Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The number one thing that I have learned is true is that the days feel like weeks while on a mission, but the weeks feel like days. Seriously, it is insane how fast time goes by here. It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting down and emailing you! I think this is really how every missionary feels, and I guess it feels pretty cool to be a part of that club now. You know you are jealous ;)

But I seriously love love love being a missionary!! I come to love it more and more every day despite the fact that I am always exhausted to some degree and I am still pretty awful at speaking Spanish (baby steps, baby steps). It seriously is the most wonderful blessing to be a servant of the Lord 24-7. And that is the sole responsibility that I have for 18 months! It is just so amazing. 

The CCM only becomes more beautiful the longer I am here as well. It becomes really easy to forget that you are right in the middle of Mexico City... until you hear sirens ;) but really it is such a blessing to be here. I know that making this school into an MTC was inspired, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here. 

And we received two new investigators this week!! (well, teachers that volunteer to be taught by us) it is such an amazing thing though to be able to learn how to teach and bring the spirit in Spanish! The first week it was soo hard, but now I have officially given two whole lessons completely in Spanish and I didn´t even have to refer to any of my notes! The gift of tongues is such a real blessing, and although I still have lots to learn, it has already made such an impact in my life. Anyways, our two new investigators are Omar and Teresa! if there is one thing these two have already taught me is that it is not enough that I know that I have a message that will forever change and bless their lives. They are children of our Heavenly Father, and I am only their as a loving guide to bring them back to Him. Missionary work truly is all about serving and loving, and being their to help in whatever way you can. Just from teaching these teachers in the MTC, I have gained so much love for all of the people that I will meet and teach in Seattle. I am just so excited and honored to be a part of this work ;) 

One thing I learned this week, which was such an amazing experience is how eternal missionary work really is though. We had the opportunity to watch The Mountain of the Lord, which is a movie about how the Salt Lake Temple was built by the early saints. It really is such an amazing movie, and I highly recommend it. But after watching it, and heading back to the classroom with Hermana McDougal, we were talking about it and something hit us that neither of us had ever thought about before. If any of you have seen the Salk Lake Temple, its hard to look at it and not think how there is no way that ordinary people made this amazing building. I have been to Temple Square many times, and I catch myself thinking this basically every time. But what occurred to us was how missionary work is like that temple. We are ordinary 18 and 19 year old kids. Nothing spectacular about us, nothing special. Just ordinary kids. Nothing really, in perspective of the Universe. But we have been given a chance to literally and completely change peoples lives because of the message that we bear. How many people do you know can say that? And what is even more incredible is that we do not really do any of the changing at all. It is all by the power of God. We are just blessed with the amazing opportunity to be the conduits and guides. It was such an incredible moment to know that I, Sierra Brooks, have been given the opportunity to change peoples lives for eternity. And I was so humbled and it really is just such an incredible gift to be out here, in Mexico City, preparing to teach the Spanish people of Seattle. I am so honored and blessed. 

I also want you all to know how much I love you all and pray about you! Know that you Father in Heaven also loves you, more than you could ever know. Dont be afraid to talk to Him, because He is always ready and anxious to hear from you. You are more special and amazing than you could ever know. You are a child of God. 

Really quick, I just want to share a small part of my testimony in Spanish, (yikes, I hope it is right... fingers crossed)

Yo sé que Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial. Yo sé que esta iglesia es la iglesia de Dios en la tierra hoy. Yo sé que soy una hija de Dios, y que Jesucristo es mi Salvador. Yo sé que Cristo vive, y que Él sufrío por mis pecados y desafios y debilidades. Yo le amo a mi Salvador. Y yo sé que ustedes pueden saben estas cosas tambien. En el nomre de Jesucristo, amen.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sierra's first week!!

Hey there everyone! So my first week in the CCM (MTC in  Espanol) was pretty much incredible. I have learned so many things, and have so many more things to learn! I cant believe that a week has already gone by, but at the same time it feels like I have been here an eternity! But in a good way, I promise :) It was incredible how at home I have felt here, even from the first day when I did not know anyone or anything. The CCM is such an incredible place, filled with soo many amazing people! Everyone here is so nice and welcoming that you feel out of place if you ever feel like complaining about any of the work :)
And boy do we have work!!! From 6:30 in the morning until 10:30 at night, all we do is learn Spanish and learn how to teach in Spanish. I am pretty sure I have never worked so hard in my life... except for maybe finals week... but really, everyday is like finals week here in the CCM, and yet, I love it!! I`ve always been very aware of the value of hard work thanks to my upbringing (thanks Mom and Dad!), but truly it is the greatest blessing!! I have already learned SO much, its incredible! Spiritually, mentally, and physically everything we do here is to help us lean and grow to become better missionaries, better people, better children of God, and better Spanish speakers ;) And when we all work together to accomplish these things, miracles happen!
Speaking of working together, my companion is the most amazing person!! Her name is Hermana McDougal, and she is from Riverton, Utah. She is going to serve in Spokane, Washington after the CCM! *side note: basically 80% of the American missionaries here are from Utah, so I feel pretty cool and special when I get to say I am from Vegas. Everyone else gets pretty excited too :) * Basically, I could not have been blessed with a better companion! She is so loving and supportive all the time. I just love it! We get along really well too, and push each other to be the best missionaries that we can be. I just love her :) OH!! and on Sunday we were also assigned to be the Sister Training Leaders, so we are in charge of how all of the sisters in our branch are doing for the duration of our stay! A little intimidating, considering that we are still the youngest and least experienced in our branch, but I am super excited for the chance to serve them!
And my district is amazing as well!! There are 10 elders with me and Hermana McDougal, and they are all just incredible! We have so much fun together, and they really just teach me so much about what it means to put your trust in God. I am just so blessed with all of the people that surround me daily! They are already become like a family to me, and I know that it will be an amazing 5 weeks (ONLY FIVE MORE WEEKS). 
One thing that I have really been aware of and impressed with this week is how much this gospel is a gospel of happiness, and also how much our Heavenly Father loves us. Everything He does, everything He gives us, is to make us happy. Yes, we do have trials in this life, but one thing I have learned in my life is that Heavenly Father is more of an "eternal perspective" kind of guy. He doesnt see as as we are now. He sees us as we can become. We are not just flecks of dust that cover the earth for a time, but We Are His Children, who He loves more than we could ever imagine. We are His diamonds in the rough. But, its going to take a little work and elbow grease to make us the shining, beautiful, strong jewels that we can be. Without our trials and hard times, we could never become as happy and amazing as we could be. When we put our trust in God and thank Him for our refiners fire. That is what I want to challenge all of you, my dear friends and family: do a little more of thanking our Heavenly Father for all of the things that He gives to be happy, but also to thank Him for our struggles. I can attest that you will notice so much more goodness around you every day, and you will have a greater capacity to love and grow, as well as to be happy now, even during the tough times. 
I love you all more than you could know! You are always in my prayers. 
Con Amor, 
Hermana Brooks

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Called to Serve

Ground Zero

I have been called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Washington Seattle. I am supposed to teach the gospel and serve those in the area in the Spanish language (yikes), and I am so excited to do so!! 
I leave on Wednesday morning to the Mexico MTC (Missionary Training Center), and I still haven't packed everything. Typical.
However, I am so excited for this opportunity to serve! I remember when I opened my call in the dorms of BYU in March this year... it seriously seems like yesterday! But now, 5 months later I am preparing to go actually do what I have been preparing for since last Christmas. It seems a little surreal, quite honestly. I'm sure it won't hit me until I actually get on the plane to Mexico City.  

 But truly, I am beyond excited for this opportunity.
I am not necessarily excited for having doors slammed in my face, or for not being able to see my family for 18 months. But I am excited to share the gospel and hopefully make someone out there feel the love that their Savior has for them. 
Today I gave my farewell talk, which was a terrifying and wonderful experience. But in it, I talked about the power that we all have to be ministering angels to each other here on this earth. I know now more than ever that we were not sent here to this earth to only serve ourselves, and make ourselves happy. Our purpose here is to love and care for all of those around us. To do what Christ would do, and not just have it on our bumper sticker. But to honestly and willingly love and care for those around us. I believe that I have a responsibility to do this, and I have been called to do it in Seattle.
The Lord works in mysterious ways. He definitely has in mine. I have no idea whats in store for me as I embark on the Lord's errand for 18 months, but I know that if I strive to be the best missionary I can be, miracles will happen. I have been blessed beyond belief up to this point in my life, and I am excited and grateful for the opportunity I have to give back what little I can to Christ, who has given me everything. I can't do it alone, but I haven't been asked to do it alone either. May God be with you till we meet again. Adios!