Sunday, September 28, 2014

Nick & Barbara

I want each of you to know, that I have never known joy so fully and so infinitely as I have during my time as a full-time missionary.  The alarm goes off at 6:30am--I am tired, but I am smiling.  I run up and down the hall-ways at our apartments for our 30 minutes of exercise--I want to see outside, but I am filled with the spirit being surrounded by my sisters from over 50 countries.  I am inspired by them and their goodness. I see them and feel so much joy thinking of the impact they will have on their countries and communities as they return home from this sacred place and experience.  7-8am we are eating breakfast with our sisters in our apartment from Latvia and Arizona--they have testimonies of Christ that keep them going. 8-10am we are kneeling in prayer and counseling with the Lord about the day ahead.  We are reading from the scriptures, studying Preach My Gospel, and having the spirit confirm to us each moment that what we are teaching is divine.  10am we run out the door--this message is too imiportant to walk.  We talk to everyone.  We exclaim, "Good to see you again!" because we know that no one is a stranger to us; we have all been together before this life. We call Africa, Luxembourg, England, Nevada, Utah, Alabama, South Carolina and are inspired to know which of God's children need us right then and now--we smile when they answer the phone and say they have been waiting for us to call. We eat lunch when we have time, but are mostly being spiritually fed by the sisters all around us--they have a light that burns so deeply from within.  We spend our day on temple square, following the spirit in where to go and what to say--He never fails us, and we seek to never fail Him and His children.
My planner for this transfer.  The front quote says, "One of the principal purposes of our mortal existence is to be spiritually changed and transformed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ."
How true this is, and I love Him for that!
I cry as I write this because I can never see this all ending and want to testify that it never ever does, and it never ever has to.  Building up the kingdom of God, and strengthening His children is not an 18 month mission, it is something much bigger than us that completely fills our hearts, and fixes our purpose. 
"And if they desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world to preach my gospel unto every creature." -Doctrine & Covenants 18:28.
Think about what this verse teaches us about our Savior.  He gave His whole life not just to die for us, but to teach us about who He really was.  He taught us all in a way He could understand, and in a way that would touch our hearts.  He taught us to feel for the witness of the Holy Ghost, and He has taught us that again through The Book of Mormon.  I have felt His love and testify that He lives.  I can testify that teaching His gospel is one of the most humbling ways we can put ourselves in His hands to become like Him and to know Him as He is.  Knowing Him is really what eternal life is circumscribed about.

Sister Brink loves to match with her companions, so we do! :)

Yesterday, my new companion and I (Sister Brink from Tennessee--you will hear all about her! She is a convert to the gospel and is absolutely amazing.  She says when she found the gospel, it was exactly what she never thought she was ever looking for, yet when she found it, she knew it was true.), we were in the Tabernacle for one of our desk assignments.  We gave the acoustic demonstration and then met with a wonderful couple from South Africa when we came down from the stage--Nick & Barbara.

They were traveling through the United States for their second time from Cape Town, South Africa.

As we started to talk to them, the man put his hand up. "You two have a light about you," he said, "It's there in your eyes."
Our faces must have beamed as he said those words.  Nothing makes us happier than knowing that people can quite literally see the effects of living the gospel.  Because it is the fulness of the gospel that has been restored, it can and will fill us with a fulness of light--I see that in each of the sisters I pass every single day and it inspires me to do and be better. 

President and I after he "released" me as his assistant.  Him and Sister Poulsen gave me the pearl necklace from South Africa.  They have taught me by example that service in the Lord's kingdom goes on forever, and that the blessings really are the truest and most lasting happiness.  I love them and have the utmost gratitude and respect for them both and for the opportunity they gave me as inspired by my Father in Heaven.

We shared with them Joseph's account of the first vision, and the spirit fled into each of our hearts.  Sister Brink and I were able to testify that his words were true, and that nothing in the world could change us from the testimony we have of this pure and essential truth.  Think about it--God, the Creator of this world, of us, of this great eternal plan, has come to visit in these days! He is real, His Son and our Savior live. We can find our greatest purpose in life as we think of how we are connected infinitely and eternally with them.  We are eternal beings, brothers and sisters, but please don't wait for eternity to realize that. You are important in His plan and there are many who need you to remind them of who they really are.
Nick & Barbara thanked us for their time with them, and said that they really wanted to give anything to have this same light in their eyes, but they felt they were too far gone.  Oh, how our hearts broke, yet inside was the prompting, "show them your ministerial certificate" and so we did.
Each missionary has a "ministerial certificate" signed by the living Prophet of God himself, that we have the authority to preach the principles of the gospel, and a personal invitation to all to heed the message we share. We testified to them that the missionaries they will see in South Africa, also have this authority, carry the same card in their hand, and the same fervor in their eyes and heart to help them in the same way we want to help them.

Their eyes watered, the light began to shine.  As we walked with them out of the Tabernacle, right then and there was our new sister from South Africa, Sister Sonku.  Nick & Barbara looked at us as if they had seen an angel, and then again the light grew.

We know that God has a plan and a purpose for our friends Nick & Barbara. There is so much more to this experience that remains sacred in my heart, but know brothers and sisters, that every effort you give to bring others closer to Christ is never wasted.  You are an essential part of His plan- never forget that.

Will we each focus on a Christlike attribute that we want to develop this week, so that this very same light can shine for us all?  We truly can be that light that shines with Christ, He wants us to be there with Him.
I love each of you, and mean that with all sincerity! We are brothers and sisters, and you mean a lot to me.  Pray and ask God who you are--I promise that as He has very personally told me, He will very personally tell you.

Sister Briggs :)

SHOUTOUTS: SisterLin! ( thank you so so much for the package! You mean the world to me!), Sister Olden, Sister Walsh, Grandma Jeanie, Jessica Helm, Jacque & Summer, Amber, Sister Siegle, Casey & Bryan, Mom & Dad, Robert Donakey, The Donakey family

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