Tuesday, January 17, 2017

False Storms

This past week was crazy. I'm just gonna talk about temporal things and then i can delve into the more spiritual aspect later on. 
Here we are in Illinois just being cold and stuff when all of a sudden this week everyone started freaking out about the weather. It was odd because we don't ever watch T.V. so we had no idea what in the world was going on. The stores were all selling out of bread and milk and stuff and my companion and i were very confused until we found out that apparently we were about to have a huge ice age or something. Well, the ice storm was very very nice... hehe it was the warmest it had been in a long time with some nice misting rain. I guess the weather man was wrong because nothing ended up happening. The craziest part about it is, that our cars got grounded and we were told to not go out at all on Friday. 
Let me say something about that topic. Staying inside all day as a missionary is like death. It is the WORST thing ever. We were so restless and i ended up reading some things Joseph Smith wrote and at the end of the day i just felt so drained. It was cool however to see the difference in my day. When we actually get to go out and work we say a ton of prayers all the time, but when we don't we go a long time without saying a prayer. When we got back to the apartment - i just felt like a good ole prayer. 

So other than staying inside a whole day for no reason, this week went pretty good. We had a lot of opportunity to do good. We have this investigator who has really had a hard life and every time we go over there she talks about how she has locked herself in her house so that she doesn't commit any more sin. We got word that she had run out of food recently so we made it known to a member, and on Sunday we dropped by with three loads of groceries for her and she just started crying and thanking us. She proceeded to tell us that she, 'needs Jesus.' In this moment i learned something and gained a testimony of the fact that no matter who you are or where you have been or under any circumstances, the Lord provides an unquenchable hope for all mankind.  We hope to be able to help her along in the repentance process and bring her to the fullness of happiness that can be hers. 

I just wanna end here with a little thing that I hope will tie this email together. No matter what goes on in our life. No matter how many storms or false storms come our way. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the everlasting path to happiness. I know that it is designed for sinners because we all are. I know that no one is forgotten in the eyes of God. I am so blessed to be a missionary for the only true, everlasting, and living church on the earth today. As I study the scriptures, the Lord just continues to bless me with revelation and love. 

Well that's all folks,
LOVE Y'ALL
Elder Brian


Monday, January 9, 2017

Power of Ordinances

Well folks, it was a great week. Honestly the weeks are all mashing together and I think I can blame having a fun time in the service of God. 
This week we had the Baptism of two girls named Jasmine and Aurora. It was awesome. everything went great and we have two wonderful new members of the Church. Before Aurora's baptism she was getting really nervous because she hates going all the way under water. She was so scared, like literally shaking when she walked into the font. But as soon as she came up she was smiling and laughing and the happiest person alive. It was the cutest thing ever. Jasmine walked right in got baptized and walked right out. It was kinda funny. The next day we confirmed both of them, and they were as happy as clams.
I really have gained a strong testimony of the power of the Ordinances. I can testify that if you truly want to feel God's Power manifest, attend a baptism or simply partake of the Sacrament. If you truly focus on the spirit and strive to have a spiritual experience I can promise that you will have one. The change in me is insane. I recognize now that Sundays are my favorite days simply because I get to partake of that ordnance and remember Him. 
I'm here and I'm happy.
LOVE, ELDER BRIAN
ps. sorry its short.... i have tiredoftyping-itus. 
but i sent pictures 😀

Monday, January 2, 2017

First baptisms

Holy smokes. It is already January. 
Well let me just start off with a little bit of a spiritual slam. 
In the very very short 5 months of my mission i have come to understand so much more of the divine message that i have the privilege to share with the people in the Missouri St. Louis mission. I have come to a further knowledge of the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ being the most correct thing in existence today.  
This past week has been amazing. We have two baptisms lined up for this Saturday and i am so happy for them. Jasmine(13) and Arora(8) are their names. They are sisters and both their parents are less active but are working toward activity. I have never seen anyone be more excited to be baptized then little Arora. She is sooo happy. I cannot wait to see her face when she comes out of the water. 
This past Sunday i gave a talk in Church and it was pretty funny. I spoke on goals and how to set and achieve righteous goals. The whole time i was thinking, if my dad were here he would destroy this topic with his amazing mad skillz at making and keeping his Goals. hehe 
This past week I've focused a lot in my studies in Faith. I just wanna tell everyone a little something i learned. In the Book of Mormon there is this guy named Alma and in Chapter 32 of his book he tells us a little something about faith. I’m not gonna lie, i totally took this chapter for granted all through seminary and in my own reading until i started doing a little bit deeper study. In Alma 32 we learn literally how to GROW FAITH. I want everyone to know that this is the only place, in all of the scripture that we have, that actually tells us how to make our faith grow. Then there is the question, why do i need to know that... Well you need to know that because Faith leads to Repentance which makes you want to keep your baptismal Covenants and by doing so you keep living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Just a thought... hahaha
oh, i almost forgot. I had an awesome experience on exchanges with Elder Cardiff. He was in my district in the MTC so we knew we were going to have a blast. A little thing they frogot to tell me before the exchange was that they were OUT of miles so we had to walk all across creation to make it to our appointments. We had this awesome experience though when Elder Cardiff decided that we should knock on a few doors. I knocked on my first one and a lady opened the door. She was slightly embarrassed because she didn't have her "top teeth" in at the moment so i did most the talkin. I told her who we were and why we were there at her door and she just looked at us and said, "hold on a sec." then she dissipeared into her house for a few seconds then opened the door again with nice white teeth. hehehe She talked with us for a little then i asked if we could share something with her . She obliged and we talked about God and Jesus. She then said, “I already know all this so I'm alright. You boys have a good day.”  But the spirit told us to stand firm so we did. We then explained a little about the book of mormon and the sweet lady became interested in what we were saying. Both Elder Cardiff and I were able to testify of the power of the book and the Joy it will bring and she told us she would read it and would enjoy another visit. BAM someone who is now interested. 

Well thats all I've got and this is the longest one ever. sooo 
Peace
Love elder Brian

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016


I honestly have loved being a missionary during this Christmas season. It has been amazing to represent Him during the time when everyone is a little more sensitive to Christ's message. 
I got the chance to go to a Christmas Catholic Mass. It was my first time going to a mass and it was a good one because it was Christmas Eve. IT WAS PACKED. We decided to be Christlike and give up our seats so an elderly couple could sit for the service. All i could think throughout the whole thing is how eternally grateful i am for the knowledge of the restored Gospel and Priesthood. It is real. and i felt the confirmation of the Holy Ghost testify to me in a Catholic Church that the restored Gospel is true. ahh it was pretty crazy. 
Christmas was awesome because we get to watch any PG movies we want. We ended up only watching the Grinch who stole Christmas and this movie called a Castle in the Sky which was way weird and amazing. (prolly cuz i haven't seen a moving in like 5 months). We didn't stop watching shows all day.  hahaha
ODD side note: it kinda sucks not doing anything now. I use to be good at not doing anything, but now its hard.
Anyway, I had a wonderful Christmas. I cannot believe that i will only have one more missionary Christmas.... time is absolutely flying. I love the Lord and i love this Gospel with every fiber of my being and I'm so blessed to know what i know. 

I pray you had a wonderful Christmas as well. Happy New Year!

LOVE ELDER BRIAN

Monday, December 19, 2016

Edwardsville

Well hello,
This week has honestly lasted, probably about 16541 weeks. It has gone on forever, I swear. BUT it has been the funnest week of my mission so far. Lets begin at the start.
On Tuesday i get transferred. I say my goodbyes and get in the car with this kid thats like 20ish named Brandon. (Turns out he is one of the coolest kids ever.) We drive until i start noticing all the dead corn all around me. So much dead Corn.
Edwardsville, is a small town in Illinois that is pretty much the opposite of my first area. I like to refer to it as simply "the best mission place on the entire world." 
We finally made it to the apartment and i meet my companion. Elder Serage. Turns out he is the coolest companion anyone could ever ask for. I'm semi sure that we already have a better relationship then peanut butter has with chocolate - and thats sayin' something. He is a huge nerd but he is also ripped because he loves basketball and working out.. haha I'd say he is a mixture of two of my best friends Stax and Hunter. haha 
i guess you could say we are getting a long quite nicely.
I'm here now, just having the time of my life. We are doing so well together and having a blast in the service of God. A few days ago we set 2 dates for people to be baptized and it was amazing. The members here are the coolest people ever, and right now people are literally contacting us because they want to learn more about the church. It is the best place ever.  I also got to meet this guy named Ron who is crazy. Honestly he is probably the craziest person i have ever met. Ron must like the taste of soap or something because he cusses like a sailor. He is so funny though, and has a genuine concern for the missionaries and he told us he would try coming to church again, but the last time he did that his car wouldn't start when he tried to leave (early) and so he doesn't want that to happen again. hahahaha One crazy guy. 

So i attached these two videos so you can see what i mean when i say that elder Serage and i are pretty good homies. We had a little bit of freeze rain and once we were able to get home, (almost dying like 3 times) we made the best out of the situation, by sliding our way into town and getting some pizza.(don't worry this was all on foot)  I fell really hard 2 times but elder Serage destroyed himself and it was the funniest thing i had ever seen. i wish i had a video of it, but i don't so everyone can just take my word for it. hahaha When our tummies were full we slid home and what happened? These videos happened.  hahaha Well, i thought i should throw in something that has been on my mind recently. 
Everyone listen to these words:
It's as simple as this. The Book of Mormon has the answers. If there is any question that is on your mind or if things are hard and you need direction, the Book of Mormon has the answers. God is a loving God and he will never ever leave us with no hope. We are children of God. We ARE Gods children. This simple fact is what is changing all the people i talk to. 
This Christmas season, i just want to encourage everyone to remember Christ. Jesus Christ. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. That wonderful man who suffered the sins of the world. Every individual, one by one, he suffered. For me alone he bled. I know that he is my Redeemer and  i will do everything i can to follow in his footsteps.
 In life's worst storms, with the strongest winds. I know of one thing that we can hold on to and remain grounded and safe. That is the Book of Mormon and its teachings. That is my testimony. This is real.

video
video

Well, I love you all so much. Hope everyone's having a wonderful Christmas season. I wish you a merry Christmas, I wish you a merry Christmas I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.  
Note to Mom:  MOM!  I love my new area with all my heart. I refer to it as the Celestial kingdom. AND my new companion, totally would have been in la fam if he had been by us. He is the coolest kid ever. He is a mix between Jaxon and Hunter. hahahaha

Monday, December 12, 2016

Getting Transferred!

Well that's all for me in Frontenac, I'm getting transferred. I'm going to this place in Illinois called Edwardsville. My new companions name is Elder Serage or something like that. I hope he is cool... I don't know right now if that is a good thing or a bad thing to be moving to Edwardsville because I honestly don't know anything about it besides it is kinda the opposite from Frontenac. I’m hoping that means more investigators! 
This past week has been a good one. My first birthday in the mission field was a lot different than what I thought it was going to be. I have to say a big THANK YOU to everyone that was sending your love to me on the 10th. In the mission when your birthday rolls around its like you wake up in the morning and go..."woah its my birthday." and then you forget about it until someone says, "hey, happy birthday" and then you realize it's still your birthday. hahaha I had a ton of fun though, and I got to play some birthday sting pong with the 5 other elders in my apartment complex. I got Mom’s package and the Ugly Christmas sweater was a hit. I wore it to play basketball in the morning with the AP's and everyone laughed super hard. I also loved the “positive affirmation button” that says, “you’re awesome” when you push it! Oh, and we got a car again so that was a wonderful birthday present!
I have been saying my goodbyes to all the people that I've become close to here, but I am not sad because its not like i'm dying. I can come see them sometime in the future. 
I had a grand time on exchanges this past week. We, at the time, didnt have a car and so it was a biking day. I got a different bike because the old one only had one pedel and that made it kinda difficult... so this new bike looked awesome. We started biking and when we came to the first intersection I realized why this bike was free to me... #nobreaks so i just rolled on through the intersection kinda like the grandma on the Mulan movie. hahaha To make the day even better, it was around 20 degrees outside. My companion during this exchange was an office elder that hadn't been doing stuff like this for the last 3 months and he was dying. That made it WAY more funnyr. He kept saying, "I cannot feel my hands or my face." We went and visited a few people, stopped by this old folks home because it was the day on the light the world thingy to do that, and then biked all the way across town to visit a few other people. It was s'cold. hahaha
Finally the time came for a dinner of a lifetime. The only problem was, that the dinner was approximately 15 minutes away by car and we only had bikes. I thought, "no problem” because I had already called this priest age kid to give us a ride. Just as I was telling this to my companion, Elder Timmereck , we got a call and the kid was actually going on a date soo… hahaha I started calling a ton of people. We finally found someone that was willing to give us a lift and made it to this wonderfully fantastic dinner. After which we waited outside in the 15ish degree weather for our ride. Elder Timmereck was so funny 'cuz we were both freezing. hahaha

Well fam. The truth is that no matter where you go, no matter how hot or cold, the church is true and everyone needs to be told. ( i just made that up and it came out sounding a lot cooler then i thought it would) I have grown immensely here and Im excited for the fun coming my way in Illinois. hahaha
 Love you all,
Elder Brian



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Time is flying

Well hello everyone. I cannot believe that it is December. Time is totally flying.

First and foremost, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! you da man. 

Now onto the content of this letter. 
Whelp, just to update anyone that is interested. We are pretty much still meeting with and talking to the same people i talked about before. hahaha its just kinda harder to get to their houses now. 
Let me tell you, we are getting dang creative out here in the Frontenac area. We have been relying on the members of the ward for rides places and then also bumming rides form the other elders that live in the same apartment complex as us. It has been wild. But there are always good things to come of hard things and I truly believe that through and through. And here is the evidence that that last statement is correct: 

The other night we went to a members home for dinner. We got there a little late because we had to wait for a member to take us there because its pretty far away and it was dark out. We ate dinner and what do you know, they turn out to be probably one of the most missionary-minded families on the planet. I mean they have a daughter in 2nd grade that brings a Preach my Gospel to school and keeps track of all the commitments she makes to her fellow school mates. (blew my mind.) So we talk about how their kids are probably better missionaries than I am and how they are constantly inviting people and looking for opportunities to serve and they told us they had been praying to be able to give someone a ride to church. They asked and we told them we would let them know if one of our investigators needed a ride. Soooo, we leave their house and they just think we have a car so they say bye and close the door and we just started walking... in the dark... it took about ten steps before I pulled out the phone and started to call all the other missionaries that lived in our apartment complex to come and get us. hahaha They decided that they wouldn't make us sleep in the streets and they told us to just get to the main road where they could see us and pick us up. So we wandered around until we got to the main road and just sat by this gas station. (This is where it gets cool)
As we are sitting there I hear this terrible scraping sound from down the road. I walked out and there was this car coming that had sparks flying out of the back of it as it drove! It pulls into the gas station and I get a good look at the two rims that he was driving on. hahaha- totally destroyed. I walked over as this man gets out of the car and I almost started laughing. This little ole Chinese man gets out and says, “I think I hit something." hahahaha He had hit a curb going pretty fast and blew up both his tires on the passenger side of his car, and then drove a good 4 or 5 miles (destroying the chance that that car will ever be able to drive again) before he decided to pull into this gas station right where we were standing. 
As we were standing there I realized that the Lord just given us this man to teach and he cant even get away because he was just as stranded as we were! hahaha We talked for a moment and he was actually on his way home from his bible study class. He realized that we were trustable and so he asked us if we could give him a ride home. We cant do that as missionaries, but I knew of someone who had been praying for an opportunity to give someone a ride... We called up the member we had just had dinner with and he came by and ended up giving this man a ride to his home with us in the back seat teaching the whole way. He lives out of our area but he is definitely gonna get a few missionaries knocking at his door this week. it was awesome.

That's a good story. hahaha Well things are good here and i'm not dead and I am doing what I've dreamed about doing my whole life. Everyone do the light the world thingy  (#lighttheworld) because its gonna bless your lives! hahaha, just a little plug right there. I love you all and hope that this Christmas season is just absolutely amazing.  

Keep on keepin on
Elder Brian