Monday, June 27, 2016

President Wilson's last week here :(

Emailing time!

Hello to my sweet family and friends!! 

I hope you had a wonderful week and are having a great summer! It is sure feeling like summer here. I never thought I would say I miss St. George heat... But I do. This humidity is killer sometimes. And it doesn't help that I am in it all day and have a pool right behind my apartment... I won't get into that rant again. Anyway, this week has been really good and we have still done a lot of finding. And of course we have been able to see many miracles :) 

Funny story- we were walking to our club house to email this morning and we couldn't find our car anywhere. It was towed hahahaha.  They are working on the road and we didn't know, so they towed it. After emai, we are going to play the game of, "where in the complex is our car?" 

Our investigator Desmond is doing pretty good. He is scheduled to be baptized on July 9... But he has a few commandment issues so we are trying to work on those with him right now. We went to a lesson with him the other night and he was pretty high. We went over the next day and he had no idea what he said or what we said to him the night before. But we are trying to work on him with that. He didn't show up to church yesterday either, so that was a big bummer. We see him tonight so we are going to whip him into shape. Bold Sister Brooks will be coming out tonight that's for sure. 

We have had so many members come out with us this week! They have been so willing to come and teach with us. They usually come out with us at 6:00 and then they have been staying with us until 9:00. It has been so awesome!! They are even tracting with us. The Aquia Ward is seriously amazing. The members here are so motivated and love doing missionary work with us. Because really, it's their work, we are just here to help them!  We usually average 7-10 lessons with members each week, but this week we were able to get 15 and get return appointments and new investigators out of them. It was so amazing. This week we were able to go on actual splits as well. Sister Burgess went with Sister Shirley, a member in our ward, and I went around with Jessie. It was so much fun. They didn't find much success sadly, but Jessie and I taught a lot of lessons! It has been so fun to have members out with us. And it makes the nights go by WAY faster!! 

Jessie is my Virginia little Sister :)

We had our last Zone conference with President Wilson.  This is his last week. It is so weird to think he is leaving this Friday. I sure am going to miss him. We had wonderful trainings that were given about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how we can teach and help our investigators.   As missionaries, we need to be converted first in order to go out and share it to those around us. We can't teach and preach something we aren't sure about ourselves. When departing missionaries leave, the elders have given President a tie and the sisters give Sister Wilson a scarf. So at zone conference all the sisters brought scarfs and the elders brought ties. We wrote our name on them and they will be making quilts out of them. I think that is so cool and they will have every missionaries tie or scarf they have ever served with. President Wilson has been so amazing and has given his whole heart and soul to the mission. He has taught us all to not only become great missionaries, but to be great members, spouses, parents, and good people in general. We are such an obedient mission as well because that's what he teaches and expects of us. I am grateful he has encouraged obedience so much, because when you're obedient, you find success and the Lord blesses you tremendously. I sure will miss him. I am excited to have President Smith and see the wonderful ways he can help our mission grow. 

We were able to go on Exchanges right after zone conference. I went with Hermana Sanchez in their area. I may not have known anything that was said or going on in the Spanish taught lessons, but I could still feel the spirit so strongly. The power of the Holy Ghost is so real and so strong. As missionaries, we really rely on the spirit. If the spirit isn't in lessons, we aren’t teaching correctly. The Spirit needs to always be there so he can't testify of truth to our investigators. Even though I had no idea what they were saying half the time (I can pick out some of the words and guess what is going on) I know the spirit was there and their investigator was very touched. Hermana Sanchez is so amazing. She is such a powerful and wonderful missionary. She is a convert and has such a strong testimony of this church. I sure love her and learned a lot from her. She is also way cool because we have the same name. :) 

Alexis was a big miracle. We only had a few more minutes left until we had to go home, but we decided to try one more. It’s amazing, it's always the last house! We were tracting with our member and she pointed out her house, so we went and knocked on it! She answered the door and explained she was religious but worked on Sunday's so she could never go to church. We started talking with her about what we believed and how the gospel has blessed each of our lives. She was embarrassed because she didn't even have a bible in her home but tried to raise her children knowing about Jesus Christ. We told her about the Book of Mormon and how it was another testament of Jesus Christ and more revelation from our Heavenly Father. She loved it! She told us she was so happy we came over. She said it felt like we brought church over to her and felt there was something special about it. She told us we could come by this week! It was so cute, after we got home, our member texted us and told us she had such a great time with us and knows Alexis has something special in her and wants to go with us to her lesson this week. I love when members come out with us and get to experience things like this because they get to see the power Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost have when we go out and teach. Plus, our member is just amazing all around. She comes out with us each week and bears such a powerful testimony and says the most perfect things in each lesson. 

We were walking around some town homes yesterday and saw this girl walking her dog. Of course, we went over and talked with her. Her name was Tasha. She is living with her mom for a few months because she is studying for some lawyer test she will be taking at the end of July. We were talking to her and she explained that she is starting to get closer to Jesus Christ and gain more faith in him because she went down the deep end in college and was very rebellious. We gave her the Book of Mormon and explained what it meant. She was excited to start reading it and learning more. We then invited her to be baptized and talked about the significance of being baptized and what it means. She explained that she was baptized when she was little but didn't have control over it. She wanted to be baptized again so it could mean something. She invited us over to her house on Tuesday and we will teach her a little more. 

God really is so good to us. He puts people in our path each and every day that are ready and prepared to hear the gospel, we just need to be obedient, diligent and talk to everyone in order to find them. 
Scripture of the week: Alma 37:37. I have grown and have learned so much about prayer and the importance of it. I evaluate and think about my prayers before my mission and then now and I have seen such a great change, thank goodness.  I was so rountine before my mission and just said the same things over and over. But really we are talking to our Heavenly Father personally. We need to pray to Him every night and tell Him how our day went. We need to pray to Him each morning and tell Him what we are grateful for and what we want to accomplish in our day. He wants to hear from us, always. I like to picture Heavenly Father sitting right next to me or being in my presence as I pray and I am able to pray with more sincerity and it's way more heartfelt. I am so thankful for prayer and the chance we have to pray whenever and wherever we want. I have seen great blessings and many answers to my prayers. Always turn to our Heavenly Father. He is ALWAYS there for us, even when we think no one really is. 

Have a wonderful week. I love y'all so much!
Love Sister Brooks :) 

Tree huggers

When we are tired of tracting,
we just lay on our car and take pictures- ha ha ha

Tracted into this guy!
Virginia has BEAUTIFUL sunsets!

This is just an interesting comparison of humidity
 with Virginia (this picture) and St. George (next picture)

I took this picture for MOM :)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

Emailing with Sister Burgess
Happy Father's Day to my amazing and wonderful Dad, grandpa and brothers. I will never be able to express or thank you enough for the wonderful example and love you have shown to me throughout all my 20 years. I am so grateful to have such wonderful men and father in my life. Thank you so much. I sure love y'all to the moon and back!!  I hope you were spoiled yesterday. If not, I'll spoil you when I get home. Hehe. I'm also so grateful for my Heavenly Father and the wonderful opportunities and blessings that He gives me each and every day. I know He loves each of us more than we will ever be able to comprehend. He is aware of each of us and our situations and will never leave us alone. 

It's so crazy to see how many different types of emotions you can have in one day as a missionary. One second you'll be on a spiritual high and so grateful for the miracle that you were able to see and then about 30 minutes later you could be almost on the verge of tears. In each hour, you never know what is going to happen. But in all honesty, there is no better calling than going out and being the Lord’s representative. The good, the bad, the ugly, I wouldn't trade what I am doing for the world. I love being a missionary and wearing His heart on my chest. It's such a privilege and honor to put my name badge on every morning. Talk about a whole new level of confidence! It's awesome :) 

This week we have been doing a lot of finding. We have been able to find a lot of cool people and of course dropping (deciding not to teach them anymore) a lot of people as well- which is always really sad. Some days have been super long just because it has been so crazy hot and we are contacting people all day. But we had a few tender mercies where people gave us some nice cold water. I've never been so happy to see water in my life. Side note: we have a pool in our apartment complex and of course it’s RIGHT behind our house so when we come home for lunch we just hear people having so much fun and then they decide to have a luau party for the whole complex until 10 at night one night and boy... I miss swimming, especially in this nasty humidity. Anyway... Haha I'm done with that rant. 

Here are some cool, funny, sad and weird things that have happened this week: 

We were able to go on Exchanges this week with Sister Halls and Sister Erickson. I stayed in our area with Sister Erickson. She is from St. George so it was fun to talk with her and be with her. We were able to have a few lessons and find some little cool miracles. Last transfer we had 5 sets of sisters, but they took two sisters out and replaced them with elders so we only have 3 sets now. It's nice because we don't have many exchanges, but it's sad because we don't have as many sisters. But exchanges were really fun and I love being able to get to know the sisters more and learn from them. :)
Exchanges with Sister Erickson
We met with Desmond before Sister Bray left. He is seriously one of the funniest people I have ever met. But we challenged him last Tuesday to decrease the amount of cigarettes he has in a day. He went to the hospital to have an emergency surgery, so we weren't able to see him until Saturday. But he told us, since Tuesday, he only had 2 cigarettes!!! We were so happy and excited for him. Then he told us he has been reading the Book of Mormon and he really likes what it has to say. He said he was praying about baptism and he feels like July 9 would be good for him! It was a really cool miracle. He didn't come to church yesterday, so we definitely need to help him realize the importance of coming to church, but hopefully he will work towards being baptized and continuing to not smoke. We brought him over some suckers and cinnamon gum, (those are really good to give people to help them stop smoking) and he was really appreciative and excited that we thought of him and bought them for him. He is awesome. 

Joseph was definitely a big miracle. It was Friday night and we were so done with the day. We pretty much  tracked all day, not finding success and we were so hot. But thank goodness to our Heavenly Father for giving us strength and not letting us back down. We went to go see a potential, but her son Joseph answered. Every time I have gone to that house, I have met someone new. We started teaching Joseph the restoration and the Book of Mormon. We gave him a copy and he was so excited. He then opened up to us and told us his story. He just turned 21 and he got out of jail on Wednesday. He was in there for 2 years and he knew when he came out he was going to change his life. He was praying and asking God what direction he needed to take and what he needed to do. We then met him 2 days later from coming out of Jail. It was so cool to see the testimony and knowledge he had that God really was aware of him and knew exactly what he needed. He was so excited to finish cleaning up the bathroom in his house so he could start reading it. We stopped by last night to see how he was and you wouldn't guess, we met someone new! His name was Nikki. Haha so of course we started to share the restoration with him. He had met with missionaries before and was given a Book of Mormon, he just never read it. But once we got done talking to him about it, he said he couldn't wait to sit down with Joseph and read it with him. He said he was really busy and we wouldn't be able to meet with us for a while. But we asked him if we could come by Tuesday for 5 minutes and he agreed. We had a young woman out with us named Jessie, and she thought he was so cool. She begged us to let her come out with us on Tuesday for his appointment, we didn't complain ;) 

Thursday night we had this CRAZY rain storm! It was crazy lightening, thunder, and pouring rain. When it rains here, it pours!! We were heading home and we got stuck in it, we ran from our car to our apartment and didn't have one dry spot. It looked like we just got out of the shower. We were lucky we still had our power, half our ward lost their power! 

The Elders had a baptism on Saturday night and we were able to go! Her name was Tamia! She is the sweetest thing ever. She just got out of a nasty divorce, has 4 kids from ages 5-2 and they are the sweetest things. We always sit by them in church and color with them. I am so excited and happy for her. She was so ready and prepared. The elders found her because they had an appointment near her house, but when they got there, their appointment cancelled. They were walking back to their car when they saw her sitting on the curb. They went and talked to her and 2 1/2 weeks later she was baptized. That's why our mission president tells us to talk to everyone!! She isn't very well off with money right now, so between us and the Hermanas that live by us, we gathered clothes from our apartments and closets we didn't want and gave them to her. When we gave them to her after church yesterday her face lit up and she was trying not to cry. I sure love her. 

Last week, we dropped every single person we had on date. I had a goal yesterday that everyone we came in contact with and taught I was going to be brave and bold and extend a date to them for baptism. We had a few minutes before dinner and we tried this former investigator name Adam. He answered the door and we talked about how it was meeting with missionaries in the past. He loved it. He has been out of town for 3 months for work and couldn't meet with them. He was excited that we were back to see him. We talked and answered a lot of his questions. We talked about baptism and how he has never been baptized before but he wants to. We extended a baptism date for him and he said he would love to. That was another miracle placed in our path. I just hope he continues to work towards it and doesn't back down or let Satan get in the way. 

Crazy news, we were on conference call on Thursday night, it's where all the leadership (zone leaders and sister training leaders) have a conference call with president and we talk about the work every Thursday and Sunday night. Anyway, President dropped the bomb on us that he received a letter from the first presidency saying that the Woodbridge zone, the zone right above me... We barely missed the cut off by a ward, would be starting July 1 in the Washington DC South Mission. I quickly looked to see who the missionaries were in that zone and guess what..... SISTER BRAY IS IN THAT ZONE AND WILL BE LEAVING ME :( :( I was so sad. I seriously hope Sister Grace Walton gets to be with her because they would be the best and by far the funniest companionship in probably the whole United States. I get to see her one more time a week from Wednesday. Literally so sad she's leaving :( 

Scripture of the week: Doctrine and Covenants 6:36- we should never doubt or fear God. He knows what the best is for us and knows exactly what trial and blessings we need in our life at each moment. Don't ever doubt him. He knows and has a plan specifically for each of us. 

I love y'all so much!! Have a fantastic week!! Don't forget our Heavenly Father loves you!! 

Love Sister Kaylee Brooks!! 

Sister Brooks and Sister Burgess

I am surrounded by trees but continue to take pictures of them.
They are beautiful!!!

I want this dog!

How many normal people are we teaching right now.... None. Hahaha

Monday, June 13, 2016

Forty day fast!

Sister Burgess and Me- Emailing

Happy Monday!! 

I hope y'all had a wonderful week and are enjoying you're summer break. It's so crazy it's already summer time and schools out. Time sure does fly by so fast! (I don't think I will ever stop saying that) 

We had transfers on Tuesday. Sister Bray left me :( I sure will miss her but she isn't too far away from me and thankfully I will still be able to see her at meetings. I sure love her. My new companion is Sister Burgess. She is from Alpine, Utah! It's crazy, this is my first companion from Utah. She came out one transfer before me. She just got called to be an STL. She is super fun and cute girl. I am excited for this transfer and to see all the wonderful and amazing miracles. 

Some really funny (of course) and wonderful miracles have happened this week and some really difficult times. We are trying to work our hardest and to have a monstrous amount of faith so we can have ever missionary baptize each month. Our zone has started a 40 days fast, meaning one companionship will fast for our zone so we can accomplish our mission vision. I am excited to see the faith, miracles and blessings that come from doing this. We know the Lord is preparing so many people in each of our lives and areas to be baptized. We just need to go out and find them. (Sometimes I wish they could find us... But it's not that easy) 

We had a lesson with Graham Tuesday night. His wife Kasey wasn't home, so we just taught him. He didn't come to church last Sunday either and he said he would. His sister had a birthday and she lived down in Richmond, so he went down to celebrate it with her. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and he says he really likes it! :) We had a member out with us, She joined the church about 8 years ago and is truly so amazing. We got on the topic of the word of wisdom, he is a pretty big smoker, and he realized how these things aren't good for him, but he has been using them for so long, he doesn't know if he will be able to stop. Our member was definitely moved by the spirit and shared her story on how before she joined the church she smoked for over 25 years. 2 years before she met the missionaries, she and her husband both had a prompting and decided to quit smoking. Two years later, the missionaries knocked on her door and they joined the church. He was amazed by her faith and her desire to quit. She seriously had the most perfect things to say. He was really touched and moved by the spirit. We all felt the spirit there and it went so well.

Wednesday night, we went to go see Angelique. She is usually always home, so we never have a problem with teaching her. She didn't answer the door, so we started to walk off to our car. She then opened the door all confused, in a little tank top and her underwear. We waved at her and started walking toward her. Next thing we know she is running down the street and her dog started to chase her. Her neighbor was outside and we both ran down the street to see where she was going. We caught up to her and asked her what was going on and if she was okay. She said, "Yes, but take me back home." We took her back home and talked with her for a little. We have no idea what was going on, but it definitely was very strange. Haha we went and saw her again last night and she was in a lot better state of mind this time. She was expressing her desire to be baptized but we aren't sure if she fully gets it and understands the significance of it. But we are trying to explain to her the covenants and the wonderful blessings we receive when we do get baptized. Finally she has been reading the Book of Mormon and has been taking notes, which is really cool. 

On Friday we had a member out with us and she had to leave in just a few minutes but we saw this lady sitting on her front steps at a house. We walked up to her and started talking with her. She was visiting the people that lived at the house. We shared a message of the restoration with her. About every 2 minutes, someone from the house would walk outside and join in our conversation. About 10 minutes later the WHOLE house came out, which consisted of about 7 young adult age kids-who were in the process of getting drunk, and 3 adults came and listened as well. They were all so fascinated by what we do and the message that we had. They all wanted to take individual pictures with us as well. It was so funny. We gave them all copies of the Book of Mormon and they were excited to start reading it. Too bad they don't live here. 

One of the saddest things happened on Saturday. The Briggs, Micah and Marisa,I talked about them a while ago. Anyway. they were a SOLID, couple and they said if they got to Alma 16 and knew the Book of Mormon was true they would be baptized. Sister Bray and I had no doubt they would be baptized. Well... They ended up dropping off the Face of the earth and we couldn't get a hold of them, which is very terrifying. We stopped by yesterday morning to see them and they told us to come back at 3 and we could talk. Right before we walked off Micah says, "Be ready, I have a lot of questions to ask you." Right then, my heart dropped because I knew he ran into anti-mormons. Well. . . .  We got there around 3 and Micah grabs a chair and sits down and just lays it all out there. He ran into major antis about the Book of Mormon and started to get very angry and bashed with us really bad. Marisa just went along with it and agreed with everything he said, which we tried to ask her questions on what she thought and she just kept saying, "yeah, what Micah said." I walked out of there just so sad, I wanted to burst into tears, but I held it in. This is seriously the hardest thing about being a missionary. Seeing someone so solid and into the church and then they say they don't want to learn anymore. I just know the gospel brings so much happiness and it really makes me sad and hurt to see people not want that or accept it. But their time will come soon. I know they have so much potential and will accept this amazing gospel soon. 

We are trying to expand our teaching pool because it is slowly starting to go downhill right now. We just need to work hard and know Heavenly Father has people prepared for us. We have found a few cool people this week, but we are still trying to find the solid ones. 

Scripture of the week: Alma 8:24- this is when Alma meets Amulek and tells Amulek what he is doing. He says that he is called to preach the word of God to the people by the spirit and revelation. But many people are casting him out and rejecting him. My situation isn't anywhere as bad as Alma's is, but it gives me so much hope. Alma went through so much and he never gave up. He always listened to the Lord and followed the promptings of the spirit. He did just what the Lord asked him to do. I know my situation is easier and I know if I follow the Savior and his promptings, I will be lead and guided to those who want to hear the gospel. There are people everywhere who are searching and ready for the gospel. As missionaries, we just need to work diligently and be obedient in everything that we do and find them! 

I love this gospel so much. I am so grateful to be out here serving our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Looking down at my name tag everyday makes me so happy and I feel so special to be representing Jesus Christ. I have the best calling in the whole world. I know time is going by so fast and I need to take advantage and do everything I can to be the best disciple of Jesus Christ. 

I love y'all so much. I hope you have a wonderful week and always remember that you're getting prayers all the way from Virginia!


Love Sister Brooks :)

Zone P-day with our crazy/cool shirts

My last two minutes with Sister Bray :(

We got caught in a random rainstorm

We caught frogs. . . .  

 . . . then a few seconds later, we found a turtle