Monday, August 27, 2012

The work in Prague!

Dear Family and Friends, Mother - I can't wait to run with you! Abby - Happy Birthday this week! Michael - Happy Birthday tomorrow! Danny - Hope you are loving school again! Dad - Thank you for the pictures you sent. Hope the family reunion was wonderful. Well, well, the week was pumped with miracles! I feel like I've become so deeply rooted in the work here in Prague that it's almost odd to think I ever served anywhere else, even though I have journals full of experiences with different people in different places. It will be quite odd to finish and step back and see my mission as a whole again. It's been such a blessing, however, to be able to focus so much on the now and work so hard in the present. There are too many stories to tell, but I will tell you of one investigator of ours, who we love very, very much. He has been investigating the church for about 10 months now, and has been taught by many sister companionships in the meantime. I always say he is the most beautiful soul I have ever met, because he truly is. He's really just an ordinary 30-year-old guy, who has an ordinary job, and looks pretty ordinary to top it off. However, everyone who meets him is deeply impressed by the humble spirit he has inside of him, and the light of Christ that radiates from him. We have had quite the spiritual journey with this investigator. I can hardly begin to explain it. However, a few weeks ago, we challenged him to read the Book of Mormon AGAIN, from the beginning. Since that time, we have seen a new light come into him, and he has begun to have hope again that he can receive his answer. He keeps all the commandments, and studies and prays incredibly diligently, but for some reason, the heavens have been silent for him. While an outsider, and sometimes this very investigator, may find it unfair that Heavenly Father can answer so many others in a matter of 2-3 months time, but makes this young man wait for so long, I know that Heavenly Father knows him personally and has a plan for how his soul ought to develop. Over the last few weeks, baptism has come up many, many times. It has been on his mind. However, over the last 10 months, he has never accepted a baptismal date, which he could work towards, because he always said he needed his answer first. After a chain of events, Sister Clark and I felt the time was right to challenge him again to accept a date. When he walked into our meeting on Wednesday, I knew it was going to be quite an intense meeting. You could just feel it. Long story short, we sat down with him and our member and had a discussion on the meaning of the covenant of baptism. Sister clark then extended the date. You could see him tense a bit. I tried to explain the reason behind having a date, and how we truly believed it could be conducive to him getting an answer. I don't even remember what I said at that point, but I just remember he was waffling, and I got to the point whereI had no idea what to say, and Sister Clark ( found out later) was hearing the Spirit tell her, "Do NOT speak right now!" After a few moments, our member spoke up and said, "Why not just try it?" and he bore his testimony that it could help. Our investigator then said that he had already tried to rampu up his study and intensify his prayer in order to get an answer before, but he felt like all he ever hears is silence. As the two of them spoke, I felt like one of the clearest pieces of inspiration fell into my head - I knew exactly what to say. I told him that sometimes when all we hear is silence to questions we have in parayer, Heavenly Father desires for us to take a step and make the decision on our own. We have the assurety, however, that if we make a wrong decision, one that will take us down a bad path, Heavenly Father will interfere and stop us, because He loves us. I mentioned to our investigator a time not too long ago, when he had almost sent us a message, telling us he wanted to quit. However, in that same hour, we called him and told him we had just found his Book of Mormon in the chapel, he must have left it at church the day before, could we return it to him right away? Heavenly Father had interfered. He stopped him in going down the wrong path. I bore my testimony that if he chose to go the other way, if he accepted a date of baptism, and worked towards it with faith, Heavenly Father would stop him if it was wrong, but if it was right, he would support him! After a moment of two, he said, "Alright. I will try my best." I said, "Ok." and we knelt in prayer. It was a beautiful meeting, and it was a beautiful week. We asked him to work towards a goal at the end of September. It will be a time of incredible prayer and fasting on our part and on his. I know this gospel is true and I know Heavenly Father loves us and desires for us to have truth. If we will seek the truth sincerely, there may be times when we'll have to take a step into the dark. However, we have the promise from a loving Heavenly Father that He will always catch us if we fall and guide us in the right. Love, Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sister Exchanges in Uherske Hradiste

Dear Family and Friends, What an eventful week! This week was special because, for the first time in a long time in this mission, we had SISTER EXCHANGES! I've never heard of it before, but President wanted to give it a try. The Elders are always going on 24-hour exchanges to teach and learn from each other. It always seemed like a lot of fun, and really helpful. Sister White (my MTC companion) and I, since we're some of the oldest sisters, are doing a couple exchanges during August and September. This week I was able to travel allll the way to the other side of the country to a small town called Uherske Hradiste and do an exchange with Sister Bowler (in the picture). We all traveled and met up in Brno on Tuesday afternoon, and then did the switch and made it back to Prague and UH by Tuesday night (it was about 5-6 hours of train/bus travel). All Wednesday, I was able to serve with Sister Bowler in her little town. It was a blast! It really and truly had the "small town feel." Everybody knows everybody. As we spoke to people on the street, they would be waving to passerbys that they knew. The branch is a pretty good size - about 40 active members. Sister Bowler told me beforehand that they are constantly meeting people who know at least one member. I was surprised as we tracted and contacted throughout the day to have a list of people we had to say "Hi" to by the end of the day! That city was one of the first to be opened after the revolution, and so many of the members have been members since the early 90's. A lot of people we talked to used to attend the church, or go to it's yoga classes during communism. It was nuts. I could just feel the deep history that was there. We walked the whole day, and covered the whole town, including the town next to it. We taught a couple lessons, and ate at a fantastic pizza place. I admit, I sort of felt like I was on vacation, haha. It was a much different experience than Prague. One of the most striking differences was how kind people were, and how willing they were to speak to us. I'm not sure if there was as much interest as I've found in Prague, but people would talk to us for a long time, and were just amazingly kind! Prague is sort of a battleground compared to a small town like that, haha. Another wonderful part of the day was that we didn't speak a lick of English. Sister Bowler is a Linguistics major back home, and her Czech is just beautiful, so we had absolutely no need to speak anything but Czech. I loved it. Anyway, we traveled back to our areas on Thursday, meeting and switching again in Brno. When I got back to Sister Clark she immediately told me we needed to hurry because we had 4 lessons on plan that night, and a mountain of things to do. I smiled. Over the last few weeks, our area has been incredibly blessed. We've been teaching an outrageous amount that we can hardly keep up. Our investigators are doing so well, and making so much progress. A young man named Honza, that we are teaching, will be baptized in just a couple weeks, and is doing wonderfully at keeping the commandments and studying the scriptures. Our long-time investigators are making incredible progress, and I've been learning so much from the spirit in our lessons over the last little while. Sister Clark and I have just been full of gratitude to our Heavenly Father for all that is going on here in Prague. I love this work because it changes lives, and continues to change mine. I am so grateful for the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I have felt it's power very strongly lately. It is something that is quite impossible for us to comprehend, but the power and strength that we can draw from it is undeniable. I know the Atonement is real. I know Christ is our Savior. Following his example has transformed me from the inside out. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and am thankful for my knowledge of it. Love you! Sister Lucy Brimhall
With Sister Bowler on Sister Exchanges

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

President Irwin

Greetings from the Czech/Slovak Mission ! Sister Irwin and I want to take this opportunity of writing to all of our “parents” to express our appreciation for your wonderful children. So far this year we have been well blessed with visits from two Apostles. During my conversations with Elders Christofferson and Holland I mentioned to them that I thought that the Brethren and Heavenly Father were particularly favourable to this Mission in the calling of excellent missionaries – both of them readily agreed. Your children continue to bless our lives as we work closely together to assist our Father in Heaven in His purpose to ‘bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.’ The missionaries are tremendously important to Heavenly Father and it was made very clear to Sister Irwin and I when we were at the Mission President’s Seminar that they way the Brethren will judge whether or not we have succeeded as a Mission President will be in twenty years when they look at the lives of our missionaries – no mention of creating a Stake in the Mission or the number we baptize – rather the impact we have had through our missionary labours on the eternal journey of these great young people. As a Mission we have a vision of the growth of the church here over the next five years. Essential to the achievement of the goals of this vision is the obedience, faith and work ethic of our missionaries. Currently we rate highly in these areas but we know that we cannot be complacent in these and that what we are is more important than what we were and what we are becoming is even more important than that. We recognize that we cannot build the church here on our own. As a consequence we are placing a great emphasis on teaching our lessons to investigators with a member present. We know that as this takes place the members are strengthened by the spirit of missionary work and their willingness to embrace their responsibilities in this area will increase. Our goal for the end of this year is to be teaching 160 lessons a week with a member present. It is also a goal of ours for each of the companionships to be teaching 21 lessons a week. Opportunities for success in these areas will differ slightly depending on the Branch where our missionaries serve however we know that as we learn to plan carefully and prayerfully then we will see success no matter where we labour. Thank you for the e-mails, letters and packages you send to your missionary. They love you and your support means a great deal to them. I hope that we have finally managed to ascertain the best way for packages to come. May I request once more that should you have any negative news that needs to be shared with your missionary please send me an e-mail and make me aware of the situation. All of our missionaries are a long way from home and I am anxious that I am able to give them as much support as they need. Sometimes missionaries become aware of family problems over which they have no influence or control, and these situations can make them very sad. Should you need them to be aware of any such news please let me know. My personal e-mail address is dirwin@ldschurch.org Thank you once again – and congratulations to each of you for having reared such wonderful young people. We love them and we will have an eternal interest in their lives. Sincerely – David Irwin

Saturday, August 4, 2012

It was a good week!

Dear Family and Friends, It was a good week! Just before we came here, we taught three 20-year-olds. It was a first meeting, and all we really got to teaching was prayer, and that God loves us, but I am constantly astounded at the young people who are sincerely searching, reaching for something more than what they have. The young man I originally contacted was a goof ball, but he had the most profound questions. I like contacting goof balls. It means I can be a goof ball back. He came to the meeting with his two friends, another young man and a young woman. To be honest, through the whole thing, the original young man was quite skeptical. At the end, he said he just really couldn't believe it. He was trying so hard to do well in life, and not harm anyone else, and work hard, but he's still poor and unsatisfied! How can he believe in a God, unless He does something for him, or helps him in some way? We testified. We promised blessings. We told him to pray at home, to try it, and he would be able to see for himself. He said he would come to church tomorrow, hopefully with his mother :) This week we have also continued to teach the older man, who is quite the Bible buff. At the beginning of the week, we had a lesson that wasn't super pleasant. The discussion got a little heated between our investigator and the member. However, we had another lesson with him yesterday. I prayed that we might have the Spirit with us, and that we might all be uplifted and learn. If we do not have the Spirit with us, we have no right to be talking about such sacred things. We prayed, and asked him about his reading. While we had a lesson planned about the Plan of Salvation, we got on the topic of the importance of authority in Christ's church, and in receiving saving ordinances, such as baptism. I felt the Spirit sort of grip me, and I proceeded to lay a series of questions before our investigator. He is such an educated man with the Bible, that he had all the knowledge he needed - he just needed to put it into order, in order to understand our message. Through this series of questions, and very little teaching, our investigator taught himself the restoration. We were all uplifted - we all learned. It was a really beautiful experience. The nerves and intimidation we felt before the lesson were replaced by the Spirit, and excitement for this man. He said he would be baptized if he came to know these things are true. If we keep the Spirit with us, I know that he will receive that confirmation that they ARE true. I apologize for the short email this week! I love you all, Sestra Lucy Brimhall