Monday, February 28, 2011

Love through trials

Another week here in Aberdeen has come and gone. Aberdeen has proven to be quite the adventure. There is a different feeling here. There are a lot of what my companion and I have classified as "feelers" living here... as opposed to "thinkers." There's nothing wrong with being a feeler, but its definitely an extreme here. We have hard time getting appointments to stick, often our investigators forget. But alas, there is a good side to feelers. All you have to do is really love them. If you love them, they'll come. More importantly, if you show them the love they can feel from the Savior at church, they'll not only come, but they'll stay.

I'm learning a lot about love here. The Lord and President Bowen knew that there were a lot of things the people of Aberdeen could teach me. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Someone said that to me early on in my mission, but it hasn't really sunk in til Aberdeen. It's been easy for me to love the people on my mission, but as I've reflected back, the people I've loved on my mission have loved me back, and often have loved me first. It's harder to love the people, when collectively they don't really seem to love you at all. The Savior, however is the master teacher, and He is showing me how to love unconditionally. I have an extraordinary companion, who exemplifies what the pure love of Christ really is. I'm grateful the Lord has me here right now.

Although it's been a challenging place for me, and will continue to be I know when it's hard that I'm growing and learning the most. That's when I really feel the most loved, not through the successes, rather through the trials. That's when I know that He loves me enough to let me struggle through and learn on my own. Which I'm realizing is a lot harder than just letting me be blissfully happy with success. I have so much to learn. I love you all and hope you have a wondeful week!

Love Sister Bradley

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Adventures in Aberdeen


There's so much to tell you about Aberdeen! There are actually three cities we cover, Aberdeen, Cosmopolis (which is called "Cauzy" by everyone here) and Hoquiam. We cover a lot of ground! There are so many people and doors to knock that I think I could have served my whole mission in this town and never reached them all. There is only one ward here and it is bigger than any other ward I've served over... seriously the ward list is about two of my last wards put together. There are lots and lots of part member families and a lot of members who are less active.

Right now were not working with too many people, cause we hardly know anyone yet, but we're getting there. We're working with a recent converts teenage daughters, Hunter and Chandler. They both came to church on Sunday and we had a powerful lesson in there home about what it means to be converted. The little one, Chandler had a way cool experience with getting an answer to her prayers, but Hunter still doesn't know that she has a Heavenly Father. She'll get there though, if she wants to.

It was pretty amazing to see some of the miracles the Lord has let us see. The other night after dinner we were heading to our tracting spot, I had spent a good amount of time looking at the map the night before and finally came to Morgan St. I didn't really know how to get there, so the Spanish Elders actually let us follow them there. They stopped right in front of a house in the middle of the street. Sister Oehler and I thought it was a bit strange, but they were going to see someone accross the street so we said a quick prayer and got out to knock on the first door in the middle of the street. We met 19 year old Alberto, a young kid who just barely enlisted in the Marines. He came with us on a church tour right then. He definitely felt the spirit in the chapel. Unfortunately, his brother told him not to come, but we still have hope for him. It's amazing to see how the Lord puts us right where we are supposed to be, if we had knocked on Alberto's door any later he wouldn't have been able to come, he had to pick up his brother in just a half an hour. God is SO aware of each of us individually.

I have to end with something funny thing that happened to Sister O and I this week. We were out in Hoquiam looking for a partmember family in the ward. We were on the right street but couldn't seem to find the right number, (not everyone here feels the need to have their address on their actual house) we picked a numberless house in the middle of the street that appeared to be the one we were looking for. We knocked on the door with no answer. I looked in the side window to see it wasn't a house at all, but a storage unit that used to be a house... a long... long... time ago. All of a sudden I hear a loud thud and turn around to find Sister Oehler waist deep in their front porch. I was in so much shock that it took me a second to realize what had just happened, between trying not to laugh I did my best to pull her out of the deck when the wood beneath me gave way and I went down with her. So there we are standing in two rather large holes that we created in their porch, both of us waist deep. We finally got out and between laughter and pictures carefully crawled our way off their front porch. Moral of the story... there is A TON of rain in Aberdeen and along with the wet rain comes rotting wood. I have a lovely scar on my shin that I'll be able to forever remember the moment by.

My time here Aberdeen and in Washington this past year has been full of priceless memories. I honestly don't know if I'll be able to leave it all. I love it with everything. But I still love and miss you all! Hope you are all well :)

Love Sister Bradley

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Baptisms and Transfers

Where to begin? I'm writing a day later than usual because we had transfers yesterday, I think I forgot to mention that last week... it creeps up on me sooo fast. I was shocked... completely floored with my new assignment. I've been transferred into an Elders area with Sister Ohler (she's the one that moved into the Deseret Rose ward a few months before we moved out) and they've taken the Elders out, its actually a zone leader area. In the mission we call it being "white washed" or "doubled in". Yesterday was total chaos in getting ALL of the elders stuff out of the house and getting our stuff in. Its actually the basement of a members home and the elders have been living there for as long as they can remember... needless to say it was quite the mess. But alas all is well and Sister Ohler and I are happy to be serving the good people of the Grays Harbor ward in Aberdeen Washington. It's on the coast about 70 miles south of Forks. Its the largest ward in the mission with a ward list of well over 900 families, only 250 of which are active. We have a LOT of work to do and are SO excited to be the ones to do it. I haven't opened an area since my first transfer with Sister Jang, so lets pray for some amazing miracles.

Speaking of miracles! My last week in Sequim was nothing short of miraculous. Kristy and Zarah were finally baptized on Sunday night... quite literally 12 hours before I left. It was probably the sweetest baptism I've ever been to. The whole ward showed up as Kristy and Zarah have been working towards baptism for about 6 months now. It was amazing to see all that Kristy was able to overcome. Smoking, coffee, changing jobs so she could attend church on sunday. It was one of the greatest tender mercies of my mission to get to see them both baptized and confirmed my last night in Sequim. And believe me when I say Satan did everything he could, short of causing an earthquake, to get us all there. But it doesn't matter the opposition we face, as long as we push through it. It was Sister Balmforths first baptism and my last in Sequim :) She's now there serving with S. Directo and S. Nybo. They will do great things there. I was sad to go, 12 weeks has been my shortest time in an area, but I know that there are people here in Aberdeen to help, and I am more than excited to get to be the one to find them. I was however told by several elders to do my best to not get shot... I thought they were joking, until I saw that even the public library here has security guards that carry weapons. Don't worry mom, all will be well. Sisters haven't been in Aberdeen for well over 20 years.

I have a new address so don't send any more mail to Sequim... I might get it before I go home lol, but don't count on it. Send my mail to the mission home at

Sister Sara H. Bradley
Washington Tacoma Mission
4007 Bridgeport Way W. Ste D
University Place, WA 98466-4330

It might take me longer to reply to you now, but I promise when I finally get your letters I will write back. I love you all lots! Keep me in your prayers this week.. it should prove to be interesting!

Love Sister Bradley

Monday, February 7, 2011

Know, Declare, Do, and Become

Another week has come and gone here in Sequim. This has been the fastest transfer of my mission. I don't know where the last five weeks went. We just received some very exciting news. Elder Kent Richards of the seventy will be coming to our mission next month. We're pretty excited. Elder Sitati of the seventy came last year.

Sequim has hit a rough patch, as all but two of our investigators decided to miss church. Thats one of the hardest things as a missionary, is to get people to actually come to church. Two weeks ago, they were all coming and now they're all not. It's wierd how its kind of either all of them or none of them... you'd think they all orchestrated it or something.

This week we did have a lot of neat things happen. We were tracting doors early in the week when a woman opened her door and yelled "I'm really interested, but I can't talk right now" and then slammed the door. We went back a few days later and she came on a tour of the church. Turns out her sister has been attending the church in San Diego for years and she's always wanted to. She knows a lot about the church and accepted an invitation to prepare for baptism on Feb. 20th. Unfortunately she didn't come to church because she had to take her brother to the airport. We're excited to really start teaching her. Truly, 'The field is white, already to harvest'.

Sister Balmforth, Directo, and I are all on edge hoping we get to stay together for one more transfer, but I don't know if we'll be so lucky. Whatever happens I know the Lord knows best, but that doesn't change the fact THAT I WANT to stay with them lol. It's a good thing we don't decide our own transfer calls, or I'd have a hard time. I trust President Bowen more than I could ever really write in words. I'm working my way through the Docterine and Covenents and am so close to finishing the Book of Mormon again. I love the scriptures. They have been a rock in my life and especially in my mission. They make bad days good and good days better. My testimony grows each day of the prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is such an amazing book, I don't know of anyone who could have written that book, let alone a 21 yearold young man with a third grade education. Most of our investigators know that the Book of Mormon is true. KNOWING its true hasn't been a battle for many people, its the DOING that they struggle with. So many know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, they just are to afraid to actually follow it for whatever reason. That seems to be the case with our current teaching pool. Moroni was serious when he talked about that real intent business. Its a struggle for some. I'm doing my best to not only know and declare, but to do and become, like my Savior Jesus Christ. I love you all! Have a wonderful Valentines Day :)

Love Sister Bradley

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I Know Why I Am Here

It's warmed up quite a bit here in Sequim... actually I think its about the same temps, but the air isn't so wet, which makes it a lot more bearable. This transfer has gone by way too fast for me. We're already in week five and we only get six weeks. The words of President Bowen said to me in my very first transfer keep coming back to me. He told me that if I would truely have my eye single to the glory of God, time would go by too fast. Time is going by WAY too fast, and even the rough days and the tough weeks won't slow time down. I'm just praying to be able to work harder.

We went to La Push today, and got lots more fun pictures, it really is a beautiful beach. We played ultimate frisbee. The sun even came out for us, which truely is a miracle in Forks. Our zone is really unified. I hope there aren't too many changes in the upcomming transfer. But whatever happens the Lord is in it. THANK you for sending me the memory card! I wasn't able to see the videos on the camera, but a sweet family let me watch them on their computer! Ethan is a little boy already and it sounds like Scotti talks! I can't believe how BIG the girls are lol. Riya looks SO grown up and Lia, my goodness she's grown so tall. I loved hearing you guys sing! Will you let me sing with you when I get home? Promise I'm lots better lol. Lia, I loved hearing you sing that song from Rigaletto?! It really made my week. I actually just got my jeans today too! Thank you so much! I also got Lia's letter with the boondoggle key chain, its now on the Sequim keys lol :) I hope you got the pictures I sent to you this last week.

We had almost all or our investigators at church this Sunday. We're seeing Brett's parents tonight and are putting them on date for baptism this Saturday. Brett is going back to Myrtle Creek a week from today and he won't be back in Sequim before he goes on his mission, so it really is his last chance to baptize his mom and dad before he goes. Keep them in your prayers. I know they're both ready, sometimes people let fear of little things drown out their faith. If only we could lend our investigators our faith. I've wished for that so often, but I'm realizing that its more rewarding to help them gain there own. Despite the adversity that they face, they grow from each trial, just as I do. I wouldn't want to take that opportunity of growth away from them.

Kristy, Mik, and Zarah are on date for this weekend too! Kristy came to church for the first time since I came to Sequim, she got off Sundays now, and she went 3 days with out smoking a cigarette! I love watching people triumph over addictions. She is so strong. I loved seeing her on Sunday, her eyes were so bright. She's been through so much, and I was able to see hope in her eyes on Sunday. She was happy, truely happy and although she didn't get baptized as planned, seeing her progress and the light of Christ that has come into her eyes made it so much better.

I've learned so much in this area about myself. When I was first assigned here President Bowen told me something he'd never said to me before, he said "Sister Bradley, you HAVE to find out why the Lord sent you to Sequim. Pray! Find out why you are here." At first I didn't know at all what he meant... I figured it would be like any other area. The field is white everywhere right? I've now come to understand that there were things that I could only learn here. There were people, memebers and non-members who had important lessons to teach me. I know why I came to Sequim. I know exactly why I came to the Washington Tacoma Mission, and I know why I came on a mission. I'm so grateful to be here. The Lord knows me so well... as there is no where else in the world I would rather be than right where I am. Thanks for all your love and support!

Love Sister Bradley