Friday, August 30, 2013

I am "gobsmacked" by this mission

Hello again everyone! I hope you all had a delightful week. 

(Kelsey had a visit from her parents this week.  The SLC Temple Square mission is the only mission that allows a short family visit during the mission stay.  We took a quick trip to visit Kelsey at Temple Square for a couple of hours and enjoyed meeting many of the Sisters, the Mission President and his Wife, and taking Kelsey to lunch.  Throughout Kelsey's blog you'll see some pics from our visit - Kelsey's Mom and Blogmaster. It was wonderful to see her so happy.)

Mom and Dad got to meet Sister Siegle from Brasil! She is from Sao Paulo where my brother served his mission over a billion years ago..because he's old now ;)
Reunited with my Mom and Dad and ohhh how wonderful it is!...with Sister Marsh (MTC companion) and Sister Humble (current companion)
I met a woman this week outside of the Tabernacle just after the daily 12:00 organ recital and she was simply wonderful.  She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Australia and she is currently traveling the United States with her husband and some friends.  She came straight up to me and said, "I am just gobsmacked by this mission! I mean every where you turn, you are in a new country.  Just"  haha well, I had no idea what gobsmacked meant.  Come to find out it means something like..."in awe of" or "impressed by."  She has no idea she just gave me my new favorite word :)

This week I really was gobsmacked by this mission, by the Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission in the very way she described it.  I feel so blessed to be serving here.  I had the amazing opportunity this week of teaching people from Iraq, India, Hungary, Philippines, New Zealand, Israel, Germany, Taiwan and Wales.

A man from Wales on the square gave us this map! So kind of him! Lets all travel the world together :)

 I feel greatly blessed and humbled by this opportunity.  In my personal study this week I really thought about how vast this world is, how different all the cultures and people are everywhere--even within one family we can meet and see so many different personalities and characters. 
Happy missionaries :)

I love my Mom and Dad.  Thank you for being some of the most amazing and inspiring people I know

Feast time at the Cheesecake Factory...and we were so grateful! We don't get fed in this mission so sometimes we get just a little hungry :) my parents are the best for taking us, thank you Mom and Dad!
Outside with our bags and bags of left overs from Cheesecake Factory.  My time spent with them today was so precious to me.  Everyone--LOVE your parents, respect them, admire them, learn from them, they are your biggest fans here on earth

During Sacrament meeting this past Sunday, two Sisters sang my all time favorite church hymn, "I know that my Redeemer Lives," and I could feel the spirit just over power me.  I wrote in my journal.."I DO KNOW that my Redeemer lives."  One of the lines in the song that really struck me was, "He lives to bring me safely there." Who else does that?  Who LIVES to comfort us, to hear our soul's complaint, to bring us safely home?  I can think of many people who do these kind acts for me, but it is not what they LIVE for.  And that is what binds all of us together.
We all have someone, no matter what we look like, where we live, we all have someone, the same someone who lives for us.  I was studying a lot about the Atonement after Sacrament meeting during my personal study and just started to smile, and then started to have tears come down my face. Now, as I teach these people from around the world, it is the love of Jesus Christ that is what even inspires them to pick up their phone, to respond to our e-mails.  It wasn't a different Savior for each continent or country...the Atonement of Jesus Christ is infinite.  We can connect with people from across the world because my Savior, my Redeemer is also their Savior and Redeemer.  How powerful is that?

At the beautiful Bountiful temple this morning with beautiful Sister Lucas!
With Sister Humble, Sister Ince (Canada) and Sister Silverio (Dominican Republic)

With our District leader Sister Phagwah from Guyana!

I have already especially seen this light of Christ evolve in one of our investigators this past week.  Her name is Adelle and she is from the Philippines.  She was referred to us by her boss who is a member.  After our first quick call with her we wrote, "Not very interested at this time, not sure she will even answer next time we call." 

Well, we called her at our scheduled appointment and she was up and waiting for our call (it was 8 AM there).  Her heart had completely changed.  We were not teaching her- she was teaching us.  She gave the most honest, heart felt and sincere prayer I have ever heard in my life.  She quite literally cried unto God, and I cried with her there too.  Sister Humble and I may have been kneeling down in a Teaching Center in SLC Utah, but we couldn't have felt closer to her than we did at that time.  The love of Christ, that connection between us of having the same Savior, was softening her heart.  We invited her to read 2 Nephi 31 and to think of what it is that God wants her to do at this point in her life.  We were about to call her when we received an e-mail from her saying she was so sorry but that we'd have to reschedule...but she bore her testimony to us and even told us that she wrote her thoughts about 2 Nephi 31 in a Facebook post...Adelle did, the same woman that just a week before we thought would never even give us the time of day, and now here she was sharing with us how after reading 2 Nephi 31 she wants to be a missionary, she wants to follow Christ by being baptized, she wants to be a light to her children so that they too can be a light to others. I was so touched. 
With our new best friend Sister Marcetti from Rome, Italy!

Just a clip from her Facebook post- "To be baptized means to totally submit one's life to God and to follow the path of His Son, Jesus Christ."  Yes, it is fair to say I am 100% completely gobsmacked, touched, inspired and so grateful for my friendship with Adelle and her family in the Philippines. 
I want you all to know that I know that my Redeemer lives, and that everything he does for us, is why he lives.

"I know that my Redeemer lives
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
  1. He lives, my ever-living Head.
    He lives to bless me with his love.
    He lives to plead for me above.
    He lives my hungry soul to feed.
    He lives to bless in time of need.
     He lives to grant me rich supply.
    He lives to guide me with his eye.
    He lives to comfort me when faint.
    He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
    He lives to silence all my fears.
    He lives to wipe away my tears.
    He lives to calm my troubled heart.
    He lives all blessings to impart.
     He lives, my kind, wise heav'nly Friend.
    He lives and loves me to the end.
    He lives, and while he lives, I'll sing.
    He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
    He lives and grants me daily breath.
    He lives, and I shall conquer death.
    He lives my mansion to prepare.
    He lives to bring me safely there. He lives! All glory to his name!
    He lives, my Savior, still the same.
    Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
    "I know that my Redeemer lives!"
    He lives! All glory to his name!
    He lives, my Savior, still the same.
    Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
    "I know that my Redeemer lives!"

We love Sister Frost--one of our Senior Sisters!

 With our TMSQ guardian angel- Bob.  He comes to temple square every day and greets and protects all of us Sisters.  We love him

 At the top of Ensign peak with the Phagwah Sisters from Guyana! Sister Phagwah's sister came out because she is going to the MTC on Wednesday for Saint George!
I love you all and feel so very blessed and grateful to know you.  Wherever you may be, whoever you may be, whatever you are going through, He is the same, and he lives for you, live for him :)

Love always,

Sister Briggs :)

P.S. SMILE EVERYONE! Every day is a delightful day, and smiling is the way we show it :)

Shoutouts!!!---Dane and Lauren, Kayla and Steve--congrats on getting married!!! I love you all and hope to see pictures soon! Also...Garrett Pierce and his wife, Casey, Bryan, Mom, Dad, Robert, Mary, Becca, Sara, Brother and Sister Donakey, Madeleine Kmetzch, Rex, Romm, Austin Grant.  You all amaze me :) thank you for keeping me updated, just know I love you! So good to see some of you and to receive letters from others, I am the luckiest girl :)

Eating during our Teaching Center time...we didn't have time to take lunch or dinner breaks because of the crazy time differences with all of our investigators! It is SO worth it :) we have fun

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

You Are God's Investigator

My heart is extremely full right now and I am not really sure where to begin.  In almost my three months as a missionary I have experienced heartaches, trials, joys, excitement, miracles, discouragement and all have been the best three months of my life.  Through all of this I have felt this underlying peace that I don't really know how to describe, and now I know why.

Thank you for the package Robert :)

Last P-day we had a picnic with Sister Alvine (France) and Sister Roman (Mexico) and it was so fun!
I love serving with Sisters from all around the world.  I am learning so much from all of them.

Sister Reniva and I got to speak in a home ward last Sunday and it was awesome!
I loved being in a family ward again :)

Many times at Temple Square we are asked what is so different about our church from the other churches in the world today.  I am here to testify and tell you with everything that I have, everything that I am, that this is the very same church which was once established by Jesus Christ himself when he came to this earth to atone for the sins of all mankind.  This church is not a reformation, but a restoration of those very same precious and eternal truths that were brought here by Jesus Christ himself under the direction of his father.  Still today, we have a prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and 12 apostles who lead and guide this church.  I am overflowed with the spirit as I tell you that this morning we had a special guest, Jeffery R. Holland, one of the 12 apostles on the earth today, came and spoke to our mission.  He told us that he wouldn't be able to stay long as he had to get to a meeting with the Prophet and the quorum of the 12 Apostles, but what he said I will never forget.

Sister Humble and I studying for the day! 

Thanks for the headbands Mom! We were cooking up a storm!

After our day of amazing chat miracles in the Teaching Center!

He reminded us that the last thing he said, his fundamental message to his apostles was, "Go ye therefore and preach to all nations, baptizing..." There was so much more he could have said, He was leaving it up to these 12 men to go forward and establish the church from what he had taught them.  He could have taught them more about tithing, about temples, about prayer, but then Elder Holland said, "Nothing can happen on the road to salvation unless someone first gets on that road!"  He said it with such boldness, such power that I couldn't deny that he truly is an apostle of Jesus Christ, I could just feel it.  He told us that one of his favorite scriptures is in The Book of Mormon, in Mormon 8 where it talks about seeing our latter-day.  
He said and testified with so much power, 

"I believe all prophets kept going, those who knew they wouldn't succeed, those who knew apostasy would raise up and the Priesthood of God would be taken from the earth, kept going because they could see you, they could see today. NOW, TODAY is the time that kept their faith alive.  Ours is the dispensation that succeeds, never again will the Priesthood, the blessings of the temple, the true church of Jesus Christ be taken from the earth again."

I don't know what any of us did to be so blessed to be here at this time, but I am grateful for it and I know it to be true.  I have seen so many miracles these last few days, with my new companion Sister Humble, that I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is God's work.  I testify to you that this is the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth again today, I can feel myself being more fully converted with each passing day.  I promise you, wherever you are that if you truly want to know God better, if you want to see him as your Father, if you want to know how He sees you, put in the effort to find your answers and you will feel an outpouring of love and blessings from this.  It isn't always easy to put what we think is right behind us, to put our will in the past, to truly seek for something greater than ourselves, but oh my goodness, when we realize that we are part of such a greater picture, think about how much that influences our lives and for so much good too.  A quality life is one that is not confined to this life only, but one that is based on eternal potential.  See that in yourselves :)

Yes, I am a missionary, so I do back cars out of parking spots :)

As for miracles!  AH!  Sister Humble and I have been together since Thursday and already we have 5 amazing and wonderful investigators.  We met Everett, a 15 year old boy on our first tour together.  He is Chinese and is now living in LA with his parents.  He said, "something just feels different here, very powerful and I want to always feel this way."  We hear people say that a lot at temple square.  We know that this feeling is just emanating from the temple--the house of God here on earth today :)  On Sunday we then met our two new investigators on chats (yes, if you ever do that, those are real people responding!) Charlie- is about 17 years old and he is from ENGLAND.  His friend invited him to come to church this upcoming week and he wanted to know how we can best prepare.  He said that he already knows he wants to join and even wants to be a missionary like us someday.  We will be teaching him this upcoming Sunday after church!  He had questions about how members of the church believe they can become like God, and what that really means.  He was so overwhelmed to hear that we truly believe that God wants to give us all He has.  He is not a selfish Father, but an all loving, all encompassing Father who wants to give us everything He has and enjoys.  

The night I invited Meng to be baptized...this was her contact card
she filled out at Temple Square! :)

Okay, now I am so in love with this next family.  We met Richard on from NEW ZEALAND.  He said that his life long friend bore his testimony to him of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that both of them were both so filled with emotion--he said that he had never seen his friend like that, so happy, so overwhelmed that it really struck something in him.  He knows God is his Father and as a father himself he wants to do the very best by his 6 amazing and wonderful children.  We will be teaching him and then he said he would be teaching his children :)  I am so happy and so excited.  On we then received a referral to contact a woman named Adelle in the PHILIPPINES.  She has two children, one 3 year old girl and a 7 year old boy and she is so excited to learn more.  She works for a man who is a member of the church and said there was just something different about him :)  

Finally, our amazing miracle yesterday :) My new amazing and wonderful companion and I have been really praying in our planning at night, and Sunday night it took us a little over an hour to plan because we could feel there really was someone we would meet that needed us.  We both felt so prompted that we would meet someone who would need to hear about adversity and how the Atonement can lift our burdens.  The next day (Monday) we could feel it with us all day, that there was someone who met us. We even picked up a Book of Mormon and being completely spirit led, we began to write in the inside cover, not even really knowing what to say. We walked into the Christus and looking at each other we said--him, that's him.  We played the narration and then walked over to this man, only to see he had tears in his eyes and was praying that God was aware of him, that he could have help during this trial with his family.  We sat down and spoke with him and he said that missionaries had even come to his home earlier this week and that he was going to read The Book of Mormon that night when he went home.  In amazement he read what we wrote in the cover of The Book of Mormon and just wept. We promised him that God was aware of him, so much so that we knew we would meet him the night before.  We love this man.  His name is Juan and he truly desires to know for himself that what we are teaching is true.  He wants to have that restored light of Christ that he says he so often sees in the missionaries around him.  We will be calling him soon and I am so excited.

With Sister Ince (Canada) and Sister Ha (Korea) after speaking in the ward!

I promise you that miracles do happen.  Not only do they happen, but they are natural to happen when we truly have the will of God in our hearts.  Sister  Humble and I are so happy.  We truly have seen the hand of God in our lives these past few days.  We are so happy to have these new investigators who come eager with questions and desire to draw closer to their eternal potential.  Elder Holland this morning said, "You are God's investigators."  And so I say the same to you.  Often we look to the missionaries for all the answers, and yes we are here to answer, but we are guides to lead you to the ultimate source of truth, your Father in Heaven, God Himself.  Be HIS investigator and you will without a doubt know with a surety what He wants for you.  I invited my first investigator, Meng from Shanghai, now living in Indiana, to be baptized, and she said yes!  And this all came because of her powerful prayers--I could hear in her voice she KNEW without hesitation that she was God's daughter and that out of His love and care for her, she would be answered if this was right.  She says she feels a lightness about her, she feels God's love and she even wants to keep a journal of how she has seen God's hand in her life.  We are calling it the Meng journal! 

Change comes from first changing our view, turn around and turn towards your Father in Heaven and He will open up to you all the He has in store.  
I solemnly testify, humbly, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Sister Briggs

SHOUTOUTS: Kelsey Eakle, Christ Lyon, Alyssa Stromberg (I met your cousin!), Mom, Dad, Bryan, Casey, Robert Donakey, Brother and Sister Donakey, Amy Briggs, Elder Huntington, Sister Rushing, Sara Donakey, Mary Donakey, Becca Donakey, Rob Versaw, Grandma Jeanie, HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDFATHER--you're now 102 years old :), Grandmother, Kandy Lovato, Kaiti Purse, Heather Brown, Julie and Griffin McGinn, Steven Meyers, Steve wonderful to hear from you all and to even see many of you! You are amazing! :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kelsey Sighting

We love getting Kelsey photos...  if you happen to see Kelsey on Temple Square and she has a moment for a photo -  send a .jpg to her mom at
Kelsey can only take photos with those posing with her for a photo, The Temple Square Mission  respects the privacy of those visiting Temple Square so "in action" shots are against the rules. 
Kelsey & Sisters with her Grandfather, Jim Bean
Kelsey & Sister Reniva with Her Grandparents at Temple Square, Jim & Jeanie Bean
The Bean's are visiting from Bend, Oregon and stopped by to say hello & bring goodies.
(See the dinosaur collection at the end of the next blog!)
Grandfather get's another Picture
The Grandparents have breakfast with Rob across the street, (Rob can't go to Temple Square to visit Kelsey, no dating,  or phone calls or seeing boyfriends for 18 months), but he can send treats via special delivery with the Grandparents. 

Treats from Rob - much appreciated. 

A BIG Thank You!!! With love from Kelsey & Sister Reniva! 
With Jean Donakey
It was so good to see her. We both just cried. :) We got to watch her work her magic with the guests who came there. So fun!!

Great Family Friends - Ed & Jean Donakey - also parents of Rob Donakey shown above. 

"And now, let the baptism begin..."

Out in the fields at Brighton Girls camp

Hello hello wonderful everyone! I hope it's been a beautiful week for you all. 
(Sorry for the delayed post...Kelsey's family has been up in Alaska.  Watch for her next post on Thursday) 
As I look back on the week, I can see a major pattern becoming clear--baptism.  I got to go to my first baptism last Sunday and it was such an amazing experience! I was so blessed and so fortunate to go with a Sister in my district.  Her name is Sister Alvine and she is from France and Africa and was teaching a French speaking family that recently moved here from Africa.  She has been teaching them for just a few months and truly is a miracle family. 

The whole baptism actually was a miracle.  It was a miracle that we got to attend, and when we got there we saw that Sister Alvine was sooo needed there.  The family doesn't speak a word of English and there was no program put together for the baptism.  Sister Alvine being the amazing Sister she is, just put everything together last minute, and would translate everything, even the songs into French for the family to hear.  The spirit was so incredibly strong and Sister Alvine just radiated an excitement to be there. 

The ward mission leader was conducting the baptism and we could all tell he felt a little uncomfortable and wasn't quite sure what to say.  He got up at the front of the room and said, "And now, let the baptism begin!"  Everyone felt a little uncomfortable with the way things were being done, and sweet Sister Alvine just lightened everything up.  In her French she clapped her hands and exclaimed, "It is such an exciting day! You will now be baptized!"  Everyone just smiled and laughed.
Forget me not :) thanks for that book Rob, and thank you everyone for not forgetting about me!

There was a mother and her 10 year old son and 16-year old daughter who were being baptized.
The joy that these three individuals had on their faces was something I can never forget.  As a returned missionary from Tahiti raised his hand and started to say the baptismal prayer in French, I couldn't help but stare at his hand.  I thought about how his hand, my hand, all of our hands are made after the same likeness and image of our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.  It hit me so hard though as I stared at his hands, that Jesus Christ has the prints of nails still in his hands today, and I pictured what it would be like it Jesus Christ himself were there at the baptism, baptizing this small and beautiful family from Africa. 

All of the youth conference coordinators had dinner together.  They're all so wonderful!

I know that there is so much symbolism in baptism--people will talk about baptism by immersion as laying down our old life and coming up a new person, or even relating it to the resurrection, but today I thought of something different.  I thought of how we cannot be baptized alone--we need someone there taking us down into the water, and lifting us back up again. 

We are never EVER alone in life.  Even when we make the promise to our Heavenly Father at baptism to always remember him, and He promises us a remission of our past, a clean slate, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, there is someone by our side, and although we cannot see Jesus Christ looking down on us, we can feel him there, and know it is because of him that we even have the opportunity to be baptized. Just like in the process of baptism by immersion, there may be times that we are taken down, times in our life when we are sad, we have trials and feel like we cannot get back up. 

It is by the hand of someone that we are able to come back up out of the water---just as in our lives it is by the hand of our Savior, Jesus Christ that we can come completely back up through the ups and downs of our lives. He will never forsake us or leave us, we just need to open our eyes and see he is there.

It reminded me of my own baptism and how happy I was on that day.  It's my most vivid memory from my childhood. I remember being baptized, going back into the locker room, and my best friend was sitting there waiting to be baptized next.  I excitedly told her that if she was too nervous I could just be baptized again and no one would know.  haha we all know that wouldn't have worked out too well, but I really was that excited and that happy about being baptized. 
 I am learning each and every day that deciding to be baptized was one of the best decisions of my life.  The happiness I felt that day has carried me through so much in my life, and I know it is a decision that will impact me for eternity.  It is a decision that shows Heavenly Father that I know I am His daughter and that I will make little decisions, each day to bring me closer to Him. 

After playing the "life line" game :)
Think about your own baptism, or the people you know in your life who have been baptized.  Why did they do it?  Why did they choose to make such a promise to God and to live their lives in a way that is different in many ways from people around the world?  It is because Forever's Longer.  It is because we don't just want happiness in the moment, but we want happiness for eternity.  And going through the trials of our faith, and learning more about our Father in Heaven and about Jesus Christ have taught us that life is good, but eternity is beautiful and it is something Heavenly Father wants to give us all. 
I have left my family for 18 months for the amazing opportunity to teach others that they can be with theirs for eternity.  If you know me, you know I am quick to love, quick to really genuinely care about people, and I promise you today that I would not be here if I didn't know this was all true. 

Sister Humble and I were feeling it was a good idea to get some Japanese food! So good! She also attempted to teach me how to use chop sticks :)
I miss my family, my friends, my loved ones but I have realized that this gospel is all about forever's, it is all about second chances and happy endings.

Here are some fun pictures from our day at Brighton Girls Camp...

Love my MTC companion! Please write Sister Marsh letters, she is getting surgery soon!

Meet our district!

Brighton Girls camp was the best! 4- wheeling :)

Love my old roommate Sister Li from Hong Kong! Her Sister is even serving here now too!
Sister Reniva and I having fun with our "bob the builder" helmets :)
With some of my favorite Sisters- the AP's!

With my very dear friend, Sister Takahashi from Canada.  She is amazing and we have really become family out here. 

Sister Marsh and I have gotten strong since the MTC, eh? :)
I hope this e-mail finds you all happy and well! you are all AMAZING! Have a beautiful week and remember I am always here for you!

Love always,

Sister Briggs

Thank you Grandfather and Grandma Jeanie for the dinosaur toys! :) rawr!
SHOUTOUTS: Grandfather and Grandma Jeanie- thank you so much for the DINOSAUR TOYS, it was amazing to see you and meant the world to me that you came with so much love! Thank you! Sara Donakey- AH! it just brightened my whole day to see you up here at Temple Square, thank you for your kind words and your encouragement.  Robert Donakey- thank you for the toys and the delicious brownie mix, you're the best! So good to also see Sister Moffatt, my teacher from the MTC! Congrats also to Marc Gallarde from Cebu on your mission call! You will be wonderful! :)

 I think I can convert her into a dinosaur fan, maybe?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

We'll Bring the World His Truth

Hello Hello again everybody! 

I hope you all have had a truly wonderful week.  It's been hard for me to decide what I want to write about in this letter because there just was so much GOOD.  Really, it's a problem I'm okay with having though :)  That's something I love about being a missionary, it really helps me to see just how blessed and lucky I really am, it helps me to see that everything of God is good.  I know this to be true as now as a missionary, I go around talking about God, our loving Heavenly Father all day, and I have never seen this much good in my entire life.  Look around you, everything of God is good :) 

THANK YOU MOM for the package!!!!!!! :) you're the best!

It's been a busy week full of youth conferences, tours, chats, phone calls, LOVE, reading, growing, testifying and I am loving every minute of it.  I've gotten a couple of questions about the youth conferences, so here's a little update on what I do :)  There are three companionships, and we meet together each day to discuss the requests that have been called in or e-mailed to us regarding different groups of youth.  We then are in charge of getting the youth their schedules, their lovely Deseret Book lanyards and doing orientation for them.  

So most days at 8:45 am and at 2 pm,  my companion and I are talking with 100s of youth! It's the best! We loving telling them that the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored because of the faith and determination of one youth, of Joseph Smith.  He was just 14 years old when he prayed and now look what has happened.  He had every trial that could have ever possibly come upon him, his family and those he loved, but he could not deny the truth, and he was a youth. I know Joseph Smith truly was a called prophet of God to bring in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  I think it's powerful that it all started with a prayer. Never ever underestimate the faith that you have, and the trust Heavenly Father has in you.  You can do more than you know :)

The view from my window :)

Exciting news!!! For those of you who know me,  you know I LOVE to pretend I speak Spanish haha.  It is so much fun for me to try to understand Spanish or to try to put together broken Spanish sentences.  And now, I have DOS HERMANAS from Mexico living with us.  Neither of them speak hardly any English, and so we are all having so much fun every night trying to learn from each other.  It's a wonderful apartment to come home to :)  Los misionarios son mis amigas!

Me with my roommate Sister Lee--she has Biscoff spread
(Tag Madeleiene Kmetzch! also, she wrote me a letter-shoutout!)

Okay, I can see this is already getting a bit long, sorry :)  

One of my favorite moments this week though came from a tour I took yesterday.  I was on exchanges with my old roommate, Sister Li, from Hong Kong, since her companion was feeling really sick yesterday. Sister Li and I were so excited to get to be together for the day and to catch up with one another.  I learned so much from her too. She is an amazing girl and such a powerful teacher.  We met a couple from Arizona  outside of the Tabernacle on Temple Square named Don and Mary.  We started in the tabernacle and then moved just next door to the Assembly Hall for our next stop.  When we came in, there was a kindergarten warming up on the stage.  My goodness, they were all so sweet and so adorable--not to mention, have you ever seen a little kid's violin? AH! They are TINY! I loved it and it made me think of The Donakey family...all of them with their violins :)  

We were going over the history of the building with Don and Mary when the kids started to play.  Don loves music so he asked if we could just sit and listen for a moment.  Of course we said yes and we all sat there excited to hear this young orchestra play.  It took only a few moments for Sister Li and I to realize what song these kids were playing.  They were playing "We'll Bring the World His Truth."  Sister Li and I looked at each other, and without saying anything, we both started singing along with it.  "We have been born, as Nephi of old.  To goodly parents who love the Lord.  We have been taught, and we understand, that we must do as the Lord commands.  We are as the army of Helaman, we have been taught in our youth.  And we will be the Lord's missionaries to bring the world his truth."  Sister Li and I both just started to cry, and we looked back to see Ron and Mary staring at the two of us almost in awe, with tears in their eyes as well. 

On exchanges with Sister Li from Hong Kong yesterday,
she's the sweetest and was my roommate last transfer! :)

This was one of the most spiritual moments on my mission thus far.  We both bore a simple testimony to them about why we were on missions, about how grateful we are for our families and loved ones at home who have taught us everything we know and cherish in our lives.  I really don't think it's any mistake or coincidence that the VERY FIRST scripture in The Book of Mormon starts with, "I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents..."  Our parents are everything.  Our families really are how God shows His love.  I started to think about how I love my Savior Jesus Christ for so many reasons, but one big reason is because he has been there before.  Every joy, every hardship, he has already walked through it so that he could pull me through it after him.  I then started to think of how God really shows His love to us through our parents.  These people too have been our same age before, they have had similar trials and difficulties, they too have asked the common questions that we ask as youth.  I am so grateful for my family and so grateful that they truly are Christlike in that they use those things that they have endured, to guide me in my own life later on. (I love you Mom and Dad!)

Sister Humble and I trying to learn Tagalog...
you can see by the look on our faces it's a bit difficult haha

At the end of the tour, we were able to exchange information.  It was so touching to me that they said at the end of our tour, "We can really tell through your smile, through your words, through the way you carry yourself that you really know and believe what you shared with us."  They were amazed that we were not paid for our service as missionaries, or that no one else is paid for it in all the church organization.  I love the purity of this gospel in that way.  That every member of the church is busy with families, with school, with work, with other activities, but they devote everything they have to fulfilling their callings in the church without any sort of monetary payment.  

The people at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don't testify or say the things they do because someone is paying them, they do it because they genuinely know it and treasure it in their lives.  I am so grateful that I was able to meet Ron and Mary.  I am learning I sometimes fall in love with people too quickly...haha the Sisters joke that I am terrible at saying goodbye because whenever they go to leave I act like they're my best friends.  Well, I really do see everyone and anyone I meet as my best friend--we are all in this world together, trying to do the best we can.  I hope that in even the smallest of ways I can leave people feeling uplifted, or even just a little better than they did before.

With Sister McQueen from New Zealand! Today is her 20th birthday!
Anyone and Everyone...write her a card! :)

As you can see, I thought  a lot about family this week.  I thought about how all growing up, I would run to my Dad and say, "Dad! Can I tell you a story!?"  He quickly learned that I wasn't ever really asking, I would tell him my story whether he said I could or not..I just liked to ask to be polite anyway :) haha So now, whenever I would say, "Dad! Can I tell you a story!?"  (and trust me, it's a lot, I love telling stories and talking with people)  He would smile at me and respond laughing, "Well, you're going to tell me anyway aren't you?"  This has always been such a funny aspect of me and my Dad's relationship--he knows me so well, and still loves me enough to listen and just hear me out even though he knows he didn't have much say in the matter haha.  I have talked with a lot of people this week about how they say they hope The Book of Mormon is true.  When we ask them what will happen when they receive their answer that The Book of Mormon is true, they often say things like, "Well, I'm not sure yet."  I think this is often times why people say they pray and pray for an answer from Heavenly Father, yet they don't receive it.  Heavenly Father, like my Dad, knows us SOOO well.  He knows if we are really asking to know, or if we are asking just to ask.  My Dad knew that whether he said yes or no played no role in me telling my story, just like Heavenly Father knows that for some of us, His answer will go unnoticed or unappreciated by us.  I have really strengthened my testimony that when we truly pray with sincerity, when we ask Him as He is our own Father (which He is), He cannot help but tell us.  He is excited that we are asking Him, that we are listening, and that we genuinely act on what we will hear.  

Sister Tupou, from Tonga, gave me her flower from her hair and
told me she wanted me to be an islander today :)

So, here is my commitment or my invitation to everyone, everywhere.  Pray with sincerity of heart.  Figure out why you want to know--is it because if The Book of Mormon is true it means you can be with your family for eternity?  is it because if The Book of Mormon is true it means the Jesus Christ really knows you personally and loves you?  is it because if The Book of Mormon is true it means that each day is a new day full of opportunities for progression and growth to return home to our Heavenly Father to live in never-ending happiness for all time?  Think about it, read even just a few verses a day of The Book of Mormon, and ask Him.  Don't ask Him like I would ask my Dad if we could have story time, I would ask knowing that no matter what he said, I wasn't going to change my idea of what was right for the moment-my story.  Ask your Heavenly Father with an open heart, with a real desire to hear Him out, and I PROMISE you that you will know The Book of Mormon is true.  And knowing that, oh my goodness, has been the greatest blessing in my life.  

Really, I say this all because I can't help but smile as I write this, I can't help but smile because I have found out for myself, purely, genuinely and truly that this really all is true.  

It is a "gospel of second chances and happy endings." 
(Elder Holland)

Thank you SO much to everyone for reading this, I know that this is long but it was an amazing week full of inspiration and growth as I really learned to full-heartedly rely on my Heavenly Father!  

I wish for nothing but the very best and happiest for all of you! I hope to hear from you all soon!  YOU ARE LOVED...SO SO LOVED.  Please know I am always thinking about you all and get SO excited to hear from you, really, I do kind of an awkward dance when I receive mail haha you're all the best!

Love always,

Sister Briggs


-Thank you to Sister Donakey, Cami Jensen, Britt Lam, Casey Briggs, Mom Briggs, Briana Layton, Curtis Layton, Dad Layton, Peggy Kinkade, Johanna (from the Philippines), Robert Donakey, Becca Donakey, Brother Donakey, Sara Donakey and Mary Donakey for all the letters and packages!

- Also, SO wonderful to run into so many people I know this week! ---> So happy to see Britt Lam, Cami Jensen and Ally Morgan! Congrats to Britt Lam who got her mission call to THAILAND! I am so proud of her and am so excited to write her and hear about all of her adventures! She will be SO AMAZING! Also so happy to see Seth Chatterly and Taylor McBride, I am so happy to see you both doing so well! Also, wonderful to see my Grandfather and Grandma Jeanie as they were passing through! Thank you with everything for the goodies and for the hugs! It meant so much to me to see you!

Mahal Kita!

Oh yes...
and always remember....

Smile :)