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.