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 :)

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