Monday, July 28, 2014

"Oh Sister Briggs...I've been eight years old for two years already."

I knew I loved dinosaurs for a reason. 
They pull handcarts too! (at the Pioneer day parade in downtown Salt Lake City)
Hi everyone! I am so excited to share with you each the story behind this week's blog title. I sit here laughing and smiling as I write and hope that it is able to do the same for each of you too. I think it's the neatest thing that Christ suffered, life was given, and the gospel is restored for our joy. The automatic fruits of following Christ is deep joy, and He blesses us with tender moments along the way to make us smile, make us laugh, and cause us to look up heavenward and say, "thank you for this life, it really is so beautiful."
This past week I got to call one of my second families in life--Monica, Scott, DJ, Emmi, Sydney, Cayden and Payton from my outbound experience in Reno, Nevada.  This family is so precious to me, and I would serve my entire mission just for them to know how entirely loved they are by their Father in Heaven.  I get so excited every time I get to talk with them. They call me Sister Smiles, and it always made me laugh because the times I spent with them were some of the most spiritual and inspiring moments of my mission--they are a big reason my big smile was always there.

When I was able to get in touch with them this past week, little Cayden reminded me of just how easy it is to smile and feel our Savior's love around them.  I haven't been able to talk with Cayden much on the phone since I've been back at Temple Square.  He has always been at school or out playing, so when he answered the phone on Thursday, I was so happy to hear his adorable voice.
He talked to me about primary, the songs he loves to sing, the happiness he feels with the people there, and then shared about his fun times going to the park and playing football.  I realized I wasn't quite sure how old he was, and so I asked.
"Hey Cayden, how old are you now?" I asked.
"I'm eight years old," he responded.
I was so excited! I didn't realize he was eight and wanted to talk to him about the gift of baptism, and the songs he sings about it in primary.
Love my companion and former roommate Sister Lunddahl from Denmark :)

"Wow Cayden!" I said enthusiastically, "You're eight years old?"
"Oh, Sister Briggs," he responded, "I've been eight years old for two years already!"
haha the smile that came across my face must have taken up all of the teaching center. How I love this boy- his innocence made my day.  His words have continued to bring a smile to my face whenever I reflect back on that moment.  We were able to talk more about the gift of baptism, of the powerful gift God wants to give him of the Holy Ghost.  We both left our phone call feeling the love of our Father in Heaven and feeling happy.
Bear with me now as I try to explain what this simple conversation with this 8 year old boy taught me and how it relates to another experience I had as a missionary this week.

Last night, Josh Wright, a renowned pianist who has played all around the world and starred on America's Got Talent, came and played for our mission and the guests on temple square in the Assembly Hall.  He spoke to us about his mission, about the value of persistence, and the importance of love in doing the work of the Lord.  Him and his amazing wife played one piece together, with two grand pianos lined up side by side.

As I listened to Brother & Sister Wright play this piece side by side, I thought about how well they knew the the other's part on the piano.  Because of the love they have for the music, the love they have for each other, you could see in the way they played that they weren't counting out beats or rhythms, they knew how their pieces flowed together and that is what made it beautiful.  They equally waited on one another to play their individual chords and notes.
As a representative of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I can't help but think of my relationship with Him and mankind's relationship with Him.  So often I feel we are counting out the rhythms, counting out the beats, and waiting to play our part.  We fail to recognize that as children of God, this life has never been a "me" thing, it has always been an "us" thing.  God never sent us into this world alone, yet so often we wait, and think that we are to begin our part when He is finished with His.  We are so much better as a partnership.  We must know the Lord and our Father in Heaven well enough to recognize their pieces of music all around us--the notes and chords they play in our lives each day, and we are to respond and as one with them.
To come back to Cayden, my dear little brother who has been eight years old for two years already, I think about how often we wait and wait and fail to recognize the time, filled with blessings and tender mercies, passing right by.  What if Brother Wright were to wait until the end of the piece to start playing his part?  What if he had the idea that he were to sit and let time pass without being anxiously engaged in the passing of it. I think too often we can come to the Lord and say, "I've been waiting for two years now for this, I've been waiting and wondering about this for 2 weeks already," without doing our part to be involved in the beauty of being on our Savior's side with every stroke of a miracle.

May we not let the time pass, waiting for miracles to come, but be actively engaged in bringing about miracles in the lives of others.  When we do, we truly feel the power of God and the uplifting and enabling power of Jesus Christ's infinite sacrifice. Imagine what would have happened if Joseph Smith had read James 1:5, felt the Spirit and then thought in his heart, "Well, God should know I am asking," and then waited without action, without playing his next notes and chords. He went forth and asked, even though he trusted God knew his heart.  We are to be a team.  I testify that we are each children of God, that there are blessings around us each day, and that we do not need to wait until the end of a piece to find joy. I testify that the Restoration really did happen, don't wait to pray and ask for yourself, His answer will be yes no matter when you come to Him, when you come with a desire to be closer to Him.  Be ready to play your part, and be ready to feel the greatest joy you could ever imagine.
"Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life.  Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me." (3 Nephi 9:14, The Book of Mormon, another Testament of Jesus Christ).

I've become extremely awkward at taking pictures by myself.  I need someone by my side in them! My wonderful companion insisted though :)

Love always,
Sister Kelsey Jean Briggs
SHOUTOUTS: Jessica Helm, Caroline Slater, Momma Ordoñez, Momma Pickerell, Alyssa Lamprecht, Sister Ibarra, Sister Nelson, Sister Freitas, Sister Spencer, Sister Molodogalli/Mclellan (it was so good to see you all again last night!), Mom & Dad, Bry & Case, Brother & Sister Donakey, Becca, Mary, Liz, Sara, Barry and Robert Donakey :)

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