Tuesday, April 22, 2014

HAPPY EASTER!!!!!!! I, for the record, had the BEST EASTER OF MY LIFE.

Dear Family,
HAPPY EASTER!!!!!!!!! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. I, for the record, had the BEST EASTER OF MY LIFE. Wanna know why? (: Because for the first time, I finally realized what Easter is all about. What an incredible gift the Atonement of Christ is to us. I have been struck this weekend by how all-encompassing, yet personal the Atonement really is. It means so much for all of us as a whole and so much for each of us as an individual. Because of what happened Easter Sunday 2000 years ago, every one of us will live again in the flesh. But not only that, each of us can live again spiritually, now. What I mean by that is that the Atonement of Christ has the power to heal even the most wounded soul. And the beautiful thing about it is, we don't have to wait! We can have that healing now. It is always available to us, we just need to reach out for Christ's outstretched hand, as did Peter when he "saw the wind boisterous"[Matthew 14]. The miracles that Christ performed during His earthly ministry - healing the sick, causing the blind to see and the lame to walk, are outward physical representations of what Christ can do for each of us spiritually.
So, my week was great! I have a wonderful companion. I seriously have been SO blessed when it comes to companions. I love serving with New Zealanders; they are so awesome.
This week we found a BEAUTIFUL family to teach. They have the most darling 9 year old girl with Down's Syndrome; she is just so precious and we hit it right off. She wanted to know all of my cousins names ha ha. We will be teaching the whole family next week; they are so lovely. They are going to make the cutest mormon family ever. It's interesting; one thing most of my companions have said is that they meet more children/people with Down's Syndrome with me than at any other point in their mission...the Lord really does place people in your path. It always brightens my day when we meet them.
Speaking of children with Down's Syndrome, how's the Joemaester doing? Does he still realize that I am his favorite sister? Did he remember Taylor when he came home? Oh he is so adorable. Everyone please give him some big kisses for me.
So things are good! My shoulder has been acting up again, but no dramas cause I just went to the physio. She TORE into it trying to make the muscles around it relax, because they are SO tight! So I'm really sore but I'm sure it will probably be better in the long run...Sister Tupuna and I have started eating SO good. Time to get healthy I guess.
Well mi familia, I hope everything is going well on your end! I am just loving my life one day at a time. (: It's been good, the Lord has definitely been blessing me far more than I deserve. We see miracles everyday, and you can bet your buttons that they are going to continue! I will keep ya'll posted. (:
Sister Bryce

Buses, that's how we roll.

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's exercising your agency to endure adversity WELL that brings spiritual power

Dear Family,
Sister Tupuna and I dove right into it when we got here. The area book and the flat were a MESS....holy smokes, there were suits in the closet that belong to elders that probably have grandchildren. We went through the whole flat and threw out almost everything. After that we completely dismantled the Area Book and put it back together...there is SO much work here! And my companion is SO awesome...like seriously, she's so cool and has me laughing all the time. She's already been a huge support to me and I am stoked to work with her.

We were horrified when we saw the weekly goals of the previous missionaries. They were SO low. They were really good missionaries, but most of the mission is under the impression that this is a difficult area, and so the attitude of the missionaries and ultimatly the goals reflect that. Sister Tupuna and I have come into this area with the attitude that it is golden, and it's relfected that...it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. We smashed most of the weekly goals in a single day.

We've only met a few of the members, but they are SO awesome. It's a dominantly white ward, which is a HUGE change from Polynesian Rockingham ward, which was like little New Zealand. The Bishop is so gun here...ah we are STOKED. The members are really keen to make things happen here, which is good because SO ARE WE!

General Conference was awesome....Like wow. All of the talks. Just wow. They were so good and spoke RIGHT to me...there is something really awesome about getting rebuked by an apostle. They have so much authority and throw it down like nobody's business. I'm so excited for the talks to come out in the Ensign so I can get re-rebuked.

We had a cool miracle the other day. We were biking (that's right, we are on bikes. This is a biking area. Except not for long, we are getting a car because President just loves us), trying to find this part-member family's house, and we ended up on the COMPLETELY wrong street. Like, not even close. My navigation skills are hopeless. We were about to turn, and then I looked to the left and saw a house, and had a thought, "hm, maybe you should go tract that house Sister Bryce". I've had enough experience with the Spirit now to know that when those thoughts come, you need to act on them and not hesitate. So we went, and met this young mom named Emma who is GOLDEN! She is so keen to learn. We are going over to see here this week with a member and it is going to be amazing.

Yep so, things are good. I've learned a lot over the past few weeks. Enduring adversity alone doesn't make you stronger; it's exercising your agency to endure adversity WELL that brings spiritual power. You can't just suffer through things miserably and expect to come out a better person. Challenges are like a springboard...you can either fall off it and crash, or hit it running and jump higher than you've ever been before. Oh snap. Check out that analogy. (:
Anyways, mi familia, I have received a shocking lack of letters from you as of late. Don't worry, repentance is real. You can always change...tomorrow is a new day. (:

I love you all! Keep the Faith!
Sister Bryce

I will be leaving Rockingham and going north of the river, closer to Perth. My new area is called Greenwood...

Dear Family,
I had an awesome week! We got transfer calls last night. I will be leaving Rockingham and going north of the river, closer to Perth. My new area is called Greenwood...I don't know anything about it but I'm sure it's awesome. My new companion is a sister that I have met a few times, she's suuuuppper nice and I am SO excited to have a chance to serve with her. My dear daughter will be staying in Rockingham to carry on the legend as Sister Training Leader. I couldn't be more proud. (:

I love Sister Leakehe so much; I am going to miss her! She's such a good friend. She's helped me get through a lot and will always be one of my closest friends. She's always got my back. For example, I was pretty sick this week.. there was one day when I was so weak I couldn't hardly get out of bed. I was in the back bedroom sleeping and Sister Leakehe was in the living room studying. I was soo thirsty, but I couldn't physically get out of bed and I was too weak to do more than whisper, so I knew I wouldn't be able to call her loud enough for her to hear. I said a prayer that she would come in the room. Not a minute later she walked in and asked how I was feeling. It was crazy, I think I was a little delirious, because after that I got a little carried away and started praying for all sorts of unrealistic things.

Te Matare Tawhitopau, one of our investigators. That's a Maori name for ya!

I'm really going to miss Rockingham; I've been here for 6 months and in a lot of ways it's become home to me. I opened this area! This is my hood! I've gotten really close - missionary style - with a lot of people here. I am definitely definitely definitely going to come back and visit this ward someday.
It is always exciting to go into a new area. Sister Tupuna and I will be doubled into the area so that's gonna be awesome. It's a new adventure. I love new adventures. And north of the river...that's crazy. There are two sides of the Australia Perth Mission. North side and South side, divided by the Swan river. I've always been in the south, but now....north. You guys might not realize but that's a big deal in my opinion.

Sister Payze - now Rosanna (she's finished) came to visit me! I love her!

We had a really awesome miracle with Aaron, who is getting baptized a week from Saturday. We went through the baptismal questions with him, and he was good on all of them accept for, "Do you believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God?" He was like, "um I don't even know who that is. How am I supposed to believe he is a prophet with out even meeting him or anything? How do you know he's not just faking it?" etc. He was VERY sceptical. But then, guess what? The next lesson we had with him, we showed a 3 minute Mormon message where Thomas S. Monson talks about the Plan of Salvation and Jesus Christ. Afterwards, Aaron was really quiet. We asked him how he felt, and he said he felt "a burning feeling" in his heart. The same feeling, in fact, that he feels when he reads the Book of Mormon. BECAUSE, President Monson is a prophet JUST LIKE Nephi and Alma were! He made that connection no problem. So we asked him, "Aaron, do you believe that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet on the earth today?" And he said yes. BAM. Just like that. We never in a million years would have been able to convince Aaron the President Monson was a prophet, but the Spirit did it in less than three minutes. That is the power of the Spirit in conversion.
I am SO excited for General Conference this weekend! We have this Golden investigator named Gary that is so excited to come and hear the prophet speak. Guys. Thomas S. Monson is LITERALLY a prophet of God. God's mouthpiece on the earth today. Just think for a second about how cool that is.
Well family, I'm afraid we have to go clean our flat now. I promise it's not that messy...I've gotten way cleaner on my mission. Guess what Abby, I even do my own laundry now. (: I love you all! Keep plugging along and doing the things that lead to happiness. Prayer, scripture study, all three hours of Church (ALL THREE), and keeping God's commandments. I love you!
Sister Bryce

Our investigator Mandy put on a Thanksgiving dinner for us, in honor of me being an American. (:

Monday, February 24, 2014


Dear Family,
Oh. My goodness. This week was SO crazy awesome. Seriously...wow.
We got our transfer calls today!! Sister Leakehe and I will be staying in Rockingham. AHhhhh I'm so glad....we figured that was going to happen but a small part of me was nervous. We are doing so well here. I'm crossing my fingers for two more transfers here, that's unlikely but hey. Miracles happen! (:
So. This week... Monday was P-day, which was awesome. That evening we had a dinner appointment with a member family, the Tini's. We got to the appointment and they were running a little bit late, so we were like, "hey, no worries, we'll just go tract!" We REALLY wanted to find a new person to teach. Our teaching pool is pretty solid but the bigger the better! So we said a prayer. We walked up to their neighbour's house and knocked on the door....nothing. But at the NEXT house we found this AWESOME Christian guy that we have an appointment with tomorrow! It was just cool because we were like, "hey, we've got ten of the Lord's minutes....lets use them." And He blessed us with a new investigator. Which is awesome!!

The ocean at Rockingham Foreshore.

We had a lesson with this person by the name of K...., and it was one of the most spiritually-guided lessons I've ever had. Sister Leakehe and I went into it planning on teaching the Restoration, but the Spirit was like, "Nope. Plan of Salvation." So we went with it...and the Spirit was like BAM- smacked her in the face and she was hard out crying. It was so cool. You know you are teaching by the Spirit when you start saying things you've never said or even thought of before...Sister Leakehe was throwing out analogies like no body's business and I was just so proud. It was sweet AS!!

Seriously, this companionship is amazing. I know I've said that about all my companionships, but it's true. I've been ridiculously blessed when it comes to companions. I've never been so unified with a companion as I have with this one, which is crazy because I've had some CRAZY unified companionships. But Sister Leakehe and I are literally of one mind. We are always thinking the same thing. In lessons, I'll be thinking about asking a certain inspired question, and then she'll ask it, and vice versa.. it's weird and super cool. She was telling me last night that she's never, ever been so...on the same wave-length with another person before. I was like, Me neither! With one exception.

Sisters of the Rockingham Zone

We have been teaching this Awesome young man by the name of A..... We went by to see him and he came out VERY reluctantly....he was so cold. "nope, don't believe in God." "Religion is just a power trip." "Never prayed in my life and don't plan on starting now"...that kind of thing. Alcohol, cigarettes, tattoos, swear words....you name it! We were like, Oh snap! We started talking to him, asking him inspired questions and trying to understand where he was coming from. We taught him VERY simply about God...he didn't buy it, but by the end of the lesson he agreed to let us come back. 
Fast forward, 3 weeks later. Aaron is praying and reading the Book of Mormon every day. He believes in God and tells us almost every time we see him about some new way that he has seen God's hand in his life. He's quit drinking and is working on quitting smoking as well. He comes to church and he's accepted the invitation to be baptized on April 5, 2014. You would. Not. Believe. the change that has occurred in him; it's ridiculous. He STUDIES every pamphlet we give him. We'll read a scripture in a lesson and he's say, "Oh yeah, that scripture was referenced in the Restoration Pamphlet as well"....it's In.Sane. We tell him every day...God must love him SO much, to reach out to him the way that He has. And he recognizes it, which is the best part!

We have been so blessed this transfer...we've seen so many miracles... you would not believe. But when we up our game, Satan does as well... and he's manifested himself this week in a way that I thought was only in movies and campfire stories. He's scared. And he showed us, "yeah, your in Rockingham, huh? Well guess what. I'm here too." But he can't win and he knows it. And he doesn't stand a CHANCE against the power of the Priesthood and the power of faith...I've gained a living testimony of that this week. You men of the Priesthood - Honor the power that you hold. Study it and treasure it - it is real power. Sorry - quick tangent. This is directed towards no one in particular, just priesthood holders in general....I've been blessed to see the Priesthood in action this week so I've been thinking about it a lot. The Priesthood. So often we underestimate the Priesthood. It is the LITERAL power of God!! By it the worlds were created and by it the planets are kept in their sphere - it's the power that controls the universe,and God in His infinite mercy allows worthy and righteous men to hold it. Can you believe that? It's crazy. But here's the thing...we've got the authority. We've definitely got the authority. But the POWER of the Priesthood is contingent upon personal faith and righteousness. It is the authority AND especially the power of the Priesthood that can cast out devils, heal the sick and administer comfort to the afflicted. Seriously you guys, I've seen it. I've seen it. I've seen miracles. I've seen unclean spirits cast out and the sick healed. DEVELOP that kind of faith and righteousness. You have the authority of the Priesthood. Do you have the power?

SEFILI WAS BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!!!!!!!! AHHHH seriously it was AMAZING!!! It was the most beautiful baptismal service!!!! She bore her testimony afterwards and wow...just wow. She is SO converted to Jesus Christ, it's incredible....seriously she is such an example to me and to all the young women of the ward. It has been such a pleasure to teach her.

Sefili Marster's Baptism! February 22, 2014

T...-getting baptized this Saturday!
T... is getting baptized this Saturday!! Because our ward and ward mission leader are so awesome, everything is pretty much set...Sister Leakehe and I are just in awe. God has just poured out His Spirit on us and on the Rockingham ward this transfer. My testimony has like, QUADRUPLED. We both have a feeling that this coming transfer is going to be even MORE amazing!! We are SOOOO EXCITED and we are going to be INSANELY obedient and diligent so we can be deserving of the blessings that the Lord in his goodness has given us. Well, I love you all!! Yaaayy I'm excited for the package! Thanks guys. That's TEN bricks for your mansion in Heaven!!

Love,  Sister Bryce

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tongan Dishes that Consist of Chicken and Coconut Cream Wrapped in Leaves!

Dear family,
AHHHHHHHHH Have I ever told you guys how much I am enjoying myself???? Being a missionary is SOOO cool!! I will never get over it.

We had an AWESOME week. Seriously, we are SO blessed. Sister Leakehe and I have seen miracle after miracle!! Of course there are trials and hard days, but to be honest the 'hard' days just aren't that hard. There is an underlying current of peace and contentment on a mission, I have found...it comes from living righteously, trusting in God and knowing that you are where you should be. It's the bomb dot com. I just cracked my back and the guy next to me was like..."ahhhh!"....I really should stop doing that huh...on the bright side, I stopped biting my nails! (: again.

Yesterday we had dinner with a part-member family... the husband/dad is a really nice white guy and his wife is straight Tongan. For some reason they love us, which is great! They made us this delicious tongan dish that consisted of chicken and coconut cream wrapped in leaves. It was sooo good. It was hilarious though, because my companion is technically Tongan...like, both her parents were born ON the island, but she has this thing against Tongan food and she was even more scared to eat it than I was. It was delicious though and we both enjoyed it very much. The members are so nice to feed us all the time...literally, like, all the time.

We went up to the mission office in Perth this week for Sister Leakehe's Follow Up Training. We modelled teaching the Restoration in 4 minutes....She SMASHED it! She is WAY way way better than I was at my follow up training. I'm so proud of her! (: I've worked so hard to train her well, but I can't take any credit because she's just naturally the bomb.

The Perth Temple

My Badge and CTR ring at the Temple.

I love Sister Leakehe SO much!

SEFILI IS GETTING BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!! AHHHH we are so excited!! She is seriously AMAZING. She had her Baptismal Interview yesterday and just blew the elder that interviewed her away....she's amazing. She wants to go on a mission and everything. It's SO cool!! She is going to make such a solid member. My goodness I am so attached. You get so attached to the people you teach.

Mandy, who is getting baptized in March, is doing So awesome. She has had so many answers to her prayers, which is just incredible because 3 weeks ago she didn't even believe in God. She is always telling us about the little ways she is seeing God's hand in her life....through things as simple as us showing up randomly without an appointment when she's having a bad day, or getting a call from a friend after she's said a prayer...she told us the other day she was walking, and she saw the sun behind a cloud with sun rays streaming out, and she just knew in her heart that God was really there, and that that sunset was meant for her. So incredible. We could all do well to notice the little things a little bit more. God is in the details of our lives. As my old mission president used to say, "God micromanages our lives".

Well, I love you all. Sounds like Hurricane is awesome, I like that place.Yayyy! More babies!! I love babies!! They should definitely keep having them so that I have lots to hold when I get home!

Love, Sister Bryce

Look mom! I took a picture of the city for you!

Sister Leakehe and I with Leti, a lovely Tongan member that we loved to take tracting with us.

Our district, bless their hearts.  

We dry our clothes the old-fashioned way...on the line! Yes, I am wearing a lava lava. A Samoan investigator gave it to me and it changed my life...SO easy.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sister Leakehe was screaming for a good 5 minutes!

Dear Family,
Pulgogi, yum. There is a hilarious Korean Elder in our district, Elder Shin, and when I told him I had a recipe for Pulgogi he freaked out, "Can you give me?! Can you give me?!" It was hilarious. He's so funny. Yep looks like things are good. Joseph is adorable, as always. Since when does he have big boy teeth? Does he talk?

I try to take more pictures but I just can't be bothered...I'm not usually driving around looking at scenery and stuff. I'm driving around saving SOULS! We just live in a little suburban town. Not much to take pictures of, other than houses. We can't see the city from where we are, it's a good hour drive away. Besides, I used to care about taking pictures a lot at the beginning of my mission, so I took tons, but then I lost that camera card, and it made me realize it just isn't that important. They are temporary and they are in my head. 

I'm much more concerned about what my mission makes of me and the people around me than I am about how glamorous it looks to the people at home. But yes, I'll make more of an effort..
Well, so, we had an AMAZING week! Seriously, SO many miracles. We met a 17 -year - old girl named Tema, and set a baptismal date with her for the 1st of March. She has already experienced the blessings of prayer! She told us that a few days after we set the date with her, her mom told her that they would be moving back to New Zealand on the 28 of February. Tema was really upset because that would mean she couldn't get baptized on the first of March. So, she went and prayed and asked Heavenly Father to change her mom's mind and make her stay. The next day, her mother got a job offer here in Rockingham, so they will be staying. (: The power of prayers is SO REAL!!! It's so amazing to have that reminder that we are labouring with the Lord in this work. The Lord truly answers sincere prayers.

Then, we also met an incredible woman named Mandy a couple of weeks ago. She is SO awesome! The Lord has really prepared her. She is looking to make changes in her life and we know that we were sent to her. We committed her for baptism on the 15 of March, and she is SO excited. She was just crying and telling us how much it would mean to her to have a second chance. At the end of our last lesson with her she gave us a box of chocolates and a thank you note. She is so sweet!! It's so amazing how we were led to her at this point in her life.

We've been working so hard with the members and it has been SO GOOD!!! We've been bringing members to our lessons like nobody's business, and it's made such a difference in our lessons and in the attitude of the ward towards missionary work. There is an excitement in this ward that we haven't seen for a long time.

Last night we had a Pacific Area Leadership broadcast. It was AMAZING!! The pacific area includes Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. Elder Pearson talked about a "deepening conversion unto Christ". I LOVE that!! we all need to work on being more converted to Christ, and having a closer relationship with our father in heaven.

I've been working so hard to be a more consecrated missionary and I have seen SUCH a difference in the work because of it. I didn't tell Sister Leakehe about Elder Cook, so she hasn't known this whole time up until two days ago. It's been so good, not having it constantly brought up all the time. Eventually I had to tell her because people (other missionaries) kept saying things about it and I realized that it was starting to look to her like I had some Elder/Sister romance thing going on, and I didn't want to set that example. Because yeah, I DO have an elder/sister romance thing going on, but it most certainly did not begin in the mission field! Her reaction was hilarious when I told her though. She was screaming for a good 5 minutes and I just laughed. I let her ask all the questions she wanted for a day, but then I told her that starting in the morning, he didn't exist. It's hard but I want to stay focused.

Here's some scenery...a pond next to the park where we committed Tema to baptism


Things have been AWESOME!!! I am LOVING my mission!! It is seriously the BEST. Everyone should go on a mission. I love you guys! [btw there are 3 Elder Cooks in this mission]


Sister Bryce

Monday, February 3, 2014

I adore my companion. I adore my area. I adore my members.

Dear Family,
Hello!! Sounds like you guys are doing awesome! I love the pictures you sent me. It looks like it is freezing there, holy smokes! The weather has been pretty nice here, all things considered. Only 34C (95 degrees) today! There's a nice breeze off the ocean so that's amazing.
Well, I only wrote you guys like three days ago, so...things are good! I adore my companion. I adore my area. I adore my members. It's great.
We've begun a Book of Mormon Reading Challenge as a mission. We are reading the Book of Mormon by the first week of March, before President Hamuela of the Pacific Area Presidency comes and tours our mission. That means 15 pages a day! It has been AWESOME!!!! Seriously, I love the BoM and I love it when my life gets slammed by it. There is so much power in that Book. You guys should read it as a family! Start from the very beginning; the introduction and don't forget the testimonies of the witnesses. It's legit.
So apparently, according to my companion, I was sleep-talking again last night. I sat up and said, "Where'd they go?" And she was like, "who...?" Me: "I swear there was someone here". And then she said I smiled and laid back down. And then a minute later, really empathically I was like "Let's teach with power and authority." I don't know you guys, but I bet I was having a vision. Ha ha jk.
Yesterday was Fast Sunday. We always have SO many miracles on Fast Sunday! We had 8 investigators at church, which was awesome because it was a really really good Fast and Testimony meeting; the Spirit was so strong. I get so much out of Sacrament Meeting these days; it's my favourite hour of the week I think. And that's saying something because I love my study time. And lunch. (:
We had an awesome lesson with our recent convert Ernie. He was telling us how he felt when he received the Holy Ghost. He had an AMAZING experience. The feeling he had was incredible. I remember watching him stand up in Sacrament Meeting after he was confirmed and he just looked kind of stunned. It was clear he had had a powerful experience. It is SO cool to see the Holy Ghost working on people like that!! Ah it's amazing; I love the Gospel.
Sister Leakehe and I are on a diet...sort of. It is practically impossible to be on a diet when you are serving in a Polynesian ward. We get fed Every. Single. Night. Sometimes we have two dinner appointments on a single evening. It's good though; great for missionary work! It's super hilarious/sad, because the Elders get fed like...once a week. Maybe. Everyone loves feeding us for some reason. I have gotten so close to this ward; I love it so much! By the time I am done here, I will have served 6 months in this ward. And I'm so glad. There's no where else I'd rather spend a third of my mission. Time goes by SO fast!!
Well family, I love you all. Have an amazing week!

Sister Bryce

I didn't know what else to send so I took pictures of my study desk