Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 29th '13

Another week has bit the dust! Can you believe it? Time is seriously so wacky. Well yesterday we had the opportunity to have a morning devotional from Elder Oaks! Long time no see right? But it was SO great. He just came into our theater/meeting room and just shared a quick message about how we don't and won't have all the answers, but we have enough answers. How we are able to answer the big questions (fundamentals) but not always the little questions, and those little questions are the ones that the Anti's usually like to focus on. But those little questions won't matter to their testimonies if they just have faith. (Alma 32:21) That's like my favorite scripture, especially with the Anti's! We get A LOT of anti's, especially on chat. We spend about 1/2 our day on the square, and about 4 hours each day online teaching. But after we have called all of our investigators we're on chat, and we get a lot of Anti's on there trying to waver our testimony. Today in TC (teaching center, aka online teaching) we have camera crews in there for some reason... so watch out for me on byu tv or something! haha

So if you know me at all... I am scared to DEATH of talking to people on the phone. I always thought, if someone really wants to talk to me they'll text me. But that's not how things work here at the Square... I have to be on the phone with people I've never met before for like 4 hours!! Uhh nightmare factory! I always say like 4 prayers before each phone call because 1, I want to prolong the call and 2, I always get calmer after each prayer. And hey! It works! I now have a man who I met a week ago, Kennedy, getting baptized in 3 weeks! Wahoo! He is so prepared and he has helped me grow as a missionary so much. When I invited him to be baptized, it was a member present lesson, so we do a 3 way phone call. And my companion is always teaching Spanish lessons so I'm usually on the phone teaching by myself, but this time I had Jeff with me! Jeff is a 23 year old RM at BYU, and he's just a miracle. He is a golden member present, he is so excited to share this message with others and you can tell how much love he has for each of our investigators! Go Jeff! So since sister Gudiel and I both teach separately in the TC, we usually get double the lessons! And we get a TON of referrals, last week our standard of excellence for referrals was 4 and we got 16... This last week was a good week. 

"We are not building the temple, but the Lord is building us." That's exactly how I feel out on the mission! I personally am not building the kingdom of God, but God is building me. I have seen how much I need to change in my life and I am so grateful I have the opportunity to change and be better! I have definitely seen my weaknesses come out over my mission. I have seen how I have been so prideful and content with who I was. But that's not who I want to be, and I know that I can be the future wife, mother, friend and role model that I desire to be through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Because of the Atonement, I have the ability to change, and be better, and be the person that I want to be! This made me think of one of my favorite Mormon Messages, The Will of God...  http://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages
The atonement is my most treasured blessings, and I didn't even realize it until I got here on my mission and am teaching others about the blessings of the atonement. Take a minute and reflect on what the atonement means to you personally! What I love to do here on my mission is write a letter from the future RM Gretchen to current Gretchen, my favorite was when I wrote about the atonement and how RM Gretchen utilized it through her mission. It really makes it all seem possible to become who I want to be, and it helps me understand how I can become her. 

I know that this Gospel is real, and that it truly was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know I am here at Temple Square for a purpose, that my call was inspired of God. God has much bigger things in store for me than I could ever imagine, and as I live according to His will, I will be blessed beyond measure. I am so blessed to have a knowledge of and a testimony of the Plan of Salvation, I know that God has amazing things in store for each and everyone of us as we live faithful, righteous lives, trying continually to do good and seek the kingdom of God! I know that we each can have personal revelation to receive testimony of these things! 

Love you all and wish you the best in the week to come!

-Sister Brock

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Finally at the Square!

Wow. So much to cover in such little time!
I got here just under a week ago and I have learned so much already. The most important thing I learned is that even though we're at Temple Square, our purpose doesn't change as missionaries. We are here to help others come unto Christ, whether they be members, less actives, or non members. We all can still improve on coming unto Christ!
So my companion&trainer is Sister Gudiel. She is AWESOME! She is from Honduras and is a little firecracker. She has so much energy and so much love for this Gospel! I love how she always pushes me to be the best missionary I can be. She has taught me so much in this past week, and I am excited to be with her for at least 5 more weeks. We are currently serving in the Humanitarian center every MondayWednesday and Friday morning/afternoon! It's seriously one of the best areas on our mission. We get to teach a lot of people who just come for the facts, but they definitely leave with our testimony of how this church follows the teachings of the Savior. We often share the story of the Pool of Bethesda. And how he first healed the man who was unable to do so himself, told him  "rise take up thy bed and walk." Because our 3 main purposes for Humanitarian services are to  1. Care for the poor and needy 2. Help foster self reliance 3. Encourage service to others. And the Savior is a PERFECT example of that! Especially in the story the Pool of Bethesda. In the HC (Humanitarian center) we also get fed free lunch! So mom, don't worry, I'm not starving. It's seriously so great! The food is so good and the portions are hugggge! In  between tours(lessons in disguise) we are able to go to the production room and help sew, put together school kits and food kits! I loveee serving in the HC!

But I also just love time on the Square, I love just talking to people and teaching them how the Gospel will effect their life. I often share experiences in my life where I have felt very distant from the Savior, and the difference between then and now. It's like night and day! Personal experiences are very important on a mission, because people think that missionaries are robots. And sometimes they are! But we as missionaries need to be personable, they need to know that we have problems too! And that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everything can be made right.
It is so crazy here all the time! Even in the non-busy season. We are constantly teaching lessons, I love it! We do a lot of teaching over the phone with people we meet here at the Square and people from mormon.org chat. Right now, we have 76 investigators/progressing investigators/new members. Uhhh what?! My companion's native language is Spanish though so a lot of our phone lessons are in Spanish. I am picking it up a lot better than I thought I would! I'll share my testimony at the end in Spanish. Last night, we had the opportunity to teach an 18 year old guy with the local Elders. Here at the Square, we actually work with the surrounding mission's elders A LOT. They can set up appointments and teach with us here at Temple Square. It's so great here because, obviously, the Spirit is SO strong. And we have like a million resources. "Now lets talk about the Temple and eternal families... look to your right and see one of the Lord's Temples." Who else gets the opportunity to testify of the Gospel in the shadow of the Temple?! I feel so blessed.
Just this last Sunday we met a GOLDEN investigator! His name is Kennedy. How cool right? He was downstairs in the North Visitors center looking at the Book of Mormon exhibits. We were talking to him for about 2 minutes when he asked how to get baptized in our church. "Seriously?! Well just let me tell you..." Just kidding, I didn't really say that, but that's definitely what was going on in my mind! He also went to the Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration movie after our 1st lesson. That movie makes me cry every time. This church is true. Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God! I encourage you all to see it if you haven't yet. 

Something that I have noticed this past week, is that miracles happen everyday. No doubt! Every single day miracles happen. We just are often looking for specific miracles, and ignore the other miracles. The way I like to think about it is that miracles are like flowers. Lets say baptism is a rose. But today I received a bundle of sunflowers, they are still beautiful! But their not roses. NO! Every flower is beautiful and should be treasured. I wouldn't throw away flowers just because they aren't roses. Always appreciate your miracles, even if they aren't the ones you're praying for. Something sister Gudiel and I do every night after planning is we write our miracles of the day on a piece of paper, and stick it up on our wall. At the end of our transfer together, we'll have a wall FULL of miracles! I'm so excited to be able to look back at all the miracles we have together.
Something really cool about our mission is that we have Explore day! We often have to tell people where things are in the surrounding blocks, so we get 1 (or 2 half days) of exploring! So a few of us went to some places around the Square. Like the Church History museum, Pioneer museum, and the Capitol! They were all so great, I loved it. I'm going to try to send home the pictures from the past week and a half if I can figure that out... haha
Our mission president lets us listen to church music as well as Disney music! So please, if you love me :), make me some CD's! Especially church music. That's what really helps me stay focused.
RIGO!! I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU! I can't believe you are finally getting baptized this Saturday. You have definitely been in my prayers these past couple weeks. I am so happy for you and for having such great faith. You have to write me and tell me EVERYTHING! I miss my little Mexican brother.
I am in the Temple Square Sister Missionary choir! It's so fun. And we have a fireside for anyone in the area onNovember 12th! So Aunt Marty, Megan and Whiskers, I want to see you there! I'm going to be doing a salsa type dance too ;) it's going to be so fun.
Well my time is running down. So I'll share my simple testimony in Spanish now...
Yo se que la iglesia es verdadera. Yo se que Jesucristo vive, Y ama a cada uno de nosotros. Yo se que el Libro de Mormon es verdadero Y que Jose Smith fue un profeta de Dios. Digo estas cosas en el Nombre de Jesucristo Amen. 
Te Quiero Mucho!!!

Love, Sister Brock

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

MTC Pictures

My district!! We became SOOO close over the 2 weeks we had together.
From left to right:
Elder Jeknavorian, Elder Rollins, Sister Jones, Sister Richardson, Sister Ferguson, ME, Elder Hutchins, and Elder Demille! 
Sisters are all going to the Square and the Elders are going to Australia! 

Week 2 of the MTC

October 11th 2013
This past week and a half have been packed full of goodness!! I'll try to cover it all in the short amount of time I have.

First, General Conference. Can I get an amen?! I think the general theme of the conference was member missionary work, and really, the time is NOW! Go out there and let people use their agency to choose for themselves if they want to accept the Gospel! It is not our job to choose for them. I went into conference looking for everything that applies to missionary work, and you know what? Everything did. EVERYTHING! But I'd have to say that my favorite part about general conference was when the sister mentioned that "You know you are teaching by the Spirit when you learn something from what you said." I love that. I have seen that countless times here in the MTC. Even when we are simply doing role plays (which we do 90% of the time) you can really feel the spirit so strongly. I have come to really love TRC's, the investigators are all so awesome! You truly feel so much love for them for how little you know about them! I know that as you love and serve others, they will feel of God's love and be more open to the spirit.

We have devotionals every Sunday and Tuesday night here. And guess who was this last Sunday night... that's right VOCAL POINT! It was so fun and spiritual. They shared little 5 min devotionals in between each song, but my favorite one talked about how it doesn't matter how "your clothes my fit" or in other words how your area/companions/everything fits with you, all that matters is the "name on your crest for who you represent". We as missionaries are representatives of Jesus Christ. How cool is that? Often times in class we talk about "If Jesus was your companion, how would He teach?" We also watch a lot of Bible videos and watch how he teaches others. But something really stuck out to me as a missionary. I'm not a teacher, I'm a preacher. I preach the word, but the Spirit teaches the word. Without the Spirit, you cannot be truly converted to the Gospel.

There are some instances where my mind wanders to something it probably shouldn't, not bad necessarily, but definitely something I shouldn't be thinking about on my mission. And I can literally physically feel the Spirit remove itself from me. And that's scary! The spirit is ESSENTIAL! 

So we started visitors center training this past Wednesday and we started off with a hurrah! We went to the Square for a few hours and got the "Visitors experience" so we got to go to the little videos and everything. It was so fun! It is amazing how strong the spirit is there. I feel so blessed to be able to serve my mission at a place where the spirit is always present and is SO strong! In typical lessons, it is the first priority, to get the spirit present. How did I get so blessed? Something that we talked about that really stuck out to me was that a lot of people think Temple Square sisters are glorified tour guides... hey even I thought that before I got here! But really we are giving lessons in disguise. Tours=lessons. Our purpose as missionaries is to help people come unto Christ, and that doesn't change just because I'm at Temple Square. 

This week in VC (Visitors center) training we started doing online teaching. WOWZERS! I never thought I'd love it so much. We get to do the actual Mormon.org chat here in the MTC, so we're talking to real people with real life problems. It is so great to see how the Gospel can bless their lives, and as I have been focusing on teaching people, not lessons, then they see how the gospel is going to help them in their struggles and frustrations of this life and the next! We have only started doing the mormon.org chat right now, but I heard that we are probably going to be doing facebook proselyting as well in the field. According to our teachers, we will spend just under half our day on the computer teaching. How cool is that?! To be able to teach people ALL over the world, who in some cases, wouldn't be able to hear the gospel otherwise. I have had the opportunity to teach people thus far in London, Haiti, and New York!

Tomorrow we get the opportunity to go to Temple Square and do splits with the Sisters there! So tomorrow is my first day feeling like an actual missionary. I will get to give tours/lessons and just share my testimony with people. I think that's one of the coolest things about my mission, sometimes all they have time for is testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I, as a representative of Jesus Christ, have the ability to promise blessings to people, how awesome is that? And I promise each and everyone of you that as you come closer to Christ, you will feel more happiness and blessings than you ever thought possible. I have seen it in my own life and in my investigators, it is true. The Gospel is true! And the Lord truly does love you, he WANTS to bless you, just come unto Christ. Read your scriptures, say your prayers, UTILIZE the atonement in your life! You WILL feel the blessings from Heaven in your life. 

I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is centered around the Atonement. And I really didn't truly understand the atonement before I got here, yes I understood repenting and forgiveness, but there's WAY more to it than that. Using the atonement means making a change in your life. It means turning away from sin and turning toward God! It means to constantly be evaluating yourself and seeing how you can become more like the Savior, and then doing it! The atonement is needed in each and every one of our lives, because everyone needs to change. Everyone needs to become more like the Savior. I have a strong testimony of the atonement and how it can change someone. I have seen it slightly in my life these past 2ish years, but more than ever in these past 2 weeks. I have so much I need to change, and I hope in these next 17 months I can become the missionary my Father in Heaven wants me to me. I challenge you all to read 2nd Nephi 31, and look for what the Gospel of Jesus Christ IS! (aka the doctrine of Christ) Just like someone said in our devotional last Tuesday, "The atonement is not part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it IS the Gospel of Jesus Christ!" I love that. The atonement is the only way we are going to return to live with our Heavenly Father again, so learn it, live it and love it!!!

Keep being awesome and continue to do the things that will bring you unto Christ, because that's what brings happiness.
I can't say enough that this is truly the church Christ established on the Earth, restored in these latter days to the fullness of the Gospel! It's true!!

Love you all,
Sister Brock

(Happy belated birthday dad, and happy birthday Micah!! Garrett, I want to hear how your internship in Texas is going, so write meee!!) 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

First Email

To start off...
My district is a 'pilot district', which means that they're trying new teaching styles with our district. Which also means 2 of the guys who helped write PMG (preach my Gospel) are our teachers... uhh what?! Yeah kinda intimidating at first. But boy are they amazing! Their names are brother Kohler and brother Glaizer. They are both the man! One of our other main teachers is brother Reis, or for you missionaries out there, Elder Reis from the district videos!
So because we are a special pilot district, we started doing TRC's (teaching fake investigators) on our 2nd day. Well, to say the least, mine and Sister Ferguson's (my companion) lesson was a huge train wreck. We met with a girl name Lawanna, and we just went about everything the wrong way. And the way TRC's go, you have some progressing investigators. And guess who we were meeting with 4 more times... Yes, Miss Lawanna. So our next meeting with her was on Monday, and I was scared out of my mind. How was Isupposed to fix this disaster of a lesson?
But that's exactly the problem. I was focusing too much on how I could make the lesson go better, instead of focusing on Lawanna and what the spirit was telling me. Ezra Taff Benson said "If you're worrying about having the Holy Ghost with you, you won't have it." Think about that...

So before our lesson on Monday, Sister Ferguson and I said the most heartfelt prayer I've ever said. Just asking so sincerely for the spirit to be there and have Lawanna feel it! And boy did she ever! After a simple question about what makes her happy, she broke down in a sob. She was unable to speak because she was so overcome by the spirit! And Sister Ferguson and I felt it too. The tears started rolling down our face as Lawanna finally connected with the spirit. The Spirit is a crazy thing on your mission. A mission can be crazy hard, or super easy. Something that Brother Kohler told us was that "Your mission can be super easy, if you learn to recognize the spirit and have the faith to act on it" So that's one thing I'm really going to focus on during the next 2 weeks at the MTC and out in the field.
So a little about the MTC....
1) DON'T be scared, it's seriously one of the most spiritual and welcoming places I've ever been. Peace will overwhelm you as soon as you enter
2) Your companion is truly inspired. Sister Ferguson and I have taught each other SO much already. She has answered my own personal prayers countless times
3) The food really does "blow your bowels" -Elder Spragg. Stick with the fruit and ice cream!

It was so nice to receive something in the mail yesterday... Thanks Reed family for the delicious cookies :) 
For those of you who love me... write me!! I love letters! Either Dear Elder or write me at...
Sister Gretchen Rose Brock
2007 N 900 E Unit 79
Provo UT 84602
I will be at this address until October 16th when I leave for Temple Square! Sadly, I will not be able to go to the Square for conference... but I am super excited about being in the MTC. There is just such an amazing Spirit about the MTC. Well that's all for this week. Wish I had more time! There is SO much to tell about this short time I've been out already. I'm going to try to send pictures... but the computers are kinda weird here.
Love you all!!
This gospel is TRUE!!! Moroni 10:3-5
Sister Brock