Erica's Missionary Adventures

Erica's Missionary Adventures
Merry Christmas from Mesa!

Friday, October 24, 2014

October 20, 2014

Dear Mom and Dad,

     I'm going to be honest, it's really hard to read about how grandpa is doing. I am so grateful he will get to be home with grandma for his last week. Tell grandma and grandpa I love them so much.

     Tell the hospice people I'm grateful for the work they do. That is a job only suitable for very strong people.

     Please make sure you call the mission office before you post anything on Facebook. I'm not sure who you are supposed to call. So it might be good to call the office today and find out.

     I'm grateful that you prayed for me to feel arms of comfort as I read your letters. As soon as I started crying, sister T***** reached over and gave me a hug... So I literally felt arms of comfort :)

     I am grateful for the atonement. This morning I decided I need to make the sacrament more meaningful (I was reading Cheryl Esplin's general conference talk) and a part of that is fully understanding the atonement and using it in our lives. I was thinking more of the part of the atonement that helps with the mistakes I make every day, but as I study the atonement, I will also work on learning to use the atonement in times of pain and sorrow. I am grateful for this opportunity to grow closer to my Savior.

     I love grandpa, and I will miss him. I am so grateful for the plan of salvation. Because of it, I know I will see grandpa again. And it will be a glorious reunion.

     I am so happy that you are joining me in the PMG [Preach My Gospel] challenge!! President Jenkins said in his last letter to read "5-6" pages a day. I wish I could give you an exact schedule so that we could all be on the same pages together, but that's okay :) I'm just so excited to read PMG with my parents and Katrina! Cause apparently none of my other siblings are joining ;) haha... And yes it starts this Wednesday.

     I have transfer news!!!!!!!!! I'm leaving sister T***** :( but I am going to be companions with sister T****!! She is so funny and she sings alto really well, and she is from New Zealand!! We will be in the mM******* family ward and the hH******* YSA ward!! Yup! I'm gonna be working with the YSA!! How cool is it that we are both working with the YSA!! Also, the stake we're in is a super rich stake, which is good and bad.... Good cause we'll eat good! But bad cause it's harder to have investigators in the ritzier places. Nevertheless I'm super excited!!!! Also, I am staying in the same zone, and the same apartment complex. My new home is about 400 yards away. Haha! Easiest move ever!!

     I am sad to be leaving the AV and VP wards, especially to leave the O*** family and B**** (we taught him the law of chastity. It went great but - haha - the members were not expecting that! Haha, we probably should have warned them :)) We are teaching a super fun couple in the AV ward (he is less active) and they are going to take us to the Phoenix temple open house tomorrow so that I get to go before I transfer! Yay!! 

     I'm glad you liked my Kevin dream :)) hahaha it was a really funny dream. What is that kid doing? How come he hasn't emailed me back???! I can't wait to see the wedding announcement!! I will put it on my fridge!!! Haha! This is so exciting!!

     Emily got in group musical?!?!?!,!?!, NO WAY!!!!! I am SOOOOOO excited for her!! Oh my goodness M****** loves her. She is the chosen one. She will be the one that M******picks out musicals for (like Michelle and Cinderella) except Emily is starting young. Emma you will get to go to state!!! How awesome!!!! Yeah let me know when they choose the song!! How are the play rehearsals going! Make sure you stay on M*******'s good side.

     Hey mom you can totally go to lessons with the missionaries if they are teaching a family. if they are teaching a single woman they would need a third male, but you and dad could go as a couple. Haha, but maybe you will all be so BUSY now with your new calling dad!!!!!!!! How many calling do you have now? Like five?

     I am feeling much better now. Just trying to coach my voice back to normal. It's very raspy and I still have the occasional coughing attack at night. Which, by the way, is the worst, cause it's not like I can just give my companion the courtesy of me sleeping in the other room so that she can sleep haha :p and then I just feel awful cause I'm keeping sister T***** up. The good news is I'm certain my coughing attacks could be MUCH worse at night, but I think angels are helping to quiet them so that sister T***** can sleep. Obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles!!!!! 

     I never check my email before 10am here. (I think that's 9am there?) P-day starts at 10am.

     Sometimes when people here say things like "what not" and "time out" I really feel a very strong urge to help them finish their sentence. My tongue begins to form the words "to wear" and "for women" (respectively). I haven't actually said them out loud yet, but, as we all know, thoughts very quickly turn into actions!

     We went to the mall today!! Cause it's the only place in the mission that has chick-fil-a. Yum :) it was weird... But everyone was super nice! Haha probably cause most people here are Mormon, or know Mormons. They have a TWO STORY CAROUSEL there!! I almost bought shoes. But I don't have money. Yay me for making money conscious decisions!! I don't need new shoes cause you're sending my combat boots :) so it would have been a poor choice!

     I can't wait to read your talk! I wish I could have heard that other lady's talk too!

     I love you so much mom and dad. I am SO happy to be out here serving a mission. I am learning so much and I have really felt a substantial growth in this last transfer. It makes me happy and gives me hope to know that because of god's plan for us, and especially because of the atonement, anyone can change and become a better person!

I love you!!!
Love sister Brady!

Letter #2 from Erica (to Mom) 

     I love you so much!!! I love reading your letters!! I love getting to read about how your week went!! I love you mom!!

     The things I need/want are:

     Rain jacket (byuhawaii tour), candy cane nightgown, combat boots, and tacky Christmas sweater. I can't remember if I said anything else... Ugh... I should have written it down :/

     MOM YOU ARE THE BEST!!! Thank you for the service that you do in the church and for always magnifying your callings.
     Have you been reading the general conference talks for Family Home Evening? Send me the schedule so I can follow along!

     Also, what is Tessa's letter/home address? I have a postcard in my bag that I have been meaning to mail for weeks but I don't have her address haha!

Sister Brady.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

October 13, 2014

Letter # 1:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Meet the Mormons was awesome!! We watched it with half the mission on Wednesday and the Missionaries roared with laughter at the beginning movie clips. Particularly the South Park and the Simpsons clips :) Hahahaha... I thought the coach guy and the boxer were really cool, and the candy bomber and the missionary mom made me cry SO MUCH!!

Speaking of crying, remember that closing prayer at the first session of conference? The one that asked for a blessing upon the parents of missionaries. I started crying. It was beautiful.

B***** is so amazing!! He thinks he wants to be baptized (he is still deciding for sure) but he is on parole for a long time and you can only be baptized on parole if you have direct permission from the First Presidency.

Funny story- Okay really a gross story: I had a pretty nasty cold this weekend and on Sunday I was in the bathroom when I started sneezing furiously.... AND THEN the last time I sneezed really hard a string of MUCUS flew out of my mouth from the back of my throat!!! After I finished gagging and cleaning myself up, I could not stop laughing. It was horrific.

I got Emma's letter!!!! It was great!!!! I particularly enjoyed the "My life was about to end" Ha! I am SOOOO happy for her!!! Yayyyyy!!! 100 lines??! That's insane for a freshman! I think I had like 14 lines in The Crucible. I can't wait to hear about the Homecoming week/skit experience! Did she get to go to the dance? [NO – she did not!! We are mean!!] I hope she feels better soon!!

My favorite thing to eat at Backyard Taco is the Crazy Potato. I will have to take you and Dad there someday :)

I HAVE to read the love poem!!!! And Dad I LOVED your pictures!!!!!!

I love that you gave bread to all the neighbors and gave them an opportunity to serve!!

Is Powell Butte having a Halloween Party? You should invite a family or two to that! Those are great opportunities to invite friends of other faiths because it is not as intimidating as inviting them to a church service or to meet with the missionaries :) Baby steps.

OH, President J******told us that statistically if we want to have 1 baptism each month, we need to have 16 new investigators each month because that is the ratio of new Investigators to baptisms. That means we have to have 4 new investigators each week. In my area, we haven't had new investigators in over a month. We depend SO much on the members (especially because we are not allowed to tract). So it's super important that you are always doing your part to be a member missionary. And the best way to be a member missionary is to simply invite everyone!

What church things are happening from now until the end of the year that you can invite people to? Halloween Party, Meet the Mormons! Christmas Activity, Relief Society nights, Mutual (every week emma!), Elders Quorum actives (is that a thing? I really don't know.), The Christmas Devotional/sing-a-long), The Portland Visitors Center, and other ward activities!! PLUS you don't just have to invite people to church events! You can invite people over for a game night. Or you can invite them over for a dinner. Seriously, just be their friends!!

Really, missionary work is just loving people.

AND missionary work isn't always necessarily working with nonmembers. It is working with less-active members! Because EVERYONE needs to feel needed and loved!!!

I love what happened with your friend, mom!! That is fantastic!! Go missionary work!!!

Tell me about the western themed dinner and the prize, Dad!!!

Bahahahahaha you, Susan, Dulsanna, and Angie crack me up!! I keep meaning to write my VonTrapp kids!! I love them so!!!

I remember that drama field trip!! I saw the musical Sunset Boulevard and after Noodles we walked over to Powell's Bookstore. that was fun :) I really only have fond memories of High School now.... I'm not even sure why I left in the first place.... Guys, I'm serious.... I'm loosing my mind.... Every bad memory of High School is completely erased. Now I remember High School to be this awesome blaze of friendship and laughter... like that time we played games at the Theater Lock-IN... and how FUN auditions were.... And I loved the Drama competitions... and being in my sophomore homecoming skit.... and being in C-notes and A-Capella Choir.... and my awesome teachers... and winning prom Queen.... and being Student Body President.... wait, no I definitely made up those last two..... Yeah, all my bad memories are gone.

Alright, I have a few challenges I am going to give you and the rest of the family, so I am going to write another quick email in just a moment.

I love you so much Mom and Dad!!!!!! You are the BEST!!!! And your both my favorites, but don't tell the other. :)

Sister Brady

Letter # 2:

Okay family!! I have a challenge for you!!!!

My mission president has given this challenge/requirement for all the missionaries in the mission.

Next transfer, which starts next Wednesday (Oct. 22nd) we are all going to read the entire Preach My Gospel by the end of the transfer (Dec. 3rd). We will be doing this "together" by reading 5 pages EVERY day during personal study.

I want to extend this invitation/challenge for you AND your husbands/Kara to do!!

Obviously, because my entire life is centered around Preach My Gospel right now, it will be easier for me to do the 6 week reading of it. But I totally understand that everyone has different schedules and I don't want to stress anyone out or upset anyone because they feel like it's too much,

SO if 5 pages seems like too much to read every day, you are welcome to extend it to Christmas, or New Years Day, or whatever date seems achievable for you!

Really, I just think it would be awesome for the whole family to read it together.

Just let me know what you each come to decide!! Or if you all talk about it together and decide on a family goal, like reading 2 or 3 pages each day (which I think would be AWESOME!) I will gladly join you and read with you after I finish the 6 week challenge from my mission president!

I love you family!!!!

Email me or write me your testimony! I would love to hear from you all :)

Sister Brady

Letter #3 (to Kevin):

Dear Kevin,

I had this dream that I was home from my mission. I was driving with you in the passenger seat (I think we driving around our old Franklin neighborhood).

As we were driving, I kept stopping the car and reversing because I had just returned home and I was super psyched that I could just reverse without needing another person to back me up.

You were just chilling in the seat next to me.

I was super pumped to be home and seeing everyone and I was just going on and on about how fantastic my mission was, and how great life was.

*Side note: Keep in mind I have only one companion so far on my mission (Sister T******)*

And then you turned to me with the most evilest grin and you said "Tell me about all your companions..."

So I was like, "Well... There was Sister T********, she was awesome... and.... well.... um..........."

I didn't HAVE any more companions because it had all been a dream!!!!!!

And then I abruptly "awoke" from my dream (I had a dream within a dream, so really I just dreamed that I woke up and in my new dream sister T****** was like, "Hey what's going on" and I was like, "My brother's a but*")

And then I really woke up and Sister T***** and I had a good laugh :)

Hope the wedding plans are going well :)

Sister Brady

p.s. I don't really think you're a but* :)

p.p.s. I included mom in the email because I fell like this dream needs to be passed on to an even bigger audience. :)

Letter #4:

[Shelly here - This letter is in response to a request to Erica to share acts of service with me for a talk I was giving at a youth conference.]


1. When I was sick this weekend, a member brought over Gatorade and V8 Juice to help me get better quickly! That was awesome because it was a Saturday and we weren't going to get to the store until Monday.

2. We have been doing "Pumpkin Attacking" which is kind of like "Valentine Heart Attacking" except we decorate the doors with Paper pumpkins and fall leafs. Only our Relief Society Presidents have figured out that it was Sister T***** and I that decorated their door and they both told us thank you. But we have had so much fun writing words of love and encouragement and scriptures on each pumpkin, quickly taping them to the door, and then running away from the door, even though we aren't doing a ding-dong-ditch type thing, haha we just run away for the thrill of it!

3. Service is what Missionary Work is all about (Well, that and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ). It's what Christ did when He was here on the earth. He taught the gospel and He served others. As we serve others, we put ourselves in Christ shoes (we can certainly never fill His shoes, but we can follow His examples and strive to be like Him), and we come closer to Him. Also: as missionaries, we help others come unto Christ through service :) Serving others is a great way to let people know that they are loved by you and by their Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 6, 2014

Three letters from Erica this week:

Letter #1 - to Dad from Erica

Dear Dad,

I love you!!!

General conference was fantastic!!!!!!

We had cinnamon rolls too!! But ours were store bought :)

One of our investigators, B******, watched conference this weekend. He
watched it at his mom's house so we weren't able to watch it with him,
but we are SO proud of him!!!

Yes, Elder Holland's talk was amazing! And Dallin H. Oaks was another one of
my favorites!

We dropped off some clothes at a former investigators home who really
needed them for her boys. We put the bags on the porch and knocked on
the door and ran! It was thrilling!! We left a note on the bag that
said "you are loved."

This week was great and tomorrow we get to go to the temple and watch
"meet the Mormons"!!!! Make sure you go see that this weekend! (If
it's playing anywhere near you :))

I love you!!

Sister Brady

Letter #2 -  to Mom From Erica

I LOVE YOU soooooooo much mom!!

I think of you all the time! I love your letters so much! Thank you
for writing me every week :)

I just wanted to send you an extra email of love :)

Sister Brady

Letter #3 -  from Erica

Dear Mom and dad,

I AM SO HAPPY FOR EMILY!!! That's the role she wanted right?? I look forward to the letter when it is written and sent :)) [Emily got the role in the High School Play – Bone Chillers. She is playing Kissy.]

Dad, thank you for your updates about grandpa!

If I transfer it won't be until the 22nd, so I would know by the 20th. You can still write letters to the same address (it's the mission offices address) and they forward it to our apartments. So no matter where I go (or sister T***** they will always find us! :)

I have eaten at Backyard Taco! We always go there after the temple! (Missionaries get half off, so it's a great deal!)

After listening to Carlos A. Godoy's talk, I read my patriarchal blessing. It has definitely helped put things into perspective.

I love my nieces and nephews!!!! I am so glad Hank [Erica's nickname for Henry] loves kindergarten! I was just thinking about my elementary school days. They were a blast. :) One time a girl burst into tears because we weren't in the same group and I remember thinking "what a weirdo..." For a girl who was, and is, highly emotional, I was not very compassionate.

Haha, Mom I think you've mentioned your 300 day project in the last three letters :) hahaha. But I love to hear that you are making progress on your goals and vision!! Keep me updated on it!! You can send me the pictures through email. I am excited to see them!! I see a few of them on FB when they pop up on my news-feed. :) I saw the mermaid one, and the "none for dad" post. :)

I remember always having to do Michelle and Katrina's chores while they were in plays (and they never had to do chores dress rehearsal week) but as soon as I was in the high school plays I had to do my chores AND be in the play!! (I mean, I didn't have to be in the play I guess :))

Bunco sounds like fun!! I'm glad you got invited and you went!! I have made a goal to be more extroverted when I get home from my mission. Also, I have this image of the perfect member missionary I'm gonna be. I know life will get crazy once I get home, but I'm gonna do everything it takes to keep this vision and follow through with who I want to become.

I saw that Sara was playing in the powder puff game!! (Facebook) how did it go!! I'm bummed BYU is not doing well :( you "watched Emily walk around with the drama kids"? Wow, I wonder what life would have been like if I was the youngest child... (But it's just a thought, Emma. I'm so glad I have my baby sister :)) [Clarification here – Brady's don't let kids just roam around – we are mean and strict. I was not clear in my letter. Emily was walking around the track in the Homecoming Parade not just randomly walking around with the Drama kids or any kids :)! I will clear that up in Erica's next letter! Haha!]

I had this thought!!!! Now that Bishop Wilson is released, he needs to be the bishop of the YSA ward!!! Right?!? :))

Yes! I can have sugar :) all things in moderation, right? I also will probably need new regular socks and footie socks by December.... (I like the footie socks from H&M better than the Payless kind. And I like the colorful Costco socks for the other kind.) wink-wink. hint-hint.

I LOVE the improv competition!!! So much fun!!! I am soooo excited to read the letter when Emily writes it and sends it here :)) and the freshman homecoming skit?! I played Mario in my sophomore homecoming skit!! So much fun!! How did she get to be a part of the homecoming skit?

I am glad you study those talks for FHE too!! The words of the prophets are scripture!! You should try to incorporate Preach My Gospel into your FHEs too :)

Okay before I talk about conference, I just want to throw out here the fact that if I did return to BYU Hawaii for the winter semester, I would have LESS THAN 5 DAYS with you all at home!!! What the what?!

Now conference:

Every talk was amazing!!! Seriously, there wasn't one talk where I was like "Yeah, this one is not for me..." No!! Every talk either answered a question, or brought to my mind someone I needed to reach out to! 

Side note: I friended P***** on Facebook!! I haven't seen her since I was 9!! She lives in Arizona now!!! Crazy!!! But I can't meet up with her on my mission :/ Do you still keep in touch with her mom?

Jeffery R, Hollands talk was amazing! And I loved Tad R. Callister's talk about parents!! Yay parents! Jorge Klebingat is the old mission president in Ukraine, and two missionaries in my zone got transferred from that mission when they got all they missionaries out of Ukraine. So that was cool for them to see him speak in conference! Also, his talk was perfect. Did I tell you we are training for a mission 5k? I met Elder Hamula!! He spoke to he missionaries in my district at the stake presidents house! Richard G. Scott's talk was great! Because he just told it like it is, and he seemed so done with our excuses. It was awesome :) M. Russell Ballard had amazing analogies!! Thomas. S. Monson's words to "be a little better" than we were before has inspired me. :) I love our prophet!! Also. David A. Bednar stalk was GREAT!! I loved the story about those boys!! Hahah I was dying!! It was so cute!!

Conference was amazing and I can't wait to reread those talks!! I will do that as soon as they come to the gospel library app :)

I love you so much!!!!

Sister Brady 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

September 29, 2014

Dear Mom and Dad,

I am SO happy! Being a missionary is the best. My companion is the best!! I love her so much <3 Yes we got your cards! 

Thank you so much :) Sister T**** and I were just talking the other day about how one of us for sure has to be transferred this next transfer because we've already been together 3 transfers :( It's probably gonna be me because Sister T****** is district leader. Seriously though, this ward loves us and one family just invited us to Thanksgiving dinner already! Another family invited us to Backyard Taco (a delicious Mexican fast food restaurant)! And my district is the best!!! (It's just sisters, so it's kind of amazing!). But, it's seriously okay if I get transferred because I will be able to grow some more in a new area and there are people in other areas of Mesa that I have to meet :)

Thank you for the Family History Info!! Yeah, it's kind of cool that my Great-Grandpa is pretty much the American version of Jean Val Jean. And I think it's super awesome that you're doing family history for your ancestors too, mom. :) You will be blessed!

Ugh, BYUH. so crazy....

So does the new schedule mean there is no school during the summer?

I REALLY want to go on tour and I REALLY REALLY want to be there for Grandpa's last play!!

Sometimes the thought comes that I should just get my associates at MHCC in elementary education and then transfer to BYU Provo. 

Other times I think I should try to audition for the dance music theater program at Provo. I'm pretty sure I'm receiving all of these thoughts because it just means I have lots of options, and none of them are really the "right" or "wrong" option. They're just all good options. The good news is that I don't have to worry about it right now :)

My problem with BYUH is how crazy everything changes!!! and so quickly!! If I do go back there, it would only be for a few semesters. I will definitely pray about it when the time draws nearer to decide.

But let me know what Grandpa and Belnap decide about the play (and what play it would be). Because that may be my deciding factor in going back. I can't imagine not going back!

Although, sister T****** is trying to convince me to just join her in Provo :) She also has a very good point about how we could drive down to Mesa on short Holidays and visit our old wards :)

When are the deadlines for applying for the 2016 winter semester for any of the BYU's? I didn't defer my BYU Hawaii placement.... so that could be another problem all together.... anyway, we can set a deadline for when I need to decide, based on those deadlines.

Okay I thought of two more items I want sent to me please! My tacky Christmas sweater (we have a few Christmas activities coming up) And my lace up combat boots (yes we can wear them, especially at Christmas Lights in the winter when it gets cold). Seriously, don't even send me a Christmas present. Just send those items (and letters. letters are always welcome), and I will be as happy as a kid on Christmas :)

Speaking of cold, it has been FREEZING these last two days!!! We played ultimate Frisbee this morning for exercise and I was wearing my sweater! Outside! While running!!

Whoa yeah in 3 months and 2 days Kev is gonna be married!!!! Are the plans going well? Does Kara have colors picked out?

OKAY! UMMM...... Emily Katherine Brady.... I have been waiting two weeks now!! to find out the results to your audition, and now I have to wait a whole other week!?? It's a good thing the Christlike attribute I'm working on is Patience :)

Okay Patience!!! Have you read chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel?? BEST CHAPTER EVER!!!! I am working on patience right now. I have read some AWESOME talks about the attribute, and I am reading every scripture under "patience" in the triple index. One talk you should all read this week: "Continue in Patience" Dieter F. Uchtdorf, April 2010. I love learning about the Christlike attributes and applying them to my life. It's not easy by any means, but life is a lot better when you are trying to follow Christ's example.

I love Susan Scott so much! You should totally do the music with Emily H. again, mom, if you don't move, which you are not now!

Grandpa and Grandma are going through some hard stuff right now :/ I keep praying for them and they are always in my thoughts. I love them :)

The Broadcast was awesome! I loved how Elder Uchtdorf said we ARE daughters of God.... but that is not a guaranteed ticket to eternal salvation!! We may be saved by grace, but we have to earn eternal salvation by doing the things God has commanded and by keeping the covenants we have made :) They are starting to crack down at the Women's Broadcast. It was fantastic!!

How is Hank doing at Soccer!! That is so fun that they do so many different sports! I love my nieces and nephews :) Any other ones on the way? Haha jk... but seriously....

Okay I love you all so much! I will write more later today (we are doing an hour now, and an hour later). Right now we are going to go eat lunch with a lady from another ward because she found out about how much I love Christmas and so she also made me a Christmas Afghan and wants to take us out to lunch!! So sweet!!

haha, life is great :)

Sister Brady

[Note from John explaining some family history to Erica]
Letter from Dad
September 29, 2014
Just a word to say about Great Grandpa Brady [John's Grandfather].  While he had a small family, and during the depression, Grandpa went to work harvesting the wheat for a local farmer.  When he completed the job, which took several days or weeks, Grandpa and the other workers went to the farmer to get their pay.  They were told the farmer had nothing to pay them, and he offered nothing else.  Consequently, he and the others "took" their pay by taking "their share" of the wheat from the farmer that night.  Thus, they were jailed for "stealing."  Doesn't make it right, but at least there's a better understanding of the why.  At least, that's what I heard from Aunt Deb.