Monday, April 18, 2016
What a wonderful Life!
I know I say this every week, but I am the happiest missionary in the field. I think this is the happiest I've ever been EVER! We have transfers this week and Sister Benosa and I are staying in San Lorenzo!! So happy. I love this area, Sister Benosa, the ward, the people, the Visitors' Center, the weather, the work, the district, you name it. We are seeing miracle after miracle and blessing after blessing. What a wonderful week. Every night I sit down to write in my journal and I am just like where do i start? I usually start by saying something like, "today was the best day ever" or "we had a beautiful day today." I love being a missionary. I wouldn't trade this precious opportunity for anything!! :)
We have been doing our studies outside in this beautiful courtyard just outside our apartment because it is SO beautiful.
Tristan got the Aaronic priesthood! So awesome. He is just glowing.
Gaby is officially getting married on May 17th! So her baptism will be the Saturday after her baptism, so the 21st! So awesome. The date is farther out than we wanted of course, but we are grateful that it has worked out! She is like a member already. The goal is to baptize her and her husband!
We set a baptismal date with Ben for May 7th! We taught him twice last week and he came to a baptism on Friday and church on Sunday! 85% of investigators who come to a baptism get baptized! In his prayer after our lesson this week he said, "Please help me to be baptized." I WISH all of you could hear the beautifully sincere and heartfelt prayers these investigators and recent converts say. The Spirit is SO strong and it has taught me that it is not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it, if it came from your heart. Their prayers come from the bottom of their hearts with all energy and sincere desire. I want to pray like them! One things that MELTS my heart the most is when they pray for US, their missionaries: "and please help these sweet sisters to travel safely" or "please watch over and bless these sisters" or "thank you for leading these sisters to me and helping me change my life." AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH
Mongolian Miracle: We were leaving our apartment one morning and as we were going through the gate, this man was walking in and he goes, "MISSIONARIES!" That has NEVER happened to us haha and we were like yep thats us! Long story short, he is 27 from Mongolia, moved here 11 years ago, convert of 3 years, goes to BYUI but is living in San Fran right now. His friend from Mongolia moved here 4 months ago, single mom with 2 little boys, no english, and she lives FIVE doors down from us. Her name is Javsaa. He said she has been wanting to learn and he has been looking for the missionaries for her!! We met her and he translated for us. We ran to the mission home and grabbed every material we could find in Mongolian and brought them to her one night. We weren't with her friend, Altan, when we dropped them off and she just lit up and hugged us even though she was nursing with no shirt on and flipped through the Book of Mormon saying, "good, good." Here we were, in a strangers apartment, at 9 at night, with a mongolian woman who doesnt speak a lick of Enligsh, and she was so happy. We have no way to communicate, yet we loved each other and the Spirit was there. It's because it's not about words, it's about the Spirit! We communicate Spirit to Spirit anyways. That is what is SO beautiful about the gospel and the Book of Mormon and the Spirit! Heavenly Father loves ALL His children, whether they are from Nigeria or Mongolian or Taiwan and He will speak to them in their own language. So powerful. :) SO we figured out a way to teach her! Obviously :) We are going to go over to her apartment and teach her with Altan on the phone so he can translate! We dont have any Mongolian speaking missionaries or members so this will have to do! Or I could learn Mongolian. Tender Mercy.
SOOOO best thing about this week.. We got to go into the BRAND NEW renovated Visitors' Center! On Friday morning, we woke up early early and got to the temple grounds. We waited for all the sisters and senior couples to come. We were all outside the VC just GIDDY! It honestly felt like Christmas morning, but BETTER! We were so nervous and excited, taking pictures and hugging and giggling, all 22 sisters and 6 senior couples. We are like a family. One big family on Christmas morning. We finally got to go in, all together. I cannot describe the feeling that came over me when I walked into the Visitors' Center for that first time, after months of waiting and anticipating. The Spirit was SO strong it just pierced my heart and I was FULL of warmth and LOVE! It was a very, very similar experience to entering the temple. I was filled with peace. It felt like coming home. I was so happy!!! TEARS for the first 4 hours of training. Representatives came from Salt Lake to train us on all of the new equipment and all the new exhibits!!! It was wonderful!! The new VC is BEAUTIFUL! COME SEE!!
We fasted from lunch on Friday to lunch on Saturday that the VC would open as soon as possible. We all knelt in prayer and poured out our hearts to the Father. I know he heard our prayers because on Saturday, right after we had broken out fasts, we began training again. All of the sudden, ELDER QUENTIN L COOK walked in. We all gasped. To be honest, I was like hmm he looks familiar. Then I realized who it was thank you Emma. We stood and he quickly told us to sit down. He shared a beautiful testimony of the Savior. The Spirit was RADIATING from him AH!!!! He left us with this special message and blessing I hold so dear to my heart:
"This is a sacred and holy work. I invoke a special blessing upon you that you will have the Spirit with you, that you will touch people's hearts, and that you will help them come to know and understand the Savior Jesus Christ. He lives and this is His work."
Yeah. Pretty awesome. Tears.
This week we saw the success and power of working with members! There is a girl named Tiffany who is BEST friends with one of the young women in our ward and she has come to church for a few years now, but her parents wont let her get baptized. Her parents hearts softened and we taught her for the first time yesterday!! Her mom is a little hesitant but HEY! We can work through that. It is funny because she already knows everything. We taught the restoration and afterwards she was like, "This is what my Sunday School lesson was on today." HAHAHA so yeah she is like already a member.
The members here seriously just come up to us and say hey can you teach my friend? We dont even ask! They just do it themselves!!! The relief society president's husband asked us to teach his friend named Eric. He plays basketball with them on Tuesday nights and accepted the invite! He is 26, looks a little latino, a little african american. He came over for dinner last night at the Sorensons house. They are all SUPER HUGE Warriors fans and they said that because I was serving my mission here, I was automatically a fan SO I am now a Warriors fan! I just need to get a shirt to make it official. It went well and afterwards we began to talk about religion. I swear on my life this is what Eric said, "I have heard that there are like 60 different versions of 'God' out there and I have just been wondering if there is ONE true God or ONE true church. I know there is a God but I dont know where He is." I almost choked to death on my Cambodian food. I couldnt believe he had just said that. HOW GOLDEN. It took all of my energy not to just scream THERE IS A GOD AND THIS IS HIS CHURCH haha. So we went outside and Brother Sorenson kind of explained what missionaries do. It was a perfect intro because he talked about how we are not here to pressure him into anything and it was his choice to accept it, but we are just here because it has blessed our lives so much so we want to share it with him!
We taught him the Restoration. The Spirit was SO strong. His eyes just lit up. He was on the edge of his seat, ready to read whatever we asked him to read. We taught about how there is ONE God and how He is our FATHER and He loves us and we are His CHILDREN! He knew this was true, you could see it in his eyes. When we explained how the priesthood had been restored, he goes, "wow." We compared him to Joseph Smith, how he was confused and searching for ONE God too!!!! So golden. At the end we invited him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. He said, "oh wow yeah I will DEFINITELY read and pray wow. But I will probably have some questions, who do I ask?" We told him that he can ask God but that that is exactly why we were there, is for him, to answer his questions. He was so happy I thought his smile would never leave his face. We talked about prayer and he said he was grateful that he could express from his heart. it is comments like that that make me realize how much I take prayer and having the gospel for granted!! He didnt even know he could talk to God! He was so happy to hear that he could PRAY! ah. At the end I bore my testimony really simply looking straight into his eyes. I told him that he didnt need to be confused anymore, that there was ONE God, who was his Father and who loved him. Relief swept over his whole being. Happiness filled mine.
Thought: Why doesnt God send Joseph Smith down here to prove that he was a prophet? Why doesnt God send the gold plates to show everyone that the Book of Mormon is true? Why doesnt God Himself come down and be like, "Hello I'm real and I'm here and I love you!" Because that would be taking away our agency. We would be forced to believe because we would KNOW Joseph Smith was a prophet, we would KNOW the Book of Mormon is true, we would KNOW God lives and loves us. There is no faith or choice, That would be following Satan's plan. We should be so grateful that Heavenly Father allows us to CHOOSE to believe, CHOOSE to have faith! How powerful! How beautiful that we can receive these answers for ourselves here and now through personal revelation through the Book of Mormon, which IS true, and from God, who DOES live and loves us.
This is His work. And I get to be a part of it!! HOW AWESOME and fun and rewarding. I am so happy and grateful. Here's to another week!
Sister Brinton :)
p.s. read Alma 5 its SO good ah