Monday, July 29, 2013

Off to Australia!

Well, the time has finally come. I'm leaving in an hour to drive down to Nashville to fly to Australia.
I feel very conflicted. I am excited of course; I've been looking forward to this day for months and months. It's an adventure and I am excited! But I am SO sad. I love Bowling Green and Sister Littleford and my investigators so much. It is terrible to leave right now; R---- is getting baptized on Saturday and T--- and N--- might be as well. I am devastated that I have to miss that.
Our golden investigator from Nepal
President told me officially Thursday, but we knew it was coming. Sunday night/Monday morning I had a dream that I was sitting in President Monson's office, and he told me that my visa had arrived. President told me later that that was the day it went through, which is crazy! Revelatory dreams people; they happen! Last night I had a dream that President Monson came out on splits with us so I'm REALLYstoked about that. (:

Kids I love

This boy is my best friend

Our little Burmese kids

Cheryl Goodrum is the lady that called mom. She is just the sweetest! She's been a member for four months and is whipping the whole ward into shape! I love her. She is sooo smooooth.

Brandi, Me, Cheryl

When they announced over the pulpit on Sunday that my visa had come and I would be flying to Australia Monday, there was a collective gasp and everyone looked back at me. One lady even said, "No!", which just broke my little heart. I love this ward. We are going to have to have a road trip, family.

A cake from Cheryl

I'm glad that you guys got a call from President Andersen! He is AWESOME. Sister Littleford and I have gotten to work pretty closely with him the past couple of weeks and it's been great. I just love him and his wife!
Me holding a baby without actually holding a baby! Our least favorite rule

That is fabulous news about you heading to Pathway!! That will be wonderful; I hope you are able to get out to the Agro farm and meet some of my kids! Tell them I love them! I am excited to come home and get back into working with Pathway; I plan on being involved with the organization for the rest of my life.

We are amazing chefs; we are so gourmet!
Well, I can't believe this time has finally come. I am all packed and ready to go! I hope I get to fly by myself; it's my favorite thing. Hopefully I won't have to drag some pansy Elder along. Ha ha just kidding, but seriously. I love navigating International Airports by myself. It makes me feel so awesome.

Alright family, this will be my last email from the States! I love you all; I'm glad that you had a great time at Disneyland even though the apple of your eyes wasn't there to make it more hilarious. (: Ha ha just kidding. I'm sure it was great! I love you and my next email is going to be in Australian so I hope ya'll have a dictionary handy. (:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Three-Month Mark

We are working with the most awesome family on the planet! I know I told you about T--- and N---. They are doing AWESOME. They both want to be baptized. The problem is, before they are baptized they have to get married in the US - because they were married by Bosnian custom here in the U.S., which isn't recognized by the State as legal. But, they can't just get remarried now because they are in the process of getting their citizenship and it would mess it all up! It's so confusing. We called President Andersen and explained the whole situation, so he is calling Salt Lake today to find out what steps we need to take. It's so cool to think that Church Headquarters are so concerned with our investigators.
We love that family so much! It's crazy. I am going to be so sad when my visa comes. N--- said that she is going to find my visa and burn it. Ha ha I love them. Last week Sister Littleford and I did the Relief Society lesson on Missionary Work, and at the end Sister Williamson passed out a sheet of paper entitled "20 ways to help a missionary when you don't want to proselyte". It had stuff like "buy them groceries,"  "Take them out to dinner," etc. Well, guess what?? The next day N---, the only non-member present, went out and bought us an entire car-full of groceries, and then took us to Cheddars for dinner. How amazing is that?!?! We. Love. Them. And Cheddars, for the record, is delicious.

 I'm sitting here trying to think of something funny that happened this week. And then I realized, our whole week was hilarious! Sister Littleford and I have So. Much fun. Missionary work isn't supposed to be depressing! Actually, NOTHING is supposed to be depressing. If there is one thing that I have learned so far, it's that attitude is EVERYTHING.

On Wednesday, Sister Littleford and I woke up at 6:00 to go out and run. We walked out, shut the door, and click - just as the door latched, we realized that we had forgotten the keys. Greaaat. So we went for a run over to the main office - which, as it turns out, doesn't open til 9. WHAT ABOUT PERSONAL STUDY, am I right?!?! But, being the problem-solving young sister missionaries that we are, we went and borrowed a Book of Mormon from the Spanish Elders that live next door. SO, maybe we only had one BoM between the two of us. Maybe it was in Spanish. No big deal, our other companion, A.K.A the Spirit, is fluent in Spanish. So it all worked out rather nicely! Moral of the story - leave your apartment without your keys, no big deal. But whatever you do, DON'T set foot outside your house without your English Book of Mormon!

I have started reading Jesus the Christ as a part of my personal study. That book is AMAZING! I love it so much. I love it even more than Les Miserables, if you can believe that! You should all go and read it. James E. Talmage is a literary genius. His insight and ability to explain complicated doctrine both simply and eloquently is absolutely staggering.
Well family, things are going awesome here in Kentucky! I cannot BELIEVE that I have been out for as long as I have. Time has positively flown by. Wednesday is my three-month mark! Ahh. Crazy. This mission is the best decision I ever made.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Feed the Missionaries

Heeeeyyy, how ya'll doin'? That's how people say hello here, it's smooth.

Well, it has been another amazing week! We are still working with a lot of the coolest investigators on the planet. T--- and N--- and their cute little family are doing awesome!

I gave a talk on Sunday! That is the first time in my life that I was excited to speak in church! Like seriously, I was pumped. The bishop asked me to talk on Temple I mentioned them a few times and then talked about Missionary Work!! And being a "More Christian Christian" (Robert D. Hales). It was great. I got so into it. I pounded the pulpit, people ... the best part was that T---, N---, and W--- were there.
"There's nothing more epic than a sister missionary ..."

I have a new hobby. I have memorized Jeffrey R. Holland's testimony of the Book of Mormon, and I recite it to myself. Forcefully and with power! So when Sister Littleford and I are feeling down (which is NEVER), I bear Jeffrey R. Holland's testimony, and it gets us PUMPED! You should all go listen to it for a second. "Safety for the Soul". Start it at like 7:40 and prepare to be smacked in the face by the Spirit.

Every time we pray for something, our prayers are answered. Like seriously, we are getting spoiled. A couple of days ago, we were like, "man, we could reeaaally use some healthy food. We need fruit and vegetables. Maybe we should pray for them." And then we laughed because we realized we were getting spoiled and thought we would get everything we asked for. Then BAM. Next day, someone drops off a watermelon. A few minutes later, someone hands us a huge bag of fresh corn. And then a couple of hours later, we are loaded up with more tomatoes, squash, onions, cucumbers and garlic than we could possibly eat. SERIOUSLY HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!?! We have not been given one molecule of vegetable in three months, then we TALK about praying for them, and bam. We find ourselves in a kitchen full of fruits and vegetables. So awesome.

But then, there was this cute African lady, and we gave most of our vegetables to her. We don't worry too much about what we will eat, because the Lord likes us to be fed. And so we are.

3 Nephi 13: 25-26
25...For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to bminister unto this people. Therefore I say unto you, ctake no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than draiment?

26 Behold the afowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

That is absolutely true! We are always given food just when we are about to run out! It is so amazing. So we have learned just to not worry about it. The Lord always keeps His promises, if you do what He says.

But, if you guys want to send me food, feel free! Cause like, we'll eat it and stuff. There is a special place in Heaven for people that feed missionaries! Seriously though - 

D&C 84:89-91. (This is talking about me and Sister Littleford.)
89 Whoso receiveth you receiveth me; and the same will feed you, and clothe you, and give you money.
90 And he who feeds you, or clothes you, or gives you money, shall in nowise alose his reward.
91 And he that doeth not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know amy disciples.

BASICALLY what that is trying to say, is you should send Sister Bryce a package of cookies.
Ha ha no I'm just playing. We just thought it was pretty cool that the scriptures say that people who feed us and give us money are going to Heaven. The Lord loves His missionaries!
It's a good thing that Rex likes fishing. Because, I like fishing. And when I come home (IF I decide to come home, IF), we are going to skip school and go up to Strawberry just like Taylor and I always did in high school! Because the thing about fish is, they are fun to catch AND they are fun to eat. Win win.
I'm glad you guys liked my letters. Yes, I am fluent in scripture. Sister Littleford and I were rolling on the ground laughing when I was writing that. I'm surprised you got them so soon! Did Joseph like the picture of the car I drew him? And the Wall-E postage stamp? I picked it out just for him!

I love you guys! We are going to go and have a barbecue with the Zone Leaders. Tell Abby I will reply to her email next week! Read your scriptures, say your prayers, put a life-size picture of me in the front hall. Ha ha just kidding. Love you!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gifts of the Spirit

Well it sounds like you all had a wonderful 4th of July! I did too.. Sister Littleford wore my blue blazer and I wore my red one and we were just so patriotic and spiritual. We had a breakfast with the 2 Bowling Green Wards and it was awesome. AND, we had some investigators come, which was even more awesome.
So, MY week was amazing. Sister Littleford and I spent several hours moving a family in the pouring rain into a little house in Adolphus, which is Latin for "out in the middle of nowhere, almost inaccessible, good luck trying to get a Uhaul in and out of here, ha ha". Seriously, that's what it stands for. We were soaked to the skin, but we were just laughing and having a good old time. For some reason manual labor is downright relaxing for us. The Elders showed up right at the end and helped us finish, all though you can see who the real heroes were! (: Sister Littleford and I have decided to change our companionship name to The Bryttleford Moving Co. Stay tuned!

Look at us poor, dripping wet Sister Missionaries.
We learned a valuable lesson this week: "If you want something, pray for it." Simple, profound. We spend about a week talking and whining about a certain issue, then we thought, "Hmm. Maybe we should pray and ask God for this thing". And we did. And not an hour later the prayer was answered. Lesson learned! Don't try to do the Lord's Work without the Lord's Help.

I love my companion. We are so unified. More unified than "Calv and Coolage. Put together!!
A few other cool things happened this week. We were in a certain part of Bowling Green tracting, and randomly I thought, "Plano. We should go to Plano." Plano is on the other side of town, pretty far out. So we got in the car and drove out there. We were driving along the road, not really sure where we were going. The Spirit told us, "take the next left". So we did. And we parked, and started tracting the area. We walked up to a couple, they invited us in, and we had one of the most powerful lessons either I or Sister Littleford had ever had. They asked for the Book of Mormon before we could offer it, invited themselves to Church, wrote down their numbers before we asked, explained to each other the importance of the Book of Mormon without any input from us, and begged us tearfully to come back soon. We walked away from that lesson with our minds blown.

Then YESTERDAY, something else ridiculously awesome happened! A few weeks ago, I randomly grabbed a For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and put it in my bag. I've been carrying it around for weeks. Several times, I was about to take it out, but I always put it back because I had a feeling I would need it. Last night, we were visiting a less-active member in our ward, and we saw a woman outside. We were just about to get in the car but we turned around and went and talked to her instead. She told us her story, how she had a son that she had set up for adoption 13 years earlier. She was going through profiles of the candidate couples for her son, and one couple stood out to her. She knew that they were to be the parents of her son, because the Spirit told her. She contacted them and they adopted her son. They are LDS; the father is a Bishop in a ward in Minnesota (Our minds were blown right about now). She expressed a desire to know more about our church, so she would know how her son was being raised. She is very religious, and lives a higher moral code than most of the people we meet. We taught her the first lesson. At the end, I remembered the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet in my bag. And, of course, I knew that she was the reason I had been carrying it around for so long. I handed it to her, and explained that it outlined the standard to which her son was being raised.

That was a huge testimony builder for me. This is the Lord's Work, and He is very much involved in it. Missionaries don't carry around For the Strength of Youth pamphlets. It's not something we usually hand out. The fact that I just happened to have a booklet with me that explained exactly the life her son was being raised to live is just mind-blowing. She was so excited to get it! God knew that what that it was what she needed to read. The Lord is laboring right along side us in this Work (Jacob 5:72).

I hope you are all doing amazing! Remember what I said about letters: "write me them". I love you all! 

We went bowling on P-day for Elder Pulsipher's going-away (transfers) party. Cheryl and Gary are the BOMB!

In the South we eat fried chicken, beans, corn, potatoes. And cornbread, lots of cornbread! Pleeaaase send me some rice crackers.

Monday, July 1, 2013

We are Sister Missionaries! We're like Nuns

Wow it's been hot there too, huh? Yeah we've been DYING. 100 degree weather is nothing...100 degree weather + 90% humidity + tracting; that's when it gets really fun! When I bought my clothes, I was gearing for winter in Australia, not summer in the South. Thank heavens we have a car with air-conditioning!

We took our car to the car wash; it was terrifying.

That family get-together sounds like it was a lot of fun, although I'm not quite sure why Dad was the one flipping all the pancakes. Abby. Get in the kitchen, woman.

Yes! Slippin Slides, that's what I'm talking about! Joseph is so cute going down that slide. Why is he so cute? Why did he get all the good genes?

Sondra blessed her baby? Oh that's lovely. SINCE WHEN DID SHE HAVE HER BABY??? I've been picturing her pregnant this whole time gosh dang it! I know in our family babies are a regular occurrence, but Sister Bryce needs to be informed of these types of things. Also, who is the adorable baby that Abby is holding in that picture? 

I had an awesome week! Sister Littleford and I are going to town. We have investigators from all over the place - Burma, Bosnia, Russia, Kentucky... it's really awesome. We are teaching a guy from Russia, who is a former Russian Mafia Leader. Don't worry Mom, he found Jesus while he was in prison, and now he is a baptist preacher. And we are teaching him English. Ha haha

People are very nice to us. Everyone here is religious, and even if they don't agree with our doctrine, they still treat us well. How can you not? We are Sister missionaries! We're like nuns. You can't be mean to a nun. 

The other day we were in the Little Africa, which is sooo ghetto. We had just finished an appointment and were getting in our car, when these two gang-banging black guys drove up and started hitting on us. We explained that we were missionaries and they felt sooo bad. Ha ha it was hilarious. Even gangsters realize it's not okay to "holla at a couple o' angels". It was sooo funny. The one in the passenger seat was all, "man, you goin to hell...." to the driver. Ha ha we gave them a Book of Mormon and the Elders' number. Oh the life of a Sister Missionary.

We are teaching an ADORABLE family from Bosnia. They've been here most of their lives so they are pretty much American. They are SO golden. They've been reading the Book of Mormon, and the mom (N---) had a neat experience where she really felt like it answered her prayer. We are so excited for them! Hopefully we will set a baptismal date with them today. They say that since they met us, everything in their lives has been going better. It is so neat to see the influence the Gospel has on peoples lives.

President and Sister McKee left today. They are incredible, incredible people. If I can become half of what Sister McKee is, then I'll make it to the Celestial Kingdom for sure. She is amazing. Standing in her presence is literally like standing in the presence of an feel almost reverence.They have a blog that tells about Sister McKee's story, it is amazing! You should read it. President McKee told me that Jalynn emailed him, apparently they went to high school together! So cool. It's a small world when you are a Mormon.

Things are good! I am surprised to find that the hardest part of a mission - for me at least - is saying goodbye to the people you learn to love so much. Missionaries, investigators, become so close in such a short amount of time. I'm still not quite over leaving my MTC district. We write each other though! Which is awesome.

Man you Bryces, traveling all over Europe and cruising all over the world...don't you realize there are missionaries starving in Provo? (: No but really. There probably are. And I know for a fact there are some starving in Temple Square! Please please go give my darling Sister Thulasidass a gift card or something. She saved my life when I was sick! She made us spinach and food (since the two aren't necessarily the same thing) and took care of us. I LOVE HER.

As always, I am LOVING my mission. There is nowhere else I'd rather be! Not even Spain. Not even on an Alaskan cruise. Cruises don't bring happiness, SERVICE to others brings happiness. In fact, for my birthday I want you all to go and do some service. And I don't mean weeding the cemetery. I want you to go do some REAL service. For real people that are in need. People are starving physically and spiritual all around us and we often don't even notice.
I love you all! Be good and go find some missionaries to go on splits with. 

And also, feel free to bake me some cookies and send them to me. (: I get your packages faster than I get your letters! Sister Littleford's family sent her cookies and it made our whole week! One package/letter to Sister Bryce = one brick for your mansion in Heaven.