Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mahal kita!

My beautiful and sweet companion and I at the parade-Sister Reniva from the Philippines.
We are already having so much fun together and really working hard

Well, I was about to say another week has passed by, but it's just been a few days since I was able to write! Transfers have been absolutely INSANE. Usually it all happens on one big day during the week, Wednesday, but this week we have been sending out and receiving sisters the past week.  

Not only did we get new sisters from the MTC (yayy!) but we also got Sister returning from their outbound assignments, and now.....this is the first time they have ever done this....we received Sisters from the MEXICO MTC!!! They got in this morning at about 1, so when Sister Reniva and I woke up, we were speaking some Espanol! Of course, I loved that, because if you know me at all...I love to pretend I speak Spanish :)  All in all, but the end of next week we will have over 200 Sisters serving here at Temple Square.  
This is the busiest summer we have ever had, the work is really going forward!

 I cooked on P-day so I could feed my companion! Thank you Dad for teaching me! 
Grilled asparagus, potatoes, and grilled pork with a raspberry balsamic sauce and apples. 
It was delicious. 

So quick update: My last companion, Sister Lin from Taiwan, left Tuesday night for her new mission assignment in Spokane, Washington.  I am truly grateful for her and her example of hard work and diligence.  It was such a blessing for me to have her as my companion and to be able to teach 100's of people every day from China about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Sister Lin and I with T.C. Christensen, holding up the flier for
"Ephraim's Rescue," another movie he worked on. 
The famous quote, "I am ready now."

Before she left, we had a special surprise for Transfer Conference from our mission presidency.  It was one of the best nights I have ever had.  We are so lucky in this mission to hear from the people we do!  

T.C. Christensen, the director of 17 Miracles and many many other films, came and spoke with us.  It was an amazing night that really got us ready to celebrate Pioneer Day yesterday.  He talked all about his experiences learning more about the history of the church, and the faith of these early pioneers.  He said to us, "Great things will happen when preparation meets opportunity.  This mission is preparing you for the rest of your life."  That has really stuck with me.  

The Christus statue at Temple Square at night after our Transfer Conference meeting.

My mission is already something that I hold very sacred and very dear to my heart.  I have seen that when I do as much as I can, as small as it may be, that my Heavenly Father really makes up the difference- actually, He IS the difference.  I couldn't do any of this without Him.  I know that He can make more of us because He sees us for who we will become.  His view of us isn't hindered by our daily shortcomings, WE are the only ones the can hinder our view, hinder our opportunities.  That's what I have really learned about this gospel, that it truly doesn't just say it wants to make us happy, and successful, but it really gives us every step to get there.  Already on my mission I have felt myself change in ways I never expected, and I know that is because I have truly asked Heavenly Father what plans He has for me, what potential He sees for me.  Heavenly Father loves me enough to not leave me the way that I am.  He wants to refine me and make me a woman who will be a better daughter, a better friend, a better wife, mother and neighbor.  I am forever grateful that His vision is longer and better than mine. :)

Sister Siegle and I making our planners for our 2nd transfer.

I have a new companion! Transfer day was overwhelming but I am SO excited about my new companion.  Her name is Sister Reniva and she is from Cebu in the Philippines! Already, she is teaching me so much and she does it in such an uplifting and loving way.  Speaking of love, "I love you" in Tagalog is "mahal kita," which is why it is the title of my blog.  LOVE is everything as a missionary, as anyone.  When we truly love someone, it makes all the difference.  

Meet Sister Bowden from Oxford, England. 
It was such a blessing to be here during her last transfer here at Temple Square. 
She truly reached out to me and really took me under her wing while she was here. 
I am forever grateful for her and already miss her so much. 
I am terrible at good-byes and definitely had a hard time saying goodbye to her. 
Oxford is lucky to have her back.

Our assignment here on Temple Square is to hold the Youth Conferences! Woo! I am so excited to be involved with this part of the work here at Temple Square.  Sister Reniva says, "When you save a youth, you save a generation," and that really is so true.  When we put forth the time to help people find their own testimonies of the gospel and Jesus Christ at a young age, it is something that can help them through everything in life.  Why procrastinate a testimony of this gospel when it can do nothing but bless us in EVERY aspect of our life?

President Uchtdorf waving to the Sister Missionaries.

Happy Pioneer Day Everyone! We started off the day at the Pioneer day parade in downtown Salt was SO much fun! I even saw President Uchtdorf and he yelled, "Ah! The Sister missionaries!"  It was fun too to see the BYU float going by and to see some of my friends from school walking in the parade.  It makes me happy to see the people I love so happy.  I saw my Uncle Butch too! Uncle Butch is a member from my homeward who has blessed my life in tremendous ways.  Butch and his family are like family to me, really, my whole ward is.  They have shaped me in so many ways and prepared me for this mission in ways they may not even realize.  

Sister Sharatt and I with KAYLA and KEVIN'S wedding announcement!
I opened it up and everyone thinks you are just a stunning couple...congratulations you two!!!

I ran into Uncle Butch on the Square after I kept hearing Sisters say, "There's a 40-somethin year old guy looking around for you..."  Yes, I was a bit concerned :) haha luckily it was Uncle Butch.  Hello to him, his family and to the whole Cascade Crest Ward! Seeing him absolutely made my day, it was a wonderful way to celebrate Pioneer Day!

Sister Siegle, Sister Lucas and I watching the parade- all sisters from my same transfer!

Waving to Taylor Veater Winters on the BYU float, so fun to see familiar faces!

The pioneers, the early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847.  These individuals, these families gave up everything for this gospel, for the building of the temple.  I thought so much yesterday about how they could've just stopped where they were, they could've turned around, but they did not.  They pushed onward through hunger, frost bite, long days, long nights and made famous the words, "All is well, all is well!"  I think of how they walked 1300 miles. 

Sister Humble and I became friends on Facebook before coming out to Temple Square
together, and now we're both in charge of Youth Conferences!
So much fun to see her every day!

Is there anything today that you would walk 1300 miles for?  To see your favorite basketball team play?  To eat at your favorite restaurant?  To see your loved ones?  Would you walk 1300 miles, pulling a handcart, knowing that the people you love might suffer and struggle along the way?  These people didn't do this for nothing, they had some idea of the trials that would await, and they pressed onward.  They put one step in front of the other because they knew, without any doubt, that they were children of God, that all their sacrifices would bring forth the blessings of heaven through the temple not just to them but to generations to come.  

Sister Reniva and I with Sister Lucas and Sister Parkinson. 
Sister Parkinson is a visa waiter and will soon be leaving us for Taiwan!
We love her and are so grateful for all she has brought to Temple Square
this summer...weird, that it's almost August.

And now today, all Heavenly Father asks is that we just put one foot in front of the other too, just in very different ways.  He asks that 1 day out of 7, we just think of Him and remember that His truly beloved son suffered for us.  He asks that we love our neighbor, He asks that we don't do things that will hurt us, He asks that we talk to Him so He can uplift us.  Sometimes here when we meet visitors, they will say, "Wow, 18 months, that's quite the sacrifice."  But I write now, even with tears in my eyes, "No, this is the smallest thing I can do and I am receiving more blessings than I even have room to receive."  I am so grateful for this time, and so grateful for the faith of the pioneers.  When we think of what God asks of us, in comparison to what he blesses us with, we really are not making sacrifices at all.  He is the most perfect, loving, enabling Father and my mission has taught me more and more about Him and His true character.
Sister Reniva and I making plans for Youth Conference as the member events coordinators!

Last night, I sat in our window seat, and our view overlooks the temple.  I just want to share with you all a little something that I wrote...

"Right now, I am sitting on the little couch that I got so used to seeing Sweet Sister Siegle (Sao Paulo Brazil) sit on each night as she wrote in her journal.  I know now why she liked sitting here so much- It's the perspective it gives.  Behind me are fireworks for Pioneer day, but directly in front of me, if I just glance my eyes up, is the Salt Lake temple.  This is the perfect perspective for my time as a missionary and for my whole life as a woman, a daughter, a mother, a wife, a neighbor, a daughter of God.  My focus is on the temple, my focus is on eternity.  The happiness that I have found by doing this is pure joy.  I can't even express or explain it."  

With Sister Reniva and her trainer, Sister Edmond...she left us today
to go back home to the Marshall Islands. 
We will miss her!

I truly love each of you that are reading this, I have found that Heavenly Father has blessed me to be a part of a family here that just loves, even adores people instantly, and I have felt that strengthened even more as a missionary as I feel not just of my own love for others, but of our Father in Heaven's love as well.  All I want is for the people I love to be happy, and this is making me so happy.  I hope you are all doing well and that you can feel of my love for you through my letters!  I truly promise each of you, that through prayer, you can come to know your full potential, you can come to feel of God's pure and deep and sincere love for you. 
I am so excited to write you all again oh so soon!

My MTC companion, Sister Marsh, and I are in the same zone this transfer. 
I am so excited to be with her again, I just love her.

Thank you for everything!

Mahal kita!
Sister Briggs :)

Shoutouts to:  UNCLE BUTCH (so good to see you!!!), Robert Donakey, Makelle Wood, Kayla & Kevin, Clarissa, Brig, Andrew, Dane, Grandma Jeanie, Joahnna, my Mom, Britt Lam and Aubrey Steenhoek (congrats on the wedding, and I saw your family!!!)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gifts to Bring Home from the Mission Field!

Tomorrow is TRANSFER day! Can you believe it?  I have already been out for one whole transfer, and today marks TWO months of being a missionary.  It's been exciting and wonderful!  I only have a few minutes to write, but I will have Pday again on Thursday so I will write more.  This week was one of my most spiritual yet, and I want to write you all!
You are all the BEST. Seriously, I got so many letters that all the Sisters whose first name start with a B wrote me a note
Here's the note- I felt really bad but then they said I just radiate the love that I get from each of you and then they feel it, so it's all good.  You are all the best, your letters and support give me so much strength and happiness

Some news- Sister Lin is going outbound for two transfers! We are so excited for her to be leaving on Wednesday for SPOKANE WASHINGTON!  I'm definitely excited for her :)

Sister Lin and I got sushi last P-day...yeah, I'm sorry I still can't use chopsticks Dad! haha
So...I have a new companion starting tomorrow....drum roll.... :)

Her name is Sister Reneva, and she is from the Philippines! Our assignment is Youth Conference so we will be in charge of the Youth Conferences for the rest of the summer...I am so excited! Mary and Becca- this means I will FOR SURE be seeing you :) Can't wait!

Until I write you all again, I want you all to try an experiment for me.  Since yesterday, I have been repeating in my mind, "My heart, thy heart.  My thoughts, thy thoughts."  I want my thoughts and my heart to be those of Jesus Christ, because I know that can bring me happiness...and sure enough it has worked.  My goodness I can feel the spirit so strongly and feel of his love for each of you.  Please know how genuinely grateful I am for each of you, for my wonderful family, friends, all of you whom I love and admire so much!

We are very blessed here at Temple Square.  The General Primary Presidency and Board made all of us gift bags full of a beautiful key chain with words from Doctrine and Covenants 4, tissues and many other things.  My favorite however was this handout by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

It reads:
"Gifts to Bring Home From the Mission Field":
1. A knowledge of and love for God our Eternal Father and His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. A knowledge of and love for the scriptures, the word of the Lord.
3. An increased love for parents.
4. A love for the people among whom you labor.
5. An appreciation for hard work.
6. The assurance that the inspiration of the holy Spirit is available to each of us when we live for it.
7. An understanding of the importance of teamwork.
8. The value of personal virtue.
9. The faith to act.
10. The humility to pray.

I can't say it any better myself.  Today marks of being a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I am learning and growing more than I ever have in my entire life.  I have learned each of these 10 things in the MTC and mission field, and my testimony of each of them have grown so much.  People often ask me how I could sacrifice 18 months of my life for service, and looking back at my experiences, and seeing this list I am just in awe.  This is not a sacrifice at all.  This is the greatest blessing I could ever receive.  I cry as I write this because I am just SO happy.  I thought I was happy before but now I feel like I just beam happiness.  I know that this is because this really is God's work.  I want everyone to just say a simple prayer, just pray to know of God's love for you.  There is nothing bad that can come of doing this, only good things can come.  And then I want you to just pause and listen.  This whole gospel was restored because of a boy who prayed to know of God's love and to know which church to join.  Prayer is essential and it can bring about the greatest blessings!

Everyone kept telling Sister Hittrich and I that we look alike so we dressed alike for fun. 

Do we look like twins? 

Sister Hittrich and I again, she's leaving for outbound to go to Las Vegas, Nevada, I will miss her so much
I love you all so much!
Sister Briggs

Shoutouts to: Kellie Mcdougle (4 letters! woah thanks!!!), Madeleine Kmetzh, Kate Thornock, Don Layton, Ashley Solosko, Sister Gina Samuels, Grandma Jeanie, The Briggs Family, The Donakey family, Matt Duke ( I heard you came to the square!) and finally....
WELCOME HOME BRIANA LAYTON!!!!!!!!!!! I love you! :)

Bry- Sister Siegle from Sao Paulo Brazil and I made a Passion Fruit Brazilian dessert...did you ever have it?

Sister Li and I, she is such a great roommate. 

Thank you Rob- from the TMSQ sisters!



Monday, July 15, 2013

"Wo shi Shien di hai zi"

Wo shi Shien di hai zi, "I am a Child of God."

Hello everyone! Oh, can you believe it's been another week?  I sure can't! We have transfer conference this upcoming Friday which means we will be receiving our new assignments.  Yes, we all know I will still be in Temple Square, but I could move to a new apartment or have a new assignment at Temple Square or a new companion.  Whatever it is, I know it's what Heavenly Father wants and I am excited to learn and grow from it!

Stu & Coral - Our friends from Florida

I've been really trying to work on my Mandarin this week! I can now say, "I believe in Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ loves you," and "I am a child of God."  Today in one of our Mandarin motorcoaches we actually sang I am a Child of God in Chinese for the first time.  We usually will sing at the end of our tours but Sister Lin will say it in Mandarin and then we will sing it together in English.  Well, today, we sang it in Chinese and the spirit was so strong.  I love the Chinese people too.  They always clap and smile for me.  I know I'm probably saying most of the things wrong, but they are so kind to me about it.

It's really been a wonderful week.  I feel so much gratitude to be serving at Temple Square.  This week one of my favorite tours was with a giant group of people from Belgium, Denmark and Germany.  They all had a little battle about who's chocolate was the best, and yes, I was invited to come and be the judge sometime after my mission.  Who wants to come with me? :)

Last P-day we got to hike up to Ensign Peak and then we went out to Indian food since our Zone Leader from India is going home at the end of this transfer. 

Our Visiting Teachers from the Ukraine & the Philippines
With Sister Hoyt from California.  This girl and I have become such good friends...She wants to come stay with us after her mission and go snowboarding! Dad-she's a shred betty :)
Sister Tukavatu from Fiji!
Sister Bat-uhlzi just went back to Mongolia and I miss her so much already.  This is us at the top of Ensign Peak together!
After the hike up Ensign Peak...I LOVE my Zone! I was pretending to speak Spanish so on the hike I would say, "Hola Como estas?" to everyone we passed.  Sister Marambio, from Chile, decided then to pretend to speak English so she kept saying, "Hi, I speak English!" to everyone haha it was so fun :)
MISSIONS ARE FUN.  For those of you thinking of going, not only is it the most rewarding thing you can do for others and yourself, but it also is so much fun.  As missionaries we get to meet people from around the world and share with them something that brings us all so much joy.

Friday was one of the craziest and busiest days of my mission so far.  We had tour, after tour, after tour and we hardly had time to eat or put our feet up for a minute.  I remember one of our tours was an hour late, but because of that we were able to take another group around and 6 people referred and left with The Book of Mormon.  Just strengthened my testimony of the saying, "sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven." 

I know it is so true, I have seen it every day of my mission.  When our companionship is willing to put our own needs aside, we always see miracles.  Heavenly Father rewards us so fully for even the smallest deeds.  As you can imagine too, I was EXHAUSTED for that tour.  It was another one of those things where I just prayed to Heavenly Father, asking that the spirit would be with us, that we would know what to say that would bless their lives, that would help them to feel loved and important.  I kept wanting to say certain things but felt restrained by the spirit.  Even though they were good things, they were testimonies, I felt prompted to keep what I was saying short so they could really have time to think.  I just did what I have been doing my whole life--smiling (The sisters here are all starting to call me Sister Smiles haha) After the tour, the 6 that referred said that Sister Lin said just what they needed to hear, and my big smile was a testimony that this gospel really does bring happiness.  They told me they were curious about The Book of Mormon and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because they could feel a warmth whenever they looked at my smile.  I told them that was the spirit. 

That's one of the most important things we do as missionaries, is help people to recognize the spirit.  So many people feel it so often and yet don't recognize it.  The spirit is that light of Christ that entices us to do good.  Whenever we feel the desire to serve someone, to listen to someone, to help, that is the light of Christ, it is so much more than just a thought.  Some people may say- well yeah, that's just the natural thing to do, it's being kind to others.  YES! It is natural, that is because we are children of God and the light of Christ is within each of us.

It was a most beautiful day and we even got free Chic-fil-A for dinner...only if we dressed up as a cow (see the spots?), so we did. HaHa.
 Sister Lin and I dressed up like cows at the Chic-fil-A at City Creek. 
Shout out to my girl Lauren Moran who introduced me to her!
It really was one of the hardest and longest days of my mission, even my life, but it was one of my happiest and most blessed days too.  I was reading in The Bible this morning for some of my personal study time and was reading about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ and was led to Matthew 28:19-20.  Jesus Christ appeared to people after his resurrection and pleaded with them to, go forth and preach unto all nations.  It really hit me so powerfully that when Christ was resurrected, this was his message and plea to the people, to go and share this wonderful blessing with everyone, with people all around the world.  It really hit me just how important it is.  I know that everyone wants to feel happiness, everyone wants to feel peace, everyone wants to reach goals, to reach their full potential. 

Thursday night we had "hot pot" which is an Asian was so much fun! Sisters from Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong all came together to make it for us :)

There are so many "wants" in this life.  The more I learn about this gospel, the more I really realize how well Heavenly Father knows us so perfectly.  Every commandment He gives, every scripture, is all to help us be successful in our lives.  I have been a member of this church since I was 8, but never have I studied The Book of Mormon has thoroughly and talked about it as much as I am doing now.  It is just hitting me what a reality it is.  This gospel is so much more than a nice thought, but it really is real.  We really are sons and daughters of God who have the potential for so much good.  And what's even better is when we fall, when we make mistakes, when we fall short, we have someone who is always pleading our situation to Heavenly Father.  I know and testify that Jesus Christ really did die for each of us.  And although his death was in the past, his life is in every aspect of the history of time.  He was involved in the creation of the earth, he went about doing good and performing miracles, and now he lives again.  His relationship with me, with you, with all of us is not in the past, his works are not in the past, but they are here and they are happening every moment of every day.

Well, I love you all! You all inspire me every single day and make me want to be better.  The Sisters, especially those with the last name starting with "B" are all starting to complain about how many letters I get haha you are all the best.  Thank you for taking the time to write me, even if it's just a sentence, it still means the world.  And guess what, I can get letters out here too! (The Dear Elder website will print and send your letter on the same day to any mission in the world - check it out)

With our Zone Leader Sister Dominic from India at an Indian food restaurant, since she goes home this transfer!  Casey girl- I totally thought of you when I ordered Chicken tikka masala! love you and miss you! I wish I would have seen you with Ashley and your mom! Also- Bry and Case, everyone I keep meeting is from San makes me happy :)

 Please know I'm thinking of you all and praying for nothing but the greatest happiness for all of you! Even though I never thought I would serve a mission, I am seeing now that I have been preparing for this my whole life, that my FAMILY AND FRIENDS have been preparing me for this my whole life.  Thank you everyone for being such amazing examples to me and for always being so kind.  I truly really do admire and care about all of you and would LOVE to hear how you're doing!

When I got Lauren and Dane's wedding announcement, CONGRATULATIONS! You both look BEAUTIFUL!  I am sooo happy for you both! and yes, if you must know, I cried :)

Shoutouts to: Lauren Moran--THREE letters from this girl AND a wedding announcement!
CONGRATS!  Sister King and Ashley King--I saw them at the Christus and yes, I cried, I was so happy to see them! Daddy Briggs, Momma Briggs, Grandfather, Grandma Jeanie, Grandmother, Britt Lam, Robert Donakey, Ed Donakey, Jean Donakey, Mary and Becca Donakey. Hey Barry Donakey---where's my letter from you mister? haha love you kid.

Sister Briggs
Mosiah 24:15 :) be of good cheer!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Another Kelsey Sighting!

Amy and Ashley King ran into Kelsey on Friday afternoon! 
{Ashley is Casey's sister and Amy is Casey's mom.}

Family is just the greatest thing.

Note from Casey: 
Seeing Kelsey with my family made me so incredibly happy and jealous. 
Kelsey is really such a great example to all of us. 
I am so deeply proud of my adorable sister-in-law. 
Family really is forever, and I am so grateful that mine is so wonderful. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Kelsey Sighting!

The Fischer Family ran into Sister Briggs on Temple Square on the Fourth of July!

So fun to be with dear friends.

{Photo Credit: Sheila Fischer}


Talofa is "hi" in Samoan and since I got to be with a whole group of Samoan sisters this week, I felt it would be fitting!  Be sure when you say it, to say it loud and proud :)  Oh how I love the Samoan Sisters here.  So...TALOFA!!!! How has everyone been?  I hope everyone is doing well.  If you ever need me, I am still here for you. 

I had a wonderful week that has made me so very grateful to not only be on a mission, but to be here at Temple Square.  I had so many mothers say to me that they are forever grateful for their decision to serve a mission as it has made them better wives, mothers, daughters, community members in every way.  I want to be the best I can and so that meant the world.  I feel so blessed to be here. 
Me and some of my dearest Sisters from all around the world.  America, Korea, Mongolia and Hong Kong!

I hope everyone had a most wonderful 4th of July! Happy Anniversary Grandma Jeanie and Grandfather :) I most certainly was thinking about you.  This was the most different 4th of July I've ever ever had, and yet it was one of the best. 

I even ran into the Fischer family (from Sammamish, WA, grew up with them) in the North Visitor's Center.  I just cried, it made me so happy and was exactly the pick-me-up I needed. 

We left the square early since it was a holiday and had a wonderful 4th of July celebration at a chapel nearby.  We had a giant talent show.  Yes, I cried at one point because I was so amazed at all the talent I was surrounded by.  Girls from all around the world did dances, songs, skits, games all unique to their culture.  I loved seeing the passion that these Sisters have for their country, and yet each Sister at the end would say, "Happy America Day!"  It just made me want to travel the world.  There is so much we can learn from people everywhere.  I am so grateful to be in a mission where I'm able to speak with people from all nations every single day.  Did I participate in the talent show?  Yep :) Please don't be upset, my talent was pretending to be Canadian. haha
With the Canadians before our skit for the 4th of July!...sorry it's a bit blurry
I've become really good friends with the Canadian Sisters here and they wanted me to pretend to be one for this skit. Kind of hard to explain but it was great and so much fun.  CASEY- We even used some mean girls quotes- "She doesn't even go here!" It was a wonderful day and such a fun night.  We even got to look out the window of our house that night and see the fireworks out over the Salt Lake temple.  I hope it was an amazing holiday for everyone.  This truly is a blessed land.  It was prepared as a land of freedom, which enabled the gospel of Jesus Christ to be restored once more.  Ah, I love it.

Friday was another wonderful day!  Sister Hillam, who has become one of my very dearest friends out here, asked if I would call one of her friends from back home, I did :)  I felt so grateful and so humbled that she trusted me with such a dear friend of hers.  I had no idea what I would say, but it truly all just came to me.  I really felt the spirit working through me. I was able to share experiences from my life, share notes from my friends and family that have written me this last week, it all just lined up.  I 'm going to be teaching him and I am stoked.  Oh my goodness, I just want everyone to know about this gospel.  It makes me so happy.

Also..on Friday we got to go to Lion House! We get to go and have a free meal there once we "pass off," which means we are efficient at talking about the history and the gospel in tours.  It was purely delightful.  I highly recommend it.

Me and my Flor Linda (beautiful flower in Portugese) Sister Siegle from Sao Paulo Brazil! She is one of my roommates and we just have the best time together!

 Also, on our way back we ran into STEPHANIE NEILSON! If you are not familiar with who she is, she is an amazing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was in a terrible plan crash years ago.  Her near-death experience has led her to write a powerful blog, to create a video about her and she is able to speak around the world on her experience.  Check it out--I think it's called "My new life," at  I hugged her and it just warmed my soul.  She is such an inspiration.

I love this scripture.  I truly feel blessed and grateful to be able to serve as a missionary for my Heavenly Father right now.

Yesterday was an incredibly busy day.  We had mandarin motor coaches, and then were taking people through the God's Plan video one right after the other.  When Sister Lin and I were in one of the God's Plan presentations, we were around the corner and on her phone texted, "We are never getting out of God's Plan." I know that was just a simply goofy text, but I received so much more from it than she may have expected.  All of us---me, you, people everywhere are a part of God's Plan whether they know about it or not.  EVERYONE is in His plan and so many just don't know it, that they have a purpose, that their pains and sufferings have a purpose, that they were somewhere before coming here. 

Everyone needs to know-this is so very important, this is something that people everywhere guess at, and it's only natural.  And there is a straightforward, powerful and perfect answer.  I testify to you that there IS a plan for each of us.  I want you to just bear with me and picture that you are familiar with Heavenly Father, that He is like your Dad...what you're picturing is real.  We all are spirit children of our Heavenly Father, he created our spirits and we lived with Him before we came here.  Just like my own amazing parents here on earth, He saw that I could become more, that I had so much potential, that we all do.  The only way we could reach that full potential is by coming here and walking by faith rather than by sight.  Through Adam and Eve's decision, we may not be in God's presence, but we were given the opportunity to become as He is, to be apart from Him for a short time, and then to live with Him again if we remember Him and do as He asks.  Everyone is a part of this plan, and knowing this plan has blessed my life in so many ways.  I see things through an eternal lens. I see everyone I meet as a child of God. 
Hi to Liz and Reid Donakey...Books of Mormon in Russian and Spanish! Keep up the good work out there!

Will everyone please, just pray to your Heavenly Father, ask Him who you are in His eyes, if you are special to Him, if He has a plan for you.  I promise that if you ask Him, with a true desire, you will receive an answer.  Receiving this answer for myself this last week has given me strength I have never felt before.  We truly are all so precious in His sight, and I know that that is an important message to share with missionary work.  Everyone wants to feel loved at some level, and God and Jesus Christ provides that for each of us.  He loves us with a perfect and infinite love.

I wish you could all feel of my love for each of you.  I sincerely and genuinely feel so grateful for my family, for my friends, for the people who are so close to me and just for everyone that I meet.  Thank you for everything that you do-I hope you all know how important you are, not only to me, but to your Heavenly Father.

I love you all!!!!!  Now we are off to hike Ensign Peak and go out for dinner later for our Zone Activity.  Thank you for your letters, packages, smiles and prayers.  They mean the world!
Thanks for the basketball hoop, Rob! You're the best!
Sister Lin and I eating famous Donakey chocolate chip cookies! Thank you!!!

Got fancy with dinner last was time, thanks for all you've taught me Mom and Dad!
 I loved my package from Robert, thank you for all the goodies! :)

Shoutouts to Casey, Bryan, Mom and Dad Briggs, Sister Sheen, Sister Clason, Grandma Jeanie and Grandfather, Chase, Grandmother, Sister Kim Blauer, Mary, Sara, Becca, Jean, Ed and Rob Donakey.


Sister Briggs :)

PS.  Excited to meet you soon Sister Tiritilli!  Thank you for your note. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy Canada Day, Eh :)

Happy Canada Day to everyone!  

Almost all of the Sisters on the square are wearing red and white to celebrate Canada.  Our house has been very excited for today as we have two Canada sisters with us.  This morning we woke up just before 6 to run the canyon (about 3 miles) and when we came back, Sister Nelson from Canada and a wonderful breakfast waiting for us!  She had made cinnamon french toast with apples, Canadian bacon, hash browns, and had fresh strawberries too! Ohh it was simply delightful and such a wonderful way to begin the day! 

Happy Canada Day! Me and our resident Canadians, Sister Nelson and Sister Hittrich! Love them both so so much!

I'm excited for the fourth of July this week believe all of us sisters will have on some red, white and blue!  

Thank you for the package Mum! My locker looks like a little store now...and treats are quickly disappearing, Thank you!

With that said, Happy Anniversary Grandfather and Grandma Jeanie! I hope it's a wonderful day for you! I love you both! Thank you for your letters!

Oh goodness, where to start.  Every day was full of motor coach tours, groups from all around the world that all came to Temple Square.  That's something that is such a blessing about this mission- people come to us, and they come curious and usually with lots of questions :) I was very excited when we got to take around a group of people from England...yay! 

One of my other Zone Leaders, Sister Dominic and I somehow were matching! So that's always fun :) She's from India and this is her last transfer, I will miss her.

Saturday was a special day for me though (it's the day we get ready for Sunday...(ya know, like the song?) haha Saturday, Sister Lin and I took around an older couple from Florida named Coral and Stu.  Coral and Stu came out to visit their son who is really, really struggling right now.  We didn't pry into it but he is in some sort of youth detention center and they are hardly allowed any contact with them.  They figured while they were here they might as well stop by and visit historic Temple Square.  They were so full of love from the very beginning.  Right when we walked up to them I could just tell something hard was happening in their lives, I could see it and I could feel it.  Lets just start by saying I cried at every place we took them :)  We took them first to the Temple Model, then to the Christus, and finished with the God's Plan presentation.  There were two quotes that I used that they loved so much, they had me write them down on a piece of paper to send to their son.  That's the power of quotes from our historical pioneers and apostles of the Lord.  The quote from the pioneer was something like, "The price I paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay." and the Elder Holland quote is, "This is a gospel of second chances and happy endings."

Stu and Coral really touched my heart.  I have never felt the spirit so strongly, and even just through our short tour, I could see their countenances change, I could feel hope coming into their hearts.  It was such a powerful experience.  Stu and Coral gave us their contact information so we will be able to teach them over the phone and help them with anything we can.  I feel so grateful to be a missionary, I truly feel even just the smallest bit of God's love for each of these people, and it has already changed my life.

Sister Walsh and I...we found out she's best friends with MaCall Ovard too! how cool!

Yesterday was Sunday and I love Sundays here! I was so excited because we had scheduled exchanges for me to be with one of our Zone leaders for three hours just so she could see how I was doing here at Temple Square.  I ended up being with Sister Fredrickson from Seattle, WA.  We have so many mutual friends from Enclave and very similar interests so we had a blast together...and we ended up being with each other for 5 hours instead of 3.  Yep, it was a crazy and overwhelming day. We took two families through God's Plan back to back.  I cried both times :)  Really...the message in God's Plan is so powerful.  If you haven't seen it, please come and watch it, it's just 15 minutes long! It talks about the power of family and that we're created in God's image.  Something I've really learned too is that not only are we created in God's image, but in His likeness as well.  We ALL have Christlike attributes, they just haven't all been fully developed yet, that's something that takes time and the Atonement.  How better to learn how to be like Jesus Christ than by turning to Jesus Christ himself?  Use the Atonement-it is not just to be cleansed of sins, it is also to enable us to do everything that we can that is good.  It is the merciful plan whereby we can become someone more than we are now.  I know we all have such grand potential.

Wonderful Canadian celebration breakfast with our Canadians in the kitchen! ooh I just love them!

Later on we even got to take a Spanish-speaking family from Columbia through God's Plan, and the spirit was so strong.  The grandparents were members, but their children and grandchildren are not, and he just had the strongest desire to realize that this gospel isn't just something that makes us feel good, but that it is a reality, that everything we believe really is true.  We bore such a strong testimony at the end of the film, and although I couldn't understand what was being said, I could feel it.  Sister Fredrickson and I just cried.  I'm happy we were the ones in God's Plan with them, and actually that there weren't Spanish-speaking Sisters in there.  I think what the Grandpa said to his family was way more powerful than anything we could have said.  All you members out have more power than you think.  This gospel changes lives and can bless everyone, no matter what it is they are going through.

Afterward, we got to take 25 people from HOLLAND around on a tour! Ah! So cool! Sister Fredrickson and I were just all over the place and I loved it! They were the kindest and sweetest people I have ever met.  They all spoke pretty good English, we just made sure to speak slowly and to check for understanding whenever we could.  We will be sending some Books of Mormon to them in Holland soon :)  Ohhh how I love this mission.

Wonderful Canadian celebration breakfast with our Canadians in the kitchen! ooh I just love them!

Okay, well, Temple Square is unique for many reasons.  And one of them is the amount of antis that study up and prepare oftentimes for a very long time to come to Temple Square...where some of the very early beginnings of the church took place. Yesterday Sister Fredrickson and I were approached and asked for a tour.  It was a group of 10 people about my age and we were so excited.  They said they were a group just traveling the world, doing service and learning more about their relationship to Jesus Christ.  We were excited to take them around and get to know them, to hear about their adventures. 

We took them to the Tabernacle and we were there for soooo long.  I couldn't feel the spirit except for when Sister Fredrickson and I spoke, as soon as they would speak, the spirit was just gone.  I thought it was something wrong with me, and it just broke my heart.  I really opened up to them.  I shared with them my strong answer to serve a mission, I talked to them later at the Handcart Monument about my Mom's cancer and how her trial brought me closer to God...I really told them everything.  And throughout it they would just kind of nod their heads and then snicker to each other.  

Later on at the Christus statue, we played the recording for them of words from the Bible and Book of Mormon, and Sister Fredrickson told me they were a group of antis and we needed to leave.  It all started making sense...why I felt the uncomfortableness that I felt, even when they were all kind of nice for the most part.  We bore a simple testimony of Jesus Christ and then invited them to go about uplifting others and excused ourselves.  They kept trying to ask questions and we said we had an appointment to go to.  

I just cried when we truly broke my heart.  It fulfills prophecy that people will rise up against the true church of God, but I just thought of how Heavenly Father must feel- these are His children, they knew Him once before and they believe to know Him now.  It just saddens me that they believe in Jesus Christ and yet they go around trying to destroy those who have established their church in the very same way Jesus Christ did when he was on the earth, everything we do in this gospel is through Jesus Christ.  Ooh it just made me so sad.  I just pray for them that they can find happiness in their life.

I know that this is the true, restored gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today.  I know that he is at the head of this church, and that him and our Heavenly Father speak to us today through prayer and through a living prophet.  The thing is, the more I learn about the basics and even deeper doctrines of this gospel, the more it just makes sense.  Not only do I feel it in my heart, but when I teach it to people, it's logical.  Heavenly Father waited until the right time for his gospel to be restored to the earth, when there were people who could carry it on.  I am so grateful for the sacrifices made to bring this great work about.  I know that it is not a gospel of men, rather it is the gospel of Jesus Christ, for all mankind.

Shoutouts to Sister Genster's sister, Sister Walsh's Father, MaCall Ovard (your old roommate is my roommate now, Sister Walsh!), my whole familia, Robert and the whole Donakey family, Stu Gadd, Grandma Jeanie, My Mom for an awesome package that is feeding the whole mission, Caroline Slater, Sister Lelle, Jason Mosely and Aubrey and Jordan for their wedding announcement!
I love you all and am so so grateful for you.  Please know you are always in my prayers and I can certainly feel yours. 

Love always,

Sister Briggs :)