Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Hello friends and family!! I hope you all had a wonderful week. I sure did :) It is officially the last week of the transfer (and my companion's mission) so we are working as hard as we possibly can. I will let you know how that goes next week :)

But to pick you back up to speed, let me tell you a little bit about the past 7 days of my life! First of all, it was AMAZING! We were blessed with SO MANY MIRACLES!! Really, I have felt the Lords hand in every aspect of this week, and we have all grown so much. 

Okay, I really have to tell you about how amazing our members are here in the Crossroads Branch for a minute. It all started with Monday night, when we had planned to bring a member couple with us to meet our investigators Berta & Vidal (a hilarious older couple from Jalisco, Mexico) because our Branch Mission Leader had suggested them. When we showed up, it turns out that they were already friends!! It was so crazy, and perfect! They didn't have time for us to have a lesson with them, but we were able to set up a return appointment and have an awesome time hearing them talk and start to bring the gospel into their friendship. 
THEN we got a call from our newer investigator Miguel (from Honduras) when he was having a bad day. He asked us if we could meet with him at the church, and we were like OF COURSE. So we tried calling literally EVERYONE in our Branch to try and find someone who could pick him up (he doesn't have a car) and that could help us in our lesson. Literally no one could do it. We all wanted to cry. Then on our way to his apartment, our elders quorum president called us back saying he could come!!! He was able to pick him up, help us have a church tour with him, and bring him to voleibol, our branch activity the next night!! It was incredible. 
AND THEN!! Remember Luis?? He was my first convert in my mission, and he hasn't been able to come to church for months because of his terrible work schedule :( anyways, on Saturday we got together with some branch members and Luis and investigators to play futbol (I am still sore by the way) in the morning. Then an hour after we all left, we get a call from Luis saying he has a friend who is asking about the Book of Mormon and is wondering if we could come over and teach him that afternoon with him! LUIS IS A MISSIONARY!!! and what was soo cool was that his friend was able to come to church yesterday with his 9 year old brother and now they are both investigators! There were so many more stories I could tell, but that will suffice for this week... Really, I was just AMAZED at the power and dedication of our members and recent converts. Their testimonies of the truth shine so bright and are able to reach even the most unexpected people. It was a huge testimony builder for me :) MEMBER MISSIONARY WORK IS THE BEST! 

Also, a quick May Valley update: Estefany, Cecilias daughter was baptized yesterday!! I am just so incredibly proud of my dear companion Hermana Dilworth and all of their hard work in that area. It has been such a blessing to see the fruits of our many labors together :) and I get to see them this coming Sunday again at our next Member Missionary Fireside! I AM SO EXCITED :) 

Some of our sisters were also really sick the other day, and we were able to cover for them by reading in the Bible to a bunch of super sweet old ladies :)  haha so many things I never expected to be doing as a missionary, but so many things that are just so much fun and help me feel so much love for everyone. 

One of the most rewarding thing of this transfer has definitely been seeing myself and others change. We have had a few bumps in the road, whether in our own companionship or with other sister missionaries, or even investigators. But we have all been able to use the Atonement of Jesus Christ in new and different ways. That is something that I have really been focusing on a lot lately, especially in my studies. Christ's sacrifice wasn't just for our mistakes, it was for EVERYHING! Our sadness, disappointments, weaknesses, pain both physically and emotionally, our misunderstandings, our limits. It should be an active part of EVERY ASPECT of our lives, and all too often we forget that. We forget that we dont really do anything ourselves-- there is always a greater force, a greater Someone helping us. We really truly are nothing, but Jesus Christ did it all so that some day we could become someone better and someone happier. Even someone perfect. 

Here is a quick quote from one of my favorite talks ever by President Uchtdorf, the second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church. It is one that I reflect on and read often, and it helps me to feel that my Savior truly does love me, and that He IS aware of me and helping me in every moment of my life: 

"You are loved. You are dear to your heavenly parents. The infinite and eternal Creator of light and life knows you! He is mindful of you. Yes, God loves you this very day and always. He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you. And God knows of your successes; though they may seem small to you, He acknowledges and cherishes each one of them. He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens—even when you are struggling with your own. He knows everything about you. He sees you clearly—He knows you as you really are. And He loves you—today and always!"

I know that this is true for ANYONE and EVERYONE who reads it. It is true for me, for my parents, my friends, the person sitting next to me in the library right now. It is the absolute truth and nothing we think, say or do will ever make it otherwise. I challenge all of you to read it throughout the week and to pray to your Heavenly Father to know if it is true. I promise you that He will answer you. It may not be while you are on your knees or reading your scriptures (it might) but it will come. 

I love you all so very much. I know that God loves us all more than we could ever imagine.  I hope and pray that you may all feel of that this week as you seek for Him. 

con mucho amor,
la hermana Brooks 

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