Monday, September 30, 2013

Dearest family and friends,

As I sit and somewhat struggle and think of how to express some of the things I have been blessed to experience the thought came to do it in a less formal and choppier sort of way. Please do not read it as any sort of boasting or bragging, I share it in the most humble of attitudes hoping that in many cases you can respond likewise, yes! This is my attempt to communicate myself a little better.

Have you ever....

-waited in an hour of traffic to travel a couple hundred feet because it rained so much that the water erroded the dirt streets away and left them nearly impassable.

- stood in the back of a truck of a stranger as they drive down a small highway feeling the warm air rush through your gel-plasted hair, looking around you and seeing the small mountains encircle a beautifully green and thriving valley

-Knelt alongside a family as they gathered for the first time to pray togther and listened as a strong and well-reputed father expresses his love and concern for his children as he speaks with his God and Father. Witnessing a tender moment when the hearts of the children begin to soften towards their father and all feel a sense of purpose and newfound hope.

-Listened to a 40 year old man explain why he was sentenced to federal prison for over 15 years and then listen to that same man express how he has begun to feel healed from the inside out. How the torture he received, physically, mentally, and emotionally, is beginning to be erased from his mind. Hear him express hope for the first time since he left. Be a witness to his commitment to completely leave his alcoholic life behind, never more to turn. And looking him in the eyes, feel an immense love for him like I have never felt for anyone, a love that flows through me, from a loving Heavenly Father. Seeing the potential in the tired, worn, and tatooed body of a man wanting to start again. And listening as he expresses profoundly simple ideas. I am feeling a change. There really is hope even after all I have seen and felt.

-Been woken up each night at 4 in the morning by fireworks from some sort of weeklong celebration
- Gone to prayer to make a decision you thought you already knew and risen from your knees with a completely different answer

-Made all the possesions and furniture of a small house fit into the back of a largeish truck, loading and unloading everything with a handful of other guys. 

-Woken up the next day sore all over, but smiling and full of all the thanks they gave and continue give.

I have, last week.

There is another style of living that can be had. There is a happiness that can come from human interaction that need not depend on the concrete outcome of any one event. 

Keep up the happy life,
Elder Brighton

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dearest family and friends,

I realized just how much I love it when people write me with little details about what is going on in thier lives. And then I realized I never write little details. So I am repenting and writing a few things that might be fun to read about.

We spent Friday and Saturday of this last week traveling. Friday morning we left early and went to Tepic for a conference with Elder Johnson of the 70 to learn how to be better missionaries. We talked mostly about working better with the members, being diligent in our planning, and being willing to give and sacrifice everything for this time to serve. It was a very uplifting conference. Finishing up there my companion and I took a bus to Guadalajara and got there pretty late. The following morning we were able to attend the temple early in the morning, because we got the highest scores on a mission exam we took last week, and afterwards attended a training session with Elder Johnson again for the Zone leaders of the mission. It was good and we were instructed on our responsability to be an example, be obedient, and have good and pure desires. 

We arrived to the temple at 6 30 in the morning, but since there were people that had travelled from several of the nearby states of Mexico, it was full until 9 30. Great to be able to enter and feel sheltered from everything for a couple of hours. 

I have learned the power of desires. When we really want something, we find a way to make it happen. When we have things that we should do, we may do them, or if anything goes wrong we may take it as an excuse for why it could not be done. There is not doubt that wants and desires are powerful things. And so it is well worth the time to figure out what it is we really and truly desire. Do we really want and desire to work more and earn more money? Or is our desire to be able to imporve the quality of life of our family? Would that quality not improve more if we spent more time with them and less time slaving at work? And I know of a surety that time spent is so much more valuable than money given. That is just one example that has been one my mind as I work with several of the families here. 

What are my desires? What are they truly?

Fun details

One of my favorite parts of the time in this area is taking rides in the back of pickup trucks along little highway to get to church. I love being in the open air, looking around me as we pass fields, cows, tropical foilage,

We rent a two room apartment that is on top of another house. That is pretty typical for the area where we live. Someone builds there house and the second floor they rent out. We have a little patio where we do exercise in the morning. We have a homemade weight bar with the two ends having been made of cement in buckets. It is about 65 lbs and I am starting to feel stronger each day as I do various exercices. 

We are working right now with three different grown men that are overcoming addictions. Two to the alcohol and one to smoking. They are three very sincere and recently humbled men. It is incredible to think that I am taking part and seeing as God works in them and changes them. Could it be possible that two very unknowing and practically untrained boys could help free a man from a 17 year addiction.... I do not think so. But fortunently we are not alone.

My companion is from Mexico City and is a great support. We have started eating well in the mornings. I often make a big pot of oatmeal with raisens or banana, or scambled egg with jam and cheese. 

My companion has a electical raquet that he kills mosquitos and other bugs with. The area we are in has a lot of lizards and if we are walking down a path with lots of foilage on the sides good sized lizards run back and forth across the path.

Last week we had a stake conference. The Stake 'President had organized with us and to finish the conference we had a suprise musical number. As the final hymn finished, before the member passed to say the prayer we came walking in from behing singing We will Bring the World His Truth. It was a powerful close and people were talking about it for quite a while. Brought a lot of emotion to the people there and also to me as I sang.

I am learning so much how to problem solve. I feel like my capacity to identify, address, and solve problems of all types has increased and enhanced immensely. Personal, emotional, logistical, economical, you name it. But I know I have much to learn still.

And lastly, I am learning the power of love. It is a real thing. If I, as a leader, develop, feel, and express love for the people I am leading and serving, the things we can acheive together multiply. If I lead by some other principle, intellect, fear, earned respect, etc it can function to a certain degree. But it cannot be compared to the purtity and power of love. Other words for love could be, kindness, compassion, comprehension, sacrifice...

I know the message I am sharing is true. I know Jesus is the Christ and the Savior of me and of the human race. I know that He will come again, although I do not know when. And I know that He has established and restored His kingdom in the earth to prepare us for that day and moment. If I do not live to see it I know I will be raised up, along with each and every one of you, to stand before Him and give an account for how I used the time, energy, and opportunities that He lovingly gave me. Of these things I have no doubt.

With love,
Elder Brighton

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2, 2013

Elder Brighton is short on time but he made some recordings to share with everyone. If you go to the following link, you'll need to copy and paste I'm afraid, you can download and listen to them. It is one "letter" broken into short segments for emailing purposes.

Recorded message from Elder Brighton