Monday, March 29, 2010

It's not rain, it's liquid sunshine

Dear Family,
I can't believe how fast the weeks are passing by. I'm already a little panicked that my mission will be over before I know it. This past week has been insanely busy. The Lord truely is blessing Sis. Conger and I. We found seven new investigators this week! A 19 year old guy named Saia was one we met last Monday. He is the nephew of an amazing Samoan family in the ward. We've met with him almost everyday and its been amazing to see the change thats happened in his life from just the begining of the week. He came to church this Sunday and is set to be baptized on April 10th. He's like 6'6 and makes me feel short! He's amazing and already talking about serving a mission! This week has really just been a week of miracles. I think I say that every week but the miracles just never stop. I keep thinking that one day we'll just be normal, but every day seems to be miraculous. From investigators found to lessons to, to church tours given, we're finding people where ever we go. The ward has really caught the vision too and we're getting some great referrels. Debbie a ward members neighbor came to their son's baptism and Sis. Conger and I shared a short restoration lesson while they were changing after the baptism and afterwards she came up to us and was telling us how amazing it was that she felt something that she just didn't understand. We're hoping to meet with her again this week, but it really has been hard to even fit in appointments with our progressing investigators. Nicole fell off the radar completely. We called for several days and heard nothing and stopped by her house at least three times with nothing. I can't tell you the heartbreak I felt as the days went on. I couldn't understand what had happened. She's someone that I've really grown to love and I couldn't help but be discouraged. Yesterday however we finally caught her at home and she looked awful. She's been REALLY sick the past week and she apologized refusely for not calling us back and we set up an appointment to watch conference with her this week! As bad as the dissapointment was, nothing can compare to the relief I felt when I found out that she wasn't trying to get away but had just been sick. I've never been so happy to find out that someone was deathly ill. I almost feel guilty for how happy I was. But better physically ill that spiritually dead. Sis. Conger is amazing and came out so ready. She works hard and we keep eachother going. She's an amazing teacher and we're really becomming better missionaries together. I've already learned so much from her. We're only two weeks apart in age and have a lot in common. I love how patient and soft spoken she is. I'm learning to be likewise. The learning that has happened in the last two weeks has been immeasurable. It seems to be that the hardest times are often the times where we learn the most. Andrew Newton wrote about this forever ago and I thinking I'm only now begining to understand. I'm learning to be grateful when times are hard, thats where we grow the most. It's when times are going really well that we have to be careful. I'm grateful for the example of my companion, who no matter what the weather is like or how the day is going is happy to be wherever she is. It makes it easy for me to be happy. The other day I almost caught my self complaining about the rain when a man walking by said "It's not rain, its liquid sunshine" We shared a brief message with him but he didn't seem to be interested but his words will forever run through my mind when it rains. Thanks for all your love and prayers. I hope you all are doing well.
Love you! Sister Bradley

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Work Continues

Dear Family,
Another challanging and wonderful week has come and gone in Washington. I can't believe how quick the days go by. I'll start with a little update on some of the fun things that I'm getting to do. Last Sunday (so about a week and a day ago) I went out to Anderson Island on a ferry and spoke at branch of about 25 people. Than that evening we took another ferry out to McNeil Island (where the prison is located) a family in the ward lives out there and they had us over for dinner, it was easily the prettiest place I've ever seen and I have pictures to prove it. I'll try and send some to you soon. In other news Stake Conference was yesterday and we got to hear several talks centered around Julie B. Becks talk on "Teaching the Doctorine of the Family" Even though were hundreds of miles apart I felt like these talks were for us. I may be on my mission and unable to see you but we're still working hard to strengthen our family. Please google the talk and read it! I'm doing the same. Sister Conger is amazing. She came out prepared to work hard and ready to testify. I couldn't have asked for a better companion. I have experienced some anxiety in being sr. companion. But we're working hard and the Lord is blessing us. Nicole's baptism has moved to the 4th of April, but she's still progressing wonderfully. We're hoping her inactive husband comes around. Keep them in your prayers. Pres. Bowen is having us study some selected readings on the atonement for this transfer and they couldn't have come at a better time. The atonement is so much more than we can ever understand, but as I study it everyday I'm learning more that is helping me grow. We have new missionary training this Tuesday which will be great. I gain so much strength from the meetings where I get to learn from President and Sister Bowen. I don't know if I've ever expressed to you how much I LOVE them! President is so inspired. And Sister Bowen is a great comfort and an amazingly talented speaker. I'm so glad they'll be here for my whole mission. I know this is short this week, but all is well. We're keeping busy and working hard and we're seeing miracles. I feel like I write you the same things every week. But I really feel it's those small and simple things we do each week that help us to see success. Those "seminary answers" really are THE answers. I'm seeing that now more than ever. I'm looking forward to the mission temple trip to the Seattle Temple next month! I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week. Your in my prayers!
Sister Bradley

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Members are the Means

Dear Family,
I really enjoyed getting all your letters and emails this week. You all are so inspired, giving me just the things I need. I'm excited to tell you about my week. As a missionary, your hardest weeks and your best weeks often tend to be the same weeks. That was this last week. It started out with a great miracle. We set up a to take a family in the Ward on a church tour for family home evening and they brought a non-member family with them! Meg, Lizzie, and Louis all came with the Thomsen family and we were able to share our testimony of the sacrament and baptism. I love member missionaries! What a wonderful example the Thomsen family is to us and the ward and how grateful we are for their willingness and desire to share the gospel. Members are the means!
This week we found six new investigators (Including the family), which is unheard of! This last week I've learned an important lesson, as I usually do each week, but I thought I'd share this one. Elder Bednar said last year "Obedience is the principle weapon upon which the rising generation must rely in a modern day battle between good and evil." Amen Elder Bednar! In the MTC, were constantly told be obedient, be obedient, be obedient! I left thinking I had gotten the idea. Satan is so clever and he finds ways to tempt us to be disobedient, through rationalization and deceit. Being EXACTLY obedient is the key, we can't take some principles and leave others. We either live the gospel or we don't, we're either doing everything we can, or we're not. Those six new investigators were a blessing of exact obedience. We don't know how God will reward us with blessings, but we know they come. As a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, I know they come. We need to be patient and trust in the Lord's timing.
This last Monday was pretty crazy. We had transfer meeting and my dear companion and trainer Sis. Jang left me for her home in Korea. But I'm excited to be serving with Sis. Conger from New York. We're about the same age and she just came from the MTC. She's an amazing missionary already. We both have such a sincere desire to work hard and be obedient that I know we're going to see some pretty amazing miracles. I've been overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy and fear as I've prepared to help her come into the field. But as I met her and we've started working I've felt a greater peace and love in my heart then ever before. The Lord is truly the master conductor of life, and He won't let my inadequacies ruin the ultimate symphony. Sis. Conger and I are learning together, working hard, and doing everything we can to be exactly obedient.
Steilacoom is a wonderful place to be and the work is going forward with more drive then ever before. Currently we're meeting with a women named Nicole. She's met with missionaries for about the past year but we were able to finally break some barriers as she came to church for the first time ever this last Sunday and stayed for the whole block! I thought I knew joy before I came out on a mission, but the happiness I felt as I saw her make the effort and sacrifice to come to church I felt a greater joy than I've ever experienced. I LOVE seeing people change their lives. I've especially loved seeing Nicole change her life, I've really grown to love her and have felt such a connection with her over the past weeks. Her baptism is set for the 28th of March. Please keep her in your prayers.
I'm excited for the work to continue. I often find myself feeling like I don't know enough to be doing this, but I'm determined to push forward in the work. "Behold I am a disciple of Jesus Christ the son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people that they might have everlasting life." 3 Nephi 5:13 When hard days come I recite this scripture in my head as many times as it takes to have the courage to press forward in the work. I'm so grateful for this calling and for the people here that are willing to change their lives for the better by being baptized. Great things are happening and I don't have minute to waste. I love you all.
Love Sister Sara Hope Bradley

Monday, March 8, 2010

First Transfer


Here I am on the last week of my first transfer! Time goes by faster than I could ever thought possible. Today marks the first day of my sixth week! We have transfers next Monday! I will be staying in Steilacoom but I will be loosing Sis. Jang. She will be headed back to Korea, I'm already mourning the loss of her. She's been such an amazing trainer, so patient with me. We had our first baptism together this last Sunday! What an amazing day that was. Jakki was baptized and half the ward showed up to support her. Thats how it should be! It never ceases to amaze me how much the ward can really help, or should I say do, missionary work. I'm the helper, they're the do'ers. I love that the Steilacoom ward is so excited to help and to give us referrels. Our mission motto is a poem: Faith is the Power, Love is the MotiveObedience is the Price, The Spirit is the KeyThe Restoration is the Message, Members are the MeansChrist is the Reason, Baptism is the way Jory is the Reward I LOVE this poem! Because every part of it is true! Especially "Mebers are the means" Just the other day I was out on splits with Sis. Pearson ( this bishops wife ) and we were really working hard to find a new investigator and as I was going through my list of potentials she said "We could just go over to my neighbors" So we did and sure enough they welcomed us in. They are an elderly couple but said that we could come back and share more! All because Sis. Pearson had the courage to just stop by with me. I'm sure they never would have let us in had Sis. Jang and I just knocked on their door. MEMBERS ARE THE MEANS! I realized that we're not just trying to share the gospel with our friends who might be interested, we're trying to share it with everyone. I'm so excited to be able to serve as a full time missionary for the next 18 months, but I'm so excited that I'm a member missionary forever! There is a special spirit that comes into these peoples lives as they actively get involved in member missionary work. I'm going to do the same. Elder Sitati from the seventy came this last week and gave a great talk on the creation and agency. It will help so much in teaching more simply. I got to shake his hand which was pretty awesome. We're still working hard to find more people. I lean on the power of prayer every step of the way. The Lord has his hand in this work and has been guiding us each step of the way. I'm working hard to be worthy of that guidence. Miracles are happening every day. I'm so grateful to be her in Washington doing his work. Next time you hear from me I'll tell you about my new companion!

Love Sister Bradley

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tracting Miracle

Hello family!

Life is wonderful here in Steilacoom. The weather hasn't been as nice as it was last week, but we're doing fine in the rain. It does rain a lot, but so far I still like the rain. I can't believe a month has gone by and we are in March! I already feel a sense of urgency to work harder and faster. We don't have a lot of new investigators this week. We worked hard but there just never seems to be enough time in the day to visit everyone we want and tract as long as we want. But we've had a lot of miracles in tracting. Usually Sis. Jang lets me pick the night before where we go tracting the next day between 5-7pm (we tract these hours everyday). I pick while were planning out the day and we always start are planning with a prayer and end it with a prayer. So I've just been picking a random st. and thats where we go. But this last week we really wanted to find the people the Lord wanted us to. I know that there are people prepared. So I prayed a lot about where to go tracting. I would pray and then stare at the map and then pray some more. Its hard trying to find out where the Lord wants us to go! I have a hard time trusting my self. But we've tracted into some amazing people everytime I've made it a specific matter of prayer. We even found a young women (Valorie) who hasn't been active in decades. When we knocked on her door she laughed and said 'Did my Dad put you up to this" Sis. Jang and I just looked at eachother and then shook our heads. She let us in. She told us her dad said that he wanted to send the missionaries over to check on her (she lost her husband in Afghanistan three years ago), but she wouldn't give her dad her address. And then there we were on her doorstep! She is 27 and hasn't been to church since she was 10. She even asked us for a book of Mormon. The Lord truely answers prayers. We have also been working with a young Korean mom. Her name is Nayan and she is my age and has an 18 mo. old son. Her husband has been deployed for the last 6 months. She has been feeding us and we've been giving her the lessons. We had korean barbeque last week, which was really good. I still think Kimchi is gross though, I don't think thats changing. Its neat because Sis. Jang gets to use her Korean often. I can already say hello, goodbye, and thank you in Korean :) Nayan is moving slow, but she came to church and really like it. We'll continue to meet with her this week. We're continuing to work hard, but we want to work harder. We're really praying to find a family in the next week. Sis Jang has never found and baptised a family and we really want to find one before she leaves! Keep us in your prayers. Thank you for all your letters, emails, and love! I hope everyone is healthy and well. Til next week! I'll tell you all about Jakki's baptsim which is this Sunday! My first!!! We're all so excited for her. She is amazing and so ready. They already have a temple wedding date set! I love you all!

love Sister Bradley