Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Transfer 5 week 3

Hello again my beautiful friends and family! Another awesome week, full of exciting things, has come and gone. Directly after emailing last week, we were walking back to our apartment and a lady stopped us and asked "You guys are missionaries right? Do you have a minute to answer a question?" Of course! We only talk for about 15 seconds before she whips out her iphone with scriptures previously highlighted, the typical scriptures that Anti's use. And poor sister Jensen has no clue when she's talking to someone sincere, or someone that is completely bashing our church and beliefs. Well I kindly interrupted her, stated my testimony, told her she can find out for herself and got out of the situation. As we were walking away Sister Jensen asked, "Why'd you do that? She had questions!" But then her question was answered when this lady started following us and screaming "You are going to be cursed! Beware! I was sent to warn you!" and so on... hahaha. I thought it was kinda funny, but Sister Jensen was in awe that she ran into her first anti! The whole rest of the P-day she kept saying, "I can't believe that I ran into my first anti today! It's so cool!" But I am very blessed to have a testimony that is unshaken. I know I am here on Temple Square for a reason, especially when we meet the many people who protest or bash our beliefs, because in my patriarchal blessing it says that 'many people will try to persuade me against my faith, but because of my strong faith, it will have no impact upon my mission here on the Earth.' If anything, anti's help strengthen my testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel! Because I know that the adversary is going to be working hard against the true church, especially in these latter days.
Saturday, Juanita and her husband got baptized!!! I have been teaching her for awhile, and she has been one of my favorite investigators from the beginning. She is so open and willing to change in order to aline her life with God's will. She is so faithful and a great example to me. I'm excited to see how the Gospel spreads throughout her family, she is a great-grandma!
We got to go to the Walker's (the one with 18 kids) again this past Sunday. We taught Scott, who's adopted from China and speaks more Mandarin than English, more about the Priesthood. And previously when he had been taught it, he had no interest in having the Aaronic priesthood. But we explained it a lot simpler and more straightforward this time, and we asked him if he wanted it, and he looked at his mom with a big grin on his face and nodded. Well as you can imagine, water works started coming between his mom and I! We were so excited that Scott has a greater understanding and really wants to follow Jesus Christ ans serve others. He has made a big amount of progress since I started teaching him with Sister Yeung. Scott is so near and dear to my heart; I can't express how much I admire and love the Walker family. They continue to amaze me. 
We were very blessed this week with FOOD. Which as a missionary, is the second best thing on your mission. First of course is the Gospel, but second is definitely food. Especially when you're in a mission where you have to cook all your own food. But because we work so closely with the mission presidency, Elder Skancy (in charge of finance for mission) took us out to dinner at the Garden resturant on top of the Joseph Smith Memorial building, and then on Tuesday President Harman (we really don't know what he does, he's crazy) took the AP's, Temple Square Coordinators and us out to dinner at Nauvoo cafe for a 'meeting'. It's us 6 that are within the 'circle of trust' with the mission presidency, so we are very blessed to work so closely with them.
To go along with that, we ALSO got dinner on Wednesday night at none other than AMIR AND MARYAM! We got approved from President Poulsen to be able to go to their house, because normally we're not allowed to in our mission. But president loves Amir, he had to interview him to make sure that we are able to teach him since he is from Iran. Mayam cooked us some traditional Iranian food, and it was SO good! Especially the Persian cookies. We were able to teach them more about the Temple, which is Amir's goal for them. We just have to help make it Maryam's goal too. She doesn't understand English as much as Amir does, but she likes the church because she feels good and enjoys going to church because everyone has the same purpose of "praying to The God." haha they both crack me up! But Amir absolutely is 100% dedicated to the Gospel, he reads the book of Mormon all the time and loves learning more from reading on and And he is now set to be baptized on May 17th! If I don't go outbound then I'll be able to attend my first baptism for my investigator. This is something we miss out on at Temple Square, because our investigators are all over the world. But I have been working with Amir since October, and I know this is going to be one of the best days of my mission to see Amir enter the waters of baptism. He is so special to me! Maryam is so excited for him as well, and is working towards baptism in the future.
Yesterday morning for Relief Society we got to watch Meet the Mormons, the new movie coming out that I ushered for the apostles! Wow. This movie is going to do amazing things for the church, both for the members of the church and people who are not members of the church! The movie follows a few, what they call 'average' (I say pretty amazing), members of our church. It is to help people see what we believe, by how we live our lives. And that is how it should be, we SHOULD stand out! We are very different than the world, and the way we live our beliefs will show that. This movie helped me to realize the impact that a family built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ can have on the world. There is nothing more powerful! These, somewhat normal, families were doing extraordinary things! Because they had faith in and acted upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The final story they follow is a mother and son, who grew up in very humble circumstances. The boy's father had left them abused and alone. She ran into some missionaries and allowed them to teach her, and at first she didn't accept the message. She stopped meeting with them. She ran into some more trouble with the boy's father, and went to find shelter within a gas station convenience store. The worker noticed her distraught, and walked over. Well this worker is a member of the church, and asked if she wanted her to call the missionaries to give her a blessing. Well, needless to say, this young mom and her son joined the church, and it absolutely changed their life. And now her son is on a mission in South Africa! She leaves with her testimony of how much the gospel will change our lives, if we just let it. And she pleads with us, to listen to the message her son has to offer, because she is a witness of the healing power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. And this is the message that we as missionaries get to share with people. I am excited to see how this video will impact the work here at Temple Square.
This week, Sister Jensen and I have really been trying to improve our teaching numbers. In the past, I've always had A TON of people to teach because I've had Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin/Cantonese/German speaking companions. And all of those people are so prepared to hear the Gospel! But Danish people are hard to come by, so we've had to rely on the English people we have right now. So we have been praying really hard this week to find some new investigators and reach our goals for teaching that we set each day. Well yesterday afternoon we were doing really well, all of our appointments turned out and we still had 4 more planned for the evening! Well after those 4 appointments fell through, we called just about everyone in our area book. No luck. So we got on our knees and prayed, Heavenly Father please help us to get another lesson tonight. We really want to accomplish our goals for today, and we know that thou canst help us. Seconds later, a bunch of chats started coming up. We took about 4 and still were not having any luck! No one who is really interested in learning more about the church. We were getting very frustrated when another chat came, normally we don't take chats after 8:30, but we felt prompted to. And boy am I glad we did! Because Samuel is who we prayed for. He is one of those investigators who asked golden questions which lead straight into the lessons. And although we didn't have much time to teach him, we got his information and now will be teaching him over the phone and email! He was a miracle, despite our disbelief through those frustrating first few chats. We had another miracle this morning! Last night when we were planning for our day today, we were setting our goals for teaching. And I said to Sister Jensen, "I have the faith that we'll get a member present, do you?" Well, we only had about an hour for teaching today. And we had quite a bit of stuff we needed to get done in the office today. But as soon as we got back from the Temple session this morning, we received a text for a tour of 3 Danish. Well there are only 2 sisters here from Denmark, so we decided to take it. Turns out to be 1 Danish and 2 English! An exchange student from Denmark and her host family, from Wyoming! They are members of the church and wanted her to see Temple Square. Her host sister, Josie, also mentioned that she has read my blog! Small world. But Anna, from Denmark, was our member present lesson that we prayed for. She was an answer to our prayers! We are now going to be calling her and teaching her more over the phone in both Danish and English! Excited to see what happens with her.
Well that's about it for this week! Today Sister Jensen and I are going to watch Ephraims rescue; we're borrowing the AP's projector and watching it on our wall back at the apartment. We are very excited for that! Hope you all have a great week, and know that I love you.
Sister Brock

Subject: Transfer 5 week 2

This week has been packed FULL of greatness. First off, General Conference on Temple Square... can't get better than that! Only thing that would have made it better would have been a little sunshine. But I'm not complaining! Saturday we had a pump up meeting right before he headed out on the square at 8am. And as I come up the stairs onto the square from our office I see none other than Bryce Johnson and Isaac Taylor from my ward back home! They had seen a bunch of sisters come up the stairs so they figured I would too. haha well they took me to the Priests/Laurels from my ward who were waiting in the stand-by line at the Tabernacle. It was great to see everyone from my home ward.

Our schedule the whole day was Square, so we were contacting people ALL day! Which is something I am really awkward with. I'm not good with small talk, I'm better with saying "Hey isn't the Gospel of Jesus Christ amazing? I love it. You should share it with your friends! How about I call them?" But apparently this scares people off, so I had to practice small talk and bridging to the Gospel. But with lots of practice beforehand, Sister Jensen and I had some great success with contacts.
Something that was really big this conference was the protesters for the women who want the Priesthood. Now, they weren't very apparent for most of the weekend, up until the priesthood session. Their plan was to march from a nearby park to Temple Square and wait in the standby line for the Priesthood session. We were told by our mission presidency to avoid the Tabernacle area around that time, and contact people other places. Well, I was totally oblivious to the time and I was talking to a couple right outside the Tabernacle. Out of NO WHERE it starts hailing. I look to my right and see a very large group on men and women coming in a line towards the Tabernacle. It was the group protesting for Ordain Women. Never had I seen such a tremendous tangible evidence of God's wrath. I was glad that I was oblivious and was able to witness this sign from God. I know that the Priesthood is such a sacred thing, and that God ordained men for a reason. We each have a divine purpose and role in this world, and we all benefit from the blessings of the Priesthood.
We have MLC (mission leadership conference) this week and Sister Jensen and I got to give a training on analyzing key indicators and goal setting. Can I just tell you how much I love analyzing numbers? I am highly considering studying statistics in college. Well the training went really well, and we are excited to see a lot of changes coming in the near future. We had zone conferences this morning, and we touched a lot on the same things as in MLC but without the influencing other sisters part, it was more internal. 
President Poulsen shared about the story in the book of Daniel with Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and was asking Daniel to reveal what it was and what it meant. In chapter 2 vs. 31-34 it says...
31 ¶Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great aimage. This great image, whosebrightness was excellent, stood before thee; and bthe form thereof was terrible. 
32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and histhighs of brass,
33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
34 Thou sawest till that a astone was cut out bwithout hands, which smote the imageupon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
What does this dream mean for us personally? What is this clay? The clay is our weaknesses, our imperfections, our shortcomings. And we have to beware of the stone that is attacking our clay! But most importantly, we must be utilizing the refining fire that helps us distinguish our clay and dispose of it. It is through the refining fire that we are able to rid ourselves of our weaknesses. What are you willing to do to rid yourself of clay? Are you willing to go through the refiners fire? The refiners fire begins with obedience, we have to be WILLING to do as our Heavenly Father asks. President Ezra Taft Benson said "When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power." If we inquire to be obedient in all that we do, Heavenly Father WILL give us the power to overcome temptation and imperfections. I strive from this day forward to be completely obedient. I will not justify commandments, and choose which that I follow. I know that I too will be endowed with power, and that I will be lifted up in the strength of my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Well that's all I have time for this week! This work is great, and I am so excited to be apart of it. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the true gospel on the Earth TODAY. Feast and partake of it's goodness. Love you all!

Sister Brock

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Transfer 5 Week 1

Well boy has this been a very exciting week! 
I got a new companion! Her name is Sister Jensen and she is from Denmark. She came out the same time as I did, and she is so great and is picking up things really quickly. This week has been crazy for us in the office, but thankfully we have gotten a good amount of time out teaching on the square and calling our investigators. And she brought in like 4 new Africans into our teaching pool! I'm super excited about them. 

Last Saturday was the General Women's Meeting. Wow. I can't express how strong the spirit was! I think it was my first time in the Conference Center where I was actively attentive and searching for answers. And it makes ALL the difference. Last April I had the pleasure of coming to Temple Square with the Priests/Laurels and our Bishop to attend GC. And at the time, I felt pretty great because I was the only one who didn't fall asleep in a session, and I was actively taking down notes. But because I was so focused on writing everything down, I wasn't in-tune with what the spirit was trying to tell me. It is definitely important to listen to what is being said, but it is even more important to listen to what you feel. Because we can be told things countless times without it effecting us; but it is through out feelings that we are changed. We have to listen through the spirit! "If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you.” —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. This General Conference is going to be very different for me, it is going to be a time of change. A time for God to communicate to me how I can become better. But it isn't only what we hear or feel that matters, but what we do about those things that we hear and feel! There are so many times in my life where I hear a powerful quote, or feel the spirit so strongly, but then what? Where do I go now from the experience? The question we must each ask ourselves is "What is my next step to acting on this personal revelation I received?" And I know that as we do this, that we each will become more in tune with the spirit, and that we will receive more personal revelation! And most importantly, we will become more like our Savior Jesus Christ.
So this week, I had quite a few run-ins with the General Authorities and Apostles. Started off withMonday night when Sister Yeung and I got the privilege of ushering for the Apostles and General Authorities. They have to approve the new movie coming out called "Meet the Mormons." It's a documentary on a few different LDS families and how they live as a Mormon. The movie was created more for people who are not members of the church, but I know that each of us can take something from it. The few other sisters who were ushering with us got to see it, but Sister Yeung and I had some teaching appointments. It was really hard resisting watching a movie with the apostles!!! But it was very apparent that our teaching was blessed because of our sacrifice. So you are all probably wondering who all attended this movie? We didn't really know going into it, but we knew that some Apostles and GA's were going to be there. Thankfully I got assigned to one of the great assignments, helping people find their seats. So I got to talk to each person as they walked in! Which included most of the quorum of the 70, Elder Perry, Elder Christofferson, Elder Bednar, Elder Nelson, Elder Dube (he's just awesome), Elder Holland, President Uchtdorf, and none other than David Archuleta! I was so glad that I had been able to teach so many people that day because the first thing Elder Perry asked me when he walked in and shook my hand was "What have you accomplished today?" Before he even asked my name... But I imagine this is a lot like what judgement day will be like. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know us each personally, and when they ask us what have we accomplished, what will we be able to say? This is something I have pondering a lot since then. And I realized that there have been many days in my mission where I feel accomplished because I finished all the office work I needed to do that day, or I finally didn't accidentally scramble my eggs. Yes these things are great, but what goal does this accomplish? My goal and purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, and to do so by word, example and deed! This is a great question to ponder each day, to recognize how we can become better each day. After our appointments, we were able to go back and greet them after the movie. I was able to talk to Elder Holland, Elder Bednar, President Uchtdorf and David Archuleta again. Everyone wanted to talk to David Archuleta, since he just returned home this last week from his mission, and even President Uchtdorf had to wait in line to meet him! haha thankfully he came and talked to me right after he got out of the movie. Sister Jensen and I got the privilege of ushering with just us and the AP's for a meeting consisting of the entire quorum of the 70, Elder Ballard, and Elder Scott. So we got to meet and shake every. single. one. of their hands just yesterday.
With so many encounters with the leaders of the church this week, and with general conference coming up, I've been thinking a lot about how blessed we are to have a prophet and apostles on the Earth today! They are here to lead and guide the church, just as in days of old. And what greater time have we had need of a prophet? The world is becoming more and more corrupt, and as said by President Eyring in the general women's meeting, as Satan is attacking at younger ages, Heavenly Father is lifting his children higher and higher. And one of the ways he lifts us is through his prophets! In preach my Gospel, it says that God reveals the truth necessary for salvation through prophets and apostles. So these things that they share with us, usually over and over, are the things necessary for our salvation. Makes general conference pretty important don't you think? And I can promise each and every one of you that you will know that these are God's messengers by just listening to them! You will feel of God's love and spirit through their words. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. Through his different talks and devotionals, he has very specifically answered questions that I came into the meeting having. I know that Heavenly Father loves me, and sent me a prophet to help me understand more of his will and plan for me. I am so grateful that we have the opportunity to hear semi-annually from our prophet and apostles. And I will never again take general conference for granted, I have too much I need to change to do so. This gospel is true.
My last district!

Saying goodbye to Sister Yeung :') She'll do great things in San Jose, California!

I am very excited and nervous for this weekend! But please, if you're in the area, please come find me! I'd love to have the opportunity to talk with each and everyone of you. You're great, and I love you all!

Sister Brock