Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Una semana mas [ One more week ]

Well, I just feel like every week all I do is tell you all about how much I love Mexico. Like, I love Mexico so much.
Something I have really learned is that God really knows and loves all His children, and He knows exactly where there are and what they need. This past week, we found people, members, less actives, and investigators, who just really needed us in that moment in particular. La verdad [The truth], I never really felt particularly inspired to go to any of these people, I was just trying to be obedient not just to the mission rules, but to Preach My Gospel and the scriptures and everything. Obedience really does bring miracles.

Oh and so awesome story here:

We asked this one member the other day, so how did you find the gospel? (AMAZING QUESTION TO ASK PEOPLE) and she said that when she was little, she never understood why Jesus didn´t come to the Americas, like why did He only go to Asia? its so far away. Then one day someone gave her a Book of Mormon and she loved it but it didn´t have the name of the church on it, solo Libro de Mormon [only "Book of Mormon"], and so for 17 years she looked for the church, but never found it because she thought it was called "Mormon Church" not "La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de los Ultimos Dias" ["The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints"], and during these 17 years she lived 2 blocks away from one of our churches. And she said that during that 17 years, people would siempre [always] come by her house from all sorts of religions and she always would say to them, "Before you say anything, did you know that Jesus came to the Americas?" and every time "No, we didn´t" and she would say, "Alright, I´m not going to listen to a word you say"

Then one day she was at her sisters house and some elders came by.

Elders: Hola [Hello], we´re missionaries and we´d like to share a message about Jesucristo [Jesus Christ]

Ella: Well I can´t let you in because its not my house and also I don´t want to listen to you

Elders: But it´s an amazing message about Jesus!

Ella: Well, I have one question for you

Elders: Si, sister, ask away!

Ella: Did you know that Jesus came to the Americas?

Elders: Yes

It was like she had just been punched with the Spirit.

Ella: what do you call yourselves?

Elders: Elder

Ella: That's the name of your church?

Elders:  La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de los Ultimos Dias [ The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints]

Ella: Ok, but if I were to call out to you on the street, what would I call you?

Elders: Elder

Ella: Yeah but a member of your church, Like I´m from the catholic church so they call me catholic, for you guys i can´t say,"oh look it´s a member of the La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de los Ultimos Dias!" [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!]  That´s just super long!

Elders: Ohhhhh we´re known as Mormons.

Again, punched by the Spirit. Her search for 17 years had ended! She was baptized 3 months later, 2 of her 3 kids served missions and the third is on the mission. They are all sealed in the temple and she and her husband are leaving on a mission later this year.

I love mexico.



More photos from Julie's mission

La verdad [The truth], Mexico is just super awesome. We had a new investigator at church, he´s seventeen and he already goes to all the youth activities and it was so awesome to see him at church. His best friend wants to baptize him, which will be in one month, yay!

I love mexico. Like seriously, I can´t get over how much I love this place and the paople here are my favorite ever.

Since I´m training, and I´m still new to the mission, I end up calling my district lider[leader] like crazy, como[like], and how do i do this or how do i do that? 

Oh something else cool, we got a menos activo [less active] to listen to us, which was pretty great. His wife isn´t a member, and we´re going to start teaching her the gospel. He was telling us how he wants to get sealed to her and his daughter in the temple and all this stuff and I´m so excited!
Love you all! Hasten the work!

Hermana Brooks

p.s. this is me drinking a coke for the first time in mexico. IT TASTES SO MUCH BETTER HERE

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hermana Brooks - Senior Companion and Trainer

This past week has been CRAZY!

First, we went to Cerro de la Silla. I thought we were only going around the mountain, but no we went straight up to the top, and it was AMAZING!  So Cool!  And to think that we hiked that, wow.

Then that night, we had transfers. Being the end of my 12 week missionary training, it was pretty sure that I´d get a new companion, and when my district leader said, "Hermana Brooks, you're training", I literally screamed. 

The next day I went to the offices to learn a bit about my overwhelming responsibility and pick up my new "hija," [daugher - mission slang for a sister missionary who you have trained. ] Hermana Pérez. She´s from Oaxaca and has about 3 weeks total in her mission, I love her to shreads and we're already planning on rooming together at BYU after our missions, she just needs to learn to speak English first (she speaks less than my last companion, who didn´t speak English either).

We also got Elderes in our ward, which means we had to split the area and now our area is a whole lot smaller, which is nice because it means not as much walking. I love having elders! The one thing that´s annoying is that we can´t call each other to pass references or other things like that so we have to go through our district leader almost every day. Pobrecito. [Poor guy.]

I love the work here! Everyone needs to just do everything they can to share the Gospel, it´s the greatest thing ever.

Love you all! Les amo!

Hermana Julie Brooks

Hiking "Cerro De La Silla"

Okay, hoy fuimos a [Today we went to]  Cerro de la Silla. [Cerro de la Silla is mountain peak that is very recognizable and associated with Monterrey.  You can see this mountain peak from anywhere in the valley where Monterrey is situated.]
and by that I mean my whole zone and I went to CERRO DE LA SILLA!!!!!!!!!!! And we literally hiked to the very top, like the very very top, to get any higher we´d have to climb the antenna.

This week has been hard, but we´re really doing all we can to find people prepared for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to have baptisms every week, and we know it´s possible, so we´re kicking our butts trying to do the Lord´s work. Seriously, hiking Cerro de la Silla is way easier than the Lord´s work, because the reality is to do the Lord´s work you just need to swallow your pride and leave it to the Lord to do.

This is really wierd trying to think only en english.

No photos just because I don´t have time! Next week!  [ translation: The hike took up most of my P-day time. ]

Love you all! Go and do! (Nephi 3:7)

Hermana Brooks


We had 2 baptisms this past week! Super amazingly fabulous! Our mission president and his wife came to the first one, which was pretty cool to see them.

The thing about missionary work is that we really do nothing. Seriously, this is the work of the Lord, and there is no one else who can do this work. Yesterday, we visited a less active and he was like, "When your eight year old daughter dies, then you can come and talk to me." and the truth is that we will never know how he feels, we will never know the pain that he went through, but Jesus Christ does. All we can do as missionaries is invite people to come unto Christ.

We were praying a lot this week to find families prepared for the gospel. We went to visit someone we contacted on the street the other day and this was our first lesson with her and her family. My companion says, "Okay, we´re going to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon" and they say "Hang on a second" and they go into another room and a minute later they come out with 2 books of mormon and a GIANT triplet. I was like, okay, the Spirit is right, they´re getting baptised.

We also found someone else who practically begged us to get baptised. 
Something I´ve really learned is that the Lord knows his sheep, He knows where they are, and He works harder than we do to bring them back into the fold.

By the way, you may have noticed the same person baptizing almost all of my converts. He isn´t a ward missionary or ward mission leader, he´s just a super amazing member missionary. When my companion and I visit the less actives, they´re always, "Oh yeah, we know him, he came and visited us" and literally investigator after investigator is like "I want him to baptize me". I encourage you all to be just like him!

By the way, it´s super common for mexicans to name their children after people in the book of mormon. There´s Nefi, Lehi, a lot of Mosiah,Jarom, Abish, Zarahemla, I´ve even seen a Moriancumor. I love mexico.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Julie's House

Meet Virginia

Maria Virginia has had a lot of trials in her life, but none of that made her want to learn about the gospel. Her nephews had been baptised, her brother wants to be baptised, and her daughter was taking the discussions, so she knew about the church and it wasn´t like she had never heard the gospel before. It was one night when her trials were really weighing on her shoulders, she was in the back of the house whereas we were in the front with her daughter teaching her a discussion. Virginia was praying, Should I join the lesson? and the Book of Mormon that just so happened to be in the room suddenly fell, and there was no way that was physically possible. She joined us for the lesson, and ever since she has had an amazingly strong testimony of the Gospel.

This past Thursday, we were teaching her about the atonement and I felt inspired that we needed to sing a hymn, so I opened my hymnbook and the Spirit told me "oh toda esta bien" (Come come ye saints) so I told Virginia, this song is about members of the church who were going through a rough time. As we were singing, she started to cry. When we finished, through her tears she told us "I heard the voice of a man. I heard the voice of a man singing with you!" That´s when I started to cry, because me dio cuenta que estuve cantando con Jesucristo. I was singing with Jesus Christ.

Maria Virginia was baptized yesterday. This is the picture. She has totally changed my life and I am forever grateful for the opportunity I had to serve her.

I have really learned that this work isn´t mine, all God wants me to do is to listen and follow Him and He´ll get this work done.

Press forward in the work of the Lord!

Hermana Brooks

Another amazing week in Mexico

Last week, we started teaching this guy who no joke was a referencia [referral] of a referencia of a referencia. He is so amazing!  After about 10 min, we were filling out the registro of bautismo and confirmacion [Recommend for Baptism and Confirmation]. He came to church all by himself yesterday, early! and he brought his Book of Mormon and folleto [pamphlet] we gave him. We´re super excited for his baptismo [baptism].

Yesterday one of our investigators was telling us about how she and her family sometimes don't have enough money for food and after our visit with her, someone came by and gave her and her family food, and then after they left, someone else came by and gave them more food! She was crying as she was telling us, "I know the church is true!"

I love being here, the people are so amazing. The members are pretty great too.

God really knows and loves all his children. Por ejemplo [For example], we went to visit a less active, and we asked if we could sing her a hymn. The Spirit told me to pick How great thou art, and I had no idea about this, but it was her favorite hymn. She started crying.

I love the work!

Hermana Brooks

[Julie also found this picture that made her think of Tiffany.]

I love this place tan muchisimo. [So much]

Pues, mi espanol no es el mejor en el mundo, pero a veces no quiero hablar en ingles por espanol se siente mejor. [Well, my Spanish is not the best en the world, but at times I do not want to speak in English because Spanish feels better].

Well my Spanish isn´t the best ever, but sometimes i just really don´t want to speak English because I feel more comfortable in Spanish and there are words and things that I can express better in Spanish than in English.

My companion and I are working hard like crazy to find people who are prepared to hear the gospel. We had to drop some people who weren't progressing, which isn´t really that depressing because if you know they´re not ready the but thing for everyone is to move on.

By the way, something I learned is you know how Americans think British accents are the most attractive thing ever? Well, Mexicans think that American accents are the most attractive thing ever. The other day we were contacting and I was inviting the guy to baptism and he was like"mande" (significa como [which means], "say that again, I didn't hear you?"), because I still can't pronounce baptism right in Spanish and I was like "I´m so sorry I know I have an accent!" and he goes "No, your accent is really beautiful" and I was like "great, people can't understand a word I say, but at least I sound amazing"

Also, I have totally fallen in love with puppies and small dogs, but its kind of complicated when you´re trying to say a prayer with a family and a dog wont stop licking you.

We have one investigator who needs to quit smoking to get baptized, and I am so amazed at how easy its coming for him!  We were doing a thing where it was like okay, today 3 cigarettes, tomorrow 2, the day after 1 and so on and he´s been totally faithful to it!  The Lord is helping him so much!

I love this place so much. Everyone, keep up the missionary work!

Love you all,

Hermana Brooks

Mas en Mexico

Okay, this week, I really learned how much you should not take the temple for granted. If you can go to the temple, GO! This past week I saw so many people who are suffering because they can´t go to the temple or their family refuses to go to church so they can´t get sealed and be an eternal family. One member was crying to us because she had children with 3 different fathers, was never legally married to any of them, and she wants more than anything to be sealed to all her children and go to the temple but its a long road.

Everyone, go to the temple, and live worthy of going there.

These are some pictures of me at a ward activity (I totally scored a goal!)  I've learned what position i play in soccer, right offensive, and you know you´re offensive when the goalie says to you "tranquilo!" [relax or settle down]

One is a picture of my "team" and the other is a picture of me and some of the members. The 15 year old on the left is an AWESOME ward missionary and she´s getting her Young Women's medallion this week!
We had Elder Oaks come and visit this weekend, which was fun with the translator because I laughed before everyone else.

I think that Elder Oaks needs to come to our mission more often, because the weekend he was here we had some miracles.

Yesterday, we went to visit investigators with some members and the mother of the wife decided to come and join us for the lesson for the first time ever. The moment she sat down she started to cry. She told us she was in the backroom wondering and praying if she should join us or not and right as she was doing that the Book of Mormon that was in the room suddenly fell, and it was not in a position where that could´ve happened. Then she told us she had a vision of a man dressed in white and she asked him if he wanted her to get baptised and he said yes and she asked if she could wait a bit and he said yes but not to wait too long, and she also had a vision of a baptismal font, describing one perfectly, and she has never been to church once! She was crying during the whole lesson and one of the members gave her a blessing. She wants so badly to get baptised! 

I love this mission. I love all the blessings here!

The picture with me and the guitar is me and my companion on p day, one of the elders has a guitar and i got to play it a little bit which was really nice.

Hermana Brooks

First Baptism!

My first baptism in the mission! 

This woman learned about the church through her next door neighbor. She literally has a heart of absolute gold and has such strong desires to follow Jesus Christ. When she was baptized yesterday, the heater wasn't working for the water, and not only was the water cold but she has almost a fear of cold water. my companion and I heard her praying as she walked into the font "ayudame ayudame" which means, "help me help me". The Bishop baptized her, it was pretty awesome

Also we saw some less actives that we had visited come to church yesterday, which just feels amazing. I love Mexico so much!

Love you all!
Pues (So), I´ve had almost a full month here in Mexico! Crazy!

The language is really hard. I´ll say something and the people will have no idea what I said, and my companion will say the EXACT SAME THING, same wording and everything, and they understand. It´s hard. Also, it´s crazy because not only do I have to learn Spanish fluently, but I have to teach my companion English. I have a huge responsibility to do that because it´s completely possible that i could be her only american companion and I´m her only chance to learn English, which means better job, better house, better oportunities, better future.

This past week we did a lot of teaching this one family. We went with the bishop and had planned to teach the Word of Wisdom because the father drinks and smokes. When we got there, turned out their sister in-law, who we´ve never met before and isn't a member was there. We started to teach the lesson, and I was a bit nervous because the Word of Wisdom isn't something I´d talk about the first thing with someone i´d just met, but she was totally into the conversation and contributing and it was awesome. Then at the end, the bishop explained what a blessing was and offered her one (She has cancer) and she said yes and it was really beautiful.

I love mexico! 

I want so bad to understand these people. It´s really an amazing place

BTW, I was 100% aware yesterday was the Super Bowl, and so was all of Mexico.