Monday, November 30, 2015

Ann-Helens Baptism

     I know I just wrote on Thursday but so much has happened! :)
     Hi! I am so happy. I can NOT believe that November is already OVER! Time is literally flyyying! 
     Our Thanksgiving was wonderful. We had a totally traditional Thanksgiving meal and played dominoes afterwards. Sister Simpson sent us home with way too many leftovers. Sister Harper and I went home and watched Meet the Mormons! Totally slept through the whole thing but HEY, it was great. Definitely a Thanksgiving to remember. 
     The next day we had dinner at a members house. They are from Samoa and they LOVE to eat. We were still full from Thanksgiving dinner the night before and they LOADED our plates. They wait until you are eating first, then they start eating. So I made the huge mistake of eating all of it because what does the mom do next? Shovels a whole new plate of food for me. See, the key is to start eating right away, then SLOW DOWN half way, always making sure there is still food on your plate until you have to leave. Then they send you home with leftovers. You can drink all you want because its delicious ( half pineapple juice, half ginger ale, try it) and they will just keep refilling it. Some of the kindest people I have ever met.
     Friday our new Christmas schedule started at the Visitors' Center!! We are there practically all day, which leaves us barely any time in San Leandro, so we are kind of nervous about keeping up with all of our recent converts and investigators. But the Lord will provide a way and I am SO grateful that I get to serve this Christmas season up at the Visitors' Center. During Christmas schedule we switch around stations AND companions every HOUR! It has been sooo fun to get to know some of the other sisters a little bit better and spend time with them. All of the sisters and senior couples at the VC are amazing, I love them. They are like a second family to me, I mean, they are literally my 'sisters.' Thousands of people have come through this past weekend, and it's just the beginning! People from all over the world! Everyone is so happy, I just love to see all the different kinds of people and how Christmas and the gospel brings everyone together. We have lights and performances and hot chocolate, the whole sha-bang. The lights are like a winter wonderland. I am obsessed. BUT the most amazing thing is being able to share the new videos the church has put out and watching them touch peoples' hearts!! If you havent seen them yet, go to christmas.mormon.org to watch and share of course :) The videos are so powerful. One thing you will notice is the video "A Savior Is Born" isn't Christmas-y at all! It doesn't have one tree, one light, one Santa, nothing.. because THATS NOT THE POINT. The point of Christmas is to focus on the Savior, to REJOICE that He was born and that we have a Savior today. I am honored to be able to share my testimony of this every single day and Christmas makes it so easy!!! I can't wait to spend this entire Christmas season testifying of Him.
     Ann Helen got baptized on Sunday!!!! AAAHHHH! It was the most special thing. She is extremely shy so she only wanted a select few there. Her husband, who had finally consented to this baptism and was the reason she didnt get baptized for so long, came with her son, Thomas!! So special. My Visitors' Center Director, Elder Poulsen speaks fluent Norwegian, she is from Norway, and she had run into him at the VC. She requested that he be there. So that was also so special. Her friend/counselor Greg flew out from Georgia an HOUR before the baptism to baptize her! We fasted and prayed harder than ever that he would get here in time. Well, Heavenly Father answered our prayers and fasts (as usual) and everything was PERFECT. Seeing someone you love stand in that font dressed in all white and just BEAMING with happiness is a celestial sight indeed. She previously asked us if she could play the musical number and we readily agreed. She sat down and of all pieces, begins to play "Tale As Old As Time" from Beauty and the Beast hahaha. It made my life and took all of my self control not to sing along. Not sure the connection to the baptism, she just said it was her favorite song. It was beautiful. She was teary the whole night. When we were leaving the building, she grabbed her bag with one hand and her friend's (a recent convert) hand with the other and they ran/skipped/giggled to the car. I have never seen her so happy in all my time of knowing her. True joy. 
     I had a beautiful spiritual experience that I would love to share with you. Many of you have been to Visitors' Centers and have seen the large statue of Jesus Christ with His arms outstretched, the Christus. Well, there is a recording that goes along with it which includes several scriptures such as, "Behold, I am Jesus Christ" and "If ye love me, keep my commandments." It is a powerful presentation and moves many (me, every time) to tears. This is the first exhibit you see in our VC and we present it multiple times a day. A member family came in and wanted to see it. We introduced it, watched it, and began talking about it afterwards. I began to bear my testimony. There were 5 little kids, no one was really listening, and the parents were pretty distracted. I wasn't frustrated or anything because I quickly learned that this experience was for ME, not for them. I bore my testimony simply to the children. I told them that God loves us so much. Then when we tell Him that we are thankful, He blesses us even more. I told them that we show our love for Him by keeping His commandments. I began to cry as I bore this simple testimony because the Spirit confirmed to me that what I was saying was true. I bore testimony that keeping the commandments makes us happy. This may seem so simple, just a few simple sentences, but this was an extremely powerful experience for me. That's what is so beautiful about the gospel-it is so simple.
     When I simplify my testimony as if I was speaking to a child, that is when I feel the Spirit so strongly. Simple truths. We don't have to have these big elaborate testimonies that go on for hours and talk about deep doctrine. The most power comes with statements like, "Heavenly Father loves you" and "Jesus died for you." I treasure experiences like this that confirm my testimony and strengthen it. I already knew these things and have applied them in my life, but the Spirit never ceases to testify of truth, no matter how simple. It is SO important for us to constantly renew our testimonies of these simple, yet beautiful truths. 


"Sometimes, the truth may just seem toostraightforward, too plain, and too simple for us tofully appreciate its great value...This beautiful gospelis so simple a child can grasp it, yet so profound andcomplex that it will take a lifetime—even an eternity—of study and discovery to fully understand it...I inviteyou to step back, look at your life from a higher plane,and simplify your approach to discipleship. Focus onthe basic doctrines, principles, and applications of thegospel...you will discover that the gospel of JesusChrist is indeed working in your life. It works."
It Works Wonderfully by President Uchtdorf 
Temple hill lights!

I am so thankful for this sacred time I have as a missionary! Wherever you are in life, thank Heavenly Father for it because time passes too too fast.
"Consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God." Mosiah 2:41
I love you! Thank you for all your love and prayers. Keep Christ so so close to your heart this Christmas season.
XOXO,
Sister Brinton


This is after Ann-Helens baptism :)
Ann-Helen and her friend that baptized her, Greg
Christmas chocolate advent calendars



Our very own christmas tree 
Our christmas stockings and christmas lights :)
Peppermint hot chocolate in my santa mug 0:)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Happy Thanksgiving!

     There are no words to express my gratitude today. I absolutely love Thanksgiving, the spirit of it, the memories and traditions associated with it, the food, the people.. This is my first Thanksgiving I have ever spent away from home, and I have to say it is the Thanksgiving I have been the most thankful. That may seem backwards.. Don't get me wrong, saying I missed my family dearly would be a huge understatement. I miss them especially today, BUT I am absolutely overcome with gratitude for them and for my mission. If I was home right now, I would be having so fun and creating memories and eating amazing food by all the incredible cooks I am BLESSED to have in my family, but I would not filled with this amazing appreciation for my family and my mission. I wouldn't be here at all. Today, I am thankful for all of the love and prayers and sweet words being sent my way. I am thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice for us. I am thankful for my mission, this precious precious time that is changing me and my life and my family for the better. I am overcome with gratitude for my family. I am thankful for the scriptures that teach us to.. 

"Live in thanksgiving daily." Alma 34:38

The scriptures teach us that..

"He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious." D&C 78:19

The scriptures also teach that..

Mosiah 2:19-25 
19 O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!

 20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
 21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
 22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
 23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?
 25 And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you.
     I absolutely love this. Even if we were to render all the thanks and praise which our whole souls have power to posses and serve him with all of our whole souls, we are STILL indebted to Him because He was the one that created us. We owe Him EVERYTHING. There is no way to repay Him, but we CAN show our GRATITUDE by keeping His commandments.
     Today, Thanksgiving, is our Pday! We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and decorated the Visitors' Center for Christmas with all of the Sisters and Senior Couples. It was so fun! Tonight we are going to dinner at a members home, the Simpsons. They are empty-nesters and HILARIOUS and she is a fabulous cook (BONUS). I love Thanksgiving. 
     I have so much to write about! 
     Some fun things:
- Everyone that lives here who is foreign, is really foreign. It's not like their great great grandparents moved here years ago. They themselves came from their home country to California.. so the food is totally authentic and AMAZING. This week alone I had homemade Albanian and Philipino food. Yes.
- California oranges have changed my life. Picking them fresh off the tree and peeling them then and there..MMHHH there's nothing like it. 
- I FINALLY went to Chipotle after crying every time I drove past it for two months. I wanted to make my family super jealous but then my Momma told me they were building one in Pocatello... where they will quickly get to know my family
- We got a new sister in the VC! So I am officially not the new-b anymore 0:)
- Our spiritual morning studies now have some SERIOUS Latino theme music and often a vocalist to go with it. (My neighbor blasts and sings it at 8 am..no idea..) 
- Elder Larry R Lawrence is coming to speak to us in December! Exciting! He gave an amazing talk this last conference, "What Lack I Yet"
      We had a special visit from Salt Lake headquarters last week that prepared us for this Christmas season! We got to see the new (not-yet-released) Christmas Initiative Video!! The theme last year was "He is the Gift." I have no idea if I am supposed to write this but "A Savior Is Born" is the new theme. The video associated with this is absolutely unreal. The church is INCREDIBLE. We are SO excited to show the video here at the Visitors' Center and remind people what Christmas is all about, the Savior. I can't wait for you to see the video and share it on social media..MISSIONARY WORK 0:) 
     I finished the Book of Mormon and began reading the New Testament. I still study the Book of Mormon a little, but I am focusing on the New Testament. I hope no one takes this the wrong way, but I am just being honest. I have felt very different reading the New Testament. It is BEAUTIFUL and POWERFUL and is a true witness of the Savior and His ministry. But, there is a power and Spirit about the Book of Mormon that you can't find anywhere else. I New Testament brings the Spirit and testifies of truth, but I have truly felt a notice-able loss of the Spirit in my studies. I used to get so excited to keep reading the Book of Mormon and study it and I would miss is when I wasn't reading it. I was sad when I had to put it down. I have not felt that same Spirit or desire with the New Testament. I dont mean this to come across the wrong way, I just want to testify of the power of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is true. I know it from my CORE. I love the Book of Mormon and hold it so dear to my heart.
     So now, about my people!! :) Its been almost two weeks so a lot has happened!
     Ace is one of our recent converts. He is from Hong-Kong. We were teaching him about tithing and in his broken english he said, "I wish I paid tithing because that would mean that I had a job." Haha I just loved this because it shows his sincere desire to be obedient.
     Roslyn had a baptismal date for this Saturday, but she broke her foot a few days ago and her mom is sick in the hospital. Sorry, let me clarify. Roslyn did not break her foot. Satan broke her foot. Satan works so hard on these people who have chosen to follow the Savior and be baptized. She is taking a break to heal and she wont be getting baptized this weekend. But she said to us, "I know the adversary is working against me, but that doesn't effect my faith at all. I want to pick back up right where we left off, with baptism." So we are disappointed, but keep praying for her and TRUST in the Lord's timing. 
     Paradize said yes to baptism!!!! We planned a very special lesson to have with him up at the Visitors' Center where we showed him Finding Faith in Christ, which is all about Christ's miracles. Then we taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Spirit was so strong. The Spirit told me to ask him to be baptized and I said, "Paradize, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and--" and he totally cuts me off and goes, "YES!!" haha I was like, "Oh my goodness that's great Paradize, will you get baptized?" And he goes, "YES! WHEN?" I was 1/2 giggling 1/2 crying. It was the sweetest thing. He was so happy and excited. The Spirit was so strong. I was overcome with joy. We set a date for December 12! THEN, we went over a few days later to continue teaching him and his grandma FREAKED out at us. He lives with her and she is a psycho less-active. It's not the kind of less-active that's like, "oh I stopped going to church because of work," it's like the crazy, make-up-false-doctrine kind of less active. She sat there and screamed at us for 15 minutes, accusing us of manipulating him and going behind her back to ask him to get baptized and he only said yes because you are just two pretty, young girls and there is no way in heck he is getting baptized any time soon. She said some other things that were extremely hurtful and offensive to the Spirit. All three of us (Me, Sister Harper, and Paradize) kept trying to get a word in and calmly explain ourselves and apologize, but it was to no avail. I was sobbing. We calmly stood up and apologized kindly through her screams and my tears and left. That sorrow and longing and hurt was so painful. We just hugged and cried without words. We dropped our plans for the rest of the night and drove straight to the temple. We knew that we would receive peace and comfort there that we would not receive anywhere else. We were right. We drove and the second it was in our sights, we could feel a literal burden lift off our shoulders. As we walked the grounds and sat on the temple, looking at the view, I could feel Heavenly Father wrap His arms around me and tell me everything was going to be okay. 
     I learned so many things from this experience. When she began to yell and scream, I could physically feel the Spirit leave. My mind was racing and I was filled with confusion. I learned that God is not a God of confusion. I learned to turn the experience around and use it to help me better understand the Atonement. This is what Christ faced every single day when he was here on the earth. Being yelled at and accused gave me the SMALLEST glimpse into how He might have felt. I learned that I needed to forgive Beatrice. I don't need to forgive her to her face (we are never going back there again), but I need to forgive her in my heart. Jesus Christ forgave the people who crucified Him in the exact moment when He was on the cross. We began reading Alma 36, but we didnt need to read farther than verse 3:

"And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day."
     Trust in God. The Spirit told me to trust in God. Trust in His timing. Luckily, He is running this thing. We are all in His Hands and He has a plan for each one of us and His children, even Paradize and Beatrice. Trust in God includes trust in his timing. Paradize told us that he wants to continue to learn, so we are going to teach him on Sundays after church, kind of in secret like Alma the Elder haha.
     Ann-Helen passed her baptismal interview and is getting baptized this Sunday!!! We had a powerful lesson with her about her relationship with God. I think I have shared this before but she has trouble feeling that God really is her loving Heavenly Father and understanding that relationship. She has a counselor named Greg who has helped her so much. She trusts him and loves him and turns to him for advice. He is always there for her and tells her that he loves her and would never hurt her. He also gives criticism to help her grow. As she was talking about Greg, the Spirit told me to compare Greg to our Father in Heaven. I was extremely hesitant because I didnt know how it would turn out and I didnt WANT to compare Greg to Heavenly Father, but the Spirit told me again. So, I went for it. I kindly told Ann-Helen to think about how much Greg loves her, and she nods. Then I told her that Heavenly Father loves her way more. I asked her if she believes Greg would never hurt her. She quickly confirmed. I told her that before Heavenly Father sent her to earth, He promised her that He would never hurt her. As the conversation went on, she began to cry. She said, "I know what you are saying is true." I told her that it wasn't what I was saying, it was Heavenly Father! It was the most beautiful experience and confirmed my testimony of our relationship with our Father in Heaven. I love this quote as it has enhanced my understanding of our relationship with God:

 "Of all the terms of Diety, He has asked us to call Him Father." Elder Holland
       
      Despite the disappointments this week, the Lord never ceases to work MIRACLES. There are miracles happening every single day here in San Leandro. We ran into SEVEN people this week whose hearts are completely open and ready for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will give a few examples. We got a referral from a member of a guy who asked if the missionaries could come over because he was ready for Jesus in his life. We stopped by and set up a return appointment. We went to a former investigator and he said he knew we would come and he wants to go back to church. We got a referral from a sister at the VC of a man from Ethiopia and we stopped by his house and he was so open and kind and told us that he was so excited to come to church. We got another referral from an elder of a man who had just moved here and we called him and told him it was the missionaries and he was SO happy and asked for the address of the church because he wanted to come this Sunday. Then the most beautiful miracle. We finally got around to going back to see a lady who we met a while ago, her name is Kayla. Before we went in, I prayed that we would have an opportunity and situation to teach and that the Spirit would be there, because a lot of times with an informal lesson it is really loud and chaotic and we just needed a peaceful situation to TEACH. We walked in and everyone was sitting around on the couches calmly, almost like they were in the middle of their own lesson. We sat down and began talking and teaching. They are from Belize! It was going really well and the husband told us a story where he left his body and Jesus gave him a second chance. He told us that his life hasnt been the same ever since and he testified to us of Jesus Christ and the afterlife and keeping the commandments. Then we decided to read Alma 36 with him about Alma the Younger's conversion story, which was like identical to this man's story. The Spirit was so strong as we went around and read with prayers in our hearts for these special people. When we finished, no one was speaking for a minute. He looked up at us and goes, "I know this book is true. It is from God."OH MY HEART. I was able to tearfully testify to him that the book was indeed true and that it was indeed from God. The joy and light that filled his eyes was indescribably beautiful. He was so happy. I have never been more excited or grateful or happy in my life. It had literally been like 15 minutes. THE BOOK OF MORMON IS TRUE. Someone who had picked it up 10 minutes earlier for the first time testified to me that it was true, and it is. I love this work. I love being a missionary. The Spirit that accompanies you here is so sacred and beautiful. The Lord places people along ALL of our paths who are ready to hear the gospel. There are miracles occurring in every single one of our lives every day. I am so grateful and humbled to be a part of the miracles here in San Leandro, California.  
     It is my prayer that we can not only be thankful today, but to carry gratitude in our hearts every single day. I know that our Heavenly Father blesses us even more when we are grateful and that being grateful makes us HAPPY. 

"True gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony. It comes from acknowledging that we do not always understand the trials of life but trusting that one day we will."
President Uchtdorf
 Happy Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for all of you. I love you.
Love,
Sister Brinton
This lady we went to contact let us pick these oranges fresh off of her tree. Yes, they are oranges even though they are bright yellow!! They were DELICIOUS!! 
Everyone grows succulents and cactus here because they can't really grow anything else BUT I am okay with that because I LOVE SUCCULENTS.

This is Midu, Sarada's son. I am in LOVE with him.
This is my district after singing at a nursing home.
This lady gave us Perssimons??? I don't low how to spell it but it's a kind of fruit I guess.
I cannot get over this view. I am in Love with this place!

We got to go to Fenton's Creamery! It is the same place at the end of the movie UP where they are eating ice-cream outside. Their ice-cream is AMAZING!
Onion Rings(duh)
Sister Harper
Cookies and Cream Milkshake that I ate in about 3 seconds...
Our thanksgiving tree :))

Sunsets that literally bring actual tears

This temple has my heart.
The sweet Cantillo family from the Phillipenes
CHIPOTLE BURRITO YES
Thanksgiving break = cinnamon rolls
My momma sent me my Young Womens medallion and Honor Bee in GOLD which I love. I love having the temple so close to my heart :) And  its a great conversation piece.
More fresh oranges from the lady
Decorating the visitors center for christmas!!


We have too much fun
Sister Tam is from China! She is the coolest.
Spanish sisters, Sister Nistler and Sister Resendiz are the BOMB
Sister Herrara
Sister Diaz LOVE her
The tree in the front part of the VC
Sister Taylor cracks me up
Sister Benosa is from the Phillipenes, literally the sweetest thing.
Sister Obando can never take a normal picture, so I joined in.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Transfers

Hi from California!
I never know how to start off my letters haha
     A prophet said that, so I will follow his counsel as scripture. Heavenly Father WANTS us to be happy. Plan of Sadness? Plan of Stress? Plan of HAPPINESS. Men are that they might have joy! We were literally created to be happy. 

"Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, theyspeak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."  3 Nephi 32:3
     Today I hit my two month mark! I can't believe it's already been two months. I had no idea it was possible to learn and grow this much in such a short amount of time! I guess a mission will do that for ya.
     Transfers are this week! As a trainee, we do this course called "The First Twelve Weeks," which is a program we do every morning to help train! Usually, the new missionary stays with his or her trainer for the first twelve weeks, or first two transfers (a transfer is 6 weeks), so it was no surprise when I found out I was staying in San Leandro/VC with Sister Harper. Of course, I was ecstatic because I love San Leandro and the Visitors' Center and Sister Harper :) My whole district is actually staying the same!!! I don't know how rare that is, but I am so happy and excited because I LOVE my district. We actually had the most lessons taught in the whole zone last week, so we are a good team and I am grateful we get to stay together :) I am also so excited to stay at the Visitors' Center for the HOLIDAYS!! I have heard it gets really busy and stressful, but I say the more the better!! Maybe I'll just extended the invitation of baptism over the loud speaker to the thronging crowds. Miracles do happen. 
     The Bishop has asked us to visit a few less-actives and one of them is an old lady named Sister Crumpton who is a HOOT. She weighs probably 80 pounds. We went to visit her the other day and she started telling us about how she feels like she is going to die soon so we asked her, "what is the first thing you are going to do when you get to heaven?" She paused for a second, looks around, and jumps out of the couch and goes, "HOW-DYY!" It scared us so bad I almost started crying and we were all laughing so hard hahah. Then in her prayer before we left she said, "And Lord, we know that if we are ever out of sorts, we can just call the sister missionaries and say, 'Hey! We're out of sorts!' and they'll come runnin'." OH MY silent tears running down my face I was laughing so hard. Seriously the best. 
     Once a week we do weekly planning which is where we plan our whole week and it usually takes 3 hours. Since this week is transfers, we didnt get our VC schedule or meeting schedule until Sunday, but we had weekly planning on Friday, we did our very best to plan out our whole next week with no schedule (which is impossible). So that took like 3 hours then we finally got our schedule and it took another 3 hours to plug it all in and coordinate and everything, so talk about the longest weekly planning EVER. I'm pretty sure I subconsciously ate a whole party size bag of peanut M&M's (I can thank my Momma for that addiction). At the end of it, Sister Harper and I just laid sprawled out on the floor haha. You dont really think about all the logistics of things like driving time, meeting places, relying on other missionaries, coordinating with members, finding times that work, debating whether or not to go to downtown Oakland past 5 pm, adding in time to find our way after we get lost, ALL coordinating around our VC schedule. BUT I love it. It's great. I am just taking in ALL the ups and downs and stresses of missionary life. What good does it do to stress out and get frustrated? So we just laugh. This has become like MY FAVORITE QUOTE:
"In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." President Hinckley
     SO Ann-Helen and Roslyn are doing great! Keep them in your prayers, we know Satan works the hardest on those who are about to make righteous choices, choices that will bring you closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Lucia accepted our invitation to baptism and we are still working on a date! She wants the elder who taught her to come back and baptize her (he is already home from his mission.) Should be sometime in December! We were teaching Paradize about the gospel of Jesus Christ and we were about to get to baptism, the Spirit was so strong, and his granny butted in and started arguing and changing the subject. The Spirit left and despite our efforts to bring it back, we decided to set up another appointment, so we are going to ask him this week!! Keep them in your prayers as well :) 
     Like I said in my last email, we dont have a lot of time to just go door to door because our time away from the VC is filled with lessons and dinners and referrals, WHICH IS GREAT! But on Saturday, we had a few hours of extra time (if that's what you want to call it, there really is no extra time here) so we decided to go FIND! President Frandsen has been emphasizing this to missionaries lately, to FIND, for we cant baptize if we don't find. We went to about 15 different houses and we giggled in between, talking about people answering the door with their shirt off BLASTING satan music saying they werent interested. And I know this is going to sound so cliche, BUT we decided to go to one more house before we went home. This sweet lady answered the door and her eyes just lit up. She quickly invited us in to her home and said she had taken the lessons before and we were an answer to her prayers. She said she felt so special that we had chosen her out of all the other houses we could have gone to. She just kept saying, "thank you, thank you, thank you." THE POWER OF FAITH and the power of finding. The Lord truly does lead us to those who are prepared to hear the gospel. 
     I saw the fulfillment of a beautiful promise this week in my own life. We have a recent convert named Manny who loves the scriptures and asks a ton of questions. As he brought up questions and concerns, lots of scriptures and thoughts began to fill my mind. FILL MY MIND. I was able to share many inspired scriptures and thoughts THROUGH THE SPIRIT, that were able to touch his heart and answer his questions. He was in AWE as I shared these and called me an angel. He was amazed at my answers, BUT I was able to bear my sincere testimony to him that it was not me. It was not my answers. It was the Holy Ghost teaching him THROUGH me. Those were not my brilliant answers that I came up with on my own. I don't know his needs, his true deep concerns and worries, but His loving Heavenly Father does.
"The Spirit is the most important single element in this work. With the Spirit magnifying your call, you can do miracles for the Lord in the mission field. Without the Spirit, you will never succeed regardless of your talent and ability." Ezra Taft Benson
I have the sacred and BLESSED opportunity to help bring answers to one of His LOVED children. There is a promise found in the scriptures that is emphasized to us as missionaries:
"Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; buttreasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man."  D&C 84:85
     Don't worry about what you are going to say. If you read, study, and ponder the scriptures, you will know what to say. The Spirit will tell you what to say. I saw this beautiful promise come to pass today. I have been studying and pondering the scriptures more aggressively than I ever have before. I had heard this scripture 1,000 times, but it means so much more to me now that I have experienced it in my life!! This may seem silly to those of you who have served, kind of like DUH, but it was very powerful to me. I did my part, I read and studied HARD and prayed for the Spirit even harder, and I was able to witness this miracle. He called us angels. In a way, missionaries ARE angels.
     One last thing I would like to share that I learned this week. Helaman 15:3 says that the Lord chastens those that He loves. I always thought this was so interesting, so I studied into it a little bit more. The Lord chastens those He loves. This may seem a little backwards, but once you have truly experienced it, you can feel the truth of this message. The Lord wants us to return to live with Him again, in never-ending happiness and rest, because He loves us, of course He wants to be with us. The only way we can return to live with Him again is if we become like Him! We become like Him by going through trials. We grow and learn in hard times, which help us become more like the Savior. The Lord gives us trials and sorrows and weakness and tribulation so we can live with Him again! This is hard to remember in our trials or when we are being chastened, BUT I have experience this and have gained a small, simple, and ever-growing testimony of it. If we didnt have trials, we would never become like Him, never live with Him again, and never be happy.
     The Savior loves us. He loves all of us perfectly. I love Him. I can feel myself growing closer and closer to Him every single day. I know I say this every week and you probably don't believe me, BUT.... I AM SO HAPPY. The reason I am so happy is because my life as a missionary is CENTERED around the gospel of Jesus Christ, which makes me happy. I love being a missionary and am cherishing every single precious second I have.
     Thank you for keeping me in your prayers. Stay WARM! Tell your loved ones you love them, they can't hear it enough. Pray for charity. Thank Heavenly Father for everything you have, even your trials ;)
LOVE LOVE
Sister Brinton

Christmas lights are slowly getting out up!!

Love my name tag on my scriptures, going to keep it there forever :)
Me and Sister Housley MATCHING 
Sister Winters is leaving the VC :'(((
Me and Sarada matching (again)
Sister Frandsen, the Mission President's wife. She is THE BEST.
Sturggle of a picture, this was after a Visitors' Center Training
My momma made this grateful tree and I hung it up in the Visitors Center so all the sisters
could add on. WE LOVE IT!