Monday, March 14, 2016
Hi Hi Hi from the happiest, rain-soaked, Californian missionary!
It has rained for a solid 7 days. Non-stop. If it's not POURING, its sprinkling and really, really misty. I love it. I love love it. We puddle jump and sing and dance and everyone else runs to their cars, but we just walk and hold hands and enjoy it :) I've always loved the rain. And California needs it right now!
So I RARELY have people cancel lessons. I have probably had like 5 lessons cancel my whole mission. This week, for some reason, almost every single lesson cancelled! It was so weird. All for different reasons. Satan is working so so hard on the people here because they are so ready! He is such a loser. It's a constant battle to fight him off, but we are winning, no worries.
Bad news first: We had a weird feeling about Jessica. Yeah she seemed so golden at first, but the more and more we met with her, the less ready she seemed. She is going through a lot with her jobs and moving and she was sick. We had a lesson and after we found out about some issues, we told her she couldn't be baptized. She jumped with JOY! I told her, "No Jessica, I said you CANT get baptized." She said, "oh I know I was NOT ready and its just too much right now." We tried to set a new date to work towards and she didn't want to. Then we tried to set up another lesson and she said she needed a break! She was supposed to be baptized this Saturday. We said a hurried goodbye. In the car we were sad for like 5 minutes then we were filled with peace and we knew that it wasn't her time. She wasn't ready. But next time she will be :)
Sister Davis is the member that referred Jessica to us. A few days later I was talking it over with our ward mission leader and the Spirit testified something to my mind. Sometimes its a feeling in my heart, but this time it was a thought. It pooped into my mind and I knew it was inspired. We weren't there for Jessica. We were there for Sister Davis. She has been a less active on and off. We taught every single lesson in her home. She was there, teaching with us and bearing testimony. She was there to answer all of Jessica's questions when we weren't there. I didn't notice until that moment, but Sister Davis had gone through a huge change since we first started meeting with Jessica. The Lord works in mysterious ways!! We were so disappointed about Jessica and so focused on her, that we completely missed this beautiful, life-changing, testimony-strengthening miracle we saw with Sister Davis. This taught me to recognize the Lord's hand. This taught me that Heavenly Father loves ALL of His children. He isn't just trying to baptize people, He is trying to bring the lost back into the fold! I love all three of them dearly.
Good news: Gaby and Tristan are just THRIVING. Receiving answers to their prayers and coming to church and reading and doing so well. I love them! At the end of one of our lessons, Tristan opened up, which doesn't usually happen, and he said, "if the gospel has already blessed my life this much and I am not even a member yet, I cant imagine how much the gospel will bless my life after I am baptized!!" SO cute. I DIED. I squealed and wanted to hug him but his girlfriend was right there and I am not allowed to anyways. In one of Gaby's prayers she said, "Thank you for putting my heart in the right place and please continue to guide me on the right path." There is a joy that comes with little tender mercies like this that you just cant describe. Pure, wholesome, solid, light, good joy. I wouldn't trade it for the WORLD.
Our members have found this new FIRE and are referring their friends like crazy to us! The ward here is like a family to me. I love them! Their love and dedication to missionary work is like nothing I have ever seen before!
We got to go to another Why I Believe fireside, where people who were recently baptized bear their testimonies and tell their story. I LOVE the diversity. We had a 60 year old Asian woman, a 9 year old Tongan boy, and a 23 year old Hispanic man. The Gospel is for EVERYONE. Everyone. I love how they share what they went through to be baptized because it helps those learning about the church to relate and gives them hope. LOVE
The new Easter video is SO so powerful. Hallelujah: Follow Him and Find New Life. Please watch!
Lately, I have been studying the Savior's life in the New Testament, testifying of Him as I teach, and memorizing the Living Christ (highly recommend). As I watched this video for the first time this week, the Spirit told my heart and soul, "He lives." It was as if someone had said it in my ear. Everything that I have been studying of the Savior and of His LIFE and His Atonement pierced me to my core. I don't know how else to explain it. I was just weeping. I knew in that moment that nothing could be more true than Jesus Christ, His love for us, and the power of His Atonement. It was nothing knew that I learned, it was just the Spirit RE-kindling, RE-confirming my testimony of the Savior. Even we as missionaries or active members of the Church or Bishops need this. We don't just have an experience like this that lasts a life time. We need to be CONSTANTLY striving to strengthen that testimony. Every day we don't, it gets a little bit weaker. But just little by little! Not like one day you will wake up and be an atheist. Its one day you skip your prayers, the next your scriptures. I think this beautiful powerful experience I had was an answer to unsaid prayers. I knew what I was studying about the Savior was true, but the Spirit was kind of like, "Hey, Sister Brinton, it's still true. He does live." I am eternally grateful for this reminder that I hold so dear to my heart.
I got stuck in a rut with my prayers. I was saying the same things over and over and over. There wasn't any FEELING behind what I was saying. I would often fall asleep or get distracted while I was praying. Sometimes, I just wouldn't even know what to say. One of my favorite senior couple missionaries out here, Elder Nielsen, gave me a life-changing piece of advice. He told me to picture Heavenly Father with a little smile, just listening. WOW. This changed everything. All of the sudden, I was praying to SOMEONE. I was able to stay focused and express the thoughts and feelings of my heart! I felt loved and felt like someone was FINALLY listening. I was thinking, "oh wow what if He really were here listening like this." Then I was like, "HE IS!" He hears us! He hears you. He hears me. He cares about what we care about and He wants to bless us. He answers prayers. If any of you are struggling with your prayers like I was, hope that helps!
I love you! Thank you for loving me and my family!