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. (: