Sunday, June 24, 2012

Singing Displays in Prague

Dear Family and Friends, I'm writing to you today a little more tired than usual, and wearing jeans instead of a skirt. Right after this, our district is hopping on a train and going out to see Karlstejn - a castle that I hear is worth seeing, and the place where the Czech Republic was dedicated for missionary work! It should be exciting. I'll try to send pictures next week. I'm a little more tired, because Sister Sears and I had an adventure of a night where one of our appliances decided to go whack and start making all sorts of alarming noises at different times in the night.. haha. There are thousands of the funniest moments in missionary work, and I wish I could record them all. In fact, being a missionary in Prague, you end up hosting people very often, for they come up for trainings or interviews or visa work all the time. Earlier this week we had 7 sisters sleeping in our tiny, little apartment one night. Two of the sisters carried two foam pads across Prague that they got from the mission home, so the situation wouldn't be so bad. It was a grand moment, however, when we knelt down at the end of the night, crowded on our kitchen floor, to do our planning for the next day. We said one, united planning prayer (covering three companionships and three areas), and I really felt the spirit as we knelt there as sister missionaries, all working to help everyone we can to come closer to Christ, wherever we may be serving. I'm not really sure what to tell you about the week. There's so many things and people I could tell you about, but I don't know if I could do them justice in such short time and with just words. I guess a highlight of the week was when we did a singing display as a district out on a city square near our apartment. We did singing displays once a week in Brno, and we do them here in Prague as well. I'm not a big fan of singing in general, but I'm a big fan of singing displays! This is how it works: We have a huge board that says the name of the church and a little about us, and we set it up on this big, wooden easel (yes, we transport it on the busy Metro of Prague). We find some sort of square or open space in the city, where there's lots of foot traffic, and we plant it right there. Then, we gather around it in our little missionary "choir" and we sing hymns in Czech! Two or three missionaries will be out, talking to people about our message, while a little choir gives you some background music :) This week, we happened to pick a place where there was a big Coca-cola attraction. People were handing out free Coke cans left and right. It was perfect, because everyone was getting free Coke, taking a minute to enjoy it, listening to our singing, and talking to us about Christ! Little did the Coke people know that they would be partnering with the Church of Jesus Christ that day to bring people joy. I think I love singing displays so much because it is the most peculiar sight for people to see. There, standing on the corner in suits and skirts, is a bunch of young people, singing about Christ, and enjoying it. Why are they doing that? Sometimes people ask us on the street, "Why aren't you doing something else? You're nice-looking young women who could be doing so much with your lives." When they stop long enough to hear our response, they find out how important this year and a half or two years really is to us. We tell them that we've left lives at home as students or working, being with family, so that we can share with people the most important thing in our lives - the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We tell them how much it means to us that Christ is our Savior, and that the fulness of his gospel has been restored in these latter-days. Sometimes they get such a confused look on their faces when they see that we're really just normal kids, with a great desire to help others come unto Christ. After bearing my testimony of how much the gospel has blessed me and my family, I often ask them, "How could I NOT share it with people?" I wish everyone I know, all the people I love, could have what I have. I pray that they will all take the time to stop, listen to the message, pray about it, and feel it's truth. I know that every person who will truly consider the message of the restoration of the gospel of Christ will see increased light in their lives. They will see changes that they cannot deny. They will come closer to their Savior and their relationship with Heavenly Father will strengthen. I am grateful for the opportunity to share this message with the people that are around me now - the people in the Czech Republic. I pray that each of us, who knows and feels the truth, will be courageous enough to share it with all those around us, wherever we may be. I love you all! Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Very sweet week.

Dear Family and Friends, This week was a very sweet one, with powerful experiences with the spirit. We had a meeting with our most progressing and fantastic investigator from England. It was a really special lesson. We had something else planned, but for some reason we got onto the topic of following the example of Christ and putting off the natural man. He said, since he's been meeting with the sisters, that he has started reviewing his entire life. He hasn't been doing it consciously; rather, he finds himself just thinking about past situations and events in his life, and how he maybe could have reacted better. He looked up and said, "I don't know what you've done to me! Or is it even related at all to what you've been teaching me?" I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "I think it is very closely related, Dave." We explained how that is the beginnings of repentace. The more we learn about God's plan for us and the life of our Savior, the more sensitive we become to the spirit, and the righteousness of our choices. Though it has been such a peculiar experience for him, it brought me so much joy to see the fruits of true repentance in him. He then asked, "Well, I've been thinking.. if there really is this Holy Spirit around us to guide us, why do people react in the ways they do? For example, jealousy and things like that...?" Sister Sears and I simultaneously opened our Books of Mormon to Mosiah 3:19. For the rest of the hour we had a discussion about how faith in Christ and love of God changes our character and how we treat our fellow man. We were hoping for an opportunity to show Dave how we can get answers in the Book of Mormon. Luckily, that morning, I had been studying in the Mosiah chapters and we were able to read some passages from Mosiah 4, about how it works. It's really difficult to explain how strong the spirit was in that meeting, but we were able to learn so much more about our investigator and his life, and he was able to learn so much more about how faith in God can only improve his life. He also told us that he hadn't been praying very much over the last several days. It was just so new to him, and he didn't feel so comfortable with it. He didn't know what to say to God. Sister Sears and I bore testimony of the power and importance of prayer, and that when we speak with God more, we will come to know Him more, just like in a friendship with anyone we may know. At the end of our beautiful meeting, we all got on our knees and Dave offered the prayer... "Dear God.. Ok well, I would just like to start by making a commitment with you right now that I will keep in touch with you more often. The sisters have shown me how keeping this faith in you can only benefit my life..." He went on to give a very simple, sincere prayer. I heard him choke up at the end, and while I couldn't help but laugh inside at the situation of a grown man crying around two young girls, I just said, "That's what a true prayer is, Dave. You just say what you truly feel." He kind of moved around awkwardly and said, "Yeah, yeah, I just didn't expect to be all emotional!" Sister Sears and I quietly smiled and we all went ahead and left the room. I love this work. It brings me indescribable joy to be a witness of someone else's journey in coming to know our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. What more could I ask for? I know He loves all of His children, and He desires so much to be a part of our lives. Love, Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Saturday, June 9, 2012

We knocked on the door on Sunday evening . . .

Dear Family and Friends, First off, Mom and Dad, thank you for your emails! They made me smile. It has been so entertaining to hear about home as of late. The Brimhalls always seem to have the craziest, most active of summers. If I had kids like yours I don't know how I would keep my head on straight - we do too many things :) I'm so glad Danny is enjoying New York. I wish I could hear those phone calls between him and Dad. I miss hearing about all his law lectures and adventures.. he'll have a lot to catch me up on, haha. Hope the marathon went well for Michael! I'd love to hear the results. Abby, good luck with your summer work! You and Mom going to the outlet malls made me sad that I missed out on the girl time :) I look forward to making it out to St. Louis someday, though. Grandma and Grandpa, thank you for your weekly emails! It's almost unbelievable that the final and fourth Brimhall will be coming through St. George to make it up to college, isn't it? I remember making that trip. I was so nervous about starting somewhere new and going into it all alone. Looking back, I feel like I've grown so much in the last handful of years, and I'm so grateful for all the experiences the Lord has blessed me with, and the people who have been on the sidelines. Every day of a mission is an adventure. Last Monday in the park we met a young mother named Svetlana from Belarus. She has a little curly-haired daughter, named Flora. Every Russian speaker seems to just pick up Czech like nothing, so Svetlana spoke super great Czech. She also speaks English, as she is married to a man from Brazil. Her husband works in theater, she is an artist, and they are both Buddhist. She's just super. Later in the week, we met her again in the park and gave her a Book of Mormon. On this last Sunday, she invited us over to her home to talk more. We hardly expected to have the adventure that we did. We knocked on the door on Sunday evening, and she quickly opened it, hurried us in and whispered, "I brought a homeless lady home from the park. She's in the shower!" Sudddenly, out walked blonde, broad-shouldered Milada, exclaiming, "Good day!" We walked further into the apartment while Svetlana dealt with Milada. I looked around and realized just how cool this family was. There was the most beautiful, joyful art all over the walls, with trinkets from all over the world sitting on the shelves and all over the floor. In the corner were a bunch of tools, wood, and fabrics and half-done puppets and children's toys. Paint bottles and brushes were balancing on towers of junk, and there was Flora, pulling her home-made toy boat around all the chaos. In the middle of it all, someone else rang the doorbell and in walked Svetlana's friend, dressed in a big, long skirt, with bracelets and necklaces and piercings of all sorts. In the end, Svetlana spent the whole time helping this homeless lady, while we taught her friend, who happened to be a Hare Krishna. It was a beautiful lesson on the floor of Svetlana's kitchen. While in the end neither of them had real interest in learning more, it was a really great experience for each one involved to come to know other faiths and cultures, and to share the things that are most important to us. We didn't find common ground in Jesus Christ, but we found common ground in serving God's children. The rest of the week, we had multiple experiences in helping Svetlana out with Milada. We were able to use some of the donated materials in the church basement to provide her with clothing and other things to get her cleaned up for job searching. I loved the opportunity to pass through the lives of those women, and to learn from the Christ-like example of Svetlana. God loves each one of His children, and He needs us to do our best to take care of each other. I am so thankful for the gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ, which help me to learn to love others as our Heavenly Father loves us. Love, Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Sunday, June 3, 2012

One of the Highlights!

Dear Family and Friends, Abby, thank you for sending on the photos of Michael's graduation! I saw him and his friends lined up, and I could hardly believe that all those boys that used to be so young are now at the beginnings of adulthood. I also received his graduation announcement. Thank you! My whole district got to see :) So much has happened at home in the last, short year. I feel like it will be such a different scene when I return. Something else that I'm realizing more and more, is what a different person I will come home as. Perhaps the scene at home won't be as different as I imagine, but I know that the eyes I look out of will have changed in many ways. I am profoundly grateful for the honor to serve a mission, in this country, around people who God put around me to mold me and shape me in the ways He needs. I saw His shaping power in a very real way before my mission, and I've seen that preparation turn out to be incredibly handy during this phase in my life. I feel His shaping power in a very real way now, and I'm sure that in the next phase of my life's journey, that that preparation will again be of great use. It's incredible how well He knows us, isn't it? I've thought often of the testimony Danny sent me a few weeks ago - that Heavenly Father gives each of His children specific trials and experiences, customized to their weaknesses and needs to achieve eternal life and perfection. Having been on my mission for a good amount of time now, I'm able to look back on the stories and journeys of so many people I have taught. I'm able to see the hand of the Lord so clearly, and the wisdom of His dealings with each one of us. I've come to learn on a deeper level the value of humbling yourself and putting your trust in the Lord's plan for you. I've seen many make that leap of faith; I've seen many harden their hearts and turn away; we're working with many now who are going through the same learning process. We pray every day that they will finally make the jump and find out that the Lord was always there to catch them. I'm astounded at the schedule at home! There's so many things going on I just gave up trying to figure out your schedule, haha! I hope you have a fantastic summer. Mom, I've been thinking this week that I would like to catch up to the rest of you and really pick up running when I get home. I hope that job is a good experience for you! Sister Sears is a runner, so it's been great to get out in the mornings and run around our neighborhood in Prague. We live in a very nice area, and there's fantastic parks and university buildings all around us. I really enjoy the mornings. I also wanted to thank you for this line in your email, "Our Savior was not in a hurry on this earth, just dedicated and diligent, never seemed to be as rushed as we think we should be." This very morning I was thinking a lot about the life of the Savior - how he would have walked through the cities, what he would have done in times where there was no task immediately in front of him... I figured I should probably work and act quite similarly to the Savior on my mission, as the purposes of each ministry are really quite similar. I realized the very same thing that you said in your email - he probably wasn't in a hurry, just dedicated and diligent. He probably wasn't as hurried as I often feel like I need to be. That's a new goal for me for the last phase of my mission - to serve as the Savior did, dedicated and diligent, sensitive and aware. Well, it was another beautiful week! What else did you expect? I LOVE missionary work! Just one of the highlights of the week was that President allowed Sister Sears and I to travel down to Brno on Wednesday afternoon to see the baptism of the investigator we we were teaching before my transfer! It was so simple and beautiful. We rode the train down - the trip takes 2.5 hours. Then, we got to stay for about 2 hours in Brno to travel to the building, see the baptism, and travel back to the train station :) President is good to us - he wants us to see those baptisms. A good amount of the branch came and so it was good to see them all again. His family is still very against his joining the church, and so nobody from his family came to support him. However, as one of my past investigators who came said, while looking around at the room full of people, "These people are really like a family." I smiled and said, "I know. It's a good feeling, huh?" He was just beaming through the whole thing - a ball of sunshine in his white jumper and his black sneakers. I went to congratulate him and say goodbye afterwards, and said, "You're baptized!" He smiled back and said, "I know! It was the best feeling." I feel honored to have been able to teach such a humble, prepared young man, who recognized the truth from the moment he saw it. He so humbly and sincerely said to me, "Thank you for everything you did for me." As I rode home on the train that night, I realized that the truth of it was that he, with his Nephi-like faith, did everything himself. With a sincere heart, and earnest prayers, he made his way on his own. Sister Pysnakova and I were only the Lord's instruments through it all, to bring him the message that would change his life. I've never felt such a fulness of joy as I have on my mission. I am thankful to the Lord for the sacred moments, like this baptism, that I have been able to experience. I love this gospel and I know Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. True joy comes in following him! I love you all, Sestra Lucy Brimhall