Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Latest from Brett

We had a very nice call with Brett on Christmas Day. We've known that they were planning on moving to a new apartment in Merthyr Tydfil and the move finally happened. Sadly, in the midst of the move, Brett's companion injured his knee and required surgery. This left Brett a lone Elder for a few days as his companion was confined to hospital. But he was well cared for by the church members in Merthyr. Transfers are coming up on January 6th, so in order to keep things simple while his companion's knee heals, Brett and his companion have both been transferred to the mission home. So cards, letters, packages, etc. should all go there for the next week or so. We expect Brett will have a new address after Jan. 6th. Whether it will be a new one in Merthyr Tydfil or elsewhere we cannot tell. It's been a crazy week or so for him so keep him in your prayers.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Our e-mail from Brett was short this week. I'm sure in part because we'll be talking to him soon. He said that he didn't think he would be able to send Christmas presents home, but thanks to a member where he is serving he would be able to after all.

He said that he has received the package we sent to him. And it sounded like he'd already opened it. So much for surprises on Christmas.

He said that we are supposed to call him at 6:30 p.m. his time (1:30 p.m. our time) on Friday. He's going to be at a members home for Christmas dinner and then their phone calls.

He said that he's all caught up on the mail he was supposed to return. So hopefully if you've written Brett recently you've received his reply by now.

He ended by saying: "Well I love you all enjoy your week and speak to you in week!"

We can hardly wait!!!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Brett's e-mail got lost!

We got a short e-mail from Brett today because after typing a longer one, it got lost. So then he didn't have a whole lot more computer time. Oh well!

Brett said that he's going to be moving into a different apartment. He said the one he's in now isn't very nice at all. We'll be sure to update his address when he moves. He did say that he's helped other people move during his mission so he knows to get things done before people show up to help, and that he needs to have everything cleaned so others don't have to do it. That's a valuable lesson learned.

Brett also said that his watch is broken, and he's not sure it's fixable. He has another watch, but the watchband stinks because it soaks up all the rain. One way or the other he'll either get one of his watches fixed or get a new one.

Brett said that it sounds like everyone has been busy at home. He said that was good because it makes the time go fast.

Brett said for us to call him around noon or 1:00 p.m. our time on Christmas day. He's going to be at the home of members of the church and they said he could use their phone. We're way excited to talk to him. It's always so good to hear his voice.

Sometimes when I'm missing him I'll use the GPS to go places I know well, just to hear his voice telling me directions on my GPS (he and Glen's present to me last Mother's Day).

He ended by saying that he didn't have much else to say (or time to type it), but that he was excited to talk to us in a few short weeks.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Wow, congratulations Brett. You've been out for 18 months now. You'll be home before we know it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

18 months is pretty weird!

Brett's letter this week was great. I can't believe that he's been on his mission for 18 months!

He sent us a couple of pictures. This one is of him and his current companion. His companion is from Switzerland. He has been out one transfer (six weeks) longer than Brett has. Brett said that he's hoping that they'll stay together for another transfer. That would also mean that he will have been in Merthyr Tydfil for six months, but he said that would be OK.

He also sent this picture. It's of a fire on Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes night. You can go to if you want to find out more about it.

One of the British Mums said that the event takes place almost everywhere. She said that some people have a bonfire and fireworks in their garden, and that there are many public firework displays to go to. She said that whatever they do, they always have bonfire night food - hot dogs, baked potatoes, soup, ginger parkin, cinder toffee and toffee apples. I had to wonder what ginger parkin and cinder toffee were. I'll have to ask Brett sometime.

Brett said this about the picture: "This is a picture of the bonfire behind our house that neighborhood youth did for bonfire night (Guy Fawkes night) on November 5th! The pile of things they were burning was like 25 feet high!"

I'm just glad that that fire wasn't in MY backyard!!!!

Brett said that he's amazed at how much he's learned in the last eighteen months. He said: "Coming out here to England has taught me a lot about bring up children and how it is vital to bring them up, not drag them up. And not to spoil your children. And to actually make them work for the things they actually want (sort of like you did with us as kids). I've learned how important an education is and that now a days you can’t get on without an education! I've learned everything in life that is worthwhile is a lot of work!"

I'd say just that knowledge alone is worth the eighteen months.

He also said that the postal strike has been postponed until after Christmas. So for any of you who'd like to send him a package, go right ahead. We were told to send Christmas packages to the Birmingham mission home because there will be transfers between now and Christmas. That address is on his blog below the address where he's currently serving in Merthyr Tydfil.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!!!

Brett said that he's happy it's going to be Halloween because there is a ward ward "safe" Trunk or Treating activity at the church where he might meet some new friends.

He also said that a family in the ward is taking them to a place called the Great Pit. It's a coal mining museum. He said that they'll get to go down into the shaft with hard hats with the little light on top. Apparently at one time Merthyr Tydfil was the largest coal producing city in the world.

He also said that tomorrow is Zone Conference, so he thought the week would be pretty nice.

Brett said "I've been stoked to learn the piano again! I think I could really stick with it this time. I'm just so sick of singing a capella all the time in different units. If I could learn some songs I could play in church then I could keep on improving from there!"

I told him that I ordered the book Hymns Made Easy from the Birmingham distribution center. They said he should get it in about three weeks. Although I've heard that they're having a postal strike in England so he might not get it as soon as I'd hoped.

I also told him that I'd sent a package. Brett said that his companion really loves wintergreen lifesavers. Apparently they used to have them in Switzerland, but don't any more. He said if I send another package to stick some of those in there for his companion.

Brett ended his letter by saying "I really can not think of anything I need, except if you can find some kind of chav repellent, then that would be nice."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This week has been crazy!!!! But it has been crazy fun!

We got a great letter from Brett today. He said that he is loving being with Elder Burri. He's from Bern, Switzerland. They were in the same District before transfers put them together. He said that he and Elder Burri are co-senior companions. They alternate weeks being the senior companion.

He said that they just found out that their investigator is in another ward's boundaries. So they will be turning him over to other missionaries. He said that he is just glad he's still getting baptized. Brett also said that they have another baptism coming up soon.

We told Brett that we're going to send him a box and asked if there was anything in particular that he wanted or needed. He asked for some American candy. But he said "just not Hershey's waxy chocolate". He assured us that once we'd tried English or European chocolate we'd never like Hershey's again. He also mentioned that one of his recent converts loved Twinkies and that maybe we could send some of those too. He said she thought they were 'lush"!

Brett also said that he's fixed up his bike again and that with any luck "it will now last me until my dying breath as a missionary". He only has 7 months left. Wow, where does the time go?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Latest from Wales

This week we got a very nice letter from Brett. The work is going well and not surprisingly he's had more bike repairs to make. I guess missionaries not only wear themselves and their clothes out, but also their bikes. It's a good indication that he's working hard. Here's an excerpt from his most recent letter:

"Well, not much else is new. You can always tell when you've hit the later months in your mission because alot of people give up writting to you. Even if you send them letters back I think they just get sick of trying to [write] things down like Twynyrodyn or Wolverhampton or something like that. ... Yeah pretty much my post has completely stopped! Minus Dad but even that has slowed....its okay Dad everybody is doing it!* ... I just think its funny how everyone said eventually your post will stop and people will quit writting you and then you will realize you've been on your mission a really, really long time! And thats kinda what I've realized just lately. I am a really really old missionary in the mission! But thats okay I'm still doing well and I'm not dead [yet]."

(*Dad's disclaimer: I've mailed Brett 49 letters and at least one e-mail in the last year, so it's not as bad as it may seem.)

So come on everyone, if you're reading this post, you have some interest in Brett. And I know your reading here because that hit-counter can't be all web-crawlers. Whaddaya say to sending Brett a note to let him know you're thinking of him. Columbus Day is just around the corner. You could send him a nice post card of the NiƱa, the Pinta or the Santa Maria! I'm sure he'd be happy just to hear from you. His address (for letters and packages) is always maintained here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Bare Necessities of Life

Brett is doing a lot of traveling because his companion is the district leader. They end up making all sorts of trips to other areas of the mission for exchanges, interviews of baptismal candidates, and Zone Conference. All of the travel makes it challenging to stay within his budget. He said that he's beginning to understand why he needs a good education because life is expensive.

Brett also said that he wants to renew his drivers license by mail. Before he left he said he didn't want to worry about it. But now he's reconsidering. He said: "I heard that you have to retake a driving test, and I don't want to do that. It would take me forever to get that done especially since my sense of direction has been demolished since I've been here in the UK driving on the left side of the road!"

Brett also said that they are having a baptism of a 10 year-old boy either on Sunday or next week sometime with a waterside confirmation! He said they are doing the waterside confirmation so as to not postpone it two weeks because of General Conference! He said he's SO excited for that! He also said they have two more potential baptisms coming up.

Brett said that they went to the early church historical sites for his last Zone Conference. He had been there last year, but said it was fun to be with all the other missionaries.

Here are the pictures he sent:
President Ogden and the backs of everyone else's heads :)

The Malvern Hills

Elder Forbes and I on top of a mountain

My Swiss friend Elder Burri

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hello from Wales!

We got a letter from Brett today. It's always great to hear from him.

Once again he is with a companion that will be going home in a month. But Brett is really focused on working hard and continuing to tract.

He also said that his roommate from BYU-I has received his mission call to Auckland, New Zealand and that he was very excited for him.

This p-day is only a half p-day because tomorrow is Zone Conference and they will be going to Gadfeild Elm, Bimbo farm and the place in the Brecon Beacons - the highest point in the land roundabout. It’s where they had a conference in the early days of the church and where they decided to publish the hymnal in Britain! I can tell Brett's been out awhile because this will be his second trip to those places. He went shortly after arriving in Britain in June of 2008.

Brett was glad to see the "back to school" pictures we took of Jared and Lauren the day school started. He was surprised that Lauren had so many of his former middle school teachers. He thinks they are both looking much older than he remembered.

He ended by saying: "Well that’s it for me this week. I'll close mine epistle to you. I know this work is true and I couldn't be more happy doing it! Some days are harder than others. Some days I'm way tired, but it is soooo rewarding either way you go about it!"

Friday, September 4, 2009


Okay - well in case you couldn't already figure it out, we had transfers. And since I'm able to write you at this time of day it means I'm not on the coach going to transfers in Birmingham. Soooo I lucked out and get to stay in the blessed town of Merthyr Tydfil for another little while! I'm sending another missionary home though.....I'll be sending Elder Forbes home, so that will be good. Although the one thing I don't like about being with missionaries as they end their mission is the fact that it make you a little bit trunky as well. And then it takes me a little while to figure things out again.

Well I'm glad you are enjoying your time in Utah, that sounds like a fun trip! I had kind of forgotten that Erin was due soooo soon. It's weird how fast time flies. I'm coimming up on my 16 month mark in just a few days! And that is crazy because that means I'll only have 8 months left.

Well today after I'm done e-mailing I'm going to a member hairdresser. He gives the missionaries free haircuts, and since I'm about due for another one I'm going to take advantage of that today!

I've got some pictures for you today! Lucky you!

The first one is one of my district. From the top left across then to the bottom left across: Sister Morris, Elder Forbes (DL), Elder Davis, Elder Nimer (ZL) Sister Winn, Me, Elder Hooper, Elder Wark (ZL). Then the next picture is pretty much the same except crazy! ;)

Well not much else is new. Just remember the next transfers is 6 weeks from today!

Well I'm loving the Welsh hills and the rain. But I'm not too big on the cold, but whatever!

Well I'll leave it at that! Have a fun week!

Love, Brett

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Greeting from Merthyr Tydfil! Again another glorious day!

Ummm hmmm I think today we are going to play a little bit of rugby and maybe some Frisbee as well have a District P-day! We have the Ebbw Vale Elders - Elder Davis and Elder Hooper, and then the Beacon Heights Sisters - Sister Winn and Sister Morris, and then me and Elder Forbes ;)

Well, I dare say that we travel a lot. What with going to Zone Conference and interviews! And being the DL's companion, I have to go on a lot of exchanges on the X4 bus to Ebbw Vale.
Well what else - next week we are having a baptism on Friday the 21st of August. So I'm really excited for that! Also we are going to be having another one soon that was just sorta handed to us!

Hmmm, not too much else is new! Our summer is now over and it’s getting darker at night and the weather is getting colder. And then in September the leaves will fall off in one go, and then - well it rains and is cold!.....

Well I love you and I'm glad you’re all well! Tell the family I say hello and I love and miss them!

Love Elder Brooksby!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cymru = Wales?

Well I'm typing to you from a place called Cardiff! It was Elder Forbes's birthday yesterday so we went to his favorite area which is only a 45-minute train ride away. Don't worry we went with permission from Mission President because it was out of our area, but still within the mission!

Well in the way of money - I used about 20 POUNDS worth to buy a new set of pedals for my bike because - funny enough, my pedal snapped right off and then I was only riding on the bar. And that’s not fun when you are peddling up mountains!

I am glad to hear that you are having fun over the summer months. I am as well!

Well let's see - we have been working a 20-mile bike ride from our flat 3 days a week in a place called Treharris! It’s a nice nice town! I'm going to send some pictures home in the next email or in the post or something.....

Well my time is up! I'm working hard and the Lord is blessing us for it. And although bicycles aren’t trusty the Lord's promises are, and he promises to take care of our families while we focus on the work. So I'm just going to keep going and run my bike into the ground!

Hey look out for a post card and then a little envelope with a magnet from Wales!

Love you- Elder Brooksby

Sunday, August 9, 2009

This Week has been Great!

Well this week has been great! It was a slow-fast-slow-fast week! But it was a good week! The hills are absolutely killing my legs! But that’s good for them. That means they are only going to get stronger! But with all the hills my knee is giving me a little bit of trouble sometimes, but not too much. I'll just have to keep walking and keep on strengthening my knee!
We had another baptism on Saturday, just one of a woman I got to teach for a week. And we have another we just got last night on the way! She was a member referral and she has been taught loads! She knows almost everything. Her member boyfriend who is a return missionary taught her all the commandments and has committed her to live all of them. So our work has been done so now it’s a bunch of easy review!

Member referrals are where it’s at! The prophet is pushing for them, the new mission president is pushing for them, and overall member involvement is our best ally says PMG chapter 13! So that’s where we stand with this lass.
Okay well I'm going to go to the post office to get some stamps so I can catch up on the letters I've gotta write so maybe you can expect a letter from me? Maybe with some newer pictures as well!

Well before I go I'll attach some pictures!

This one is of me with a chip.

This one is of a street sign. You can guess how to pronounce it! LLEWELLYN - the LL makes the chhhhhl sound!

Love you, Elder Brooksby

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just fine in Tywnyrodyn

Well, it’s been a fun week, where to begin? Okay, Thursday, we went e-mailing, then proceeded to climb two of the most vertical hills I have ever seen in my life!!! On my bicycle!!!! That really took it out of me. And then as if the two hills weren’t good enough we went through a path to a council estate called the Gurnos, and then up an even bigger hill to the Gulon Uchaf (pronounced gulenuhhhca). So we live in a pretty big valley and if I wasn't fit from before in my previous area things are definitely going to change! My body is already hurting from multiple fun things we have done this week!

Fun thing # 1: On the way to church we were riding our bikes with one of our projections, Brandon who is 10 years old and my tyre popped half-way there. And then the tyre came off which wouldn’t allow me to roll it any farther. So for the last 3/4 of a mile I carried my bike over my shoulders to the church on Swansea Road! Then when we got there we walked into the gym and fixed the flat. Then we went out and put the tyre back onto the bike, and started to pump it up and then all of a sudden my tyre blew out!!! It was way loud!!!! So we had to have the sister missionaries in the Beacon Heights ward help us to get home after church using their bike carrier! So we walked the rest of the day!

Then we went out yesterday and went to the bike shop to get a new tube and a funny thing happened, the bike shop gave me the wrong size tube. And since it is such a far walk we just hunted around the pile of bike parts the flat had and found a replacement tube that would work and jimmy rigged it together! So that was my bike dilemmas for the week!

By the way it had been raining the whole morning and we had been out it and were soaked through! Our church, the Merthyr Tidfil ward starts at 2pm and goes until 5pm because our chapel is also the meeting place for the Beacon Heights ward and the Heads of the Valley ward.

I also have good news! There is a member in this ward who owns a barbershop and the missionaries get free haircuts! I haven’t had a proper haircut in sooo long! I cannot wait! Unfortunately they aren’t open today so I'll go tomorrow because I desperately need one!

I'm sending you a picture of Elder Forbes in the new mission car! jk

I've also included some pictures of what it looks like from around here.

And a picture of a piece of a painting on my own changing room wall!!

Also, I have met President Ogden and I think he's going to be a good mission president!
I love you all. Have a good week! Enjoy the pictures!
Love and cheers, Elder Brooksby!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How would YOU say Twynyrodyn?

Well I haven't quite figured that one out yet either, but suffice it to say I'm in Wales! I got transferred out of Wolverhampton to a place called Merthyr Tydfil (another mouthful).

That’s that! That is where you can send the post! Into the rainy valley with the largest hills I have ever seen in my entire life! It’s like hiking a mountain to even get to our flat from the train station! But the best part about where we live is the huge Tesco Extra at the bottom of our cliff/road. It’s way cool! I've never been this close to a Tesco this huge before! You should Google Earth it!

My new companion is Elder Forbes. He has two transfers left and he is the DL. He is from a place called Syracuse, Utah! I think he and I will get on really good!

Well I live in a forest now! It’s quite nice. If I had a picture for you I'd send you one, but I haven’t been here that long yet! It took about 5 hours by coach to make it to Cardiff Central train station, then it was another hour and a half by train into Merthyr Tydfil. And then the hike up the cliff to the flat, the road really is about a 40-degree grade! No joke! I haven't tried it on my bike yet, but I'm sure it will be way fun going down and then it will destroy my legs going back up! (I may have to get off and walk!) Anyway, so I didn’t get to go grocery shopping until last night at 8 o'clock, and now I'm just e-mailing you this morning!

SO Herbert's back! Ohhh man! That’s way cool. Well tell him hello for me and ask him to drop me a line so I can get back in touch with him and his life and his mission and things!

Well I had my first Polish baptism! It was great he loved every minute of it and he was just beaming afterwards! Now I'm in an area with two more scheduled baptisms so I'm excited to work on that!

Well I'm glad to see that Glenville Ward is still baptizing even though they are kids. Those kids will grow up in the gospel and will bring up their families in the church and will help the church to grow in the New York region!

Well I love you and I'm thankful for your sacrifices! Next week I'll send some pictures (I've been trying to carry my camera with me more in my back pack so I'll get more pictures)! I'll tell you how much weight I've dropped already, and I'll have some more to tell you about the area! I love you, have a nice day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

No letter from Brett this week

We didn't get an e-mail from Brett Tuesday morning, so we waited until this morning hoping one would still come. But it didn't happen. That probably means that either he or his companion were involved in transfers. I guess we'll just have to be patient and wait to hear what is up.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

We’ve Had Two Weeks of Sun Already!

We got a long e-mail from Brett. It was good to hear from him. He said that they've had two weeks of sun and that he's not only burning, but dying. He said that it makes him sweat a lot more when it’s humid and he's peddling his bike! He also said that the food isn't as rich there in the summer and that he's a lot more active in the summer time. He also said that he thinks all the vitamin D he's getting helps him be happier and healthier.

Brett also said that he and his companion get up at 6:00 a.m. to go and play football (soccer) with four other missionaries. He said that they usually play a good game to wake them up. He mentioned that he's loosing weight because he's getting so much exercise. We thought that was great. He said that being on a bike since the beginning of his mission has really helped him get more fit. He said that he'd like to continue riding a bike when he gets home. We'll see how he feels about that in the winter!

We asked Brett how he'd feel if we were able to come pick him up from his mission. He said that he thought that would be great because all the other missionaries that are leaving at the same time as him have a direct flight from Paris to SLC. He on the other hand would be the only missionary flying from Paris to JFK. It's kind of sad - he left by himself and he flies home by himself. We'll have to see how his new mission president feels about us coming to pick him up. Then if it's OK with him, we'll have to see if we can do it financially. Who knows what will happen - but it's fun to think about going over.

It's always great to hear how Brett's doing. I can see the growth in him and am so glad he's having this opportunity.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

How's it going?

Brett sent some pictures in his e-mail this week. This is a picture of Brett's former companion - Elder Hart.

Elder Hart just finished his mission and left to go home. Brett said that sending him home was one of the hardest things he's done. Not because Elder Hart was trunky but because they'd been together for so long. Elder Hart was Brett's District Leader for 4-1/2 months when he was in Wolverhampton and then they were companions for 4-1/2 months in Wednesfield B. Brett said that he was "gutted" when Elder Hart left and went home.

Here's a picture of mission football (soccer). Brett's the one in the wild hoodie - the second from the right. Elder Hart is also in the front row. He's the second one from the left.

A close-up of Brett and Elder Hart apparently trying to look cool.

Meanwhile Brett's still in Wednesfield B with a new companion, Elder Anderson from Oklahoma. Even if Brett were to be transferred on the next transfer he will have been in Wednesfield for six months. That's a quarter of his mission.

Brett said that his mission president, President Moffat goes home on the 30th of June. He's looking forward to his new mission president, President Ogden's arrival.

Brett ends by saying: "My mission is everything to me! And the English people are the most lovely people I have ever met! I almost prefer them to Americans! (sorry mom and dad)." So you see, he's obviously learning to love the people where he's serving - an important step for any missionary.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Short letter from Brett

We got a letter from Brett today saying that the investigator they had been teaching was baptized on Saturday.

In the continuing saga of the bike Brett said that he "found a place that does discounted bike repairs. He's an old timer, but he really knows his stuff and a lot of things he'll do for free! He also understands we don't have a lot of money, and so he gives us a 10% discount!"

He also said that his companion leaves this next week. He said that he'll have to wait a day with another district member whose companion is also going home until transfers actually happen!

So in our e-mail next week we should learn if Brett is getting transferred, or just getting a new companion and staying in the same area!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What would England be without another day of bicycle vandlism?

Yep, that's right kiddies! The Chavs have had at our bikes again. This time they couldn't get our bike frames off of the pole so they decided to kick in our rims and let down our tires by slashing them! This was the second week we had started to put them on poles after my last bike robbing and look at what happens! I'm so sick of having to buy or fix my bike!

On another note - Elder Hart has two weeks left! It's kind of strange for him, but he's doing well. He's not even that trunky yet! I hope he holds on well!

We have another baptism this weekend. He is an 18 year-old former gang member. He is having all the problems of the world with his girlfriend and his family. I've never seen Satan work on someone sooooo hard as he has with him. As a result he has also been working on Elder Hart and I - getting our bikes wrecked so we can't go see him. I don't know, it's just a pain in the neck!

I'm making sure I'm taking more pictures lately so that I can have a good documentation of my mission. I usually just leave my camera at home but now I'm bringing it with me!

Well I'll leave you with that, and now I'm going home to fix my bike!

I love you and I'm glad you're all well! Please pray that my bike and I stay in tact!

Love Elder Brooksby

P.S. I wonder if they make titanium tires or Kevlar or something like that?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gotta Go

We usually get e-mail for Brett on Tuesday morning, but we knew that they were playing Zone Football (soccer) for P-day on Tuesday and so we weren't surprised when we didn't get an e-mail yesterday. However, this is what we got today:

"I'm in a really dodgy Internet cafe with scary people. I'm going to leave and I'll talk with you the way I bought some football boots (soccer cleats) so I can play with my projection. Anyway, I'm going to get me and Elder Hart out of this place! Yikes! Don't worry, I'm okay -although if you saw where I was you would flip your lid! Love, your son Elder Brooksby ;)"

I guess we'll have to wait until next week to hear about what's going on. At least we know that he's alive and exercising some judgement.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Today is Brett's "Hump Day". He's officially been on his mission for one year today. What a year it's been. We are so glad that he's serving a mission. There is no place we'd rather have him be, and nothing else we'd rather have him doing!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Its a sunny day and a time to play footie!

We got an e-mail from Brett today. It's weird to get one after just talking to him on Sunday. But we'll take it whenever we can get it. He said that he was glad Michelle had received her Mother's Day card. He said that he had to buy the card in March because they have Mothering Sunday on March 22nd (which is his birthday). He said that he bought it then and saved it till it was closer and he could fill it in and send it to Michelle. He thought what it said on the front was appropriate. It said: "Sorry I won't be home for Mothers Day. I have no washing to be done and I'm alright for cash! With love on Mothers Day!" He said that it made him crack up reading it and that he could only imagine that we would think it was funny as well!

Brett also said that today they were having a practice for Mission Football (soccer) which was going to be in a week in Coventry. He said that he was going to try and recall the skills he had back in Fourth Grade when he played soccer and then he'd see what wouldl happen.

He also mentioned that he got his Hump Day package (Brett's been out a year on Thursday, May 14th and so will be over the hump). He said that he really loved it. He said that all the other missionaries were jealous of what he got, so he shared some of his American Skittles with all of them. He said the thing he was most happy to receive was the American deodorant. He said that he has missed it sooooo much!!! He said that in England they only have spray deodorant which he does not like. We also sent his watch back with a new battery in it and he was happy to get that too.

We had asked Brett if there was anything that he wanted from home and he asked if it would be possible to get a pitch pipe. He said that he's doing a lot of singing while on his mission. He said that there is a professional singer (who's a sister) that he ends up singing with a lot. He also said that he got to sing a solo at a baptism last week.

He ended by saying "Cheers! Elder Brooksby:)"

Our Mother's Day Call from Brett

Brett called home at 1:00 p.m. our time. We had Erin and Justin on Skype and the rest of us were on a cool speaker phone that Glen had brought home. It worked great. We were all able to hear him and ask questions.

It is amazing how fast time goes when we are talking to him. In our conversation he mentioned that he will probably be home for next Mother's Day. He said his mission typically releases missionaries two weeks before their entrance date - and that would put him home around the first part of May. That means we'll only talk to him once more before he's home - at Christmas time. Wow, time is flying by!

Brett said that he's eaten tons of ethnic food. He usually has African, Jamaican, or Indian food, with some good old English food thrown in now and then. He said that one of his favorite dishes is a vin daloo from India. He said it has curry in it and is extremely hot (spicy).

Brett also said that one of the things he thinks he'll be blown away by when he comes home is how big everything is. Cars, houses, yards, streets - they're all small in England. He said that a Ford Focus would be a "family car" in England. We thought that was funny!

Michelle thanked Brett for her Mother's Day present. Glen had Brett record 116 words that the GPS uses. Then he put it into the GPS unit. On Saturday night Glen and Michelle were driving to U. Albany for a concert and the GPS was giving directions. The first was "Turn Left" and Michelle said: "What voice is that?", because it was a male voice when before it had always been female. Then the GPS said something else and she asked Glen what was going on - Glen asked Michelle whose voice she thought it sounded like. She said she thought it sounded like Brett. And Glen told her that it was. Once the GPS said more than just a few words it was easy to hear that it was Brett. So now every time we use the GPS it will be Brett's voice giving us directions. If we put it in the back seat we might even think that he was in the car. It was so fun to hear his voice after not talking to him since Christmas. And then to get to talk to him the next day was amazing.

He'd love to get letters from anyone who wanted to write. Hint, hint!

Brett expressed that he is learning the value of work, and that it's taken on a whole new meaning since being in the mission field. It's fun to hear how he's maturing and learning lessons that will benefit him for the rest of his life.

Erin and Justin were able to tell Brett that they're having a baby boy. We also told him that Suzanne and Evan are having a baby boy as well.

It was great to talk to him. It made us realize just how much we miss his sense of humor. He said some pretty funny things and made us all laugh.

If you haven't heard Brett's voice in a while, you can hear it below. This is how he answered the phone.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Never thought I had the Skills to Kill!

When we got Brett's e-mail on Wednesday I had no idea what the title meant. He'd attached two pictures, one of which was of a plate of food and I thought perhaps there was a bug in the food.

But no, when you look at the plate of food it's obvious that there's no bug in it. I think he's probably showing us something that he cooked in the crock pot we sent him. So after reading the e-mail for awhile I realized that "kill" means you're the last companion a missionary has before going home from their mission, and that was what Brett meant. Whew!

Brett said that his mission president "trusts me enough to not waste time or end up trunky, but to be able to see Elder Hart through his last days!" He also said that the two other elders that had been in their flat had been transferred, and made it sound like none replaced them.

Brett said that they were teaching an investigator named Michelle. He said "Her name is Michelle and every time I hear that name I think of you Mom! It’s great because I think to myself each time we teach her - if this were my Mom, how much would I want her to have and understand the gospel?"

He also said they're teaching so many good people. He said "The Lord is really blessing us right now! It just goes to show that when you’re humble the Lord can work with you, but when you're stiff-necked ... and let pride run your life you don't seem to reap anything! And I guess in that respect I've learned loads!"

Brett mentioned that they were having lovely 80° weather there, and because it was so nice they could do loads of things. He said that he was going to replace his brake pads on his bike, but assured us that his bike would last for another 13 months. He said "And because its an old mans bike no one will want to steal it. But to be on the safe side I have gotten into a better habit of locking it anywhere and everywhere!"

Here's the other picture Brett sent of their last baptism.

It sounds like he's doing well!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vacation sounds nice! But baptisms sound better!

Brett said that he's been receiving our postcards that we've sent from our vacation over Spring break. We sent him ones from Niagara Falls, the USAF Museum in Dayton, OH and from the Corning Glass Museum. Hense the title of his post!

Brett said that the past couple of weeks have been good, but hectic. He's had a couple of baptisms recently. This is a picture of Brett and his companion with Tom at his baptism.

Here is a picture of Brett's new bike. He said: "My bike is a gem, she rides real nice!" Hopefully he'll be able to keep this bike until the end of his mission without it being stolen or damaged.

This is a picture of Brett's 20th birthday cake. We sent him a food order from a grocery store in England called Tesco. We were able to pick out some food and have it delivered to Brett's flat. The cake was a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. We also had ice cream delivered.

Brett said that on April 21st they went to a mission conference with all 163 missionaries who are in the England Birmingham mission. Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke to the missionaries about missionary work and how to work more effectively with members. He also talked about convert retention.

Brett also said that he thinks either he or his companion will be transferred next week. They've both been in the area for 7-1/2 months. If he does get transferred we'll be sure to put his new address on his blog.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A New Week

Brett had his bicycle "knicked, pinched, stolen, whatever you want to call it" this past week. He said that he and his companion left their bicycles at a members home where they'd been assured they would be safe. Brett kept having feelings that they should go back and get their bikes - but he kept ignoring those feelings. He said: "I ignored it because I didn't want to be paranoid about my nice new bike, seeing as how my companion's bike was the crappiest bike in the mission." Finally he told his companion that he felt like they needed to go back. His companion suggested that they finish the last five houses and then go back. They arrived at the member's home just in time to see someone riding away with Brett's bike. Now this is the bike that he'd just gotten a new frame for and fixed up. All that work, and now it's gone. And you guessed it, his companion's bike was still there. Of course this means that he needs more money to buy a new bicycle. Ouch!

On a positive note - they have a baptism scheduled for this Saturday, which Brett is very excited about.

As usual, Brett ends saying he's out of time for writing and will answer all of his mom's questions "next week".

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Darn those computers!

We got a short letter from Brett today. He said: "I was almost done on the computer I was on and as I was about to send it something happened. The keyboard stopped letting me push any of its buttons, so I couldn't salvage any of my work and now I'm back at square one!"

I'm sure that was very frustrating. We've all had that experience. Unfortunately for Brett (and us) he was out of e-mail time and couldn't re-write his e-mail.

He said that he got a new bike frame today. He said that it's aluminum ant that all the components on it still work. He said that he doesn't need to bother with the hassle of switching all the things from his current bike to the one he just got! All he needs to swap are the disk and caliper to the new bike frame! He said that he was very happy about that!

Brett also said that a General Authority of the church will be coming to speak to them. He didn't know who was coming yet, but was sure he'd be finding out pretty soon.

I'd asked Brett if he liked the crockpot we'd ordered from Amazon UK for him. He said that he LOVES it. He said that it makes meals so much easier. He loves that he can leave it for hours and hours and when he gets home the meat is so nice and tender.

Brett ends with: "Well, I can not put more. I'm out of time and a little unhappy. And if I don’t get this sent now it won’t make it. So sorry about this. I'm going to get stamps today so I can send you a letter! Sorry again. If I new what filter keys were I wouldn’t have pressed okay...."

March 25, 2009

We got an e-mail from Brett on Wednesday, March 25th instead of on Tuesday the 24th because there were transfers. He said that he's staying with Elder Hart for another transfer. He also said that this transfer is only a 5-week transfer instead of a 6-week transfer. So in about another 4 weeks there will be transfer news again! He said that out of the Zone Leaders in his flat, Elder Mouritsen is staying and Elder Gee (pronounced G), the British Elder in the flat is leaving. They are getting an new ZL, Elder Wells from Arizona. He said "it will be one great time!"

Brett said that he and Elder Hart and are still just as good as usual. They have two projections for baptism in April. One is an older gentleman named Tom who is 57 years old. The other is a young lad by the name of Jamie and he is 10 years old.

He said he got both of the packages we sent for his birthday. We ordered a watch for him because the one he had doesn't work anymore. We also sent an envelope with a tie and a CTR ring and some other things. He said that he wears the ring, but that it took some time to get used to! He also got the Tesco delivery all right. Tesco is a grocery store in England. We can go on-line and order food items and have them delivered to Brett's flat. He said that he left plenty of time so he wouldn't miss the delivery. (Last time we ordered he missed the delivery). He was home an hour early and it came right at 8:30pm, a half-hour earlier than the 9-11pm time slot we'd picked! He made and ate the "birthday cake" carrot cake we'd ordered and said it was good. He also said that he slightly burnt the bottom, but that it still tasted wonderful! He forgot his camera today when he e-mailed, so he promised to send pictures next week. He mentioned that he also got a package from a friend that was filled with pictures and goodies as well. He was very happy about that!

All in all it sounds like he's happy and doing well.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We got an e-mail from Brett today. He said that time seems to be going quickly. He also mentioned that he'd been sick toward the end of the week, but that he was now feeling much better. He said that he'd been able to give a baby a name and a blessing this past week. He said that he was nervous, but thought it went OK.

Brett sent us this picture. Here's what he had to say about it: "I have no pictures except this one where they have to post this sign in the library for people to know not to shout or be loud. Look at all the languages they have to put it in! Luckily the US only has Spanish on things...."
There are 15 languages on that piece of paper. Wow!

Brett also mentioned that he would love either carrot cake with cream cheese frosting or white cake with vanilla frosting for his birthday cake. We'll have to see if Tesco has anything like that. Just a reminder to you all - Brett's birthday is March 22nd.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ah, The Life of a Missionary

What mission would be complete without the crazed barking dog? Brett sent this picture along with his e-mail this week. He's doing well and is still working hard in Wednesfield. As a reminder, his birthday is less than a month away. Start packing those boxes!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesfield B

We received an e-mail from Brett today. It was a day later than expected, but that was because he was transferred. You can see his new address on the right. His new district is only a short distance from his old one. In fact, he still attends church at the same building. In his new flat there are 2 companionships. His new companion is Elder Hart. The other companionship in his flat are the zone leaders and they apparently have a Vauxhall Meriva, which Brett may catch a ride in sometimes. He's been in another bike accident, but seems to be ok except some bumps and bruises. Sounds like the bike took the brunt of things and will need some repairs.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Snow!!!! It snowed a lot for England standards

We got an e-mail from Brett today. We'd been hearing about snow in England and wondering how he was doing. Here's what he had to say:
"Well yes! it snowed 'heavy snow' - more of a flurry for New York, but it was the most they had seen since 1991. It may have been 10 inches, but London shut down and the kids have been off school for two days and no one knows quite what to do. Some people look at their cars as if to say 'Will they even work in this stuff?' The English have no idea what hit them! It's like a plague. No one comes out of their houses and no one will be out walking in it! I don't blame them for not knowing how to walk in the snow because they never get enough to try, and when they do it's all melted the next day. I was even riding home last night when the roads where frozen over and I totally biffed it on my bicycle - flat out on the road! My back tire locked up and then like cars with rear wheel drive my back end whipped out and I was out flat in the middle of the road. Luckily nothing hurt. I quickly got up and back onto my bike in a matter of seconds. Needless to say it's not only cars that have to watch out on bad roads - it's bicycles too!"

He also talked about all the bicycle repairs he's doing. He said:
"Anyways I'm learning to be a master bicycle fixer. I have learned how to tighten the cones on the axle, and tighten spokes and all sorts of things. I fixed two flats yesterday in under 10 min. I'm learning a great deal about bicycle repair, which reminds me to tell you to tell Jared he'd better be learning how to fix brakes, brake pads, V-brakes, Disc brakes, suspension, tires, tire flats, cassettes, free wheels, derailleurs front and back, shifters, tighten spokes, raise your seat and tighten your handle bars!"

It sounds like he's doing well and learning a lot.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fair For Fair Enough

I think that’s a great title and I hope the attached pictures describe exactly how this last week has been for me.

This one is just of me.

This is of me holding the Going to Court booklet (I’ll explain later)

The last is of my foot after a few weeks of walking during what is now commonly called the bicycle crisis.

So first off I have sent the letter today explaining why I didn’t send them over the last two weeks.... Also I spent money out of the account because here’s the story - One night we were riding our bikes to go tracting and I was right in front of an old folks home when I felt the chain lurch a little bit. Then all a sudden I felt a bump in my tire, and a loud explosion and boom. The inner tube was gone. It had blown clean through. I got off the bike and muttered some words that ought not to be muttered again and looked around to see two of the old folks home workers hiding behind the giant rubbish bin cowering because they thought it was a gun shot! I then came out and said everything’s alright it’s just that my bike tire blew out and everything else is fine. They were relived. My adrenaline was flowing because not only did it scare them, but it scared the pants off me as well! So not only did the inner tube blow but also the wall on the tire itself! So that being said, maybe there was a max number of patches you’re allowed to have on one tube? I don’t know, all I know is I was unhappy and I had to buy a new tube and a new tire. So that’s where the money has gone. Also my alarm clock broke so I have to go into town today and get a new one. I don’t know why it broke, the battery is not the issue, it's the clock....go figure.

Also, I have to go to a witness to a crime here in Wolverhampton. And Elder Walker has to come up from Swindon too, so we will both witness in court. There is no way around it either. It’s really no big deal. It’s just that we witnessed a theft when a guy tried to sell us some video games when we were out on the street talking with a member. The guy had them stuffed down his sleeves which Elder Walker and I thought was pretty dodgy. Come to find out they were stolen from that member's home and the guy knew the member and was trying to sell him back his own games. Go figure. We have to go to Wolverhampton magistrate court on February 13th to testify. What an experience! How many missionaries get to go to court on their mission?

Justin is carrying out his New Year’s resolution 100% perfectly. He writes a letter to his brother and I each week! I like hearing about his mission and things he has to say as well. Okay the last two pictures are of names Justin puts for the sender address. I have tons more names but those are just a few I liked!

Okay – How’s the family doing, Jared, Lauren? I have time to write them today so I'll take advantage of that time! As for now it’s a great! GREAT!!!!!!!! thing that those trousers are coming, because I just got a new hole in the crotch in my good set of trousers from the Missionary Mall suit. So I need them desperately!!! Is it just one pair, or two? I guess I don’t care as long as they will last me another 8 months or so!

Okay - I love you and I'm thankful for the support you give. Thanks for the post. I'm sorry mine hasn’t gotten there on time. Hopefully it will come in a few days! I’m being 100% obedient so God can bless me. Anyways, I love you all and look forward to hearing from you! Don’t worry about me too much I'm in good hands! Talk with you soon!!!! Bye Now!

Friday, January 2, 2009

You know you're in England when...

You know you're in England when you have a photo like this taken. We got this one from Brett close to Christmas.

Also, as a reminder, anyone can send Brett packages & snail mail. We keep his address updated on this site. A regular letter of 1oz or less costs $0.94 to mail. If you want to be sure Brett gets something, but don't mind if it's delayed, you can also send it to the mission home. That address is also on this site. If you feel pretty safe that he'll get it before the next transfer, you can send it to his actual address. Brett did not get transferred this time so he's likely going to be at his same address for the next 5 weeks or so.

For packages, the cheapest way seems to be to send the USPS flat-rate envelopes or boxes. All you can cram in them for one flat rate. I think the cheapest is a large envelope for ~$12.

IMPORTANT NOTE: DON'T send things via UPS or FedEx or DHL, etc. They will likely impose a huge import tax on those things that are due on delivery. So much of a tax that it would break him to pay it. Horror stories abound. The mission home will refuse packages that arrive with duties due for this very reason.