Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Picture of all my roommates and I at the MTC pointing to our missions! Sestra Meyers, going to Bulgaria, joined us a few weeks before the rest of us left.

Important things first:
Here is my travel itinerary:
I'll be leaving the MTC around 5:30, so I'll be at the SLC airport around 6:30
British Airways the whole way, these are all local times
Flight 5049 Depart SLC at 8:20 AM July 4th
Arrive at Dallas, TX 11:55 AM
Flight 1505 Depart Dallas at 4:50 PM
Arrive at London Heathrow at 7:50 AM July 5th
Flight 860 Depart Heathrow at 10:50 AM
Arrive in Prague 1:50 PM July 5th
So, I can call while I'm at the SLC airport early morning July 4th, maybe? Or I can call while I'm in Dallas for a long time. Those are probably the best options. However, I don't know what number to call and I don't know when to call. I don't know the time difference, and I don't know your schedule. Would you be able to Dear Elder me in the next few days so I can know what you're up to. If that doesn't work out, will you tell Abby so at least I know to call her instead? I'm still not sure if I can call both. And I can't remember Abby's number. Will you get that to me? I might be able to call you for 5 minutes sometime this week (if I've heard correctly), so that I can figure out a time with you. Only problem is that I don't have a number. Do I just call Dad's phone or something? Anyway, we'll figure it out, but that's all the information! Crazy, huh?
Here's my letter for the week:
We got our travel plans! We're scheduled to leave our wonderful country on it's day of Independence. This Saturday all the missionaries are going to get to watch the fireworks at night, which I'm super excited for, but then it's off to the Czech Republic on Monday! Also, it was an incredible week here at the MTC. This week all the mission presidents came in for their seminar - 128 new mission presidents! That meant that campus was crawling with incredible people, most of the 12, the First Presidency, and many other general authorities. Most of campus was completely blocked off, and so we only heard about things if people had chance sightings as Elder Holland pulled up in his car, or Elder Bednar was hanging out in a hallway. On Friday we had a special devotional in the afternoon where they called everyone out and had them congregate in the gym. We sat, waiting for the devotional to begin, and suddenly out walked 7 of the 12 - Elder Oaks, Elder Holland, Elder Ballard, Elder Bednar, Elder Nelson, Elder Scott, Elder Anderson, and their wives. It was quite shocking. We weren't expecting that. The speaker was Elder Bednar, and he gave his address on "How to Become a Preach My Gospel missionary." It was super wonderful. I learned a lot. We were also able to host new missionaries this last week, as we are now the "old" missionaries. It was a lot of fun to think back to that day (not too long ago) that I was dropped off on that curb. It's been a struggle to find some closure at the MTC. I've loved it here, and I'm so excited to go. But you know me - I worry that I didn't do my best, that I didn't learn all I needed to, that I'm not prepared to be a missionary just yet. However, I studied the Christlike attribute of Hope in PMG last week, and I've been praying for assurance from Heavenly Father. One of the greatest things is that I've found that prayers come so directly for me here. That week I had instance after instance, mostly in teaching Czech lessons, where Heavenly Father assured me that I've done something here, I've learned so much, I've come so far, and He's ready to take me by the hand and take me to the Czech Republic. I can hardly wait. Something else I learned this week is the incomprehensible power of attitude in all that we do. I have been given many tasks in my life that my abilities did not match. However, there were some that I approached stressed out, freaked out, and doubtful, and there were some I approached with a determination to be happy and optimistic. You can take the same situation, the same discrepancy between task and person, and the journey can be radically different. How does that work? I'm not sure, but it's wonderful. When we get to the Czech Republic, it will be incredibly overwhelming, I'm sure. But I'm so determined to be happy and optimistic, and to take off running!
I love you all!
Sestra Brimhall
Some notes I wanted to send through email, before I take off!
Michelle - I hope you're having the best time in Mexico! I'm not sure if you're there yet, but I hope your talk went well on Sunday adn taht the rest of your summer is incredible! At this point, I don't know how to contact you, so let me know when or if you ever settle down!
Diane Ellison - I wanted to thank you for your note! It actually really meant a lot to me and helped me in a lot of ways. I hope you see this - I don't know how to contact you either since you probably already moved back to Provo. Life is so transitory at this age! P.S. I hosted your old roommate Sis Bowles (sp?) on Wednesday!
Diana - Ah! I was so happy to hear about how things are going in Brazil! The thins you're learning - make sure you never forget them. Write down your thoughts and feelings. Write down what you learn from the people you meet there. They will impact the rest of your life, and help youy keep perspective in all that you do. I'm so excited for you! It was the best to hear from you! Write again when you have a permanent address!
The Francis Family - Thank you for your package! I was so confused when I got  it - I wasn't expecting anything. But it was so much fun to hear from you and to share those cookies with everyone. They were all gone in about 24 hours, ha. Thanks, again! I hope you're all doing well!
Peter - Uganda! Uganda!! It must be wonderful. I can hardly keep track fo everyone - I think I have friends and family in every region of the world today. It was so great to get your Dear Elder. I can't wait to hear how the research plays out. Good luck, friend! I'll say "Hi " to Adam if I see him. Perhaps he'll come to Prague next Wednesday to train one of my elders! We'll see.
Lauren - I'm writing you somethign else, but basically your package was the best thing that happened to my companions. Sestra White and I hacky sack in the early hours of the morning and Sestra Bean said that 7-layer whatever it was bar from Sweetcakes was convincing enought o make her want to travel to AZ. Thanksss, pal! Also, I need your MTC/Mission addresses! And your email. And I would like to have a copy of your farewell talk, plz! I've already gotten reviews on it from my whole family. Can you Dear Elder me those things in the next couple days? If you don't want to make an account or don't have time, Abby, can you send me that stuff?
Rachel Brisson - I don't know if I'll have time to write today, but good luck, buddy! I hope all the summer adventures and milestones are going well. I forgot to tell you that 12 elders came and went in my branch here at the MTC, headed to the West Indies. It's crazy that you'll be serving with them. They seemed like a really good bunch. I love you, Rach! I'll try my best to send something off today - if not, it'll just have to come from the Czech Republic :)


Friday, June 24, 2011

Tell Lauren I love her!

Ahahaha! Mom, I just screamed in the MTC computer lab when I saw those pictures of Michael and Danny in Thailand and Cambodia. It looks unreal! They look like they're having such a good time. I'm so glad Danny got to make it over there - he's been talking about it forever! Ahh, thank you for sending those! They made my P day!

Well, computers at the MTC tend to rebel whenever you try to communicate with the outside world, so I have little time. I'll get the important things out of the way first. We leave in 2 weeks! As far as I know, July 4th still has not changed, but we do not have our travel plans yet. I should have them by next Tuesday so I can write you then. I'm not sure how the calling and everything works. I know as much as you do at this point. But will you let me know exactly what's happening on your side, so I can figure out if anything special needs to happen? I may even be able to call Abby as well during one of my layovers. I'm not sure. I can't get over how cool those pictures of the boys were! Tell Michael thank you for his hilarious letter (I read parts of it out loud to my district), and tell them both to write me when they get back! I dreamt the other night that I was out traveling with them, ha. Also, Mom, I think I'm okay as far as needing anything. I can get most things here at the MTC or in the Czech, so no worries.

Well, this week was just another incredible one. I was reviewing what happened over the week in order to tell you the highlights, and all I really ever do is go to class and then meetings, and then personal study, and then comp study, and then fantastic firesides. My whole week consists of receiving personal revelation and strengthening my testimony and my understanding of this glorious gospel. Thus, the highlights of my week are the highlights of my study, so that is what you get! Sorry if it's not as interesting as you'd hope. I'm sure I'll have crazy stories to report in 2 weeks, so get ready.

Just one of the things I've really thought about this week is something I discovered during sacrament meeting last Sunday. I was reading about Christ feeding the 5,000 in Matthew 14. I've never really applied this story to myself in the way that I did this week. But I love how Jesus tells the apostles in verse 16, "They need not depart; give ye them to eat." He realizes there is a host of people that need to be tended to and fed. He tells his disciples to feed them, to attend to their needs and give them nourishment. Every person in the Czech Republic, in our communities, in our friends, in our families needs and deserves the light of the gospel and the love of Christ. They reply, saying, "We have here but five loaves, and two fishes." I have here but a few words and phrases in Czech, I have here but a small understanding of the scriptures and of people. I have here but a young, inexperienced girl who wishes to do what Thou asks, but recognizes what a meager amount I have to offer. In verse 18, "He said, Bring them hither to me." Verse 20: "And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full." Something I loved that one of my elders said this week was that it's really easy for me to doubt myself, but it's really hard for me to doubt the Lord. So, if I lose myself in the work, I can do this. If I bring what I have to him, if I give it all, holding back nothing, he will make it up. He will tend to his children, and the gospel will be spread, using what little talents and knowledge I have gained. That's really beatiful, isn't it? I can hardly stop saying how beautiful the Atonement is. I wish for all to understand it. I'll stop there. I know one day these study journals will be so precious. I feel very blessed and honored to be in a place where the Spirit is so strong and I'm able to feel Him so near. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for helping me be here. I love it so much.

Well, with 2 weeks left, our district is definitely going a little crazy. It's hilarious here all the time. With my two hilarious companions, and the 9 elders with loads of personality, it never stops. A football is always being tossed around, we can never study through a break or the elders will get on our cases.. we never stop hearing, "Sestra Bean! Sestra White! Sestra Brimhall!" It's going to be a wild ride when we take all 12 of us on that long flight to Prague. We're going to miss each other, for sure. But it's going to be such a great day when all of us get together at Mission conferences again. We've grown really close, and the MTC will be a very fond memory for us all I think.

I'm really happy here. I think about you all every night in my prayers. I plead to Heavenly Father that you will feel how much I love you! Know that I do.

Sestra Lucy Brimhall

P.S. Tell Lauren I love her!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

3 more weeks to go!

Hello, Family!

Wow. Mom, I got your letter last night. I had almost forgotten about the boys' Southeast Asia trip! Michael's letter made me laugh so hard. I can't believe they're already there! They must be in Thailand by now, huh? I'm so glad the motorcycle trip was a success. I wish I could have been there to see everyone on their bikes and scooters. Send pictures please! I can't see the link Dad sent me. This is the only internet access I have besides lds.org. Ah, and please please send on pictures from the boys' trip! I'm dying to hear about it. If I wasn't on a mission, I'd be super jealous. Actually, I'd probably be there with them...

Ok, well, this week was a good one. We're starting to feel the "pressure" as we only have less than 3 weeks left in this place. It's crazy. It's going to pass by so quickly. Last Tuesday, Elder Kikuchi came to speak at our Tuesday night devotional, and he gave some really good advice about how we should be using our preparation time. He said that we should have the first three lessons (the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ) learned and ready to teach confidently. I really took that to heart as I was starting to feel a healthy amount of stress about learning Czech, and I developed a language plan for the last days until we depart on July 4th. We extended it into a district goal to teach each other one principle a day (there's 22 altogether) in Czech. It's super tough. However, I love the stress. It's helped to fill every nook and cranny of my day with learning, and so I feel at the end of every day that I have made progress. I am a better missionary at the end of the day than I was at the beginning. That's something I've been working to do - every day of my mission, I hope to be a better missionary, or just a better person, at the end of the day than I was at the beginning. I feel like I'll get somewhere if I keep at it :) Anyway, the Czech is coming. I've come to terms with the fact that I will not speak Czech very much at all by the time I leave the MTC. Nope. It won't happen. It can't. However, it's going to be okay. I've tried with all of my might to be a faithful missionary - one that the Lord can use and will be proud of - and I know that he will bless me and support me and use me out in the field. He is on my side and wants me to do this!

I've felt a huge increase in the spirit over the last couple weeks. I feel like I'm really starting to learn how to be a teacher and how to help people come unto Christ by means of the influence of the spirit. I've had incredible experiences with investigators this week. There was one lesson in particular where I was teaching a principle, and in the middle of my sentences I felt like I was merely observing. I wasn't saying those things. I wasn't teaching that lesson. I've heard that all the time from missionaries - that they often feel the Spirit take the lesson and teach it. They are merely an instrument by which the Lord can work. However, never in my life have I felt it. I think the Lord gave me that experience here in the MTC to tell me that he recognizes I've been trying, ahh, trying so hard to sanctify myself and be worthy of that powerful spirit. The spirit taught that lesson. I finished, and I sat back in awe. It was a beautiful lesson about how God is our loving Heavenly Father, and He wants to speak with us. We can pray to Him, and He is there. Teaching about prayer is one of my favorite things. Most of the people I meet in the Czech Republic will never have prayed or may not know who God is, and why anyone would believe in Him. It is one of the most incredible, exhilarating, even fun things to do to boil down the gospel into terms that are so simple, but just truth in its purest form. It gets me so excited! I can hardly wait to meet people and be a part of their lives; help them come closer to their Savior and their Father. I'm so excited! Can you tell I'm excited? I'm so excited! It's been so wonderful to feel the spirit so strongly here. I learned something very valuable during class last week about how the spirit works. I think this is something most people need to understand more fully as members of the church. I know it was something I really needed to hear. We watched a clip from a previous MTC devotional by Elder Bednar. He spoke about the Holy Ghost. He brought up the age old question of "Is it the Holy Ghost, or is it just me?" He said, "Answer: Quit worrying about it." He said to be a good girl, be a good boy, keep the commandments, and live your convenants. The spirit will take you where you need to be and help you do what you need to do, a lot of the times without you even knowing it. It's so true. I think if we are seeking to improve, if we are seeking to live righteously, our thoughts and consequently our actions will be influenced by the spirit, and we will do what the Lord would have us do. We will stay on the right path. We will know where we are to go next. It's not a matter of using your mind because you can't expect the spirit to guide you in everything.. He will! It's a matter of living righteously, being a good girl, being a good boy.

I'm so happy to be here. I love my companions so much. Being in a tripanionship has turned out to be the best experience - I'm really, really going to miss my companions out in the field. I love my district. I love learning Czech. I love being able to serve the Lord and teach His children. I love you all so much! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers - I feel them here.

Sestra Brimhall

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

3 weeks and 6 days left in the MTC!

Hello, Family!

Thanks, Mom, for your update on everything yesterday! I can't believe how crazy this summer is for you all. The Brimhalls will be covering a lot of ground this summer! The trek, the motorcycle trip, London, southeast Asia, Washington D.C., Colorado, St. Louis, and the Czech Republic! Full speed ahead, I guess, ha. Can I get an update on Danny's whereabouts? His grades will be coming out soon! I want a letter, Danny! Ah, as for my departure date - as far as I know, we're scheduled to leave on July 4th still. We don't actually get our flight plans until 2 weeks before, so I don't have any other information for you. If I end up leaving on the 5th and you're flying back from London on the same day, I'm sure they'll let me work something out where I can call you while I'm still in the MTC. Don't worry about it, Mom. I'll be sure to let you know ASAP if I hear anything change.

Well, this week was a fantastic one. Our "investigators" are progressing, our Czech is slowly plugging along, our tripanionship is getting closer, and our district is truly transforming. I'm learning so much. There's so much to missionary work that I didn't realize before. My study of Preach My Gospel could have been loads better before my mission, for sure, but there's something different about studying with a face an a situation or question in mind. I hope I can keep this much purpose in my gospel study for the rest of my life. Michael, start studying Preach My Gospel now! It's incredible, and I wish I had spent the time in it before. There's so little time here that you need to know those doctrines in and out so you can focus on learning how to be a missionary and a teacher here.

A couple Sundays ago, my companions and I watched a previous devotional given at the MTC by Elder Holland (called "Missions are Forever" or something like that) and it was really quite unbelievable. I learned so much from his words, and gained so much insight avbout my mission and how I am to approach it. He said to do everything you can to make this mission part of your soul and to let it sink into the marrow of your bones. He said that this isn't just 18 months or 2 years that you give "away from life," and then "come back to life." No. Your mission IS life. He said not to come back without "gettting it," and to keep the fire and beauty of your mission with you forever. Ah, so good. He also said to get ready right now to push to the end - to go out where miracles happen, where water becomes steam, where missionaries become disciples of the Lord. Something I really appreciated was how he said that we MUST go to the edge. We must go out there, not look back or think about things at home or what I'm going to do when I get home. Now is my chance to go to the edge of the cliff and let Him help me fly. Now is the chance to be as bold as Abinadi and to let the Atonement of the Savior take me higher than I could ever go myself. I feel like "Now is the time..." applies to every time of our lives. Now is always "the time." Another part of his talk answered a question I remember asking you a week or two before I left, Mom. He said he had often asked, "Why is this so hard?" Why aren't people flocking to baptism, receiving and accepting the truth as the glorious truth it is? In short, he said the reason it's hard is because salvation is not a cheap experience. Why should it be easy if it was so hard for him? "The road to salvation goes through Gethsemane." Similarly, how can we say we are disciples of Jesus Christ, and not go through some of what he did? No, there will be sorrow and pain and suffering. It cannot be easy. Salvation never was easy, and it was not easy for our brother and Savior, Jesus Christ. I love that. He's right. Life is meant to be hard, and we are meant to be stretched. What else are we here for but to grow and learn? Especially to learn to love, I think.

Abby, Mom told me about the interpreter you found in Colorado! Can you believe how the Lord has watched over you? He's right there time and time again! It was the perfect piece of news to end my week - I've been thinking a lot over the last couple weeks about Mom's talk she gave so many years ago at Stake Conference about tender mercies. I've talked to my companions a lot about what a blessing it's been for our family and for my testimony to see the Lord carry Abby through her life. Miracles happen, and they happen so very often in our family. On Sunday for all our meetings we also had a volunteer interpreter whose signing was the most beautiful interpreting I've ever seen! It made me really, really happy for some reason, ha. I want to hear all about the internship, Ab!

Well, I really really love you all. Thank you for your letters! I understand now the love of mail you so quickly develop on a mission. I'm loving my time here. It's definitely getting to the point where I wish I could stop focusing on me and my preparation, and start looking outwardly full time. However, that time will come (in 3 weeks and 6 days). My time here at the MTC has been so valuable, and I know that the people I've met and the things I've learned will stay with me forever. I think about you often/mostly wonder where in the US you are now, and love you! You're in my prayers!

S laskou,
Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Crazy week!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, DAD! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! Ahh, Dad, I've been thinking about you all day. I hope you had a good one! Did you do anything exciting? I hope you ate lots of good food and some quality chocolate. That is one thing I miss about home - people who know what good chocolate is, and parents that purchase it for the good of their children. My chocolate consumption has significantly gone down here, but I suppose that's a good thing. Eat the darkest of the dark for me! Happy Birthday, again!

I don't have a lot of time today - it's been a bit of a crazy day. One of my companions (Sestra Bean) spent all day in the hospital, she had to have surgery for a pre-existing condition, but she's back now and should be alright. She should be well enough to leave on time with us on July 4th, but keep her in your prayers! It should be a little different of a week as they don't have the means to take care of people healing from surgery, and so as a companion you also sign up to be a nurse, apparently, ha. Sestra White and I will be caring very well for our third!

A few things:
Rebecca Walther (my roommate) - I need her address! Congrats on submitting your mission papers! Dear Elder me, Becca, or someone Dear Elder me her address!
Mom, can you send me Jessica Udall's address? And can you tell Bishop Kerr thank you for his letter. It came at a very good time and it meant a lot to me. I felt the love of the whole ward.

Abby, I had a goal to write you a big letter today, but P days for our tripanionship for some reason are adventures every week. I'm sorry! I'm so excited for your internship though! I'll get a letter out next week for sure!

Danny, where are you?? Have you started your job yet? How are you doing? To both Danny and Abby, I never thanked you for your notes (and the picture frame, Abby) that you left in my suitcase. They meant so much to me. Thank you, brother and sister. I love you both.

I just read your email that you're on the trek! I hope it's so much fun! Send pictures when you you're back.

The MTC is treating me well. I've felt the spirit so strongly this week, and I'm learning so much every day (mostly lessons that I never expected to learn).

Friends, thank you for your letters! I made a valiant effort to respond as much as I could today! It's a work in progress, and time is short. Know that I love you!

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, and I love him with all of my heart.

All my love,