Thursday, September 22, 2011

September 19, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Alright so you all had lots of questions, but I have very little time to answer them. First of all, I apologize to Michelle for forgetting to tell you that – yes, I did get the letters from you, but I wasn´t exactly sure how to respond. Do I send back a normal letter, or is there something I do with "Dear Elder"? I do appreciate them; and I appreciate all of the letters that I receive, but it is harder in this area to send back hand written letters because the post office is downtown and that is out of our area. So I did send a letter to the family today, but this will be the only one for awhile. Please keep sending your letters [handwritten and email], though.

The night before yesterday, I threw up at one o'clock in the morning and all day yesterday I was sick and had a fever and that was no fun. Oh, and my companion was skeptical at first. But I guess that that whole scenario was just to test my patience and it was really tough. Once you start working on the Christlike attributes, you come to realize just about how much we fail in life and how far from perfect we are.

This area is tough; I´m guessing probably one of the toughest in the mission. The reason I think that way is because at the zone meeting that we had this past week (yes two weeks in a row for some reason, and this week we have a district meeting), one of the APs came to me and asked me how everything about my area was, and I mentioned that this town was a little more difficult than Criciuma; he then gave me a really apologetic look and said that he knew and he was really sorry and if there was anything I needed, I could call him any day. So yeah, this area is tough, and with this new program, it is also tough to fulfill all of our missionary requirements because it is practically impossible to get into anyone´s houses.

Focusing is still extremely hard for me, so that is tough. I could probably understand people better if I knew what they were saying.

I feel bad for the first counselor of the branch presidency here because his wife is becoming less active. That must be pretty tough for him because he is trying his best to help his ward to be better and everything.

I decided not to send any pictures this week because I only took two, and one is of the moon; so I decided that would be a waste of time to load up a picture of a moon especially since it didn´t even come out good because the quality is really low. I want to take more, but I don´t know of what. I´m not used to using a camera.

Conference is coming up shortly; I saw a little flyer for that at the church. I hope that it will be possible to listen to it in English instead of Portuguese because I don´t want to sit there for 5 hours not knowing what the general authorities are saying.

Oh, my companion wants to know if you can send him a quad in English that is a little bigger than mine and is green with out the flap thing. He said he will pay you back though I don´t know how. You don´t have to though because that would just be tough.

The language is coming along, and I remember that I received a blessing in the CTM from my companion that I will learn the language. So this is where the Faith, Hope, and Patience all come in. I have to be diligent in everything and I will learn what I need to know when I need it.

I love all of you guys and love all of your letters and emails. You have all been great examples to me in my life.

Elder Kevin Brady

Monday, September 19, 2011

September 12, 2011

Hello my family and friends,

OK, to start things off, last week, almost immediately after we were done with e-mails, my companion and I were called and told that we would be transferred to São Jose. We were both very surprised. We quickly went around to each of our investigators and told them that we would be transfered and took pictures with them. I wasn´t even in the area for a month, so I was not completely sad about being transferred, but my companion had been there for five months so it was harder for him to leave and it is still hard for him today to be in this area. He was very sad to leave the other area.

Because of the transfer, I got to go to my second Zone meeting on my mission. During that meeting they said some things that I didn´t understand. Afterwards, they gave us all a DVD player so that we can watch a copy of the District meeting too with our companions and learn how to be a better missionary. I am a little on the iffy side about giving the missionaries DVD players, but it was what the mission president said, so I guess that it is OK.

The house that we live in is much smaller than the one that we had in the previous area because it is made for two people and four people are living in it, but I don´t mind it too much. my companion and I sleep on air mattresses which I don´t think is awful at all. Air mattresses are better than some of the regular bed mattresses we get as missionaries so I can´t complain really.

This weekend I decided to work on the attributes of Christ which is in the 6th chapter of Preach My Gospel (i suggest you all do the same). Every Sunday, I fill out the little activity in the back and see how I am improving each week. When I filled it out recently, I discovered that one of my biggest weakness is patience. So that is what I am working on this week and so far, I have found some blessings from trying to improve. I hope that I continue throughout this week because yesterday I lost my patience with my companion. It feels like whenever I ask “why” about something he always, and only, says, "Porque sim" or, "Porque não" and that annoys me just a bit. So I snapped and stopped walking next to him and that really upset him and he started telling me that I wasn´t a good missionary, which didn´t guilt trip me at all it only made me feel less guilty if anything, and then he soon threatened to call the president, and that´s when I thankfully held my tongue because I almost said, "Do it!" So, not a good moment of the day yesterday. This is why I am working on patience.

This area is a little more difficult than Criciuma because it is extremely hard to make appointments with people. We have to kind of make contacts with people in the streets, which I guess my companion doesn´t like too much. And when we do contact people, it is very hard to find them at their homes to teach them a lesson. So this area will teach me a lot of patience and diligence and faith that if we trust in the Lord and hope for good things to come, we will be blessed with the things that he has promised us in His own time. I think that I will learn many Christ-like attributes while I am in this area.

Hey, have a great time in Disneyland and California Adventures, just wait until I come back and then we can all go to Knotts Berry Farm because I remember going their when I was very little and I want to go again. So just as long as you guys don´t go there while I am on my mission, I will be fine. I will be patient and I will work for the Lord right now and focus on what he wants me to do, rather than what I want to do.

I keep forgetting to shave every day so it´s kind of every 2 or 3 days that I actually shave, but I am writing in my journal every day now and I find that to be a little more important. I am making goals and, as it says in the Preach My Gospel, changing to be a Christlike person is a gradual process and it cannot happen all at once. So eventually I will be shaving everyday; but for now, being patient is what is important for me.

I know that The Book of Mormon is true, and I know that Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet in this dispensation. I am truly grateful for Jesus Christ and his atonement and that I can repent of all my sins no matter what they are, and that I can continue to repent, unless of course I deny the Holy Ghost. I am grateful that I made the decision to go on a mission, and I know that if I put my trust in the Lord and do what I can to follow his example, I will have a successful mission.

I love all of you guys and you guys have been a great example to me. Oh I forgot to tell you that we gave a blessing to someone that was ill. That was awesome.

Elder Kevin Brady

Friday, September 9, 2011

September 5, 2011


How many times have I asked to go to Enchanted Forest and you never took me, then I go on a mission and you guys go with the ENTIRE family . . . without me? Que isso!? (what is that!?). Oh, and when you mentioned the Spider Ride from Oaks Park I got a pretty bad headache just from reading those words. Well it´s good that everything has slowed down and that you all are finishing up the summer very nicely. Guess what: all of you have to go back to school. So that will be nice for you to learn and grow in the knowledge of the world. I have no idea what I will do (or where I will go to school) after my mission, but I try not to focus on that.

Dear Family and Friends,

This last week went by very well. We made many contacts at the beginning of the week; we taught as many investigators as we could; and we will be teaching the contacts this coming week. We made a contact with someone on Friday who came up to us and asked if we knew about some store on the street, and then Elder **** began talking to her about the gospel and she was very interested. We then gave her a very short message on Saturday and invited her to church and she accepted our invitation and then went to church the next day! This next part is what completely blew my companion and me out of the water: she stood up and bore her testimony in sacrament meeting. So, I´m just guessing about this, but I think she is ready to hear the gospel. So, it was a very good day yesterday.

We had lunch at the Stake President´s house, and this guy is incredibly funny in an offbeat sort of way. With the exception of Dad [the previous 5 words were added by Elder Brady's father], you just don't expect a stake president to be funny like that! He knows quite a bit of English which he learns from his job and the missionaries, and his son knows a good amount of English from missionaries as well. I was quite surprised.

It´s a little difficult to eat at member´s homes because they expect us missionaries to eat a lot and they get upset with me when I don´t eat enough. I feel like I´m about to explode and everyone is saying "Come mais, Elder!" (Eat more, Elder). I don´t want to eat more.

I was able to change the quality of the pictures so all 95 pictures are loaded onto the computer, and that means you are up to date.

I love reading your e-mails and it it was very nice to hear some of your testimonies. That always helps. I wrote you guys a letter that I will send off sometime this week. Talk to you next week.

Elder Kevin Brady

Elder Brady with his cousin . . . Elder Brady! This was taken the day before Kevin left the CTM to head out to his mission in Florianapolis!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

August 29, 2011

Dear family and friends,

Sounds like a very busy week. I´m glad I wasn´t there because I just would have slowed things down by forgetting to do my part or something. :) That is great that you guys had so many blessings come to you throughout the wedding week. I am glad to hear that the wedding was good and I wish I could have been there (except for the picture part; I can´t stand the whole picture taking thing. I can't handle more than 30 pictures). Now you guys can kind of have your life back, and for Tessa and Dan they can begin their new lives, and just sit back and slow down a bit and enjoy life, rather than worry what the next stressful thing will be.

Oh, and talking about stress, I have figured out how to deal with it. If I am starting to feel stress, I slow down a bit and look at what kind of stress it is. If it is pushing me to be a better missionary or person and follow God, then I keep that stress. If it isn´t doing those things, then I stop everything, sit down, and start thinking. I just start thinking how I can get rid of it, or even better, transfer it into stress that will motivate me to do better. I have to stop everything or else it will just get worse and worse.

I am not sure if I told you guys yet, but did you know that Brazilians clean the bathrooms differently than we do. They begin by splashing everything with water, putting some soap on the floor, and scrubbing with a broom. It´s different than I am used to. They do the same thing in the kitchen, too. Oh, and none of the houses have carpets. Just hard floors. Not hardwood floors but just hard floors. And the bathroom has a little gutter on the floor because the shower is the same level as the floor. It´s not like a bathtub. The good thing though is that the water is perfectly fine to drink and, get this, Brazilian water tastes more like Oregon water than Utah water does. However, I don´t drink the water too much because we have been asked to use the filtration bottle.

We had a huge thunderstorm today. A few of the lightning flashes were less than a mile away from hour house.

Yeah, about the photos, I don´t really know how I can make the quality go down but every week I will download as many pictures as I can and will eventually catch up.

So we weren´t able to do a lot of lessons this week because a lot of the investigators were gone, but we made a few contacts. We had investigators come to a baptism for a member family on Saturday so that they could feel the spirit of that, and I am sure that they did.

I did a little better with talking to the investigators and giving a message and bearing my testimony, but at times I just cannot focus at all. Sometimes I have no idea what is going on because I do not know the language well. For example, we had a conference that a general authority came to this week, and it was about 5 hours long but it was all in Portuguese so I did not understand a lot of it. After President and Sister Fernandez gave their talk, I just lost all focus so I remember very little of what the General Authority said. I don´t even remember his name. And my companion hasn´t yet told me a single thing that he said. I talked to him about it and he said, "Tanto faz" or "It doesn´t matter for you." I have felt a little frustrated this whole week because he stopped translating English for me because he thinks that I will learn faster. But I feel like I can´t really do anything if I don´t understand what is going on!

Other than that, I think the language is coming along pretty great. I am looking forward to the completion of these first 12 weeks of training. No time left.

Elder Brady

Friday, September 2, 2011

August 22, 2011

Hello once again Family and Friends,

Oh, and by the way Dad, it´s nice to know that your e-mail was sent by your iPad, to remind me that I won´t have one for two years :)

Well, Saturday was the baptism and I enjoyed the meeting a lot more since it only took less than an hour, unlike our baptisms at home which are very long. Yesterday we had the confirmation during sacrament meeting, which is what the mission president wants since it gives a higher chance of the investigator continuing to come to church. We had a few other investigators come to church, some of which say that they want to get baptized so that was cool.

I am still just kind of hanging back in the lessons with the investigators and every now and then giving my testimony, though this week I am going to be pushed to give the second part of the first lesson to the investigators.

I have come to like my companion much more but there are still a few things I think that will always bother me. I can understand the whole touchy-feely culture but I will never get used to the raising of the eyebrows three times in a row or the winking. There needs to be a line drawn somewhere. I like my personal space and I like to look at someone without feeling uncomfortable. And it´s only my companion that does this to me, not the other missionaries in the house. I feel odd.

I sent an e-mail to the mission president, which we are supposed to do every week and I asked him if I could read the Liahona and he responded that I could so, my companion just didn´t know that the Liahona is considered scripture as well. So that is a relief. I noticed that the last general conference talks were a lot about welfare and service, which makes sense, since it is the 75th anniversary, but it also talked a lot about eternal marriage and temples. While reading this, it makes me want to get married even more. I still only want four kids though. Nothing in the talks about that.

So I remembered to bring the cable which connects the camera to the computer so that I can actually send the pictures to you guys. Hopefully it works out. I have a 125 pictures so if there is a space to label each of them I might not be able to do it this week. A lot of them are kind of the same thing. So if you want to develop them and put it in a scrap book, choose the best one and develop all of the best ones, you don´t have to develop all of the pictures (just the best ones).

Oh yes I meant to ask you, do you think you can send a copy of my baby blessing? I think it would be nice to read that again. Also I was wondering if you could send pictures of our family before the mission because my companion shows his pictures to his investigators and uses them as an ice breaker. Also if you can you should send me some peanut butter and reese´s because they don´t have that in Brazil. Dr. Pepper too. (just kidding). But i am curious if you can send the peanut butter. 2 years without it makes me sad.

Well that´s all for today. Oh we had some man come behind our house at 3 in the morning the other night and apparently tried to break in, the missionaries woke me up but I didn´t get out of bed. I was more worried about loosing sleep. Now the missionaries are all scared at night except me. I´m always too tired to care. I don´t like waking up at 6:30. it doesn´t matter when I go to bed, I will always wake up tired. Once I went to bed at 8pm and I woke up wide awake and I was happy till I noticed it was only 10pm.

I am having difficulty focusing on anything. I worked out today. that was adventurous.
Can´t wait to hear from you again.

Elder Brady

**Note from Blog Manager - I am behind on blog posting, as Kevin's sister got married this past weekend. I have one more to post and then expect another letter on Monday! So stay tuned and be sure to write a note to Kevin. I will forward it on to him!