Thursday, July 24, 2014

I'm in Denver, COLORADO!!! July 22, 2014

Hey everyone!

Well, I have left the MTC! Those 12 days went by so fast! One of my teachers asked us to write down some of the things we have learned or some changes we have noticed in ourselves since being in the MTC...I have learned and grown so much! Prayer has taken on a whole different meaning in my life, my faith and testimony has increased TREMENDOUSLY, I've learned to listen more effectively, I go to sleep and wake up earlier (haha for anyone who knows me, that's HUGE), I'm happier, I look at people in terms of who they really are (a child of God) and who they can become, I've learned how the Atonement directly applies to my life, and I feel like I've seen a glimpse of the person I want to be and can become through the Atonement--through my Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Atonement is amazing! This scripture in Alma sums up my thoughts and feelings towards it pretty well: "we have been encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work. Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory‍ in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." Alma 26:15-16 :)

So--I'm in COLORADO! Whoo!! :) Getting here was so crazy though...we had to leave the MTC at 4:30 AM. It was SO early and we were all so tired from the week! haha anyways--the sisters in my district and I load our luggage onto this truck, as directed, and then hop on the bus to go to the airport. Well...we get to the airport and OUR LUGGAGE ISN'T THERE--and the bus drivers from the MTC drove away! We were freaking out. Luckily, an employee was able to help us out. He called the MTC  to see where our luggage was. About 2 hours later, we found out it got dropped off by the frontrunner where some other missionaries were going. They said they would bring it to us--but by the time it would take them to get there, our flight would have left. The elders went on to catch the plane, since they had their luggage--but 6 of us sisters were stuck outside waiting...some of the sisters were freaking out and I feel like I normally would have been, but for some reason I felt completely calm. One of the sisters asked me, "How are you not freaking out, Sister Bracey?! You don't have anything in your carry on...we're going to miss our flight, make a horrible impression on our mission president by getting to CO late, etc, etc, etc." I was like, "I don't know...I feel like this is the beginning of a miracle."

And it totally was.

4 hours later--our luggage came...but we missed our flight! Our...we thought we had. As the delta employee was looking for more scheduling options, a surprised look suddenly came upon his face. " says your flight hasn't left got delayed until 9:30." WHAT?! Perfect timing! We now had an hour to get through security and to our gate and everything--we made it with 45 minutes to spare. They had NO reason to delay that flight at all--it created quite the buzz around the employees. "This never happens...all the flights had been on schedule, the weather is completely fine, everyone was there on time...this is so weird!"

When we got the gate, the elders were like "Ah! You're here! We totally said a prayer for yall to make it and right after we said "Amen", they informed us that the flight got delayed. It truly was a miracle! Miracle #1 on Day #1 :) God's hand is truly in our lives! I have no doubt that He is loves us, knows us, and is aware of us and our needs.

So...I made it COLORADO!! And it has been AMAZING so far. It's different that the mountains are on the west rather than the east...but I'll get used to it eventually. :)


President and Sister Mendenhall: My mission president and his wife are THE BEST! They are sooo kind and made us feel so welcome when we arrived! One of the first things Sister Mendenhall told us was, "Before I came to Colorado I ran into President Eyring. He asked me where I was going and I told him my husband and I were headed to the Denver Colorado North Mission to be mission presidents. He told me, "the sisters in the Denver Colorado North Mission are amazing. They know their purpose. They know why they're there. They're literally the best. You're going to see some amazing things happen there." Wow--no pressure!

Sister Hall: My MOM/trainer! She is AWESOME! She's from Cache Valley, Utah, plays the piano, and loves sports! We are staying in a member's home who has a piano. Last night we sang hymns and primary songs together--so much fun. She has such a strong testimony and I've already learned a ton from her!


While we were at the MTC we were able to go to the temple.  It was amazing walking over with all the missionaries--very powerful!  I literally feel like I'm in the Army of Helaman...which speaking of that, Janice Kapp Perry came to the MTC last week and introduced new words to her song "As Sisters in Zion."   Here they are:

Verse 1:
The sisters in Zion are called to God's labor.
We willingly serve Him with Spirit and might.
We go to the nations with truth everlasting
We teach of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 2:
We thank thee oh God for a prophet to guide us.
We trust in His words and our purpose is clear.
The angels of heaven are walking beside us.
We'll share our glad message with all who will hear.

Verse 3:
We go forth enlisted with Helaman's army
In numbers much greater than ever before.
With power and spirit we'll faithfully witness
That heavens have spoken--
All truth is restored.

I LOVE that song!  There is something so powerful with music...I can't describe it, but I just love it and I am so grateful to have music in my life!

I KNOW that Heavenly Father loves all of us so much--more than we can comprehend.  I know that we are literally sons and daughters of the most majestic and powerful being of all time.  He who created the stars knows you and your name.  He loves you even when you feel like you don't deserve it.  You are closer to Heaven than you suppose and you are destined for more than you can possibly imagine.  Never forget that Heavenly Father knows, loves, and cherishes you.  (Romans 8:16)
This past week alone I have seen so many miracles in my life.  I don't believe in coincidences anymore... God's hand is in my life and I see it every day!  I promise that if you look--you'll see Him in your life too!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

First Week at the MTC in Provo, Utah July 9 - July 16

                                                         My Zone at the MTC


I can't believe I'm finally here at the MTC! That's crazy! 

"Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come." D&C 31: 3


I have met soooo many amazing people here at the MTC--one being my AWESOME companion! Her name is Sister Phenicie (like Tennessee but with a "ph" at the beginning) and she has already changed my life! We are already best friends...I can't believe I have only known her for 5 days! She was supposed to be at the MTC earlier but before her mission she got really sick and they had to delay her date! We're convinced it's because if she didn't come the day she did, we wouldn't have been companions! Or best friends. She's from Hawaii but wants to go to culinary school after her mission at UVU. Her testimony is SO strong...she ALWAYS makes me laugh..and we made a SISTER MISSIONARY RAP! I recorded the audio so hopefully I can send it to you soon. you're going to love it. 

So--this is a funny story...when I was at BYU and started thinking about a mission, I went to my roommate's polynesian ward on Sunday so i could watch her sing in church. We went to the missionary prep class after and the teacher was SO good. He just knew how to have fun in the lessons and was super enthusiastic about the gospel--plus, the Spirit was always so strong when he taught. He's amazing. I literally turned over to my roommate and said "Okay, if HE was my MTC teacher...I would totally go on a mission." Well...GUESS WHAT...first day, I walk into our classroom and GUESS WHO'S THERE! Brother T! Just goes to show you how much God's hand REALLY is in your life!


That time when your district is needs to watch an orientation video and you and your companion can't figure out why your headphones aren't try everything. restart the computer...switch to different computers 5 times...switch to different computer LABS...try to unplug chords and reassemble wires...until finally, someone leaves over to you and informs you that you were using the wrong headphones. "Oh...your headphones are on the left. Not the right." Awkward. 

You lead the sisters in your district through some workouts in the morning (bright and early! :)) and when you realize you don't have dumbbells say..."Okay, everyone go grab as many quads as you can!"

You're called as the sister training leader and realize you have to give the new missionaries coming in a tour of the MTC...and then you realize that you don't know where anything is because you're directionally challenged.

You have devotionals in the Marriott Center and BYU memories flood your mind :) 


Dang...I wish I had more time to write! :( I have so much to say! Every day I write at least 10 pages in my journal about what happened or what I have learned. I've been learning A TON...but the two things that have stuck out to me the most this week are:

"There is little growth in a comfort zone and little comfort in a growth zone." I LOVE THAT! The MTC has pushed me out of my comfort zone so much this past week--but I AM SO GRATEFUL. Take that to heart. Remember that. 

We have also learned a lot about God's love this week and about the Atonement. "If you will only allow His divine love into your life, it can dress any wound, heal any hurt, or soften any sorrow." --President Uchtdorf 

Send me all your addresses and I'll send you some mail! This 1 hour of email time has gone by waayyy too quickly and I still have so much I want to share with all of you!! 

Well..I have to go :( but the church is true!! Love you :)

Sister Bracey 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


“My counsel is that we need to focus our energy on strengthening our families by talking, rejoicing, preaching, and prophesying of Christ, that we may enjoy the reward of righteous families so we can be eternal families.” 
--Elder Quentin L. Cook

Sister Bracey X2


My sister, Jessica/Sister Bracey, is currently serving a mission in Tallahassee, Florida. She's been out for 8 months and is doing GREAT! She's amazing. Anyways--my dad called her mission president to ask if I could come to Florida to do splits my sister for 3 days since I already had my call and our missions will overlap.

And he said YES!


Being a missionary with my sister was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. All of my concerns and worries about going on a mission completely vanished and my excitement level for my mission SKYROCKETED. 

My dad and I play a game where you take pictures on the plane with different expressions and then the other person has to guess what the expression is. 

This was excited. 

And...I forgot what this one was. Feel free to use your imagination, though. 

My dad and I drove from the Jacksonville Airport to the Mission Home in Tallahassee. My dad wasn't allowed to see my sister due to the mission rules, however, he was able to see her companion. It was a really tender moment he got to meet Sister Campbell. We were all in tears. 

Jessica/Sister Bracey and I then saw each other and screamed and hugged and screamed and hugged some more. It still seems SO surreal I got to not only see her, but that I got to be a missionary with her for 3 days! She was the best companion EVER! We saw so many miracles during those 3 days--it was amazing. The Church is true!!!

My reunion with my sister was pretty short though--we had a busy busy schedule to keep. First, we went to visit (R) an investigator. He's an ex-convict and staying in a homeless shelter right now where the people are so rude to him…people spit on him and throw food and whatever else they can find at him and they use the worst language around him…it's awful. But he is such a good missionary there. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he has shared it with 3 other people at the shelter so far! He takes lessons from the missionaries every day, and he's always taking notes--so eager to learn and understand the truth.  He's amazing but like all of us, he isn't perfect. Life has been really hard on him. He went on to explain some of the trials he was facing and then sincerely asked, "Sister Bracey...if there was a God, why would He send me to the shelter? Why would He let such horrible things happen to me?" I flipped my scriptures open to 1 Nephi where we read some of the hard trials Nephi faced in the wilderness. I then compared Nephi's trials to his...after all, we all have our own, personal wildernesses. We're all like Nephi when it comes to having a wilderness, but now comes the real test. Are we keeping the Lord's commandments?

Just as God led Nephi out of his wilderness, He will lead us out of ours. "I will also be your light in the wilderness and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments….inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land and ye shall know that it is by me that you are led" (1 Nephi 17:13).  The Spirit was so strong and after we read that--we read it again, like 3 times. I love that scripture. "I will be your light in [your] wilderness...and ye shall know that it is by me that you are led."

We also talked to him about the Atonement and how Christ knew exactly what he was going through.  We said, "God has a plan for you. The trials you've been given in this life are to help build your faith, strengthen your character, and give you opportunities to lift others give them say, "Look, I've been there. I know what it's like-- but most importantly, Christ knows what it's like. And He knows what it's like for you--you personally." With our trials, we draw even closer to the Savior, Jesus Christ, and we can invite others to come unto Him, as well.

It's not that God says "Okay..I'm going to give you this trial and this trial and this trial...etc, etc'
No--rather, He allows life to happen to us. Luckily, we know that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

"Oh...," he said. "So instead of asking myself "why me?," I should be asking myself, "What does God want me to learn from this and how can I grow from this experience?"


Sister Campbell also talked to him about the plan of compensation. If we reach -20 in our lives, we have the opportunity to reach a +20. Everything we encounter is made up for by Christ. SO TRUE! Elder Wirthlin also talked about this principle of compensation in his talk called, "Come What May and Love it." (it's a great talk, read it!)

After we met with him, Jennifer took us out to dinner at Panera Bread, which was super nice of her, and then we went contacting to find some friends to take to Institute. We didn't have to walk more than 2 minutes before we met another investigator, who just moved to Tallahassee from Georgia. We invited him to Institute with us (which includes a dinner and bible study class at the church) and told him how there are sports and activities there every week he is always welcome to come to. Anyway--he came to Institute and the lesson just happened to be on the Apostasy and the Godhead! Miracle! He told us he really liked the class and that he would bring his sister next week. Yay!!!

Some sister missionaries getting ready to call it a day

graham crackers and milk before bed. some things never change 

I slept so good that night. The next morning came...6:30 comes very fast--we worked out, got ready (where I discovered I'm going to need to find a much faster way to get ready in the mornings haha) had personal study and then companion study.

Companion Study 

 I read a scripture in Mosiah 4:17-21, and I just knew I needed to remember it because I felt like I was meant to share it with someone during a lesson today. Turns out, I did! I was able to share it with our investigator (R) and he said it was exactly what he needed to hear. It talks about how we are all children of God, we're all dependent on Him. We're all beggars. And even when people make mistakes and bring their own misery upon themselves, we still need to love them and remember their worth. (R) choked up when I read it and said, "How did you know I needed to hear that today? How'd ya know?" I explained that it wasn't me who knew... it was God who knew...and it was God who worked through me to send him that message. I then bore my testimony that I knew we were all children of God and that God is aware of us and our needs. He knows us personally. I could totally feel God's love for (R) and, well--all of us--in the room. The Spirit was really strong.

After our lesson with (R), we visited another investigator who's Jewish. Our appointment with her fell through, but we shared a short message on her doorstep and she gave us these super good Mexican Brownies...she's an amazing baker. One day, she wants to open up her own bakery and we'll be able to say we've had her famous brownies before anyone else. :)

A member in the ward got her wisdom teeth out recently, so we went and heart-attacked her apartment! (Heart-attacked = when you write cards on paper hearts and stick them all over someone's door) It was quick but fun!

And started POURING RAIN! was still sunny out. It was crazy! Apparently, it happens just about every day there in the summer. It will start pouring rain around 3:00 and then it will stop about 10-15 minutes later. We definitely do NOT get that kind of rain in Utah.

After our adventure in the rainstorm, we visited (M)! She is SUCH an angel. Her smile seriously brightens the room. I love her! Unfortunately, she is going through some tough times right now, though. My sister and I sang "A Child's Prayer" for her (one of my favorite songs EVER) and challenged her to start working on Personal Progress--a program for young women (though applicable to everyone) that helps form personal habits of prayer, scripture study, obedience to the commandments, and service to others. I just remember how much I loved working on my Personal honestly changed my LIFE. It strengthened my testimony and faith in my Savior, Jesus Christ, and it allowed me to recognize and develop my unique gifts. I'd encourage everyone to do it! I'm excited to follow up with (M) on it and see how she likes it.

Okay--can I just say....FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY IS BEAUTIFUL! We went contacting for a little bit before dinner on campus and I absolutely loved the red brick buildings and the green trees and the is SO pretty!

We also met with (N) later that night...we watched the Restoration video with her and talked about prophets. It's amazing how I thought being a missionary would be boring...I honestly thought it would be like sitting in church--which is great, don't get me wrong--but church non-stop for 18 months? I didn't think that would be very fun. But it's so different when you're with people who desire to know the truth but have just never heard it before! It is SO fun and so rewarding. I've never happier in my life! After (N)'s lesson, we went to the family history center where Jessica and Sister Campbell helped me discover more about my family roots. It was so fun to learn more about my ancestors!

Our day went by so fast...Sister Campbell told me, "The days feel like weeks, the weeks feel like the days, and the transfers feel like seconds." Sounds about right! haha, so we were walking home--when we got a voicemail from (R) sounded like he was crying...he said he messed up and that he was leaving... our hearts totally broke in half. (R) doesn't have a phone, so we don't have any way to reach him but we said a prayer that he would call us and tell us what was going on. Literally right before we were about to say "Amen," our phone rings....and guess who it was... (R)!

He was going to break his parole so he didn't have to stay at the shelter anymore and then get drunk until he passes out. "(R)... that is a horrible idea." We told him how much God loved him and how much we love him and enjoy teaching him and seeing him grow closer to Christ and he told us "Y'all need to not get so attached to me. I'm leaving."

Sister Campbell told him that she's been a wreck since he told her that because she sees SO much potential in him and feels God's love for him so strongly.

Jessica/Sister Bracey and Sister Campbell "(R), God has never and will never leave you alone. He loves you so much, he's going to send you earthly angels tonight to show you how much he loves you and is aware of you. You're going to see a miracle tonight, I promise."

"You think so? Well, if that happens, I'll reconsider my plans but I really don't see that....uh-oh."


"The elders are walking by..." (MIRACLE!)

We hung up after that so he could talk to the other missionaries. He listened to their advice about taking things one step at a time. The next morning, (R) calls us first thing and asks what time we would be available for a lesson that day.

Wow, PRAYER WORKS! God is definitely on our side. Over these past few days, I've realized that God is already willing to grant us blessings, but they are conditional on our asking for them. Being a missionary was so much fun. You just constantly feel God's love for the people you are's priceless. Yes, you do have to sacrifice a lot--school, money, your friends, your family, etc, etc, but the experience--even in just 3 days...I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.

A member took us out to dinner. It was our first time trying fried peanuts. Yum!

I feel so blessed to have been in Florida with Jessica/Sister Bracey. It has made me SO much more excited to go into Denver and serve others while teaching them about Jesus Christ. Honestly, I would be having so many more doubts about a mission and questions if it weren't for this incredible opportunity to teach the gospel here at FSU. Now, I know-- I am prepared and ready-- I know what to strive for--but most importantly...I know that this is part of my plan. I know I'm supposed to be in Denver at this time and I know that Heavenly Father will use me as an instrument in His hands as he leads me to people who are ready for this good news--that Christ lives and that He loves us more than we can comprehend. And through baptism, faith, keeping the commandments, and enduring to the end, we can live with Him again after this life.

I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our every single prayer. I can testify that He knows us personally. He knows our strengths, our weaknesses, our wants, our needs--He knows exactly what we are going through. I know that He suffered and died on the cross for us, that we might live with Him again--and I know He would have done it just for me, as He would have done it just for you. I know we are given trials to shape and mold us so we can draw nearer unto God. I know He is always watching over us and sends earthly angels to help us overcome hardships. I am a firm believer that life is full of tender mercies and miracles. These are gifts from our Heavenly Father to remind us that he is mindful of us. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and restored the gospel back to the Earth. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet today and that he receives revelation to help guide us back to our Father in Heaven. I know that the Book of Mormon and Bible are true. I know that we can receive personal revelation and direction as we apply the scriptures to our lives. I testify that families can be together forever through being sealed in temples. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. I know it. I live it. I love it. And I can't wait to share it with the people in Colorado. 

See you in 18, Sister Bracey :) LOVE you!