Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snow in the South!!!

Dearest Family and Friends,

Yep. You heard that right. It SNOWED on Saturday!! And by snow....I mean, you could see flakes, they stuck to the roof and trees for more than 2 hours, then it all went away :) Haha. But hey, I saw snow in Atlanta!! For any of you who have seen "A Year Without a Santa Claus" I was thinking about the line where the heat guy says, "what! Snow in the south!!" haha. Good times :) Anyway, on to my week!

We have received a challenge from President Foote to teach all 5 lessons to the less actives and active members. He wants us all to teach with power and authority, and if we teach the members the lessons, they can give us feedback! yay! We have seen a TON of miracles from doing this! It's been amazing! We are supposed to make teaching records and everything for those we teach :) It's the best. We are consistently teaching 4 less actives the 5 lessons. It is going
SOOO well! It's really helping them with their testimonies as well. Even though they know the lessons, it's good to hear them again and just have the spirit in your home. It's been great practice for us to teach in a non-stress environment, and it's helping those we teach to re-establish their testimonies! You can't go wrong with feeling the spirit and testifying of truth! When I get home from my mission, I want the missionaries to teach the 5 lessons to me! I would LOVE it! This new plan is really helping us work with members, reactive the less actives, and better our teaching skills. We are SOOO excited!!

So I forgot to say last week that we went on exchanges! I don't know if you've heard, but they changed the way exchanges work. Instead of splitting the companionship and covering both areas, now the entire companionship just goes to the STL's area ( or DL, or ZL) and our area shuts down for a day. So the STL's have to plan 2 days in one basically, and we just split up with the STL's in THEIR area and watch how they work in their area. And we all stay in their apartment. So
yes, Hermana Webb was the lucky one with the air mattress, and Hermana Stewart and I took the floor. Haha. 5 girls to one bathroom!! Haha. We know it's inspired, and we're excited to have more opportunities to learn from the mission leadership. It was a neat experience. We got to see how they work in their area, and we could take the things we learned and bring them into our area. so it was fun :)

We had a worldwide missionary broadcast this last week. It was SO neat!! We got to hear formal talks, and we got to watch a video of a "talk-back" session Elder Bednar had with some missionaries from the Ogden mission. We definitely learned a LOT! We got taught a lot from Preach My Gospel. The title was "Teach Repentance, and Baptize Converts" It was SO helpful! It was cool to know that missionaries from all over the world were listening! Wow! It was like a mini bonus
conference! :)

So, the newest news...haha, that sounds funny.....investigator-wise is a girl named Stephanie. Remember when we got roped into Mary Kay? Well, she is the investigator we were supposed to be teaching that night. So, we finally got in contact with her for real! She lives with a member, and she's dating a member! It's perfect! She has been to church twice, and she loves it. She agreed to let us teach her the 5 lessons. Her mom is hard-core catholic, but she seems really open as
well, and she LOVED church. The best way to find people to teach is through the members. Stephanie is prepared, and we didn't even need to anything! She's from Columbia, but she was born in the states. She is amazing. We are all basically best friends! I can't wait to see how she progresses!

We had Stake Conference this last week. It was AMAZING!! We basically learned the importance of keeping your temple covenants, and reading the Book of Mormon. It was amazing!!! My two goals now are to really search and study the Book of Mormon this year, and to be a better covenant keeper. I am SO excited! I love being a missionary!

Well, that's it for my week! I love you all so much! Thanks for your love and support! Have a great week!

Hermana Bringhurst

P-Day at Coke World

Snow in Atlanta outside our apartment

Monday, January 18, 2016

I Love Being A Missionary

Wow!! How is it possible that every week is a good one? Well, I know why, because I am a missionary! Life is always great when you are a missionary!!!!

So, we taught a really cool lesson to Rogelio and Flor this last week. Remember them?? They are so AWESOME!!! We decided to teach the Plan of Salvation. Holy cow. They ate it up!!!! We felt prompted to talk about temples, and baptisms for the dead. Flor asked us, "so does that mean my husband could get baptized for my dad??" We said of course!!! Rogelio asked if he could go to the temple to do it. But Flor said, "no silly, you have to get baptized in their church first!" It was so
amazing!!! They are both so ready! They absolutely loved it. They wanted us to reteach it to their son Jonas. He's about 14 years old. He had the biggest smile on his face when we taught him. His mom said that when we come back the next week, she wants us to just read out of the Book of Mormon with her family. She really is ready. She was basically teaching her son about our purpose, and the church. It was incredible. We have a lesson with them tonight, and we're going to try
and get them on date for baptism!!! Yay for a family!!!!

Remember Gonzalo? I don't remember if I talked about him extensively. We had him on date for baptism, but then he had to go to Florida for work. He took his Book of Mormon with him. We called him every week and tried to just have a phone lesson. Well, he's back from Florida, and he's read the whole entire Book of Mormon!!! Holy cow!!!! We haven't been able to meet with him yet....darn adversary....but when we do, he'll be super ready! yay for Chamblee!!! yay for missionary work!!!!

This week has been so great. While we were teaching Fermin, our teaching pool was very bear. I was nervous that after he got baptized, we wouldn't have anyone to teach! Well, Heavenly Father has blessed us, and the work continues! I can't wait to write next week and share more amazing experiences! This really has been an amazing week. We had a Regional Conference on Sunday, and we got to hear from Elder Clayton, Elder Rasband, and Elder Hales, and some lady whose name I forgot....oops. It was all in Spanish, so I totally did not get everything, but what I did get was absolutely amazing!! I just love being here!! There is SOOOO much good going on! I love it to death! I hope you all have an amazing week. Sorry this email was so short. Hopefully next week I'll have a lot more to share! yay! Love you all!

Hermana Bringhurst

Monday, January 11, 2016

Growth in Chamblee

Dearest Family and Friends,

Wow!! This has been an amazing week!!! I can't even believe it!! Fermin was baptized yesterday!! Finally!! It was a joyous evening! It was an experience that I won't forget. :)

So, first I'll talk about his baptism. It was soooo amazing!! A lot of people showed up to support Fermin. It was absolutely incredible! We could see the light come into his eyes after he came up out of the water. He was so happy! Us missionaries had the opportunity to bear our testimonies at his baptism, and so did Fermin! It was such a sweet testimony! I can't believe how humble he is. He shared how excited he is to be a member, but how he is not perfect, but he will spend his
life trying. just trying everyday. He is such an example! It was so sweet when he received the Holy Ghost the next day. The branch is truly embracing him, and he is embracing them right back! He will have NO problems after we leave. :) THAT is what missionary work is all about. You need the members. :) He is in good hands!!

I have noticed something very incredible this week. When I first came into Chamblee, there were a TON of less actives, and hardly anyone came to church. I was really concerned for the strength of the Chamblee branch! But the amazing thing I've noticed this week is how much it has grown!! The elders have helped reactivate an entire family, and they are preparing to enter the temple!! The active members who were a bit wishy-washy in their testimonies are WAY stronger!! We have been working with a couple less actives who now come to church every week! It is amazing to see the growth of
Chamblee! WAY more people are coming to church! We taught Fermin with a member family, and because of the experience they had with him, the family is way more active! The experience strengthened their testimonies as well! Wow!! I cannot believe how amazing it is to watch! Missionary work is not all about baptisms....it's a big part, and it's very important, but a mission can be influential in SO many different ways. This tiny little branch has grown stronger! The already faithful members are MORE faithful, and the ones who were struggling are more sure now! It's amazing to watch, and I am SOOO blessed to be a part of it!!

The last thing I would like to share this week is how much I love being a missionary. There is truly no greater joy I've ever
experienced in my life than being a missionary. I know that I'm going to have many more joyous experiences in my life. I'm sure that getting married and having children of my own will be more joyous, but for the moment, the experiences I'm having are changing my life. They are changing who I am. I am not the same person I was when I left. My mission is molding me into the person I need to be for the rest of my life. My progression only goes up after my mission. That's the goal.  My mission is not the end. My mission is preparing me for the rest of my life! I can see why the Lord wanted me to serve. I am learning things, and having experiences I never would've had without coming on a mission. I am forever grateful that Heavenly Father asked me to come and serve. It's not always easy, but if it was I wouldn't learn anything. I am so grateful for this experience. Thank you for your love and prayers. I can feel the strength of those praying for me. I love you all so very much!

With love,
Hermana Bringhurst

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy 6 Months

Dearest Family and Friends,

Happy New Year!!!!! I hope you've all made some wonderful goals and plan to make them last until at least February...haha. :) This week has been interesting. A lot of super cool, amazing, wonderful, and perfect things happened!!!! But of course, every week has its disappointments.

So, unfortunately Fermin didn't pass his baptism interview. He forgot some key things about the lessons. So we have to reteach him this week. But now he's ready, and it's going forward for Saturday!! Yay! So, what started out as a huge disappointment, turned out to be a cool miracle! We may have had to teach the Restoration again, but it was the best lesson I've ever been in!! I love watching him in the branch. He has so many friends! We sat down to plan his baptism, and he knew who he wanted to speak, baptize him, confirm him, and stand in the circle. He knows the whole branch!!! This is the IDEAL situation! I am SOOOO excited for him! This week will be a great one!

Key Indicators - so President Foote came up with some key indicator goals for the mission, and as a companionship we have been trying to meet them. We knew it was impossible to achieve all of them at once. So, we decided to focus on lessons using the Book of Mormon, and lessons with less actives. As a mission, we have a goal to have one baptism per companionship per transfer, and one less active reactivated. We have been working with less actives a lot – especially with the Book of Mormon, and we have seen SOOO many miracles! The book of Mormon can truly change lives. It has reactivated a couple less actives. How incredible is that?? THe Book of Mormon is truly powerful! President Foote was truly inspired with these goals for the mission! I can't wait to see more miracles!

Going along with the key indicators, we now have 5 progressing investigators! It is so incredible!! We used to just have Fermin and Hector, but now we've helped an investigator start progressing again, and we are teaching this amazing couple!! They are a member referral. Their names are Rogelio and For. They are SOO sweet! He is from Guatemala, and she is from the Dominican Republic. They are SO sweet! We taught them the Restoration, and when we followed up, they had read the Book of Mormon! We then taught them the tree of life story, and they loved it! It applied to their family perfectly! They love the Gospel! Flor called us yesterday and told us to start calling her every Sunday and inviting her to church, because she wants to come!! Holy cow! There are miracles all over the place!

So, a cool story from this week. Well, not super cool, but I thought it was funny. The mom of the two twins who got baptized is super less active. She works every Sunday at 11, and church is at 10. We are trying to get her to come and at least take the sacrament. Well, she agreed to do that yesterday. So, we called her Sunday morning to wake her up - no response. Then we went to her house and banged on the door until she woke up. Well, she said she was too tired, but we wouldn't accept that. We went in the house, got up the two twins, and forced them all to get ready for church - in a loving way ;) Sometimes you need some tough love! WEll, it paid off. They came to church; Martha took the sacrament, then headed for work. The twins are doing such a good job!! They force their mom to read the scriptures and pray with them every night. They are only 9 years old!!!! I am learning so much from this sweet family. I love being a missionary :)

So, that's my week!! It's been amazing!! I would like to end this email by asking if all of you could pray for me. My stomach isn't doing so well, and I can't eat anything - like nothing at all. I could really use some prayers so that my stomach gets better so I can keep working - and eating! :) I was able to get a priesthood blessing from a sweet man in the branch. He's my dad here on the mission. He and 3 other men whom I'm really close to came and gave me the blessing. It was such a special moment for me. I was promised in the blessing that I will be able to serve my whole mission. I believe that! Being a missionary brings so many cool experiences! I love being here, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! Thanks for your love and support! Now let's all get back to the gym and actually stay there! Haha. Love you all!


Hermana Bringhurst