Thursday, March 27, 2014

Surprises & Picnic Benches

Where ever you are, I hope you are happy.  I hope you know you are loved.  I hope you know that your Father in Heaven sincerely cares and desires for you to never settle for anything less than what you were sent here to become worthy to achieve--eternal life in His presence.  Do not be discouraged.
I love the line in the well-known hymn, How Firm a Foundation which says, "Fear not I am with thee, oh be not dismayed."  When I hear this line I picture numerous looks I gave my big brother and parents year after year on Christmas morning.  My brother Bryan who I love dearly would always look at me anxiously sitting at the bottom of the stairs, rocking back and forth, anxiously waiting to run up to open presents with the family, and give me a look of, "Really Kels?" haha to that I could only think in my head, "why are you so suprised? this is what I do every Christmas, year after year!" There are things that are just a part of who we are, and our Heavenly Father is the very same.  Do not be surprised to find that your Heavenly Father is always there.  Do not be suprirsed that your Heavenly Father is there more than you sometimes feel.  Do not be suprised that His love for you is perfect and infinite.
Our amazing investigator Monica (on the left)...she's Dj's mom! And Sister amazing and loving member in our ward, she's the best!
This week we met so many people who become suprised to find their Heavenly Father cares more for them than they realized.  It is humbling to be an instrument in God's hands, to feel and see the urgency He has for us to be in certain places at certain times, for His very specific children.  Rob and Ally were two such of His children this week.
Earlier this week on a beautiful day, we had decided to walk from lesson to lesson so as to meet as many people as we possibly could.  As we approached our next lesson and realized we had a few extra minutes to spare.  We took a seat at a picnic table and decided to use the time to make phone calls to remind investigators of various things.  Sister Clegg and Sister Pickerell were working away on the phone when I felt this pull to turn around, to stand and to wave.  Not knowing what was to come of this I obeyed, stood up, turned around and waved.  I am happy to say I know my Heavenly Father and although I was surprised by the prompting, I was in no means surprised by the outcome :)
I Love the Reno Temple.
As I waved, a guy happily waved back.  His name was Rob.  Rob had on all black, was covered with tatoos from head to foot, had gages in his ears...and as I came up to shake his hand and introduce myself, his sunglasses came off and the light of Christ beamed from his eyes.  As we got to talking, I came to find that Rob used to be heavily involved in various forms of drugs, but gave it all up when his Dad passed away two years ago from cancer.  It was during that time he learned that nothing worldy could ever surpass heavenly help.  I shared with him the plan of salvation, the sure knowledge and conviction I have that he will see his dad again and saw hope reach him deeper than he before experienced. 
Sister Nakayama and I return to our home in Temple Square next's flown by so quickly!
He took a deep breath and explained that he had been driving around and felt this sudden need to pull over at the park and to get out with his dog.
"I'm now seeing why God wanted me to get out here," he said. "I know why I'm here."  He laughed to himself and tears started to stream from his eyes. I could see the surprise in his eyes that God could lead him so directly to where he needed to be.
With amazing Michele at an enrichment activity, so happy she came :)
Rob is now meeting with missionaries in his area, is excited about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and says he feels God's love more powerfully than he ever has before in all his life. What a tender mercy it was to be a part of such a surprise in his eyes, and a moment of relief in our Heavenly Father's eyes.  I can only imagine the relief our Father in Heaven felt to see two of His children obey, for both Rob and I learned something from each other that day.   And it all started at a picnic bench.
I have thought about that experience often this week and have witnessed just how far this world has come from truly knowing and understanding the meaning of the true nature of God.  He does everything He can for us each day.  He knows the questions we have, He knows that which we seek, and He sends miracles our way each day to help us rest assured that He is there. 
With today being preparation day, we decided to take a walk around the University of Nevada Reno campus.  As we walked, a girl sat at a picnic bench getting ready for her next class.  What we both thought would be a moment of friendship, turned into a moment of divine discovery.  As we talked we felt that we had both known each other before.  There was so much we had in common, and as our relationship of pure charity for one another built, so did the spirit. 
Sister Nakayama and I return to our home in Temple Square next's flown by so quickly!
I shared with her my spiritual experience in deciding to serve a mission and the powerful answer I received from The Book of Mormon that I needed to serve a mission.  She was amazed and looked at me with such awe and such surprise that any question could be taken to God.  When I asked her if she had any questions, she poured out her heart to be of things that have been on her mind and have been weighing her down.  I testified to her as an instrument in God's hands, that if she diligently prayed with her question and took it to The Book of Mormon, she would receive her answer.  Ally smiled with a look of relief and said, "I knew I was supposed to talk to you today.  I believe you.  I have never been interested in the Mormons, but I feel something here that I haven't felt before. I know that what you're sharing is true and am so excited to receive my answer." And it all started at a picnic bench.
Just after meeting Ally...sitting on the bench again on UNR campus :)
Brothers and Sisters, we do not have to be extraordinary to share the gospel.  These are God's children and He will provide a way.  Do not be dismayed that He is willing to do this for each of us, and do not be dismayed that He loves you enough to allow you to be a part of it.  As we serve our Father in Heaven, as we remember His greatness and our roles as His children.  As we stand steadfast in the faith which we hold dear, it is impossible to not find meaningful happiness in each and every day.
"And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice and be filled with the love of God and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true." (Mosiah 4:12).
Have a wonderful week everyone! Do not be surprised by the way God blesses you and those around you this week, you are more important to Him than any of us will ever comprehend :)
 I KNOW with all my heart and soul, whether I speak as Sister Briggs or Kelsey Briggs...this book is true and is from God.  Read it and take it to heart and you will find amazing happiness!
Sister Briggs
SHOUTOUTS: Bryan & Casey, Mom and Dad, Julia, Sister Lin, Robert Donakey, Donakey Family, Grandma Jeanie, Grandmother...thank you!!! :)

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