Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I'm beginning to think this is all real

 How we love the miracles of Temple Square!

I hope Easter Sunday was a beautiful day for everyone.  Temple Square was busy with individuals, friends and families who all came with a love and left with a passion for our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I am so grateful for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the way they hasten the Lord's work. As Temple Square missionaries, we feel honored, humbled and blessed to have the opportunity to work alongside them.  The way they testify of our Savior, the way they truly give all their time, talents and efforts to building up the children of God around the world through the powerful spirit of their music, leaves me in awe and wanting to do more.  It shows that no matter who we are, where we are, what our capacities may be, all of us have something to bring to the Lord's kingdom.  Whether you bake and bring treats to a neighbor, help your siblings with their homework, play a hymn in a piano recital, listen to uplifting music in the car with your friends, you are doing the work of the Lord and I feel tremendously blessed to be working alongside you.

When we do such every day matters with an eye single to the glory of God, we truly become qualified to inspire the working of miracles among His children.  What an exciting thought :) doesn't that just make you smile? Do you love the people around you?  Then you can bring them closer to Christ.  Do you look for ways to serve your friends and family?  You are bringing them closer to Christ.  Do you feel the spirit when talking with people in every day situations?  You have already brought them closer to Christ.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by the Prophet of this marvelous work, of this Restoration, Joseph Smith.  I testify that he saw God, the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ and that he indeed was called to restore the very same organization Jesus Christ established when He taught during His mortal ministry. 

He said, "A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race."
On exchanges with beautiful Sister Chayama from Japan!

When we begin with this love we have for God, with this love we have for our fellow-man, the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ spreads throughout the world in a very real and literal sense.  When this happens, both sides of the veil rejoice as curiosity begins to develop into faith.

For Kathleen, it wasn't a thought-out lesson or a brilliant presentation that took her doubting curiosity into a beautiful desire to have faith, rather, it was a simple, ordinary text. Really...a very, very simple text.

It read, "Sorry it's taken us so long to get back to you! We were having difficulties with e-mail but will send it to you soon! We love you Kathleen and we're so happy to hear from you!"

However, what turned this ordinary text into a thought-consuming miracle was the timing of the Lord. 

In the middle of our lunch, Sister Gearheart and I felt this very strong prompting we needed to text Kathleen and we needed to do it right that moment.  It didn't make apparent sense as we were in a rush to get through our meal, but the prompting pounded and persisted.  So off went this simple text, but then came a powerful reply.

"Wow...I was just thinking about you both when you texted!" 

We smiled then when we read the text, but rejoiced today as we heard what a powerful effect this simple text had on her newly budding faith.  We met Kathleen here at Temple Square and had a powerful lesson with her on the Plan of Salvation with a wonderful member family who brought her.  When we called her again with our return appointment she said continually said, "Where's my proof? How can I have faith?"
Our district at our district meeting this week!

Today as we shared with her the strong prompting we felt to text her right in that moment she said, "Sisters, I'm really beginning to think this is all real."

All it took was a text and two willing hearts to follow the promptings of the Lord.

Brothers & Sisters, we are all at different points of our journey to being with God and becoming like Him, but we must help each other along this path.  We have not the right, but the responsibility to remind, re-teach and restore our brothers and sisters to this knowledge we have that we are literal children of God, our lives have purpose and our future is infinite.  This gospel is real.  It is as real, it is more real than you and me.  Whatever it is you are doing, whatever talents you have, use them to help our fellow brothers and sisters along this path.  

Kathleen is now going to church this Sunday for the first time in over 10 years.  We love her, we pray for her and have felt and found the greatest joy in helping her step by step to remember who she really is.  

I testify of the reality that our Savior died for each of us.  Such a profound sacrifice should remind us that we are so much more than the world would have us believe.  We are so much more than we can now see.  We are so much more important, special, and loved than we can imagine, or our Father would not have sent His Only Begotten & perfect Son to atone for us all. 

"O Lord, wilt though grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.  Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee." (Alma 31:34-35). 

Will you each find a way this week to hasten the Lord's work?  Remember, it can and will be found in your talents, personality and character that the Lord has blessed you with, it may even be something as simple as a text.  Even the most simple of things can transform a curious thinker into a faithful believer who says, "I'm beginning to think this is all real." I know that the Lord's heart is full as we can all work together to bring each other back to Him. How great is our calling! :)

Sister Briggs

SHOUTOUTS: Jonathan LeFevre (congratulations! Your fiance is beautiful! Thank you for the invite!), Rob Versaw, Britania & Tom Busath (so happy I got to see you both today!), Bryan & Casey Briggs (congratulations on graduating, really, congrats to all my friends graduating this weekend!), Mom & Dad, Robert Donakey, Grandmother, Grandma Jeanie & Grandfather, Sara, Mary, Becca, Brother & Sister Donakey, the amazing and wonderful achievement day girls of the cascade crest ward, Sister Stutz...thank you!!!!!
My Wonderful Bag Finally is Dying

Friday, April 18, 2014

Our Savior's Resurrection Should Teach Us That.

Such a beautiful spring day! We love it!

First and foremost, Happy Easter everyone. The sunshine at Temple Square, the blooming and budding flowers, the aged hands that hold to one another while entering the temple, the hands with new dazzling rings held in the air in joy on the temple stairs, the children playing in the fountain, all reminds me that life will always be beautiful and life will always begin again.  Each of these things remind me of our Savior, our eternal Elder brother whose love and desire for our happiness is infinite.  Nothing can stop Him from always having His arms outstretched...we should each learn that from His resurrection and the way He overcame death. Nothing will stop Him from progressing and from changing the world, from changing us, for this is what He lives to do.

It is the way our Savior overcame death that strengthens me the most.  Think about it brothers and sisters.  Even He, the divine son of God bled from every pore and asked if there wasn't a less excruciating way, yet He pressed onward. He then was taken before a mob, convicted, arrested, and made to carry not just a wooden cross on His shoulders, but the sins of the world, the pains and heartaches of you and me.  He literally had the nails pounded into His hands, His wrists, His feet and flinched from pain but never from doubt; He knew who He was.

He endured this pain and pressed onward in the spirit world.  He taught our brothers and sisters there who had just seen Him suffer in such a close and personal way, and then once more, 3 days later, He returned.  When we look at the resurrection of our Savior, we must know with all our heart that He is the Only Begotten of the Father, that He is truly our Savior, our Redeemer. I support and sustain Elder D. Todd Christofferson as one of His living, modern day witnesses and Apostles. I love his talk from this last General Conference titled, "The Resurrection of Jesus Christ," and invite each of you to read it this Sunday to hold in reverence what this day means for all mankind.

"No mere mortal has the power in himself to come to life again after dying. Because He was resurrected, Jesus cannot have been only a carpenter, a teacher, a rabbi, or a prophet. Because He was resurrected, Jesus had to have been a God, even the Only Begotten Son of the Father," said Elder Christofferson.
I testify boldly as a representative of this divine Son of God, that for anything to truly be the gospel of Jesus Christ, for anything to bear witness of Christ's name, it's gospel, it's teachings, it's truth must have this same divine power. Nothing so boldly testifies of the truthfulness of the reality of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being the true church of Christ on the earth again today, then does the reality of the resurrection.  As Christ and was resurrected, so too must His gospel and His teachings.  They were taken, and now through this same power they are here.  Brothers and Sisters, we must open our eyes and see that Jesus Christ has restored His teachings to the earth again today.

Just as nothing could or can ever stop our Savior from progressing, so too will nothing stop His true and eternal gospel, founded on heavenly laws and divine principles.  This should be evident in each of our hearts and minds as an added witness that Christ Himself directs this church.

Joseph Smith echoed this very testimony in what is now referred to today as The Standard of Truth.
"The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecution may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done."

I stand as a witness alongside our Savior, alongside the Apostles and President Thomas S. Monson, that nothing, absolutely nothing will stop or even hinder this work from progressing. Our Savior's resurrection should teach us that.

 I adore my wonderful companion Sister Gearheart! She teaches us all so much! Our investigators are SO blessed to have her!
This week, Jeanine taught me that too.
On my birthday we took an amazing group of army reserves around temple square.  One man was especially prepared to receive the gospel.  He told me he had always been looking for a prophet, always hoping God would call one again.  He left with a Book of Mormon and we set up a return time to call him again. 
Yesterday was the day we had set up to call this man, yet when the phone rang, a woman's voice came through the line.  This man had given us the wrong number.  For a moment as I spoke with her I felt confused, I felt a little sad and almost apologized to the woman and hung up the phone, yet there came the voice..."do you think I had nothing to do with this?"

I stayed on that phone determined to find the reason for our Father's intervention this way.  Her name is Jeanine.  She is 23 years old, a recent graduate from a culinary art school in Texas, and a pastry chef.  Yet after our miracle conversation with her, and the power of God evident to overcome any setback, she is now preparing herself to be baptized by the Priesthood authority of God on May 17 and is anxiously awaiting a call from the local missionaries and her own copy of The Book of Mormon.

The heavens opened for us on that phone call.  The spirit was the teacher, Sister Gearheart and I were simply instruments that marveled at the way our Heavenly Father works so closely and intimately among His children.  Every question Jeanine has ever had was answered as we taught her about the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The most powerful spirit she has ever felt was impressed upon her as we testified of the reality of our Savior, our Father in Heaven and of our living.  The most profound silence I have ever heard was filled with the voice of God as Jeanine heard her Father in Heaven say, "Jeanine, I do answer prayers."

Brothers and Sisters, let us not overlook the powerful lessons we have to learn in the Resurrection of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  As He overcame death, so too will His gospel.  As nothing could stop Him, nothing will ever, ever, ever stop this work.  This, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contains the Priesthood power of God, the fullness of Christ's gospel and has pressed onward through even the most thwarting of times, just as it's official and Divine head has.  This is the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Savior's resurrection should teach us that.

I say these things humbly and with a heart completely full of gratitude, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Please, visit mormon.org and watch the "Because of Him" video. Don't do it because I asked you, but do it because of Him.

Sincerely, Sister Briggs

SHOUTOUTS: Mom & Dad, Robert Donakey, Donakey family, Clarissa Ann, Brigham Facer (congrats to you and your beautiful wife!), Sister Lelle, The Daines family (those missionary clothes are adorable, you're so sweet!), Kate Thornock (your letter made me cry...I love and miss you and hope all is well!), Grandfather & Grandma Jeanie and Grandmother.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Put His Arms Unfailing 'Round You

 Thank you everyone for all the birthday wishes! You are all so kind!
It is such a blessing to be back at Temple Square at such an exciting time.  The beautiful flowers are blooming all around, yet it is the spirit of God that emanates from the temple that brings the greatest light to these sacred grounds.  Every Prophet and Apostle from the time of Brigham Young has walked these grounds and I think of that with each step I take.  I feel proud to call these Apostles and Prophets my brothers.  I feel proud to know, through the restored knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, that I lived with each of them before.  I feel blessed when I think of the ways they must have stood beside our Savior and taught us there on high to be prepared for this short yet essential experience here on earth.
General Conference day 1 with some of the amazing sisters in our district!

I know this is why we feel such a profound spirit when we hear them speak at General Conference times.  The Holy Ghost is here to teach us of the truth and of that which is so familiar with our spirits.  If we were not spirit children of God, we would not be able to receive answers to prayers through one of His other spirit children, even the Holy Ghost. As we listen to their words, I pray that we apply them in our lives.  I pray that we receive them as words from our Savior. They have given their entire lives to fulfilling the very command our Savior has given us in the scriptures.
With part of my wonderful family! Thank you so much for everything! You are all so important to me :) Thank you for coming to the temple!
"Therefore, what manner of me ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am." (3 Nephi 27:27)
As a representative of Jesus Christ, as a daughter of God working alongside these Apostles in this mission to bring everyone closer to their Savior, I testify that they are truly men called of God.  I testify that Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet of God on the earth today.  I testify that we having living Apostles in our day who walk and talk with our Savior, who marvel in His glory and then give their lives to helping us, their brothers and sisters, to feel of His love.
I am so thankful to be a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The greatest joy has come to me as I have been able to be an instrument in God's hands to help our brothers and sisters feel of their Savior's love, striving to follow in the footsteps of our Apostles, and in the footsteps of Christ, Himself.
The greatest place we can go to truly feel the arms of our Savior is in the temple and this week, we were able to help Lesle feel this for herself.  
Companionship unity without planning it :) love her! Isn't she wonderful?!
Lesle was an investigator lesson we took with some of the local elders in one of the Salt Lake missions.  Lesle was married to a less-active member of the church who passed away just about 2 years ago.  The last two years she has looked everywhere for her Savior's love...Friday night, she really found it for the first time in a long while, and it was standing at the doors of the Salt Lake temple.
When we met Lesle we felt an instant love for her, we felt a sincere concern for her happiness and we also felt a strong pull to take her to the temple grounds.  As we walked arm in arm with her, we could feel her almost shaking.  She felt nervous, so unsure about what path she was on, but taking it step by step because she knew it would bring her happiness.  When we arrived on the sacred grounds of the temple, we felt that we needed to take her up to the door.
As we stood up at the gigantic, hand carved doors, we watched as she put her hand on the temple and looked up.  It would have been easy to solely notice her eyes looking up and down the frame of the temple, yet I noticed her calm, steady hand, no longer shaking, stilled by the spirit of the Lord that surrounds the temple.
I looked right into her eyes and just opened my mouth and heard the spirit speaking through me. "Lesle, with your husbands passing, I am sure you have felt the comfort of many friends and family putting their arm around you, like this," I said as I walked over and put my arm around her.
She looked right back at me and said, "yes, those arms have been what have been getting me through.  It's been feeling them there even know I can't feel my husband's arms there anymore."
So happy to be reunited with  Sister Taylor :)
With one of the most powerful moments of feeling the spirit I have ever experienced I put my hand on my heart and said, "When we are baptized, we feel God in here.  When we are baptized, He gives us the gift of the Holy Ghost that we can feel His comfort from the very core of who we are." Lesle nodded.
"It is a step to bringing us into the Lord's house where we feel His very arm around us. Where we feel His arms locked around ours forevermore."
Lesle just kept her eyes on mine as the tears streamed down her face. The hope of feeling such an embrace throughout her life put a smile on her face and let the Holy Ghost into her heart. We stood there silently until her simple words testified to me of the reality of this embrace.
"I have longed for something like that," she said, "I know it's real, I can feel Him there now."
After day 2 of General Conference...so tired but SO happy!
Brothers and Sisters, the temple is our home away from home on earth.  Nothing can ever replace the powerful feelings of belonging we feel when we enter the temple.  I think of the joy I felt as a little girl when I would see my Dad pull up in the drive way and come through the front door.  I think of the weight of work being lifted off his shoulders as he then lifted me up instead.  Now think of how God feels when we come home to His temples.  Think of the worries that we take away from Him in seeing us walk through those sacred doors. Even just thinking about this brings such a smile to my face that I cannot contain it.  He is eager to welcome us home and to put His arms unfailing round us.  He is anxious to lift us up so that when we fall, we fall into the arms of our loving Savior, Jesus Christ.
Wherever you are, please go to the temple.  Walk around the temple, and do all you can each day to be excited for the blessing of having God's arms most powerfully around you.
Sister Briggs :)
Birthday dinner at City Creek with my beautiful companion, Sister Gearheart! Thank you Mom & Dad!
SHOUTOUTS: Thank you to EVERYONE for all the amazing birthday wishes, I feel so blessed! Mom & Dad, Bry & Casey, Brother & Sister Donakey, Mary, Becca, Sara, Barry, Heather, Briana and Alecsy, Grandfather and Grandma Jeanie, Grandfather and Lolly, Cascade Crest Ward, Layton family, the Pickerell Family, the Kendricks, Chay and Colton Miles, Barbara Slater, Jessica Helms, Sister Lin, Rob Versaw, Sean Burton, Britania & Tom (hi baby birds!) Sister Green and Caroline Slater :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"If the Savior Stood Beside Me.."

(From Kelsey, April 3, 2014) As I boarded the plane from Reno to Salt Lake City, I felt my heart not being split in two between the two missions, but my heart simply growing to be able to contain more love. The time the Lord allowed me to serve in Reno is such a treasure to me.  It was in Reno I came to know my Savior in a very personal and real sense.  It was in Reno where I implemented the vital importance of talking to absolutely everyone about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was in Reno where I was blessed with remarkable companions who showed me the way to truly love others with the pure love of Christ. 
I finally had to toss my tracting shoes, and it was a bit of a sad day.
I loved walking the streets of downtown Reno. 
Last good-byes at the airport with President and Sister Hermansen in Reno, Nevada

I am reminded of a verse in The Book of Mormon that talks about how a place was made beautiful and special because of the experiences had there.
Saying good bye to our investigator, Susan.  How I miss her :)

"And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever." 
(Mosiah 18:30).
Love everyone in the mission office in Reno! Thank you for everything!
My three months in Reno mean everything to me. I have such a testimony that we are called to our missions through inspiration from our Heavenly Father.  We are called to serve where, and we are called to serve who our Father in Heaven needs us to touch to bring them that much closer to coming home to Him. How fast those months flew by and yet how much my Father in Heaven allowed me to grow.
 I was so blessed with such tremendous companions in Reno! wow!

Our Heavenly Father seems to be constantly reminding me how quickly our privilege to represent His Son, Jesus Christ, as full-time missionaries goes by.  Now, I am back here at Temple Square and I feel so tremendously blessed to take all that I learned in Reno and apply it to our missionary work here. Never again will I experience this day as a full-time representative of Jesus Christ and His teachings, and that in itself makes today special and remarkable to me :) 
With wonderful Sister Smedley in the mission office! We always liked to snack on peanut butter pretzels together, miss her!

Marvin J. Ashton once said, "Our strides of today will determine our locations tomorrow."  

It is my greatest desire and my firmest hope to at the end of all my tomorrows, to sit and rest at my Savior's feet. I know to prepare for such a resting place, we must stride with our Savior, step by step, today and now.  I know that to stride with our Savior step by step, we must have faith enough in Him to know that He wants us by His side too. My incredible new companion and I learned very powerfully today that our Savior really will stand beside us as we stand for Him and strive to do His work His way.  Such miracles are brought about through including Him, and we can do this through the beautiful gift of prayer.
 Saying goodbye to all the sisters in our amazing Keystone Ward.  What a blessing it was to serve side by side with them for the last 3 months

Last night as Sister Gearheart (from Washington state) and I planned for our day today, we felt inspired to plan for a specific person we would meet.  
Me and my WONDERFUL new companion, Sister Gearheart from Washington!
With such powerful faith Sister Gearheart looked at me and said, "Sister Briggs, who are we going to meet tomorrow?"

As we sat there we started to describe someone as led by the spirit. We described a young mother with a child who has gone less active in the church. We felt that she would be someone who wants support as she doesn't feel support from the father of her children.  We felt impressed that she would feel strength as she made decisions in life, picturing her Savior at her side. We felt that we would met her between 11:00 and 12:00 and had the faith that if it was in God's will and timing, we would.

At 11:55, we met Tracey and her little boy, Isaac. Tracey is a senior in high school from Elko, Nevada.  Isaac's father is distant from their family and she feels that she is very much alone.  Our Father in Heaven made it so very clear to the both of us who we needed to meet last night.  Sister Gearheart and I couldn't help but smile as we stood there and spoke with Tracey.  We could feel so powerfully of her Heavenly Father's love for her.  We could see her great desire to raise her son Isaac in a way that brought in all the truths and beauty of the gospel she had been taught growing up.  As we were led by the spirit, we handed her a picture of our Savior and encouraged her to put it in a place where her and Isaac would see her each day.

Sister Gearheart and I paused for a minute as we were about to walk away, when our Heavenly Father brought back to memory a very key piece of information He had given us the night before.

"Tracey," we said. "We know that the road ahead may seem long, and it may look hard, but we promise as you picture your Savior standing beside you, every decision will become that much easier."  

Tracey looked up at us, and we saw we had caught her son Isaac's attention too.

"And as representatives of your Savior," we continued, "we can testify with absolute surety that He is standing right beside you with every step you take. The work you are engaged in as a mother of one of God's precious children is far too important for Them to leave up to chance. You are engaged in a noble cause."

I love the primary song, "If the Savior stood beside me," and thought of it so powerfully and vividly at that very moment.  I know and testify that the Savior stands beside each and every one of us in our daily labors.  

"He is always near me,
though I do not see Him there,
And because He loves me dearly,
I am in His watchful care.
So I’ll be the kind of person 
that I know I’d like to be
if I could see the Savior standing nigh,
watching over me." (If the Savior Stood Beside Me by Sally Deford)
So grateful I was able to serve with Sister Nakayama for two transfers in Reno.  We both love being back at Temple Square too!

So because the Savior stands beside us, let us all stand beside Him and be anxiously engaged in His work. I testify that the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from whom we will be hearing this weekend, are truly prophets, seers and revelators on the earth again today and they truly do stand for our Savior.  Listen to them this weekend, and I promise you too will be led by the Spirit to take the strides to stand with our Savior.

Sister Briggs

SHOUTOUTS: Briana Layton!!!! (so exciting, I had been on Temple Square for about 10 minutes and ran into her! Yay!) Mom, Robert Donakey, all the Reno Nevada mission :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Let Him leave a mark on your life, He's already let you leave marks on His.

I Love these little kids and sharing the gospel with them.  They are so precious and I miss them already!
 My heart is really so full right now. On January 8, I boarded a plane to a place I had never before been, yet feel I have been reunited with people I have always known.  How can that be?  How can our Heavenly Father have such infinite love for each of us, so much so that He will send us exactly where we need to be to find the greatest happiness?  I have really come to know God as my Father as I have served here in Reno.  Not only have I come to see Him as my Father, but as the Father of the Savior of the World; the Savior of you and me, of the families at church, of the man finally giving into tears as he lives in the shelters of downtown Reno, of the mothers trying to numb their feelings in life by giving in to harmful substances, of the children who just want a chance to be appreciated. 
With amazing Sydney, Emmy, Monica and DJ.  How I miss them already!
With George and Nancy.  They are returning members and bore their testimonies yesterday for the first time in a long long while.  It was such a blessing to watch them grow!
Chacha, a recent convert from Africa, is preparing to go to the temple!
Just as God loves each of us as His literal children, imagine the way He looks at His precious son, Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Imagine the sorrow He feels as He looks at the marks in His Son's hands, feet, wrists and side.  It is difficult to comprehend the way our Heavenly Father feels as He sees these marks, these prints in His Son's glorified and perfected body. Such sorrow can only be swallowed up in the purpose those marks had and still have for each of us today.  We consumed our Savior's thoughts in those painful moments.  He thought not of Himself, but of all of us, and so our Father in Heaven does the same.  Why has He allowed me to be full-time representative of His precious Son?  Why has He directed so many people and families into our path here for each of us to meet?  Because He sees those marks in His Son and remembers each and every day the suffering He went through for each of us. Our Father loves His Only Begotten Son more than we will ever fully comprehend.
"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;" (Doctrine & Covenants 18:10)
From the Savior's words in these latter-days, we see not only how important we are to our Heavenly Father, how no cost was too far for Him to pay, however, this doesn't change the fact that the cost was great to our Heavenly Father.  Think of how important that makes you, how important and special that makes each and every one of us to our Heavenly Father.  It is said that a parent is only as happy as their saddest child.  Our Heavenly Father was willing to endure watching His perfect Son endure such pain because through it we would all have the possibility of infinite and happy joy.  Jesus Christ is God's Son, and He is our brother.  Let Him leave a mark on your life, He's already let you leave marks on His.
Good luck in Las Vegas Britney! We already miss you!
Outside the temple with God's incredible investigator, Coach Mark! We taught him the plan of salvation at the temple and the spirit was so powerful.
Brother Hall is a miracle to us! We loved having dinner with them this last week!
I testify that it is through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ that we can feel the incomprehensible joy of overcoming that which holds us back, of being healed from the diverse ways that the world may afflict us and becoming more like our Savior Jesus Christ. When we live the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can't help but have His marks in our life.  We can't help but feel more profoundly the way He yearns for us to come home.  We can't help but become more like Him, but we need His help. 
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ya may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen." (Moroni 7:48).
Brothers and Sisters, life may throw us its challenges, but think then of the opportunity these challenges then create for us.  Picture for a minute the reunion our Heavenly Father had with His Son after watching Him endure such pains in the Garden of Gethsemane.  After watching Him be betrayed, mocked, scourged, spit upon and crucified.  I can only imagine the embrace that followed, and this is the kind of embrace we each should strive for when we see Him again. 

Seeing Morgan one last time :)
Girl picture with Jake our puppy and team mascot!
We decided to take a fun family picture...they really are family to me :)
This week as I have felt the embraces of good-byes I have felt the promise of a more joyous reunion in the future.  I have learned that the greatest ways we can leave a mark on the lives of those around us is by bringing them closer to Him who forsook the tomb, but not the marks that testified of His infinite love for each of us.  Yesterday, little Jasmine gave me every reason to hope that glorious reunions follow us when we follow Him through our circumstances, whatever they may be-in both the happy and the sad.

We said good-bye to our beautiful friend Aylin and wished her the best with her future.  We hugged her and assured that our friendship with her was eternal.  She cried and then started to cry even harder as she looked up to the apartment above her.
"It just breaks my heart," she said. "All day upstairs we just hear a Mom yelling at her kids, telling them she will never do anything for them, that they were mistakes and then just silence."
We said our good byes with a hope that the gospel would come into the home of this family in the apartment upstairs.  As we walked outside and started toward the cars we heard, "clunk, clunk,clunk."  Before I could turn around, I felt the embrace of a child around my legs.  I turned around to see it was little Jasmine, a member of the family in the apartment upstairs. When we told her we would be leaving she held us each closer.  She asked us when she could go to church because her Mom doesn't want to take her.  We told her that she could go next Sunday.  This innocent child understood that it was through church that she could feel the love of her family upstairs, of our heavenly home and family.
We knelt down to look right into her eyes.  She put her right hand up on my shoulder.
"Jasmine, we are representatives of your big brother Jesus Christ," I said.
With a big smile on her face and a look of confidence she said, "I know!"
All of us started to cry.  We each embraced her as we continued to hear yells coming from her upstairs apartment.  Her trials were leaving marks on her, but she wanted the marks of her Savior.  The world wanted her to think she was nothing, but in her eyes and in her hugs we could feel she knew more and would push through anything if it meant the possibility of feeling of her Savior's love everyday.
We told Jasmine just how beautiful she is, how loved she is and that God will protect her as she continues to think have the desires she now has.  I know this little girl will never let go of that perspective.  I know Jasmine doesn't see herself as a Disney princess with Aladdin, but as a daughter of a King, willing to sacrifice whatever worldly fame or royalties to rest with her Father and have such an embrace with Him above.
I love you sweet Jasmine :) you will always be a princess to me
I testify that Jesus is the Christ and that he died for Jasmine, for you, for me, and has those marks still today.  Let Him leave a mark on your life, He has marks for you.  I testify that the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through a young boy, with a heart of gold like that of Jasmine's, and that we have a living prophet on the earth again today.  Will you each find a way this week that you can invite someone to watch General Conference this weekend?  I promise you in so doing, you will feel the love of your Savior and become more like Him.  More importantly, you'll help our brothers and sisters along the same path our Savior leads us down today.
Sister Briggs
SHOUTOUTS: Sister Kroshus (happy birthday!!!), Sister Lin, Mom & Dad, Casey & Bryan Briggs, The Donakey family, Robert Donakey, Grandmother :)