Monday, December 12, 2016

It's not the end, it's only the beginning :)

Dearest Family and Friends,

I cannot even believe it's here!! it's really here! I am actually going home this week. I have so many emotions going on right now. Let's just start with the basics!!

We had new missionary training this week! We went back to the rest home to sing again!! it was SO fun! I was the only one who could play, so I got to play the piano! :) It was SOOOOO fun!! I got to see some of the people I made friends with before!! What a tender mercy!! :) It was a neat experience. I was very emotional during the meeting. We watched the video about the Atonement and Missionary Work. It applied SO differently to me this time. I thought about how I have been thinking of my mission as something that's ending .....but it really isn't true. I may be "ending" this phase of my life, but thinking into eternity, I've only just begun my true path to discipleship. I have learned SO many things, and grown in SO many ways, and I know I will carry that with me for my whole life :)

KARLA AND EDY GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!! :):):):):):):):) It was SOOOO beautiful!!! They were both SO happy and the spirit was SO strong! :) It was the BEST last Saturday on the mission. I was SO happy! It was amazing to see their faces light up after they came out of the water. They are going to be a STRONG family in the Gospel. I am SO grateful for the experience I had to get to know them. I am SO blessed!

I've been thinking a lot this week about my mission ending. I've been trying to assess EVERYTHING I've learned, and I've even had those "I wish I'd done that better" moments - as expected. I decided that what I've learned is that this Gospel is about change. It's about
constantly becoming better. I am better now than when I came out, but I still made mistakes along the way and will continue to make mistakes. The important thing is that we're better today than yesterday, and better tomorrow than today. My Savior has helped me through SO much. He is my friend. He is kind. He is loving. He is gentle. He is forgiving. He is understanding. He is encouraging. He is my brother. He is my strength. He has taught me to love as He loves. He has taught me that I can be forgiven when mistakes are made. I know I can be forgiven. I know I can be better. I have gained SUCH a strong testimony of my Savior on this misison. I know He lives, and I KNOW this is His Gospel. I have seen SO many people come close to Him on my mission. I've seen a lot of opposition on the mission, but it has helped me see the JOY of the Gospel. I know this church is true. I know Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know we are God's children, and He has a plan for us. I know the Atonement is powerful, and can change our lives if we let it. I know this is Christ's Gospel. I will live it the rest of my
life. I know I'll make mistakes, but my mission has taught me to keep pressing on, and rely on the Savior. I am SO grateful for all that I learned, and for the person I've become. Friday I will no longer be a missionary representing the Savior, but I will be His disciple for the rest of my life.

I love you all SO much! Thanks for all your love and support!! I will see y'all soon! :)

With love,
Hermana Bringhurst :)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Karla and Eddie are getting Baptized!!!

Dearest Family and Friends,

Oh my goodness!!! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!! I had the WORST headache this morning because I was just crying and crying yesterday! Sunday was the BEST!!!! I felt the spirit SO strong!! I love being here!!! I HAVE to start with testimony meeting in Spanish. Ok. So Eddie bore his testimony. He was sOOOOOO cute!!! he started his testimony like it was a prayer, then realized it was a testimony, and tried again. It was SO cute and SO pure!!! :) I just CRIED!! He is an ANGEL!!!! His parents bore their testimonies too! Danilo had an 

accident, so he's in a wheelchair, and he just bore the most POWERFUL testimony. He got baptized just over a year ago. His wife Luz battled cancer. They are a POWER couple. They are SOOO excited for their daughter Karla to get baptized. She is so excited too. I just cried because I was SO grateful to have the opportunity to get to know these people. I am SO blessed for the experiences I've had as a missionary. I will cherish them FOREVER!!! They are getting baptized this Saturday at 1 pm!!! I am SOOOO beyond excited!!! What a great last Saturday of the mission right?? :) I am SOOOOO excited!!!! :)

Not everyone in the Rios family came. Just the dad, but it was SOO cool that he came alone even though his wife was sick and his son was with his aunt. I can't even believe how much he loves church! This family is AMAZING!!! :) I am SO excited he came to church. He loves the members too. He's SO great! :) They are progressing wonderfully! I won't get to see them baptized, but I know they will be! :)

This is the Rios Family

We had a sister's meeting with all the sisters in the mission. It was the 1st of December, so it kicked off the worldwide day of service! Woot! I had the opportunity to go to an assisted living center. Most of the girls opted to sing, and not a lot wanted to paint nails, so I figured "why not, I'll paint nails!" It was the COOLEST experience of my life! While they all gathered around to listen to the sisters sing, I went around with my chair and painted their nails. One lady said, "every time I look at my nails, I'll think of you!" Another lady just squeezed my hand and said she was having a terrible day. I held her hand back and told her I was there for her. After I painted her nails, she just gave me the biggest hug and held onto me. She said she had gotten her teeth pulled, and getting her nails painted made it all better :) I couldn't help but let a tear fall down my cheek. The sisters were singing Christmas songs, and I just looked around and saw all these old people listening to the music and crying. It really brought the Christmas spirit into my heart. I didn't do service that day. I was lifted by them. I am grateful Heavenly Father gave me that opportunity to feel the true spirit of Christmas. :)

NOTE BY MOM:  Sisters singing at the rest home.  This picture is from the mission blog.  Shannon isn't pictured.
It was interesting to read our "vocal performance major" opted to paint nails instead of sing!
So proud of her for always following the spirit!

This week was AMAZING!! I love being a missionary. It's weird that I'll only be writing y'all one more time. It doesn't feel real yet. I hope to make this the best week yet! Love you all! :)

Sister/Hermana Bringhurst :)