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 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 :)
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!