Monday, April 11, 2016

My cup runneth over

  Wow. I stand all amazed. This was an INCREDIBLE week. So so full of miracles and tender mercies. The Lord is blessing this area and this mission so much. Sorry for everyone else because the Lord is giving us all the blessings, there is none left over for you!! No but that is how I feel. I was just WEEPING all week because of my joy and how humbled and grateful I was. It will be hard to express these experiences and my joy over a simple email with my inadequate descriptions, but I hope that you can feel the Spirit and feel as touched as I was. 
     We had a few minutes so we stopped by Ashley and Billy's house!! (we taught them january-february but had to drop them for various reasons) It was so good to see them. It brought tears to my eyes. It was like seeing my little cousins again. They were so happy to see me and told me how much they missed me. I DIED. But the dad was getting mad, I observed from a distance, and we left quickly but it was so good to see them. They will join the church and be faithful members one day. I might not see them until the next life, but thats okay! 
     We had a lesson with Kirsten this week. Sister Baxter, the one who introduced us to Kirsten, has 4 kids, Kirsten has 2, and another sister who was there has 3. They set up a plastic pool for them to play in, but they all wanted to watch a movie. So we moved our lesson outside. We taught for about 5 minutes until the kids slowly trickled back out to the pool. Pretty soon there were NINE loud children screaming and splashing in the pool 5 feet from me. I was getting soaked while trying not to scream my testimony so they could hear me while making sure my scriptures didnt get wet. Anyways, you get the picture. I was extremely stressful but we got through it and somehow she felt the Spirit and committed to pray about baptism!! She is awesome. We love Kirsten. 
      ULTIMATE MIRACLE OF A LIFETIME: We have been trying to set up a meeting with a guy Sister Fetzer and I met on the street about two weeks ago. His name is Ben. He is in his early 20's, from North Carolina, accent and all (y'all), African American, 5 foot even. He moved here for a change! He is working at a burger place and has been looking for a church to go to. So before our lesson with Kirsten, I shot him a text out of the blue and asked him if he would be available for a lesson at 4:30. I didnt think anything of it because he has been so hard to get a hold of. We got to Sister Baxters house and Kristen had called saying she would be late. Luckily we just had our apt. at 4:00 cancel. Sister Baxter said she prayed that we would be able to stay even if Kirsten was late and we told her that our apt had cancelled the same time she was praying. We didnt get finished with the lesson until 4:30 and we got in the car and BEN HAD TEXTED US BACK! Finally. He said, "Im here at the church where are you?" I quickly texted back, "On our way!!" We arent allowed to teach a single male. We have to have a third female with us. So we sped over to the church and were wondering what we were going to do because we didnt have a third female! We decided to pray. I was driving (with my eyes open, dont worry) and Sister Benosa prayed. She thanked Heavenly Father that he had finally texted us back. She expressed how dearly we wanted to teach him. She said, "Heavenly Father, please help that someone will be at the church so we can have a lesson, even if they just went there to pee." I thought that was pretty bold and I was sure I didnt have enough faith for that to happen. I was like yeah right. Its 4:30 on a wednesday. We giggled about the "pee" part. We pulled into the parking lot and no one was there except Ben. We talked to him for a second and we walked into the building, trying to muster all the faith I could. Just as we turned the corner, the Samoan sister missionaries were exiting the other side of the building. I choked up in disbelief and gratitude and said, "Sisters! Wait!" They were probably really confused but happily joined us in our lesson. Luckily we had just been trained on the 5 minute lessons and we had been practicing. We began with a prayer and taught the Restoration in 5 minutes. The Spirit was SO strong you could feel it physically. I think it was the strongest I have ever felt the Spirit in a lesson. Ben was totally engaged and when we invited him to read the first vision, he teared up and smiled and said, "wow." We invited him to pray to know if these things were true. I taught him how to pray. He agreed and we all knelt in prayer. He started out just repeating the things I said, but pretty soon he was on his own, being directed by the Spirit. I couldnt believe the words that were coming out of his mouth. He told Heavenly Father that he missed Him, that he was sorry, that he was going to pray more, that he wanted to know if these things were true, and that he was "definitely coming to this church from now on." He closed his prayer and kept his head bowed for a good 10 seconds. He was glowing. AH!!!!!! We arranged a return apt and a ride for him to get to church. He didnt want to leave. He was slowly stepping out the door and just kept waving and waving and saying bye. As soon as he left, we all EMBRACED IN TEARS. We told the sisters what happened and our prayer. They said that they were tracting in San Leandro, which is a good 25 minutes away. They had to pee but they felt bad coming all the way to the chapel. BUT they did anyways. They had come to the church TO PEE, just like Sister Benosa asked in her prayer. 
    The Lord works in mysterious ways. He loves His children. He will provide a way no matter what, if we ask in faith, believing that we shall receive! I am eternally grateful for that experience. It changed everything. It changed my faith, testimony, Ben's life, all of our testimonies. I wish all of you could have been there in that empty chapel as we cried and laughed and embraced. I'm sure angels were there rejoicing with us. 
     We went on exchanges and our Sister Training Leaders are in a trio so there was 5 of us!! So it was a party! We got a sudden unexpected announcement that we will be having Visitors Center training from Salt Lake in the NEW VISITORS CENTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are not sure when it will officially open, but we will be trained on all the new exhibits and everything! We have been praying and fasting for this. I love my area, but I miss the Visitors' Center and I can't wait to be back. :)
     We got to go to the Why I Believe fireside this weekend. Ann Helen, my recent convert from San Leandro AND Tristan spoke!!!! It was so incredible to see them up there bearing their testimonies, to see how much they have grown and changed! To see the Atonement and the gospel and Jesus Christ literally change their hearts and lives. It is a beautiful miracle. I am so happy and grateful I got to be a tiny part of their lives. Here is part of Ann Helen's testimony I would like to share: 

"The things I was reading in the Book of Mormon were so pure and good and beautiful. I knew that it was the Holy Spirit letting me know that what i was reading was true. I realized that the next right step was to get baptized..There are still many things I have not felt the truth of, but I choose to have faith that they are true and that I will eventually feel the truth of them. Getting baptized was one of the best decisions of my life. I am happy to be on a path that works. It works because it's true."

    I cant believe this really came from Ann Helen, who used to be so so nervous and shy and worried about everything. AH! Sitting in the congregation listening to her was heavenly.
     After Sunday School, Gaby pulled us aside and we were talking. She began to cry explaining how all of her prayers have been answered, just one after the other. She expressed to us how grateful she was for us and how her life had changed since the day we sat outside her house and stalked her. She said she is literally a whole new person. I held her in my arms as she cried and told her that it wasnt us, we were just His messengers, that it was really Him. In that moment, I realized I was the Savior's arms. Literally. Holding my crying investigator, His daughter. Surely He would want to hold her if He were here. I loved her with a love that was not my own. How beautiful. 
     Another tender mercy, I got to see my sweet Uncle Dave. He gave me a handshake full of love and brightened my day immensely. It was a good reminder of how many people are out there loving me and praying for me. Thank you.
     David V. is doing AWESOME. He just wants to do everything right. He is so so righteous and sweet. Whenever we teach him something new, he readily accepts it because his heart is in the right place and he feels the truth of it. We convinced them to have two lessons with us per week so he can get baptized sooner!
      As you can see, so so many tender mercies, I could go on and on. My companion is also a huge tender mercy to me. I love her and we are perfect together. We are seeing so so many miracles, of which we are completely undeserving. Elder Hollands talk is ringing true, that the Lord blesses those who WANT to keep the commandments, who WANT to be obedient. We all fall short, but He still loves us. He will never forsake us. 
     Something beautiful I read yesterday: Alma 1:19-24 Wicked people were teaching false doctrine and leading many to sin. They were persecuting the righteous. Many of the believers, members of the church fell away. "This was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they weresteadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them."
      Satan is leading many away. This is a trial for those of us who are trying to keep the commandments. Let us follow the people of Alma and be steadfast and immovable and keep the commandments and bear with PATIENCE all the trials that are HEAPED upon us. The blessings far outweigh the burdens. 
 I love you!!! I am happier than ever. ever. I love the Lord and cant wait to see His hand again this week!! 
Sister Brinton!! 

Below is a letter from my brother, Emma's uncle Dave, that she talked about seeing and a cool thing that happened with someone they brought to the VC.

Sister Brinton - I spoke to your mom today to tell her all about the miracle that happened in our ward because of you and the other great sisters at the visitor's center.  My counselor's family (that you met on Saturday) has been fellowshipping a young man named Bishop Warner in our ward and he has been on the fence about getting baptized.  His baptism was scheduled on 4/9, but he didn't feel good about it. He came to the temple with us on Saturday and while he was in the temporary visitor's center with you he had a cool experience during the tour.  He said that you showed him a video about amormon that is in a rock band.  After the movie he said that the sister missionaries asked a young boy (also in the tour) to share his testimony about his recent baptism.  The little boy said exactly what Bishop needed to hear.  As a result of his experience on YOUR tour he shared his testimony in fast & testimony meeting  yesterday and said, "now I know these things are true and I want to be baptized".  He has a baptismal date for 4/23 and he said that it was largely due to the beautiful experience that he had at the temple visitor's center.  I can't believe it!!!  Not only are you called to serve in Oakland, but you and the sisters at the visitor's center are actually converting PEOPLE IN MY WARD!  So amazing!  I love you!  It was so fun to see you.  You always inspire me.

Uncle Dave
We went to visit Ashley, Billy and Toby
Spring :)

We ate FROG!

It tasted like chicken

Spring on the temple grounds

Sister Neves is my favorite. She reminds me so much of crazy grandma!

Ann Helen!!!

For those who don't remember, we baptized her in San Leandro! She spoke at the Why I Believe Fireside tonight!

This is Emily! She is 17 and waiting to turn 18 to be baptized because her parents are against it!
She is so faithful and wants to serve a mission! We have grown really close!

This is Ann Helen with all of the missionaries that ever taught her!! So Special

Prehike photos

Love her

Sister Palu and Sister Rounds

Lake Chabot

a restaurant called TOSS in Berkely. I got green curry. 
Sleep over
Me and the Asians

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