Hello Hello all!
I am so excited it's that time once again to write you all! Guess what...I get yet ANOTHER P-day this weeksince we start Visitor's Center training . And that means...yep...field trip to Temple Square manana! (Yes, I am still pretending I speak Spanish. Sometimes I'll say hola hermana just to throw people off...ohhh the games we play in the MTC) :)
How is everyone! Yes...YOU! I want to know how you are, what you're up to.
This week has been AMAZING! Everyone says it always goes by faster after the firstand it is SO true. I really don't know where this last week went. Time as a missionary is a weird concept. I just love that God lifts up and supports his missionaries through their long days. Each day is filled with so many miracles. I'm learning to see them everyday...this really is the happiest place on earth, sorry Disneyland :)
Okay,was a day that absolutely changed my life. Please, please oh please bear with me as I try to get this experience into words. night was TRC...Teaching Resource Center, and it was referral night. Sister Marsh and I have really learned to depend on the spirit when we teach. We plan a lesson, look up some scriptures and prayerfully try to decide on the doctrine we want to teach, but we do it all with the spirit. The scriptures say if you have not my spirit you cannot teach...and wow do I have a testimony of that!
Sister Marsh and I went into a classroom to begin our teaching and met a couple- Ron and Sheri. Ron is a Catholic and Sheri is a Christian. They have lived in Utah for quite a while and have many children who are members of the LDS faith- their son is even a bishop! They said that they love the Mormon people, that they really live their faith and they have so much deep respect for them. Their neighbor had a daughter go into the MTC recently, so Ron and Sheri asked if there was anything they could do to comfort the family or help out. The neighbor's response, "Well...you could go to the MTC and do TRC. It would help them a lot!" So, Ron and Sheri being the amazing people they are came, and Sister Marsh and I were lucky enough to meet and teach them!
We opened the lesson up with a prayer and the spirit just rushed in. It was unreal. They told us all about their lives, about how they have never been too interested in the LDS church even with so many of their friends and family being members. After them discussing their lives and getting to know them better, Ron looked at Sister Marsh and I and said, "Now what are two beautiful girls like you doing out here serving missions? I understand you have to give up a lot. Why are you here?" Wow. That hit me and really solidified why exactly I am here. I went first and just bore my testimony. I shared with them the year of struggle with Mom's cancer and hard times before, then praying so so hard to know if I should go on a mission, then receiving such a direct answer. I told them I was on a mission because I KNOW this gospel is true, that it is the true church of the living Christ. I just cried through the whole thing--well, all of us were crying. Ron kept saying, "Sheri, now this girl needs a hug." So I got lots of hugs, they are the sweetest and kindest people ever.
Sheri shared with us that their son had cancer and that they too feel he was healed because of Priesthood blessings and other blessings of God. The spirit was so strong and they both said their heart was softened, that they KNOW that a mission is what I am supposed to be doing. Sister Marsh then went and bore an amazing and powerful testimony of why she is here serving a mission. She testified that she too knows that this church is true and she would not be here otherwise. She then felt prompted to go to 1 Nephi . As she read it, Sheri gasped and squeezed her husband, Ron's hand. All of us were bawling. Crying doesn't even cover it anymore. Sheri said her bishop son had read her that scripture years before and she never knew where to find it. She said it was a sign from God that Sister Marsh felt prompted to share that scripture with her. She looked to Ron and said, "I know it. This church really is true. I don't know why it's taken us so long." Ron just kinda smiled and asked us, "So you mean to tell me that there are only a small handful of people who actually are members of the true church?" We answered him that there are bits and pieces of truth in so many of the gospels, but this gospel contains the fullness of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. He told us that he had a dream the night before meeting with us that a man stood before him and said, "It's true. Listen to my messengers." Wow.
Sheri and Ron then asked us what the next step was..we smiled and said, "Baptism!" They were so excited, hugging crying, smiling and hugging, talking about how they would go home that night, call up their bishop, their family and all their neighbors to share that they had decided to join the church. Sister Marsh and I just cried...they REALLY AREN'T MEMBERS. They asked us to write them, gave us their information and said they would keep in contact and let us know about their baptism. I have never felt such pure joy in my whole life. That experience changed me. Ron said one last time, "So you can tell me, without a shadow of a doubt that this is all true?" Sister Marsh and I through tears looked back at him, nodded our heads and firmly said, "yes!" :)
I don't know how I got to be so lucky. Brothers and Sisters, Family, Friends, this church is true..it's all true. The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple and gives us such straightforward direction for life. I know that the spirit is the true teacher, that I am just here as an instrument in God's hands. I bore my testimony at churchand was so humbled as I thought and shared with my Zone that God can share His message of the restored gospel anyway He wants, and yet he chooses people like you and me, imperfect people to do his most important work--to Preach His Gospel. I am so excited to be here as a missionary and so excited for Ron and Sheri. I hope Sister Marsh and I will run into them again at Temple Square. They both gave us one last look and told us we performed a miracle in their lives, that it was only us that could touch them the way we did and change their lives for the better. I really don't think we did anything...we just were prepared by our amazing teachers and were blessed to be worthy of the spirit that was there.
OKAY..WOO! I hope that all made sense! I know this is getting long so just a few more thoughts...
Sunday's are the best...go to church, even better, go to church with a question in mind. God will answer you if you listen :)
Elder Bednar gave an AMAZING devotional at the MTC a couple years ago and we got to watch it for film. It's called the Character of Christ. He so profoundly taught us that Christ looks outward when the natural man would look inward. My goal is to focus on the Character of Christ every day of my mission and every day of my life...to ALWAYS LOOK OUTWARD.
I am changing out here. Yes, I am still...okay, well actually it feels weird to say my first name haha..I am Sistah Briggs now. I'm still me though. I love dinosaurs, I love cookie dough and yet God loves me enough to not leave me exactly the way I am. He is taking my years of living on this earth to prepare me for my mission. I am progressing and so with that I hope I can have progressing investigators.
Thank you everyone for writing! I'm in the MTC one more week and would LOVE to hear from you...Dear Elder is FREE..Woo hoo!
Shout outs to....Bryan and Casey, Jen Joslin, Courtney Barton, Robert Donakey and my Grandma Jeanie for all writing me.
Also..so stoked I was able to see Garrett Gray, Wil Ramsey (yes again...this time at the temple!), Ryan Blaser and even ELDER WILCOX from my own home ward!
I love you all! Have fun, be happy, smile always and talk to you Heavenly Father. The letters (prayers) you write Him are the very best you could ever write!