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

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