Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Why did the turkey cross the road?

This week was such a spiritual high! It was amazing. We saw Carissa again; she was pretty stressed with midterms coming up and had a ton on her plate, so we were just there for her so she could rant a little and know that we care about her. She took us to the game room in the dorm and we played foosball and pool. Can I reiterate how much I love her? Shoutout for winning 2nd place in their student film festival on Friday! She's a really talented screenwriter.

We had a stellar zone conference! There was a lot of amazing training that went on. We had a really inspiring training on consecration and obedience as a missionary. Sometimes mission rules seem silly, but we miss out on blessings and sometimes even revelation when we're not being obedient. I'm still working on being a completely consecrated missionary, and I'm not sure that's even possible. But I know the Lord sees our efforts every day. They asked us to sing again at conference, so Sister Peterson and I sang a hymn in Spanish in hopes that President Forbes will transfer us to Spanish areas, haha. We'll see if it works! 

Afterwards Sis P and I went to Culver's for ice cream (almost as good as Andy's frozen custard back home) and Sister Cupkie showed up out of the blue (#stalkerstatus) and payed for everything for us. Let me tell you something about the Cupkies- they're flipping legit. Both of them are in the FBI and did several tours in Iraq and could probably- no, definitely- kill you with their bare hands. They're the kind of people that if you called them in the middle of the night to help you bury a dead body, they'd literally cover your tracks- granted you're on their good side. Sister Cupkie told us we were her favorite missionaries though, so I think we're covered. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. He's going to teach us self-defense so we can fend for ourselves in North Minne. Holla! 

The sweetest woman in our ward, Sister Young, watched her husband pass away this week. I remember when she told us that his health was failing, and that was near the end of my first transfer. So all in a matter of about a month he made a rapid decline. We went to see him in the hospital, and I remember her holding his hand and staring at him the whole time we were there, like she was taking in every second she could with him. After the funeral she had us over for dinner- that woman is a saint. If my husband had just died, there's no way I would make dinner for missionaries the same day. She's so strong, and knows she'll see him again. I have a testimony and love of the Plan of Salvation, God's plan of happiness for all His children. Just like our birth into this mortal life is a necessary part of the plan, so is death. It doesn't make losing a loved one easy, but it gives us peace to know that families can be together forever, even after this life. I know with all my heart that Brother Young is in a much better place and is still watching over his sweet wife, and will until they're reunited again. 

" From an earthly perspective, physical death may seem like an end, but really it is a beginning, a step forward in Heavenly Father’s plan. At death, your spirit will leave your body and go to the spirit world, which is a place of learning and preparation. In the spirit world, your memories of this life will remain with you.
Death will not change your personality or your desire for good or evil. If you choose to follow Christ during your life on earth, you will be at peace in the spirit world and will rest from your cares. 
Heavenly Father knew that many of His children would never have an opportunity to learn about Jesus Christ during their lives and that others would choose not to follow Him. Because He loves His children, God provided a way for those in the spirit world to learn about His plan, have faith in Jesus Christ, and repent. Those who accept and follow Jesus Christ will have peace and rest." 

Teaching about this incredible and loving plan is one of my favorite parts of being a missionary. I can't imagine going through life and not knowing where I was going after this life, or if I would ever see my loved ones again. I know we were put in our specific families for a reason, and I love mine more than anything! Shoutout Brett fam! 
Until next week, Sister Brett 

*Highlights of the week: baking a year's worth of cookies in a day, waxing Sister Peterson's legs, getting to see ten minutes of Inside Out at an investigator's, and almost hitting a turkey in the middle of the road

Friday, February 19, 2016

Love (and the Spirit) Are in the Air

Valentine's Day is one of the best times of the year- unless you're
single or a missionary. *Shout out to Sister Teuscher, or I guess
A BOYFRIEND (cough, ring by spring, cough).* Levels of trunkiness and
bromance among the elders skyrocket. But while love is in the air for
some people, the spirit is definitely potent right now with our
investigators! We're still teaching Paul, aka Seth Rogan. He's so
funny and has so much faith but doesn't even realize it. We always ask
him to pray and build his relationship with God, and he says he
doesn't get any answers or signs that He's listening, but he keeps
trying anyway. I know if he sticks with it that he'll find the answers
he's looking for in God's perfect timing for him. Barbara is doing
really well! She's cut down to smoking just once a day. We are SO
proud of her! Coming to church has really been helping out. She's
completely recharged afterwards and has such a desire to keep on the
path. She's going to start going to the church's addiction recovery
program, so I know that will definitely be a huge help. Carissa is
still the coolest person I know. She and her boyfriend are literally
the cutest thing. Sometimes I forget we're even teaching her anything
new because she takes everything in so well and already has such a
sound understanding of the doctrine. Please keep them in your prayers,
as well as the investigators we didn't get a chance to see this week.

We volunteer at a food shelf called STEP, and it's an amazing program.
People who can't afford to buy groceries for their family come in and
take whatever food they need. The same people usually come in during
our weekly shifts and I've finally been here long enough that the
people who come in finally remember me! (Everyone loved Sister
Teuscher so much, they're like, "Who is Sister Brett, she's not cute
or from Utah, get out.").  One of the old guys who came in shouted
when he walked through the door, "Where's the gal from Mississippi?"
and it legit made my day. One of the people who came in was a super
nice Jehovah's Witness. She said she wanted to give us a pamphlet from
her church, and I told her we would take it, but only if she took one
of ours. She agreed and I gave her a Restoration pamphlet. #success.
When she left Sister Peterson started low-key freaking out saying that
JDubbs get excommunicated if they take materials from other churches.
Oops. Did you know they don't celebrate holidays or birthdays? It was
the saddest thing I'd ever heard. One of the other volunteers is Mike,
who's the most sarcastic, affable Jew you'll ever meet. (his wife left
him because she decided she was a lesbian. The way he tells it makes
it sound like best story ever. I'm totally coming home and making a
screenplay out of it). He asked us to show him what we usually talk
about with people. He looked at the Resto cover with Jesus on it and
said: "We're not really getting off to a great start with the
pamphlet." Reason #374 we don't try to convert the Jews. But I've
turned into that super annoying missionary who talks to EVERYONE that
I always said I'd never be- too late to turn back now #noregrets :)

We went on exchanges this week, so I got to go to a new area for the
day. It was about 30 minutes outside of Minneapolis, so I saw a
glimpse of what life outside the city is like. One of the houses we
went to reminded me so much of home- it was scary similar. There were
deer heads and mounted fishes all over the walls, complete with
bearskin rugs. I say house, but it may as well have been a hunting
lodge.  Dad, you and Brother Jendro would be best friends. That night
we had dinner at a member's and the husband served his mission in LA
and one of his companions was from a town fairly close to mine in
Mississippi. The world is so small!

We visit Sister Fisher in the nursing home every week, and I swear,
she's so close to the other side that angels are literally pulling her
over- like, quit procrastinating and get over here, we don't have time
for this. But she's pretty stubborn! She's died 3 times and they've
had her funeral planned for months. Definitely a testament to the
power of the priesthood, because every time she's on her death bed and
gets a blessing, she's healed. The veil is so thin and the spirit is
always really strong around her. She's such an incredible woman and
talks to everyone about the gospel. Without her we would have never
met Mercy- Sister Fisher is an angel. I know she's still got some kind
of work to do on this earth before it's her time to go home.

Luckily we didn't have any traumatizing experiences in North Minne
this week. But the week up ahead has plenty of opportunity for that! I
pronounced 'ask' like 'axe' so it's really all downhill from here.
I'll sign off with a quote from an amazing study book filled with
advice from Latter-day prophets, called 'Teachings of Presidents':
 "If thoughts make us what we are, and we are to be like Christ, we
must think Christlike thoughts. Our thoughts should be on the Lord. We
should think on Christ. Let our personal lives, our homes, and our
work performance reflect our Christlike character." -Ezra Taft Benson.
It really made me think about how often our thoughts aren't what we
should be focusing on. Our thoughts become our actions, so naturally
if we're keeping our thoughts Christlike and pure, our actions will
mirror that. The presence of the spirit will be noticeably stronger in
our lives if consciously make the effort to keep our thoughts turned
toward the Savior and how to be more like Him. It's an ongoing,
everyday effort that will become part of our natural thought process
if we make a habit of thinking more like Christ would. Until next
Much love, Sister Brett

Surviving the Compton of Minnesota

This week has been great! We found a lot of awesome people and had
some inspired finding experiences that prove how much the Spirit truly
guides us. One of those people was Carissa, a super cool college
student majoring in anthropology. She was just doing research on our
religion for a paper, but became genuinely interested. Her dad is a
preacher and she's incredibly spiritual...she's just awesome! And too
hipster to function. It's so weird to be back around college kids- I
have no idea how to act! "Back in the day when I was a hoodlum in
college, just like you....three very long months ago..."

Our cars got grounded on Wednesday because of all the snow, so we had
to entertain ourselves by watching whatever church DVDs we could find
in our apartment. I'm starting to have withdrawals from not being able
to watch rom-coms, but we found the Joseph Smith Papers, and the
letters Joseph and Emma wrote to each other were pretty romantic, so
it was a nice fix!
I drove in my first blizzard! They hadn't grounded our cars yet, so we
inched back home going 5 MPH trying not to die. I don't think I'll
ever get used to driving on ice and snow. Especially when they don't
plow the roads in the ghetto and we're trekking over actual Mount
Everest. Sometimes Sister Peterson and I blast the heat, crack the
windows and pretend we're back on the west coast...until it gets too
cold and we have to roll the windows up. (And the fact rolling around
in G-town with MoTab blaring attracts too much attention). But we can
pretend for a little bit! There's this Satan box called Tiwi stuck to
our dash that monitors how we drive. It yells at you for speeding and
aggressive driving...Tiwi and I aren't friends. Driving in LA didn't
prepare me for the missionary standard of driving. Don't worry mom, we
only drag race on P-Days :)

We went to see a referral this week and she answered the door
naked...we asked if Clorey was home and she just stood there staring
at us in the nude. It was pretty uncomfortable. Afterwards we saw
someone trying to break into our car, probably because our Tiwi looks
like a GPS. But he saw us coming back and got in his car and drove
away. In that same neighborhood later on we saw a drug deal- the car
had bullet holes in the back window- that was pretty sweet. The zone
leaders found out how shady it is, so sisters might not be going back
into that area anymore. I wouldn't be too devastated, except for the
fact our best investigators come from there. Our teaching pool would
become a shallow kitty pond!

Leaning on the Lord more has made all the difference this week! Being
in the refiner's fire is never easy, but it's always worth it in the
long run. Just like early morning workouts- in the moment, do we enjoy
Jillian Michaels yelling at us and forcing us to plank till our core
literally rips in half? In the words of Sister Peterson: "I don't
enjoy scary buff women yelling at me at 6:30 in the morning, nor at
any point in the day." But when you step on the scale and see the
results, you're grateful she kicked your butt for those 30 minutes. I remember at the MTC
Dallin H. Oaks talked about being grateful for your trials. I'm
finally understanding that more out here. They make you who you're
supposed to be. Love you all! -Sister Brett

Fear Not Little Flock

You know those mornings where the alarm goes off and you think, "The
day hasn't even started yet and I'm already over it."? That was me
every single day this week. It's like Satan held off on all his tricks
until this point on my mission and saved them all for this week. Since
we didn't die being hit by a drunk driver, now he's trying to do us in
in every other way possible! Except my companionship- Sister Peterson
is the funniest person and knows how to laugh off every situation,
without her this week would have been impossible! I spent a lot of
time on my knees and just asked for a miracle. I didn't care what
kind, just some sort of a reprieve. Not even ten minutes later the
Cambodian elders called us with a referral- her name was Miracle. It
was such a tender mercy! And shows God has a sense of humor (I knew I
had to get it from somewhere!). There's opposition in all things, and
we'd never know how good things are unless we have to go through some
tribulation. I've been reading a lot in Doctrine and Covenants (which
for my non-Mormon friends is additional revelation the Lord gave
Joseph Smith and his apostles during their lives, which also applies
to our lives today) and it's really been comforting to read! One of my
favorite verses are:

"33 Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye
also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your

34 Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell
combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot

-D&C Section 6

I was definitely relating with that this week! I know that because
we're on the Lord's errand, evil can't prevail in the end- but it
doesn't mean Satan won't try! A lot of our investigators are
struggling with challenges, and it's a universal thing that life is
hard, but when we put our trust in the Savior, we can have peace- not
as the world giveth, but as He giveth.