Monday, June 24, 2013

Start where you are, and build from there.

Hello Hello! Okay, I apologize, I know last week I wrote a bit of a novel to everyone, so I will try to keep it a little bit shorter...there's just SO MUCH goodness out here being on a mission and I want to share all of it with everyone. First things first though...

Trying on some fun hats during Zone Conference - see below:)


Both of them celebrated birthdays this week and I want them to know I love them and am thinking about them. It's true what we teach, "Families are central to God's plan." I know that families are such a blessing from God and I am so grateful for the amazing and wonderful family that I have.


(Here she is - can you find Kelsey? The story is in Deseret News - "MTC overflows with LDS missionaries, moves devotionals to Marriott Center"  at )

Goodness, where to begin...this really is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. There have been so many miracles this week.

We always have our relief society meeting on Wednesdays since Sundays are absolutely crazy here. For Relief Society, one member of our mission presidency, President Seppi, gave us an amazing lesson. He talked about the heart ache experienced when the Provo tabernacle burned down (check it out online). It was such a historic building and held a lot of value and memories to the people there. Not too long after it was burned, it was announced at General Conference that they would be turning the old tabernacle into a new temple!

Our District family photo :) I love seeing all the different flags
President Seppi has worked on the project and stressed to us the amount of time and expenses being dedicated to preserve what is already there, and to build from there. He related it to our own lives. Even as missionaries, our testimonies are still growing, we still allow doubts to creep into our minds from time to time when people reject Jesus Christ and our testimonies. However, he continued to say, "Start where you are and build from there." What you do know will always trump what you do not know. I know that when we doubt things, it is at our own peril. Start where you are, start with what you do believe, and go from there. The foundation that we each have is so important- it's vital that we never lose that. I've had to apply that in my own life as a missionary. Sometimes there are questions thrown at me that I'm not sure how to answer, sometimes I have people who continually talk over me and continue to speak false things even when I just sit there and try to politely smile at them. But I do know some things for sure...

God Lives. Jesus Christ lives and is at the very head of this church. Everything that we teach, everything that we believe, the way our church is organized is exactly as it was in the time of Jesus Christ. There was no reformation or changing of doctrines, rather, this is the restoration of what was before. God's plan for each of us is perfect and we can read about it in The Book of Mormon. Everything we teach, all the doctrines found in this gospel-they're all true.
In the conference center :)

Thursday was an absolutely crazy day. I know that there is no way I could be doing this all just because...nope, the thing that gets me through these long, hard days are my testimony of Jesus Christ and this gospel. Otherwise there is no way I would leave my family, my friends, my school for 18 months. I know that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father anxiously wait to bless us when we do what is right, and I am experiencing that every day.

This was Thursday...we were so busy with tours and had a few spare minutes to sit in the shade and rest!

Half of our Temple Square sisters were gone Thursday for Zone Conference and Sister Lin was the only Mandarin speaking sister at Temple Square. Our companionship took 5 tours all from 9-3, each tour is about 45 minutes-an hour. The wonderful thing though, is I never felt exhausted, all I could do was smile. I feel so grateful to be in a mission where the work is going forward and we are constantly busy. I have a very strong testimony that this is where I should be.

One tour we took was a group of 10 Mandarin speakers from Taiwan. It was our third tour and I was feeling a little tired and my mind was having a hard time staying focused on what Sister Lin was saying as..well...I still don't speak Chinese :) I just said a prayer in my heart that Sister Lin would be able to invite the spirit and to help them recognize it, and that I could do my part as her companion to support her. I just got the most overwhelming feeling and in a way heard a voice say, "Just be yourself, be who I created you to be."

 I may not speak Chinese, I may not know all the history yet, but I do have a testimony and I do know how to smile. So as Sister Lin spoke, I just put on the biggest smile I possibly could. It came naturally too- I could feel so much love for these people I couldn't help but smile. Afterwards, half of the visitors came up and asked for a Book of Mormon. They said they were touched by my big smile. Of course, I couldn't help but smile bigger knowing that God had helped me, and that He really needs each of us to do our best at whatever it is He sent us here to do. I am grateful for the holy ghost that guides me in times like that. I know that I am being helped so much out here :)

Friday- Zone Conference was awesome! If you have never been to "This is the place," Heritage park, please go. We had meetings in the morning all about taking large tours, how to teach over the phones and on chat, and how to just better ourselves as missionaries overall.

Afterward we got to explore the park with the other sisters. It's a park of where some of the early pioneers lived. There was a pirate ship, beautiful homes, and even a cow named Helga...she says "moo." :)

THIS IS THE PLACE park is so fun, we even got to ride on a train :)
Pulling A Hand Cart

By a little bridge
I always find my way to swings.
She calls me "baby bird" and it just warms my heart

I found my twin! This is one of my roommates, she's from Canada and quite a lot of people think we look alike, especially in this picture. She's so sweet!
Sitting in an old pioneer house :)



The last few days have been amazing too. Saturday I ran into some of my very closest and dearest friends at Temple Square and oooh it just made me so happy! Each of them were all so silly about it too...tapping me on the shoulder to ask a question, or sitting on a couch and awkwardly staring at me haha Thanks to Tom, Britania, Sean, Evan, Daniel and all made my day :)
Sunday I even got to go to Music and The Spoken Word. Did you know there's a group called the temple riders? They ride their motorcycles across country from temple to temple. I thought of my Grandpa on his harley davidson doing something like that...I love you Grandpa Chuck.

Today- Today has been such a wonderful day. Sister Lin and I were asked to take a group of young girls ages 8-11 around Temple Square. It was an amazing experience to take them all up to the Christus statue and to invite them up to touch the prints in the Savior's feet. I don't think I will ever forget that. I love how open children are to new experiences and to learning. I know that when Jesus Christ says to come unto him as little children that this is what he means. He just wants us to come to him, to trust him, to listen to him and be willing to learn.

One little girl named Kailey came up to me afterward, tapped me on the shoulder and whispered in my ear, "I know that God is happy you're here. I know that even though you're away from your family, He is really happy you're here and He loves you." What she said made me so happy and almost made me cry. I am so grateful for her faith and her action to come and talk to me like that. I pray that I can be like that as a missionary--to just be bold, to let people know that God is happy they're here at Temple Square and that He loves them.

 I always, ALWAYS find dinosaurs

And now, my scripture for you all is something that I came across and something that really stuck me. In 1 Nephi chapter 4, Nephi's brothers are doubting that God can help them to complete a task even after an angel appeared to them and said that God would help them. In vs 3 , Nephi says, "an angel hath spoken unto you; wherefore can ye doubt?" I feel like sometimes we wait for a giant manifestation that this gospel is true, that The Book of Mormon is the word of God. As missionaries, we teach that all people can know that The Book of Mormon is true and that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ through prayer and the Holy Ghost. hit angel can be a spirit, meaning, in a way, the Holy Ghost is an angel. If we can know the truth of all things through the holy ghost, an angel, then how too can we doubt? We may not be able to see this angel, but we can feel it, and isn't that even better? Ohh when I realized that it just made me so happy :)

Such a missionary, but the church really is true

It's been a most wonderful week! I am loving it at Temple Square and am so grateful already for my time as a missionary. Please know I think of you all often and am always wishing for nothing but the best for you.
I made asparagus for our apartment...of course in my dinosaur shirt :)

Sister Lin and I made a feast last night!

Shoutouts to: Lauren Moran, Kennedy Rushing, Momma Briggs, Robert Donakey, Britania and Tom Busath, Sean Burton, Daniel and Taylor for letters and for your surprises. They all mean so much!

Love always,

Sister Briggs :)


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