Monday, June 30, 2014

Transfer 6 week 6

I'M GOING TO BE AN AUNTIE TO A LITTLE BABY BOY! Little Autzen Brock, awe!! I love him so much already.

This week has been an absolute blur, so please excuse me if this does not make any sense at all. We had a lot of miracles this week; Temple Square is a mission of miracles! To start, we found 2 new families in Brazil! One is from Brazilia, where Sister Rangel is from. And another one is related to the family I talked about last week, Eliane's family. They attended sacrament meeting last week in the brand new branch in their city, and absolutely loved it! We are so blessed to be teaching so many families right now. Because this Gospel truly is all about families, and how we can be strengthened through Jesus Christ and his Gospel. So who better to teach than families? They all are showing so much support and encouragement to each other, and I can already see the impact the Gospel has made in their lives.
Today we took a fun tour of a father and a daughter from South Korea! Thankfully they spoke good English. And you know it is going to be a great tour when they start off by saying "We don't care about the buildings, but please tell us about your church. What you believe and where your church started." I almost cry when people say that! We taught them the whole restoration and they just soaked it up, "You mean, we have a prophet on the Earth today?!" They loved the idea of having guidance from God in these days. And after reading parts of the Book of Mormon with them in Korean, they accepted the invitation to read and pray about the book of Mormon. They are just the sweetest, and I am excited to see what is ahead for this family!

This week I have been thinking a lot about anti's. We had a BIG group of them that caused some commotion this last week at Temple Square. And it makes me so sad that some people are spending so much time trying to tear other people down. I can't imagine wanting to do that. As a missionary, I am here to uplift and strengthen people! To share the good word of God. And these people just want to tear us down and frustrate the work of salvation. I am so grateful for my firm testimony that leaves me unshaken when these whirlwinds come, because I can see how it effects some of the other sisters. My patriarchal blessing tells me numerous times that there will be forces that try to persuade me against my faith, but because of my testimony, it will have no impact upon my mission and purpose on this Earth. They are unknowingly fulfilling my patriarchal blessing. And they truly strengthen my testimony! I know for certain that the devil is going to be working very hard against Christ's church, especially in these latter days. Why don't the Catholic's have anti's? Or the Lutherans? Or the Muslims? Or the other Christian denominations? Because there is always opposition from the adversary against the truth. We have over 15 million members and we're one of the fastest growing religions. And that's for a reason! Because we simply invite people to find out for themselves; we don't try to convince them these things are true, because then they wouldn't know for themselves. But as we each read, ponder, and pray about the Book of Mormon, we all can know through out own experiences. God loves each of us, and he WILL guide us to the truth. I know that this Gospel is true. I know that, despite mush opposition and persecution, that Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet of God to restore His gospel. I know these things because I have experienced them. I didn't see Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ, I didn't receive everything I prayed for, but I did receive an answer about the Book of Mormon. And that book has absolutely changed my life. Before preparing to come on my mission, I had read it, but I hadn't really read it. When we read it with real intent, meaning we are willing to act upon the promptings we receive, then we will receive our own personal witness of it's reality. By acting on those promptings, it has brought me closer to God than anything else. I'm changing slowly but surely, because of this book. I love the Book of Mormon!
I love you all, and hope you have a great week!!

Sister Brock

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Transfer 6 week 5

Hello friends and family! 
I cannot believe how fast my mission and especially this transfer has flown by! It is pretty frightening.

EXPLORE DAY: Explore day is for 1st transfer sisters to see the church sites and other major sites around the city. We spent half of our day on Tuesday going to heritage park (which is where Brigham Young said "This is the Place") and because we are so smart, we went on the hottest day of the week. And by hottest day of the week, I mean I was dying of heat. I'm from Oregon, and I am very familiar with rain, not the sun. Anyway, we walked around and saw a few monuments and then headed INDOORSand went to the Utah State Capitol Building. We took a trip to the bathroom and we ran into the Governors secretary. She took us to the Governors roped off office and took pictures of us in the Governors chair, pretty cool! Then she showed us some of the most adorable pictures of her grandson serving his mission in Zimbabwe. And if you know me at all, you know that I have been dying for my parents to adopt a little boy from Africa. So pictures of little African kids kill me.
Dermatologist: Yesterday we went to the dermatologist to have them look at my keloid scars and check over my skin before summer. I've had keloid scars before that they injected to make them go down. So that's what they did with my 3 scars from my skin biopsy's last year, and my recent surgery. They haven't gone down quite yet, but supposedly they will in due time. But can I just say, that those are some of the most painful shots I've ever had! Putting needles into very hard tissue is not fun. But the fun doesn't end there! They also checked over my skin and found 5 spots that they were worried about, so I got 5 moles removed and they are doing biopsy's on them to see if they need to dig out more skin. I should have the results by next week, so stay tuned!
MIRACLES: This week was a week of miracles! We have been teaching a family in Brasil who are some of the most faithful people I know. They live 3 hours away from the nearest church, but each Sunday they invite all of their friends and family over to their house to study the Book of Mormon. We have been teaching them for about 4 weeks now and have been at a stump, trying to figure out how we can help this family. We have fasted and prayed for them countless times, but with no apparent results. That is, until Tuesday night! We called Eliane, the mother, and she was so excited that we called! She immediately told us that she had arrived back to her neighborhood and found 4 Elders searching for her! They were excited to announce that the church had bought a house and the first church service in this city was going to be held this Sunday!!!! This means, that this family, and all of their friends can now join the church and attend each week. This came as an absolute shock to Sister Rangel and I! But we know that God is so aware of His children. We know that he will provide a way for each of us to keep his commandments. He hears our prayers; I can promise that he is listening! Because this is just one example of many that I have seen and experienced. It is amazing to be on a mission, and to continue to reaffirm your faith everyday. No matter how many people try to tear down this church, I keep getting built higher and higher each day. There is no way that I could ever deny these miracles and experiences that I have had on my mission. But these experiences and miracles aren't just meant for missionaries, we are all entitled to our own witness of the reality of our Savior Jesus Christ, of His teachings and His Gospel. I am a witness and a testimony of the reality of this Gospel, it is Jesus Christ's church. I know that my Savior lives, and still performs miracles today. Partake of His goodness for yourself, come unto Him.
I wish I had more time to share more of our miracles with you. But I am grateful for each of your love and support of me! It keeps me going through the challenging times. I love you all!!

Sister Brock

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Transfer 6 week 4

Funny/Favorite moments of the week:
-Christus got closed down for a short time because of a suspicious package. Well come to find out this suspicious package was a box left by a youth conference group that wrote their sins on slips of paper and left it at the feet of the Savior... 
-Mr.Darcy works at Deseret Book!! Seriously, he does.
-FINALLY saw Elder Jake Kelly on the Square! And best part is, found out he's serving in a Swahili branch! 
-Well... I'm sunburnt. But the funny part is, all the islander sisters are in awe because they've never seen a sunburn before!
-Sister Rangel passed off for tours, so we got to go eat at the lion house!!
-Saw Cooper Brown and his family at Temple Square! They are even more of giants than I remembered...
-Bore my testimony to a guy that was a South Salem Saxon, and his non-member friend who was a HUGE black guy. Come to find out, this guy played football for the Pittsburgh Steelers! 
-Got to listen to John Bytheway this morning at an awesome Youth Conference!

Well this week was full of exciting things, and that was the best way I could summarize a lot of it up.

I want to tell you about one of my favorite investigators we have right now. Every time we talk to her, I am more humbled. She has not had an easy life on any degree! She was raised in foster care until she was 18 years old. Shortly after she turned to stripping to get money. But her money often went to buying her next source of drugs. She got to a point in her life where she would wake up in the morning only to smoke weed so she could pass out again. One day, she woke up and realized she had been passed out for 4 days. So her friend and her decided to take a road trip, and ended up at Temple Square! Here they felt more love and peace than they had ever felt before in their life! They were overcome by how friendly and loving everyone was, especially the sister missionaries! That night, she went home and looked at her suitcase and decided to get rid of everything that was immodest. She decided to stop doing drugs! And she decided she wanted to join the church. We were the lucky missionaries that met her at Temple Square, and she often tells us how much we have changed her life. But I know that she has change my life more than she could ever imagine! Her willingness to do anything to feel the spirit in her life is inspiring! She has already made so many changes in just this short time, and I am so proud of her! Each time we call her, I can see the atonement of Jesus Christ working in her life. And that is why I am on a mission. Not to teach people who are perfect. But to help imperfect people find happiness through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that this investigator and I will stay friends forever, because of how much she has impacted my life. I am forever grateful!

Lately I have been praying so hard to feel the spirit more strongly, because at times I feel so numb to the spirit. Trying to discern whether something was actually by the spirit, or by coincidence. I don't feel anything super special, so how could it be the spirit? I even recently had a friend write me who is doubting the truthfulness of the church because they can't feel the spirit anymore. And I thought, "How can I help them to understand how the spirit speaks if I myself don't exactly know?" I spent a lot of time on my knees, not only to recognize the spirit, but to feel comfort in whatever lies ahead, both on and after my mission. And my prayers were answered countless times. Last Saturday and Sunday, almost every person we talked to (which is a lot) said something that has addressed either one or both of my concerns without realizing it. Everyone assured me that they could feel the spirit with me, and that my mission is going to bless every aspect of my life. And that I need not to worry about what happens after, because it is all according to the Lords will and plan. These people don't realize it, but they were being used as an instrument in the Lords hands to help one of his missionaries. They were prepared to be used in the Lords hands to bless the lives of others, and they followed to promptings of the spirit. Even though they may have not felt that! Because I realize now that I have become so used to feeling the spirit all the time, that I had lost my recognition of it. And that is something I never want to feel again. It is so lonely to feel disconnected from God. But God always speaks to us, we just have to be willing and ready to listen.
This email has turned out a lot longer than anticipated. But I'm off to our zone activity at one of our senior couples house, where we will have a BBQ and watch a slideshow of pictures of their many missions to Africa! Excited to see the pictures of Uganda, where one of my friends Wesley is serving. Should be a great day! I love you all, and hope that you have an amazing week.
Sister Brock

Transfer 6 week 3

This week has been a big roller-coaster! But not like the fun ones at Disneyland. A lot of great moments and miracles this week, but also a lot of humbling experiences. My companion, Sister Rangel, and I have found a lot of success in just these 2 short weeks, but with success comes easier chance to be prideful, and that is something we are battling this transfer. One of the ultimate quests in life: finding humble success. Glad I get to learn now! Bring it on.
We have found some absolutely golden new investigators this week! We have really been trying to focus lately on teaching people who are truly prepared to receive the Gospel, and not spend our time teaching people who aren't progressing. I have noticed that in my mission, I sometimes get discouraged when I didn't have many people to teach, so I spent my time teaching the people that I do have, but instead I should have been using that time to find people who are prepared for the Gospel! Such as Thyago. He is one of our new investigators from Brasil. He is actually a referral from a Sister who is serving here as well. He has a bit of a past, but he is so sincere about learning. He accepts every invitation we extend, and he is soaring in the Book of Mormon. He is working towards getting baptized at the end of this transfer! We also have 2 other Brasilian families on baptismal date for this transfer. This is my first time really teaching a family, and I don't know why I never taught families before! Because the Gospel of Jesus Christ truly is all about families. And it's great to see how they all are coming so much closer because they are reading the scriptures together, and having family prayer, and going to church! I know that my family would not be the same without the Gospel, and I am so blessed to be able to share that with other families.
This last Sunday was a day of miracles! We started out by having an amazing sacrament meeting and then going to Music and the Spoken word. And we, being missionaries, do not remember holidays. So we were shocked when we walked in at 9:00 and the whole Tabernacle was PACKED full. Apparently it was memorial day weekend... so there was a special program. And there is a big basketball camp every year at BYU with fathers and sons, so they all attended as well. Well we tried to find a seat, but every time we tried to sit down everyone said "no room in the inn"... or something like that. And so we were wandering hopelessly around, until we ran into Sister Poulsen, our mission President's wife. She told us to come sit with her, because she had reserved seats. So we got the best seats in the house! And as you'll read from my pictures email, you'll find out that we sat with Coach Rose and Senator Hatch. So that was pretty cool! Very blessed to have such a sweet mission president/wife. I truly love them both so much!

We had one of our best miracles this week just after that. We had been searching for new investigators like crazy for a couple hours, and no luck. So then we decided to go to the front of the Temple by the reflection pool (our favorite finding place), and we start getting waved over by a member of the church. And he is talking to 3 guys from none other than AFRICA! They have lived in the states now for 2 years, so they did learn some English. Because they are from the Congo and speak french. So the member said "These guys were wondering what makes our church different from other Christian churches." BINGO. Golden question, golden investigators. So we took them around Temple Square. We asked them about their beliefs, and they told us that they belong to a Christian church that believes that the second coming has already happened. To be honest, I had never heard of a Christian church like that. But we first took them to the Temple Model, we explained how it is built after the Temple of Solomon from the Bible, and they said "Seriously?! It actually exists?!" So then they started taking a million pictures. They loved it! Next we took them to our downstairs exhibit called Scriptures and Revelations. It's all about the prophets in the Bible, Book of Mormon and in these modern days. Before we could even offer it, they all asked to have a copy of the Book of Mormon! We gave them a new pass along card that they are trying just at our visitors center that has the app download of the Book of Mormon. It seems to be very successful so far! We took them next to the Christus, and there we simply bore our testimonies about the Gospel. And before we knew it, all 5 of us were in tears. They were joining in sharing their testimonies about Jesus Christ! We got their information and fulfilled my life long dream of having investigators from Africa!! Today while at walmart, we even found a family from Africa, and they are going to come to Temple Square next Friday for a tour! So we're excited to take them around.
Sister Rangel and I have been focusing the week on using our calling center time to just simply teach, and our square time to: find+teach=new investigators. So we have been talking to everyone that we see! And just the other day we saw two girls sitting on the flowerbeds, and Sister Rangel immediately was drawn to them. Now, Sister Rangel and I are very similar in some things. But VERY different in others. I like color and country music. And she likes black and rock metal bands. These were her kind of girls, with tattoos, piercings galore and vegan makeup products. But these girls completely opened up to us! They were some of the sweetest people I have ever met. We sat with them for what must have been 45 minutes and taught them about the atonement. Again, we cried. This mission is full of sisters, so there is a lot of crying done here. But the spirit is also so strong, and I can't control my tears when I feel the spirit so strongly! So we then gave them the Book of Mormon; and miraculously we saw them the next day back on Temple Square READING their Book of Mormon's!!!! Prepared people, I'm telling ya.
Okay last story about my investigators (I just love them so much!), yesterday we got a call from a member who referred his limousine driver named Thomas King. Fancy that! So we called him directly after and  boy did we automatically love him. He said something along the lines of "Oh honey, am I glad you called. I am just so curious about this Mormon Bible! But I am driving my limo for a little kid's birthday party, and you know how wild they are, so please honey call me back tomorrow. Oh and please call me T-King!" Well we called T-King this morning and he was so excited and enthusiastic, I wish I could have recorded his reaction when we told him that on the Book of Mormon app you can have it read to you! So he was going to start it right after we got off the phone.

Well those are the miracles I got to witness this week. I am very blessed to be in this mission, where we truly get to preach the Gospel to ALL nations! This work is amazing, and I'm grateful to be a small part in it.
Much love,
Sister Brock