Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tired Eyes

Dear Family,

I honestly can’t even describe to you how fast time goes by!  I really can’t even comprehend how quickly time is going.  Some weeks especially...I’ll sit down on Monday and realize I don’t even remember most of the past week.  I can hardly keep my eyes open, I have a mirror in front of me right now and I am pretty sure you guys wouldn’t even recognize me.  I am pretty healthy for the most part, but I think what has changed the most is my eyes.  I have realized that when I feel the spirit I get really tired, kinda like Lehi, that he cast himself on his bed, I know how he feels...  Physically I am pretty well off, spiritually and mentally...I am exhausted.  My mind is constantly going at a rate that it never has gone before, and its so sweet!  I love it!  I am so busy all the time, always preparing some lesson, studying some topic, teaching, interviewing, exchanges...sleeping and eating if I get time;), its actually quite fun.  I like the feeling of having such a purpose. I guess you could say, it makes you feel good, like you're doing something that is good, and in the process your making yourself into something good.....I can’t really think of anything better.  I love the work I am currently involved in, but I can understand what missionaries mean by they get tired.  But I am still excited to do the work that I have been called to do.  Things are going well.  I am learning so much, and growing so much that I almost don’t want to come home.

Questions from Mom:

Loved your story about the dad working with his sons.  How is Derrick and his family doing?
-yeah turns out that Derrick lives in Cape Coast.... So we will never see him again.  Its a downer...but even more so because I have a strange suspicion that he really DOES live HERE...but is just trying to ditch us...

Better luck on campus? 
-Yeah the process of working with the ward has begun, we got a list yesterday of the members that live on campus, and have started going to their family home evening on Monday nights so that is helping quite a bit.  The university is a tough one though, as of now not a lot of success, nevertheless it looks like a bright future.

Most spiritual time?
-I am struggling putting my finger on a specific spiritual experience, but this week I really re-realized how much God loves me. There were times when I was feeling unnecessarily sad, times when I didn’t know where to search for our next person, how to push through to the next day, how to keep going when times became increasingly bleak, etc...and in all of those times the Lord comforted me and gave me exactly what I needed to move forward. I am learning more and more perfectly the love that my Father in Heaven has for me and in return I am loving Him more than ever before.

Are you working with the ward mission leader? 
-yeah we work with him.  We work with him every once in a while.  Our ward right now is struggling a bit, right now.  No one from our bishopric is even in the country...so obviously, our coordinating efforts with them is a bit down right now.

Fun p-day stuff?
-we found a driving range this week...so this morning we went out and hit a bucket of balls,,,and that was a ton of fun!  I really enjoyed that one.

Did you get yourself some good food?
-I got a bit of good food this week, but mostly I got it from more local places, making it more expensive so I didn’t get all that much.  I need to go to this shopping center this week and I’ll be able to get some good stuff.  I’ll be taking out some money this week, part of it will be for food.

Health stuff?
-Doing good:).

Wow!  I was glad to hear that you have been taking care of yourselves there, sounds like the healthy house is still going strong!  I actually got an opportunity to weigh myself a week or so ago, and I have lost some weight as well..... 26 pounds......  I don’t think I want to have lost the weight where I did though...my arms are super skinny, and my stomach really isn’t all that flat...not fat...just not all that great.  So I’ll have some work to do when I get home in the gym.  Keep up the good work...that’s awesome!

Well just about out of time.  Love you all so much, can’t wait to talk to you all next week.

Love you all,

Elder Bradshaw

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I'm singing

Dear Family,

Weeks are just flying by!  Still not quite sure when I'll be back, but I am thinking that by the next two weeks we should most definitely know.  If you could get the exact date that the Fall semester at Utah State will start it would be much appreciated! 

Anyway I had a pretty sweet week!  A lot of really spiritual days, lots of work this past week but it was a good one. 

Monday we didn't really do much.

Tuesday we had a zone meeting, leadership council, and then a half day exchange to take some people to an interview, which I'll talk more about in a minute.

Wednesday I was on an exchange all day with Elder Kidd to evaluate some stuff.

Thursday another half day exchange to open up the university. 

Friday was a pretty normal day.

Saturday we had a wedding to attend at the chapel for a little bit, then all of our usual P.E.C. meetings in the evening.

Man I am tired, but it was also a really good week.  I am happy with the work that we were able to get done in our area.  Still not all that pleased with our people...but I think I pretty well know by now that right before I leave well find some good ones;). Ha ha. 

We actually found a really cool family this past week...one that I was really prompted to contact, and it was one of those investigators that you just instantly fall in love with.  I know that sounds weird, but it happens sometimes.  They are a family of five boys, all out there working with their father to sell the pineapples that they had just harvested off their family farm.  They are dirt poor, but they had so much pride in their work.  Each of the five boys had their own personal assignment.  One to take the money, one to pick the pineapple, one to hold the bag while the dad cut the pineapple into it. It was refreshing to see someone, no matter how un-glamorous the job was...taking pride in it and doing it to the best of their ability.  It was a father who was teaching his kids the importance of work.  It reminded me of my father, and it really hit me hard.  Anyway keep Derrick and the boys in your prayers:).
- I got a dear Elder from Grandma and Grandpa Bradshaw
Spiritual time of the week?
This week after our leadership council finished,  Elder Kidd and Elder Johnson were deep into our area, and far from being able to quickly come back.  So, while they did I had the opportunity to spend a bit of time teaching again with Elder Honour. This specific night they had scheduled special interviews for a few of their candidates and we had the great opportunity to stay with them while they waited for their turn to talk with President Labinjo. While we waited in the chapel, we decided to sing some hymns with the missionaries and investigators that were also waiting.  We would pick a song, for example, 'We thank Thee of God for a Prophet', teach about prophets and then sing the song. I am a horrible singer...but that night I about skipped the entire way home. The spirit filled that room with a force that really hit home for me.

It was amazing to see the subtle anxiety that each of the investigators had before they went to meet with President and as they came out...that anxiety being completely gone, and only the look of the purest joy on their faces. Some of them came out crying.  Others came and bore their testimony of how true the church was and how they were so happy and grateful for the chance they had been given to become a member.  Others explained quietly that for the first time in years they finally felt released from a prison that they had prayed every night to be released from. It was such an incredible experience.  It was such a blessing to be there!  It was such a testimony builder of how much the atonement of Jesus Christ truly does work.  I know it does, I have seen it in my life, and in the lives of countless others. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to share that news with them that I know to be true!

Campus experience?
-its hard!  This was our first week of working there and it was tough!  The people are there, but they don't care to talk to you.  They are all too busy at all the campus parties stuff like that. 

Taking care of yourself?
-yeah, Im trying to:)

tonight we have FHE on campus with all the members that are also students.  So that will be weird, but also really good.  Working with members is absolutely essential on campus.

What are you learning right now?
-I am studying a lot about pure knowledge right now.  How to obtain that knowledge independent of any other source, things like that.  I feel really prompted to study it, and even when I don't really want to study it.  I want to study something else because my mind hurts so much I start reading somewhere else...and it takes me right back to the same topic.

Well sorry for such a lame letter this week.  My mind feels fried!  I am doing well though and I love you all so much!

Love you all,

Elder Bradshaw

Monday, February 10, 2014

'Hit the wall' week

Dear Family,

This week was kinda like the week that Zack just explained last week.  It's been kinda been like that for a while now, but this week it was probably the worst....I am so dead!  On the bright side though, I had no trouble getting to sleep;).  We have been going crazy lately!  Things are so critical right now, there is so much to do. So many people to find.  So many things to learn and study.  So much to improve on. Some weeks it just hits you and you die! haha.  This week I did pretty good until about Friday...then I died. 

Mom it was funny to see that you had mentioned a lot about health and rest this week, because it seems that both Zack and I hit the same wall this week.  My theory that I formulated is that I am just so sick of rice that I am getting sick, either from skipping meals, or eating things that are different, but not all that healthy.  We did find...a few days ago, a supermarket that is literally straight out of the states!  Like, I saw my first tub of actual ice cream in 18 months!  We are planning to go back today and get some real food...in hopes that it will bring me back up physically to where I need to be.  Elder Honour bought some roast there the other day, and then would just eat like 3 bite sized pieces of it with his dinner and he said it made an incredible difference in how much energy he had, and how good he felt.  I think I will go get some today and see how that goes.  Its a bit pricey so I obviously won't do all that much shopping there, but I think I should be able to find a few things to get me back up to where I need to be.  Mom...read this.  I am not dying, or anything...I've just been a bit sick the last few days.  Like I said, I think it came from lack of good food and absolute exhaustion, but I am okay:).  


Spiritual high?
-really had a good lesson with a man named George the other day.  He has been studying with the Jehovah’s Witnesses as well.  (which by the way...are my least favorite) but we had a really good lesson about how his answer and testimony will be based on The Book of Mormon.  We then knelt down with him, and had him pray for an answer right then.  After he prayed, we all knelt there for a few minutes with our eyes closed and the spirit was just most definitely there!  It was so strong, and George definitely felt it!  HE knows that The Book of Mormon is true, but is still a bit confused about which church to join.  Which completely baffles me...but then again, Satan is good at what he does... unfortunately.....

Do you still wash your clothes by hand?
-yes :(

Serving others this week?
-helped resolve a bunch of issues between the sisters and some other missionary that had offended them, that was fun, but they are good now.  ....Sister Missionaries can be stubborn.

A lesson you learned this week?
-I finally had it confirmed to me of just how important the 'small and simple things' were in my continuing progression toward Christ.  Due to my absolute exhaustion I was a bit lax in a few of the small things that I had been doing to have the spirit in my life and as I forgot, or rather, neglected those small and simple acts I felt my progression decline at an alarming pace.  I am back on track now of course, but it was almost an exact copy of the paradigm used in Alma 37 in comparison to Lehi’s family and the use of the liahona. 

Verse 41 says;  “Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey.” 

I became slothful, I trusted too much in my own 'self confidence' and I wasn’t as diligent as I had been in the past with the small things...and those marvelous works began to cease.  I was quickly awakened to my own nothingness, but it was a great experience.  One that really taught me the principle, as well as at the same time confirmed the power of 'small and simple things', in helping us all on our journey to where we need to be.

How are those college kids doing?  Making progress there?
-the semester started today, so this week will be my first week really focusing on the university.

Do you ride a bike?
-we have them, but I don’t like using them.  The best people I have been able to work with on my mission, literally all of them, would have been passed by, had I been on a bike.  When I walk, I feel like I am more a part of the people, which makes me a bit more inclined to spiritual guidance on who I should talk to, or who even will talk to us. 

Can you plan a fun p-day with your district or zone...
 I spend quite a bit of time around Elder Honour and Elder Kidd when we have free time, but to tell you the truth...we really don't have enough time as it is to do all that we have to do on p-day.

Have you had a chance to share the bracelets that Elli sent you for Christmas? 
-yes, but I haven't handed out all that many, I'll send some pictures when I do.

Okay out of time, love you all.  I am somewhat healthy, but doing well, I am safe, and most of all... happy.

Love you all,


Taylor with his new companion, Elder Johnson...whose family lives in American Fork!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Precious Bits of Revelation

Hey sorry, another short week.....  I had a long email to President and I wrote Zack.  So sorry this one will be short.

I want to start off with the questions, because I think they will help me to get the most info I can in the least amount of time.  But this week was killer!  I am exhausted!


How’s Elder J?
-He is doing well.  Great desire to be better, which is so great. 

Mission conference with Elder Bednar?
-three hour question and answer session!  It was AMAZING!  He asked us a bunch of questions and we asked him questions as well.  The spirit was so so strong, it was great!

Fun to see missionary friends at mission conference?
-It was a lot of fun.  It was a joint mission conference, so I got to see Elder Thornhill again which was really great.  He is doing great, going back up to Utah State when he gets back.  He offered me a possible spot in his house up there, which is still up in the air right now, but would be so fun, and such a great option.  So keep your fingers crossed!

I heard that Elder Johnson is a basketball player...are you two getting to exercise together more now?  -nope, I can hardly move with my current work load, I havent even thought of trying to add more,.

Is this the first time you have lived with only one person on your mission?  Is that weird?
-weird but nice, well its nice because we get along so well, otherwise it would be not so nice! 

New investigators?
-not yet...

Most spiritual time of the week?
- the conference was great!

A time you were influenced by the Holy Ghost?
- Elder Bednar asked us to make our notes more like the “small plates” notes and not “large plates” notes.  He taught us to basically only to record spiritual promptings from the conference and not what he says.  It was a different idea but so rewarding!  I had a lot of little bits of revelation that are so precious.

Well, I love you all so much.  I hope you know that!  I am so tired, so stressed, and just absolutely exhausted...but I'm learning so much.  I know good times are ahead, nevertheless times now are not bad.  As long as I am learning and growing, and more importantly helping those around me to grow then things are all okay.  I love you all more than I can say.  You're the best family.  I hope you know how much I love and miss you.  Thanks for always writing me, it keeps me going!

Love you all,

Elder Bradshaw