Sunday, January 22, 2012
Sister Izatt, Jana, Sister Brimhall
Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you again for your love and support and emails! It's like Christmas morning every time I see an inbox full of your emails. I love you all so very much.
The last several days have been just beautiful. I heard many things about the horrors of working in a threesome before my mission, but I'm currently in my third one and I love it for the third time. I love these two sisters. It's like fast-paced learning when you have two companions to observe, work with, and learn from. Sister Smith came in with fire and a lot of will to overcome all fear and weakness and do the Lord's work. Sister Izatt is just as fiery, and the boldness of both of these sisters has taught me so much and worked incredible miracles this week. Wow, I've learned so much from my companions. I am overwhelmingly grateful for that aspect of my mission.
We're working with so many beautiful people right now, but I'll tell you about a few experiences that stood out this week. A couple weeks ago, Sister Izatt and I were contacting in the city center. A young man walked out of a store, and Sister Izatt almost ran him over when she called his attention and started talking to him. After a couple minutes of talking to this fantastic young man, who was super interested, I noticed a young woman standing off to the side, waiting to talk to us. That NEVER happens! After a minute, I told Sister Izatt I was going to leave her to the contact by herself, because I had to go talk to this girl. I went up to her, and she immediately asked me about the book I was holding in my hand. I taught a short lesson about the restoration, and explained the Book of Mormon to her. She asked if we had time that day to talk more. We unfortunately didn't, but we set up for the next day! This young woman is so special. She is currently working 2 jobs, living with her younger sister, who is still studying. Her mother passed away several years ago from pneumonia, and her brother passed away when he was 17 because of a "long story." She's traveled the world, and speaks multiple languages, and ever since her mother told her on her deathbed that she really did "believe," this young woman has been trying to find out if she believes too. Her sister things it's absolute nonsense, and her father does as well. However, she doesn't. She believes God exists and she believes Jesus Christ really is our Savior. She's read A LOT, in the scriptures and in other books, and now she's eating up the Book of Mormon. During our first lesson with her, we laid out the message of the restoration and gave her her own copy of the book. She asked fantastic questions, and couldn't wait to start. We had a second meeting with her this week, and she came in with all sorts of questions. She also told us how she had already explained and talked for a long time with her father, sister, and other strangers about this book. In fact, when she was opening up for work this week, a lady knocked on the door an hour before they were to open. She asked if she could come in and just get some coffee. She let her in. The older lady asked if she had any reading material. She said she didn't, but if she liked, she could read her Book of Mormon, which she had carried with her all week. The lady started going through it and asking our investigator all sorts of questions. She happened to have a 14-year-old grandson who was looking for the right church... The older lady was from out of town, but she took the pamphlet we had given our investigator, and she said she would call the number. Oh wow, this young woman is so special. What a life she's had, and what a sincere, searching soul she has. She's taught me more than we've taught her, I think. I'll keep you updated on her progress. Pray that she will be able to get work off on Sundays!
Mother, you asked about if we work more with the young. Yes, we do. We do actually have some older investigators, and there are older people who get baptized as well, but unfortunately the older generations tend to decide that we have nothing more to give to them than what they already have. It's very hard to break the shell these Czech citizens have built up over the last few decades of history. It really is with the youth that we find those who are searching, and are willing to learn. I could write pages about the effects of history on the generations here and their perspective on religion, but unfortunately there's no time.
Quotes from our last lesson with the young man from Syria: "After the 8th chapter I really started to love it!" "I've been feeling a change in my life lately...It's not like anything changed around me, but it's a change inside, in my heart...My view on the world is changing..." "A lot of people don't know about this; you have a lot of work to do... God bless you."
I love you all! I know this Church is true. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I love my Savior. So, so very much.
Sister Lucy Brimhall
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Baptism of Vladmir
Brno District and Vladimir!!
Well, I forgot to tell you last week that it's actually transfer week! Thus the reason I am emailing a couple days later. The happy news is that I am staying in Brno! The other happy news is that Sister Izatt is staying as well! The OTHER happy news is that we're having a "baby" together.. Sister Smith, who has been out for 2 months, has come down to join us, and we will be follow up training her together. No new sisters came in this transfer, so not too many things changed. For the next 3 weeks we will be finishing Sister Smith on the new 12-week training program that the church has begun. She already did 9 weeks with her official trainer, and will now train us on how we are supposed to train her :) It basically involves an extra hour of companionship study, and a specific curriculum that you follow. I'm excited - it should be interesting. While it does take an extra hour of work time out, and even though we have 3 hours of study every day, I feel like we only make a dent in the studies we need each day. Missionaries need their studies! I'm super excited - Sister Smith is another fireball just like Sister Izatt, from Thatcher, Arizona, who graduated from BYU Provo in Art History. She's wonderful. I guess President likes to give me the ones with all the personality :) We'll be quite the force in Brno.
A few comments on emails - Mother and Father, I'm so excited for your scripture study plans you told me about. A couple transfers ago, I don't know if I told you, but we read the whole Book of Mormon together as a mission, highlighting everything that taught about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was a beautiful experience. The most glaring thing I learned from my study was that while Christ performed this magnificent, beautiful, loving Atonement for us, it has absolutely NO POWER unless we CHOOSE it. Acknowledge it. Apply it. We truly can be forgiven of our sins, strengthened through trials, and comforted through sorrow, when we turn to the Savior and apply his Atonement. If we do not choose him, that precious gift profiteth nothing, and is tossed aside.
Danny, CONGRATULATIONS ON MAKING LAW REVIEW! Say congrats to Aaron as well! That's so exciting. THANK YOU FOR THE PICTURES! Sister Izatt and I were amazed at the photography, Danny. Those pictures are absolutely fantastic - something you and Michael will treasure forever. I can hardly wait to see the book you made for Michael, and to travel Southeast Asia myself someday. The Qatar pictures were outrageously cool as well. It was so much fun to get that package. Thank you!
Mother, I'm so glad to hear you heard from Petru. Did your Christmas package make it to him after all?
Michael, I'm so excited for you to be starting that mission prep class. I have no idea where you'll go, Michael, but wherever you serve I know you'll be a powerhouse missionary for the Lord. I'm so proud of you, Mike. Stay strong this last semester, and keep your focus on the Lord. Your mission is the most important thing to be working towards right now. I hope you could tell over the phone how much I love my mission - it is already a very special part of me. I can't put into words what a precious time of life it is, and how blessed we are to be given the opportunity to serve the Lord, and help people come closer to their Savior, Jesus Christ. Nothing beats it, little brother. You will absolutely love it. I know it. Good luck! Study hard. Pray hard. Listen to Mom and Dad :)
Michelle Alejandra, I received your Christmas letter. Thank your sisters for their contributions! That was such a precious letter, haha. Thanks for taking the time to write me over the holidays! Mam te moc rada.
Whoo, as for other news - Brno is blossoming! I'm so, so excited about our pool of investigators right now. With the holidays fading away, and final exams coming to a close for the students, things are starting to pick up again.
I do have one request. The investigator who accepted tithing a couple weeks ago, and has been progressing so beautifully and miraculously towards baptism, almost dropped us this week over the phone. There was a piece of doctrine that he didn't understand the first time we taught it, and that we didn't notice, and it had been eating at him for several weeks. It tore him down so much that he stopped reading the Book of Mormon, and started making excuses not to meet with us. I talked to him for almost an hour on the phone right before we had to go to bed, trying to clear some things up, and reassure him of the truth and testimony he has gained. That night, he didn't sleep all night as he struggled to resolve the conflict he had in his heart. He didn't drop us. We haven't lost him. But he's struggling, family, and I need your prayers. We love these people so much. It was a very emotional week for the both of us. He knows he's found the truth. He needs prayers and support right now.
In other news, we picked up another young girl, who was a referral from one of the youth in the branch. She is 20-years-old and such a sharp, thoughtful, beatiful young girl. She already has a baptismal date for the 24th of March, and is reading diligently in the Book of Mormon. Ah! I love it when the members help us find. Refferals are the most effective way to do missionary work. All members who are at home, if you aren't working on sharing the gospel with someone right now, pray hard tonight and think of who you can share it with! Call someone this week! The people we love, who are just right around us, are searching as well. Talk to them about the most important thing in your life! Share the blessings that the Lord has blessed you with.
The young man from Syria returned from a long trip over the holidays, and we are teaching him again. Want to hear something cool? The first day this young man arrived to study in London, he had all his luggage and had just found his new apartment, after looking for a long time, and right then, just as he was about to walk in, the missionaries contacted him. From them, he started meeting with them, until he went home to Syria. There, in his small village, he was talking to his local preacher, who asked him if he happened to know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The preacher said people happened to be coming that week to talk about the church in their city. He was astounded that he rain into them there. He then moved to the Czech Republic to continue studies here. I don't know how long he had been here, but it was only a matter of a couple weeks that he had been here, and Sister Izatt and I contacted him on the street! This young man knows that Heavenly Father is guiding his footsteps, and he's determined to find out what exactly we're all about. We're excited for him! Pray hard that he will find the truth!
Monday, January 2, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,Happy New Year!
I hope you had a wonderful couple weeks of holiday cheer. It has been really special here in the Czech Republic. For the new year, all the missionaries went home by 6 PM, as President thought it would be best if we weren't out on the streets. We had a fantastic night as our Assistants challenged us to spend an hour from 6-7 PM reading our patriarchal blessings, evaluating the year we had just completed, and making goals for the new year to come. I think it was one of my favorite New Year celebrations - to sit down and read in the scriptures, and really think about how I could become a better disciple of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Beats doing puzzles all night, that's for sure :)
Ok, well, we had a fantastic week! Family, I told you about our most progressing investigator over the phone - the one who has a baptismal date for the 4th of February. We were worried about him, as he was a little nervous about being able to follow the commandment of tithing. We sat down with him this week, and Sister Izatt and I bore our hearts out with testimony of the blessings each of us have seen in our families and in our own lives, because of the faithfulness of our parents in paying tithing. The Spirit was there as we read Malachi 3:10 together, and talked about how when the Lord gives us a commandment, he asks us to try him, to live according to it, and to see if he will not bless us more than we can imagine. I didn't know if he would agree, to be honest. However, by the end of the lesson, when I asked him, "After you are baptized, will you live according to the law of the tithe?" He responded, "I will. I must." He said he had no idea how, but he knew this path was the right path, he knew God had led him to truth, and he would do all he could to continue on that path and be worthy for baptism into the Lord's church. This investigator's faith is one of the most impressive things I've yet to see on my mission. He is such a powerhouse of a person - willing to give all and do all for the Lord. I hope to be like him someday.
I know this church is the Lord's church restored once again to the earth. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know God loves me. I love you all, and am so thankful for the examples each one of you have been to me throughout my life.
Keep going! Hold to the rod. Love the Lord, and always put him first.
Sestra Lucy Brimhall