Monday, August 15, 2016

Yippee!! Baptisms!

Emailing at the church


Wow, time is flying by so fast. These last 4 weeks have been the fastest 4 weeks of my life!!! Holy cow! Let me just say, I am so so grateful that I am here on a mission. I couldn't think of anything better. I am amazed how much our Heavenly Father truly does love each of us. He is aware of our needs. Not only do I see his love for me each and every day, I see it for those on the street, college students, homeless people and everyone around me. I know if we turn to Him and pray with questions, concerns or if we need comfort, He is always there for us and always answers our prayers.

    Well, Sister Johnsen and I had a wonderful week!! Marcus Grant was baptized on Saturday evening! It was such a wonderful service. The elders also had a baptism, so there was a double baptism and a HUGE turnout. There were so many friends, missionaries, investigators and President and Sister Smith attended as well.
Marcus is amazing. I can't remember if I have told you his story, but I will just in case I haven’t. Marcus is 24 years old.  He went to Indiana University and met the missionaries in November. He was attending every activity and church every week and meeting with the missionaries frequently. Well, he graduated college and moved back home. His family is VERY Baptist. His mother is a deaconess and doesn't approve or like the Mormons AT ALL. Well, the bishop from the YSA ward in Indiana  contacted our bishop and told Sister Johnsen and Sister Madsen, to get in contact with Marcus. So they did and started teaching him again. Marcus has faced many challenges, his father passed away about a month ago and his mom has been VERY upset with him. When I came here, he called us one day confirming his date for baptism and said he wasn't going to back down. His mom was angry and did everything she could to upset him and not allow him to go to church. He wasn't allowed to take the car or have anyone pick him up for church or any other activity. But, her heart is slowly softening and accepting the fact he wants to do this. She told him she wouldn't ever step foot in our church or touch the Book of Mormon. We hoped and wished she would soften her heart enough and come to his baptism, but she didn't, sadly. Marcus had a senior couple that is serving in Indiana, the Strongs, come to his baptism (it took a lot of strings to pull that off) and Elder Strong, baptized Marcus! He also had his friend Emma that was in Indiana and fellowshipped him come as well. It was a wonderful evening. Emma didn't have a place to stay, so she stayed at the mission home and the Smiths asked if we would stay with her.  Of course we couldn't say no! It is so fun to be with them and talk with them more! I LOVE PRESIDENT AND SISTER SMITH SO MUCH!!! 

Josselyn gave us roses... At her own baptism.
   Miracle: We were out contacting with a member one night and he decided that we needed to go down this one street. We were walking down the street and saw a girl sitting on the bench and she looked SUPER sad. We went up to talk to her and explained who we were and what we were doing. She looked at us bright big eyes and said, "Wait, no way? I was just praying and asking God why he hated me. I then asked him if he could show me if he loved me or not." We testified to her that God loves her so much and is aware of her. She was in tears. We shared the “Because He Lives” video and shared Alma 38:5 with her and just explained that God is always there for her and he will help her through anything. She loved everything we showed her and read to her. Our member was able to help her out because he went through similar experiences before he joined the church. She was very appreciative and knew she needed to look into this religion.  Sadly she was 35 so we couldn't teach her.  We can only teach the young adults in our area. We told the Richmond branch elders about her and they are going to continue teaching her. Hopefully everything goes well! 

    Funny story, we were visiting a less active and we were really close to the Clover Hill sisters, one of the sisters we work with. We decided to go leave a note on their door. We drove up and totally forgot that it was gated off and needed their little key thingy. But we were determined to get in. We were walking around pondering and thinking of a solution when a car drove up and started going through the gates. Once it turned the corner, I saw Sister Johnsen booking it through the gates. I, of course, had to run through as well, so I started booking it. We successfully got in the gates and realize.... How the heck are we going to get out? We leave the note and start walking up to the gates hoping for a miracle. We had to walk quite a ways to get to the gate and up a giant hill. We saw a car pull out of the parking spot and heading up the hill. We knew we had to take advantage of his car leaving. Low and behold, us two missionaries in skirts/dresses started running up the hill after the car. I know we looked ridiculous.  We are about 10 feet away, gasping for air and the gate starts closing.... Oh no. I BARELY slid through the gates before it closed, realizing that my companion was on the other side of the gate still. At this point, we couldn’t breathe because 1- We just ran up this giant hill and 2- we were laughing so hard. Finally a car drove through and Sister Johnsen was able to get through the gate. I wished someone had videotaped it. 

    Sister Johnsen met a guy named Ryan right before school ended. He went out of town over the summer. Sister Johnsen decided to call him on Thursday to see how he was doing and when he would be coming back for school. He told us he would be back on Friday so we set up an appointment to see him. Holy cow he is so solid!! He found out over the summer break that his step grandpa is Mormon. So that was cool! But Ryan really is excited to learn. He came to the baptism on Saturday of Marcus and Josselyn and loved it and he came to church.  We showed the restoration video last night and he came to that as well and he had a lesson with us before the movie. He will be at family home evening tonight and is going up with our ward on Saturday to the Philadelphia temple open house. He is solid!! Everyone was so good to him yesterday and became really good friends with him. That was very nice and helpful for the ward to do that. It really makes all the difference when the ward is willing to help fellowship. 

  I am so grateful to be serving in Chippenham and to be with Sister Johnsen. Seriously, life is too good right now and God is amazing and has truly blessed us missionaries. 

   Scripture of the week: Mark 8:35- it says, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it." As I was watching the restoration video last night, (if you haven't watched it, go do it. Best hour you could spend) it really touched me and made me think of this scripture. Joseph Smith was persecuted, beaten, made fun of, murdered, and many saints were killed because they never ever backed down or denied the gospel. How amazing are they? Joseph gave his life for the gospel. Serving our savior and our Heavenly Father for a year and a half is the least I could do. I am so grateful for Joseph Smith and the life he lived. I am thankful for everything he has done for us. For having the question of what church was true and then acting on it. For having the desire, faith and courage.  For never ever giving up. I know he was called of God. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him and that he translated the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful for him and for his strength and courage and for never ever denying this gospel. 

I hope y'all have a wonderful week and don't ever forget that Sister Brooks loves you :) 

Love Sister Brooks :)

Shopping with Josselyn and Christian who was baptized last weekend.
(He was her ride, he didn't want to be there) 

My girl Emma-Claire 
She was in a car accident so we went and saw her before Marcus' baptism. 
Right before leaving to go to the Zoo


  1. How much do I love your posts!!! They are so inspiring and funny and just wonderful! I say the same thing every time, but it is always true!

  2. How much do I love your posts!!! They are so inspiring and funny and just wonderful! I say the same thing every time, but it is always true!