Saturday, December 28, 2013

Letters to Gretchen

Hey Gretchen!  It's Colin!  Hearing awesome stories from your mom about your mission.  Super proud of your decision to serve and enjoy it while it lasts.  It goes by SO SO fast.  Much love!  Colin

Gretchen, Conner Plant here. It's late here so I'll keep it short, don't want to get in the way of your zumba class too. You are well remembered here in Salem, so enjoy your mission and do work. I want you to be the highest baptizer in all of the Square. If you ever meet a Sister Klein from Brasil, tell her hi for me as well, she's my mission president's daughter and is pretty cool. Have fun, lol (lots of love) - Conner 

GRETCH! It's Brad Marley. How's your vacation/day spa? I bet it's thuper duper fun! Anyways. I was there with my whole fam damily during thanksgiving and we looked for you but you were probably busy saving souls (I hope). We're all super proud of you here and can't wait to keep hearing about your future successes. Keep working hard and follow the spirit. It goes by kinda quick, especially with all that Zumba. Love, Brad.

What up guuuurl?! Its me, Rykie. So I heard you are visiting temple square. That's fun. I hope all is going well. No earthquakes, tsunamis, or mudslides. Watch out for the west nile virus and always remember the sun screen. The mission is fun stuff, take advantage of it. The Lord works through simple ways, so enjoy those simple ups and downs. He is shaping you. You (or any companions) can email me. Keep it fresh! Beijos- Rykie

 Hi gretch, I can't wait to go back to Florida! -Alli 

So these guys were over tonight playing games and they said they wanted to say Hi... Hope you enjoyed their notes.
I love you! Can't wait to hear from you soon.
Love mom.

Transfer 2 week 5

Hello Family and Friends!

First off, Merry Christmas! I wish I could be with you, but there is no where I'd rather be than on a mission during Christmas. So many people are receptive to receiving a message about Jesus Christ during this time. It's awesome! But definitely should continue throughout the year... 

So we'll start with last Tuesday morning! Once a year, we have the privilege of getting a tour of the Conference Center Organ and Tabernacle organ. Those are what people ask about a lot, so we need to be educated on it. And boy way that amazing! We got to go inside each of the organs, and play them both! The Conference center organ has over 7 thousand pipes, but 40% of the ones you see in front, are actually fake! They are just there to balance the appearance of the organ. So the picture of all the little pipes is in the Conference center organ. Some of the pipes on that organ are just the size of your pinky fingernail! Crazy right? And the Tabernacle organ is even more impressive. It is original from 1875! And so the 11,623 pipes are actually made out of wood. Which is pretty much unheard of. They are painted to look like gold though. No one, except organ experts get to play the organs, so it was such a blessing and privilege to get to play them! 

Thursday we got A LOT of snow. And the Square was super slippery, so we saw quite a few people slip and fall! My DL, Sister Ordonez, fell and hurt her back pretty bad. So when the square gets pretty bad, it actually closes. The square closed at 2pm and we all just went back to our apartments and studied/watched church movies, cleaned, cooked/baked, and hung out! It was fun, but definitely felt weird. I got a hair cut though! Just cut my bangs. Not too fond of them, but hey, it's a change. Sister Gudiel cut all her hair off and it looks SO CUTE! I'm so tempted to cut mine now... what's your vote? 

This Saturday we had another baptism! I forgot to mention we had one last week, it was kinda a mass. The local missionaries sometimes are so stupid. We have a hard time with local missionaries. But Paul got baptized last week! He's 13 years old and lives in Mexico. His mom is still investigating the church and will hopefully be baptized soon. This week, DAN got baptized! I absolutely love Dan. He's like 47, and lives in Missouri. He had made a lot of bad decisions in his life that lead him to some really hard times. But he has made so many hard changes in his life and he knows this church is true! He has worked so hard to be baptized, and he's so happy to say that he's an official Mormon now :) 

On Saturday, I was talking to Dan on the phone about his baptism when I got a text from a Sister saying that my brother was here!!!! AHHHH! So as you can imagine, I started freaking out. But I was in the middle of teaching Dan about the Priesthood, and how he can get it. Well, I finished the lesson and ran out to meet Garrett, Micah and Jordan! It was so great to see them. Most missionaries say they get distracted by seeing their family, but not me. It definitely motivates me to do and be better. I just love my family! 

Another one of my investigators name is Thomas. I have another one named Tom! So I have to make sure I don't mix them up, it's sometimes hard because we don't see their faces, only hear their voice. But Thomas is so great. He came on chat and straight up said "I want to investigate the church" Now this NEVER happens for English chats, Spanish yes, but English no. So Thomas's wife is a member, but she is deployed in the Army right now. So he thought this would be a perfect time to investigate the church. Over the course of 2 lessons within 5 days, he has read almost 400 pages of the Book of Mormon. He loves it! He has so many 'Crazy experiences" as he says. He uses his wife's scriptures, and he opened up to a random page and found a book mark with his name and a scripture on it, he read the scripture and cried. Cried and cried and cried. It was the exact scripture he needed. He's so good! But he is having a hard time saying yes to baptism. So I'll keep you posted on sir Thomas. 

So church is different here at Temple Square. We go to sacrament meeting WAY early in the Joseph Smith memorial building, a ward consisting of just Temple Square missionaries. Which makes for amazing talks every week. Well we don't have any other meeting that day because the Square is always so busy. So we have Relief Society on Thursday mornings, early again. And when I say early, I mean like 7am. That means we have to have eaten, exercised and gotten ready, AND 15 minutes early by this time. So we get no sleep here. But we are blessed! Well this week for relief society we were SO blessed. Why? Because we had relief society in the General Relief society building. We got the privilege of having Sister Elaine Dalton come and speak with us. Wow. So powerful! We talked about women that have influenced our life. And the women that came to my mind are so near and dear to me. I have a hard time staying patient with girls, so when I find some that I like, I hold on tight! They were, my mom, Cindy, Angela, Alli, Micah, Becky, and Megan Gneiting. All of these women have changed my life! They are such great examples and friends to me. I love you all! 

Well I guess it's time for a Christmas message. A few weeks back, we had the chance to go to the Christmas devotional. And although there were beautiful talks given by Sister Wixom, Brother Rasband, and Elder Nelson... my favorite part was the introduction by President Monson. I know he is a living prophet of God. He is so inspired. The spirit isn't just always with him, it is apart of him. I inspire to be 1/2 the person he is one day. He said a few things, but they really struck a cord with me. First was something I've been thinking a lot about this season, "What can I give Him?" We are celebrating HIM. So what can I, Gretchen, give Him? His gift to me was matchless! I can do my best to become like Him. This Christmas I have tried to focus more on serving. Serving my companion, roommates, investigators, etc. And I can testify that my genuine love of Christ has strengthened so much! Christmas truly is a blessed time of year. The next thing was something that I have mentioned earlier, having the Spirit of Christ rather than the Spirit of Christmas. Now what does this mean? This means that we always seek to follow Him, to do His will, and live as to always have His spirit to be with us. Having the Spirit of Christ is the key to happiness in this like. And the last thing President Monson said that really stuck out to me was "As the wise men did, seek a bright star to follow." This has been a focus of the message I've been sharing with the thousands of people who have come to the Square this Christmas season. People always come "just to see the lights." But they don't realize that these lights represent Jesus Christ. "I am the light and the life of the world..." (mosiah 16:9) This is repeated all throughout both the Bible and the Book of Mormon! In this dark world, He is the light. He is the bright star we should follow! Jesus Christ if the prince of peace, the great Jehovah, the great I Am. He is our Savior and Redeemer, our brother and friend. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. He is my light and star that I follow. I praise His name forever. 

Wish you all a very Merry Christmas! 

Much love,
Sister Brock

p.s. thank you for the many wonderful Christmas cards I received this week! 

Transfer 2, week 3? 4?

Hello again family and friends,
First off, my mom is amazing. I received the best package EVER this past week! It was a box of Christmas joy! Full of decorations, fun presents, and Christmas cheer. My companion/roommates love you too mom. So my mom is the best, ever. Thank you SO much mom for the awesome package!
Knowing my mom.. she probably posted this on Facebook.. BUT yesterday we got an email from the AP's saying that we get to call our family's for 5 minutes to set up a time to call them on Christmas. So obviously, we called right then! My mom answered and was so worried, thinking something was wrong. But it was great to be able to talk to them for a few minutes! And of course, all I heard from Alli was "I can't find my shoes" and "I'm trying to get ready for church" Love you too Alli...
This morning we went to the Temple! So great, as always. We get to go once a transfer on our P-day at like 6 in the morning. Earliest but easiest day to get up! We then always go to kneaders for breakfast after, so I'm nice and full of delicious french toast right now :)
Well for the majority of my email, I'd like to talk about the amazing Mission Tour we had. Mission Tour is kinda like a big devotional, for 8 hours. And those 8 hours are some of the most spiritual uplifting and enlightening moments of your life! We had the privilege of having Elder Clark come. And he covered EVERYTHING. Not just mission, but education, family, children, and most importantly, marriage. Definitely have a new outlook on a lot of things!
He started off by reminding us what the stereotype for Temple Square missionaries are with the apostles: The best sister missionaries. So he said "live up to your expectations!" Elder Clark is kinda like Elder Holland, which is why I love him so much. He also told us how we were chosen for Temple Square. When our picture comes up, if the Apostle see the Atonement in our eyes, we get put aside for visitor center sisters. Then, they weed through us again, and look for the Sisters that they can see Jesus Christ in our eyes, and those are the ones chosen for Temple Square. It is such an honor to know that an Apostle of the Lord has seen both the atonement and Jesus Christ in my eyes, I have definitely felt the atonement so strongly in my life! It is my favorite part about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I know that every single sister here at Temple Square is so special, that they are all here for a specific reason, and they each have touched my life so much already in this short time.
"There isn't a group of people prayed more for than the missionaries. Answer their prayers." We as missionaries have such a divine duty to help people come unto Christ! So many people are praying for the missionaries, and praying for us specifically by name! So we need to do our part, we need to be diligent and obedient at all times so that we can answer the prayers of the faithful members of the church. I know that as we do, that we will become so much better! Because the way God helps us is by allowing us to help others. God doesn't need us to preach the Gospel, but we are so blessed that he is allowing us to. We are so blessed to be His instruments in bringing about His great work!
We give a LOT of tours on Temple Square. Even when we don't do tours after 5pm now with Christmas! But it is not enough to give tours. We can't afford to 'just give tours', there is too much at stake. We can't be scared of rejection (which is my #1 fear), because there is no sadder words than 'It could have been.' I need to continue to push past my fear of rejection, and give people the chance to accept the gospel. It is not my place to determine if I think they will accept the Gospel or not. Because in the end, they need to be given the opportunity to choose for themselves if they will take these things to heart. They need to choose if they want to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ! We can't let little dumb things get in the way of eternity. Absolutely no one should leave the Square and not know of our testimony and love for the Savior. Because this is the most important message anyone could ever hear! (Alma 7:7) This message is a message of happiness for time and all eternity. It is a message of hope and love! It is a message that brings forth miracles. And as missionaries, we must be performers and witness of miracles. And I can testify, that the Lord WILL work mighty miracles through you as you are diligent and obedient.

And lastly we talked a lot about how we can become converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, eternally converted. I don't want to be a missionary who feels like the mission is over when I go home, but remember that I can always be an instrument in God's hands. I know that to become eternally converted, we must follow the traditions of Mormons. We must read our scriptures daily, pray sincerely, go to church regularly, have family home evening, and act, think and do as our Savior would. Habits become who we are, and if we have the habits of a follower of Christ, that is who we will be. For too long in my life I have said "I want to be...", and through my mission I want to be able to say "I am." I know that the Lord has great things in store for me. That through Him, I can become the person I want to become. 

I love this Gospel, I love Temple Square, and most of all, I love being a missionary!
Love you all, and hope you have a wonderful week :)
Again, this email is so scattered. It's hard to write all your many thoughts in one short email!
-Sister Brock

Wanted to prove to my mom that I can cook now... Alfredo!

And this is Bob.. the Temple Square Angel. He comes every day and hangs out with the sisters at the desks

P.s. For an early Christmas, we get to go to dinner at a member's house this week with our district! SO excited!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Transfer 2, week 2? 3? Who knows.

Hello from the beautiful white Salt Lake!
Heard it's snowing in Oregon too eh? Of course, when I go to the snow, the snow comes home. Typical! But it actually hasn't been too bad here. There was a few nights where it was pretty windy too, so all the snow was blowing right in our faces, that wasn't too fun. But overall, Temple Square is even more beautiful and a million people still come even with the snow. 

This was quite a hectic week. We had the Spanish concert this weekend which was HUGE. It was announced on the news, radio, etc. So there was a million Spanish people here for the concert. They weren't just from Utah either! So many flew in from all over the world to come see it. One night we got 28 referrals... Crazy. Also, we helped ran the Spanish Concert, so we were running around trying to fix all the little technical problems all week. But we had about 30 of our local Spanish investigators come to the concert, and they all LOVED it! What a great resource to have. We also got to go to the concert one night, and boy was that fun! It is so cool to be able to learn about so many different cultures, and after seeing this concert, it helped me understand the Spanish culture a lot more. They also had sing along's, and my Spanish is coming along well. 

So some of my most favorite investigators are Dan (getting baptized on the 20th), Amir (getting baptized with his wife when she moves to the US), Roger (who will be baptized soon), Bernadette (actually a less active, but doesn't really know anything about the church), Gelacio (who accepted baptism when we were just getting to know him) and Zachary (who was just a miracle). I'll tell you about a few of them... Roger! Roger lives in Lima, Peru. He has been taught by the missionaries and wants to be baptized, but he has a major social phobia! So he is scared to go to church or meet with the local missionaries again. He had a baptismal date, but wrote a letter to the local missionaries saying he couldn't. He's so adorable! So he came on chat, and we have been calling him, fasting and praying for him so much! Well, come to find out, his local missionary is from LAS VEGAS! So I'm really hoping it's my friend Troy Gubler. We're almost ready to contact the local missionaries, so hopefully it is him! Then let me tell you about Zachary. First off, I have this awesome RM who is my go-to for member present lessons. His name is Jeff and he goes to BYU. So a lesson fell through with a different investigator so I told Jeff, I will have a lesson on tomorrow at 1pm. Now, I was NOT even close to having an English lesson then, and this was the following day! So I needed to get a referral and have a lesson at 1 o clock. So then I was just 1 hour away from this lesson that I didn't have an investigator for. Well needless to say, prayers and faith work. I knelt down and prayed oh so hard. And when I opened my eyes, a beautiful chat box opened up with none other than Zachary. Zachary is so great and has so many great questions! He was able and willing to accept lessons over the phone, and we were able to call Jeff and have this member present. And Jeff and Zachary are literally like long lost twins, they are so similar! Just goes to show that the Lord will provide when you have faith. So many incredible stories like this happen all the time. 

Last P-day we went to the Cheesecake factory with the Moore family! Mmmm mmm good! Their son was heading to the MTC the following Wednesday so it was cool to talk to him and pump him up for the MTC. I really wish I could go back to the MTC for just a day. But he's excited! He's going to South Korea. I hope Sister Moore sent the pictures she took! They're from Houston, so look out for them Brandon and Saeder. 

Yesterday at chruch, Elder Cook came! We get a lot of the Apostles and 70 that come to visit our ward. Have I told you how absolutely beautiful our chapel is? Well, it definitely won't be the same after the mission. We had Elder Oaks come a few weeks ago. We see Elder Oaks and Sister Kristen Oaks EVERYWHERE! We know where most of the Apostles and President Monson live, and it's pretty close. 

So yesterday we got to go the awesome Christmas devotional! All the Sister's went, so we had a few singles wards come and cover the Square. President gave a devotional for them before, and guess what... he read and based his whole devotional off my last email to him. He told me that he told them all about me and my mission experienced. So everyone was telling me, oh you're sister Brock! Loved your thoughts and insights about missionary work. You would have thought that I was famous, so many people were talking to me yesterday! So that was kinda cool I guess.  
Well back to the Christmas Devotional, all of the talks were amazing and hit the spot! But I really think that my favorite part was when President Monson said something along the lines of "This season, lets not just have the Spirit of Christmas, but the Spirit of Christ" Wow. I've never thought of it that way before! I really don't feel like it's Christmas season... so I'll wait until next week to do a more Christmas-y letter.

On Saturday I had one of my most spiritual moments on my mission. We were frantically running around, trying to hand out last minute tickets to the Spanish concert, when we ran into a family. We invited them and they got excited! Except for one little boy. He was handicapped and he said 'No! I will not go! I want to see Jesus!" So his family complied. And I fully knew that we desperately needed to hand out these tickets, but I was prompted to take him up to the Christus and spend this moment with him. So when I invited him to see the Christus, he smiled up at me and grabbed my hand and started showing me the way! We talked about Jesus the whole way there, he said that his favorite part about Jesus was praying to him. How adorable. When we got to the Christus, I had him go right up to his feet and look up at him. We felt his feet, the prints of the nails, and he quietly whispered, "I love you Jesus, I love you." This hit me so hard. We then knelt at his feet while Sister Gudiel played the audio. The whole time, we was looking at the Savior and smiling, with love in his eyes. Well, as you could imagine, I was crying at this point. The true spirit of the Saviors love was there. I felt so blessed to have been apart of this experience with this young boy. He truly taught me what it means to have Christlike love. To focus on the Savior in this season, and to not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. This little boy is truly an angel. He feels God's love, and he is the perfect example of "becoming as a little child." I inspire to be like him one day. 

Sorry that this letter is so scattered, that's pretty much how my week went. Scattered! But still so many miracles. Press forward in faith my friends, God loves you! 

Much love,
Sister Brock

p.s. Tessa, I got your letter and drawing, I loved it! They're hanging up next to my bed. 

This is Noah's, where we ate and had the dance party!

And this is my favorite person in the world... Elder Frost! "Here comes Sister trouble Brock!"

And this is what happens when you try to slide tackle sisters in the rink...

Our beautiful knit hats the woman gave us 

Forgot to mention I went to a 'Celebration of Christ' innerfaith concert this weekend. So great! Held in tabernacle. Vocal point and Jenny Oaks Baker performed, as well as someone from panetonics (sp?) from the sing off a few years ago. It was amazing!

Transfer 2 week 1! I'M A 2ND TRANSFER!

Hello my beautiful family and friends, everyone seemed to ask me how the marvelous Thanksgiving went, so I guess I'll start with that!
Thanksgiving here is just amazing. I can't even explain it! We are on the square until about 1, and then we pack up in buses and went to this place here called Noahs. It's like a party place that you can rent out. We did SO much! Started off with some fun thanksgiving traditions of President and Sister Gillette, we sang some songs, told some thanksgiving stories and just had a good time all together. Then we broke off by zones to do some of the activities. They were ping pong (Yes, I killed everyone), pool (I also killed everyone), crafts, movies (MONSTERS UNIVERSITY!), wallyball, dance party and my favorite.. Ice skating! So you could say it was a great day. I pretty much played wallyball all day, went ice skating, and to the dance party. We listened to actual music! Which isn't too abnormal for us, because we listen to like Spanish music for Zumba in the mornings, and when we go to City Creek there's always normal music. But we also had a great turkey dinner, wasn't the same as my moms though. I definitely miss your cooking mom!  But overall, Thanksgiving was a blast, and a good kick off to our CRAZY BUSY SEASON!
So the lights turned on this past Friday night, and literally it is so overwhelming. For those of you who have seen the lights... it's a lot more hectic as a missionary. People come just to see the lights and they often don't want to stop to talk to the missionaries! So we have to look extra good during Christmas season! Just kidding... we just have to be more personable and welcoming. Saturday night was actually probably our busiest night so far. Strangely, on our schedule, we don't have a TON of Square time at night. So Square time is really precious to me. Last night we only had about 10 minutes on the square because we were getting things ready for the Spanish Marathon and Spanish concert (my companion is the Spanish coordinator). So in those 10 minutes we were able to find an amazing family who just got sealed in the Temple 15 days ago! They definitely had a certain glow about them. And they referred their family! 14 family members, who they said are so prepared to receive the gospel. So we are very excited to call them tonight! 
I saw Mr.Klayton Thompson on Saturday! It was weird to see the missionary role switched... but good to see him! We got a picture, so I hope you got it family. Megan also was at the Square, but I couldn't find her :( I searched SO HARD! I was looking for Reese's head above the crowds. No luck. I got your note though Megan! Loved it. 
P.s. If you leave a note with any sister, put your number on it! We can text you and find out where you are and come find you! And always leave notes with like every sister you see, because who knows when I'll see those sisters.
So during Christmas season we have different assignments. We have stations like Christus and Gods plan, where we have 3 sets of sisters to constantly play and do crowd control. Those are my favorites! Because you can actually do really good contacting there. We've gotten some golden referrals from crowd control on Christus. People are prepared to hear this message, don't be scared to share it with them! We get to have Christus on Friday nights for an hour, which means BUSY! I absolutely love it. It's one of my favorite assignments. At Christus this last Friday, a wonderful old woman came and gave Sister Gudiel and I the most BEAUTIFUL knitted hat and scarf. They are so precious to me.
So I can testify that the Scriptures are amazing. I don't know why I didn't read them as much before my mission. They literally are the words for the soul! They are words of encouragement, hope, and love! The scriptures enlighten me in new ways every time I read them, they are written in such an inspired way that they truly help you with whatever current circumstance you are going though.
Yesterday was fast Sunday, which is the best Sunday ever. In church, literally half the congregation stands up to go share their testimony! So it is almost impossible to get up and actually have time to share your testimony. BUT, it is so amazing to be given the opportunity to fast. Fasting is an amazing thing! To be able to receive blessings by simply giving up 2 meals. This past Sunday I fasted for one of my investigators, Amir. He had a baptismal date for December 7th, and he was so golden! But I haven't been able to get a hold of him for over 2 weeks.. and the rule is, if someone doesn't answer 4 times, then you have to drop them, because there are so many other people who are waiting to receive the Gospel! So I have been so scared to email/call him for the 4th time because I didn't want to drop him. So I was fasting for him yesterday, and Sister Gudiel can only physically skip 1 meal, so I was reading my scriptures during lunch. And I came across so many good scriptures about fasting, and it was just going along with my normal straight through Book of Mormon studies. Well I just love fasting! Because right after lunch, and having so much temptation with Sister Gudiel's lunch, but withholding myself, I went onto my email and none other than Amir emailed me back. AND IT WAS AMAZING! He has just been really busy to email be back, but he has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying. And his wife still lives in Iran, but he's been talking to her about the church and she is so excited for him! She wants to be there, and she wants to get baptized too! So we're waiting for her to move to Salt Lake (which should be very soon) and then they are both getting baptized. Fasting works. Fasting brings blessings, and I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to fast.
Sister Garcia and I, LOVE HER! We WILL be companions one day! 

So I was trying to think of an awesome inspirational thought I had this week... but I think with Thanksgiving and the lights, my week and brain have been too hectic to have an 'Ah ha!' moment. But I did come across a scripture that I just absolutely loved and wanted to share with you all. It's Alma 17:11-12, 
And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be apatient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good bexamplesunto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.
 12) And it came to pass that the hearts of the sons of Mosiah, and also those who were with them, took courage to go forth unto the Lamanites to declare unto them the word of God.

I think that this went perfect with this past week. The previous 3 weeks Sister Gudiel were on fire, teaching over 30 lessons per week, setting baptismal dates like crazy and just getting so many new investigators! But this week was hard... we taught 9 lessons, and none of our investigators with baptismal dates were answering us. So it was a little discouraging. But then I read this scripture. And this has been a hard time for me! Not feeling like a successful missionary, but I know that my efforts are not wasted. That those 9 lessons made a difference in someones life! And I know that as I stay patient and faithful through these tougher times, that I will be an instrument in the hands of my God. That I will be HIS missionary doing HIS work! I just have to have the courage to keep pressing forward. I love the story of Ammon and his brothers. That they gave up a kingdom to be a missionary! That although they were such righteous sons of God, that people still rejected them, Hey! Even people rejected Jesus Christ! But they still pressed forward in the work. That they still went forth preaching the gospel, they didn't get discouraged, but they were faithful through their trials. And that's what I need to do too. I can't get discouraged in times of hardship, it will only hinder the work. The scriptures apply to us in these days, always seek to apply them to your life. I can promise that they will be a strength in your life, that you will find the answers you are looking for within the pages. 
Well I hope you all have an amazing week, I look forward to hearing from you during this amazing Christmas time! I challenge you to look for scriptures about Jesus Christ to share this season. It can change someone's life, I testify of that. Love you all!
Much love,
Sister Brock
p.s. I keep seeing a white suburban everywhere with a RAGNAR sticker in the back, it keeps throwing me off! Miss you Olsen family, especially my Cam Bam. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

New Shirt, New Language

I'm speaking spanish now!

Sorry Mister, I'm a Sister shirt! 

Stalker Times..

Hellllo friends and family!
It's that special day of the week again, P-DAY! P-day is always a strange day. And guess what, I get 2 this week! My P-day is switching to Friday this upcoming transfer (which starts tomorrow) so we get 2 this week. P-days are also switching to the mornings because of the busy Christmas season. So be on the look out Friday morning mom!

This week is a strange week... Monday we had transfer conference, where we find out what is happening next transfer, with outbound, p-days, new zones, new rooms, and most importantly new companions! Now what happened to me you might ask? Not much... when you're being trained, you typically stay where you're at. So I'm still with Sister Gudiel, in the same apartment. But we unfortunately aren't going to be at HC anymore, we are just on Square now. Sad but exciting at the same time. So we will be able to talk with a lot more potential investigators now! 

Other strange things this week: Tuesday, P-day #1. Wednesday, crazy transfer day. Thursday, Thanksgiving, which means a party. I'll talk about it after. Friday, P-day #2, and first day of lights! So this is the start of a crazy fast transfer. The busier you are, the faster it all goes!

So for Thanksgiving, we rent out a huge party place and have a dance, TONS of food (turkey, chocolate, etc... basically the best stuff ever), photo booths, and most importantly... PING PONG! I don't know if everyone knows how much I love (and miss) ping pong. It became my passion this past summer. And President Gillette challenged me to a match, so stay tuned on Friday to find out how much I smashed him. So that's what my Thanksgiving will be full of, all of my favorite stuff basically! Dancing, food, ping pong, food, pictures, food. Could I ask for more?! 

Christmas season is going to be absolutely crazy! They said it's busier than conference... OH BOY! We had to have a training the other day on Christmas season, that's how crazy it is. So many things change during this season. First off, we aren't allowed to take tours after 5pm, because that's when the lights turn on. So we are strictly at our assignments or getting referrals from people on the Square. So I'm super excited! There are also a lot more assignments! Like we have to have 3 companionships of sisters at the Christus, 2 for crowd control and 1 for running it. And then we have movies running every 5 minutes, so there's another set of 3 companionships. So basically we're all going to be crazy busy, which means crazy FUN! 

This week at HC, we were waiting for our next tour when a big black guy from Nigeria walked in. And I'm on high alert for finding investigators from Africa so I was excited when I saw him, well come to find out he's a member! And you'll never guess what his name is... Godswill. Yes you read that right! He said he sometimes just goes by Will though, I prefer Godswill. So now I know Godswill! He is going to give me some referrals from Nigeria next time I go to HC. 

So my funny/interesting event this week: Okay well everyone knows that there are creepy stalkers at the Square right? Like they follow the Sisters around all the time. And I usually come in contact with like one a day, and security comes pretty fast. So I was running map desk in the North VC (visitors center), and 2 creeps come and talk to me for awhile. They start like cornering me against the desk and like put their arms on the desk so I literally can't move an inch or else I'll feel their breath down my cheek. Oh, and my companion I was on exchanges with was over in the couches this whole time talking with a group of Spanish people... so I was all alone. So I totally forgot to give the sign that I'm in trouble and in need of security. And so they started asking me the usual question.. "You're pretty cute, do you have a boyfriend back home?" And keep in mind, these guys are like 40 years old. So I proceed, "nope, just me!" And they keep harassing me about a boyfriend when I see 4 security guards come busting through the door! THANK HEAVENS! They eventually skedaddled and left me alone. So then just probably 2 minutes later, ANOTHER stalker came and was talking to me! My companion is still gone at this point. So I gave the sign and security came, but this one wouldn't leave! He again was asking me about some boy I must have back home. Well finally the security kicked him off the property. So at this point, the security is probably thinking I am a magnet for the stalkers, so all 4 of them stayed with me at the desk for like the next 2 hours. They are all so great! They are like my big brothers/dads/grandpas, depending on their age of course. We're pretty good friends now, they said they want my schedule so that they will know where they need to be. haha! Well I won't go into the next stalker, but there was another one, even with the 4 security guards right there. So 4 creepy stalkers within 2 hours, the security said that that's a record! Yahoo! I'm still waiting for my award.

For companionship study this morning, Sister Gudiel and I came super early to the Square in the north VC where the theaters are. And we watched Testaments! Wow. Seriously wow. It is so good at explaining what was happening in the America's during the time the Savior was on the Earth, not only when he was in the Americas, but when he was in ancient Jerusalem. It was such a great movie! I feel so blessed to have so many amazing resources here. I mean, what other missions get to go to their own movie theater and watch Testaments for their companionship study? We even went way early to the vending machines in the under ground tunnels (that the Prophet uses) and got ice cream and cookies for breakfast! So we were living the dream this morning!

Just yesterday we had an "Enduring to the End" meeting for all 1st and 2nd transfer sisters. And wow. Just wow. Something very unique about our mission, is we get to have full mission-wide meetings and conferences like all the time because we are the smallest mission in the world. So yesterday we got to watch an MTC devotional by Elder Holland. And I'm completely obsessed with Elder Holland. He is so powerful and so piercing, he makes you want to change! He was talking about our divine role as missionaries, and why PMG (preach my gospel) was created. Well, in short, PMG was created to convert the missionaries. I know that as we become truly converted to the Gospel, we will not be satisfied by keeping it to ourselves, but shouting it to all the nations! And that is what being a missionary is all about. By learning, living and loving the Gospel, you WILL become truly converted, and you will not be satisfied keeping it to yourself. But you will desire others to have the blessings that the gospel brings. We have such a divine calling as missionaries, to help bring others unto Christ! What else is more important? This is the most important work in the entire world! Elder Holland said "Do not fail to share the message you are called to preach." We must not fail. We cannot take a moment off, a moment of personal need, we must always fulfill our calling to bring others unto Christ! I don't know about you, but I don't want to stand at judgement and not be able to say that I gave it all I had. I want Him to be proud of what I was able to do, through Him, through His atonement, through His word, and through His mission. The world needs us to be successful as missionaries. Success doesn't mean that we have the most baptisms though. In a different talk from Elder Holland, he said my ALL TIME FAVORITE MISSION QUOTE!....

"You only get one chance to serve a mission; it's your responsibility, your duty, to use it to its fullest; to give every last ounce of energy until you collapse in exhaustion at the end of it. all the hardships, all the tears, all the hard work will be looked back upon as the best thing you have ever done, not because you enjoyed it, not because you baptized everyone, but because you gave it everything you had, even when you didn't think you could, and especially when you didn't want to. Live your mission to your fullest, work harder than you've ever worked before. Let people know that this is the most important thing in the world to you... if you do not run until you have nothing left to give, and then keep on going anyway; cry and pray and work and sweat and plead until you are so drained that all you can do is turn to the Lord; if you don't do this, then these people will not come to this joy because of you--- their failure to come to Christ will be partially upon your head. Come out of your mission proud of what you've done. And this experience WILL BLESS THE REST OF YOUR LIFE."
-Elder Holland

Uhhh.. powerful right? That's the quote I keep at the front of my scriptures. Success as a missionary means you gave it all you had, and then more. Even when you think you couldn't! But you always can, anything is possible in the strength of the Lord. I know this to be true! I have seen it countless times in my mission! So many times, I had little faith and didn't think something could happen, or that someone wouldn't accept the Gospel, but as I pressed forward, miracles happened. I can promise that there is so substitute to being converted to the Gospel, there is NOTHING that will bring you greater happiness than knowing and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Luke 22:32 it says... "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." This applies to everyone, not just missionaries. We all have a duty to God, a divine calling, to strengthen our brothers and sisters. To help bring them unto Christ! We ALL are called as missionaries. When Christ came back to his apostles when they went back to fishing, he told them that when he asked them to leave their nets, it was forever. When he asked them to follow him, it was forever. When he asked us to be missionaries, it is forever. We are never truly released as missionaries, even after this life! Our call, is to feed his sheep forever. I can promise each and everyone of you, that as you proclaim this Gospel to the Heaven and the Earth, that you will be brought up in the strength of the Lord! That you will be happier than you can ever imagine. I can promise you that, because I have personally experienced it. I know that this Gospel is what changes peoples lives, that as we make the decisions to come closer to Christ, that we will receive the happiness we desire. WE MUST give others the opportunity to use their agency to choose eternal happiness. We must. It is our duty and our divine role as followers of Christ. 

Missionary work is the most important work. Never forget that! Write the name of Christ upon your hearts. Share a message of peace and joy this Christmas season! 

I love you all and I will email again this upcoming Friday :)

Much love,
Sister Brock

My beautiful companion

Our faithful member-present: Selene! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Still scared of Talking to people on the phone...

Hola Family! 
Obviously I haven't had much time to work on my Spanish lately. We still take TONS of Spanish tours, lessons and have a lot of Spanish investigators. Probably 90% of our investigators are Spanish speaking... and boy can I testify that the gift of tongues is REAL! I know exactly what they're saying, I can't tell you how weird/amazing that is. I love the Spanish people! Seriously so prepared to receive the Gospel. This week, 2 of our new investigators names are Angela and Rodrigo! Made me think of some of my favorite people.
This was another exciting week at Temple Square! For so little a mission, we sure do a ton of different and fun things every week! This last Tuesday we started off with the Musical Temple Square Missionary fireside. SO. SPIRITUAL. The room was absolutely filled with Elders and their investigators. I feel so blessed to have been a part of that fireside, to be able to talk to the Elders and their investigators after was amazing. They could all really feel the Spirit. The first song was really fun, we all marched in with our country's flag singing Called to Serve. And if you didn't know, we actually have a different 3rd verse specifically for Temple Square. I love it!
So then on Thursday night, the mission got to go to a VIP showing of Savior of the World! And if you haven't seen that... well woah. It is so clear and they do an amazing job telling about the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We got tickets too to give to our investigators, so Amir is going! After Savior of the World we got to meet the cast and some sisters and I got a picture with Mary and Joseph, so hopefully I'll be able to get that picture soon from the other sister.
More exciting news about the mission: OUR BOUNDARIES GOT EXTENDED! Now for most missions, this would probably be quite a few more miles that they can cover, or less if they're adding a mission! But for us here at the Square, we now get to go proselyte by the reflection pond!!!! Outside the sacred gates. I have been going there every chance I get, because you can find some golden members there that give referrals. (Which are the best kind of members, the ones that want to share their blessings of the gospel)
Friday I made my daily goal: DON'T BE SCARED! I am still terrified of talking to people on the phone. And it's so hard for me to finally press the call button, but on Friday I called ALL the rest of my referrals I had and I received 13 out of 15 new investigators! So I was super happy about that. They were all English referrals so that was really rare to have that many new English investigators. We set goals for transfer, weekly, and daily (companionship and personal). It's so great to have a focus each day to become better. There are SO many things I need to improve, and I know that as I utilize the atonement specifically each day, that I can become the missionary my Father in Heaven expects me to be. I want to make HIM proud. That's all that matters to me.
This past week I started reading 'Our Heritage'. It's a book about the story of the early saints. A book about pioneers, exciting right? RIGHT! I am absolutely obsessed with it. Any extra minute I have, I am reading it. I also had the opportunity to watch Ephraims Rescue this week! Wowzers. Please, everyone go watch it. Really opens up your eyes to see the sacrifices people made, because they knew that the Gospel was restored through Joseph Smith. Oh, and come to find out, my friend James Gaisford is like the star of it! Well, congrats bud! So after both of these, I have been thinking a lot about the pioneers this week. We also have a monument here called the Handcart Monument. It's a pioneer pulling a handcart with his family in the cart. It shows the rough ground that they had to travel on, and you can see in their faces the hardships they had dealt with thus far on their journey. But what I love most is how the father is looking straightforward, with determination in his eyes. And although we don't typically go through physical battles such as this, each and everyone of us goes through spiritual and emotional battles, with rough grounds and heavy carts to pull. But we can have the same determination as this father. We know where our destination is; life eternal. But we are not alone pulling our cart. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, has already overcome this journey. He has felt those hardships along our path, he KNOWS. And he has done this, so that he can help us. He is right alongside us, pulling our carts. We just have to take the time to notice his hand in our life. There was a story of a pioneer man in Our Heritage (I believe), he said that he would look at a tree in the distance and say to himself "I will pull until I get to that tree, and then I am done. I can't make it." And as he reached the tree, his cart kept moving. Angels of the Lord were helping him along. We are going to have hard times in this life, and I've seen some especially hard times in my mission. But I KNOW that the Savior is right alongside us, pulling our handcart, even when we feel we can't anymore. There are some days on the mission where I feel SO exhausted (because you all know how much I love naps), but I press forward, in the strength of Christ. And in those times, is when I see the biggest miracles! So press forward my friends, and always look to Christ. Because I can promise, that He is more aware of you and your struggles than you may ever realize.

Sister Armedariz from Mexico
Sister Armedariz from Mexico

Savior of world show

Comp Sister Guidiel (Honduras) and Sister Marambio (Chili)

Savior of world with Joseph and Mary
Savior of world with Joseph and Mary

Well, that's all it for me this week. I love you all so much, and hope you have a great week!
Much love,
Sister Brock

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Another glorious week at Temple Square has come and gone

Hello beautiful people! 
Another glorious week at Temple Square has come and gone, can you believe it? This was definitely a very exciting and heartbreaking week. Last P-day we ended up emailing really late because one of my friends, Sister McBride, got realllly sick. She has a birth defect with her Kidneys and was having major problems. So we took her to the doctor and she got drugged up. So we took her to the Urologist on Wednesday and she got even more medicine! And set up an appointment for yesterday to get surgery to figure out what it is exactly. Well they found it! And unfortunately she has to go home :( She has to have 2 more major surgery and it will take 4-5 months of recovery. She is welcome to come back afterwards though President said! She is keeping a positive attitude about it and knows that everything has a purpose. So keep Sister McBride in your prayers!

I don't know if anyone can really comprehend how many Asians come to Temple Square... it literally amazes me every time a bus pulls up. And strangely, I'm one of the only blonde's here. So they automatically flock to me and take a million pictures with me. So I try to go inside to TC when I see the buses pull up. A bunch of the Sisters here from other countries think I look like Barbie, because I'm one of the only blonde girls they've ever seen. Weird!

So I just HAD to add this in. While on exchanges with Sister Marsh, we were at lunch at the City Creek food court, and guess who walks in...  CARA VAN BROCKLIN!! Only my fashion icon! She's a modest fashion blogger that I'm absolutely obsessed with. She's just as beautiful in person too. I went and talked to her and she said "You are just the cutest sister missionary! I wish I would have gone on a mission." So basically she wants to be me right? Well anyway, check that off my bucket list. Also, one of the 70 bought us dinner the other day! That was cool too. 

So this past week I met a wonderful man named Amir! He was a referral transferred to me because they couldn't get a hold of him. Well I got a hold on him! And he's getting BAPTIZED!  I can't tell you how much I love this guy. His faithfulness and diligence is inspiring to me! Amir is from Iran, and we are not allowed to teach people from Iran (that I unfortunately found out after teaching this guy Reza 3 lessons, and he was so ready to be baptized... well he can't) but he moved to Salt Lake City just a few years ago! He is so prepared by the Lord. I called him and it was difficult to understand each other so he wanted to come to the Square. So he came and I taught him on Sunday the Doctrine of Christ, found in my favorite chapter 2nd Nephi 31, and as I was inviting him to be baptized he sorta yelled "I want to be BAPTIZED!" It was so great! He is counting down the days until his baptism onDecember 7th. He also lives locally so we can go! We have 2 other local baptisms coming up. For Morgan and Kennedy! We currently have 17 people with baptismal dates. And 3 of them are here in Salt Lake! Yahoo!

This last weekend was our transfer's "Spanish Marathon" where all the Spanish Sisters call ALL of their referrals and teach them. So I was on exchanges a lot this weekend. But exchanges are the best! It's so fun to learn different teaching techniques. I went with my twin, sister Marsh. Sister Gudiel invited 13 people to be baptized and they all said yes! So we're working on dates with them now.  I can't tell you how many people are prepared for the gospel. Every day I meet someone prepared, and I always think that they are like a fake investigator. How can someone be this prepared and willing to get baptized? Well, the Lord can work miracles. And I've seen many of them on my mission thus far!

Today is a very special and fun day! First off, we got to sleep in until 8!!! I definitely woke up with the biggest smile yet on my face! We have had early morning meetings and fireside rehearsals everyday this week so we have had to get up at like 5 every morning this past week Believe me, it's been tough. I'm a girl who loves my sleep. So it was amazing that President let up sleep until 8 this morning! Then we have an all day P-day because of our Fireside concert tonight! It is so great, I hope everyone can make it! Some of my investigators are coming, Amir is so excited! If you are coming, make sure to sit on the right side so you can see me! 

So my spiritual experience of the week happened simply in my personal study. My favorite time! The scriptures truly come alive as you immerse yourself in them. I truly believe that the scriptures were written for the people in our time. But they were written in such a way, that only those who truly desire to seek God's will and word will fully understand them. Well back to my spiritual experience: I was reading in Mosiah 4:16-22, and this is some of what I wrote in my study journal..... "Although these verses are talking about giving to the poor and needy, I think it can also be related to sharing the Gospel. We have been given SO much! Knowledge, peace, hope, love, comfort, and countless blessings. We are 'rich' with/of these things. How selfish of us to keep it to ourselves? Think about how many 'poor' people there are in the world, just 'begging' for these blessings that we are so rich with! God prepares hearts. And there are beggars out there, just waiting for the 'rich' to share of their goodness; the Gospel of Jesus Christ." I have definitely taken the Gospel for granted in my life. I have always known why I'm here on Earth, where I came from, and where I'm going! But SO many people don't know. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have the ONLY way to life eternal. This life means NOTHING if it wasn't for eternal life, so why feel embarrassed or scared about sharing the Gospel? Because truly this is the only thing that matters in this world. What we do in this life, determines where we are in the life to come. So choose wisely my friends. Choose the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in all things, because that is what is going to bring you eternal happiness! 

My testimony on my mission had magnified 100 fold! A mission was the best decision I have ever made. Taking this time to focus completely on the Gospel of Jesus Christ has helped me understand only slightly how important it is. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the way to eternal happiness. I know that it changes lives! I have seen it first hand, in my investigators and most importantly myself. No matter if we are a member, missionary, non-member, apostle, etc. We ALL still have to come unto Christ! No one is perfect, not even the prophet! Every single one of us needs the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And the only way we can fully enjoy the blessings of the atonement is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

So this week, I invite each of you to rededicate yourself to do the things that will help you more fully come unto Christ! God is real. The atonement is real. And missions really do changes lives; especially mine. 

I love you all so much! Hope you have a great week :)
Much love,
Sister Brock

p.s. Cindy, is there any way I could get a gold YW necklace too? I can buy it! And I never got my bee from when I did my honor bee. 

p.s.s. Alli can you tell Carly I'm sad I missed her! But that I hope to see her before she leaves to Russia! 

p.s.s.s Our new mission President got announced! President Poulson! (sp?) He sounds AWESOME! He speaks Mandarin, so all the asian sisters are excited. And he served as a Mission President in the South Africa, Johannesburg mission! I was excited about that part. Angela, do your parents know him? And Angela, I MISS YOU! I'm going to write you today.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Snow Time!

This last week started off with a bang! Sister Gudiel ended up passing out last Tuesday night and she got SUPER sick! So we had to go to the hospital with our Amazzzing AP's at like 12pm. She got all drugged and IVed up and is feeling a little better this past week. Still keep her in your prayers! She needs it right now. At least we got ice cream from the police man there! This experience was scary for me though, to see my trainer and companion in such a fragile state, really put things into perspective for me. I love my companion. She is so strong and works so hard! She has taught me more than she'll ever know! 
Then Thursday was Halloween! We ended up watching Narnia, which is no Monsters University that's for sure, but it was so great! Especially with the moral of the movie revolving around Christ. Seeing it as a missionary makes it all a little more real. It is so great to get together as a whole mission all the time, I love being so close with everyone!
I can't tell you how proud I am of you Rodrigo for getting baptized! You are such an amazing example to so many people, keep pressing on in faith and building your testimony. Next step: Mission!!! :)
This week I saw SO many people I know! It was so crazy, but fun to see some familiar faces. I saw Brother Bird (Twice!), Tanner Tichenor, Abby Olsen and Alden Papritz! That reminds me... how is Austin doing? I'd love to hear from him! 
Aunt Marty, Megan and Whiskers: I reallllly hope you're coming to our choir fireside next Tuesdaynight! November 5th at 7:30 I believe, also Uncle Dan and fam, you're close too! It's going to be so great. We have been working really hard on it! And Megan and Kenna, if you come... I have some clothes that you can have ;) incentive! 
This last Sunday we had a meeting with the President, and a lot of sister didn't take it so well. He called us unto repentance. And at first, I thought he was joking! President Gillette often makes jokes like "If you get up in the middle of this devotional, you will be shot" So you could see why I would mistake that for a joke, but surely it wasn't. Our mission has always been glorified for it's obedience, but lately the sisters have become pretty relaxed about the rules, and I definitely have noticed it! Not just in others, but myself as well. Just the night before I prayed and asked God to help me find more direction in my mission, and boy was my prayer answered! President said a lot of awesome/straightforward/hard things to hear about obedience, and how we were not being obedient. We simply are becoming too relaxed about our missions; conduct is becoming immature, lots of 'hanging out' with other sisters, speech isn't that of a missionary, and taking too long of dinner and lunch breaks. It's these simple things that make a big impact on your service! Faith=Obedience=Power. They all come together, you can't have one without the other. When we accepted our call, we CHOSE to be obedient to all the rules. We already used our agency, we can't turn back on our choice now. We already made the decision to be obedient. 
We as missionaries are not here to learn recipes from all over the world, to shop at City Creek, or even to make friends! As missionaries, we are here to bring others unto Christ! That is our one purpose and needs to be our one focus! People all over the world are donating money to the missionary fund, people are PAYING for us to bring others to come unto Christ, they aren't paying for us to make friends and have a good time. But as we fulfill our purpose, we will make friends, we will have the time of our life! Because that's what brings true happiness, is seeing firsthand how the Gospel changes lives. I feel so blessed to be able to see it in those I teach, all over the world! 
Through the atonement we can become extraordinary! And that is what we are being asked to do.   Elder Holland came a few weeks before I got here, and he said he has a vision for the Temple Square Mission, and that is that it will become extraordinary. He knows our potential! He knows, that as we are obedient, and heed to the promptings of the Spirit, then the world will hear the Gospel. As missionaries, we can fulfill our purpose, because He fulfilled his. We can help others come unto Christ, because Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can become clean. I love the atonement so much. I love repentance. 
I am so grateful that President addressed this. I personally need to be more obedient, and this was the push I needed. I am grateful to be called unto repentance! Repentance is awesome! It is a chance to be better, to be extraordinary! I am grateful to be someone worth correcting, to know that he has enough faith in my potential as a missionary that he would call me unto repentance. I know that President Gillette was addressing the mission as a whole, but that message was for me personally. It was an answer to my prayer, and I must act on it now. 
I must always remember why I am here on my mission, to bring souls unto Christ, to bring them everlasting happiness! Because the Gospel is the way to eternal happiness, I know this to be true. Iknow that as we keep an eye single to the glory of God, we too will bring ourselves closer to Christ. Just because we are members, or even missionaries, doesn't mean that we can't be brought unto Christ. No one is perfect, and we all can come closer to Christ. And this is what I invite you to do this week, dedicate yourself more fully to living the Gospel! Read you scriptures, say your prayers, and most importantly, bear testimony. Because not only will you strengthen their testimony, but you will strengthen your own. I have seen my testimony strengthen every day here on Temple Square! I am so lucky to be able to bear testimony so often, it is such a blessing to me. 

I love you all and hope you are all reading your scriptures daily :) FEAST UPON THE WORDS OF CHRIST! Because the words of Christ will tell you all things which you should do. Favorite scripture of the week: Words of Mormon 1:7

I love you all and want to hear from you! 
-Sister Brock

P.s. I would love you all forever if you sent me Hi-Chews, especially green apple.