Thursday, June 30, 2016

Week 46 - Juanes

June 27, 2016

How are you all doing??? This week has been another great week in the mission…filled with its ups and downs and everything.

To start off the week, we did service for the mission offices…cleaning them because we are getting a new mission president tomorrow. Their names are Hermana and Presidente Li, and they are from Lima. Cleaning was super cool because we got to put up all the different companionships pictures in President's office. There are so many missionaries and it made me think about all the people in the world and that God knows each of them so personally and individually. It’s absolutely incredible!
We also had what is called San Juan on Friday. I figured out that it’s the equivalent of the American Thanksgiving. Everyone makes Juanes and Chica de Maiz (a corn drink) and then goes to pass the day by the river. It’s in remembrance of John the Baptist so that day I studied a little about him and it was so cool to realize that because of him we have the priesthood back on the earth again after he appeared to Joseph Smith and also that he baptized the Lamb of God. His role was incredible, but sadly they only celebrate his death...which is why they make the Juanes representing when they cut off his head. But the whole city was full of smoke the night before from literally everyone making their juanes!

We have been having a hard time finding investigators lately…we will find them, and then they will move or not want anything to do with it later… I got to thinking about if there was something I was doing wrong or in some way I wasn’t working hard enough or in the right way, but this week at church I realized God does answer our prayers; we may just have to be patient and wait for His timing. So,
we’ve been praying a lot for help and God really does hear and answer our every effort and prayer.
 We ended up receiving a few references from members who have people who want to hear and are prepared!

My companion and I also got sick this week from the crazy weather that has been going on here…it rains in the morning and then the sun comes out at a good 90+ degrees in the afternoon and then it gets “colder” again at night. So we are doing the best with what we can do and trusting in the Lord to help us.

I got to go work with a member while my companion was sicker than I was. It scared me not to have her with me  'cause I still am figuring out the area, but we ended up being able to help a family that hasn’t been eating food…I wasn’t feeling super great myself but it was so cool to see how as I lost myself in others I completely forgot about the fact that I wasn’t doing good.

That is what I want to emphasize today -  the blessings of service. As we lose ourselves in others, we are blessed by more and more love and a greater desire to keep serving. If we really want to show God how much we love Him, we serve His children…and it's so simple to do. Mosiah 2:17

Keep shining brightly and smiling…it is a service to the world as you lift each child of God up.

Hermana Briggs

Answers to questions:
Ya, all the stuff we eat here is the same as in Pucallpa....people tell us it's different stuff but usually its just a different form of chicken and rice :) and we just room one companionship together which is super nice. 

Also this is a crazy pic of a pig that we saw being slaughtered on our street! So cool! sorry if it groses you out :)

The little baby chick that we buried last week!

Us with our Juanes J

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week 45 - Family History, God knows us, and Chickens

June 20, 2016

Also, this is me trying to take a selfie with all of
these cute kids and an hermana who goes to
 do visits with us almost every night!

So glad to hear your life has been so great! I'm sure its full of the ups and downs, but the downs seem to fade away as you look back :)

I had to share a story about last week that I forgot to send. We are the sisters who are in charge of family history in our stake - which is the coolest thing ever! We have only had 2 lessons with people so far, but we had one last week with an investigator from another ward who is going to get baptized next month. It was so cool as we explained about the plan of salvation, the plan God has for us to live with him again and to see her eyes change as she realized she could see her family members again. At the end she looked at me and said "I had never looked at life with so much value, but to see my family here has changed that." It is so incredible to see how excited people get about family history. We really are all just one big family and that is what part of our role is to help our family from the past, here and throughout eternity!

Funny moment this week... I think I've mentioned a little about the old family in our ward that we did service for a few weeks ago to sweep and mop their super dirty floor...well we passed by the other day to see how they were doing and to make sure they were eating, and there were chicks and chickens in their house. The abnormal thing was not that they were in their house...that's normal here. The weird thing was that she was taking care of a sick chick, but it looked dead. We nudged it and yup it was dead. Then the problem came trying to tell the hermana that her chicken was dead because she can't hear very well. So my companion shouted "SU POLLO ESTA MUERTO!" or "YOUR CHICKEN IS DEAD!" just about as loud as she could! She then told us she would just throw it in the garbage, but we didn't feel that was a super great idea so we had a funeral for it in their backyard :)

The best sign I've seen in the mission! People actually know what they're selling!
We had another really cool experience this week...actually, I think I could say that every day, but I'm limited on time so you only get a few of them :)  My companion and I went into a lesson to visit a member, not knowing what to teach her. So, we decided to say a prayer and after we got done I felt super strong that we needed to ask her if she was reading the Book of Mormon. Literally 2 seconds later my companion said exactly the same words I was going to say. I know this work is inspired of God. Yesterday we went back and she still wasn't reading, but her whole family was there, including her husband, who isn't a member. He ususally doesn't want anything to do with us but he joined us in the lesson and by the end we had given him a Book of Mormon and he committed to read it! God knows us! He knows all his children and exactly what they need. 2 Nephi 2:24

I also had a work visit with my sister leader this week, who continued to teach me about following the spirit. I've committed to start turning off my brain and start opening my mouth. Sometimes we doubt things, especially the promptings of the spirit to talk to people, but we just have to think...what's the worst thing that could happen? And usually it's not that bad so we continue opening our mouths! 

Love you all and keep smiling and trusting in the Lord. He will never lead you astray!

Loving Iquitos more every day!

Hermana Briggs

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Week 44 - Love being in Iquitos & 15 yr. Olds!

June 13, 2016

Hello Family!!
Wow what a busy but amazing week you all have had! It always seems to be greater when we are focusing on the little things in life.
Sis. Gonzalez, Sis. Willes and me together again!
So our super awesome ward mission leader continues to be awesome! One day this week he was with us to visit a recent convert who is struggling and told me "You look like your mom dont you"....i was kind of taken back and told him i was the spitin image of my mom :) And im happy to be so! Its actually funny when ill make a face or hand gesture and then realize that mom does the exact same thing. 
We have met lots of really cool people this week. One experience was when we felt like we should stop and visit a less active. We have been trying to get to her 15 year old son too who hasnt wanted anything to do with us or the gospel..but we´re slowly working on him. The 15yr old kids friends showed up during the lesson but he wasnt home....we asked them if they wanted to join in on the lesson with us and they said yes, which is super weird because 15 year old kids never want to talk to us especially about religion :) We had a lesson with them and they accepted everything we talked about and at the end the 15 yr old menos activo walked in and said the closing prayer which is a huge step! Hopefully this week we can help the 15yr old friends! Im super excited!

So our mission president is ending his mission! He was the mission president who opened this mission so it was a really special thing to have everyone gathered together...all of the less actives and recent converts in the last 3 years along with all the missionaries in Iquitos: and it was really special to be able to see all of the missionaries that i havent seen for 9 months. I didnt realize how tight of a bond you have with the missionaries you serve wtih. I think its because of that: SERVICE. When you serve with someone or for someone your connection is so much tighter becuase you are helping Gods children together.

My companion is Hermana Vazquez from Arizona and we actually met in the CCM and went to Pucallpa together. Whats even more crazy is the 1st night in my mission together we stayed in an apartment with some other hermanas and now we are back in the same ward we stayed in that first night together! That first day we ate in our bishops house! And i just put this all together. But she really is such an amazing companion and it has been interesting to get to talk in english a little bit more. Its actually improving my ability to speak in spanish if you can believe it cause now english or spanish goes. But the climate it a little different...its more humid so you sweat more but the sun doesnt kill you as much which is good. 

I am loving everything here and wish i had more time to say everything i wanted to! But id like you all to read Mosiah 3:5-9 this week. It talks about the atonement of Jesus Christ and really what he did for us. If he did that much for you what can you give to #Him?
Love you all so much!
Hermana Briggs

Happy Fathers day dad! I love you so much and want to thank you for supporting me so much here. It means way more than i think you will ever know. 

Also i got to see Hna Willes, My mom who trained me this week for the 1st time in 6 months!

Week 43 - So hard to leave Pucallpa!

June 6, 2016

Leaving Pucallpa
Loca Familia!

Sounds like you are crazy as ever! But still enjoying all of the little things in life. I love that we were sent here on earth to have joy. God is so merciful!

This week was absolutely crazy! I had transfers for the first time on my mission!! I had to leave my home Vista Alegre ward that I have been in for my entire mission! I don't think I have ever cried so hard...I had grown to love so so many people there and there will always be a part of my heart in Pucallpa. One of the hardest moments was leaving our investigators house, who's son had just got baptized. I love that family so much and know that God will continue helping them progress. 

So, then I packed my bags (I never want to pack again :) and jumped on a plane to Iquitos! There, I found out my companion was Hermana Vazquez! One of the gringas that I knew in the CCM! She is absolutely incredible and we have so much fun doing missionary work together. It was also her birthday this week so we got to celebrate with lots of cake...lots of cake and Gable you can be happy...I finally like chocolate cake :)
Sis. Vasquez' birthday!

Also when I left Pucallpa, our ward didn't have a ward mission leader and it was a struggle, but I arrived in Iquitos and our mission leader, I think, is the most dedicated ward mission leader in the WORLD!!! He makes visits with us just about every other day, brings us food when we´re hungry, takes us around in his motokar, and teaches in the lessons with such a power and spirit...he even has his own mission planner :) Iquitos is super different. Almost all the streets are paved and there isn't always dirt in your eyes. The people are different too...a little bit harder to teach and finding someone to teach is actually sometimes a struggle, which wasn't something I dealt with in Pucallpa. I actually really love that I have been learning to rely more on the spirit. 

I am super excited to continue working in the vineyard of the Lord, wherever He may place me. I was reading in Words of Mormon today in verse 7 which talks about how God knows all...and for me that is enough. I just need to trust in Him. 

Love you all so much!! Keep smiling brightly! And have fun with your snake dad! I hope you enjoyed your birthday: I was thinking of you and praying for you. also crazy world that Micaklya was there!!!! Such a small world. 

Hermana Briggs

A family that we did service at, cleaning their house. I felt so bad because
they are just this cute old couple who can't do anything for themselves. 

Week 42 - Joy and Service

May 30, 2016,
This is a picture from the baptism of J*.

Hello yall! So i realized the other day that the spanish i have learned to speak is like Texan english :) So everyone is probably going to make fun of my spanish when i get home!
This week has been another great rollercoaster! The highlight of the week was definitely the BAPTISM of J!!!!! This 12 year old kid is my absolute favorite! He is the son of the family that wants to get baptized so badly but is waiting for some paperwork so they can get married first. We felt that the baptism of J would really help fortify their family. And at first J didnt want to listen to us, but by since we have been concentrating our efforts on him, he has changed completely and his mom has told us of the change she is seeing in him too. He cracks me up every lesson! This week he asked if he could make copies of us so we wouldnt have to leave :) I absolutely love their family! If this family was the 1 reason i came on a mission, i would be happy. 

With one of the greatest experiences i had in my mission also accompanied one of the saddest. We went to teach the reference of the member that i taught when i got sick and when we arrived i realized her husband was there, who hadnt recieved us very nicely the time before. But we went forward with the lesson until her husband realized we were there. He walked up to us and told us to get out. He used words so forceful, but i didnt feel worried for me, but more for the woman we were teaching. She told us after that her husband is the reason why she has never been able to join a church. But we have faith that the Lord will help us with her. And we keep praying that somehow we will be able to teach her. 
The two 15 yr olds we are teaching.
We also were able to rescue these 2 young men that you see in this picture. They are super duper awesome and weve been working with them for a while! It was a complete miracle because they were supposed to recieve the priesthood and bless the sacrament before sunday ended, so they recieved it before church and we called someone to bring 2 white shirts and ties and all within an hour they were blessing the sacrament! Oh so cool!

Our mission president is ending his mission and i had the opportunity to have an interview with him on thursday. I asked him what blessings he had seen in his life from serving a mission, and he was a little surprised because it was the 1st time he had shared his testimony about his mission. Really the mission is the one time you are able to give 100% of your efforts to the Lord. And you can feel the Christlike attributes develop, not easily, but everything is more clear. 

Hermana Alberto's birthday!
I love you all! Shout out to my wonderful father who will have his birthday this week! Keep smiling so brightly and always remember Jacob 6:12 which says "oh be wise; what more can i say." God trusts us to use our agency to bless the lives of others. I love you all so incredibly much and have a fabulous week!
Hermana Briggs

Oh ya and we celebrated Hna Albertos birthday yesterday! I absolutely love her!

And transfers are tonight so ill let you know next week