Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I have a watch tan. Be jealous.

Hello Family!
Ah, I have so many good things to tell you from this week!
The first thing I'll tell you is...FIVE OF OUR INVESTIGATORS CAME TO CHURCH THIS WEEK! FIVEEEEEEE! Miracles! When I realized that there were five of them, oh my goodness, it was such a blessing! We have two investigators who have been six times now! It is amazing.
We have one investigator right now who we haven't been able to see this whole transfer. She's 20, and comes from a family strong in the Bible. We had given her a Book of Mormon at the beginning of the transfer, but haven't been able to schedule an appointment with her (she keeps dodging us, haha). The other day, we ran into her while we were walking. We started talking to her about how things were going, and I asked her if she'd read the book we left her. Then, she said, "Yeah! I'm in Esther." "So," I thought, "she read from the Bible..." But then, it clicked. "Wait! Do you mean Ether?" She replied, "Yeah, Ether!" I pulled out my Book of Mormon to make sure. So, in the 4 1/2 weeks since we saw her, she has gone from 1 Nephi all the way to Ether. Ahhahaha!
And, we had a similar experience with another one of our investigators. We left her and her family a Book of Mormon, but weren't able to see her since last transfer. Sister Danielsen and I stopped by, and she told her us her daughter had been reading from it. What on earth!
This week, I learned that the lessons are in a certain order in Preach My Gospel for a reason! One of our appointments had fallen through, so we went to the house next door. We met with a nice lady named Marlo! We asked her if she had any questions about anything after we introduced ourselves, and she said, "Yes. Is there life after death?" My thought process was, "great! We can go over the plan of salvation!" But as soon as we started, I realized the problem with that. Most of the scriptures we use to explain the plan of salvation are in the Book of Mormon, which we talk about in the Restoration lesson. We still got through the first half, but it was a little clunky!
Family...I'm 1/6th of the way through my mission! It's a much better way of saying that I've been serving for three months :)
Oh, a man named Praise the Lord proposed to me this week.
Well, that's about all I can think of for this week. We are seeing miracles here in Saint Lucia. Our sacrament attendance for this past week was the highest I can remember since I've been here. I'm learning so much about faith. Our two investigators who have been to church this whole transfer have some changes they have to make before they can be baptized. I was worried that they wouldn't be willing to do it. And...they are willing! When I heard that, I was so, so happy. I don't think I've felt that happy, ever! They are growing by leaps and bounds. One of them should be baptized by next week, if all goes according to plan. I cannot wait. I hope I am here to see it!
Family, thank you so much for your support. You don't know what it means to me to know that I have a family who loves me and supports me in my decisions. I love you so much. I know that families are meant to be forever.
I love you!
Sister Brisson
PS - LINDA HAPPY BIRHTDAY THIS WEEK!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU AND I HOPE YOU HAVE THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER AND I WISH I COULD BE THERE!
PPS - Diana! She asked me how to spell orange. And haha, I've written but not sent you a letter! I'm sorry! I love you!



Monday, November 14, 2011

What I wish I had done before serving a mission

Helloooooo, Family!

So, after I emailed you last week, we received a phone call from our zone leader telling us that...President Gamiette and his assistants would be arriving the next day and we would have zone conference! So, on Tuesday we drove up to Castries and the Assistants taught us about member work, which is something we're always working on. Then, President Gamiette taught us about what we should be focusing on with our investigators: REPENTANCE. I couldn't agree more! Repentance is usually only talked about - briefly - in the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson. However, we should be talking about it EVERY LESSON.

Then, after we were done, I asked Elder Helms if I had any mail from the office...and he gave me a letter THAT WAS FROM SORELLA MANDIE NUFER WHO IS SERVING IN ITALY. AHHHHHHH! I couldn't stop grinning; oh my. She sent me pictures as well!

PS, I hope you all made wishes on 11/11/11 at 11:11!

Well, we had some great experiences this week. We have two investigators who have come to church four times now! We were talking to them about baptism, and extended the date of December 3rd. One of them said, "That's too early." We asked her why. Then, she said the most wonderful thing:

"Well, I've just started repenting. I'm not sure if I'll be repented enough by then."

BY GEORGE, I THINK SHE'S GOT IT! Ah, as soon as she said it, I had the hugest smile. We talked about it, and both of them accepted the date. We're going over commandments with them now. We taught them the Word of Wisdom, and the other one said: "So, we only have a problem with coffee and tea. Is that the only one we have to work on?" We told them yes. Then, she said, "Alright." Ah, it is so exciting! We also have a returning member who now has a responsibility in the church! I love it.

We also received a bit of bad news this week....THE GIBSONS ARE LEAVING FOR TRINIDAD AT THE END OF THIS TRANSFER! They're going over to serve in the stake there. It looks like I'll have to gather up as many family history stories as I can before they leave!

Also, I was sick on Sunday, for the first time since I've been a missionary! I couldn't go to church yesterday, AND I was supposed to speak in sacrament. Whoops! Thankfully though, I got a blessing and am totally fine now.

Oh yeah! We had another investigator of ours, named Keltrina, at church! I wasn't there (since I was out), but from what I heard it seemed like she had a good time! She had attended before (since her aunt is a member), but hadn't in a long time. I was so grateful that she was able to make it.

I can't really think of any more pertinent information...oh wait! So, two weeks ago, we were teaching a girl named Mervina; she's still in high school. We had taught her the Restoration and had invited her to pray, so on our second lesson we asked her how her prayer went. She said, "Bad!" A little shocked, we asked her why! She said, "because I didn't receive an answer." So, we asked her how she felt when she prayed. She said, "I felt a kind of...joy." Internally, I started laughing a little. We read Galatians 5:22 with her and then had the following exchange:

Us: So...a fruit of the spirit is joy...
Her: Yes...
Us: And you said you felt joy when you prayed...
Her: Yes...
Us: Which means...
Her: MY PRAYER WAS ANSWERED!

Haha, it was great!

Well family, I think that's about it for this week. I hope this week continues to go swimmingly for you. The gospel is true. I talked with a man about two weeks ago who didn't think we could be with our families forever. It made me so sad for him. I know that God wants us to be with our families; that we are MEANT to be with our families forever.

Also, a few people have asked me what preparation I wish I had done before coming out on my mission. And...here is honestly what I will say: I wish I had shared the gospel with my friends. That is my biggest regret! Now, serving as a missionary, I have the strongest desire to share what I know with my friends. And I have to wait! And it kills me! If you are getting ready to serve a mission, share the gospel with your friends NOW. Talk to the missionaries - they're there to help you be able to do that. PLEASE DO IT!

I love you!

Sister Brisson

Nick! Thank you for your email! Haha, I'm glad Luke is walking! I am keeping a journal; I'm almost done with my first one.

Jenny! I've also thought about having a hymn quote for my plaque - but then that opens up so many more possibilities, ahhhhhhh!

Rebecca Dombrowski, I love you. Tell Josh I say hello back.

Lynn! I love those scriptures you sent me.

Diane Ellison, thank you for forwarding my emails. You are the best.

CURRENT ADDRESS INFO:

You can email me at rachel.brisson@myldsmail.net (because I can receive but cannot respond to your emails, please include your mailing address so I can write you back!). You can also continuing using www.DearElder.com for the cost of a stamp, or you can write me at the mission office address:

Sister Rachel Anne Brisson
West Indies Mission
PO Bag 543
Valsayn
Trinidad
Trinidad and Tobago

So, you asked for my new address. Here it is, but be aware that letters can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to get here. Please write me emails - I can print them out, so it doesn't eat into my internet time at all. If you want to use it, here it is:

PO Box 923
Gablewoods Mall South
Vieux Fort, St. Lucia 00124

You can also send packages to this address, but it's the same deal. DHL and FedEx are the fastest, but you have to have a number. Since this goes up on the blog, I'll send the number to Marcia, and you can ask her for it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A brief email!

Hello Family!

Well, some bad news. The Gibsons' computer crashed, so I am sitting in an internet cafe writing you! The internet is a tad slow, so please forgive me if this email is short. Also, this means I only had a brief chance to peruse my inbox, so I apologize if there are burning questions that go unanswered!

I meant to write about this last week, but didn't get a chance to - so you'll hear the story now! A few weeks ago, my companion told me that in the middle of the previous night, she had awoken to me talking to her about one of our investigators, and I was asking her a question. She answered it, and then I asked her ANOTHER question. A bit miffed, she asked, "Well, why are you wondering about this right now?" I replied, "Oh, sorry. Sometimes, I talk in my sleep." I promptly went back to sleep. She asked me if I remembered any of it, and I said no. Apparently, I said I talk in my sleep while TALKING IN MY SLEEP. It appears that even my sleeping hours are consumed by thinking about the people we're working with, haha.

Unfortunately, Kelvin didn't make it to church this week - but he'll probably come this upcoming week. Keep your fingers crossed!

I only have 30 minutes left - oh, how I'm reminded of the MTC.

This past week, we had our second appointment with a man named Jose, who is from Venezuela. We invited him to church and he said he probably wouldn't be able to come. Well, Sunday arrives and...he came to sacrament meeting! I was so happy and we talked with him for a little bit afterwards. Then, he left! Ah, I was so sad that he didn't stay for the rest of church. As I was sitting in Sunday School, it occured to me that perhaps he didn't know that there were other things going on. I felt AWFUL, and so I said to Sister Danielsen, "Let's go find Jose!" We left the Church and walked down to the bus station to see if he was there. He wasn't there, but I felt like we should keep walking down to the end of the street and see if he was there. As we kept walking - bam! There he was, walking by! We talked with him and he didn't know there were other classes, so he walked back with us to Church! I was so relieved.

Another thing I forgot to mention from last week - I RECEIVED A LETTER FROM SISTER DICOU. Since our Zone Leader had to go to Trinidad for training, he brought it back for me! I seriously could not stop laughing when I read it - it was hilarious. Sister Dicou, I'm working on writing you back, if you see this!

Some of you have asked how it's been to train...Haha, I don't know what to say! It makes me increasingly self-conscious of everything that I do. We had a training meeting last week via the internet, and President Gamiette said, "Trainers, you are to teach exact obedience." Exact obedience was my aim before, but it's grown so much more in importance, since I am teaching someone else.

We've started doing a program called My Missionary Journal with the youth in the branch. Every week during Seminary, we work on it with them. It's starting to take off - we want the youth the branch to get excited about missionary work, so this should work out fabulously.

Otherwise...the work continues. We have two investigators who have come to Church 3 times now. Every time I see them there, I just smile. They're enjoying it, and this week, we're finishing up the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. I've been studying my brains out for it - I hope the lesson turns out well!

Family, the gospel is true. I cannot deny it. I try to work harder every day and understand it better. I hope you are all well - I'll go back to reading the things you've sent me after I send this.

I love you!

Sister Brisson

PS - a bus driver proposed to me this week.

CURRENT ADDRESS INFO:

You can email me at rachel.brisson@myldsmail.net (because I can receive but cannot respond to your emails, please include your mailing address so I can write you back!). You can also continuing using www.DearElder.com for the cost of a stamp, or you can write me at the mission office address:

Sister Rachel Anne Brisson
West Indies Mission
PO Bag 543
Valsayn
Trinidad
Trinidad and Tobago

So, you asked for my new address. Here it is, but be aware that letters can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to get here. Please write me emails - I can print them out, so it doesn't eat into my internet time at all. If you want to use it, here it is:

PO Box 923
Gablewoods Mall South
Vieux Fort, St. Lucia 00124

You can also send packages to this address, but it's the same deal. DHL and FedEx are the fastest, but you have to have a number. Since this goes up on the blog, I'll send the number to Marcia, and you can ask her for it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Bonjour, ma famille!

So, it wasn't until this afternoon that I realized it's Halloween! Unfortunately, they don't celebrate Halloween here. BUT I hope that you all enjoy the candy and the festivities!

As always, I have a bunch of not-so-interconnected snippets, nuggets, and snuggets to tell you from this past week!

So, on Friday, Sister Danielsen and I found ourselves with no real appointments to speak of for the whole day. We talked about going out to find new investigators for the day, since we hadn't been able to find many new people to teach for the prior days in the week. We left our apartment, and went into an area that the District Leader had given us recently. As we're walking down a road, NO ONE is in sight. NO ONE. We keep walking, and see there is this lady in her shop, but nary a customer in sight. So, we decided to go talk to her. She was sitting right by her doorway, and we stayed on the doorstep as we talked. She seemed relatively nice and pleasant. As we're talking, she got quite emphatic. Essentially, she called down fire and brimstone upon us, if we're not true. I felt impressed to keep talking to her, so we did. Eventually, we said our goodbyes, as a customer had walked in. Even though the conversation had seemed fruitless, it didn't bother me.

After we finished talking to her, we kept walking down the street, and there was a man with a school bag a little ways ahead of us. Sister Danielsen and I tried to walk faster to catch up to him, but we couldn't, haha. As he's about to turn into his house, I yelled out "EXCUSE ME!" We rushed over to him and started talking with him. His name is Kelvin and he's a medical student. At first, we planned on just contacting him, but then he said "Well...I have some time right now..." And Sister Danielsen and I were like, "That's great!" We started talking about the restoration of the gospel with him; he LOVES the Bible and has been looking for ways to get closer to Christ. Conveniently, that's what we do! So, at the end of our discussion, he said that he had no idea how we had ended up meeting him, but he was grateful for it. He told us that he was coming to Church! And as he prayed, he said that he felt like he'd known us for a long time, even though we had just met. I was quite excited! We also got to teach a friend of his who arrived right after our lesson!

So, Sacrament Meeting on Sunday rolls around, and we don't see him...AND THEN HE WALKED IN DURING SUNDAY SCHOOL! YES! I was so happy! AND he brought another friend with him!

Family, it made me seriously so happy. I don't think anything has brought me as much happiness as seeing my investigators keep their commitments. We also had two other investigators at Church for their second time! And they're reading!

Dad, I am still trying to think of a favorite scripture. Here are the ones I'm currently considering:
Romans 8:16-18. We are joint-heirs with Christ if we suffer with Him, if we endure to the end! The sufferings of this present time aren't worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us! It's amazing!
John 15:12-15. If you have great love for your friends, you will lay down your life for them. Christ calls us His friends. What did he do? HE LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR US. He truly has the greatest love.
Zechariah 5:1. It's classic.

Another funny thing from this week: Sister Danielsen and I were street contacting, and we met a well-traveled man. At first, he said he was busy and that he didn't have time, but we ended up talking with him anyways. We started teaching a shorter version of the Restoration, and he seemed intrigued. Then, I quoted the First Vision. As soon as I was done, he launched into this monologue about Christianity, Africa, Western society...Sister Danielsen were just like, "where is this going?" Then, I realized he thought we had said that Joseph Smith was the Son of God...which we definitely DIDN'T say! As soon as we clarified what we had said, he was like "Oh! Why didn't you say something sooner! Yeah, I'd definitely like to talk to you more some other time." Haha, what?

Dad, I'm glad you got to go to Stake Conference! It sounded like you got a lot out of it. Has the temple presidency or the mission presidency spoken at Stake Conference before?

Renae, thank you for your email and your encouragement! Sohrab, you didn't send me your home address, how can I write you back? Diane, I loved seeing the time stamp on that email :)

Anyways, I am quickly running out of time. I love you!

Sister Rachel Brisson

CURRENT ADDRESS INFO:


You can email me at rachel.brisson@myldsmail.net (because I can receive but cannot respond to your emails, please include your mailing address so I can write you back!). You can also continuing using www.DearElder.com for the cost of a stamp, or you can write me at the mission office address:

Sister Rachel Anne Brisson
West Indies Mission
PO Bag 543
Valsayn
Trinidad
Trinidad and Tobago

So, you asked for my new address. Here it is, but be aware that letters can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to get here. Please write me emails - I can print them out, so it doesn't eat into my internet time at all. If you want to use it, here it is:

PO Box 923
Gablewoods Mall South
Vieux Fort, St. Lucia 00124

You can also send packages to this address, but it's the same deal. DHL and FedEx are the fastest, but you have to have a number. Since this goes up on the blog, I'll send the number to Marcia, and you can ask her for it.