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. 

A Letter Home

Gretchen wrote a letter home. She asked us to type it up and send out to everyone. Hope you enjoy it.

Dearest Family and Friends,

One of my favorite lines in Elder Oaks devotional was..."We pray in faith, and faith means trust, we trust that the Lord will bless us with what is best for us." And this is something I  struggled with a lot in my life. I often felt when I was younger that my prayers weren't being answered, because they weren't answered the way I wanted them to. Not until my senior year did I realize that my prayers were being answered in a more amazing way than I asked for. I didn't understand why a lot of things were happening to me: rough volleyball season, losing all my friends, moving wards, getting a concussion at the State Play offs and most importantly why I felt so alone. Why was God doing this to me?
Not for a long time did I realize that these were all blessings in disguise. I wouldn't have become great friends with Brandon, Jordan, James, Wesley, Megan and Rodrigo. They were instruments in the hands of God to get to me, my faith and my testimony where it is today! I would not have gone on a mission if it weren't for these amazing influences in my life. And I wouldn't trade my experiences on my mission for ANYTHING! It is the best decision by far, that I have ever made. So you can say that I have such a strong testimony of God's plan for me. I know that as I stay faithful, obedient and righteous, that I will continue to see Him lift me higher. I know that God puts struggles and hardships in our life for a reason. And I thank my Heavenly Father for loving me enough to cut me down! (The will of God, Mormon message)
Elder Oaks also said something that is pretty well known, but it means more to me now as I have reflected on it. it is... "This is not your mission," A lot of times, as missionaries we say, "on my mission" and to a certain extent we have a right to say that. But this is the Lord's work. It is the Lord's mission. If it was my mission, I'd choose when, where hand how I serve my mission. But I  was called of God to serve His mission at this time, here at Temple Square, in His way. And His way is through the spirit. Heavenly Father, Jesus Chris and the  Holy Ghost are one in purpose, What one would do, so would the others. So as I heed to the promptings of the spirit, I am a true representative of Jesus Christ. And what more could you ask for as a missionary?
I know that Elder Dallin  H. Oaks is an apostle. And that what he spoke on was truly inspired of God, because it touched me. It made me have a change of heart. And I k now that Thomas S Monson is a true prophet of God, and that as we heed unto his counsel, we will be drawn closer to God. His words are modern day scripture for us!!! Feast upon his words and internalize them. I promise that you in turn will strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ. And you will be happier than ever before.
I love you all so much!
Sister Gretchen Brock