Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week 2: Provo West MTC

Dad's summary: Blake sounds like he is doing well in all his emails. It looks as if he will stay in Provo for all of his MTC experience and not go to Mexico. 

WELL, Things I've discovered so far: Workout clothing is important. We get an hour to workout everyday and I only have 2 pairs of workout clothing. I've also discovered there are a few different kinds of missionaries here. 

1: the type who follow every rule and shun you if you start singing a song or tell a joke, 
2: the kind who don't study whatsoever because they say that "the Lord will bless me and I'll magically be able to speak spanish without doing my part" and 
3: the kind of missionary who maybe doesn't follow every but still knows to study and get his work done. 
Our teacher said last night and I paraphrase, "Don't get complacent. You can see the 4 or 5 week missionaries who think they know everything and that they don't need to study or whatever, but really, they are brand new missionaries just like you. They don't know ANYTHING. Follow the rules, but don't be sticklers on every little thing. On my mission, I followed every rule exactly, and I never had any fun. I was miserable for the first few months of my mission."

This last week has been pretty good. It's hard to remember every little thing that goes on, because there is so much that happens, and our days are so long. After the update last week, I went to the Provo Temple and it was GREAT. I love the temple so much, and its so much different going through for someone else. 

That weekend, we had church and a devotional. TC CHRISTENSEN CAME TO GIVE THE DEVOTIONAL. Coolest thing ever. He talked a lot about certain scenes from the moves he has directed, and give insight about some of the behind-the-scenes. He said he didn't direct Testaments, but here is a story about it.  He said Gordon B Hinkley told the director that he wanted ONLY worthy church members to be in the movie. and the director, of course, said ok. I'll do it. and he tried, and it was hard, because there are so few church members, who are active and worthy, who are also actors. but he did it. and he gave President Hinkley a showing of it, and at the end, he said, Pres Hinkley... I tried so hard... I found a worthy church member for every part but 1. He said " I just couldn't find an active, worthy church member who could play a part that evil and sinister" ....

If you sit down for more than 20 minutes here, it is a struggle not to fall asleep because WE ARE TIRED ALL THE TIME. La obra de misional. Not trabajo. La obra. Our teacher described the difference but I didn't quite get it. Trabajo is like... manual labor work and obra is more like... like missionary work. I love love love church. The way they do talks is EVERYBODY writes a talk and you don't know who is going to speak until they announce it in sacrament meeting. Two missionaries give 5 minute talks in spanish and then one of the church presidency members give a talk to fill the rest of the time. One of the other branch presidents gave a talk about missionary work and he put it into such easy terms. I wish I had my notes with me, because it was a great talk. He essentially broke down every lesson into this "1. everybody has the knowledge of right and wrong. YES EVERYONE. 2: Everybody must repent. EVERYONE. 3: EVERYONE must be baptized 4. Everyone must receive the gift of the holy ghost and 5. YOU ARE CONDEMNED IF YOU DON'T DO THESE THINGS. But we don't teach the last point. The spirit teaches it." His words are obviously more eloquent than mine.

Monday was just another long day. When you go back to school, you get those "mondays" that are so horrible, but here there is no such thing. Everyday is the same, except sunday. Eat, class, study, eat, class, study, eat, class, study, daily planning, go to bed. And we throw a game of uno in there sometimes before bed.

Yesterday, we talked a lot about what kind of misisonaries we wanted to be. It was very spiritual and I loved it. 

Elder Bradburn

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Week 1 - Provo West MTC

Dad summary: Week 1 is in the books! Clearly, this is harder on Blake's parents than on him. Here is a summary of his letters and emails this week. For those who want to contact him, using appears to be the best right now as long as he stays in the Provo West MTC. He said in his most recent letter that he may be transferred to the Mexico City MTC in two weeks. Any email sent through by noon Utah time, he will get that same evening. Use his unit number, 839, in the space where that is asked for. I know he would love to hear from you!

Week 1 - Provo West MTC

Hola Familia! My first two days have been amazing. Me and my companion, Elder McGraw, is awesome and we get along very well. Really, our entire district gets along very well. I have already witnessed the gift of tongues. A couple of Elders in our district were stressing about making a perfect lesson for our investigator. We have to teach una mujer named Alma and she doesn't speak English. They were looking up so many different words. I was prompted to share with them that we didn't need to do that. We would have no idea what what we were saying. I suggest that the four of us have a prayer and testimony meeting completely in spanish and it was a little difficult at first but it went very well. We also read the first vision in spanish and english. It helped a lot, and I can tell the four of us have started seaking a lot better since then.

Me and my companion have organized several group prayers and I think it helps a lot to pray as a district. Back to the spanish - I just think it is so important that we focus on the words we know, and studying the Gospel. I think that as we follow and learn about Christ, the faster we will speak spanish and be blessed. As we do that, in spanish, I thin kwe will catch on to teaching and the language a lot easier. Rather than trying to develop the perfect message, we need to focus on the Spirit and our Savior in spanish AND in English, and as we do, we will grow.

As I said, the MTC is great. A few of the other Elders are a little stressed but I am absolutely loving it.

There are these huge inflatable domes that have sports fields in them. I'll send pictures on P-day. We get an hour everyday to play basketball/life weights/run, but if you want to shower before class, you have to leave early.

Ayer fue muy dificil pero nosotros volvemos al apartamentos anoche y nosotros decimos much sobre familia. Nosotros tambien comemeos cinnamon rolls!

The MTC is pretty great. Dear Elders are awesome and I love getting them! 
Wednesday was an interesting day, being brand new. I missed orientation and literally just went straight to class without any material or anything. We were given orange dots on your name tags so they could see who was new, but we got to take them off that night. Thursday was day two of orientation, and that's when I realized the days were SO LONG. We work 16 hours a day, except on Tuesdays, we get up an extra hour early to do service at 6 am. 

Friday- I am super lucky I already knew a little bit about spanish because on Friday we had to teach our first spanish investigator who didn't know english. We taught her friday, saturday, monday, tuesday, and wednesday was our last day. We get a new investigator on monday. Friday I kinda fell into how things worked. The days ARE SUPER LONG, but the weeks go by fast. It made me SO happy to see all the new elders arrive yesterday because I didn't feel so new anymore. 

Sunday was great, we didn't have any real 'work' to do, but we were super busy with churchy activities all day. It was a nice difference from breakfast, class, lunch, teach investigator, class, dinner, class. Although a lot of the time class turns into personal study time. 

Today I'm super excited because it's our first PDAY. We are planning to go to the Main Campus book store because its bigger than the one here, and then we are going to go to the temple, which will be AWESOME. but then we have class again after dinner.

Our district gets along super well. Especially the elders who stay in our apartment. We were talking about girls and stuff past bedtime last night. I think thats two rules broken XD. Don't tell anyone.

We got called to the main campus travel office but we didn't realize and we went to the West Campus travel office and they didn't really know any info... All the Panama people had to show their passports to make sure they were correct and legal. The hermanas found out from Emily that IF our FBI background checks clear in the next 2 weeks we WILL get transferred to the Mexico MTC. So fingers crossed. Don't get me wrong, I love my district, they're awesome, I love the food, I just feel like it would be a much neater experience to be able to go to Mexico. I haven't used all my emailing time so I'm hoping that Ill be able to find some time to come and post a few pictures on here because I forgot my camera cord.

We had an awesome devotional about loving the people we teach.  And how important it is listening to the hymns. Watching the sign language missionaries try to sing in sign language, I realized what I really am. I am a missionary. I never really thought about it. I am the person who everybody is praying for when they pray for the missionaries. It is a super humbling feeling.

Until next Thursday, 

Elder Bradburn

Monday, July 7, 2014

        For those who don't know, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Throughout my High School career I have prepared in many ways to serve a mission for my church. I have been called to serve a 2 year mission in the country of Panama (a small country in Central America) and I will preach the gospel of Christ in the Spanish language.
        I am so excited to serve the Savior in Panama. It's crazy to me how fast time has flown and how much I've grown in preparing to serve. I first got my call almost 90 days ago, and in what seems to be the blink of an eye, I am now only 38 hours away from leaving my home and family. It still hasn't quite hit me that I am actually going to be a missionary! I am absolutely excited to serve the people of Panama. I am excited to put everything aside and devote my life completely to the Savior and his work. It is going to be a very difficult but very uplifting and spiritual two years.
        As I will not be allowed access to social media, my dad will copy and paste my weekly emails home to this blog.
        All of my contact info will be on the right side of these posts. Please feel free to write emails or send me letters :)
        Good luck to all family and friends over the next two years :) The Lord will bless you in everything you do. Goodbye for 2 years! :D