Monday, February 29, 2016

20

  Can I please just start of by THANKING each & every one of you from the bottom of my heart! My sweetest Momma compiled a book of all the scriptures, testimonies, stories, and kind words you sent for me for my birthday. I cannot express my GRATITUDE for you and your love and support. Your testimonies strengthen mine. I was overcome with joy. I feel extremely undeserving of the powerful words that each of you shared with me. I also feel extremely unworthy to have the family and friends that I do! I will strive to live worthy of your love and friendship!! I know it probably seemed so simple to you, but that was a sacred gift to me. Thank you. 
   My birthday was one of the most special ever! My district sang to me at sports in the morning. Sister Fetzer continued to sing to me throughout the day, despite her extreme tone-deafness. I love it. LOVE her. Sister Harper (my trainer) brought me CHICKFILA because she knoooows it's my favorite. Love her. For dinner, we went over to this cute old lady's home. She threw a party for the three of us and we had pizza and root beer (caffeine free of course) and they sang to me and she gave me a gift. We listened to her tell INCREDIBLE stories from her FIVE missions all over the world. That night we had a lesson with Jessica and they gave me cupcakes and a gift and sang to me! So sweet. 
   Then we went over to have a lesson with Ashley and Billy (the two Chinese kids who had baptismal dates). We knocked on the door and Billy answered it, but kept the screen closed. He usually lets us right in so I was like "hi.....whats wrong?" He looked around, looked down at the ground, shuffled his feet, and my heart started RACING. I was like, "Billy, what's wrong!" After like 2 minutes he FINALLY let us in and told us that his parents said they werent allowed to come to our church anymore and we aren't allowed to come over. He wouldnt make eye contact with us. I was SOBBING. Sister Fetzer had to do all the talking. My heart was seriously broken. It felt like it weighed 3 million pounds. I just wanted to hug them and cry and cry and cry. We had to say goodbye, forever. I probably wont see them again in this life. It was like I was saying bye to my very own siblings. Seeing how sad they were just made it worse. 
   BUT I know that the Lord has a plan for them. I know they will find the church again one day and be FAITHFUL members. We were just a seed. I am SO grateful that I got to be that seed!! What a precious experience. These are two choice children of God. I know everything will be okay, which makes it easier to deal with but I was so so sad. And it HAD to be on my birthday :( 
  Then we went to visit a Chinese less active and they were having a barbecue. We went to their backyard and I was able to get my mind off Ashley and Billy by eating a spicy hot dog on a stick with chunks in it and an oyster and listening to lots of Chinese people. Sister Fetzer and I made hilarious videos that night of us sucking out the helium out of my birthday balloon. We were teaching the Restoration in our high pitch voices and dying laughing. 
  After a while, the sorrow returned and my heart was so heavy. That's right when I opened my birthday package and got the book of scriptures from my Momma from all of you! As I began to read, I was OVERCOME with peace. Every single one of you said something PERFECT that I needed to hear. Your scriptures were of 
HOPE
PEACE
FAITH
TRUSTING in the Lord
& feeling of His love.
Each of you bore your testimonies of how you knew God loved you and has a plan, how we need to trust Him. The Spirit was so strong as I read these scriptures and your words. I knew in my heart that everything was going to be okay and that God has a plan for Ashley and Billy. I was filled with comfort that you had been through hard times too and found peace and direction through the scriptures. You might think I am making such a difference, but TRULY, you are making a difference in MY life. You are an answer to my prayers! I cant thank you enough for providing me with that peace and healing when I was in desperate need of it. Thank you. 
   Some of you might remember Roslynn, one of my investigators in my last area San Leandro. She has been investigating FOREVER and right when she committed to baptism, she broke her foot. Then I was transferred. The Elders in San Leandro continued to teach her and SHE WAS BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY! Since she is still in my zone, I was able to go to her baptism!! It was 5 minutes until it was supposed to start and she still hadnt showed up. 15 minutes later we started to get so nervous. We called her and she didnt answer. She has been known to flake out on baptisms before, so we were pretty nervous. I suggested to Sister Fetzer that we say a prayer. We knelt down right where we were and said a simple prayer. We opened our eyes and she walked in the room, "Sorry I'm late guys!" OH MY HEART. I thought I was dreaming. Heavenly Father heard our desperate plea and we witnessed a miracle. It was one of the most powerful experiences ever. FINALLY seeing her in white after so much she had been through was so rewarding. She was so happy. They asked me to say the opening prayer and I could BARELY get through it. The Spirit was so strong, as was not only my love for her, but Heavenly Father's. I think He is up there just BEAMING! Another one of His children entering into the covenant of baptism! When she came up out of the water, she just stood there, took a huge deep breath, looked up and me, and said, "wow." OH! I wish all of you could have been there! FINALLY! So beautiful. She looked like an angel. 
   Tori came to church and we have been teaching her & her PARENTS! WHOO HOO! I told you how nice they were, and I invited them to "hear what Tori was learning," (so sneaky) and they have just embraced it! They dont feel ready to come to church but I know they feel the truth of our message. The mom cried when we explained the Atonement and how because of Jesus Christ we have hope. She doesnt like Him right now. I am soo grateful that I have the opportunity to be the one to tell people
THERE IS HOPE
YOU CAN CHANGE
YOU CAN BE HAPPY
THERE IS A GOD
and HE LOVES YOU and KNOWS YOU
It blows my mind how people live without this knowledge. We ask ADULTS, "why do you think we are here on earth?" or "what is the point of life?" It breaks my heart how many grown adults say that they have NO idea or they have never thought about it....... We are SO blessed to have this message of peace and hope and light! ah
   Transfers are March 29th and when we told Jessica that we might leave, we might stay, she said, "Well I will have to be baptized before then for sure!!" She is meeting with the Bishop this week and we are setting a date! She loves the church and knows its true. 
   At one point, she said, "I don't know if I believe that there are three kingdoms. Would this be something that kept me from being baptized?" Thanks to my recent studies (this is why we study so hard, so we can have the Spirit and answer hard questions with love), I knew how to answer her!! I said, "Jessica, you dont have to believe that there are three kingdoms. You need to find out that the Book of Mormon is true, because then you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that this is the true church, and that it is run by revelation from God. If you believe this, you wont care if there are three kingdoms. You will trust revelation and embrace it." It made complete sense to her and it strengthened my testimony SO MUCH of that simple truth. We dont need to worry about the silly details. Just focus on the big picture. 
   Tristan met with the Bishop and his date is March 12th! His uncle is coming to baptize him and he is so awesome! I love him. Miracle. 
   Gaby is probably the sweetest cutest thing on earth. She went to the Relief Society activity and is already best friends with half the ward. Her fiance came with her to church!! He said he is interested in learning more! We know that Gaby's goal is to be sealed in the temple. Oh my heart. We had a beautiful lesson with her about the plan of salvation. Her prayer at the end was SO sincere, SO humble, and heartfelt. She thanked God for leading her. She asked Him to strengthen her. She asked Him to soften her husbands heart. She told Him that she wanted to follow Him. TEARS. I've never heard anything like it. She just told us that they are getting married in April and she is getting baptized right after! I am PRAYING that I am still here. Miracle.
  The temporary Visitors' Center has been fun! We only have two short shifts a week. I love being on temple grounds. It is so beautiful and sacred! We have been joking, "aren't all visitors temporary?" Get it... temporary visitors... I love the senior couples that we serve with. 
   I am looking forward to another BEAUTIFUL week here in the bay area. I am happier than ever. This is such a wonderful work. I cant believe how fast it is going by! SLOW DOWN! I am so lucky to be serving with Sister Fetzer while we are full proselyting because we get along perfectly. We teach in unity, at a level that takes months to reach. We just clicked. I love her. I also love that fact that I can tease her because I am such a tease and she is a good sport. The Lord is blessing us with SO many miracles, I am just in AWE of His power and love and direction. Luckily we are never alone! I hope I can work up to be worthy of these miracles!
  Thanks again for e v e r y t h i n g. 
 LOVE
Sister Brinton
Bro and Sis Nielson

Birthday Lunch



My birthday

20 years old



jessica and sister davis

chick fil a from Sis Harper

Matthew, a homeless man, played a full harp song for us in Taco Bell

Temporary Visitors' Center

Aren't all the visitors temporary?? hahaha
Add caption


Love her

Roslynn got BAPTIZED! So glad we could be there.




I love the rain

Monday, February 22, 2016

MIRACLE WEEK

    I seriously don't even know where to start. This week absolutely changed my mission. I have never seen so many beautiful miracles in my life. I am in AWE and utterly humbled. I think this week was the happiest I have ever been on my mission, maybe my life. I could feel God working through me.  The Spirit was so strong. It was SO much fun. We worked SO hard and had so much success. At the beginning of the week, we said, "We are going to see miracles." We prayed prayed prayed. The 400 goal our mission has set it so real. My testimony of the Lord's hand and TIMING in this beautiful work, not only here, but all around the world, has been strengthened 100 fold. His hand is guiding this work. Perfectly. He knows and loves all of His children. He answers prayers of pleading, tired, faithful, repentant missionaries. He loves His missionaries. He is walking beside us. When we pray and do our part, He leads us to the Elect!! I love the work. I love this area. I just want ALL OF YOU to come out here with me and just spend a day teaching and enjoying the beautiful weather and Spirit here in California. AH!
     Okay, I will try to put all these miracles into words. 
     We went to visit a former investigator and ran into this Filipino lady named Bherney on the street. She was just the sweetest angel and we talked all about the Book of Mormon. She wants to come to church and learn more about it! The Lord definitely placed her in our path. 
    We went to give a Book of Mormon to someone who had requested one online. We knocked and he opened the door and was like, "that was fast!" He has ordered it about 20 minutes before. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and eternal families and he said he wants to learn more!
     We have a big list of people called "Former Investigators" which means people who took lessons from the missionaries a long time ago. We "randomly" (nothing is random, especially in missionary work, it is all TOTALLY the Lord) picked this woman in her 20's named Gaby. We pulled up in front of her house and she pulled in the driveway 2 minutes later. We went up to her door and knocked. She opened the door, sighed a relief, said hi, and let us in (which never happens). She said she was surprised we caught her because she is never home. She said she was going to the store, but she felt like she needed to come home first. She practically told us that we were an answer to her prayers and that she was ready to be baptized. She asked us all about eternal marriage. She is engaged to her boyfriend right now and they are planning on getting married in December. I told her she couldnt get baptized until she was married and she said, "oh okay then I definitely have to get married before then! Could your Bishop do it?" She has a beautiful 2-year old daughter. Her husband is completely supportive. She said, "Could you tell me more about the Book of Mormon?" It's like no, sorry, we are super busy. haha OF COURSE. We were in shock. She practically bore her testimony to us about the Word of Wisdom. She asked us if she could come to church on Sunday. She came to Tori's baptism and loved it. It was nothing we did or said. It was all her being prepared by the Lord. She is SO ready. I love her with all my heart and am SO grateful the Lord guided us right to her so we could be an answer to her prayers.
     A member in our ward named Chloe has been bringing this guy Tristan to church. I thought he was a member for the past month and I finally asked someone and they told me he wasnt! I quickly texted Chloe and asked, "Does your friend want to meet with us?" She texted back 2 minutes later, "yes." We went over that night and taught the Restoration with her entire family and he committed to baptism. 
   A member in our ward named Sister Davis has a friend Jessica that we have been trying to meet forever. We finally set up a meeting with her. We taught the Restoration and Book of Mormon and Premortal Life. You could see her eyes lighting up. She was on the edge of her seat, soaking it all in. At the end she goes, "How could anyone NOT believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet?? And how could anyone believe the Bible, but not the Book of Mormon??" Hahahaha that is MUSIC to missionaries' ears. I just laughed and was like, "I KNOW RIGHT?" She came to church on Sunday and wants to be baptized.
   There is something so special and inexplicable about teaching the gospel to someone and watching it CLICK in their brains. It sounds familiar to them, because they HAVE heard it before. We aren't teaching them, we are reminding them. They know this stuff, they knew it before they came to earth! They CHOSE Heavenly Father's plan. Their eyes light up and they are just like, "This just all makes so much sense." These are the prepared people the Lord leads us to. We don't even do anything! We just love them and teach with the Spirit, and the Lord does the rest. We are just tools! The Lord is working miracles. It is the most beautiful, rewarding, precious, heavenly thing. 
    Tori was baptized on Saturday! She was sooo soooo nervous before and we had to like BEG her to change into her jumper. Then we forgot a towel and had a member go grab one for us. Then they forgot a key to the font, but the Bishop saved the day. Luckily it was in the Lord's hands and he MIRACULOUSLY works everything out haha. The baptism went beautifully. Watching her come up out of the water wearing all white just makes your heart feel like its going to flutter out of your chest and into the font. Her mom, dad, and brother all came! None of them are members. Her mom came over to me afterwards with tears in her eyes and said, "I can't thank you enough for everything you have done. She has changed so much for the better. She is a whole new person, so much happier. Thank you."  
   Absolute miracles. I wouldnt trade this for the world. I would get 1000 doors slammed in my face if I could re-live this week. This is what makes it ALL worth it. The Lord's hand and timing are so perfectly involved in this miraculous work. I am so humbled and grateful to be a teeny, tiny part of it. I am the happiest and most excited EVER. We will see success in San Lorenzo as we continue to rely on Him and work hard and have faith and listen to the Spirit! People's lives are changing. I am so happy. 
   This is part of Elder Caeden Knight's testimony (serving in Nicaragua): 

"How many times do we say that we believe in miracles and that God is great when we are seeing miracles happen? But when trials come, how many times do we begin to doubt? If we are believers not only during times of miracles, but also in times of trial, the Lord will strengthen us and help us to overcome them."

  We had Chinese food the other night and my fortune cookie said, "You will be rewarded for your hard work this past month." So inspired.
  It has definitely been different being in our area full time, but as we were planning for our next week, we felt like we didnt have enough time to do everything!! We were like, "How did we ever do this with the VC schedule?" haha I love being full proselyting!! The Lord obviously prepared these people for us when we had time to teach all of them!! 
  During our stake conference broadcast, Elder Renlund said something that really stuck out to me. Instead of saying, "sin," he said "plan-stopping behavior" or "plan-stopping choice." Something keeping the Plan of Happiness from working: word of wisdom, not being married in the temple, not repenting, not forgiving. I love this idea! The Plan is so central and essential to our lives. We must remember the Plan in every decision we make. We must ask ourselves, "Is this choice in accordance with the Plan? Am I moving the Plan forward or am I stopping it?" 
  One last thing I came across in my studies:

"Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand."
Jacob 4:10

   I think of this in relationship to our prayers. Do I tell Him what to do? Do I give Him options? Okay Heavenly Father, here are the choices. Am I truly seeking His will for me? or am I seeking to find the answer want? Do I think I know best? Am I prideful? Are my prayers the will of Christ, words He would speak, questions he would ask? or do my prayers come from the selfishness of my heart? Do I seek to counsel the Lord? or do I seek counsel from his hand? Do I seek His will? I do I trust that He knows best? Am I willing to submit? Am I humble? Do I search sincerely for answers from Him?  These were some questions I asked myself as I read this scripture. 
  Sending love and prayers in return to all of your for all of yours!! 
Always Always,
Sister Brinton

Toby
Tori
Tori's Baptism

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sister Fetzer

Hi Hi!
   So my new companion, Sister Fetzer, is a breath of FRESH AIR. I love her. She is so fun and talkative and bold and outgoing and silly. We get along super well & tease each other like crazy. She LOVES the ward and the area and we are happy happy happy. :)
   We had stake conference on Sunday and so I got to see everyone from the San Leandro ward! It was so fun to see Roslyn (who has a baptismal date) and Ann Helen and some of my favorite members! Its like seeing your family. 
   I was borrowing another missionaries GPS because she didnt need it. But she needed it back the other day so we were GPS-less for a night. We literally didnt even know what to do. So we remembered that maps exist and brought this HUGE map in the car with us. When we unfolded it in the car it filled up the whole front hahah we were laughing so hard. Turns out I actually know the area better than I thought and maps work! I am eternally grateful for GPSs and wouldnt have lasted my whole mission without one. Props to you Momma and Daddie & many others who served their missions without a car or GPS. I honestly think it was the first time I have ever used a map in my life. A member is letting us borrow hers so, all is well. What an adventure. :)
   The Visitors Center is officially CLOSED for renovations for 6-8 weeks!! So so sad. I miss it already. So we will be full proselyting in our area! This means we will get so so much done spending all our time there. I will miss the VC & my sisters and senior couples a ton, but it will be a nice break! I am glad I get to have this full pros time with Sister Fetzer because there is never a dull moment. Ever. 
   Our members have a 1 year old son named Isaac and he is the most PRECIOUS thing on the earth. He volunteered to be my valentine. Best valentine ever, besides my sweetheart brothers & Daddie of course. 
We got to go to the temple today! It was the most wonderful, peaceful, renewing, and beautiful experience. I stepped inside and one of the temple workers looked at me and said, "welcome to the temple." Tears. I was so grateful to be there. SO grateful. Its like quenching your thirst. The peace & unconditional love I felt was CLEARLY from up above. Nothing this world could provide.  
  Creepy experience: We were at the VC, normal day, two guys walked in, didn't think anything of it. Welcomed them, introduced myself, and got to know them a little. One of the guys dads used to be a mormon but "studied his way out of it."
Then I invited them to listen to the Christus and they were extremely hesitant. They finally agreed and we watched it and were talking afterwards. The one guy was kind of debating,,, he wasnt rude but he was definitely passive aggressive. He began talking a lot about the Bible. The things that he was saying werent off the wall crazy, they were kind of like twisted slightly, kind of slyly. I could tell they came from anti-mormon stuff. You can definitely tell when someone is sincerely interested and when someone just wants to argue or debate. I started to feel really weird then he CHALLENGED US, which NEVER happens. He said, "I invite you to really think about what you believe, you know you cant always trust your feelings." All of the sudden, I am not kidding, clear as day, I got the sickest feeling and the Spirit told me that he wasn't of this world or something. I looked at him and his eyes got all dark, not dark like brown the color, but like DARK. Hard to explain. And he was handsome and smiling and got super nice and like thanked us for our time and was super nice. It was the creepiest thing EVER I was shaking........
He literally came in to try to make me doubt my beliefs. If I picture Satan or one of his workers, he is what I picture: a normal looking guy, handsome, kind, smiling, looking you right in the eye.
Then one of the sisters heard him say as he was leaving, "I am done trying with that one." Maybe he was one of Satan's workers coming to try to sway me from my beliefs.............. Good thing for Helaman 5:12, which was RINGING through my mind the whole day:

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

   I would like to share something I have been seeing a theme of in my life this past week.
fear not
  I was nervous about getting a new companion, but I trusted in the Lord and prayed my guts out and Sister Fetzer is an answer to my prayers. I didnt need to fear, I knew the Lord would take care of me and that He has a plan for ME. He knows what we need, when we need it. He is perfect. He knows everything. We dont need to fear because our lives are in His hands, and what hallowed hands. Then in stake conference, the last talk was Fear Not. He gave 3 steps of things that will help us to not fear. 
1. Keep your eyes fixed on the Lord
2. Trust in the Lord & the power of His deliverance
3. Stand with the church & its leadership
What beautiful counsel from God's mouthpiece. This is God's advice to us, not from some random person. Literally from GOD. GOD is telling us not to fear. He is telling us to keep our eyes FIXED on him. He is telling us to TRUST Him and His power to deliver us. He is telling us to stand with the church and His chosen apostles and prophets. I pray that we can apply each of these into our lives and FEAR NOT. 
This morning in the temple (I know this sounds so cliche) but I sat down in the waiting room, giddy to be there, just soaking it all in, and I picked up a triple combination and turned right to D&C 98:

1 Verily I say unto you my friends, fear notlet your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;
Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.
3 Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.
  I dont think this theme has been coming into my life because I am scared all the time or something, but it has been a good reminder. We have nothing to fear with the Lord on our side. Trust Him. He will never let us down. I know this from experience. We dont need to fear the future, trials, people, Satan, sickness, death, sin, nothing! He overcame all of it. Without Jesus Christ, we would need to fear for sure. He is the Prince of Peace. He is my light and my joy. I love Him. Do not fear! 
I absolutely love you,
Sister Brinton :))
Sister Fetzer
My friend from the MTC sent me an Oregon Ducks shirt. He is serving there. I guess I'm an Oregon Ducks Fan now! ;0

The night we had to use a map

Happy Birthday Sister Fetzer

Hawaiian BBQ for Sis Fetzers birthday lunch

Happy Valentines Day
District activity

Temple day








Elder Cruz

My district


Monday, February 8, 2016

Xin Nian Kuai le!

Xin Nian Kuai Le!
Kuai Le Zhong Guo Nian!
aka 
  Happy Chinese New Year!!!! No, I would not be this into it if Sister Zhong was not my companion, but hey! Why not. I wanted to make her day really special because Chinese New Year is a BIG deal in China, as big as Christmas in America, so I took her to an American restaurant and we had burgers and fries and shakes! She told me, "This was the most American Chinese New Year I have ever had." Your welcome.
  Sister Zhong and I both had colds this week. I guess I jinxed myself last week saying I never get sick. We share everything, why not a cold?  So this week involved a whole lot of tissues and soup and sleep! But that doesn't stop us from the work! We seriously made it a goal to get through a full prayer without coughing, sneezing, snorting, or blowing our nose. I think we made it once! I am feeling much better though.
  This week was BEAUTIFUL weather. I think it was 65, 68, 75, and 78 today! The sunshine seriously changes everything. I am happier and more excited and enthusiastic. I LOVE IT. I love the weather and the palm trees and the breeze and the ocean smell. Best ever. 
  I could not believe some of the excuses we were getting as we knocked doors this week and I had to write some of them down. Let me just say that these excuses do not come up until we say that we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints, then they are suddenly the most urgent excises imaginable. 
-"I am in the middle of cooking something and I dont want it to burn."
-"I just got diagnosed with this terrible virus" *fake coughs*
-one time they said no because it was US that had a cold haha I guess it is pretty rude to ask if we can come in when we are coughing and sneezing. Oops. But I think salvation is worth a cold. 
-I also love it when the phone rings with the most important phone call on the earth RIGHT when they open the door and see us. 
One of my favorites: 
-"It is my 1 year old niece's birthday in a month."
  No joke. In my head I said, "what in the heck does that have to do with anything?" But out loud I said, "Oh, okay, are you in charge of that?" And she said that she was and she was just getting stuff ready for it. Ohhhhhhhhh okay gotchaaaaaaaaaaaaa. That must be one awesome birthday party, can we come and share a message of Jesus Christ with your one year old niece in a month?
  So Ashley and Billy, our Chinese investigators, ask Heavenly Father in EVERY SINGLE PRAYER to help them find their playdough. I guess they lost it a while ago. I couldnt bear it any more so I went and bought them playdough. At the end of our lesson, which began and ended with a prayer asking for playdough, I told them I had a surprise for them and they SQUEALED when they saw the playdough. so cute. I love them. 
  We taught them fasting the other day and when we were done, Billy goes, "I am fasting tomorrow." We were like, "oh you can just do it on this Sunday on fast Sunday." (shame on us) and he was like, "nope, I am doing it tomorrow, breakfast and lunch." The next time we saw him he was SO proud to tell us that he had in fact fasted two whole meals. So cute. So sincere and precious.
  Tori still has a baptismal date for February 20. We had to move Ashley and Billy's date to March 5th because they havent been to church yet due to complicated schedules. It is Satan's favorite thing to get in our way. Idiot. But other than that, we are struggling to get return appointments with people and are going to focus on finding some new investigators. 
  TRANSFERS are TOMORROW. I can't believe this transfer is already over. Sister Zhong and I were for SURE planning on staying together in San Lorenzo because we have only been together one transfer. We got a call telling us what was happening in the zone and they told us, to our complete and utter surprise to the dropping of jaws, that Sister Zhong is getting transferred to Oakland and I am staying here and getting a new companion!! Crazy. The only thing in the mission that is constant is change haha. I am going to miss her. I learned so much from her. This is her last transfer! She goes home in March. 
  My new companion is Sister Fetzer, also Chinese! She grew up in Canton, China, Mainland China, until she was 13, then she was adopted into a Mormon family of 13 kids. She has been out about  months. I am so excited!! I hope she loves San Lorenzo as much as I do and that she is ready to FIND! What an adventure. :))
  I learned and experienced so much this week that I am not sure what I want to share. I would like to share part of a talk I read this week. Hold On Thy Way by Koichi Aoyagi:

   "The Lord God declared, 'And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.'
  The principle is that the God who created the heavens and the earth knows the grand design of this earth, that He has dominion over all things in the heavens and the earth, and that in order to bring to pass the plan of salvation, He provides us with many different experiences, including some trials, while we are on this earth.
   And the Lord said the following to Joseph Smith: 'Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. … Therefore, hold on thy way … , for God shall be with you forever and ever.' The trials of this earth are a part of the plan of salvation and are inevitable experiences. It is necessary for us to“hold on [our] way” and accept our trials with faith. However, the purpose of our lives is not merely to endure trials. Heavenly Father sent His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior and Redeemer so we could overcome the trials we face on this earth; in other words, He makes our weak things become strong, He atones for our sins and our imperfections, and He makes it possible for us to obtain immortality and eternal life. 
   President Henry B. Eyring stated: 'The test a loving God has set before us is not to see if we can endure difficulty. It is to see if we can endure it well. We pass the test by showing that we remembered Him and the commandments He gave us.'
  'Hold on thy way' is a key choice during times of trial. Turn your heart to God, especially when you face trials. Humbly obey the commandments of God. Show faith to reconcile your wishes with the will of God."

  I absolutely love this. I was grateful for this gentle reminder one morning this week during personal study. I know Heavenly Father loves us SO much that He gives us trials to grow. It is easier said than done, but our trials will be for our good, because they help us become more like Him! But we have to believe this. We have to have faith that there is a better world waiting for us if we hold on our way and that our trials will be worth it!! 

"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

I can't express my gratitude for all of your love and support and prayers and fasting!! 
I love you. 
Love,
Sister Brinton (or, as Sister Zhong says it, Seestair Breen-tone)

church building
district

Chipotle is my life
my district leader, Elder Meier
Celebrating the Chinese New Year american style
me and my chocolate milkshake


eggs and hash browns 0:)
celebrating the chinese new year
Transfers

Saying goodbye to sister Zhong

Sister Benosa!