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!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rollercoaster of a week!


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