Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Week 1- Baptized Your Faces Out.

Hello hello family and friends!!!
Welp, it's almost been a whole week.  It's crazy to believe, time here is very different, all the days just sorta blur together.  I mean that in the best way possible :) 
I LOVE it here!  Some people have related the MTC to a prison, but I don't know what they were thinking.  I am so grateful for my time here and will have very mixed feelings when I leave.  Let me tell you a little about it :)

Our days are CRAZY packed.  We have something scheduled for us every single minute of the day whether it be personal study, companionship prayer, personal prayer, planning, classroom instruction, teaching investigators or even eating...it's all scheduled.  I thought that would be hard for me to get used to but I really actually like it.  I feel very blessed to have been having such a wonderful and warm experience thus far.  I haven't felt super homesick, although I'm not able to sleep at night I don't feel tired, I am able to sit for hours on end and listen attentively...I know I am not doing this on my own.  I feel like Christ has literally been carrying me and that has been the greatest blessing.  We had to take a stress management class last night about dealing with stress at the MTC, and I was so grateful to be able to honestly say that I'm not stressed.  I just feel a confirmation that me being here is right.  I'm very grateful for the time I had as a student at BYU for 4 years and for my study abroad, I feel like all that time away has really helped prepare me.  One elder in the stress management class cracked me up though...he said, "Your first few days are like drinking out of a fire hydrant...you get some water, but mostly it just squirts you in the face."  haha yeah...that made me laugh :)

So here at the MTC we are organized into districts.  Each district is comprised of a few companionships of sisters and elders...ours is the biggest, we have 12 sisters and elders in our district!  The elders are leaving this though to report to the field in Brisbane, Australia.  I'm so stoked with them, it's making me even more excited for one of my lovely friends Kennedy Rushing...she's going to love serving out there!  The other sisters are going to Winter Quarters in Nebraska, and hey...my companion is going to temple square too!  I actually kind of knew her already before...she was in Robert's ward! Her name is Sister Marsh and I just adore her, we really compliment each other well and just love having a good time.  This gospel is something that brings joy, and while it should be taught with much seriousness and not lightness or laughter, it should be taught with happiness.

Okay, I don't really know where to start with all of our experiences but this one has changed my whole perspective on missionary work :)

As missionaries in the MTC, we do what is called "progressing investigator."  Our classroom instructors pretend to be investigators and we teach them.  We plan, we study and then we teach our lesson.  Our teacher is the best, and she was pretending to be a woman named May for our investigator.  Two other companionships are also teaching this investigator.  May is an older woman who lives alone and moved here from South Africa years and years ago with her mother.  She had met with the missionaries once before and was curious to learn more. 

Lesson 1: We taught May about the role of prayer and forming a relationship with God.  We related her to Joseph Smith in that he too had a question about which church was true, and he received his answer through direct revelation received in prayer.  We committed her to pray every day, and she has :)

Lesson 2: We taught May about the doctrine of Christ which can be found in 2 Nephi 31...ohhh how I love that chapter!  It was amazing to see how our purpose as missionaries...is fulfilling Christ's purpose.  We are literal representatives of Jesus Christ.  Me, Sister Briggs, just a girl, is now a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and if I am in tune with the spirit, I can teach what he would have me teach.  We committed May to attend church, and she did :)

Lesson 3:  Okay, now this is where it all got real.  I can feel the spirit so strongly even as I type this.  Sister Marsh and I had prepared a wonderful lesson on God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost and had felt the spirit strongly as we did so.  However, right before, I mean RIGHT before we went in to teach her, we both felt we needed to talk to her about families.  I know so many missionaries say this, but I honestly cannot remember most of what was said.  We spoke straight under the influence of the spirit.  We asked her about her family and discovered that her husband had died years before as well as her son, that she was very lonely.  We talked to her about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and how he has felt everything she has.  I had totally forgotten that days earlier, I felt prompted to just read 1 Nephi 1:1...I was confused as I had read that scripture soooo many times, but I did.  As I read it, I could see May in that verse, I could see that through her afflictions, she still recognized in some small way that she was very blessed.  I asked her to read that verse during our lesson, and testified that I know these things are true, that she can be enabled to be exactly who she wants to be and who God wants her to be through the Atonement.  She read the verse and couldn't get through it without crying...it was amazing and one of the most powerful moments I have EVER been a part of.
Our teacher came to us afterward and told us that May was someone she taught on her own mission, someone who is very special to her and was so touched by the Spirit as we taught her.  We all just cried and smiled as she told us, this is what missionary work is all about.  When the three of us came back into the classroom, one of the elders shouted,"Woah, you all just baptized your faces out!"
Ohhh how your humor changes as a missionary :)

Also... Sunday walks to the temple are the best!  We were all so excited to get out for a little bit and walk the grounds of such a beautiful place. 

I know that this is where I am supposed to be.  It has humbled me and brought me to my Savior in a way I don't even know how to describe.  Are there sacrifices?  Yes.  Do I get scared sometimes?  Actually,  not anymore.  Everything can be made possible through God.  I am so excited to get to Temple Square and get to teach people from all around the world.  Please oh please read 3 Nephi 11...it's when Christ comes to visit the people in The Book of Mormon.  That will be my one little challenge as a missionary :)

I really am so happy to be here and to be Sister Briggs.  Please oh please write, getting letters just puts the biggest, goofiest smile on my face!

Shout outs to: Wil Ramsey, Seth Chatterly, Andrew Green, Garrett Pierce and Kace Redder...I saw them all this week and it just made me so happy!

Grandma Jeanie and Grandfather, my Mom, Kennedy Rushing and Kayla Hamrick for your wonderful letters!
Thank you to the Macrum family for picking me up and bringing me to the MTC!
Thank you to the amazing and wonderful Donakey family for such a delightful breakfast and all your sweet notes!

I love you.  Jesus Christ loves you.  It's all true :)

Love always,

Sister Briggs :)

PS- Oh yes! And Sister Marsh and I are the Sister Training Leaders...which is like the Zone leaders...just for Sisters :) so we're excited and grateful for that calling!

All of us missionaries decided to wear stripes! Gotta have fun with the clothes you have :) 

Trying to exercise for our personal exercise time... I LOVE the sisters in my district!

We all love matching...polka dot day :)

I LOVE being a representative of Jesus Christ. This is the best calling EVER!

The leaders... we are all so blessed! Our District Leader, Zone Leaders and us little Sister Training Leaders having fun.

Elder Garner and Elder Hoddy...yes, you pronounce his name "hottie." These awesome elders were our Zone Leaders and just left for Oklahoma City! They became some of our best friends, they're like the little brothers I never had, they will be great! 

I love my companion, she is adorable and we have so much fun together! Meet Sister Marsh :) 

Our amazing district! The Elders will soon be leaving us for Australia and I'll be sad, yet excited to see them go. They will be incredible missionaries! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sistah Briggs.

Sister Kelsey Jean Briggs arrived safely in Salt Lake City.

{Photo Cred: Donakey Family}

She is now currently in the Provo MTC. We will post her first letter as soon as we get it.

Thanks for all your love and support!

Her address is listed to the side and I know she would love to hear from all of you.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ask the Missionaries! We Can Help You!

Well everyone, the time has come.  I sit here staring out my window thinking about how just 24 hours from now, I will have a very different view; I will be in the Provo Missionary Training Center.  While I'm there not only will I have a different view of scenery, but I know that within just those three weeks, my whole view and perspective on life will change.

I hope to hear from you while I am in the MTC!
Please write :)

Sister Kelsey Jean Briggs
MTC Mailbox #168
UT-TMSQ 0612
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

I hope to hear from you also when I'm serving in the
Utah Salt Lake City 
Temple Square Mission

Sister Kelsey Jean Briggs
Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission
50 N West Temple St Rm BSVC
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-1891
United States

I sincerely would like to hear from each of you! I am excited for each of you and all the adventures that await you.  

I leave tomorrow, and I couldn't help but think back to General Conference in October when the mission age was changed.  Sisters could now leave at the age of 19 instead of 21, and Elders could leave at the age of 18 instead of 19.  I know this was an inspired decision.  The Lord needs more missionaries! I am so excited to be a part of this.

I am so happy to be a part of this force for good that Elder Russell M. Nelson talked about in his talk, "Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!"

I love being able to say... "We" can help you instead of "They."  I am grateful for this new chapter in my life.

Check out the talk at www.lds.org....Missionaries are all around the world and we really are here to help.  We want to listen to you, talk with you and help you in anyway we can :)

Love Always,

Sistah Briggs :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The "Why" of my Mission

One week ago, last Wednesday, I was on an airplane to California to celebrate one of my best friend's wedding.

Today, it's another Wednesday and it has been oh so different from my last Wednesday.  Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day to everyone! It's been a pretty good day.  I got to talk to one of my best friends this morning as he drove to work, I went to a Zumba exercise class with my adorable Mom and just laughed the whole way through and tonight my family and I are having dinner with some family friends.

One week from today, yet another Wednesday, I will be entering the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) to start my service as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It's crazy to think that such a big day in my life is so close and quickly approaching.  It was just 3 months ago, on yet another Wednesday that I received my mission call and anxiously awaited the news of where I had been assigned to serve.

Dear Sister Briggs,

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
You are assigned to labor in the  
Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission...
You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, May 22, 2013...

I still remember reading my mission call and being absolutely stunned.  I had visited Temple Square up in Salt Lake City just days before with some friends and had seen the Temple Square sisters; I had no idea that I had already been assigned to labor in that mission.  After the initial shock wore off, and I was able to read my mission call over and over again on my own, I have to admit I cried as I read the rest of the letter and saw that it was signed by our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson.

Since opening my call I've had a lot of time, that of course has flown by far too quickly and yet not quickly enough, that I've been able to think about...
the "why" of my mission
Singing hymns is a big part of our church and our worship each Sunday.  As children, we learn a variety of songs that help us to learn the doctrine of the gospel as well as teach of us the principles in an easier way to understand.  I remember singing, "I hope they call me on a mission," when I was little and not really feeling like the words applied to me.  I felt nothing but joy and pride as I thought of the people who would serve, I just didn't ever see it as something I would do.  Yep, that has all changed.

Deciding to go on a mission is a very personal process that is different for everyone.  There are some who always know they will go, and some, like me, who never had imagined it.

I am serving a mission because I know it is what the Lord wants me to do.  I am so grateful for the gift of personal revelation that can be had by every member of the church as long as they are striving to live worthy of it.  2011 and 2012 were years of hardships and adventure: my adorable, sweet and loving Mother was diagnosed with cancer, my brother got married, I studied abroad in London and went through a difficult heartbreak.  Through everything I went through, Heavenly Father never abandoned me.  

I remember being amazed by Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk titled, "Forget Me Not."

It hit me so hard when he said, 

"Just think of it:  
You are known and remembered by the 
most majestic, 
and glorious Being in the universe! 
You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time!
He who created and knows the stars 
knows you and your name--
you are a daughter (or son) of His kingdom.

I feel overwhelmed and so grateful when I think that God knows me.  
He doesn't just know of me, but he knows me personally.  
He knows my strengths, my weaknesses and all the trials that I will ever endure.  He knows my concerns, my hardships and also my joys and my victories.
I don't want to simply know of God, rather I want to know Him.  
This is something that I have strived for my entire life, and although I feel like I have grown closer and closer to my Heavenly Father, I still can do so much more to strengthen my relationship with Him. 

I know that through serving a mission, I can strengthen my relationship with Him and come to better understand my relationship with Him, my Savior Jesus Christ and the infinite Atonement.  I know that through serving a mission as my testimony is strengthened, I can strengthen the conviction of others through the Holy Ghost.

I am so grateful and so excited for this opportunity to serve as Sister Briggs in the Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission. 

 I am serving because I have a testimony of this gospel, I know it is the gospel of Jesus Christ restored to the earth once more.  I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he was essential and chosen as a part of God's plan to restore the truth to the earth once more.  I know my Savior lives.  I know that he died for me, for you, for each and every person who has lived and ever will live because his Father asked him, and because he loves us.

This is a gospel of love.

I am so thankful and overwhelmed to be able to better understand Heavenly Father's love for each of His children as I serve as a missionary.  I know this decision will greatly affect my life, and mold me into the person He would have me be if I can just give it my all.  

President Brigham Young said

"There is neither man or woman in this Church who is not on a mission.
That mission will last as long as they live, and it is to do good,
to promote righteousness, to teach the principles of truth,
and to prevail upon themselves and everybody around them to live those principles
that they may obtain eternal life."    

I hope to hear from you all as I serve my mission.
I have been so overwhelmed and so grateful as I have seen 
the support of my friends and family in this decision.

I know this gospel is true.

"...and we will be the Lord's missionaries 
to bring the world His truth."

Love Always,

Sister Briggs :)