Monday, January 20, 2014

A Letter from Dad

 With Sister Baines right after we found out she was being transferred to ELY! I learned so much from her in our few days and miss her already!
With my parents anniversary this week, I want to start by just expressing my love and gratitude to them.  Mom & Dad--thank you for being the amazing people you are.  Thank you for supporting me as I have voluntarily left your side for these 18 months.  Thank you for your letters of encouragement, for your prayers and for your most sincere wishes for my happiness.  With your anniversary quickly approaching, I have thought a lot about how my mission has brought me closer to my Heavenly Parents.  They say that Heavenly Father loves us even more than our earthly parents do...and with parents like you, that is hard for me to imagine.  However, my faith is strong and I have been able to witness this last week not only how much God loves me, but how much He loves all His children--this I know to be true, God lives, and He is our Father.

David N. Hermansen & Sister Hermansen
President, Nevada Reno Mission
God's love is infinite, His love is perfect, and in the words of our Prophet Thomas S. Monson, "it is simply always there."  It is so much easier to make Him happy, to make Him the proud Father we want Him to be, when we know what He expects of us. Just as with my parents, I asked them what they expected of me, and they let me know.  Our Heavenly Father has given us each a letter from home and to know what He expects of us. This letter is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and you can read of it in The Book of Mormon, you can hear it in the words of the latter-day prophets, and you can learn of it from the 90,000 missionaries around the world.  How lost I would have felt if my parents remained silent as I tried and tried to make them proud.  How confused I would be.  I testify to you that God is not silent.  Go to Him and ask what would make Him proud, Go to Him and ask what will make Him happy, and you will find those very steps in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now we have another new companion! Her name is Sister Green and we adore her!
This last week we experienced a miracle with one of our investigator families as they chose to read their personal letter from their Heavenly Father.  As they have read in The Book of Mormon, as they have learned about the gospel of Jesus Christ, their desire to make God proud has replaced everything else. 

Wes & Caitlyn live in a bit of a dangerous part of Reno with their 5 month old son and two girls.  When we visited with them last week. They were opening up a bottle of wine and hollered, "can you girls drink wine?"  Well, we ended up teaching them about The Word of Wisdom and committed them to start living it that night.  That meant even forgoing the bottle of wine they had just opened. When we came back to see them we were curious as to what they would have done with the bottle of wine.  When we came into the home, Caitlyn had a new light in her eyes as she told us that they had opened the bottle of wine, poured glasses....and then dumped all of it down the drain.  They are now looking for people they can give their remaining bottles of wine too.  I could feel the spirit so powerfully, so strongly.  I know that Heavenly Father was proud of them, and is proud of them each day as they adhere to the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as they follow the counsel given in their personal letter from their Father.

We had an extremely powerful lesson with them.  We truly saw the hand of God prepare us to be in their home at the very time that it was needful.  We had an appointment with another investigator, but when we went to visit him, he said he would have to reschedule.  As a companionship we went into the car and all prayed as to what we should do. The phone rang--it was Wes saying that him and Caitlyn would love for us to come over and teach them while her Uncle was in town...who also was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Wes & Caitlyn astonished us with their faith.  As we read from The Book of Mormon, the Holy Ghost completely filled the small kitchen in downtown Reno, Nevada.

Together we read from Mosiah 24:14,15 which reads,  "And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as a witness for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."

There was a stillness in the room and the spirit testified of the truthfulness of this. 

"Wes, what would you do to have this kind of promise from the Lord in your life? To have confidence that He will strengthen you to bear up your burdens with ease?"  I asked.

After a short moment he replied, "Sister Briggs, I would give anything.  I would commit my whole heart."  Looking over to his wife Caitlyn, she nodded and shared the very same thing.
Kelsey with her trainers in Reno

I testified to them that God knew that His children would feel this way.  He gave us a Savior to show us how to make covenants with our Father in Heaven.  When we make these covenants, God is bound to His promise as we do our part.

We invited them to be baptized by the restored Priesthood authority of God and they both accepted.  Tears streamed down my face as I looked over to Wes, his hands outstretched holding The Book of Mormon, his arms covered in tattoos and him and his wife making plans to be sealed in the temple as a family.  Both Wes & Caitlyn came from broken families that had left them with broken hearts that were now being visibly healed by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Such a fun experience to be able to have dinner at a friend's house as a missionary.  Thank you Christensens!

Will you each read 2 Nephi 31 this week?  I promise you that there is no better feeling that making your Father in Heaven happy and making Him proud.  Listen to His words, be His child.

In the words of my Mom, "life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful..." and I would add..."it just needs to be in God's hands."

I love you all :)

Sister Briggs
You can go to this blog to see updates about the mission.

SHOUTOUTS: Mom & Dad, Sister Humble, Andrew Lindsay, Robert Donakey, Mary, Barry, Sara, Becca, Brother & Sister Donakey

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