Monday, September 26, 2016
We had another wonderful training. I was studying for it one morning after I prayed for guidance and the Restoration really stuck out to me. I knew we needed to refer to/teach the Restoration more in the Visitors Center. We teach it on the street and in peoples homes, why not in the VC? We get caught up in the exhibits about families and the Book of Mormon, which are both great. BUT we need to emphasize the Restoration in our teaching. It is our unique message to the world, brings the Spirit the quickest, and will touch our visitors' hearts! The training went really well. All of the sisters loved it and it brought the Spirit so strong. It was just kind of like a bright light bulb that went off in our minds like, DUH! Why havent we been doing this before. I am so grateful for the Restoration of the gospel. What a wonderful blessing. I cant wait to see how this brings the Spirit even more into our tours!
Davion, the cute boy I taught in Oakland 9th ward finally got baptized!! YAY! We also had a great Zone Conference! I cant believe how fast time is flying.
Mitchell is doing better little by little! Addiction is scary and real and one of Satan's strongest tools. I have watched it destroy lives, but also seen the Atonement begin to loose Satan's grasp on these people. The commandments are here to keep us safe and happy. Elder Nielsen took Mitchell to the baptismal font and it brought a strong Spirit that helped him strengthen his desire to keep fighting for freedom and baptism!
We added an incredible new investigator this week! His name is Mauricio. The Spanish sisters street contacted his dad and then met him later at his house. He came to the Visitors Center and was so touched by the Spirit. He said, "This is just what I needed." I cant wait to see how the gospel changes his life! Miracle.
The General Women's Conference was wonderful. I loved the messages of faith, hope, and charity. "Our faith in Jesus Christ enables us to meet any challenge." YES! I cant wait for Conference this week AAHH! I LOVE Conference. I am so grateful for our leaders and their words. I know they are men of God and they love us. How wonderful that we have this opportunity! :)
I am looking forward to another great week. I love being a missionary.
I want to share something beautiful I studied this week. The word forsake means to quit or leave entirely.
"Therefore they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence day and night." 3 Nephi 5:3
Forsake your sins. Don't look back. Depart from them. Not one foot in and one foot out, but e n t i r e l y. Have a change of heart. Abandon. Flee. I love this. They did forsake ALL their sins! They served God with ALL diligence. I want to apply this to my life. I encourage you to do the same. We will be happier. We will be filled with peace and joy that only comes from living the gospel of Jesus Christ and applying the words of scriptures and living prophets.
I LOVE YOU
Monday, September 19, 2016
We went tracting in Moraga to help the sisters. Moraga is a very wealthy area and is also intimidating to tract, but words that my sweet Daddie told me while I was in the MTC ring true in my head over and over:Hi! I hope this email finds you happy and healthy! :) We had a great week. We did a really fun activity for a training with the sisters. We made up jeopardy questions and split them into teams. It was fun and everyone loved it! Building unity! :)One thing I have come to realize and appreciate is that one doors closes with someone, Heavenly Father opens up another door for you. We waited to have a lesson with Popi, but she never showed up, so we went campus contacting and found SIX people who were willing to meet with us. It is our job to find those who are prepared and the Lord will place them in our path, but we have to open our mouths. Campus contacting can be really intimidating but most people are really nice!! I love meeting all kinds of different people and bearing short and powerful testimony to them. I know the Lord helps me know what to say to each person. Sometimes I feel prompted to randomly talk about prayer. Others, I bring up the Restoration. I love it! I bet we look super weird, but it's Berkeley, so I guess we fit right in!"And your whole labor shall be in Zion, with all your soul, from henceforth; yea, you shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you. Amen." D&C 30:11Exchanges are so fun and always present surprises and learning experiences. I love each of these sisters so so much!!We gave a tour to two men who speak Farsi. One spoke a little bit of English and we asked him if he would be interested in learning more about our beliefs by meeting with missionaries. He said no. I asked him if he thinks his friend, who speaks no English, would be interested. He said, "Probably not." I said, "will you please ask him?" I didnt want his friend to choose for him! So he reluctantly asked his friend and I could tell he was being kind of short about it and his friend said yes!! So we got his info and are sending missionaries to his home in Germany! Isnt the technology we have incredible?? The gospel is literally filling the nations.Stake Conference was great. Mitchell was sick this past week, but made it to church!! Elder Jorg Klebingat, a general authority, came and spoke. He was powerful and he testified of Christ. Seeing him and hearing his testimony got me SO excited for General Conference!!One of my investigators in the San Lorenzo ward, Tiffany, finally got permission to be baptized!!! I am grateful for the Lord's timing and that she never gave up hope!On the morning of my year mark I turned to this scripture:"Wherefore, go ye and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss. Therefore, declare the things which ye have heard, and verily believe, and know to be true. Behold, this is the will of him who hath called you, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ. Amen." D&C 80:3-5This was SUCH a tender mercy. It renewed my desire to preach the gospel. It reminded me of my sacred calling! It strengthened my testimony of the things I know to be true. It deepened my understanding that my call to be a missionary is from the Lord. I cant forget that! This is HIS WILL that I am out here preaching the gospel and helping others come closer to Him. He is OUR Redeemer. I love Him. I love His work! Another week, here we come!LOVESister Brinton
|Exchanges with Sister Harper and Hsiao!|
|One of the Members got their call to New Mexico!|
|Exchanges with Sister Resendiz and Sister Madsen!|
|All the Sisters, Senior couples, and President and Sister Frandsen!|
|VC selfie with the Frandsens!|
|Cutest recent convert o one of the spanish branches making us some corn thing with cheese!|
|He sells them on the street. It was INCREDIBLE!|
|Exchanges with Sister Wirthlin and Sister Nelson|
|Sister Costa and Sister Flores|
|Fire in Berkeley|
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Every single day Sister Chiang and I sit down at our desks at the end of the night and just look at each other and say, "Well! Another great day!" We had an awesome week. We went on three exchanges with the sisters. It was a BLAST! I love love all the sisters. They are seriously some of my very best friends. I love being with each of them and learning from them and seeing miracles together. I love that they trust me enough to open up to me and I feel the Lord guide me as to what to say and how to help and comfort. I just think, "What would the Savior say? What would the Savior do?" This has brought me closer to Him and to the sisters :)
Mitchell is doing so well! He is so involved and cant get enough of the scriptures! He goes to every single activity/class/fireside available and is an hour early. His prayers are more sincere. He asks us for more and more readings and talks! We set a new baptismal date with him for October 9!! He has lived the word of wisdom for 4 days now!! A record! We also added a new investigator this week named Popi. Other than that, the Visitors Center has been pretty slow, but the Spirit is just as strong and the people who come in are GOLDEN. We get to spend more time with them because we aren't so busy.
When I went to New Leadership Training a few weeks ago, we had a discussion on how we can have unity between our missionaries. I thought back to girls camp and the testimony meetings we would have. I thought about when I felt the closest to family members and friends. It was always when we shared our testimonies and cried and felt the Spirit so strong!! I felt the prompting to do a testimony meeting with the sisters to build unity and the Spirit in the Visitors Center. We have a Visitors Center Training every Thursday with all the sisters and the senior couples. This week for our training we did a big testimony meeting. All of the sisters and senior couples got up and shared a scripture that they turn to when they are going through a hard time and how it helps them. The Spirit was SO strong. We were all in tears and hugging and I heard reports from all the sisters of how much they LOVED it and how inspired it was. I know this was a prompting from the Spirit to help us grow together and closer to the Lord. The Visitors Center has gone through waves, changes, ups and downs depending on the Spirit that's there, the people that are there, ect. I feel like over the past year I have been here, THIS is the best it has been so far. The Spirit and vibe is so sweet and still. The sisters are all getting along so great. We are all happy and hopeful and strong. We are seeing miracles and working together. I am SO LUCKY to be here right now. I love it. I love everything about it.
I would love to share a beautiful experience I had this past week. Three young adults came into the Visitors Center. As we began to show them pictures of Jesus Christ, they began to exchange looks and giggle and whisper under their breath. They were laughing at and mocking us. Nevertheless, we continued to share our testimonies and give a spiritual tour in the face of ridicule. Towards the end they were just openly & cruelly laughing at us. I was angry at first, almost embarrassed. I was squeezing my Book of Mormon so hard. I could feel the tears starting to sting my eyes. Then I remembered this scripture:
"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth."
I will hit my year mark this week. I can't even BELIEVE it! I had no idea how much I was going to learn and grow in so many ways! I am so so grateful for the opportunity my mission has given me to
grow closer to my Heavenly Father & Savior
strengthen my testimony of the restored gospel
see & experiences miracles
meet the most incredible people
grow from my trials
learn to see others as the Savior would see them
I could go on and on and on. I would not trade this experience for the world and honestly can't imagine what my life would be like if I didn't serve a mission. I know I will be eternally grateful for this decision. I already am! I cant wait to work and love and serve and cry and laugh and testify and teach and trust and pray and read and see the Lord's hand for another 6 WONDERFUL months!
Sister Emma Brinton :)
|Exchanges! I am outnumbered|
|2nd Exchange! Sister Wasson and Sister Hoy|
|The yummiest burger I have ever eaten!|
|Lunch with Sister Nelson, Sister Wirthlin, and Sister Frandsen|
|3rd Exchange!! Sister Herbine and Sister Muench!!!|
|Mitchell with his NEW suit|
|I love Sister Chiang|
Hi from Berkeley! We had another wonderful week! We had a few meetings to go to, the Visitors Center was busy with visitors for Labor Day weekend, and we saw lots of miracles! We had Family Home Evening with the ward, which is a great way to get to know the members and bishopric and find new investigators because people just show up all the time! Fast Sunday was great. We have such an awesome ward with so many strong testimonies. Mitchell, our investigator, got up and bore his testimony!! I have never had an investigator do that before haha. It was great! He testified of the power of the Atonement working in his life to help him change and become better. He said, "I havent told the sisters this yet, but I want to move my baptismal date to as soon as I possibly can." He testified that he knew the church was true. In our lesson this week, we were discussing the word of wisdom, something that has been holding him back from baptism for so many years. At the end of the lesson, he reached in his backpack, grabbed all the weed in it, and flushed it down the toilet. We ended the lesson with a kneeling prayer. Mitchell said it and it was so sincere. Afterwards, we all just kind of knelt there in silence. He said that he has never felt so calm in his life and that his mind was so clear, a stark contrast to his typical racing thoughts. He has so much faith! It is so beautiful to watch the Atonement work in these people's lives. It is so real and so powerful. It can loosen even the tightest grasp and the toughest chains.
We gave a tour to a family who only spoke Cantonese. Sister Chiang is so sweet because she lets me teach some points, then she translates what I say. I was explaining Jesus Christ to this family because they had never heard of him before, not uncommon for the Asian people. I showed them the picture of Jesus Christ kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane. I told them, "Right here, Jesus Christ knelt down and said a prayer. He felt every pain, every sorrow, every anger, every heartache, every doubt, every sadness you have ever felt. The reason He did this is because He loves us so much! Whenever you feel alone, you can know that He is there and He knows how you feel. How does it make you feel to know about Jesus Christ?" Sister Chiang translated and one of the daughters said, "Grateful." Wow that was a powerful experience for me. Oftentimes I just take this knowledge for granted. Here, this girl was hearing of the Savior for the VERY FIRST TIME and she was grateful. The Spirit testified to my heart that what I was saying was true and I was filled with gratitude for the Savior, as it is right now as I am writing this. These experiences are so simple, yet so sacred to me and my testimony and my mission.
We have another investigator named Marissa. She is a student at St. Mary's and is really sincere and sweet. I will keep you updated! We had an investigator named Kat, the one who came to church, but she found some anti-info and isnt interested in meeting with us anymore, but is still going to come to activities and such, so she will join eventually. :)
So a few weeks ago as a mission we came together and set the goal of every companionship in the mission having a baptismal date by the end of the month. We set a date with Mitchell which was a complete miracle, one set of elders also set a baptismal date with someone they were working with, and we still had two companionships who had not set a date yet. It was August 29th and Sister Harper and Hsiao went to a former investigator's house who they hadn't been able to contact for a while and he was home. They taught a lesson and set a baptismal date with him! Miracle. Then, Wednesday night, August 31, the LAST night of the month, one companionship still didnt have a date. We came home, planned, and were getting ready for bed. All of the sudden we get a phone call from the elders. They met a guy on the street that day and gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to read it. Later that same day, the guy called them back and said, "This is the best book ever!! Can we meet up really quick??" They met up, had a lesson, and set a baptismal date with him. 9:30pm on the last day of the month. I just kept getting wave after wave of chills all over my body that we really reached the goal. The power of God was SO obvious and the Spirit filled the room and our hearts. I immediately thanked Him in prayer.
This goal was set in faith. It was set with the will of the Lord in mind. We worked as hard as we could. We did our part. We prayed in faith, we studied diligently, we talked to everyone. But we are so imperfect that we just do our best and the Lord sees our efforts, hears our prayers, and performs miracles. This goal was not reachable without Him! He will always do His part as long as we go forth with faith. This is His work and these are His children. I know for a fact that God loves us. He will help us if only we will have a righteous desire and ASK. He is just waiting to bless us. My testimony and faith have been changed because of this experience. I remember my sweet Daddie telling me that the joy I will experience on my mission is unlike any other. I can testify of the joy that comes through working side by side with the Lord as His servant.
Some of you might remember Ann Helen, my recent convert from San Leandro when I was with Sister Harper? She is taking out her endowments and we get to go!!!!!!!! Oh my heart is just bursting with joy to see these people changing their lives and making covenants and coming closer to the Lord. What an honor to be a part of this miraculous work. I love everything about it. From the second the alarm goes off, to my nightly prayers.
I hope you are all healthy and happy and experiencing the JOY that comes from living the gospel.
L O V E