Monday, April 27, 2015

Dear Family,

     The NEATEST thing happened to us on Thursday! We were on a train headed to an appointment with Ellenore and sat by a girl who looked about the same age as us. After chatting for a little while, she ended up asking us who we were and what we are doing in Germany, which we gladly explained and then asked her if she was religious. Her response was so perfect, you’d think the whole encounter was set up by god himself (; "Yeah, I’m religious, but I’ve actually never been baptized into one specific denomination". Then she paused for a second and continued, "Huh. I really should get baptized. I want to! I just never have been." I responded, "Oh my goodness, we're on our way to go teach someone about baptism right now!" Then we had a little discussion about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the restoration of it though Joseph Smith. She was completely enthralled as we explained and bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and was quick to give us her number when we asked if we could meet and teach her more. To make the story even more amazing, she ended up being on the same train as us AGAIN as we were heading home after the appointment! I’m so stoked to meet with her—she seems so solid!

     We had mission conference with Elder Bednar on Friday!!! It was amazing!! Totally not what I expected at all though! I assumed we'd be sitting in a room for 5+ hours getting lectured on the appropriate use of iPads/obeying the white handbook—but it wasn’t like that at all! There were lots of open-ended conversation and Q&A sessions. We still don’t have iPads...but we should be getting them soon!!

     Hahaha, funny story: Sister Whicker and I went to the bathroom during our lunch break and guess who walked in behind us?! SISTER BEDNAR! She started up a conversation with me and I forgot how to person and made a COMPLETE fool of myself. Check it:

Her: "Sister! Where are you from?!"
Me: "San Antonio, Texas!"
Her: "Oh, neat! My husband and I were just there for stake conference over the summer!"
Me: "Oh! Yes! I was there! I wasn’t...Wait...was I? No. Uhh yes...ummmm..."
Her: "…"
Me: "…"
Her: (turns to my companion) "and where are you from?"


     As great as those two experiences were, this one takes the cake, for sure: Edison went to the temple on Tuesday to be baptized in the name of his father who passed away four years ago!!! His whole family was there and after preforming the rest of the dad's proxy work, they were sealed!

VICTORY IN ZION!!!!!!!! :')

I love y’all lots <3
T-2 weeks until skype time!!!!
Hopefully I don’t die of anticipation before then!

- Brookie

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dear Family,

     You want to know what the absolute BEST feeling in the world is?!
     Saturday was amazing. Words cannot do my feelings justice!

     Originally, we were going to have another member from the branch preform the ordinance, because every time we asked Edison, the answer was no (he was too nervous and his friends thought it’d be weird, anyway). We pretty much got down on hands and knees before our lesson on Friday and begged the three of them to reconsider. Donaldo and Renato ended up saying yes...but Edison still refused. Luckily, we had a super wonderful lesson and asked him once more after the Holy Ghost preformed some heart softening magic AND HE SAID YES.
     Ahhhhh, it was so great.
     Seriously one of the most special days of my life.

     I know anything I tell y’all about my week is going to be dull in comparison to the excitement of Saturday, but bear with me. On Wednesday, we had a super neat experience!! We were street contacting and saw a man outside his apartment juggling. We approached him and bombarded him with all sorts of juggling questions (i.e. where did you learn/how long did it take/how many balls can you juggle at once).
     Afterwards, we introduced ourselves and explained our purpose as missionaries...and guess what he said? "Oh, you’re Mormons?! Cool! My mom told me that if I was ever interested in religion, your church would be the first one to look into!" which I responded something along the lines of: umm excuse me what? WHO IS YOUR MOM?!
     We gave him a Book of Mormon (which he committed to reading) and promised him that, as he does so, though he may not see a reason to develop faith in God right now, he would through studying the Book of Mormon and praying about it. We were like "and our number is on the card we gave you—so when that happens—give us a call!"

     It was seriously the coolest contact of my life.
     He even took a second Book of Mormon to give to his friend!
     What a superstar, right?!

     In other news, I’m doing MUCH better this week. I know I didn’t share too much about this is my last general email home, but fun fact: Brooke Terry was struggling a little bit! I felt like I’d fallen into a sad little emotional pit and couldn’t get out! I felt exhausted, worn thin...and kind of broken. This has happened to me every so often since starting my mission. I'll be working extremely hard, putting lots of pressure on myself to be perfect, having a go-go-go attitude from sun up to sun down...then I crash, become really ineffective for a little while, then pull it together again and the cycle continues. I've been praying to know how to break this pattern, how to overcome this problem...and my answer caught me completely off guard!

     Sister Whicker and I went running for morgen sport on Tuesday. We’d done so a few times already, and it’s always the same. She gets outside, puts the pedal to the metal...then quickly runs out of gas and has to walk. She’ll coast for a while, refuel, then speeds off again...and the patterns goes on. I turned to her while we were running this last week and said "you know, if you run slower, you'll be able to run longer." As soon as I said those words, the spirit repeated them back to me. 
     Run slower.
     What a concept, right?
     That doesn’t mean stop working hard. That doesn’t mean stop striving for excellence or worrying about obedience—rather, ease off the throttle a little so the tank remains full longer.
     I think that’s advice we can all benefit from at some point or another.

     I also just wanted to bear testimony about God's love for each of us. So often we look at our perceived "flaws" and "shortcomings" and think "no way can someone so extraordinary care so deeply about someone like me". We so easily forget that HE CREATED US! We—each one of us—are the workmanship of His hands...and perfect hands create perfect works.
     We have each inherited divine traits and qualities—figure out what they are. Develop them further. But remember:
     If perfection is your aim, you’re just digging yourself into a sad little pit.
     Focusing on Christ and striving to become more like him, however, will lift you higher than you can even imagine.

I love y’all so much <3
Thanks for all your prayers. They helped SO MUCH (as always). (:

- Brookie


Monday, April 13, 2015

Dear Family

I'm back in 'Lautern with Sister Whicker AKA IM NOT IN A GOLDEN DRIT YAYYYY. Thursday morning (Sister Hallmann’s MTC entry deadline) rolled around and she still hadn’t gotten her visa stuff back from the consulate (yes, my stress levels were though the roof). Howeverrr, while waiting at Bahnhoff after the golden/trainer meeting, President Stoddard called and said that her visa had arrived! He said they were about to email the MTC president and ask if they'd still allow her to come, but it was 2am in America and aint nobody got time to wait 5 hours for a response, so he called someone in the area presidency who said "yeahhh, we're just gonna ask for forgiveness instead of permission...send her off!" 

My new companion is cool. I was definitely worried about how well we'd get along when I first met her (she doesn't really like people...she told me so herself), but we're doing just fine! Get this: After we got back into Kaiserslautern on Thursday, we did some streets while we waited for our zone leaders to bring us her luggage. We had only been walking for a little while when we met a lady names Frau Fauss. We talked with her for quite a while and ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and inviting her to church. She said she'd come...but my hopes weren't too high. WELLL Sunday rolled around...AND SHE ACTUALLY CAME. No joke. The wonderful Sister Eldridge picked her up and she stayed all three hours!!! We’re going to be meeting with her sometime this week (: wooohooo! Golden power! 

You wanna hear another miracle story?! We've been teaching Donaldo and Renato for a few weeks, right? They’re both super solid, but Renato has had a hard time giving up smoking. On Thursday, the Elders gave him a blessing to help him quit. On Saturday, Sister Whicker and I began fasting for him. We had a lesson with him later that night...and for the first time (SINCE HE WAS 6 YEARS OLD) he hadn't been smoking!!!! IS THAT NOT THE MOST EXCITING THING YOU'VE EVER HEARD?! 
I'm pretty darn pumped. 

The priesthood power of God is on the earth!!! 
Fasting works wonders!! 

I love y’all lots <3 
Can’t wait to talk to you again next week!! 

- Brookie 


Monday, April 6, 2015

An Easter Email from The Eldredges

We are excited to have received another email from Dave and Ellen Eldredge with a lot of pictures and even a video! Enjoy!

Good Afternoon, Br. and Sister Terry and Br. and Sis. Hallmann, 

Your choice daughters are in our home as I write this email. As soon as the Sunday morning session of conference is over, we (my wife and I) will drive them home as it will be too late if we wait until 8 p.m. to take them to the train where we live. We have had a cherished Easter Sunday having them, along with Sis. Yvonne Hofstetler (a member of the church bapt. a little over a year ago but not too active). My wife invited her to our Easter Sunday dinner and to watch conference and she showed up at our doorstep just a few minutes before your missionaries arrived. It has been a wonderful blessing having them all in our home. I tried to take a couple of video clips of them singing but don't know if they will go or not. I could only do about 15 seconds hoping they would not be too large of files to send. I also have some pics that I will send later. 

Thank you again for sharing them with us. They are a blessing to our branch and to our lives. 

I will try sending the other pictures that I took yesterday when your daughters (our missionaries) were having dinner in our home on Easter Sunday. If there are pics that you do not want, then just delete them. They were all taken when they were here with us. I will not resend the video clips as I believe, from what was said, that at least one of you received them so I assume the other did as well. 

I will try sending three at a time and hope all get through. 

Here is set number 2. Three pics again. Some of the pics are out of number sequence because I deleted some in the midst of others that were not worth keeping. 

Here is set #3. Three pics again. The last one is before the food was dished out for the Easter dinner.

Here is set #4. Three pics again. The first one is before the food was dished out for the Easter dinner but the [third] one looks tasty… 

Here is set #5. Three pics again. Mostly in the living room except the one of Yvonne is in the entry way by the front door… 

Here is set #6 three pics again. One of these is too dark so you can delete if you can't see it. 

Set #7 Getting close to the end of them 

Set #8. This is the last picture. Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Some duplicates but fun, nonetheless. Have a great week. Will let the sisters tell you any news that they want to share. Don't want to spoil any fun.

Dave and Ellen Eldredge

Dear Family,

     I’M GETTING ANOTHER GOLDEN! I got a call from President on Friday (danger day) and he said "After much time on my knees, I feel the Lord would like you to serve as a trainer again" (AKA sister terry, you did a really horrible job the first time but the Lord would like to give you a chance to redeem yourself...haha). BOOYAA. IM SO EXCITED. I've LOVED training. Fun fact though, if the consulate doesn’t send Sister Hallmann’s visa stuff back by Wednesday, then she can’t fly to America...meaning I’ll be training two people at once. I don’t think that'll happen (and I’m praying it doesn’t)...but we'll see. 

     Speaking of the consulate...we had a fun little party in Frankfurt on Tuesday/Wednesday! And by fun I mean slightly terrifying. I got bugged by an undercover cop. I probably shouldn’t talk about it over the internet...just know that if I go missing, it was because I misjudged the woman and she was actually an enemy spy. That's all the info I can give you right now. I'll fill you in with the rest of the details over Skype next month!
     Now for a story I actually CAN talk about! Last week, we gave Donaldo and Ronaldo (Fun fact #2...his name is actually Renato...but swear I hear an “L” in there when he says it) a chapter in the Book of Mormon to read. We followed up at the beginning of our lesson this past week and asked them how it went! Edison then told us the following story: "Donaldo read the chapter and didn’t understand it. He re-read it, and still didn’t get it. Then he came to me and we read it together...but it still didn’t make sense. Then, he went to his room, said a prayer, read it AGAIN...and he was FINALLY able to understand." 
     I've been thinking a lot about that experience over the past week, and just want to add my testimony to that of Nephi's, who said, "He that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded to them, by the power of the Holy ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come" (1 Nephi 10:19). The Lord is there! He is both willing and ready to help us, we just have to ask him!!(: 

     I hope everyone enjoyed general conference!!! The first weekends in April and October have always been my two favorites of the year. What a special opportunity we have as members of the church to hear from God's chosen prophets, seers and revelators from the comforts of our own home. Chapter 9 of Gospel Principals says: “Many people live in darkness, unsure of God's will. They believe that the heavens are closed and that the people must face the world’s perils alone.” How fortunate are the latter-day saints! 
     I am so grateful for living prophets and apostles who make known God's will for us. I am grateful for the knowledge that the heavens are not closed, that Heavenly Father's mouth is not shut, and that he continues to guide us through his ordained servants. 
     I am grateful for Jesus Christ. Words cannot even begin to express the love and appreciation I feel for Him. He is our Savior. He is our Redeemer. We shouldn't limit ourselves to celebrating his atoning sacrifice once a year, because the blessings we receive from the events that occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane and on Golgotha are ours to claim every single day. 

I know He lives. 
I know He loves us. 
No trial is too small or heartache too insignificant for His divine, generous aid. 


PS: We're getting iPads. When I first heard the news, I was like "YAY! IPADS" and then I was like "oh wait, I hate technology..."