Sunday, May 26, 2013

Seven Days in the MTC

BONJOUR!!!!!!!!!! :D Comment ca va?

I LOVE YOU GUYS SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH. I don't think I have ever loved my family so much.

Well, I've been in the MTC for 7 days now. WOW! Time sure flies.I think one of my favorite parts of the first day was when we went into a meeting for all the newbies and we started to sing 'The army of helaman' and they had us sing different words. "We are NOW the Lord's missionaries." WHOA. Couldn't sing because I was crying. That's when it hit me. I'M A MISSIONARY.

I'm in a trio! My companions are Soeur Berge and Soeur Huckstep. Trios are hard. BUT... we are getting so much better with the help of the Lord. and lots of companionship inventory. Sometimes twice a day. WHATEVER WORKS, RIGHT??!! :D haha I really do love my companions.
This place is hard. I think Thursday was one of the hardest days of my entire life. I know that's extreme, and I also know I'm prone to exaggarate, but seriously. HARD. Thursday night I wanted nothing better than to walk into my Mom's room and have her tell me I'm beautiful and wonderful and lay on her bed eating chocolate and get a Mom hug. But luckily the Lord loved me enough to send along my branch president's wife a few minutes later and she gave me the BIGGEST hug ever. It helped me so much.

Thursday night I lay in my bed, crying my eyes out, feeling like there was no way I could do this every day for a year and a half. It was overwhelming. And my French was AWFUL. So I started to pray my guts out. "Heavenly Father, I know I'm supposed to be here. But I don't think I can do this for the next year and a half. I mean I can, but I will be miserable. I don't want to be miserable. Please... PLEASE help me with the language. But I know I have to do my part. I promise that tomorrow I will speak up in class, even if I look like an idiot. I will speak my language all day long. But PLEASE BLESS ME WITH THE GIFT OF TONGUES."
The next day... my prayer was answered. Best French I've ever spoken in my ife. I was remembering words I haven't spoken in over 3 years. We taught our first investigator that night, and I understood almost everything he said. And responded. And bore my testimony. and said the closing prayer. MIRACLES ARE REAL.

Our investigator's name is Christopher, but we call him Christoff. He is wonderful. I just love him. He's SO funny. He is so patient with our poor French. A really cool thing happened with him. Before our second lesson, we all split up and prayed and tried to decide what we should teach him. We all came back with the same things: Atonement, Happiness, and Faith. So we planned our lesson. During the lesson he asked us two main questions: "How can I receive forgiveness?" and "How can I believe in God when I can't see him?" Believe it or not, we had only picked out 2 scriptures to share with him. THEY WERE THE EXACTLY PERFECT scriptures to answer his questions. I mean  PERFECT. I could hardly believe it.
Temple walk with my district--
Another miracle happened in that same lesson. Well... earlier that day I was not feeling like I had the spirit. I was tired and zoning out and didn't know how I could go teach Christoff without the spirit. A few minutes later, I found myself kneeling on a bathroom floor, saying the most sincere prayer I think I've ever said. Tears were pouring down my cheeks and I said "Heavenly Father, I don't care if I can't understand Christoff tonight. I don't care if every french word I say is wrong and if I pronounce it terribly. But PLEASE. PLEASE. Help him feel the spirit. Let the spirit guide us tonight and let him feel it. Please soften his heart so he'll let it in."

That night, I was bearing my testimony about the atonement and came to the word "misericorde" or "mercy." I could hardly understand what I was saying, but all of a sudden the spirit washed over me so strongly I could hardly speak and tears were flowing. I just looked into Christoff's eyes and told him how much I loved the atonement and how I knew it had changed my life. I told him I knew it was for him, and for everyone. Then I told him I wanted him to be as happy as we were, and that the atonement was the way to make that happen. The SPIRIT WAS OVERWHELMING. And the best part? Christoff felt it too. I could see it in his eyes. And at the end of our lesson he told us that before we spoke, he wasn't sure if some things we said were possible. But afterwards, he thinks maybe they are. "Je pense...c'est possible." .PRAYER IS REAL, GUYS. USE IT. And be specific. God wants to help you. Just ask. :)
In the MTC Travel Office the night before I left for San Francisco--
We went to San Francisco yesterday to get our visas. :) But normally, I'll be writing my letters on my preparation day which is Monday. San Francisco was SO FUN. We flew there and back in one day, so we had to wake up at 2AM. Still haven't recovered, but it was worth it. Everywhere we went, people stopped us and talked to us about the church. It was my first time in public with a badge on, so I was pretty excited. This one guy ran past us in the San Fran airport and yelled "ONWARD AND UPWARD, ELDERS AND SISTER!" I LOVED it. A bunch of old ladies stopped us and thanked us for changing history. It was SO cute. I can't wait to have people stare at my badge in France and be able to go tell them about this wonderful plan of happiness!! We went to pier 39 and ate some crepes and some amazing chocolate. It was tres chouette. ("tres chouette" is like saying "way sweet.")
 Sitting on the Forest Gump bench:
 Golden Gate Bridge in the background:
My teachers are Soeur Judd and Frere Smith. Funny story... Soeur Judd worked with me at brick oven last fall. :) She's the girl who served in Paris who helped me decide to serve a mission in the first place. When she walked into our classroom, I almost died from excitement. No exaggaration.
Frere Smith tells the BEST stories. He served im Lyon France, and got back last year. Example:

Have you guys ever seen that youtube movie of the leprechaun sighting? Well, in it there's a guy who says "If ya'll saw the leprechaun say "YEA-UHHH!!" and everyone yells "Yeah!"

Anyways...once they were having transfers and everyone was gathered at the mission home. There had been a mix-up and they had about 3 times as many "Gospel of Jesus Christ" pamphlets as all the others, and were trying to get rid of a bunch so they could have an even number. So they were passing out a ton to all of the missionaries, when all of a sudden one of the Elders jumps up on the side of a fountain and yells "If ya'll ready to preach the gospel say YEA-UHHHH!!!" and starts sprinting for the nearby train station. Nobody knows what to do, so they all look at the mission president. He looks at them and yells "GO!!!." So everyone begins running to the train station as fast as they can, carrying all their luggage and pamphlets. When they get there, all the trainers are like "Ok, let's show them how it's done" and everyone begins contacting like crazy. They passed out all the pamphlets that day. :D I LOVE that story. It just makes me smile. It has kind of become the motto of my district. Everytime we're all tired and want to quit learning French for the day, somebody looks around and says "If ya'll ready to preach the gospel, say YEAH-UHH!!" and instantly we're all pumped.
I LOVE my district. Even the 18-year-olds. :) haha Everyone is really hard working, and we're learning so quickly. We found out today all the teachers talk about our class and how well we all speak SO well for only being here since Wednesday. Frere Smith told us that with a big grin on his face and tried not to brag. haha
They made some new lyrics to "As sisters in zion!" They're about all the sister missionaries that have gone out because of the age change. Someone please find them and send them to me! We sang it on Sunday in Relief Society, and everyone was bawling.

The sisters of Zion are called to God's labor,

We willingly serve Him with spirit and might.

We go to the nations with truth everlasting,

We teach of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us,

We trust in his words and our purpose is clear.

The angels of heaven are walking beside us,

We'll share our glad message with all who will hear.

We go forth enlisted with Helaman's Army

In numbers much greater than ever before.

With power and spirit we'll faithfully witness

The heavens have spoken and truth is restored!

I've seen several people I know here. Three girls from my BYU ward (Bryce and Boston) and a girl from mission prep back home (Viviana Rico.) I haven't seen Logan yet....hopefully tonight since it's Tuesday! I'll look for him in the cafeteria tonight, ok Giselle? :)

Well, I have to go. I have Language study now. :) THANK YOU FOR ALL OF THE LETTERS AND PRAYERS!! They really mean the WORLD. I LOVE YOU ALL!! IF YA'LL READY TO PREACH THE GOSPEL, SAY "YEA-UHHHH!!!!!"

Love, Soeur Bradley

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