Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Plague Has Hit . . .

Dearest Family and Friends:

Well, of course it's been another great week here at the CCM.  It can always be a good week if you let it be one!!!! I think this is the first week I haven't had a whole lot to say, but somehow I think it will be a long letter anyway. :)

Sean Cates - This guy is the President of the CCM.  He is the president over non-spiritual things. He's the one that hires people to work here and basically runs the facility.  President Tenorio is the president of missionaries. Anyway, I was eating dinner with Hermano Cates, and asked him about his family vacation.  He said he went to visit Orem. I was like, "no way!!! I"M FROM OREM!!!" So that was fun. Apparently he is from Orem as well.  His parents live there and he went to Northridge Elementary. Huh. That was a fun night. 

TRC - I don't know what it stands for. Sorry. I feel like I should learn that. Anyway, we did it again on Saturday, and it was the BEST - again. :) Hermana Kivett and I taught 3 people. We taught a sweet old lady who just wanted to talk and talk and talk, so that was fun. Then we taught a mom with her daughter who just got back from Peru on her mission. That was so sweet! We all just shared our testimonies. The spirit was so strong! And it's great practice to talk with members. They can help you with your Spanish. And boy do I need help. Then we taught a YW president, and SHE BROUGHT A REAL INVESTIGATOR!!! So we taught someone who wasn't a member, but was interested. She was probably about 15 or 16. It was the COOLEST experience here so far. I just love TRC. I really do. Ask any missionary who has ever done it and they will confirm it. :)

Sunday -  I finally got to give a talk on Sunday. We are supposed to prepare one every week, and they call on you in Sacrament meeting. So I'll have 5 talks by the end of my time here, so that's nice. But I will only have given one. So I was called on for the Repentance topic. It was SO incredible. I talked really slowly, and everyone could understand me! President Call and his wife were there that pressure ;) It was a great experience. All the Hermanas sang Oración de un niño, or A Child's prayer. I got to play for it. The spirit was so strong!! This last Sunday was by far the BEST one yet.

Brother Mills. -  We had a really special guest here this last week. Brother Mills is the President of all international MTC's.  So basically 14 of the 15 MTC's he is in charge of. Apparently Mexico is the biggest. It holds 1400, but it's on a 95 acre plot. BOOM. Take that Provo! Just kidding. Provo is awesome. But the CCM is better ;) Anyway, he came and talked to us this last week. It was a lot of fun. He talked about how missionaries change on a mission. He showed before and after pictures of missionaries. Even some of the ones who's "before" picture was nice and pretty, there was still a noticeable change when they came back. I really hope people notice a change in me. :)

Lesson - I had the best lesson of my whole lesson experience period this last week. Our nighttime teacher's "investigator" role was kind of a scary one. So Hermana Kivett and I decided to just read through the story of Alma the younger with him, and explain it as we went. We applied it to him to let him know that he could change, and that God loved him. In Mosiah 27 verse 17? I think it talks about how Alma's father and many people prayed that Alma the younger would know the truth, and that their prayers of love were answered when the angel came. Our investigator read that, and he understood it, but he told us that he felt like no one prayed for him. I looked him straight in the face with tears in my eyes and said. "Nosotros estamos orando por usted. Nosotros amamos usted." Who knows if the grammar was right, or what. But I told him "We are praying for you, and we love you." The spirit was so strong. It was amazing to see how the Book of Mormon could touch his life, and apply to him in such a personal way. It was also just nice to teach about a Book of Mormon story, instead of a set lesson plan that we teach often. It was just a great experience.

The plague - This last generation of missionaries brought death with them. They brought a nasty virus, and 40% of the CCM got hit with it overnight. It was awful. Just awful. It was a horrible fever, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, chills, and all sorts of bad stuff. My companion got sick, and so did at least every other person's companion. So we were all on splits. It was nice that it was rare to have an entire companionship hit. It was usually just one of the 2. Boy. This was a bad week. EVERYONE was sick. It was terrible. The hospital was flooded with people. I can't even begin to describe how empty it felt. It was hard because I was constantly changing companions and constantly changing classrooms, teachers, and investigators. I didn't have a solid place for 2 days. I'm so grateful that I didn't get sick though. It was just awful - just awful. Ugh. So, this week was no bueno.

Well, that's honestly all I have for this week. I love you all SOOO much. Thank you for the letters, packages, prayers, and support. I love you all!

Prestos todos prestos!!!


Hermana Bringhurst

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Halfway done with the CCM!!!

Dear Family and Friends,


I cannot believe I have been out here for 3 weeks already!!! I'm halfway done with the CCM!! Three weeks sounds pathetic compared to 18 months, but still....time is flying!!!

Funny stories - Okay I have 4 really quick funny stories. 1) I got a package with makings for a PB and J sandwiches and two elders in my district were super jealous. So after the evening class was over Hermana Kivett and I ran to our house, made them sandwiches, and met at the rendezvous point since we couldn't go near each other's houses. We met them really fast, exchanged sandwiches, and ran back home to make it to curfew. It was so funny!! i wish you could've been there to actually see it, because it was funny. Just picture missionaries exchanging sandwiches in front of the store at 9:30. It was great!  2) I am officially the package/letter queen. Me and one other Hermana from another district get TONS of mail. The elders have a bet going as to who will receive the most mail at the CCM.  Yeah, the elders who are betting for me are totally winning!  3) So since our district plays volleyball a lot with the other district, we have names for each team and everyone on our team. Elder Jones is Jelly, Elder Pogroszweski is Plunger, I am Hecho Berries, Hermana Kivett is Half Kimchi, Elder Sellars is Snake poison. It's the bomb. We named our team Esta muerto. (You're dead) Yeah, we're cool. 4) Hermano Romero decided he wanted us to try Mexican candy so he brought some. And let me just say - blech!!! The inside is amazing, but apparently Mexicans need to make everything spicy. It was a delicious gummy bear type thing with chili peppers coating it. Ew. I have no words for this gross candy.

Spanish - So a lot of people have asked how my Spanish is going, so I'll give an update. I can teach lessons without notes.  I write a few words down just in case I get stuck. I can give talks, say prayers, share my testimony, and give a spiritual thought. I know pretty much all the tenses, but I have to think really hard when I'm conjugating, so that's slow. I've memorized the First Vision, and the objective, and I'm working on D & C 4. I have SO MUCH MORE TO LEARN. This language barrier is driving me crazy!!! I wish I knew more. It's a slow process, but I'll get there with faith and study.

TRC - We do this thing every Saturday called TRC. It's where less actives, or members volunteer to come to the CCM so we can teach them. The first girl we taught was totally a member, and wasn't even pretending to be an investigator. She wanted to hear our testimonies, and then we talked to her about how awesome a mission is because she's been thinking of going. Then the second guy we taught was trying to ask us questions so we would talk more about the church. It was fun. It was good to try and explain without feeling like you need to follow a solid lesson plan. TRC was one of my most favorite experiences this week. It taught me so much! They complimented our Spanish, and that was wonderful. Sometimes we need a pick me up to feel like we are actually progressing. But it was SO FUN!!!

Latinos - Okay, I love the latino missionaries. They are only here for 2 weeks, so we have seen all our friends go. We become so close with all of them, and then we need to say goodbye!!!! It's soooo sad!! But then we get to make new friends every Monday! I just love it here.  Have I ever said that? :)

Musical number - I did sing in church this last Sunday. I sang How Great Thou Art (Grande eres Tu) and Hermana Kivett practiced really hard all week so she could play. I was glad I had the opportunity to sing. I love the words to that song, and I was teary just singing it. I love sharing my testimony through music. Next week I get to play A Child's Prayer for all the Hermanas in the Branch to sing. Oh how I love Sunday!!

Devotional - Okay. This should've gone in the funny story category.  I fell asleep during a devotional, and I was in the aisle. Apparently I had completely fallen over into the aisle and all the elders kept telling me I was snoring. I have NEVER snored!!! I think they just say it because they find it amusing to tease me. I wasn't snoring, but I was sleeping :/

Movies - We get to watch a movie every Sunday night. We've seen the Restoration (my personal favorite) Legacy, some really old movie about the Book of Mormon, and the Testaments. So, Sunday really is the best day. I really want to see Prince of Egypt, but I don't think they'd show that one.  Oh well. Being a missionary means missing out on movies.

COMEDOR!!!  They finally opened the new comedor!!! It's absolutely gorgeous. It looks just like a huge buffet place at like Vegas!! I seriously love the workers there. Alejandro taught Hermana Kivett and I 3 new words this week. Tray, dressing, and dessert. I just have so much to look forward to every single day!!!!

Weather - When I first got here it consistently rained everyday at 4 pm. Always. Then the second week it was BLAZING hot. I got terribly sunburned on my arms yesterday from playing volleyball for 40 minutes! only 40! The sun is intense!! At least now I look like I've been in Mexico ;)

Wonderful experiences - I am going to end this letter with my two most amazing experiences this week. 1) We are teaching Hermano Romero at night. We taught him this one lesson about the Atonement. It was beautiful. All three of us were crying. He agreed to say the closing prayer and I understood every word!!! It was so beautiful. Even though Jose is playing an investigator he's portraying a real person he taught on his mission. It's amazing to see someone change, and come to know the spirit. I can't wait to see it for real for myself!!! 2) Bear with me on this one. Okay, so we were playing volleyball and I'm not very good at all. I try, but my district loves me despite my poor skills. So, one of the elders from the new district in our branch decided to be a jerk. Not to go into detail or put him down, let's just say it was over the line, and everyone knew it. He bullied me relentlessly.  I have never felt so awful about myself in my entire life. The elders in my district said they would've beaten him up if we weren't missionaries.  Anyway, the elders from the other district pulled me outside during my study to make sure I was okay. They all went and talked to the elder. I seriously have 8 older brothers looking out for me. Elder Jones and Elder Pogroszewski bought me chocolate from the tienda. The other elder apologized to me, and now we are BEST FRIENDS. I learned from this experience that I am being watched over. I have people here protecting me, and loving me. I have no hard feelings toward the other elder. It's amazing how much love you are capable of as a misisonary. it was a great experience.

I love you all so much. I love being a missionary. I love the hard times, and I love the good times. I feel your prayers, and your support. Thank you for being the best family in the whole world.


Hermana Bringhurst

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Hola Familia y Amigos!!

My dearest family and friends:

Let me just say first how great it is to be a missionary!!!!!! I cannot even describe the joy I feel every morning when I put on my tag. I love my Savior. I love this Gospel. I love being a missionary. This has been yet another amazing week!! I thought there would be less to talk about - the "same old same old" syndrome, but NOOOOO!!! I have loads to talk about!!! :) I'm going to bullet point it so that it makes more sense. It may be all over the place. Sorry.

Gunfire? - I have been BAMBOOZLED!! It is not gunfire.
it is fireworks. So we are not being protected from gunfire outside, we are being protected from crazy fireworks laws! Ha ha. Our nighttime teacher informed that they were fireworks, so not as cool :(

Most spiritual experience -  This was the HIGHLIGHT of my week by far. Hermana Kivett (my companion) was feeling really sick one day. She has asthma, so having a bad cold was terrifying for her. After much coaxing from me, she agreed to ask the elders in our district for a Priesthood blessing. They immediately agreed, pulled out a chair, and pulled out the white bible to know how to say it correctly. It was the first blessing any of them had given. It was the most beautiful experience. Elder Jones said everything she needed to hear. I was crying. It was just so amazing to see these men exercise the Priesthood. Women can still be blessed through the power of the Priesthood. I feel it everyday when I am with the Elders. It's incredible. The Priesthood is real. I loved being a part of that wonderful experience. Our elders tell us that we can ask for a blessing anytime, for anything. They are seriously the best elders of any mission, anywhere. Period.

Alejandro -  There is this amazing guy who works in the lunchroom. Every day, or I guess every meal, he quizzes Hermana Kivett and I on kitchen Spanish words. I have fork, knife, and spoon down!!! It's absolutely incredible how kind these people are. I love Alejandro. He is so kind. I wish I could express my deep love for these people.

First investigator - Remember when I talked about teaching Jose? Okay, this is the best story ever. Hermana Kivett and I walked into his "house" to teach him, and when we opened the door, he wasn't there. But we had just seen him go in!!! We were like...."Hermano Romero??" then all of a sudden, he jumps from around the back of the door and scares us to death!!! It was sooooooo funny!!! We were laughing soooo hard. We really became good friends with him. It was sad to be done teaching him. Bu then …  after your first week, you get a nighttime instructor as well.  One guess as to who that instructor was. JOSE!!!! So here at the CCM, your first "investigator" becomes your nighttime instructor!! It was so awesome!! It's weird to know him as an investigator, but then have him come and teach us!! He is my favorite. He has taught us so much Spanish!! And he is hilarious. He's pretty close to our age, so we all have a good time laughing and making jokes. I truly love being taught by him.

Singing/playing the piano - So it turns out that I am the only one in our branch who plays the piano. The only one.  We got 8 new missionaries this last week in our branch of 13, and still none of them play. So I am the designated piano player for sacrament meeting, and special musical numbers. There is no time to practice, so I have to sight-read everything. It's a blast!! I love being able to play the piano. Our district and the other district in our generation wants to sing the Armies of Helaman/Sister's in Zion duet for our last devotional. Since I'm the only one who plays, I had to sight read the piece for all of us to practice. It was in that moment that I was extremely grateful for piano lessons. Sometimes I feel super lame because I'm the only one who doesn't play sports, and everyone pities me for it.   But when I play the piano, it reminds me that everyone is different. Everyone has something that they're good at. I can't play sports, but I can help out the branch with music. Everyone is special in his or her own way :) The Hermanas are in charge of putting together musical numbers.  They heard me singing in the shower (THE ONLY TIME I CAN ACTUALLY SING) and they asked me to sing for sacrament meeting next week. Wish me luck finding an accompanist.

President Tenorio - Okay, he is the best CCM president in the whole world. And his wife is so stinking adorable. I love them to pieces. Our house is two houses down from theirs, so we see them all the time!!! President Tenorio gave a talk for one devotional, and he showed us his conference talk from general conference in 2007. The only thing I will say is...."shower! shower!" now you have to go look up the talk, and then we can laugh together :)

Branch - I officially love Sundays. We have 21 people in our branch now. It's still weird, but I love the branch presidency!! President Gomez is so sweet. His counselor President Carillo is so sweet as well. I just love the people here. I am being taken care of by many great people, and I love them all!!

CCM - It's extremely empty. Extremely. It can house 1400 missionaries, and there are about 300 here. A lot of the classrooms aren't being used, and a TON of the houses are empty. 70% of the CCM is Americans, and the other is Latinos. Of the 70%, I would say about 80% are going state side. So I fit RIGHT IN!! It's amazing. I love all the Latinos here. They are all so friendly. You can go up to any missionary and practice with them, and they are more than willing to help!! Elder Barra is my favorite!! He's fresh out of high school, and he's so stinking adorable. Words cannot describe my love for him. He's taught us so much!! He's seriously like my little brother.

Schedule - Now that we have done 2 weeks, our schedule has changed. We teach 2 people a day; one in the morning, and one at night. It gives us more to study!! Yay!! I really do love the schedule.  It doesn't get old ever. You just have to look at the positives, and you have to look at your progress. I can't get frustrated. I have to look at what I've DONE and not what I need to do. Everyday can be a good day. It really can. Do I have hard times? Of course!! Is everyday amazing? YES!!!! I just focus on the most incredible times, and it really is impossible to have a bad day. Truly. The Lord is always there, no matter what.

Service - Every Tuesday after gym we have service. Last week I cleaned chairs for the new lunchroom. This week Hermana Kivett and I washed the water dispensers in the classrooms. The water is good here. The CCM has its own well, so the water is good. You don't need a water filter, and they didn't give us one. They take care of us :)

Living situation -  The hermanas live in houses along the campus. There are 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms in each house. Each bedroom can house 2 companionships, but since there are so few missionaries, Hermana Kivett and I have a room and a bathroom to ourselves!!! BOOM!!! I love the hermanas in my house. We are all so close because we were on the plane together. I just have so much love!!! love love love!!!!

Bugs - There are only mosquitos. Sometimes there are a lot, but sometimes there are none at all. It's not a problem. BUT … There was a GIANT cockroach in our house. It was huge!!!! An hermana killed it, and flushed it down the toilet. Take that!!!! Then they fumigated our we have NO bugs!!

Jorge - Alright. There is this adorable tree by our house. It's super tall and skinny, and then it has a bush of leaves at the top. It's adorable!!! Us hermanas named him Jorge, and we say hi to him every day :)

Juice - The beverages here are weird. One side of the machine is weird non-carbonated juice that has hardly any flavor, and the other side is carbonated, so it's like weird soda. I have found my favorite, and I'm sticking with it. It's naranja (orange) and it's awesome.

Food - I decided I didn't do a good job explaining the food. They always have two options. One is ALWAYS some spicy Mexican meat with weird sauce, and you can make tacos with it.  The other is kind of American. When I said surprises, I meant like pieces of weird vegetables, and weird things like that. They would have scrambled eggs, but they'd put weird potatoes in them. Or hamburgers with green peppers mixed in with the meat. Or they have a fajita type thing, and there would be one ingredient that made no sense - stuff like that. A lot of people like it. I haven't really liked Mexican food ever, so it's hard for me. I can't tolerate spicy very well.  So when we have chicken nuggets, they are SPICY!!!! I still appreciate the people. I basically go eat just so I can have the mangos.  Oooo the mangos!!! And I go to talk with the food workers. :)

Volleyball - Okay. I'm not good. I make 95% of my serves, but I make 20% of all other hits. My district, and the other district still love me though.  They call me "bringin the hurt!" because of my last name. Obviously I'm not bringing the hurt.  But it's sweet of them to try and make me feel better about my sports abilities. At least I try right?? :)

District – Our district is soooo tight!! We talk about everything!!! It's incredible! We are also very's ridiculous. Our teachers love us because we always have energy (most missionaries don't) but we always love everything we do. I truly was blessed when I got put in this district.

The CCM really is home for me. It is. I love everyone and everything. I'm yet to have a bad day. It's going to be hard to leave here. But I can't wait to get out in the field!! I've realized how much I need the spirit, and the Lord. I couldn't do anything without Him. I've become so close with my Savior. I know Him better than I ever have. It's truly amazing to have such an amazing friend, and comforter. Being a missionary is truly a blessing. It's hard...but it's all worth it. I want to soak up every drop of this experience. It's truly indescribable how amazing it is to be a missionary.

Prestos todos prestos!!


Hermana Bringhurst

P.S. It's weird to be out of the loop. Leaders were talking to us about President Packer passing away like we had known.  But how are we supposed to know?? It's hard to get late news. But we did get to watch his funeral! It was amazing!

P.P.S. We got to go to the temple today!!!! It's under construction, so you can't go up to it. But we got to go to the visitor's center. It was beautiful!!! While we were driving, I saw these Mexicans running through the roads and washing people's windshields while stopped at stoplights.  They make money in every way they can think of. I've never seen such hard workers in my life.

Me and my companion at the CCM

My district at the Temple

My district with the other district that came to see the Temple

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

First week at the CMM!

My dearest family,

Wow. I cannot believe I am the CCM (MTC in Spanish, pronounced say say eh may) and I've already been here for one week!! Time really does truly does. The days really are long...but I feel like I got here yesterday! First off, I just want to tell you all how much I love being a missionary. I love to wake up, speedily get ready in 25 minutes, and pin on my nametag before I go to breakfast. It truly makes my heart leap everytime I put the name of Jesus Christ on my chest. I love being a missionary. I love it. The work is so true, and so incredible, and I cannot even believe that God called ME to do it! Wow!

CCM....okay, first off, it is GORGEOUS. It is so green and beautiful. There are palm trees everywhere. I have never seen such a clean and beautiful place. There really is a stark difference between the CCM and Mexico City. On the way from the airport, we looked outside and it was just filthy. There is always smog in the air.  The sky is literally brown, except those rare occasions when the blue shows itself. We even saw a star last night. But it truly is a protected place. There are individual buildings for the classrooms all around the CCM. They are named after the prophets. I study in the Lorenzo Snow building. We all eat in a giant cafeteria, but they are remodeling the REAL one, so hopefully it will be ready while I'm here! The schedule at the CCM is pretty simple....wake up, breakfast, study, lunch, study, gym, study, teach, plan, bed. No joke. I'm in a classroom ALL DAY. But I LOVE it and I NEED it. There are about 200 missionaries here currently.  It feels really empty since it can hold about 1400, but we will have 500 in August.  The food is okay. The people who fix it are WONDERFUL!! Everyone is sooooo kind. You literally say hola to EVERYONE. We truly are a family. Truly. The food usually has 2 options. 1 American and 1 Spanish. The American does always have a twist. We'll have hamburgers, but the meat will have surprises in it. We'll have sandwiches, but it will have more surprises. It's plain, boring American, but with a spicy Mexican twist. :) I'm always hungry.  There’s fruit, but you can't have any food with you other than the cafeteria.  :(  I truly love it here. You feel safe and protected. It's all Spanish, so I am learning way more quickly than I would have at Provo.

Spanish - I am learning slowly. I can't get discouraged. I have to keep telling myself that I make progress everyday. I can pray, give a testimony, and halfway teach a lesson without notes. That's more than when I started! But I have lots to learn. Our teacher for the 6 weeks we are here is Hermana Arno. She is sooooo sweet! She's probably 5 feet tall. I love her. She is such a great teacher! I learn so much everyday. The Lord is truly helping me out!

Teaching - so, the 2nd day we were here we had to teach a lesson to an actor playing an investigator IN SPANISH. What????? On my second day?????? I was dying. Hermana Kivett and I wrote down everything we wanted to say word for word in our notebooks and just read the lesson. Our investigator's name is Jose Romero. He is incredible!!! He was baptized after the missionaries taught him, and now he volunteers to help us struggling missionaries. He's 21, so he's very relatable. Our lessons have improved with him SO MUCH! He agreed to baptism, and now we can teach him without notes. It's slow, and we need a dictionary sometimes, but the spirit is so strong!! Every time I come out of a lesson, I am reminded of why I love being a missionary. Story: One of the elders in my district was trying to tell him the Jesus Christ would take away all his sins, but he said he'd take away all his fish. The word for sin and fish are very similary in Spanish. It was hilarious!!

My district - HOLY COW I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!! There are 6 of us. My companion and I, and Elder Pogorewski (pronounced Pogreski) and Elder Curtis, and Elder Jones and Elder Sellars. All of them just graduated, except Elder Po-blah-blah graduated with me and Hermana Kivett. I have to admit, when the age change happened, I thought I'd be serving with all these Elders that didn't take it seriously because they just graduated...but boy was I wrong!!! These young elders really have it together. I've never seen so much strength in young men in all my life!!! They have taught me SO MUCH!!! I love laughing, studying, and telling stories with my district. They are so incredible!

Our Generation - there were 50 missionaries that came in with me. 41 Elders, and 9 Sisters.

4th of July - so Mexico doesn't celebrate this holiday (duh), but a lot of the teachers wore 4th of July ties, and they fixed us this GIANT BBQ for lunch. Hamburgers, corn on the cob, apple pie, the whole 9 yards. They even played the star spangled banner so we could sing it. All the latinos were saying contratulations all day. It was so sweet!

Sunday - I love Sunday!! It's just a day full of spiritual amazingness. I love it!! We have 13 in our zone, so sacrament is REALLY short, but it's amazing. I play the piano since I'm the only one who plays. Thank you mom!! I seriously love the feeling of Sunday!!! I bore my testimony since it was fast and testimony meeting, and I said it WITHOUT MY CHEAT SHEET! Go me!

Sirens and gunfire - yes it's true. There is gunfire everyday. And there are sirens ALL THE TIME. We may be shielded from the outside...but we can hear it.

Missionary - so being a missionary hasn't sunk in. I saw a couple of elders and said "hey look it's missionaries!!!!" Wow...that's embarassing.

The people - I LOVE THE PEOPLE. I never understood how much you could love the people, but I do. They are all so sweet, and kind, and I love them!! I've become friends with a few of the workers, and we say hi everyday. Alejandro teaches me kitchen terms in Spanish, and the soup guy is always wanting us to have his soup. It's so cute!!!

I truly feel all of your love and prayers. I don't know how to describe it. I feel strength everyday. I wouldn't be able to do this without all the support from home. I was able to say my first prayer in SPANISH in front of my generation. It was a great day!! I truly can't do it without all of you guys!! Funny story: So everyday for gym our district plays the other district in volleyball. It's so fun!! I've been getting way better!! The joke is that I say "lo siento" (I'm sorry) when I miss the ball. I'm the only one that apologizes. So whenever someone sees me, they reenact my "lo siento lo siento lo siento!!!" in volleyball. They are all supportive of me, and I'm pretty sure they like me :) Everyone says I have a good attitude!!! :) Yay!! Well, I love you all soooo much! I'm sure I've forgotten something, but I will write next week if I do. If you have specific questions please ask them!! 

This work is amazing!! I love being a missionary!! Prestos todos Prestos!!!


Hermana Bringhurst

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Safe at the MTC

My dearest family,

    I have arrived safely at the MTC. I saw your wonderful emails! I love you all so much! There were 30 missionaries on the flight....22 boys and 8 sisters. It was so exciting!! The flight was Spanish and English combined. The flight went by quick, and I tried to sleep off my sadness. WE landed at about 2, your time, and began the lengthy process of immigration, customs, and driving to the MTC. Everything was great and I had NO problems. I really feel like a missionary!! It took an hour to get to the MTC and it was POURING rain!! The streets were flooded. The city is pretty dirty and scary, and there's lots of pollution....but the MTC. Wow. It is green and beautiful!!! I felt right at home!! They fed us dinner....and yes....I will be losing weight. Enough said. It was okay, but slightly weird. But what do you expect? It's all Spanish....I'm not in Provo....But I want you to know that I'm happy and safe. Sister Kivett is my companion and I love her! She's brand new like me, and she was on my flight. She's from Idaho. I have the addresss I'm supposed to copy and paste and a here you go!

Your Missionary's mailing addres is:
Sister Shannon Bringhurst
01-07-2015 16 B
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

The estimated departure date for your missionary is August 11th. The use of the
above address on all correspondence will greatly faciliate delivery to your missionary at the MTC. Please don't send packages.

So there you packages. Sorry mom.  I love you all!!! I will send pictures and write better on my P-Day which is Wednesday. I love you all! Thanks for the support!!!


At The Airport

Setting Apart

Missionary Farewell Talk

Recognizing and Following the Spirit

1)   Why do each of us need the spirit?
Before I talk about how to recognize the spirit, how to follow its prompting, and how to always keep the spirit with us, I thought I would start with something very important. Why do we need the spirit? When I asked myself this question, my mind went back to one of my favorite Primary songs. So I thought I would read the words for you.

Through a still small voice, the Spirit speaks to me to guide me, to save me from the evil I may see. If I try to do what's right, he will lead me thru the night, direct me, protect me, and give my soul his light. Listen, listen. The Holy Ghost will whisper. Listen, listen to the still small voice.
            There you have it. We all need the spirit so we can be guided, to be saved from evil, to have direction, protection, and be filled with the light of Christ. After reading this list, I think we can all agree that having the spirit is something we need in our life. A Bishop needs the spirit so he can guide and direct his ward, the same way parents need the spirit to guide and direct and protect their children. I am going to need the spirit as a missionary so that I can be directed to those that need me, and so I can be protected while I’m away from home. Without the spirit, I won’t be able to find and teach those that the Lord has prepared for me. Each of us individually also needs the spirit so we can be guided to make important decisions, or be protected from harm, or just to have that Light of Christ in us so we can always be comforted. There are also times when we need to have the spirit not only for our guidance and protection, but so we can be an instrument for others.

            When the 9th ward disappeared, and I became part of the 5th ward, it was really hard for me. I felt like since I only had a year left before I moved out, no one would try to get to know me because I was leaving. It was hard for me to make that adjustment and know I’d be coming back and visiting a ward that didn’t know me. I remember sitting in a lesson in Laurels just praying that I would know that Heavenly Father was looking out for me in this new ward. I don’t remember what the lesson was, or who taught it, but what I do remember is that my YW leader told the class that she had been preparing the lesson, but she didn’t feel like it was what the class needed to hear for some reason. She changed her lesson plan as directed by the spirit. That lesson was exactly what I needed. I just remember feeling peace and love. I knew that I was being watched over. Because my YW leader was listening to the spirit, I was blessed, and I knew that there were people who cared.

2)   How do we recognize the spirit?
My YW leader was obviously following the promptings of the spirit. But how did she know it was the spirit? How can we know if it’s really the spirit that is inspiring us, and guiding us, and not just our own thought? President Packer described the voice of the spirit as this….

“The voice of the Spirit is described in the scripture as being neither ‘loud’ nor ‘harsh’. It is not a voice of thunder, neither voice of a great tumultuous noise. But rather, a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it can pierce even to the very soul and cause the heart to burn. The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all…if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening and say in our manner and expression, like Samuel of ancient times, ‘Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth.’”

President Packer is describing this voice as a whisper. The impressions of the spirit aren’t going to come to us unless we are listening.

My family was at Seven Peaks one day when Jennifer was about 3, and she wandered off and got lost. My family panicked. We couldn’t find her anywhere. My mom feared that she had fallen into a pool, or been kidnapped. All of us were searching franticly. My dad, however, stopped panicking, and just prayed. He was searching out the spirit, and he was listening. The spirit told him to go to the front gate of the waterpark, and there was Jennifer.
Had my dad not stopped to listen to the spirit, it would’ve taken longer to find her, and probably would’ve given my mom a heart attack. But in this world of confusion, and turmoil, it can be hard to hear the spirit sometimes. In order to recognize the spirit, we need to slow down, and seek. The spirit is there ready to guide us. As a missionary, I know that I will need to be actively seeking the spirit. I cannot just sit around and wait for the spirit to zap me. I need to seek out its guidance so I can be in tune with that still small voice.
Now that we are actively searching out the spirit, we need to know what it feels like. The scripture Galatians 5.22-23 says this.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:

            When I read this scripture it brought me great comfort. Often times I think we all question whether or not a thought or an impression is the spirit, or if it’s just our own idea. The scripture says simply that the Spirit is love, joy, peace, and goodness. So when we are impressed by any of these feelings, we know it comes from the spirit. Everyone feels the spirit differently. It’s either an idea, a burning in your heart, a peaceful feeling, or a feeling of caution. However we feel this feeling, if it’s any of the things listed in the scripture, it is the spirit of God. President Hinckley explains this concept beautifully. He said:

 “That’s the test, when all is said and done. Does it persuade one to do good, to rise, to stand tall, to do the right thing, to be kind, to be generous? Then it is of the Spirit of God…If it invites to do good, it is of God. If it inviteth to do evil, it is of the devil…And if you are doing the right thing and if you are living the right way, you will know in your heart what the Spirit is saying to you.”
            I don’t think I can say it any better myself. Elder Bednar told a great story that helped me understand this better.

            Elder Bednar was the Stake President, and was presiding over a Stake priesthood leadership meeting. Elder Bednar and one of the Elder’s Quorum presidents both had a son participating in a championship basketball game during the meeting. Elder Bednar wrestled with the idea of going, and decided it was a great idea to go with the other man to the basketball game. Elder Bednar turned the meeting over to his counselor and took the other man with him to the game. Later on, the Elder’s Quorum president thanked Elder Bednar for his prompting to go to the game, because his son had died in an accident, and it was the last time he got to see him play.

            Elder Bednar never thought it was a divine spiritual impression. It was just a thoughtful idea, but it was indeed guided by the spirit because it was an intent to do good. Elder Bednar acted on a thoughtful idea toward a fellow father wanting to support his son, but it was the spirit that gave him the idea. So if we ever question whether something of good intent is our own thought, or the spirit, we shouldn’t be confused or concerned. If it’s good, it is of God.

3)   How do we keep the spirit?

I want to go back to a crucial point in President Hinckley’s quote. He mentioned that if we are doing the right thing and if we are living the right way, we will know in our heart what the Spirit is saying to us. It’s not enough just for us to listen and recognize it as the spirit. We need to live our lives worthy of the spirit. We need to be doing what we promised to do in the sacrament prayer. Always remember Him, keep his commandments, and we will always have His spirit with us. The former General Relief Society President Julie Beck said this:

    “Qualifying for the Lord’s spirit begins with a desire for that spirit, and implies a certain degree of worthiness: Keeping the commandments, repenting, and renewing covenants made at baptism lead to the blessing of always having the Lord’s spirit with us.” “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.”

It’s through small and simple things we learn in Primary that keep this beautiful gift of the Spirit with us. We often roll our eyes at these silly generic answers, but they aren’t silly. They are crucial. These simple answers are what we need to be living everyday so we can ensure that the spirit is with us. When an important decision comes up in life that isn’t a “good or bad” kind of decision, but a decision we really need the spirit’s help with, if we are living worthily of the spirit like President Hinckley said we can, quote: “know in our heart what the spirit is saying to us.” We need to be worthy of the spirit. We need to always have it with us when the answer isn’t so clear; when it isn’t just a prompting to do something nice. Obedience in this Gospel is key. I never understood clearly until now why obedience is so incredibly important as a missionary. If I’m not following all the rules in the handbook, I won’t have the spirit with me as strong, and I won’t have the guidance and direction I need. I’m going to need to be worthy of the spirit so I can have an answer when I don’t know what to say to an investigator, or when I’m desperately searching for someone who needs the Gospel, or when I’m just lost and don’t know what to say next, or when I’m teaching a lesson in Spanish, and I don’t know enough on my own to teach. The spirit is crucial in our lives, and it’s crucial for us to be worthy of its companionship. The last point I want to stress is probably the most important. We know why we need the spirit, we know how to recognize it, and how to be worthy of it, but now we need to act on those feelings.

4)   Follow the spirit.

Acting on the spirit shows our devotion to God. It proves to Him that our desire to have his spirit with us is true, and demonstrates real intent. Following through with the spirit’s promptings is simply the last step of utilizing this gift in our lives. It’s all connected. Acting on the promptings shows Heavenly that we truly desire the spirit, and it helps us remain worthy, and it also helps us learn to recognize the spirit better. Sister Linda Burton, the General Relief Society President described it as this:

“Just as learning an instrument or a language is a process, learning the language of the Spirit is also a process, one that is vital for everyone to learn. It is through recognizing the voice of the Spirit that individuals are able to act and do what the Lord would have them do.”

Once we recognize the voice of the spirit, we can act on it and acting on it helps us better understand the language, or voice of the spirit. I know that if I don’t follow through with the promptings of the spirit on my mission, I won’t receive any of the blessings that come from acting on my feelings. I want to receive those blessings from having the spirit with me, and we all can if we have a desire to listen to that spirit and be worthy of it. And when we are worthy of it and have it with us always, we can receive those blessings. We can be guided, saved from the evil we may see, directed, protected, and receive the light from our Savior Jesus Christ. We can be comforted, and find peace through the spirit of our Heavenly Father. This is one of the greatest blessings we have been given on this earth. I want to do all that I can on my mission to be obedient, so that I can be worthy to have the spirit with me always.