Monday, September 24, 2012

We are in a bit of a dip, and are seeking....

Dear Family and Friends, The work is going well. We are in a bit of a dip, and are seeking the prepared, and praying for miracles and the ability to love all like the Savior did. What a purifying experience my mission has been and continues to be. Last night Sister Izatt and I had an interesting conversation about the phases our missions have gone through, and the struggles, doubts, fogs, and dips that we have experienced as we've sought to serve the Lord and spread his gospel. I feel like my soul has been expanded on my mission and I've gained an extreme attitude of caution about my testimony. I realize now how easily it can be dented, or even shattered. I realize how important it is to fervently study the scriptures, truly communicate with God through prayer, and continually be around other members of the church (who exhibit the good fruit of the gospel). I have been truly grateful for the Spirit over the last couple weeks, which has brought back to my remembrance very special moments when the Spirit, like fire, has born witness to my soul that the gospel is true, Christ is my Savior, and the Church of Jesus Christ is God's true church. Today I spent a few hours writing a letter to a recent convert in Brno, telling her my thoughts, and committing her to make a commitment to never leave the church, and never forget her testimony. I wish that exhortation could be enough to keep her true and faithful for the rest of her life, but it will always be on her to make those choices. As a representative of the Lord, however, I will continue to bear witness of the truth, and exhort people to repent, and to just hang on. Oh, how I wish Satan would take a break and leave all these precious, beautiful people alone, but we know that we came here to be tested, and we know that we came here to show our faith and our love to our Heavenly Father. How could we do that without opposition and choices? The Spirit in missionary work is so important. Without the Spirit, it really is quite awful work, haha. No one would want to do this work without the Spirit, for all it would be is rejection, tragedy, and disappointment. With the Spirit, you can feel the beautiful, purifying love of the Savior for each soul that you talk to. With the Spirit, people come to know truth, and you get to watch their faith grow. With the Spirit, it's worth it to push through all the doubts, temptations, rejection, and insults to get to those who are truly seeking, and who are willing to make that true change of heart. Love, Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Surprise Transfers!

Dear Family and Friends, Well, I have a few surprises for you today. Since we didn't have any new missionaries coming in this transfer (which causes us to have transfers on Wednesdays), President Irwin pulled a fast one on us and had us all transfer on Monday, the mission's normal P-day. Sister Clark and I were out contacting on the streets when President called us at about 8:45 PM and told us the news. "Sister Clark!" he said. "You will be staying in Prague!" She screamed "Yay!" I was confused. President then asked, "May I please speak to Sister Brimhall?" She passed the phone to me. "Sister Brimhall! How do you like traveling by train?" "I love it, President!" I responded. "Well, you're going to be on one for a long time - you're going to Banska Bystrica (IN SLOVAKIA) with Sister Izatt!" Surprise! So, after almost a whole day of travel on Monday, I've been serving in Slovakia and have just been loving being back with Sister Izatt again. We get along so well, and we were both so grateful to have another chance to serve together. Sister Izatt and Pysnakova opened Slovakia back up to sisters last transfer in Banska, and have done an outrageously good job at getting this city moving. It's an interesting set up here. I have yet to meet the members, but from what I've learned, there are about 3 members that attend church regularly. Another one is in the middle of being reactivated. We have one Melchizedek priesthood holder, who runs the unit, and we're hoping that the young man who was recently reactivated will be able to receive the Melchizedek priesthood soon, so that this unit can turn into a branch. Because of some interesting events as of late, President also opened up a smaller city called Zvolen, which is about half an hour by train out of Banska. He has a threesome of elders there, and a senior couple that helps us so much. Just yesterday we got confirmation on a place the last-transfer missionaries were looking at, and we will be able to meet in a regular place for church in Zvolen now! We currently run two "units" as a district. The elders come up on Sunday morning to help us run a 2-hour, condensed church meeting, since we need the priesthood. Then we go down to Zvolen to have sacrament meeting there, since they need more bodies, in order to actually have a meeting. The church is tiny here, but the few active members that we do have, are just wonderfully strong saints - true pioneers. I still know very little about the area's situation, but I'll of course fill you in on a lot more next Monday - my p-days are back to Mondays. You're possibly wondering - don't they speak a different language in Slovakia? Yes, they do. It could be compared to Spanish and Portuguese, but it's probably a bit closer. Slovakians have no problem understanding Czechs, as they grow up with a lot of media, etc. from the Czech Republic. The older generation tends to speak both languages, but the younger generation doesn't anymore, and younger Czechs often have a hard time understanding Slovak at all, because they don't come in contact with it as often. When I met Slovaks in the Czech Republic, I could definitely communicate with them, no problem, but understanding was definitely rockier. SPEAKING Slovak, however, is a whole new world. We try to bring the gospel to all in their OWN language, and so I'm trying my best to pick up as much Slovak as I can, as quickly as I can! Everything is so similar, and the changes are so little, but NOTHING is exactly the same, and so there are changes to be made in everything I say. People often think we're from Poland, as we sort of speak a mix of both languages, haha. All in all, it's just been a ball. I coudn't be happier to be here with Sister Izatt and to have a chance to serve in the Slovak Republic, and serve again in a place where the church is just at it's beginnings. I love missionary work, and I know that this work is the work of the Lord. This is His church, and He is working miracles around us in order that it is sustained and continues to grow. Michael, I wish you luck on your farewell talk this weekend! I'll be thinking about you, as you begin your own adventure. I love you all! Love, Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Life doesn't get better than this.

Dear Family and Friends, Whoo! The work is moving. I hardly know what to write. We just see miracles everyday, teach beautiful people, experience powerful moments with the Spirit, and LOVE the area we're in, the work we're doing, and the message we're sharing. I said to Sister Clark the other night, after the lights were out, "Sister Clark, life doesn't get any better than this. I have zero complaints." It's not like every day is perfect, and it's not like we don't face disappointment on a regular basis as we teach and talk to people about the gospel, but really, I couldn't ask for anything more. I am so happy. I love being a missionary, and doing missionary work. I love being set apart from the world, and not having to focus on so many things that just really don't matter. It just doesn't get any better. Michael, I'm so excited for you - you're beginning one of the grandest and most beautiful adventures you could ever embark on in this life. Do all you can to keep the Spirit with you during these final days until you report. Heavenly Father has things to tell you as you prepare to be set apart, so make sure you're studying and praying, and asking for the guidance He desires to give you. This week we've begun teaching a wonderful new investigator! She is a young, Chinese girl from Panama, who is studying here in Prague. She is the sweetest thing. She grew up going to a Catholic school, and so she knows her Bible stories pretty well. When we met her, she said she definitely believes in God, but she doesn't pray anymore (only when she's asking for things), and her relationship with Him isn't very strong. We met with her, with one of our very recent converts (a young man studying here, who is from Vietnam), and the meeting just went so, so well. We taught her about the restoration, and she had the most fantastic questions! She is so bright, and so sensitive to the Spirit. We asked her to read the introductory pages to the Book of Mormon, but when she came back the next day, she had read 11 chapters into 1 Nephi! In the next meeting a couple days later, she had read 11 more chapters! The best part about it is that she is already so wonderful at studying and applying scripture, and so as she spoke about her reading, she referred back to many principles she had learned from Nephi and his brothers. We asked if she had prayed about the Book of Mormon yet. She said, "No." She felt like she needed to study more - she just wasn't sure if she was ready to pray about it. We testified that it is important to pray, in order to come to know spiritual truths. Our fantastic recent convert shared his experiences with coming to know the Book of Mormon is true. She finally responded, "I know.. I know I need to. I remember when Nephi's brothers asked him about the meaning of their father's dream, and Nephi asked them, 'How can you expect to receive an answer or understanding if you do not pray and sincerely ask God?'" Ha! I was blown away at how perceptive she is. She committed to pray about it this weekend, and she will be coming to district conference, which we have tomorrow. The other great thing about this investigator is that she gave us a referral! We are now teaching her friend from Paraguay, who has an aunt who is Mormon. The wonderful thing about teaching people from Central/South America, or talking to them on the street, is that they almost always have a relative who is Mormon, haha. Being in Prague has certainly been an adventure. There are so many people led to this city, and it's been an incredilbe experience to teach people from all over the world. We're teaching a new investigator from Pakistan now, and our first meeting with him was one of the most beautiful lessons on the restoration that I've ever taught on my mission! I love people, and I am thankful for the honor of spreading the message of the restoration of the gospel to ALL. I love you all! I pray that we are each doing our best to bear the testimony that we have. Let us share what we know, and be generous with the blessings the Lord has given us. This message is for all people, and there are many who are prepared to receive it. Often, it will be those who we never expected. Pray that you will be guided to them! Love, Sestra Lucy Brimhall

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The weeks are flying by!

Dear Family and Friends, The weeks have started flying by again. My mission, thank goodness, had slowed down for the last couple transfers, but I hardly know where the last couple weeks have went, and in just a week and a half we will be transferring again! Last Saturday was the baptism of Honza. It was just simple and beautiful, and my most favorite part about it was that his good friend in the branch was able to baptize him. It is so wonderful when our investigators develop real relationships with the members before they are baptized. It was a really special day for the both of them, and we were grateful to be there as bystanders. So much focus on baptism during my mission and especially in the last couple transfers has really deepened my understanding of what my baptismal covenant truly means. I made it at a much younger age, but it is the same covenant that each of these investigators will make. That baptismal covenant is so simple, and so unbelievably beautiful. As I have studied more and more about what it entails, and as I prepared for my talk last Saturday, in the end I just had a deep desire to be a better person! To help and to serve and to love and to reach out and care for all my brothers and sisters around me - for every person that crosses my path! Essentially, I have had such a burning desire to be more like my Savior. The greatest thing about being like the Savior is that you know that that path is good, safe, happy, and leads to a good, safe, and unbelievably happy destination. A challenge for investigators, especially for our dear, Czech investigators who are so cautious and skeptical, is to embrace the good that comes into their life, and believe that it is good and true, through and through, and that there are no dark corners or hidden secrets that will disappoint you later in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The whole path, when we continue to follow it, is all good, it is all true, and it will ALWAYS lead you to the right destination. Oy, I just love missionary work! What joy I have been blessed to feel on my mission! The week was a tougher one in the way that multiple of our investigators decided to give up. It's difficult to see that. There are two investigators in particular that let us know this week that they just didn't want to continue. For each of those two investigators, the situation in which we found them was a clear miracle. For one, we were in an odd place of town, at an odd time, for an odd reason, and we just bumped into him. He happened to be thirsting for a return to spirituality in his life lately. For the other, we were doing a singing display, and Sister Clark saw him across the square and for no apparent reason, ran after him! He is also in the midst of finding the right path. In the beginning, we told each of them that they might face difficulties as they begin to learn about the message, for this message is true, and in order to achieve something so good and true, often we'll need to overcome a mountain or two. It allows us to exercise our faith and to rely on our Heavenly Father in those moments of growth. They did face difficulties. And to our great disappointment, they didn't exercise the faith and energy to overcome them. May we all remember that trials and difficulties are not excuses for us to turn our face to the Lord or to be lazy. Those trials and difficulties are blessings. They are put in our path so that we can grow. Expect them, and make the decision NOW to overcome them. I just love my Savior. I love Heavenly Father's plan. I love the Book of Mormon. I love how that book helps so many people that I love, and brings light into my life and theirs. God lives. And I know that He loves us. Love, Sestra Lucy Brimhall P.S. I've attached pictures from a little adventure our district took today out to a little place called Kutna Hora (it's about an hour train ride outside of Prague). There, you can find a church that if FULL of bones from the casualties of the Hussite wars if I have my history correct. We also went to see another really beautiful cathedral nearby, and of course, there was a great view. We had hardly any time, so I can't tell you much about anything, but I can tell you it was pretty and it was fun!