Monday, June 9, 2014

One More Month

Dear family,

Things this week are going pretty darn good, found some cool people, got them to church, healthy, so what is there to complain about? 

Well it rained a lot, that was kind of annoying...

Lake Powell sounds like a ton of fun though! 

Guess I’ll just get into the questions...

In what ways have you seen the Hand of the Lord in your work this week?
-kinda had two things this week.

First one was with Kay, that investigator that I told you about over the phone.  He and I are super similar in our personalities, but the tie and tag were speaking a bit too loud for him to see that I was a normal guy like he was.  Yes, I love God enough to leave everything and live in a crazy country for two years, but I still am not too crazy and I am a lot like him....  Anyway I was praying that he would be able to see how I was when I wasn't a missionary.  I wanted him to see that I am a religious guy, trying to do what is right, but that I am also “normal”.  I don’t know if you understand what I’m saying here... Nothing really was coming to me, and I was concerned.  But then we had an appointment with him scheduled for Saturday night, and he called and asked if we wanted to go get pizza with him for our lesson that night?  Of course...we said yes!  We went with him and with one of his best friends who was visiting from Canada and got some pizza at a restaurant in our area.  It was awesome!  We talked a lot about the gospel with him, but at the same time he was definitely able to see my true personality, it was sweet!  Super fun dinner, and a definite answer to my prayers.

-Second, had someone use a passage of scripture from the Bible that I wasn’t familiar with to shut me down this week... I was super lost.  I had no idea what to say at all!  I was totally stumped, just sat there for a second while my companion tried to talk about something.  I just continued to look down at the page again and it was almost as if there was a new word in the passage that was bolder than the rest, jumping off the page to me...and it literally just clicked. I felt like I knew everything that I needed to know about that passage of scripture to finish this conversation.  I found that I was able to teach this man for about ten minutes about this scripture that 30 seconds before, I had no idea about.  It was pretty sweet!

What is one way that you feel like you have changed while on your mission?
-I love God more than anything and I am giving my life to him.

Fun things for Pday this week?
-hair cut.  I finally found a place here that uses scissors and can cut a ‘white man’s’ hair.  They just usually have clippers with no change in length so they just try to wing it...and then your hair cut looks like some just winged-it with some clippers.  I’m actually pretty excited about this.  Silly.

How are you helping your companion this week?  How is he helping you?
-I have really tried to turn as much over to him that I can.  I have figured the more I can get him to do in the area now... the more that I will be able to leave in peace knowing that he knows what he is doing with these people that I love so much!  And...he is helping me to ‘keep going’ even though my time is short.

Something that you are learning.
-I did some study this week on ‘the immediate consequences of sin’ and I promise I now have a greater understanding of why sin is such a big deal.  I found so much that I didn’t comprehend before.  I have also been studying about “viewing His death” from Jacob 1:8.  From what I have been able to take from it is that I need to view the full spectrum of what His death made possible.  I never before realized the depth of the meaning of Christ’s death and all that it empowers us to be able to do.  Recently, the spirit has been with me more than I think I have ever before experienced, in guidance, in answers, everything.  And when this week I didn’t have it as much as I did last week... I really was able to better understand how much the spirit dwelling in us always (made possible by his death) really affects literally all aspects of our daily living.  I know sin, trials, afflictions, times of loneliness, etc are never desirable but I have learned so much from my falls, trials and troubles and I know that God really can, when we let him, consecrate our afflictions for our gain.

Some advice for us at home?
-Read your Book of Mormon every single day...not new advice...but just do it.

What are you excited about in your mission right now?
-right now I am super excited about a guy named James and his son Abraham.....This week we had one of the sweetest experiences I think of my entire mission.  We are currently teaching a man right now named James.  We contacted him some weeks back as were were doing some finding.  I think I have mentioned him before.  Turns out that when he came to church for the first time, he found that his long lost cousin/brother was a member and in the other ward that meets in our same building.  They grew up together as best friends but have not been in contact with each other for man years.  They didn’t even know where one another were.  Anyway, this week we had an incredibly spiritual lesson with both James and his son.  We were able to extend to them baptismal dates for the 6th of July, which just happens to be my last Sunday in Ghana and my Birthday so that would be pretty sweet. 

Anyway...Sunday rolled around, and we saw James brother from the other ward.  He came over to greet us and say hello.  We told him of our lesson that week and he threw his arms around me and just started crying.  It was so unexpected, but so sweet.  He just kept saying, “thank you, thank you, I have waited for this day for so long”, it was so awesome to be a part of that.  I know that it wasn’t anything we said in that lesson that touched the heart of our dear brother James, it wasn’t us that decided to continue finding on a street that for a whole week had not yielded any success, only to find him on our last hour proselyting on a Saturday evening, nothing we do is through our own strength, but it is such a blessing to be a part of it all. 

I sat pondering over the time that’s left here in Africa last night and it about killed me, it hurt so much to just see how useless I was back home.  I did a lot, but not for really anyone but myself.  I was never to concerned with helping others around me. I wasn’t a bad kid, I did good things most of the time, but I really didn’t ever do really great things.  Everyday that passes, I am reminded of how many more I don’t have as an official representative of the church and more especially the Lord Jesus Christ, how those feeling of overwhelming happiness realizing that you have been a tool that the Lord has been able to use for his purposes and I already miss it.  Something president said in our last zone conference really hit me, he said, “from the time I was first set apart to be a missionary, I never really stopped”  So, I am making that my goal, never stop being a missionary, never stop serving the Lord and his church.  Whatever I am  called to do, I will do.  Whatever I am blessed with to sacrifice...its already His.  Whatever it takes...I am ready to do it.  Whether as a full time missionary, or as a nursery leader...I will do all that I can to help the Lords kingdom to grow.  This week I was filled with so much desire to have my life never be what it never stop the good that the Lord has been able to use me for over the last two years, I want to continue to be a blessing unto others.  I want more than just to be happy, I want others to be happy as well. I know it will be difficult and not always fun, but it’s all I want.

Well I love you all so much. 

See you all so so soon.

Well...except Zack... but really...I’ll even see him relatively soon :). 

Well have a great week!

Love you all so much,

Elder Bradshaw

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