Sunday, September 22, 2013

Going on Sister Exchanges

Well so this week was another amazing one! We had a Sisters Conference up in Perth for all of the sister missionaries in the mission. There are about 30 of us total. It was SO FUN. It was so cool to be able to meet all of the sisters; many of them I have already become very close friends with.
We had a training all morning about developing teaching skills such as using scriptures, asking inspired questions, and listening. It was really neat and I learned a lot! 

My home girl Sister Tanner.

Afterwords, we went to Kings Park, which is a huge, BEAUTIFUL park overlooking the river. Oh my goodness it was beautiful. We spent about 2 and a half hours there, taking pictures and visiting and just having fun. It was amazing and I think a lot of the sisters really needed it, particularly the ones who serve in the outlying areas of the mission. They often feel very isolated. Sister Lee-lo and I are lucky; we have all the benefits of serving in country, but we also get to see other sisters and missionaries a lot because we are Sister Training Leaders. It's so much fun.

Some of us American Sisters at Kings Park.
My beautiful amazing companion, Sister Lee-Lo!
The day after the training, we went on exchanges with the sisters serving in Hallshead - Sister Faivakimoana and Sister Waith. It was a blast. Exchanges are always amazing because you get to see how other sisters teach and learn from each other. We were very sorry to say goodbye. (:

We have another exchange on Thursday in Murdoch. We will drive up Wednesday night, go on exchanges all day Thursday, and then Friday morning the Rockingham Zone Leaders - Elder Askeroth and Elder Tehei - are going to pick us up and take us to Mission Leadership Council. It is going to be fun. This transfer is FLYING by; we are heading into week three!! I can't believe it.

I got a great email from my amazing old companion in Tennessee, Sister Littleford. In one of my letters, I think I told you about how we had gone and helped a family move in the pouring rain, and how it was one of the funnest days of our lives and Sister Littleford and I were just laughing and having a grand old time. At one point I even lost my shoe, and we just kept going. It was seriously so fun. Well, that family was a part member family, and the dad was so impressed by our attitudes that he started to investigate the church. Last week he got baptized, and Sister Littleford told me that when he told his conversion story, he talked about the two sister missionaries that had such a good attitude and were so happy about moving his furniture in the rain. He said that one of them lost her shoe and just kept going, and they gave him a look that caused him to "see God shaking His head at him, calling him to repentance." Ha ha and now he is a member of the Church! How sweet is that?! You just never know.

Tracting like nobody's business.
So things are going awesome here! I am loving it! Time is going by WAY too fast. Do you realize that this week is my five-month mark?? That is CRAZY. I can't even believe it.
Well family, you are great! I love you all! Give Joseph a big kiss for me!

It looks like you had an AMAZING time in India!! Mom you are rocking that Churidar. I love the pictures you sent me. There is absolutely no place on earth like Pathway; seeing those pictures of all the kids that I love so much practically brings me to tears. They are so sweet. I love India. I have my heart set on going back when I get home.

I totally know what you mean about Dr. Prasad. He is the best person I have ever met. He has dedicated his entire life to the service of others and his story is inspirational. We are lucky to be able to associate with someone of his caliber.

I am not surprised at all to hear that the children remembered your names. (: They remember everything. They adopted you guys as a part of their family when they met me. Family is so important to them, because they don't have it.

It is so weird to see pictures of you guys at Pathway, in Chennai and at Mahaballipurram. That's my hood! (: I remember walking in all of those places. I remember standing on the roof of the Chennai facility early one morning and looking down at that same aquamarine house that you took a picture of. The faces of those kids are so familiar to me. I see you met Malani!! The girl with Down's Syndrome at the Agro farm?? She is the cutest!! (: That was such a wonderful adventure for me and it totally changed my life. Thank you mom and dad for making it possible for me to go. When I come home I want to get right back into fundraising for them.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Missionary Faith Matters

So this has been an awesome week. Sister Lee-Lo and I have been planning like crazy; we have so much going on this transfer - a Sister's Conference for all the sisters in the mission, Mission Leadership Council, Zone Conference,  Interviews with President, and exchanges with 4 sets of sisters. It's going to be crazaaay.

Sister Lee-Lo made daisy-chains for my birthday.(:

So this week in my personal study, I came across a scripture in Ether 12 that talks about how it was the faith of Ammon and later Nephi and Lehi that caused such a great change to come upon the Lamanites. This really got me thinking..because as missionaries, I think we often underrate the importance of our own faith in the conversion of our investigators. I mean obviously, their faith is so important - and ultimately, that's what it comes down to - but I realized that their faith can be ignited by experiences that come from OUR faith. This was a major revelation for me, and it made me realize how much I need to strengthen my own faith. I studied it and really worked on building my own faith in the converting power of the gospel, and it makes SUCH a difference in our lessons. It's incredible.

Right after I had the revelation, we had a lesson this week with a woman named L----- that has cancer. It was Soooo good. The spirit was so strong; she was crying and everything. Sister Lee-lo is an amazing teacher and so good at connecting with people. It was so cool because I could see how the quality of the lesson was so directly correlated with my own happened again later, with a woman named J------. So cool. Being a missionary is the bomb dot com.

No I'm not gluten sensitive..I didn't eat gluten for a week and it made no difference. But I did find out what it is. It's sugar. We ate super healthy for a week - we didn't even really try to cut out sugar, it just sort of happened because we didn't have any - and then one day we ate cookies and ice cream. I swear, I FELT the sugar hit my brain. It gave me such a head ache. So that's what it is. Sugar gives me headaches. What is that supposed to mean? Is sugar intolerance even a thing? All I know is that should all the elements combine to hedge up the way, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after me, nothing, NOTHING, is going to stop me from eating my krispie kreme donuts.

Alright so this was a wonderful week... but there was one tiny litttle small bad thing that happened. You know how I sometimes lose things? Or actually how my stuff sometimes runs away? Well yes, that happened. We all knew it was only a matter of time before I lost something important. Well..... I lost my camera card. Yep. The one with all of my MTC, Tennessee Nashville Mission, and all other mission pictures up till two days ago on it. Definitely save the ones I sent you, because that is officially all there is. I don't even know what happened! It was in my bag, and then it just wasn't. It must have fallen out while we were gallivanting around Busselton converting people. Come on we all knew something like this was bound to happen could be worse. There's way worse things to lose. I could have lost a limb....or my self-worth....or my exaltation....well I still have all those, just not my camera card. I think that the curse that was placed on the land of the Nephites and the Lamanites and the Jaredites was also accidentally put on me, because all things are slippery unto me. I lay a tool here and on the morrow it is camera cards are taken from me in the day I have sought them for pictures. Ha ha ha I shouldn't joke about it, it's not funny...except it kind of is. I'd rather make it a joke than a tragedy.

These pictures are ones that Sister Lee-lo got off my camera card just before I lost it.
Alright well I love all of you, my world-traveling parents and my little munchkin siblings. Don't forget to write me long beautiful letters and stuff! You can even send me a package, I won't even be mad.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Called as Sister Training Leaders

Dear Family: Hi!!! How are you?! Well this has been a good week. A nice long, good, long week. Ha ha no it was great! It's a great day to be a missionary in Western Australia.

How is China? I can't believe you guys are in China again. Last time you were in China, I was in India. Now you're back in China again, and I'm in Australia. Holy smokes, this globe is just not big enough for the Bryce family, is it? We're all over the place! I remember last time you were in China, you guys got me the most beautiful set of pearls...I love them. That's probably my favorite gift I've ever gotten! I wear them all the time.

So, we got transfer calls today!! Sister Lee-lo and I are staying in Busselton together, THANK GOODNESS. I am SO glad she's not leaving me. And Busselton is the bom dot com so that's wonderful.

We have been called as the Sister Training Leaders for the Bunbury Zone and the Rockingham Zone, which is awesome! It means we get to go on exchanges with all of the other sisters in our two zones. I'm so excited, we get to go out to Kalgoolie which is like 8 hours inland. Country, I'm tellin ya. It is going to be so fun to get to know some of the other sisters.

I am excited. It is a lot of responsibility, because Sister Lee-lo and I are over 2 of the 5 zones in the mission - the only Sister Training Leaders that are over more than one zone. It means that we will being doing a LOT of traveling this transfer. It will be good though. It is an opportunity to serve, and it will make me a better missionary because it means we really have to step up our game - we have to be exactly obedient, amazing at teaching, and work VERY hard. Which we have already been trying to do, but there is always room for improvement.

Yesterday we went out to Dunsborough, which is another little coastal town in our area - about 40 minutes west of us. It is BEAUTIFUl. We had a dinner appointment there with the Branch President's family at 6, so we went at about 2 to visit an investigator and do some tracting. We tracted all day, with little success - it is a fairly affluent area, so people weren't as accepting. We tracted house after house. It was still fun, because tracting is fun and heck, just being a missionary is fun - but we weren't really getting anywhere. We said a prayer and asked God to guide us to those that He had prepared to receive the Gospel. We got in the car and were driving down the road, and I felt like we should turn around - but before I said anything, Sister Lee-lo stopped and turned the car around (companionship unity, people.). We stopped on a street called M---------, and started tracting it. 

My birthday barbecue, "G'day, mate! Throw another shrimp on the Barbe!"
Finally, at the very last house on the street (it always seems to work that way, doesn't it?) we met a woman in her mid - twenties named N-----. She is GOLDEN!! We set up an appointment for later and left her with a pamphlet and a prayer. After the prayer, I felt inspired to leave her with a Book of Mormon as well, which we did. We are SUPER excited about her!! It's just so cool. The Lord always comes through; all we have to do is ask in faith.

You know what I love??? I LOVE gospel study. Personal study and companionship study are like my two favorite times of the day. It's the best ever, and I am definitely going to do my best to keep the good habits that I have developed here after my mission. There is something about starting your day with scripture. It sets the tone of your day. I have noticed a direct correlation with the quality of my day and the quality of my morning studies. It is so much better, too, to start the day with study, rather than ending it...because it gives you time to ponder on the things you learned in the morning and see the Lord's hand in your life throughout the day. I love seeing the way the Spirit I acquire during my study carries throughout the rest of my day. I would exhort each of you to begin your day with scripture study. (That's right, EXHORT.) Will you, each of you, begin your day with reading from the Book of Mormon? I promise that as you do so, you will find an increased measure of peace, joy and direction in your life that can only come from feasting upon the words of Christ. (2 Nephi 31:20)

Family, Mom especially, you would be flabbergasted at how domestic I am becoming. I'm turning into a health freak. (That's right, me. Valuing health.) I don't know what happened. All of a sudden I'm all about vegetables. When we have time, we COOK. I'm not talking about baking, I've always liked baking. We like, full on cook. We made Greek Lemon Chicken for Sunday dinner last week, it was divine. I've started to realize that when I don't eat well, I feel sick and I get headaches, and I'm not in as good of a mood. You know how I've had headaches my whole life? Well, yeah. I'm starting to wonder if I'm like, lactose or gluten intolerant or something. Because I'm pretty sure that every time I eat wheat, I get a headache. But whatevs I'll deal with it and we'll figure it out when I get home.

My District on my birthday! I promise, I am not hugging Elder Key's leg. It just looks like it.
Okay well I am having the TIME OF MY LIFE here in Australia!! I love Australia. It's so great. Obviously I'm still all about America - I always was patriotic - but Australia is a close second. (: Tied with India on my list of favorite countries. Oh wait and tied with Italy. Ah dang it. Okay no Australia wins.

I love you all! Keep doing what your doing, be nice, don't fight, and make sure you have a picture of me hanging in every room. (: Ha ha nah you don't have to do that, but make sure Joseph still remembers who his favorite sister is!

Sister Bryce

P.S. who were the first members of our family (Both sides - Bryce and Stout) that joined the Church? Do we have any information on their conversion stories?? I really want to know at what point and under what circumstances we first came in contact with the Church.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Milking Australian Goats

So far this birthday has been AMAZING. My lovely, lovely amazing companion Sister Lee-lo decorated our entire apartment, all while I was asleep! It was so sweet of her! Ah she is just the best. My companions always are. I LOVE Sister Lee-lo.


Brendon Park, one of the YSA's from Bunbury and a friend of Elder Cook's has been giving Sister Lee-lo and I crossfit work outs to do. It's been awesome! Gotta stay in shape. Thank goodness Australia doesn't have Krispie Kreme or else my diet would be shot. Heck, it's still shot. Dang Tim Tams. Ha ha. But Dad when I come home I want to do some biking with you; I love biking. I'm not going to buy a car I'm going to buy a bike. Ha ha no, like for real.

My bike, Amulek.

That's good that you guys have a consistent scripture study routine. There is power in the Book of Mormon.

Ah no way! Jared is staying another month?? Oh that is awesome! He is a solid missionary!! AND, get this - my companion Sister Lee-lo and Jared's companion in Samoa are first cousins. How crazy is that?! It's a small world when you're a Mormon! She was showing me some pictures that her cousin sent her and I was like, "Wait a minute...that's my uncle!!" Ha ha it was crazy.

Making Banana Cake!
Okay so let me tell you about my week!! First of all, it was amazing, as always. Being a missionary is still the best thing EVER. We have been working so hard on progressing people - we know how to find them; what we need to work on is progressing them. Because there's no point in finding new investigators if they don't progress! We are working with some people that have SO much potential! I am stoked.

Milking a goat like a boss.

Yesterday we milked a goat. So I can cross Milking a Goat in Australia off my bucket list.
We had a baptism scheduled for this Wednesday, but we've moved it back. She's not quite ready. Which is so sad but she will be! Baptism is a sacred ordinance and it's not something that should be taken lightly. She still wants to get baptized; so it will happen eventually - but first, she needs to fully commit to the Lord. Baptism is something that should be taken very seriously - you don't want to make a mock of something so sacred. When you are baptized you take the Lord's name upon you, and that is quite a commitment. "Thou shalt not take the Lord thy God's name in vain".
I am glad to hear that everyone is doing so well! I miss you all but I am so, SO happy. I love being a missionary.

I LOVED the videos! Thank you thank you. So glad everyone is doing so great. Alright, so, you want to hear more missionary experiences! I would LOVE to share some. I don't usually know what to write about so I just kind of ramble - but I will share more teaching experiences. For example, about a week and a half ago we tracted into an older gentleman named D----. He is agnostic. We had a solid discussion with him that first day, and really piqued his curiosity - I was super stoked about it because I felt that he had a lot of potential. We left him with a Book of Mormon and set up an appointment for the following Tuesday.

Well, Tuesday rolls around and we get a call from D----. He told us that he wasn't interested and that we could come pick up the literature we left. Uh huh, not in my house! No way Jose'. I talked to him on the phone and convinced him to let us come by and see him.

So, he agreed to let us come by that night. We did, and we had an INCREDIBLE lesson with him. He had done some research online (which is rarely a good thing) and said there was no way he could live the Word of Wisdom. We brought it all down to one thing - whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Because  if he was, then it doesn't matter what issues we might have with the Word of Wisdom; it is direct revelation and there is no use arguing with it. And the way we can know if Joseph Smith was a prophet is through the Book of Mormon. It was an AWESOME lesson; the Spirit was very strong and he agreed to read Alma 32 (I said a prayer in my heart about what to leave with him, and Alma 32 was the solid answer). We had a kneeling prayer at the end and I swear, he had tears in his eyes. It was incredible, and he told us that he normally would never have spoken to us at all, but that day at the door something told him to talk to us. The SPIRIT! It was amazing. We are meeting with him again tomorrow; I'm super stoked. I feel really good about this one. I'm so determined.

Anyways, I have to go, but there's a quick experience for you. Being a missionary is amazing; not because of what you do, but because of what the Lord does through you. I love it.