Monday, December 12, 2011

Wonderful Week

Thank you all for your emails this week!

Mother, you're right. We're all working together, working to build the kingdom and turn hearts to Christ. Working to spread his message of peace, hope, and joy. For the last 7 months, I've had a special opportunity to think a lot on our Savior, Jesus Christ. However, as the Christmas season comes around, my mind has been on him even more. I know, with all of my heart, that he lives. I know, with all of my heart, that his Atonement has cleasing and comforting power.

We've had a wonderful week of miracles, yet again. I've learned that the gospel of Jesus Christ is literally for everyone. We're working with such an array of people: A family that is struggling to provide the bare necessities for their young children, but is searching for light and hope through Christ. A young man who is at the prime of his life, everything is going well for him, but he's seeking to fill a hole that he knows is there; he knows that it will be filled with Christ. A middle-aged man who is suffering from so many addictions I can hardly count them, and whose will to live and continue is withering away quickly; he's reaching out though, because he knows that he can climb out of this pit, through his Savior, Jesus Christ. A young woman who is studying to be a film visionary - she's stylish, she's fantastic, she's intelligent and well-spoken. She's confused, though. She wants to believe, she says she believes, but she just can't quite comprehend what it means when we say that Heavenly Father loves her and Jesus Christ is her Savior. A brainiac who is renowned for his intelligence in his field, but something's missing - something isn't quite right. He knows his life could be better, it could be fuller. He's hesitant to believe and trump his mind, but something keeps pulling him in, urging him to pray, nudging him to find that fulfillment in this character, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

It is the most beautiful thing to see hearts turn to Him. I'm so happy, and feel so blessed to see such beauty every day.

I know God lives. I know Jesus Christ is His Son, and Our Savior.

A little line for Karel: This is why we are so "shiny." Because we know that God lives, and that He loves us. We know that Christ is our Savior! See you at English, Karel!

St'astne a Vesele Vanoce!
Merry Christmas!

I love you all.

S laskou,
Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas in Brno!

It's Christmas here in Brno! Sister Izatt and I had a fantastic P-day last week, when we spent a few hours on the city square, eating Czech food (halusky, langos, churros in a cup of chocolate, trdelniky, and big chunks of meat on a plate with mustard and bread) and perusing the Christmas markets. There is a huge nativity set up right in the center, which is absolutely beautiful. Sister Izatt and I were staring at it for quite a long time, actually, when we finally realized that baby Jesus was missing. We freaked out for a few minutes, wondering what kind of Czech joke this was. We turned and whispered to an elderly couple next to us, "Kde je Jezisek?" ("Where's little Jesus?") They were a little confused as well, as we all four looked around. We realized, however, that he won't be coming out until the 24th of December, when Czechs celebrate Christmas, and the birth of baby Jesus :)

Well, it was a wonderful week! I don't quite know what to tell you. It was full of wonderful moments, and a lot of work with members and less actives. It was also full of a lot of tram rides, and a lot of getting lost, trying to make it out to members' houses, ha. I spend a lot of time on trams here in Brno, and while I'd rather be walking, I guess it's a blessing in the winter.

A beautiful thing happened this week. I'm amazed more and more each day at how much the Lord is guiding our steps. I mentioned a lesson we had last week with a "miracle investigator." A couple weeks ago, Sister Izatt and I were contacting out on the namesti. We set a goal for how many people we wanted to find, how many numbers, and that we would set up at least one meeting. We were getting numbers on so many people, but we still weren't able to set up a solid meeting. We had about 10 minutes left in our contacting block, before we had to head to district meeting. I turned to Sister Izatt and said, "Let's find someone who will meet with us!" We took 3 steps, turned a corner, and ran into a young man from Syria. Turns out, this young man already knew us! He had met with missionaries a couple times and gone to church a couple times in London, when he was studying there. He said he really liked it, and he asked us if we could meet. We set up for the next day, and like I said in my last email, it was the most spiritual lesson I've ever been in. He said he wasn't really a religious man, but there was a time when he had strong faith in Christ in his life, and he admitted to us that it was by far the happiest time of his life. He lost that connection, and stopped reading in the scriptures and praying sincerely, and that fulness of happiness was lost. He said he had been trying for a long time to get it back, that missing part, but he just couldn't do it. The spirit flooded the room as we spoke of Jesus Christ, the hope we can find through him, and the powerful testimony of him that we find in the Book of Mormon, which stands as a witness that the Bible is true, and that Jesus truly is the Christ.

After the lesson, we spoke to this young man a little more, getting to know him and his family. He then opened up to us and told us about his family, which was all back in Syria, and the difficulty and danger they were facing there. He told us that just that week one of his relatives had been arrested, and that no one knew where he was. The feeling was so heavy, as we could see the concern on this young man's face, and the worry that gripped him in his daily life. We told him we would pray for him, and we told him to pray too.

This week, that young man's uncle was found and freed. He came to our next meeting, and was absolutely beaming. "Prayer works!" he said.

I know it does.

I love you,
Lucy

Monday, November 28, 2011

Living in BRNO

Ahh, Family! Those pictures were the best! Thank you for sending them. Looks like Scooter had a good Thanksgiving, and the Christmas tree looks fantastic, as usual. I can't believe my siblings taking advantage of the one year I'm not home, and putting my ornaments in the back. We all know my preschool ornaments are the best in the bunch.. :)

Alright, Mother, I'll begin with your questions today. I think you ask me about my living conditions every email you write, haha! The sisters' aparment in Brno is probably the best apartment I'll every be in. It's super, duper nice, with plenty of space, modern appliances, and everything. I even have a dishwasher. WAY nicer than anything I stayed in at college. I'm very happy here. The Francis couple lives just down the hall, and they are from Salem, Utah. They're a fantastic couple, and I love being around them and serving around them. We don't all live in the same building, all four companionships are spread all across the city, except for the sisters and the Fancis's. Being a senior companion - well, I don't know. If I didn't serve with Sister White last transfer, who was my same "age," I'm sure it would be a lot more intimidating or difficult. However, when Sister White and I were assigned to serve together, each one of us had to be a full-blown missionary, and every skill or missionary secret there is to figure out, we found some way to figure it out. Thus, serving with Sister Izatt, a younger missionary, hasn't felt too different. She's only two months younger than me, and so we're partners in everything we do. All in all, Sister Izatt is fantastic, and we're working hard to do the Lord's work! The people in Brno - they're great! I LOVE contacting in Brno. There's so many people here! I know what you're asking - what's the general attitude here... well, it was only until I got to this city that I came across people who wanted to really Bible bash with me. It's a goal of mine to never argue with a single soul on my mission. It's definitely a temptation, when you want so much for people to understand, and you don't want them to paint an inaccurate picture of you, or the church, or what we believe. However, as long as we don't dismiss the Spirit, things go okay, and we're able to deal with those conversations the way Christ would have us. It's a generally more intellectual city, more in touch with the world than Ceske Budjeovice was; thus, we're talking to people who think a bit more about what we're saying, and the implications of what we believe. I actually really enjoy it. It's just thrilling to talk to people all day, teaching and testifying of what I know to be true. I just can't get enough of it. I already know I'll miss it a lot. You asked last week if we face the kind of persecution we sometimes hear of with our missionaries in Russia or other countries. No. Never. People are very kind in the Czech Republic, and actually extremely non-confrontational. A Czech is more likely to ignore you, than to argue with you, but there are many who are willing to engage in conversation with us, and learn more. How big is the branch? I don't know, haha. There are probably about 100 or so members that come every week. Lots of children and beautiful families. It's wonderful, and a little overwhelming, as you want to get to know everyone. However, it will come with time. I love it here in Brno.

Ok, we had some fantastic moments over the weekend since I last wrote! On Thanksgiving night, one of the youth in our branch brought a friend to our weekly game night. He had found out that I was deaf in one ear, and that I knew sign language, and so he decided to get in touch with a friend of his who is also deaf in one ear. He invited his friend that night, and I was able to meet him. Turns out this young man goes to a school for the deaf which is just one stop away from the church building in Brno! Unfortunately, I think both of them thought that sign language was the same all across the world, and were disappointed to find out that even the alphabet is completely different, ha ha. However, since he only has hearing loss in one ear, he actually hears quite well, and we were able to just communicate in spoken Czech. Sister Izatt and I taught him that night about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and that we can communicate with Him through prayer. He's never had any exposure to religion or faith, and so everything is new for him. He actually lives on the complete other side of the country, and travels home (6 hours by train, one-way) every weekend to be with his family. He lives here throughout the week, so that he can go to this school for the deaf, and he's been doing that for about 4 years. He's such a sweet kid, and we're teaching him again tonight. I'm super excited to start learning some Czech sign language! He taught me a few things the first time we met, and I practice every night after Sister Izatt turns the lights out :) When I met him, I couldn't help but laugh at the situation, as I remember Abby telling me to find all the deaf people in the country and teach them! I guess I'll have to ask this young man for referrals! (Just so you know, Abby, the alphabet is pretty similar to British or Australian sign language (2-handed), but still has some slight differences)

Out of time, but hopefully next week I'll have to tell you about a miracle investigator we found. This weekend Sister Izatt and I had a lesson with a young man, where the Spirit was there in such abundance, that I felt cleansed from my head to my toes. It was my most favorite lesson of my mission so far. I know that Heavenly Father prepares people. I know that He loves each one of us. I know that even though tragedy surrounds us, and uncertainty of the future often weighs on our souls, that through the gospel of Jesus Christ we can find joy, peace, and most of all, hope.

I love you all.
S laskou,
Sestra Lucy Brimhall

P.S. The Christmas markets have come! Brno is DECKED out for Christmas already. You wouldn't believe the sight. It's absolutely beautiful - lights stringing the buildings, and all the streets, little wooden houses covering the city center, selling Czech food, pottery, trinkets, and more. Live music is out on a stage every night, with a huge nativity scene set up in the middle of the square. It's beautiful, absolutley beautiful. I will try my best to take pictures and to send them, like you asked

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from the Czech!

Wonderful Family and Friends!

I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings! My whole district is sitting in an internet cafe right now, emailing our families, before we head over to the Francis missionary couple's apartment to have our own little, American Thanksgiving. Sister Izatt and I made a whopping pot of mashed potatoes this morning, and a departing missionary's parents was thoughtful enough to bring us some pumpkin filling a few weeks ago, so we can have pumpkin pie today! I've been thinking all morning about what you all will say today when you go around the table and say what you're grateful for. I'll be sure to add my thoughts in today's email, all the way from the Czech Republic!

This last week and a half was just fantastic! Sister Izatt and I worked our tails off, and have found so many new, and incredible people here in this city. On Sunday, I had my first Sunday in the Brno branch with regular meetings, and I was so impressed with the beauty of that branch, and the desire of each one of those members to fulfill their callings and work to strengthen the Lord's kingdom here in the Czech. My favorite part about church was when our amazing Relief Society president gave a lesson on the responsibility each of us have to spread the gospel, to share the good news, to recognize our blessings, and to share them with all those that we love. She held up the Book of Mormon, and bore a powerful testimony of the witness that it is of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the Restoration of his gospel in the latter days. She gave our women and young women a vision for flourishing wards, a stake, and even a temple in this country. It was a touching lesson for me - I just sat there and beamed. She was right. We each have a great duty to spread the good news, to be a witness, to be representatives of the Savior. May we all press on in so great a cause!

I've been pondering a lot lately on the meaning that the gospel of Jesus Christ has in my life. Why does it add to my life? What blessings do I see from it? Every day people ask me, "Why isn't it enough just to try our best, and be good people? Why do we need faith in Christ or a God? What does it ADD to a life that already seems to be doing alright?" I read Elder Ballard's "Our Search for Happiness" this last week, and I found a quote that I really loved: "The best thing about living a Christ-centered life, however, is how it makes you feel. It's hard to have a negative attitude about things if and when your life is focused on the Prince of Peace. There will still be problems. Everyone has them. But faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is a power to be reckoned with in the universe and in individual lives. It can be a causative force through which miracles are wrought. It can also be a source of inner strength through which we find self-esteem, peace of mind, contentment, and the courage to cope. I have seen marriages saved, families strengthened, tragedies overcome, careers energized, and the will to go on living rekindled as people humble themselves before the Lord and accept His will in their lives. Heartache, tragedy, and trauma of all kinds can be focused and managed when the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ are understood and applied."

I echo his testimony in every word. Just in the last few months, I have seen a marriage saved, a family strengthened, multiple tragedies overcome, careers energized, and especially in the lives of those suffering in pits of sin or financial strain or extreme health concerns, I have seen the will to go on rekindled by the fire of faith in Jesus Christ, our Savior. I have seen in my own family the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ applied. While the world has grabbed ahold of each one of us at different times, in different ways, trying to pull us apart, look at what the gospel principles of forgiveness, love, compassion, repentance, patience, and others have done for us? We are a strong family, standing together in the faith, and we love each other, despite how much the world would break us and pull us apart. This is what I would like to say at the dinner table today! I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for it's unifying power in my family. I am grateful for a family that seeks to live the gospel, and take every step of life with faith and reliance on our Savior. What more could I ask for? My only desire is that others can have it too. May we all be a witness!

Yesterday, Sister Izatt and I dedicated several hours of our day to spend in the city center, with the goal of finding youth. Let me tell you once again: I LOVE missionary work! I LOVE talking to people on the street; I LOVE finding those that Heavenly Father has prepared; I LOVE witnessing of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, a living prophet on the earth today, continuing revelation and direction from a loving Heavenly Father. I LOVE it with all of my heart, and each day is just a joy here. We set out with a goal of how many people we would find, and how many lessons we would set up - we had about 3-4 hours of just talking to people lined up. We were looking for miracles (just as we do everyday). We stepped off the tram that dropped us off right in the center, and stepped up to talk to the first person we saw. He was a young guy, who had actually spent some time in America, and had found faith there, while living a completely atheist life before. He said that over the last few months, he had been questioning some things, however, and wondering about why there were so many branches of faith, why the "path" had to be so confusing with all the different ideas, methods, and interpretations. He asked all the right questions. He was sincerely searching for the right way, the right path. Sister Izatt and I bore powerful testimony about a 14-year-old boy in the year 1820, who had the very same question. We bore testimony that God and Heavenly Father appeared to this young boy, and revealed the beginnings of a grand restoration of priesthood authority on the earth, and the fulness of Christ's church and gospel once again. He asked to meet with us, and said he would like to bring his boss at work as well. Miracles!

We then walked about 5 steps further, before we contacted the second person of the day. It was a young girl, who was also already a believer. I felt that we should bear testimony of a living prophet today, who is a representative of God, just as Moses, Abraham, and Noah in days past. As the words came out of my mouth, she raised her eyebrows, and gasped. "Really?" she said. Yes! We're meeting with her tonight. She reminded me a lot of Lauren, actually, which made me really happy - goofy, super friendly, tall, and really genuine. We contacted for the rest of our time, and we found tons of youth who are searching for the truth - tripling the goal we had set that morning! Heavenly Father wants His children to have truth! He needs this message to be spread. While Sister Izatt and I were like two big blocks of ice by the end of that day, I couldn't have been happier. I feel so blessed to be here, to have the special opportunity to speak to God's children and tell the good news!

I love you all. May we all think today about the greatest blessing our Father in Heaven has given us: His Son, and our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know he lives.

S laskou,
Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pictures!

Dearest family and friends,

I'm going to send a couple pictures on! Unfortunately, I haven't been super great at taking pictures, so there's not much to send on. However, one is a picture of my last district in Ceske Budejovice. We thought posing in our regular Sunday positions might describe the transfer the best :) The next is a picture with my new companion, Sister Izatt. She's fantastic.



The last few days have been chock full of beautiful moments. I absolutely love my new area. It has such a different feel to it, as the branch is much bigger and functions quite independently, and the city is so much larger and livlier. Our responsibilities have shrunk a bit, and we're able to put most everything into classic missionary work. It's quite a blessing for the missionaries, and quite a blessing for the members that they have so much here for them.

A few houskeeping items: I know, it's quite a bummer that we don't get to hear the end of the story with the family we found, eh? However, when I see Sister White sometime, which may not be for a while as we're on different sides of the country, then I will definitely ask what ever happened and send the news on home. Of course, I think about people in my last area, and I wonder about those that we found; however, missionary work is missionary work wherever you are, and the minute I stepped foot into Brno, my heart was here, with these people and this branch. There's no reason, and certainly no time to look back! And most of all, the people I've met just in the last few days need my whole heart, might, mind and strength. Father, that was such a funny connection you had with the Izatts! Small world, indeed. Mother, I absolutely love hearing about what's going on in Relief Society and how my beautiful ward back home is working so hard to help each other, improve, plan, magnify their callings, and do the Lord's work. The faith of our ward back home gives me a lot of strength and vision for the church in this country. We have a grand responsibility to lift where we stand, and help every soul vytrvat do konce ("endure to the end"), and return to our loving Father in Heaven. This work is grand, and it is the Lord's.

Well, as I said, the last few days have been chock full of beautiful moments. When I came in, the area was doing quite well, but needed a little boost. We don't have a very large pool of people we're working with, but we do have some really special souls that the sisters found last transfer. This last week has been all about the Atonement, and the power it has in peoples lives. I've met three investigators so far that the sisters were working with. The first was a young, Slovak man who is just brilliant. When the sisters found him, he had already met with missionaries in the past, read the whole Book of Mormon, and stopped meeting with the missionaries, because he felt like he was teaching them more than they were teaching him. His heart was a little hardened, and from what I heard, he was seeking to disprove the book, rather than seek whether it really was true. We had a meeting with him this week (my first lesson in English on my mission, as English is our best bet, rather than Slovak). He came, having read the chapter the sisters gave him, and he had a question about what the "infinite Atonement" means. The lesson turned into a beautiful discussion about the power of the Atonement, the love of God and that He will never let us down, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the middle of the lesson, we still hadn't gotten to our planned lesson material, but I felt a very strong, undeniable prompting to teach this young man about baptism, and commit him to follow the example of his Savior by being baptized himself. We read 2 Nephi 31:5, and I asked him if he would prepare for baptism on a day in January. He was hesitant, and I think quite surprised, but family, I saw the Spirit work in such a real way, and he accepted the date. Ah. Beautiful moment.

Oh wow, already out of time. However, I didn't even get to some of the best moments. Next week, I guess! I love you all! I love missionary work! I'm having the best time of my life.

I love the Lord. I love this gospel. I know it changes lives.

I am profoundly grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Love,
Sister Lucy Brimhall

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Transfer to BRNO

My dear, wonderful family and friends,

Mother and Father, I just read the lyrics you sent on of "Amazing Grace." What an incredible description that song is of what I've been so privileged to see over the last few months. I'm sitting here in a new city, thinking back to the last four months I spent in Ceske Budejovice with people that are coming from lives of sorrow and so much pain, but are finding their "fears relieved," their "hopes secured," through the grace of Jesus Christ, our Savior. How "sweet the sound" of the gospel was to their ears and their hearts. How beautiful it was to hear people say in their own words, "I once was lost, but now I'm found, Was blind, but now, I see." My heart is so full right now of gratitude to my Father in Heaven. It is nothing less than an honor to be a carrier of that message of hope and redemption. Those words are beautiful. I want everyone to read them this week.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.
The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.

When we've been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

Well, I'm writing a little later as this week was a transfer week. I'm in a new city! BRNO! It is on the Moravian side, and is kind of like the Prague of this side of the republic. It's bigger and it's pack full of university students! I didn't really expect to leave Ceske Budejovice, but I got the call and was immediately so excited. I love how quickly transfers happen. Got the call Monday night, taught all day on Tuesday, left at 6 AM on Wednesday to come here to Brno. I'm not one for long goodbyes, or for things that disrupt missionaries' focus on the work. Focus is so important on a mission, and I was happy to have such a smooth transition, so that Sister White and her new companion can start working as if I was never there. I hope it can be that smooth on every transfer. Of course it was sad to leave those members and investigators that I love so much, but I'm already excited beyond belief for the new experiences and challenges that Brno will bring. I will be follow-up training Sister Izatt, who came in last transfer. Let me tell you how much I already love my companion: I LOVE HER. She is a tall, determined, assertive girl from Provo, Utah who went to BYU before. We've talked a bit about the area and some goals we have, and some things she wants to work on. She's bold, a hard worker, thirsts for improvement, has vision for the church in this country, and most wonderfully of all, her long legs make her walk even faster than me! I've been so blessed. I can hardly wait to dig in and start working tonight.

The area is going to be quite a different experience from my previous area. Here, we have a large branch and we even have our own, beautiful building! There are also I think 9 missionaries, total, here, and we have a senior couple, The Francis', who live down the hall from us. The Francis' work with the young adults in Brno. I'll actually get to know a few missionaries in the mission, and I'll get to see how a larger branch functions. Sister Izatt has already laid down several of her ideas for the area, and I think I felt similar to my first day in the MTC - like a rocket that was about to take off. I am so excited. I love to work, especially when we're talking about missionary work :)

Well, I'm not really sure what else to say, to be honest, haha. I'm sure I'll have plenty of stories to tell next week. You asked about the language now. Well, I love speaking Czech. I'll say it again - it's like doing a puzzle all day, and it's just a joy. I'm so far from fluency it's ridiculous and often hilarious, but I'm realizing that I'm actually not too bad at it for how long I've been here. Czech has seven cases in it, which means that depending on what you're doing with the word in the sentence structure, it puts on a new ending or changes in some way, and it's different for both singular and plural, and what gender it is as well as all those irregulars. It's a puzzle! I'm really, really enjoying learning the language, and I realized I was so blessed to spend my first four months in Ceske Budejovice, where essentially nobody speaks English. In Brno there's apparently a lot of English speakers in the branch and on the street, so I'm hoping that doesn't have a negative effect on my language progress. I'm sure it will be great.

Well, I love you all so very much. I'm so grateful to be here, serving as a full-time representative of Jesus Christ. I KNOW that this gospel is true. I know that Jesus Christ laid a path for us to follow. I know that when we follow that path, and we partake of his Atonement, we have hope for a better world, and that faith can be a sure anchor for our souls (Ether 12:4). I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that he loves each one of you. Do not deny that gift that he so freely gave to you. He died for you, he took upon himself your sins, pains, and sorrows. He stands there with arms outstretched and he invites ALL. Never think that he left you out. He loves you, and he wants you back.

Love,
Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Monday, October 31, 2011

Postcard and Looking for a family!

 
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I thought I'd send you a postacard I found that really shows where I am. This is Ceske Budejovice! This is my city. Here is the namesti - the city center where everything happens. Isn't it stunning? I happened to start my mission off in the most beautiful part of the country, I hear. We've gone on a few day trips on our p-days to cities nearby, and everything is just picture perfect here in the southern part of the country. I love it so much here - I can't wait to take you around if you end up coming out. Everything you hear about the Czech Reublic is true. It's like a fairytale.

I love this postcard because it already means so much to me. Right on those benches I've already contacted so many people and taught several lessons. Just last week on that bench on the far right, I taught someone how to pray for the first time in their life. I don't know how many times a day we teach people about prayer. There are so many Czechs who have never made that connection with God. They are often completely unaware of their relationship with Him. He is our loving Heavenly Father, and we are His children. It's the most wonderful thing when you find one of those elect that's searching and when you can help them begin that journey of coming to know their Father in Heaven. I feel very blessed to be here and to be a part of these peoples lives.
Love, Sestra Lucy Brimhall


My dear friends and family,

The Church is true. The Book of Mormon can bring us so much peace and inspiration if we take the time to read it's words. God exists. He loves us. Jesus Christ is our Savior. Not only did he enable us to return to our Heavenly Father and find great joy and peace after this life, but he can give us indescribable peace in our lives today. Today! Even in this very moment. I know that is truth.

Let me tell you a story. We had training in Prague a week or so ago when our Zone Leaders talked about having vision, but then setting goals to reach that vision. What good is a vision if we have no plan to make it real? They challenged us to set a goal for our specific areas, according to what we thought we most needed. As Sister White and I sat there as a companionship this week, we talked about what we should focus on. There I was, my usual self, spouting out all sorts of things, saying we could do this or that, or help him, organize that, or maybe just do all of it?? Sometimes I get a little carried away.. I stopped talking, looked at Sister White, and said, "Do you have any thoughts?" She said, "Yes. Let's find a family." Immediately, the Spirit absolutely engulfed that room. I knew it was exactly what we needed to work for. We decided to make a profile of who we would find. It would be a family with both a husband and a wife, who had young children, and a stable presence in Ceske Budejovice. They would have interest to learn, and TIME for us to teach them.

Almost every day of the week we scheduled in big blocks of tracting in two neighborhoods on the edge of the city so that we could find this family. On Wednesday night, we went out tracting in this BEAUTIFUL area. It's up in the hills, surrounded by forest, and just breathtaking. We started knocking doors and ringing doorbells, telling people who we were and asking if they had time or interest to learn. It was such an iconic scene. There we were, in a Czech neighborhood, stomping through the mud with the rain pouring down and our umbrellas out, talking to people through speakers, or yelling up to people through their windows. "Dobry den! Jsme tady jako dobrovolne misionarky..." I couldn't believe I was really doing it. It was such an adventure.

Most people had no interest, but then we tracted one house where a woman popped out, I said our opening line, and she said she was sorry but the had a visit from their grandmother, but could we come back another day, maybe in the morning? Maybe tomorrow? We said, "Of course!" She ran out with an umbrella and gave us her business card. I just about fell over in gratitude, haha.

We had no idea who she was, but we called later that night and set up for the next morning. When we walked back up that hill and rang the doorbell, out popped a man holding his young daughter. He had a big smile on his face, and he said, "Come on in!" Sister White and I just laughed the whole way up the driveway. It was perfect! They were such a beautiful family. We taught them about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and gave them a Book of Mormon. They aren't believers and it was all very new for them, but they invited us back the next week and said they would begin reading the Book of Mormon.

I'm getting kicked off the computer now, but I just want to tell you that the Lord knows what he is doing. He has great purpose for each one of us, and he wants us to seek him, so that he can take us even higher. I know the Lord can work miracles if we put our sweat and our hearts into it. For those who feel down, or who feel without purpose, look to the Lord and know that he sees, he understands, and he is only waiting for you to take his hand. There is no reason that we should feel down for long periods of time, when we know exactly how to find great joy in this life. We have our Savior, Jesus Christ, and we have a loving Heavenly Father. Rely on them. They love you.

I love you.

Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Monday, October 24, 2011

To serve the Lord and do what he knows he needs to do... in the end, it is what right.

Dear Family,

Wow, I always wondered how I would feel when Sammy passed away. He was just our pet, but he's been with us for 2/3 of my life. I'm almost glad I wasn't there, so I didn't have to see him like that. I still remember the day I opened that birthday gift and there was a leash and a collar wrapped inside. I think Abby screamed and I just smiled really big. I was so excited. Oh wow, it brings tears to my eyes to think about him.

Well, it was another wonderful week. It was absolutely full - I just got back from my second trip to Prague in the same week. We had specialized training on Friday, and so we went up Thursday night and came back that afternoon. Sister White and I and the rest of those we came out with then had to renew our visas early this morning so we traveled back up on Sunday night, and just got back (Monday evening). Having your preparation day taken up by waiting in the police office is pretty draining when you have so much work to do in your own area, ha. However, I'm excited to press on after this email and get working. We have so much to do in this area and we've set some amazing goals for the week in an effort to find priesthood and families for our branch. The Lord needs miracles to happen here, and he can only give them to us if we work hard, pray hard and align our wills with his. Keep praying for us!

I have some pretty special news for you all this week. If you remember my farewell talk, I spoke about a young man I met during my internship in Romania. He came from a difficult upbringing and a life very caught up in the world. He met the missionaries one day, and his journey to baptism was tough, but his journey after baptism was even tougher. He gave everything up so that he could follow Heavenly Father's commandments and live a worthy life. He really struggled for that year after his baptism. However, while I was there last summer, he received the priesthood, began participating in priesthood ordinances, and started filling out his mission papers, even though his family was quite unsupportive. He's now been out 11 months in the Spain Madrid mission. I wrote him a letter about a month ago, and got the most wonderful letter from him this week. Oh wow, it is going to motivate my entire mission. He is doing so, very well. He's currently training a new missionary, and I could tell from the way he spoke about his investigators, that he is working hard to bring people closer to Christ and help people find the path. He spoke about how difficult it's been for him to serve his mission, with no support from home, and with no information about how his family is doing and with no way to help them if they don't have the necessities of life. He writes them every week, but has only received a couple discouraging letters back. He wrote to me, however, that even though things look dire, and even though it appears he's given up everything (including his family) to serve the Lord and do what he knows he needs to do... in the end, it is what is right. And the Lord will bless him "one hundred fold." It brought tears to my eyes over and over again this week to think about where this young man came from, the transformation he is undergoing now, and what an influence he will be on the church in the future in a country that is struggling so much. He sends his thanks to the family for all your love, support, and prayers. May we all remember what a glorious thing the gospel is! It changes lives. I see it every day.

I don't have much time today, but I love you all so, very much.
Think of a way you can better be a representative of Christ this week!
Love,
Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thanks for your letters!

My Wonderful Family and Friends,

Thank you for your letters. Joy spreads across my face in this little Czech library when I see so much good news in my inbox. I'm so happy to hear you're happy.

This week was another wonderful week of missionary work. Time is passing so quickly, I can hardly believe it. The cold weather is coming (evidenced by the newly acquired pack of Kleenex in my coat pocket), and it's reminded me that life still goes on back home and even here. I feel like I'm in a different world sometimes as all I do is the work of the Lord from 6:30 AM to 10:30 PM (Maybe the hours in between as well, as all I dream about is my investigators too, haha). It's a wonderful life. I'm thoroughly enjoying every moment.

We worked hard this week. I feel like my head is down and I'm just plowing forward. One day, somewhere in the future, someone will tap me on the shoulder and tell me it's time to go home and do something else. I'm starting to realize what a shocker that day will be. There's so much lifting to do with investigators, members, less actives, and people on the street. There's also a lot of lifting to do together as companions. Sister White and I are still quite "new," and we're still learning loads every day. We've been working incredibly hard on improving our teaching skills and our Czech. We've been making huge strides! It's a lot of fun to be together and just get to figure things out with the guidance fo the Spirit. I love it.

I don't think I've told you about a young investigator we have who's still in high school. He's super cool, and knew close to nothing about faith before we met him. We were contacting a few weeks ago, out in a park on a day that was super muddy because of rain the night before. As Sister White and I were dodging a puddle, he dodged it on the other side. I decided to get over how potentially awkward a dodge-a-puddle-and-say-"Prosim vas"-contact would be. We ended up talking to him across this puddle until we realized this young man had real interest, and we brought out our Book of Mormon to show him. We ended up teaching him the Restoration right there, and since that day we've been teaching him everything from who is God to how we can return to Him through saving ordinances like baptism. He's been reading in the Book of Mormon every day, for at least a few minutes, even though scriptures are often quite hard for non-believers to grasp. He's been feeling the fruits of the spirit as he's started praying every morning and every night. Family and Friends, God answers prayers. Tell every one you know!

This week we also had a real Relief Society activity in Ceske Budejovice! There were a handful of us in the building and we had refreshments Sister White and I picked up that morning. Then, we watched the RS conference session in Czech. I didn't get much out of it, ha, but a member friend in Prague is going to get us the English so we can listen to it too. This branch is step by step getting stronger. We've been working hard as a district to get our building looking more like a chapel, and getting callings for everyone so that we can function how the Lord would have us function. We do a lot of work with members, teaching them the basic doctrines and commandments again, teaching them how to teach, how to plan talks, how to lead music, how to conduct a meeting. They're growing, and it makes me so happy to see our branch become a little more independent week by week.

I'm super, duper happy. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be here. I love how much we're able to study. I love that we get to do this work full time, every day. I love, love, love talking to people. Contacting on the street is starting to become one of my most favorite things we do. Though the language will be a struggle my entire mission, I love the language too. (Two of my favorite things in life: grammar and puzzles. Czech grammar is like a giant puzzle - Whoo!)

I know the Church is true. I know God is there. I know Jesus Christ is His Son. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior.

I love you all!

S laskou,
Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Monday, October 10, 2011

I Love My Family

Thank you family and friends for every one of your emails. I absolutely love to hear from you! Father, I'm so glad you and Mom got away for a while. I can't wait to hear about the trip. Abby, thank you for your emails last week! I loved that you sent on your schedule so I could see exactly what you're doing. I'm so glad you're loving it! Michael looks like a man in those pictures, ha. He wil always be "Baby Brother" in my phone though. How is Danny doing these days?

This week was just wonderful. We were able to listen to conference! Wasn't it just a gold mine? On Saturday and Sunday we listened to all the sessions - the missionaries watched it on a little TV in the kitchen in English, while the members watched it in the chapel in Czech. Oh wow, it was like a box of See's candy to hear all those talks and draw inspiration for each one of our investigators. I wanted to share a few thoughts I had with you.

I'm sure you remember Elder Callister's talk about the Savior and the Book of Mormon. You should have seen our district as we watched that talk. We were gasping and chuckling and writing vigorously. If only every Czech citizen could hear that talk. Jesus Christ is our Savior - either he is the Son of God, or he is a madman or something even worse. A great moral teacher? He did not leave that option open for us. Test the Book of Mormon. Does it draw you closer to God? It is either written by evil influence, full of dishonesty, or it is from God, translated by His prophet. There is no middle ground. This talk addressed much of what we address every day here. This is the kind of witness we are bearing. Wow, that talk will stay with missionaries in the Czech Republic for generations. We can't wait for the Liahona to come out.

Something else I loved was from Elder Eyring - his little sentence when he said, "We work hard with all of our might, and then... we press on." That is the whole of it. We WORK as saints in the Lord's church. We work hard, and then we keep going. We shouldn't feel discouraged, overwhelmed, or jilted because we think we should get a break. No. That's what we do as saints. We work with all of our hearts, and then... what else would we do, but press on with all of our hearts?

Sister Dalton's talk! Wasn't that beautiful? Dad, I wanted to thank you for all you did for me growing up. There was another talk directed towards parents rearing children, and I thought to myself - my parents used to be listening to this talk as young parents. Now they are listening to it and their children are almost all the way out. I felt impressed to tell you that you've done so well. I hope you know that. You reared your children in righteousness, and I thank Heavnely Father every day for the upbringing I had and the knowledge I've been blessed with. I remember one night specifically, in high school, when I sat in your bedroom, and I lifted my hands in the air and said, "Why can't you just trust me?" I remember your response, Dad. You said that you couldn't. You were there to protect me. You couldn't just let me go, for that was your stewardship - to make sure that I was protected, safe, and that I would make it through trials and temptations, keeping my testimony and the spirit of the Lord. Thank you for doing that. I add my witness to Sister Dalton's that Fathers must do that for their children. "Go and get her!" I loved that.

This week was beautiful in the way that I felt the Spirit work through Sister White and I in a very undeniable way. There were a couple instances during lessons when the Spirit left very abruptly because of contention and some pride. I wasn't quite sure what to do - how to bring that Spirit back. I wanted to shut the lesson down and try again on another day. However, I felt the rush of the Spirit in a very real way, and words started coming out of my mouth. Not knowing what word would immediately folllow, the words lined themselves up one by one, and the Spirit spoke through Sister White and I - powerfully, with love. My district and I were talking after conference this weekend about how we can feel the prayers of our family, the temple workers, the leaders of the church. I wanted to tell you that I feel them. There's been a distinct difference on my mission. I literally feel something carrying me throughout the days - this wave of support that begins with my family and friends. Thank you, thank you for your prayers. They are here with us!

Time is up, but I absolutely love you! Tonight we have a meeting with a group of people who are very much struggling. They unfortunately experience a great deal of discrimination, and they have many questions about why God allows such inequality, such tragedy, such suffering. I ask for your prayers! Sister White and I have been called to help them find the way, and find some answers. They need to feel the love of their Savior, and the redeeming power of his Atonement. Pray that they will!

I'll answer questions next week! For those who I haven't written yet, the letters will come! I promise. Andrea - congratulations on the baby! I'm so, so happy for you! Michelle Alejandra Rubio-Leiva, I love you a lot.

Love you, family!
Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I learned this week the value there is in simple testimony.

Dearest Family and Friends! Thank you for your emails!

Wow. I love missionary work. I realized this week that it is truly a position on the front lines, where people will hate you and curse you for what you believe, but it is also right there where "water turns to steam," and people form bonds with their Eternal Father in Heaven and their loving Brother and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a privilege I've been given to see the work of the Lord! With floor seats! I absolutely love it.

What can I tell you about this week? It was full of learning, and as always, deep sorrow and exceedingly great joy. After I pray each night, I try to write something down that the Lord has taught me that day, or that I haven't learned yet, and He wants me to learn. Every day this week I wrote down something about the pure love of Christ. That is what must drive a missionary, as well as every disciple of Christ. I knew that I would love people a lot here on my mission - I didn't quite know how it would feel, but I'm feeling it now, and it's really beautiful. As a greenie, you sort of feel like the investigator is there, but your trainer stands in between. Thus, you can't quite feel that love as tangibly. Now, it's Sister White and I and we're right smack in the front. There's no one to buffer. I can't tell you how much I love these people! You become so much a part of their lives, and they become so much a part of your heart! You try to teach them, and they teach you even more, deepening your soul, broadening the volume of your heart. What a privilege it is to serve.

We had such interesting lessons this week. Early in the week, we met with a professor at the university here. Funny, eh? Mine and Sister White's Czech plus a professor who was already a believer and quite well-versed. Maybe I was nervous? Haha, to say the least, I felt a bit of stress during the lesson. When Czech rolls out in great amounts, and you're trying so hard to comprehend the gist, while also working well with your companion, and listening to the Spirit, and using the member you have with you, it's quite an adventure! However, I learned this week the value there is in simple testimony. In the end, Sister White and I bore our testimony about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. We testified that God desires for us to find truth. When we desire it as well, and when we put time in to read, ponder, and pray, we will be led to that truth. This man is going to read, and he's going to pray. That is what we do as missionaries. We are guides, but it's always up to the investigator or the person on the street, to act on the message and seek. When they do take that step, it's the most exhilarating thing to see the Spirit rush in and take them by the hand.

This week was sort of special in the way that we were faced with people who doubted us, discounted us, and downright insulted us. I learned, however, family, that with the power of the pure love of Christ, you can turn the deepest contempt into friendship, trust, and respect. The next time someone insults or offends you, remember how Christ treated his relationships. There is power in his love. It can soften the hardest hate, and replace darkness with light. I felt his love course through me this week as we dealth with some ugly situations. I'm so grateful that he is right there with us, guiding our steps, and filling our mouths. I love the Lord. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior.

Love you!
Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pictures!

The first is in Cesky Krumlov, which must be one of the most beautiful cities in the world! It's very close to Ceske Budejovice.
The second is one of the greatest castles in the Czech Republic - Hluboka.
The third is with our young investigator. She's fantastic.
The fourth is a baptism a while ago - one of the Elders' investigators.
The fifth is at a member's house - the one who fed us knedliky with mushroom sauce. She is showing us her book about mushrooms.. she is the best! This last week, for fun, she measured our blood pressure too.
The next two are with two members, a mother and daughter. The mother is our Relief Society president! They light up a room!
The next is at Petr's baptism! Then, Sestra White and I outside the zoo we went to last P-day. Finally, me and a member traveling up to District Conference in Prague just this weekend.









Monday, September 19, 2011

Good Week!

Dear Family,

It's the best to hear news from home! Thank you!

Abby, I'm excited to read your email. That's awesome that you got to go to that YSA conference! I didn't think you would have time for things like that, being a Wash U grad student and all.

Mike, I'm so sad I'm missing this whole phase of your life as a senior, doing cross country, tennis, the whole bit. It sounds like you're having the time of your life, though. I pulled up that picture of you and Ashley before Homecoming, full screen, in the library. I laughed out loud - you're a goof, haha. The bowtie was super.

Danny, hope the year started out well! I heard all your friends got good offers as well - that's awesome. I'm so glad I at least get to see you finsih out law school, but I'll definitely miss going to all your competitions and reading all your papers through the year! Good luck in Law Review!

Mother dear, I'm counting on you walking with me in December 2013! No excuses! I'm confident you can do it. You have to allow yourself to make time for yourself though, you know? Good luck! Wish I could help edit papers or something, haha.

Dad, that's fantastic that you're working on that bike again! Mom says you're finding another one for you two to restore together. If I'm ever home long enough after my mission, that's on my bucket list as well, so keep something in mind. Send pictures if you can! Oh, also Dad, I love hearing about your priest group lessons. That's such a great idea to have them teaching the lessons. I really wish I had done more of that before. Something else that might be really great for them is to have them think about specific personal experiences they've had where they've gained testimonies of different principles, such as the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and commandments such as Word of Wisdom, Tithing, and even how they know God is really there and Jesus Christ is their Savior. Those are what are powerful, and it's difficult to conjure them up on the spot without thinking about them before. These boys need to know WHY they have testimonies, before they go out and tell people they have them. People will listen, but then they will ask, "How do you know?" I remember the first time I was contacting by myself out on the namesti towards the beginning of my greenie transfer, and I testified to a young woman that I knew God was there and that He loved me. She then came back very quickly, "How do you know that?" I was a little taken aback, and for the rest of that week I thought about how. How do I know that God loves me? I didn't fabricate that testimony out of nothing. How do I know?


Well, well, this week was absolutely amazing! A complete flip from last week. Not a soul would give us the time of day last week, but this week we had people OFFERING us their numbers, and ASKING to meet with us. I almost thought we had left the Czech Republic for a while! Our area is doing so well. We're working with so many incredible people, and it's such a joy to see people making progress and learning about this beautiful, restored gospel. I just love people. They're all so different, and all so special. Heavenly Father loves each one.

Well, I don't have much time today, but before I forget, I'll answer your questions, Mother. How many are in our branch? Well, at church on Sunday we had a pretty great turn out and there were about 26 people there, including 4 missionaries and 6 or so investigators. Not all of our members were there, however. Rarely is every there, though, so the number stays around 20, total every week. As for why we have a missionary as a branch president. Well, for this area, that's just what needed to happen. We need to find some more capable priesthood holders in order for this area to build. While it's not ideal for sustainability, I think it's going to be a very good thing for this branch, for the time being, to have Elder Blair serve. He's doing a great job, and he's a fantastic District Leader as well. This mission is full of the most impressive missionaries. I feel very blessed to serve around them all.

Yes, we walk everywhere, except when we take a bus out to a farther part of the city, which is about one bus ride every 2-3 days. It's great!

Sorry, kind of a scattered email! However, I'm LOVE, LOVE, LOVING it. Favorite moment of the week: We were walking home late one night, and we still had a bit of time to contact one or two more people, but there was no one in sight. When we rounded a corner, however, I saw a younger girl sitting at a bus stop. I told Sister White we needed to talk to her. So, we did. It turned out she wasn't really a believer, or she just didn't really know, and hadn't thought about it long enough. Sister White bore testimony that we can find out of God exists, just by asking him, through prayer. I backed her up with my testimony that God really is there. We told this young girl,that as missionaries, we help people do just that - find God. I love seeing people's faces change in a contact. That's when you know the Spirit is there. I asked her if she had any interest to learn or to meet with us, and that golden sentence came out of her mouth, "Yeah, I would really like that."

Love you!
Sister Brimhall

Monday, September 12, 2011

Difficult Week

Well, it was a bit of difficult week. But hey, with a mission and some Czech in the mix, how could I ever expect it to be easy? I thought a lot this week about the counsel Elder Holland gives missionaries: Salvation is not a cheap experience. You will have to go a little ways into the garden, and be a partaker of Christ's sufferings, if you want to be involved in this work. Salvation is not cheap, and so it will not be easy. I may give my whole soul and anything else I can squeeze out, and still, people may not choose to follow their Savior. There's nothing more sad, but what can we do except go on in so great a cause? There are those who are being prepared - I know that is true. We're going to find them!

You're probably wondering how the language is coming. Sister White and I have been very blessed. We have a few very progressing investigators, and no, we cannot understand even the majority of what they say, but you know what, somehow it works! We are teaching one woman, in particular, who has all sorts of deep questions and concerns, and she's also Ukrainian, so she's speaking Czech as a second language. She's a bit difficult to follow, to say the least haha, but after one of our lessons with her this week, I turned to Sister White and said, "You know, Sister White, Heavenly Father wants us to be here. He PUT us here. He says we're going to do this work and we're going to do it together. That means that whatever we don't get, or whatever we don't fix or answer, He will make it up and he'll make everything turn out alright." He knows we're trying our best, and that's all He needs to see, and then He will make up the rest. I know He's working miracles that we can't even see.

This week was a pretty sad week, but that's what's bound to happen when you open up the binder full of less active records. Our district has decided to go through those who are members of the Church in this area, but for some reason or another, aren't active anymore. Let me tell you some things I've learned this week, that I hope I will never forget. THE LITTLE THINGS ARE SO IMPORTANT. Praying often, reading daily, going to church every week, attending the temple, doing your visiting and home teaching. Why do we talk about these things relentlessly in church? Why do we drill it into every investigator? Why did we say "Pray, Read, Go to church" about 2,000 times to Petr the week before his baptism and then again the week after? It's because our salvation hangs on the little things! When we choose not to read our scriptures that day, when we decide the girl we visit teach is probably doing okay without us, that is when we take a step towards falling off the edge. That is when we take a step in the direction Satan would have us go. I got on my knees every night this week and plead with Heavenly Father that He would bring these people back, that He would soften hearts and relight faith. However, those choices that were made so long ago, that seemed so small, led to years of innactivity for many, and hard, hard hearts that have completely turned away from God. A challenge for all those that read this: Never, never give in! Never, never give up that opportunity to read the word of God, to pray to God, to partake of the sacrament every week, to go to the temple as often as you can! Also, watch over those around you! We have to watch each other - there are people falling left and right and getting lost in the cracks. We all have to do our part, that we may ALL endure to the end. Oh, goodness. Rantings of a frustrated missionary :)

Well, while it's difficult and it's frustrating, I'm learning and I'm growing, and there's still joy to be found in so many places. For example, you can go ahead and laugh at this one - I've become the branch pianist! A bit of counsel, Michael, try to learn at least 8 hymns before you get on your mission, haha. That way you can at least switch off weeks when you suddenly become the musical one in our district, haha. It's not too pretty, but hey, it's the song of the heart that counts, right?

I hope you're all doing well! I love you so much.

Cau!
Sister Brimhall

PS I don't have Michelle Rubio's current address. Address, please!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Transfer #2

Ahoj, Family!

Well, are you ready? Transfers happened on Saturday! Can you guess?


I'M STAYING IN CESKE BUDEJOVICE!


Are you ready for the kicker?


MY COMPANION IS SISTER WHITE! One of my companions from the MTC!!

President decided to give us a great big blessing and let us follow-up train each other! Ha! Can you believe it? We got the call Thursday night, and Sister Anderson was assigned to go to Prague to serve with two other sisters, including Sister Bean (my other MTC companion). I was assigned to stay, and Sister White came down from where she was in Prague. I was absolutely shocked. I just said, "Cool! I'm excited!", then I hung up the phone, looked at Sister Anderson, and said, "What!?" I honestly am very, very excited. I definitely had butterflies in my stomach from Thursday night on, and couldn't really sleep very well either, I was so nervous. However, I wouldn't have it any other way. Sister White and I have been blessed with the chance to learn very, very fast. We have no choice but to be very proficient at the language by the end of this transfer, because it's just the two of us, trying to carry the sister area in Ceske Budejovice on our two months of in-field mission experience.

The weekend was a bit of a tough one, but it just so happens that the lowest lows come at the same time as the highest highs! One of our investigators did not get baptized this week for reasons that I can't really even articulate. Sometimes, people just use their agency, and since you can't understand it, all you can do is accept it and pray for them. On the flip side, the other investigator DID get baptized on Friday! It was so wonderful. His testimony is so sweet, and so simple, but I can see he will already be one of the most stalwart members of our branch. As Sister Anderson and I were talking to him after the baptismal program ended, we asked him how he felt. He said that as he stood there in the water, he felt like God was giving him another chance. He remembered all those sins he had been holding from his past, and he knew that God loved him and so He was giving him the chance to start over and be washed clean. When he realized what a great blessing he received that day - that second chance - he said "I HAVE to be better now." He said he HAD to endure to the end; he had to do it for God. He's such a goofy kid, with the greatest laugh, but he floors me quite often with how profound he can be. One of my favorite moments was when he saw his baptismal programs and said, "We should post these all around town! People have to know!" Haha! I'll try to send pictures next week.

Early Saturday morning, I shipped Sister Anderson off to Prague, and waited for Sister White to come in. It's been quite an incredible experience to be together, and especially for me, as I'm trying to keep our area going at the same pace it has been. I pray everyday that I won't forget something, or someone, and that we'll know what this area and this branch need. Sister White and I agree that it's quite humbling to be given so much trust to take care of an area that has such great need. Ah, some other big news is that unfortunately our Branch President resigned this week. Can't really say much about that, but the result was that President Irwin needed to call in a missionary to be our branch president. Elder Heath is staying in Ceske Budejovice as well, and Elder Blair has been called in to be our District Leader, Branch President, Elder Heath's follow-up trainer, and the unofficial follow-up trainer of Sister White and I. Whoo! How would you like to get that call? I actually happen to know Elder Blair - I met him once in Salt Lake. He's a friend of Peter Carroll's, haha. I hadn't seen him out here, until he came into my city and all the sudden became our Branch President. He is super awesome! He's going to do a fantastic job; however, say some prayers for that Elder Blair. This isn't the easiest area to have such stewardship over.

Well, it's just a shame how little an email can capture, but just know that I'm as happy as ever! Ever since Sister White arrived, it's been a miraculous time. It's amazing how the Czech can flow when you really need it to! So far, it hasn't even been much of a hindrance in the work - we're contacting, teaching bench lesons, teaching Petr his after-baptism lessons, organizing the Relief Society, preparing branch members to go to the temple and do their family history work... the Lord needs us to do it, and so we're doing it! I have a suspicion that President knew this area needed miracles, and so he put us in here. I think when the means are so small, that is the Lord's favorite time to show us miracles. I'm loving it, Family! I love you all. I love the Lord. I love being an instrument in His hands.

S laskou,
Sestra Brimhall

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mailing address for LETTERS only!

If you don't use e-mail - lucy.brimhall@myldsmail.net
Here is the address for letters.

Církev Ježíše Krista Svatých Posledních Dnů
Elder/Sister (Missionary's Name)
Badeniho 1
160 00 Praha 6
Czech Republic

Mail will be delivered once a month outside of Prague.
Packages are a totally different address and process.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Exhausted from my sweaty ponytail to my scuffed up shoes.

Dear Family,

Turns out we're still having our normal P-day this week!

Well family, there are few times in my life that I've worked as hard as I worked this week. I can't tell you how good it felt. Every night, Sister Anderson and I had to use the extra half hour you're allowed from 9-9:30 PM if you're in a lesson, because we had so many people to take care of, and so many things to deal with. We had FANTASTIC Zone Training in Prague on Tuesday where they focused on effective nightly planning. Thus, we would come home later and then do some turbo planning for the next day, leaving about 10 minutes for us to brush our teeth, change into pajamas, and try to stop our heads from spinning with thoughts of how we can help our area. Being a missionary is the best. Sister Anderson and I won't be cranking out weeks like this every week, as I think our heads might fall off; however, as I walked home on a particularly crazy day, exhausted from my sweaty ponytail to my scuffed up shoes, I felt so much joy. All I wanted out of my mission was to be used - to be His hands, doing His work. I've found that the deepest kind of joy comes from doing just that.

Alright, we need your prayers this week! Sister Anderson and I have a double baptism on Friday, due to some incredible miracles this week! However, let me tell you, Satan doesn't like baptisms!

Let me finally tell you the story of our miracle investigator. We currently have two investigators named both with the same name. One, we've been teaching for maybe 6 weeks, but his parents are against him being baptized, so we're a little stalled on that one. We helped move his brother's family this week in an effort to soften their hearts, so we're hoping we're making progress! Say some prayers that those Czech hearts will open up a little bit.

The other one, the one getting baptized this week, we found about 3 weeks ago. We contacted him along the river, close to our apartment, as we were making our way into the city. I taught him a short version of the Restoration, quoting the First Vision, and inviting him to learn more. As I spoke, he was pacing back and forth, not saying anything, and we honestly thought he was a little crazy. However, in all our teaching, I've found that the story of Joseph Smith brings the spirit like nothing else. He gave us his number, and we set up a meeting for the next day. We met on the namesti (city square) and had a bench lesson with him. We taught him how to pray, as he had never done it before. Ah! I LOOOVE teaching people how to pray. We asked him if he would like to try and pray at the end of the lesson. He got really nervous about it, haha, but we gave him one of our pamphlets, which has basic instructions, and he went ahead and tried. He was so embarassed through it all, and really struggled, but ah, it was a beautiful experience. Check: Another bond formed between Heavenly Father and another one of his children. That's what we do here! It's the best thing in the world.

We had set up another meeting for the next day; however, he texted us before our meeting and said that he was without work, without food, and without a home, and he just didn't think he could keep meeting with us when he had so many other things to worry about. We were devastated. We tried to call him back, but his phone was off. I was really sad for the rest of the day - I really felt good about this one. As we went about the rest of our day, our plans changed a bit and we walked through a certain park to get back to the church building. Sister Anderson grabbed my arm and said, "There's he is!" He was in that park, sitting on a bench. We went up to him and started talking to him. Sister Anderson got on the phone and started calling around to see how our branch could help him, while I started reading with him in the Book of Mormon. He had done his reading assignment! He was so sad when we found him, but he started to light up, laugh, and smile! That was the beginning of his happiness that I know now.

Long story short, our branch took him in. Our meager, destitute little branch took this boy in and has been taking care of him since. Petr is a person that recognized Heavenly Father reach down and pick him up, and because he recognized those tender mercies, he has the most firm faith in God and Jesus Christ, and he will NOT turn back. He embraced everything from then on, and Family, now he's getting baptized on Friday. However, baptism doesn't come without mountains of obstacles, you know? We need your prayers that Petr can stop smoking this week. He relapsed yesterday, and if he smokes again, we'll have to delay the baptism. Pray hard! He is amazing. Incredible. I love him so much. He's going to make it.

Out of time! However, the other person getting baptized this week is _____! I mentioned him in my first email, I believe. He started going way downhill in the last couple weeks, enough so that Sister Anderson and I went this week to have a "drop" lesson with him. What was going to be a drop turned into another invitation to be baptized. Family, a real, live miracle happened this week! When Sister Anderson asked if he would be baptized this week, he was silent for a very long time. The spirit was strong. Finally, he said he would fast about it on Friday. We said we would fast with him. We dropped by to pray with him on Thursday to start the fast, and then we went over on Friday to have a lesson with him and hear his answer. He is more solid than he ever was before! He has such a great desire to be baptized into the Lord's church! He was going to have his interview on Sunday, but Family, baptism never comes without mountains of obstacles. Right now his wife will not give her consent, and we do not allow people to be baptized without consent of their spouse. That is the only thing keeping him right now, and we need prayers that her heart will be softened.

Out of time, but wow, that's just the tip of the iceberg this week. Pray hard for us here in Ceske Budejovice! The dam is going to break in this area! I know it will happen on my mission. I feel so blessed to be a part of this work and a part of this area.

I love you lots!
Sister Lucy Brimhall

P.S. Sister Anderson and I decided this morning that being a missionary is even better than dark chocolate. Can you believe I'm saying that? It's true.

P.P.S. Mike, I forgot to wish you happy birthday last week! Happy birthday!!! I can't believe you're so old! Stop that.

P.P.P.S. Diana or Emily, can I get Rachel Brisson's mission address, please?? Not her MTC address, I'll probably miss her before she leaves. She didn't send it to me!

P.P.P.P.S. Mother, has Colbi had her baby? I can't remember when she's due.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Teaching Youth

Dear Family,
Sorry so little this week! President's letter took a little longer - so much is happening in this city!

Q#1: Your Lucy is doing well! So happy! So excited about how her area is doing! Walking on clouds. Wish I could tell you every miracle, but just know that I think we might break the ice here in Ceske Budejovice. We were never teaching youth before, but right now we have 3 solid, progressing investigators - 1 scheduled to be baptized on September 2nd, the other has so much desire (but we're working with his parents), and another that is just a powerhouse find! He is going to serve a mission!! I know it.

Q#2: Really, if you could just google gospel object lessons for children, that would be wonderful. Only ideas is what I need. No materials. It's not as urgent as it was before - we're struggling a bit with D. However, object lessons are so good, and I have a limited amount in my brain, and no internet/research capabilities, haha.

Q#3: My apartment is great! No complaints. Just a regular apartment, with a nice, big washing machine, actually. Super great, pretty normal. We actually live beneath our branch president and his family, so that's cool. Also, I'm very safe here. We definitely don't contact certain types of people, but I have no concerns about my safety and I don't think I ever will on my mision in the Czech Republic. No worries!

I gave a talk in church yesterday (yes, in Czech.. AHH!), and with all the investigators we're working with, I decided to speak on the story of Peter walking on the water to Christ (Matthew 14:25-33). Maybe you can read it real quick. It's really resonated with me on my mission for some reason. I think about it very, very often. I spoke about how Peter had so much desire to follow Jesus Christ and to walk to him on the water. However, when he saw the wind and sea of life, he started to fear, and he doubted. He began to fall. Immediately, Christ reached out his hand and lifted him up, telling him that he had no reason to fear, he had no reason to doubt. Peter was trying to follow his Savior, Jesus Christ, but the thing that changed was that he started to look around, and he lost his focus. We must ALWAYS focus on the Savior. We must ALWAYS keep our minds and our hearts and our will looking forward, remembering what Jesus Christ has done for us, and that he will support us in all that we do. He can lift us so high if we let him!


By the way, I won't have P-day next Monday because transfers are the following Saturday (September 3rd), and that will turn into our P-day. I have to say, I'm a little worried about transfers. I can't imagine leaving my city here. I love it so much. It is so different from the rest of the areas - my little, baby Ceske Budejovice branch, with it's handful of members that have a special corner in Heavenly Father's heart, ha. In this area, we're looking for pioneers still. There's so little to build on. However, the Lord has been blessing us and we've been finding those pioneers! It's really quite amazing - I feel like I've gone back in time here in the church. The path is paved where I came from, but here, we're just starting to move the rocks out of the way. I love this work. I love my companion. I love Ceske Budejovice. I love my mission. I love it! I can't believe I'll be out of my greenie transfer in just a few! Time flies!

I love you all!
Lucy

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rollercoaster of a week!

Ahoj!

Thank you for your emails! I sent pictures this week! The pictures at the castle were from a few weeks ago when we visitied Hluboka Castle. Beautiful, eh? There are other pictures from our little day trip last P-day to Cesky Krumlov. It is known as one of the most beautiful little spots in the Czech Republic, and it's super close to my city. It was unbelievable how perfect that little town was (and also how many Chinese tourist groups were there). Another picture is with one of our little investigators, who is 10-years-old, and another picture is of the baptism we had a couple weeks ago! One of the Elder's investigators got baptized, but unfortunately the investigator we had on date did not (yet). Another picture is at the apartment of one of our dear members who is 90-years-old. She made us knedliky (dumplings) with her special mushroom sauce. Oh, my. I love Czech food. She then proceeded to take out her books about mushrooms and started telling us about all the different mushrooms you can find here. Czechs love mushrooms. In fact, right after I finish this email, our recently baptized member (a cute, old man) is taking the missionaries, one of our investigators, and another member out into the forest to go mushroom hunting! I'm excited.

Well, I have little time, but this week was such a rollercoaster of a week. It started on Monday with us dropping off Sister Glaus in Prague and everybody crying. Sister Andersen and I then came back and had so much work to do. We have a new investigator that we picked up a couple weeks ago who is just amazing! He hadn't had much experience with faith at all before he started meeting with us. He's progressing so well, loving the Book of Mormon, and praying and reading so much. However, we are praying and fasting hard for him, as his parents may keep him from being baptized. We've committed him to September 3rd. We also had some really disappointing experiences this week with a couple investigators. It's really painful to watch people choose things contrary to their eternal progression and true happiness in the gospel. I'm starting to feel the heaviness of missionary work. I'm starting to understand why people say you will experience great sorrow, but also exceeding joy on your mission. However, every morning and every night, I kneel next to my bed and I thank Heavenly Father for my opportunity to be here and to be His hands. This work is so grand, and I feel beyond blessed to be a part of it and to feel my Savior right next to me in every step.

Have to go, but a couple things:
Mother, do you know anyone that is a primary master? We're really struggling with teaching the basic doctrines of the gospel to a few kids. They're around 10, but they're a bit behind in their education levels. Any good object lessons or ideas? I could really use them if anyone in our ward or elsewhere has worked in primary for a while!

Also, good luck to all who are leaving on missions this month! Rachel, Rebecca, and Rubie! Good luck! Michelle, good luck in Guate! Diana, I hope Brazil is wonderful!

Grandma and Grandpa, I want to see a picture of Grandpa's clock! And thank you for the Ol' News, my companions loved looking at it with me!

Abby, I talked to Sister Irwing a ton this week about her and her husband's jobs in the deaf school in England! It was tons of fun, and she taught me a bit of BSL!

Love you!
Sestra Brimhall

Monday, July 25, 2011

I can see you want some details!

Ahoj, Everyone!

This was such a wonderful week of missionary work! I think I'm starting to turn into one. Mom and Dad, I've been getting your emails. I get everyone's emails every Monday, so thank you Grandma and Grandpa and Andrea and Abby and everyone else that emails! I've been getting your Dear Elders and any other mail every time I'm in Prague at the mission home, which I've been there often, and I'm going again this Sunday, so yes, I'm getting your mail. Thank you! The best way to contact me is through email. I can print them out. However, letters are super exciting too, so whatever you like. Sorry, I don't have a personal address other than the mission home. The mission home is best.

By the way, Andrea - that's so awesome that David's sister is going to Bulgaria! I know the sister in the MTC right now that is going to Bulgaria as well. Wish her luck. Tell her to facebook Emily Schroeder (a really good friend of mine that goes to BYU) - she served in Bulgaria as well (in fact she might be there right now..), and she's incredible.

Ok, I can see you want some details.. let me tell you exactly what's going on, ha. We are still a tripanionship. This is Sister Glaus' last week, and we will be taking her up to Prague on Sunday afternoon. She flies out Monday. Super sad - we're goin to miss her, and a I know a lot of people here in Ceske Budjeovice as well. She's been here for I think 7 months or so. Then, it will be a companionship with sister Andersen and I. There will still be the 3 elders in the area, but one (Elder Darrington) heads home in a few weeks. Thus, we're losing bodies, so we'll need to kick it up a notch! However, I'm excited. I've been learning so much and getting so much more comfortable with everything - I feel like Heavenly Father's blessed me with such incredible companions and such a unique area in which to learn and grow so rapidly.

How do we get around? Here in Ceske Budjeovice it's not too large, so we walk most everywhere. We rarely take buses more than 5 or so minutes long. It's really great. I love it. We still haven't done huge amounts of contacting (I mean big blocks of time) since we usually have at least a few lessons throughout the day. And as far as tracting - we've done it twice, I think, for an hour or so, but that's a pretty rare thing here. I'm not sure if that will rise in the winter as people aren't outside as much. We'll see! It's fun to tract. Czech people answer by sticking their head out the window, and we yell up to them "Good day! We're here as volunteer missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ! We have a beautiful message about (FILL IN THE BLANK)." Ha! Tracting makes me laugh, especially since it's pretty common for Czechs to not really wear clothes when they're at home. If someone answers the door and they're not wearing pants - don't worry, it's just a Czech thing. If someone's flat out breastfeeding at a bus stop - no big deal.

Well, let's see. Stories from the week. I've become a contacting machine! Well, I've made a lot of progress at least, ha. I've been bus contacting, street contacting, every sort of contacting. It's wonderful! I love talking to people. We've had more time to contact this week (since we've had a lot of canceled lessons, unfortunately), and we've been able to teach a bunch of lessons on the street. I think street lessons are my favorite so far. We're always teaching people principles (about prayer, the restoration, anything else), but in order to count it as a lesson, it must involve a prayer. Earlier this week, Sister Glaus and I were walking up and down this park, contacting anyone who entered it, as Sister Andersen sat on a bench and made some calls. One man in particular was a super neat experience. I don't think I've felt the spirit in my whole 2 and a half week mission as strong as I did in that contact, with that man. He was a believer (In the Czech, people define themselves very simply as a believer or not a believer - it's super interesting, and it can mean a lot of things when you dig deeper into their beliefs). I started teaching him about the Restoration. I went through the whole lesson and quoted the First Vision. When I started telling him of the most important moment in this dispensation (!!), he listened and watched me very intently. I felt the spirit pour over the three of us. It was so beautiful. I wish I could feel that all the time. I wish that man could feel that all the time. After that, we asked if we could pray together, and so we did. Prayers on the street with Czech strangers are the best! Ahh! Unfortunately, we found out that he didn't live there. He lived an hour away, and he was only in the city to bring a hearing aid to his grandfather who's hearing aid had quit working. Ha! I got a kick out of that.

It's incredible to teach so many different people. Each one is so different. Each one. Everybody learns differently, the Spirit works differently with every personality and every heart. Every day I'm surprised by people. Some will pray right there with you right after you teach them how to pray for the first time in their life. Some people's hearts are stopped up with a bit of pride and perhaps a desire to disprove rather than sincerely seek. Some are just humblingly humble - they've had no experience with God or faith, and they just soak it in, nod their head, and embrace the "new horizon" they see rising before them. I love people. I love what we're doing here.

This weekend we have two baptisms in Ceske Budjeovice! One is an investigator of the elders. He's a sweet older man who just makes me so, so happy each time I see him. He's already been doing family history work and is going to the temple in Germany next month with a bus full of members from the Czech Republic who are making a trip out (super cool!). The other is an investigator of ours. He is the one I wrote about last week. He's so solid. He studies for hours each day - I wish I could just talk about scripture with him. He just eats, drinks, and breathes the scriptures, and it's one of my favorite things to hear his new insights and share what I've found as well. He is actually Roma, and lives in a building out a ways, with bunches of families of Roma people. He's quite a phenomenon for his building, as it's not usual for a Roma to accept God like he is, and to enter into something so hmm.. structured or mainstream or like something that you commit to. I'm not sure how to describe it. All the research I did on the Roma in school last year is coming back to me. But anyway, it's going to be an incredible week! Two new members in Ceske Budjeovice! The Church is true and it's growing each day! The Atonement is real and we must use it! Mom, good luck on your lesson - perhaps you can take a look at the Book of Mormon chapter in Preach My Gospel. We testify each day that the Book of Mormon answers the questions of the soul.

I love you all! I'll be sending pictures next week hopefully!

S laskou,
Sestra Brimhall