Tuesday, February 25, 2014


February 24, 2014

Dear Family...

Here’s a thought...Life is a preparation to meet God, and the mission is a preparation for what real life brings, so everything that happens is for good.  The bad, the good, the ugly, the beautiful..it is all for our benefit, to make us stronger, and more prepared to face the trials that come...and to give us the power to stand in front of God in the last day. 

With that said, I’ll just say that it’s been a little bit of a tough week.  Not horrible.  Not like my training.  But it’s been tough, and I’m just looking for a little rest.   And that’s where my motto for this transfer comes from.  From hymn 112 “Savior Redeemer of my Soul”

“Change frowning foes, to smiling friends.”

There’s lots to do, but I’ve decided that line is my goal.  I want to work hard, and see what I can do to turn this around.  I don’t like it too much, because I don't feel like I have much personality, like how I felt earlier in my mission.  I feel like I can’t make a decision without a critique...and for this I am losing the spirit a little.  Like Taylor said when he had transfers from Kodorifu (I slaughtered it) [Koforidua]...that he kinda fell in a hole, and wasn’t really at the top of his game.  The same thing happened to me.  I was waking up in the morning with no energy, no desire, and my obedience was slacking. (nothing horribly bad)  I just felt bad and so tired.  

Until, yesterday.  We were walking to the church, and I was just praying in my head.  It was so spiritual.  I just felt so good.  I felt refreshed and ready to go.  And in that moment...I re-committed to my 100 percent obedience and decided to do my best.  And now, I am feeling the blessings that come from it. 

I really am not that bad, and sorry to unload...I just needed to put some of that out there.

Lots of things happened this week!  First I’ll start with service!  This week, we had service in the Chakras...Banana fields.  These bananas are sent to the USA and Europe and it was so cool to go there.  We went with this inactive man and helped him carry huge bags, of fertilizer.  We got close to the water and mud, kicked off our shoes, and just went for it.  Pretty cool experience.  Don’t worry.  I am fine.  Holy Cow! I have never seen so many different/new types of bugs.  Scorpions, spiders,mosquitoes , and everything.  Cool experience.  Also, we had the opportunity to help a investigator a dig a foundation for her house that burnt down.  A couple of hours in the killer-hot sun with a pick and shovel.  That is quite the service project! And my body feels it!  But I love it.

We have just had a hard week with lots of work.  Our area has to be one of the hardest areas in the mission because of this ‘Black Jesus Idol’ in the middle of town that everyone worships.  But it’s all good.  This transfer in going to be one of those ‘lots of work, but little progress’ transfers.  But we continue.

Also this week, we had a Family night with a family that lives a little bit far away from our area.  At the end, the brother agreed to bring us back to Querecotillo in his three wheeler-pickup-motorcycle mix.  So  we jumped in back and started heading home.  At this point its 8:45 and it’s all good.  We can be out till 9:00.  SO were going, and his motorcycle quits in the middle of nowhere.    Were in the middle of the road, in black darkness...in the middle of acres and acres of banana fields...without lights trying to fix a motorcycle.  We waited for like 45 minutes until someone came and picked us up.  Quite an experience!  A little bit scary, but its all good.

Mom’s questions:

Did you get to work in the banana field?  How was it? 
SO COOL.  I loved it!  I’m there in the photos.

Did you get to go see ancient ruins?  How was that? 
We didn't go to ruins, but we went to a place with mountains, ponds, and a river thats about 1 hour away.  It was really cool.   We played ultimate and a couple more games with our zone.  We really had a good time.  We passed through tons and tons and TONS of mango orchards.  I saw piles and piles and piles of mangos.  Like 5 feet high of mangos.  SO MANY.  I think thats were your mango came from.  It’s called Tambo Grande.

Companion stuff? 
We’re like half good. I just feel a little restricted.  I don’t know if it’s me, him, or if the people are just way harder here.

Ward? Have you made friends with the ward mission leader? 
The WML is our best friend.  Hes an RM from like 6 months back and hes really a cool guy.  Hes also our pensionista’s son, so were with him lots.

Health stuff? 
I am eating healthier, but I am going to try even harder this week!

It was a tough semana, but we’re working.  I love you all lots, Keep on truckin', keep on lovin', and keep on workin’! Know that I am good, and that it will all pass.

Elder Bradshaw
Who needs shoes in the banana field?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

One week in Querecotillo

Wow family, I have 7 months in the mission.  Quite the deal.

This week was a tougher one.  Just lots of change.  It was a good week, just tough.

Zack's view from his new apartment in Querecotillo.

Querecotillo is a naturally hard area because of the HUGE catholic church in the center.  In that church there is a huge idol...which is a black Jesus on a cross... and everyone loves it.  Which is quite the bummer.  Its a pretty stressful town (coming from Negreiros...the Peruvian Alpine...to crowded streets with tons of people everywhere) but it's all good.  It is surrounded by millions and millions of banana trees, coconut trees, and mangoes. So I think that mango is from my area!  I'm not even kidding.  I have seen semi trucks chucked full of bananas and plantains.  Millions and millions of bananas.  This week we have a service project planned in one of the orchards so I am pretty pumped for that.  It's going to be super interesting.  Our room is pretty awesome.  We've got hot water, our pensionista cooks tacos often, and its really a good place!  It really is such a beautiful place, I am just adjusting from one thing to another. (Zack's mom:  We bought mangoes from Smith's the other day and the sticker on it said it was from Piura Peru!  So we were excited!)

Mangoes from Piura to Alpine

This week, I have had several confirmations that Querecotillo is where I should be.  I know it.  This is the place for me. 

Right now, we've got a family with Ruth Helen, and her husband Antonio.  Antonio served a mission, but when he returned, he fell away and messed up a bit.  He recently married Ruth and they really want to fix their lives.  She wants to be baptized and he wants to return to the church and marry in the temple.  I have really felt that they are the reason for why I am here.  They are my focus and I am so excited to help them on their path.

Other than that, there is just like1000 less-actives...just like every where else in the world, and we're looking for more investigators. 

I love the branch.  It's a little more established than Negreiros.  It even has an electric piano and a microphone.  It's a little more organized, but there aren't many who attend.  So thats another one of my goals.  I really want to boost up the attendance.  I really like it here, just it needs a little bit of work.

At the beginning of the month I think.

Spiritual time of the week? 
Just these spiritual confirmations that I have recieved that this is the place for me.  With some people, I feel like I already know them, or I have seen them  in dreams, its just kinda weird, but I really feel like its a perfect fit for me.

New experiences?
I ate a cow foot today.  We went to a restaurante because our pensionista is a little bit sick, and I got a soup, and there was some cow foot.  So I just had to try it.  Dont worry, I cut off the part with the hair. 

Taking care of yourself?  
I need to stop with the sugar cereal.  I have been really tired and exhausted this week. 

Nothing today, but next week were going to ancient ruins!  So excited

Do you read my letters or dad’s first? 
Who ever sends it first.

What are you learning right now? 
Everyday I am learning.  From doctrine, to teaching methods, to obedience, to Peruvian culture things, to Spanish, and everything!

Something interesting.  
We were walking to church and a dog walked out in front of us and just pucked all over.  Wow.

I am a little bit discouraged right now, just fighting to find some solutions to some problems, to learn the area, deal with the change, but I am fine.  I think with a little bit more a sleep, I will be fine. 

I hope that everything is going fine with you guys at home.  Know that I am safe, happy, and learning.  There is no way to learn and progress unless its through something hard.  I really am jealous of your ski trip.  And mom, I will be praying that everything goes well in you lesson.

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, February 10, 2014

Goodbye Negreiros...Hello Querecotillo!

Quite the week! 

We did have transfers...and I am no longer in NEGREIROS.  I was transfered to a place that is named QUERECOTILLO. It is in the Zone Sullana, and is so different than Negreiros.  Because it is VERDE!!!!  Its about twenty minutes in car from Sullana (a bigger city) and for those twenty minutes, your passing through banana fields, coconut fields, mounds and mounds of bananas, a huge river, and so much fruit. 

Zack's last day in Negreiros

I said a couple of weeks ago that i just wanted to see green...and for sure I am seeing it now!  Like Negreiros, there's a small branch in a secluded area that seems to be struggling a little bit.  I am excited to have the opportunity to help this branch to grow a bit more, and to really help some people, as they help me.  Querrecotillo is known for being a hard area with people that have hard hearts, but I really feel like this is the place for me.  I do feel a little homesick from Talara, but I really feel like my time was up there.  It was time to move on, and I am pumped for this opportunity.  Its a little more dangerous, but I've got a good room...and its all good.  (mom's wondering what that sentence means!) I feel like its going to be a long and hard work, but I have a good feeling about it.

The best part is that I didn't have to say goodbye to Omar and Maria Elena!  They both come from Querrecotillo, and all of their family lives there and they do frequent visits...and, actually...one of the investigators which we have is their relative!  It turns out that ill be teaching them more. Kind of a weird consequence, but I really feel like my work with this family isn't over yet. 

My companion here is named Elder Melo.  He is 25 years old, the only member in his family, and has one less transfer in the mission than me.  He seems like a pretty cool guy, and I am really excited to work with him.  Hes completely different from Elder Rodriguez or Mamani, so its going to be an interesting ride.  I really feel like it could be really good, so I'm anticipating it to all be good. 

I really do feel a little weird to leave Negreiros.  I had 5 and a half months there, and it really was my home, and what I knew,  But I feel like my progression there, and my progression with my companion were coming to an end, and this is what is needed of me now.  Elder Rodriguez is going to train a new missionary, so I think that will be wonderful!

Mom, don't worry about me, I am fine, and healthy, but I am going to try a little bit harder with the healthy stuff. 

PHOTOS... one with Brother Delelis (hes really old) that we helped recieve the priesthood.  one with Adrian (a young man I was teaching) and another with Leyla and her family. They were the hardest to leave.  Them and the family of Presidente gaston.

Zack with Brother Delelis...a great friend.

Hard to say 'goodbye' to Leyla's family

Elder Rodriguez, The Gaston Family (Branch President & Pensionista)...all great friends of Zack's.

In my last days there in Negreiros, my Pensionista asked me what I wanted to eat in my last days...so we made tacos, passionfruit juice, alfajores (the best things ever) and had crab!  It's like a crab chowder, but it had fish head and fish ovaries in it. but it's all good, its my favorite Peruvian dish.  I am sure Taylor and dad would love it.  Its called 'chupe de cangrejo'.  The best!

Did you have any spiritual experiences this week?
Just a couple good lessons.  and I actually sang with a trio en district conference.  (That's the same as stake conference, just a little smaller.)  That was a good experience. 

What is going on with your visa?
I really don't know.  I am not informed...and I am sure I don't have it.

Where are you?
Querecotillo Sullana!

Any scary stuff?  
Not too much.  Almost got eaten by a dog.

Best food you’ve eaten lately? 
Chupe de cangrejo!

Have you handed out bracelets? 
I have, to Leyla and her family.  It's a little hard to give out stuff, cause it kinda puts other Elders in a hole if they don't do it.


Well, thats my week.  I have only been in my area for a day, and we haven't taught anything yet,  so next week I'll have more info and more photos. 

Thanks for everything!

Elder Bradshaw