Thursday, May 29, 2014

His adventure begins!!!

Lots of traveling for Brandon to get to Portugal!!  So Brandon was able to call home from the airport on the first of several stops on his way to Portugal.  Chasity and I were able to talk to hi map for about and hour and a half!! It was great!! He was so excited to get to Portugal.  He first flew to Texas where he was able to call home again and this time all of the kids were home so he got to talk to them as well.  Then he flew on to London!!  He had a 6 hour layover, but it sounded like he spent several hours figuring things out and everything.  He did call from London and talked quickly, because his calling cards weren't working once he got out of the country.  He sounded tired but still in good spirits.  Then I got a quick email from him with the picture of all of the missionaries and his mission president & his wife.  His adventure begins!! :)

Finally in Portugal!!

Brandon with his new "family " in Portugal
Mission president & his wife

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Brandon's new home for the next 2 years!!

Last pictures of MTC life!

 Brandon, Elder Casey & the awesome missionaries from Mozambique!!
He said he was going to miss these guys so much!!
Last temple walk with some of the branch presidency members

Last email from the United States! "Don't ever let yourself get in the way of the Lord. Let him build you into the person that he wants you to be."

Holy cow this will be my last e mail from the United States of America!  What in the world, where did the time go! Seriously I have no idea!  I feel like this time flew by!  I have learned so much though and I am so happy for this wonderful MTC experience!  I have grown so strong spiritually!  I have gained a solid and steadfast personal testimony that I am not sure if I had fully before of this true and pure Gospel we have been so blessed to be a part of!  Something that I have learned this week comes from Helaman 5:12.  My teacher taught me this principle and I tied it in with this scripture.  But Helaman says here that it is in Christ that we must build our foundation.  That is our part to build the foundation. To gain sweet and simple testimony of eternal truths and become converted to him.  When we have a solid foundation instead of us trying to build our own house,  it is much better to step out of the way, swallow your pride and let the Master build your house.  Don't ever let yourself get in the way of the Lord.  Let him build you into the person that he wants you to be.  Be selfless be servants and as you loose yourself in charity for others, the Lord will mold you into the person he wants you to become.  I love that.  It applies so well to missionaries but it also applies to anyone on this Earth.  Just let him in and he will work miracles.  Also this week I have learned a lot about how important members are in our work.  Every member needs to be a missionary, honestly the change that accelerates the success of missionary work doesn't come from the full time missionaries, it comes from the members.  As members have become more involved the work is growing.  Always remember this and don't ever let fear or pride hold you from sharing the gospel.  I challenge all of you to pray for those opportunities and they will come.  Also pray for the courage to share the Gospel when the time comes.  Members are so important.  So important!!!  I love you all and I thank you all so much for the support and love that you have all given me will prayers and other things!:)  You are all so great and I pray the Lord will pour out his blessings on you as you pursue righteous lives:)  It has been hard saying bye to all of my wonderful teachers and leaders here what a blessing it has been to be here at the MTC it is truly a great place to be! Thank you again and I can't wait to tell you about my first week in Portugal!:)  Eu amo voces!!!

Com muito amor

Elder Brandon Eldredge

Last pictures from the MTC

 Doesn't look like Brandon is having fun at all!! :)
With some of his teachers (above)
A little more room fun

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Travel Plans!!!! One week to go!

One more week of the MTC to go!! "I want to be able to bear my testimony with as much faith as Nephi did. To invite the spirit so that others will not be able to doubt what I say..."

Oi, minha familia e meus amigos!
Epa!!!!!  How time flies here in the MTC!  The days are long but the weeks happen in the blink of an eye!  What an adventure it has been!  I definitely do not feel ready to go to Portugal!!  Which brings me to my first point....  We all got our travel itineraries!!!!  We are all so excited to go! Even though we are all nervous, we are so stoked to get to our real missions!!  So basically this is how it is going.  I leave the MTC at 7 am on Tuesday and our flight leaves for Dallas at 12:25 we get there and then will have about a 2 and a half hour lay over and then we fly out at 6:35 pm to London!!  I thought that was so cool that we get to go through London!  We get there at 9:35 there time so whatever that is here nao sei..  But anywho we then have a 6 hour lay over in London which is a long time but there could be worse places to be for that long so I am not complaining:)  after that we will head out on our final flight to Portugal and we will get there at 6:00 their time!  Some fun fun stuff!  I am so excited but so nervous at the same time.  Yes, I will be able to call home at the airport too!:)  That is why I will need a calling card or two for the lay overs:)  So we are all very very excited to leave.  I mean the MTC is great and all but I am guessing that it doesn't measure up to Portugal I can't wait to send you all pictures and stories and what not!  I feel like the adventure is about to begin!:)   So this week on tuesday we heard from Elder L. Tom Perry, he spoke to us about the importance of companionships and it was awesome!  I can't believe that he is 92 and still going strong!  What a man!  Also this Sunday Elder Bednar came here for a question and answer session  after we watched a talk that he gave he a few years ago.  I think I may have talked about it it was called the Character of Christ, such a great and inspiring talk!  But anywho, he came and answered a few questions and I had one but obviously they couldn't pick on everyone so I was sad but it was ok!  It was great to see him there and feel his Spirit!  He is such a powerful disciple of Christ!!  One of the things that he said that I really loved was this, "I promise that if you pray earnestly every morning and every night for the gift of tongues and ask you friends and family to assist you, you will have an accelerated learning and extra help gaining that spiritual gift.  I am sure that you have been doing that already because there is no way I could be anywhere close to where I am right now with this language, but I would just ask that you keep it up!  Because I definitely need all the help I can get!:)  Thank you all so much for helping me with this and I promise you will all be blessed from it as well!:)  So next thing, I got to Host this week and escort new missionaries in!  And I was standing there waiting and I saw Nate's face peeking out the window and it took me a second to recognize him and I screamed!  NATE!!!!  ahah whoops, forgot he was an ELDER;)  But he drove passed and this older lady was like go get him!! So i ran down the sidewalk to catch up to him and I asked the other Host missionary there if I could take him!  It was so awesome!  I hope that it helped him a little bit.  I saw him again the other day and he is doing reall well  so far.  He will be awesome!:)  Maybe he will escort Chase in when he gets here!:)  I am so excited for Chase!  He is going to be such and awesome missionary!  I just know it!  I remember when we at EFY together!  So fun!  So yeah exciting stuff!  Also I hosted an Elder from Tanzania!  that was insane, coolest Elder ever!  He knows Swahili, some other african lanugage, French, English and is going to learn Spanish....  And here I am complaining about learning Portuguese!  On that note, I will not ever complain again because we talked to some Cambodian speaking Elders and...... yeah Portuguese is not hard.... haha But this past week we have been talking about the Book of Mormon a lot.  It is incredible to think of how improbable that it is for us to have the Book of Mormon!  There is such a power that will come into your life as you strive to read and learn from it every day!  I know that to be true in my life, the times where I have made mistakes or lost faith was because I was not reading daily from the Book of Mormon.  By reading the Book of Mormon and applying it's teachings and doeth the word, our testimonies evolve into true conversion.  And Elder Bednar told us straight up that having a testimony is not enough if we are not converted unto Chirst.  There are many promises in the Book of Mormon that if you are truly converted to Christ you cannot fall.  Cannot.  So I invite everyone to continue to read, learn, and apply to Book of Mormon daily and as you do that you will develop a relationship with the Savior and become more converted unto him.  One of my favorite scriptures I found this week Is 3 nephi 7:18 Talking about Nephi getting called to preach to the people "And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily."   i want to be able to bear my testimony with as much faith as Nephi did.  To invite the spirit so that others will not be able to doubt what I say and have that gift of the constant ministering of angels!  It hit me so hard!  I love it!:)  So yeah there is my spiritual thought of the week!  I am loving every second of this mission and I can't believe that I am a missionary currently!  Sometimes I forget and take for granted this wonderful opportunity!  Again I thank you all for your wonderful prayers of support that I feel each and every day!  What a wonderful blessing to me!!  Eu amo voces muito muito mais!  Obrigado por tudo voces fazem para mim!  
Com Amor
Elder Brandon Caleb Elredge  

Misc. pictures...binge night & name tags

 Name tags :) I told him I wanted a pic of his name tag
"Binge night". And yes, Elder Casey is pretending to sip cheese dip through 
A rolled up Dorito!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pictures!!! :)

 Brandon getting to use some of his mad ping pong skills!!!
His zone

They got creative to send a Mother's Day message!

"You cannot "invite" investigators to a party that you aren't at!" Quote from Elder Holland about becoming converted to Christ

Oi amigos e familia!!  I love tyou all and i am so grateful for all of your prayers on my behalf!  Where to begin?  Haha So last week Elder Holland came and spoke to us and didn't dissapoint our expectaions of singeing our eyebrows and things like that!  He has such a power that I cannot deny!  It was amazing!  He shared so many important thoughts and impressions.  He taught us that this mission should mean everything to us.  That everything good that happens to you after can in one way or another relate back to your mission.  He also said that if you even only convert one person to Christ throughout your whole mission you have served honorably only if that person is you!  He told us the reason that they made preach my gospel is because somehow there were missionaries that came back and fell away soon after.  He said he does not know how you could serve a mission and have everything you taught to others blow right over your head.  It is so important that we become converted unto chirst becasue it is his church.  And you cannot "invite" investigators to a party that you aren't at!  Interesting!  My favorite part was when he was talking about why is this work so hard.  Why isn't our only problem pneumonia (idk how to spell it) because we aren't ever out of the waters of baptism?  Why is it hard?  The reason that he came up with was that it is not easy because Salvation is not, was not ever, nor will ever be, a cheap price to payThe Saviors path was certainly not easy for Him so how can we expect it to be easy for us.  Our work must go through the Garden of Gethsemane and then through up to the mount of Calvary.  As missionaries we participate in the smallest way what the Savior went through.  He was not easy for him, it will never be easy for us Salvation is not cheap. But we will never have to say as he said, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me."  I have felt the mantle of my Heavenly Father every day and I could not be here without it!  I have learned so much this week and gained such a strong testimony of the role of the Spirit in conversion!  It is truly not the words we say but the feelings that investigators feel that convert them.  This week me and Elder Casey have committed all of our "investigators" to baptism.  This is should be a testimony builder in and of itself.  Somehow the Lord has made it possible through our very broken and baby like portuguese for our investigators to feel the spirit.  This is not our work.  It is His and we are to do it His way.  Amazing!  Portuguese is coming along!  I was so glad to hear from you on Mother's day!  What an absolute blessing that was!  OH hey!  I know I am jumping all around in this letter but last week at the temple I saw JIM (grandmas brother!)  It was so cool to talk to him and see a member of the family!:)  Amazing!  also I can see that you know I found William on sunday!  I wasn't even thinking about it and all of a sudden there he was!  It was great to talk with him for a little bit and I am glad to hear he may be getting married soon!  Fun Stuff.  What else...  I cannot believe I go to Portugal in 14 days!  What the heck!?!?  Have i been here that long!  I am nervous but so excited to serve in that wonderful country.  ONe of our teachers told us that Portugal is the lighthouse of Europe!  I am so grateful to be a part of hastening the work in that wonderful country!  So i was devastated to find out the other day that Portugal does not have Dr Pepper.  What kind of awful place??????  I was very sad!  BUT on the Azores (little islands in my mission about 900 miles off the coast)  the sell it in some grocery stores, and so I am pretty sure I am going to be sent there!  Seriously I couldn't be more excited to go anywhere else!  It is going to be a great experience and I haven't heard a single missionary come back and say that they liked it, they all say that it was the best mission in the world!  Every one!  I am so excited to serve those people!  So yeah I got the opportunity to host again this week!  I love doing it!  It is so fun and brings back those oh to familiar memories of all the goodbyes and tears!  I love it though!  My spiritual thought for the week....  we have been talking about this a ton at night, super deep doctrine.  We concluded after reading Habakkuk 1:8 in the Bible that Satan is the owner and creator of cats, that is doctine.  Think about it, what is the saying..... "all dogs go to heaven"  I have never heard a thing about cats.  Anywho great stuff!  Another thing I have learned this week came from a talk by Elder Bednar, he was talking about acting on the promptings of the Holy Spirit and how to know if it is the Spirit or just your conscience.  This was his council, "Quit worrying about it"  As long as you are being a good boy or girl, keeping your covenants, following the commandments and doing your best the Spirit WILL work through you and that is all that you need to know.  I love that!  I am so glad to hear everything is going smooth at home!  It was fun to see maddie and jackson at prom!  They looked so good!  and I am glad I made them do promenade!  It is worth it!  Also one of the many great experiences I have had here was the other day I was able to give an Elder in my District a priesthood blessing!  My first one!  It was crazy how the spirit guides your words and how you can feel the love that our Father in Heaven has for that person!  I loved being able to be a part of it!  I am still doing good and having a blast I know these two years are going to  be the best of my life!!  I love this work, I love all of you, and I love my Savior Jesus Christ.
Com muito amor
Elder Brandon Eldredge

Look who Brandon found at the MTC! :)

 Brandon ran into William at the MTC!!
These 2 don't look like potential criminals!! 
 (Their accidental bomb scare they caused in Elko, NV)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Week #2.5 at the MTC (no pictures this week...sadly) Favorite quote of this email "It is so awesome to literally wear the name of the Savior on my chest every single day!:) "

It is so crazy that I am halfway done with my MTC stay which is awesome but at the same time I feel like I still am a baby at Portuguese which scares me cause I only have three more weeks till I get there but it will be alright I think:)  The Lord provides a way!  So yeah with my wart I went to the Doc and he gave me this medicine that I have to put on every day to dry it out and he said it usually works really well and since it doesn't bother me all that much when I am walking I figured it would be fine:)  But it was so weird to hear your voice on the other end of that phone call!  It was crazy!!  It made me want to talk to you all so bad!  Which brings me to say.....  I GET TO CALL ON MOTHERS DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So this Sunday at 2:15 I will be calling so stay close to the phone!  I will probably call the home phone!  So make sure that Chas is over there and stuff for it too:)  That will be totally awesome to hear everybody's voices again!  Gosh I am so looking forward to the Sunday!    But yeah so I went to the doctor and got meds, it was so cool to talk to real people about their own life!!  It made me so excited to be in Portugal and serve those people with everything I have!  I mean we teach a lot in the MTC but our teachers are just acting as investigators and it just is not the same haha!  But yeah it was really refreshing!:)  I am so excited to go and serve!  I have learned so much from being here!  I love being so close to God and feeling the angels that have been sent to protect and help us each and every day!  I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!  Normally I wouldn't just talk with everyone while waiting for a Rx at a pharmacy but everytime I see someone I just get this urge to talk with them!  It is so awesome to literally wear the name of the Savior on my chest every single day!:)  I have heard from so many RM's that the worst day is getting released from your mission and you realize the wonderful protections and blessings that you had while you were serving!  This work is so great!  So yeah the only other thing I can think of that I would want from you right now is ust some pictures:)  so yeah,  Other cool thing is that I sat two rows from the from the front while Elder Christoperson spoke to us.  Also there is another GA  that is speaking wiht us tonight!  What a great oppotunity to hear from so many apostles of Jesus Christ in so little time!:)  Not much has changed, it is all pretty much the same old same old now.  The days go by slow but the weeks fly by!  So this Elder in my zone was suppposed to go to Brazil and his visa ha not come through yet so he got reassigned but instead of serving somewhere like out in the states, his reassignment is here at the MTC.  I felt so bad for him so I am praying that he gets his visa!!  Oh lately as a zone leader I have felt kind of like more of a baby sitter haha because there are these three new elders and two of them just but heads all the time and so Me and Elder Casey have been spending a lot of time talking with them and what not so that has been fun to deal with!:)