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

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear Family and faithful friends,

How are all of you? I hope that the adjustment to this new school year is going well and that you are becoming comfortable with all the newness that each year must surely bring. I know that I am certainly adjusting to my share of newness here. Having completed now the third week here, somethings are beginning to feel familiar, so that certainly helps. The week went by pretty quickly this week. 

This week I was finally able to convice the Elders that live with me to take turns running with me in the morning. They rotate days and we go for a comfortable little 12-15 minute run. I have enjoyed it immensely. 

With the short time that I have I´ll tell a few experiences that I have had and enjoyed in my time so far. We have visited with and helped a family from the church here a couple of times. The most recent, as we were leaving, the father offered to give us a ride to our next appointment. They live on the top of a big hill with some bumpy roads that wind down over a couple miles to the main highway. He has a small dune-buggy sort of car, like a big go-cart, that they use to get around. We hopped in and sat in the back. He drove it out of his driveway, out onto the dirt road, and then turned off the engine and cruised down the hill. There were flat spots where we doubted we would make it, but sure enough, it would creep to the edge of the next drop and we would go zooming down again. It felt very much like a roller coaster.

Over the course of the last two weeks, two of the important local leaders have been released and new leaders have been called. The bishop of our ward, the man over the local congregations who makes sure that every memeber in the area has their temporal and spiritual needs met, was released after a number of years of service and another man from the congregation was called. This is a normal process. Each position in the church is voluntary and unpaid. Leaders seek inspiration for those that can serve in each and every capacity and call men and women to fulfill the many responsibilities. The position of Bishop is a particularly heavy and important one. Additionally, just yesterday the Stake President was also given a release after 7 and a half years of service in the position, a very long amount of time. In his place was called another humble man, a follower of Christ who has a heavy burden, but will be supported and blessed by the Lord for his selfless service to come. His responsibility is to look over several congregations in the area and ensure that the Bishops have the resources and support to provide all that is necessary for the members in the wards. 

That is a little bit about the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Each member of the congregation has a calling, an assignment from the Lord to serve in some capacity in the church. Each position is voluntary and requires sacrifice so that through loving service rendered by each member, all are edified and uplifted. Sure would love to answer any more questions you have.

To conclude I want to share a few of my goals for the coming week so that you all can hold me accountable. I will do my best to give a report on how it went next week.

Smile more! I am finding that many see me already as the "serious" missionary. I do not mind that at all, but I really want to make sure that people can see how much I love them. So I will be sure to be seriously happy. :)

Serve someone I live with each day. Serving always helps us be happier right?

Develop strong relationships with more of the members of this area and ward. Learn to love and be loved.

Well I hope to hear from you all soon. Letters are great, dearelder is great, pictures are wonderful, really any form of communication is the best. Thanks for your support!

Elder Brighton