Thursday, March 31, 2011

As I live the Gospel Reply

Sara Bradley


Our emails are a day late today because we had transfers yesterday... they always catch me by surprise now, and I never have time to warn you. The good news is I got to stay in Aberdeen. I was sad as Sister Oehler was sent to the lovely Gig Harbor after our short six week companionship. I was sad to see her leave, but I know the Lord has things in plan for us both. She did so much good for me and will be a life long friend.

In her place I was sent two sisters! Sister Bowles came from Steilacoom, she's spent the last 6 months there, so its been fun to catch up on all my converts that are there. Along with her we are with a brand new missionary from the MTC. Her name is Sister Field. She has fire red hair and is from AUSTRALIA. She's only been in the Washington for a day now, and we are loving her accent. We make her pray all the time because we love hearing her voice. This will be my third trio, which is always a different dynamic, but Aberdeen definitely needs the help. We're over the biggest ward in probably all of Washington. Lots of work to do here.

Our zone conference with Elder Richards was absolutely amazing! I was able to spend 4 solid hours learning from him and his wife. They are wonderful people. I learned a lot and I have a renewed sense of desire to just me better in all aspects of missionary work and in life. President Bowen selected a few missionaries to be interviewed by Elder Richards and I was able to be with him one on one for fifteen minutes. He taught me a lot about what I can do to balance humilty and confidence in my calling. I love him. He and his wife are such inspired instruments of the Lord. He also taught me a lot about setting righteous patterns in my life and then sticking with them. He actually knows President Marriott and told me to make sure that he knew that I had met him :) Pass it along to him will you.

The work in Aberdeen continues onward. Toby and Chandler were confirmed this last Sunday. Before Sister Oehler left she "let it slip" to Toby that I was trying to read the Book of Mormon in 2 months. Toby is so determined to beat me and said that he just finished the first 100 pages today. He has an interview with Bishop this week to get the priesthood. I'm so excited for what he will do in the church. All the rest of our potential investigators have seemed to slip away. We're working hard to find more people to teach. I'm excited to be with Sister Bowles! She is an amazing missionary. Just today we were driving to an appointment and she just rolled down the window and invited a passerby on a church tour! That is URGENCY! I love her excitement for the work! Together I feel like the Lord can work miracles through us in this little town.

Just this week I had a neat experience as my companion was teaching about faith. I was able to learn from her experiences and the spirit helped me to understand my own faith better. I've come to understand that my faith is perfect in some aspects of the Gospel. While I am far from perfect and I still have so much to learn, there are certain things that I have come to know, and my faith has become like Enos, unshaken. That is why when we share our testimony we say, "I know.." and not "I believe.." because although we aren't perfect, our faith can be. I love this work. I love the person I'm becoming as I better live the gospel of Jesus Christ. I wish the world could know and feel what I feel. I love you all and pray for you! Welcome to Utah Mark and Caitlin. I look forward to having you close by :)

Love Sister Bradley

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Expect a Miracle

Hello from Grays Harbor,

What a week it has been here! We almost got sunshine on Sunday. I've started to pray more steadfastly for it :) We had a week full of miracles and tender mercies. I don't know if I could have even planned it better. God is definitely a better master planner than I am. Our little Chandler was baptized yesterday. Her dad was baptized a few months ago, the day after Christmas actually. We've been working with her since we got the area. She's one of the smartest little girls I've ever met. She pretends to be all tough, but the girl is a total softy on the inside :) Don't tell her though lol. She told us this last week that it was all our fault that she was getting baptized and that if we had never come and challenged her to pray she would have never gotten an answer and had to do it lol. She keeps lamenting that she'll have to have "old man hands" put on her head. lol, she was here when her dad was confirmed in Sacrament Meeting several months ago. And yet after all that, in church on Sunday she sat next to me hardly able to keep from bouncing off her seat. She leaned over to be and began to stare at the clock, counting out loud and said, "Only six more hours til I get baptized!" Her older sister Hunter (17) who we're still working with, said that she's been driving her insane. Chandler told Hunter that she didn't sleep at all the night before her baptism. When Hunter told me that, I looked at Chandler and smiled and she folded her arms and said "Na-Uh!" I love their family. I even got Hunter to wear a skirt and sing "When I am baptized" at the baptism. Which if you knew Hunter, you'd understand what a miracle it was. She did an amazing job.

Toby was also baptized! He's been such an amazing person to teach. I don't think we ever extended a commitment that he didn't keep. Saturday we were doing a run through with him and he was telling us how he felt when we brought him on the church tour for the first time. We had told him there would be a baptism on March 20th and that he could come, but as he learned more and prayed about it, that he could participate in it. He didn't think much about it then. He said it wasnt' til the next few times that he met with us that he realized the baptism on March 20th was his lol. He will do amazing things for this ward here and for the Church. I can see the conversion in his eyes and its steadfast and permanent.

I have an amazing story to tell you. Its become an incredibly sacred story to me. I haven't told you yet because it began as a really sad one and only turned into a miracle yesterday. So Mom sent me that silver ring that Brother Lucy made for me several weeks ago. I was stoked when I realized that it actually fit. It was a little big, but not really. The very first day I wore it I went tracting in a neighborhood in west Aberdeen. We met this amazing man named Mike who came on a church tour later that week. We played with his dog for a little while and then went on to the next house. A few houses down we met a really sweet single mom by the name of Steph. Her and her daughter were unloading fire wood from the back of their truck. We asked if we could help and spent several minutes talking with her and unloading wood with her five year old daughter. She seemed really interested and gave us her number. It was at this point I realized that my silver ring was gone. At first I was devastated, but my mission has really helped me to understand that things are just things. We looked for it for a few minutes and told both Steph and Mike to look for it, but I felt certain it was gone. I forgot all about it for several weeks, until last night durring dinner we received a text from Steph, who we hadn't been in contact with since the day I lost my ring several weeks ago. She told us that she had found my ring in her wood pile! When we went by to pick it up, she invited us in and spent a half an hour talking with her. We learned of her good friend Andrea, who had passed away several years ago (don't ask me why she told us about her, but she just opened up) and for maybe the second time in my life I felt the presence of an angel. I knew Andrea was there. I knew that she had been the culprit for me losing my ring, and had been the angel that helped Steph's 7 year old son find it. Steph is coming on a church tour this week. As we left to go back to our car I felt blown away. As I turned on the car, our lights flashed on to the bumper of the car in front of us, and there in bright shimmery blue and silver letters was a bumper with sticker, saying the words "EXPECT A MIRACLE". We truly have a loving Heavenly Father who I can testify is a God of miracles, today, yesterday and forever. He can do extraordinary things for those who have faith and believe in Him. I'll be eternally gratefull for the faith He's helped me develop over the last year of my life. I love this Gospel, I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I love my Heavenly Father. I pray that I might continue to increase my faith to expect such miracles! I love you all!

Love Sister Bradley

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pray for Sunshine :)

Hello from Aberdeen! Haha. Elyse always gets to say hello from the DR and it sounds so exciting, but as a member reminded me this week, I guess its only a 15 hour drive from Aberdeen to Salt Lake and now I don't feel like its so exciting. Things are wonderful here in the Grays Harbor. Although my companion and I have discovered why its really called Gray's Harbor. The locals swear to us that its because Captain Gray discovered it, but my comp and I have decided its because this little port town never sees the sun. Sister Oehler and I have been here for four weeks now, and have only seen the sun, literally for two days... and that was several weeks ago. I'm thinking I'm going to go buy some vitamin D lol. But all is well, most days I even like the gray rainy weather.

Speaking of the weather, my companion and I received a call from my mission president early Friday morning asking us if we we're drowning lol. The tsunami was anticipated to hit the west coast pretty bad, but turned out to only raise the sea level about 18 inches, but because it was low tide when it happened, it didn't really effect anything here in the Harbor. My comp and I even went out to Ocean Shores to work with the branch out there, half the town there had evacuated, but everything ended up being alright. The funny thing is that there are tsunami evacuation signs EVERYWHERE in this little town and I lauged at them when I first got here, but I guess they really do need them... sort of :)

This week had some pretty exciting miracles. I received a phone call on Wednesday night from a companion I served with in Steilacoom a year ago. She told me that Sheila, the wife of Brian (I talked about him in my early letters home sometime last summer) was going to the temple and she really wanted me to be there. Brian was baptized just a few weeks after I left Steilacoom and was just this last Sunday ordained an Elder! Their family has come a LONG way. Brian was drinking and smoking and totally agoraphobic when I started meeting with their family. Sheila told me in the temple that he gave his testimony in front of the everybody just last Sunday. It's so amazing to see what the gospel can help you over come. There isn't anything it can't. Sister Oehler has a quote on her wall that says, "Because He can do all things, I can do hard things." I've definitely needed to be reminded of that these past few weeks. I loved being in the temple. I was able to be there with four other sisters who've worked with Sheila and Brian. Sister Anthony, my relief society president from Tacoma even treked it all the way out from Tacoma to pick me up and take me to Seatle. It was one of my greatest joys to see Sheila in the temple. Brian is excited and will go through the first week of August. They're planning on being sealed then as well.

Toby is ever amazing. We just taught him the word of wisdom and I wish I could have taken a picture of his face when we told him he could no longer drink coffee. At first he was incredulous, then sad, and then excited in the time of just a few seconds. He's getting baptized next Sunday at 4! It's been amazing to teach him. He's made really close friends with a couple in the ward and they talk often about the gospel. It seems whenever he has a concern and he shares it with them, its the exact thing we teach him that night. His jaw always drops when we start teaching and he says 'I was just asking them about this!' So AMAZING! His testimony is already so strong. He will do great things for the ward here.

Chandler our little 10 year old investigator has been praying about her baptism for several weeks. This Sunday she came up to us and told us that she had good news. She always waits to tell us til both my companion and I bend down so that our eyes our at the same level. She said that she got her answer and she prayed about it more than once and that she wants to get baptized. She's such a funny little girl. She's only ten but I swear she's a 20 year old stuck in a 10 year olds body. She is so smart and spiritually I feel like her and I are on the same level. She will be an amazing missionary some day. She's still waiting on permission from her mom, but we're hoping to see her baptism this Sunday as well. Keep her mom in your prayers as it all really hinges on her saying yes.

My companion and I were talking this week about the greatest changes that we've seen in ourselves since we came out. As I lay awake in bed the other night I pondered on the greatest change I've seen, and as she told me the greatest change she'd seen in her, I had to agree that it was the greatest change I'd seen in myself. I didn't recognize what it was when I'd seen it in so many return missionaries until I could feel it in myself. I feel like my eyes are so much brighter. I've spent the last year doing everything I can to become more like Christ and just like any other missionary who strives to do so, it reflects in your eyes. But its only there when were obedient and listening to the spirit. I'm so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and this time that I have to conescrate everything to become more like Him. I hope you all have an amazing week! Pray for sunshine!

Monday, March 7, 2011

God Will Provide

Sara Bradley

Hello everybody!

It's certainly been an incredible week to be a missionary. Sister Oehler and I have been really blessed to see so many miracles this week. After two weeks of trying to get our bearings... (I feel as though I had missionary vertigo) we've finally caught our pace. This week we had some pretty amazing tracting miracles. On Tuesday we tracted an obscure little street in Cosmopolis, we had little success, except for one door. We could hear people playing the guitar inside. We knocked twice, but they didn't hear us. We almost turned to leave when I felt like we just needed to knock again louder. With hesitation we knocked one more time, (we sounded a bit like the police as it came off like we were banging down their door) the music stopped and two men came to the door. At first I didn't think anything would come of it, as the person whose house it was, wasn't interested at all. But his friend Toby, stayed with us at the door and said he would come down on a tour of the church. We set it up for a few days later and sure enough Toby was at the church, early waiting for us. He's an incredibly prepared individual. We've met with him almost everyday and when he came to church on Sunday, he loved it. He said something that made me and my companion both laugh. After coming out of Priesthood class he was elated and said "Guess what I just learned? If I don't get married in this life, but am faithful, God will provide a way for me in the next life!" He was so excited. He reads the Book of Mormon everyday and seems to retain everything we teach him. His baptism is set for March 20th.

Another tender mercy of the Lord, was we were were able to see little 10 year old Yessica confirmed on Sunday. She was baptized two weeks before we got here, but wasn't ever able to be confirmed until this Sunday. She was really nervous to go up in front of everybody. The night before we went over and did a run through with her, and showed her how to shake everyones hands. After she was confirmed she came down and whispered "I felt like someone was holding my hand the whole time." Her younger 8 year old sister Alli, who was confirmed several weeks earlier, smiled and said a little louder than a whisper "Yeah, and I felt like someone was giving me a big hug!" I love little children! They remind me what the gospel really is all about.

It seems like this week blessings just poured in from all sides. We are teaching a lot of people and are having a hard time fitting in all our appointments. The ward is doing a great job with splits though and we've been able to get a lot more done. We're also teaching a part member family that came into the church 20 years ago when there were last sister missionaries in the area. They've been less active for about 19 years now and their family has grown from 2 to 6. We were excited as when we knocked on their door, they let us right in because they were so excited to see sisters in the area again. We're now teaching their kids and hoping to get the whole family back to church in the coming months.

I wish I had more time to tell you about everyone else we are working with! But we have to get back to working with them :) I'm glad to hear everyone is healthy and well. I tried to get pictures uploaded today, but the computer is proving to be more difficult than I thought, so pictures will have to wait til next week. Love you all!

Love Sister Bradley

Wednesday, March 2, 2011