Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 6 and 7 - Provo West MTC to the Utah Provo Mission

Dad's Summary:

I think you get about all you need to know from Blake's email below. Blake is doing great and having some cool experiences he wouldn't have it he would have gone immediately to Panama. The best part is that he has a native Mexican companion and that he is able to work on his spanish while he's waiting for his visa to go through. We are grateful to everyone who is praying for Blake. The support that he can get from prayer is like wind in his sail. Drop him an email at He can only respond on p-days but will get emails periodically during the week.

Week 7

alright. First week in the field... it has been interesting. So I'll skip the beginning of the week since that isn't interesting. Basically my entire district left and I had to room with some other Elders...
So TUESDAY! I left at 4pm, and we learned a lot about the mission right off. We were introduced to the president, president mccune. It turns out, it is an ipad mission! super cool. I get my ipad this week :) And I'm allowed to use facebook for MISSIONARY PURPOSES. interesting. I can teach anyone in the world through facebook except people in China (they actually had a chinese elder teaching family in China and the Chinese government got mad).Provo Utah is the mission that they use for experimenting new ideas. So that is why we have facebook and ipads. And they have just released a new initiative in our mission and salt lake, it is only for spanish speaking people. the church has polled spanish non members in our area about things that are important to them and the questions they have. So in provo and salt lake we have NEW pass along cards. they have a question of the soul (who am i, why am i here, how can I be a better father, etc) it is super cool and so effective for spanish people.

I got into the mission with a super bad cold. So I was miserable but excited to be starting.I left my flag behind at the mtc :/ hoping The mission office will work hard to find it. it is important to me. 
Here is the biggest challenge so far- I did not receive any information about my mission ebcause they were not allwoed to contact me. So I didn't know that I needed an overnight bag to take with me. So the solution from the APs- leave it in the truck bed so I can have access to it. Turns out that it rained that night. so here I am, with a really bad cold, not knowing anyone, and everybody else is still with their MTC companion. I wasn't able to check my luggage till wednesday night. I pulled out all my things to discover that the water had gotten into my bags and ruined most of my things. Everything is now dried out but my scriptures, all my letters, and anything made o paper is damaged, but still usable. now to the clothing- Every single white shirt I own (except 2) is stained purple, yellow, and black from the letters and everything that had ink in my suitccase. I didd laundry this morning, and bleach did not solve that problem! so that was difficult to deal with. 

Now on to the missionary work- I met my companion. He is Elder Sanchez. He is from Mexico. We basically dropped off my luggage and went straight to work. The first house we came to, we were looking for a man who was not home, and we invited his grandfather to hear a message about the church, and he just sttarted yelling at us! in spanish! my comp argued with him and i tried to testify several times but could never fnish. That is when I figured out, the very hard way, that I do not understand a word of this language. I am praying for the Lord's help. I can speak to people I just can't understand what THEY say.

Thursday- That was a crazy day. We got up and did our studies and everything, and we had to go to a baptismal interview because my companion is the district leader. We had to WALK to a chapel that was about.... 30 minute walk away. Anyways, after that, we had to run the temple booth (little info booth out front of the new provo temple being built) and we were really late. We hadn't eaten lunch yet, and we didn't have much money. So my companion says he knows a cheap place. For those who speak Spanish- Mi companero es de Mexico y nosotros fuemos a un restaurente mexicano. Yo no supe que to order, and I let him order for me... nosotros comimos tripa y buche.. IN PROVO! what is going on with the world haha. Something that I have also figured out, I am in the UTAH PROVO mission. I didn't realize quite what that means. I got honked at by every other car that drives by, and we walk into places and either get a big discount or they just tell us to take it. Every 30 minutes somebody stops and asks if we need a ride or if we have eaten yet. It is just so crazy!

Friday- We had a district meeting. It was my companions first time as a DL! it was interesting and fun. Later, the hermanas aren't allowed to be inthe building alone, so we had to go to the church building to be with them (we just couldn't be in the same room.. so it seemed kind of pointless to me) and we did weekly planning for almost 4 hours. crazy. We had dinenr that night with the Woores... or Moores... I'm not sure. It is interesting because they are in our ward (it is a spanish ward) and brother woore does NOT speak spanish. so we didn't have to speak spanish. which was nice for me because I'm always dead silent if we speak spanish because I can't communicate. Although it is the opposite in english because my companion doesn't know english very well. But basically, I've decided that they are my family away from home. They are awesome. We are going over totheir house again tonight for a followup meeting :) brother woore is hawiian, and his wife is from.. I'm not sure. but she is latina.

Later we got stopped by a man who wanted to give us a ride.. it was kinda crazy. He is a pizza deliverer/wanne be missionary. He was crazy and had facial hair and like "Hey lets go on splits" it was super awkward. also, later we got to meet with an investigator we have been trying to get in touch with. We taught him for forever and he said that he was hungry for truth, and he said he would pray about getting baptized. we were almost super late that night.

Basically the rest of the week... I have lost my camera. It was in my bag, and now it just isn't. Super sad! I miss those pictures. also, We went to church. I could not understand any of the speakers, and I couldn't understand the classes, but the psirit was awesome and the members were so understanding when I couldn't understand or when I tried to talk. They are so amazing. Also- It was my first time going to Elders Quorum, and we had to teach. in spanish. So crazy. but ya. I finally realize what my dad meant when he told me you will be so frustated about not being able to communicate. It is so much worse than i imagined XD I am trying though.

I love you all! thank you for keeping up on me! The Lord is there for you, to help you through your issues. Our Savior is waiting to comfort us, we just have to ask. I am so very thankful to be our serving the Lord. It is amazing the comfort I've found when I'm feeling down. anyways.. I have to go because we have to go buy groceries. But I love you all! have a good week! talk to you next monday :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Week 5 - Provo West MTC

Dad's Prologue:

Well, the biggest news is that we discovered last week that there was a mistake in paperwork submitted, for the second time, that delays Blake being able to get to Panama as scheduled. The Lord wants him in Panama, so he'll get there, it is just going to be another 4-6 weeks. They have temporarily reassigned him to the Provo, Utah Mission. We don't have any more details than that. He wasn't told yet for sure if he will be spanish thinking. We think so and there are a lot of Spanish speaking missionaries in the Provo mission. We sure hope so. He leaves the MTC on Tuesday, August 19 and won't likely have another p-day to write home until Monday, August 25. We won't probably get any additional details about where he is until then.

With all of the problems with his travel plans, we were able to chat via email with him a few times this week. Elder Bradburn sounds overall in pretty good spirits and very excited to leave the MTC and be out in the mission field, regardless of the location, but he is hoping and praying that his paperwork gets sped along somehow. It was clear to us that he is frustrated and disappointed...I imagine when his whole district heads to Panama without him on Tuesday, that will be a hard day. But he said he knows The Lord expects him to work hard wherever he is and he is ready to do just that. He hopes he will understand during the time he spends in Provo, why he was wanted there first.

I know he would love to get some letters so shoot him an email at

August 14, 2014

This week has been interesting! I don't even know what week it is. On Monday, our teachers changed. It isn't supposed to happen, but they decided to swap teachers in every class. So that was saddening. I loved my teachers. I have a pictures of some of them included with this blog.

Anyways... the really dissaponting news. On Friday, (the 8th) I found out that my FBI background check was never completed. Which means... I am not going to Panama. Yet. I have been officially temporarily reassigned to the...... Provo Utah Mission! So I'm not going far. I get my travel info tonight or tomorrow morning. I know that this must be where the Lord needs me. I am needed here to help someone, or there is someone here who can help me. The Lord always has a reason for doing things. I say goodbye to my district on monday. They leave at 4am on tuesday morning, which means I have to be reassigned companions and stay in a different room that night. 

This last week goes by so quickly but so slow at the same time.. We leave in 5 days! (assuming I go to the Provo mission on the same day). It is so crazy. We have in-field orientation tomorrow... which means a very long meeting that goes from after breaktfast until dinner and nobody knows what it is- how exciting. 

I am so excited to start serving real people. Even though I am not starting out where I originally intended, I am absolutely excited. Hopefully, still in spanish. I am hoping one of my first companions is Latino/doesn't speak english. that would help my spanish grow so much.

This week the Zone Leaders had to help out a group of missionaries who arrived last week (on the 6th). They were very dissfunctional, fighting, not staying with companions, swearing, etc. I won't find out until our meeting on sunday if they are doing better now.
I'm adding pictures of our old teachers, on the day we said goodbye, the latino man is Jose, our old "investigator" and some pictures of me and the others.

Bye for now...

Elder Bradburn

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Week 4 - Provo West MTC

Dad's Prologue: In Blake's blog this week and our other communications with him, he is getting so very excited to head out to Panama. He is having trouble with his Visa and so he did not get his travel plans as he thought he would. We are sure he is very bummed about that. If he is unable to leave for Panama on his scheduled date, he has been told he will serve temporarily in Provo until it is completed. 

In his blog this week, Blake mentions his Afton Strong bracelet. For those who don't know, Afton Wallace is a friend of his from Vicksburg, Mississippi who is valiantly battling cancer. Well, here is Blake's Week 4 blog!
Well, this has been an interesting week. I enjoy the MTC, but there is only so much you can learn. I am just so anxious to get to Panama! I get my travel information tomorrow afternoon! So exciting. Man... Spanish is coming along pretty well, but I know that I will not be able to understand anything once I get to Panama. 

Monday we had our first Skype TRC lesson. CRAZY! Me and Elder McGraw taught a man who is currently living in Mexico (sorry dad... I asked if he was in Mexico City and he said he was in the part under california). It was really interesting. I don't like skype lessons... they're just different.
We have our LAST LESSON WITH JOSE TOMORROW! so sad. I love that man. although.... the other day we found out he was a member :( however, I believe his problems are real. He isn't acting.

On Tuesday, we had a devotional review. OH before I go on, I was called to be the District Leader! Anyways... President Pickering pointed out to me that I was wearing an "afton strong bracelet" and asked if I have read the missionary handbook. I said that I have, and explained what the bracelet was and why I wore it, and he said "It doesn't matter how good the bracelet is. You cannot wear it". So, my afton strong bracelet is now around my Missionary Planner. Which I think bothered him a little but he didn't say anything. Now I have to take it off to write in my planner haha. 

At this point I'm just trying to get through one day at a time, because I'm so excited. 11 days to go! Can't wait! 

Also- for those of you who have access to a spanish hymn book, I have discovered a new hymn. hymn number 88 is so so pretty. But it doesn't exist in english!
Well... It is just about time for me to get off the computers. It is crazy how fast time flies! I'm leaving so soon and I feel like I just got here. I know that the work I'm doing is important and I absolutely have a testimony of it. I have a bigger testimony of prayer. I have seen how prayers can be answered, even in this short time. We counted the other day, we say close to 15 prayers everyday. Just try to be sincere in your prayers. We recently had a devotional that said you CAN use the Lord's name in vain even if you are praying. Take your time and sincerely close your prayer. A lot of people just rush through the ending. Remember in whose name you are praying, and ponder it. 

I love all of you! I miss everyone. The next time you hear from me I will be packing my suitcase to get ready to leave! Have a good week!

Elder Bradburn

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Week 3

This past week has been a good one! Our teachers have been concerned about us getting into a "groove" now that we are half way and have started getting a little harder on us. I just can't wait to get out there in the field! It's going to be amazing. I mentioned that to another elder and he said "don't think that way. we are here to prepare to be better missionaries" but I disagree a little. I mean obviously that's true, but I didn't go on a mission to learn in the MTC. I came on a mission to bring others unto Christ and that's what will happen in the field. More learning will happen out there than it ever could in the MTC.

Last thursday we couldn't go to the temple because the temple was closed for pioneer day. So that was sad but we were able to kinda hang out the rest of the day until class. Pdays are SO much needed. And I've realized that pdays are almost just as busy. 

Class days... I just don't think I have enough time for personal study! We usually get about 2-3 hours a day and it just isn't enough. At home I could never have read scriptures for that long. It's just crazy. 

Well.... Sunday we had a devo from... well I forgot. But sunday was the first time we had films AFTER the devo. We watched characteristics of christ by Bednar. It's an absolutely amazing talk. 
Tuesday we had a devo from Elder Groberg! You know, THE groberg from the other side of heaven movies? Crazy cool! Our MTC campus has first dibs on front row seats so its awesome :)
we have passed the halfway point. We only have 19 days left here in the mtc. I can't wait to get to the field. One of our elders is super upset about the fact that we don't learn about our country's culture. Which i agree is dissapointing but we will learn that eventually :) I have to memorize the First vision in spanish.... so far I have " vi una columna de luz, mas brillante que el sol, directamente arriba de mi cabeza. esta luz descendio hasta descansar sobre de mi. al r" and that is all I remember. That's only like the first half.

We got our first "real" investigator earlier this week. It's interesting because they are supposed to be actors or whatever pretending to be investigators, and some of them are members and some aren't. So it is like a game to try and guess whether your investigator is or not. I don't think my investigator is a member. We have such spiritual talks with him, it's amazing. I want to baptize him haha.

Things are going well. I started a study journal which is AMAZING. such a good idea. It's not just like a regular take notes of everything. You color pictures and stuff of spiritual things and its super cool. I will post some pictures so that everybody can see an example. My personal goals for the mission are in the first page, and they will be in order. 

It is crazy how often I feel the spirit. It's just... it isn't home. It is so much different. Everything I do is focused on Christ, or helping others to come unto him. I am TIRED ALL THE TIME. I get more sleep than i got at home! It's "brain work" and that is why its difficult. Teachers NEVER speak in english, so im constantly translating in my head. 

Another teacher said that the difficult languages don't have teachers in that language. The teachers are assigned to that class, if they can't find someone who speaks that language. They say "I don't know this language, so I can't teach it" and the response from the MTC is "then teach in english". Our teachers tells us all the time that his purpose is NOT to teach us spanish. It is to help us realize our purpose which is to "invitar a las personas a venir a cristo al ayudarlas a que reciben el evangelio restaurado mediante la fe en jesucristo y su expiacion, el arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepcion del don del espiritu santo, y el perseverar hasta el fin" I don't know what it is in english, but that literally translates to "invite all people to come unto christ by helping them recieve the restored gospel through faith in jesus christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, recieving the gift of the holy ghost, and perservering to the end".

I know why I am here, and I know what I'm doing, and I know what kind of missionary I want to be. I am doing the Lord's work. I don't know spanish very well, but that is absolutely ok because I am not the teacher. The spirit is. I am a vessel for the spirit to touch people's hearts and bring them to the truth of this gospel. 

I miss everyone, but I know that I am doing something important. I am devoting my life right now to the Lord and there is nothing I would rather do.

Elder Bradburn