Hello Hello everyone! It has been such a long while since I have been able to write, and so many beautiful changes have taken place. I have received a second mission call, one that has been prayed over by the missionary department, and an Apostle of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...I have been assigned to labor in the Reno Nevada Mission!
I am now in a trio with two AMAZING Sisters. They are Sister Baines from Idaho and Sister Pickerell from Colorado. We are getting right into the work and are seeing miracles every single day. I wouldn't change this time for anything and feel privileged to serve here and to learn from the examples of disciples around me.
|Got my approval stamp from the mission presidency...I was officially checked out of Temple Square! See you in April :)|
If anyone is reading this who recently received a mission call or is thinking about going on a mission but scared about where they will go, know this--it is in the Lord's hands. We know that God knows everything, and that includes YOU. More than anything, God knows His children. His whole purpose is to bring about their immortality and eternal life. So know that your mission call is one He takes very seriously and it is meant for you. Love having that honor of being prayed about and sent exactly where the Lord needs you.
|Sister Nakayama and I on our flight to Reno! We handed out a pass along card and invited her to meet with missionaries...thank you Heavenly Father :)|
I am loving Reno so far! I am serving right in the heart of downtown Reno. Have you ever seen the sign with the arch that says "The biggest little city in the world"? That goes right down the center of our mission. In the 6 days that I have spent here already, my testimony has grown so rapidly and so firmly of the commandments of God.
Here in Reno we meet so many people who are tangled up in addictions of gambling, drinking and smoking. I have met people whose lives revolve around when they can take their next drink or smoke their next cigarette. I have seen the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon when we are taught that wickedness never was happiness, and my solemn witness needs to be heard that I have grown to know that the rules that we follow as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aren't rules of man, but they are commandments from God.
Those who come closer to Christ and God through their full gospel will naturally have a desire to give up such substances without even being invited by missionaries to do so--such is the story of Tammy. Tammy was a referral we received just this Friday. Tammy has been kicked out of her apartment and now is staying at a homless shelter which she calls "the pit." She asked for missionaries to come see her because her best friend Walter is being baptized a member of the church and she wants what he has. She said that she has never seen someone go through such a drastic change as she has seen Walter. A member of the ward drove over to see Tammy with us at the shelter on Saturday, and picked her up to come to Walter's baptism. Tammy was so excited. There was a free, beautifully prepared meal being served to those in the shelter that night, but Tammy had declined because she was so nervous she'd be stuck in line and miss us to come and see Walter be baptized.
I sat with Tammy at the baptism and with tears in her eyes she leaned over to me and said, "when can I be baptized Sister Briggs? Please tell me it will be soon." I just grabbed her hand, told her to look at her friend Walter, and to look into his eyes.
"What do you see in his eyes Tammy?" I asked her.
"Light," she said. "The strongest light I've ever seen."
"Tammy, when you are baptized, you become a daughter of Christ, you take His name upon you, and His light becomes your light. Yes, Tammy, you can and you will be baptized a member of Christ's true church on the earth today."
Tammy has been drinking since she was 12...her addiction, is gone, her desire to sin is dissolved. She came to church with us yesterday and heard us speak in the ward to introduce ourselves.
Brothers and Sisters, the world teaches us to go along with the ways of the world. If this church were the church of man, sure we'd be okay with drinking, with smoking, with gambling, with everything that the world makes to look appealing. But let me tell you, this is no ordinary church. This is not just another building to visit on Sunday, this is not just a group of friends to hang out with. This is the true gospel of your Savior Jesus Christ, and because of this, we give our love to Him, and not to the world. I know that in keeping the commandments of God, we learn the truthfulness of it by experience. Don't justify your actions and say, "that's just the way I am." Since when was mankind ever content with remaining the same? YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD. In coming to this earth, you chose to come here because you never wanted to be stuck the same, you wanted to change, you wanted to progress, and unless we keep the commandments of God we will never find that peace and joy that we look for elsewhere. This is my promise to you.
"Yea, I say unto you my son, (my family, my friends, anyone reading this e-mail), that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy." (Alma 36: 21)
When we put God first, when we put Christ first, we are saved from that frustration that comes from not living up to the goals we once set for ourselves in the premortal existence. When we live the principles of their gospel, we cannot even begin to express our joy. I have never been so certain of this as I have been with my first few days in Reno.
I know my Savior lives, I know He loves us and I know that He is involved in your life. Ignoring Him is to see happiness and to turn around and walk away...it will never get you anywhere.
I love you all and am grateful for all your love and support! Know that this is true! Enjoy each day and know that there is no limit on the joy you can feel when you trust in God.
I invite you all to read Alma 36 and to learn from the words of our ancestors that the best comes from our Savior. There is hope ahead, keep walking, and never give up :)
SHOUTOUTS: Of course I come all the way to Reno and yet one of my very good friends from BYU is in my ward here..she's coming out to teach a lesson with us on Wednesday! Yay Kelsey Christensen! Also, so good to see Bryan and Casey :) Mom and Dad, The Donakeys, Robert Donakey, Caroline Slater, Grandma Jeanie, Grace Collins, Erica Owens, Ariel Ibarra, Brian Burton :)
|Sister Lin's mom came to pick her up to take her home! How I miss her!|