Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Week 7 - I Actually Feel Like a Missionary!"

September 28, 2015

My lovely Family!

Wow I cant believe everything that has happened the past week and a half!!!!! I could probably fill up a whole book with everything that has happened but i only have a little bit of time :)
First, leaving the CCM was actually kind of hard but i knew there was nothing more there for me to learn and I had to just come and actually do it! We got to Iquitos and from the first step off the plane I realized I actually had never known what hot was :) Its hot....and then its humid! I don't think I will be dry for the next year and a half!

Pucallpa is halfway between Lima and Iquitos.
We had a nice meal at the mission home and I don't think i realized how nice it actually was until I went to bed that night. That night we received our assignments and I was sent to Pucallpa!! So me and Hermana Vasquez who also got sent there too went and stayed with another companionship that night. It was the smallest room for 4 people and I really didn't know what to do when we got there.
We slept on some foam pads and I sweat so hard that i had a sweat mark underneath the bottom of the pad when I woke up in the morning!

We got to Pucallpa on another plane the next morning and my companion picked us up and we got right to work! We taught 3 or 4 families that night and I seem to remember every lesson we have had in the past 6 days vividly!

Lessons are my absolute favorite!!! They take everything out of me because I have to try to figure out what is going on and its so frustrating when they are sitting there pouring their hearts out and crying and you don't know why! 

Oh my companion is amazing though!!!! She is actually a Gringa so she speaks English which I think has saved me this week! I think this has been the hardest week I have ever lived! Satan attacks me like I am the last living on this earth! And mornings are hard because we sit and study and my brain has a little bit of time to think about other things besides the mission. But every time I pull myself back into my study and try to stop thinking about myself, the Lord is there, and He is ever so merciful. As long as i am busy, i am okay. 

Life is so different here though. I have never seen so many ugly diseased dogs in my life!!! Oh their gross! But they all have homes :) And I got to experience what rain is like in the Jungle!!! The day of women's conference it rained so hard!!!! for a solid 2 hours straight! People use the rain as an excuse to not come to church which is so frustrating but it makes the heat bearable. 

First Area - Pulcallpa, Peru
I have also been able to feel the spirit much more distinctly here. We can be talking with someone and i can tell in an instant whether they are LDS or not. The spirit is amazing in missionary work!!!!!! I have felt so many ups and downs in one week i cant even begin to count them! But the good seems to cover up the bad even though many times the bad happens more often. But there are so many little tender mercies every day!

Like i woke up feeling super sick this morning and didn't want to go to breakfast, but i made it there on 2 feet and was excited to find that she made chicken noodle soup for breakfast! Apparently that is a normal thing here :) But it made me feel better...or how we found 2 new families to start teaching asking for directions, and I love them both so much!!!!! Most couples aren't married here so that is one aspect we have to deal with when teaching them, but the people here are so humble and recognize the Lords hand in everything!!! I am so grateful to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life and am starting to really understand my purpose of being here, to bring it to the world!!!! 

Women's conference was the best!!!! I just cried for joy for the 1st 10 minutes listening to it! We were wet and dirty, but we got to listen to it in English!!!!!! Man the Lord is merciful!

I love you all so much!!!! Keep being the amazing family you are and touching the lives of all around you! Missionary work is the BEST!
I pray for you and think about you every day!!!!! 
I am glad to hear everyone is doing well :)
Remember "Look unto me in every though,doubt not; fear not" D&C 6:36

Hermana Briggs 
Missions are so much harder than people make them out to be. But they also bring so much more joy than I could ever think!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Week 6 - IN IQUITOS! "Be obedient, be diligent and follow the Spirit!"

September 22, 2015

Hola Bonita Familia!

Arriving in Iquitos
I just waned to let you know I made it safely to Iquitos!!!  It really feels like it isn't actually real because it is SO amazing!  It felt like every Christmas morning put together in one when we landed!  I won't have p-day this week, but I will send you pictures.  We already have had chances to talk to people about the gospel standing in line and we gave a Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet to one lady . . . and she told us "our religions are based on the same things!"  And it made me excited to respond YES!  Now let us give you more!  And yes it is very different from Lima here.  VERY hot and humid, but I really could care less!  I really just have a desire to serve the people.  That desire didn't come easy, through lots of prayer and fasting, and probably a lot more.  We got here and our mission President and his wife picked us up and we went to the mission home and ate a wonderful meal!  I had an interview with my mission president (President Gomez) and I asked him how I could be a more dedicated missionary.  He told me, "Be obedient, be diligent, and follow the Spirit."  That is going to be the motto for my mission!  

Thank you so much for your love and support and especially prayers.  I can feel them so strong! There is no where else I'd rather be!  I know this work is true!  I love you all to the moon and back!

With Love,
Hermana Briggs

At the mission home with Pres. and Sister Gomez

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week 5 - The "Joys" of Learning Spanish

September 16, 2015

Sister in my District at the MTC.
Hola Familia!!!
Wow sounds like such a fun and crazy week like always! I am going to remind you I have never played the star game either, (it's like tag in the dark with a glow in the dark star that the person who is "it" holds), so some day in the future we will have to play it...maybe the more dangerous version too :) Tell the girls to enjoy canning for me!

Este semana ha sido muy bien! (This has been a very good week).  Each week is going by so much faster than the week before it. I feel like time is jello and no matter how hard I try to hold it, it just slips out of my hands! They eat lots of jello here, and ice cream and chicken and rice.

So last Friday we got to our class and my teacher told us that we were changing companions for the last week and a half of the MTC. They don't usually do this and i think it is because there have been problems with some of the companionships, but they switched up all of our companionships in our district! I really just wanted to sit down and cry because I really had grown to absolutely love my companion and felt like we were actually really starting to progress as a companionship and in teaching. Hermana Tirrell is my new companion and I absolutely love her!!!! It was hard originally because I still wanted to be with my other companion, but the Lord knows what He is doing, and He really knows I hate change but it is really good for me. She speaks Spanish so much better than i do but is a little quieter so she really helps me with my Spanish and gives me lots of opportunities to talk in Spanish.

Sis. Jardine and me with my really
 comfy Peruvian pants!
We have also started to talk to the Latinas more, honestly because we actually kind of can now. One day i was trying to ask a Latina if she was planning on marrying her novio after the mission and the first word that came to my head was "matrimonio" which means marriage in Spanish, but I wanted the verb so I said "matar" which actually means "to kill"!! We were dying laughing at my messed up Spanish for a solid 5 minutes! The joys of learning Spanish!
Yesterday we had an English fast meaning we could only speak Spanish. Every other day we have done this I have ended up in tears by the end of the night because its really draining emotionally, mentally and physically. But yesterday I felt like I could actually express most of what I wanted to say in Spanish! I am constantly amazed at how the Lord helps us learn so quickly here!

Also, I leave on Monday or Tuesday to go to Iquitos! I thought about what it would be like if I went home right after the MTC experience...would i be the same person or would I be changed? I would say no. The MTC has taught me how to make and accomplish goals and trust in the Lord in everything! But I know there is so much the Lord wants me to do in Iquitos!!!! And I seriously cant wait!! I am still nervous because I don't know the language very well, but I know the Lord will help me because it isnt my work, its His.
My testimony of the Savior has grown so much here! In the quiet moments after a devotional or after a lesson, I have felt the spirit testify that this is His true church on the earth. I know it and I cannot deny it.
I love you all SO MUCH and love hearing from all of you!
Don´t grow up too fast! And Keep Smiling!!!! :D
Hermana Briggs

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Week 4 - So excited to Proselyte!

September 9, 2015

Oh I absolutely love hearing from you and really the little moments are what makes it so fun to read :) 

American things are so expensive here! $7 dollars for HBOO!
And the bunny story is really gross, but I think thats how all our animal stories happen so I guess I should just expect it. (Our rabbit had bunnies this week and the she "took care of one" as nature would.)

I will try to write more specifics but its hard when I have so little time. I was thinking I should have gotten a voice recorder before I left and now I am regretting not getting one.

(Really don't know what this picture is from)
So I told you I was going procelyting this week and we finally got to go to the Lima East mission. It made me so excited to get out into the field and actually teach people! I went out with a latina from the CCM (MTC) and a missionary from the mission. We went to track down a less active member and when we showed up he wasn't there, but his mother who is an active member was so we went in to use her bathroom and give her a short message. While we were there her son showed up with his wife and 2 year old daughter!!! So we got to teach them about Faith and how it is an action not just a feeling. I understood everything that was happening which was absolutely incredible because that never happens! I was able to ask them a few questions and respond and bear my very simple testimony in spanish. The wife was crying by the end of the lesson and the spirit was definitely there. I am just amazed how God works in such mysterious ways. We got to go contacting after that and just talk to people on the street...and if I could make myself short with black hair I would. I stick out like a sore thumb!!! But I guess it is for a reason :) The people are so patient when I try to speak and really care about what I have to say even though it takes me a whole minute to form the sentence I want to say. Some people were so open and receptive and wanted to hear more! We got a few appointments set up too. And then some people just reject it. We sat for 15 minutes trying to get out of a conversation with a guy that just kept on asking for a argument. And it makes me wonder in times like that what kind of person I would be if I didnt have the gospel and someone else was trying to teach me.

Washing out clothes in the sink because the
laundry soap doesn't seem to do much here.
Teaching our "investigators" has really taught me to follow the spirit. My companion and I go in there so many times with a lesson plan and then end up going a completely opposite way...which is hard because our spanish is struggling still. We watched an MTC devotional by Elder Holland on sunday and he talked about opening your mouth and that people cant hear the gospel if you keep everything you know to be true inside of you. Fear is just and state we put ourselves into. That is the one thing I dont want to say at the end of my mission which means I have to start changing that right now.

We got new missionaries this week and there is another Elder from Herrriman...Elder Mortensen! What are the odds??? Kayla Klingbiel just left, she was on seminary council with me and it was really good to have 4 weeks with her really just for a friendly face.

Hermana Jardine and I get along really well together and although we may not be perfect, we work everything out...and end up doing crazy things like all singing in the showers together, and putting mouthwash in our mouths before we go down to class and then realize people are trying to talk to us but we couldn't respond until we run to the bathroom and spit it out. Random things like that that just make life so much more enjoyable. Like finding that the toast line is short in the morning or realizing you understand how to conjugate a verb!

Sis. in my district at the MTC and Sis. going to Iquitos
 I found an arrangement of hymns with Spanish lyrics to it at the distribution center and I really was just jumping up and down with excitement! I love it at the CCM and it is the perfect environment to grow but sometimes the walls feel like they are closing in. One of the hardest parts is just staying focused on my proposito. It really shouldnt be that hard, but i think that is what this life is about is remembering our purpose and then acting likewise. It wasn't a really out of the ordinary week...more chicken and rice and teaching and growing in my testimony and conversion. I love the work here and am really just trying to be more diligent but it is hard.

Running at the MTC
Last little thing, like today I was trying to decide whether or not to go on an undetermined split with one of the other sisters in my room so I could go running. I got one lap around and just felt awful! So we went back to the remorse of the other sister and I was trying to see how everything would work out. But it did! And I went running later and my compañera came out and watched me run and one of my favorite other Hermanas, Hermana Huber came out and ran with me too! It would have never happened that way! It is being obedient in the little things that the Lord learns the condition of your heart.

I love you all and thank you so much for your prayers. I can feel them.Scripture that helped me so much this week is Alma 32:27....look it up and then remember the less active story above.

Yo se que esta iglesia es verdadera y que Dios es nuestro amoroso Padre Celestial.
Love you and keep smiling!!!!!
Love, Hermana Briggs

Friday, September 4, 2015

Week 3 - Such a Great Week!

September 2, 2015
Hola Familia!

This last week has been such an emotional rollercoaster ride,,,probably like every week :) I am so amazed how God puts people directly in our lives  to help us with what we are struggling with, and also how we can help others.
Lima, Peru Temple
I have had so many tender mercies in my life lately!! Maybe I'm just starting to notice them more.
I'm becoming grateful for the little things, like running every day, seeing the sun, getting rolls for dinner, singing songs as room hermanas, being able to understand spanish, being able to help the new missionaries, remembering a word in spanish when i need it to teach a lesson and learning how to have sufficient faith in Jesus Christ.
Poco a poco...has been the motto of my life this week especially with español and teaching our "investigators". Not going to lie, this has been the hardest week so far. I am out here for real now and I´m not going home. At the beginning it felt like a EFY kind of experience with a missionary and español emphasis...but not anymore! I am understanding more that I am a representative of Jesus Christ. This is His church and if the stability of everything around the world isnt proof enough i dont know what is.
I love that we get to go to the temple every week, it is like a home away from home. We went to this place called Metros...kind of like a Walmart only peru style...so on 3 levels and so crazy it gets your blood pumping a little bit!
We get to go Procelyting this Saturday so i am super excited for that! hopefully ill be able to get something out of my mouth :)
As for the spanish...a mas or menos. I can actually understand pretty well now and we can teach a lesson without writing out our entire lesson word for word. The spirit is so much stronger when you can listen to their needs and then go from there.
CCM (MTC) Lima, Peru
I think I talked about the crazy elders in my district before, and yes they are still crazy! But they have helped me so much to not get stressed about everything. They have the best granparend impersonations ever and they crack me up! They know how to make it the Plan of Happiness thats for sure. And then the rest of us Hermanas just try to keep them under control :)
This is His gospel and I wouldnt be able to do this without Him. Im learning that poco a poco every day!
Well stay incredible and keep on helping Gods children, that is what we are here to do!
and something cool i learned this week
Have a beautiful week and keep smiling!
Love, Hermana Briggs
And I am so glad you had such a great time at Lake Powell besides all the injuries! Incredible missionary story!!!! Tell Gable I hope he flies too ;) Keep me updated on everyone! I love hearing about you because here it feels like the world is paused even though I know it isnt. I miss you all a lot, but it is okay because the work of our Savior is what needs to be done. I am trying to just love the people and love teaching, but it is hard. I pray for you morning and night and think about you and pray again for you in between.

Week 2 - Don't doubt!

August 26th, 2015

Hola de la bonita pais de Peru...mas o menos. ¿Como estan? Peru es una mixtura de palabras, bonita, y loca, y perfecto en lo mismo momento. It has been another great week at the CCM..thats what we call the MTC here...i cant remember why. I am so sorry you were sick this last week!! I understand how you feel :) I have been sick more days than I have not here. Tell Gable I am so proud of him!!!!! That is so awesome!
Getting a visa
At the end of last week, literally an hour after I wrote you i got sick and was sick for the next few days after that. It was actaully a really good experience and helped me learn that i can still function and teach okay even if im not feeling great. One night though i was just feeling awful and i had my district leader give me a blessing. In that instant during the blessing I felt like I was at home because I was wearing the jacket that mom told me to bring, but I didnt want to take, but i did because she told me to (always listen to moms, the ALWAYS know what is best) And it also felt like Dads hands were on my head. The words were absolutely beautiful and i KNEW that they couldnt be the words of an 18 year old young man. It is really so incredible to see the power of the priesthood literally working miracles. THa night also in our district prayer my district leader, Elder Droubay, blessed me to be well by morning, and darn me i doubted. When i woke up the next morning and felt fine i wanted to cry because of my doubts. Have faith in the Lord! Dont doubt, it will do nothing for you. Anyways I still felt sick for the rest of the day, but that morning I was perfectly fine.

Also my spanish is improving! Slowly but surely!!! I am trying to speak more from my mind and heart  rather than what is written in words  on a paper when I am teaching our "investigators". It takes a lot of practice, but it will come. We are techincally considered intermediate now because we have been here for 2 weeks, but I have a feeling I am going to feel like a "beginner" for the entire time here!
They clean everything!
We went to interpol (police/fbi/dmv type department) and Migraciones on Monday and Tuesday to get our visa stuff figured out and it was the first time I had driven in a car...not bus. There is so much pollution here your stomach gets sick in all the traffic with it. Vendors walk up and down traffic selling stuff on the freeways. And everything is covered in either ads, graffitti, or pollution dust. The dirt and pollution literally coat everything and the people at the CCM spray all the trees and buildings down all the time to keep it from getting like that!

Anyways i got to talk to a few people about the gospel at interpol, 2 in english (Thank goodness) and I gave my spanish Book of Mormon to one and another elder gave one to the other. My first Book of Mormon placement!!!!I was really able to see every person around me as God sees them! It was incredible!!!!!! EVERYONE needs the gospel and EVERYONE has so much potential!!!!!
So Elder Bednar is coming to speak today to the missionaries in the CCM and other missionaries in the Lima area!! I am so excited!! They had us read some talks in preparation for it! They were absolutely amazing!!! There is one I want you to read as a family...its called "Ask in Faith" by Elder Bednar. Please do what you can to be member missionaries! I know you do :)

With roommates at the CCM (MTC)
Also in a devotional we watched on sunday for the missionaries, again Elder Bednar, I learned something really cool... That once you make a covenant, your agency changes because in reality, it is really not yours anymore. You dont really have the option not to follow the commandments because you made a covenant to do so, so everytime you sin, you are actually breaking a covenant! That really puts a new perspective on everything!

Well I love you all so much!!!
Also my companion is from Pleasant View, Utah. She is awesome!
Also if you could, could you pray for the gift of tounges for me, and you? The gift of tounges is not just only for those learning a new language. It is for anyone who wants to share the word of God.
Again I love you so much and basically dream about you every night :)
Keep smiling!!!
Hermana Briggs

Oh and I love the schedule!! Im pretty sure I have some kind of parasite something... or will within the next few weeks...its just life :)
It has been hard, but the hardest thing i have ever loved to do!