Monday, January 27, 2014

Mas Mexico

Hola mundo!  [ Hello World!]

I´m finalmente empiezando a aprendir esta idioma [finally beginning to learn this language]. A veces [At times], people will talk to me in ingles [English] and i won´t realize a difference until later and sometimes I will say something to someone in inglish [English] and I have no idea until they look at me weird.

This past week we got to go to the temple, which I´m convinced is the most beautiful temple in the world. We did a lot of contacting this week and a lot of teaching. 

Also we did a service project helping one of the members at her house. She needed some trees cleared and so the elders started a mini forest fire while the hermanas cleaned her kitchen and helped her make tamales, the picture is of me making tamales with them. 

We had our first ever zone conference and MTC training in the field (its when we go to the office for an MTC like training session), it was pretty nice because I got to see my companion from the MTC again and other sisters I missed.

Something I´ve learned from being here is how important it is to listen, not just to what people are saying, but why they´re saying it too.

We have a baptism coming up Febrero 9 and a family getting baptized Febrero 15. Tambien [Also], Elder Oaks va a venir a mi estaca in febrero entonces [is coming to my Stake in February so] we´re all super excited and there´s going to be a special stake conferencia [conference] that fin de semana for eso [weekend for that]. I think the missionaries are going to get a special meeting with him, which will be really cool.

There´s a picture of me here eating my first ever taco in mexico. 

Also another picture of me with the sister I went on splits with, she speaks less English than my companion, but thankfully by the time we had splits I knew enough to communicate to her in Spanish.

Spanish is hard but I´m learning so fast!

SO the other day my companion was like, ¨Quiere ver [Want to see] a cool way to contact?" and i was like "Sure" and the next person she sees, she says, "Excuse me, can I share a escriptura [scripture]?" and they said. "Yes", and she read a verse from the Libro de Mormon.

Well that got me super excited and later we see these too guys and I said "¿Podemos compartir una escritura?" [Can we share a scripture?],  "Si" and so my companion reads Ether 12:4 and their eyes go super wide, like WOW wide and i dije [said] "Quieren Mas? [Do you want more]" and they were like "SI!!!!!!!!!" and we read verse 6 and then we talked about the Libro de Mormon and gave them each a copy.

Fabulous way to share the scriptures!

Love you all! And everyone do missionary work and spread the Gospel!

Hermana Brooks

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Happy Birthday to me in MEXICO!


I don´t even know where to begin

My zone completely surprised me with a pink birthday cake during our zone meeting! I love the missionaries here!

And then on my actual birthday we visited a family in a ward and there was this little old lady, she may just be 70 or 80, and right when she saw us she ran as fast as her legs would carry her and got the pictures of the missionaries that baptized her in 1974 and she starts to tell us about how she´s never been inactive once since her baptism! 

And then one of the members got me a giant chocolate cake!

I had my first real Sunday in the ward. That was so great!

This morning I went to the temple for the first time on my mission! I´m convinced the Mexico Monterrey Temple is the most beautiful in the world, inside and out!

The people here are my favorite, especially the members. And my investigators too, I like them  We have one investigator who we´re teaching English and the gospel at the same time, which is difficult to juggle but I LOVE THAT GIRL so much! I love it here

Sorry I don´t have much time to write!

Love you all! It is such a blessing to be here!

Hermana Julie Brooks

Friday, January 17, 2014

First week in the Mexico!

I´M IN MEXICO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mexico mexico mexico mexico mexico

I got here last Monday and that night the new hermanas and I stayed at the house of the mission president. The next day we found out who are new companions are and where we´re serving.

My companion´s name is Hermana Alcocer. She´s 23, from Mexico City, and was baptized 3 years ago. She´s not the greatest at English, but my Spanish isn´t exactly something I brag about either. She´s been out for a year now.

We´re serving in a place called Escobedo, a suburb. We´re both new to the area, entonces [then] it´s interesting how it works because I´m fabulous at directions and my companion is horrible with directions, but she can speak the language whereas I can´t. Our first day in our area we got lost, but it´s ok because I ate my first Mexican tacos and I HAVE NEVER HAD BETTER TACOS IN MY LIFE. I even took pictures.

The members here are AMAZING! Like, I love them so much! They are so kind and considerate and wow.
We have some really great investigators. First, we´ve taken over after the Hermanas who were here before us and their only investigators were a 73 year old man, who we taught the other day and long story short he´s getting baptized this Sunday, and a couple who are pretty much the coolest people I have ever met in my life. They have 5 kids, the oldest 2 have been baptized, and the youngest, their 2 month old son, is named Lehi after the Book of Mormon prophet. I am not kidding. They want to be baptized but the problem is that they´re living together and not married and not only do they have to pay to get married but the ¨wife¨was married once before entonces[then] she needs to pay for a divorce. Yesterday, we went to teach them, which is weird because it feels like we´re teaching members, so we taught them about sharing the gospel with their family and friends and right when the lesson ended the wife took us to her mom´s house and we taught her mom and two of her brothers and invited them all to be baptized and they said yes! AMAZING

Our second day, we were looking for the house of the family I just wrote about when someone asked us to come and teach her. Turns out she´s the niece of the ¨husband¨ of that family and has listened to the missionaries and she and her ¨husband¨ want to be baptized, they have to get married first too. (in mexico, it costs 800 pesos to get married, take a moment america and count your blessings.) We invited them to stake conference this weekend and they came to both sessions! They´re so amazing!

Some of the people here are so poor, like I have never personally witnesses poorer circumstances in my life. It is amazing to me to witness their faith and the service they give, like really it´s amazing.

The thing about mexico is it either smells really really really bad, or really really really good. The food here is AMAZING, and smells it. I had no idea corn tortillas actually tasted good. However, Mexicans love their animals. In the past week, I´ve seen about 20 horses, 500 plus cats (dead rotting ones included) and 1000 plus dogs. and there is poop, everywhere. Lots and lots of poop. Entonces[then], either really bad or really good.

Also the milk is amazing. 

Whats really interesting about Mexicans is that in all the ads, the people look Mexican, but all of them are white Mexican. Everyone stares at me wherever I go. Last week, my companion and I are walking down the calle[street] when we start to pass these two woman, and they see me and call all their kids and whole family to come see me and start touching my hair (yes, I was weirded out). This one 20 year old girl comes out of the house (turns out the women were sisters and this is their neice) and no lie she has bleached blonde hair and is wearing blue colored contacts and I think she was wearing make up to make her skin look lighter. I was like a celebrity to her. I offered to teach her English if I could teach her the lessons too and she was so excited! Hooray for gringa-ness! En seriox[Seriously], I am constantly asked if my hair is actually red.

I love Mexico. I love it I love it I love it

And I love all of you! 

Adios from Mexico! (pictures to come in a moment) [I think she had to log off before she could send pictures, because we didn't get any]

Love, Hermana Brooks

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Arrived in Mexico!

Hola! ¿como estan? this keyboard is different.

I arrived in Mexico at about 5 or 6 ayer (yesterday). I don´t know my new companion, I´ll meet her in an hour or so. I don´t even know her name. 

By the way, I´m having Costco pizza for lunch, and I had Costco for breakfast, and lasagna last night. We´re REALLY Mexican here in Mexico.

La noche pasada (last night), the hermanas and I stayed at our Mission President's house. It was really nice. It´s so cold here in Monterrey, it was 1 degree out this morning, which is REALLY cold in Monterrey.

By the way, my Mission president and his wife have been serving for 18 months and the hermanas and I are the last group of missionaries who will have them for our whole missions! They´re super amazing. 

My Preparation dia (day) is on Monday, except once every transfer we use Monday to go to the temple - on those days my Preparation dia is Wednesday. This should happen once every six weeks.
They gave us the low down on mail last night. If you send anything to Mexico, put a picture of Jesus or the Virgin Mary on it. Mexicans think if your mail is holy its bad luck to open it. Also, if you send a package, you have to write on the outside whats in it but BE VAGUE. For example, instead of saying, "a skirt, candy, etc..." say something like "missionary supplies" because you do not want someone looking at it thinking, "Oh, my wife could use a skirt or I would like some candy," ¿entiende? (Understand?)

Mexico is amazing, like unbelievable. I can´t wait to email you again. 

I love you all, and yes I´m safe.

Les Amo mucho!!!!

Hermana Brooks

Monday, January 6, 2014

Last week at the MTC

Well, this is about my last week in the MTC, or is it?

Most of my district doesn't have travel plans to leave on Monday like we're supposed to. I'm probably leaving sometime next week, but I don't know when. 

This past week has been a huge testimony builder. I really don't know what to say.

Here are some pictures. 

One is of me and my companion with Hno Savio, who is a great teacher! He showed us a video on missionary work and the Atonement that really showed us how hard missionary work is and how the work of salvation is work and it's a long road. Walking the path that Jesus walked is the best way, but it's also the hard way, and it's hard to be a missionary.

Also a picture of a card I found in the main campus bookstore. I thought it was funny they'd be selling that.

And finally, a picture of me breaking code 33. Code 33 refers to page 33 of the missionary handbook, which by the way I was reading my scriptures one day and as I was in the middle of a verse I started to think of Code 33 and then, as I realized this, I saw that I was reading verse 33 of the section and I was on page 33 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Look it up, it's a pretty clear warning.
But if I had to break code33, i'm pretty happy it was with Elder Clooney. 

I'm so happy to be going to mexico soon! I don't know how ready I am, but I'm so excited.

Well I invite all of you to read the scriptures every night for at least 10 minutes! In the words of one of my teachers, if you are not enjoying your scripture study, it's because you're doing it wrong. Ask yourself, what do I want/need or what does someone else I know want/need and read with the intent to satisfy that desire! I know that when we invite the Lord into our studies, our minds will be opened and edified.

I love the Lord! I know that my mission is a time I can consecrate myself to Him and serve. I invite you all to listen to the Spirit of the Lord. With the Spirit, all things are possible. I've learned that a lot this week.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

I love this so much! I know I have been called of God, and now I need to fulfill my calling.



Week 5 at the MTC


This week has been absolutely amazing! 

I have TONS of pictures to send, and I'm going to tell about my week along with the pictures

The first picture is of my zone at lunch time. It's not with all the Missionaries in my zone, but a lot of them. 

The picture with the older couple and me in it is my Zone with Brother and Sister Dowdle. They're in my branch presidency. Brother Dowdle is a semi-famous guitarist, like all he does for a living is play guitar, which is neat. One of the elders in my district semi-adores him.

The picture with the missionary with the bubble wrap on his head is Elder Goold. He and his companion are such gentlemen, they NEVER let the sisters take their own trays at the cafeteria, but they're still 18 year olds and we still goof off if bubblewrap is involved and I love that picture of him.

The first picture is of when we locked Hermana Jeffery outside in the snow for about 2 minutes. Elder Jones thought it was pretty funny.

The next two are from when we found a snowman and put a tie and a nametag and other accessories on it. Someone who worked at the MTC, Jason, who is kissing the snowman, helped us out a bit. 

The drawings on the board are us having some fun. Elder Thomson is in my district, and it's not a bad drawing of him.

The picture I'm next to is a portrait Elder Richey drew of me, pretty profound.

The picture of me and my companion sitting down is us waiting for Choir to start. We were in the MTC Choir on Christmas Eve. We sang Far Far Away on Judea's Plains and one of the 70 spoke.

These are my Christmas Pictures! We spent Christmas on main campus, and the first picture is me and Hermana Hokanson in front of a Christmas tree in the main lobby. It was so much fun.
Christmas was mostly music, but there was a bit of talent show with things like people playing the piano upside down and yiddish bottle dancing. There was a magic show starring a mongolian missionary, and I couldn't help but think of my Mongolian friends back in Arlington.

The picture of the missionary with the sunglasses is Elder Buchholz. With the exception of Hna Hokanson and Hna Burnett, he's probably my best friend in the MTC. He's going to Argentina on his mission. I feel like that picture describes his personality perfectly. By the way, those are my sunglasses.

The picture of me with the brazilian missionary is me with one of my friends I met on the way down to the MTC. She's serving her mission in temple square, and when we met she spoke spanish and portuguese but no english, and I spoke no spanish. We could barely comunicate, but when we saw each other on Christmas we were able to have a real conversation in Spanglish! Pretty awesome!

Yesterday, Hna Burnett and I, along with a few other missionaries, had to go to Vegas to get our Visas at the mexican consulate. That was absolutely amazing!

In the salt lake airport, we talked to a woman named Maria and long story short she accepted the inivitation to be baptized if she came to know the church was true and she gave us her phone number and address so we could send missionaries to her house! And that was ALL in Spanish too, she didn't speak English!

Other missionaries did fabulous too with sharing the gospel. One of the Elders was talking to this one guy and by the end of the conversation the guy was like, "Can I give you my email? I want to keep in contact with you!" and he gives him a Book of Mormon and the guy was like, "I can keep this? Are you sure? Thanks! I'm definitely going to read it!" Like it was the greatest thing in the world, which it is, of course.

The picture of me in front of the Womens Room is in the Las Vegas Airport, and that is the greatest smelling restroom I have ever smelled in my life. As we were walking towards it, we were like, What is that awesome smell? Turns out it was the bathroom.

The rabbit is also from the airport.

The skyline is Vegas from the airport.

For dinner yesterday, we had dinner in the airport and we got to talking to the waitress, a woman named Valerie. We gave her a Book of Mormon and left her a note, along with an adorably folded up tip, with some scriptures on it about charity and love. We told her the Book of Mormon would make her happy, and she said, "But I already am happy" and Hna Burnett, who was recently baptized, was like, "Honey, you haven't read this book!" Hna Burnett and another Hna went back to talk to her later and she was on her break and she was crying she was so happy and touched by our gift! My only regret is that we didn't get her information so we could send her missionaries and we didn't invite her to baptism, but she said she was definitely going to read the Book of Mormon! Yay!

We also talked to an Iranian woman who was having a hard time learning English and so Hna Burnett gave her a Book of Mormon and was like, "I'm really struggling to learn another language too and when I read this book in that language it helps me so much and I know if you read this Book it will help you to learn English."

Also random people would pay for our food, once without telling us! One person stopped us so he could bear his testimony to us! One of the people who worked at the LV airport took time on her break to take pictures of us all send them to our moms. It was so nice! So much fun!

I forgot! Elder Bednar spoke to us on Christmas, but it was not just any devotional.

First his wife spoke. Then when he got up, he says, "We're going to do a question and answer session, but not the normal way. I have a magic ipad up here and you are going to text me your questions and I'm going to pick and choose which ones to answer. Now I know you all don't have cell phones, and so we're going to pass out 200 cell phones and give you the number to text, and don't you dare text your parents or I will hunt you down and do bad things to you."

He literally did say "I will hunt you down and do bad things to you."

And so a few thousand missionaries from every missionary training center in the world except for 2 started texting an apostle. Absolutely amazing!!!!

I remember the first question was "Why do I feel so inadequate?"

He said, "Because you have some sense of what you have been called to do"

He also said, "Get over yourself! Your mission is not about you!" He also said that the BEST protection from temptation is a correct understanding of who you are. We asked about how to get prayers answered and his wife said that you're more likely to get your prayers answered when you're praying for someone else.

It was just absolutely amazing. Sorry no pictures, but you can't take pictures in that setting.

Merry Christmas from the MTC!

I hope everyone has a great time today, remembering the birth of their Savior, Jesucristo. I know He lives! He is our Savior, our Redeemer, and our Friend. Through Him, we can have all of our pains taken away, every little one.

I love you all! 

Merry Christmas!

Hermana Julie Kristen Brooks

Week 4 at the MTC


This past week has been amazing! I don't know where to begin!

Monday, my whole district except for one other hermana, Hermana Burnett, went to Vegas to get their visas, so Hma Burnett and I had one on ones or two on ones the whole day with our teachers and it was amazing! I learned a lot about Charity. I expressed to one of my teachers how much I just wanted to love people after having barely met them, and not just love them, but genuinely love them. He then asked me:

"What is Charity?"

"The pure love of Christ." (Book of Mormon, Moroni 7. Also New Testament 1st Corinthians 13)

"Yes, but what is charity?"

I wasn't quite sure what answer he was fishing for, but then he asked me.

"What is the first and greatest commandment?"

"To love the Lord your God with all your might, mind, and strength."

"Exactly! So what is charity?"

It was then that I realized that that charity is not only Christ's pure love, but purely loving Jesus Christ. He then explained to me that the way to obtain a pure love for others is by coming to love Christ purely and as you come to love Christ He will fill with with a perfect love for others. That was so amazing!

Yesterday, it was two of our teachers last days permanantly. All of our teachers are BYU students, and a lot of them are leaving after this week for Christmas break and some of them are leaving permanantly because they're graduating or something else. Here's some pictures of my teachers and us.

The blond hermano is Hermano Painter. The one with dark hair is Hermano Avila. The hermana is Hermana Mackay. They're all amazing. Hmo Painter has a really soothing voice and we call him the voice of the Spirit and Hmo Avila has a super deep voice and we call him the voice of God. Hmo Avila is the one we convinced to write a book, which I'm already highly recommending to all of you. Unfortunately, Hmo Painter's last day was yesterday and now Hmo Avila has his own district so we need to try to kidnap him. Hermana Mackay is getting married this weekend and then starts student teaching next semester so has to quit.

Hermana Mackay taught us a lot about how the Spirit needs to be the teacher yesterday. Another of our teachers, Hermano Snyder, taught us about how important pauses are.

Also yesterday we did hosting, which is the picture of me and my companion with the "HOST" nametags. Basically, as missionaries enter the MTC, we help them get to their rooms and classrooms, and it was really fun to see all the new missionaries coming in. I had one hermana from Hawaii who was not dressed for cold weather.
Tuesday night we had a devotional where Ronald Rasband from the Presidency of the 70 came and spoke to us. My companion and I snagged seats in the second row. At one point, he asked a question about the song Far Far Away on Judea's Plains and I nodded because I knew the answer and he saw and points to me and says, "What was it Sister?" I said, "It was Music" So I was pretty elated about that.

I love being the MTC! This is greatest thing ever! I can't wait to get to Mexico and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone there! It's so amazing!

Hermana Brooks.

PS explanation on the pictures. 

One is of an elder eating apple pie with ranch on it. His companion challenged him to it. 

One is of me and my companion hosting. 

One is me, hmo painter, hmo avila, and hma hokanson

this one is me and Hma Mackay

Love you all! Please write me!