Friday, December 31, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Everyday is Priceless

Family and Friends,

I need to say Thank you for all the fun letters, emails and packages you all sent. Please send my love to the Valley View 8th ward. They were so kind to send me so many Christmas cards. We are all doing fantastically well here in Sequim. Today we went to Port Townsend as a zone. We played capture the flag in an old military bunker. It was a lot of fun, but one of the Elders tore his Achilles tendon an hour into it. He was just running on flat ground, it was kind of weird. He's in the hospital now. I'll let you know what happens. This is the last week of the transfer here in the WA-TAC and I'm way nervous for change. We are really loving the progress we're making here together, but at the same time I know that whatever happens is what the Lord wants and although it might be sad at first, will ultimately be the best. I love that I can trust Him like that. I wish I had gained that sooner in life. It makes every trial and every challenge part of the plan for me and my personal growth.

Christmas was probably the best day of not only my mission but my life. It began with an overwhelming amount of generosity from friends, family, ward members from here and from home. We then got to go to the chapel to fill the font. I was able to talk to most of you and miracle of miracles I was able to talk to Elyse for about 20 minutes. I don't think I've ever been so happy to hear your voices and that your all doing so well. As if that wasn't already amazing enough, it doesn't even compare to what happened later.

Paul Preston arrived to his baptism promptly a half an hour before it started. The font was full. He was dressed in white. His whole family (most of which aren't members) came to support him. They felt the spirit I'm certain. Paul looked a little nervous before. So much of the ward came out to support him, even though it was Christmas. When he came out of the water he gasped for air and I felt really bad, because we tried to make the water warm, but the water heater for our little chapel isn't the greatest, making baptisms a little chilly, but when I asked him after wards he said the water was pretty warm and he just gasped because it felt like it was the first time he had ever really breathed. I wish I could bottle his smile. He was glowing after his baptism, quite literally glowing. I can't believe the change I've seen in him from the first time I knocked on his door. Step by step, day by day, he changed. He'll continue to change. I hope I continue to change too. We get so caught up in the progression of others that we forget sometimes that we're on the same path they are, but by focusing on getting others through the gate, we go so much further than we ever could if we just focused on ourselves. I love this work. Everyday is priceless, no matter how hard it is. I love you all lots and lots.

Love Sister Bradley

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Miracles are wrought by faith :)

My family and friends,

Crazy week here in the WA-TAC. We had our Christmas party as a mission, which was amazing. I love the spirit of Christmas. We have a goal as a mission to see 200 people enter the waters of baptism in the month of December. We are well on our way. I did get packages for Christmas so thank you! They are now sitting under our little tree that a member let us borrow. Mom I did buy some boots at wal-mart, so no worries :)

Some news! President Bowen called Sister Burgess and I early last week and told us we would be getting a third companion last week. Sister Directo is from the Phillipines and is a sister missionariy that is at Temple Square but gets to visit us in the WA-TAC for 3 months. We LOVE her! And she has brought a great spirit to our companionship... along with many miracles.

What an extraordinary week it has been here in Sequim. Sharing all the miracle we witnessed this week would fill volumes. I wish I had the time to share them all with you. You'll have to be satisfied with some of my favorites. The first is a story about a man named Raj Singh. He's a very kind hindu man. The three of us prayed so hard that we could find a family of angels to put on the tree in the mission office (the angels represent people baptized this month, It looks like Washington is going to have a white christmas after all). We started our evening of tracting with little success. Every door seemed to be vacant on the other end. And it was cold, very cold. It was an hour into knocking doors when we met Raj. The smell of Indian food flooded out his warm home when he opened the door. He began not being interested at all. But something changed as we shared why we'd come to his door. He agreed to come on a tour of the church. He has a family with two children and his wife. Unfortunately he had some family come in from out of town unexpectedly, but he called us and told us he still really wanted to bring his family to the church. It's an amazing thing to see the spirit work on somebody in such a short time. This man was not interested, but the spirit can soften hearts so quickly if they are humble and prepared. I love seeing the change in theire eyes. This work is real. The spirit is there.

Another amazing miracle we found by the name of Paul Preston. His dad, Mike was baptized as a child but hasn't gone to church since he was a child. We stopped by to meet Mike, but his son Paul answered the door, Mike wasn't home. We talked to Paul for a brief second and then left. As we were in the car I felt like the spirit was almost yelling at me for not talking to Paul more. He seemed so sad, but we'd already left his door. The next 24 hours were almost torture as I felt an imense amount of urgency to go back to see Paul. We went back on Saturday night. Paul opened up to us immediately as he shared that just last week he had tried to take his own life for the 7th time. We had a member pick him up and we brought him down to the church almost immediately. It was one of the most sacred experiences of my mission and one of the most miraculous. Words came out of my mouth that I had never said, words that were not mine. Paul commited to be baptized on Christmas day. He came to church on Sunday and left smiling, saying he really felt something different. He went to the Young Single Adult family home evening last night and we taught a lesson on modern day prophets and apostles and what peace they bring into our lives. Again he left smiling. I don't think Paul has smiled much in his life. We met again with him today and had a powerfull discussion in the home of some members about how he can know of the truth for him self. There is a light in his eyes that wasn't there before. He's changing before our very own eyes. We are fasting with him and the Johnson family this Sunday. This work changes people.... No its not the work that changes people, the work changes us, but the Savior changes people. He makes them whole. The joy of seeing that change is beyond words. It is in fact miraculous. Serving a mission isn't a sacrifice. I've never been so happy in my life. Most days I wish I could do this forever.

I'm so blessed this Christmas season to know that Jesus Christ lives. That he speaks to us today through his prophets and apostles. Not only that but he speaks to us personally and individually as we pray and read the scriptures. The Book of Mormon has become my best friend. I rely on it daily for strength and guidance. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth in its fullness! What an exciting time it is. We know the happiness that the world seeks. We just need the courage to open our mouths and share it! I LOVE sharing it with the people here in Sequim. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week.

Monday, December 6, 2010

FAITH TO MOVE MOUNTAINS

Hey Family,

The weeks seem to fly by so quickly here in Sequim. The snow is finally melted and we are now in the low 40's, but with the water so close by, I freeze anyway. There is something about the dampness in the air that just chills you to the bone. Sister Burgess and I have been working harder then ever. We love being together again after almost a year and seeing the progress we've made, we can really tell the strengths that we've gained because we knew eachother from the begining. It's always good to know that you're growing.

The Frantz family missed church for the second week in a row, which was devestating. They are a family of four. The mom and the dad really want to get baptized along with their 12 year old daughter. Unfortunately the daughter isn't the dad's biological daughter and if they were to get married they would lose a lot of child support which is keeping them above water right now. We had an amazing story about Christ and the five loaves and two fishes. We talked about not being afraid to do what the Lord asks of us and that he will provide a way if we are only obedient to his commandments. I wish I could just lend them my faith for a day. If they only knew what the Lord could do for them. They are so sincere and the gospel has already blessed their lives. I realized that sometimes our mission president probably feels the same way about us. Sometimes as missionaries we lack the faith to see miracles. I'm sure President Bowen would love to lend us his faith sometimes. However, when its gained on our own through dilligent prayer and study of the Book of Mormon and when we take that leap and expect success and expect to see angels in this work, then our faith becomes stronger. Then we can move mountains. I love learning to move mountains.

Thanks for all your prayers and support. Sorry for all the short emails, one day I'll send a long one. Hope your all having a wonderful week!

Love Sister Bradley

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Power of Prayer

Dear Family,

I'm so sorry if you didn't get an email from me today, I will make it up next week I hope. It's been a crazy few days as I did get transferred from my dear Tacoma to a small little town very close to Canada called Sequim (pronounced Squim) It is literally a town right out of a story book and the perfect place to spend Christmas lol. Especially as there are 8 inches of snow on the ground. I was ready for rain but not snow! My wardrobe is not quite fitting lol. Apparently this is the most snow Sequim has had in 25 years. The whole town is in a buzz. It took us 5 hours to get here from Tacoma, they aren't prepared to deal with snowy conditions like Utah is. But alas we are here and we are out meeting the people. I'm over to wards here, Sequim Bay and Happy Valley wards. I'm about 20 minutes out of Port Angeles and an hour or so from Forks. Quite excited to go there for a P-day sometime :) I'm serving with Sister Burgess, she was my mtc companion almost 11 months ago! We are SO excited to back together! We've been hoping for it for sometime! Sequim is wonderful and the work is pushing forth here. I'm so excited to get to be here. There are 5,000 people in Sequim so I figure lots of people are gonna want to be baptized.

It was hard to leave Tacoma. A sweet sweet part member family through me a surprise birthday part with party favors and cake and all. It was one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me I think. It was hard to say good bye to them in the same day. Cameron did indeed get baptized on Sunday! It was a pretty amazing service as the ward totally rallied around him and his lest active and non member family. He will be such a blessing to his family. His non member grand parents came down to take him out for dinner and he insisted that they do it at home so that he wouldn't have to break the sabbath right after his baptism. What an amazing eight year old!

My testimony of personal prayer has grown so much over the past few days! I was a little terrified to be coming to Sequim as I've served my whole mission in the city. I got here and although I was charmed by this picturesque town, reality sunk in and I was so scared. I spent a lot of time on my knees. The Lord answers prayers. Humility is key as we sincerely ask for his help, but I can testify that it most assuredly comes as we are humble and seek for it diligently. I'm so excited to be here. I do have a new address for letters, packages are still sent to the one in University place but my new one is

Sister Bradley
812 N. Bakehouse Ct.
Sequim, WA 98382

Thank you for all your emails, Mark I promise to write you next week! I loved your email! Thank you for writting. I hope you all have the most amazing Thanksgiving! So grateful for you all!

Love Sister Bradly

p.s. My dear dear Sister Fox is now training a greenie in Tacoma! I'm so excited for her!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Miracles are still there

Dear Family,

The weather here has taken a turn to colder than cold. I thinking I have more vitamin C in my system than water. I always remember Mom saying I couldn't overdose on vitamin C lol so I'm not too woried about it.

Things were hard this week, but also rewarding. It was one of those weeks where the worst possible thing happens, and yet somehow the Lord strengthens us to bear it. My dear friend Sally has been progressing AMAZINGLY as we've met with her every other day at the chaple with the PERFECT fellowship. She's had three seperate sisters, including the Relief Society President. On Saturday night we commited Sally to baptism for the 21st and she more than just accepted, but was excited! She loved the plan of salvation and we had just taught her the doctering of baptism. However Sunday morning a half an hour before church she called and told us that she was no longer interested and that she's decided to stay with her episcopal church. I neither wish to express in words or want you to know how many pieces my heart broke into as she told us. It wasn't about numbers, or baptisms. I saw the light of Christ shine in Sally's eyes as we taught her. I saw her commitment and excitement to enter into Christ's church. It was a hard day at church as with each lesson I realized was perfect for Sally and just what she needed to prepare her further.

However the Lord has blessed us with a tender mercy as a young boy of an excommunicated mother commited for baptism and his mother gave her consent last night to be baptized next Sunday. I honestly couldn't see this ever happening until he was an adult as his mother didn't seem like she would EVER be willing to consent. But we've been teaching them in her home and at the church for several months now and just this Saturday we took them on a church tour and her heart was softened. Tom didn't get baptized yesterday unfortunately, but he's promised to give it "maximum effort" this next Sunday, he's such a funny old man.

As always I'm realizing reguardless of what I do or share, people will always have their agency. I'm also continually learning that no matter what happens the Lord is in it. I'm motivated to do all I can and let Heaven do the rest. Heaven must certainly be busy here in Tacoma, as despite my many short commings, miracles can be found whenever we sincerely look for them. I love you all!

Love Sister Bradley

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 9th 2010

Dear family,

I only have four minutes left! But I have to write! What a week it has been. We've found some really amazing hidden miracles in our area book. We went over all the former investigators and decided to stop by a few of them. Two being Tom and Sally. Tom is an 80 year old man retired from the navy and an intense and devout Catholic. He is always willing to come to service but we loose him at baptism as he always says he's already been baptized. Sister Fox and I stopped by and after not comming to church for 3 months he came after our short visit. So we eagerly prepared a lesson on baptsm focusing on Christ's baptism from Matthew and the spirit was so strong as we taught Tom about the proper baptism. He really likes the idea of being able to choose to be baptized as he was baptized as an infant. As we left we commited him to pray about baptism for the 14th of November and he said yes! He started asking all these questions like what he had to wear and who would be there! He's been an eternal investigator for many missionaries in the Skyline Ward and here is actually commiting to pray about baptism. We're very excited for Tom.

Sally is a woman ironically enough that Sister Fox and I tracted into four months ago. She said she used to meet with the elders but had decided to stay with her church. When we knocked into her we hadn't known she was a former in our area book. As we went through we decided to stop by and when we went by her house four months later, we realized that we had been there before. She invited us in imediately and told us that last time we had stopped by (when we had just tracted into her) she took out the Book of Mormon and tried to read it again, but she has a really hard time with it. We gave her a childrens Book of Mormon to go along with it and now she's just cruizing through it. Unfortunately she was unable to come to church on Sunday, but we hope for next Sunday. She's very smart and in tune with the spirit. As we commited her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon she knew what it would mean if she got the answer that it was true. She knows that she'll have to leave her church (an episcopl church, she's very religious), but she is really excited about baptism, as she was baptised as an infant, without it being her choice. She really wants to follow Christ's example. Please pray that her fears won't prevent her from taking that leap of faith.

I'm learning so much. The past transfer has been a hard one for me, I would say full of highs and lows, but its been mostly lows. I am indeed gratefull for those lows, as my mission has been full of high highs. It makes them so much more special. Most importantly I'm learning to rely on my Savior in all that I do. Sometimes its easy to let yourself feel alone, and the adversary is really good at making us feel that way. Its always a choice that we make though. Ultimatly we can choose to look to the Savior and be happy or look away. Any other way leads us to saddness and ultimatly misery. I'm so happy to be sharing His message with His people. I'm grateful for Him. I know that He lives and He loves us so much. If we could only really understand how infinite that love is the world would be so much eager to share it. WE would be more eager to share it, because the world is in great need of the precious knowledge that we have. I love you all.

Love Sister Bradley

Monday, November 1, 2010

Seasons Change

Dear Family,

The weeks seem to go by in Tacoma in the blink of an eye. The rain continues to pour here and I've been informed it will likely do that until next July, and I realized that I won't even get to be here next July. So I think I'll be wet for the rest of my mission ;) Although I really do think it is a blessing. Tracting in the rain is a neat experience, although it is freezing and wet, (my cheeks tend to turn a nice shade of blue) people always are willing to talk to us because we look so... well cold.

We found a wonderful family this week. Erin is the mom of two. She came down on a church tour with her daughter on Saturday and seemed to really enjoy it. We are excited to meet with her tonight to teach the Plan of Salvation. Craig, Amanda's husband is also doing amazing things. He told Amanda last week that he wanted to start attending church every Sunday as a family (with all five kids)! They came to the Halloween part on Saturday and to church on Sunday. We are teaching Craig the discussions and are excited to put him on date tonight for baptism on the 14th of November.

The leaves have all changed color here in Washington and it is beautiful! I love watching the seasons change. It smells like fall outside. For some reason I feel that as the seasons change, people to are become ready for change and we find a lot more people who are willing to listen to our message. I'm sorry to make this short, but we're short on time today. I love you all very much. Thanks for the pictures of Ethan and Scotty! They're so big!

p.s. Tell Mark and Jared to send me an email sometime... I haven't heard from either of them :D

love Sister Bradley

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pouring down Blessings

Dear Family

Wow what a week! Some pretty amazing things happened! I'm excited to get to share them all with you. First, we've been working with the Williams family for months now. Audreaona the 17 year old daughter was baptized earlier this year. But her mother who has met morman missionaries a ton through out her whole life has been incredibly resistant. She always loves the missionaries and will often have us over for dinner, but she's never come to church and never really progressed. She's promised us half a dozen times that she would come to church but this last week we found out that she's had some big concerns. She had always been told that mormons hate black people and that we have like 30 wives...(I wonder where those rumors come from?) Anyway, Tracy (the mom) comes from a baptist background and hasn't wanted to come to church, but has let her fears and concerns get in the way. It was really amazing as we brought Amanda, who just got baptized 2 weeks ago who was also baptist and who also happens to be black to a teaching appointment at Tracy's. It changed EVERYTHING. Tracy for the first time EVER came to church this week and sat with Amanda and her girls. She said it was different, but that she liked it and loved hearing others testimonies and would be back!

This week was also really exciting as Bo Chambers, (she was baptized back in August) received her patriarchal blessing this last Sunday. She asked us to go with her. I had never been to anyone's blessing other than my own and it was an incredibly neat experience to hear such amazing promised blessings. Sister Chambers is on the activities committee and the ward has just embraced her so much. Her conversion has been a beautiful thing to see.

The rain is POURING here in Tacoma, but I like to think that its just the Lord pouring out his blessings. My faith and testimony grow with each challenge and trial. I hope everyone is doing well. Send me pictures of the snow! I actually miss it lol. Love you Lots

Love Sister Bradley

Monday, October 18, 2010

life is hard, but life is simple

Dear Family,

What a crazy week full of highs and lows. The work was a little shaky this week as we went out we felt we didn't have the teaching pool we had a few weeks ago. People either were baptized or dropped. You truly have to be finding ALL THE TIME or else your going to hit a dry spot. It's not that Sister Fox and I stopped finding, but our teaching definitely took presidence, and now we don't have as many people to teach. The ebb and flow of missionary work. I really hope that one day I will be able to master finding, teaching, and baptizing, so that all three are a constant in the work.

This last week was Stake Conference in Tacoma and there was a really neat session for recent converts of the stake and investigators. A woman we've been working with for months came to the church for the first time in 40 years. She was baptized as a child, but never confirmed. It was kind of an open testimony meeting and this woman got up and shared an amazing testimony about how she was able to get back to church. She's actually really excited about her baptism.

I was listening to some old conference sessions that I have on my I-Pod and I was listening to a talk when I suddenly realized that someone was talking to me. It was someone in the seventy and he said. Life is Hard, but life is simple. The gospel isn't hard, life is hard. I've been thinking about that a lot this past week and it's really helped me as I've started to think that missionary work isn't hard life is hard. I'm grateful to be doing missionary work. Inspite of the many diffuclties and stresses, I know that it is some of the most important work I'll ever do. Thank you for all your support and love. I love you all.

Love Sister Bradley

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Excitement, laughter, and tears

Dear Family,

This is an email full of excitement and surprises. Sister Fox and I recieved our transfer calls late morning on Saturday while we were teaching Amanda her last discussion before baptism. Elder Hill (AP) gave me my assignment call first and told me to pack up all my things... and then to promptly unpack them because I would be staying in Tacoma! YAY! He then asked for Sister Fox and she looked sad as she said "I love change I'm excited!" It was at this point that I realized that Elder Hill didn't tell me who I would be serving with. I asked Sister Fox but she hung up the phone real fast, and I was slightly irritated. Thinking we'd have to call him back she laughed at me and said, "You don't know who your serving with?" exasperated I said no. She laughed again and said "Your stuck with me!" We about died. Amanda was sooo excited. Sister Fox and I will have served 6 months together next month! We joked at transfer meeting that President has made us eternal companions. However we couldn't be happier serving together. We've become best friends, they'll have to surgically seperate us when the time comes.

The exciting news doesn't end there! We had three baptisms on Sunday. The biggest baptism either of us have ever had! Amanda was amazing and Sister Fox and I were able to witness her and her now husband, Craig be married by the bishop just an hour before her baptism. One of our recent converts Bo Chambers is an excellent seamstress? and made Amanda's wedding dress. While we were take pictures we had them both stand in front of a picture of the Seattle temple in the church and take their wedding pictures. Craig, who has very little knowledge about the church asked why they were taking a picture with the funny looking building and Amanda hits him in the shoulder and says "Because we're gonna go get sealed!" I couldn't decide if I wanted to laugh, cry, or scream out of excitment. Craig came to church for the first time with all but two of their kids. He is now officially investigating and the Bishop is fellowshipping him.

The baptism was really neat. Sister Fox and Sister Lines sang Come thou Fount and the spirit was really strong. Ruth and Brandon Poirier were also baptized. They are two kids of a single mother who is a convert to the church as well. We saw a lot of tender mercies that lead to their baptism as well. We've been teaching their family for some time now, but the Lord really helped soften the mothers heart, she was worried they weren't ready. But as we spent week after week, month after month teaching them as family, those children truely have gained a testimony of the Gospel. I think they will do a lot to strengthen their mothers testimony.

Erin wasn't able to come to church, we haven't seen her in a few days, keep her in your prayers. We had a lot of miracles on Sunday as well, we had 5 investigators at church and 2 non members that we intend to make investigators this week! I'm thrilled to be in Tacoma and know this is right were I'm supposed to be and am excited to work hard. I'm learning a lot about hard work and always feel like I can work harder :D I love you all.

Love Sister Bradley

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Act

Dear Family,

It's been a fast paced week here in Tacoma. The weather has really taken a turn and when it doesn't even get into the 60's with this humidity its down right freezing, but I kind of like it. It reminds me a lot of Northern California actually. Things are going really well. We had a wonderful turn out at conference. We got 5 investigators to different sessions between Saturday and Sunday, and thats not including the ones that watched from home, but the ones that actually came to the church to watch it with us and the ward. I love watching conference at the church, I have no problem staying awake and I'm able to take really great notes. I should have been watching conference at the church for years! I'm SO proud of Lia for watching all of it! I don't think I did that til I was an adult. Way to go Bug! Our investigators really LOVED conference. We have two baptisms this next weekend. Amanda and Brandon. We're excited for them both! Amanda is actually being married by the bishop just before her baptism! It would take pages and hours to write her whole story, mabye I'll try to write it all down and send you a hard copy. She truly has been tried beyond what I thought many could endure and her faith has grown SO strong.

We had a really neat miracle happen this week. Do you remember Craig, our investigator who passed away last month? Well I told you about his neighbor (Erin) who was the one who came out and told us what had happened to him when we were knocking at his door. Sister Fox felt prompted to stop by her place again when she was on a split, which is really inspired because I don't know if I could have walked up the stairs to the complex again just to say hello to a woman who I felt was certainly not interested and right next door to Craigs appartment. But she listened to that beautiful still small voice and WOW the Holy Ghost knows what he is doing. Erin came on a church tour the next evening and has been SO prepared for the message. She took a Book of MOrmon and is reading it faithfully. She even came to an afternoon session of conference and really liked it. Her WHOLE family is Jehova's Witness and she has felt really pressured to join that faith, so we haven't been pushy, but we've been really bold in testifying and teaching her and I can already see a change in her. We've since then walked up the stairs to her and Craig's appartment complex many times, and although each time I can't help but feel a heavy sadness in my heart, I also feel a contrasting joy that the Lord really is in charge of this work. I don't know if Erin would have ever come to church if we hadn't heard the sad news of Craigs passing from her.

I've thought a lot about the messages of confrerence and I keep thinking about the huge focus on agency and choice. We are agents unto ourselves and we are to act, not to be acted upon. I think its going to be much harder to that in the coming months and years. I loved the simple advice they gave us of reading our scriptures every day, praying, going to church, doing service, having family home evening and prayer etc. Nothing in their counsel has changed! But these things are beccoming increasingly important in a rapidly changing world. We must act now or the world will act for us and we become acted upon. I love conference! I love the Prophets voice! It brings peace to my soul. I love and miss you all!

Love Sister Bradley

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gratitude

My dear familia,

What a week it has been. I have an overwhelming sense of grattitude as I write home today. Where to begin,. Joshua was confirmed yesterday in Sacrament Meeting and has really jumped into the ward. I'm really proud of him. He's made some incredible changes to be where he is. Baptism and confirmation are a continuing miracle in my eyes.

We've been working with several families. But they are really struggling to come to church. However the miracle of the Roberts family has been pretty amazing. We met the mother months ago while tracting, but because she worksa graveyard we've been unable to set anything up. However this last Monday she was finally able to come on a church two with her two sons. Darrien (10) and Devin (12). As we showed them around the church Darrien couldn't stop asking questions, and when we showed him the baptismal font he asked when he could get baptized. After we shared Joseph Smith's first vision Devin, who had been relatively quiet the whole tour said "I feel like I'm supposed to be here, it feels good." They weren't able to come to church this Sunday, but commited for sure to come next Sunday and we already have an appointment to teach them the next lesson. I love the spirit that is in the chapel. Those two boys could feel it! I could feel it and I love it!

I've been studying Repentance and Atonement in my personal study this past week and have really been able to grow and understand them better than ever. As I've really learned the meaning of repentance, I realize that I've never really understood it's true meaning. Repenting is not something that is sad, or condemning, or embarrassing. Its exciting and sustaining. Its constant changing. As I've read about what the apostles and prohets have shared about repentance I've worked hard to apply it and internalize it. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much, we really don't understand. My MTC teacher shared a profound experience with us and I'm remembering it now and only just begining to understand. We expect too little. We have a perfect, loving, immortal father who created us. If only everybody could know what that really means. As I have taken the atonement into my everyday life, I've felt a change in my heart and have felt excitment and joy as I've been able to have that fresh view of my self, of my Father in heaven, and of the world. I think that is the joy that Lehi felt when he partook of the fruit of the Tree of Life. I feel the same desire he felt to have his family (earthly and heavenly) partake of it also. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to serve here in Washington. The field is truly "white and already to harvest".

I have come to know through personal prayer and action that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is here on the earth and that Thomas S. Monson is his prophet today. Through faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end we can return to our Father in Heaven. That is the docterine of Jesus Christ. It is simple. Jesus Christ lives and knows each of us. I'm so grateful for the sacrifices of many who have helped me gain my testimony. I love and pray for you.

love Sister Bradley

p.s. I'm SO SO excited for conference! I will look for you in the crowd, so try and make it for a session!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sept. 20, 2010

My dear Familia,

What a week it has been! An exciting one at that. First we had a baptism! A young man by the name of Joshua was baptized yesteraday at the stake baptism where 6 other people also entered into the waters of baptism. Joshua is a pretty amazing story. He is a single dad of an 18 month old little girl name Mackenzie. The mom is abusive, but fought for custody and Joshua was able to get full custody. He's currently not employed and has had a lot of challenges over the past weeks. He's been fighting a pretty intense virus as well. Because of everything he's only been to our ward twice. But he really wanted to get baptized this weekend. So he came to a ward activity Saturday night, walked up to the bishop, and told him that he wanted to get baptized tomorrow. He and the bishop were in his office for almost an hour and when he came out the bishop just said "Lets baptize him." We were SO excited! He has a long road ahead of him, but I know it will be an easier one because of the choices he has made to follow the example of His Savior Jesus Christ.

Amanda, our investigator that we've been working with for months now also came to the ward activity, but she did something she's never done before! She brought all five of her kids (all under the age of 7) and her husband came! THEY LOVED IT! We're now hoping to prepare Craig (her husband) for baptism on the 10th of October! They are getting there marrige license this week! That is a big family! I love them so much. Craig couldn't come to church because he had to stay home with the two littlest, as they were sick, but Amanda came with the other three girls! They are an amazing family.

We are continuing to see the hand of the Lord in this work as we pray for spiritual sight and understanding. The Lord blesses us so much when we strive to be obedient to his commandments. I'm learning a lot about sacrifice, through my own experience and through witnessing others. When we sacrifice the Lord blesses us so much! I've seen it time and time again. Sometimes the hardest thing to sacrifice is our weaknesses. It takes humility and a sincere desire to follow the Lord, but when we are able to do so we more aline our will with the Lords. I love you all and pray for you!

Love Sister Bradley

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sept. 7, 2010

Dear Family,

This is so short because of Labor Day we had little time to write but I didn't want you to think that I for got you. Thank you so much for your care package! I so appreciated it! Especially the Camel I kind of want to put it on the dash board of my car, but it is a little big.

Things are going well in Tacoma. I'll just share a really neat experience we had this week. Our recent convert, Aireanna came out tracting with us this week, and last week she helped us out with a church tour. It's been amazing to see her come to where she is. She wasn't even wanting to get baptized 3 months ago and now she's out tracting with us. She's so open and so willing to share her conversion story. She already expresses a strong desire to serve a mission! She will be the means of bringing many people into the gospel!

You never know how big of an impact one person can make. I keep thinking of the ripples in a pond when you through in a pebble. I love being a pebble in the pond! Now I just need to be a little "boulder"! I love you all!

Love Sister Bradley

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Aug.31, 2010

Dear Family,

I'm very grateful to still be here in Tacoma. Sister Fox and I are now serving our third transfer together and couldn't be happier. Very little changed in our district and our zone, which we are all really happy about. We've been really successful and unified. I'm learning more and more everyday that having unity with the Lord is essential, unity with your companion is pivotal, unity with your district helpful, and unity with your zone encouraging. Unity is really important. We've had a great month here this August, and we're so excited for September, miracles seem to be found in every corner of Tacoma.

We had a wonderful week this last week with a miracle of our own. Bo was indeed baptized, and her daughter Cheyenne (12 years old) was as well. It was sort of an interesting situation. Bo is SO amazing and one of the Lords elect prepared people, but her daughter wasn't quite sure yet. She'd come to church and we had taught her a several times but she really seemed indifferent towards baptism, other than the fact that Bo really wanted her to get baptized. The night before the baptism we talked to Cheyenne after she had told us that she wanted to get baptized with her mother. Normally we'd be way excited, but we thought she was just saying because she felt forced to by her mom. We spent several minutes trying to tell her that she could wait til next week or a few weeks until she was more ready, but she was insistent. I fought with myself all night and the next day about whether I should really let it happen. We didn't want her to make a commitment before she was prepared to keep it. But every time I prayed about it, I felt like we should press forward with it. Then the baptism came and Cheyenne seemed like she didn't want to be there at all. I felt terrible. There she was frowning in her white jump suit. But again I prayed about it and got the feeling to press forward, but I was so unsure. Cheyenne and Bo were both baptized, but afterwards when I asked Cheyenne if we'd see her at church tomorrow, she said she didn't know! I wanted to cumple into pieces on the floor. I left the baptism with a heavy heart. Later Bo told us that when Cheyenne and her were changing after the baptism Cheyenne had refused to be confirmed on Sunday and was not coming to churh. But the next 24 hours seemed to be miraculous as the Lord softened Cheyenne's heart. That night she asked her mom if she would make her a dress, as she didn't have any nice clothes to wear to church. Her mom spent a large part of the evening making Cheynne the cutest dress I've ever seen. As church started on Sunday morning I was floored to see Cheyenne in the door way of the chapel with a cute little dress and the biggest, purest smile on her face. She was excited and happy to be there! I really felt so stunned, it was a wide eyed, jaw dropping experience. This baptism was Sister Fox's and I first experience of seeing a family that we found through tracting get baptized. It was actually our first family as well! I feel like Ammon when he says "I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." (Alma 26:16)

I feel a renewed sense of desire to work even harder. The Lord blesses as we sacrifice even more. I've been pondering much the scripture in Mosiah 4:27 "It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength." But I heard a wonderful quote from Elder Oaks. He shared this scripture with the Tacoma stake here, and afterwards he laughed and said, "But it does say run!" I'm so excited to be running for the Lord. This is the greatest work and I intend to do it forever. I love you all and pray for you!


Aug. 23,2010
Dear family,

It's been a crazy pday, so this won't be a long email. So I'll apologize in advance. What a week it has been! We've continued to meet with Bo and she came to church this sunday. Unfortunately her children didn't come, so she'll be getting baptized alone this Saturday, but we hope that her children will follow in the comming weeks, sometimes its easier after they see they're mom or dad go first. Bo is already so integrated into the ward that half the people think she's already a member. I love people like that! Transfers are coming up this Monday, so I'll let you know what happens, but its likely that I'll be staying still her in Tacoma, but you never really know with President Bowen.

Thanks for all your letters and emails, I feel like I've got a ton in the last few weeks. Things are going really well. The weather has cooled down a LOT, I'm excited for fall/winter/really its just rain. I don't know how I would survive in the DR, way to go Elyse! I'm learning and growing so much more than I ever thought I could. You know how when you're in the temple and everything is clear and you just know how to work things out. I feel like there is a lot of clarity in my mind right now. I know exactly what I want to do and who I want to be, which is a real blessing. I've been missing the temple because of the peace and clarity it brings and the Lord is blessing me. I love you all and promise to make up for the short email next week! (actually probably in 2 weeks as next week will be transfer day, which totally kills our pday, forgive me ;)

Love Sister Bradley

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Aug. 23, 2010

Dear family,
It's been a crazy pday, so this won't be a long email. So I'll apologize in advance. What a week it has been! We've continued to meet with Bo and she came to church this sunday. Unfortunately her children didn't come, so she'll be getting baptized alone this Saturday, but we hope that her children will follow in the comming weeks, sometimes its easier after they see they're mom or dad go first. Bo is already so integrated into the ward that half the people think she's already a member. I love people like that! Transfers are coming up this Monday, so I'll let you know what happens, but its likely that I'll be staying still her in Tacoma, but you never really know with President Bowen.
Thanks for all your letters and emails, I feel like I've got a ton in the last few weeks. Things are going really well. The weather has cooled down a LOT, I'm excited for fall/winter/really its just rain. I don't know how I would survive in the DR, way to go Elyse! I'm learning and growing so much more than I ever thought I could. You know how when you're in the temple and everything is clear and you just know how to work things out. I feel like there is a lot of clarity in my mind right now. I know exactly what I want to do and who I want to be, which is a real blessing. I've been missing the temple because of the peace and clarity it brings and the Lord is blessing me. I love you all and promise to make up for the short email next week! (actually probably in 2 weeks as next week will be transfer day, which totally kills our pday, forgive me ;)
Love Sister Bradley

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No unhallowed Hand

Dear Family,
The end of the summer is coming to a near, but the tempuratures have spiked here in Tacoma. We've been in the 90's the past five days! I've acclimated to Washington that the 90's make me feel like I'm going to have a heat stroke, and no one has air conditioning, except for the church, so we try to bribe people there sometimes with cold water fountains and air conditioned rooms lol. Whatever gets them there right?
This week was mixed with high's and lows. Our investigator Craig was supposed to get baptized yesterday, but because of some mistakes he's been pushed back til next week or possibly the latter. Aireana was confirmed in Sacrament meeting on Sunday, which was really neat, she told me and Sister Fox that she wanted to serve a mission! Bo Chambers a woman I tracted into on splits a few weeks ago came on a church tour and brought her daughter to church this sunday. They're both set for baptism for the 29th of this month. She's so sweet. She asked us if she could make us quilts lol. This woman is going to be amazing in the relief society! She has a fifteen year old son that we havent' met yet that we hope will get baptized soon as well. She's such a prepared person, her brother is a member and she looked into the church thirty years ago, but is only now ready to make the commitment, but she is so ready. She will be my first baptism that I've actually tracted into and found and baptized.
It's amazing to see the Lord's work unfold. "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing!" I've seen that! The work pushes forward uninterupted. I've been able to me an instrument in His hands. The task, is finding how we can be even more effective in the Lord's symphony. The trick is that if everyone has mastered their own part, that there are no solo's but a perfect orchestra working as one. I love this work!
Love Sister Bradley

Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 9, 2010





Fam,
This week was pretty amazing. Airianna was baptized this last Sunday. She was the last one in her family to be baptized and it was really neat. She said that she felt like she was completeing her family, and I had to agree. She's fifteen and her family was baptized in April. She wanted to wait until she was sure. I admire her a lot for wanting to gain her own testimony first. She went to girls camp and I think that really made all the difference. I'm excited for her to go do temple baptisms.
We had several investigators at church. Amanda came, she's been doing really well and is now working at getting married before her baptism. Which is always a hard thing. She's felt the spirit so much since we've been working with her but still struggles to be certain that this church is the only church with the fulness of the gospel of Christ. Josh also came. He looked really sharp. He's been dating a less active member. He's in his twenties and a son of a pastor in the penticostal? faith. He really struggles with the authority that we claim to have. But he's willing to come to church and pray and learn, so he'll get there.
Craig is another one of our investigators that came to church! We're way excited about him. He met missionaires several months ago but came to church for the first time this last sunday and is set for baptism on the 22nd. He also came to Airianna's baptims and loved it and told us he felt like this was where he was supposed to be. The ward has been amazing at fellowshipping our investigators. They've all been really brought into the churuch socially.
Things are going great and I'm loving every second of being here. I'm continuing to learn a lot. I love you all and will write more next week.
Love Sister Bradley

Monday, August 2, 2010

growth through opposition


Dear Family,
I about died when I saw the picture of Dad, Grandpa, Mark, and Ethan! I can't believe how big he is! How old is he now? He's going to be all grown up when I get back! I would love a copy of that picture.
Things here in Tacoma are going well. It's really wierd weather here, but I LOVE it. Because we are literally right next to the sound int Tacoma we wake up everyday to complete fog. Some days it burns off and other days it just stays, but its always pretty cool. Its in the fifties in the morning and no hotter than 80 in the afternoon and its gets way cool in the evening. I think I might have to move here. I love the weather.
Tracting in Tacoma is pretty much the best thing ever. There are appartment complexes everywhere and we're able to set up church tours just about everyday. Just last week we were able to set up a tour with a woman named Latasha, she's 6'1 and wants to play basketball with me lol! I'm pretty excited, although I have a feeling I'm going to get worked. We're working with a man named Craig right now who's been an eternal investigator, but now is finally coming around. On sunday we went to go make sure he was coming to church but there was no answer at his door. I was pretty angry actually. He promised he was going to be there, but then when we swung by after church we found out that he had broken his ankle the night before, it wasn't casted yet because the swellin was literally out of controll, Roughly the size of a volley ball. Hopefully we can still make his baptism happen some how. He's so ready.
We're also working with a woman named Amanda, she has five children and has been investigating for a few months now, but she we just learned that her boyfriend and her have to get married. She has SO many questions and comes from a southern baptist background, her dad is actually a preacher in the south. She's come to church several times, but still isn't sure. She just needs to take that leap of faith, but she's on her way.
Ariana, our 14 year old investigator is getting baptized this weekend. She's doing it the day after her birthday and is pretty excited. She's the last one in her family to get baptized so we're excited for her. She has a strong testimony of the church, which was really strengthened at girls camp this summer. I'll write more about her next week.
Despite the fact that this week was really hard I'm learning a lot through the rough times. I'm learning that I grow so much more through opposition than through success. Andrew Newton wrote about this a long time ago and I always remembered it, but I think I'm now only just begining to really understand what he meant. I'm grateful for my challanging weeks where everything doesn't work out, because I learn so much more than when it all works out. When things don't work out I'm motivated to try harder to make it work and I grow instead of staying complacant. I love it, or at least I'm learning to love it. Thanks for all your prayers and emails! Love you!
Love Sister Bradley

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dear Family,
Tacoma is basically the Meca of my mission and I didn't know why until this past week. We were able to tract every day and we were able to find four new investigators that way! The people here are really humble and prepared. My area has a rough part of town and a pretty nice part, so we have to be way careful where we park the car and what we leave in sight of the windows. Smashed windows are an everyday occurence here, and actually happend three weeks ago to our car when I was out here on a split with sister Crowley.
I was able to go to the house dad was born in! Its actually just right outside of my area. I'll have to go take a picture of it sometime soon so I can send it to you. He actually lives really close to Sue Horgan.
Ariana is doing great and is actually getting baptized this next weekend. We're super excited for her. Amanda didn't make it to church, but she's actually about to go through an intense legal battle for her two little girls, which is really sad. Keep them both in your prayers. I'm learning that the prayers of others really do make a world of difference. This last week we made a deal with two elders in our zone that if they prayed specifically for us, than we would pray specifically for them. It's been amazing, and I wish I had the time to write all the miracles that both our companionship and their companionship saw. I've pondered on why that is and I think I've had some personal revelation. It combines some of the most important principles of the gospel. First Faith. Without it we learn in Ether 12 as well as in Moroni 7 that "Miracles are wrought by faith" and not through any other way. Second selfless service. We put someone else needs above our own and the windows of heaven seem to open. I'm grateful for their willingness to pray for us.
The work is going great here. My testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is strengthened everyday as I share it with these wonderful people. There is no better way to strenghten your testimony than to share it. Thats why missionaries testimonies grow so rapidly, thats all we do. It's an amazing blessing and privelage to be able to do so. I love you all.
Love Sister Bradley

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Doubt not Fear not


Family,
How is everybody! So crazy things happen on your mission! You just never know what the Lord is going to do for you. Transfers were this Monday, and for the first time since I arrived in Steilacoom six months ago I was transferred! I'm now serving in the Skyline Tacoma area, which is quite literally down town Tacoma! I LOVE it. Tracting is SO effective. People everywhere want to come on tours of the church. I can already tell that its going to be an amazing 6 weeks here. Funny part is I'm back with Sister Fox, which we were just together two transfers ago, but we're SO excited to be back together. We know how the other works and are really able to teach well together, so we're super excited to be put in such a prepared area. There are a lot of part member families that we're excited to work with!
Today we met with two people. The first is Amanda, she is 29 and she has five children. She has been investigating the church for forever, but has SO many questions. Today we talked about how ulitmately it all depends on three things. Is Jesus Christ the son of God, Is Joseph Smith a prophet of God, and is the Book of Mormon the word of God. She committed to pray specifically about these three things and I took the same challange and invite you to do the same. I sincerely believe that any concern can be solved if you have a steadfast testimony in these three things.
We also met with Ariana whose family was baptized three months ago, but she is the oldest of 6 siblings(she's 14) and decided to wait until she knew for certain. I've just met her but she told us that she is ready and wants to but that she has a lot of doubts after she decides. I told her what I did when I had doubts about my purpose out here on a mission. I shared Doctrine Covenents 6 "Look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not" And told her that the second any doubts or fears came to my mind, I litterally look to my Savior, whether through prayer, scriptures or just closing my eyes and thinking of Him. All doubts and fears are silenced by just the thought of his face. She's planning on getting baptized this Sunday! We're excited for her. I've got to run, but I love you all and pray for you!
Love Sister Bradley

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I prayed about it

Dear Family,
It's been a hard week and a great week here in Steilacoom. It started out really slow and didn't really pick up til the end of the week. I think I told you about Carey last week, well I have an amazing update one here and on some personal revelation. So we met with Carey early last week and we asked her how she felt about her baptism on the 11th of July, she said that she wanted to talk to Elicia about it ( her 10 year old daughter who is in Kentucky for the next 2 months). I felt so discouraged that she'd want to wait for her to come home. So we left her with the commitment to pray about it and be willing to act on the Lords answer. But a few days later we went and taught her lesson four about all the commandments and I couldn't believe what I saw. We taught her everything and when we got to the Word of Wisdom we weren't too nervous other than we knew that she drank sweet tea, so when we talked about it she asked us a lot of questions and we talked a lot about D and C 89 and then she got right up from her table opened her refridgerator and pulled out a gallon of home made sweet tea and poured down her drain. She said "That doesn't bother me one bit to give that up" This woman is from Alabama and has been drinking sweet tea all her life! The next day at church I was introducing her to some of the Senior Missionaries that work on the military base when Elder Maughn asked her when her baptism was, she looked him straight in the eye and with out skipping a beat said "July 11th" and then turned to my companion and I and said "I prayed about it." It was a miracle to see Carey's conversion. In two weeks I saw her go from merely initerested to having an incredibly strong testimony. She's a tender mercy of the Lord.
I was also able to bear my testimony in sacrament meeting with my companion and it was an amazing meeting! I'm always nervous what people might get up there and say, but it was a really good meeting and just what Carey needed. Her baptism is this Sunday at 5pm :D I hope you all had a wonderful fourth of July. Steilacoom makes a pretty big deal out of it and closes the whole town for a street fair and then they set off fire works over the Sound, it was pretty neat. This week should be exciting. I'm going on an exchange in Tacoma for the next four days with Sister Crowley! I'm pretty excited to see a new area! I'll let you know how it goes next week. Transfers are only two weeks away! Can you believe how fast six weeks goes by! I want to stay with Sister Fisher longer, but I don't think I'll be staying in Steilacoom, I've already been here for a while, but she'll do great things here! I've got to run, but I love you all! Thanks for all your emails and letters!
Love Sister Bradley

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Members are the Means...still

Dear Family,
What a week! I feel like so much has happened that it has to have been more than a week. I'll do my best to not forget anything. The week started out with an amazing miracle. On Monday after our p-day we went out tracting, which was turning out rather unproductive when Sister Quigley, a single mom in our ward invited us over for a bbq and told us she had invited her non-member neighbor Carey and her daughter Elicia. So we dutifully finished our 5 to 7 tracting and went over to have dinner and a family home evening with the Quigley family. It was amazing to find that when we got there we knew Elicia. Just two weeks prior Sister Fox and I had knocked on her door. But she told us they weren't interested and we left. But when we really got to know them in a members home Carey opened up and said they had been looking for a church that had her same morals! So we set up to give them a tour of the church the next day. After we had talked to Carey for a little bit at the church she told us that she felt an overwhelming sense of peace as she drove in to the parking lot. When we showed her the chaple and talked about the ward and the sense of always having a home wherever you were, she again said, "I feel like I'm at home"! It was an amazing tour! She and Elicia came to church and to the Paul Cardall fireside later that week. Elicia is leaving for 2 months this Wednesday, but Carey is set for baptism on July 11th! I can't stress how much of a difference it makes to have members get involved! WE had ALREADY met this woman and for whatever reason she told us she wasn't interested! But when a neighbor had the courage to invite us over and to introduce us she felt comfortable to tell us that she really was looking! If it hadn't been for Sister Quigley, this woman could still be searching forever! As missionaries, we play such a small role in this plan, the members are the real heros! Sister Quigley didn't ask this woman if she was interested in looking into the church, she just invited the missionaries over! I'm excited to be able to do the same for my friends when I get home. Please do the same now, I wish I could express in words how big of a difference it makes to have members involved.
You may have noticed I slipped in something about a Paul Cardall fireside. It was AMAZING one of the members in our stake served his mission with Paul and had him come to do a fireside/concert. It was funny because the day before the concert was the day we were giving Elicia and Carey a tour of the church, naturally it was empty on a weekday so Sister Fox and I were turning on lights in the chapel when two men walked in talking, neither of which we recognized. The piano was lifted onto the stage for the fireside and one of the men said "thats an interesting way to do it" I piped up and said "Oh thats for a paul cardall fireside tomorrow" Both the men silently chuckled and the one said, "This is actually Brother Cardall"! My jaw dropped and I was star struck for a few seconds. I was able to get a picture with him and he actually was amazing fellowship for Elicia and Carey! He mentioned them in the fireside the following evening which really touched Carey. Do you know that Paul Cardall grew up in our stake? He went to Olympus High School!
Sister Fox is back here in Steilacoom with me for a week or two on an exchange, she hasn't been feeling well and president was worried about her so he sent Sister Fisher to Tacoma and sent Sister Fox back for a little while. Please keep them both in your prayers. I'm really worried about the both of them. I'm doing well, the weather is getting warmer but it cools off every evening into the 60's, I love this place. I was so excited to hear about Elyse's farewell and was sad to have missed it! I can't believe she leaves in two weeks! Tell all the family I love and miss them! Have a BBQ and invite some neighbors! Invite the missionaries! You never know if there interested unless you ask! I love you all! Talk to you soon!
Love Sister Bradley

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Quick One

Hello family,
Do you tire of me telling you about Steilacoom? I love this place. I'm really nervous to ever have to leave. This was a great week. We met a young girl by the name of Deanna. She's back for the summer from school in Seattle. We've started teaching her and she's amazing. She's already such a strong Christian, she's super excited about the church and activites are were hoping to see her be baptized this transfer. People are waiting everywhere. It just makes me want to talk to everyone! I wish I could write more, but my time is up. I'll make up for such a short email next week I promise :) The weather hasn't changed much, its still in the 60's with lots and lots of rain. I love it. People are actually a lot nicer to us when were tracting in the rain. Being girls in skirts I think people take pitty on us. I'll write again soon! Love you!
Love Sister Bradley

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer is here...sort of

Dear Family,

Its been an interesting week here in Steilacoom. I know the area and the ward really well so I sometimes feel like some of the less active families are sick of me just knocking on their door. Sister Fisher and I are learning that we're going to have to be very creative this transfer to use our time well. We're excited to go street contacting at the Farmers Market on Wednesdays for an hour or two. We've been looking for any sort of service opportunity in Steilacoom, but out side of schools there really isn't much we can do and because of legal complexities we aren't aloud to serve in schools, any ideas? The Adkins family is doing great. Matt has been away for the past two weeks for military training in So. Carolina but should be back this weekend, but the rest of the family came to church. We met a really neat woman named Sarai this last week while tracting in the only appartment complex I haven't knocked. She used to be a Jehovah's Witness, but hasn't been practicing in years. We taught her the message of the restoration on her door step and our excited to continue teaching her this week. We're really struggling to find people to teach. Our teaching pool is somehow on empty again... (we just need to stop baptizing all of them lol) and were working hard to find more people which is harder than you think when you consider that I've almost knocked on every door out here. But the Lord is still in charch of this work and I have complete trust that we'll continue to find through our owwn efforts and the wards. I've started reading the New Testament and will attempt to finish by mid July as a mission goal. It's amazing! Sister Fisher and I have also taken up Elder Pearson's (former mission pres, but now a seventy) challange to read all of Preach My Gospel in the transfer, its something like five pages a day. Sister Fisher and I have started to run together in the mornings which is a lot of fun. The weather is perfect here, Dad's ideal golfing tempuratures, in the high 60's low 70's with a nice breeze. I think of him and Mark and Jared whenever I pass the Oakbrook Golf Course, I think its a club so its not like I could ever play there but it looks way nice. I loved all the pictures you sent me mom! I can't believe how big the girls are looking. My companion saw the pic of the three of you on the water fountain and asked how tall and old Lia was, it looks like she's got legs for days in that pic. We're still working with Daisha, the daughter of one of our recent converts, but she seems content to move at her own pace. I wonder if Moriya might send me a letter to give to her, just sharing your testimony? Your the same age! :) Hopefully she'll be getting baptized within the next 3 weeks. The Steilacoom ward has been thinking about transferring my records here permanently (JK) :) It will be hard to leave this place, its become home. I'm excited to be here with Sister Fisher, she's pretty amazing and we expect to see a lot of miracles this transfer as we work hard and are obedient. I love you all!

Love Sister Bradley

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Round Four in Steilacoom

Hello Family,
Transfers came and went and I'm yet again blessed to be in the city of Steilacoom. I feel like this has become my home. Its going to be really hard to have to leave here. Sister Fox was sent to Tacoma, so she's only 15 minutes away but I was sad to see her go. I'm now with the wonderful Sister Fisher, she is from Fallin Nevada and just got to Tacoma Washington on Monday. She's exceptional and I feel like she's training me instead of the other way around. She's part Hawaiin and part Puerto Rican. There is only one elder left in the zone thats been here as long as I have, its been sad to say goodbye to a lot of good friends, but good to make new ones. Steilacoom is doing wonderful, I don't know if I mentioned this last week but we had a baptism this last Saturday! Do you tire of me telling yout that it was a miracle...? because it was a complete miracle. We've been meeting with the Adkins family for about 2 and a half months now. It started as a referral from the military missionaries. When we went to meet the family Amanda, the mom immediately said she wanted to get Max (her 8 year old son) ready for baptism. Because he wouldn't be a convert baptism we didn't really have permission to teach him, until we found out that Matt, the dad wasn't a member. So we started teaching the lessons to "Max", but Matt was there for every lesson and Max was baptized three weeks later. We continued to go over to the Adkins, but now with the focus on Matt. Since the begining he just kept telling us that he didn't have the faith, but that he was willing to come to church and to read any scripture assignments we gave him. To be honest, I didn't think I would ever see Matt get baptized. Every time we thought we were progressing he would just tell us he still didn't have the faith. The weeks went by and two weeks ago a miracle happened as we watched the Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration with Matt. Through some inspired homework assignments we saw a light go on, I felt like I physically saw this young father gain a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. He was baptized on Saturday but has left for two weeks for military training in South Carolina. Amanda and Matt are already talking about going to the temple in a year. I'm a little nervous to be in Steilacoom still. I LOVE this place and I love the people, but I just don't want to become complacent. I'll hit my six month mark in my first area! I feel like I've knocked all the doors and know all the less active families, but I know I'm here because its where the Lord wants me, so I know that we can see more success here. We're especially excited for the Agor family. They are a less active and part member family from Hawaii. The grandparents are members and live in a home with there three children and there spouses and their ten unbaptized grandchildren all over the age of 8. Last weekend some of their cousins were baptized in Tacoma and we're excited to work with them. Since I've met this family I've been amazed at the unity and love you can feel in there home, currently Bro. Agor, the grandfather is battling esophigeal? cancer. He's such a sweet man. The other night I dreamed that I saw all of the grandchildren dressed in white. We're going to work hard to see that become a reality this transfer. I loved reading Alyse's letter. I can't believe She's serving with Elder Wade in Korea! Small world. This week we have zone conference, so its going to be a busy week. Thanks for all the emails and prayers. I was especially grateful for the letter that had a letter from Moriya, Lia, mom and dad! That was a good day :) I love you all!
Love Sister Bradley

Monday, May 24, 2010

Miracles are Everywhere

Hello Family,
It's been a truely miraculous week here in Steilacoom. I don't know if I told you about Heather yet, but we've been meeting with her for some time now, about 6 weeks. She's been coming to church since September but because of a really scary situation with her ex boyfriend whose physically abusive, she hasn't been able to get baptized. About three weeks ago we knelt in prayer with her and Sister Johnson a sister from the ward. We said four prayers. First I said one, then Sister Fox, then Sister Johnson (who is German, so she said it in German) and than Heather, one after the other. We were all praying to know when Heather could get baptized. As my companion and I sat in a small classroom in the church with these two women I felt spirit fill the room. When Heather finished her prayer I asked her if she knew when she could be baptized and through tears all she could say was "I just feel like right now." Sister Fox and I looked at eachother and knew the 23rd of May was the soonest. So with faith filled prayers we sent Heather to look for an appartment on a meager salary, with two children to provide for. The Lord loves his children. Heather went through a valley of trials to get to this weekend and just four days ago we decided to push her baptism to the 29th, because she was unable to move out in time. With great faith Heather pushed forward and just two days ago she moved out of her ex's home with not much more than the clothes on her back and her two children with no place to go. Her first question as soon as she saw us was "Can I still be baptized on the 23rd?" She now has an appartment and is moving in on the first of the month. The ward has just taken her in and has basically provided the furnishings of her whole appartment. As I watched her be baptized yesterday I couldn't help but smile as I watched this woman, who has sacrificed so much, enter into the water, happier than anyone I've ever seen. She has a great understanding of sacrifice and what really matters in life. I'm finding her faith is strengthening my own. I learned a valuable lesson. When we ask the Lord for a miracle, we have to continue to press forward in faith not just believeing it will happen, but knowing it will. That's what hope is! Hope is trust that the promises we've made with the Lord will be honored. It's believing that despite how impossible it may be, trusting Him to the very end. Heather did just that! She is so amazing. I wish I could bottle up her faith and save it for when days get hard. I love this work! I love being in Washington and especially here in Steilacoom. I hope you're all doing well. I love you!
Love Sister Bradley

Monday, May 17, 2010

Moving Forward

Family,

I can't believe another week has gone by . This week has been a little bit crazy but good. We're kind of in a rebuilding stage in Steilacoom right now. Our teaching pool seemed to evaporate in a matter of days. We're still working with Heather, she's on date for the 29th of May. Its been a long road for her. She's been coming to church since last September. We put her 14 year old daughter on date for the first weekend in June just this past week. We are excited for them. We have an appointment with Nicole this Tuesday for the first time since she pushed back her baptism so we're hoping to put her back on date for the 29th of May. Please keep her in your prayers. I was able to borrow a copy of the Miracle of Forgivness from one of the sisters in the ward and am trying to race through it. I should have read it years ago, but I'm grateful to be reading it now. I feel like it lifts my spirits every evening when I can actually get into it. I was able to get my own copy of the Ensign for conference and have been reading it everyday. I love the conference issues of the ensign. I'm so glad I brought the last couple of years with me. I use them often in teaching lessons. Sister Fox and I are doing marvelous, were both still healthy and working hard. We're excited for the coming weeks, we really feel some great miracles are going to happen as we pray for them. I've been learning alot about faith and miracles. I especially love D and C 63:8-10. Faith has to come first. Miracles don't happen to strengthen faith, but are caused by faith, and by cause and effect also strenghten it. We're working hard to strenghten our faith to see those miracles. Tell Amelia Rose happy Birthday from me! HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIA! There should be something coming in the mail just for you this week. (Still waiting on a b-day calandar mom, I can only remember so many birthdays ;) I love you all thanks for your prayers and support. Til next Monday :D

Love Sister Bradley

Monday, May 10, 2010

Steilacoom is Amazing

Dear Family,
This will be a short one, I only have ten minutes! It was so good to get to hear all of your voices on Sunday! I can't believe we're already well into May! I'm worried that I'll be headed home before I know it. People don't even think of me as new anymore and it feels like I just got here. This week was a re-building week. Nicole's baptism fell through, but I'm hopeful that she'll be ready in a few weeks. We had one of our investigators come for the first time in about 10 weeks this last Sunday which was really good. He's actually a youth teacher at a Lutheran church and is very active in his faith. He has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but he wants to know more before he's baptized. I can't tell you how many times we've gone over Alma 32 with him. He just needs to feel it. We should have several baptisms on the 23rd. We're super excited for Heather and her daughter Daysha! They are so ready to be baptized and have been coming to church for months and months but are just now making the changes for baptism! This week we found a women named Marie who has just adopted a little Chinese baby named Annali, she is SO adorable and the woman is so excited to learn more she even invited us over for lunch and asked us if she could have a Book of Mormon before we could even offer. She's an amazing woman and wants to adopt even more babies from China! I just love her and am so excited to see her accept the gospel, for some reason I can already picture her with her husband and that little baby girl getting sealed in the temple. I could see it so clearly! I'm so excited! I just got the Ensign conference issue and am SO excited to start reading it and to mark it up! I suggest you all do the same! Go get your own copy, and cover it if you can! I love reading through all the ones I brought and often use them when teaching lessons to recent converts! That is scriptrue! And its more frequently than not exactly what I need to hear. I especially loved Hollands talk from the May ensign! Read it it is so powerful! Love you all!
Love Sister Bradley

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Talk to EVERYBODY

Dear Family,

Its been another great week in Steilacoom! We had a baptism this Saturday. Ariana Aiulopotea-Fisaga was baptized with two other kids from the ward. Ariana is the nine year old that Sister Conger and I started teaching 6 weeks ago. It was a lot of work and stress leading up to the baptism but it all went through great. A lot of Ariana's family are not members or less active so it was really neat to see them all come as she was confirmed in Sacrament Meeting this week. We've also been teaching another part member family in the ward, the Adkins. The dad isn't a member but as we've been working with the mom and Max the 8 year old to prepare him for baptism the dad has been coming to church and is so supportive of Max. We hope to see him baptized later this month. We had a really neat experience with Nicole this week. She's still set to be baptized this next weekend, we're thinkin we'll do it on Saturday though so it doesn't interfere with Mothers day stuff for the ward and individual families. Saia has been doing GREAT and actually blessed the sacrament this last Sunday! That was really neat to listen to and watch, and he did a great job. He was also able to baptize Max Adkins because his dad coudln't. It has been really neat to see him just taken in by the ward and using the priesthood as often as he can. I'm so excited for him. He goes out on splits with the Elders in the Lake City ward every week. He is going to be so prepared going into the MTC. His conversion story is a powerful one too. Today we had the opportunity to actually go to a park right on the beach of the Puget sound. It was CRAZY windy, but we were able to place a few cards. We even stopped the car in the middle of the road to talk to a woman who was walking her dog and she seemed so touched and told us that she had been looking for a church. It was just crazy. We had to stop the car right in the middle of a turn pike of sorts to talk to this woman and she gave us her address and told us to come by. The funny thing is she did not look like someone who would be interested. Sister Fox and I have just been working on talking to EVERYBODY which is really scary at first, even with a name tag. But my testimony is strengthened everyday as I see the people that Lord puts in our path. I wonder how many opportunites of prepared people pass us by because we're too scared to just open our mouths. The Lord is doing the same thing for you all. As a missionary we're more aware of it, but He is preparing people all over the world and all we have to do is just speak up and share what makes us happy. We get to go to the Bellvue temple this Wednesday and I couldn't be more excited! I've missed the temple. Take advantage that you have so many so close to you. There is spirtual strength to be gained as you go and serve for others no longer in this world. Its missionary work! I'm looking forward to calling home this Sunday (May 9th)! We'll be calling around 7pm your time, but it just depends on which one of us calls first! We get 40 whole minutes to talk so be ready! Thanks for all your love and support! I love you all!

Love Sister Bradley

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Family!

How are you all? Things are as wonderful as ever here in Steilacoom. Transfers did indeed come and go! Sadly Sister Conger was sent to Centralia and that was a sad goodbye. Gratefully I did get to stay in Steilacoom. My new companion is Sister Fox, she is from North Salt Lake and just arrived in Washington on Monday! She was the only sister to come in with 5 other Elders but she was a trooper through it all. She is ready to work and Steilacoom is the place to be to learn how. This week was really good! Do you remember Nicole? I think I've mentioned her before. We've been working with her since I got to Steilacoom 12 weeks ago. She is 29 and has a sweet 3 year old daughter named Kaila. She is from Hawaii and married a member but he is no longer active in the church and they are going through a seperation. I instantly loved Nicole. I don't know what it was but I had such a desire to see her accept the gospel. But my past companions have all been doubtful, She's been meeting with missionaries since last summer and had yet to come to church or keep any commitments! This last transfer she finally came to church TWICE! And she set her own date for her baptism on Mothers Day! I'm so excited for her. That will be an amazing day for me as I've been here for some time working with her for what seemed impossible. At transfer meeting, my departing district leader bore his testimony and taught me a beautiful lesson. He quoted amazing grace "I once was blind, but now can see." He said that his mission was a constant battle of trying to see things as How they really are. I learned that the most important thing we can pray for is the Lord to help US see things as they REALLY are and then to ask how we can do whats best. I'll have to send you his final report, it was really good. I'm in a constant state of learning as I'm always with new missionaries. I have yet to have a transfer where one of us isn't a greenie! But I think I'm learning best that way. I love the energy that missionaries have when they get here there first transfer. My favorite thing to do is work hard. I don't know how to do everything, I'm not the best teacher, and definitely have a lot to work on, but I LOVE to work hard and the Lord is blessing Steilacoom as we do just that. Thank you so much for all your letters and prayers. I'll be calling home on Mothers Day, probably in the evening, I'll give you a time next week. Keep praying for missionary opportunites, they are everywhere. I love you all!

Love Sister Bradley