Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Now that Brett's been home for almost two months I thought I'd put up these two pictures from right before he left Birmingham.

This one is of mission football. His Zone didn't win this year.

This picture is the group that was leaving the mission the same time as Brett.
There are 19 of them, along with President and Sister Ogden.
Brett is in the back on the right.

We love having Brett at home, but I know he's missing the mission, his recent converts, and companions. Coming home is always bitter-sweet.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Brett's Home!

It's so wonderful to see him. He has an accent that is undefinable. Not English, not Irish, and definately not a New Yorker either. He arrived about an hour later than expected which left us anxiously waiting and watching at Terminal 1 in JFK. One of Brett's good friends who attends college about 20 minutes away from JFK was also able to come to the airport, which was a great surprise for Brett. We hit traffic leaving NYC and ended up getting home just after 7:00 p.m. (just when his flight would have taken off from JFK for ALB). Family and friends were waiting to greet him and hear all about his experiences.

We're so happy to have him home!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


We are driving to JFK to pick-up Brett. He was going to fly into Albany, but they changed his itinerary and he ended up having a six-hour layover in JFK and we knew that we could be down there and back in six hours. We asked Brett what he'd rather do and he said: "Yes, please relieve me from a 6 hour lay over in JFK. I would love that! It would just give me an opportunity to see good ole home again, and 6 hours to talk! That is my final answer!"

So we're leaving at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Lauren and Jared are coming too. We are all so excited to see him and have him home.

Three more sleeps!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Last E-mail of Brett's Mission

Brett said that he thought this would be the last e-mail he'd send us. He did say that there was a possibility that he'd be able to check e-mail when he was in the office next Tuesday. But that if he didn't get a chance, this is it.

In our letter to Brett we told him about how many bags he could bring home, and how much Delta charges for the second bag. I was worried because when he left he was packed to the gills. But he just laughed and said that he wasn't worried at all. He said he didn't have much left that was worth bringing home. I remember that feeling - you'd been wearing the same clothes (for me 18 months) for two years and they just don't have enough life in them to make it worth the effort to bring them home.

I guess that we'd better be prepared for a major shopping trip when he gets home.

As it turns out we are going to be driving to JFK to pick Brett up. His itinerary got changed and he ended up having a 6 hour layover in JFK. We decided that we could drive to JFK in three hours and have him home in six, so that's what we're doing. I imagine we'll be home around 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5th.

Brett said that it is definitely a lot harder than he though it would be to finish his mission. There are so many mixed emotions. Happiness because you're going home, but also sadness because you're leaving the country and people you've grown to love.

He said that he's really trying to finish strong. Which I'm sure his companion appreciates.

His last day of "missionary work" will be Sunday, May 2nd. On Monday he will pack. Tuesday he goes into the mission office for his exit interview and any other business that he needs to take care of. I imagine that Tuesday night he will have a nice dinner with all the departing missionaries. And then he catches his flight from Birmingham to Paris at 6:25 a.m.

Brett thanked us for "making my mission a good one and for always giving me help when I needed it".

Then he said he'd see us next week, which is amazing. Where has the two years gone?

His P.S. said: "I forgot all about root beer till just the other day and now I'm really craving it!"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Is it Derby or Darby?

We got a great e-mail from Brett today. He said that he and his companion are going to Derby so his companion can get a pair of "boots" for a mission football (soccer) game they're having on the 20th of April.

He also said this about Derby: "Well if you look at my subject you would probably wonder what I was on about? Well... I was making fun of the spelling of Derby. If I was to read this word I would read it like Derby - as in the pine wood derby. But in this country apparently Derby is pronounced Darby."

He said that the weather has been "simply beautiful" lately. I'm sure after a long, cold winter he's really appreciating Spring.

Brett said that this past Monday was Zone Conference #17. And that could only mean one thing. He had the opportunity to bare his testimony. He said it was a long walk to the front of the chapel and up to the pulpit. He said that he had a million thoughts running through his head like: "What am I doing up here? How can it possibly be my turn to do this? And help me know what to say!" But he said that after a split second the words just began to flow as he was prompted by the Spirit and he was able to bare testimony of the things he knew to be true.

He said: "I felt this burning in my heart and I knew that what I had spent time doing and being involved in was what God had wanted me to be involved in!"

What a wonderful feeling to know that you've done what you were called to do, and done it well.

Brett also pointed out that this e-mail is his 3rd to last e-mail before he comes home. He actually arrives home 3 weeks from today!!!!! But who's counting? So write those letters if you're going to. You don't have much time left.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Elder Brooksby in Brooksby

Here's Elder Brooksby's letter which we received today.

"Well Today is P-day and for P-day we had a member pick us up to go out to the town of Brooksby! And, well, it took us a while to even find it, and when we did we got there and had a look around it wasn’t very big! But nonetheless I've been to the town where the Brooksby name originates from and I've probably trod on the same ground that my ancestors have trod on! I'll include some pictures for you to have a look at! So that was the highlight of today! And the best part is we still have some of P-day left!

Well I'm looking to be baptizing again on the 17th of April! A Young man [who] is quite interested in the church. The first time he came he said that walking home from church was the first time in a long time that he had felt really Peaceful! So its looking good We still have to teach him more but we have taught the first 3 lessons and all has gone well so I'm looking forward to teaching the rest! Keep praying for him and for me!

Well serving with an Englishman is sort of interesting, because my accent kinda gets muddled up with his accent and I think I begin to actually pick up an English accent on some words and other things! So it will be interesting. I'll just hope I can manage an accent before I return! But as for everything else, things are fine. I'm really getting tired … but nonetheless I just plod on!

Not much else is new with me its been a pretty slow, fast, slow sorta week! I'm still alive still doing missionary work which is good. All I'm doing is just trying to last and to do my best! It's good that where we live there isn’t much air traffic because today I saw an airplane and thought just for a second "it won't be long till I get to enjoy flying again!" So I'm holding out as best I can!

Well that’s it for me. Nothing else really exciting. Sounds like everyone is well! And I'll tell you the thing which has been of most worth to me at the age of 19-21 has been my mission! I don't think there is possibly anything better that you can do than to go on a mission! It's not been easy and I don't think that it will ever be easy but it has been worth it for the things I've learned in my life! I love my mission and even despite all the chav's I love England!

Well I'll hope to hear from you next week! Love you all and thank you for all your support!

Love and cheers!

Elder Brooksby

P.S. I got Melissa's Package! Tell her thank you! And tell her its okay if she smells of Africa. I quite like the idea anyways!

P.P.S. The last picture is of Brooksby Hall! I should have looked into whether or not I could have inherited it! ;)

If you too would like to (virtually) visit where Elder Brooksby stood, visit the map below. Drop the street view icon (it looks like a little man) at the intersection of Thrussington Rd., Brooksby Rd. and Main St. and turn around for a bit. It's like you're right there with him! (Even more fun in "full screen" mode.) You can even don your 3D glasses and view it in 3D for the full effect.

View Larger Map

Monday, April 5, 2010

The latest - from Elder Brooksby's LAST area

This week was transfer week for Brett again. This was his last transfer in the mission. His companion was transferred to his old area in Wolverhampton. His new companion is Elder O'Brien, and he is an English native. He will be Brett's first and last British companion. Brett said that on P-Day a member will be able to take him to the town of Brooksby, so he may finally get to see it after all. He said, "I Am sooooo sooo excited. I've wanted to go for a really long time and now I get to go. So I will take lots of pictures and I will also go and look at the town parish records and try and see if I can get any rubbings from and grave stones!"

Time is getting very short for Brett. If you've been waiting to write to him, wait no longer. You've only got 30 days!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Elder Brooksby!!!!

Today is Brett's 21st birthday.
It's the second one he's been gone for.

Here's last years picture of us at home celebrating Brett's birthday.

This one is the family celebrating without him.

Here's his cake he made in the mission field.
We sent him a package with a cake,
frosting, and candles for him to make.
Unfortunately he didn't remember to take
a picture until after they'd eaten a piece.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nottingham Today!

Brett didn't write too much in his e-mail this week. He said that he had to keep it short because they were going to Nottingham to play some District basketball. He said that it takes an hour to get there on the bus, and then they have to catch a tram to get the rest of the way there.

Brett's been working hard finding people to teach and working with some of the less active members of the ward. He said he always thinks of it as bringing the lost sheep back to the fold.

Brett said that he was able to talk to a sister missionary who is serving in the Wolverhampton branch. She told him just how much the members there liked him and that they wished he could come back and serve there again. He said that was nice to hear.

He also said that he's working really hard on not being trunky, which can be difficult when you only have 55 days left in the mission field.

It's so great to hear from him. He loves his mission and the English people so much. It's with mixed feelings that he approaches the end of his mission.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mission life in Eastwood

We got an e-mail from Brett today. It was funny - we ended up being on computers at the same time. I realized when I got up with Jared for Seminary this morning that I had forgotten to e-mail Brett. And I know that by around 8:00 a.m. our time we usually have an e-mail - sometimes sooner. So at 6:00 a.m. I e-mailed a short e-mail telling Brett that I was typing right then. The I typed an e-mail in two parts, so he'd at least get one. I know that he got the first one because that is what he replied to. I have no idea if he got part two of my e-mail. But at least he got something from me.

He said that he's loving being in Eastwood. He said that he's working hard and that there is no place he'd rather be. He said: "I've never loved anything more, I don't think, than doing what I'm doing here and serving the Lord! I love it, and really, I don't want to go home.....sorry mom. I know I have to because President Ogden doesn't let people extend their missions, but I don't want this to end. And like the apostles say, it doesn't you just continue on a different plane of thought and lifestyle!"

Brett is trying to find a way to get down to the town of Brooksby before he leaves England. Hopefully he'll find a way. A picture of Elder Brooksby by the sign for the town of Brooksby would be awesome.

Brett's bike was damaged during his transfer ride on the bus last week. So it was good to hear that he was able to "jimmy rig" his bike to the point where it works after some fashion. He said that it's not a very nice ride, but it gets him from place to place.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


We got an e-mail from Brett today telling us that he's been transferred to a place called Eastwood. He said it's by Nottingham. And looking at a map, it's only about 18 miles from the town of Brooksby. So maybe Brett will get his picture by the sign for the town of Brooksby yet.

Brett is with Elder Williams from West Valley City, UT. He said that his companion hasn't been out quite a year. In fact Brett said that he's the oldest missionary (in serving time) of all in his district. Brett said that Elder Williams has been in the area for three transfers, but that he is still willing to work hard.

Brett also said that his bike was damaged on the bus for the transfer. He said he was going to try to make repairs that would hold it together for the next two months. He said if he couldn't then they'd walk everywhere.

Brett said: "I was recently given a gift from the Bishop in Merthyr Ward, who thanked me for the hard work I've done in Merthyr and wished me the best for the rest of my mission! But he gave me a book called The Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley. I was reading about how President Hinckley just gave the last bit of his mission the best he could and he wasn't at all worried about how many people he'd baptized on his mission, or how many people other missionaries had baptized on their missions. He just remembered the hard work and the satisfaction that came from that! So that's what I'm going to try to implement!"

Brett ended by saying that he was just going to roll up his sleeves and get dirty and do the best he can with the time he's got left!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Transfers are coming up!

We got an e-mail from Brett today. He said that in his interview with President Ogden he got asked where he wanted to go. He said that he told President Ogden that he would like to serve in a big city. Then President Ogden asked Brett if there was anything else that he wanted, and Brett said: "My whole mission I've always wanted to have a picture of the sign for the town of Brooksby out in Melton Mowbry near Liecester. And President Ogden said well Elder Brooksby do you have a camera? I said yes, he then said, well you never know, you could be serving in Liecester next transfer." So Brett is pretty sure he's going to be transferred this next transfer. And who knows, maybe he'll get to see the town of Brooksby after all.

Brett also said that one of his converts is engaged to be married in the temple this coming August. That made him really happy. He hinted that he'd love to attend the wedding - but that would mean a trip back, and a lot of $$$$.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Playing catch-up on Brett's blog

In Brett's last two e-mails he's sent pictures.
I've just been slow about putting them on his blog. So here they are:

When you're from upstate New York, this snow is nothing. But when you're getting it and
you're in Wales - it's a big deal. They're getting weather more like what we're used to in NY,
and we're getting their weather - hardly any snow.

Brett sent this picture of him in his snow hood.
He said it makes him look like a Sith Lord from Star Wars.

Brett says this is the nicest chapel in the UK.

If you look closely at the picture Brett is standing next to a sign that says: "The Elders". He didn't say anything about where he was or why the sign was there.
Something to ask in another e-mail.

Brett sent this picture of him climbing a 10% grade hill.

And another by a stream in Merthyr Tydfil.

Brett is with Elder Worthington in Merthyr Tydfil.
He's been there for seven or more months now. They are working hard and having a good time.

The last letter we got from Brett was a day late because they had District P-day down in Cardiff. He said they went bowling and that it cost 3£ for 3 games, which he thought was a good deal! He said they had a good time. He also said that he got to see Elder Burri again (his previous companion), and he thought that was a great deal of fun! He also said that he beat the district all three times in bowling. He had a 135, 138, 137.
He thought that was pretty consistent!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Glen in Cheltenham

Not much to blog about yet, but just wanted to record that I'm sitting just a few miles East of Brett right now. Business has brought me to Cheltenham, England and, coincidentally, very near to where Brett is living. No, I will not be visiting him, but it is fun to see what it's like where he is. Driving on the left is a very disconcerting experience the first time. Roads with no speed limits are also new. I believe I touched 90mph on the way here today which feels pretty weird when your already just a bit freaked out by driving on the left with the stick on the right. Fun times.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


We received an e-mail from Brett Tuesday telling us that he'd been in a bike crash. He said that a council van (whatever those are) ran him off the road. He's got a bruise on his thigh from the phone in his pocket and both his knees are black and blue. He was coming down a hill at a moderate rate of speed and then the council van came in front of him and pushed him off the road and onto the shoulder, where there was snow. He said he did a "Superman" and flew forwards sliding on his stomach. He said he tore a hole in his new rain jacket - but that he was going to fix it with black duck tape.

He and his companion had a great day Monday. They found six new investigators. They also have an investigator coming to church on Sunday. They also found a family of five who speak Portuguese. Fortunately the mother speaks English, so she's been able to translate for the others.

Brett ends his e-mail by saying: "Well I think that's about it for me. I love you and I'm glad to be where I am at this moment! I love the mission and I love everything about England and Wales. I'm very happy to be here!"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

MAY 5th!!!!!

We just got an e-mail from the Birmingham mission office saying that Brett's release date is May 5th! It is great to finally know when he's coming home. It will make future planning much easier.

In Brett's e-mail this week he said that it has been rather snowy and really rather cold in Merthyr Tydfil! He said that it has been around -4 degrees C on a normal day for the last two weeks. And that it dips down to -8 degrees C with a windchill of -20 degrees C overnight. He said that there is a high pressure system that is stuck over the UK and because of that they are getting their weather from Siberia, which tends to be pretty cold. He said that in the UK it only takes two or three inches to shut down the whole of the UK. He said that everyone thinks it's a huge disaster and that it's going to be the end of the world! But he said that it's really not that bad compared to the NY winters that he remembers from his childhood. He's still riding his bike in the snow to get around! He loves the snow and couldn't be happier that it's there. He said that it makes it feel a little more like home. He did say that he'd skip the snow altogether if it meant that the chavs couldn't through snowballs with rocks in them! But he said that it's all part of the experience!
Brett said that for P-day he was going to sew one of his mittens that has a hole in it, go food shopping, and have a nap. Sounds like an exciting day!

He said that he's starting to feel old in the mission. His companion, Elder Worthington has been out 8 months less than him, and he's starting to feel the distance apart. He said that he's not trunky, but he's having to work harder to fight it off.

He has been in Merthyr Tydfil longer than any of his other areas, and he's having to fight the thinking that says "I've already talked with him 9 times and he's told me to go away in lots of different words I'll never repeat! Why should I stop him again!" He said that at the end of this transfer he will have been in Merthyr for 7 and a half months. And he feels like he has tracted the whole of Merthyr 3 times!

I know how he feels having spent nine months of my mission in the same area.

He said that they're working on building up their teaching pool, and praying to find people to teach.

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

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Brett's back in Merthyr Tydfil

We got an e-mail from Brett telling us that he was going back to Merthyr again for a 5th transfer. It's funny, but it looks like he will have spent his mission in only three areas - Birmingham, Merthyr Tydfil, and where ever they send him to finish up.

Brett said that it had snowed and stopped the travel plans for transfers. The mission president told him that because it was p-day he wanted them to stick close but he told Brett that he could go visit some recent converts in his old areas. He said that he was going to Sheldon to see who he could catch at home. He seemed very excited for the unexpected opportunity to see people dear to him from earlier in his mission.

Brett said that he is getting a new companion named Elder Worthington, who has been out about a year.

Brett got to spend New Year's Eve at President Odgen's house and said he enjoyed it very much.

He said that he had to get off the computer because all of the missionaries who were leaving to go home this transfer got snowed in and their flights got canceled so they all had to e-mail their parents to tell them that they'd be delayed getting home.

It was good to hear where Brett is, and know that things are more settled than they had been for the last little while.