, so basically half of the zone left, and there are so many people I don't know now!  I am the oldy in Talara now.  jaja.  We got a new District Leader who is from Sandy (elder Rapoza) who is pretty cool, and the other  new Elders are awesome too.  

We had a basically a regular week until Thursday...President Gaston Cruz (from the branch, who is basically my best friend here) asked us to go clean the chapel a bit.  I couldn't really understand everything what he was saying, but we accepted.  We left, and went to the chapel the next day to 'clean it up a bit'.  We entered to the sound of rushing water (sometimes there isn't water here, and so somebody left the faucet open when there wasn't water) , and an open faucet was on the second floor.  So there was tons of water on both floors and in a couple rooms with a couple of inches of water. Long story-short...2 hours and 60 gallons of water later, we finished the job.  The worst part is that the only things we had to scoop out the water were a pair of those sweeper collector things (I forget in English)[dustpan]. Quite the "cleaning."

Friday and Saturday were just kind of regular days.  I kind of hit a wall from working so hard, the constant heat, and sleepiness, but all was well.  We had a couple awesome lessons where we really felt like we were building the kingdom of God here on the earth.  But Sunday.....

Sunday Sunday Sunday.  There is a member here whose name is Hermano Delelis.  He was baptized one year ago and is absolutely awesome.  He is 70 years old and every single bad thing that could ever happen has happened to him, but he is soooo cool and soooo funny.  He has been electrocuted, had huge rocks dropped on him, you name it, it's happened to him.  Always has a new story.  
But he is also one of the most strong members here too.  But he didn't have the Priesthood yet.  So Elder Rodriguez and I helped him prepare, then he received it.  And this week I had the opportunity to sit by his side and help him bless the sacrament.  Wow, what a cool guy!  He has taught me so much about life, the priesthood, and everything.

Also, the past couple of Sundays the branch Presidente hasn't been able to attend the church because his work has been getting pretty we have basically been in charge with the help of the first counselor.  Also, lots of the members traveled this week for the holiday.  This Sunday, I helped bless a baby (not the prayer part), blessed the sacrament, taught Sunday school, and taught primary.  It was quite the three hours.  But I guess thats part of being in a tiny branch.  But it was awesome and I look forward to the next opportunity.  I have really discovered a love of teaching.

But I guess the moral of the story is...If you keep the commandments, you will be protected.  This is the number one thing that I have learned on my mission.  If you don't want problems, keep the commandments...It is so do it!


How have you seen the hand of the Lord in your life this week?  
I felt so guided by the Spirit this week!  it really was wonderful.
What miracles did you witness this week? 
Hno. Delelis
What brought you joy?
Seeing Hno. Delelis bless the sacrament
Did you serve someone?
All day every day.  
A spiritual experience you would like to share?
Hno. Delelis.   
A funny thing that happened... 
I've got a Gangsta friend now.(see 'Appendix A' below)  
What have you been grateful for this week? 
The trust God has with me to have blessed me with a knowledge of this gospel all of my life. 

Also, this P.Day, we played water balloon volleyball which was awesome...with our zone.
Another photo of Zack on the Beach on Christmas Day. 

Don't worry about Me....I am completely safe, just having a Peruvian experience.  I am loving it and it is going well.  
Love you so much!

Elder Bradshaw

oh, and PS...
Omar is great and planning to marry in the first of February.