Saturday, November 29, 2014

Transfer 10 week 1

What a week.

To begin, today is Halloween. Which means that the Square closes at 5:00. Tonight we will be having dinner with our whole mission in the church office building and then we are all going to a session at the Salt Lake Temple! I am still amazed that this Temple can hold all 200 some odd sisters. This will be a great P-day!

Tuesday was my last full day in San Antonio, and we spent the day doing departing activities. We began with making a scrapbook page of pictures from our mission, had lunch and then had the famous marriage talk. Every transfer President and Sister Slaughter always talk about marriage and dating to the departing class, so lucky Sister Armendariz and I got to go as well. We took our notes, and then tucked them away for the next 4-6 months. Definitely shed some good insights though! After that we all went to the Temple, and boy was that amazing. I had been to the San Antonio Temple once before, but being in the celestial room full of missionaries was a powerful experience. There is nothing like being in the Temple!

After the Temple we went to the Slaughter House (mission home) and had a f.e.a.s.t. It was some of the most glorious food I had ever beheld. Honey baked ham, cheese potatoes, green bean casserole, creamed corn, rolls, and my favorite: Cheesecake. Cheesecake truly is the key to my heart. I could eat it all day long. And I did! I ate my piece and finished off 2 other pieces. Yumm yumm yummmm! We then said our goodbyes and went off to bed before we woke up bright and early to catch the plane! We flew back to Salt Lake with about 20 other missionaries that just finished their missions. Some of which I served very close with. Sister Armendariz were the head of the pack, and we headed down the escalators first. Immediately we see about 200 people at the bottom with banners and costumes and balloons. They all pointed to us and said.. "Missionaries! They're coming!" We stepped through the crowd to the sisters who picked us up in the back. We immediately hear a loud booming cheer come from the crowd behind us; the missionaries had arrived. All four of our busted out in tears watching all of these missionaries return home to their families. I await that day, but until then I will do as I did in the air port and press forward.

After a trip to taco bell, we made it back to the Square! I was greeted by every passing Sister with open arms! You never feel more loved than when you come back from outbound. I was reunited with some of my bestest friends; Sister Ferguson, Sister Gee, Sister Yeung, Sister Asay, Sister Christensen, Sister Richardson, Sister Jones, and countless others. I love all of the amazing sisters here. When I saw my Temple Square trainee, Sister Rangel, we busted into tears again! She has grown SO much since I have been gone, and I am so beyond proud of her. Still as saucy as ever. Shortly after, I met my new companion! Sister Brooks; ironic right? Everyone looks as my name tag and says "Ah, Sister Brooke" well everyone loves to practice saying our names together "Sister Brocks and Sister Brook, oh wait no, Sister Brock and Sister Brooks!" It's definitely a tongue twister. She is in her 3rd transfer and she is from California. She is one of the most Christlike people I know, she is very soft spoken, but when she does speak it ispowerful. I love her so much already! This transfer is going to be great, I am serving as a district leader, and we are serving in West Gate! Which is a super fun assignment. We will be in the booth just inside the west gate that is in charge of all the tours on Temple Square. We also have some really fun sister in our district, from Fiji, South Africa, Latvia and somewhere in the US! We have our first District Meeting tomorrow, and I will be giving a training on doctrine, principle and application; how important it is to use all 3 when teaching.

Yesterday we called one of the investigators that Sister Brooks has been working with, her name is Alli. She is one of the most prepared people I have met in my entire life. She meets with the missionaries 3 times a week, goes to devotionals, has family home evening, and stays up to the wee hours of the night reading her scriptures. Her husband joined her and her 3 kids at church this last Sunday and is talking about being baptized as well! She is getting baptized on the 8th of November. Very excited for her. I was also able to get in contact with one of my recent converts; Scott. He has been a member for about 9 months now, and has prepared over 2,000 names for the temple, of which he has personally done 500 of their baptisms. He goes to the Temple weekly and is close to finishing reading the whole quad! I can't express the joy that I felt as I was hearing this. Him and his wife are preparing to be sealed in the Temple on January 30th, one year from his baptism. This is what we are here for, to help families receive all the saving ordinances. To not only be baptized, but to help them enter the Temple and be sealed as a family unit for all eternity. I am so excited for Scott and his family!

I love y'all and I still have my Texan accent!

Sister Brock

Transfer 9 week 6

This week has been absolutely stellar. 

To start off, on Tuesday I had my exit interview. Super weird. I really don't feel like I'm leaving the TSAM, and I don't think it will feel real until my feet hit the pavement on Wednesday. But my interview with President Slaughter really helped me to catch a greater vision for what I can do and accomplish at Temple Square. I accidentally went 20 minutes over in my interview, but it was much needed. Not feeling as anxious and overloaded as before. President Slaughter is simply amazing. 

Saturday was such a fun day! Started off with a super powerful MLC. We then were knocking at an apartment complex when a family from Nepal opens the door. They immediately hurry us in, sit us down and grab their daughter who speaks English. We are in the middle of explaining who God is when the daughter gets up and leaves... we were sitting with her parents who don't speak an ounce of English. So I start trying to play charades and act out that God is our Father, and he loves us. (Don't ask me how I did that... I still don't know). No bueno. But just then the daughter comes back with a million plates of Nepali food! She gives us each 3 plates and we start going to town. It was so good! Come to find out, it was a Nepali holiday called Duali (sp?) We ended up taking the food and more home with us because we were heading over to the Theurer's for dinner. Nicole made the cutest cake that looked like a missionary tag! It was so good. We went to stake conference that night, and on the way back there was a HUGE firework show for Duali! Apparently there is a big population of Nepal people in San Antonio. Who knew?

This week we had mission tour, MLC and Stake Conference with Elder Hamula of the first quorum of the 70. He spoke this last general conference on the sacrament. I had quite a few encounters with him this week, beginning at mission tour. I am generally a pretty quiet person, I'm not one to raise my hand and volunteer for things. So when Elder Hamula picked me out of the many zones to simply read a few verses, I was petrified. But little did I know, in MLC he was going to ask me to do something that almost gave me a heart attack. We were nearing the end of the meeting when Elder Hamula announces that we are going to have a few of the departing missionaries share their testimonies. President Slaughter provided him with a list of 5 names. I look around at the 20 some odd missionaries in MLC leaving and feel pretty calm. "We will begin with hearing from Sister Breakall," one of the Sister Training Leader Leader's (the Sister Assistants), "then from Elder Lundstrom" one of the assistants, "and we will conclude with hearing the testimony of Sister Brock." Boom boom, my heart literally dropped to my toes. I looked right over at President Slaughter and he gave me a reassuring look. Well, I did it. I survived! And I feel good about it, so I am happy about that. But mostly I felt good because I was honored that President Slaughter would include my name with the 4 assistants heading home. The trust that he has in me, and has shown me continually has helped me to gain so much confidence in myself and this amazing message that I share. I am so grateful to have had the chance to have served under President Slaughter, and to feel of his love and learn from him. I cannot wait for him to be the president of the church one day!

Thursday we had mission tour with Elder Hamula. And boy was this a powerful meeting. I can't even begin to describe the gist of what we discussed. We talked about many different topics, but one that was prudent to me was sacrifice. Sacrifice of one's self. In the Bible, in Luke 14:27-28 it states...

 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
The cross represents the shame of the world. If we are to be true disciples, we must pay the cost and be willing to bear the shame of the world. There truly is a cost of discipleship. The cost is you. You must lay yourself upon the alter of sacrifice, and give all that you have. This pierced my heart. I have worked hard in my mission, and I have lived up to the light that I have received. Now, I will do everything I can to continually gain more light so that I may more fully be able to lay myself upon the alter. There is nothing that I love more than my mission, this experience has meant everything to me. It didn't simply change the degree of the angle I set for my life, but it put me onto a completely different plane. I have been changed, molded and crafted into a completely different person. With new dreams, desires, hope and vision for life. My entire life with effected by the decision I made to serve a mission, and I am forever grateful. The gospel is true, it has to power to change us, if we let it. Let us all press forward each day, seeking continually the will of the Lord.

I love y'all and am looking forward to seeing the beautiful mountains on Wednesday!

Sister Brock

Transfer 10 week 4

This week has been an exciting one! Let me give you an overview: we had two baptisms, Elder Clayton Christensen (author of Power of Everyday missionaries) spoke to us in relief society, we watched Savior of the World last night, went the the Temple this morning, and I am oh-so close to finishing my college application essays!!! 

To begin, let me tell you about Alli and Michael. They are such an amazing and powerful couple! He is in medical school and they have four young children, and another on the way! Sister Brooks found Alli from chat a week or so before I got here. We have been teaching her since and they are SO prepared! She would stay up in the wee hours of the night reading her Book of Mormon because she loved it so much. She met with the local missionaries 3 times a week and our phone lessons 2 times a week. She is just on fire. After her first Sunday going to church with her kids, her husband decided to join her the following week. After that first Sunday he started mentioning "When I get baptized..." She was so excited to tell us this! We started teaching them both together and got to Skype this last week for their baptism. It was so powerful. In the scriptures in D&C it talks about how the power of God is manifest in the saving ordinances of the Gospel, that is one reason why I love going to/watching baptisms. Because the power of God is truly manifest. 

I would like to relay a story shared by President Slaughter in stake conference back in San Antonio. He was in the state championship game for his high school basketball team. There as 3 seconds left on the clock in the last quarter and his team was down by one. You could feel the excitement and intensity in the air. The plan was to pass the ball in to President Slaughter and he would shoot the final shot for the win. The game resumes, President Slaughter gets the ball and shoots. The ball goes rolling around the rim, for what must have felt like an eternity, then the ball falls out. No points. No re-do. No win. President Slaughter stood staring at the hoop hours after the gym had cleared; jaw dropped, with tear-filled eyes. He later, to his disappointment, received a certificate of participation. He continued on to say "If all I get after this life is a certificate of participation in missionary work, I will rejoice." Although our efforts may not always have a positive result, the effort is not wasted. Someone may reject us, someone may slam the door in our face, someone may yell at us, but we are still participating in the work of the Lord. We cannot simply be instruments; the Lord will not use a vessel that does not act. We must be agents of the Lord, actively seeking opportunities to be an instrument. I am so grateful to have this experience now to serve a mission, so that I can learn how to share the Gospel in my everyday life. This is the Lords work, and we all are apart of it. May we ever be found in the work of the Lord. 

I love you all and wish you a very merry Thanksgiving!
Sister Brock

P.s. This week for thanksgiving we will be going to a member's house for dinner! Then the next day is black Friday/p-day. Y'all know what I will be doing... :)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Transfer 10 week 3

This has been a very busy week. I went on 24 hour long exchanges with each of the sisters in my district. Back, to back, to back. I'm grateful to be back in my cozy apartment with my own bed and blankies. On the bright side, I got to serve in West Gate every day this week! Every TSQ sister's dream.

This week I also went to the dermatologist, again. I have been having pain in my scars for quite some time, so I wanted to check that out. Ended up getting another skin biopsy; I'll get the results back on Wednesday to see if I need to get more skin dug out and more stitches. On the bright side, I got my scars injected and they have almost shrunk half the size! They've bled quite a bit, but they're a lot smaller so I'm happy.

Just yesterday I got to see a great friend from back home; Saige Miller. Ironically, I've never actually met in her person. But we both have known so much about each other for so long because of my darling mother. Saige joined the church just under a year ago, and my mom was great fellowship for her as a recent convert. She now attends UofU and is working on mission papers. As we were talking, I was thinking about the difference between her and a lot of other recent converts I know. She immediately grasped onto the Gospel, and has been firm in her witness since. She stands alone as a member of the church in her family, and yet is stronger than most life-long members. It is simply about dedication and diligence. When we decide to be dedicated to the Gospel, every other aspect in our life is effected; we are changed forevermore. Our everyday decisions are already made because we decided to follow Christ, to do and be good. This should be the aspiration in each of our lives, to have complete dedication to the Gospel. I know that is my life-long goal. And I am excited to see where that takes me.

I love y'all so much and hope you have a fantastic week!

Sister Brock

Transfer 10 week 2

I cannot believe that it has been a week already. So much has happened, but I feel at a loss for words.

I have continued to keep in touch with my investigators in San Antonio, such as Brother James, Christine, and Pat for the most part. The other day I called Brother James and got his voice mail. I left him a message and just a few minutes later I got a call back with a booming... "HEYYYY Sista Brock!" We had a good chat and I was pleased to hear that he is doing well. He always has a ton of questions, so it's great that he has us and Sister Risenmay back in San Antonio. We also called another investigator from San Antonio, Pat! She is just the sweetest lady ever. She has had such a hard life, and she loves the church so much. When she saw a picture of the Temple she immediately wanted to go there and was willing to do so much to get there. So when I told her the other day on the phone that I'm at that same Temple now serving my mission, she was in complete awe. She will be baptized one day.

Speaking of baptism, we have a great baptism tomorrow! It is for an awesome couple; Alli and Michael. Sister Brooks has been teaching Alli for a little while now, and she is just completely prepared and grasping on to the Gospel. She stays up in the wee hours of the night reading her Book of Mormon because she can't get enough! She brings her 3 kids to church each week and they can't stop talking about primary. A few weeks ago her husband, Michael, came along to church as well. And just that day he mentioned to her "When I get baptized..." She was so excited to hear that! We hadn't set a date for him yet though. This week we got a text from Alli asking "Hi Sisters, we have a question. What are my husband and I supposed to wear for our baptism?" We almost flipped the table over we were so excited! Michael is getting baptized tomorrow too! And we found out this week that she is pregnant with her 4th child; she will do very well in this church.

That's pretty much my update for the week! The square isn't too busy right now, but will pick up quite a bit in 3 weeks when the Christmas lights turn on. This week I got to see Sister Simonsen, one of my outbound companions, her finance, and just on my way over to email, Elder Franco from my outbound! It's so great to see familiar faces.

I love y'all and hope you have a great week! This week will be a week full of exchanges. Woohoo!

Sister Brock