Thursday, September 25, 2014


Hello beloved friends and family!! 
I am finally in Seattle!! I have officially been in Seattle for 48 hours, and boy how crazy they have been! I left the CCM in Mexico at 2 in the morning yesterday after a full day of watching all of my best friends leave to their various missions (triste). And then I got a to Texas and was able to call my amazing parents!! Oh, it was such a blessing to be able to hear their voices! Then we jumped on our last flight to Seattle, and from there we haven't stopped learning, running, and sharing the gospel. 
My two companions are Hermana Hales from Ogden, Utah and Hermana Norton from Highland, Utah and they are just icredible! It is a little weird being in a trio, but I have already learned so much from them and I can just tell that its going to be an amazing first transfer. 
So the very first thing we did as a new companionship was go out contacting!! It was crazy fun and I got to testify of the Book of Mormon in Spanish! It is really such a blessing to be able to speak Spanish. It opens so many doors and really carries the Spirit with it. I just love it. And I had my first real lesson yesterday! We went over to an investigators home last night to read from the Book of Mormon together. This guy, Luis, truly believes that God loves him and wants him to do whats right. He also believes that the missionaries were a blessing sent from God to help us do that. And it was so special to be able to read from the Book of Mormon with him and feel of his testimony. Now our goal is to help him make it to church :) 
Basically, Seattle is already amazing and I can already tell that I am going to love it!! Its beautiful, the people are wonderful, and I have the two best trainers in the world! I don't have a lot of time, but I do want to share one quick thought that we talked about this morning during our companionship study. What we talked about was how God will never give us anything that 1. we dont want, and 2. we arent prepared for. This is a concept that I learned while in the CCM, but really hit me this morning concerning my role as a missionary. God is there ready to answer all of our questions, ready to help us in all things. And He's that way because He is our loving Father in Heaven. But we have to do our part in order for us to even understand what He is telling us. So I urge everyone to really think about that, and do what you can to make changes in our lives that show that we are putting our trust in God, and also that we are prepared to make more changes so that He can bless us and give us all of the amazing things that He has in store, just waiting for us. I don't know if that made any sense, but I hope it did :)
I send all of my love, and hope that everything is going well! My P-day is on Mondays (today was a special exception from my mission president), so thats when I will be able to check back in with all of you and have some more time to make sure that my thoughts are coherent :) 
Con Amor,
Hermana Brooks

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What a week it has been!! And it has literally flown by like none other. Time flies when you're having fun, am I right??
Well first things first, the fun stuff: We started off the week with an awesome takeover of the soccer cage. That's right, the HERMANAS took over the cage. And we played cage soccer in the rain and it was flipping fantastic. Really though, it was amazing and so so so fun. And for all of you that don't understand why this is so cool or awesome, the Hermanas are NEVER in the cage because the Elders never leave it. And when we finally took it over, the Elders could not believe their eyes. So really, we became the coolest people in the CCM and it was wonderful despite the fact that I am terrible at soccer.
Super awesome thing number 2! (This is for you, Dad), we had CHOCOLATE TRES LECHES in class because it was an Elder's birthday in our district. So basically my teachers are the best people in the world, and you don't have a complete trip (or 6 week stay) in México without having an authentic tres leches cake. it was amazing and fantastic and was just as delicious as you think it was. And more ;) 
Also, this week was a week of rain. You know the phrase raining cats and dogs?? Yes? Well that happened this week. again. and it was fantastic.The streets of the CCM were flooded and I got to wear my amazing rain boots again and get teased for being so excited about them. But it was so very worth it ;) 
AANNNNDD it was MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY YESTERDAY!! So basically all of Mexico was having one big party ;) It was so so so much fun to be here in México for their special holiday. Here in the CCM, all of our language study was cancelled and we had a Mexican night filled with amazing dances and songs of Mexico. And over the past few weeks, we have been learning the Mexican National Anthem. So at the end of the presentation, we had the flag ceremony and all of the missionaries in the CCM sang (or rather shouted) the Mexican National Anthem together. It was so much fun and such a cool experience! It is such a blessing to be able to see a different culture, and especially one that is a part of my heritage, like that. It was kind of like getting a hug from Mexico ;) and what was just the topping of the cake (tres leches cake to be exact) was that we got to go to the Mexico City Temple today as well! We weren't able to go inside and do sessions because its closed for renovations, but we got to go to the Visitors Center and talk with the missionaries there which was just super awesome! All temples are just amazing and such a blessing. And lets be honest, it was also a blessing to finally get out of the walls of the CCM and see the city that we are living in ;) So we got to experience so much of Mexico these past two days. And yes, we are living in Mexico, but really the CCM is kind of like a little spot of America here, so these past two days were really something special. I just love it here so much and I can't believe that I only have a week left! I mean, we say goodbye to people we meet and become friends with EVERY WEEK. But now its almost my turn to be the one to leave. And thats crazy. And somewhat terrifying. But I am so very excited to finally get to Seattle and share what I know and love with real people! 
One other funny thing that happened this week. So my companion is amazing and I love her so very much. And she looks like a little bit  like Jeanette McCurdy, the girl who plays Sam from iCarly, right? Basically she is a celebrity here in the CCM because of it, and it is the funniest thing ever. We have had grounds workers, to teachers, to fellow missionaries all come up to us and ask about it.So we had a bunch of Latina friends just leave this past week, and we were all taking pictures with them outside of the Comedor (lunchroom), right? And after we were done taking pictures with our friends, literally every single latino elder comes up to us and asks for a picture with 'Sam' aka my companion. So I think we took over 100 pictures with people that we DID NOT know that day because my amazing companion looks like Sam from iCarly ;) oh the adventures of México ;) 
Last thing I want to share with all you of amazing people is what I learned on a Spiritual level. This past week, we have focused a lot on forgetting ourselves, and giving ourselves completely over to the work we have a missionaries. The Director of the CCM also spoke on this in one of our Sunday Devotionals, and its was just one of my favorite talks I've had the pleasure of hearing in the CCM. What he talked about was Lot's wife. Do you remember her? The woman of the Old Testament who was living in Soddom and Gummorah with her family when the Lord commanded them to leave and to "not look back." Well, what did she do when they were leaving the city? She looked back. And as a consequence she was turned into a pillar of salt. She had not left the city behind in her heart, and desired to go back. She didn't want a new life, even though she knew it was a commandment of God to leave behind her past and never look back. And that is why she was turned into a pillar of salt. Now, Im not saying that anyone is going to be turned into a pillar of salt. However, in a way, all of us have been asked to leave our own Soddom and Gummorah. We have been asked to leave behind our old ways, habits, and thoughts and we have been asked to follow Christ. We have been asked to follow His example, and become more like Him. But we cannot do that without change. Without changing ourselves. And it isn't going to be easy. But we have been promised that it will be worth it. One thing the director said that I really liked was that "Faith always point to the future" and I know that that is true. When we act in faith, and leave behind our pasts, without looking back in longing for them, we move toward a better future where we are happier.God never said that any of this would be easy. But He has told us that it would be worth it. It is not always easy being a missionary and living with new rules, in a new place, with a new purpose. But, I know that it is worth it. So that is the message that I want to leave with all of you. Remember Lots wife, and have a little more faith. And don't ever look back. The past is to be learned from, not lived it. And the future is full of happiness and endless opportunities. And go toward that future with faith. 
I love all of you, and hope that you have an amazing week. Today Mexico City, Tomorrow Seattle!! (actually its next week, but you get the picture)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I don't have a good heading for this week, but it was definitely an interesting one full of ups and downs!! And I only have two weeks left in Mexico City!! Whaattt??!!! Basically that seems crazy to me, I dont know about all of ya'll back home, but two weeks is nothing. Its going to go by sooo fast, and I am so excited to go to Seattle, but also dreading saying goodbye to all of the amazing people that I have met here! Its a struggle. And after this week me and my companion will be the oldest sisters in our branch!! Its just soo crazy to think that time has gone by so fast. 
But I did have some really neat experiences this week!! 
First thing, was that I met a woman whose dad was baptized by my own Grandpa Briones when he was on his mission!! She works in the CCM now, and came and found me in my classroom just to meet me. It was such a neat experience that really touched my heart. She just kept saying home much missionary work means to her, and how much it has blessed her family. She told me to remember that I never bring just one person unto Christ through baptism, but that it will affect many people for generations to come. And now I get to see her all of the time and even do service with her on Mondays!! Yesterday we cleaned the gym with her, and it was so fun. She tells everyone who I am and she's taken like 4 pictures with me every other time she sees me. Its just so sweet and really puts into perspective how important missionary work it. It really is such a blessing to have the chance to meet her and share our testimonies together. I am also so very grateful for my Grandpa and the service that he gave. It really is so special to me that I get to share in that a little bit with my time here in Mexico. 
My companion and I also made lots of new friends this week!! The more our Spanish improves, the more we are able to expand our circles, and it is such a blessing!! The native people here are just amazing and so so so very friendly. Really, learning Spanish is just the greatest thing. And we have so much fun doing it!! Really, we just have fun all the time. 
Also, this week, I have learned that the gift of tongues is real. My companion and I have both been soo blessed with learning the language. We still have a long ways to go, but the more we practice and have faith in ourselves and God, the more we are blessed with the language! It really is just the coolest thing to give different lessons of the gospel in Spanish everyday and also feel the Spirit despite the language barrier. 
One lesson that I really learned this week was of testimony and conversion. We had soo many devotionals and classes about it this week, and it really strengthened my testimony and helped me get through the harder parts of the week. What we learned is that there is a difference between having a testimony and being converted. Having a testimony means having knowledge. That is basically it. But you can know that something is true or real without every doing anything about it. Conversion is when you use that knowledge that you have gained and use it to change you. Conversion is change. And it is only through actively trying to become better, serving others, and follow the example of Christ, that we are actually converted. Conversion is a life-long pursuit, but it is only through conversion that we can actually become better. Its going to be hard, and it is going to be even harder to help others do this as well, but now more than ever it is important that we are truly converted in order to stay strong. 
I love you all so much!!! I hope everything is going well! Know that I miss you all and pray for your successes. Thank you for all of your amazing examples that you give, they have blessed me more than you will ever know. All of my love from Mexico!!
Hermana Brooks

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

 This is Sierra's apartment she lives in.

 Her best friend from BYU arrived at the Mexico city MTC!
 Latino sister missionaries

So I am officially half way through my time here at the CCM!! Time has gone by sooo unbelievably fast, and I have loved every second! I have come to love the place and people here so much, its going to be soo very hard to leave in 3 weeks. So I am very grateful for the time that I still have here ;)

So the theme of this week was humility. Especially for myself. Its so easy to get  out here and when you have success, to think it will always be that way. And maybe it will be for somethings. But definitely not everything. I had gotten into the habit of thinking that because I was learning Spanish so well and such that I was ahead of some people around me and let it get to my head, and to be honest slacked off. Not intentionally, but out of feeling comfortable. The lesson that I learned was that if you are not constantly working to progress, you are digressing. Not a very fun lesson to have to learn, but definitely necessary. Never let yourself plateau. Always strive to be better, work harder, and serve more. Now, instead of judging how those around me are progressing, I focus on what I can do to be better and help those around me as much as possible as well. Its been such a blessing, and although it can be hard to be humble, it will make you so much happier and help you do so much more. 

Another theme of this week was the Atonement!! Seriously everyone, if you have not studied this gospel topic in a while, DO IT! And if you are a little confused by what I am talking about, I am talking about the sacrifice that Christ made so that we could all be happy again and return to live with our Heavenly Father. There is nothing that gives more hope, at least in my opinion, than this right here. It is because of the Atonement that I can wake up with a smile on my face everyday and thank God for all of the amazing things in my life. It is the reason that I chose to be a missionary. It is the thing that makes this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, worth it. And it is what makes the message that I carry as a representative of this church one of happiness. If you are having a hard time, or need a pick me up, or something to motivate you to do good I would study this topic. Because that is what I did this week, and it has made all the difference in how I view those around me, those I teach, and those I will have the opportunity to teach in Seattle Washington. If you need a place to start, find a Book of Mormon and read it. That book is full of examples of the Atonement and how it can bless you life. Trust me, you don't want to miss out on the greatest gift given to mankind :) 

So now that  I have shared my spiritual thought, here's to some other stuff ;) 

I LOVE LATINOS!! I seriously can't express the joy that they give me in my life. My companion and I had the wonderful opportunity to become great friends with some Latino hermanas who are going to be serving in Mexico, and it was the greatest blessing! They were so unbelievably sweet and kind and boy did they talk fast!! ;) But really, it is such a blessing to have been called to learn the Spanish language. Without it, I would not have met these amazing sisters.  The sad part is that they left the CCM this week to go and share the gospel with the wonderful people of Mexico. But now we are friends forever in the gospel ;)