Monday, May 30, 2016

Oak-Town

HII! Happy happy summer! :)
     SO! Transfers. I am leaving San Lorenzo after 5 months! I am sad to leave because I LOVE the area and the ward and the people, but I am excited for a change as well! :) I am going to Oakland 9th! It is inner city, downtown Oakland, a very poor and diversearea! I have heard amazing things. So many miracles. There is a lot of work to do. I know the Lord will protect me as I go about doing His work with these humble people. One of the sisters that served there said two things about the ward. 1. Everything you know about the gospel is about to change. 2. If Jesus Christ were to come to a ward, it would be the Oakland 9th ward. Also, Sarada, Abi, Midu, and Abikshana are in that ward (my recent converts from San Leandro). I am SO excited to see them, I haven't seen them since December!! My new companion is Sister Taylor from Holladay, Utah and this will be her last transfer! I will "kill" her in missionary terms. I have served with her at the Visitors' Center and LOVE her. I am SO excited!!!!!!! I will still be serving at the Visitors' Center, thank goodness! :) It was sad at church yesterday, saying bye to all the members. But it's not goodbye, just see you later. And they can come visit at the VC anyways. I hope I made a difference. That ward and area has a piece of my heart FOR SURE. It's beautiful how the Lord lets us serve in different places with different people to see different miracles and GROW in different ways. LOVE. I am THRILLED to see what miracles lay ahead!! I am ready to work hard among the people Jesus Christ would be here serving. He is going to help and protect me. This is His work anyways. 
     Ben's baptism went perfect. He was just glowing. He had to be baptized twice because his toe came up haha. Afterwards, he shared a thought or two or fifteen. He said that he knew he met us for a reason, that is whole life he had done things because other people told him to and this time he wanted to make a decision for himself. So between him and the Lord only, he decided to be baptized. He is wonderful. After he received the Holy Ghost on Sunday, he stood up and did two big thumbs up to the congregation haha. What if I never would have talked to Ben on the street? I watched him grow and change from that one time I said hi to him, into the waters of baptism, wow. The Lord truly does place those who are prepared to hear the gospel in our paths!!! We just have to open our mouths and say something! I am going to miss him. What a perfect way to end in San Lo. 
     We did a fun district activity where we all got together, changed companions, and tracted in Alameda for the Alameda sisters! It was fun and beautiful outside. We met someone who told us that the Mormons were controlled by men and that we need to speak up for ourselves as women. In that moment, I just pictured cutest President Monson and how GRATEFUL I was for Him! We met someone who told us that it was rude that we don't let everyone inside the temple. I just pictured the beautiful Oakland temple and how GRATEFUL I was for the blessings and peace we receive from the Lord's House. We met someone who told us that Joseph Smith made up the Book of Mormon. I just pictured the miraculous First Vision to the Prophet Joseph and how GRATEFUL I was for the Restoration of the gospel and the translation of the Book of Mormon. I was just LONGING that those people with sad, dark eyes could feel the way I felt. I was longing for them to soften their hearts and let the truth and light of JESUS CHRIST fill their soul with exceedingly great joy. I am grateful to be a missionary and to stand up for what I believe in. I love this work, whether it is in San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Alameda, or Oakland, it is the same beautiful work. God DOES love all His children. That truth rings clear here in the Bay Area. 
    We had an awesome training about working with members and I am excited to go do it in Oakland! That is truly how to do missionary work and we have seen success from it! 
     Sister Benosa and I have 10 more pages of the Book of Mormon! WHO HOO! It has been a powerful experience. I finished Jesus the Christ this morning. That has also been a powerful experience. I have come to see the Savior in a new light and get to know Him a little bit better, which helps me grow closer to Him! One of my favorite passages from it is, speaking of the First Vision:

"The darkness of the long night of apostasy was dispelled; the glory of the heavens once more illumined the world; the silence of centuries was broken; the voice of God was heard again upon the earth."
"Joseph, the prophet, and his brother Hyrum, the patriarch of the Church, were brutally slain as martyrs to the truth at Carthage, Illinois, June 27, 1844. But the Lord raised up others to succeed them; and the world learned in part and yet shall know beyond all question that the Church so miraculously established in the last days is not the church of Joseph Smith nor of any other man, but in literal verity, the Church of Jesus Christ. The Lord has continued to make known His mind and will through prophets, seers, and revelators whom He has successively chosen and appointed to lead His people; and the voice of divine revelation is heard in the Church today."

     Reading Jesus the Christ has helped me realize the "reality of His matchless life." Jesus Christ was foreordained to be our Savior. He really lived, He REALLY lived. He suffered soo much. Some pages were so gruesome, I couldn't stand to read of the cruelty he faced. He suffered for us. He bled from every pore. He CHOSE to die for us. They didn't kill Him. He chose to give up His life, FOR us. The most beautiful thing, HE LIVES! He rose again. I know He did. Jesus Christ lives and He is going to come again. Hopefully soon. I can't wait to meet Him and hug Him and thank Him. But for now, we have to do our best and show our gratitude for Him and EVERYTHING HE did for us. How? Keep His commandments. 
     I am more and more grateful every day for the BLESSING and MIRACLE of the restored gospel on the earth. I love being a missionary. I love California. I love the Lord. I am happy to serve Him. I am learning to trust Him and allow Him to direct my paths. 
Let's smile, pray sincerely, reach out, be kind, and speak kind words. 
I love you! 
Love 
Sister Brinton
Sister Costa, Wasson, Benosa and Prost.
most important part...the sushi
Sushi with Sister Costa. She is my favorite

Dinner with the Simpson from the San Leandro ward


SONIC

BEN'S BAPTiSM




Bye Sister Tam :((


Sister Tam with a Free Library.
We tracted in Alameda during the district finding activity

District finding activity. Sister Palu was my companion

Monday, May 23, 2016

"I Made it!"

We had a pretty good week! Not much to report again. We are so busy just doing normal things, Visitors' Center, meetings, teaching the people we have been teaching.. We haven't seen any huge changes or new people lately! But that's okay! We are teaching and safe and busy and happy and healthy. :))
     Gaby and Andrew got married on Tuesday in San Francisco! Then her baptism went perfectly on Friday! We had a great turn out, Andrew came, she was glowing and BEAUTIFUL. Seeing her standing there in the pure water, wearing all white, beaming with a smile.... its hard to explain the emotion! Its like everything that has happened with her, all the trials she has overcome, watching her grow and learn and change, floods your mind all at once. I just sighed like Wow. She is really here. She is here and ready and willing. As she came up out of the water, she cried. As she walked up the stairs, she looked at me and said, "I made it." OH MY HEART. I gave her a huge hug that got me sopping wet but I didn't care one bit. AH! I just think of how happy I was, how happy she was, Imagine how happy Heavenly Father was!!! This is one of His children! I am so grateful that He allows us to participate in this beautiful work, so we can get a tiny little glimpse into the joy He feels as one of His children come into the waters of baptism. 
     Ben is doing great! He is reading and coming to church and praying. His baptism is on Saturday!!!! He was on the fence for a while there, but he is fully on board now. We invited him to pray and ask God if he should be baptized. He feels good about it :) 
     Tiffany is doing great! She is seriously like a member, she just isn't baptized, YET! We decided to set a baptismal date for June 15 and work towards that, fasting and praying, and showing the Lord that we want this! We know that when He sees our faith, He will soften her mom's heart and she can get baptized!
     With Anezi, I think the reason we were there teaching him kind of got lost. It turned into more of like a feel-good Christian experience for him, more than the fact that he needs to find out if this is true for himself. So we re-established expectations and tried to make it more clear. I think he understood better and said he would read and pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. If he is sincere, I know the Lord will answer His prayer!
     We are still teaching the lady from Mongolia named Javzaa. She is wonderful! We are trying to find Mongolian translator headset so she can come to church. I mean she could come, but she wouldn't understand anything. We still teach her over the phone with a translator haha it is quite the experience!! She always gives us these delicious grapefruit candies. But one time, she asked us something in Mongolian and I nodded my head yes because I had no idea what she was saying and she ran in the kitchen and brought out this weirdest food and luckily told us to take it home to eat later.. PHEW! That was a close one. We taught her about modern day prophets and I asked what it meant to her and she said (this is all through translation of course) that she thought we should have prophets today so it makes sense! WHOO HOO!! That concept is something a lot of people struggle with and I'm just like why wouldn't you want a prophet? Why wouldn't you want extra guidance? Why wouldn't you want a trustworthy, humble, powerful, righteous leader to look towards? I understand that it is different and new to some people, but it is a HUGE blessing that I have come to be very grateful for as I watch people reject President Monson! 
     Tristan is doing awesome. He taught Priesthood this week, is giving a talk next week, getting his home teaching done, and working towards his patriarchal blessing! At the lessons, he teaches US! To prepare for his mission! Awesome. 
     David might go to the San Leandro ward because they moved :( 
     The Visitors' Center is pretty busy! I have gotten more bold, realizing that a lot of people hurry through or are in a rush, so you just have to say the most important things before they leave! If they come in and you lolly gag around, you will never get to mention Jesus Christ or invite them to know more! They are out the door before you know it. SO you have to look them straight in the eyes and say, "Thanks for coming in today. I know you are in a rush. This is a beautiful place where you can feel peace. Our message is centered on Jesus Christ. If you dont have time now, will you please leave your information so we can share more with you? I have come so much closer to God and I am happier because of it!" Something like that. They can feel the Spirit! They can feel the truth! If they say no, at least I invited them! They had a choice. It is not our job to convert people. It is our job to INVITE. Who cares if they say no? Their loss. So dont be sad when you invite someone to something and they decline you. Its called agency, You did your part! :)
     Sister Benosa and I are still waking up at 5 to read the Book of Mormon! We are in Helaman! I love it. It starts my day off right and I know it seems impossible, but I have MORE energy! The Lord sees our efforts and is blessing us immensely! I have come to love the Book of Mormon, the teachings it contains, and the prophets it testifies of. I have felt closer to the Savior as I have read its pages. 
     Transfer calls are on Saturday so I will find out if I am staying or going! I have been here since December so who knows?! I know that the Lord will place me wherever He needs me. I am praying that I will be willing and humble and trusting enough to obey! 
     The following thoughts and quotes are from an AWESOME talk "That I Might Draw All Men Unto Me" by Elder Renlund:

     “The greater the distance between the giver and the receiver, the more the receiver develops a sense of entitlement.” Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are the ultimate Givers. The more we distance ourselves from Them, the more entitled we feel. We feel that God has an obligation to fix things—and fix them right now! The closer we are to Jesus Christ in the thoughts and intents of our hearts, the more we appreciate His innocent suffering, the more grateful we are for grace and forgiveness, and the more we want to repent and become like Him. 
     This statement comes from an Apostle of the Lord: The best way I know of to draw closer to God is to prepare conscientiously and partake worthily of the sacrament each week. Elder Renlund shares this beautiful story. A lady accidentally got skipped and didn't partake of the sacrament. When the Bishop found out, she was invited into a classroom. A priesthood holder came in. He knelt down, blessed some bread, and handed her a piece. She ate it. He knelt down again and blessed some water and handed her a small cup. She drank it. Thereafter, Diane had two thoughts in rapid succession: First, “Oh, he [the priesthood holder] did this just for me.” And then, “Oh, He [the Savior] did this just for me.” The sacrament truly helps us know our Savior. He invites us: No matter where you stand in your relationship to God, I invite you to draw nearer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the Ultimate Benefactors and Givers of all that is good.

     I LOVE this! I know that as I humble ourselves and partake of the sacrament worthily each week, we will draw closer to the Savior. I have seen this beautiful miracle take place in not only my life, but in the lives of those around me! 
Have a wonderful week! Yay for summer!
Always,
Sister Brinton
Gaby and Andrew got married in San Francisco

Ali


I can eat Bananas now too! Heavenly Father is blessing me for being on a mission!

Stripes!

Gaby's baptism was packed

Gaby and Ali

Gaby, Ali and Sister Froberg


Bro Froberg baptized Gaby




One of the members gave me her CTR ring. I am in LOVE!!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Reaches my reaching

Hi everybody! I feel like I just wrote and I honestly don't have much to report. Everything is good! 
  Ben came to church and Why I Believe, which was awesome! 
  We had exchanges this week so I got to be with my trainer, Sister Harper, for a day. Just like old times. We went tracting in downtown Oakland and every single door we knocked on was Chinese or Cambodian and barely spoke English, so we got a lot of referrals for the Elders! 
  We did a mission-wide fast this weekend and this was the purpose: "That every missionary in our mission will be more driven to achieve our missionary purpose, so that we can see miracles from the Lord in helping us achieve our mission baptismal goal." And to increase our faith! 
  Gaby is getting married tomorrow and baptized on Friday! She texted us the other day and told us how ready she was to make this change :) She is incredible!
  Sister Benosa and I are still reading the Book of Mormon in the morning! I have noticed the Lord blessing me with energy and motivation when I really shouldn't have any, considering the amount of sleep I get. I have noticed a clearer mind and more peace. I have noticed my love for the Book of Mormon increase. I have noticed things pop up all day that make me think, "I just read about that in the Book of Mormon!" LOVE
  I love sacrament meeting and I usually feel peace, comfort, and hope as I sing, ponder, and listen. But this Sunday I was feeling exhausted and like a failure in a few areas of my life. I was thinking about me me me which made me feel worse because I know I am not supposed to be thinking of myself. I am a missionary! I am supposed to be thinking of OTHERS! Like sweet Ben sitting right next to me. This weight was lifted as "Where Can I Turn For Peace" began to play as the closing hymn. The tears of exhaustion and frustration were replaced by tears of peace, relief, and gratitude. Two phrases the really stuck out to me:

"Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One."
&
"Reaches my reaching"

  I was feeling that. Where is He? Why isn't He calming my anguish? Who can understand what I am going through? He can. Jesus Christ can. He reaches our reaching. If we reach out to Him, He will reach out to us and meet us wherever we are! If we can only reach an inch because we are tired and worn out and sad, He will lift us. If we are reaching as far as we can because we want His help so bad, He will be there, too. I wasn't even reaching. I was just sitting there wanting to sleep and He STILL reached me! So He is there no matter what. I know it because I felt it.
   I read this in the Book of Mormon and loved it. One reason Heavenly Father is so wonderful is that He allows us to choose. He gave us agency. What a beautiful gift! All of our choices have consequences. Good choices have good consequences. Bad choices have bad consequences. Believe it or not, sometimes we still choose the bad choice. But Heavenly Father gives us choices and will give us what we want!
  
"..For I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men..according to their wills, whether they be unto salvationor unto destruction."
"..He that knoweth not good from evil is blameless; but he that knoweth good and evil, to him it is given according to his desires, whether he desireth good or evillife or deathjoy or remorse of conscience."
Alma 29:4-5

  If we know good from evil, which we do, we will be given what we desire. Good or evil! Life or death! Joy or remorse of conscience. Of course it's easier said than done, but HELLO! Let's choose GOOD! Let's choose LIFE! Let's choose JOY! Therefore, leading us to choose salvation. :)
Hope you have a happy week!!! I love you. 
Love!
Sister Brinton

Sleepig Asian companion 

SHUSHI to celebrate her year mark, and my eight month mark?

Ben came to Why I Believe

Beautiful Temple

David and Marcie Richards and Family! I LOVE THEM!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Happy

Hii friends and family! I love you. I miss you. I hope everyone is happy and healthy. I am!! I get happier and healthier every day! :) This week I was happy for a lot of reasons. 
1. I got to face time my family for Mothers Day 
2. I got to go to the temple
3. The weather is BEAUTIFUL
4. Our investigators are doing AWESOME
5. I found out I am not allergic to avocado anymore
6. I have felt the Spirit so strong 
7. Sister Benosa and I are the best of friends
    I could keep going on & on & on. First and foremost, seeing my family, talking and laughing with them, was THE absolute best. I am tearing up just typing about it right now. It was perfect. So good to see my sweet Momma on Mothers day and laugh with my Daddie and siblings. Those precious moments are a huge blessing from our Father in Heaven. I have few things to compare that kind of joy to. I love my family, they are my everything. And good news! They still love me and haven't forgotten about me! :))  I loved every second of it. Of course I have to share my Daddie's newest joke that he shared with me (it wouldn't have been complete without it): What kind of teeth can you get for a dollar? Buck teeth. LOL
     The temple was wonderful. The Spirit is so strong there. My heart was filled with pure peace. I didn't want to leave ever!!! Being on beautiful sacred temple grounds on a gorgeous day with palm trees & a sea breeze & lunch did make it easier to leave His house. I just want to BE with Him. Imagine how happy that will be. Wow. But I am so blessed to be so close to a temple! :)  
     About the avocado.. I have been allergic to avocado since I can remember. It makes my throat itch and I vomit. I hadn't had it in over 7 years until the other day I accidentally ate it in a salad at a members home.. but nothing happened!!! So I went to the store and bought 5 and ate avocado every day this week I was so happy haha Tender Mercy for SURE. 
     Ben is doing great! We moved his baptismal date to May 28th because he felt kind of rushed and is going through some stuff so we are working towards that date! He works the graveyard shift but still comes to church! 
     The ward held a bridal shower for Gaby. So nice. Her date is May 20th! She is getting married the 17th! So exciting! & her husband came to church Sunday!
     We finally heard back from the Castellano family. They had been out of town!!! Everyone else is doing well..we are staying busy with the Visitors Center schedule and loving it! The other night at the VC we had a bunch of Bishops and Stake Presidents come and tour the new VC. We performed a song called "This is the Christ" and recited the Living Christ. The Spirit was so strong as we were circled around the Christ statue. It is beautiful how testifying of Him, singing of Him,&speaking of Him brings the Spirit so quickly and powerfully. 
     We are still getting used to all the new exhibits in the VC and so I asked one of the senior missionaries, Elder Nielsen (one of my best friends here.. he is AWESOME) to show us how he presents this one video. It is a video of Elder Christofferson describing the First Vision and bearing testimony of it, the Book of Mormon, the Restoration, and Jesus Christ. As he played the video, I couldn't hold back my tears. I was overcome with the Spirit. I knew that what Elder Christofferson was saying was the truth! Suddenly my whole body was filled with love and I felt so warm and happy. I knew that God loved me. It wasn't because the video said, "God loves you," but because the RESTORATION of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a HUGE manifestations of God's love for us. Probably the biggest next to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We have the truth! We have hope, joy, peace, forgiveness, repentance, guidance, modern day prophets, scriptures, & a plan & purpose & sense of who we are because of the Restoration. I knew it was true from the core of my being. There was nothing that could shake me or convince me otherwise.It's funny and special how I study this and testify of it every day, but then one day it randomly hits you that it's true and the Spirit is so strong. It's kind of like, "It's still true in case you were wondering" haha. Elder Nielsen wept with me as he bore his testimony of the Restoration of the Priesthood, showing the pictures of Jesus Christ's twelve apostles, and the picture right next to it of the modern day twelve apostles. POWERFUL. We have the most beautiful message in the world. It's true. It is so true. 
     All throughout the Book of Mormon there are missionaries who face so much opposition, but they keep going. They keep teaching. They keep trusting. They get kicked out of one city and go to the next. They served 18 YEAR missions, not 18 months. I am reading in Alma right now and Ammon just went to deliver his brothers out of jail:
Alma 20:29 "And when Ammon did meet them he was exceedingly sorrowful, for behold they were naked, and their skins were worn exceedingly because of being bound with strong cords. And they also had suffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions; nevertheless they were patient in all their sufferings."
    This is just ONE example of TONS of missionaries who were spit on, stoned, thrown out, yelled at, cast into prison, starved, beat, bound, ect. Wow they have all become my heroes. How did they press on? How did they not lose their faith? How did they not just give up or at least take a break!!!?Whenever something hard happens like one door is slammed in our face, I'm like, "wow I need some ice cream." They remained patient. They trusted the Lord. They prayed. They studied. Studying their lives and their missions has helped me to appreciate my mission. I have it SO easy compared to them!! When it gets hard, I just think of them and their examples and strength and faith. They help me to keep going and put my tiny little problems in perspective, "Hey! At least they didn't throw us into jail and spit on us!" I am so grateful for these incredible prophets, missionaries, and disciples of Jesus Christ that set the perfect example for us to follow, and big shoes to fill!
     I hope this letter finds you happy & safe & healthy. Thank you for loving & supporting me & taking care of my family while I'm gone. I am the happiest ever and just SO grateful it is hard to express. 
Love ALWAYS
Sister Emma Brinton




This random man we met with bird that cat-called us as we were walking by
Food truck ran by deaf people! Can you spy the man in the truck with the beard??

Food truck night. A bunch of food trucks come and park on the corner
We got yummy pizza





Sister Thorton and I standing by hanging chickens at the SICK Chinese place
Found out i wasn't allergic to AVOCADO and made some BOMB guacamole
Went to dinner with the Nielsens for Mothers Day. She didn't have her kids and we didn't have our moms, so it worked out perfect :))
California's FAMOUS beautiful orange poppies!! They are EVERYWHERE
Calling home!!
Sister Froberg and her son Isaac
Temple day :)))







The old district back together again!
Old District back together again