Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Hard Things = Growth!!

Man, this week was kinda rough! Our mission president needed to send a pair of elders to another area, so Elders Meyer and Peterson got transferred to Wisconsin and the legendary district got ripped apart. When the APs came to pick them up at the institute, we locked all the doors and closed the blinds and tried to ignore them trying to get inside. It's basically what I imagine it was like for Joseph and Hyrum before they got martyred...we even sang "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" as they tried to pick the locks. It was literally the worst. But I've been reminding myself we don't come on mission to make friends, we come out to change lives- luckily we got to do both this transfer :) Other than that, this week has been awesome! I cant believe Victor and Vinh have been members for almost a whole week now! The light that radiates from them is crazy- they had the light of Christ before, but man, the Gift of the Holy Ghost really packs it on! We're going to the temple with them for the first time this week- I'm SO pumped! We also taught this super cool girl named Ashley about the Restoration, she's been reading the Book of Mormon, and she's coming to church on Sunday! She had awesome questions and said the things we talked about answered a lot of things she'd always wondered about. I love that about the  gospel- it just makes sense. We were talking to a convert the other day who's a super talented neurosurgeon, and she talked about how you can have all the science and proof in the wold to prove something, but the only thing you can really KNOW is what you feel through the Spirit. Hearing somebody so intelligent and logical talk about their conversion to the restored gospel through strong impressions and feelings was so cool! Right now we're teaching a lot of engineers and people who love science- which is great, because God is the greatest scientist there is! It's amazing seeing people have their own spiritual experiences that they can't physical see or prove to someone, but they know are real. 

This week for YSA soccer it was legit dumping rain, but we couldn't flake because we had investigators coming haha. So in the 40 degree windy downpour we were out running around hoping they would think our church was really cool...and it WORKED because we always sneakily do a Book of Mormon book club right after soccer, so all the investigators came and read from the BoM with us and the members! Everyone was soaking wet from sliding around the field, which might as well have been a pool, so we turned on the oven in the institute kitchen and huddled around it reading from the scriptures! Plus hot chocolate. It was one of those moments that you think, "This is why I came on a mission." Man, being a missionary is the best! 

There's a quote by Brigham Young I read during studies this week that really hit me. "Show me one principle that has originated by the power of the devil. You cannot do it. I call evil inverted good, or a correct principle made an evil use of." The more I thought about it, I realized that so many things in the world start out for a good purpose or with good intentions, and then slowly things go wrong and people start using it for a different reason, one that isn't so righteous. It was interesting to ponder about! 

Love, Sister Brett

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Double Dunk ...#baptisms

Best day ever! Today Victor and Vinh got BAPTIZED! Everything went perfectly- Heavenly Father made sure it all worked out! Almost the entire ward came...everyone is so supportive in the YSA!!! When they both gave their testimonies at the end, there wasn't a dry eye in the house (except Vinh's...I think he was a little confused why everyone was crying haha). Sister Winters was able to come too! It was so amazing to see her. Teaching Victor and Vinh with her was AMAZING and I'm SO glad she was able to come see the fruit of her labors :) 

Everything else kind of pales in comparison to today, so I'll just blow through some highlights:

-A member bought our groceries at Walmart for us!
-It was 70 degrees one day and a snow storm the next #minnesota
-Victor taught people at the student union with us at U of M
-We had 3 exchanges- being area homesick is a real thing! 

I want you all to know that I have a testimony of the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives and leads His Church! Because of His Atonement, we can one day be resurrected and live with Him again- I KNOW these things are true! They've blessed my life so much, and today two new people are able to bear their testimony of the same thing :)

Love you all! -Sister Brett

Monday, April 10, 2017

Faith + Baseball = Baptisms

This week was CRAZY! Crazy amazing! So the way things turned out this week, we actually had 3 P-days...pretty sick. We had General Conference last Saturday so we had to make up for that day, then half of our mission went to a Twins baseball game on Thursday, and today is P-day again! But we were kinda worried we wouldn't be able to find as many people to teach because almost half our week we wouldn't really be proselyting- BUT, as Nephi says, "The tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith." We saw incredible miracles the past few days and got 3 new investigators in ONE day! We were out showing the new Easter video the church put out, and ended up sharing it with people who were searching for a faith of their own. So we have a few return appointments this upcoming week! God definitely put people in our path that we needed to meet- I'm constantly reminded that everything that happens in missionary work is through no merit of our own, but only through the Lord! We're so lucky to be instruments in His hands :)

Vinh had his baptismal interview this week! The day before we were teaching him about the law of tithing, and he opened up about how he's helping his family back in Vietnam because they're really struggling, especially since he's come to America. As he was talking about it, I was thinking it was something he was going to have concerns with and be worried about. But of course in typical Vinh fashion, he said, "Of course I'll give what I have to the Lord, because then He will bless my family. If that's what He asks, then I'll do it." The tears could NOT be stopped in that lesson. The scripture popped in my head where it says, "Nay, never had there been such faith, not amongst all the Nephites." His trust in God is unreal, especially for someone who didn't even have a relationship with him a month ago! Before his interview he told us about all the changes he'd made in his life the past several weeks. He said before he'd started meeting with missionaries he was a negative person and didn't have love for anyone- there was no purpose to his life. But now he feels filled with light and happiness; he has direction and an end goal- the Celestial Kingdom! He said he's changed his thoughts and actions and that he's not the same person he was even just a little while ago. Then he bore an awesome testimony about repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. (He was much more eloquent than that, but my rushed typing skills don't really portray that very well). He's coming with us to Lamb of God tonight!

We're teaching an AWESOME guy named Bryce! His brother Nick is a super active incredible member, served a mission, just the best person! He and his dad joined the church, but his mom and brother didn't. Bryce comes to activities a lot, so last week we asked Nick to get him to have a lesson with us- and it went so great! Bryce is super open and goes to a Baptist church in town, but is looking for more guidance in his life. After we met he said, "I feel really good about this. I'm excited to meet again next week." The next day he came to YSA soccer and had a total blast, then he came to Book of Mormon book club! And tonight he's coming to Lamb of God with us!  I feel really really great about Bryce- good things are happening in the YSA! 

Something I've been pondering about the past few weeks is how to be at peace when questions go unanswered and prayers seemingly go unheard. It's so easy to have faith and believe when things are going right, but when doubts come up it's easy to forget the spiritual experiences you've had that got you to where you are in the first place. But just because something is unexplainable by us, doesn't mean it's unexplainable! The Lord's ways are WAY higher than ours. I feel like the resolution I've come to for when things go unresolved for a while is to keep an eternal perspective. When I have concerns about different things, I think about the eternal effects it has and if that question will really make any difference in my life. The conclusion I've come to is that I know following the teachings of Jesus Christ will get me a lot further in life than disregarding them and doing whatever I want. No one is truly happy that way. Being a member of the Church isn't always easy, but when I think about the alternative, there's no way I would ever put those standards aside. Time will resolve all questions, but until they do, I know safety comes from heeding the words of the Lord's chosen servants. Satan isn't called "the father of all lies" for nothing- so don't fall for his traps! Love you all so much! -Sister Brett

Quotes of the week: 

Vinh: "When I first started coming here, I thought you guys put something in the food, because I was so happy whenever I would eat dinner with you guys."
Vinh (again): "When you and Sister Winters first started talking to me, I thought, 'This isn't in the script!'".

Change is hard ... so is staying awake during all of General Conference!!

Weird transfer change- Sister Winters actually didn't come back to YSA- President decided to move her somewhere else (one of my previous areas!), so now Sister Gotchy and Sister Heath are here in the YSA! I was so devastated when I found out we wouldn't go eternal after all...I love her with all my heart, and she has been the BEST companion ever. When she came back to get her stuff from the apartment we both started crying, but I know the Lord needs her to help His children in Eden Prairie. They're lucky to have her!  

If you missed hearing a prophet's voice this week, GO BACK AND WATCH GENERAL CONFERENCE! It was so amazing! The Spirit was so strong and testified to me of the truthfulness of everything that was said. We had a few investigators come which was neat! Vinh took lots of notes and asked some awesome questions afterwards. Speaking of Vinh, he thought it would be super funny to April Fools prank us by telling us he broke the Word of Wisdom- he's so Mormon already 😂 He's so excited for his baptism! Back on the topic of April Fools pranking, with a little help from the EQP Sister Gotchy, Sister Heath and I broke into the elder's apartment- we stole their piano and all their toilet paper!  We put the keyboard in the institute bathroom during conference- it was so hilarious. The TP issue they found out later that night...#christlikeservice. Later on a member took all 7 of us in his 5-seater truck to 6 of us are squished in the remaining 4 spots, and poor Elder Chen got tricked into sitting alone in the truck bed. The member was hilariously awful and braked about a thousand times to send him flying. But he seemed to like it after screaming "WHY AMERICA???". 

This week has been kinda crazy with all the emergency transfer stuff going on, but Victor and Vinh are both preparing for their baptism on the 15th! We're trying to find new investigators every day- being in a trio makes talking to people on campus a little more awkward, but we're trying! :) Hope everyone has a great week! 
Love, Sister Brett

Quotes of the week:

Tuan: "Wherever Timmy is, peace isn't."

Us: "Did you get a chance to read over the Plan of Salvation pamphlet?"
Vinh: "Yes, but I don't remember much. Something about living with God before we lived here, then we came to earth and Adam and Eve ate the fruit and then we were all subject to sin, so God sent Jesus Christ to die for us, and then we'll die and be resurrected where our bodies and souls will never part, and then we go to either the Celestial, Terrestrial, or Telestial kingdom. But I don't know, I just skimmed it." 

Elder Chen: "Why everyone in America so loud? You laugh at everything, even if it not funny. I will not laugh if I do not like."