Monday, July 21, 2014

Still Standing STRONG

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. I can't believe that this is the last letter that I will be writing you as a full-time missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Time has flown. Too fast. I feel like I just got here, but yet have learned and loved so much to fill 5 lifetimes. I AM IN HEAVEN RIGHT NOW. Literally, this has been the BEST week BY FAR of my mission. I have never been so happy, so spiritually high, so close to God and Christ, and so exhausted in all of my life. I have decided to go out HARD. I want to be so tired when I get home because I WASTED and WORE out my life in the service of God, then only to continue onward to the new mission and chapter of my life that is ahead. This is the greatest work that there is on the face of the earth. It has become my life---it is all I think about, all I dream about, all I am and all I want to become. It is IN MY BLOOD. And NO ONE can take it away from me. What I have become on my mission and how I have gotten to know my Savior Jesus Christ is something that can't be bought or sold. I know that my Savior lives. I know who He is. I have walked side by side Him for the past 18 months. I AM NOT ASHAMED OF WALKING WITH CHRIST.I never will be. I will always seek to be His disciple and know that my number one priority in my life is that I AM DAUGHTER OF GOD, WHO LOVES ME---AND I LOVE HIM. That will NEVER change. I am His, and I will always submit to His will and what God's plan is for me. I hope you know that too. This has been the GREATEST journey and time of my life. It has been the hardest, best, roughest, nicest, sweetest, bitterest, saddest, happiest time of my life. It has taught me to see things and be as God is. I love Him. 

One of the most important things that I have learned on my mission is about my best friend and hero--Jesus Christ. I know Him. Before, I didn't know Him as well as I do now. I always thought I was strong enough to face and fight life on my own. But I am NOT. And I will always be weak. I was BORN to be weak and to rely totally on my Savior to guide me along. I don't know anything about this thing called life. I don't have the answers, but I know EXACTLY who does. He is my beloved Savior and my light and my life. Christ is REAL. Not only is He real but He died for all of us so that all of our burdens, our stresses, weaknesses, hurt, and sickness could be taken upon His back. Because He walked in my shoes and your shoes, He can make us STRONG enough to overcome Satan. To be much stronger than He is. To STAND fast when the world is swirling about around me. I am STRONG when I am His. I am STRONG when I submit and turn to God for help. I am STRONG when I am WEAK. I am STRONG when I repent DAILY. I am STRONG when I spiritually create my day through prayer. I am STRONG when I read my scriptures DAILY and have revelatory experiences DAILY. I am STRONG when I go to church and renew my covenants WEEKLY. I am STRONG when I remember WHO I am, but more importantly WHO'S I AM. I am STRONG when I use and confide in the atonement DAILY. I am STRONG when I see through God's eyes and see His children and myself as HE SEES. I am STRONG when I seek to be like Christ. I am STRONG when I have the Spirit with me. I stand STRONG amidst the temptations of the world when I put God's glory and opinion and expectations of me ABOVE everyone else. I am STRONG when I follow the Spirit. I am STRONG when I discern the voice of the Spirit and listen to what God wants me to do. I am STRONG when I learn of God and His Glory. I am STRONG when I remember WHY I am here and where I am going. I am STRONG when I forget about myself and focus on others. I am STRONG when I give my heart, might, mind and soul to the One who LOVES ME MOST (God). I am STRONG when I have trials. I am STRONG when I don't know what to do, so I confide in God. I am STRONG when I am too weak, that I kneel. I am STRONG when I control my thoughts and my actions to be virtuous unto God. I am STRONG when I keep covenants. I am STRONG when I serve. I am STRONG when I trust in Him. I am STRONG when I know and feel His love. I am STRONG when I acknowledge my weaknesses and choose to better.  I am STRONG when I let my faith carry me through the darkest nights, even thought I might not think it will turn out. It does. STAND STRONG. ALWAYS. I have stood with my Savior for these past 18 months, and I AM NEVER LEAVING. So yes, naturally Satan is going to be waiting for me---so I am declaring war on him. Bring it. THIS IS WAR. And I am determined to STAND STRONG for the rest of my life and into eternity. The adversary will NOT be able to plan my life, because with God, I will be able to PLAN my life according to His great Plan and STAND STRONG. I know WHO I am, and I know that ALL of God's children are of INFINITE worth. We are all in this together. I AM HERE TO HELP ALL THOSE AROUND ME STAND STRONG. And I am dedicated to do it. With all that I am. I love my Savior. I know Him. I love my God. I know Him. And He knows me. I never want that to change. I want my life to be PERFECTLY in line with His will. OH HOW GREAT IS THE GLORY OF MY GOD! HOW GREAT HIS PLAN IS! God is real. And He loves us infinity. 

My heart is so full and beating so fast right now I can't really write fast enough on this keyboard. I have like 10,000 thoughts flowing from my head and wish that I had all-day to just sit down and tell you how I feel and what I've learned on my mission. All I can tell you is that God is real, and so is the adversary. So we need to be prepared and we need to be aware of what we are doing. If we are doing anything that is contrary---STOP. Get back on track. THIS IS YOUR TIME TO SHOW GOD YOU LOVE HIM. So, keep His commandments. Serve Him. 

This past week was sent from HEAVEN. We have never worked so hard, found so many elect, and seen so many miracles. We have been finding families up the wah-zoo and have seen SO many people coming unto Christ. My companion and I set a goal to just KILL it with lessons this week. And we did! We taught 40 lessons this week. WOAH! Also! I asked the Elders if we could take their bikes for a few days, so we have been on bikes!!! BEST WEEK EVER. I have never been so happy and so fulfilled in all of my life.

We had a really cool miracle this week that I have just got a share, and I am excited I will be able to see you and tell you some of these stories when I see you in just 4 short days! I literally can't believe it. So we were on bikes. And our area is MASSIVE. But I must say that there is nothing like biking down a metropolitan city like Arlington, in a SKIRT, in 100 degree weather. IT IS THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD. We talked to everyone. We headed over to Patrick Henry, which is basically like a small version of all of the south American countries. So we went. While there we talked to everyone. We knocked a TON of door and taught a TON of lessons. Then, this random man came and bought us frozen yogurt. Then, we were guided to the Spirit to a certain row of apartments---there we found two families that are ready for the Gospel. INCREDIBLE. And if that wasn't enough....listen to this....we had ridden our bikes 7 miles to do some service for a family, and that is when we felt prompted to go all the way back to Patrick Henry to check on this family that we had met the other day. Well, we arrived there at 8. Outside, the mother, Lisset, what WAITING FOR US. She said we are all waiting for you!! WHAT?! We went in and the ENTIRE family---including the mom, dad and daughters all sat down and where like, "we are ready to learn." They sat and they listened to us teach the lesson. They asked questions, we asked them questions, THE SPIRIT WAS SO THICK.....more than ever. And they kept receiving more and more light as we talked to them and testified of the true church of the Savior Jesus Christ. They loved it. They had read the pamphlet we had given to them and they want to know more. They asked US if they could come to church. OF COURSE!!! We pretty much danced the whole way home on our bikes. They are the family we have been PRAYING to find! AMAZING MIRACLE! On the bike ride home I sang at the top of my lungs, "How Great Thou Art". God is so great and His tender mercies are all over the place. WHAT A MIRACLE! 

I had the opportunity this week to attend the DC temple this week with all the other departing missionaries and my mission president and his wife. What a sacred and special experience full of revelation. Temple. WOW. The most INCREDIBLE temple trip I have ever gone on in my life. I love the temple, and plan on going there weekly. When I was in the temple, I realized something. Sometimes we say, "I'm going to the temple to get away from the real world." I realized that is a lie. When you go to the temple, THAT IS THE REAL WORLD. THE TEMPLE IS THE REAL WORLD, we live in a world were Satan has power over many hearts and this is telestial ground. The temple is how the world should be and how we should act and carry ourselves and look at people. The temple is Holy Ground and it is always where we should run to get back to WHO we are and WHY we are here and WHAT we are supposed to do here in life. The temple is a reminder of THINGS AS THEY REALLY ARE. It is a reminder of WHO we are meant to become. It is a reminder of our HEAVENLY home. Who we really are and what we truly belong to. It is a reminder of things that we REALLY want. If you haven't been to the temple in a while, I would invite you to do so the soonest that you can. 

It's been really hard to say goodbye. I'm not going to lie. I feel like my heart is being ripped out and stomped on. A TON of people from every area that I have been in have been coming to our area and coming to lessons with us and taking us to dinner. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE. They are literally my family and I am literally leaving another home that, with God I have created here in Virginia. Part of my heart will always be with these people. They mean the world to me. And I love them and have loved seeing the CHANGES and the joy that they have felt as they have let the Gospel into their lives. It has been absolutely inspiring to see the atonement in action in all of their lives and I can't wait for someday for you to meet these people that have literally changed my life forever and ever. I love these people and know that they will always be apart of my life. I can't thank all those who have been such a big part of my life for so long enough. They are my heroes. And I love them so much. I love these people and can't even describe how I feel about them. They are my family.

Wow. Well, I have like a million more things to say. But I talked in church this week and sang as well and half of the Old Town ward and the Little River ward came. That meant the world to me. It was so amazing to see everyone and see this place growing. I LOVE THIS WORK. I LOVE THIS PLACE AND THESE PEOPLE AND NEVER WANT TO LEAVE. But, I know that God has something much greater in store for me.

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast.
I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made; I am a
disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, or be
still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is
secure. I'm finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth
knees, colorless dreams, tinted visions, worldly talking, cheap
giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions,
promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first,
recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean
on His presence, walk with patience, am lifted up in prayer, and labor
with power. My face is set, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my
way is rough, my companions few, my guide is reliable, my mission is
clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided
or delayed, will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the
presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table with the enemy,
ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of
mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed
up, stored up, and paid up for the case of Christ. I must go till He
comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops
me. When He returns for His own He will have no problem recognizing
me-- my banner is clear.

And to all of you who are reading this letter, THANK YOU. Thank you for all the support and love that you have shown me and given to me while I have been on my mission. I can't wait to see you soon! I really am excited, even though I am so heart-sick about leaving. You will and always have been in my heart and in my prayers. I love you more than words can express and I pray that you will never forget the Savior and that you will get back up every time you fall. Because you will. I have. We all do. But the most important thing is that we GET BACK UP and that we TRUST in Him and that we do everything in our power to STAND STRONG. 


Hermana Weenig
Temple trip with President and Sister Riggs

Temple, I love you.

Washington DC. Here is to you!  I LOVE YOU!

The Barrios family! How I will miss them! From Paraguay!

BIKES, how I love you.

Bishop Magelby and ward mission leader Hermano Apocada from Mexico.

 JORGE! My Mexican older brother. Totally inactive when we met, now has received his endowments in the temple and is the ward mission leader!! :)

 I got to teach and sing to these SISTAS!! They are so legit! They are from Nigeria! WOAH.

 Teaching a man outside of his window=hilarious. I just had to take a picture. We were teaching him the restoration like this. So classic.

The Casteneda clan came to my farewell!! amazing!! 

Oliver threw a pie full of whipped cream in my face as a "goodbye" present. He is like one of my best friends. Great ward mission leader.

1 comment:

  1. Sister Brooke....It's been wonderful to follow you through your mission . . . and what an amazing work you have done. I have loved watching how the LORD has used YOU and your gifts as an instrument to touch so many of his children. I'm out of town the next two Sundays, so I'm guessing I'll be gone when it is Sister Brooke's homecoming. But let me know anyway...just in case. In just hours you will be in the arms of your family, but you will ALWAYS be in the arms of your Savior. Love, Christie Lewis