Friday, August 10, 2012

August 10, 2012   "Enfermo!!!"

This week's Spanish word is enfermo (or enferma for feminine) = SICK!! I got everybody sick with the cold! I guess it was bound to happen because I'm around two hermanas 24/7!! So Hermana Obrigawitch and Hermana Hansen came down with the cold right as I was getting over it! I felt sooooo bad! So our companionship wasn't looking too pretty earlier this week.
I got letters this week from Suzanna Stoddard, Sister Crandall (She sent me a postcard from the Tri-Cities . . . it was great), grandma and grandpa Bragg (my zone was laughing at her Mexican tire story), JESSICA!!! (Happy birthday yesterday!), Adam (thanks for the Olympics update!), Pam (she sent me "bottom's-up" cookies, as Hermana Obrigawitch likes to call them. I gave some to the Elders in my district and they said "Hermana Bragg's tia is the best aunt!! Tell her we love her!!"), Jentry (with her green envelopes), and Ashley (Who has ET stuffed animals??). Thanks for the letters!! So Jessica told me some interesting news . . . Brother Weiss is now Bishop Weiss!! Of a single's ward!! And he's my cousin's bishop!! That's fun :)
This week Hermana Obrigawitch left us! On Wednesday we were waiting for the Elders to come out of the mail room with our mail. They came out empty handed . . . except for Elder Boyd. He had a little purple piece of paper. The Elders said "Sorry, there's no mail! But . . . it was nice knowing you, Hermana Obrigawitch!" They handed her the piece of paper telling her to go to the travel office . . . because she got her visa!! So she got her flight plans and found out that she was leaving in 15 hours! So we got everything sorted out and packed for her to leave at 3 am the next morning. It was sad, but she was way excited to go to Peru finally!!
We started teaching new "investigators." Our investigators are the elders! So we are teaching Elder Brown, Elder Boyd, and Elder Lewis each on different days of the week. It's hard to keep those Elders from laughing at us sometimes, but it's a lot less stressful to teach 19 year old boys. We're still teaching "Pedro" and "Victor," but we don't have as many lessons with them in a week. They set up this crazy new teaching schedule, but they did it the day before they knew Hermana Obrigawitch would be leaving. So guess who gets to take those teaching slots?? Hermana Hansen and I!! So we teach the most, even though the elders need more practice than we do . . . jk :)
We had our mission conference this Sunday which was way good! I've been focusing a lot on being strictly obedient to the mission rules. Sometimes it's so easy to just carelessly justify not doing something that you know you should be doing or purposefully overlooking something on the schedule that you don't "feel like doing." But as I've studied the attribute of being obedient, I realize that it's more than just blindly following the rules that are set for our protection. We are blessed for our obedience and it shows that we can be found trustworthy in the sight of our Heavenly Father. If He knows that he can rely on us, than He will never let us fail or miss an opportunity to serve or teach others. He will provide a way to be successful. Sometimes we are willing to be obedient and we expect God to automatically give us what we've asked for. But to be obedient requires faith in God's timing. I know that God is with us, that He is on our side, and that He will not let us fail if we obey with exactness. One of the members of the branch presidency said "You have 18 months to serve and the rest of your life to think about it." It's so true.
This mission has taught me a ton and I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be companions with Hermana Hansen! She's the companion that I needed and I know that we were made companions for a reason. She's gonna laugh at me if she knew I wrote that, we were talking about that "for a reason" phrase the other day :)
I wish I had more stories to tell, but all of these days seem to just blend together!! I love you all and I hope that you have the best week! Mom, good luck with getting your classroom set up! Hermano Doxey got married on Thursday and he said that his wife got a job two days before the wedding. So she has one day after they get back from vacation to set up her new classroom before school starts, so good luck with getting everything settled for school :) Dad!! Don't work too hard and keep on flying that cute little biplane of yours (and don't laugh because I called your plane cute, Hermana Hansen said it was cute too!). Sarah, I hope you're doing ok, I didn't hear from you this week :( But maybe you all are on some fun vacation or something . . . but I still love you! Ashley, I love you more than ever and I was thinking a lot about you this week! I hope you all are doing just great and I love you!
Hermana Jenny Bragg
August 3, 2012   "Halfway There!"

Hermana Hansen and I do this math everyday . . . how much longer we have of endless studying and teaching the same people in the MTC. And we are halfway through with the MTC! Sunday is our halfway point. We got to go to the BYU health clinic on Monday and there were real people in the waiting room! All of a sudden I was thinking, "I want to talk to ALL of these people!" It was funny. Even though they are all members of the church, we still talked to them about the church and we got in a few discussions. I love the real world outside of the MTC. It made me so excited to get out into the field and see different faces :)
I have to say this before I forget: Mother. I can never remember the Spanish word for "to try" (it's intentar). So I can never use that word when I'm saying that I'll try to do something! So it made me think of you when you always said "Do or do not, there is no try." I'm sure there's a reason why I can't remember how to say "try."
Thanks for the letters from Sister Crandall and Sister Ellingson! I also got two letters each from Sarah and Jentry, P.S. I miss them a ton, and Matt and Stacy Hartelius, and George Hazel (oh man, she's THE best!). Mom, I was reading your letter out loud to the elders and they were laughing at what you said about the dogs and about the ducks. They think you're the best.
The other night, Hermana Hansen asked me what music I used to listen to before we came out here. And then I couldn't remember. I was like, "ummmm . . . hymns?" It was weird.
So I have a cold right now . . . it's super great. Hermana Obrigawitch says that I sound like Squidward off of Spongebob. I decided that Hermana Obrigawitch is a combination of Jessica Russell/Sarah Bragg/Paul Bragg. She's super great.
So we always have these awesome musical numbers before devotionals and firesides. I need to learn how to play the violin when I get home. Take note of that :)
So we've been teaching Victor (Hermano Johnson) and Pedro (Hermano Doxey) some more! Those lessons have been great! Hermano Doxey was gone for a little over a week, so we just did a follow-up lesson with him to see how he was doing in order to prepare for his baptism. I think he's a little bit confused as to what he needs to know and do before his baptism, mostly due to the fact that he was the first person we taught and he was gone for so long! Our Spanish has gotten tons better, so don't worry. He said our best lesson was a few days ago when we came to his "house" (an empty classroom) and he was worried because his "friend" (Juan) had just gotten into a car accident and he didn't know what to do or how to feel. We had to scratch our whole lesson that we had planned and give him a lesson on the Atonement and how to find comfort and relief from reading the Book of Mormon during these hard times in his life. It was just a really awesome lesson.
We continued to teach Victor, he's pretty much my favorite person to teach. Our lessons are more focused and they better meet the needs of Victor, mostly because he has a lot of concerns :) So we taught about the Priesthood authority and how we have the proper authority from God to perform the ordinances necessary for our salvation. He had a ton of questions, which we were able to answer right on the fly (in Spanish!). But then he brought up his family and how they would be mad at him if he joined a different church since they were all Catholic. So we had him continue to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know of the truthfulness of this church. We came back the next day and he still had some concerns, so we scratched our lesson again and went on the fly. I love those lessons, they're pretty much the best. So we told him that sometimes we have to do hard things by ourselves. This isn't easy because salvation isn't easy. It was easy for Jesus Christ. I told him that we couldn't promise him that he'd get a job (he's out of work) or that his family would be pleased with his decision from the start, but I did promise him that he would be blessed and be more happy with his life because of the covenant that he would enter into (that's as good as it gets in Spanish). And then I asked him if he would be baptized . . . and he said yes! So now we just have to get him married before August 20th! I just love it.
On Tuesday we thought Elder Holland would come speak to us for the devotional, so we sang in the choir. I know. I can't sing too well. But we went to choir practice and we had good seats in the main building. But then we got there and it wasn't him :( But the devotional was still really, really great! I feel like the last two weeks I've been platauing (mom, fix my spelling :) ) and that I was not progressing in any aspect. But this last week I feel like I've turned 180 degrees and my desire to be here has shot through the roof. This is probably the only opportunity that I have to devote 18 months of my life to the church, which is the most important thing to me in my life (besides my family). I'll never have another opportunity to leave "all other personal affairs behind." I'm not going to waste this time. I am here because my Heavenly Father sent me, a living prophet called me to this mission. For the longest time I struggled with where I'm serving my mission: Salt Lake City, UT. But at the devotional (Elder Pinegar spoke) he asked us this question: Do you see who's name is at the bottom of your call? Thomas S. Monson. A living prophet. I am going where I'm going because Heavenly Father knows where I need to be. I trust Him. If I didn't, I wouldn't be here. He knows me very well and He knows of my committment to him. I am committed to it all, because I know that committment to do the work with bring results. An elder said "If I knew that this was going to be this hard, I don't think I would've come." But now I know that I can do hard things and that whom the Lord calls, He qualifies. I love it.
I love you all!! Thank you for your letters and prayers!!
Hermana Jenny Bragg
July 27, 2012    "Helado!"

So I got a letter from Aunt LaRee this week and she told me to not eat too much ice cream . . . but it was too late :) I am the league champion for the ice cream eating competition in our zone!! I ate 10 bowls of ice cream :) The elders in the other districts were trying to compete, but that didn't really work out for them. Elder Longhurst was the closest with 7 bowls, but that didn't stay in his stomach for more than 18 hours. So Elder Knight was really in 2nd place with 6 bowls. Don't worry, we didn't make a big deal out of it :) I just kept on getting up and getting more ice cream, and I wouldn't talk to anybody at all because I was "in the zone"!! Elder Ricks said I started to look white, but I really could've eaten more . . . jk :) So now none of the elders who were trying to compete will look me in the eye. Our branch presidency was eating with us and they said they have a new respect for Hermana Bragg. Great-Grandpa Lyon would've been proud! I told them it's easy to eat ice cream because it just "melts and fills in the cracks." I just want to thank my family for raising me to be an amazing ice cream eater :) Our district meeting was right after that and everyone kept on asking if I felt sick because I was just acting like normal! Elder Longhurst was looking ill for a few hours :)
I also got letters from DeAnn Hull, Mariah (Sullivan) Hansen (she laughed at my Legacy story last week), Jentry (she puts her letters in green envelopes, so everytime I get to class and I see a green envelope on my desk, I say "JENTRY!!"), Sabrah (she wouldn't be surprised by my ice cream eating skills, she's witnessed them!), and thanks mom for the letter! Especially the picture you tacked on. I laughed really hard when I opened the letter and saw the picture. All of the hermanas saw it, too. Those good old days when Sarah's hair had its own zip code :)
So our district is slowly getting smaller :( We sent off Hermana Kimes on Tuesday morning. She was so nervous, but she'll be great in Peru! We had to drop her off at the travel office at 3 am, so she didn't even sleep that night! But Monday night when we got back to our dormitory, they called Hermana Obrigawitch's name over the intercom and told her to call the front desk! We thought she had gotten her visa and they were going to send her off with Hermana Kimes, so we were getting excited! So she called the front desk on the emergency phone in the corridor and her face just fell. She just had a package at the front desk :( But she said she wouldn't have wanted to leave with only five hours' notice anyways :)
Elder Rothlisberger has kidney disease and his blood work came back with pretty scary results yesterday. He's positive that he'll come back to the mission, he just needs to go home and take care of his health. He had been sick all week and he feels good about this decision. So we now have two trio companionships and a regular companionship.
Mom, Hermana Hansen is going to San Fernando, California. I thought I told you, but I guess that might not have made it in a letter!
So this week we've been studying a lot about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It seems like all day on Sunday we were just listening to talks and lessons and firesides all about the atonement, which was amazing! We got to listen to a talk by Elder Bednar that was given last Christmas at the MTC. It discussed the characteristics of Christ. It was such an amazing and insightful talk! One of the things that impressed me the most was the fact that Christ would always turn outwards instead of inwards in service to others. Think of all the bad days Christ must have had. But he never once stopped working miracles.
On Tuesday we had a devotional with Elder Gary J. Coleman. His wife also spoke to us, her words made me think the most. She talked of the influence that family members have on each other and how we can help each other become better people. If we keep the gospel of Jesus Christ foremost in our family we can be together not only now, but forever! I love all of my family and I'm so grateful for each and every one of you. You have all made me become a better person and I know that we each have our qualites and talents to support each other in our family.
With all of this talk about the atonement, I couldn't help but wonder how on earth I could be forgiven of everything I have ever done in my life. All of my stupid decisions and bad mistakes that I don't even remember, how can that all be washed away? We were discussing Christ's infinite atonement in class on Wednesday night and I was getting frustrated with the fact that I had made so many mistakes in my life. But the next day I read in Enos 1:6-8 I in the Book of Mormon) when Enos was asking how this could be done? How could he possibly be forgiven? But the answer was that he had faith in Jesus Christ. I know that if I have faith, repent everyday, and strive to be a more Christlike person, then I can be forgiven and return to live with my Heavenly Father :)
We taught a lot of lessons this week, but we're getting a lot better at being more unified (even though we now have three people in our companionship!)
I love you all!! Kiss my dogs for me, I miss them a lot! I was looking through my pictures the other day and Elder Eyster saw the picture of Kelty. He was like, "You have a sheltie!!" Haha :)
Love you, be safe, watch where you park!!
Hermana Jenny Bragg
July 20, 2012  "You can either put on a skirt or you can go home."

So back story for the subject heading: We have our gym time during the middle of the day, so it's so hard to transition from studying in the morning, then working out, and then going back to study. So Hermana Kimes said, "Man, I don't want to put on a skirt again!" So Hermana Obrigawitch told her that she had two choices in life . . . put on a skirt or go home. So that's their companionship motto :) Except they won't be a companionship for very much longer . . . Hermana Kimes got her visa!! So she is going to Peru on Tuesday to go to the MTC down there. She has to be at the travel office at 3 am, so we all get to take a midnight stroll to the travel office to say goodbye to her. But Hermana Obrigawitch's visa didn't go through yet. So she's stuck here with Hermana Hansen and I. She's having a pretty hard time accepting the fact that she could be in the states for another 6 weeks, she's more than ready to go to Peru. But I told her that she has to stay here because she is so hilarious! So we need her more than the Peruvians do at this time :)
Elder Boyd also got his travel plans to go to Salt Lake City this week . . . which is weird because that's only 3 weeks in the MTC. So we're wondering if they've switched him to English speaking or if it's just a mistake. The travel office still hasn't figured it out.
So this week some Elders in our zone, Elder Morales and Elder Knight, challenged me to an ice cream eating competition. They both went to Utah State and they found out that I cleaned the sink at Angie's by myself (except for the gross melted ice cream at the bottom). So Elder Morales told me that Elder Knight was on his 4th bowl of ice cream and that he wanted to see if I could beat him. So I caught up to him and ate 4 bowls of ice cream. On my 5th bowl the elders told me that Elder Knight was really only on his 2nd bowl. Those tricksters!! So on Sunday we're having a huge competition. We have a whiteboard in the hallway between all of the district's classrooms with the current standings for eating the most ice cream. Hermana Bragg is currently ranked as number one! So every Elder who sees the board say, "oh sweet, an ice cream competition!" and then they see my name at the top and they say, "What???!?!? It's an Hermana???" I've witnessed it a few times :) So all of the elders keep reminding me of Sunday and how they're "training" for the big competition. I'll let you know how it goes :)
Mom and Dad!! Thank you soooooo much for the package!! You wouldn't believe it, but Oreo's are $6 here!! And the air fresheners . . . genuis :) Our room smells SOOOO much better! All of the elders were jealous of my package :)
I also got letters from the Weiss's, Sarah (which was the best, she draws pictures for me!), Kaleb (he knows Hermana Kimes), Randi (she's such a sweet girl!), Jentry (I got two from her!!), Jay, Steve (don't worry, I haven't had the orange juice, but thanks for the heads up!), and Heather Peterson (my little sis!). I love, love, love getting letters. The days go so much better when I get mail from people I love :)
So surprise of the week: Pedro is really our teacher!! We have two teachers, Hermano Johnson and now Hermano Doxey (Pedro). It was so fun to see him show up to class and to hear him speak English!! He's such a great teacher, he loves his job, he loves what he teaches, and he has helped us all to improve. He interviewed me yesterday and he said that he always looks forward to mine and Hermana Hansen's lessons because we plan really, we ask questions, and we listen. He also told me that I could improve on bearing my testimony throughout the lesson and sharing life experiences that could be applied to the things I am teaching. I'm trying hard to incorporate those aspects of teaching into my lessons, but I guess I just hesitate because of the language barrier. But Spanish is getting so much better!! I love it. I'm so grateful for this chance that I have to learn it and to teach people using this language.
On Sunday we had our fireside and Jenny Oaks Baker, the violinist, came to speak/perform for us. She was so amazing! Her children even played for us. They were so cute :) I love it when people can express what they feel and what they know through their talents. After the fireside they play a movie, and the movie this week was Legacy. Hermana Hansen and I agreed that that movie had never been so funny and so romantic before. We're obviously in the MTC :)
On Tuesday we had Vaughan Featherstone speak to us. He was so funny and he would recite all of these poems and tell us stories, which kept the Elders' attention. One thing that he spoke of that could be applied to anyone right now is to bear testimony of the things you know every day. When people ask questions about your religion, just take advantage of that and share your testimony along with experience you've had in life.
Our lessons have gone so well. We taught four lessons yesterday, which totally wiped us out. We taught Pedro the law of tithing which was hard for him since he's saving up money for his sick father, we taught Victor the restoration and he's reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it, and then we taught in the Training Resource Center. The TRC is where we teach real members, so we couldn't really plan a lesson for it. We got to know them, found out what they were struggling with, and taught gospel principles that could be applied to their situation. Hermana Hansen kind of choked, but she said I carried the lessons really well.
Ok, so here's the embarrassing story of the MTC: Hermano Doxey went to meet with Hermana Hansen, and I didn't even realize that I was in a room full of elders by myself! So I was just studying for my lesson and chatting with the elders when all of a sudden, Elder Brown was like, "Hermana Bragg, aren't you not supposed to be in here??" The elders say my reaction was priceless. I was like, "OH MY GOSH!! WHAT ARE YOU ELDERS DOING TO ME??" I grabbed my stuff, and walked hastily out of the room. They were laughing so hard for the rest of the day :)
Hermana Hansen and I taught our district lesson about the Book of Mormon and how we can use it in our lessons and with our investigators. So our district's goal is to finish the Book of Mormon before we enter the field. The Book of Mormon is so awesome!! Everyone should read it, right now!! I don't care where you are in life or what religion you are, just read the Book of Mormon. I can guarantee that it will help you in life more than anything else can. It will give you guidance and direction in life and it will bring you so much happiness! I love it :) Hermana Hansen and I teach so well in English :)
I have the top bunk again. I'm so afraid I'm going to fall off in the middle of the night, so I mostly just sleep against the wall. They took my bed away because they need more beds for the elders.
Hermana Hansen and I have found the joy of watching Mormon Messages when our brains our fried from teaching and studying. My favorite one right now is the one about the British Falconer, I think it's called Coming to Christ? I don't remember, but look it up :) We just sit there and bawl when we watch those videos :)
Ok, I'd better go!! I love you sooo so much, but things are getting better here. I'm getting used to this schedule and to the things that are required of me. Love you!!
Hermana Jenny Bragg

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 7, 2012  "HELLO!!!!!"

I'm in the MTC!! It's been a rough transition, but it has been very good. So first off, I'm sorry if my letters sound weird. It's just hard to transition from English to Spanish and vice versa, so I probably phrase things weirdly. Sorry! But the MTC is great. We went to class first after I dropped my things off in my room. I got the bottom bunk. After my childhood years of sleeping on the top, I finally have the bottom! I met mi companera in my class, her name is Hermana Hansen. She looks exactly like Ginger off of Gilligan's Island. Look it up. She went to beauty school and she's from Gilbert, Arizona. She's great. So I'm going to list off the people in my district and you can use this for future reference when I talk about them!

Elder Boyd is from Alberta, Canada. He took four years of German and he landed a Spanish mission.

Elder Lewis is from California. He's super quiet.

Elder Brown is from Kansas. That's all we say about him. Just Kansas.

Elder Ricks is from Gilbert, Arizona. He's our district leader and he is very focused on his mission and getting the language down while teaching with the guidance of the spirit.

Elder Eyester is from York, Pennsylvannia. He's a convert to the church and he's the only member of the church in his family. He took 5 years of Spanish.

Elder Rothlisberger is from Arizona. He just has one of those faces. He reminds me of somebody I know, but I can't think of who. So I told him to not be weirded out if I just stare at him. I'm trying to figure out who he reminds me of.

Hermana Kimes is from Georgia! She Has THE best accent. So I'm going to have a Southern accent in 3 weeks. She's going to Lima, Peru and she leaves for the Peru MTC (if her visa comes). Hermana Hansen and I are praying the visa doesn't come. We just want her to stay :) She was actually roomates with Whitney Bird at BYU-I and she is also an English teaching major.

Hermana Obrigawitch is from Oceanside, California. She's an English major and she is our Relief Society coordinator. She is also going to Lima, Peru and she will leave with Hermana Kimes if the visas come through. It's going to be lonely without those two :(

All of the Elders are going to Salt Lake City with me. I'm the only Hermana Espanol.

So our maestro (Hermano Johnson) is pretty hard on us. He spoke English to us for the first time at 9 last night. It blew my mind! I was so used to listening to him and having to translate it back in my mind that it was just weird! We have had to play catch up since our district came in on a Thursday. So he taught us for an hour and he said that we were actually supposed to have taken 3 hours for it. It's rough. It's hard to not get discouraged because I feel like I have to speak perfect Spanish. But Hermano Johnson explained that our main goal isn't to learn Spanish. It's to teach by the Spirit. Spanish is just a tool that we use in order to teach. Our investigators and members will be patient with us and strive to understand what we are saying, so I'm trying to get past the fact that I'm not a perfect native speaker after 2 days of classes. We are teaching an "investigator" today (he's really a volunteer at the MTC) his name is Pedro. So Hermana Hansen and I have to prepare a lesson on an overview of the Plan of Salvation that meets the needs of Pedro and the struggles he is facing. So we will introduce ourselves, get to know him, ask him questions, explain to him our purpose as missionaries, pray with him, and then teach about the plan and answer any questions he has. So we get to speak in Spanish for 20 minutes today. It will be great. Hermano Johnson said we couldn't speak English at all, and one of the elders said, "but he's been in America for 7 years!" it was funny. We were also doing role play with Hermano Johnson, two elders were introducing themselves and getting to know Hermano Johnson the "investigator". They didn't say they were missionaries until the very end. So they said "we are missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" and Hermano Johnson was just like, "Ok" and then they said "hasta luego!" It was hilarious. The elders said they just wanted to leave the investigator wanting more. Our first Preparation day is only a half day, the rest of today will be spent studying, planning our lesson, and sitting in class. We usually have 6 hours of classes a day, 2 3-hour blocks. It's rough. Yesterday we had a four-hour class.

I walked outside in my chacos. I told myself that I wouldn't do it, but I wore them when I was getting ready and I forgot to change them! So we walked outside, I looked at my feet, and then Hermana Hansen and I had to go back to our residence.

It's been the hardest 2 days so far, but I'm just trying to make it to Sunday. Everyone says it gets better after Sunday. Each Sunday we have to write a talk in Spanish and the branch presidency picks two people to speak. They're going easy on us this week, so they said they wouldn't pick our district until next week. The hardest times for me are at night when I'm reflecting on the day. I just get so frustrated with myself and I get overwhelmed with everything I have to accomplish within the next 18 months. It seems like it's so far away, especially since the first 2 days have felt like 2 weeks. But I know that I am here for a reason and that this mission isn't about me anymore. I need to get past my shyness, lack of confidence in speaking the language, and frustrations so that I can be what my Heavenly Father needs me to be. I'm so very grateful for this opportunity that I have to be here and to be learning these things. It's definitely pushing me to be a better person.

Mi testimonio en Espanol:

Yo se que Jesucristo es el salvador y yo se que dios es nuestro padre celestial. Yo se Jose Smith es un profeta y yo se que El Libro de Mormon es verdadero. Yo se que Presidente Monson es un profeta y yo se la iglesia de Jesucristo es verdadera. I love you all!!

Hermana Bragg
July 13, 2012 "The MTC is like a spiritual-spanish whiplash"

The subject of my message is brought to you by Hermana Kimes. Just imagine her saying that in a slow southern drawl.

This week has had it's ups and downs, but I'm grateful that we only get one day a week to write letters. That way I won't be so fixated on all of the hard times and struggles!! It's also nice to always have someone else with you at all hours of the day, that way I won't start crying randomly. Because I don't cry in front of other people :) So I suck it up and move on!

We taught our investigator, Pedro, everyday for the last week. Hermana Hansen and I were stuggling with anxiety and trying to say the exact right thing in perfect, grammatically correct Spanish. So the first two times we taught, we pretty much wrote down everything that we wanted to say in Spanish. It was a huge challenge to have to teach somebody for 20-30 minutes in a language you haven't even been studying for a week! It was also hard when Pedro would ask questions. It was a good testimony builder though, because we would have to translate our thoughts on the fly! So as the week progressed I was able to read my Spanish Preach My Gospel manual, translate it into English into my notes, and then translate it on the fly in our lessons with Pedro. I realized that I need to rely on the vocabulary that I know and not worry so much about being grammatically correct. I needed to ask my Heavenly Father for help and rely on the teaching power of the Holy Ghost in our lessons. It worked! Because yesterday Pedro committed to being baptized! Hermana Hansen and I were so happy, we couldn't stop laughing! we were like, "ok . . . now what do we say to him??" it was funny :) We were the only companionship in our district of 5 companionships to have set a solid baptism date for Pedro. The Hermanas are awesome.

A quote that Dallin H. Oaks said is that "we do not preach and teach in order to bring people into the church or to increase the membership of the church. We do not preach and teach just to persuade people to live better lives . . . we invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism and confirmation in order to open the doors of the celestial kingdom to the sons and daughters of God. No one else can do this."

It's not all about the number of baptisms we get. It's not about the numbers, it's about the people.

However, Hermana Hansen told Pedro that if he had fish he wouldn't make it to the celestial kingdom. Pescado = fish, Pecado = Sin. They're just so similar!! I was trying so hard not to laugh. I told her once we got out of the lesson :)

Something that grosses me out is when some hermanas walk into the bathrooms and showers without shoes or flip flops on. Ugh.

We haven't had any general authorities come to our devotionals yet, but all of the devotionals have been so great!!

i'm so grateful for the letters!! It really does brighten my day and motivate me to be a better missionary and to work hard. Brother Weiss sent me my first Dear Elder! By the way, dear elder is a great way to write me. Better than emailing because I ALWAYS run out of time on the computer! Then I can't fix my spelling errors! :) I also got one from Mariah, she's such a sweetheart. She told me that she spent a week preparing a Young Women's lesson, only to find out she was on the wrong lesson during Sunday School!! Haha!! Mom, you're cards are the best :) I got one today and it almost made me cry. Too bad I don't cry in front of people. I also got one from Jay (I wish he could've just hand delivered it), DeAnn Hull, and Suzanna Stoddard! They pretty much told me to not be so hard on myself! Then I got a super long letter from Sarah with drawings and side notes all over it! It was the best. She said she wanted to train an owl to deliver letters to me :) Ashley sent me an email, I almost cried when she said that Wanda (from the nursing home) says hi :) She also told me to not wear my chacos. HA! Yeah right. I'll Spend my wedding day in Chacos and be buried in Chacos. Sabrah, my freshmen friend from high school, sent me a letter. She's such a great person! And Jentry . . . I loved her hobby lobby apartment story. You'll have to ask her about it. JED!! My brother from work!! He got his mission call to Tacoma!! He reports to the MTC on September 5th, the day I get out of here!! And the sister missionaries from Washington, Sister Crandall and Sister Ellingson, sent me a letter! It even had the color of Sister crandall's nail polish that day, she drew a little flower using that color :)

I can't believe Sarah and Dad went horseback riding in Logan. weird. P.S. this shift button isn't too great. don't judge my typing.

One of the elders drew a picture of Hermana Hansen yesterday. it looked like a picture of sasquatch. The shading on her upper lip took him about an hour :)

i got a "map picture!" I wish I could send it, but I don't want to run out of time :)

We cleaned the bathrooms yesterday. It was great. The boys also cleaned their bathrooms for their service and they said they had gnats in the shower. Great.

We got a package for all of the hermanas in our district . . . it was homemade cookies. I shouldn't say who sent them :)

The food is good, I live off of wraps. I get one for lunch and dinner and all of the elders laugh at me.

I lost 3 pounds!!

I'm just trying to think of things to add . . . but most of the funny times are only funny because you had to be there. So I'll spare you :)

I love you all!! I hope Randi, Kenzie Anderson, and Jenn Weiss all had good birthdays. You should hack into my facebook and write on their walls for me. JK :)

I know that this church is true and I'm so greatful for the knowledge that i have of it! I just want everyone to know about it! This church is true, why else would I be slaving over Spanish just to teach it!? Love it :)

Love you!!

Hermana Bragg