Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dear Family,



Ugh I’m totally going to butcher this story BECAUSE THERE WERE TOO MANY INCREDIBLE THINGS SAID AND FELT TO GIVE AN ACCURATE ACCOUNTING OF IT ALL, but I'll attempt to explain to the best of my abilities how Tuesday evening went down: 

Sister Whicker and I felt like we should go over the baptismal interview questions for our lesson. Bertrand's faith could be felt with every answer he gave, and the spirit was SO STRONG. At the end of the lesson we turned to him and were like "Bertrand, do you want to be baptized?!" We've asked that question more times than I could even begin to count (and the answer has always been “no”) but tonight he paused for a really long time then told us that last week, after praying one evening, he received assurance from the Holy Ghost that God would lead him to the right path. And you know what Bertrand said to that? "I can see really clearly where he's been leading me". We invited him to be baptized on the 1st of August, and he said "that's really soon. Give me two months. In those two months, I'll act like I'm already a member, I'll keep all the commandments and talk to my family and everything. I just want to make sure I'm ready". So we pulled out our calendar, pointed to the 12th of September and said "alright Bertrand, that's two months from now!! You want to set that as a goal and work towards being baptized on that day?" And he said yes and Sister Whicker and I just about had a happy aneurism. Our freude levels were off the charts. After Sister Whicker and I regained our composure we sat and listened to Bertrand go on for about 20 minutes about how happy he is and how far he has come and how much his faith is growing AND OH MEINE GUTE IT WAS THE BEST 20 MINUTES OF MY WHOLE LIFE. 



Ready for another awesome story?! 

Sister Whicker and I had a rough day on Thursday. We were on a train and ended up having a little bit of a breakdown party. I was comforting my companion, when we looked up and made eye contact with the lady sitting across from us, who had been zoned out and listening to music for the entire ride. Upon seeing my crying companion, she took her headphones off and asked "is everything alright?" We assured her everything was okay, that we were just having a little bit of rough day, and then she asked us the most heaven-inspired, spiritually prompted question I've heard thus far in my mission:

"Why are you here?" 

Sister Whicker and my tears immediately stopped, and she continued "I know who you are. You're Mormons! You leave your family and friends and home and work for the church...why? Isn't that hard? Why do you do what you're doing?" 

Obviously, a comment like that caused for some serious self-reflection, and after taking some time to think, I responded. Honestly, I can't even remember what was said, but whatever it lead to a discussion with this lady (Mary) about Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. 

Mary isn't religious—her mom died when she was 15, leaving her parentless, and she's had a bitter taste in her mouth about God and religion ever since. We bore testimony about our purpose here on earth—to be tried and tested so that we can learn and grow and assured her that throughout life's struggles and challenges, Christ Himself is right there beside us—helping us, lifting us, encouraging us. We bore testimony that one of the ways he does that is through other people "just take today for example", we said "here we are, crying over what are ultimately really little, insignificant things, and God cared enough to send YOU to talk to us, to help us remember why we're here and what is really important". By the end of our conversation, we'd given Mary a Book of Mormon, And shed given us her number and told us to please give it to the Sisters in Mannheim so she could meet with them(: just to add a level of miracle to the story, Mary has actually already run into missionaries before!! They'd exchanged numbers and planned on meeting and everything, but it never ended up happening (because the elders were too pushy, she said). 

Moral of the story? God works in mysterious ways (namely, broken hearts and teary eyes)...and when it comes to furthering this work, he's the best user of resources (two broken down sister missionaries having a train-ride cry party, included). 

I'm so grateful for this work!! 
I'm so grateful for all the miracles God has allowed me to witness. 
I'm so grateful that even my hardest days out here still rank as some of the most incredible of my whole life. 

Love y’all lots <3 
Have a great week! 

- Brookie

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