Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4

(Just so you know, our Dad's birthday is this week, as this email suggests. However, he is not turning 67, as this email also suggests... funny kid)

Well Hey There!

This week was so great! I am getting more and more settled in every day! I can truly say that I felt all your prayers of comfort, and I can't say enough thanks. You are the greatest dang family ever. Or in Kolby's words.. "You are the dang greatest family ever."

I want to tell you about some of our investigators! There are a lot.. So I will talk about a few of them. 

*Winifred: Winifred is a sweet middle-aged woman with two young kids. Her husband left her, and refuses to help them out, so she works every day from 6 in the morning til about 7 at night. She owns a little shop, and that's where we see her everyday. She has been so so receptive to our message. She asks the most wonderful and inspired questions, and listens to our answers intently. One thing that truly makes her special is that whenever we ask her to make and keep a commitment or a commandment, she responds ".... Of Course.." kind of like ..."Duh! Why wouldn't I!?" If only every person we talked to, in or outside of our church, had that same mentality.

*Doris: Doris is dating the Ward Clerk in our ward. She is a strong member of a different church, and is hesitant of what people in her other church (particularly her pastor guy) will think of her if she joins our church. On Thursday we had a very spiritual lesson with her about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and she committed to pray if the message was true or not. When we saw her on Saturday she humbly told us that she felt the spirit when she prayed, and that she knew it was true. She is going to be baptized on the 9th! This Saturday! 

*Brite: Brite is such a stud. He is about 23 years old, and is a barber. He told us in our first lesson "I want to join your church." It was quite the shock. We have seen him about four times since, and every time, he has had more and more awesome questions about how our church works.  He is keeping all of the commitments, except for coming to church.. He works on Sundays and says that he can't leave unless somebody takes his shift. He said he will keep praying for it to happen. We told him that when God gives a commandment, he always provides a way we can accomplish it. That gave him a lot of hope.

Those are just a few of the investigators we are teaching. 11 People (including these three) have committed to entering the waters of baptism. We are continually praying for all of them! 

The people of Ghana are very very God fearing. There are different churches everywhere! Tons of them! All claiming to be true. They love to hear and talk about God, and Jesus Christ. They all want to be saved! If you ask someone how they are, 85 percent of them will say "By God's grace." So when a missionary asks for a few minutes to share a message about Jesus Christ, they immediately say "Sure! Sure! Come sit down!" and they go on with a lesson. Many will be very interested and will want to be baptized as soon as possible. As soon as they are baptized they go inactive... That's how it has worked.. 

When President Judd became the Mission President he started to encourage missionaries to "Find the Elect", to find those that have truly been prepared by God to RECEIVE the Gospel. So as missionaries, we rely heavily on the Spirit. We pray that when we meet people, that we will be able to discern whether they are truly ready for the Gospel or not. It's very very cool, and I believe we are finding some truly elect people who will be leaders in this church til the end. Please pray for them.

Shaunski!.. (Shauni): Keep up the good work in Softball! I wish so badly I could see you play! I miss you like crazy my angel! Remember who you are! and remember to never forget the taste of cold chocolate milk running down your throat... Cause I have. 

Gageums!.. (Gage): Cross Country! Atta babe! That's so sweet! Let me know how it goes! Have such a fun week at Scout Camp! Obey all of your leaders and elders! They will keep you safe :)

Chanceums!.. (Chance): Good luck with Scout Camp this week! That is so fun! I wish I could be going with you. Remember to be an example to all the younger boys. I know you will :) Be safe! and... I feel inclined to say that since I've been on a mission, I have been given great powers that will affect the rest of my life... One of them being The Power of Super Smash. Be ready in two years for my wrath. 

Bridget! (Beegums) ... (Brady): Miss your humor. like bad! Remember to take good notes in Institute for me! And.. keep kicking trash in basketball. Don't let anger get the best of you.. Not good. 

Brinleyski and Chach: (I wouldn't put your real nickname on here): I am so excited for you two! Marriage is absolutely wonderful! I'm excited for two nephews when I get home! First one better be named Gerritt, and the Second one, Gerritt.  

Kadan, Trish, J, Moch, and Luke: I miss my Nephews!!! Just the other morning, I woke up to a baby crying at our front door, and I thought I was back home on a weekend! Bout made me cry! You are all so great. I dream about Trish's BBQ Baked Beans.. 

Shel, J'effe, and Jax!: Shelb.. I always knew you would see the light! Keep watching Avatar and teaching it to your family. Add the gospel as well. It is so great! I can't wait to see how big and grown up Jax will be when I get home. Thank you so much for the e-mail, and know that I love you three so much. Hopefully I will be loving you four soon...?

My Mommy: You are the greatest mom in the whole world. I will argue that till the bitter end. I miss your food like crazy!! 

Padre (Dad): Holy cow!! 67 this week!!!! I am so bummed I'm missing your birthday! I hope it is absolutely amazing! You will be getting a letter from me very soon! :)

I love you all so so much! More than you could know! I know the lord will continue to bless you as you strive to keep all the commandments. I pray for you all every night. The Church is so so so true!! It changes lives. Not just the lives of those that aren't members, but those already in the Church. Live it to the max my Family. As I know you have, and will.   

-Your Son, Brother, Friend, Punk, and Thing, 

Elder Bradley

May 28

Hey Hey Family!

Wow. This has been one of the craziest and most changing weeks of my whole life! I honestly don't know where to start!

The Food:
The only things I have eaten since I've been out in the field are Rice, Beans, some egg stew stuff, bread, and oatmeal. Oh, and some chicken gizzard. ("Who wants the gizzard?" "I do!" "Too Bad!") Love it. I will be experiencing my first real native food on Tuesday. Fufu... I'm.. Excited..?  
No fruits or vegetables yet! I heard the pineapple here is amazing though! Heard. No milk. It's pretty expensive I guess. I got a wonderful water bottle from Sister Grahm in the MTC that has a super filter in it, so that's really nice.

Living Quarters:
It's an apartment... Concrete. and.. yeah. Walking into it, I was immediately shocked. Not much there at all! I opened a cupboard in the kitchen and about cried... More cockroaches than I could ever imagine! Everywhere.  I also saw a massive spider on the wall, and again, almost cried. My companion and the other missionaries just laughed. There are 4 of us, 2 to a room. My companion is from Kenya, and the other two are from Kenya, and Etheopia. Our beds have these massive nets over them that tuck under the mattress. We have them to keep misquitos, and other insects out. As you can imagine, this has quickly become my sanctuary. My companion is super awesome though. He has been here for almost a year, and is very very enthusiastic! I love him so much already.

The Area:
I am currently serving in a place called Kasoa. It's almost two hours away from Accra, and it is absolutely amazing. The poverty here is crazy... I was IMMEDIATELY humbled. I no longer viewed our apartment as a crap poor place. On the contrary, our apartment is on the high high end of things. There are people everywhere. Walking, riding on top of cars, and laying on the ground. It's very sad.. We ride our bikes on the side of the road with cars and traffic completely around us. It was really scary the first time, but I constantly have a prayer in my heart, and I know the Lord will protect us. There are shacks all over the place. Most people sell out of them, but some people live in them. Our area is huge! We ride our bikes over pretty great distances to get to Investigators and what not. 

The People:
Black. I have seen a total of 3 white people not including the missionaries at the transfers. There are little naked black kids running everywhere! When I ride my bike past them, they all start crying "Obroni!" "Obroni!" It means White! Haha I love it! Everyone here speaks Twi. I am picking up some of it already, and am excited to learn more! Women don't care to cover up much.. It's just part of the culture here, and will take some serious getting used to. 3/4 of the women also walk around and work with a baby wrapped around them. It's super cool! 

The Work:
The work is absolutely amazing! We baptized 3 people on Saturday! It was so so sweet. I loved seeing them enter the waters of Baptism, and make that covenant.We are teaching a bunch of people right now though! Lack of Investigators is not the problem here in Kasoa. The problem is that everyone loves, and fears God. Walking down the street you will see shop names like: "Christ Salon", "By His Grace Clothing", or "God Market" It's very interesting stuff.  People love to sit down and hear about God, and Jesus Christ. So we as missionaries are strictly instructed to find the elect. We are told to search for the people who have been prepared by God. Those willing to change their lives by making sacred and everlasting covenants with him. I love teaching people! My companion is awesome! He is teaching me so much. I absolutely love seeing the change in people's hearts. Seeing their eyes light up with a new and serious hope. That's what it's all about!

I miss you all like crazy... I think about you all the time, and just wish you could be out here with me! That would be the only thing I would change. Know I'm praying for you! I pray that the Lord will bless our Family, and those that come in contact with you. I am excited to see the changes in all your lives. Continue to pray. Continue to read the scriptures. Especially the Book of Mormon. It is a huge part in conversion and repentance! It has all we need. Study it!! 

I love you all! I'm excited to start sharing some conversion stories with you! I know that this work is absolutely of God, and that he watches out for his missionaries. I am so thankful for the gospel in my life, and for the blessing it has been to grow up in the church. Can't wait to hear from you all again. 


-Elder Bradley