Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 24 - The gospel is for all & bad restroom breaks!

January 25, 2016
This huge family is a menos activo family that was rescued this week!
 They are progressing so much and really can see the difference when
 the started to live the gospel again. 

I'm so glad you are all still enjoying the beautiful snow! I am still trying to enjoy the has been so hot lately, I've been sweating still with the fan on full blast! I still don't know how it can be so hot! 

This week has been crazy! We had a baptism of a joven de 18 años (18 yr old girl)...and I absolutely just love her! She didn't really seem like she had a desire do learn at the beginning but after a few weeks she started to read the Book of Mormon and pray. Some people can't read very well here or can't read at all, and I think that was a barrier for her at the beginning. But I really could feel the joy of seeing her come into the gospel! Now we just have to work with her parents :) 

Funny story, so my companion had to go to the bathroom and we contacted this house and she asked if she could use their bathroom....well, this bathroom wasn't the greatest and I was trying to hold the curtain closed for her, and then felt something sticky on my foot....I had stepped in poop!! And my shoes have holes on the sides of them! To say the least, they still smell after cleaning them and bleaching them! It was good to put a smile on my face! 

Us at a recent baptism.
We are teaching M and R, which I think I talked about last week...R would be baptized tomorrow if we told her she could be, but the wonderful thing about this gospel is that it focuses on families, and so we are trying to help her husband, too, and the great thing is, is that he is progressing too! Just a little bit slower. But I really believe that the gospel can bless the lives of everyone. It is not just for a few people in this world, it is the plan for all of us to return to live with our Heavenly Father. 

The last one is of a recent convert family that
 is struggling, but, oh, how I love them :)
I know this work is the work of the Lord. Sometimes it is hard, but life wasn't meant to be easy. But it was meant to be enjoyed and to help us learn. I have seen that time and time again in the mission. One day this week I really was just struggling and my sister leader showed up at our apartment by surprise! It was just what I needed in the moment. God is so mindful of us and will never leave us alone. 

I want to leave you with Alma 37:33 today...I know that God will always give us the strength we need if we are willing to just follow him. 
H* and her two little girls, we are teaching.
I love you all so incredibly much! I want to write buckets more but ya know...always short on time...!!

Love, Hermana Briggs

Week 23 - Lots of investigators & Purple Corn Drinks

January 18th, 2016

This week has been absolutely crazy!!! I could sleep all day today and still probably be tired...but its the best tired ever! The reason we are so tired is because we have been working with and finding so many people ready and prepared to hear the gospel. And not just to hear, but also to act on what they are hearing. We had 15 investigators in church today (that includes 4 kids...but they are learning so much too!) And really I think God helped me stay calm and work with everyone in an orderly manner because usually I'm a frantic case in situations like that!

This is me with my pensionistas family! They are like my family here!  Her name is Hermana Berita and I absolutely love her! She cooks literally every meal for us, which we eat at her house, and does all our laundry. She is absolutely amazing! I love them so much!
One family, R* and M*, we found this week when all our appointments fell through and we were walking a little discouraged and knocked on a door. R* let us in and told us her husband really didn't want to come, but we stayed until he came out. They listened and accepted a return appointment. We went back and they had read what we had given them and had prayed! Then at the end of the week they committed to come to church; and they came! M*'s heart was so hard at the beginning, but there has been such a change. It's incredible! He prayed for the 1st time in his life with us and it was so simple, but so beautiful because it was from his heart. 

Last night we were hurrying to another appointment and my companion and I felt the prompting to turn around and go back to a menos activo (less active) family. So we did, and they weren't home, so we went to another family near by and they were busy. Finally, we went to a part active family's home that we had already passed a couple of times, because we knew there was a reason we came back. We had a lesson with a less active 18 year old and his active mom and started the lesson talking about how we need to obey the commandments, and ended with committing him to pray about serving a mission! I don't know how it all happened but there was a change in him as we taught and I know we went there for a reason - so he could save himself and be an instrument in the hands of the Lord.

I could go on all day, but the last funny story is that we were given fermented Chicha Morada ( a drink made with purple corn). It smelled awful but I started to drink it anyway until my companion started coughing and kindly told the hermana that we couldn't drink fermented drinks cause they are alcoholic :) I just had to laugh as I realized whatIi had just drank :) Todo nos pasa en la misión! (That's how it goes in the mission)

Me and Hermana Mucha enjoying the fruits of Peru!

The scripture I want to share is in Mosiah 18:8-10. We are here on earth to bear one another's burdens, that we may be strengthened and that they will too. We promised that when we were baptized. My invitation is to try to find a way to lighten someone else this week and I promise you will be strengthened too!

Mom thanks for always being willing to take them to the temple even when you had just come home. I know it would have been easy to say another day...but you didn't :) Please continue doing it because I can't tell you what some people would give to have the opportunity to go whenever they wanted!

Thank you for all your prayers and support! I can feel them so strong! 
I love you all so so so much! I think about you daily :) 

Hermana Briggs

Answer to the questions: "What do you do on your p-day?" (preparation day?)
Well, today for pday we are playing with water balloons, justamente (on the day it is cloudy :) last week we played basketball and ultimate frisbee with a ball because we didn't have a frisbee.
Really, I could just sleep and be happy :) We shop for all the little things we need for our apartment or personal items and fill up our water jug and by the time we do all that and eat dinner, its time to work at 6 pm. We still visit people on pday after 6 :)
The missionaries in this mission all have "penionistas."  This is someone who cooks for them and does their laundry for a fee.  She cooks the food at her house, and the missionaries go there to eat.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week 22 - Hot, Hot, Hot & Working Smarter & Patience

January 11, 2016

All of my zone doing service moving dirt!
Sounds like you are all still enjoying the snow in some way or another!
This week was probably the hottest week of my life!!! I have probably said that in other letters, but this time it was for real. There was one night that I drenched myself before getting in bed and turned a fan on to my wet clothes to cool me off...I had always heard of people doing that, but I thought they were crazy! Not so crazy anymore :)

I had a visita de trabajo (work visit) this week, or when our sister leader switches our companions for a day. So my sister leader came and worked with me in my area for a day and it was so cool to see the different ways she teaches and the things she has learned in her mission. She goes home in March, so, she doesn't have much time left! She really has developed so many attributes of Christ and it gave me a greater desire to serve with all my heart, might, mind and strength.

Me with my sister leader Hermana Reyes
This week was also super cool because we had a visit from Elder Uceda, a member of the seventy (general authorities of the church).
He taught us a lot on how we need to be working with the members...not working harder, just smarter! And also on really how to help people progress...not in what really we say, but our actions and what we do to help them go to church or have a spiritual experience through praying! 

So a consequence of having Elder Uceda come is that our time was cut shorter to work in our area. We didn't get to go teach a new investigator we had till yesterday, but when we got there she had been reading in the Book of Mormon and praying and really is progressing!!! God is so merciful to help those that are ready for the gospel even when his servants are weak and don't always do everything perfectly. 

My comp and I in the plaza de la apuna...
this giant tree!!!!
We did divisions with members this week so we could visit more people and I went with  a 16 year-old girl from our ward. It was super intimidating for me to teach because I really had to carry the lesson, but I realized how much Spanish I actually knew! And she really was a great help and backed me up on the things I was not saying perfectly. 

I am so grateful for the power of prayer this week! It is incredible to see how merciful God is in our lives when we are asking for His help. I know God hears us and answers every one of our prayers; just maybe not in the way we might think. I am so grateful for patience companion is so patient with me and that is really something I don't know what I would do without it. Alma 38:4-5 is my focus this week.

I love you all so much!! Thanks for the pictures and the cute stories! I love hearing it all!
Thanks for giving Faith my blog! She wrote me a letter this week and it made my day! 

Hermana Briggs

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 21 - New Years, Atonement, & So Many at Church!

January 4th, 2016

Grass & clothes doll they light on fire on New Year's Eve to
symbolize a new beginning and moving on from the past!
Oh, I'm so glad you all enjoyed Washington! It's amazing to see the little tender mercies every day in our lives.

But speaking of Tender Mercies, I had a lot this week!! 

It started at the beginning of the week with our district meeting! Our new zone leader is absolutely incredible and so full of the spirit. He helped us understand the Atonement a little bit better and how to explain in more simply to the people here. Really, it is that Jesus Christ suffered for our sins to cover the pillar of pecado (sin) and he died on the cross so we could overcome spiritual death...I've probably had that explained to me a million times over but it really clicked this time! 

On the 1st of January everyone was drunk, so we had to be home early the night before and the next morning it seemed like the world was dead! We started looking for an antiguo (old) investigator we had and ended up finding another woman who is absolutely incredible! She is a single mom with 2 little girls and SHE CAME TO CHURCH!! She already seems like a member and the members were so good at helping her feel welcome. I am super excited to help her come unto Christ! 

We have been helping a less active who really has such a willing heart to come back to church and has been reading her scriptures and praying every day because she can feel the difference. She also is a single mom, but is super duper strong and has support from her mom to keep going which is awesome! 

Super sweet story, There is a hermana (sister) that always goes with us to visit people and we stopped by her house one day to see if she could go with us and she told us she had been so worried because she had lost her phone and was worried that we wouldn't be able to get a hold of her to go with us! That was her only concern about losing her phone!! It is so cool to see the pure hearts of people here. 

Also, yesterday, en la iglesia (church) we had 3 investigators, 5 menos activos (less actives) and 5 recent converts come to church!!! We were running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to help everyone! But it was so good to see how these people are progressing!!! 

Also, for New Years everyone makes these dolls out of clothes and grass and then when it hits midnight they light them all on fire!!! Crazy! I didn't see it cause I was sleeping but there were a bunch of black spots on the road the next morning. I think it signifies a new beginning and that they are moving on from the past.

Ya, that was my week in a nutshell! I know that many times life is just hard, and there aren't really any other words for it. But I know that it is so much better when we have the Lord on our side. Not all on the mission is happy and perfect, there are lots of trials, but I'm understanding more that we need these things to help us see what really matters. And to remember that there is someone who knows exactly what we feel. 2 Nefi 9:20-21
I love you all so incredibly much!

Hna Briggs