Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fake Phone Numbers & Real Joy

With my new wonderful companion and new Assistant to the President,
Sister McQueen from New Zealand! I am already learning so much!
Hi everyone! I don't know how I'll be able to really type much at this time.  I feel like a little kid at Disneyland as I write.  I feel like the happiest and most blessed girl in the world.  I am more and more fully understanding why the Lord wants us to serve as missionaries for His gospel. He really could share His message and His gospel in any way at all, but He wants us to learn by experience that God is good, He is our Father, He is compassionate and caring, He is selfless and He knows every individual. 

One last photo with Sister Ordonez before she left for home.  So very grateful for her and her family!

It's been so special this past week to look back through my time as a missionary at to see the changes that have come about.  I have a wonderful new companion named Sister McQueen, from New Zealand, and we began our missions together in the Missionary Training Center in Provo.  As three sisters left Temple Square to begin their outbound experience in Reno, Nevada, I have looked back to all of my experiences there.  I think about the people I met, the homes I entered into, and the personal relationship I developed there with God. I was able to see that it is more important to God how we live, than where we live, that it is more important how we love and serve our neighbors than anything.
I remember some of my very favorite neighbors in Reno are those people who are still bringing me such great happiness today.  Back in January, during one of my first days out tracting with Sister Pickerell, we were walking in a community just next to our apartment.  I remember we were quickly walking through the wind this early morning, when a dog barking from behind caught our attention.  Looking back there was a dog and a person emerging from a garage.  I still remember the way he rubbed his eyes and blocked out the sun, followed by the confused look on his face as his eyes reached ours.  
Saying good bye to Sister Siegle, she will change the hearts of Brazil and bring so much joy where ever she is! My transfer with her increased my understanding of the true meaning of charity.

We spoke with him, invited him to learn more.  We gave him his own copy of The Book of Mormon, and he gave us...a fake phone number.  Of course we didn't know it at the time.  We tried for so long to get in touch with him, but it never went through.  Just a month or so later, we followed up on a referral from some members in the ward.  As we walked to the area, we began to realize that it was so the home of this very same person we had met just one month earlier.
I'll never forget the look on his face when he opened the door and then quickly left.  At that time we didn't know where he was going, but he returned quickly with the very same copy of The Book of Mormon we had given him earlier, and he had been reading from it faithfully each day since we had seen him.
My time in Reno was largely affected by our relationship with this one young man, DJ, and his wonderful family.  This past Saturday, DJ was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is preparing to receive the authority from God, the Priesthood, to baptize his family members in the upcoming weeks.
Here is DJ.  His family means more to me than I can ever fully express. I have learned that this is the most real joy that we can ever experience, to have your family grow and your love deepen through the Savior's infinite Atonement. 

Never did I know that such pure and infinite and real joy could come from receiving a fake phone number.  I am reminded of one of my favorite scriptures in The Book of Mormon when I think of this miracle that we have been blessed to be a part of,

"Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men." (Ether 3:5).
Each day, how many moments must we each look pass, thinking that it is too small to be anything of significance.  If anything, the small moments should teach us that we ourselves are of great significance to the Lord.  He waits not for a holiday to celebrate that we are His children, but reminds us every day in the most powerful ways. As I think over all of my experiences with DJ and his family, I truly do stand all amazed that the littlest of things has turned into remarkable joy and steps on the path toward eternal life.  
Saying good bye to Sister Taylor, when she returns from her outbound in Virginia, I'll already be home! She will be amazing where ever she is called to serve, and I am better for having served with her.
I know this gospel to be true.  I know that God teaches us about His Son each and every day, and that it is often through other people.  I know that good can always come out of every situation, if we will have the faith to press onward.  I love being a full-time missionary and a representative of Jesus Christ.  His love for each of you really is over powering, and I hope that we can each look for ways that He is trying to remind us of that each day. 
I love you all! Thank you for everything!
Love Always,
Sister Briggs

SHOUTOUTS: Rob Versaw, Jessica Helms, Sister Lin, Sister OrdoƱez (i hope you made it home safely!), Mom & Dad, Bry & Case, Robert Donakey, Brother & Sister Donakey, Sara, Mary and Becca, Ashley Solosko, Ben Wright (sorry I missed you here the other day!)

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