Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hello!!!  I got special permission to write to you guys on a Tuesday, because yesterday...I was in Lima!

So...I loved reading your letters this week.  I read them real quickly because I didnt have much time, but I loved to see the blessings that you are all recieving as a family.  I felt so much love from you guys and am so happy that all is going well!

So this week was really crazy!  Tons of things have happened.  It really was a week to remember.  So I will just start off from the front!

Tuesday I had the chance to go to Piura for a training, and it was so fun, because I got to spend some great time with some great friends.  I finally saw Michael Smith!!!  I also saw some other friends and had the oportunity to meet some other awesome missionaries.  As a leader, I feel really inadequate but I am really excited to work with the great Elders in my District.  I have got so much to do and our mission is changing a ton right now.  There are so many new changes.  Nothing too big, just different ways to do things and different emphasis on different things.  We are all being stretched and learning lots.  Tuesday was a great day.

Then later this week...Elder Grow, a member of the Seventy came here and we had the oportunity to have two conferences with him.  One for ward counsels, and the other for the missionaries.  We learned tons about goals and so many other things!  Such a cool and funny guy.  He just had such a great spirit with him and when he bore his testimony, it was so strong.  I learned so much and am excited to see the blessings from the application!

The rest of the week was pretty normal, just working hard and trying to help the people here.  Things are changing and the area is progressing, little by little.  They say its a hard area, but that just means there is more to do!  I am falling more and more ‘in love’ with it and am excited to be here working in Querecotillo.  There is a chance that I could get transfered in 3 weeks, but I think I will be here for 9 more, which will round it out in almost August.  Its kinda rare for me (in our mission) to not have been in many areas, but I love it and know that it is right.  I want to leave it a little bit better.

Sooooo...On Sunday night, reeeeeeeally late, like at 11 oclock, the Zone Leaders called us and told me that I was going to go to Lima the next day, and that I needed to be in the bus station at 6 in the morning!  So I hurried and grabbed some things and I got to go to Lima!  We were 20 or more white guys traveling and it was so fun.  I was with some of my best friends and I got to get to know a few more.  We left reeeeeally early monday, and almost all day monday we were in the Peruvian equivalent of a DMV just signing papers and chilling.  Then that night, they took us to a huge mall place, like City Creek, but not...and bought us Pizza!  Let me tell you a little bit about Piura.... There is no such thing as AC, cool weather, pizza, Mcdonalds, or other gringo delights.  But in Lima there are many! It was just so fun to be with some great friends, eating pizza and ice cream and just chilling.  Lima really is a huge and beautiful city. It was strange to see how much I have gotten accustomed to small towns, and dirt roads and everything.  I love where I am and the people I work with, but it was just so weird to see a different kind of life and whole different world.  It is really going to be a culture shock when I come home in a year or so.  I have really ajusted to where I am...and I am just fine with that!

Selfie with the gringos at the Lima Mall getting pizza

Monday night, we just kinda chilled and talked in a good hotel and had a good time.  I didn’t sleep much.  Then the next day, we just basically did the same thing...DMV’ing it up with tons of gringos in suits all day err’day.  Then after that, they took us to the airport, bought us more Pizza. 

But...in the airport...there was dunkin’ donuts and mcdonalds.....Sooooo, I took out some money, and now happily find my self being one of the only donut possesors in the whole northern part of Peru.  Blue ones, white ones, coconut ones....I am just really excited. 

I just barely got back to my area and am happy to have had a good chill day or two.  We spoke lots of English and I felt a little trunky, but I just need to get out and work tomorrow.  jaja.  I am super tired.  Funny thing is...I still don’t have my visa, but in a couple of weeks or months, or sometime...I will be going again to finish it up.  Quite the process!Hola Familia...

It really was quite the week.  I am happy to be where I am, doing what I am doing, and with who I am in general.  I feel like in this transfer, more than the others, I am finally seeing some fruits from hours of studying, practicing, and speaking the language.  I feel efective, yet I feel like there are miles more of improvement needed.  I am happy, and content, just a little bit in “LIMADONUTMCDONALDPIZZA” shock.  But that will pass over soon, I think. 

I know that what I am doing is right.  I know without doubts that Christ lives, and that he speaks through his prophets.  He has given us instructions for a happy life, and wants us to be blessed in every aspect of out life.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and I know that Thomas S. Monson is a profeta of God.  I love you all and invite you this week to strengthen your own testimony.  We are always in the fight and must always ask ourselves “what more do we miss”.  Look for those things, and seek to fix them. 

Love you all and know that I am fine!  Here is a picture of my birthday with some of my friends here...

It's so great to know that a sweet mother took care of your son on his birthday!!

See ya next week! (or rather I’ll see your names in my inbox!)

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, May 26, 2014

Quick Trip to Lima

Hi Mom

I am so sorry, I didn’t write today. 

Last night, the Zone Leaders called me really late and told me that I was going to go to Lima in the morning...EARLY!  We left Querecotillo at 5:30 am, and now I am with a lot of my really great friends from the mission in LIMA!! 

We are doing lost of paper work and having a great time.  We had Pizza from Papa Johns and just got back from getting ice cream, and now we are spending the night in a hotel in Lima.  Its nice to feel a different type of weather, and see some up to date kind of things...(I saw an advertisement for a new XMEN!) 

I have really seen a difference in my life, as I have realized how used I have gotten to mud made houses, dirt everywhere, and rice rice rice.  I don’t have much time to write, but I just wanted to send you a quick note letting you know that I am fine. 

I will see if I can write more this week...but just know that I am doing really good and am happy. 

We had a good week too!

Love you so much!


ps...I got the package!  THANKS SO MUCH.
pss...I finally got to meet Hna Garlick (your friends daughter)...she's great.
Psss.  the visit with the Member of the Seventy was wawesome!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Birthday Week in Peru

So this week went super well! 

We are working so hard and starting to see some results!  The numbers don’t mean anything, but it was fun to see a little bit of a boost.  We have put down some goals and are trying to work tons with the members.  We are finding new people to teach, feeling the spirit more, and having more fun!  I have realized that how happy I am, how much I like Peru, the food, Spanish, and everything is directly related to how hard I am working.  So I am pretty pumped right now!  Really tired, but so happy.

It was also a good birthday. 

Quite regular, but real great. 

We woke up in the morning, and I cooked some regular pancakes, then we had a 3 hour planning session for the week, which kinda stunk.  But when we went to eat, my Pensionista bought tons of ice cream and made tacos!  SO...of course, I was pretty happy! 

We then left to work, and everything just went so well!  Doors just opened, people were there, and everyone was just happy!  We taught so much and talked to so many people, so we were just pumped.  Then after a lesson, an investigator gave us some good food.  Then, that night, the branch threw me a little party in the chapel.  I really enjoyed that.  The whole branch went around and each said a little nice thing about me.  Kinda like we do at home, just it was kinda awkward for me.  But I got a cake.  And, we had a good time!  The Lord answered my prayers and gave me a great day for birthday.   A different one, but a good one!

At my B-day party, a recent convert attended and this guy is so awesome.  He has got to be like 70 years old and is a maybe little weird.  He always talks and does weird things.  So when we were passing around saying advice and things for me...he ran out in front of everyone and starting screaming ‘happy birthday’ in English and Spanish, waving his arms and almost dancing.  I was dying and the whole branch was dying.  Then, for some reason, he started ‘Donkey Kong’ smashing the floor and that’s when I lost it.  I had tears in my eyes and everyday that I think of it, I just die laughing!  Can’t get it out of my head! Jaja!

Companion Stuff:
With my companion, Elder Nosa, we get along really well and I am super happy to be with him.  He wants to work and wants to do whats right which I love.  He knows tons so sometimes I forget that I am training. 

Spiritual Stuff:
Just everything went so well this week.  I really feeling like I am developing to be a powerful missionary (even though there is so much more to do).  And I really feel the Spirit in everything I do.  The mission right now is focusing on changing from “Walking to running” and I really feel like I am starting to run, and run effectively.  Now, we walk around always with a Book of Mormon in Hand, during Pday, lunch, the taxis, and everything.  SO awesome!  I really feel like I am doing my part and feel real content.

Health stuff:
Ate lots of cake and ice cream, but we are eating better. and exercising.
Pday stuff:
Today, with another companionship, we went and just kinda explored the cool bridge leaving from Sullana, bought coconuts to drink, and just took a bunch of cool pictures.  I loved it!
Great story stuff:
Just lots of little miracles everyday.  Little small things everywhere...that really are miracles.
Fun mission stuff:
this week, a member of the seventy is coming, and tomorrow I go to Piura for a training.
Lessons learning:

I will write more next week! 

Out of time but love you all!

Elder Bradshaw

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Loved The Phone Call!!!!

Wow!  Yesterday was one of my favorite days of my mission!! To call you guys was sooooooo fun.  I loved it.  My companion 'skyped' his family too and also had a great time...and so we just left soooo excited and happy.  I loved it, It was a really good opportunity,  I loved to hear from you all and to even have a little opportunity to hear a little bit from Taylor!  So cool!  I didn’t even crash after, like I did at Christmas...so that is even better!!!

So, this week was packed with crazy things.  I had the opportunity to go to Piura Tuesday for a capacitacion (translation: TRAINING...but sounds like 'cutting off heads'), but only for a morning.  Then I returned, again Wednesday to pick up my companion and do another training.  The only problem was that my companion didn’t arrive with the others, so I was flying SOLO for a half day.  That afternoon, I got to stick around with some of the Zone Leaders in Piura for a day, who are real great friends and all, so that was awesome.  Then that night, I got to go with President Rowley and the Zone leaders to pick up my companion at the airport.  That was pretty cool!  And...it was the most 1st world thing that I have seen for a really really long time.  I actually felt really strange.  I guess I have adjusted to being here, and it is really kinda weird to see an Audi...or a piece of Pizza...or a donut... or stuff like that.  But its all good.  Then that night, I got to sleep in the office and got to chill with some friends from the mission.  The following morning, we had Breakfast with President and his wife, and the assistants to the President.  That was super fun.   One of the assistants is from Highland and is the brother to one of my friends from home.  Then after that, we booked it to Sullana and...started to work. 

Zack at the airport with President Rowley picking up his new companion Elder Nosa.

Zack with Elder Nosa.  Zack looks like a cardboard cutout...but it's the real thing.
We have been working soooooooo hard this week.  And I love it.  Elder Nosa is a great guy and I am really glad to be working with him.  He is from Colombia, 18 years old, only member in his family (but they are supportive and real awesome) and is ready to work.  We have tons of plans for the Branch and its going to be awesome.  This week we put down two baptismal dates with new investigators, so I am excited to see what comes.   We are eating better, exercising better, an getting along great.  Its going to be a good two transfers. 

With some of my responsibilities...I am super overwhelmed and a little bit uncomfortable, but its awesome.  We have got an awesome district, and its going to be super fun to work with them.  In the district, there is one gringo from California...Elder Smith. one Chilean, two Peruvians, and one Columbian, and me.

This week, I ran into Omar and Maria Elena and their kids here in Querecotillo.  It was awesome to see them and to chat a little bit.  

I am doing well, working so hard, enjoying it so much, and sleeping so well at night.  I am happy to be where I am with my companion, and to be doing what I am doing.  I am healthy...and all is well.

I hope you all enjoy your Preach my Gospel Study (that you all committed to do...) and your start in the Family History! 

I loved seeing all of the birthday wishes in my inbox.  Thanks so much to everyone!!1  It really made my day to read all of them!  Thank you thank you thank you.

Love you all so much and miss you like crazy, but it's going so well and I am so happy.

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sketchy Stuff in Querecotillo

Hello family!  Hows it going!

So, I guess I'll just right off the bat and start with transfers....

So I am still in Querecotillo.  Elder Melo got transfered, and I am going to TRAIN again and be district leader.  I am actually really excited and really scared, but am so ready to get going!  Tomorrow, I get to go to Piura for a training, then Wednesday I get to go to Piura again to pick up my companion.  So my chance to eat Pizza or some other good food just went up like 150 percent.  (there is only good food in Piura).  Right now, I am sticking around with a member until Wednesday, so everything is going pretty well.  So, next week I will let you know more about my companion.  I am really looking forward to this. 

Zack's last day with Elder Melo...good friends.

Other than transfers, this week really was horrible.  I was sick with a sinus infection (or something like that),  killer migraines, and a sick stomach.  I do agree with dad that I am not completely eating too well, but these problems come from the fact that we don't have clean water to drink, that its 105 degrees everywhere (in the houses, streets, church, and room),  that I am lugging around tons of books and everything.  I am going to try to eat better, and make arrangements to help me with the other things, but its just been super bad.  The heat, endless rice, search for water, and everything is just kinda getting to me.  Its just a little discouraging.  My companion was also really sick this week, so it was really really slow.  Hoping this week goes a little better for everyone!

Nothing else really great happened this week.  I also had a work visit (its like a interchange of companions for a day) with my good friend Elder Cruz, and in the morning we took off and ran a little in the really really really rare rain.  There are some hills in his area, so it was super cool to see all of the city and stuff from above.

Zack 'running hills' in the really really really rare rain! (he doesn't look very wet for running in the rain)

How did things end with Elder Melo? 
Really really well.  He is my companion that I have loved the most.  We struggled to work together in some ways, but I really enjoyed him.  He is a great example for me for having passed through all he has.  Really really neat guy. 
Funny story this week? 
There are three doors that we need to pass through to leave our apartment, and we live in like a clinic of some sort.  To pass through the first two, you don't need a key, but the third door, you do need a key to leave.  But, we accidentally left the keys in the apartment, and were awkwardly stuck in this clinic for a while.  We couldn't get into the room or into the street.  So Elder Melo did this super sketchy escape from a tiny window then made a sketchy ladder our of a garden hose to break into our apartment from the third story.  REALLY SKETCHY....and not going to lie...I was praying like crazy in that moment.

Anyone getting married?  Why couldn’t they get married last week? 
They don't have money.  We are basically at level 0 with investigators right now.  Pretty bad, but we can only go up!

I think I’ll get some tomorrow when I go to Piura. (We sent a birthday package...we are hoping hoping hoping and crossing all of our fingers that it’s there for him!!!)

Do you hear from your friends that are on missions? 
I email tons of friends.  We have like a group email chat thing where we all send pictures and all.  Pretty cool!

Do they celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Peru?
Only in my heart.

Are there holidays there that we don’t celebrate here? 
Holidays here are just special days that everyone can drink....It’s really ridiculous.

What is Mother’s Day like there? 
Just another day to drink.

Sorry, this email really isn’t that great.  I am just really tired, and tired of being sick.  I am feeling better and am going to try to have better health.  Thanks for everything and I will be SKYPING at 3:30 my time this Sunday, if I can.  I have found a computer...but its still up in the air.

Thanks for everything and I love you all soooooooo  much!