Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 24, 2011

Hello Family and Friends,

It is great to hear from everybody and to feel all of your support. First off, to answer a couple of your questions. The only Elder ****** that is in my mission, (who was also in my district at the CTM) was from Idaho. So if his family moved sometime in their lives, either from or to Oregon, than yes I do know that Elder *****. I´m not sure how to spell it either.

Anyway, thank you for the Christmas gifts, and I hope that the package will come soon. I seriously hope that it will arrive shortly. Thanks so much for the letters as well. Yesterday I had a really great lunch. The members are a little rich so they had plenty of steak and sausages that they cooked like they cooked at the restaurant Brazil Grill, because all grills here are like that. I love meat. I also love chips. Chips are great. That is one thing that I give Brazil a handshake for because nobody can live with out chips. I´d rather have chips for desert than Strawberries. The language is coming and the President told me that it will come and I need to be patient, and that I will eventually have fluency.

My least favorite thing to do on my mission is make contacts. I know that if I do, I will be blessed. And even though I know that the people will never see me again, it is terrifying beyond belief. I try to avoid it as much as possible unless I am on exchanges with another Elder, and then it is somehow much easier. Like when I went with another missionary we took turns. That was very fun, but with Elder *****, he takes all the easy ones and so I, who am still learning the language, have to go completely out of my way to find a contact. it is frustrating. But, whatever. I guess I should make some contacts, since the Lord wants me too. My companion has been saying that I will pretty much go to “you know where” if I don´t. I´ve tried to explain to him before that I have a fear and he said "Oh, but you don´t have a fear of video games?" Yes, because those things are completely related. Sometimes I want to know what is going on inside his head.

For instance we were going to visit a family and they said to come back in about ten minutes and so we called some people and then returned. But when we came back to the house, Elder ****** didn´t clap his hands (we clap outside gates instead of knock on doors in Brazil), instead he tried to call, and they didn´t answer. What are you thinking Elder? You clap, they said come, some people don´t like to answer phones. Maybe these sorts of things work if you are a missionary for the church of what´s happening now, but for The Church of Jesus Christ we do things differently.

Oh, and I hope that next week I can see the pictures of Michelle´s family because I wasn't able to see them this week.

Well I love you guys and I am so glad to hear from you. Monday´s are my favorite days too, but today there was an emergency transfer so I had to be in Florianopolis all day until now. Keep sending letters. I have gotten 4 letters so far out here in the field. Maybe three.

Love you,
Elder Kevin Brady

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October 17, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

This last week was really tough for my companion and me.  Our appointments have been continually falling through because nobody wants to hear from us.  We did have an improvement Sunday; we had an investigator come to church, so that was good.  We gave out three or four copies of the Book of Mormon (I don´t remember exactly), and that was exciting.

So, focusing on anything is extremely hard, as always, and I probably would do a better job at understanding people if I was able to focus.  It also does not help when my companion speaks in English to me.  My companion is wanting to learn English more than he wants to train me to learn Portuguese.  I really don't know right now if it is him that is training me or it is me that is training him.

So the letters are all coming in about two months late because of this unfortunate strike.  I dislike strikes.  They annoy the patience out of me.  I don't understand why people can't just pay the workers a little more, or the workers stop complaining and just find another job if they don't like the one they have.  People need to get over themselves.  I'll pay them more, I don't care, I just want my mail. In less than a month please.  So yes, be sure to tell Melly that I just got the letter and I did give a sigh.  (it was right after I opened it).

Hey, you guys should send some pictures of the family on the E-mail; and friends too, so I can see how you guys are doing.

Yesterday was day light savings in Brazil and my companion forgot so we arrived an hour late to church with our investigator.  The other day I gave my companion the suggestion that with his companion, he should say something that his companion did good and something that he could improve on.  Right after I said that he said, "I tried before to tell you things that you need to improve on but you wouldn't listen."  OK, so the say something nice part went completely over his head.  Then yesterday he wanted to fulfill that suggestion ( I had to remind him about the say something good part), and I think that it was the first time in his life he told someone something they did good. Like, I was watching him struggle to figure out something to say. I swear, sometimes I worry about people.  But what can I do.

Elder Holland said that I need to put the most effort on my mission than anything else I have ever done, like a sport, or some other activity, such as a play or choir song.  Well I can tell Elder Holland I did just that when I finish this mission. I have already put a lot of effort into it, because before, if something was hard, I gave up.  This is the toughest thing I have ever done.  Therefore, I am putting more effort into it than anything else I have ever done before.

I love you guys and love to hear from you.  Keep sending letters please so that I can have a good time reading them two months from now.  After the mission I am pretty sure we need to get me checked out because my concentration is awful.

Love, Elder Kevin Brady

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 10, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

In the letter you recently wrote, I noticed what you said about the secret to success on a mission being to follow the rules and love the people. I completely agree. What I have been having trouble with recently is motivation. My whole life, before my mission, I didn't care about the Church. I knew it was true and everything and I never denied that, I just didn't care. I wondered briefly if I would go to hell or be miserable, and then I would be like, "Whatever, give me a reason I should care." But when I got to the CTM, it was almost like I was hit by a ton of bricks made out of the Spirit. And it eventually came down to either I gain a testimony or go home. Obviously, I made the good choice. I remember when Dad set me apart as a missionary that he said, “The truth will be written in my heart.” Let me tell you, they were carved into my heart.

I recently have been thinking, "Well, what can I use as motivation?" or "What has been motivating me all this time to do well on this mission?" I continued to ponder on these questions, until finally it hit me: Eternal Families. Before my mission I didn't care about family. Now, I would be devastated if I or any of my family would not be able to be with me for the rest of eternity. And I know, that if I do not give all that I can give on my mission, I would be ashamed to enter into the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to be judged according to my works. That is why I must give all that I can give on my mission and obey the rules and love the people.

Anyway, this week my companion and I gave out three copies of the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was strong in all of those lessons about the restoration. Hopefully the people we teach will continue to have a desire to learn more about the gospel. We taught another lady named S***** about the restoration and she cried as we taught her about the First Vision. The spirit was very strong at that moment. My companion then explained that we have evidence that these things are true and that she can pray about this book, and as I was reaching into my backpack to get the Book of Mormon, I realized that I had forgotten it at the house. I think my companion pooped his pants about ten times after the lesson. He was pretty upset. But I did learn a lesson that day, and I will never leave the house to go proselyting without checking to make sure that I have a Book of Mormon in my backpack.

I have to admit that Elder F**** (my companion) reminds me a lot of Tessa before high school. He gets upset at the smallest, smallest mistake and acts as if I have committed adultery or murder. And it's only me he gets upset at. I'm glad though because now Tessa is probably one of the most chilled person that I have ever met after BYU-Hawaii. I can't even imagine her getting upset really. Michelle, since serving her mission, is also a lot more laid back. Katrina has stayed the same; and I mean that in a good way.

It still hasn't hit me that I am in Brazil. It feels a lot like Hawaii. The language also hasn't hit me since I have a hard time paying attention to people. (I had that problem before my mission, too.) Contacting is very scary for me since one of my biggest fears, possibly my greatest fear, is talking to people I don't know unless they say something first. I hate it. It is probably the worst part of the mission. No, I lie. Dessert is. I've been used to not eating dessert at home. Since I didn't like sugar, I pretty much never ate dessert; and you guys didn't care if I didn't eat the dessert because it meant there was more dessert for you. Now I have to train myself to not eat all I can at dinner and save room for dessert. And at times they give us strawberries which is the demon of all dessert so it is a very good thing that I can use my acting skills because I hate strawberries. The scriptures say that the Lord did not make anything bad or miserable on the earth, so, I rest my case.

Oh and the workers at the post office here are on strike so the letters are going really slow. I just got some letters which were mailed in August. So keep sending letters. I would love to get them two months from now. I still need to figure out when I can send some back to you guys.

Elder Brady

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October 3, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

The cyst is fine, I don´t really feel it during the day but at night I kind of get some pain.

I have only had one companion this whole time and that would be Elder *****. He will be my companion until after the first week of November. The other missionaries that we are living with are pretty cool. We go on splits so often that it feels like Elder **** is practically my second companion. He is pretty cool, but he at times likes to play video games at some of the investigators houses; so I have been doing my best at trying not to fall into temptations like that. He thinks that it's fine to play video games, and so he does it. He looks at it as a way to fellowship investigators and show that we (missionaries) are normal people (he is Brazilian by the way), but my trainer told me to not play games. One of the Christlike attributes is humility, and so we/I must listen to our leaders, as they are called of God.

This week, nothing really happened. We just did a bunch of walking and some contacting but that was about it. Most of the excitement that I had this week was studying and making pancakes one day.

Studying has really bumped up on my list to the awesome spot since I feel like I am actually doing something. I kind of go all over the place with studying. One day I am studying in the Bible and then I am studying in Preach My Gospel and even that is all over the place. Right now I am in Exodus in the Bible and I am learning how retarded the children of Israel were when they were freed from Egypt. They were constantly murmuring. It´s a very good thing that I am learning to be more like Christ because as for me, if I had been the one freeing the children of Israel, I would have put them right back in Egypt, since they kept saying it would have been better for them. But of course, the Lord is divinely merciful and continually shows his love for them and for all of us. I need to work on charity a bit more I guess.

I made pancakes and I thought they turned out good but Elder **** said that I used too many eggs. Maybe I did, but I didn´t really care. It was the first pancake I had eaten in at least 6 months so I was happy. And with the vanilla syrup smothered all over it, it was very good! Syrup is extremely easy to make. 1 cup of water, 2 cups of sugar, pinch of salt, heat to a boil and stop it, add vanilla or maple flavoring and you now have a pint of syrup. They don't have maple here. or peanut butter. Or reese´s. Or life. They just are not living properly.

General conference was just in Portuguese except the middle part which was in English ( the part between the sessions). The more I concentrated on the talks, the more difficult it got, until I couldn't concentrate any more. The middle part was good though, and I liked it when they played the Mormon messages where they took clips of previous talks in general conference and made a video with the talk going on in the background. They are really cool. If you haven't seen them, go to them now and watch them. Elder Holland's are the best in my opinion. I can't wait for the English Liahona (or ensign).

I have got to say one thing about prayers though. I think Thomas S. Monson said something about prayers yesterday too, though I am not quite sure. Anyway, during the week I lost my manual which had important things in it, and I could not find it. I looked practically everywhere. I then prayed that Heavenly Father could help me to find it, and I decided to check my room. I walked in there and in the middle of my bed in plain sight, was my manual. Please note I didn't check there earlier. So I gained a testimony that God is wanting to help us; all we need to do is ask. He will answer our prayers, even if it is to show us how dumb we are; and then we will be able to be even more humble unto Him.

I am glad I made a choice to go on a mission. I am learning new things everyday even if I don't realize it until much later. I love all of you guys and I hope all of you continue to live strong in the gospel so that we can all return to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and live with each other forever.


Elder Kevin Brady

Monday, October 3, 2011

September 26, 2011

Dear family and friends,

Lots of letters, and lots of questions to answer. It was great to hear from everybody. It sounds like everyone is doing great back at home. I guess that me and Dad may have it the toughest, maybe Dad even more; same with Drew, Gordon, and Dan, but of course that is what comes with the responsibility of being a man and having the priesthood. The men must provide. Dad has to provide for the stake as well as our family, my brothers-in-law must provide for their families, and I must provide the gospel for the people in Santa Catarina. The responsibility of the women is to care for everyone in the family and prepare great sons and daughters of God. This is what I just recently learned in Preach My Gospel and study with my companion.

Tell people that I have been receiving their letters and that I will return any letters I receive. My address is on the blog if people want to write to me. Otherwise, please send an email! I love to hear from people back home.

OK, now to start off with me, I have some sort of cyst, caused by some sort of unknown infection, growing on me [details edited]. The pain started Thursday, the bump started Saturday, and it burst today before I started writing this E-mail. I talked to the Sister who is in charge of medical today about it and she said that I will probably have to get it checked out in a mini-hospital here. So it hurts to walk, sit, sleep, and at times to stand, so it is really no fun. Fortunately after it burst, some of the pain went away.

We taught an investigator on Friday, the first and pretty much only time this week, the first lesson. I taught the lesson about the Restoration for the first time. I felt pretty good about it and felt the Spirit. During the lesson, the investigator had to go to the bathroom, and I asked my companion how he thought it went, and he said "Mais ou menos. Você pode melhorar, mas não foi bom." You can google translate that sentence on your own. All I can say is that it was not the best confidence boost a senior companion can give after the first time a missionary gives a lesson. Five more weeks, and I will have a new companion. I learned one of the Christlike attributes is hope and to look to the future with a positive attitude.

The new Elder that is living in our house with us is Elder ***** or something like that. He´s American, that's all I know. He has been in the mission for ten months and he speaks pretty good Portuguese and he only speaks to me in Portuguese unless for he needs to clarify something for me. He also tries to keep me involved in some of the conversations, whereas before I didn't really pay attention because I have never really paid attention to conversations my whole life.

Focusing on what is going on is still a struggle, and might be my whole mission, so hopefully I will be able to focus during General Conference (which is only in Portuguese) and understand what they are saying. I have no idea if I will be able to receive the Liahona or not so, if you can, send that to me please.

There are lot's of cultural differences here but I can't tell you since I haven't really focused on them. I know right now that they exist, but I don't remember what.

I would like, if possible, for Christmas: Peanut Butter, Reese's, Syrup (they don't have maple here), Root Beer, your love, and anything else that you think would be awesome. Just don't send any books or anything like that, because I won´t be able to read it till I get home. I will think of some other things to ask for next week.

By the way, I won't speak Portuguese to you guys until I come back home, because I want it to be a surprise. I will only quote in Portuguese. That's about it.

I love all of you guys and hope to hear from you more. You are all awesome and great examples to me. Send more letters if you can, and I will try to write back and answer your questions whenever I am able. Love you.
Love Elder Kevin Brady.

P.S. Dad, it is "Como vai?" Como vi você is "as I saw you." It´s kind of weird for you to say that.