Monday, January 4, 2016

Sister Zhong

      Happy New Year! I can't believe it is 2016!!! So so crazy. 
      2015 was probably one of the most influential and important years of my life. I decided to go on a mission!! A year ago today, I had NO clue I would be here, in San Lorenzo, California, serving a mission. It is so incredibly beautiful to look back and see the Lord's hand so intimately directing me and guiding me throughout my life. I am SO grateful for Him and His love and His plan for me. I am happier than I have ever been and I LOVED 2015. This year is extremely special to me because I will dedicate it ENTIRELY to the Lord. Not 4 months, not 8 months, but 12 months. All of 2016 will be dedicated to the Lord. I know that I will learn and grow so much, but the part I am looking forward to the most is coming to know my Savior even more as I serve and love the people here in California as He would. I cannot wait to see all the blessings and miracles and the Lord's hand as I serve Him. This is also so special to me because of the 400 goal my mission has. There aren't very many missionaries who will experience that from start to finish. Some will see the beginning and some will see the end, but I get to see it from January 1 to December 31. I will see those 400 baptisms come to pass. I am THRILLED that I get to be a part of this. YAY 2016!!!! 
      Transfers were this week! Tuesday morning we woke up at 5 and finished packing and cleaning and said goodbye to our apartment. I tried to force some tears but they weren't coming for once in my life. I was too excited. Then we went to help the Elders on bikes take their stuff up to the mission home. We were at the mission home until 10:30 when SISTER ZHONG got there!!! We got her stuff, got groceries, went to our district meeting, and went to our new apartment! It is HUGE compared to my old apartment. Elders lived there before so we cleaned cleaned cleaned. Can I just take this time to thank the Elders for having ONE cleaning supply, which was a spray bottle entitled "Spray Stuff." It is feeling more and more like home each time I throw away the cereal boxes and Star Wars posters that were taped to the wall with duct tape. Then we headed up the Visitor' Center. Sister Zhong is SO happy to be back. She is called to the Visitors' Center, but she was full proselyting for two transfers. 
     That night we got back to our apartment (I make that sounds so simple. It took 15 minutes to get our own address sent to us, then we got the GPS and finally got there after taking the wrong exit and had to call the elders to ask which parking spot was don't think about little things like that when you get transferred haha oopsies). We finally got home and after trying every key on the ring, got in to our apartment!! We plugged in our heaters because it was freezing and Sister Zhong went into the bathroom. All of the sudden the power went out and I was half dressed. I wrapped a towel around me and hear Sister Zhong in her CUTEST accent, "Sister Brinton?" The toilet was making a weird noise and so I went in and one of the tube things had come unhooked and water was shooting out everywhere. Mind you I am half dressed and it is PITCH black. We were screaming and laughing so hard haha. So I ran and grabbed a flashlight and Sister Zhong helped the toilet stop running or whatever (I'm clueless) and we had to find the breaker in the apartment I was so scared. We finally found it, got the power back on and started planning at 10:45. Planning was stressful because we are brand new to the area, we literally know nothing, so that took forever. Then we had to FIND our toothbrushes and MAKE our beds and weren't asleep until at least 11:30. All of it was WONDERFUL, it is all part of the experience. We were laughing and joking and getting to know each other. You just have to embrace it!! Memories in the making! I love it. We are just manually flushing the toilet by filling up a huge bucket of water in the tub and dumping it in the toilet until it is fixed. Sister Zhong taught me. She also taught me that I was just like an Asian because I shower at night and all Asians shower at night. 
     But most of all, I love Sister Zhong. She is the absolute cutest, sweetest, kindest person on this earth. I love her. She speaks extremely impressive English. I love her accent. She mixes up some words that make me giggle. For example she says "somehow" instead of "sometimes." Like, "I love Cheerios but somehow I eat Froot Loops," or "I try to run every day but somehow I walk." It is my favorite thing. We have gotten along so so well and I am happier than ever. She is experienced but doesn't come off that way at all. She is so humble and sweet and quiet. I love learning about her culture and getting to know her! We are so different. She has one younger brother who is 18 and preparing to serve a mission. Her family are the only members in her extended family and they are all converts!! Her parents found the missionaries when they were on vacation and got baptized in ONE WEEK. They came home and Sister Zhong and her brother were baptized about 3 months later, she was 14. 
     Wednesday night we had our first night in our area. Sister Zhong has shotgunned before, so she knows what to do and what is most important (thank goodness). I am learning so much!! The most important thing to do is to get to know the area, the investigators and the ward! We made about 3 thousand phone calls and everyone said they are so excited to have sisters!! We met the Bishop (awesome, young, Filipino man), the entire ward council, and all of our investigators!!! We have so much support from the ward, it sounds like they get really involved, which is awesome! The San Lorenzo ward is bigger than the San Leandro ward, about 300 active members, 200 inactive. It is a little overwhelming to try to learn a whole new ward and city, but we are so lucky to have the Lord on our side. He is helping us so much, and all we can do is our best and be happy!!! Our area has so much potential and we are definitely going to contribute to that goal of 400 baptisms!! I AM SO EXCITED. I love it. I love all of it. 
     For New Year's Eve, we got together as a zone (I am in the same zone as my last area, which is fun because I know everyone and have become very close with a lot of them. It is also fun because my new District Leader is serving in San Leandro, my old area, so I get to hear updates on my people every week!! So fun. I will keep you updated) and watched movies! We watched Big Hero 6 and Inside Out. Both movies have the Golden Gate bridge in them, so that was super fun and exciting (we WAY overreacted). It was so fun to relax and hang out and eat and watch movies, most importantly in sweats. Kissed my family goodnight, and I was asleep long before midnight, just like every year before that. Then it's back to work! 
I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Years!
I feel that this BEAUTIFUL quote my BEAUTIFUL mother sent me kind of sums up my resolution for 2016:

"Jesus is the Love I want to express, the Hope I want to share, the Joy I want to reflect,       and the Peace I want to sow around me." Mother Teresa
Sister Brinton

In N Out
Last District Activity
Sister Nistler
Last car picture together! :(
BYE Sister Harper :(

Sister Zhong
Our massive apartment!!
Courtyard, SO CUTE
We matched on accident :)
Zone activity... New Years Eve
Sister Nistlers cat shirt lol

Sister Obando

my cute asian!!!
Hannah Williams <3

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