Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Jumping Rope & Building Ships

Happy February everyone! I hope your February is off to a pleasant start.  We experienced some snow these last few days that made us all very excited.  The sunsets here in Reno are beautiful and the dusting of snow on the mountains gives me just the small reminder of home and Temple Square to make me know that this is my home now :) I am been blessed beyond measure to have been welcomed into the homes of so many children of God this past week.  It is the greatest gift as a missionary to be able to have a genuine and sincere love for people just upon entering their homes for the first time.  Sometimes our love can grow for others through a simple game of jump rope as well.

So hard to say good bye to Sister Green! We love and miss you!
Last Sunday, January 26, we had a set up appointment with our investigators Chris and Juiny.  We had been looking forward to the lesson all week and were so grateful for this opportunity as it has been incredibly difficult to get in touch with them lately. We walk up to their home, knock on the door, and no one answers.  We all look at each other.  Knock again.  Nothing comes, except for a small voice from behind us.

"I don't think those people are home, ladies."

We turned around to see an adorable young girl surrounded by about 6 of her friends from the neighborhood.

"Yeah, they're not home," echoed one of the other girls, "so you can just play jump rope with us!"

We smiled and waited for a moment to listen to the promptings of the spirit as to what it was we should do. We felt that we were needed where we were.  We didn't know if that prompting meant we were to stay and wait because Chris & Juiny would soon return, or if someone else would come and approach us, but there we stayed with those little kids for the next hour.

One of them especially became attached to us.  Her name is Jessiah and she is about 7 years old.  We handed her a photo of Christ surrounded with children.  With a huge smile on her face she said, "Hey, I know him! That's Jesus!"  We loved the amazing things she went on to tell us about how she goes to church every Sunday with her family and it makes her love them even more.  She even ran up to the apartment she lives in to grab the pictures of David and Goliath she had drawn at church that day.

There with the kids, we stood, teaching them all the story of David and Goliath.  I felt such immense joy as the kids would say, "See, we little guys are important too.  God cares about us!"  It took me just about everything I had to not cry.  The neighborhood where we were is actually one of the most highly rated streets for crime in all of Nevada.  We were in the midst of drugs, alcohol, blasting rap music, everything that made me want to just let these kids though whose child they really are. 

Sister Pickerell, being the amazing missionary she is, said that we should sing, "I am a Child of God."  We had no idea how they would hear us with the chaos all around, but we knew with a surety that if anything they would feel Him. We began to sing and miraculously enough, the stereo blasting the music broke down.  All you could hear was three sister missionaries singing, "I am a Child of God."  We could feel the stares of people all around, but most importantly, we could each feel of the truthfulness of this message.

We gave Jessiah our phone number and a pass-along card.  She said she would be calling us because she would miss us too much.  We smiled, gave them all high fives and slowly walked back to the car.  We had no idea what would come from that hour spent with those 6 kids. We hoped we had done the right thing, that we were where our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ needed us to be.

My awareness of my calling as a representative of Jesus Christ has been extremely heightened.  My faith in Him who I represent has turned into a solidified knowledge.  With this experience in the run down neighborhoods of Reno, I hoped it was the miracle God wanted us to be a part of that day.  Where my faith is, I have the faith to walk on water.  I didn't see however that God doesn't always call us to walk on water, He calls us to do the small and simple, and those small and simple things allow others to walk towards their Savior.

Just a few days ago, we returned to Chris & Juiny's for another appointment with them, only to experience the same silence that returned our repeated knocks on their door.  They weren't home.  We then remembered sweet Jessiah and her friends and through the stairs and smoke we walked straight to her apartment door. 

When we knocked on the door, we were greeted by her Dad Quinzale.  When we told him we were missionaries, we didn't hear the silence we so often heard at so many other doors, but we heard the pounding footsteps of children followed by an excited clap.  There was Jessiah and her little brother Zimar, beaming at the door. 

"Dad, Dad! We told you they would come!"  Jessiah said. 

Zimar ran to put his shoes on thinking we had come for a play date with him.

"Zimar, I don't think these ladies have time for a play date now," Quinzale said, "but maybe they can another time."  Looking up at us Quinzale said, "Could you come back?  We would be happy to have you back."

There was the miracle that came from our jump roping with the 6 little kids in the middle of Reno, Nevada.  That hour was not spent walking on water, it was spent smiling and singing to God's children.
Big deal for Oregonians to fill up the gas tank :)
As a representative of the Savior of the world, of Jesus Christ, I do have the faith to walk on water, but my calling is to construct the ship.

"And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying:  Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters."
1 Nephi 17:8.

Brothers and Sisters, let us gladly do that which is asked of us. He is the one who will carry each and every one of us across the stormy seas that we so often see lying ahead of us.  As His representatives, let us help Him and invite others to build His ship.  Sometimes building His ship may come in the form of an hour spent with His children. Let your faith allow you to help Him in His greatest work.

Have a wonderful week!!!

Sister Briggs

SHOUTOUTS: Casey & Bryan, Mom & Dad, Robert Donakey, Brother & Sister Donakey, Mary, Becca, Tori Thomas, Sara Donakey, Barry, Nicky Lin, Ariel Ibarra, Caroline Slater, Barbara Keil (thank you so much Barbara for your letter, you were an answer to my prayers.  YOU helped build His ship.  A letter for you is on its way!)
It was a crazy week, so Sister Pickerell and I both felt it was fitting to by our own big things of ice cream!

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