Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hello family and friends!!

This week in the Washington Seattle Mission we saw so many miracles and had so much fun!! We went on a lot of exchanges with other sisters and it was so much fun! I love being with other missionaries :) Our first big miracle from this past week is that our investigator Luis is getting baptized TOMORROW!!!! Oh my goodness, I am sooo excited for him!! He met missionaries the week before I got here, and we have been teaching him ever since, and he is so amazing!! He has such a desire to do what is right. And he is so ready to continue to do so by following the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized. I am just so so so excited!! We also have another investigator right now named Daniel who has been taught by missionaries for a really long time. His mom is also a member of the church, and has been trying to get him to join for a long time. And finally, last Wednesday he committed to being baptized on November first!! AHH just so many miracles!! I just know that this church is true and I have my testimony confirmed every time I teach a lesson and see the Spirit touch their hearts to motivate them to learn more. IT IS JUST SO INCREDIBLE!
We also had a really cool experience during finding time this week (where we go and knock doors-- everyone's favorite part :) ) We found a woman named Sonia who is super religion. She just loves going to different churches and learning more about God and Jesus Christ. Just a super amazing woman. Well, we taught her about the Book of Mormon, and how it is another testament, another source, that adds to our knowledge of Jesus Christ. She was super excited to read it and learn more which is awesome and what every missionary dreams of! Then we shared a prayer with her before we left, and when we were done with the prayer she was crying! It just touched my heart so much to see how the Spirit and our message affected her. It is moments like those that I know without a doubt that God is real, and that He loves us. I am so grateful for my knowledge of that and how much I have the opportunity to see the different ways that God blesses us to show His love for us. 
Also, shout out to my amazing best friend Darby Phee for sending me the most amazing package this week filled with delicious and fun things :) It was receiving that package that launched us into an incredible weekend filled with love and miracles of happiness. We had an amazing pancake party with some of the young women of our branch which was so much fun!! I love working with the youth so much :) and who doesn't love pancakes?? That's right, no one doesn't like pancakes. So it was a smashing success! Youth have so much power to do good, and I just love the opportunity I have to try and remind them of that as much as possible. 
We also had our member missionary fireside last night!! I got to play the violin with Hermana Pingree, another sister in the mission who is actually going home in 2 weeks! :( But it was amazing, and it was such a cool experience to meet and see so many new converts to the church and also see my other missionary friends. As you can see, just so much fun :) 
But really, this week just taught me the power of gratitude so much. There will always been good and bad all around us, and everyone has hard things happen to them. Just remember that you can either take those bad experiences and become BITTER or BETTER. The choice is yours and mine to make. I know that I have to make that decision every single day as a missionary, and the more you choose to look at the good and be happy no matter your circumstances, the more blessings and miracles you will be able to see in your own life. As the scriptures say, "Men are that they might have joy" (2 Ne 2:25). 
I love you all and pray for you! May you be able to look up and drink in the blessings that are constantly being poured down from Heaven! 
Con amor, 
Hermana Brooks

kay, so I am not actually counting down the months, but today does mark my 2 month mark exactly since i started my mission. Pretty neat, huh??
Well, this week we had a lot of amazing experiences that really strengthened my testimony of God's love for us. The Lord is seriously blessing us so much, it is incredible! Everyday we are literally running from place to place just to fit in all of the people that we need to see. And we are meeting some amazing people on the streets as well! Even when people don't want to accept our message, they share their beliefs with us and it is incredible the faith that people have. Yes, its true that people are choosing to believe in God less and less, but there are still so many people out there who do believe and live their lives in such a way as to help other believe as well. And there are a lot of people who do accept our message as well, and allow us to teach them and help them grow in their faith. My favorite part about the gospel is that it doesn't take away from anyone's beliefs, it only adds to them and helps them be even happier than they already are. 
Also, I learned how to crochet this week!! We have an investigator right now who makes the cutest barbie clothes for her sweet daughters, and so we thought it would be awesome to get some women from the ward over to learn from her! It was awesome, and we all learned a little bit about crocheting and also what a blessing our talents are. That is something that we have really been trying to work on lately, is using our own talents as well as the talents of members and investigators. They really are such a blessing, and can be used to bless the lives of countless others if we only do something with them! 
Speaking of talents, I had the amazing opportunity of playing the violin with another sister during our mission's zone conference! Some members here have let us borrow their violins and it is such a blessing! We did a beautiful duet of "Joseph's First Prayer," and it was so great! Our mission president invited us to play it again for the multi-stake member-missionary fireside that is this weekend! I am freaking out a little bit, but I am also so excited! Please send all good vibes this way, I am going to need them :) 
We also had our first real exchanges this week, which was super fun. So for exchanges, one member of our companionship switches with someone in a different companionship for 24 hours. It is a great learning opportunity and helps us get to know the other awesome missionaries in the area! It was so fun to see how other styles of teaching and contacting on the street. We had one Sister who is incredibly bold (she goes home this transfer) and we practically chasing people on the street to be able to talk to them. It was awesome and really taught me a lesson of being bold and not afraid to talk to EVERYONE, something I definitely have to work on. 
Every Friday, we also do a fun volleyball night with the branch here as well as soccer every Saturday morning. It is such a fun opportunity to get to know the members and our investigators LOVE to come. This week was exceptionally special, because one of our investigators who has been struggling lately and not wanting to meet with us showed up!!! It was the neatest thing to see how God was helping us out, by helping this young man come to volleyball. It was such a miracle, and really showed me how God answers all of our prayers. And it was awesome that we all got to have a lot of fun together as well :) 
This week has just been really great in opening my eyes to the will and love of my Heavenly Father. He loves us --He loves ME and YOU-- so much. And He puts different things in my path everyday to remind me of that, whether is a member bearing powerful testimony to an investigator, or having someone come to church, or just seeing how beautiful the trees and stars are every day. Sometimes I wish that He didn't have to remind me so much, that I would just always know and remember. But I am so grateful that He does, because I do need it. Missionary work wouldn't be possible without it, nor do I think would every day life. And seeing His love everyday strengthens my ability to love others and serve them the way Christ would. I am just so grateful for all of the amazing blessings and miracles that I have seen lately and continue to see everyday. I am so grateful for all of you, my friends and family, and pray for you always. Remember to look up: God is there and loves you. 
Con amor,
Hermana Brooks
P.S. go listen to "through heaven's eyes", I don't remember the name of the guy who sings it, but its from Prince of Egypt and its amazing. It might just make your day :)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

It's OCTOBER!!!!! Oh my goodness, how fast time flies!! But this month is already a month of blessings and miracles, and I know that it will only get better from here!
The week started off with an orientation/training for new missionaries (me) that was given by our wonderful mission president! President Choi is such an inspired man, and I am so honored to learn from him and learn from his example. He talked a lot about "Looking up," or looking to God for answers and help in this life. It really is so important to keep our priorities straight and to know in who we trust. Probably one of my favorite examples of Looking Up is in the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi chapter 4. You should all go and read it :) its actually one of my favorite chapters in the whole book and it really has taught me that we are never alone, and with God everything is possible. So I highly recommend it :) 
This week, I have also had some amazing experiences with knocking on doors!! This is the one thing that I have always dreaded about missionary work, but this week I was blessed with so many miracles that came from it! We met so many amazing people, with such great faith and desires to do good. We also met a lot of people with great struggles and difficulties. But no matter what their circumstances were, they were striving to do what was right and be happy. It was such a neat thing for me to see, and it really helped me come to love the people here. It was Gods way of showing me that no matter how bad things get, people are still good and are trying their best. It was also amazing to be able to knock on doors and initially have them not want anything to do with us, but after talking a little bit and feeling the genuine love we had for them and for our message, they opened up and came to have great desires to learn more. It was just really cool for me to see :) 
annnnndd there was was GENERAL CONFERENCE!! I sincerely hope that everyone was able to watch it, because is was amazing. The messages that the Prophet and Apostles shared were so inspired, and also bold (so be prepared to learn something great) and it really opened my eyes to how much God really does love us. I loved them all so much that I cant even pick a favorite to talk about right now! But I do know that God really does talk through his prophets, and that He really did speak to us this past weekend. If you didn't feel that, I would pray that you would go back again and take notes. Often the things God wants you to know are not in the exact words that someone said, but in the feelings and thoughts that come to your mind as you are listening. 
This week was just incredible, and I am so grateful to be a missionary at this time, in this place. Right now we have 2 investigators who are working toward baptism in the next couple of weeks, and I am just so blessed to know them and be able to teach them. They are so prepared and really teach me so much about faith every day. Becoming converted to anything requires change, and the people that I have the privilege of teaching show such great strength and faith in their desires to change and be better that it amazes me.  Yesterday we had the amazing opportunity to teach a young woman about the blessings that come from baptism and the Atonement, and when her eyes lit up with a desire to do what she needed to be able to receive those blessings it made me want to cry tears of joy. Change really is possible, and when we have faith in Christ we can do all things. 
I love you all so much, and pray that all is well. I know that these things, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. I know that God talks through His prophets and that with His Son Jesus Christ, anything is possible. And I pray that all of you can know that for yourselves as well. Look up and know that I love you, and that your Heavenly Father loves you.
Con amor, 
Hermana Brooks

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wow, where to begin! This week has been absolutely crazy and incredible. I am seeing miracles everyday and cannot express how amazing it is to finally be in the field as a missionary. There are so many amazing people here, and so many incredible things going on in missionary work- it just makes me so grateful to be here at this time in this place.

I don't even know where to begin with things to talk about! I guess I will start with my amazing companions! So I think I mentioned in the last post that my companions are Hermana Hales and Hermana Norton. Let me just tell you, they are incredible! I have never met two missionaries who strive to be more Christ-like in all they do and say. They are so incredibly dedicated to the work, and in helping me learn and grow and become the best missionary that I can be. Companionship study with these two is one of my favorite parts of the morning, by far because of the amazing things they teach me.

One thing that I have learned from them is how to increase my high expectations. It is something that our mission president, President Choi, has urged us to do, and something that my companions teach me how to do. Really, its a lesson of faith. If you always put your faith in the Lord, and actively try to do better and more than you have previously done, then He will bless you with the capacity to do it. The trick is that you have to believe and plan and work in such a way that shows that you believe it is possible, specifically for you, as well. Anyways, I hope that that makes sense and that you will be able to personally consider how to increase your own expectations and faith in reaching those expectations. We all have the ability to learn and grow, so don't be afraid of it :) 

Investigators!! Oh man, we have some amazing investigators here in Bellevue. We have two working right now towards baptism dates, and the faith of these two men astound me every time we talk to them. One of them is named Luis, and he has such a desire to follow Christ and gain a testimony for himself. When he talks with us, we can just see the light of Christ in his eyes, especially when he talks about the Book of Mormon. He even came to two church activities as well as church on Sunday with the Spanish branch here and it was just so incredible to see him acting his faith. It is so amazing to see how the Gospel blesses lives!!

And our branch here is incredible!! It is truly led by Spiritual giants! Our branch president and branch mission leader are just the most amazing examples to me. The Lord really is  hastening His work, and it has been the biggest blessing to me to see that first hand up here in the North West. From playing volleyball with the branch, or soccer, the Spirit is there and missionary work grows in all of them. Ahhh I am just so blessed to be here surrounded by these amazing people, I cant even express to you how wonderful I feel. 

Wow, I really don't have a lot of time left, but I just want to say how much I love all of you and how grateful I am for the support that I have received. I am so incredibly blessed to be a missionary and to talk to and serve the people here. I hope this email makes sense, but if not, forgive me and hope that next week I have a little more time to organize my thoughts and get some cool stories out there :) 

And a quick shout out to my dad for having his birthday yesterday!! Love you and I hope you had an amazing day!! 
OH!! and I hope everyone was able to see the General Women's Conference on Saturday. If not, GO AND WATCH IT. It was absolutely amazing, and I know you can learn something that will help you in whatever you are going through. And don't forget about General Conference this weekend!! I just know that it is going to be amazing. How blessed are we that we can listen to a prophets voice! 

Alright, I really must be going, but I send all of my love! Increase your High Expectations!! 

con amor, 
Hermana Brooks