Saturday, September 26, 2015

10 Days Down!!

Hi Everyone-
It is seriously unreal how fast time goes here, but at the same time, it feels like I was born and raised at the MTC. I still love it here but WOW this week was a rollercoaster. I am too busy to think about or miss anything or anyone outside the MTC, seriously. I love all of you but I am so busy and happy here. I am learning and growing so so much. I cannot believe how much I have learned and how close I have grown to my Savior in the past 10 days. All of my classes and devotionals and studies are amazing. I have already filled up a journal and went through two pens. I end all of my thoughts and notes with exclamation points hahah.
  Thank you for the mail!!! It makes me sooooo happy. I am so grateful for Sawyer writing me a letter and asking if I can eat at the MTC. Oh and can I just thank Ellie for spelling bishopric, BISHOP BRICK. 
   My new weakness is REFRIGERATED Reeses cups in the vending machine down the hall. Oops.
   I love starting my day out with yoga or pilates or a run outside around the temple under the stars. It wakes me up and it is wonderful. I talk to Him when I run. It's so peaceful. We have all grown SO close as a district, we really are like one big happy family, I love all of them so much. 
   So we began teaching out first investigator, Randy. Me and my companion Sister Ankeny were having a hard time teaching in unity and the first two lessons ended in tears and feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness. After HOURS of study and reflection and praying and revelation and PLEADING, we finally had an awesome lesson where he felt the Spirit so strong and even offered the closing prayer! The Spirit was so strong I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest. That feelings of seeing someone light up when they hear they can be cleansed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ is absolutely PRICELESS. Brings me to tears to even think about it. There are no words to even describe the feeling of having your investigator feel the Spirit after so much hard work to be in tune and be prepared. We had to work really hard on teaching in unity and I am learning patience and humility like never before.I have had to rely on my Savior so much this week. Sometimes I'll just pray in my heart, "Heavenly Father, please." Because I know He knows my heart and what I am trying to say and what I need. 
   Sunday was WONDERFUL. Sacrament meeting was beautiful. First sacrament as a missionary and BOY did I utilize it, I am very far from perfect and have a long way to go, but through Him, I can become! Relief society was so powerful. Everything is more powerful because we are all missionaries haha. We got to walk to the temple grounds with our district which was beautiful and such a nice break! I took my Daddie's advice and joined the choir! It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. If you want to feel the spirit, come listen to 2,000 missionaries sing, "Behold! A Royal Army!" I literally had chills the entire time and could hardly sing. We had an awesome devotional that night by Lloyd Newell, he does Music and the Spoken Word. Very powerful. He talked all about the phrase "Fear Not." 2 Tim 1:7 "For God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

 How appropriate that my sweet Daddie sent me the most beautiful advice this week about fear!

 "Having conceived of her purpose as a missionary should mark out a STRAIGHT pathway to its achievement, looking neither to the right, nor the left. Doubts and fears should be RIGOROUSLY excluded. Thoughts of doubt and fear never accomplish anything, and never can! They ALWAYS lead to failure. She who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure."

 SO POWERFUL. Teaching for the first time and preparing for the field can be scary, so this was super comforting.
  Then we watched a video called the Character of Christ by David A. Bednar. It was SO inspiring, all about turning OUTWARDS, which is exactly what I needed :) 
  Our Tuesday night devotional was by Craig A. Cordon.

 "God will proceed to make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all nations!"

  He talked about how we are His arm! My mom wrote me this week and said "You are His love, His mouthpiece, His hands, and HIS ARM." My parents are so inspired. I love that idea. We are his arm that he is reaching out to ALL nations as missionaries!
  We got a new district this week! I was like freaking out thinking that a week ago that was me, clueless and BRAND new haha. Since we are Sister Training Leaders, we are in charge of a tour and making them feel welcome and stuff. They are all SOO sweet and positive. They are catching on to my sarcasm quickly :) Its weird how you feel older after being here just one week. But I prayed to love them and I do!!!
  A sister in my district, Sister Serr, had a severe anxiety attack on Tuesday night. It was very traumatic for all of us, especially her companion Sister Casey. After hours of ER runs and phone calls and leaving campus to get prescriptions and meetings and interviews, she was sent home. It was extremely eye-opening to all of us. We learned so much. We all truly learned to drop everything, especially thoughts about what WE need and turn outwards which is just what I needed. It is interesting because at first when it wasn't too severe, we were all kind of annoyed that we had to miss class and didn't get to bed on time and had to sit outside in a waiting room for HOURS. We were frustrated because we were thinking of ourselves and what WE wanted. Once we forgot ourselves, we learned MORE than we would have learned if we were sitting in class. I could not have learned the humility and compassion I did that night if I was sitting in a class. I had never dealt with severe anxiety or depression or stress in my life or in anyone's life that is close to me so this was a HUGE eye opener to me that anxiety and depression are a real thing and I am filled with compassion. I don't mean to say I am happy this happened, but we all learned so much from it. We have a peaceful feeling now that she is safe at home because she was not safe here. So we are a TRIO now! I love Sister Casey and we pray for Sister Serr every prayer we offer. 
  At one point I had to walk her down to an office to call her mom. The first time she called, her mom didn't answer, so we sat and waited. Then she decided to call back. Her mom answered and when her eyes lit up and she gripped the phone, and said "HI mom," it plucked at my heart strings pretty hard. May have cried a little, but that wa probably just due to lack of sleep ;) Then she got to talk to her little brother and that really got me. i couldn't stop thinking of my sweet brothers. It was hard sitting there listening to her talk to her family. That was honestly the first time I have really missed you guys. I almost sunck a phone call in JK :)
   Thursday we had infield orientation and we were in a classroom for 9 hours straight. It was sooooooooooo long. We bought some candy to hold us over :) BUT I learned a lot and I had to share this POWERFUL story that I know my Daddie will appreciate. He is one of the greatest men I know and has taught me SOOOOO much and so much that can apply perfectly to my mission. Our teacher told this story of a district who had not had a baptism in 10 years. Not one. Everyone would email the president saying, "don't send my son or daughter there," no missionaries ever wanted to go there, and it was a terrible situation. The Mission president received inspiration to close that area. A couple months later he reopened it and told missionaries it was one of the highest baptizing areas in the mission. The first month it was opened, a pair of missionaries baptized 45 people in 30 days. This story hit me so hard. he talked all about expectations and if you go in expecting no baptisms, SURELY you wont get any. These missionaries had high expectations and not only had the first baptism in 10 years, but 45 baptisms in less than a month. 
   Man I just wish I could tell you EVERYTHING I've learned. I love you. I can feel your prayers. WRITE ME its my favorite thing, besides the MTC :) UNTIL NEXT WEEK :))))))
   
   "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." 3 Nephi 5:13
   
XOXO,
Sister Brinton

District walk to the temple on sunday!


Sister Sorenson (Sister Training Leader)
Sister Casey


"the famous mission map picture"

"I always take pictures of Sister Ankeny when she falls asleep hahah she loves it"




Volleyball for gym time! Go Aggies!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

HI from the MTC!

    HI HI HI from the MTC! Wow haha I cant believe this is real. So, I AM WONDERFUL!
    My Dad told me right before I left that a lot of people think they are better than the MTC and just think "lets get this over with and get into the field." He said, the MTC is wonderful and you should dive right in to get the best of it. And that's exactly what I did. Thanks Daddie, I love you.
     My companion's name is Sister Ankeny (ain-ken-ee). She is from Arizona and she is going to the New York Rochester Mission and the Hill Cumorah Visitor's center!! She is a convert of the church and was baptized A YEAR AND A HALF ago. She is seriously the best example of faith! It's hard enough going on a mission after being raised in the church, let alone only being a member for a year and a half. So awesome!        
     I love my sister training leaders so much and one of them is from Oakland! Their names are Sister Sorenson and Sister Manoa! Our zone is awesome! All the elders here are literally 2 years old haha and all the sisters are grandmas. Its hilarious. Our zone has three pairs of elders and they are like little babies. I am like aaawww you are so cute like every second, they seem like my baby brothers. I cant tell if they laugh at me because I am funny, dumb, or scary but we are always laughing as a zone!!! Sorry this letter is so scattered, this is the most stressful hour of my life. We went to yoga yesterday (Adelide are you proud) at 6 am and kick boxing today!! (Dad are you proud) It has been super nice to wake up and work out, it helps me wake up and feel ready for the day!! The air is cool and crisp, I can feel Fall and it is wonderful. These mountains are SO beautiful. They are spotted with colored leaves and I know me and my Dad would just sit here and admire them if he was here. It feels like girl's camp here haha like the dorm part I guess. Kind of weird. I put up a picture of my family and the Savior right next to my bed as soon as I moved in. My best friends. My teacher is really outgoing and loud and silly, but can bring a strong spirit. He is great!! I am learning a lot a lot and we are doing lots of role play and lots of praying and lots of studying. I love it. My zone leader told us something that I love. He said make sure you find something every day to make you laugh or make you smile. I love that. That guy that hid from the picture is him, Elder Cranny. So I found out that I will be in the MTC for three weeks and the third week I get to go to Salt Lake Temple Square for two day trips!!! I AM SO EXCITED. 
     Saying bye to my family was sad for like 3 seconds, but I was so ready to go. When they put my name tag on, I was so happy. I just touch it and look at it all the time. I was so sad when I realized that I had to take it off to go to bed, so I slept with it right next to my pillow haha I am so weird, BUT I AM SO HAPPY. So I am not sure if it just hasn't hit me yet or what, but ever since I put that tag on at 12:30 on Wednesday, I have been so happy. I am kind of like waiting for the hard part. Everyone says, "Oh yeah the first few days are rough, just make it to Sunday." But I am so happy. I love my class. I love the mountains. I love dressing up every day. I love my name tag. I love my companion. I love only eating fruit for all my meals because the food is gross. I love walking up to the 5th floor where my classroom is to be obedient and not take the elevator. I love sharing a tiny room with 6 girls I've never met. I love waking up 5 am and rolling onto the floor to pray. I love writing in my journal. I love the cool crisp air. I love my watch. I LOVE MY NAME TAG. But most of all, I love the Spirit. It has been with me ever since I step foot in here. It is wonderful. I am so happy. I just smile all the time. It is unreal what the Spirit can teach you if you pray pray pray. I have learned so much. We had a wonderful meeting with our branch President, his name is President Laney. He is hilarious. He is silly and witty, but sooo spiritual and pumps scripture references like there's no tomorrow. I had the incredible opportunity to bear my testimony to him of how I decided to go on a mission and I was OVERCOME with the Spirit as I testified to him that I knew I was supposed to be here and there is no where in the world I would rather be. Me and Sister Ankeny got assigned as Sister Training Leaders last night. I don't know what that means yet, but I am happy! One thing that all of my classes have brought up is this (talking about investigators) "How does the Lord view this person? What does the Lord want for this person?" I LOVE THAT. It helps up focus on the investigator and viewing them the way the Lord views them. We are only instruments in His hands. We do not do the converting. The Spirit does. I just love that. GUYS I've only cried like once and it was because of the Spirit, SERIOUSLY impressive for me because I am such a spaz and cry baby. 

I seriously apologize for how scattered this is. I am typing as fast as I can. 

We had this awesome Orientation on Wednesday where we sang Army of Helaman. TALK ABOUT POWERFUL. I could hardly sing. Instead of saying "And we will be the Lord's missionaries.." We sang "And we are now the Lord's missionaries." SO awesome. We talked about being a Christ-centered missionary. We also talked about serving two masters and having one foot in and out foot out of our mission. It was so powerful and I committed again to the Lord right then, that I was His. I gave Him my heart and I am 100% committed, 100% willingly. There is nothing I would rather do and nowhere I would rather be. 

     Thanks for your sweet note you left in my suitcase. It made my day. Thank you for everything Mom. I would seriously die without you. You guys should see how she packed my suitcase, I am so nervous to unpack it because I know I will never pack it the same again haha. But seriously, thank you. 

     I love my new shoes. My pictures by my bed. Sister Serr and Sister Casey and the girls in the picture of the group of girls. They are so sweet! We all feel so old compared to the boys I cant even tell you. They are so young. Yoga was fun. Me and Sister Ankeny in our class. And of course the beautiful temple with the beautiful mountains. I haven't had the chance to go in yet, but SOON.
I haven't read any emails or letters or anything yet. I just hurried and wrote this so

Thank all of you for all of your love and support. I would not be here without you. I can feel your love and prayers. I love all of the advice you guys gave me and try to implement it into my life daily. I AM SO HAPPY. A little too happy haha I think I'm crazy. Everyone is so stressed and stuff, and I am totally fine. I think it's because I just waited for so long for my call and I was just so ready!! I still have a lot to learn and I know it will get hard, but for NOW 
I could not be happier.
Eat Chickfila for me :))))))))))
I LOVE YOU

love love love,


SISTER BRINTON :))))))))))

ps I cant wait to write next week.


Sister Ankeny
I put up a picture of my family and the Savior right next to my bed as soon as I moved in.
 My best friends
Sister Serr // Sister Casey // Sister Ankeny
"My name tag had a red dot on the first day and EVERYONE would say "welcome to the MTC."
Like literally every person. Some people were sincere but most were like a HA kind of thing.
So I was extremely excited when I graduated and got to take off the sticker."
YOGA!!

Zone!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Goodbyes

We all drove down to the Provo MTC this morning to drop off emma! We got there, ate lunch, walked around the temple, and then took pictures. We took her to the MTC and all gave her one last hug. We miss her already!

Dad
Mom
Ellie
Phoebe
Hyrum

Porter
Sawyer




Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Setting Apart

Emma was set apart by President Long at 6:00 tonight! Our whole family got to be there & we all shared sweet words with her before she was set apart! It was a beautiful blessing and she is officially a MISSIONARY! 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Farewell!

    Good morning Brothers & Sisters! So this is kind of weird for me because usually when someone gives their farewell talk, they are giving it from their home ward with their Bishopric and leaders and teachers they’ve grown up with, a ward thats like their family. Since we moved to Idaho 2 and a half years ago, I have been in 5 different wards: one a student ward down in Logan at Utah State and one in Montana where I’ve been all summer. So, don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of you but this is probably the first time some of you guys have ever even seen me so I will go ahead and introduce myself. My name is Emma Brinton, I am Laura and Paul’s oldest daughter and I received my mission call to Oakland/San Francisco & the Oakland visitors center!
So as a prospective missionary, I felt the need to make sure I had a testimony of everything that I am going to be teaching about! This may seem silly but I kind of went through a mental checklist like okay do I know the Book of Mormon is true? Do I have a testimony of Joseph Smith? The sacrament came to my mind and I realized that I had always taken the sacrament for granted and I needed to truly come to understand the sacredness of this ordinance which had unfortunately become monotonous in my life. To my surprise, I found out that my topic for today was the sacrament and preparing for this scared ordinance. I was overcome with humility as I realized that this would be a perfect experience and time in my life to study and learn about the sacrament, to help build my testimony of it. I love how the Lord does that. He knows each and every one of us so well. 
In a talk entitled “Blessings of the Sacrament,” it says:

“If we properly prepare for the sacrament, we can transform our lives.”

Preparing for the Sacrament does not mean 5 minutes before, in fact, it means all week we should be preparing our minds and our hearts. This was a powerful lesson for me to learn and imply into my life, because I noticed myself more often thinking of the Savior and becoming like Him throughout the week! I started looking forward to coming to sacrament meeting. Preparing for the sacrament will bring you closer to the Savior. I know this because I have tried it in my own life. 
Elder Robert D. Hales states that:

“For the sacrament to be a spiritually cleansing experience each week, we need to prepare ourselves before coming to sacrament meeting. We do this by deliberately leaving behind our daily work and recreation and letting go of worldly thoughts and concerns.  As we do, we make room in our minds and hearts for the Holy Ghost. Then we are prepared to ponder on the Atonement. More than just thinking about the facts of the Savior’s suffering and death, our pondering helps us to recognize that through the Savior’s sacrifice, we have the hope, opportunity, and strength to make real, heartfelt changes in our lives.”

  I think this is what Elder Clarke meant when he said that we can literally transform our lives. If we come prepared with broken hearts and contrite spirits, we can make these significant changes in our lives and the Lord will give us the strength to do so. 

“As we HUMBLY come to sacrament meeting, we can be blessed to feel impressions for solutions to our daily problems. We must come prepared, be willing to listen, and not be distracted.”
Humility is important because it shows the Savior that we recognize our own nothingness and his ability to heal us. Arriving early to sacrament meeting also shows Him just how important the sacrament is in our lives. This was hard for me to wake up earlier but as I have tried to implement this into my life, I have noticed there is a more peaceful Spirit about the sacrament ordinance when I arrive early compared to when I rush in late and distressed while finishing my breakfast. 
Dallin H. Oaks states that singing the sacrament hymns is vital to the sacramental ordinance. These hymns bring the Spirit to the meeting and show our reverence toward it. One of my favorite sacrament hymns as of late is “As Now We Take The Sacrament.” Verse 2 is so powerful:

“As now our minds review the past, we know we must repent; The way to Thee is righteousness, the way thy life was spent. Forgiveness is a gift from Thee we seek with pure intent, with hands now pledged to do thy work, we take the sacrament.”

I love the way this one verse can help us kind of walk through the sacrament. As we review the past week, we realize we have made a lot of mistakes and need to repent. The way we get back to you is by living righteously, so we seek your forgiveness with pure hearts and we are re-committing our lives to you.
In a talk called “The Sacrament—a Renewal for the Soul” by Cheryl A. Esplin, she says that it is important to listen to the sacrament prayers. As I began to listen to the prayers more carefully, I wondered how I could more fully “take upon me the name of Christ.” Pretty soon I will be literally taking His name upon me as I become a full time missionary. President Henry B. Eyring taught us, 
“That means we must see ourselves as His. We will put Him first in our lives. We will 
want what He wants rather than what we want or what the world teaches us to want.”

I think “always remembering Him” can also be included in this, that he will be a part of every decision, every thought.  
I had an institute teacher who gave me such a powerful visual of the sacrament that has stuck with me ever since. The priesthood holders who bless and pass the sacrament represent the Savior. Sister Esplin states that 

“As a priesthood holder extends his arm to offer us the sacred emblems, it is as if the Savior Himself were extending His arm of mercy, inviting each one of us to partake of the precious gifts of love made available through his Atoning sacrifice—gifts of repentance, forgiveness, comfort, and hope.”

It is so easy to get casual with the sacrament ordinance every single week, but I realized that if I remembered this, that these priesthood holders represent the Savior, I found it easier to have a more cherished spiritual and healing experience with the sacrament and the power of the Atonement. 
Then my teacher described that as we ate the bread and drank the water, it was like we were putting all of our troubles and sins and cares into the sacrament tray. Then the priesthood holder, or the Savior, takes this tray full of trials and lays them on the altar of sacrifice and they are covered by a perfectly white cloth, cleansing us. How beautiful is that, that we can lay all of our sadness and troubles upon the Savior and he will wash them away. This is the power of the Atonement. This is the beauty of the sacrament. 
Soon after I viewed the Sacrament like this, it took on a whole new meaning for me. It truly strengthened my relationship with the Savior. I could come broken and put all my trials and shortcomings and mistakes and worries into His Hands and in return receive peace and feel of his unconditional love for me. The Savior’s hands are outstretched to each and every one of us, no matter what. He can heal us. He WANTS to heal us!! I have felt this redeeming love and redeeming power. 
Elder James J. Hamula in a talk called “The Sacrament and the Atonement,” described that the disciples continued to imply the sacrament into their lives even after the Savior had left. He says,
“Surely they did so not only to remember their departed Lord but also to express gratitude for and faith in His marvelous redemption of them.”

Faith is an important aspect of the sacrament. Faith is required of us. We must have faith that he can heal us, faith that we can be clean again.
I would like to end with this powerful witness. Our beloved Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson tells the story of how, as a 12-year-old deacon, he was asked by the bishop to take the sacrament to a sick brother who longed for this blessing. “His gratitude overwhelmed me,” President Monson said. “The Spirit of the Lord came over me. I stood on sacred ground.” I hope I can come to appreciate and love the sacrament as much as this sweet man did.

Through study, fast, prayer, and practice, I have come to love and appreciate the sacred ordinance of the sacrament. I am so humbled and grateful that we have the opportunity to renew our baptismal covenants each week by partaking of the sacrament and in return, having the precious promise of the Spirit of God present in our lives. Our Father in Heaven and his Son, Jesus Christ live, and love each and every one of us. We have a Savior who suffered and died for us, that we may repent and live with him again, with our families. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, I have a testimony of its power and the Spirit it brings into my life. I am so grateful for my family, I would not be here without their love and support. I am so lucky to be able to live with them forever. We have a living prophet who is the literal mouthpiece for our Heavenly Father and he is called of God. Joseph Smith was a prophet and because of him, we have the restored Gospel in our lives, and I have the blessed and sacred opportunity to share it with the people of California. I say these things humbly in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen. 


Hannah Williams, Sydney Tanner, Hannah Pointer,  Riley Warren 
Keven Garces 
Marissa & Kelly Martin