Monday, July 16, 2012

Hello Family and Friends,

Well it wouldn't be another week in the mission without more craziness. I'll backtrack in a minute, but first, Thursday morning I got a phone call. They told me a missionary was having to go home for surgery and that I would be moving to take his spot. So a few hours later, after gathering my things together, I was in the van again, this time headed for (almost) Downtown Dallas. So yeah, I am once again in a new area. My new address is

Elder Eric Brighton
3443 Mahanna St. #1311
Dallas, TX 75209

So as far as mail goes, anything sent to the MTC address, Mission office address, or the Irving address has not made it to me yet. I do anticipate getting it this Thursday though when we have a meeting. It should be delivered to me at that time. So if I've been slow to respond, I am sorry and you can expect an answer next week sometime. Thanks a bunch.

So last week was great. While I was still in Irving we got to work hard finding people, teaching, and serving. Things were really looking good there. The Elders there work hard and talk to lots of people.

By Thursday afternoon I was moved into the new place near downtown Dallas. I am now serving in a Bilingual ward (congregation). Our main priority here is to find those members who are struggling and help them to make it back out to church. This ward is very diverse. Our ward covers University Park and Highland Park which I was told are among the richest zipcodes in the US, along with areas where the members work hard to put food on the table. 

It really is an inspiring thing to see everyone come on Sunday and sit and talk with each other. No divisions, even with the language barrier. CEO's of companies bring their children and they all go to the same classes and share this experience of worshiping God together. Last night a family from the ward invited us over to dinner (we eat with people in their homes most nights of the week). The father of the family, it turns out, is the CEO of Chuckie Cheese, and the family is quite wealthy. Their house was huge and well furnished. As we sit and eat with the family though, they are super down to earth and friendly. No "gap" or sense of difference, even as we sit in a home worth millions of dollars. It was a good experience to see how it is possible to stay connected with reality no matter where life takes you. Either end of the spectrum. 

Another fun fact. The area I am in now has a car. For a few more days at least. The last Elder that was here could not ride a bicycle, so for now we still have the vehicle. It is very nice to be able to zip across to our next appointment, and I sweat a lot less. But all is well. Soon enough we will be back on the bicycle. 

On Sunday I got the chance to translate one of the meetings. The last hour of church is when the men, women, youth, and children each meet separately to focus on their specific needs. So I got to take turns translating all the talking into Spanish for one of the men that attended. It was definitely challenging to keep up, and I was not able to get every word by any means, but it was a lot of fun to just put yourself out there and do your best. No time to think and correct and conjugate, so I just did it on the fly. I felt a real sense of accomplishment and got a little boost of confidence to know that I could do it well enough that he understood what was going on. I won't get opportunities exactly like that down in Mexico probably, so it is cool to do it now. 

Hopefully I can take a few minutes here and send some pictures home. I'll leave it to my family to figure out how to get them on the blog. Hopefully a few of them will make it up. If not, I probably couldn't figure out how to get them home. 

Can't wait to hear from all of you. I must say, there is nothing like coming home from a long, difficult, day of talking, teaching, and pushing myself to my capacities and finding a letter in the mailbox. Such a great way to end the day. So any quick note you want to send is very well received. I look forward to hear about the adventures you are also having this summer and welcome your support and advice.

Best wishes,
Elder Brighton

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