Saturday, June 30, 2012

Week 2-3ish

Hello all!
Another crazy week has gone by. Wouldn't be a week at the MTC without a bunch of unexpected events right? So last time I went chronological, which didn't end up working out because I didn't get to cover the most important things as thoroughly as I wanted. So sorry, but this is going to be completely out of order this time.
Last week, beginning the 23rd or 24th was the Mission President Seminar. So for every mission in the world there is a couple called and asked to serve as the Mission President of that area. They leave everything behind for 3 years, (jobs, extended family, friends, everything) and move to an area they have never been before and often learn a new language. If it is a younger family, the children come along as well. It is a great sacrifice, but a tremendous opportunity to serve as well. Mission presidents and their families are always top notch. So the seminar that was taking place was a little less than a week. During that time, any Mission Presidents that have been called and are beginning the 1st of July (so approximately 1/3rd of all missions have new mission Presidents) come to the MTC to receive training. Everything is a little different around the MTC during this time as there are many more people on campus and more rooms are occupied by them.
Anyway, on the final day of their training they had a general meeting in the evening to send them on their way. The missionaries were also invited to attend. At that meeting, 10 of the 12 Apostles were present, and one of them, Elder L. Tom Perry gave the talk. It was a powerful meeting. Just being in the room with men who have dedicated their lives completely to the work of God and who live so fully the teachings of Christ was incredible. In addition, one of my heroes, Elaine S. Dalton, a woman who has served in a couple callings as a general Young Women's leader for the church was there. I noticed her in the audience as the meeting ended and people were leaving. What an incredible opportunity to see so many powerful witnesses of Christ. In the interest of time, I'll ask Alex, my younger brother, to write a short blog post about Prophets and Apostles and the role they play, anciently and present day. Just a quick little note with some more information.
Along with that experience, something else happened the next day that was incredibly powerful for me. As we were coming back from gym time, many cars were leaving the MTC because the seminar had just officially ended. As we were standing at the light waiting to cross to come back in, we looked over and saw Elder Dallin H. Oaks leaving the MTC. In my journal I wrote the following:
"On the way back from the fields today we saw Elder Oaks leaving in his car. I was impressed by the fact that:
1. He was driving his own car with his wife next to him.
2. His car was a Toyota.
3. He stopped and rolled down his window and waved.
I don't think any of those things should be taken for granted!"
It was powerful to see this man, a leader of almost 15 million church members worldwide, and serving in the position as an Apostle, drove himself around, had a very moderate car, and took the time to say hello to a bunch of young and wiry missionaries. No limos, no escorts, nothing fancy for a man with the power to truly change the world. It strengthened my understanding of what it means to be in a leadership position and how that is a responsibility and not a position of power. I will not forget that experience.
Okay, so my temporary assignment. Somehow there was a miscommunication and my name was not submitted for a reassignment. The other members of my district all received theirs, they are going to Las Vegas, but I will be here for an extra week. Must mean I have more to learn. So I will be staying behind for one more week. My companion will be Elder Ward, a recent convert from North Carolina. We get along great and I am looking forward to working hard this last week. With him I know we can crack down and really work hard. I won't have to worry about if my companion is happy because I know he is here for the same reason I am, to work and improve and grow. So sorry, one more week before I can relay any big news.
There have been huge fires up in the canyons and I guess all across the state. One day it was so bad the sky was dark and it rained ash most of the day. The water smelled like fire the next day showering and so the whole campus smelled like a campout. Someone commented that it felt like Scout Camp all over again with so many young men around. The difference was the white shirt and ties.
While the mission presidents were here I got to sit down and meet with mine. He and his wife were just called, so they will be starting about the same time as me. It will be nice to have the same President for the whole time I am there. His name is President Wagner. He and his wife are plenty nice and really committed to this work. He seems to be someone who really believes in obedience and hard work, which is great for me. It will be easy to please him and hold myself and others to high standards when that is what is expected of us. I look forward to getting down there and getting to work. It is going to be great.
My Spanish is coming along. Next week I hope to use it almost all the time when it is just Elder Ward and me left. I have so much to learn, but I am almost always able to find a way to communicate my thoughts and feelings now. I know it will be completely different once I get to Mexico with more native speakers, but since I am in the advanced district, many of our district members are native speakers. It has been great to already begin to hear how the language will actually sound.
I just wanted to write this quick line and ask Alicia or my mom if they can figure out how to link this to my profile. is a really cool website that has a lot of information about what it is I'm doing out here and what it is we believe. I made a little profile before I left and there are some really cool stories on there. So if you guys could figure out how to link this to my PROFILE that would be awesome. And everyone, write me your questions. That's what I'm out here to do, answer them. Thanks.
Just looking through my journal for the week I came across a note I had written to myself during one meeting or another. I wrote "Anyone can goof off, I'm going to be a real missionary." It has been a very interesting transition as I try to leave behind my concerns of myself and my home and devote myself first to learning, and soon to loving, sharing, and teaching. My biggest challenge right now is finding out how to work with companions effectively and getting us all on the same page so that we feel comfortable asking each other to do hard things. To study a little harder, to concentrate a little more, to work more efficiently. It is a tremendous lesson that I know will serve me well if I can ever figure it out. If any of you have experience working with your friends or co-workers and think you could offer some advice on how to encourage others without alienating yourself from them, I would love to hear your advice.
I really appreciate all of your support. I'll just re-emphasize that the best thing that you can give me now is your letters and your words of support. I really am doing quite well and have felt the support of you and of my Father in Heaven. I am grateful for this opportunity to serve and refuse to have any regrets at the end of it all.
If you write me a letter, I'll promise you a letter in return as soon as I can. The way it works as a missionary is that I get about 2/3rds of a day each week for personal time. Laundry and writing and eventually grocery shopping dominate most of the time. Here, Elders often sleep, but since time is the most precious of all the resources I have right now, I find other ways to spend it. So if you shoot me a letter (DearElder is great, and free!) be looking for a response a few days after my P-day (which is usually on Fridays here and will probably be Monday in the mission field). If I am not able to write that week, give me one more week.
You all are the best. Thanks for the support you are lending me and especially the help you are giving my family. I have heard already of things many of you have been able to do for my family while I am away and for that I am forever grateful. It is so comforting to know that the Lord is blessing my family through your service as I strive to fulfill my calling far away from them.
Thank you for your love and support.
Elder Eric Brighton

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Address Change

With the change of district came a change of  box number at the MTC.  It is box 237 for his remain week in the MTC.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sending Letters to Elder Brighton

If you would like to get a letter to Elder Brighton quickly and at no cost, go to and create an account. If you write a letter before noon his time, it will be printed, stuffed, and delivered later that afternoon. This works really well for the MTC mail.  Once he is out of the MTC and in Mexico you can still use it to send letters for free but they will not be delivered as quickly. I encourage you to check it out. Thank you for your support and friendship. -Rebecca Brighton

Week One (and a half) in the Missionary Training Center, Provo, UT

Hello All!
I've made it through my first week here at the MTC. All is well and I'm doing great. So much has happened and it has been a little crazy. But I'll start from the beginning.
I left Houston on Monday in the afternoon, bid my mother and sisters goodbye at the airport (my younger brothers had left for scout camp the previous Saturday) and got on a plane to Utah. The flight was uneventful. I arrived in Salt Lake that evening around 7:30 and was picked up by my aunt Janet and uncle Bart. I stayed with them Monday night. While I was there it was so nice to get to sit and talk with them as well as my grandma, uncle Allen, and aunt Marlene. I very much enjoyed that time with my extended family. The next day we were able to go to the Salt Lake temple in the middle of the day. It was a great experience. That afternoon I got my stuff together and went to David and Karee. It is always great to spend time with their family, especially the younger cousins. They showed me their impressive garden in their backyard. Everything there was great and I was glad to have that time with my family before I was to report the following day.
Later that evening they drove me into Provo where I met up with Blake Scoresby. He served his mission in Houston and just got home a couple of months earlier. While he was in Houston I got to spend some time going out and working with him. It was good to see him again and talk.
As a quick side note, I have only 30 minutes a week to email, so I'll pick up the pace a little now and get to the MTC parts.
So I arrived at the MTC around 11:30 last Wednesday. I must say, the first couple of days were so long. After the second day I could not believe it had been only a day and a half. So the first day we got moving quickly. I met my companion, Elder Payne from northern Utah and my roommates, Elder Fortney and Elder Mills. All of us are headed to Guadalajara, so it was neat to be in the same room and start getting to know each other.
Everything moved along, though slowly, and we made it to Tuesday night. That night we had a meeting with the Branch Presidency, the men called to be our ecclesiastical leaders while we are in the MTC. They make sure we are doing all right and serve in a similar role as bishop and his counselors. That evening they interviewed each of us to see how we are doing. After the interviews they came back in and made some assignments. Each companionship has a junior companion and a senior companion. I was assigned as junior companion. Then they extended the call for me to serve as the district leader. As district leader I would be responsible for the 10 Elders in our district. I had to make sure we followed the schedule, made and stuck with goals, and look out for the needs of each missionary. It was a humbling call. And over the next couple of days I would grow and learn a lot as I tried to help not just myself, but 9 other 19 year old young men adjust to a lifestyle and schedule that is incredibly demanding.
Regarding the schedule. Each morning begins at 6:30 (my companion and I always get up at 6 to get more done) and goes until 10:30. Each minute is scheduled. We are either in class, studying in the classroom, eating, exercising, or teaching for 16 hours each day. It has been a bit of an adjustment, even with the rigorous schedule I am used to.
Okay, so with just a few  minutes left I've got to get going here.
When I arrived I was in the beginning level Spanish class. Most of the Elders there knew little or no Spanish. It was a little stressful to be there and know that I could understand and speak better than the others because I was anxious to learn and wasn't really. But after about 4 days I was settled in a little and had become a big help to the district. I was able to answer questions and help with phrasing and pronunciation. But then, I was called down by some leadership and asked to move districts. They spoke with me on Saturday and set up an appointment to speak with someone else the following Monday. So the weekend was interesting knowing I might not be in the district for much longer.
So Monday came and sure enough, they asked me to move. I am now in the advanced district. What that means is that instead of being here in the MTC for 9 weeks, I am here for only 3. So by now, I have only a week and a half left to go. It is crazy! I have a lot to learn, but my Spanish is coming along nicely. I can understand well and have been able to teach quite a bit. At this point I need to focus on the different tenses and expanding my vocabulary. It is going well and I make a conscious effort to stay positive and happy. That has served me well.
The food here is great. It is as much as you can eat, so I try to find a good balance. We exercise for an hour each day, and that is a huge blessing.
Ah, about the leaving in a week and a half. If my VISA doesn't come through in time, I may be temporarily assigned to a mission in the states until it comes through.
When I was first moved into the advanced district, I was in a trio with Elder Baker and Elder Jarvis. Elder Jarvis is also going to Guadalajara. So I've been really lucky to meet a few folks heading to the same mission. Just yesterday someone else was moved up to the advanced district, so my new companion is Elder Rasmussen. We seem very similar and I think we are going to get along very well.
Well I'm out of time, but let me make a few final comments.
I would love to hear from all of you! Anyone thinking of sending anything, I'll tell you honestly, more than anything I would just love to get a letter telling me how you are doing and how things are for you. Since I can't write very much in these short 30 minutes, I will be able to hand write responses to the letters I receive.
My time is up. I have more to share, but I'll await your letters and questions and I look forward to telling you more about all that is going on here. I know this is a rather general overview of everything that has happened.
Know that I am well and very happy. It is crazy and hard, no doubt, but I am growing and learning a lot.
With love,
Elder Brighton

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Contact Information and Mailing Instructions

For the first month or two I will be in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah. While I am there, my mailing address will be:

Elder Eric Brighton
MTC Mailbox # 252
MEX-GUA 0813
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

There are some pretty specific instructions on the best way to get letters to me, so I'll copy the information I was given straight out of my packet.


Letter Mailing Instructions:

Tell your family and friends to send letters to the mission office until you can notify them of the address of your first assignment in the mission field:

Elder Eric Brighton
Mexico Guadalajara Mission
Apartado Postal 51-74
Colonia Las Aguilas
45081 Zapopan , Jalisco

Packages can be sent to:

Elder Eric Brighton
Mexico Guadalajara Mission
Volcan Vesuvio #5106
Col. El Colli
45072 Zapopan, Jalisco
Phone 52 333-125-2278

If your family ships a package with a private courier, they will need the mission office telephone number indicated above.

Merchandise: Clothing, food products, and merchandise should be sent direct to the mission office address. However, clothing or other dutiable merchandise often does not reach its intended destination or, if it does arrive, may be subject to customs duties that the missionary will not be prepared to pay. Small packages of nominal value may be sent through the United States Postal Service. Photographs and tapes may be included in these packages. Merchandise sent through a commercial mail carrier is extremely expensive and may be subject to customs duties, but this is the best way to send credit or debit cards.

Pouch mail instructions: The Church provides pouch mail service to your mission. Items sent by pouch mail use the USPS from your location to Church headquarters, where they are forwarded to the missionary by a private courier along with other Church mail. Pouch mail leaves Church headquarters each Friday. Items received after the pouch has been sent will be held for the next week. Only postcards or one-page correspondences (no envelopes) written on one side of the page may be sent through the pouch. Notebook or other light-weight paper will not process through the USPS machines. Photographs are not acceptable.

You may invite your family and friends to use pouch mail. Items not complying with the following instructions will be returned to the sender or discarded, if the complete return address is not included.

Letter folding instructions: Lay the letter blank side down. Fold the bottom of the letter about one third of the way up the page and crease. Fold the top of the letter to the bottom of the first fold and crease. Secure the long side with two pieces of tape about one inch in from each end, but do not seal the ends. In the top left corner write your name and complete return address. Affix first class postage in the top right corner. In the middle write the missionary address as follows:

Eric Brighton

Mexico Guadalajara Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City UT 84130-0150


Well that's pretty much it for contact information. I will keep my mother informed with my current address and she'll post updates.

I hope to hear from you!

With a Smile

After nineteen (and a half) years of waiting, the time has finally come. I will be leaving on my mission tomorrow. I wanted to take the time to set up this blog and get things in order so that I can stay in touch with all of you, my family and friends. I appreciate your support so much and look forward to hearing from you individually as you find the time to write me.

So in this introduction to the blog and to my mission in general let me see if I can explain and explore a few ideas. 

First, the title "Elder". To get to this webpage and if you looked at my mailing address you no doubt noticed that I now carry the title of Elder Brighton. This title is one given to all missionaries serving throughout the world. It is a term that distinguishes those serving and sets them apart as they devote all of their time and efforts to their missionary work. So when I meet with people for the next two years I will be known simply as Elder Brighton. It is an honor to carry this title.

And how about the title of this blog, "With all the Energy of Heart". There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon that has impressed me each time I have read it. It is found towards the end, in Moroni chapter 7 verses 47-48. It says,

"47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

 48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."

As I thought about what I wanted to title this blog, this scripture came to mind. It helps to explain what it is that I will really be doing for the next two years. As I labor with "all the energy of heart", leaving behind many common comforts and communications, I know I will be able to give my very best effort and accomplish all that I need to. While I will be putting on hold much of my own personal life, I will be happy serving others and focusing on their own needs. I cannot yet know all the details of what to expect, but I am ready and prepared to do what is necessary to be an instrument to bring happiness to others. It is a privilege to be asked to serve in this way.

And so as I leave, I will be setting aside many things. I will be focusing all of my energy, thoughts, and time on the work that is to be done. I do look forward to hearing how everyone back home is doing and I will do my very best to stay in touch. As I write home to my family each week I will ask my mother to post portions of my letter to this blog so I can keep up with everyone. But if you like, please do write me a letter. Let me know how you are doing and also ask me any questions you have about what I'm doing. I'm sure I will have plenty of stories to tell. I look forward to your letters.

There is a great webpage that has been put together to explain why missionaries go out at all. The short video does a good job explaining very real reasons for sending young men and women out across the world to teach others and invite them to learn of and come to Jesus Christ. 

While there is so much more to say, and surely so many more questions to answer, I will await your letters and my own increased understanding and experience to address them.

Thank you all so much for your love and support over these many years. We are all, in part, a product of our associations over the years, and I am happy to think back on my many friendships that have developed. I cherish my old and new friends and hope to keep these links strong. I truly do feel that I stand on a strong and sturdy foundation of support and friendship as I embark. It is a blessing not everyone enjoys as they leave. To my friends from the Church, I cannot fully express my appreciation for all that you have taught me and the love you have shown both me and my family. It has been a great strength to us in times of trouble. And to my friends from work, school, and everywhere else, I am especially grateful for you. I feel strengthened having received all of your well-wishes and prayers as I leave to serve. I thank you for support as I do this work in another place. You are all the best. And so tomorrow, I will be able to leave happily, and with a smile.

With love and appreciation,
Eric Brighton