Monday, April 28, 2014

Vacation Week

Hola Familia...como están?

I am so glad to hear that everything is going well there, and that you are all happy, and well off.  Well...this was the most interesting week of my mission.  I like to call it my ‘Vacation Week.’  It really was so weird and so awesome.
So starting Tuesday at lunchtime, I had a work visit with Elder Call from Orem, Utah.  We had such a good time and it was so fun to be with another gringo.  He really is such a cool guy and we worked hard and had a blast.  We cooked banana peanut butter pancakes with maple syrup for dinner and it almost brought tears to our eyes.  It was fun to be able to really connect with someone from the same culture and everything.  It’s awesome to be with Latinos and I love it, but its also nice to talk about the mountains, BYU, sports, and home food.

Zack and Elder Call with their banana pancakes that 'brought tears to their eyes'.

At the end of the visit Wednesday in the afternoon, we got a call from the leaders of the zone, and they told us that Elder Melo had to go to Lima for some visa stuff.  So basically we returned to Querecotillo, changed his clothes, went to one lesson, then I dropped Elder Melo off with the other Elder to go to Lima.  Then I had another work visit with Elder Aquino (from Iquitos Peru with 23 months and 5 weeks in his mission jaja) from Wednesday night till Friday in the morning, when I needed to leave for Ecuador.  It really was a good experience to get to know a couple of different Elders and to learn from them.

A van full of gringos headed towards Ecuador. (Zack's in the back corner, peeking over the top)

 Friday in the morning, we woke up at 5 and went to Sullana to catch the bus.  From my zone I went with 4 other gringos and we caught up with 6 more gringos from different zones.  And it just happens that I was with basically all of my best friends from the mission.  I got to see ELder Baker from the CCM, Elder Parra, Elder Prince, Elder Lauder, Elder Cook, and a couple more. We were 11 gringos just truckin’ around having a good time.  We had to drive 5  hours of so in a miserable bus to go to Ecuador, and when we got there, we crossed the border, they stamped our passports, flipped a u turn, got out, waited in a really long disneyland line, they stamped out passports, and we returned.  So boring...we wished that part could have been more exciting.  But it was so fun to be with so many friends for such a long time to just talk to each other and such.  And we spoke SO MUCH ENGLISH.  That was fun also.  What kinda stunk is that they didn’t give us food or water the whole day, so I was living off of saltine crackers and a little bit of water for a whole day.  We then jumped on a crowded van, and 5 hours later, I was with my companion in Sullana.  SO LONG, but SO FUN:  It was just the kind of day that wipes you out.

So there is my week of vacations.  Gringos, pancakes, and 11 hours in bus.  jaja

Other than that, there wasn’t really anything else too exciting.

Transfers this week?
There are transfers this coming weekend.  They tell us the transfers Saturday in the night.  I know that one of us will get transfered and traditionally he would go, but I kinda think that I will be leaving. 

How’s the comp? 
We are good, mas o menos.   

Really long, really fun!

Pday fun?
We are going to a green grass field to play some games with all of the zone! (funny he mentions that it is a ‘green grass’ field...he must enjoy that part of it.)

The first week of the month we get mail and packages.

Best part of week?
Probably had to be the banana pancakes...

Most spiritual?
I had a realization yesterday in our Gospel Principles class.  The teacher said,  “the knowledge isn't important, if it doesn't mean anything for you.” or something like that.  Now I am trying to apply that to myself and to the others that I help this stuff that I’m teaching them mean something for them.

Is it fall there?
Right now, its like 100 degrees outside, but in the nights its getting down to a brisk 85 or so.  I sleep with no covers...My bed is a mattress with my bedspread with no sheets or anything...SO hot.

New food you are cooking?
Hey...I steamed some vegetables! But really, I am struggling.  I don’t really have money (I am going to take some out today) water, or food, so I have kinda resorted to Top Ramen this week, due to all of the craziness.  But I will do better...its just that this week was so crazy.

funny stuff you see? 
Life here is just a little crazy for a kid from Utah.  I can’t write all of the small things that make me smile daily.

Well thats my week, a little crazy and weird, but I am happy and doing good.  Just tired and all.  I am a little discouraged because all of the people that needed to get married couldn’t, so we are down at level zero right now.  But that means that I can only go up!
Love you all lots and hope the best for you.

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Week in Peru

April 21, 2014

Hola familia.  ¿Qué tal?

So...Easter sounds like it went pretty well up there!  I am glad that you had a great time centered on Christ and his Atonement.  That is really what is most important.  I am truly jealous of the concerts, movies, and everything.  jaja

My Easter was kinda weird and boring.  It is called the ‘Semana Santa or Holy Week, and basically is is just time off from work to watch endless movies of Christ, to drink endless bottles of beer, and to go the the Catholic Church.  But we had a good time.  We went out to eat and I bought my comp dinner.  So that was really fun.  I actually loved it.  I had a forth of a chicken, with french fries, and arroz chaufa, or china rice, i forget in english. (This line made his mother laugh!!)

Like you guys, I tried to focus my life on Christ this week.  Thursday night, I had a really good experience, I was lying on my bed listening to church music in the night, and just felt like I was right there in Gethsemane with Him, and in the temple too.  Cool experience. 

Also this week, I truly realized the power of Gods purpose “To bring to pass the immortality and Eternal life of men.”  I truly felt all of the blessings of the gospel in my life, and truly felt the love that God has for me.  I realized the importance of the Temple and the blessing of being eternally sealed.  I know that this Gospel is correct without doubts, and I know that we will be an eternal family.  My desire to help others do that too has increased tons too. I just felt so close and so involved in His plan and his gospel!

I can’t believe all the girls going on great and so weird!  I’m excited for them.

How was Easter? 
Good, kinda regular...but my food was good.

Health check:
Just got a sore neck and headaches that come from that.

Food check:
I am kinda sick of rice and crappy meat.  So I am starting to cook more...French toast, pancakes, sugar and cinnamon toast, ya know...the basics.

Companion check:
We are really doing good.  We really are great friends and I enjoy being with him and talking with him.  It is just a little frustrating.  In Negreiros, I felt like I was at the top of my game...Super obedient, super on top of the investigators, and super good with everything.  I have learned lots from my companion and he is a great guy, but it is just hard this time around.  I really want to train a new elder, so I can get whipped back into shape again.

Best part of the week:
Dinner with my companion. and those awesome insights I had.

Investigator check:
Everyone isn’t married, so we are in that business right now.  To be married costs around100 soles, which is around 40 bucks, or two weeks worth of food...and so it’s hard.  But there is an opportunity to get married for 25 soles in a couple of we are working for that.

Also,  the Zone Leaders called me last night and told me that I get to go to Ecuador for a day with nearly all of the gringos from the mission.  I’m looking forward to seeing all my buddies from the CCM and Mike Smith.  It’s all for my visa and stuff.  So I am super pumped!  I get to go Friday!  We will all go together on a bus ride.  It’s going to be about a 4 hour ride.  I’m only about 1.5 hours from the border but we are not going my way so it will take longer...and I've heard that there is the possibility of McDonald’s!!!!  I’M SO EXCITED:

Today, I’m so tired.  We went running today.  It felt so great to just get outside and go!  We also played soccer, so I’m dead.

Thanks for the support and the love, I love you all so much.  I can feel your prayers and all. Love you all!

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hola familia!

 We had a good week here in Querecotillo….Really really slow, but it was all right.  The highlight was definitely going to Talara and getting to see all of my friends from over there.

I am so happy that my letter got there, and that you all liked them.  I am going to be better with that.  Sounds like you also had a great spring break!  Jealous!

So As I said, the conference in Talara was the best!  It was so fun to pass through Negreiros and to have some time to chill with Elder Rodriguez and the missionary who he is training.  He is a great guy and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to train him.  He’s a great friend.  The conference was so awesome,  President Rowley is amazing and we had a good time.  To finish the conference, the two zones attending had each prepared a skit to act out a Book of Mormon story.  But the Latinos had to speak in English and the gringos in Spanish….That was soooo funny!  I really love being in my mission and with President Rowley.

Zack with Elder R his 'son' (the Elder he trained) and his 'grandson'...the Elder that Elder R is training

 Also this week, we had a service project in the chacras (banana orchards) with some other missionaries, and some members.  Hear this:  I will never ever ever complain about weeding ever again.  We arrived, they gave us a shovel, and we just started hacking away at acres of under-brush, with mosquitos everywhere, and the sun burning and burning and burning.  I am sorry for all the complaints that I have ever made about yard work.  But really, it was a tough one.  But also, we got to go see the river...and when we were leaving, there were a couple of guys climbing up the coconut trees and cutting down the coconuts, so that was way cool to see.  They even gave us a couple of coconuts to drink the water.  But dad, shoveling 10 yards of manure is bad….but this is the worst work I have ever done! Jaja!

Service Day in the banana fields...makes weeding at home a cake walk.


What are you going to add to your diet this week instead only eating pancakes? 
Well...I found maple syrup today…so this week, it’s pancakes with maple syrup!  Jaja
...and I bought more veggies for this week.

Zone Conference? 
So fun! (and the picture is of me, Elder Rodriguez, and my “grandson” as they say...
the elder that he is training.

Things are just going really slow here. 

We are super excited about Mirium and Miguel...are they still progressing?  I bet you didn’t know that you can be a missionary AND a wedding planner!   
So they are progressing!  They are going to get married! Which is a HUGE step for them.  Miguel is a tough one, but were working lots with him.

Loved the story of Francisco Aguilar as well.  Love how you are teaching the Atonement and seeing it work in his is he doing? It’s a Happy Birthday baptism!! 
I love to work with Francisco… He is just so truthful and humble.  I asked him which kingdom of glory he would like to go to, and with the most confident, honest voice, and with total sincerity, he said, “The second one”….

I kinda laughed a little, but he is progressing little by little.

Transfer is 1/2 way right?
Yep!  I think I can I think I can…  I really really really want to train again.

Can you believe you’ve been gone 9 months?  How about that? 
It kinda scares me to see how fast its going.  But its all good.  I am enjoying it, and it’s kinda interesting to see me turn from a greenie, to a more seasoned missionary.

Sending a package this week...any requests? 
Lots of photos and letters, and a little bit of chocolate…I got a package from g and g Bradshaw which was soooooooo great!  Thanks!  And also a group of fun pictures and letters from Jeff and his family...thanks!

So I am happy, and ok... Just a little bit frusturated with the pace of the work.  But I am doing what I can!  I love you all lots and hope that everything goes well for you. 


Love you lots

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I Learned Some Things

Well family...

Ojala que todo esté yendo bien en Costa Rica!  Entonces voy a escribir todo esta carta en Español por que están allí.....No....tendré misericordia con ustedes. 

(Parent translation...Hopefully everything is going well in Costa Rica!  I’ll write this letter in Spanish since you all are there ..... No. ... I will have mercy on you.)

haha!  That bit of news really took me by surprise.  But it's all good,  I bet you are in quite a similar area like me!  Spanish, indescribable heat, food that is similar, and lots and lots of dirt and dust.  But...I will guarantee that there is more heat and more dust here...jaja

So, I made a decision,  I am really sorry for being so negative and sad in all of my emails.  I loved what Elder Uchtdorf said in Priesthood session “that a bad attitude can be an addiction”  (don't know if thats what he said, but thats what I learned).  So I am sorry for all of the bad news and bad things which I have told you.  So, from now on, I will be more positive.  I wont keep things from you, but I will be more positive.

So right now, I actually am pretty good.  We had a good week, had a good conference, and a good Pday, just sooooo hot.  This week went really slow, and I am kinda glad its over, but there were a couple of great things which I learned...

We have an investigator who is named Francisco Aguilar.  He is like 70 years old, and has super bad health.  He has lots of doubts and lots of problems, but we really are seeing the power of the Atonement in his life.  We have had two lessons with him,  the first he was so discouraged, and we just talked about the atonement and how Christ knows him.  After that, he prayed and our next visit, he was so happy and content.  He still has doubts and problems, but the Savior is really helping him to pull his load (like Elder Bednar explained, loved that talk).  Francisco now has a baptismal date for the 17 de May!

The other good experience that we had, was that there is a couple here that has been listening to the missionaries for so long!  They are so wonderful, but the Husband (Miguel) doesn’t want to baptize or get married.  His wife (Mirium) wants to be baptized, but cant because she isn’t married.  This week, we saw a huge improvement in both of them.  Miguel began to read, and Mirium was all good.  And they accepted a Marriage date!  May 10.  So happy for them.

Plus, I loved this conference!  We got to watch it live (in Spanish).  I learned so much and the Spirit that it brought into my life is just incredible.  The only bad part is sitting in a burning hot chapel in a suit, super focusing to listen in Spanish, for ten hours, but its all good and worth it.  I loved Elder Bednar’s talk and basically all of them....But there is one I want to talk about more....The one from M Russell Ballard....I testify that there is power in studying Preach My Gospel.  I know that you will feel closer to Taylor and I if you study it, and that you will have a greater appreciation for the mission work.  I invite you to start when you are home, with Chapter 3, Lesson 1.  To study it, study the scriptures, invitations, and commitments.  You will learn so much and you will love it!  And next week, you have to tell me how it’s going!  And I will “follow up.”  Girls, Lexi and Elli are included in this.  Dad, I am so happy for your time that you have spent sharing the gospel.  (Mike had a 20 min. discussion with the lady that was helping him on the Microsoft tech support line the other day about our church and missionary work) That really makes me happy!

Eating well?
Mas o menos.  I am cooking lots of pancakes....

Are you doing some fun things?
Conference, tomorrow we have a service project in the banana fields with some of the other missionaries, and a Multi zone conference in Talara on Thursday!

Did you have a fun Pday?
Today, we all ate together, play futbol, and prepared a skit for the conference

Did you say that you are having a multi-zone conference soon?  What is that?
Every three months, the mission gets together in Zones.  Like three or four zones get together and president comes and we have a conference all day long.  But the one this week, I get to go to Talara (I was there for 6 months) and I will get to see Elder Rodriguez and some other friends.

Did you get to listen to conference?  I hope so.
Every session!

There was a 8.2 earthquake off the northern coast of Chili last Tuesday.  Did you feel that?
I didn't feel it, but lots of people were talking about it.

Do you ever go out to eat?
Because we are so far away from the Stake Center, this week we did with our district on Saturday.  I was so fun.  We are planning a day to eat here in Querecotillo with our Ward Mission Leader (who is my best friend here).

Well Family, I am good and I am happy.  During conference, I learned something else.  Whenever I am sad or discouraged, I am going to think of three small things that I am grateful for in that moment...whatever they may be!  It has helped me lots and I am excited to see how much it helps me in the future.
Also, I received letters from the CBs (thanks by the way)...and also from a guy named Adam  ( I don't know him) but he served here in Piura like 15 years ago.  He found my blog and sent me a real kind letter.  He lives in Cedar city.  If you could contact him, I would love to talk with him a little more.  His letter really helped me.  That.  Was a cool experience!

Well family, I love you lots and hope that everything goes well, even if you are in Costa Rica!