Monday, December 30, 2013

Tema finally taking off!!!

Dear Family,

Yes I broke my promise....

Remember how I always said, "I'll never let myself be sick on Christmas...NEVER!"  Yeah, I was way sick this year ha ha.  I guess better this year than next year right?:)  It was killer though!

I woke up not feeling all that well, but couldn't really tell if that was just from excitement to talk to you, or what.  I made an awesome breakfast, took a few bites and then it just hit me!  I went and laid down still trying to convince myself that it was just because I ate too fast or something...but it persisted...I died that day!  Ha ha, I felt terrible!  I thought that I started to feel a bit better, then I woke up and threw up more than I think I ever have in my entire mission!  Mom like you said, throwing up is a bit more common in Ghana than at home, but I promise you never get used to it! ha ha.  I always have the same thoughts..."I'm going to die".  Ha ha...and I think every missionary truly does believe that they are going to die when they are sick here.

I started to feel a bit better before the phone call and I was so happy that I would be able to talk.  And then about an hour before the call...the worst of the worst came and I knew I could not talk.   I remember convulsing, and just being covered in sweat and saying a prayer just begging to be able to have the strength to talk to you.  6:00 came and I was still feeling like I was going to die so I asked one of the other Elders to put my phone chip in the phone so that I could send you a text that we would have to do it another time...and right when he handed me the phone I started to feel 1000 times better.  I stopped needing to run to the bathroom...I did the call...and it was great!

I think this was God's little way of helping me to be obedient to the 40 minute rule.  I knew that was going to be a really hard one for me to follow, since we got to talk so long last I had been praying all week for help in being obedient. soon as Dad said, "okay time check, its been about 40 minutes", my stomach pains came back.  Not with as much vengeance.  We ended the phone call on time...I ran to the bathroom...and then I felt fine!  Yeah still sick but it was something that kept me distracted so that I ended on a happy note and didn't really allow myself to get to the sad/homesick I was pretty good after the phone call this year:). 

I loved talking to you all though!  It was such a highlight, and a blessing that no one but a missionary really fully comprehends.

Okay so this week my email will be a little short, we have a mission tour this coming week so I had a few things that I needed to do for that on the computer today so that took most of my time but I love you all so much, next week I should have more time!

Tema is finally taking off though!  We are finally getting out of this rut and up on to the tops of the mountains again!  We have been so blessed with the people that we have been able to work with lately.  It is such a blessing and a privilege to be where I am right now.  We have my two favorites right now, Fat Albert and Godwin, I talked about Fat Albert but maybe Mom you can put in a little more of the practical info on Godwin (Taylor told us that Godwin is a great investigator that has graduated from college (unusual) and his two sons are at university right now...close to graduating...extremely unusual)

Anyway story of the week.....

We met Godwin about two weeks ago as we were walking home one evening, we set our first appointment, and things have just been incredible since then. We went to visit him this week and when we arrived he had his laptop opened up to in front of him and was reading from his copy of The Book of Mormon. We started talking with him, and I can safely say it was the best lesson that I have ever had on my mission! I have had lessons where I was overflowing with the spirit but I have never taught someone who is so prepared and ready to receive this Gospel. He truly STUDIED The Book of Mormon, I find it difficult to explain just how prepared this man is...but it was a lesson and an experience I will never forget. We had a quick lesson and then gave him a quick little tour around, as we showed him a few places we thought he would enjoy.  We felt prompted to show him Elder Holland's General Conference address about the Book of Mormon from a few years ago. We found the talk and began to play it, he listened intently and the spirit soon filled the room. All three of us were edified and two of us were in tears by the end of that amazing testimony.... (Elder Nondala is a little tougher than Godwin and I were) ha ha.

We had the opportunity to follow up on Elder Hollands testimony and add our own simple testimonies of The Book of Mormon as well.  As I bore my simple, but sure, testimony of The Book that I have grown to love over these last few months, I was filled with an even greater measure of the Spirit.  Obviously, it wasn't as eloquent and magnificent as Elder Holland's but it really vitalized the quote from I forget who that, "a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it". My testimony isn't grand but I can say with more surety than I ever have before...that God lives. He hears my prayers each and every time, and He answers them in the best way possible. I know that Christ came to die for me specifically, and although repentance isn't easy, it is worth it (kinda like a mission), the Book of Mormon is true and NO one, and nothing can turn me from that knowledge that I have. It has been amazing to see since I started my mission how much my faith and testimony has grown, not just my testimony of the Atonement, or the Book of Mormon...or any one principle...but my testimony of nearly every aspect of this great Gospel.

President Judd once said to me, "Elder I will die for this church! And I think you would be right along side me, wouldn't you?" I think I nervously shook my head...but I can now say with confidence that I would. I have always known this Church to be true but now I know it with a surety.  I'm ready to let it lead and be the top priority in my life. Its an amazing feeling! I love it!

I love where I am.  Yes I am jealous of ski trips but I've got my whole life to do that!  I love where I am, I am now healthy and I am happy.  It's hard but I am happy.

Love you all, be safe, no getting lost in the Back country....oh wait that was me ;)


Monday, December 23, 2013

Afehyia Pa or...Merry Christmas!

Afehyia Pa, or Merry Christmas,

I cannot believe that is time for Christmas again!  The time is flying I can't even explain!  Its exciting but at the same time make me sad.  The things that I am learning, the experiences I am having, the spirit I am feeling, the people that I am interacting with, they are just unparalleled by anything else!  I know I will still have all of this back home but I just can't imagine it being at the same level.  The way we live as missionaries is amazing!  At first for me it was hard, but now as I look at the blessing and the spirit that come from living exactly how I have been asked, seems like the smallest sacrifice.  It's a tiny price to pay for the reward we receive. 
Anyway, this week I received my Christmas packages!  Thank you all so so much!  I got one from Grandma and Grandpa Bradshaw, one from the Dew family, and I got the ones that Mom and Dad sent.  I got a dear elder letter from Grandma and Grandpa Bradshaw, and a mystery letter.....?  My guess is Grandma Palmer, but it was sent from Maine and signed "Mom", it was a bit wet, well really wet so that threw me off as well... so no idea on that one....?  But thank you EVERYONE so so much for all the letters and cards, I have read a few but am saving them mostly for Christmas:).  That was the best part!!  And Mom and Dad, thank you so much for sending some things for my companion....  That truly was the best part of my package this year.  Not going to lie as I sat there holding it I had some thoughts of just keeping it for myself, I don't know what is in there but I know it will be good, I looked at my pile of packages in the corner and looked at him there, happy, but with nothing.  I gave it to him...and at first he thought I was just letting him look at it but when I told him it was his, he didn't really know how to react...  He took it, thanked me and as he walked out of the room, I head him say, "now it's Christmas!", there was a little tear shed from both of us that night.  Giving truly is the greatest gift of Christmas.

The Ansah family.  Bro. Ansah's baptism day, being baptized by his oldest son.  Sis. Ansah will be baptized on Christmas.
Speaking of the greatest gift I could receive this year.... I had this picture in my inbox this week:) :).  I don't think you will recognize this family...they are the family that I just loved back in Koforidua...but that is Blessed Ansah being baptized by his oldest son this past week:).  He was then given the Priesthood and will be baptizing his wife on Christmas!  This work is amazing!  

Explain some of the photos you sent...
You with your two fun is that???  Was that at your Christmas conference?  How did that go.  How is Elder Mc Donald?
Elder McDonald...Taylor (Elder Bradshaw)...and Elder Nondala

-yeah that was at Christmas Conference.  Spending Christmas with the mission family:).  Elder McDonald is doing great!  His shoes are destroyed but he is doing well ha ha.  The greatest thing to take on a mission is Eccos, just in case anyone asks!

You with a thumbs-up with a guy with his shirt both look super happy!
Taylor with his new favorite investigator...'Fat Albert'
-That's Fat Albert, my favorite investigator.  He likes reading all sorts of books and they keep getting in the way of him reading the Book of Mormon.  So we challenged him to read nothing but the Book of Mormon for a week and he said, "no...its just too boring!"  
I realized that he likes looking deep and finding things that others don't.  I had this prompting to give him my BYU Book of Mormon study guide, so we stood up in the middle of the lesson and went and got it for him.  I got a call from him the next day during the Christmas Conference.  He said that he needs a Doctrine and Covenants, and and LDS edition of the Bible AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!  He said, "I have a Bible but without all these JST's how am going to know what really is true and what was added by man?"  
He is awesome!  Anyway, one day after we gave it to him, despite a funeral, he had read the first 25 pages of the Book of Mormon.  Then Sunday morning I called to remind him about church, and his reply is, "you're too late, I'm already here."  Yep he was to church a whole hour early ha ha.  I love that guy!  He calls me every night just to say..."Elder Bradshaw, this book is amazing!"

You and comp? with two other African' with glasses and yellow tie

Taylor with Patriarch Ahadjie, his grandson Prince and Elder Nondala

-Patriarch Ahadjie, and his grandson Prince that we baptized.  He is a black version of Grandpa Bradshaw.  The baptism was in November...I only interviewed him but it was so spiritual!

At the baptism of Prince...Can you find Taylor?


Are you doing any Christmas-y things? 
-I think I am going to make us all a sweet breakfast:)

Okay about out of time, Love you all so much!  Talk to you soon:). 
Merry Christmas,

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, December 9, 2013

Refined through obedience

Dear Family,

Holy cow I am so happy to email today!:).  Thank you all so much for the emails, they lighten my day and make me so mappy!  

Yes, my time in the cafe has been cut down....  I think that, as our mission gets more obedient we are given the opportunity to be more and more refined in the things that aren't as obvious. When I first got to Ghana, President was asking the missionaries, to stop having girlfriends within the mission boundries, or to stop calling friends back home on your personal computer or cell phone that they had bought.  Now we are being asked to make sure our top button is done up or spend less time in the internet cafe and things like that.  It's been a cool thing to witness though.  I have seen the change and I have seen the blessings and miracles that occur when a mission, as a whole, is obedient.  Kinda stinks though, that we had to have shortened cafe that is why my letters have been a bit shorter...sorry.

The tree festival thing sounded pretty cool!  I am sure you guys made a sweet one!  You should try and send me a picute of it.  And I was so so glad to hear that the Palmer side is doing some great stuff this year.  That is such a great thing!  I was so happy to hear that!  

It is just the most foreign idea to me right now, that somewhere in the's actually cold! I really am going to die when I get home.  It rained the other night and I was so cold.  My companion was making fun of me because it really wasn't cold at all...but aparently I have just  been well adjusted to the weather ha ha.  I'll be super excited to experience the cold again though, that is going to be quite the sensation:).

I love the Friday devotionals. Yes, I love watching the movie but even more so...its just such an awesome thing to get people into the church.  This week we didnt have it due to a funeral held on the same day for a member of the stake...but this Friday we will be watching part two of 'The Work and the Glory.'

Yeah camera is working fine.  Just with the short cafe time, I am having a hard time wanting to take the time to put them on.  We have wifi at the apartment though, so I'll see if Tony will give us the password and I'll send some home:).


Most spiritual part of your week:
-This week, like I said there was a HUGE funeral!  It was for a church member that lived in Tema that had a massive influence in the revolution of Ghana.  Not like Mandela, but pretty big.  He was the founder of the reigning political party in Ghana so there was like 400 or 500 people there.  We were asked to be there to be available for contacting and help to greet people and all of that.  I happened to be standing by the door where the body was and where people would come out after they viewed the body.  Let's just say there was a lot of weaping and wailing....  There was these tribal drums and what not being played...and the spirit was not there and I just felt down.  I was thinking, what the heck is up with this death stuff, and things like that, and I just wasnt in a good mood.  But then, all of the sudden the drums stopped and the Stake Choir began singing, 'Master the Tempest is Raging'.  The whole mood changed. Just as they began to sing, the worst weaper and wailer of all...came out of the room.  As she left, my entire body was filled with a comforting tingle and warmth that filled me with joy.  I changed from being in a sad mood to having to try and calm myself down a bit because I was a bit too enerjetic and happy as I greeted all the crying people.   I know that death is not the end.  We do live after this life...and that life is going to be so much better than this one!  Like think about it, no more pain, no more sin, no more Satan, no more ski lift's going to be amazing!  I'm not excited to die, but I'm not afraid to either.  

- I got a package from the Hunter's, I think they called it a 'Halloween' package...which by the way thank you SO much!!! It was amazing!  And I got one from Grandma and Grandpa Palmer.  Don't worry. I didn't open it. I did have to put it in my suit case though because it was so tempting!

Love you all, about out of time...but you are the best family in the world,

Love you SO much,


Monday, December 2, 2013

White Christmas

Hello Family

Sorry this is going to be so short.  We had a lot to do and I had to do some other things online today, surveys and what I only have a few minutes...but I promise to get a good email out next week!  
Anyway, I love you all so so much!  It is always so so good to hear that everyone is doing well.  I, myself am doing great, I'm tired but I guess that means I am doing something right.  President once said, "if you have trouble falling asleep that means your not working hard enough!"  Lets just say I have no trouble falling asleep at night:).  

This week was fun.  We had our first missionary devotional, which will be happening each Friday from now on.  It's a plan we organized with the bishop to not only get new investigators into the church on a less conflicting time, but a plan to retain new converts and less actives.  I am thoroughly convinced that if you can get someone into the chapel, they will feel something different...if they allow themselves to...and that something will drive them back to the church on Sunday.  This week we watched 'The Work and The Glory', it was pretty awesome!  We had a great showing.  We had about 10 recent converts, a few members and one of our new investigators with his less-active brother, who were then at church on Sunday as well!  It was great.  The bishop was thrilled with it, and everyone loved it!  The investigator was so impressed with how the same problems the church is encountering today (rumors, etc.) was exactly what they were experiencing from the beginning.  His name is Meshack, by the way, and he is going to be baptized on the 25 of December!:) 

Our apartment is organizing a "White Christmas", well lots of white clothes at least:).  Hopefully.  I am really excited about it!  I had a realization with the whole Thanksgiving thing and realized the same to be true about Christmas.  I will have every year in forever to enjoy myself on Christmas by eating fancy food and sitting around with family and opening presents...but when else am I going to have the opportunity to stand in the baptismal font with my hand to the square and help to give one of my brothers and sisters the greatest gift of all time?!  I love this work and I know it to be true!  I love being here, and love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Sorry its short, if you haven't sent my last package yet I need a black belt... mine fell apart.  And this time maybe a bit smaller, and not one that is shiny.  One likes dads.

Love you all