HAPPY 19th BIRTHDAY, MICHAEL!!!!! :) (And Happy Birthday to Christopher on the 5th! Did I include that one a few weeks ago?!) Michael, are you getting ready to go into the MTC? Are you excited? How is class coming?! Are you flying to Mexico City from Beijing? Send me a hello sometime, little brother. Oh --- and did you get my box? :) There are language goodies wrapped up inside for all of the languages spoken at the Bradshaw residence: Spanish, French, Tahitian, Russian, and now Chinese!!
This week was lovely. The days have been temperate and the mountain air refreshing. After lunch each day we sit on a bench for 2-3 minutes along "tulip lane", close our eyes, and let our faces bask in the warm sun. We call it "taking our daily dose of vitamin D". In Tahiti, I am afraid we may find that we are accidentally overdosing! haha. The time for sunscreen is coming shortly. Three weeks from today we will be IN TAHITI! Heavens, where did the time go? We said a bitter sweet (mostly sweet -- we are so excited for them!) goodbye to our two French districts who headed out for Paris and Lyon today. We will miss seeing the girls, but are happy that they are on their way!! Being in Tahiti is hard to comprehend -- even fathom, so we are content to "wait and see". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pkHMIm2iTo Beautiful background music from Tahiti.
Our lessons in Tahitian are coming along nicely. We can all pray, bear testimony, and teach basic principles by now. Having a limited knowledge of the language really makes you choose your sentences very deliberately. Only the most important information, the purist doctrine, the most fundamental truths, the most sincere testimony. Wasn't it Albert Einstein who said "If you can't explain it simply, you don't know it well enough" ? ;)
Yesterday was the Worldwide live Missionary Training Broadcast "The Work of Salvation" --- what an opportunity! Go to LDS.org to see the broadcast if you didn't catch it yesterday. (It is for everyone, not just missionaries :))The entire program is two hours long and full of excellent talks, beautiful music, and charming little videos. I, along with thousands of other missionaries, sang in the choir. Though we had to leave for the broadcast at 12:45pm, and were not released until 6pm, it was worth every minute! Also, did you know that the choir seats are particularly comfortable? Compensation for our hard work, I suppose ;) The theme of the broadcast can be grouped into two categories 1. Advances in the use of technology for full time missionaries and 2. The renewed importance of member missionary work. Missions around the globe are now running pilot programs with iPads and Facebook accounts. They spend a few hours in the morning (when the work is slow -- as most people are at work) to take advantage of these tools and connect with the community around them, share messages, etc. Missionaries are now hosting weekly (or more frequent) guided tours of the chapels for all those who are a bit curious about the church. One year from now, all missions will be fluently using these tools. The world has changed, my friends! Not as often do people stop to talk to strangers, nor are they home during proselyting hours. Going door-to-door is becoming increasingly ineffective, which is why we need you! The trick, though, is this -- do not think of member missionary work as an assignment. Think of it as a character trait. When we are living our lives in a way that is centered on Christ, we are already member missionaries! Our job as Christians and as members of the Church is to love and serve those around us. To watch over them, befriend them, and care for them. I invite you all to listen to the inspiring words of prophets and apostles on the subject via this broadcast -- my own words pale in comparison.
Something out of the ordinary DID, actually, happen this week. About 1/3 of the MTC caught a stomach virus, including 3 of my 5 dear roommates and about half of our floor. It only lasted 24 hours, but each infected missionary was quarantined, given bottles of Gatorade, highly effective anti nausea pills (that...kind of...worked) and told NOT TO EAT ANY FOOD for the rest of the day. We spent that evening in our pajamas helping the sick sisters be more comfortable, who had since made their beds in the hallway, as their dorms were too far away from the restroom.... Our sweet elders came to the front of our residence at 10:20pm at night (after being hunted down by MTC workers) and gave blessings to some of the girls. What an interesting sight, to see so many sister missionaries waiting in their pajamas in the dark for blessings. I am so grateful for the priesthood and the extent to which it blesses our lives. Even through these 19 year old boys, you cannot help but feel the power of God working on the earth. I have enormous respect for priesthood holders who understand the importance of their calling. God is ever a god of miracles.
Lastly, I have been thinking quite a bit (generally on my morning and afternoon runs) about the "progression" of man, in general as well as spiritually. When in the history of the earth has the limit of the progression of man ever been discovered and pinpointed? Never. Why? Because our potential for progression and improvement is limitless. It was designed that way. Progression only stops for one simple reason -- Man finds himself in a situation that no longer challenges him, and he does not know how, or perhaps he does not want, to push himself. Trials and challenges are the fuel for progression. Always seek improvement, always seek out the things that stretch you in life, and you will find that there really is no limit to who you can become.
Until next week!