Monday, September 28, 2015

Okay, so this week was so hard! But it was also full of miracles! Lets see how much I can get typed in the 15 minutes I have left....

SO! My companion and I had started the week off with a lot of really great goals that we felt would really help change the area and help us see the fruits of our labors. That is not what the Lord had in mind. Not at all.

We met some AMAZING people, one of them whose name was Angela. She is English-speaking, but we met her while tracting, and so to help out the other missionaries, we went back to teach her the first lesson to see if she was really interested in our message. SHE IS INCREDIBLE! And as we taught her the message of the Restoration, she really felt the Spirit and knew that this is something she wanted to pursue. It was soo awesome! But because we are Spanish missionaries, that was the last time we will teach her :( its okay, we love Spanish people too much anyways :) 

Then for the next 3 days literally we could not make anything happen. No one was home, no one wanted to progress, and all of the goals and plans we had made were just not working. We were getting pretty darn frustrated to say the least. We didn't know whether it was our fault, their fault, or what. BUT that is completely not the point. Life is not about finding out whose fault it is. We are all at fault for something. What we need to do is have faith that GOD HAS A PLAN. And that is exactly what He taught us. 
While tracting one night, we knocked into this woman who was on the phone. As soon as she saw us, she got the biggest smile on her face, like she knew who we were! We were super confused, and so we just waited outside as she finished her phone call. It turns out that this woman named Myra has met with missionaries in the past, and was just barely talking to her friend over the phone about how she needs to find a church and make that a bigger priority in her life!!!!! WHAT?! Seriously, miracles. We are so excited to teach this family :) 


okay, well I will fill you in with more miracles we had next week :) But to finish up, this week we had the amazing opportunity of having another MLC, Mission Leadership Council. I love these meetings sooo much. And what President Schofield shared has really hit me. He talked about the light in our eyes that we have as we follow the example of Jesus Christ. We all have this light within us, and every decision we make either dims or brightens it. But we have the amazing opportunity of testifying that we know God lives and that He loves us simply by gaining more and more light. I want to invite all of you to seek for light this week. Before you make a decision, no matter how small, think to yourself if it will add or take away from your ability to shine bright. We can do really simple things, such as reading our scriptures, saying a prayer, and  saying kind words that add more and more light to our eyes and smiles. I also invite all of you to watch General Conference this weekend, it is available on the TV, radio, and live stream online. It will definitely strengthen the light you have, no matter who you are, where you are from, or what church you go to.

I love you all so much and I know that as we are patient in our trials and always have FAITH, God will not let us down. Miracles surround us everyday. It is just up to us to notice them. 
Have a great week! Les quiero!
 - La Hermana Brooks 
Helllooo amados hermanos mios :) Ahhh I literally have NO TIME! Forgive me for how awful this email is going to be. por favor? 

We had a great week in Bothell Spanish! We were able to find several new investigators and really just have so much fun teaching the people of Bothell. And really, the only thing that changed was our commitment to living the gospel joyfully. 
This week we were really blessed to be able to  work closely with a lot of the ward members as well. Our Ward Mission Leader invited his non-member relatives to have dinner with us, which was great! Several families with less-active parents are teaming up with us to help get them back to church (haha that sounds sketchy, but I promise it is all out of love :) 
Also! We went on some exchanges with the Russian speaking sisters!! So they are literally amazing. They are the only Russian speaking missionaries in the Seattle, Everett, AND Federal Way mission, so they literally go everywhere. They are just so incredible! They really inspired Hermana Wrubell and I to work even harder and to really count our blessings for the chance to learn and teach in Spanish. Russian is so hard!
Also, we have this crazy new investigator named Juaquin who has the biggest mullet I have ever seen. He is super funny and thought that he was supposed to start reading the Book of Mormon in the index.... but we squared that away and will start teaching him later this week. So wish us luck!! :) 
The Member-Missionary Fireside was yesterday and was in the North Seattle Stake. It was so awesome being able to see old companions, ward members, and investigators! John got lost on his way there, and so he wasn't able to make it :( BUT! The next one is in his stake, so we will FOR SURE see him there. Also, GENERAL CONFERENCE STARTS THIS WEEK! I am soo excited for the Women's broadcast this saturday, and then the rest will be next weekend! Crazy!!! I just cannot believe how fast time flies by. Its also almost October. Someone make it stop. 

I just really want you all to know that i know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know without a doubt that God is our Loving Heavenly Father. There is nothing standing between us and feeling of His love constantly except ourselves. God knew that we would make mistakes, that we would fall down, and sometimes just be too weak. But He never made His love conditional to any of that. I know that the commandments are evidence that He loves us, because He really does know what we need to bring us the most everlasting happiness. If you don't believe me, I invite you to try it out :) I love being a missionary, and I love living the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Don't forget to pray. Read your scriptures. Choose the Right. It is that simple :) 

I hope you all have a great week! I promise to write better next time :) 
Les Quiero! Dasvedanya! ( I have no idea how to write Russian things)
-La Hermana Brooks
Happy Monday to Everyone!! Also! Happy Birthday to my little sister, Morgan this week! She is getting way too old. Also, Happy Birthday to Mexico, Mi patria! haha thank goodness I am serving in a Spanish ward for this glorious celebration :) 

Anyways! So this week was very interesting. Actually it was pretty hard. But it was also amazing. We started the week off really strong, feeling like we were doing what we knew how to do, and making progress in our area. THEN we had a big zone conference that focused all on Becoming Consecrated Missionaries. We talked about the what it really means to serve God with all of your heart, might, mind and strength, and how we as a mission can come closer to that. It was all based off of a talk from Elder Tad R. Callister, which is amazing! If you can find it, read it. It applies to so much more than just missionay work. Anyways, so we were all super inspired and I really felt so much love from my Heavenly Father. I felt that I was given the exact help that I needed to become the missionary I am supposed to be. So my companion and I set some goals, and really committed ourselves to being more consecrated missionaries, ready to get to work and see thousands of miracles.... and then Heavenly Father reminded us whose work it is. We saw hardly any success the rest of the week. No one came to church, our only serious investigator stopped progressing, and we could not find ANYONE at home. We had no idea what had happened! And so we were talking about it last night, and it really hit me the importance of enduring with humility. We got so caught up in how successful we would be with our new goals, that we had lost our focus. Everything we do as missionaries is to help point ourselves and others to Christ. Numbers don't do that, the praise of others doesn't do that, only pure honest hearts trying to become more like the Savior can do that. So anyways, it was a really good lesson to learn, and I am very grateful that we don't have to be perfect. We just have to allow Christ to help us through our weaknesses and imperfections to help us become BETTER. Life is all about progression :) 

ALSO!!! JOHN GOT BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!! When I found out, I was practically crying tears of joy and sorrow at the same time. Joy because he was able to finally become clean and come closer to the Savior through baptism. Sorrow because I couldn't be there :( But! Some of the sisters that we are over were able to go, and so they said they got a program for me and that it all went beautifully :) hopefully I will get to see him at the missionary fireside next weekend!! 

Anyways, I am pretty much out of time, but I want you all to know that I know that Jesus Christ is real. He lives. He did what He said He did. He understands us so perfectly, and completely, and He loves us wholly. Life is not about micromanaging ourselves so that we don't ever mess up. It is about acknowledging that we are imperfect, that we do need help, and then going to the only person who can help us. He wants us to be happy, soooo happy. And He is willing to do anything for us to help us achieve that. We just need to have faith in Him and try our very best. I love yo all, and I hope you can remember the Savior in your thoughts as you may come across trials and hard things that we can't really explain. I know that He will help you.
Les Quiero!! 
-Hermana Brooks

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hello once again:) I hope everyone had a great week! One thing I can tell you is that it is definitely fall here. I have worn a coat/jacket every single day and it is awful. Haha well, actually it isn't awful, because nothing on a mission is awful. I love it all. But I am really going to miss the WONDERFUL summer here in Washington. As long as I still have some time before it starts getting dark at 4 o'clock again I will be okay :)

So we had a really great week in Bothell again. We are continuing to meet and find new people everyday, and many of them are prepared to start making the changes in their lives that they need in order to obtain the happiness they so desperately want. That is where it all has to start really, regardless of who you are. We have to recognize exactly what/who we want to become and then set goals and make plans to become that person. And that is what the gospel does, it gives us the tools we need, and the divine help and support that we need to overcome anything and everything to help us become that. It is such an incredible thing :) 

And please pray for  Ashley!! She is sooo incredible! And on Wednesday, she committed to prepare to be baptized on September 26th! But her family is really struggling right now, and it has
​been hard for her to come to church and read. When we taught her last, she really opened up how much she wants to come closer to her Heavenly Father, especially to help those she loves. But the enemy is working really hard on her, and so she could use all of the prayers she can get. Por favor y Gracias!!!

I dont have tons more time, but I just want to bear my testimony to all of you that I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. I know that even though I am imperfect, God still loves me and listens to me. He has forgiven me for so many of my shortcomings, and He will continue to strengthen me, bless me, and help me to become better and stronger every day. He is perfectly patient and perfectly loving. He allowed for His Son, Jesus Christ, to come down to earth and be hated, persecuted, experience all of our sorrows and sufferings, and eventually be crucified, so that we can all obtain forgiveness and peace. He will never abandon us. He will always be our number one supporter in our righteous efforts, and our number one source of comfort and peace in our trials and shortcomings. I have had the opportunity to really learn that this is true, and I really love it with all of my heart. That is why I am a missionary. Because although I am STILL imperfect and STILL make mistakes, I can help people come closer unto Jesus Christ. It is such an incredible gift. 

I love you all so much! ALSO!! Happy birthday to my wonderful mother!!! And Happy Anniversary to my amazing parents!!! I am so lucky to have both of you in my life. I would not be here if it wasn't for you two :) 

Have an amazing week everyone!! Don't forget to pray! 
-con amor, 
La Hermana Brooks 

I hope everyone had an amazing week and was able to recognize at least a few of the miracles that God put in your path. :) 
Our first full week in Bothell has been AMAZING!! And when I say amazing, I don't mean that we found 10 people who are ready to be baptized, and I dont mean that we didn't struggle. But we were able to have so much fun and see miracles literally everyday. 

So, Hermana Wrubell (she is from the same ward as my Grandma Brooks in Cedar Hills, UT!!!) is completely amazing. I don't think I have ever had a companion as focused and hard working as she is. She knows her purpose like the back of her hand. And like I said last week, she is a fireball! So it is really fun to work with her. Especially this week, we were lost pretty much the ENTIRE time. We have no idea how to get around Bothell. But regardless of getting lost, being late, and smoothing over some bumps in our teaching as we learn how to teach with one another, we were able to find a deep love for our new area and for each other. She really wants to be the best missionary she can be, and she is willing to do anything to be that. So I am really excited to work with her for as long as the Lord sees fit :) 

We are really focusing on finding new investigators right now. Since the area didnt have its own missionaries for the past 6 weeks, the work really slowed down and was not progressing. So as we got on our feet as quickly as we could in a new area, we have slowly been able to find more people to teach. We are also really focusing on Christ-like attributes this transfer. I have been able to see more and more clearly throughout my mission the necessity of trying our best to be like Jesus Christ and allowing Him to help refine us. Don't get me wrong, we are who we are for a reason. We have been given divine gifts, talents, and personalities. But if we go throughout life never seeking to progress or become BETTER versions of ourselves, we lose the potential to become more than we currently are. Life is about change, and if we allow ourselves to be enslaved by the version of ourselves we think we are, not the celestial, perfected versions of ourselves God has promised we can become through His Son, Jesus Christ, we are wasting our time. We are not expected to attain perfection in this lifetime, but we sure are expected to try. Sorry, tangent over :) 

An interesting thing that happened this week was a huge storm that blew through our mission all day Saturday. My companion and were actually out walking, doing our normal missionary thing (haha we had NO IDEA what was going on) and all we could tell was that traffic was really bad and the wind was really strong. So we get in our car after trying to find a few people at home (and not much luck) and as we get into the awful traffic, we see huge branches from trees allll over the sides of the road, falling onto power lines, and pretty much everywhere in sight. Turns out that the greater Seattle area (I am not 100% sure where...) completely lost power from it! Our apartment was out of power for 24 hours, and it was definitely an adventure trying to get ready for bed and church in the morning (it was so dark and cloudy in the morning that it did not make much of a difference that it was 'morning.') Haha it was crazy! But all the while, I was able to be grateful for the peace and security that the Gospel brings. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we really have no reason to fear as long as we are obedient and strive our best to be prepared for the storms that come in life, both physically and spiritually. 

We are having so much fun in Bothell and are ready to prove to the Lord that He can trust us to do a great work wherever He puts us. I really just love being a missionary :) OH!! And update for John: the Zone leaders over his area said that he is still doing okay and progressing towards baptism!! yay!!! Pretty much I am always on the look out now for missionaries in Redmond (when we have big mission things and such) so that I can ask them about him. GAH!! Im okay :) 

Well, I just want to challenge you all to commit this week to being your best self that you can be each day. Sometimes our best today will not be our best yesterday. But that does not mean that we should stop trying. I really truly love you all so much. I am sorry if I have ever been a cause of doubt, anger, frustration, or pain. There have been many days (and still are) where I am not my best self. But I know that God loves us all so much that He will never deny us the opportunity to try again and be better. In fact, He loves us so much that He will give us any and all help that we need as long as we are willing to accept it. 
Hasta Pronto!! :) 
-La Hermana Brooks 
So, I don't have tons of time today. But I wanted to fill you in super quick! So last week in Duvall was literally incredible. We committed a man named John to be baptized on September 12, and he is probably one of the most prepared people I have ever met in my entire life. I have never met someone so close to the Spirit. He read all of 1st and 2nd Nephi in the Book of Mormon in two days, and when we talked about it he said that it had literally been exactly what he had been searching for his entire life. He has finally found where God wants him to be. He does want his baptism to be at exactly sunset. So he is also a little eccentric. Agh! I just love him so much!!!
We also found sooo many new people to teach, did sooo much yard work (my shoulders are still sore from cutting so many branches) and really just had the most fun of the entire transfer! It was such a miracle to feel like we really were fulfilling our purpose and doing what the Lord expected us to do in our area... and then last night happened. 

We got a call that both Sister Lawson and I were being transferred. Two brand new missionaries, who have no idea who any of these people are will be coming and taking over everything that we started. And I am not complaining, because I know that it is the will of the Lord, that He has a plan, and that we did everything we were supposed to do while we were there. But it is still hard to just up and leave. To have the people that we love and served feel abandoned. We were blessed to be able to go and see John early this morning before he left to work to tell him goodbye. We all cried, and he told us that he would stay strong and listen to the next missionaries. He knows what God wants him to do and there is nothing that would make him back down from that. He asked if he could hug us, and we had to tell him no :( but we committed him to coming to the missionary firesides that we have every month so that we could see him after his baptism :) 

But the update for me is also incredible and such a blessing! I am now in Bothell, serving in the Spanish WARD (not branch!) and am serving as Sister Training leader, with newly called STL Hermana Wrubell!! I was able to work around her a little bit a few transfers ago, and I am so excited to do it now! She is really just a fireball, and loves to work, work, work. She even served in the ward before, but a different section of it, so it will be super awesome to have her teach me the ropes! While I am really sad about leaving Duvall, I am sooo happy to be back speaking Spanish and serving in a brand new area! Sisters have never been here before and it is going to be just amazing with all of the miracles we are going to find! 

I dont have much more time, but I just want you all to know that I love you all so much. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Gods true church on the earth today. And I also know that He knows each of us personally and individually. And He loves us perfectly. I know that we can all know that more fully as we read from the Book of Mormon. I invite you all to read from it every day this week. It doesn't have to be a lot. But it will make all of the difference, no matter what. 

Les Quiero!!
-la hermana brooks