Monday, November 2, 2015

Sarada & Abhikshana's Baptism

   Hello from the happiest sister missionary in all of the world. I love you. My heart is so full. SO full. This was a great week! We have two of the cutest new investigators (Lucia and Mary), three AMAZING progressing investigators (Ann-Helen, Roslyn, and Paradize) and now TWO RECENT CONVERTS (Sarada and Abhikshana)! 

John and Mary Miner
   We don't really go knocking door to door because the VC cuts out proselyting time in half so when we aren't at the VC, we are usually contacting refferals, which is where all of our investigators have come from!  We had too much fun on Halloween. It rained last night and today, which is an ABSOLUTE miracle. California is in a huge drought, so we needed it! & I LOVE the rain. It reminded me of Virginia. I have zero complaints. We are doing so well here in San Leandro, the members feed us, the temple gets more and more beautiful every single day, I am so happy. I get to testify of Jesus Christ to people from ALL over the world (literally, I had to write it down: this week people came into the VC from Egypt, Sweden, Guatemala, Iceland, Israel, China, China, China, and Mexico!!!!!!) in a beautiful place where the Spirit is SO strong, what could I possibly complain about?
   So we received Sarada and Abhikshana's address the week I got here and have been teaching them ever since. Sarada is from Sri Lanka and is a BEAUTIFUL and strong mother of three precious children. She speaks little to no english, she speaks Tamil. She has the most faith I have ever seen. We just cry and cry together the whole lesson. She is going through a very rough time financially and in her marriage. Her and her daughter Abhikshana's baptismal date was set for November 1st and they made it! We combined their baptisms with two other companionships and there were 9 people baptized total!! The Assistants had two from Sri Lanka and the other Sisters had 5 from Tonga. It was my first baptism here on the mission and one of the most beautiful things I have ever been a part of. When I first saw them in their perfectly white baptismal clothes, glowing smiles and bright eyes, I was absolutely overcome with joy. Watching them enter the waters of baptism was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had in my life. My heart was so full. I wept watching them giggle as they slowly stepped into the font. I wept watching them come up clean and pure. Then I had the beautiful opportunity to bear my testimony and introduce the Bible Videos which were going to play while we were waiting for all of them to get dressed.  It took me a while to FINALLY get some words out, but with tears I expressed that my heart was so full. I expressed that "this is the goal" and "There is no greater joy." I shared my testimony of the Savior and His perfect example that we should all strive to follow. It was a powerful moment for me and the Spirit was SO strong. The joy that you feel as you watch someone you have come to love so much enter into the waters of baptism is exactly how everyone described it to me -- UNDESCRIBABLE. so pure. The most rewarding, purest joy you can imagine. The joy that comes from bringing others to Christ. 
Abhikshana's baptism

She is 9!
Beautiful baptism day!!
Abhikshana and Sarada (mother and daughter)
Abhikshana's little brother, Midu

   I want to share this special experience I had this week. Part of weekly planning as a missionary involves praying for each son or daughter of God that we are involved with (investigators, new converts, and less actives) individually: their problems, concerns, trials, worries, families, jobs, progress, ask for specific blessings, and so forth. These prayers usually last about 35-45 minutes. Sister Harper always did it because I was still learning about everyone and getting to know them. It was finally my turn to pray for them!!  As I began to pray, I could hardly speak. I was absolutely overcome with LOVE for these people. I wept as I prayed for each of them individually and expressed my love and concern for them. It was a very, VERY powerful experience for me. I can't imagine how the Savior felt as He knelt in the garden, praying for each of US: our problems, concerns, trials, worries, sadnesses and sins and MORE. If I experienced so much love for MY people, imagine how much love the Savior had for each of us! This experience of turning outside myself and praying sincerely for these people with love, brought me closer to Christ and helped me become more like Him. I saw them with new eyes. I loved them as my own brothers and sisters. I wept for their trials and desired for their happiness. This kind of love is only possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This kind of love is available to ME as a missionary as I strive with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength to represent the Savior. I am so grateful for this experience that brought me so much JOY and compassion and humility. 
  As I was studying this week, I came across this scripture: 

        "Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe." Alma 32:16

   I could not help but think of my sweetest Momma. She has the most believing heart, she is humble and believing and didn't have to be compelled to become such!! I did. I had to be compelled and learn for myself, MULTIPLE times. I am so grateful for my experience and wouldn't trade it for the world, but I look to her as an example of perfect faith. She has always just known in her heart that the gospel was true and that her Father in Heaven loved her and that we can receive answers through prayer. She taught this through example to me all my life. Her PURE and powerful faith in and love for the Savior strengthens me every single day. She just knew, from day one. I see that kind of purity among the people I am teaching. We aren't even teaching on missions, we are REMINDING. Everyone knows this! Everyone knows the gospel. We all chose Heavenly Father's plan, that's why we are here. We are just reminding people what we chose and why. I see it in their eyes when I tell them that they lived with God before they came to earth. It clicks in their mind and they light up BECAUSE ITS TRUE. Just like my Momma, they know its true with all of their believing heart. I love you Momma, you are truly my hero and best friend.
   I am so happy. I love being a missionary. I love the Book of Mormon. I love being able to bear my testimony of the Savior constantly. People literally come TO ME in the VC to find out more. They WANT to know what that big beautiful building is. Everyone calls it the "castle" haha. I get to go inside next week and I could not be more excited. As these DIVERSE and BEAUTIFUL children of God walk into the VC, they kind of pause and look around. They smile. Every time. The Spirit that is there is literally tangible. They feel at home. AHHH It's just the best. Come visit :) I love you. Thank you for all of your LOVE and MAIL and support and prayers especially. Have a WONDERFUL WEEK & Happy November. Write down in your journal one thing you are grateful for every day, then Heavenly Father will bless you with MORE, we can never repay Him :)
Happy Sister Brinton

My momma sent me the recipe for her AMAZING peanut butter bars...
I ate WAY too many :/

Movie night (AKA watching testaments after planning on a 1 by 1 inch dvd player
with the volume at level 1)
Happy halloween from the VC
Sister Fetzer
Me and Sister Nistler matching
Homemade Broccoli Cheddar Soup on halloween...
It looks so gross, but it was SO good.

The literally obsessed.

Love them. (Sister Housely, Harper, and Obando)

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