Wednesday, June 27, 2012

haha you and rocks! WOW thats crazy, ya these two months are flying by, today we have 13 days left. A little stressful, and monday? i think is when we get to go prosylyting for the 1st time! And thats super cool about President Tanner,( President John Tanner was one of my English professors at BYU)   he didn't say anything about BYU but I could totally see him teaching there, and ya its Sister Tanner used to be General YW President.
 I don't really know how my English or my Portuguese is. Today during lunch I was talking with an Elder from Argentina and we spoke english/portuguese/espanol. Our instructors are stressing out because our Portuguese still needs a lot of work and we're down to NO TIME!
But this weekend we had a really special experience. The Dille's (a SR. missionary couple that were our medical team) gave us a surprise visit. The Dille's had left a week ago to visit Manaus and they had come back to Sao Paulo to catch their flight back home, the night they were spending in the CTM (none of the missionaries knew they were back) we were having a special choir practice, and President and Sister Degn invited them to come to listen to us. So there were about 16 missionaries singing just to our president and his wife and the Dille's it was so special. It was like have a surprise visit from family. We sang Come Thou Fount. The spirit was so strong, and you could just feel the love we all had for one another.
Last night for devotional we sang "Come Thou Fount" and then the my companionship and Sister Gee (our roommate and the sister i went to Europe with) performed the postlude hymn. We sang "Every Breath" by Jenny Phillips. It was amazing. Our instructors even came to hear us, I am always amazed by the sacrifices they do for us, and how much they love us! They are incredible people!!!
I really don't have much to share this week, but its really not that cold here. Its going to be a lot colder in Porto Alegre, OHHHHHH Thats what I forgot! The brazillians that we are going to be serving with came last Thursday!!! They are incredible missionaries! I'm so excited, and nervous to be leaving the CTM. A few dear friends of mine that I have made here in the CTM left last week and now my companionship is the oldest sister companionship in the CTM!!!  We have gotten used to being at the CTM and its hard to comprehend that this is only a small portion of our mission! I have met some of the best people here, ah i wish you could meet them all :DI have met some of the best people here, ah i wish you could meet them all :D Another wild thought was that the friendships we have made we may never see them agan until the next life.  It makes eternity seem so much more real, and I've gained a little understanding of the happiness we'll feel there!
Portuguese is getting harder for me, we still speak quite a bit of english but our district has goals of two days a week we just speak Portuguese....ITS SO HARD!!! But in a week and a half thats all we're gonna hear so better get used to it now I suppose! I'm nervous about going to the field but when the Dille's gave us their suprise visit, they told us they witnessed miracles. They saw Missionaries they knew from the CTM serving in Manaus, Missionaries that had struggled with the language, that could speak fine! They told us not to worry about the language, we'll be fine! Simple words, but they came right when my companionship needed to hear them! So comforting!!
I"m so excited to hear about your adventurers this week! Tell Everyon hi for me and that I love them!!!
Amo Voces!!!!
Sister Bradley

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hey Family, & Everyone
Hey so just some housekeeping first! Have you guys been checking my facebook? I should be getting some friend requests from my teachers here in CTM. We went to lunch with them today, and they took some pictures they'll add of us!
Speaking of lunch you'll never guess what I had for lunch!!..CHICKEN HEARTS!!! and they were pretty good!!! And apparently in Porto Alegre they really like them, so I'm kinda excited about that! For lunch, we had a surprise, Irmao Teixeira (our first CTM instructor that left) came to see us, so Irmao Israel and Irmao Teixeira were there!
Some incredible things have happened this week, on Thursday we had a special devotional (usually devotional is on tuesday evening) but President Costa came! He is the area president of Brasil. Then on Sunday Sister and President Tanner came and spoke. For those of you who don't remember Sister Tanner was the General YW President! now they are serving as mission Presidents in Sao Paulo (i think south). They were both amazing! AND I played violin the night they were here!!! It was so scary, because there is not much time to practice, and the song was incredibly hard. I played O My Father, and the CTM President Degn was playing piano. I'm glad he's so good because everytime I'd get lost he'd just go back or change what he played so it sounded right. But Sister Tanner talked about how Nephi when he was commanded to build a ship was not a ship builder. Just like how many things we may be called to do, we are not capable of. But if we rely on the Lord he will make us that thing. Like for us, I may not be a good missionary now, but he will make me a good missionary!
On on a learning note. TRC was a blast!!! WE DIDN'T HAVE TO TEACH, WE GOT TAUGHT! Pretending to be investigators was so fun, we were taught by the brand new sister trio! Its weird to think that we are one of the "oldest" companionships here. We also got a roommate today!!!! AND ITS SISTER GEE!!! She and I went to Europe together, last summer and she is serving in my companions mission, Londrina. This was most definetly a tender mercy!
This past week has been rough for me. I have been struggling with patience, and just haven't been as happy. Last night was especially rough. When I went to bed I prayed that I would be able to feel and see others as Christ sees them. Because I definently was not! Last night my companions went to bed late, This morning, my companion woke up at 5am an hour earlier than we're supposed to be up for PDay. Alarms were going off until 6:40 and yet no one was getting up. I was slightly frustrated again. I laid in bed and prayed that I would be able to treat my companions with love and that I wouldn't let these little things bother me and damper my day or my learning at the temple. I am so amazed by how quickly prayers are answered here in the mission. I got up started getting ready, and was completely refreshed I was (with by the amount of sleep I got should not be the case) I was the most chipper I'd been in days! It was amazing.
One other thing!!! Today we were doing a session at the temple. And the technology in our endowment room always struggles. Somedays we just sit there for about 30 min waiting for techonology and speakers to come back on. Today I guess theycouldn't get it to work so we got to have it read to us. It was a mini live session!!! We didn't get to spend much time in the celestial room because of it, but it was different....and we like different :D
Well hope all is well with you guys!! How summer school? Are we getting a little dog anytime soon :P
Well I miss you guys!!! So michale is going to trek? and of course always the cars cause trouble haha
Love y'all
Sister Carissa Bradley

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wed, June 13, 2012 10:06:23 AM


The whole CTM is gathered together to watch the temple celebration for the Manaus Temple.  Sorry I couldn't get these any bigger. It's a little like finding Waldo!

Hey Family and Everyone! This week has been crazy!!!! The highlight was definently the Manaus Temple Dedication, I'm not sure how much you all back in the states heard or know about it but its incredible! And the story behind the growth of the church in Manaus and the temple there is incredible! Manaus is in the amazon, so northern Brasil. 30 years ago there weren't even missionaries!!! The members of the church in Manaus asked the mission president in Rio de Janiero to send missionaries but they were told no, and then they asked again, the mission president talked to the area authorities and they decided no, again and again they asked until they were given a deal. That two missionaries would be sent to Manaus if: 1. the people found investigators, the missionaries would not be tracting 2. they would need free airfare to Manaus and 3. the missionaries would only stay for 4 months. The members accepted and paid for the missionaries to travel to Manaus. After being there for four months, they had such success that more missionaries have been sent ever since.
Another amazing story about the people of Manaus is that they would have to travel a week by boat and then by bus to Sao Paulo, Recife to attend the temple. attending the temple would literrally take a month! its incredible to see the faith, the dedication of Brazillians! Many of the missionaries here are the only members of their families. They have such incredible faith and love of the gospel. Even though Manaus if about as faraway from my mission as you can get and still be in Brasil they are amazing people!
The celebration for the temple was beautiful, very different from Sacramento's or Rexburg's. Manaus is the 6th temple in Brasil (and Forteleza where our districts elders are going will be the 7th)
The dedication was beautiful, even though most of it was in portugues i understood a fair amount. and when it was in ingles it was great! During the celebration President Ucktdorf spoke, but they were having some problems with the translator so he had the translator come and stand at the pulpit with him. President Ucktdorf put is arm around the translator while he translated. it was so sweet...but I think the translator was slightly intimidated. Not only are you translating for a general authority he's a big guy with his arm around you haha.
This week has also been hilarious!!! I love the mannerisms of Brazillians!!! Our new teacher Irmao israel says the funniest things! One day we were learning about pronunciations and when to use accent marks. We had word endings written on the board: a e em and then for all other letters it could end with he wrote "Other freaking letters" and everytime he said it it was the funniest thing EVER! Irmao Teixeira used to say something similar when he would try to say a difficult english word  "freaking english word" it definetlly has a different connotation here in Brasil but it makes our district die of laughter!
So some other random things that happened this week, my companion Sister Matiaco was called to be the coordinating sister, which means we're in charge of all the sisters. On Saturday, we had a meeting and squashed all 34 (we think) sisters into our little room! It was really fun! This week has also been pretty stormy. One storm the thunder/lightning would shake the entire building!!
Every tuesday we have a fireside, and last nights was really special. For choir we sang faith in every footstep (because one of the sister missionaries that left loved that song and they sang it a lot during the celebration for Templo de Manaus) One of our Sr. Missionary couples will be leaving this week and their replacements came this week. So they each bore their testimonies. Afterwards President Degn invited 16 missionaries to come up and share their testimonies. The funny part was right before he stood up I had this thought that he would ask us to bare our testimonies. I was sitting in the middle of my row and had all my scriptures/notes on my lap and I remember thinking I should put those down. But I didn't listen to the promting :( oh well, it was incredible to hear testimonies born in 3 different languages. The spirit was so strong. 
Anyways class has been good, learning lots and lots and still working on speaking portugues. i really like teaching our "investigators" we have so much fun! just getting to talk in portuguese
Oh happy valentines day!!! yesterday was valentines day here in Brasil!!! ...not that that effected things much here in the CTM but it was fun, we made little cards, notes for our teachers!
I have learned so much this week about what it means to become a missionary. Before your mission everyone tells you to lose yourself in the work, but they don't tell you what that means. It has taken on a whole new meaning for me to completely give up who you are. its something your told but until you are required to do it you don't realize how much of a sacrifice that is. Giving up those things that make you, you to become the representative of the Lord that he has called you to be. It really is a sacrifice, and I don't know how else to describe it. But it is definently the hardest and the best thing that has been asked of me.
Well I love you guys! Hope your summer vacation (although winter here) is fabulous!!! And i'm so jealous y'all got to go watch wicked, and am not surprised by matthew in a suit. classy classy! You are all in my prayers, and thank you so much for your support. We did a really neat excercise where we talked about the tree of life. and how on our missions we will go through darkness but there are people to lift us up (like the fruit) and you all are that for me!
Lots and lots of love!!!!
Sister Carissa Bradley!
p.s sorry for how disjointed my letters are, I'll try and be better!

Friday, June 8, 2012

(Okay, here is the final letter we received from Carissa this week.  She doesn't date her letters so this  actually may have been the first one she sent off!)

Hey Guys,

It's my first letter!  Everything is crazy we have been going ever since we landed.  Exchanged currency, classes, meeting tons of missionaries.  Its really cool because I am in threesome and one of the sisters is going to Porto Alegre North and we have a mutual friend from BYU-I.  My other companion is from Alaska.  But so far we are having a good time together.  When we finally had some spare time to unpack we got a ton done and then about 3 hours before bed they told us we had to move rooms because the bathroom is leaking onto the floor below.  So that's been  quite the adventure.

We also got to walk around Sao Paulo in the area near the CTM.  And we can go shopping here and they have everything (except the ACT).  So I don't think I'll be needing you guys to send anything.

So far the food has been very different.  We had pizza tonight and its very different from our pizza; lots of fruit and they don't use tomato sauce.  But the fruit is soooo good!

Well its going to be interesting trying to learn Portugese but I already love it here.  While we walked around today it was fun to see the differences.  Some parking spaces are in the store.   And the roads are very uneven.

On the flight here I sat next to a Brazilian woman who had been in Georgia for two months studying English.  She was a lot of fun to talk to.  Well I'm really tired.  I'll see if I have time tomorrow to write before I mail this off.  But if things go like they did today, probably not.  So I love you guys and hope everythings good.

Love y'all,
Sister Carissa Bradley

Oh and I'm now pretty sure I'm here for 9 weeks although no one's told us for certain and I'm not sure when my P-day will be.  But really not that much has happened just some basic orientation classes, we watched a "mock investigator meeting" and talked about genuinely caring and being concerned with people's lives..  And Thursday night (tomorrow) we'll get to teach our first "investigator".  Luckily this one is in English but our instructor said after we're gonna need to start using more Portugese.  But we really haven't done much studying, just have what the other missionaries have taught us in the cafeteria.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

(Well, when it rains, it pours!  We got three (yes, three) letters from Carissa in ONE day!  Two were handwritten so I have to transcribe them.  Enjoy!)

Hey Family!

So I'm going to try and catch you up on the happenings of the CTM.  Sorry if I am repeating myself but I keep forgetting what I've already told you about.  As far as the Missionties its great.  I can just give here a letter and they scan and e-mail so you receive it faster! (I'll try that with this letter and we'll see how it goes). As far as pictures, we're only allowed to take them on P-days or the night before missionaries leave.

 As far as your questions I will try and answer them the best I can. My threesome is wonderful.  I am learning lots of patience but they are wonderful and we have tons of fun.  (Ask our district, we are stuck in a classroom all day with them, they think we're crazy!)  As far as the last leg of the trip.  Met a bunch of Elders (they are all in a different district) and one of my companions, Sister Bullen from Alaska.  Customs was uneventful.  There were people to meet us at the airport, we exchanged money and took a bus through Sao Paulo to the CTM.  Drivers/Motorcyclists here are CRAZY! You LA drivers are scary, multiply that by 10 and add more motorcycles!  Our mission President Deg is wonderful, luckly (sic) we don't know him too well.

 A typical day? Honestly, a lot of waiting.  Waiting on companions, waiting for class, teachers and then at other times there are not enough hours in the day.  For me my ability in Portugues fluctuates.  Our first day, Irma Korth drew a picture   (picture of  3 stick figures labeled English   Mess    Portuges)    I am most definitely in the "mess" category!  During dinner I was talking to some Elders and Ingles (English) just wasn't coming out right.  But most definitely can't speak Portuges but we speak only in Portuges during lunch..... sometimes lunch is very quiet.  A typical day?  We are always in our classroom, we practice teaching investigators.  Usually just our teachers.  So we have two investigators we're always preparing lessons for.  Then we also have the TRC (Teaching Resource Center?)  We teach a different investigator with various scenarios  Our first one was a missionary the other two times its been members from here in Sao Paulo.  I'm starting to actually like the TRC... which is crazy cuz for a long time I really dreaded it.  But our last lesson went well.  But we had an awesome member to teach and he helped me a lot with my pronunciations.  I still speak spanish every now and then  (one lesson Irma Korth told me I used 3 languages in one sentence!)  I'm impressed she understood anything I said!

One thing I keep wanting to tell y'all about is the Brazilian National Anthem.  We sing it every Sunday.  It's so COOL!  Look it up!

As far as food goes it's interesting.  But we've been told it's not really authentic.  There are tons of beans and rice.  It seems like all we do is sit in class and then eat.  Gym time is about 45 min 4-5 times a week.  The track is so tiny (the church bought an alleyway next to the CTM and put a little track in there.) We play knockout with the Elders (and tell Dad all his shooting lessons finally kicked in.  I have perfect form!  haha)  Oh and when we play volleyball with Brazilians its insane!  Anything goes:  Imagine off the wall soccer meets volleyball.  It's a miracle no one's gotten "kicked in the head"!  We don't really get to play as much because Sister Matiaco has back, knee problems so she can't play so we usually stay by the track.  It's really hard for me because I love playing and it really helps me relax.  But I'm learning to make do under the circumstances.  And the Elders are so wonderful because I'm not allowed to play an actual game with them. When we come into the gym they stop their game and shoot with me. Speaking of basketball, my district wanted me to ask the little boys what happened during playoffs.  They (well, all of us) never know anything. The only news we getis what's happening in the world of soccer.  It's religion down here.  There was a big game a while back; it was such a loud night we hardly slept.

I've also learned quite a bit about what my mission is like.  Rio Grande de Sul (the Southern State) is very different than the rest of Brasil.  Someone told us its kind of like Texas.  Lots of pride and different from the rest of the country.  It also is supposed to be harder.  People aren't as bubbly or open as the rest of Brasil.  So during class (all our Elders are going North to Forteleza) our instructors tell us how it will be in the field .... except for the sisters.  Our Elders are going to bake (it will be very hot),  lots of investigators, etc, ..... except the sisters...... the total opposite apparently.  But I guess we'll see what happens when we get there.  So far everyone I have met from Porto Alegre I've absolutely loved.  and the way they speak is so beautiful!  Well, I miss you guys!  Love y'all!

Sister Bradley

  Hey Family!
Winter is officially here!!! ITS RAINING LIKE CRAZY TODAY!!! and yesterday! Monday night it started raining and we left our windows open...and my lugagge was right under the window! It was soaked (luckly I closed the lid) and my companions beds were soaked too! Opps... we learned to close the windows that night!!

Also this week has been full of goodbyes. Last P-Day we found out that one of our friends, she works at a street vendors across the street won't be working there anymore. She served her mission in Porto Alegre Norte, and has just been a highlight of p-day for us. Just lots of confidence in us and builds us up everytime we see her (it helps that she also speaks English). Then we found out that Irmao Teixeria was leaving! he has been such a wonderful teacher! Monday our new teacher came in, and we started right into our lesson, but we hadn't gotten to say goodbye to Teixeria. He came in about halfway through class. I am going to miss him, he taught us so much! Our new teacher is amazing too. Irmao Israel. (He is the only teacher we get to call by his first name because there is already a teacher here with his last name!) Then Monday nights are always goodbye, because tuesday morning is when all the missionaries leave for the field! I didn't really think about how many goodbyes would happen at the CTM, its rough!!

Monday was such an incredible day. It was a perfect day in an imperfect way. We had such a powerful lesson with Irmao Israel, then saying goodbye to Teixera. And so much happened it was just an emotional rollarcoaster that was an incredible day!

Last night we were supposed to have a special speaker (Elder Costa) but he couldn't make it so we watched a devotional given by Elder Holland. Wow, it was intense (may not have helped that we all got chastized by our Mission President minutes before for breaking mission rules) it was a powerful but very humbling talk. One thing he said though that I really liked was: "Get it out of your head that anything will ever be the same as it used to be." He talked about Peter after Christ's death and going back to being a fisherman. Than Christ asked him "lovest thou me." If we truely love God we won't go back to the way it was before, our missions will change our life. Its been an interesting thought.

Another powerful lesson I learned this week was with Irmao Teixeira. We were teaching him as our investigator, and we've had some pretty bad lessons with him. But we were teaching restoration, and the spirit was so strong. At the end of the lesson we just committed him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. After the lesson he asked us why we didn't ask him to be baptized. Its something we really need to work on, we are not very brave in our committments, He taught us that we need to demonstrate our confidence and faith through our comittiments. He then told us that we never know when our last meeting with our investigator will be. (At the time we didn't know he had gotten a new job). That was our last lesson with "Tiago" we missed our opportunity. Its really struck home to me that when the spirit is there, our purpose is to bring people to Christ. And we do that through Baptism, we cannot wait! There is no way he could have planned for that lesson to be taught, it was an incredible expereince.

So I left my notes for this letter in my room. So I'm just gonna have to wing it! This week has been so spiritual! On Sunday we had mission conference, and I got to sing in a special choir, we sang the Iron Rod. It was a blast!

Glad everything is good, any big plans for the summer? How are the little boys doing not being in the same room?
Well gotta go! Love you guys!!!!
Sister Bradley