Monday, September 18, 2017

It Really Was The Best Two Years

My time is up here. Here are some happenings this week. We went out with President Parry to hunt down some Spanish less active members. He was part of the Greenville East Stake Presidency and now part of the Mission Presidency. I worked with him in Greenville back in January. Time flies by holy crap! 

While investigating, we found a torn up vacated house. We talked with their self proclaimed hillbilly x-moonshiner neighbor. He told us about their history with drugs and prostitution and gave us all the info and then some. He was super hard to understand! He had like a few teeth missing and a deep red neck accent. As we were talking, President Parry noticed and commented that the fire this guy had started (on his grass to burn yard waste) was now spreading through the fence and into his neighbors yard....We decided to say bye before anything else happened. It was pretty funny. I will miss crazy southerners. 

We taught Nancy again and she has desires to repent- and change her life. She realizes that she has not been too great of an example for her son and wants to change that. She wants to know if Christ is real. We used different scriptures in the Bible and Book of Mormon that testify of the divinity of Christ. Is was really cool. 

I had my last exchange with Elder Peck. We taught so many people. It was great. They will be combining our two areas and so Elder Peck will continue to train his trainee and mine. They will cover the entire stake in Spanish! Holy cow. Lots of potencial though. Fifteen minutes before church, I volunteered to fill in for a youth speaker who would not show up to give a talk. I love how the Bishopric has trust in the missionaries to come in clutch. I talked about looking unto God in all things. It went well. When we look unto God in all things, a natural result is humility. When we look unto Him in all things, we are giving him all of our heart, might mind and strength. This puts us in a better position to receive, recognize and act on spiritual promptings meant to guide us and help other people. Ways we can better look unto God are by being good at the fundamentals- Scripture study, fervent sincere prayer, and church and temple attendance. 

The intermediate hymn was my childhood favorite, "The Spirit of God." The thought came to my mind in the meeting of how cool it would be if my favorite hymn "abide with me" was sung (it was first a baptist hymn fyi). To my utmost shock, that was the closing hymn of my last Sunday as a full time missionary. I tried to hold back tears as I sang that song fervently while sitting up on the stand. Why would God inspire Sister Daniels, our chorister, to choose my favorite hymn as a youth and then a song that has been an answer to prayer on my mission? The answer to this question started when I received an uplifting email from someone I looked up to as a youth this week- and in the email he said he had been prompted by the Spirit to send me a note. God is reaching out to me. He is showing me that I have people that care deeply about me. Today was a second witness of that. It was like He himself was saying here I am. I have not gone anywhere. I know your struggles and your desires. I know what is in store. It was like he was thanking me for my efforts, and reminding me that he is always mindful of me. I just need to be more in tune with Him and recognize what he has blessed me with. 

The last talk in church was given by a member of the Stake Presidency. He gave a beautiful analogy of biking in a headwind and a tailwind. He went on and said that We tend to forget the tailwinds when the headwinds are pounding against us. Three ways for us to recognize the tailwinds in our lives are to: cultivate a spirit of gratitude, be meek and lowly of heart, and ponder how you have seem the hand of the Lord reaching out to touch you today. I think that goes well with what I was feeling. Search for God in your lives! Here is there, and wants to bless you. 

I feel blessed to have spent about two years amongst the Southern people, both those who speak Spanish and English. The wonderful spiritual experiences I have had, the knowledge of the Gospel I have obtained, the teaching skills I have developed, the new language I have learned, the pattern for receiving inspiration from God I have started, and the Disciple of Christ I feel like I have become will be a huge building block and foundation for the rest of my life. I love this Gospel. I love this Work. I love my Savior. I love the scriptures. I know God is mindful of everyone of us. I know he answers our prayers in his own ways and timetable. This is the true Church of Jesus Christ on the earth. I am grateful that I have been able to taste a bit of what Christ and his apostles dealt with as they taught the Gospel. I understand their frustrations with the people, and I have felt their joys. I have come to understand people and their ways of thinking way better. I am grateful for the culture I have been a part of. I am grateful for the daily opportunity to repent and better myself. I am grateful for the prayers of friends and family, and many emails of love and encouragement. I believe I have found who I am. I hope to continue to set an example for my siblings. I am nervous as to what to expect in coming back to the real world, and it will be a continual challenge to not be of the world. Like we used to say in the mission, "Me encanta las cosas difíciles; soy primero para hacer las cosas difíciles;

Hago las cosas difíciles primero; soy terminador; Me encanta ser misionero."

See y'all in a few days!

the best two years, the best two years! going on testifyin in the very best suit from sears

Totally goofed up the chorus...oh well. Haha

Elder McLaughlin- 

Hammocking in the YSA apartment. Totally doing this in Provo. #ibolts.

Country Roads from Shayla McLaughlin on Vimeo.

Strolling through Hatcher Garden
Putting siding on the Colecio's extension to their home- which we also helped build.

There are many signs like these down here, and finally took a pic with one lol.

It's not skulls-- look closely.

Marcelino to the left and some new English class guy... taught my last English class on Thursday.

Elder Thomas & Elder Rose

Hermana Maria de Lourdes Sanchez. She told me to tell mom that she has un hijo maravilloso... I am going to miss her a lot! We mow her lawn.

Put me on the wheaties box!

1 comment:

  1. Brayden, I have loved your letters of the past two years. They have made me laugh and cry and ponder. I have used some of your thoughts in R.S. with the sisters in our ward. I love that you share your spiritual experiences along with the day to day challenges and fun you have had. Thanks for sharing your mission with me. Please keep in touch! My email is You are welcome to head north for some RNR anytime you want when you get to BYU. We have a grand daughter attending that "other blue school" and our son David and his family live in Lehi. We will add you to our email list of invites for our "Second Sunday Birthday Dinners" ... email me so I have your address... love you! and WELCOME HOME...


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