The Penultimate dia de Preparacion Week 4

Welp its just been another week in the life of a missionary al CCM (by the way people have asked me why I use CCM instead of MTC. In Spanish, Missionary Training Center translates to Centro de Capicitación Misional aka el CCM). Life goes on here. The days fly by because you aren’t watching the clock to go home, you watch the clock for your next lesson. When we focus on the investigators instead of ourselves the time flies by and the days are filled with (good) stress and happiness.

I have had the opportunity while here to experience tough investigators. Our TRC investigator  is named Victor and he is a toughie (TRC is just another way we get to teach. Some people are non member volunteers and some are members. We approach the door our first time just like we are tracting and they become our investigator while we’re here. We just finished TRC this week). He never held back on some of the toughest questions that exist in this world. The kinds of questions that we dont know how to explain in our native tongue. Some of his questions and qualities include: Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does God allow poverty? (Read alma 2 for an answer to those) If God allows us to learn and grow through our challenges then what is the lesson for a grown man molesting his 3 year old daughter?  So these are pretty tough questions right? Yes they are but I am soooooooo glad that Victor is our investigator. To be able to find and (try) to explain the answers to these tough questions has strengthened my faith immensely. Also, to see him desire so sincerely to know the truth is inspiring to me. If I werent a member of this church I’m not sure how diligently I would try to seek out the truth. I honestly don’t think I can ever forget Victor.
Like I said things go on here just as they have these last month. The only real bit of news is that I get my travel plans tomorrow! I get to go straight to Argentina on a tourist visa and then receive my full visa while in country. I’m a huge mix of extremely excited and really nervous. I know that I won’t understand anything in our discussions at first and I know that walking 12 miles a day will be super hard, and I know I’m going to be frustrated. But I also know that I will see people’s lives be changed and that people can find joy through Christ. So basically I am not so confident in my abilities but I have complete confidence in The Lord’s abilities. I also feel like I have so much to learn but I also know that I will learn so much more in the field. So yeah, that’s how I’m feeling. Happy with what I’m doing but desiring for more.
By request from my mother here is what I have done on this P-Day.
6:30 Wake up and groan
6:40-7:30 Play basketball
7:35-8 Read and print emails and email my branch president
8-8:30 Get breakfast
8:40-9:40 online language/handbook/pmg assessments
9:50 laundry
10:10-12:30 email/hang out/do whatever
12:50 Get ready for lunch and the temple
1:30- 4:45 Go to the temple
Now I am finishing my email until dinner at 5:35 basically. Then my P-day ends after dinner and Elder Christensen and I teach a lesson tonight.
Aint that quite a schedule? I have a pretty good time with it.
I’m Happy. I’d like to know all of you are happy too. So write me lol
I love this gospel and the peace it brings me. I know that it makes me better everyday and I can’t deny the power that is found here. I know that Jesus Christ is The Savior of the world and that he re-established his church through the prophet Joseph Smith. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Livin’ the Dream,
Elder Brundage
Elder Christensen and my amazing friend from BYU Sister Graham

Elder Christensen and my amazing friend from BYU Sister Graham

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One of the first markings in my Spanish Book of Mormon. Alma 5:26 "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" I put fuego after that last line because it is straight fire (slang for amazing words basically)

One of the first markings in my Spanish Book of Mormon.
Alma 5:26 “And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?”
I put fuego after that last line because it is straight fire (slang for amazing words basically)

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I’m Over the (CCM) Hill Week 3

Well. 3 weeks done and only 3 to go! The days have been moving by VERY quickly. I swear Sunday was yesterday and my report day was last week. When you´re in a little bubble like we are time is relative. You don´t think ¿Qué hora es?, you think “how long until personal study/companionship study/language study/our next lesson/daily planning/food time/until we get to sleeeeeep”. But yeah our lives are dominated by the schedule. And its kind of nice to be honest (although I wish I had a bit more time for personal study haha!).

Oh also, I did not understand what mail can mean to a person until I was a missionary. A letter or a Dear Elder here in the MTC can be an answer to my prayers. I absolutely want to hear from you. So please, if you have a little bit of time. Send me a quick note. I guarantee it will make my day!

Some shoutouts: Congrats on getting that job Bethany! That’s so sweet! Love you!
Shoutout to Libbie Knight and Beth Knight (you two have the same name BTW so that’s fun) for writing me a Dear Elders this week. Like I said above, getting a little note and seeing that somebody is thinking about you is extremely strengthening and touching.
Also, Garrett Hoffa is the man. That is all.
Anywho, this week has been a stressful one but one that also caused a lot of growth. Since Elder Christensen and I have been sick on and off for the first few weeks our teaching schedule has been kind of messed up and this week was when we taught more to get back on track.  En el pasado Lunes, enseñemos CINCO LECCIONES, cada por vente cinco- quarente minutos (On monday we taught 5 LESSONS from 25-40 minutes each). I was pretty nervous that morning but we got through it and had some great lessons. That’s probably the closest thing to the mission field that we have done so far. It is tough but very rewarding. Even here in the MTC we can get to know of the joys of missionary work and the amazing peace, comfort, and strength that comes with being converted to Jesus Christ and living the way he did.

In my study this week it was mostly focused on topics for lessons we were teaching, but I always had the time to read in The Book of Mormon. I am in Alma currently and reading about the missionary experiences of the sons of Mosiah. One line hit me this time more than it had in the past. It said something along the lines of “they wanted to make known these great things to all people… the very thought of one dying that spiritual death caused them to quake and tremble”. These missionaries had felt the true effects of the atonement in their lives in a very real way. They were in the gall of bitterness because of their iniquity and they were plucked out by the Savior’s hand. They know what real Christ-like love is. They could not stand the thought of someone experiencing spiritual death (spiritual death being full separation from God’s presence). This is a goal for me to strive to. To NEED every person I can to hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that they may not taste bitterness in this life and the one hereafter. My goal is to be like the sons of Mosiah in my missionary work. I want to share what I know with everyone I know (or don’t yet know). I can do this with confidence because Heavenly Father is on my side. And he can cause mighty miracles to occur through my feeble efforts.

I love you all very much and I want to share my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father and we are his children. I know that he hears our prayers and wants to help us. I know that Jesus Christ is my savior and, through his atoning sacrifice, I can be free of my sins and weaknesses. I know that the same organization that existed in Christ’s church is on the earth today and that it was established by the power of God through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that through The Plan of Salvation, we can live with our Heavenly Father and our families for eternity. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and it contains the fulness of the Gospel. I love this church and the amazing truths found within. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Now the same en español (not an exact translation but the same meaning)
Yo sé que Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial y somos sus hijos. Yo sé que El escucha nuestros oraciones y quiere ayudarnos. Yo se que JesuCristo es mi salvador y, por medio del expiacion, puedo recibir perdón por mis pecados y culpas. Yo se que la iglesia Cristo pudo establacer es en el tierra hoy y que José Smith pudo establacer este iglesia mediante el poder de Dios. Yo se que por medio del Plan de Salvacion, podemos vivir con nuestras familias otra ves. El Libro de Mormón es la palabra de Dios y contene la plenitud del Evangelio de JesuCristo. Amo este iglesia y los verdaderos maravillosos contene. Testifico aquellas cosas en el nombre de JesuCristo. Amén.
Livin´ the Dream,
Elder Brundage
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Handwritten Letter Home (July 15)

(Mom note:  This is a handwritten letter that we got from Braden his 2nd week)

Hola Familia!

Thanks so much for the birthday package!  I literally squealed a bit when I opened the Manchester United jersey.  I love it!  Also, you totally hooked me up with the sour punch straws.  When I saw the envelopes in there, I figured it was your own (slightly passive aggressive) way of telling me to write a handwritten letter.  haha So here I am!  I’m not writing under the best circumstances.  Estoy muy enfermo ahora (I’m really sick right now).  I have one of those killer colds that just puts you down for a day or 2.  The MTC is a flipping petri dish for disease.  Anyways, I figure I can use this to answer some of the questions I forgot to answer on P-Day.  1. When I wake up:  2 days a week we have service at 6:15 so we get up at 6:00.  The rest of the days we have gym at 6:40 so we get up at 6:20-6:25.  2.  Schedule:  There’s a lot of different stuff but it boils down to this:  Mon-Sat we have 3 classroom instruction/teaching/study blocks of 3-3.5 hours.  On Mondays and Wednesdays we do TRC which is just other investigators (sometimes members, sometimes real investigators)  We also teach member lessons on TRC days.  Everything we do is solomente en espanol (only in Spanish).  It’s tough but we’ve made so much progress.  I can hold pretty dang good conversations and can understand more than I can speak.  Elder Christensen is back to 100% which is good, but I’m not anymore so this stinks.  Before you send me a dear elder asking if I am taking my Mucinex, I am, but it’s not just the sinuses and stuff.  I still haven’t got my watch yet but I bet it comes in today’s mail.  I’ve seen and talked to so many of my friends from BYU.  I love randomly seeing people I love!  Oh yeah, I have 2 stories.

I love my companion!  Seriously….on my birthday, it was basically a regular day, nothing special.  By the end of the day I was really feeling homesick and wishing I could be with you guys.  I knew I was about to start crying so I asked Elder Christensen if he wanted to go for a quick walk.  I just wanted to be alone and cry, but I couldn’t be alone (exact obedience, ya feel?)  So, I start crying as we’re walking and he says the exact right things. He was sympathetic, kind, and he got me laughing and talking.  No doubt, he had the spirit with him.  Later that night I received a blessing from him which brought me a lot of comfort.  I’m glad he’s my companion.

Story 2:  On Sunday nights we watch movies after a Sunday devotional.  I went on a split with another Elder in my district because the Joseph Smith movie was full and I didn’t want to watch Meet the Mormons.  So, we watched the John Tanner movie, and 1 episode of Music and the Spoken Word.  The Music and the Spoken Word was from Mother’s Day and I was like “what?  Are they TRYING to make us homesick?”  Anyways, during one of the songs (A lullabye by Ryan Murphy). I was thinking about eternal families and how grateful I am that I can live with you for eternity.  I then had several distinct thoughts and visions/fantasies.  The first thought I am positive was the spirit.  These words came into my mind “There is no going home for you.  You must set the example for your future children.”  I then saw myself sitting in a run down home at my one year mark extending the baptismal invitation to a family of dark-skinned people.  The scene changed and I saw the same family, clean and in white kneeling around an altar in the temple.  My joy was full at the mere thought of it.  I can’t wait to share this gospel with others.  I will find greater happiness than I have ever before known.  I know my purpose as a missionary.  Invitar a las personas a venir a cristo al ayudarias reciban el evangelio restaurado mediante la fe en Jesucristo y su expiacion, el arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepcion del don del Espiritu Santo, y el perseverar hasta el fin.  In English:  to invite all people to come unto Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  Love you!

Elder Brundage

2 Down 4 to Go (Week 2)

Hola mi familia y mis amigos! It has been yet another productive, stressful, and happy week at la CCM. First I’m going to answer some of the random questions my mom has. On the 4th of july I did get to watch fireworks (what I could see anyway. There were trees blocking the view haha) There have been a few great devotional speakers here. My two favorites were Elder Spencer J Condie and elder Benjamin Banks (both emeritus general authorites). I don’t have time to tell you what they said haha! I did choir once but nobody in my district has since. It’s cool but my voice has been kind of shot for the past week or so. Ok on to the real letter.

Here is a list of the top 10 things I think/say every day:
1. English speaking would be so much easier
2. Que?
3. Que significa…? (What does … mean)
4. Como se dice …..
5. Es mas dope
6. Well that just about shatters my entire universe (hot rod quote lol)
7. Estoy cansadoooooo
8. Yo tengo que ir al baño
9. Repita por favor.
10. I wonder what music/iphones/movies/everything will be like when I get home
Honestly that list was a lot funnier in my head. Oh well no time to go back now! The spanish is coming along people! Aqui en la CCM, ellos no enseñen español como en la escuela. Nosotros aprendemos españ cuando estamos enseñando! Basically they just teach us basic stuff and we practice and practice and teach and teach and the language comes as we teach our investigators. We teach very often here. In fact, Elder christensen and I taught 4 lessons this monday. Pretty nuts. In the classroom and in lessons we speak only in spanish so we have picked up a lot in a very short amount of time. The days really fly by because we work so hard. We wake up from 6-6:30, go to exercise time, eat breakfast, study/prepare/teach for 3 hours, eat lunch, plan, study/plan/teach for another 3.5 hours, eat dinner, study/plan/teach for another 3.5 hours then we go back to our rooms, write in our journals, socialize a bit then pass into sleep only to repeat it again the next day. It sounds like torture but we have A TON of fun. I love my district soooo much! They are incredibly uplifting, spiritual, and hardworking. I’m making some amazing friends here. Well I’m sorry I don’t have much to write today but its just been one of those weeks I guess.
There is a joy in this work that cannot be denied. I’ve been happier than I’ve ever been before, pero (that means “but” in spanish. That was a complete accident but I’m going to leave it there for posterity’s sake) I’ve also been discouraged, homesick, and at times defeated. But The Lord knows me. He knows when I have those times and he sends me little tender mercies to keep me going and to remind me of his love. I’m very grateful that I am a missionary and that I get to work as hard as i do. Nuestro maestro, Hermano Rasmussen, said to us this week “a God-like destination requires a God-like effort”. There is no place for apathy in this work.
I know that God loves us. I know that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins, weaknesses, and sadnesses. He loves us infinitely when it seems no one else will.
I love you all!!
Livin’ the Dream,
Elder Brundage
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MTC (Week 1)

Hola mi familia y amigos!

My first week in the MTC (CCM en espanol) has been pretty crazy! I got here last wednesday and was freaking out more than I ever had once I saw the MTC but I couldnt go in. Once I got in I DID almost forget to hug Bethany goodbye because I was being hosted by my good friend Elder ellis who is going to thailand. Once I was in it was full steam ahead. I was led through a ton of buildings that look EXACTLY the same and get all sorts of books and supplies dumped on me all while i was dying of heat stroke because i was in a dark suit on a hot day. I dropped off my stuff in my room (on the top floor) and went immediately to my classroom (on the top floor) to meet my teacher, Hermano Rasmussen who served in mexico. I walk in and hear a string of words I had never heard of in my entire life and i was confused. This went on for about 2.5 hours! En el classe nosotros hablamos solomente en espanol :)! It was a weird day and it seemed to go on forever and i saw several friends from BYU which made things a whole lot better. Mi companero (i really want to be able to type with accents and stuff but I can’t haha) has been very sick since we got into the MTC. He has had to miss most of 2 different days where he was in the MTC medical office. It has been very hard for me but I cant even imagine what its been like for him. On Thursday we started to plan our first lessons for our first investigator which we would teach the next day (solamente en espanol) and elder christensen was not there. I was so scared and frustrated and alone that i wanted to cry. It was probably the lowest moment for me here in the MTC. I went to dinner still freaking out, not knowing how anybody could do this. I was looking down and I was basically tackled by someone. I had no idea who it was until I looked up and I saw Elder Thurgood my old RA. I realized it was my best friend Elder Tolk and I squealed like a little girl. I knew that The Lord had saved them until my lowest point and I am so grateful for that. The little bit of time i had with them encouraged me to push on. We taught that lesson and it was pretty good but could be better. The second lesson with Kimie was a little bit better than the first but the really amazing one was the third lesson (on this monday). Even though this particular person we are teaching is a member actor the spirit which comes and helps us in our teaching and the testifying that it does is VERY REAL. We taught kimie about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith (en espanol: Nosotros enenamos sobre la restauracion del Evangelio de JesuCristo mediante la profeta Jose Smith). We read his account of the first vision and we challenged her to pray right then if the message was true and Joseph Smith is a prophet. She did and i asked her how she felt during the prayer. The only word i could pick out in the whole sentence was “tranquilidad” (thats how most of our conversations go. We can pick out 2 or 3 word and possibly piece together a sentence haha). Anyways I got that word and my companion and I testified that the tranquil feeling she was having was God’s way of telling her about the truthfulness of the message. I came out of that lesson jumping and fist pumping. So happy for the gift of the spirit and overwhelmed with the love I had for Kimie and her willingness to accept God’s will for her. After that lesson the MTC has been a breeze (basically haha). I had always heard that the first few days of the MTC are way rough but I seemed to think that my experience was different. That my time was harder than it usually is for everyone else. How stupid I was. We all have our trials to bear and I’m grateful for my humbling experiences. I have an AMAZING DISTRICT. No joke they are the most supportive, funny, and spiritually powerful and comforting people I have ever met! Anyways yeah thats about it. Spanish is coming slowly but surely. The more i practice, the better i get, so thats good. I have made a ton of progress since I’ve gotten here. I can pray, bear testimony, and teach (with varying degrees of success) all in Spanish which is fun. By the way thanks so much for the Dear Elders mi familia! I love them and my district started calling me Van Pelt because I was getting so much mail (like The Best Two Years yeah?) Oh yeah, shout out to Beth Knight, Brother Constantine and Garrett Hoffa for being the only people outside of my family to write me. Love you Guys!! Lets see what else do you guys want to know. MTC food is hit or miss. The dorms are pretty jank but you live in your classroom and only sleep in your dorm so it doesnt matter haha! I’ve got some pics for you guys but i’ll send it in a separate email in just a second once I can figure this thing out. Love you all soooooo much!
Livin’ the dream,
-Elder Brundage
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Elder Christensen-MTC companion

Elder Christensen-MTC companion