Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Best Gift Ever!

Merry Christmas! Hope everyone had a beautiful Sabbath yesterday. We had 4 investigators come to church, which was a miracle because we figured no one would show up since it's the holidays. But they were there! It was the best gift we could have gotten! Speaking of gifts, the elder's investigator got baptized and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday. He was on cloud 9! The members are amazing and brought us lots of little presents- Sister Wilcox really appreciated it...she's been feeling a little homesick, but your first Christmas away is the hardest. We're kind of on opposite ends of the spectrum right now because all her "firsts" are my lasts! It's weird. It was SO wonderful to get to Skype with my family. We spent the day at our bishop's house and opened our presents from home, did a white elephant exchange, and played games. AND taught some people! Surprisingly enough, people wanted to hear about the gospel on Christmas! So we taught a few first lessons and have some solid return appointments! 

A recent convert in the church asked us to go over and teach her daughter about the gospel, and we were SUPER excited for their referral! So we go over and have a really good lesson about the Restoration, and then out of nowhere she pulls out, "My apartment is haunted. Can you help me?" So we ask her a few questions about why she thinks that, and she explains some pretty weird stuff. Usually if things like that are going on, you're doing something to invite those bad influences in your home. Then she says, "Well, my girlfriend is a Satanist, but I tell her not to do her rituals in the apartment." *ding ding ding ding* Well there you go. If having someone who worships Satan live with you doesn't make you feel like there's a bad presence in your home, I don't know what will. We explained the elders could bless her home, but that you can't keep out something that's being continually invited in. So that was an interesting experience this week. But she wants to be baptized, so that's cool!

I just want to bear my testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the Light of the World and every good thing comes because of and through Him. I love being able to celebrate His birth, but there would be no Christmas without Easter. His birth would be incomplete without His glorious Atonement for our sins. I know it's only because of Him that we have the opportunity to live with our Father in Heaven again. Sometimes keeping the commandments feels hard, and making righteous decisions seems impossible. But the Lord never asks us to do something we can't accomplish. I'm so grateful for his unending grace and mercy that satisfy the demands of justice if we do our part. 

***ALSO transfer news: I'm headed to Minneapolis! I'm going to be a Sister Training Leader on the University of Minnesota campus! I'll be in a YSA ward...holla!!! Since school is still on winter break I'll be over there in a couple weeks instead of Wednesday, so I have sufficient time to say goodbye to everyone! #blessing  

Shout out to the Young Men and Young Women at my home branch for sending the sweetest care package! Love y'all!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Missionaries or Low-Key Kidnappers?

This week has been FREEZING. Literally. Everything is frozen. Our door knobs, our car, our faces. But that's okay, because this week has also been AWESOME. We were able to see all of our investigators! Which is rare because everyone is so busy around the holidays. So that was good! I think the best appointment of the week was with Tanner. We decided we would watch Jospeh Smith: Prophet of the Restoration with him because that movie is SO good, and gives such a great understanding of the restoration of the gospel. So because of the rule of 3 (missionaries always have to have 3 members of the same sex when teaching a lesson- so we can teach any woman by ourself, but if we teach a guy then we either need another girl with us or 2 more men)...so anyway, because of that, we had to get the elders to come with us. BUT, another mission rule is that we can't drive investigators in our own car. SO we arranged for a member to come get him. The catch is that Tanner is high-key shy and isn't the biggest fan of meeting new people, so we told him we'd be there to pick him up. Which was basically true. So we meet him at the dorms, and tell him that someone is actually coming to get us. Then our ward mission leader pulls up in his bright red PT Cruiser with the elders and we're like "Actually you're going with him. We'll follow behind you in our car." At that point Tanner's eyes get huge and you can tell he's got the whole "I'm about to be kidnapped and sold into the sex slave trade" look going on. But he willingly complies and we head over to Bro Grawe's house to watch the movie. And GUESS WHAT? Tanner TOTALLY opened up to everyone! They're like 4 peas in a pod. So by the end of the evening they're all complete BFFs and Bro Grawe shares his conversion story, and the Spirit was so strong. Tanner said he really understood what led to the restoration of Christ's church and said he believed it happened! #heckyeah #poweroftheholyspirit #andgoodfellowship #gettingdunked

The hours leading up to that event were less awesome. We worked super hard all week and got 13 solid people who said they would come to church Sunday! We had rides lined up for them and everything, and you know what happened? Church. Gets. CANCELLED. I guess -30 degrees was too much for even the natives here, so we got phone calls and emails that no one should show up to church. We were SO DISAPPOINTED and had to call our investigators and tell them not to come. The saddest part was that it was a special sacrament meeting specifically for non-members and people visiting for the first time. My heart was in approximately 5,000 different pieces. But I know the Lord has His hand in everything and I'm sure there was a reason it happened!

Earlier in the week we went on exchanges! It was the best! I was with Sister Eriksson who's from Sweden and she has the cutest accent. It was awesome because everyone we talked to asked where she was from and why she was here, which was the perfect opportunity to bring up the gospel! And she's the most optimistic person I've ever met. It was the most fun I've had in a really long time- even tracting can be fun if you're with the right person! 
Even with the cold weather we've been doing our best to find new investigators. It's definitely more challenging, but I'm so grateful for the chance to teach people during the holidays (and it's definitely toughening me up!). The gospel of Jesus Christ is so important and changes lives- it needs to be shared! 

Can't believe Christmas is 6 days away! Hope everyone has an amazing holiday. (I get to Skype my family, so guaranteed missionaries all over will be having a very merry Christmas). Love you all! -Sister Brett

On the Ninth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me....

This week I've been thinking a lot about the prophesies of the birth of the Savior, like the new star in the sky that would appear as a sign of His coming. For example, when our car wouldn't start this week, it was a sign of the arrival of winter. Or when we had to break out the snow shovels. Or start wearing thermals. Personally I'd much rather enjoy the arrival of baby Jesus than brace for the hash cold front, but I'm grateful we get to celebrate His humble birth, even in the deep mid-winter. 

We've had LOTS of opportunities to find new investigators! The roads have been pretty nasty, so we've been opting to walk almost everywhere. People go out of their way to tell us we're insane for tracting while the snow is pelting down, so it makes for a great conversation starter! And there's definitely no better time to be a missionary than the holidays. Everyone is way happy and a lot more willing to hear our message. 

Yesterday was Clois' third week in a row at church! She really loves it- and we love her! She always has these wonderful insights she shares in class and people just eat her up. She fits right in. I see a bright future in the Relief Society...
Gene and Rosemary are still struggling with keeping the Word of Wisdom. Kicking a smoking habit is so hard! But they really want to make their baptismal date, so please keep them in your prayers! We had a few investigators and lots of less-actives at the ward Christmas party, which was awesome! The only not awesome part? Everyone got food poisoning. Sister Wilcox and I woke up throwing up, and later on the elders texted us saying they were ralphing too. We kept hearing from members throughout the week that they'd gotten sick, so basically everyone who went to the party ended up with DEATH. EXCEPT the people we invited! It's a Christmas miracle! If that's not proof God is real, I don't know what is. 
We had Zone Conference this week which was SUCH a blast! Remember my companion from FOREVER ago, Sister Peterson? We're back in the same zone! So she and her companero sang "O Holy Night" and I accompanied them on guitar. It was so fun seeing everyone since we're way out in the middle of nowheresville Wisconsin! 

**Awkward moment of the week: we went on splits with a less-active member, and she saw us on our AreaBook that has members labeled as "Active" or "Less-Active". So she looks over and sees her name under "Less-Active" and she's like "What's that?" Most. Awkward. Moment. Ever. BUT she and her family were at church on Sunday! So I guess it all worked out.  

Love you all so much! -Sister Brett

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fourth floor, last door...

The first real snowfall of the season hit yesterday! It was awesome- except for the fact Gene and Rosemary couldn't come to church because of it! The roads were too icy and they hadn't plowed them yet, so there were a lot less people at church. BUT guess who showed up right as the meeting started? CLOIS! It was such a pleasant surprise because she told us she'd been sick and wouldn't be able to make it. But she said she really wanted to come, so there she was! Everyone was so excited to see her and she always says she feels so loved after coming to church. She's the best! Do I hear water filling up the font? 

It was one of those weeks where everything seemed to completely fall through. We spent hours tracting and couldn't get in a single door. The phrase from President Uchtdorf's talk from Women's Conference was playing in my head the whole time: "Fourth floor, last door." So it's almost curfew, but we decide to knock one last door- and it's THE door! This super nice guy named John answered and we taught him the Restoration on his doorstep! We gave him a Book of Mormon and he promised to read it. He said he'd grown up Lutheran but was looking for something more. We have high hopes for him! Gene and Rosemary have been doing really well with the Word of Wisdom! They usually have a tin can full of cigarettes on their front steps, but when we went over this week it was completely cleaned out! They also haven't been drinking coffee, which is HUGE for Rosemary! Woohoo!
Saturday night we were contacting at a tree-lighting, and we met this family who just moved here from Guam! We got to talking and it turned out both of their daughters were JUST baptized in the church back in Guam! Their parents are finally ready to learn more about the gospel, and we are SO excited to teach them. They're golden!

One of the members (well, all of them, but especially this one) is so wonderful and treats us like her daughters every time we go over there. Since she knew I was from Mississippi she made me and Sister Wilcox sweet potato pie! It was FABULOUS. As we were leaving she was like, "I have something for you," and proceeded to give us a Backstreet Boys CD. I don't know what we're supposed to do with it, but I'm sure in some way we can relate the lyrics to the gospel and justify listening to some of it, right? "The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak." 

I took the most embarrassing fall down a flight of stairs at our complex. It was super icy and apparently I was so loud that the neighbors came out to see who died. Pretty sure people think Sis Wilcox beats me since I'm a little bit black and blue haha. Good thing it's too cold for anything other than heavy duty long-sleeves! #literallysoawkward

Anyway, since yesterday was fast Sunday, I want to bear you my testimony on how much I've come to know and love the Savior through studying the Book of Mormon. I love reading the Bible, but there's a spirit I feel while reading the Book of Mormon that hits me more powerfully than any book I've ever read or sermon I've ever heard. I learn so much about how to become more like Jesus Christ and how much He truly loves us. If you haven't read the Book of Mormon, I invite you to read from it, even if it's just a page, and pray to Heavenly Father to reveal to you if it's truly His word. I promise that He will manifest the truthfulness of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost- it will truly change your life. I'm grateful for the changes it's helped me make in my life to be a kinder, more patient, and hopefully more Christ-like daughter of God. None of us will ever be perfect in this life, but living the precepts in the Book of Mormon will sure help us get there! I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Sister Brett

#Light the World

I feel like I just emailed 4 days ago...probably because I did. We had the best Thanksgiving! The members are way too good to us here- we have enough leftovers to last another week! I've gained approximately 5,000 pounds. Bless whoever made skirts with elastic waist bands. 

Yesterday was great! Clois came to church and LOVED it. She said how welcomed she felt and told everyone she was coming back next week. 

FUN MIRACLE! Remember forever ago when I wrote about this dude falling out of the tree we were standing under? Welllll we found him! And he wasn't in a tree! He was selling organic herbal tea #wordofwisdomapproved 

Little spiritual thought! Friday the church came out with the cutest 2 minute Christmas video called "Light the World". It's all about being the light for those who need it, just like the Savior is. It's really touching, and I challenge all of you to watch it and share it on your social media pages- you never know who might see it scrolling on their news feed and really need it! I'm so grateful to have Christ light my life.

Quotes of the week: 

Us: "Would you like to come see your visiting teachee with us?"
Member: "Ugh, I'd rather stab my eyes out." 
Us: "Cool. So...no?" 

Member: "If you'd have told me I'd be married 4 times I would have shot myself in the head...but it's been fun!"
Clois: "Oh, good for you." 

Love, Sister Brett