Monday, March 28, 2016

Spring is in the Air

Hi Hi
   Spring is in the air. Tulips are everywhere. The sun is shining bright along with our smiles and spirits!!! Happy Happy Happy
 We had Zone Conference this week, but instead of doing it with a few zones combined, we did it with just our zone! It was nice to be more one on one! We received a training on short and powerful lessons. Instead of going into their home, chatting, going through every detail, the Spirit starts to leave, you get off topic, end the lesson, keep chatting for 10 minutes. We were trained to go in, get started, go briefly through the pamphlet with power and testimony so they feel the Spirit, invite them to do something, pray, and leave while they are still feeling the Spirit. They went into more detail and it is SO powerful!! Sister Fetzer and I tried it out for one of our lessons and lets just say it is going to take some practice because our lessons are a lot longer than they should be. BUT we will work on it!
  Easter was wonderful and happy and peaceful. We got to go to this amazing performance called the Lamb of God, which is a choir/performance with characters depicting the Savior's life! It was so beautiful. I gained a whole new perspective on Easter and the Atonement and His Resurrection this Easter as a missionary that I hope to carry on throughout my life! My love and appreciation for Him is growing deeper and deeper every day! 
  Tristan was baptized!!!!! It was stress-free and I got to give the talk on baptism. The Spirit was so strong and he was the happiest I have ever seen him. His whole nonmember family came to support him!! I love Tristan. 
  The womens session of General Conference was powerful! All about service. Really touched my heart and motivated me to work even harder and forget about myself! One thing I loved that President Eyring shared was that he was trying to "fit his little part into His great composition." The Lord has a huge, beautiful, grand plan and we are His hands here on the earth, just trying to fit our tiny little part into His great composition.
  We had our first lesson with Rob and it went well! David accepted baptism! Gaby is doing AWESOME. Tori is doing okay, kind of starting to slip. Teenagers are hard (lol I was one like 2 months ago)
  TRANSFERS! Sister Fetzer is leaving! She isnt going too far. We will still be in the same district!! I am staying here in San Lorenzo (YES!) and Sister Benosa will be my companion! I serve with her in the Visitors Center. We are really really good friends and I LOVE her to death. We have both been looking forward to being companions our whole missions! She is teeny tiny so cute Filipino. I guess I get along with Asians because this is my third Asian companion haha. I will miss Sister Fetzer but I am so happy to be staying and so excited for Sister Benosa to come here! I have been in this zone my whole mission! I am also so happy that I get to be here when the Visitors Center re-opens late April. 
  In the Book of Mormon, King Zeniff passes the throne down to his son, Noah. Thus comes the reign of wicked King Noah. 

"He did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart." Mosiah 11:2

  This is interesting to me because it implies that he didn't want to keep the commandments. He did what HE wanted, not what GOD wanted. For a righteous prophet it could say, "He kept the commandments of God, and he did walk after the desires of his own heart." The natural man is an enemy to God and His commandments. The natural man is self-centered, prideful, stubborn, ect. If we followed the desires of our "natural-man" heart, we won't want to keep the commandments. It takes time, training, self-discipline, humility, prayer, ect. to WANT to keep the commandments. I hope "the desires of [my] own heart" will be keeping the commandments and being righteous and faithful. 
  Come up with some questions or concerns that you have this week so you can bring them in your heart and mind to the Lord while you watch General Conference. He will answer your prayers. He will calm your fears. He will bring peace to your troubled life. He will bring clarity to your mind. And all of this through his chosen apostles and prophets. They are speaking His words. It's as if Jesus Christ were there at the pulpit, speaking to us!! Seriously!! He is the head of this church and these men and women are his mouth piece! Having a living prophet on the earth today, President Thomas S Monson, is a HUGE manifestation of God's love for His children. He will never leave us alone in the dark not knowing where to go or what to do. He gives us a prophet to show us the way! And to remind us that He loves us and that He LIVES. He does live. Thank goodness. 
Happy Spring! Smile! Serve! Love! Lift!
Sister Brinton
District Hike

Zone Conference

Our zone
Our ward mission leader, Bro Broberg and his precious son

A fun wall in downtown Oakland

One of my favorite members Sister Davis!
Asians can sit like this. I can if I have something to hold onto. I'm learning the Asian ways.

Easter eggs

Sports with our Zone - outside rugby

Tristans Baptism

Tristans family

This was on the back of what I was cutting out. hahaha

succulents everywhere
Tristan and Chloe

Elder Meier and Elder Lui

Happy Easter

Sister Palu
Sister Benosa

Monday, March 21, 2016

New Life

Hi all you beautiful people!
Wow, another week of miracles, another happy Sister Brinton, another sunny day in California! 
  Tristan is getting baptized on Saturday! So exciting. Everything is all lined up and we are praying things go as planned! He is great. Please keep him in your prayers this week.
  Gaby is doing awesome! Coming to church, reading, meeting with us, going to activities. AH! Planning on being baptized April 16th. Her husbands heart is softening. 
  We found 3 AMAZING new investigators this week. wow. One is a members husband. They just got married a month ago! The wife is the (returning) member and he is the non-member from Guatemala. David. We offered him spanish missionaries but he wants to learn english! We had the first lesson yesterday and it went so well. He is so sweet and sincere. My heart was beating hard while testifying that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. We asked him what he believes about God and he said in his broken english, "your body is weak without food after a while, your spirit is weak without God for a while." He loved the idea of a broken heart and contrite spirit and can feel the truth of that. He said the kneeling closing prayer in Spanish and I dont know what he said, but it sounded so sincere. The Spirit was there for sure.
  One is a referral from another set of sisters. His name is Jairo. We had been over to his house like 5 times and he was never there, he would never answer the phone. Usually we would just give up, but we didnt. We went back really late at night, hoping he would be home. We said, "okay if he is not home, we are done trying to contact him." We pulled up and there was this HUGE bulldog in the driveway with no fence barking its head off. I know that was Satan trying to get in our way. We prayed for protection and ran to the door. The dog was no where to be seen. We knocked and waited for 4 or 5 minutes. Nothing. We got back in our car and were driving away and Sister Fetzer goes, "WAIT! SISTER BRINTON! HE'S THERE!" We quickly pulled over, didnt think a thing about the dog, and ran over to him. He was on his porch and he was so happy to see us. He thanked us for not giving up on him and asked if he could come to church on Sunday. I think we are passing him to the Spanish sisters but its all going towards the 400!
  Another one is a random guy we started talking to on the street. Rob. He was cleaning his motorcycle and we walked over and he was very open and kind and friendly. A really, really cool guy. He practically bore his testimony to us about Jesus Christ and the Atonement. We had dinner with him at a members home and he is so golden. So exciting! 
  Our Mission President has encouraged a focus on becoming more purpose-centered missionaries. Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I noticed that I had been caught up in numbers a little bit. Just going to teach people because I wanted a certain number of lessons that day. I read a talk on becoming more focused on my purpose and BRINGING PEOPLE TO CHRIST. That night, I found myself sitting in the messy home of a less active listening to her talk about all of her problems. I sadly had the pathetic and embarrassing thought, "unless we have a lesson, this wont be a key indicator." In other words, unless we can get her to stop talking, we wont have a lesson and the visit will be for nothing. The Spirit quietly and kindly rebuked me and reminded me what I had learned that morning. Its not about numbers. Its not about key indicators. Its not about giving a lesson. I was here to represent Jesus Christ and listen to her and love her and show understanding and compassion. As I changed my attitude, the Spirit filled the room. I saw her with different eyes. I listened sincerely. I forgot about the numbers. As we said a sweet prayer with her, she shared with us how much it meant to her that we came to visit and that she feels light around us, that we provide her with hope and a reminder that God loves her. I am SO grateful that I was prompted to "forget myself and go to work." Powerful and humbling moment I will never forget
   Sister Fetzer is probably one of my favorite people on the planet earth. She makes me laugh SO hard. The cupboard was squeaking and she told it to quit whining. She gets car sick when she texts so I text at stop lights (don't tell on me) and she tells me when it's green. She has had SO much fun with this by saying things like, "it's still red" or "the other lane is green" or "its green but the cars aren't moving yet." hahahaha love it. We tease each other, so that's been nice because I am a teaser and my brothers aren't here for me to tease.
  We had stake conference this weekend so I got to see a bunch of my friends from the San Leandro ward! We heard great talks on facing adversity and trusting the Lord. Adversity is ESSENTIAL for us to fulfill the plan of happiness. It is an opportunity for growth. Our stake president gave us 4 points to facing adversity or trials:
  1. Prepare to respond to adversity BEFORE it arrives.
  2. Reach out to others for strength and support
  3. Service will help us turn outwards
  4. God is our ULTIMATE source of strength and peace
  We got to go to a fireside with Studio C (a famous mormon Youtube group apparently).
  We went to lunch with a group of widows in our ward who named themselves the JOY group (just over youth). 
  We got to go on a hike today and it was probably one of the most refreshing and rejuvenating things I have done on my mission. I realized that I havent been on a hike or in nature or outside for like 6 months!! I am NOT a city girl and I was totally feeling cooped up in our apartment and car and city, so to be able to get out and walk and feel the cool breeze and mountains and a lake and trees, AH! It healed my soul.
  I started reading Jesus the Christ by James E Talmage and I am in love with it! I cant put it down! For those of you who don't know, it is a book all about Jesus Christ's life, teachings, miracles, purpose, history, EVERYTHING. It is so powerful and I highly recommend all to read it if you havent yet, or again if you have. It has strengthened my testimony of the REALITY of our Savior and my love for Him. I have felt closer to Him and my Heavenly Father. I wanted to share a passage that has touched my heart and also because it is Easter this Sunday, the day we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

  The atonement was plainly to be a vicarious sacrifice, voluntary and love-inspired on the Savior’s part, universal in its application to mankind so far as men shall accept the means of deliverance thus placed within their reach. Jesus Christ was the only Being suited to the requirements of the great sacrifice.
  What other man has been without sin, and therefore wholly exempt from the dominion of Satan, and to whom death, the wage of sin, is not naturally due? Had Jesus Christ met death as other men have done—the result of the power that Satan has gained over them through their sins—His death would have been but an individual experience, expiatory in no degree of any faults or offenses but His own. Christ’s absolute sinlessness made Him eligible, His humility and willingness rendered Him acceptable to the Father, as the atoning sacrifice whereby propitiation could be made for the sins of all men.
  So, for the advancement of man from his present fallen and relatively degenerate state to the higher condition of spiritual life, a power above his own must cooperate. Through the operation of the laws obtaining in the higher kingdom man may be reached and lifted; himself he cannot save by his own unaided effort. A Redeemer and Savior of mankind is beyond all question essential to the realization of the plan of the Eternal Father, “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”; and that Redeemer and Savior is Jesus the Christ, beside whom there is and can be none other.
  “For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfill the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord; wherefore it must needs be an infinite atonement." 2 Nephi 9:6-7

  I am eternally grateful for this perfect, beautiful, freeing sacrifice of our Savior. SAVior. Save. He saves us. He redeems us. He lifts us up. We can find new life through Jesus Christ. Through Jesus Christ, I have found new life. I am grateful to be able to spend an Easter on my mission pondering this humbling and bounteous blessing among the people of California. I love it. I love Easter. I love California. I love my Savior and Our Father and Their gospel. May we all strive a little bit harder to show our gratitude for this GIFT OF LIFE he has given us freely and lovingly.

Happy happy Easter,
Sister Brinton :) 

Bro Bertola and my mom Sister Harper
Bowling on Pday
Bowling with district

yummy pancakes

Gaby at stake conference
Gaby's Family

Hike Today

Sister Froberg and her son Isaac - in our ward

First cow I've seen in 6 months