Friday, June 14, 2013

October 9, 2012 Conference Weekend!

This weekend was probably one of the most stressful, but rewarding, weekends. Our mission president told us to move heaven and earth to get our investigators to conference and to experience for themselves the blessings of having a living day prophet who quides and directs this church. We had to have an investigator with us to be on temple square, so we had solid plans for all four sessions of conference . . . but most of them didn't follow through. For the Saturday morning session we had planned to go with Marcelino. Dad would love Marcelino, he's a funny old Mexican man. He is solid, but he has a major addiction to alcohol. He was on date to be baptized, so we committed him to stop drinking for 8 days straight. He drank on the 8th day. So all this week we called him every night to make sure he would still meet us on temple square. We were on temple square that morning and we called him at least 50 times, but he wasn't answering his phone. He never called us back, but that night we saw him driving around town! We called him and asked what happened this morning and why he didn't come, and he said he had gotten called in to work but he was heading to temple square for the priesthood session. Saturday afternoon we had awesome tickets because the President of the Logan temple sent them to my companion (he was the mission president in Dallas where he taught and baptized Sister Adorable's family). We had invited one of our new investigators (Juana) who we just put on date to be baptized last week. But she fell through at the last minute. Then we thought of one of our recent converts, but we had to find a babysitter and a ride for her first. We called every person in our phone book, but nobody was willing to help. Eventually we got a woman and her daughter to come, their family had just gotten sealed in the temple. So we had floor seats, I was within 100 feet of President Thomas S. Monson! I could see him breathing! So Saturday was frustrating, but we had faith that things would work out for the Sunday sessions because they were a lot more solid.

On Sunday we went with Maria and Chris Martinez. Maria is a member, but her husband isn't. He had gotten into a really bad accident at work, his leg and his arm are both broken. But he still came! We got a ride up with them to make sure they'd be there! They got to watch the conference in the conference center. So that was successful, but Chris still is afraid to make a decision. He was baptized in the catholic church when he was 8, so he's afriad to change religions. We're still working with him to build his faith and his wife helps us a ton during our lessons. She always says exactly what he needs to hear. He learns a lot from her example since she was catholic and was baptized two years ago. We tried to commit him to a baptismal date, but he says he needs more time.

On Sunday afternoon Claudia was supposed to come. We called her Saturday and asked if she could come for that afternoon session, but she said she was too busy doing things on Saturday so she could come on Sunday. We called her at least 50 times and we called Ernesto (her boyfriend) at least 50 times, but she never answered.

So conference was pretty stressful, but I loved it! It's like Christmas, especially when we have the opportunity to be on temple square. I especially loved Elder Holland, Elder Anderson, and President Uchtdorf's talks. It's so important that we live this life so that we never have any regrets. We need to spend meaningful time with the people we love. We need to strive everyday to become the person that Heavenly Father needs us to become. We can't do this by dragging our feet, looking at our watches, and complaining all along the way. We need to be living each day to it's fullest. I loved when Elder Anderson was talking about how this gospel can support us during any trial in our lives. The last thing we want to do when we are struggling is turn away from the church. Elder Holland's talks are always so powerful. He starts out in a simple calm manner, but then he puts us all in our place. Heavenly Father needs defenders of this true and restored gospel. We need to show our loyalty and our love for Him for sharing this gospel boldly during any stage of our lives.

So women can serve missions when they're 19 years old! Big news!! This will be such a blessing for the church. We need more missionaries and we need more returned missionaries who will continue to share the gospel. This is such a great opportunity for people who have a true desire to serve. My only concern is that I'll look like an old woman when I'm 23 and I'm training a 19 year old.

We had to eat at La Guadalupana again yesterday. We were walking to our apartment and one of our less active memebers, Alina, was driving to the restaurant. We found out the other day that she owns it. She told us that she wanted to feed us, so we had no other choice! We were eating and my companion was like, "Sister Bragg, don't look at the ground . . ." I looked and I saw a cute little cockroach crawling around.

I did get to run into a lot of people during General Conference, it was great. I saw Dr. Hazel, Brother Strong, and the Desert Hills ward priest quorum. They came all the way from Washington for General Conference!! I love them! I also saw Alyson and Nathan Wallace, Ashley Nelson, and Sarah. I love temple square :) I got letters from my dearest parents, Jentry Friedli, Suzanna Stoddard, and Jenni Budge. I just love people so much :)

I love the opportunity that we had to hear from a living day prophet. We are so blessed to be living during a time where we can receive guidance and direction that is specified for this day. We are blessed to have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on this earth and to enjoy the blessings that come from making sacred covenants with God, such as baptism by immersion. I'm so grateful for this and I'm so excited to read the messages we heard over and over again.

I love you all and I hope you have a good week!!


Hermana Jenny Bragg

October 1,2012 Sloooow week.....

This week was kind of slow and it seems like nothing really happened . . . so I'll start out with the bike stories!

On Saturday we wanted to go to the Relief Society Conference and we thought it would be broadcast at the stake center. We got there at 6 and there was no one there! So we called everybody and their dog, and someonstreet finally told us that it was being broadcast at a different stake center w a mile away. So we had to bike all the way to 2280 South! We only missed the first 10 minutes, we're speedy :) But on the way there I was thinking "Man, that street looks so familiar . . ." and then I realized it's where Randi Redden's grandma lives! I was like, "I watched General conference there last year!"

On Friday we left our bikes in the church because we were taking a member to a few lessons. We tied them together and left for an hour. We got back and the bikes weren't there! I was like, "No! Anything but the bikes!!" So we circled the church and finally found them in the kitchen. They were tied together and there was a note . . . the elders changed the combination to our bike lock. We figured it out pretty quick. It was the mission goal for baptisms for the year. Now we always have that number in mind everytime we unlock our bikes! But seriously. Those elders.

I got letters from Sarah Bragg, Stephanie Crandall, Hermana Hansen (She addressed it at "Hermana Braggster. It made my day), mom and dad, Jentry, and the 8-9 year old girls in my home ward (thanks Sister Stoker!) It made my day. One of the girls said I was the "luckiest missionary in the world."

This week we had a lesson with one family, Claudia and Ernesto, which was so good!! We took a member couple with us. Claudia wants to get baptized so bad, but Ernesto has to get divorced and then they have to get married. Ernesto doesn't want to get divorced because then his property in Peru will go to his ex-wife instead of his kids. But we taught a lot about the restoration, the priesthood, and how the Book of Mormon is the evidence we have that this is all true. If the Book of Mormon is true, then everything else falls into place. Ernesto was tearing up, and everything was just perfect. They have a little two year old girl, she's so cute! Hopefully by February they will be able to get married and be baptized.

We are focusing a lot on getting our investigators to Temple Square for General Conference. So we get to be on Temple Square on Saturday and Sunday! I love General Conference time, it's one of the best times of the year. Especially on church headquarters. The church is so unified and we have such a wonderful opportunity to hear from a living prophet and to receive counsel that is specified for these days. I hope everyone gets the chance to watch it!!

I love you all so much! I hope everyone has a good week!

Hermana Jenny Bragg

Setember 25, 2012 Miracle Baptism !!!!

We had a baptism on Saturday and it was a miracle!! So it was Alexa, the girl who was supposed to be baptized my first Sunday out here. She's the niece of the Young Woman's president in my ward, and she was living with her dad in West Valley sometimes and with her aunt here sometimes. She seemed to have dropped off the face of the earth because we couldn't find her anywhere! We tried calling her and we talked to her aunt a few times, but we didn't want to lose the trust of her aunt, so we left it in the Lord's hands when her baptism date came and went. We were planning on Wednesday night and we had hit a dead end. We were thinking about where we should go and Sister Adorable said, "maybe we should go to Hermana Castineda's house (the YW president) just to see how she's doing. We didn't even have Alexa in mind when we were planning. So we got to Hermana Castineda's apartment and who opens the door? Alexa!! We were like, "Alexa, what happened?" So we talked to her, asked her if she still wanted to be baptized, and she said Saturday would be the day! She's such a cute girl, she's 18 years old and she has a little 6 month old baby. So we got the District Leader over to have the interview, talked to the Bishop, and everything eventually worked out. It took a lot of patience and we were frantically trying to put everything together, but it all worked out. Alexa was 30 minutes late, but it was a good baptism. We had her confirmed since we had the Brigham City Temple Openhouse on Sunday. It was the best feeling! And Alexa made us sing at the baptism . . . it was a lot better than when Me, Sarah, and Ashley sang at Heather Peterson's baptism (I know how much Mariah Sullivan loved that . . .). It's amazing to witness the hand of our Heavenly Father in this work. He does prepare people and He will lead us to them if we are faithful, diligent, and obedient.

We got to go on a trek yesterday! The perks of being in the SLC mission :) It was not nearly as hard as the trek we went on as a stake 4 years ago, but it was a really good experience. And I forgot how confining jeans are. I've gotten too used to wearing a skirt. The best part of the trek was during the women's pull. We had about 30 sisters and 180 elders, so the elders lined up on the sides of the hill we had to climb. They were told to think about their mother's, sister's, and any other women in their lives. We were told to think about our dads and brothers. Nobody spoke during the pull. We pushed this handcarts up the hill and it was such a struggle! But as I looked up at the elders, I could see the face of my father in each of the elder's faces. It took all of their strength to not reach out and help us. Some elders were crying. Most were just watching us with so much respect. I thought about dad and about the love and support that he gives me. I just love him so much. We got up the hill and the Elders followed us up. They applauded for us and some shared their experiences, or what they felt as they watched us. They expressed their love for their mothers and for the strength they gained from the example of their mothers. I am so grateful for the strong example of my mother and for everything that she has had to go through in raising me. As I was sitting on that hill, I had this really deep impression that I needed to stay strong throughout my life so that I can be a good example for my children someday. I need to give them the love and support they need. We got to stand on top of Ensign Peak and look at the Salt Lake Valley and see what Brigham Young had envisioned when he came to the Valley. At the peak we got letters from our parents (Unfortunately mine says "Elder Bragg" because there used to be an Elder Bragg in the mission . . . the mission president's wife saw my nametag yesterday and apologized when she realized the mistake :)). So the trek . . . even though it wasn't physically hard, it was definitely something that I needed to maintain my motivation!

We got to watch the dedication for the Brigham City Temple on Sunday!! We went with a recent convert, so it was in Spanish . . . but it was so good! I love President Packer and his wife!!

We had a ward activity on Friday . . . it was definitely way more Spanish than I wanted to hear in one night.

We ate at La Guadalupana on 3300 S for our district meeting on Friday . . . and I was sick for the rest of the night. Word to the wise, never eat there. Especially when you have to bike for 5 hours that night.

I got letters from Heather Peterson, Anne Hayes (I loved your drawing!), the Weiss family, Annie Lee, Mom, Dad, and Will Weiss. I feel so bad that I'm falling behind on writing letters, I'm sorry!!

Mom, since you keep on asking I should probably clarify that I only cover one Spanish Ward but it's over one stake. It's a ton of fun.

I hope that everything is going well!! I can't believe Sarah is in the Relief Society Presidency!! Dad, I loved your John Cleese reference, I think about it all the time now. I hope school is going well and that everything is perfect!!

I love you all!!

Hermana Jenny Bragg

September 17, 2012 Hello!!!

This week has been good!! It's funny that Sister Adorable and I have been saying that because the funny thing is . . . we've had to drop most of our investigators. So we're pretty much starting with a clean slate, but we still feel really good about our area!! We were supposed to have 2 baptisms yesterday, but guess what? They fell through. It happens a lot to us, right?? :) We had scheduled a baptism for Gaby (a 30 year old woman) and Marianna (Gaby's niece, 15 years old). But Gaby works 2 jobs and she was out of our area, so we could never get a hold of her. I asked Sister Adorable why we were assigned to teach these two and she said "Because it's a referral from President Winn and he prayed about who would be teaching them. His answer was us!" So that made me focus a lot more on these investigators, knowing that the mission president knew that Sister Adorable and Sister Bragg were supposed to be teaching these two women. Gaby wasn't answering our calls, so we tried everything. We went to her work, we talked to her co-workers, we talked to the elders in that area, we talked to the bishop of the ward, we tried everything! So we had the program ready for the baptism and everything, but Gaby wasn't responding to our calls and she wouldn't answer the door. We finally called the baptism off two hours before it was supposed to happen. Marianna texted us and said that she was already baptized in the Catholic church and she felt bad turning her back on that religion. We tried everything in our power.
We have a woman on date to be baptized on the 13th of October!! We met this woman in the parking lot of an apartment complex and asked if we could teach her later. It was funny because Sister Adorable made me do most of the lesson. I'm surprised she understood it all! This woman's name is Maria, she's about 30 and she has the cutest little boys! She has a 4 month old, a 3 year old, and a 5 year old. So we taught her about the plan of salvation and she was understanding what I was saying! Towards the end of the lesson, Sister Adorable asked if she could use the bathroom. She left me in a room. During the middle of a lesson. With a woman who only speaks Spanish. So I asked her to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. I bore my testimony and I committed her to baptism on the 13th of October. Sister Adorable came out of the bathroom when she heard the 13th of October. She's a great trainer. I asked her if she really had to go to the bathroom and she just smiled at me.
Leti (the woman we had on date for the 29th) . . . that story is the longest story ever. So I'll spare you the details. She's moving to Chicago on Tuesday or Wednesday when her uncle can pick her up. Yesterday morning was probably one of the hardest mornings I've ever had on the mission. Sunday mornings are pretty stressful because we have ward counsel at 7, stake correlation at 8, and we have to go around our area knocking on our investigator's doors to get them to church before 9. We were mostly focusing on getting Leti to church. She said all week that she would come, so we got to her apartment at 8:40. She answered and said she just had to get her shoes. It took 30 minutes for her to "get her shoes." We were standing on her doorstep and it just didn't feel right. We prayed and we could hear yelling coming from upstairs. She came back down and told us she couldn't go because her husband wouldn't let her. But the thing is . . . she didn't even really care. She said that she wanted to come, but she didn't really understand the importance or the sacrifice. Sister Adorable said she had never pleaded for someone's salvation more than we had on her door step yesterday. We talked with her for 30 minutes, trying to really know what she wanted out of life. We tried to help her see the importance of doing what Heavenly Father has commanded us. We bore our testimony, we told her we loved her. We did everything in our power. But it was like our words were bouncing off of a brick wall. It didn't hit her, and she didn't feel the importance of anything we have taught her. We walked away from those apartments and I just started bawling. It hurts so much when you care for these people, you devote every waking minute to thinking about and praying for these people, but they still don't understand. They have their agency, they have to choose whether or not to accept this. This has been the hardest part of my mission. Caring for these people so much, putting it all on the line, but still letting them choose for themselves. We called President Winn and told him about what had happened. He told us that we had done everything we could do. It helps a lot to hear something like that from our mission president.
So this week has been a struggle, but we've had so many wonderful lessons and opportunities. We are focusing on Part-member families and less-actives this week because we need to try other ways to find more people who are truly ready to receive this message.
We got our bikes fixed! We gave the zone leaders 10 tamales each for fixing our bikes. One zone leader (Elder Maasi) is from New Zealand and he tried his first tamale last Saturday. Now he's addicted to them! Bikes are truly the best thing. Ever.
I got letters from the Weiss family, Katerina Bricker (JOHNSON!), Pam (Thanks for the umbrella!), Sabrah, Jasmine, Sister Ellingson, Mom and Dad, Ashley Bragg, Sarah Bragg, and Jentry Friedli. I love you alllllllll!!! Thank you so much for cheering me up!!
We got to go to the Salt Lake Temple this morning. I loved it!!
Ok, that's all for now!! I love you and I miss you all!! But this gospel is true! I wouldn't be riding a bike in a skirt if I didn't know this with all my heart!
Hermana Jenny Bragg

September 10, 2012 Salt Lake City!!

So I'm out in the real world again . . . and it's hard :) We got to the field on Wednesday and I found out who my companion is and where I'm serving! I'm serving with a cute little girl named Hermana Adorable. I'm not even joking. She's only been out for two transfers (12 weeks) but she is a really good trainer! She's from Texas (her family is from the Phillipines) and she's like 5' 2''. She's fluent in Spanish, she only spent 3 weeks in the MTC. So she talks a lot, not gonna lie. I really didn't expect this to be that hard. It's hard to follow conversations and I really can't say what I want to say in this language. I keep thinking to myself, "Man, I'd be a way better English missionary . . ." But I know that the language will come . . . eventually. Elder Brown from the MTC is still in my district, so we get to be lost during the district meetings which are entirely in Spanish.

So the first day after we found out our companions and area, we went to Temple Square and did street contacting. It was way hot and there really weren't a lot of people in our assigned area. So we kind of just stole another companionship's area :) We found a few people to talk to, but it's hard to really get across to people in this area. They are either really strong in the church, less-active, or they think that the church is a cult. It's great.

After that we went to our apartment and I found out that . . . I'm on a bike!!! I know how much you're laughing right now, dad. Laugh it up. So I got to re-learn how to ride a bike because I haven't ridden one since I was 12. I have battle wounds, believe me. We went to a few appointments (Hermana Adorable had little hope in my bike riding skills, she told me that the third day when I finally got the hang of it again) and I was so lost during all of the lessons. The next day was the roughest. Every one of our appointments fell through because the people "forgot." So we were exhausted at the end of the day and I can't really remember anything too outstanding that happened that day.

The next day we had our district meeting and planning. We started proselyting at 4 that afternoon and we made it a goal to talk to everyone. It was kind of rough talking to everyone the first day because Hermana Adorable just does everything so fast. She's definitely a go-getter and she zooms from one appointment to the next. But on Friday . . . a miracle happened! My bike tire went flat because I ran over a thorn! I swear, I didn't do it on purpose. But as a result, we talked to a ton more people. It's so easy to do when you're on foot!! It was awesome. We ran into a man on the corner of a street and he started talking to us about his mother who had died (he was crying, it broke my heart) and he said the missionaries were meeting with him. So we invited him to continue meeting with the missionaries since they hadn't come by in a few months. We were walking to an appointment when some man yelled at us from across the street, telling us to wait for him. He came over, his name is Antonio, and he was like, "The missionaries haven't visited me in forever!" He said he had read the Book of Mormon, he was ready to be baptized, and he had prayed about all of this. We started asking him the baptismal interview questions and we got to the word of wisdom. He said he drinks every once in a while . . . and then Hermana Adorable asked if he was drunk. He was like, "well, maybe one or two . . ." Yes. He was very drunk. It was funny because I was like, "Finally! People are coming to us because they know they need the gospel in their lives!" But no. He was just drunk. So we got his information and passed him on to the Spanish elders.

We were supposed to have a baptism yesterday, but that fell through. We tried to call her (Alexa) every hour for the last 4 days, but she isn't answering. We were supposed to have a lesson with her on Saturday at her aunt's house, but she didn't show up. We were walking back from that appointment that fell through and we just didn't know what to do. All of a sudden, Hermana Adorable told me to talk to a man that was crossing the street. So I went up to him and talked to him. We were about to ask him to be baptized, but he is just a less-active member. We invited him to come to church and asked him who he would take to church. He said he had a friend, but he was a "lost case." He was working at the shop across the street, so we went to go see him. His name is Luis and he is so ready to be baptized! He had been taking the lessons for 7 years and he knows that it's all true! We asked him all of the interview questions, and he passed them all! Except for the fact that he needs a divorce from his first wife and he needs to get married to the woman he's living with right now. So we just have to sort those issues out and then he'll be ready!!

We have a baptism on Sunday, her name is Gabby. She's out of our area, so it's hard to contact her. But we met with her yesterday and she's still set on getting baptized in a week!

We met with a man who fell off his baptism date because of drinking problems. His name is Marcelino and it was sad meeting with him. We went to his apartment and he was drinking when we came up. He threw the drink away and we walked with him to the church. We talked to him about his addiction and invited him to break this addiction. It's just so hard because he has had this addiction for 40 years. He doesn't have a good relationship with his kids, he's so lonely here, and he says that his only happiness is in drinking. It broke my heart, but he needs to change. He made it 7 days without drinking a few weeks ago, so we told him that he needs to try again.

This week has been great once I look back on the miracles we've seen. It's so hard, but it's so worth it. My new address is:

Jenny Bragg

3195 South 300 East #1

South Salt Lake City, UT 84115

I love you all and I hope you have a great week!! Pray for my investigators and my bike riding skills!!


Hermana Jenny Bragg

August 24, 2012 Elder Anderson Came!!

I can now officially say that I'm ready to leave the MTC because we finally had a general authority speak at our devotional this week! We had Elder Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles come. Sarah and I met him at the Pasco Airport a few days before I went to the MTC. He's one of my favorites :) Hermana Hansen and I sang in the choir, and it was hilarious when we were singing for the meeting because the camera people who were recording the meeting did a close-up on Hermana Hansen's face at least 3 times. I'm pretty sure they picked the one red-head of the choir and decided to do multiple close-ups on her face for that reason :) So after the devotional the whole zone was saying, "Hermana Hansen! You're famous!" She's never going to live that one down! So the meeting was great!!! Elder Andersen had us sing "happy birthday" to President Monson since his birthday was on Tuesday. Then he gave us a list of 9 things we need to focus on during our mission and throughout our life. The list was:

1. Follow the Prophet

2. Do Your Duty

3. Trust in the Lord. Learn how to be comfortable with the unseen (which is so good for me to focus on . . . remember how I was like 2 hours before you took me to the MTC? I was getting scared because I didn't know what they were going to make me do here!!)

4. Let the Lord shape your back to bear the burdens that are placed upon it. I know that without the Atonement, none of us would measure up to the responsibilites we have in our life. We are imperfect and we have weaknesses. But if we learn to have faith and trust in the Lord, He will make up the difference.

5. SMILE!! Enjoy yourself!!

6. Never ignore a prompting.

7. Love the people you serve

8. Testify of the Propeht Joseph Smith

9. Witness the Power of the Savior. Speak of Him, testify of Him, talk about Him, know about His life, know His teachings, learn to speak of Him, be converted everyday and you will never find a day wasted.

As Elder Andersen was leaving, he waved and sayed "I love you all!" It was sweet :) Look up one of his talks because he is such a good speaker.

This Wednesday we got to host the new missionaries coming in. We had over 500 new missionaries come in this week, but only 66 were sister missionaries. And there were about 67 host sisters. JK :) I got to help a sister going to California find her room and get her things sorted out. Her bags didn't have wheels, so I got a workout :) I also saw Micail Mann!! She's my friend from USU, she's going to Tahiti!! She has to learn Tahitian and French! And I saw my other friend, Katie Mansfield last week. She's English speaking, so she got here last week and she leaves the same day I do!

I got my travel plans last night! So all this last week I've been having dreams about the day we leave. All of our elders in our district are going to SLC, but I'm the only sister. Hermana Hansen has to fly to her mission in California, so I would have dreams that she'd leave the day before me and I'd be all alone. But we got our travel plans, and I leave before her!! I leave at 6 am on Sept. 5th and she leaves at 8 am :)

So I have to tell this story really quick: Hermana Hansen and I were walking back from the temple last week and we were talking about all of the fires that were getting out of hand at the time we came to the MTC. I asked her if Arizona ever had any fires where she had to evacuate and she said no. I told her about how we had the Hanford fire back in 2000 and we had to evacuate. She asked me what we all took . . . and then I remembered what we took. Mom and dad, I'm sure you remember. I can't believe you had that much patience :) And then I told her how we took the tent trailer and stayed with some friends that night while dad pretty much slept on the roof so he could hose the roof down. Hermana Hansen said she would really like to meet you two because you're hilarious.

Mom, thanks for the letter and thanks for sending a card to Hermana Hansen! I saw that you sent it to her, and I was like "MOM!!" so she let me open it :) And thanks for the "mom moment" and names for the Elders. Elder Eyster likes the stamps you use, especially when you put two on. He says they're "SWEET!" I also got letters from Sabrah (my COLLEGE freshman freind, just had to clarify that :)), Heather Peterson, and DeAnn Hull.

I'm really learning how to be more patient. More patient with the language, more patient with teaching, more patient with the people in the crowded laundry room, and more patient with myself most of all. This week has been hard because I really don't feel adequate. But I'm doing everything that is required of me and I am giving my best effort in everything I do. I started studying the book of Job in the bible, I never really studied that in depth before. But this last week has taught me a lot about myself and about figuring out why I'm out here.

I love you all and I know with all of my heart that this church is true. You only get one more email from me in the MTC!!


Hermana Jenny Bragg

August 17, 2012 Same Story As Last Week

I asked Elder Eyster and Elder Boyd what I should call this email . . . and that's what they said. Probably because we do the same thing every week. But that's ok :)

So this week we met a movie star!! Jentry's going to laugh at this story! So this story begins two weeks ago when Hermana Obrigawitch, Hermana Hansen, and I were outside writing letters on our P-Day. This super annoying elder was yelling at his companion to not forget spoons, and so we were kind of looking/glaring him down because he was getting on our nerves. So he talked to us and did some kind of a flip, who knows why. Probably in honor of the Olympics. So Hermana Obrigawitch told us that he reminded her of James Potter during his teenage years (off of Harry Potter . . . for those of you who aren't familiar with good literature . . . Ashley Bragg :) ). So imagine an elder who looks and acts like James Potter. So we kept seeing him over the last two weeks and we thought he looked so familiar. On Sunday they showed the Joseph Smith movie, which our elders went to see after the fireside. They came back to the classroom and they said that our "James Potter" was actually the teenage Joseph Smith in the Joseph Smith movie! But he was leaving the next day for his mission in North Carolina! All of those times when we ran into him and we never even knew that he was in a church movie. Hermana Hansen is still mad about it :)

The MTC has a ton of cute little birds that just fly around on campus. They're so cute when they hop around, so I usually try to catch one every time I see one. It's my goal by the time I get out of the MTC. This morning we were sitting outside and I was feeding cheerios to the birds, but they wouldn't come that close to me. Hermana Hansen gets creeped out by birds, and she said, "Hermana Bragg, they're not going to just come to you! They're not ducks!" It made me miss ducks.

I got letters this week from Sarah (right after I wrote a letter to her . . . sorry!), Mom (good work on your classroom and DAD! Good job getting the tent trailer fixed!), Kaleb (Most of it in Spanish!), Brother Weiss, Jentry (I can't believe One Direction performed at the closing ceremonies of the Olympics!), another letter from Mom (thanks for the names), and a package from Sarah (no, I didn't hate the earrings. Thanks for the laundry detergent).

This week we had a ton of substitutes for all of our classes. I guess vacations to California and Florida are more exciting than teaching 7 missionaries :) But we had a lot of good lessons, especially with the Elders that we are teaching as "investigators." We also have the "TRC" (training resource center) that we go to every Thursday where we teach members of the church in Spanish. But they never have enough volunteers at the TRC, so Hermana Hansen and I got to be taught yesterday by the elders who have only been here for 3 weeks. They were in our zone (we have 5 districts in our zone), so they were a little bit surprised to see us when we opened the door. We are now the oldest district because the district ahead of us left on Monday. It was super sad. That district had all of the elders who would challenge me to ice cream eating competitions and produce weird concoctions that they would make me eat. But they were so excited to leave!

We had Elder David F. Evans of the Quorum of the Seventy come speak to us on Tuesday. We focused a lot on Luke 15, the chapter with all of the "lost" parables. Elder Evans spoke a lot about rescuing the lost and how our Heavenly Father is not as concerned about why they left. He is more concerned about bringing them back. In the parable of the prodigal son it says that even when the son was a far way off, his father ran to him and hugged him. It really made me think a lot about the people in my life :) So read Luke 15 if you get the chance this week.

I'm not going to lie, I've gotten to the point where I feel confident enough to go out into the field. I love the MTC (well, I've grown to love it :) ) but I feel like there are things that I can only learn while I am out in the field. There's only so much I can learn at the MTC because it's such a safe and secure place.

My Spanish is a ton better than last week, it's amazing to see the difference that happens week after week. The trick is to study your brains out and have confidence in your speech and have faith that you are going to be led to say what the investigator needs to hear. It's hard to study for hours everyday and to have all of your lessons and classes in Spanish, but it helps so much. The only person I can think of who is going on a Spanish speaking mission soon is Alyse Nelson. So Alyse, if you're reading this, study Spanish! And practice speaking it out loud! Read the Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel out loud in Spanish and you will be so far ahead of the game!

Ok, I love you all! I love this church and I love the changes that it has allowed me to make in my life. I am so grateful for the chance I have to serve this mission during this time of my life. There's honestly nothing else that I would rather be doing with my life at this time. So go to church, read the Book of Mormon, and just be good people :)

Love you all!

Hermana Bragg