Tuesday, January 20, 2015

First Week Down and Counting

Hey! So, the first week was great! I'm settled in for the most part. I've already met a bunch of new families here. My area is in Villa Nueva, Brownsville. It's basically all Hispanic here, so I'm slowly picking up more Spanish. I just need a lot of experience with my Spanish and, hopefully, it will start coming. We mostly speak Spanish here. There are a lot of families that only speak Spanish here. They all know Spanish, but some still speak English. My apartment address is 1900 Coffee Port, Brownsville, TX 78521. So, that's where you guys should send the letters. I've already taught a few families and it's pretty cool to see them changing. We have set 2 baptismal dates just this week. They tell us to set a baptismal date the first day we meet someone just so they can have it in mind. You'd be surprised how well that works. Our zone set like 30 baptismal dates just in like a day. Almost everyone here is Catholic, so it's interesting. I had to ride bikes for a few days, but we actually have a car now, which is great. The scenery isn't like Mexico here at all, but it's still cool. The culture, however, is just like Mexico because everyone is Hispanic. One family that we were teaching is la familia Mulatos. They were all baptized and confirmed last week, but the mom's aunt has been brainwashing her with anti-Mormon stuff and now we are not allowed to go over and teach the kids anymore. The kids are very bold, though. They wanted us to keep teaching them, so it was really cool. They had a big fight right in front of us about us, so it was really awkward. But, it amazed me at how the kids would not budge when the mom told them they were going to the Catholic church. I've had a few scary experiences already. One night we went to this family's house to share a message. They took us home after in their van, but they were fighting the whole way. We were in the back of the van with our bikes, because we couldn't all fit. They starting getting really angry and cussing way too much. It was scary. But, I also met this family where one spouse only knows Spanish and the other only knows English. How that works I don't know but they're a cool family. I appreciate the birthday presents. I'm not really sure how I'm going to take that stuff to my other areas, though. I'll be in Brownsville for at least 12 weeks. It's really close to the border. My district wasn't surprised when I got assigned there. A lot of the people here are friendly, for the most part, and then there are those streaks of people that are not friendly at all, especially the rich people here. This one guy told us that we had to go because he was too busy eating. lol. There are 2 wards that we have here. We have the English ward and the Spanish ward, even though everyone in both wards probably knows Spanish. My companions name is Elder Jones. He is pretty fluent in Spanish and he's cool. He's been here for about a year and 4 months. He's my trainer. I've definitely learned some valuable things here already. One thing they stress here is to have a great ¨Animo!¨ There's not really a good word in English that describes this but Its to always be excited and have a great attitude about everything. There are a lot of things that you can't change. They happen and there's nothing you can do about it. The only thing you can change about it is the way you look at it. If you start to have a good attitude about everything, it will start to become a part of you. The second thing I've really understood better is the atonement. I've been reading The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox. It has helped me understand it better. I always thought that God loved me less if I repented of things, but then did them again. Although we always need to strive to do better, messing up over and over and over again is part of the process. It's like the sacrament prayer. It takes you a lot of tries to get it right, but at the end, it needs to be perfect. We get a little better every time, but it's a process, a continual process. So, I really liked that. Last thing, send me CD's of music! The music isn't strict here. It can be anything that where you can feel the spirit. It doesn't even have to be strictly church music, as long as it has a good message and you can feel the spirit. I like that one song that says, "I'm coming home, coming home, tell the world I'm coming home.¨ Put that song on one of the CDs you send. Keep me in your prayers. You guys are in mine. And, tell Ashley I miss her. It's difficult here, but I know its for the best and I know that I will continue to change lives while I'm here. It's so cool to see. I try to serve everyone in my path. Hope everything is well, and I'll keep you updated with all of the cool stories that happen because they will. I've already seen people want to come back to church because of the lessons we've taught them and I've seen people get baptized already. Miss you guys. Have fun. Hope everything's going alright. And, I'll see ya guys. Elder Brady

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