Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Today was a great day!

We share a porch area with our next door neighbor and we found out this week that he has a washer! And so this morning he let us borrow it. The three hours that we have been spending each week on washing our clothes each week was eliminated! We just throw it in there with the soap and it comes out clean. Almost something I had forgotten about. And he is going to let us use it each week, what a blessing!

Then, a family we are teaching has some land with a ton of fruit trees, We were able to go and pick lots of mangos, guayabanas, carambolas, and niches. Lots of fruit that I have come to love in my time here in Vallarta.

Things are going well here. Had a lot of really important moments this week. Divisons with several district leaders, meetings with the Stake Presidency, interviews with the President. Most of the week I was pretty sick, but got some medicine this weekend and am doing better now. 

Enjoying things and working hard. 

Elder Brighton

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dear family and friends,

Trying to do better about writing more. I am doing very well and loving it here in Vallarta. The weather is just like Houston, so that means a lot of sweating and if I thought I was dark before, I am definitly finding my native american roots (and skin tones). 

We are doing well and working closely with many people here. Both members, those that have strayed from the path, and those that have yet to find it. Our area and companionship is doing well. We are almost entirely focused in one neighborhood/pueblito and so it is a big change from the monstrous area in Auditorio. But we had an incredible expereince that I will never forget this week. An older sister who had not attended a church meeting in over 20 years (when they still met in the homes of members) open her doors to us and after teaching the restoration where the Spirit was present and strong, and after following up on the Book of Mormon and her reading, she accepted the invitation to attend Sunday. The service was incredible and the Spirit abound. She was able to be with her grandson who was baptized recently. When she introduced herself in Gospel Principles she stood to say, I am Sister Guadalupe, I not been able to come for many many years, but thanks to these good young men I am back again. It brought a feeling more powerful than the majority of the baptsimal services I have attended. Upon leaving after the services concluded, she expressed that she wants all of her family to be there with her and that she will be back. She is a strong and well learned woman and plays the role of a matriarch in a large extended family that all live in the same little neighborhood. We look forward to working with her and her family knowing the joy that is well within reach as she shares her newfound testimony with her loved ones.

Personally I am happy. We now live 5 blocks from a little park. We go in the morning and run now several times a week. It felt so good this week to put on my old Nikes that I brought with me from Rice and go for a brief 15 minute run. Though I am nothing like I was before, I was pleased to find I had not lost all condition and hope. If only we had more time in the mornings to dedicate to exercise! But all is well, staying focused on why I am here. But it sure did feel good to open up the stride a little the last 6 minutes or so. Hope to make it a habit. The path goes around 3 open soccer fields and is just under a half mile (by my rough pace calculations).

Hope everyone is doing great and enjoying their summer. I am well, happy, and working and praying hard. 

With love,
Elder Brighton

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dearest family and friends,

After an incredible 11 months in Zapopan, last Monday I received my reassignment to a new area in Ixtapa. It is in Vallarta, touching the southern border of the state of Nayarit.

There are very few times in life that we have the opportunity to begin anew, completely fresh. No expectations from anyone, the chance to be exactly who you always wanted to be. A few of those times might be when we leave the house for the first time for college. Another if we travel for a summer. And perhaps when we begin a new life as a married person. These opportunities are special and rare. 

This last week I was given this chance. All that I have learned in this first year, all the mistakes that I have made, all the experiences that I have had are safely stored in my memory banks (and in part in the pages of a journal). So with two suitcases and a mix of emotions I arrived Monday night near the coast of the Pacific. 

It has been a busy week. But what a beautiful experience thus far. The climate is very similar to Houston, humid and hot, sweating while in the shade. It is an area very tropic with trees and vegetation that look like they belong to a movie set from Jurassic Park or Avatar. Lizards and other creatures abound. 

Time is always so short, but I am happy where I am and looking forward to getting to know and gain the trust and love of the people here, and working hard alongside them. 

A simple miracle that we had this week was in looking for a place to live. We are going to be working in a small town a little father away, and so we had to go and find a place to stay there. The first 4 nights we stayed with a couple other Elders sleeping on the floor. The picture included is the first night we had in our new home. After looking all over the place and not having success finding a place with adequate privacy and price, the young boy that was showing us around said, ´I think I saw a place for rent´. After a couple hours of looking around ourselves, the first place this young boy took us turned out to be the place. A cozy house with lots of windows to combat the heat. And a price that really surprised us, cheaper than all the rest we had found. With our new headquarters of sorts, a place to feel comfortable and call home we are excited to get after it this week.

We were given this assignment with the instructions that it would be a difficult and testing experience, but with a great unity that we are already developing as a companionship we look forward with a perfect brightness of hope.

Please keep up the prayers for all of us out here. Protection, positivity, and the ability to know where to go and what to do. We need it.
With great love,
Elder Brighton

Monday, July 8, 2013

...just to let you know that I am leaving Auditorio. Last night the assistants called and I will be heading to Ixcatan Nayarit as Zone Leader of the Zone Vallarta. My new companion has 10 months in the mission and it is his first time being Zone Leader. It is going to be a time of much growth.  We are headed to the offices in 10 minutes and there I will take a bus about 4 hours to the coast. Pretty good chance my new area will be along the coast.
A big mix of emotion, but looking forward to going to work in Vallarta!

Elder Brighton