Monday, December 31, 2012

Last week Elder Brighton requested that I post a song that he and his companion sang and recorded, "What Child is This?". After attempting to figure out how, I couldn't get it posted. He asked that I put with it a Christmas scripture.Here is my choice:
 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Anyone interested in the song, please email me and I will be happy to forward it to you.

Dearest Family and Friends,

At this special time of the year I want to take a few minutes to share some thoughts and experiences. The first one is the power of love. And in this case we are going to talk about charity, the pure love of Christ. The kind of love that makes a difference in this world.

This is a brief story of the power of love and patience. We have been blessed to work with a young man named Samuel. In our time with him his mother made it clear from the beginning that she was not interested in listening to anything we had to say. To make a long story short, she often looked for the occasion to critique us or the message we had to bring. Over time we witnessed something amazing. We never engaged in arguments, always expressing our love and respect towards her, her son, and her other children. We have offered to help around the house, listen to what she had to say, and calmly explain why it is we are here. One day in particular she got particularly wound up and really ¨let us have it¨. We shared our testimonies and departed.
When we came back the next day, Christmas Eve, we were very unsure of how everything would go. When she answered the door, we did not know what to expect. To our surprise, she invited us in, offered us dinner, and in the course of the next 30 minutes opened up to us and told us more about her life, hardships, and family showing us pictures going back several generations. What had happened I wanted to ask? Why the sudden change? But the answer was obvious. You can only fight against love and pure intentions for so long. When she finally realized that we were there only to share something that means so much to us and invite all to learn for themselves, bitterness and confusion could not remain.
I wish I could do this experience more justice. But let me share that it is something I will never forget. When one counters opposition with patience and love I personally know that all can be resolved. Was it easy? Certainly not. Will it be easy for any of us to counter bitterness with love? Again, no. But is it possible? Most certainly. Trusting and looking to the example of our older Brother Jesus Christ who literally forgave those who smote and killed Him. Who was spit upon, beaten, and hung on a cross. One who had all power then and the One who will sit before us as Judge when we leave this world. And even in that moment, bleeding and dying in his mortal condition, cried out ¨Forgive them, for they know not what they do.¨
Could this tale of a Savior be true? Was there really such a man as Jesus the Christ? Did the birthday of this tiny Prince that we celebrate in this time really happen? I testify that I know Jesus Christ lives. I know that He came to this earth, lived, died, and resurrected. And I know that because of Him I too will live again.
I want to wish a (belated) Merry Christmas to all. And a Happy New Years as well.
I love you all and wish you the very best.

Elder Brighton

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,

We have had another great week. In this Christmas time I would like to share a few brief thoughts. A few things that I know to be true.

Jesus Christ lives. He was born here on this earth, lived a perfect life, and because of Him we will live again. 

We will live again. There is a life after death. Taking the time to think and ponder on this reality changes everything. Knowing and believing truly that we have an eternity to look forward to means that this life is very important. To make an analogy, this life in many ways is the time one might take to carefully calibrate and aim a rifle before firing a shot. In our life we go about looking down the scope doing our best to line up the shot. It does not matter the amount of time we spent searching the mark, what matters is that when the moment finally comes, we are well aimed. Because when the trigger is pulled and the bullet sent, there is no going back. The small adjustments and preparations we made beforehand are what will determine where the bullet hits far down the trajectory. 

The difference in our life is that we do not have control of the trigger. No one knows when their own personal gun will go off. And so we do our best to first find the target, put everything in order and straight, and then maintain firm, never allowing the sighting to drift. Keeping our eyes fixed always on the target. And one day indeed, the gun will go off, and our trajectory at that moment is where we will find ourselves catapulted. And so in truth, this time of preparation is just that. Prepare for what comes next. Because I know that there is something more. And it is so much bigger, grander, and fuller than what we can experience here in this life. 

We each have a mission to fulfill, a family to raise, a community to strengthen. But we can never forget that we do it all with an eye fixed on the target. The goal of eternal life with our families and our Father who gave us life. That is the purpose of this life. If we were to ask ourselves, where is our scope pointed right now at this moment, if the trigger were pulled, where would the bullet find its end?

And so we must make those adjustments, big or small. Because even 1 degree off to begin with, 300 yards down the field (forgetting eternity as in fact our future is) we find ourselves far from our expected destination.

And so with all of this I mean to say that I love you, and that I know that your potential is great. Each one of you, my dear family and friends, have the ability to know the truth. To receive it, not from man, but from the very power and personage that made you. I encourage and implore you to consider the state of your relationship with your Father in Heaven, and if necessary to make the adjustments to be happy. Happy now, and tomorrow, and in 5 years, and in 50. Happy in eternity because you choose that which was good when there were so very many choices to be made.

I love you and thank you for your support and prayers.

Elder Brighton

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,

It is going to be a brief one this week. We are going today to help someone paint their house and then afterwards one of our investigators invited us to go downtown to a parade of clowns. A little different, but he is someone that has been incredibly prepared and receptive. His name is Samuel and he is 19. He works on the weekends as a clown and will be getting baptized the 22 of December. 

I love you all and hope that you are doing well. The weather is starting to change more here. The mornings and evenings are pretty brisk. When we go running in the morning I now wear a sweater (Alicia, the old green one that we both have). 

We are working hard and every night I go to bed worn out physically and emotionally. But we are seeing the results. We will be having a baptism this weekend of a mother whose daughters are already members. Then next weekend Samuel. Then if all continues to go well the 5th of January we will be baptizing a family of 4. They are super great. 

In reading Acts this last week I learned that what we do as missionaries is not something new, or something that we do as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In truth, anyone who believes in Christ should know that the preaching of the gospel is something he commanded us to do. Acts describes how so many people (primarily focuses on Paul) went, preached, and baptized. It really makes me happy to read how each time they describe the conversion of a person it mentions also how they they are baptized and even often mentions their receiving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. That is what it means to believe in Christ, to have faith in Him. It means to do what he said to do. To show our faith, to make the covenant of baptism and enter in the door to eternal life. 

Something simple, but forgotten I think by many people. The importance to act on the faith we have. 

I love you all and hope to hear from you this next week. Monday will be transfers. I do not anticipate any changes in our companionship, but you can never be sure!

Elder Brighton

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,

I would love to share with all of you some great and unforgettable experiences that I was blessed to have this last week. This past weekend two people were baptized. A young adult named Francisco and a young man named Matías. Both are incredibly special and it has been a great process working and getting to know them both. But today I would like to share with you more about the young man Matías.

We met Matías a month ago or so one night in the home of his cousins. As we began talking to this young man of 14 years it became apparent that he was mature for his age, someone who thinks about more then what he sees. As we have gotten to know him I have been impressed by his patience, maturity, and ability and desire to learn and understand. In talking with his aunt and uncle we learned that he was born into and has grown up in a very difficult situation. He never knew or met his father, his mother has often not been present, and to be brief and simple, there have been moments of abandonment. And yet, I want you all to know that he is a young man full of love for his mother, for his grandmother, and for all people. He is quiet, but full of energy and happy to talk and share. As he has taken the time to learn and focus on his relationship that he has personally with his Father in Heaven, he has been able to develop a faith and assurance in himself and in his life.
We have been able to get to know Matías, and every time I interact with him I develop a greater love and respect for him. His baptism was a very special moment, and seeing him stand confidently with a smile on his face, knowing the things he has seen and heard in his life, I am filled with love for Jesus Christ for what he has done so that a person can really be cleansed from feelings of shame, guilt, confusion, and pain. All is possible through the love of Jesus Christ. I say that because that is what I have seen in my life, and that is what I have seen with Matías.
Then this morning we were able to stop by and get to know his mother, grandmother, and family more. As we began talking with his grandmother and mother they shared with us the changes they have seen in their son/grandson. They expressed their appreciation for the part we had played. I cannot describe how happy and content I felt this morning as I sat in their small room and we all talked and just shared a few moments together. The grandmother took some time to teach my companion and I how to mend our clothing. She taught us how to mend a simple tear, mend the cuff of the pants, and put a button back on. It was a great review from what I remember from my mother´s diligence over the years to teach me these things. The grandmother was surprised when I was able to quickly replicate what she demonstrated.
What an unforgettable moments. People quietly and simply expressing interest and love one for another. I felt very full this morning. And as we gathered to say a prayer before leaving, the mother asked that her son Matías offer it. When he finished, his mother once more was overjoyed and truly happy that her son has developed and is continuing to develop a relationship with his Father in Heaven, with God.
Well the work has its moments when you can pause and look what your meager efforts have done. We have been blessed this week to have several moments like that. See people who have overcome incredible things and are truly happy.

I send my love and my appreciation for your continued support and love.

Elder Brighton 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

We had a good week, working hard. Starting yesterday I started feeling ill and am feeling pretty sick today. Hopefully I can get over it by this evening or at least by tomorrow. We have a lot of work to do. 

I want to make a quick note. I have received your letters my good friends, and am now looking to make the time to reply. It means so much to me to know that you are thinking of me and writing me. Though I get so caught up in the people here, their challenges, questions, struggles, and learning that I often forget all else, know that I too wish you all the very best and will write you back as soon as possible.

As one may well be able to detect from the pattern of my blogs, I am really putting everything into what I am doing here. The moment comes to write and I feel helpless to describe my thoughts, experiences, and feelings in such a short amount of time, in such a concrete way as words. 

So let me say this, I know that God lives. To me that means that He is the most important thing there is, because He, even now, is aware of me, of you, of us, and if we will just believe in Him, everything can change in an instant. All that we see and experience around us is only for a time. One has to come to know for themselves that what they are doing with their life, what they do with their time and efforts, is something that matters. It can matter when we realize that we are preparing ourselves even now to live once more with our Father. 

Though my tired mind is struggling to be coherent in this message, I would invite you to consider what it is you believe in. If you believe in a God, how does that change what you do, what you think, how you treat others? I would argue that one who does not change as a result of a belief (in any idea or concept) does not truly believe. 

I will finish today once more declaring that there is a God, and that He is our Father. This means that He loves us, He loves you. Are we willing to accept His love?

Much love,
Elder Brighton

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,

This week I would like to take a few minutes to talk about two things in particular. First, an experience I had this last week. Serving now as the district leader, I have the opportunity to meet with and talk with each person that makes the decision that they want to be baptized and make the covenant to follow the example that Jesus Christ gave us. It is a special time, when I am able to sit down and we are able to talk about what they have learned, how they have felt, and how they came to know that the message that we share is true. It lifts the spirit of both me and the interviewer and also the person who is able to share their feelings and commit to follow Christ.

This last week I was privileged to interview a mother and her two daughters. They have a pure and powerful testimony of the love of God and of the Restoration of His church. It was a special experience for me, being the first time, and really gave me an extra boost of encouragement and energy.

After leaving the interview I received a call from one of the Elders that has been helping these good women. He said that one of the daughters had requested that I baptize her. What an incredible opportunity (though it came as a bit of a surprise). And so this weekend I was able to get dressed all in white and enter the waters of baptism with Montserrat. It was a very powerful evening and all present were edified by the experience. I could feel the love that the Lord has for these women as they take this important step in their lives and let go of their past, whatever it may have held. And now, with faith and a vision fixed on the promises of the Lord, this family, and all those that have made this sacred covenant with the Lord will press forward, relying on His tender mercies in those difficult times and circumstances.

I also wanted to take a few minutes to address another topic.

This past week Elder U. and I had the opportunity to visit with many people for the first time. In these first visits very often people sense that they can trust us and begin to relate to us their feelings, their challenges, and the things they have suffered in their lives. We always listen carefully, hurting at the pain that so many have suffered. In several occasions we have left with a heart nearly broken, wondering how it could be that one person could have suffered so much. But time after time after time, this suffering and heartache, physical, emotional and spiritual comes from one primary reason. It comes from the infidelity, abandonment, or mistreatment by men. Husbands who decide that their lives would be easier without the burden of their wife and multiple children. Men caught up in the vices of the world, addicted to the lustings of their carnal mind, unwilling to listen to that voice of truth and reason granted to every man and woman.
I must admit I am somewhat unsure of how to communicate how I felt, how I feel after leaving the home of a woman that described a life of loneliness, sacrifice, and pain because a man decided to leave her with 5 children. The faithfulness and love of a mother to her children is the nearest we will ever see or experience in this mortal life to the love that God has for each of us.

A scripture from the Book of Mormon describes the situation so well as to what we have experienced. In his time, a prophet that lived here in the Americas, when teaching his people spoke to the men and called them to repentance. ¨Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.¨
And so I will leave those thoughts there and raise a cry. A cry for men of valor and courage. Men who understand what it means to be a man. For some this will require repentance, a change. For others this will require preparation. For those of my friends young like me with all the future before us, let us prepare ourselves now to be the kind of man and husband that our children will require. Prepare to put the family before the things of the world. Before work and money, before friends and outings. The man that stays at home on Friday evening to be with his wife instead of doing whatever else there is to do out there.
Do I sound a little exasperated, a little desperate? Let me tell you why. There are people suffering, children both young and grown, suffering because there was a man who was not willing to sacrifice. And so the woman and the children take the burden, and so often they break. They are crushed by the burden that was designed to fall on the broad shoulders of a man.

Amongst all this there is a beacon of hope. There are men that are good and loving. Men who have realized their errors and repented in humility, doing all they can to replace and fix the damage they have caused. Let this be a message of encouragement and hope. It is never too late. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can change, we can be forgiven, and we can become the person we always hoped to be. Yes, it truly will take the infinite Atonement of a perfect Jesus Christ to change, to escape the consequences of the present. But I promise that it is possible.

And so I finish today with the plea for men of valor. For men of courage and sacrifice. Not men of the world, we already have enough of those. We do not need more ¨successful men¨. We can see the results in the world today of putting success ahead of family. Today I commit, however far away from you I may be, to be this type of man. I would invite, and plead that you would do the same, my good friends of all ages.

With love and hope,
Elder Brighton

With the ever-present limitations of time, this is completely unedited. But enjoy the rawness and realness of it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,

Last Tuesday I went down into the city to receive my new companion. Elder U. is from Costa Rica. He is an older missionary, 26, and is an accountant. He worked before the mission for a company where he traveled frequently to Panama and Mexico on business. We get along very well and are working harder than ever. His maturity is really helping me to be completely committed to this work. In just this last week we have been able to do so much and meet, help, and teach a large number of people. 

I really feel like this opportunity to work with Elder U., although he has only one week in the field, is an incredible opportunity. We have already developed an open communication where we can express our thoughts, feelings, and opinions. This really allows us to change, improve, and learn from each other. We have a great work to do in this time. 

I think it is pretty interesting. Easily, 85-90% of missionaries are 18-21 years old. But so far, both of my companions here in Mexico have been significantly older. Elder U. learned about the church just 3 years ago, was baptized, and this short time later is serving a mission- leaving behind family, girlfriend of many years, home, and his career. All will be there for him when he returns home, but his desire and willingness to leave it all behind for a time reminds me the importance of this work.

I am doing quite well. I am in a unique position right now, doing my very best to help and teach someone much older and perhaps with much more experience than I. But I know in this calling as trainer and district leader I will be supported and inspired. Your continued prayers on my behalf are felt and appreciated. 

Much love, (little time)

Elder Brighton

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dear family and friends,

I have been somewhat neglegant these last few weeks in regards to the blog. I hope I have not lost too many people. I do have quite a bit of news to share this week.

As I have explained briefly before, every 6 weeks there is the possibility for transfers, or cambios, as we call them here. Having officially completed my ¨training¨ phase of 12 weeks, we knew that it was very likely my companion would be leaving for another area. Last night we received the phone call, and it brought quite a bit of suprise to all of us that have been working together the last three months. There have been six of us working more or less together in this area. We see each other twice a week. The phone call brought news that one companionship would be leaving. So the geographical area I cover has grown considerably. Additionally, I was informed that I will be training! That means that a brand-new missionary will be coming as my companion. It is certainly going to be a time of much learning and growth as I take the role of a trainer, having just yesterday finished my role as trainee. I will be going this evening down into the city to stay the night so as to be there tomorrow to receive the new Elder. It is very likely he will be a native speaker from here in Mexico, but I will not know until tomorrow. 

That news would have been plenty to keep me pondering, but it was not all. I have also been called to serve as the district leader. The district leader is the first point of contact for a missionary in the field. It is somewhat similar to the assignment I fulfilled for a time in the MTC, except that now we are in the field and the concerns and problems are very much more real. A district consists of anywhere between 2 and 4 or 5 companionships. Because of all of the changes here in this area, I do not know for sure who will be in my district here. Needless to say, that came as quite a surprise, especially since there are so many more Elders with much more time and experience in the field here. But I know I will be supported in this assignment. And all of your prayers on my behalf will be greatly appreciated. 

So that is more or less the extent of the big ¨news¨. Lots of changes. For a time my companion and I will live alone, I will have a new missionary to teach and train, I will be serving as a district leader, and our area is considerably larger. But this whale will be conquered and eaten one bite at a time. Beginning today, and tomorrow and the next. Such is the manner of doing hard, or perhaps even impossible things.Break it down into bite sized, possible portions.

I have heard a little bit of news about the hurricane. I hope that all is well and that the people that have lost their homes can find the means to provide for their families in this difficult time.

Since I have a few more minutes today, I want to share a few experiences.

What is it really that we are out here trying to do? We, as missionaries, are called to go out and bring a message of happiness and joy to people. Help them to change their lives by learning the restored gospel that Jesus Christ taught when he was on the earth. Understand how it is that in the same manner that God has called prophets in days past (Moses, Noah, Abraham) to lead the people- to help them understand the purpose of life and what they should do- God has once more called a prophet on the earth again. Our purpose is not to convince anyone of this, but rather to invite them to do what we have done, that is, ask God in prayer the truth. We can trust that the Creator of our bodies and soul can answer a simple question and help us know the truth, whatever it may be.
With that being said, we as missionaries invite all people to simply ask God the truth. We search for those humble enough to have the faith to ask, and to have the conviction and courage to act on the answer they receive.
In this past week I have been able to watch as a life begins to change. I will take the time to give a few details of this extended experience.

One day while waiting for a bus, we noticed a younger man also waiting. When he looked up and saw us, he came up and asked what time it was. We began talking to him and found out that he had lived for a time in the United States. Because time was short, we took down his address and said we would stop by another day. When we went to look for him several days later, I misread the direction and we went looking for #77 instead of 11. Because of this we ended up way down a street we would otherwise never have entered. It was there that we found a young man, clearly heavily affected by a life of drug use. He began talking with us, and we expressed that he could change. In the conversation that followed, in which we testified of the lives that have been changed through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, he expressed his doubt. We invited him to just give it a try and see if it were not true. After another minute or two he wandered off, under the influence of some drug or another. But his friend who had been nearby approached us. We began talking and took down his address to stop by later. We did not think too much of it, although he did appear interested.

When we went by to visit him a few days later we found a man ready to change his life. To be brief in this part, because of some situations that had passed in his life, he was looking for a way to find peace, a way to give up his current lifestyle. Within one week we have already began to see as he has committed to give up drinking, smoking, and any other drug. He came to church on Sunday. He is quite and humble, someone who recognizes that man without God is truly nothing.

I testify that the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives. It allows men the opportunity to repent, that is to have a change of heart. More than just stop doing bad things, but have the true desires to do good things.

Please continue praying for me, I will be needing all the blessings and help I can get, especially these next couple weeks as there are so many new things.

Your faithful friend,
Elder Brighton

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dearest family and friends,

I love you all a lot and am doing quite well. Some moments incredibly difficult. When people you have come to love exercise their agency in a way that damages them and keeps them from coming unto Christ. If this mission were about me and my learning, my progess, my life, it would be perfect. I am learning a lot, growing and changing. I feel right now much like the ancient people who wrote the Book of Mormon. In one instance they write that they worry the people who will read their writings in the future (that would be us today) will mock them because of their weakness in writings. They talk about how they are gifted and strengthened to speak with power, touching the hearts of men, but that their writings are weak. That is how I feel.

It is vain to try to express here in these words how I feel precisely. How could one express the complexities of human emotion. But I know that I am not alone in this thing. Each of you have had experiences that stir and incite memories, feelings, and desires that you would not know how, or even want to express fully.

I encourage each person to take a few minute now to take a moment to ponder where they are. What dreams they have had in their life, and what things they hope yet to accomplish. Share those feelings with your Father in Heaven in prayer. Just talk to Him. Even if you have not before, or it has been a long time.

Though time is incredibly short today because we went downtown for a few hours, a lot of fun but quite a long time spent in travel, know that here I am. Still working, serving, forgetting myself, and loving. 

In conclusion I want to express my love for my family. I am realizing that I am only the product of the love that I was given all my life in my loving home. I would also like to ask all those that are able to look for ways to support my family in small and simple ways. Those good members of the church that live near us, my long time friends, extended family, and all those that read this. I know that the Lord often works through others and know that He will help and bless you as you reach out to others.

With greatest love,

Elder Brighton

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Another week, and like I imagined it would, it flew by. The mission is implementing a new sort of training that includes divisions for 3 days. What this means is that missionaries in positions of leadership go and exchange companions with those that they lead for a number of days. Since my companion is the district leader (a district consists of 2-4 companionships) the zone leaders (a zone consists of 3-4 districts) came and we did divisions with them. So Tuesday through Thursday I was out of my normal area working with another missionary. I learned a lot and really enjoyed seeing how other Elders work and teach. Then when I returned, Elder Sosa, my companion, went on divisions with a companionship in our district. So I was then back in my area, but with another companion. Once again, I enjoyed the time and learned a lot Friday through Sunday. Starting tomorrow Elder Sosa will leave once more and another missionary will becoming with me again. Certainly makes the time pass by rapidly.

I would like to make a list of things that I feel that I have really learned on my mission.

Ironing- despite my mother´s best efforts and multiple intents, I never really ironed before. I may have known how, more or less, but now, each morning I iron my shirt and this last week received a compliment on how nicely my shirt was ironed. What progress!

Shopping- We can get in and out of the store in less than 15 minutes, and that is shopping for the entire week.

Patience- more than just waiting. Being happy while I am waiting for things to happen. Realizing the things I can control and the things I cannot. Focusing on those things that matter most and letting go feelings of anxiety or inadequacy when things that I cannot control go poorly.

Peace through prayer- Out here sometimes there is not someone to talk to. I guess I always have my companion, but there are some feelings that you just cannot express. I have learned and felt what it is like to go to God in weakness, expressing my imperfect emotions, and knowing that He loves me enough to accept me as I am so that He can help me change and grow. I recognize that I have often had fear to express weakness or doubt or concerns in prayer. I tried to always keep them ideal and say and ask for only those things that I knew that I should. But as I pray openly and express the sentiments of my heart, I have found that the Lord helps me to recognize His will, and I can then work out in myself how to put my will in line with His.

I do not think that I can express how important prayer has become to me; to know that God listens, and to receive his guidance through the Holy Ghost. That is, to have thoughts and feelings that I know do not come from myself. This is the way that I know God communicates through us. Feelings of peace, encouragement, love, acceptance, patience, and thoughts that come suddenly and about things I had long forgotten. This is the power of the Holy Ghost.

Were I to exhaust the list of things I have learned in these few short months I would not have time to do the other things necessary on this brief day of preparation. So I will leave it at that and happily await your letters so as to have meaningful and personal communication with you my good family and friends. I wish you all the best and ask once more for your prayers of support.

Much love,
Elder Brighton

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Firstly, a quick note to say that this last week I received mail! So many of the letters that you have sent me over the last weeks (and months) arrived. I spent a good amount of time today responding to them. If it takes a while to get to you, know that I want to take my time to give good and hardy replies to everyone. Thank you so much for your support through your letters. It is a great uplifting experience to get your letters.

This last week has passed rapidly and I suspect the following will as well. We have been working hard and for me, I am really learning what it means to have faith and patience. This work is one of humility and love. We go out and try to talk to anyone that will just listen. Invite them to learn, to put in practice the things that Jesus taught, that is love, obedience, faith, repentance, things that will in reality change lives for the better. But, in the end, the choice is out of our hands. And so we take comfort in that we are not alone in this work; this work of salvation.

This past weekend was General Conference. I had meant to mention it last week so that I could invite you all to view it live. But it is okay. It is all still available online to watch now. General Conference is the opportunity we have every six months to listen to the Prophet and the Apostles. They are men, like we read about in the Bible, called of God to lead and direct the church in these days. They receive revelation about situations, trends, and things we should be aware of. In recent years they have focused especially on the importance of family and doing all we can to strengthen our homes and children from the many sources that are doing all they can to degrade families. This last weekend was a wonderful opportunity to hear men truly inspired of God and know what it is God would have us do in these days to be happy.

I would invite all to go to and take a few minutes to watch some of conference. If they do the same as they did last year, there will be a short video with clips from several of the different talks. Though all were wonderful, a couple that stick out in my mind right now is a talk by Russell M. Nelson. He talks about missionaries and what it is they do. It was given in the Saturday morning session. The other that sticks out is one by David A. Bednar from the Sunday afternoon session. I hope you can find a few minutes to listen to these inspired messages. Let me know what you thought!

One of the exciting announcements from the Conference is that the required age for missionary service has been lowered. As of now, a young man who has graduated from high school and is 18 years old can leave to begin his mission. Likewise, a young woman can now leave at the age of 19. This is very exciting and truly inspired. As the Prophet noted in his announcement, with things as they are in our times, youth are forced to grow up a little faster. The maturity required to live worthily at the age of 18 ensures that that young man will be prepared to leave and serve a mission. It will be exciting to see over the next months as younger missionaries arrive in the field. I am particularly interested in what it must be like to go from thinking you have a year or two to wait until you are eligible to suddenly being able to leave. How exciting!

I hope you are doing great my friend. I think of you and pray for you frequently. Keep on praying for me, I need it. This time I have to serve is short. Before we know it we will all be together again. Keep striving to make the most of everyday.

With much love,
Elder Brighton

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dear Friends and Family,

This week I will rely on the fact that a picture is worth a thousand words. Hopefully my family is able to upload a number of the pictures that I sent them this afternoon.(Look on the photo tab) This morning my companion and I went on a small hike to a nearby gully sort of thing. We greatly enjoyed the scenery and were able to watch as the sun came up over the valley. I hope you are able to enjoy the photos, even if they are not of the greatest quality.

Upon arriving at the sort of waterfall, we had our studies there in the open. We read together of a group of missionaries that likely walked these same sorts of terrain a couple thousand years ago, doing the same work that we are doing today. Their history is recorded in the Book of Mormon. They were the sons of a King, Mosiah, and they left everything behind to take the message of Jesus Christ to a people that they did not know. As the passage describes some of their difficulties and trials, it strengthens me to know that I am not the first to embark in this type of work. And as they eventually found comfort in the Lord and success in the work. I too am comforted and inspired. It was a meaningful morning and I hope that you are able to feel a part of it with me. For anyone interested, the story of those men can be found in Alma, chapter 17. It can be accessed easily from Just search in the search bar. Let me know what you think about them, their attitude toward the work, and the results that came of their sacrifice.

I am thinking especially of Alicia today and this week as she begins her mission, entering the training center Wednesday. In the future, once I know what it is, I can post a link to her blog so that anyone interested can read along with her experiences and adventures as well.(Link is on side bar) Although hers will undoubtedly be more exciting and of a higher quality, I ask that you continue to read along with mine as well.
Much love,
Elder Brighton

Monday, September 24, 2012

My dearest family and friends,

First, my apologies for missing last week. I will do my utmost not to allow this to become a habit. Speaking of which, that is what I have been thinking about a lot this week and would like to talk a little about today. Habits.
But first, how are you? When was the last time you took a few minutes to ask yourself that and think about where you are and where you would like to be (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually).
As another note, I received mail this last week and was very happy to receive the card from my extended Brighton family. Thank you all for your expressions of love and support. Odd that it took so very long for it to find its way down here, but very glad to have received it at last. I also received a number of other letters to which I will respond very soon. They were all dated from June and July, but I have confidence that the letters sent more recently will arrive soon. Along these lines, a quick note about the dearelder service. Awesome, and I encourage its use if it is easier for you. The one thing they do not do is date the letter, so if you do not mind including the date at the beginning of your letter as is customary, that would be awesome so that I have a sense of time. Thanks a bunch!
Now as to what I have been thinking about this last week. Habits.
As I have been pondering how I can become the type of person, the type of missionary and servant of the Lord that I want to be I have been impressed by the importance of habits. I think there is some sort of saying that we are the product of our habits or of our actions. Those things that we repeatedly think, we repeatedly do. And those things we repeatedly do, well, that is pretty much who we are. And at the least, it is who we appear to be. Though good intentions are … good, without an action to follow, they are lost in the land of almost, and could have been.  Not a place we want to find ourselves.
And so I have began a study of my habits. The things I find myself doing with the time I have been given. For example, we arrive home most evenings at 9:30 or so, plan for 30 minutes and then have 30 minutes before we retire to bed. What do I do with those 30 minutes? The answer I found is usually think about food and pitter in the kitchen eating and making food. Sure, this might fall somewhere in the ´´acceptable´´ to ´´good´´ category. But what would be ideal. For my part, I think writing in my journal, studying the scriptures, or writing in and cleaning up the records we keep for the area in which we work would be ideal. And so, because I want to have the habit of doing these things, I have realized that I have to start doing them. By making the conscious decision the first 40 or 60 times, it will eventually become a habit, and it will be a great one instead of just letting what comes naturally take control. And at the end of the day, I am going to have a habit either way, so may as well make it a great habit.
And so my thoughts have been along these lines this week. Taking note of those small decisions I make throughout the day and seeing if there is a little tweak I can make, so that in a couple of months I can examine my habits and find that they have become excellent.
This same principle applies in all aspects of life. We all want to be that person of our dreams. Doing the things we always hoped we could do. I am starting to believe the way we do that is though habits and through goals. Perhaps set goals to develop habits. How about that? J
I believe that those people that we admire, that do something consistently or ´´excellently´´ were also once where we are now. They had the desire to do something, to become something, and so they began to do it. And then one day, it became natural.
So my invitation for myself, that I will also extend to all of you my good friends and family is to examine our habits. See where we are at, how we pass this precious time that we have been give, and begin to make the conscious decision to develop the habits we want to have. I think some key times may be the first 30 minutes of the morning, the final 30 and those areas during the day when we have more control over our own time. In everything we do, we have a habitual way of doing it. The way we walk from one class to the next, the way we greet our friends, the way we spend that 25 minutes in between one class or activity and the next. What is that habit we have? Ideally, what would we prefer that habit to be? Do it!
That is all that I have to say about that I think. Goals and habits, I sure to love them.
I ran into a scripture this morning that I wanted to share. I feel that is explains well what it is that I feel as a missionary. It is found in the Book of Mormon, written by a prophet that lived about 550 years before the life of Christ here in the American continent. He also strove to teach and help the people of his time to come and learn of Jesus Christ and develop their own personal relationship with Him.
Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest.
And also I found this strongly worded passage that follows closely behind.
Behold, will ye reject these words? Will ye reject the words of the prophets; and will ye reject all the words which have been spoken concerning Christ, after so many have spoken concerning him; and deny the good word of Christ, and the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and quench the Holy Spirit, and make a mock of the great plan of redemption, which hath been laid for you?
 Know ye not that if ye will do these things, that the power of the redemption and the resurrection, which is in Christ, will bring you to stand with shame and awful guilt before the bar of God?
O be wise; what can I say more?
That one there is for anyone who likes their medicine a little stronger.  
I feel to include here a quick note to invite anyone with questions or curiosity to visit There you can find all kinds of answers to questions you have, and questions you did not know you had. J The best part is you do not have to ask anyone if you don’t want to and you can do it on your own time.
Well I am doing quite well. As I described it recently to the Mission President here, my skills with the language are really improving. I am able to undertstand almost everything. I described it in this way.
 ¨I am getting to the point where I can open up more in the language and share experiences, stories, and thoughts. As far as my raw language skills go, I am at the point where I can understand what people say. The only time I do not understand is when they use words that I do not know. In other words, I am beginning to recognize those words, phrases, and instances when I do not understand because I can understand the rest. Patches of darkness in light as opposed to the other way around as it may have been at the beginning.¨
Really doing well and hoping the same for all of you. When you find a spare minute, I would love to hear from you. Truly, it is great to receive your letters and see how everything is going for you.

With much animo and love,
Elder Brighton

Monday, September 10, 2012

Just a note to anyone who may have written, he said mail came last week from the mission office and there was nothing for him so your letters won't get to him for probably another 4 weeks or so. Keep writing, he'll get them.
Dear family and friends,

Another great week in Mexico! A lot of hard work of course, but wouldn´t have it any other way.

For some reason today I do not know so much what to share in regards to the events that have passed this week, and so I will share an idea. Just a quick thought on the subject of prayer. What is it and why should we pray?

First why.

We are literally the children of God. You are the child of our Father in Heaven. And just like your parents on the earth like to hear from you and know what is going on, our Father in Heaven wants to hear from us. How are we doing, what are we feeling, what questions do we have and what do we want help with.

What is a prayer. It is a comunication with God. It goes two ways if we take the time to wait and listen for an answer. After praying, if we want an answer, we need to take a minute to stay still, quiet and allow God to communicate to us by the power of the Holy Ghost through our thoughts and feelings. We are likely not going to hear a voice, but I promise that you will have distinct thoughts and impressions that you will recognize did not come from your own mind. 

I would love to invite you to say a quick prayer, if nothing else, for me. I can use all the help and prayers I can get here. Still working hard to learn the language, the culture, and let go of myself and my desires and needs and just focus on the people around me. So a quick prayer from you would be awesome. We can both benefit.

Praying is simple and easy. Just remember that you are talking to someone who loves you and wants to hear from you.
Start by adressing your Father in Heaven (¨Dear Heavenly Father¨ for example)

Give Him thanks for the things you have in your life (family, friends, health, food, etc...)

Ask Him for things that you need or want 

Close ¨In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.¨

Really the most important part is to be sincere. Talk, and then when you finish your prayer, take a minute to be still and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings.

I wanted to share this today because I have seen incredible blessings this week from prayer. I know that there is in fact a God and that He lives and is involved in the world today. He is waiting for all of us to reach out to Him. We do that through prayer.

And so these are my thoughts for the week.

To anyone fearing that this blog will become a weekly sermon, I would give you a word of comfort. I promise to keep this blog completely genuine. What I am feeling I will share. I imagine that will usually be exciting or unusual events from the week. The promise holds true, write to me, and you will get a letter back!

I will in turn be praying for all of you and hoping to hear from you soon.

Much love,
Elder Brighton