Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Transfer 8 week 2

Another beautiful and hot week here in San Antonio! It is generally around 104 and very humid. But I was so surprised at how many trees there are here in Texas! Looks a lot more like Oregon than Utah does. This last Tuesday we had ward coordination meeting at our ward mission leader's home. We got out of our previous appointment a little early, so we decided to go knocking around our WML's (ward mission leader) home. We started teaching a guy on his doorstep about the restoration when out of no where it started down pouring! Rain on rain on rain, with thunder and lightening included. This man invited us in, but since his wife wasn't home we couldn't go in. So we set up a return appointment. But we still had 20 minutes before the ward coordination meeting. We we trucked through the rain and kept knocking. People were looking at us like we are crazy! And we probably are. But this is still the Lord's time, and we were not going to waste any of it. So then we showed up later to our WML's house completely SOAKED. So we dried ourselves off with countless towels and blow driers. But when it was time to go home, it was still storming outside! So while I was putting on my shoes, Sister Simonsen started running out to the car. When I turned around, I saw her flat out on the ground! I seriously thought she got hit by lightening! It was pretty frightening. But thankfully she just slipped on some mud. She got some pretty nice cement burns from it though. 

I want to tell ya'll about some of my favorite investigators and recent converts. First is Alma and Nick. Now two weeks ago, we set them on baptismal date for August 30th. And they were so excited! Then they didn't show up to church the following Sunday and texted us and told us that they were going to go back to the Catholic church. Noooooooo! So we went and visited them right after church. They were home and were so welcoming to us! Strange after they just tried to drop us... well we got talking and didn't really say much when they asked when they could get baptized. At this point I was very confused... but nonetheless, we picked them up again and they are on point to be baptized on the 30th! Their 16 year old son, Hector, wants to get baptized too, he's probably the strongest of the 3, but he has to get permission from his mom to get baptized. So we'll still working with him. But how could someone NOT get baptized who's name is Alma... She likes reading in Alma the most, obviously. 

Next we have Rick and Cindy. We were just knocking some doors when we found them. Rick opened the door, walked away and said "Well aren't ya'll going to come in?" So we came in, sat down and taught them the Restoration! They both are very strong Pentecostal, but are very open to new teachings. They love the Book of Mormon and believe it's the word of God, but no matter how many times we tell them that it means this is the true church, they just haven't made that connection yet. We are still working with them, but I see a lot of potential. 

Wes and Mary. Some of the best recent converts you'll find! They got baptized last month and Wes is now a ward missionary! They come from very humble circumstances, and already had a strong faith in Christ. But as missionaries, we aren't here to take away from people's faith, but to add to it. And Wes and Mary are a perfect example of that! They haven't missed a Sunday service since they first met the missionaries! Wes has been coming out with us to quite a few lessons, and I love seeing how someone so new in the church is already so dedicated to helping this work move forward. So many people in the church have been life long members and still have not had the missionary-drive that Wes and Mary have. They are truly perfect examples of member missionaries! Actually 3 of our recent converts got called last week to be ward missionaries; Wes Lightsey, Mary Jane Sweet, and Justin Ortiz! Justin is just 21 and is planning to go on a mission after he's finished in the military in just 2 years. He's super powerful!

Yesterday at church I had a peculiar experience. We were sitting in Sacrament Meeting when this gorgeous couple and their young baby come sit in front of us. I knew this woman from somewhere but I couldn't put my finger on it! I figured it was volleyball so I dropped it. But after Relief Society, I could tell that she thought she recognized me too. She asked what my first name was, and when I told her, she gasped! "I'm Megan Gneiting's sister-in-law!" What a small world! Out of allll the wards here in San Antonio, I am serving in the Balcones Heights ward. She's one of our typical member presents, so I'm excited to work with her a lot this transfer and hopefully next! 

One of my favorite experiences this week was just yesterday. We've been knocking a lot, visiting former investigators, part member families, and not too much luck. So we've been trying to do more service this week. But not too often do people let 2 sisters serve them. We were again on our way to our WML's house when we see a family unloading a huge moving truck. I suggest that we help them so we pull over and tell them that we are here to help. Margie, the mom, sighs in a big relief, wraps us in a hug and said "Oh Lord-y, I was praying for a rest and you answered. I praise thee!" So we rolled up our sleeves and started towards the moving truck! Her sons weren't too happy that we were helping, and kept giving us the stink eye. They kept saying "Oh that's really heavy, we'll take that." Yes I'm a twig, but I've lifted weights for the past 6 years. And being the stubborn person I am, I was even more determined to take it. We were definitely covered in sweat at the end of it though! It's so humid here. But Margie, even with her strong Catholic background, was so open to us coming back and sharing out message with her! And it all started with a little Christlike love and service. That's really where missionary work starts! Before my mission, I was so lost on how to even start sharing the Gospel with someone. I wasn't too strong in Gospel knowledge myself, but I knew I had a testimony that it is true. When I finally just realized that sharing the Gospel is an act of service and love, that's when it came so easily. I was praying and asking God for missionary opportunities, and boy did he give them to me! This is such a righteous desire, so why would God not give us missionary opportunities? This is the work of Salvation. And we are ALL apart of it. The gospel brings not only peace and joy now, but for the eternities. We must invite all to partake of the goodness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This Gospel is for everyone; and we will never know who will accept the invitation unless we invite. We won't find out who is prepared unless we act. This gospel is true. I bear witness and testimony of the reality of the changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love ya'll and hope you have a wonderful week.

Sister Brock

Monday, August 11, 2014

Transfer 8 week 1! Texas Bound!

What a full and amazing week!

On Wednesday morning we got up bright and early to catch our plane to San Antonio. As soon as we stepped off the plane we were sweating. Seriously, in an INSTANT I was sticky. Very different from Salt Lake City. But we got off and met the APs and our mission President, President Slaughter. Now, I was pretty nervous to meet him with his name. But he is just an amazing and kind man! He's definitely an inspired man. So we went back with all the new missionaries to the mission home. We had interviews with President, ate, role played, etc. But for those of you who don't know, my mission, San Antonio (or the TSAM as we call it) is where they filmed the famous missionary show, 'The District'. So just like in the District, we went to the Alamo and we needed to place a Book of Mormon. I went with Sister Armendariz, the other sister from Temple Square. We had only 5 minutes to give someone a Book of Mormon. So we went off and first talked to a Spanish family. They had gotten a card from some other missionaries, but the missionaries didn't speak any Spanish so they weren't able to share anything with them. So we taught them about the Book of Mormon (unfortunately we didn't have a Book of Mormon in Spanish). Come to find out they live on the same street as Sister Armendariz back in Mexico! So she gave them her dads number so that they could meet with the missionaries there. We only had about 1 minute left and we were determined to place the Book of Mormon. So we talked to a family sitting down on a bench, well they were very agitated because so many missionaries have been talking to them. So we turned around and see two girls. We went up and talked, they didn't seem to interested at first. But then we started testifying about the Book of Mormon, and they asked how they could read it! Uhh... perfect. So we gave them our copy and went back to our group happily empty handed. It was so cool to not only experience the same thing as the district, but also to realize that the work is the same wherever we go. I have been pretty nervous for how different my outbound would be from Temple Square, but the work is exactly the same, just in a little bit different way.

On Thursday morning we got up early to go to transfer conference in the same chapel as on the district. (family, you really need to watch the district to see what my mission is like!) They call out each district, one by one. Well, we weren't called. So that means we were heading up to the transfer conference in Austin! We have 2 transfer conferences, in San Antonio, and in Austin. So that means my companion was in Austin. We drove up and met the other half of the TSAM. And I was put with my companion, Sister Simonsen. Can I just say how much I love my companion. From the moment I met her, she has always had a smile on her face. She is exactly obedient. She is a hard worker. She is an amazing teacher. She is a light in my life. I love my companion so much! I'm just sad that it is her last transfer, so we won't be together next transfer. But we also have a 'mini missionary' with us for a week. Her name is Sara Jones and she just graduated high school and is with us 24/7 for a week to see what a mission is like. She has been doing SO good! So it's been exciting. We are actually serving back down in San Antonio, so we came back down with the APs. We actually have 4 assistants in our mission, and one pair is serving in the same ward as me. They are awesome missionaries! And the other set of APs are in my stake. So we are all really close. But we got back around 7:00 that night and were starving. So we went to McDonalds. We doubled in the area (are both new to this area) so we don't know any of the recent converts, less actives, members or investigators in the area. So we decided we needed to start finding right away! We were talking to the cashier and gave her a mormon.org card. She was so grateful and she wants to go to church! No matter where we are, Sister Simonsen always hands out pass along cards, and you'd be surprised at how well they work. That's one of the many things I have learned from her this week. 

Seeing as we were doubled in, we needed to meet a lot of people before churchthis Sunday. So we started with the less actives and part members. One of the people we tried to visit was named David. It took us awhile to find his apartment, but we finally did and knocked on the door. Well apparently David moved. So we started walking back to the car. But we made a decision that whenever the person doesn't answer the door, we'll knock on three more doors. We were almost back to our car when we remembered. So we chose a door and knocked. A guy answered and told us that he was about to leave, but if we wanted to see his grandpa, he would be home around 7. "Is your grandpa a member?" "Yeah I think so." Oh, what's his name?" "David"... . . . Seriously? It is the same David that we were coming to see, but he wasn't living in the same apartment. God knows each of us personally. And he works through his servants to help us on the right path. David has been needing help, but hasn't known where to turn. And God sent us. He sent us to find David. To help him to get back on the right path. No matter where we are, no matter how far off the path we may be, He will lead you back, if you let Him. Change is hard, but He has given us the tools to return back to Him with eternal happiness. This Gospel is true, and it is what brings happiness in a world of darkness. I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and to be able to proclaim that to the world. There is nothing greater than being a missionary. 

I absolutely love it here in the TSAM. I never want to leave! Hope you all have an amazing week. 

Sister Brock

Transfer 7 week 6!

"Dear Sister Brock,
On 6 August, 2014 you will be transferred from the Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission to the Texas San Antonio Mission under the leadership of President James E. Slaughter. You will return to Temple Square on 29 October, 2014."
YAYYYY!! As I'm sure most of you have heard by now, I am going outbound to San Antonio, Texas! And santo gatto am I excited. I have been 'patiently' waiting for so long to see the day where I would go outbound. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Temple Square, but I know that this is an amazing opportunity for me to work within a ward, and learn and gain experience that will improve my service here upon Temple Square. I am very excited, but also extremely nervous. All I've known my whole mission is Temple Square, I haven't had the typical mission experience. So this is all new to me. Working with local leaders/members, teaching in people's homes, not having the Temple right there, etc. There are countless differences between Temple Square and other missions, but the one thing that is the same is the what we share. That is what I have been doing for the past 10.5 months, and what I will continue to do for the rest of my life. I am here to share the thing that is the most important thing in the world to me; the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And whether I am sharing it here at Temple Square, or in San Antonio Texas, it is the same. And what an opportunity it is for me to share it with the people in San Antonio, Texas.
This week has been pretty strange; first off because I have been preparing for outbound, second because Sister Rangel has been really sick, and third because we have had these crazy thunder/lightening and rain/wind storms for the past two days. We found out about outbound on Thursday, and I was so anxious that I didn't eat for 3 days! Every time I thought about food I wanted to throw up. I lost some major weight, but thankfully in Texas everything is deep dried. I'll gain it back in no time. We also had transfer conference yesterday, so Sister Rangel is going to be with one of our Sisters from Thailand next transfer! I'll probably butcher her name but it's something like Kalumanoigh. Or at least it's pronounced like that. It's strange sending your trainee off with another sister, I feel like she doesn't belong with anyone but me! But I know she will do great things with Sister Thailand... I have been thinking about what I have learned these last two transfers. It's definitely been very hard at times, but oh-so rewarding! I have developed so many Christ-like attributes these two transfers I have been training. I am so much more patient, charitable, service oriented, and motivated by love. I have seen how everything that I do effects her. Whatever my mood is, hers is also. And the biggest thing I've learned these two transfers is to not let others determine my happiness, but to decide to be happy all the time. Because it truly is a choice! And this is the best thing someone could ever learn, because no matter what we will face in life, we will be happy.
I don't have too much time today because I need to get packing, but I am excited to tell you all about my first week next Monday! I fly out tomorrow morning at9:50, so should get there in the afternoon sometime.
I love you'll! (ready for Texas!)

Sister Brock

I broke the word of wisdom... (transfer 7 week 5)

Hello friends and family,

Yes. I broke the word of wisdom. As described on Mormon.org, "The Word of Wisdom prohibits the drinking of alcohol, coffee and tea, and the use of tobacco. It also implies that we not use illegal drugs or abuse prescription drugs. The Word of Wisdom also encourages us to eat plenty of the fruits and vegetables that are in season, plenty of grains and a moderate amount of meat." I was doing so good, up until the last part. Eating moderate amount of meat... this week Sister Rangel and I went to Tucano's. A Brazilian BBQ, with endless Brazilian meat. So, we feasted. But can I say, I found my new favorite restaurant! There you have a wooden thingy on the table that is green on one side, and red on the other. So if you have it on green, they keep bringing you meat. But red means you are taking a breather. Well, lets just say I never turned it to red. It was the absolute best thing I have ever tasted! And I even fell in love with grilled chicken heart. Yes. An actual chicken heart. It's delicious, trust me. But that wasn't even the highlight of the week!
This week we had 2 fun activities. We went to the farm last P-day for our zone activity, and we milked cows and went on a wagon ride. Exciting stuff for missionaries! Then this last Thursday was Pioneer day; which apparently is a pretty big thing here in Utah. I remember last year I was here around this time at my Aunt's house, and there were a bunch of fireworks for no reason, or so I thought. Pioneer day is bigger here than the 4th of July is! So there was a 3 hour parade that we got lucky enough to watch. Somehow Sister Rangel got to a roped off area where they kept filming us. So if you watched the parade, look for us! President Monson was even in the parade and waved at us!
But one of my favorite parts of the week was just yesterday in the Beehive house. There was a sweet family that came through. The parents must not have been older than 25 years old, and they had one son named Nate who was 4. And Nate was in a wheelchair because he has muscular dystrophy, and he also has tubes in his throat for breathing and eating. But this family is one of the most adorable families I've ever seen. Nate is so gentle and loving. There are a few stairs in the house, and he asked "Sister, will you help my dad lift me up so I can see the prophet's house?" Everything he said touched my heart. I never want that tour to end! The way they interacted with each other; the love and the kindness that they showed each other. What an example to me! Throughout my life, I have always had a connection with those who were handicapped. And I had always been nervous that it was because God was preparing me for children who might be handicapped. But because of this amazing family, I don't fear it anymore. Because I know how much it would be a privilege for me and my family. My family would get to learn patience and love in a way that we wouldn't otherwise. Whatever God's plan for me is, I greet it with open arms.
I love you all and hope you have a spectacular week full of God's love.

Sister Brock

P.s. This week we will find out if I go outbound!

4th of July

Sister Hoffmann from Brasillll

ELDER SKANCHY!!! He's my absolute favorite. Before I got my surgery and found out what was wrong with my stomach, he gave me a bunch of chocolate because he thought it was really bad cramps. He's a judge and barely ever smiles, but he is such an awesome man! 
The Oregonian's at Temple Square! Sister Briggs refused to do the Oregon Duck's 'O'
Sister Toa, my favorittttteeee! She has the hardest time doing the rock sign, but she thinks it is so funny and calls me Sister B-rock
Sister Enis!!! (My sister Alli was in her EFY group back in High School!!)
President Harmon! Funniest guy you'd ever meet. He's small, but he has a way with fashion!!
Sister Yang! Who was in Elder James Kunzler's district in her outbound to NY!
Sister Armendariz
Sister Richardson

Transfer 7 week 4

Another beautiful and hot week has come and gone here at Temple Square. A week full of thousands of people visiting from all over the world! In the Beehive house this week, Sister Rangel and I took people from over 17 different countries this week! Including Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, Brasil, and good ol Australia. It's so amazing to serve in such an international place. I've always loved foreign exchange students, so this is the perfect place for me! In just 2 weeks though I am most likely going outbound, so I'll be going to another mission in the United States. I'll find out for sure on the 31st. Stay tuned!
Something very exciting thing this week was the Mormon Tabernacle Pioneer Day concert. It was starting shortly after Sister Rangel and I were heading home for our studies (some people have them in the morning, some at night). Our roommates had P-day that day, and they were able to get some tickets to go to the concert! We envied them. But then we found some sisters who said that they had some tickets but weren't going! So with a little internal fight, we decided to go get these tickets and have this concert as our 'studies'. Well the concert was starting in 5 minutes and the Sisters who had the tickets lived in the other apartment building up a huge hill. So we, in our dresses, ran up this hill and were trying to call the sisters to see what room they lived in. No luck. We go to the apartments and were looking around for them when we found out that they don't even live in this apartment! But that they live in the other one across the way. Again, we ran to the next apartment and finally found them. But, they only had one ticket left because they gave the other one away. So we couldn't go. We decided to just walk back to our apartment. But we decided to go in front of the Conference Center where the concert was. And the Ushers out there had extra tickets! YAY! We were so ecstatic. But once I had those tickets in my hands, I just got the most horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I realized that I had fallen to the natural man inside me. That I was going back to the person I was before my mission. I wasn't being obedient and having my studies. So I happily gave those tickets back and went on my way to my apartment. Some of my investigators really struggle with falling into temptation of certain worldly things, and I didn't understand for a while why they couldn't overcome it. But it's the same with this concert. I knew deep down that I should stay home and have my studies, but nevertheless I still went seeking after these concert tickets! I realized that we all have our weaknesses that we fight against, and sometimes, just as I, fall to the natural man inside us. And I on my mission, as a representative of Jesus Christ, need to overcome my natural man to help others overcome their natural man. But I am grateful for this experience, that I may more fully comprehend how to help my investigators. I may not be perfect. I don't always make the best decisions. But I will surely try my best. I love everything about this Gospel, but most importantly seeing the change it has wrought in my life.
I love you all and hope you have a great week!!

Sister Brock

Transfer 7 week 3

Boy do I have a lot to tell you all this week! We had a lot of exciting things this week.

First of all, last week for P-day a few of the Sisters in my district went bowling at Fatcats! That's always fun. Then we had a very happy surprise from Chick-fil-a! They were having a "free meal deal" in which if you dressed up as a cow, you got a free meal! Always a big hit with missionaries.
But the big ordeal this week was on Saturday. Our whole mission actually got to go to a girls camp! Half went in the morning, and half in the afternoon. So my group went in the afternoon to none other than Brighton Girls camp. And can I just say that this is one of the best girls camp sites I've ever seen, well I've only seen 3, but I imagine this is one of the best. They had a ropes course and everything! So that's what we got to do. We went with our districts and did 3 different ropes course activities. Most of the Sisters in my District are from foreign countries, so they had no idea what a ropes course was. And me, coming from the land of trees, have been to my fair share of ropes courses. They are still fun, nonetheless. Our first one we went to was called the spider web (the one in the pictures) and we had to get through the spider web without touching it. And the catch is that you can only use each hole once. So we got pretty creative with it. But at the end, they asked us what this had to do with missionary work. And I didn't realize it at first, but it has so much to do with missionary work! I was the second one through the web, and it was my job to help everyone else through; to carry them across. That's the same thing with life. Now that I have seen what's on the other side, I need to help my brothers and sisters through. And not only help them through, but help them to be involved with missionary work too. We all get in different sticky situations, but the atonement of Jesus Christ allows us to try again, and again, and again. Until we've made it to the other side. And I am so blessed to be able to see the atonement of Jesus Christ working in my life as well as in the lives of so many. That is what is going to carry us through to the other side.
Another cool thing this week was that I got to announce after Music and the Spoken word! That means that we do a presentation in many different languages and invite people to take tours at Temple Square. It doesn't happen too often for English sisters, because we all speak English. So I'll send some pictures from that as well.
This morning we had the amazing opportunity to go to the Bountiful Temple. In our mission, we get to go to the Temple each transfer, but the Salt Lake Temple is actually closed for this whole transfer, so we got to go to Bountiful. And holy manole, this is one of the most beautiful Temples I've seen! It's probably tied with the Portland Temple. But there is nothing like the feeling of being in the Temple. I was thinking today about how many people have been to the Temple before, but haven't gone back. There are a lot of people who are really close to me that have made this decision, and it's heartbreaking. I don't know how anyone could ever deny that this is the House of the Lord. Even people who come to Temple Square with no knowledge about the church know that this is a very special and unique place. And that's because it is a place set apart from the world, where we can make covenants or promises with God that enable us to be with our families forever. Isn't that the ultimate goal? To be with those we love forever? Then why would we ever let anything come in between that? Maybe you have some doubts about the history of the church, or doctrine, or maybe you feel that you haven't felt the spirit in your life. But we will always have questions, only God knows all. We will always have times where we do things that pulls the spirit away, but we can repent. There should be nothing that holds us back from going to the Temple. Because you have a lot to lose if you don't. The Temple is too great to shut out of your life. Find out if the church is true; study, pray, ponder, go to church, ask God! Sincerely ask God. And then don't ever turn back on that answer. I know, in every inch of my body, that this is Christ's church. And that Temples are an essential part in His plan. I love going to His temple; feeling his spirit. And I invite each of you to prepare for the Temple; wherever you may be on your spiritual journey, whether you are not a member, less active or even an active member, point your course toward the Temple; always.
I love you all more than you know. Have a great week!!

Sister Brock