Saturday, January 25, 2014

Family and friends,

Wow! Another week, can you believe it?

First I want to share a really great experience. This week has been full of all kinds of different things and movements. We had the chance to meet with and teach lots of less active families, but the whole week we had been unable to teach any investigator. Yesterday night arrived and I felt a little sad that we had not had any lessons with investigators. As we looked at the schedule for today (Saturday) it was clear we were not going to have any time either. But we decided to put the goal of one lesson anyways. 

This morning we had the assignment from the Bishop to go and fill up the baptismal font for a service they would have at midday. So we went up a little before 9 am, cleaned up the font and rooms, and were filing it up when a man from maintanance walked in and asked if we were busy. A group of four university students had come to learn more about the church for a project. We had the great opportunity to sit down with them for a little over an hour and share the message of the restoration. It was a powerful and moving lesson. I think they got a whole lot more than what they were expecting. Since there was a member there working in the family history center and she was able to share her testimony and invite them to come back to use the free services there we were blessed with a lesson with member present. I am so grateful that the Lord is aware of the wants, needs, and goals of all of his humble children. It was a special experience for me to see that our simple act of faith in asking for the chance to teach one lesson was answered.

(Sometimes I think back on when Elder Umaña and I were together the first time and had 25-30 lessons every week. Times change, and responsablities as well. But this next week we will be in our area the whole week, so we have high expectations!)

Transfers are in one week and so it is a busy time for us getting ready to send off a group of missionaries as well as receive a good sized group as well. There are 9 more missionaries getting here than the ones that are leaving, and so that means we are going to open up at least 4 areas. Houses, furniture, appliances, rent, transportation, ... so many learning experiences. 

I am doing great. Time is flying, the nights are never long enough but I have a pretty good and constant exercise routine in the morning, so that is keeping the motor running!

with lots of love,
Elder Brighton

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dear family and friends,

It has been a while since I have taken a decent amount of time to write, so I want to do that today. See where I am at. It is funny how in the moment that I sit down to write this it is the time I take to reflect as well. It is so good and healthy to do that I think. Some of the biggest lessons we can only learn and recognize looking back.

Anyways, so a couple of funny comments to begin.

Today I did something I had never done before. To open the package I received from my family (thanks a bunch!) I did not feel like looking for scissors or a knife, so I used my pen. Something went wrong and I managed to stick it into my thumb pretty good. I just laughed, cleaned it up a bit, and proceeded to use the pen to finish opening the package. I had never drawn blood with a BIC pen before.

On divisions with some other Elders my companion saw that they had some of those little hand exercising grip things. He liked it a lot, so we bought a pair and have been using them the last couple days. I think we will have the most firm handshakes in the whole mission after another couple of weeks.

On a bus this morning we passed by a scene that looked a little funny. There was a car pulled over and surrounded by over 7 huge police trucks with lots of police running around. I figured it would be a pretty ugly scene, but when we passed by on the bus I looked over and just saw a young lady with her little baby in her arms. There was no one else around and so it just looked a little funny to see the young woman and baby surrounded by about 20 policemen. I am sure it was a situation a little more serious, but it did not seem to fit.

On a more serious note, it was a great week. We were able to work almost every day in our own area visiting and getting to know the people here. There is a lot to get done and much good to be done. In visiting different families and people we listened to several heartbreaking stories and histories. It certainly makes me want to be a simple, honest, and loving man and father. So much of the hardship and sadness could be avoided if that were always the case.

In a visit to Puerto Vallarta last week I had a really special experience with the Elders working there (taken from my journal).

"Estabamos enseñando una referencia de la Presidencia de Estaca. 

Es un hermano mayor de edad con dificultades de escuchar y

ver bien, pero muy deseoso de aprender. En una de las 

primeras lecciones tuvimos la oportunidad de enseñar como

comunicarnos con nuestro Padre mediante la oración.

Apuntamos los pasos de la oración en letra muy grande y casi 

tuvimos que gritar para que él nos pudiera entender. Después 

de varios intentos en los cuales simplemente leyó los pasos sin 

expresar sus propios sentimientos pasó un momento muy 

especial. Este hermano de mas que 70 años se dio cuenta de lo 

que es una oración. Quizá fue la primera vez en su vida que 

habló con su Padre y pidió por sus propias necesidades. Fue 

sencillo y muy breve, pero el Espíritu Santo se manifestó. Que 

privilegio es ayudar a las personas a conocer a Dios, su 

Amoroso Padre y a Su Hijo Jesucristo."

I pasted that and then realized that it was in Spanish and I should probably translate it. So here is the translation.

"We were teaching a referral from the Stake Presidency. He is an older man with hearing problems and does not see well, but with a great desire to learn. In one of the first lessons we had the chance to teach how to communicate with our Father by prayer. We wrote down the basic steps of a prayer in very big letters and almost had to yell so that he could understand us. After several trys where he would just read the steps without expressing his own feelings something really special happened. This brother, more than 70 years old, realized what a prayer is. Perhaps for the first time in his life he spoke with his father and asked for his own needs. It was very simple and brief, but the Holy Ghost manifest itself (in a very soft and sweet way). What a priveledge it is to help people to come to know God, their loving Father, and his son Jesus Christ."

Life is great. 

To finish up I want to share something that just came to my mind. Something we said every day as 3rd graders in Mrs. Huitt´s class (if I remember correctly).

Good. Better. Best. Never let it rest, ´til your good is better, and your better is best.

Have a great week!

Elder Brighton

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dearest family and friends,

As usual, no day is ever normal and so I wanted to write super fast to let everyone know that I am doing well and learning a lot.

This week was really crazy with the mission council and then divisions to the areas farthest away. It all went well and we are getting a good vision and handle for the current state of the mission and the attitude of the missionaries. 

I am loving being with Elder Umaña again. We have really good communication and that makes for much less stress. There is no feeling of competition. 

In short, life is great when you are a missionary preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

with love,
Elder Brighton

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Today was a busy day, and it is going to be a very busy weekend getting ready for the Mission Council this Tuesday. We have quite a few reports to put together and a lot of information to process.

Attached is a photo from the baptism that we had this evening. We just got back from the service. Alejandro and Dulce are two very special people and I am looking forward to staying in contact with them for a very long time. They quickly became comfortable with the ward and the members. The Bishop baptized them tonight. The service was great. It was so full we had to go to the chapel because we did not fit in the baptismal room. Many families from the ward attended along with the Bishop, the Stake President, and the Mission President. So it was a special night for all of us.

Love you all and hope it was an excellent week for everyone. Take care and enjoy these new and fresh days of this year.

With love,
Elder Brighton