Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week 72 - Christmas & Jesus Christ Lives!

 December 26, 2016

Familia y amigos!
So this week was really such a good week just to reflect on the life of Jesus Christ! It made me grateful for the little moments...making the nativity video, singing in the plaza and contacting millions of families, eating panettone (click here to see pictures), sending off a sister who was finishing her mission, and also having the privilege to have Hna Gomez with us! She is the other missionary by the tree! She just started her mission 6 weeks ago and her trainer went home so she has been our little sister for a few days! I have learned so much from her humility. 
Singing in the Plaza
We did some service for a less active who introduced us to her sister! I love references because they have the most probability to progress! The other pic is of the A* family! I love this family so much! They are coming back to church and are so persevering! This day was one of the little moments I will always treasure. Everyone was so happy and we were bouncing questions off the kids. There is such a peace that comes to a home when the gospel is there. 
I love this family!
This Christmas Sunday, the most special part was probably taking the sacrament on the day that we remember our Savior, Jesus Christ. I really could feel his sacrifice for me and the divinity of his life on earth! I KNOW He is our Savior and Redeemer! He lives and because of that we will live again as well!
Sending off a missionary
Also, family, I loved seeing you! I really don't believe you are all that big and that so many of you have had voice changes! 
I love you all! Keep smiling brightly to light the world with the light of the Savior!
Con amor,
Hermana Briggs

Below is a video of me and my extended family reciting a document entitled, "The Living Christ" for my grandparents for Christmas! It was written by the apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We add our testimony to theirs of the divinity of Jesus Christ and his role as our Savior and Redeemer.  Hope you enjoy! Merry Christmas!

Answers to questions:
-There are about 117,000 people living in Tarapoto. 
-Tarapoto is hot hot! (It was close to 100 F today!), but it does cool down at night.  It is less humid than Iquitos (which is surrounded by water)!  Although the summers here are hotter than the winters, there are more rains to cool things off.
-People call me "Elsa" here:)
-The people eat lots of fish here and in Iquitos, but they don't necessarily serve it to us "gringas," because at some point someone told the pensionistas we don't like fish! I love fish.  They fry the entire fish, (head and all) and then you eat the entire thing:)

Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 71 - Floods, Rejection, Baptisms and Mangoes!

December 19, 2016

Hello everyone!!

I don't even know where to start! SO much happened this week!

This week we had a lot of rejection, but I think that it was necessary to find the chosen ones. We had so much rejection one day that literally every single person we contacted didn't want anything to do with us.  One literally ran inside and turned off her light and shut her door. BUT that does not mean that miracles did not happen!

Hna I* (the one in the pic) accepted a baptismal date and is going to be baptized the 28th of January!!!! Her conversion process has been so cool! She can barely walk and grab things because of a bone disease but came to church with us yesterday! She kept asking all sorts of questions, like "what is Zion," during the songs :)

Also we had a Christmas devotional that was so, so good this week! I learned about becoming more converted to our Savior Jesus Christ. I know He was born for ME, that he died for ME and that He did it for EVERYONE of you as well. We enjoyed singing Christmas songs together and eating good food...paneton as well!

It flooded this week! We helped one of our investigators, whose house had flooded!

Well love you all! I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas wherever you may be!

Love you all to the moon and back!
Keep smiling!
Hermana Briggs
Also, I've turned into the mango Santa Clause :) 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 70 - Be With Him

December 12, 2016

Hello Everyone!!! Feliz Navidad otra vez!

So this week was amazing! We did service with our sweet investigator B*, helping her make food to sell! She has a foot that swells up every time she works from an accident she had, but she is determined to make the money she needs to get married! I am so excited for her; there are going to be some difficulties in the way, but we will get there! Her mom is also in this picture. When she prays she always asks God to forgive her for forgetting things because shes just a viejita (little old woman :) I love this family!
Making food. Love this family!
We did a sister change this week with the other sister in our zone and I got to know Hna Gomez. She has only been in the mission for 4 weeks but she is so humble and willing to learn. I am so grateful for her example.
I was reading in Matthew 12:30 today about being with the Lord or not. "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." It really struck me that it is so simple. We are with him or not. I know that if we decide to be with him we will find the peace that is sung about during Christmas time

Love you all!
Hermana Briggs
Merry Christmas!

Loved this about Matthew 12:30 (Student Manual)

The Pharisees took an untenable position when they accused Jesus of using the power of the devil to do something good by healing a man possessed with a devil (see Matthew 12:22–24). The Savior taught that “a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Matthew 7:18). In challenging the Pharisees to “either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt” (Matthew 12:33), Jesus was telling them they needed to make a choice about Him. Because of His good works they could not consistently call Him evil, and they could not take a neutral position (see Matthew 12:30). Confronted with His testimony and good works, the Pharisees had to choose whether or not they would accept Him as the Christ and follow Him.
Christian writer C. S. Lewis taught that we too must make an all-or-nothing choice in response to Jesus Christ: “You must make your choice. Either this man [Jesus Christ] was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity[1952], 41).

Elder Bruce R. McKonkie said, “There is, in fact, no such thing as neutrality where the gospel is concerned. Jesus said: ‘He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.’ (Matt. 12:30.) … If we do not sustain and uphold and support the kingdom of God in all things, we are thereby aiding a cause other than the Lord’s.”

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 69 - I love the Book of Mormon & Beauty

Hiking in the mountains near Tarapoto.
December 5, 2016

Hola Familia,
Yes! Merry Christmas starts today...before today! I love the Christmas season so much! Sometimes I still wait for the snow to appear, but sadly it never will. But the Spirit of Christ is the thing that doesn't change world wide!
This week has been full of its ups and downs, but I'm always amazed that even through the struggles, I am always at peace and have joy. What Elder Nelson said in General Conference is so true . . .that it doesn't matter our circumstances whatsoever, what matters is where we have placed our trust.
I worked a lot with members this week because Hermana W. had to go to Iquitos for a training, so, I got left here alone. Hermana M. worked with me, and when I walked into her house her son was listening to music in English. I was helping her wash dishes and had the impression to show him the EFY music from 2015. I did and he LOVED it! So now he will only learn good words in English. :)
I* accepted a baptismal date for January! I am so so excited for her because she is gaining her own testimony of the Book of Mormon and that is the basis for her desire to join the church. I know the Book of Mormon is true and it is essential to know to know everything else. She has artrosis (osteoarthritis) and can't walk very well, or grab stuff well, so we will do her hair for her and walk her dog when we go. I love being able to serve her!
On Monday last week Hermana W. and I went to hike the mountain a little bit in the other sister's area. Oh, it is so, so, so beautiful there! We found a few cute little women washing their clothes in the river and we just enjoyed the beauty.
Cooking at home.
I am so grateful for the Savior, Jesus Christ and that through Him we can Iluminar el mundo! (Light the World) mormon.org That is the theme! Light the world every day with the Light of Christ! I am loving doing it!!

Love you all!
Keep smiling BRIGHTLY! Iluminen el mundo!

Con amor,
Hermana Briggs

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 68 - Gratitude & Service


November 28, 2016

So this week we definitely received all sorts of blessings and there are so many things to be grateful for!

Our pensionista made us a Thanksgiving lunch! It was so so good! The mashed potatoes were probably one part butter and one part cream...and then potatoes, but so good. I love that Hermana Wood loves to enjoy all the little things in life!

We did service this week helping Hna D. clean her kitchen and put up her Christmas tree! She has had breast cancer and is fighting so hard! I really, really look up to her and am so grateful for her example.

Now, to explain the Juane picture. One night we were going to our appointments, when by 7:30 all of them had fallen through. That had happened a lot this week and, so, we were praying for strength to keep going. I looked at my planner and decided to go to a contact that we had done earlier that week. We were walking there when I felt prompted to stop at a house. The woman was making Juanes and we asked if we could help! Usually people are quick to say no here, but she let us in and started teaching us how to make them! She loved having us there and we made an appointment to come back. Serving in little small ways blesses the lives of those we serve and our own lives. The scripture that stood out to me a lot this week was 2 Nephi 28:30...line upon line, precept upon precept. We learn everything this way and everything comes in life this way.

As we start the Christmas season keep looking for the little blessings in your life! I love you all so so much! 
Keep smiling :)

Con amor,
Hermana Briggs

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is starting a "Light the World" campaign, Dec. 1st.  For 25 days, follow the example of Jesus Christ, and do an act of service, small or large, to use your light to share His Light. #LIGHTtheWORLD

Click here for fun kits to guide you & yours in Lighting the World!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 67 - Surprises!!

Me & Hma H. saying goodbye:(
November 21, 2016

Hey everyone!!!!

SO couple surprises this week! My companion Hermana H. had changes! I was only with her one change :( But, I know she is going to do a great job in Iquitos opening an area and training. The Lord always knows exactly what we need. I am so grateful for what I learned with her.

New comp Sis. W. & others.
Second surprise! My new companion is Hermana W.!!!!! She lived right next door to me when I started the mission, was in the same district with me in Iquitos, and now is my companion! I don't know why I've had so many gringa (non Peruvian) comps. She also goes home at the same time as me, so it will be crazy to see how things work out. She is also from my same state...just around the corner :) She is so patient with me and is such an obedient and hard working missionary. I am so excited for our time together!!!!!!

Vista Alegre family baptism!
Surprise number 3! So I got to talk to an Elder that served in my first area in Vista Alegre in Pucallpa. I had always been super worried about a family that we had left without leaving enough information to find them because they had moved a lot. I had prayed that God would help them find a way to the Gospel and to be baptized because they were progressing....well, guess what? They found them on the street and his companion had recognized they had come to church and so they contacted them! They started to teach them more and they got baptized this last change!!! This is a picture of the picture of their baptism. God hears and answers all of our prayers! I know they power of prayer is so, so, so real.

Mint brownie Monday!
Surprise number 4! So we made chocolate mint brownies on monday...no more explanation needed  ;)

And surprise number 5! We had a few lessons with our dear amazing investigator B* this week. She has come to church for 4 sundays in a row, even though she can barely walk. The opposition is so real because she went to a naturalist this week to help her with her foot and they told her that she needs to go on this crazy diet where she can't leave the house, can't touch peoples hands and weird stuff like that. We explained and taught the importance and power of the baptism and recieving the GIFT of the Holy Ghost. The spirit was so strong and she started to cry. She said "The diet doesn't matter, I'm going to church no matter what. God will help me through it!" THEN it gets better...we asked her to talk to her "husband" about getting married, even though he doesn't want to listen to us. AND HE SAID YES!! The whole branch is super excited to help them and have been visiting them. I am so so grateful for the ability to repent. Her daughter also wants to be baptized but hasn't been able to go to church because she just had a c-section.

Still enjoying the mangoes!
I know that our Savior lives and that he suffered for ALL of us. Not just the rich ones or the poor ones or the ones who like chocolate...all of us. Thank you all for being such great examples to me and for always building everyone around you up. I know this is the true church on the earth.  In this week of Thansgiving I invite you all to recognize the miracles God does in your every day life. Three every day.

Love you all to the moon and back! Keep smiling brightly and enjoy the bounties of Thanksgiving for me!
I'll keep enjoying the mangos :)

Con amor,
Hermana Briggs

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 66 - Yuka, Heat and Joy!

November 14, 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 65 - God's Will

November 7, 2016

Found the real "Cafe Rio".
Hello y'all!
So the people here speak Spanish like the Texans speak English :) It's called Chapita, and I love it! 

This family is a family we found from a motokar ride. They got baptized in Moyobamba but then moved to Tarapoto and have become a little inactive. Well, we did service in their home teaching them how to make keke (cake) so they could sell it, and we visited them later that night. They told us they weren't going to come to church but we testified that their situation economically would improve if they did. Well, they showed up at church on Sunday the 2nd hour and completely surprised us! Miracles happen!

A family we found on a motokar ride!
We also have been finding lots of people through less actives lately. Its like a gold mine when they take you to visit their friends. We received a promise from Elder Uceda (a member of the Seventy), that if we put 50% of our efforts in less actives that baptisms would double. I am slowly seeing this blessing fulfilled. First, we are focusing on less actives and we had 12 show up at church on Sunday! 

I have learned a lot this week of the power of being obedient in the little things. My companion Hermana H. and I decided to be more obedient and the day we did we were led to so many people through the spirit! When we make God's will our will, we change. I love this work with all my heart. I am probably going to go hide in the jungle mountains so I never have to leave! Alma 50:37. Alma 5:14

My Halloween treat!
Its mango season here and people throw their mangoes away in the streets, so this bag of mangoes was my Halloween treat! So much better than candy! 

Love you to the moon and back! Keep smiling brightly!

Con amor,
Hermana Briggs

Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 64 - Ice cream, Cockroaches, & Life!

It's Great . . . except for the bad parts.  What kinds of
movies and music are you feeding your mind?
October 31, 2016


Esta semana...wait this week has been so, so, so amazing!! We had a noche misional (missionary night) on Wednesday and we talked about the Word of Wisdom with a little object lesson we had shared while teaching, and how their family was happier when they took care of their bodies! We as missionaries talked after about what it was and I explained it with aguaje (eww) icecream and a cucaracha (cockroach)...both of which are in abundance here! We talked about how  when we let a little of the bad in our lives, everything is contaminated! This is the same for our spirits, not just our bodies.  We have to be careful what we put into our bodies, minds and our spirits. Thanks for the FHE lesson mom years back, but instead of cucaracha, you put chicken poop...never going to forget!

"Good Things To Come"
Also we had a BAPTISM!!!! For a young woman who is so ready!!!! She already seemed like a member before she was baptized, which I guess is how it should be. But I am so grateful for baptism and that we have the ability to become completely clean through our Savior Jesus Christ. I was thinking about the scritpure D&C 6:33-37 and how if we don't doubt and we follow Him, that we can be clean!

We also saw a complete miracle happen with a woman that a week ago said she was Catholic and would always be Catholic...and never would come to church! Well guess what??? She accepted to pray to be baptized and came to church this Sunday!!! Hearts can change if we are willing to do what God has asked!

I love this gospel. Life is hard...period. I know that more and more every day. Hard doesn't even sum it up. But I KNOW that life can be beautiful through the hard, and that the hard is to help us grow. 

Keep smiling and keep progressing! 

Hermana Briggs

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 63 - Faith & Service

Week 62 - Egg Drop FHE & lots of fruit!

October 17, 2016

Familia y amigos!!!
I love hearing about all of you and am glad that you are doing well. 

This week was so crazy! We are teaching a deaf family right now and they are absolutely incredible!!!! The first time we taught them my brain hurt when we got done from translating in my head from English to Spanish to signs! But we found that all the lessons are on lds.org in sign language so that should help!
We did a demonstration with eggs for a family home evening lesson on Monday and showed how when we don't have protection we break, but when we are covered by lots of clothes in a bag ( like reading scriptures, praying and all that stuff) we won't break....well psych!! The protected egg broke, too, when we dropped it! And then it all clicked...we still are going to break. We are still imperfect even when we try to do all the right things. But the super glue that doesn't leave any marks is called the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know He can heal us, to better than what we were before. I think I learned more than anyone else there did! 

Yes, it rains a lot here! Recently it has been super duper hot too!!! Like, I have a fan on me to sleep and I woke up in the middle of the night to move it closer because I was so hot. It's always hotter in October, but in Tarapoto it burns your skin. Our house is super nice! It has a room to sleep and another to put our clothes and another to study...it's really clean and that's what I like! The food is the same basically all over the jungle....lots of chicken. But there is an abundance of fruit and vegetables here so they are cheap! We have found 7 cocconuts in the street which we bring to our pensionista to open, and people give us mangos and guanabana (passion fruit)...it's basically heaven.

The people here are super receptive here too! They ALL are super friendly and the branch here is super united. Ya, you run into the people who don't want anything but they are country type people...good hard working people. 

I love you all! Keep smiling and putting your faith in Jesus Christ. Remember, it's the little decisions in this life that determine our destiny! 

Con amor,
Hermana Briggs

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 61 - Tarapoto & Conversion!

October 10, 2016

Hello Everyone!!!

So big news! I got changes to go to Tarapoto!! I really wasn't expecting it and it really surprised me! But now I'm in the area Aeropuerto 2, with Hermana Huaycho...her last name is how little kids pronounce my first name :) She is from Arequipa and is absolutely amazing! She has been in the mission for 10 months and already has everything down to a T. I feel like my Spanish has gotten worse and shes helping me a lot with my pronunciation and such. I love her!

Our area is so beautiful! Everyone wanted to come to Tarapoto and I understand why now. There are MOUNTAINS!!! I haven't seen mountains in over a year! It rains a lot here and also burns a lot :) But its super fresco (cool) at night. 

We had a baptism of a 15 year-old young man whose family recently has come back into the church! To see how happy the gospel has made them has been so incredible! I have loved to see the incredible strength this branch has. There are not wards here, just branches, but they are so strong! The spirit was so strong in sacrament meeting yesterday because the people were there for the Savior, and nothing else. That is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ does when you are really converted. That is what we are concentrating on: conversion. What does it matter if we get baptized or start to follow Christ, if we don't continue?! 
Love you all to the moon and back!

Con amor,
Hermana Briggs

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week 60 - Conference!! & How to Find Joy!

October 3, 2016

Bonita familia!

So I think the highlight of most people's week was General Conference, and there's a good reason why! Our zone leaders were really nice to us gringos and set up a room to watch it in English. I had told myself I was going to watch it in Spanish, but it's just not the same when it's not coming from their mouths. If it was given originally in Spanish, by golly I would watch it in Spanish. But, I think my favorite talk was also by Elder Nattress...and I'm not even a mom yet. But, it made me think a lot about my family and also our investigators and members in our ward. I loved that he talked about "The ONE". That is the motto BYUI has as well, and it is what our Savior focused on. The one person who needs to be loved. Also, I loved the focus on the plan of salvation! The plan that our Father has to be like Him and return to Him! It is the one theme that when we talk about with people, they seem to take the most interest in...I believe because it is truth and so it's familiar. 

I remember this week my companion and I were doing divisions because we hadn't had a lot of time to work in our area for different reasons, and that night I was just not feeling up to it. I was tired, a little emotional, and just felt weak spiritually. My first thought was, "Hermana Briggs, you should say a prayer." So I did. I prayed fervently,

because I didn't really know where else to turn. That night we didn't find very many of the people we had planned to teach, but I felt SO happy! I wanted to share this message that brings me so much happiness with everyone! As we learn of the doctrine of Jesus Christ we become happier, because we start to understand our part in the plan and HOW we can be happier. 
I have also seen the power of members in our lessons this week. We had our Young Women's President and Young Men's President share their testimonies with our 2 strong youth that are going to be baptized. The members really are the missionaries, we are just the support team. I have felt so uplifted this week and felt the power also of Family History. If you want to find JOY in your life, I promise you if you do family history, it is inevitable, you will find JOY. 

I am learning to find joy in the little moments through Paneton, seeing an investigators face change as we teach them of their purpose, or a member to take us home when all the lights go out in Iquitos :) 

I love this work and know that it is true through and through. I know my Savior is our Redeemer. Pray to him. Plead with him. 

I'm starting to sound like I'm giving talks every time I write :) Sorry...it just feels more natural. Love you all to the moon and back! Keep smiling brightly!

Con amor,
Hermana Briggs

Also my sd card is weird so I don't know when I'll send pics.  There are viruses on all the computers.  It says it wants to fix it ...I'm SO sorry I'm just scared of losing them all!