Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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!

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