Monday, February 1, 2016

Happy February

     I absolutely can NOT believe it is already February. Happy happy February. Sister Zhong and I had such a happy week! We worked closely with the members and worked hard to achieve our goals. We had 8 member present lessons, meaning a member came with us to a lesson 8 times this week. This is unheard of for Visitors' Center sisters haha so we were so so happy. I am truly gaining a testimony of working with the members. We have a fabulous ward here. 
     Sister Frandsen, the Mission President's wife, got to come out with us one night to all of our lessons! Luckily, we had a great night planned and it was so fun to have her with us. She is so fun and kind and sweet. She told us at the end of the night that she was really impressed with our teaching skills and that was good to hear after working so hard to teach with unity with Sister Zhong. It takes a while to adjust to a new companion's teaching style so you can have the Spirit. I love both of them! 
     Sister Zhong had a cold this week, so thats a bummer, but luckily I don't get sick. 
     God is the Author of Diversity. And California is how He manifests that. Seriously. So I am from America (English), Sister Zhong is from China (Mandarin), and we went out knocking doors with a member from Tonga (Tongan). The first door we knocked on was from Mexico (Spanish). The second door we knocked on was from India (Punjabi). The third door we knocked on was from the Philippines (Tagalog). Is that not the most beautiful and incredible thing? Yes, the language barrier is a real problem, but it makes things fun. And I that all happened within a matter of 10 minutes. I love the diversity. I love the culture. I love the people. We are getting pretty good at telling where the person is from just from the outside of their house. Asians always have little slippers outside their door, Indians have cool wreath things that mean "good luck," and Americans have trash and cigarette butts and beer bottles. 
     SO! Our people! Steven is so golden. We went back to teach him and the Spirit was so strong. He doesn't believe in God and it is always so interesting teaching someone from absolute ground zero. It's not: Oh, God called a prophet just like He used to in the old days and now we have the restored Church, the same one Jesus Christ established while He was on the earth. No way. It goes like this: Steven, There is a God. He is your Father, and you are His child. He loves you. He knows you by name! He cries when you cry, and He is happy when you are happy. 
It is lessons like this when the Spirit is the strongest, because we are teaching the solid, simple, ground 0, crucial, basic, powerful, true doctrine of Christ. It is so beautiful. It strengthens my testimony more than ever. I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT. You should see their eyes just light up when they feel that there really might be a slight chance that there is someone out there that loves them.  You should see them listen intently as we teach them how to pray, then see them cautiously kneel down and say the most sincere, heartfelt, simple, powerful, BEAUTIFUL prayer. Oh my heart. I just want to squeal and run around and freak out and hug them. But 1. the Spirit would leave 2. I am not allowed to hug men 3. He would probably never let us come over again. So I control myself and just thank Heavenly Father and smile and tell them how beautiful their prayer was. Then after we leave, I do the freaking out. 
     Ashley and Billy are the two American born Chinese kids we are teaching. They speak fluent English and are just precious. We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 1. Faith 2. Repentance 3. Baptism 4. Gift of the Holy Ghost 5. Endure to the End. At the end of the lesson, Billy, who is 10, goes, "So, the first three are like the steps, and the fourth one is like the present or reward you get after you do the steps, then step 5 tells you to do it all over again!" It was the sweetest, most sincere thing in the world. They are understanding everything perfectly. I love teaching children because the Spirit is so so strong when we teach it simply. No wonder the Savior commanded us to become as little children: they are the most pure, sincere, teachable, humble, and sweet blessings of my life. One other really special thing I have felt as I have taught these children is thinking of them as if they were Hyrum or Porter or Sawyer, my little brothers. Billy is 10, just like Sawyer (I think he's 10) but I just picture as if my sweetest little Sawyer on earth is sitting there in his jammies, holding the scriptures, listening to me teach Him about God. The desire for Billy to understand and to pray and to love God and be baptized is suddenly increased 100 times. But the truth is, he IS my brother, just like Sawyer. So beautiful/makes me miss my snuggle buddy.
      I dont know how many of you remember Mary Miner, I know I mentioned her a little in my last email, but I would just like to remind you her story. She came into the Visitors Center sometime in October, right when I got to the mission. Her boyfriend's name was John, he was a less-active. They sat in front of the Christ Statue and listened to the narration that goes with it. She was sobbing because she loved it so much. The senior couple got their information and sent it to the local missionaries, which was Sister Harper and I!! Halfway through the first lesson Mary said, "Yep. This is it. This is what I have been looking for my whole life. I have been to 100 churches like Joseph Smith, and this is the one. I want to be baptized." Of course I did the freak out thing because I was brand new to the mission and couldnt believe my eyeballs, but the Spirit was so so strong. They got married right after, knowing she couldnt get baptized unless they were married, went to church for like 3 weeks, and then they suddenly packed up and moved to Idaho. We luckily got to keep in contact with them. Satan worked really really hard to stop Mary from being baptized, but good won (of course) and despite all the trials and ups and downs, she was baptized on Saturday at 7. What a beautiful miracle. She told me that they are going to wait until I am home from my mission to get sealed so I can come to her sealing. I am so happy I got to be such a tiny part of this beautiful miracle. 
     One more miracle: We, as Visitors Center Sisters, answer chats. This one man came on asking about the Priesthood. We talked for a while, then he said he was pretty interested in our church and I asked him if he had a Book of Mormon. He said he indeed had one and was actually reading it. I told him of Moroni's promise that if he read it with faith and real intent, the Spirit would testify to him that what he was reading is true. He didnt answer for a while and I thought he logged off, but soon he responded and said, "Wow. I have never felt like this before. I dont know why, but when I read those words, I cried! I dont know what this feeling is but I have never been so happy in my life!" I explained that I cry when I feel the Spirit too, and that happiness and peace he feels is because the Holy Ghost was telling him that what he was reading is true. He was so so so so happy and told me, "I can't wait to become a member of your church." This was just a simple chat, but I would like to testify of the power of the Book of Mormon. It's true. It is so true. It holds a power that cannot be found any where else. It is changing people's lives each and every day, let it change yours! Read it! Study it! You will find answers, you will feel the Spirit, you will become more motivated to repent and pray and most importantly, you will come closer to the Savior, for it testifies of His life profoundly, on every page.
  My sweetest Gram shared this quote with me:
"So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment. We cant direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails for maximum happiness, peace, and contentment. May we choose a positive attitude."
President Thomas S. Monson

I would like to add my testimony to the Apostle Paul's:
"The Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions wait for me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear to myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." 
Acts 20:19-14

Let us be happy and keep the commandments and read the Book of Mormon, for they go hand in hand. 
Love love love
Sister Brinton


Sister Frandsen

Ashley, Toby, Billy, Sister Zhong (ABC (american born chinese) kids we are teaching)

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