Monday, April 25, 2016

I'm transferring and going to be an STL!


Holy cow time goes by so fast!! I can't believe it's almost May and this transfer is already over. It seriously is so crazy and I never believed missionaries when they said that time goes by fast, but boy they are right. It's flying.

Well.. I'm sure you're curious about transfers. Let me give you the background story... On Saturday nights from 6-9 the A.P.'s or president will call you. If you get a call, that means you're being transferred. But, if President calls you, you're going to train or get a leadership position, so it's scary when he calls. We were visiting this less active and talking to her. It was about 7:30ish and we decided to head out. We got in the car and we had a few missed texts so we went over those. We were driving down the street and Sister M said, “oh no... we have a missed call from President. We called him back and he started some small talk with Sister M so I was thinking it’s for her. Then he asks to talk to me... Long story short, I have been called to be an STL (Sister Training Leader)! I'm excited for this calling and to see all the amazing sisters in other areas of our mission. I'll find out Tuesday where and who my new companion is. I seriously will miss Powhatan so much. I love it here. It's definitely been the most challenging place I have been so far, but it has been so amazing to see and meet all these amazing people. I have learned that even the smallest things that happen are so appreciated and I am so grateful for. I said goodbye to some people yesterday like James and Lisa, I have become really good friends with Lisa and it was so hard saying goodbye to her. But, thank goodness for airplanes and coming back to visit ;) 

This week has been pretty good. We didn't have a very good week last week, so we decided to work our bums off and work like crazy!!  The week started out with just tracting and trying to find new people for our teaching pool. When we were tracting Tuesday night, we were getting very discouraged. We had 3 more houses on this street we were tracting and were ready to get them over with so we could do something else. We knocked on the 3rd to the last door. This SUPER cute girl named Kaycee, (I was totally going to hook Chris up with her until she said she was a senior in high school) answered the door. She was so happy and said she would love to hear our message. We shared the restoration with her and she thought it was so cool and was way excited to read the Book of Mormon. She has (I can't remember the exact wording) some qualifying meet for swimming soon to get into the Olympics for swimming. She could be the next Michael Phelps, who knows. It was a cool miracle because she said she is never home until 9 but she came home today because she hurt herself during her practice as they were lifting so they sent her home. She recognized how cool it was and how God really must want her to listen. 

Super hyped about how cute Kaycee was and how we finally got a lesson and met someone cool, we were in good spirits now. The next house was a potential that the elders that were in Powhatan met about 2 years ago. We decided to just "tract" into him and talk to him. We walked up his driveway and we saw a guy sitting in the porch. He came over to us and we explain who we were and what we were doing. He invited us over to his porch and explained he has met with missionaries before and his name is Zach. He is probably in his early 30's late 20's. He then told us he has had a terrible day and it's been really hard for him. He said we could share a quick message. We knew we didn't have much time so we wanted to get the main points down, but the Holy Ghost was definitely with me and knew what Zach really needed to hear. I just started telling him about how much our Heavenly Father loves him and knows him by name and Sister Mailata was testifying about it as well. We looked over and he was in TEARS. He explained how he needed to hear that and was really doubting God and if He knew him. He was sobbing at this point and was really embarrassed; I thought it was super cool (his emotions not his embarrassment). He invited us to come back another time because he didn't want to keep crying in front of us. But it was so cool. It was such a testimony builder about how much the Holy Ghost is with us. He knew exactly what Zach needed and made us speak the words. As we were leaving his driveway, we knew the spirit was with us and it was us relaying the message through us. 

One more house to go, we are super pumped. At the last house, this guy answered. He said he had a few minutes to talk with us and wanted to hear our messages, and it was an excuse to get away from his crying baby. We shared the restoration with him and he really enjoyed it. He is a Baptist, but was so amazed about Joseph Smith. You could tell her was really touched and could feel the spirit, because we definitely could. Let's just say we ended that night very happy!! 

We were able to do some service for a less active this week. Her husband was in a car accident about 4 years ago and has had major problems with his leg since then. He went in for surgery and had his femur fixed and a knee replacement. He has been on bed rest, in hospital and getting worked on for about a year now. That makes our less active, Sister Wilton, having to do ALL the work. She is working about 12 hour days and doesn't have time to do anything for herself or even clean her house. She is the busiest lady ever. We have been trying to reach her almost this whole transfer. She finally reached out to us the beginning of this week and asked us if we could come over and help her. So we did. She said she hasn't deep cleaned her house for over a year and it was really starting to gross her out. We helped clean her bathroom, vacuumed, and dusted. She was in tears as we were leaving and was so happy we came and helped. 

Seriously, being a missionary is the best thing in the world. Seeing people's face light up, being able to help people in need and doing the Lord’s work is amazing. I couldn't ask for anything better. I am so grateful to be out here on my mission and to serve the people of Virginia. I know this is where I needed to be. I know I am in the right place and couldn't be doing anything better in my life right now. 

Yesterday, we had dinner with James and Lisa and they had the Despains, and the Nalders over-the Despain’s daughter. We had a little feast together and took lots of pictures and were able to say goodbye. I love all of them so much. It was fun and nice of them to all come together and as they called it, have a goodbye feast. I sure will miss them. 

 The Despain Family- in their cute matching shirts.

The Nalder Family

James and Lisa :)
My best friend, Lisa. 

James is doing wonderful. He is slowly but surely getting towards baptism. He is to the point where he has to work and try for himself to know if it is for him or not. But, thank goodness for Lisa. She is the biggest help and example to him. He has changed SO much since I have met him and I know he feels the spirit and God’s love for him. He just needs to have the faith in himself that he can do it. 

I am so grateful I had the chance to serve here in Powhatan.  I have grown so much since I have been here and know I needed to be here. I'm sure going to miss it. 

Scripture of the week: Doctrine and Covenants 84:85- I know the Holy Ghost will give us the things we need to say. We shouldn't be afraid of talking to people or sharing what we people, because the Holy Ghost will put words in our mouth and will not leave us alone. He will always be there to help us and testify of this wonderful gospel. To us and those we are talking to. 

I love y'all so much. I can't wait to tell you my new area and companion next week. I hope y'all have a fantastic week. Y'all definitely deserve. Always remember that you're a child, a son or daughter of God. That he knows you by name and cares so much about you. I LOVE YOU!!!!

Love Sister Brooks :)

(I just found out I was the only "English sister" called to be an STL. There was one leaving and out of ALL the English sister I was called.... Wow, I feel so honored!)

Me, Bro. Noe, and Sister Mailata.. 
Yes they are dark, I am white, but I had a disadvantage, 
the flash was right on me. But yes, I'm white. 

With Dan. I'm not crying, I just got done sneezing. Dang pollen. 

Terri, Lisa's mom. 
She is currently writing a book right now. 
She read us a few parts, it's super good. 

The following is a picture put together by the Despains and emailed to Sister Brooks' family with a message below.  (We think the world of you Despain Family!!) 
We are sad to learn that we will be losing our dear Sister Brooks this week because of transfers.  We don't know where she is going; just that she will not be in Powhatan anymore.  How sad for us.  We really love and appreciate the time that you have shared your daughter with us in this part of the Lord's vineyard.  In many ways, we consider her our daughter too....we hope that you don't mind.  We know that the Lord has more to teach her in other areas so we send her away with love. We really look forward to having you in this neck of the woods next year.  Your family will always be welcome in our home.  Sis. Brooks asked us to be all ready to serve you a "special" dinner so we can't let her down. See you next year. Again, thank you for sharing; we love all of you too.

Ron & Kathy Despain

Monday, April 18, 2016

Focusing on positive instead of Grinch's "wallow in self pity"

Emailing at the library

Happy Monday!!

I hope y'all had a wonderful week!! Well, to say it bluntly. This week was hard. Very, very hard. I am very happy for this week to be over, haha. But I was still able to see God’s hand in my week and throughout the day. He is too good. I am so grateful for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. No matter how my week went, how many doors slammed in our faces, or tough it is to get along with people or companions, He is always there for us. No matter what, He wants us to be happy. I've really tried to focus on the positive this week rather than, as the grinch would say, "wallow in self-pity" or something like that.. Haha which I wanted to do sometimes. haha. 

Krista, our cute miracle investigator was so busy this week and we were hardly able to get a hold of her or see her. She is in the process of moving and selling her possessions and overly stressed. We will just have to give her a little time, but start back up with teaching her soon. :) 

We had a cute new family move into our ward this week!! Yay! We have had so many people move out or die... Our ward is starting to get really small. This family moved from northern Virginia and the mom, Anna, (pronounced Iike the girl on frozen) was converted in her late 20's by sister missionaries, so she loves is ;). We helped them move and unpack this week and really got to know them. She is seriously the best member missionary. We helped her on Tuesday, then Friday she called us telling us all the people she has met this week and wants to invite over to her home for us to teach. She is so dang cute! She said once her house is unpacked and ready to go, she will start inviting them over for dinner.  We told her we would be over to help that process speed up. ;) haha 

We met this lady name Mindy while we were tracting. She said she knows everything about almost every religion, but she doesn't know much about Mormonism. She said she would love to sit down and talk with us. I was pretty excited, she was super cute and nice and I thought she was totally interested. We started sharing the restoration with her and next thing you know she just started bashing and saying she isn't sure if it could happen and just POUNDED us with questions. Half her questions I had NO idea how to answer and really relied on the Holy Ghost to help me answer them. After we shared our message, she got all calm and was like okay that was nice, sorry I just pounded and bashed, I wanted to see how you reacted and answered questions and to test you to see if you really believed. She said we could come by any time to teach her. It was so so strange. 

We had stake conference Saturday night and yesterday. We had two general authorities from the 70’s there and they had wonderful talks. We went with James, Lisa and Lisa's mom yesterday.  They weren't planning on going but we asked for a ride and  so they had to.  See what I did there hahaha!  The talks that were given were EXACTLY what James needed and he was able to recognize and see that. Afterwards, we introduced them to President and Sister Wilson. The Wilsons have heard a lot about James and were so excited to meet him. It was so good for James to talk with them for a little and feel of President Wilson’s sweet spirit. We had a really good lesson with them after stake conference about temple marriage. As we explained it, James mentioned he really wanted to be with Lisa forever. We told him he could; he just needed to be baptized first. He told us, he knows he will be baptized one day in the near future, he just has to really gain a testimony and live the way he knows he needs to. He is doing so well. I am happy for him and Lisa. He went to a bachelor party last weekend, scary thought- his friends all drink and he gives into peer pressure- Lisa shared this with us without him knowing.  But at the party, of course they went to a bar, James had only 2 drinks and started to feel funny and get a stomach ache. He knew he shouldn't be drinking and ended up drinking water for the rest of the night. WE WERE ALL SO PROUD OF HIM!!! I sure love them. 

We have been trying to work with less actives and go visit people in the ward we don't have any information on or we haven't met before. We have been able to get into quite a few homes and talk with them and get to know them. It's been so fun to meet them and help them know how much their Heavenly Father really does love them. 

On Saturday, we killed chickens again. I ended up killing this big giant rooster. I was pretty much a pro from last time ;) haha but we had dinner with the Despains last night and at the chickens that we killed, holy cow they were so good... I don't know if I'll be able to have a normal chicken again. We might have to start raising some mom and dad ;) Pictures below.

It's crazy, we have transfer calls this Saturday.  Thank goodness this transfer has gone by pretty fast.  I am interested to see what this next transfer will be like. 

Scripture of the week: John 20:29. This scripture was shared yesterday in stake conference. Jesus is speaking to Thomas and told him that because Thomas saw Jesus, he believed. But blessed are those who don't see Jesus Christ, but still believe. It really made me think of some of our investigators or people I have met. So many people want or expect a sign or some miraculous thing to happen to them so they will start believing. But instead, we really need to have faith in Jesus Christ and know, even though we don't see him, he really is always there for us and he does live. We all need to have more faith and believe in our Savior Jesus Christ. 

I love y'all so much. I hope this week turns out a little better. I just have to keep working hard and push forward, having faith and humble myself to God’s will. Keep being the amazing people that you are. I sure love y'all and pray for y'all constantly. 

Love Sister Brooks!

Me and Sis. Mailata
Rainy day photo shoot

Sis. Mailata had never met Santa yet. :)

We tracted into this guy at the beginning of the week who loved to hunt.
He had everything he has ever shot, on the wall.
This was only one wall of the house. SERIOUSLY, every wall was
COVERED with random animals.

 Saturday, Chicken Killing Again

Getting my rooster set up
Setting up rooster.

Getting grossed out!
Cutting the throat
I tried not to look at the blood.
  Bro. Despain made me laugh.
Prize Rooster

Bro. Despain made this plucking machine out
out of an old washing machine.
It was super cool.
Plucking the rooster and trying to
get it's feathers off.

Dunking the rooster.  
Trying to get a baptism-Just kidding.
This was boiling hot water and we 

dunk it to loosen the feathers to 
make it easier to pluck.
Trying to get the feathers off.  We made
another machine really quick.
Going in for the kill to gut the chicken.
Grossed out.  This Chicken had parts and things
I didn't recognized from the last time and it
freaked me out.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Special emails from Despain Family (Powhatan, Virginia)

Ron and Kathy Despain, a sweet family that Sister Brooks has met and enjoyed being in their home in Powhatan, Virginia, have sent a few special emails to Sister Brooks' family:

Email sent February 20, 2016

This is just a little note to thank you for your sweet daughter and the sweet spirit that she brings here in Powhatan, VA.  She represents herself, your family and the Lord in a good and honorable way.  We love having her and her companion in our home and the good spirit that they always bring.  
Even though missionary work is difficult at times, they continue to bring light to this part of the Lord's vineyard.  They are growing into the type of women that you want them to be.  You should be proud.  Again, thank you.

Ron and Kathy Despain

February 21, 2016

We will indeed make sure that your daughter gets her special "hug"  birthday gift.  We're glad that you don't think unkindly of us for making you daughter eat off of the floor....hahaha. 

Oh, by the way, we had your sweet daughter and her companion over for lunch yesterday and dinner today.  We made a cake for her and sang happy birthday.  There is something that happened this weekend while they were really won't believe it....... She was can I say it......brave....Hahaha.  We won't tell you more since your daughter will be sending you pictures and a description.....We love your daughter like our own.  Thank you for sharing.

Here is a picture of us.  We hope that it makes you smile.

February 26, 2016

Just to give you an update....
I found where the sisters were having dinner this evening at the Halpins and met them there.  I actually got there before they did.. hahaha... so when the Sisters got there they peeked around the corner not sure what I was going to do.  Well they thought I was going to throw a pie in their faces... hahahhaha ... I wonder where they got that idea????  Who me??  hahaha, oh well.  

I said, “This is from your mom." and I gave her a great big hug, then I said, "This is from your dad, Bro. Despain can't give this to you from your dad, so I will give it to you from your dad." And I gave her another big hug.  She just giggled and said, "Ahhhhh" "Thanks so much!" Laughing she said, "This is so much better than a pie in the face."

Birthday wish delivered with love.
Thanks for allowing me to do this for you.

 April 17, 2016

Benita & family,

We still appreciate your daughter and the sweet spirit that she and her companion bring into our home.  We know that you must be so proud.  Here are some pictures that will make you smile.

With love,
Ron & Kathy Despain

Thank you Despain Family!  The pictures did make us smile!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Happy Miracles Trump All!

Emaling at the library :)

Happy Monday!! 

I hope y'all had a wonderful week and enjoyed the wonderful gifts and blessings God has given you this week.

This week went by crazy fast. I can't believe how fast time is flying!! It has been another fantastic week full of miracles and of course some sad moments, but the happy things trump them all!! 

We were able to meet with James and Lisa Monday because they will both be heading out of town, so we had to see them before they left. James is usually a little reserved and doesn't really answer things for himself, he relies on Lisa too much, but he has been really good lately. We were talking to them about conference and how they enjoyed it. We challenged them to go into conference with questions and if they paid attention, they would receive the answers that they needed. They both went in with super good questions. Lisa said that her questions were answered so fast and she was so happy about that. She is so happy to be learning and growing in this church again. Her faith and desire is amazing. I can't tell you how much she has changed and what an amazing example she is to James. James opened up to us and told us his questions, he didn't even tell Lisa until right then. His questions were about the Book of Mormon, prophets, if the church was true and if he should get baptized. He said he loved conference and was able to get a lot of insight and had some questions answered. He is progressing and doing so well. He knows the church is true, I think his main concern is living the "Mormon lifestyle". He just needs to put his trust in the lord and know he can do it. He is definitely doing very well and I have seen a lot of change in him. It's hard because we have taught him everything multiple times and a lot more random topics, we can't do or teach him anything that he doesn't know or will give him the "ahh I get it" moment, it has to be up to him now and he has to put in the effort. So we are trying to help him with that. I love Lisa and James!!! 

BIGGEST MIRACLE EVER!!!! Brother Stockton, a member who is going through a rough divorce, gave us this referral a week ago. He gave it to us in the beginning of the week, but we had so many things planned so we weren't able to get to her house until the middle of the week. When we knocked, she answered, said her named was Krista and told us she would love to talk but someone is coming to look at her house so she has to leave. She expressed she really wanted to meet with us though. She gave us her number and told us to call her. So a few days passed and on Tuesday night we called her.  She was so excited and asked us to come on Wednesday morning and talk with her more. We got a member and went to see her on Wednesday. She told us a little of her background and what was going on. She is also going through a nasty divorce and attends a local church in Powhatan- PCC- it's pretty much a party church that 3/4 of Powhatan attends. She was telling us how she had a friend (the guy we know who gave us her as a referral but she doesn't know that) who started talking to her about the church and what he believed in. She was really touched because she said she knew something was missing from her church. She then started telling us about the day we came. She explained that she didn't have enough money to keep paying for her house and she needed to down size. She put the house on the market and nothing was happening. At the beginning of the week she got a call that someone was going to come look at her house on Wednesday morning. So Wednesday morning came and she prayed and prayed that she would know what she needed to do and that she would do God’s will and what He wanted, She asked for some guidance and direction. Only a few minutes past after she said amen and we knocked on the door!!!!! (This has always been a Dream of mine to knock on the door just as they got done praying). She knew this was the answer and she needed to listen to us. She couldn't because the people were coming to look at the house. Long story short, right after the people looked through it, they told her they are buying her house and will pay the full price. She knew God was definitely looking out for her that day. She then told us she was talking to her friend and he was telling her all about the Book of Mormon. She ran around town trying to find one but wasn't having any luck. We told her that we had one for her and showed her. She got a little emotional and told us thank you so much, she couldn't wait to start reading it. We shared the restoration with her and she related to that so well. Our member that was with us had a son who was going through something really similar to her, so she was able to help her out a lot. We invited her to be baptized, because we do that every lesson, and she said yes!! So she is now on date. She wasn't able to come to church yesterday because she had to teach at her church, but she is going to find someone to cover for her next Sunday so she can attend. We have stake conference next week and two general authorities from the 70’s will be speaking, so that will be very good for her. I can't wait! She is the cutest!! Definitely made the week soooo good!! Heavenly Father is great!! :) 

Sad story now- our investigator Michael, I talked about him a while ago, he has a drinking problem and was doing SO good for a while but now he is doing awful. He drinks about every day now :( Last week when we were on exchanges, Sister Mailata and Sister Patching went to see him. He was drunk and explained that he didn't want to hear our message anymore and that he wasn't interested. We decided to try him again this week and see how he was doing. Right when we pulled up to his house, he stormed out, with alcohol in his hand and started YELLING at us. He said he was so stressed and going through a lot of things and couldn't deal with us right now. He started getting very emotional. We asked if we could help him with his stress and he said yes, to get out of here. I have never seen him like that and it was super scary... He was starting to walk toward us as he was yelling.  Thank goodness the car was right there because I jumped right in. :( It's sad to see the influence of alcohol. It makes me so sad. I hope one day the missionaries will go back over there and he will be ready to hear and accept this wonderful messages of Jesus Christ. 

We had zone conference this week (we have had so many meetings lately but I love it because I receive so many wonderful thoughts and revelations on how I can help investigators and myself to become a better missionary and person.) we talked a lot about how we can be more diligent, obedient missionary's, This gets talked about every time... Haha,  We learned about better ways to find people, how we need to listen, seeking revelation and what our purposes as missionaries are. It was so wonderful, I loved it. I received great insight, not only for our investigators, but also for myself and how I can be the best missionary that I can be. I am so grateful for the calling that I have to be a representative of our Savior and brother Jesus Christ. I've been thinking a lot about the wonderful calling and privilege I have. I get to wake up every morning and put Jesus Christ name and my name, over my heart each day and teach those about him and this wonderful gospel we are a part of. I hope we are all striving and want to become more like our Savior each and every day and grow closer to him. I am so happy I am out serving in Virginia right now. I know I've been called here for a reason and this is where I need to be. I wouldn't change this for the world!!! 

Note- The following pictures of Zone Conference were posted on Facebook by Sister Wilson:

I (mom) had to put this picture on here.
I love to see the back of Sister Brooks' hair (green sweater)- so pretty!- It's a mom-thing!

We just had Sister’s Preparation day. We went to the James River and Belle Isle, a little island which is super pretty... Picture overload this week, and then we ate lunch on the grass of the Capitol. It was really fun. 

James River:

Belle Isle:

With Sister Mailata

With Sister Patching (one of my STLs)

With Sister Wagstaff

Scripture of the week: 3 Nephi 13:7-8. I love this scripture so much. I know if we ask God questions or things, He will answer them. I know that if we seek and act on the answers that we get, that we will be able to be successful and we will find the things that we need. I know Heavenly Father answered our prayers. We just need to have the faith that he will and act on that faith. 

I love y'all so much, have a wonderful week and don't forgot Sister Brooks and your Heavenly Father loves you!!!!!

Love Sister Brooks :)

Our new hats!

I am on a hunt to find street names after all three of my brothers.  So far John B. Trail (Christopher John Brooks) and Tyler Drive.  Still looking for Mike!