Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Jolly Wonder

Another week already over. Time FLIES here in Berkeley! We are seeing so many miracles, teaching so many people, and experiencing so much JOY! I love this work. 
     We got four new sisters straight from the MTC!! So fun to have new faces & fire at the Visitors Center. 
     We contact people on Berkeley campus a lot, but this week we decided to try Laney Community College in Oakland. It is a GOLD MINE!!!! It is very different from UC Berkeley, one of the most prestigious colleges in the nation haha. At Laney, everybody walks a lot slower and are a lot more willing to talk with you for longer than 5 seconds. We spent 6 hours there one day. A member named Bee, a return missionary, came with us for the first hour. She is HILARIOUS and so bold--talking to everyone!!! "Hey ya'll! Have a blessed day!!!" with the biggest smile on her face. I loved it. She inspired me to really talk to everyone, especially when we are in a rush because that's when the miracles come! We were on our way to the car and we met a man named Vincent. He was on his way to class but we asked if we could meet him after class and he agreed! A few hours later, we were waiting where we agreed to meet, and talking to people as they passed. Sister Chiang talked to this Chinese girl and actually began teaching her at a table. Vincent walked up (answer to the pleadings of my heart) and I started talking with him on the OTHER side of the table. It was SO cool. Sister Chiang and I on opposite sides of a table teaching different people the same beautiful message. 
     Vincent has a little bit of religious background and has actually met with missionaries before. He told me that he was thinking about calling the Mormon missionaries just days before. He told me that he has an emptiness inside of him that he is looking to fill. I was able to testify to him with all my heart that God had led us to him today, that God knows him and loves him. I told him that the message we share will fill the hole in his life!! I could see a glimmer of hope in his eyes, that he wanted to believe me. I taught him the Restoration with the sun blazing in my eyes and the Spirit was SO strong. I cried as I recited the First Vision. I told him I was crying because this message has changed my life and I can feel God's love as I share it. I told him about the Book of Mormon and invited him to read it and he said, "Okay! Where should I read?" We talked about baptism and he said, "So whats the next step? Where do I go from here?" I taught him how to pray and he said the most sincere prayer.
     I did not do that experience justice. I can't explain how prepared he was. I KNOW that the Lord led us there today for Vincent. He isn't YSA so we passed him off, but he felt the truthfulness of the Restoration as I bore my testimony. Every time I teach the Restoration, my testimony of it and my conviction that it is true MULTIPLIES!!! We have a lot more people to baptize to reach our 400 goal. We have to set stretch goals and talk to everyone to reach them. When we do our part, the Lord does His!! 
     The title of this letter is in honor of a Bible request we received from a freshman named Jolly Wonder. He is from Nigeria!! We had a lesson with him and it went so well! We finally got a text back from a girl named Yu Chen from China that we have been trying to get a hold of. I met her on campus a few weeks ago. I am so glad we didnt give up on her!!! She came to institute dinner and ate three grilled cheese sandwiches hahaha. We had a great lesson with her. I love teaching people who dont have any religious background because we get to teach the gospel so simply. She kept saying in her broken English, "You are such cute girls!!" I know the light that she saw was the Spirit. I cant wait to teach her more.
     We had a lesson with Mitchel after a little break. Still working hard to overcome his addictions and have humility. Still has a date set for November 14!! We are still in contact with Emanuel and Mauricio. It can be tricky trying to set up meeting times :( But I know the Lord has prepared them! We will see more miracles with them this week by inviting them to be baptized!!!!
     Two funny things. We were street contacting and this lady walked up to me and said, "Are you pregnant?" I just kind of stood there and looked around in shock... After a second I said, "Uh no actually I'm not." She said, "Oh! Because I was going to say Congratulations!" Hahahaha to give her the benefit of the doubt my shirt was really flowy and it was a windy day, but STILL!! I took a deep breath, ignored the previous comment, and invited her to learn more about the sogpel. She said no but hey at least I tried! The other thing is that people CAN NOT for the LIFE of them understand how two 20-year old girls share a cell phone. That concept is just 100% foreign to them. No matter how many times I explain, they still dont get it hahaha! 
    One morning during companionship study, we were reading in Preach My Gospel about how the gospel blesses our families. Almost all of my companions grew up in sad & broken families. Five out of seven. I was just sitting there in companionship study and thinking about all of this. I asked Sister Chiang if it was hard to teach and testify about eternal families, when she doesnt even have one right now or doesnt FEEL like families are eternal! She told me that it is so hard (she doesnt open up like this very often) and that it was one of her biggest concerns coming on a mission. She asked President Frandsen about it and he said that all she has to do is teach what she believes, not what she has personally! For me the two go hand in hand!!! What I believe and what I have personally are the same! HOW RARE in this sad world is that. I was filled with sorrow for my companions' families and the too many broken families around the world. I almost felt guilty for my PERFECT family! What I grew up with and continue to love and appreciate and thank GOD for is hard to find these days because it is exactly what God wants a family to be. I was just sitting there with literally nothing to complain about. I just CRIED! I was raised in a LOVING home filled with the Spirit. I have FAITHFUL and RIGHTEOUS parents who love each other and love me! My Daddie is a worthy, kind, and faithful Priesthood holder who works so hard day and night to provide for his family. My Momma is a loving, patient, and selfless handmaiden of the LORD, raising SIX beautiful children. I was raised in a Christ & gospel centered home. I have countless active extended family members. I was constantly surrounded by love and support and happiness and faith. I don't think I will ever FULLY be able to express sufficient gratitude for these incredibly beautiful and sacred blessings that I took for granted for 19 years. I honestly went through waves of sorrow, then joy, then guilt, then gratitude, then humility all day thinking about my family. I am so lucky. I dont fully realize what we have. At least I didnt until this moment. I am going to do everything in my power to replicate the situation I grew up in when I have a family of my own. I am eternally grateful for my parents. I honestly can not ever thank you enough. Thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord and to each other. Thank you for your dedication in raising us in the gospel - no matter what!! Thank you for your tear stained pleadings and visits to the temple in my behalf. Thank you for your UNCONDITIONAL love!! I LOVE YOU more than words can express.
From my studies: 
Christ speaking:
      "Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?
       "And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled." 3 Nephi 23:9-10

     I have been noticing this beautiful truth in my studies recently. The Lord ALWAYS fulfills His promises. He always has and He always will. It is part of His nature. He will always do His part. He will always keep His deal. We can trust Him 100% with no reservation because of this beautiful truth. Whenever a blessing isnt granted or a promise fulfilled YET, we need not fear. We know in whom we have trusted! His timing and ways are higher than ours. We need to have faith, hope, patience, and long suffering. I also know that ALL of the prophets words will be fulfilled because they are His mouthpiece and they would never lead us astray.
I am blessed beyond measure. We all are!
There is sunshine in my soul all of the days.
Love
Sister Brinton
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