Monday, September 15, 2014

Bryndee's Testimony!

This will be Bryndee's last letter as a missionary. Can you believe 18 months have already passed? It really has gone by fast! FYI she will be speaking in our ward this Sunday the 21st at 2:00 pm. Our building has changed since Porter's farewell...we are meeting in the Stake Center located in Power Ranch: 4170 South Ranch House Parkway Gilbert, AZ 85297. After the meeting we will be having an open house at our house so you can visit with her. Enjoy...

Family & Friends-

I've been doing quite a bit of reflecting as of late, as the end of my mission creeps closer and closer. I've been wanting to take some time & record some of the things that I've learned, the things that have become the most important to me.

First, I KNOW that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I thought I knew that before my mission...but coming to the Southern Bible belt challenged that a little bit. The words of Nephi ring true here where "it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord when the one shall say unto the other; Behold, I, I am the Lord's; and the others shall say; I, I am the Lord's, and thus shall everyone say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord. And they shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning and deny the holy ghost which giveth utterance. (2 Nephi 28:3-4) In South Carolina, you literally have a church on every street corner (sometimes 2) and the only thing that they all see to agree on is that Joseph Smith was a fake. I've heard some serious religious slander over the course of my mission, but the worst of it always seemed to revolve around the validity of Joseph Smith as the Lord's authorized representative. For some reason, all the accusations and insults hurled from behind screen doors, seemed to stick in my mind. It seemed Satan was determined to toy with me, and it bothered me. So, I finally did what I constantly invited others to do. I read the book of Mormon. I prayed and I waited...and waited...and waited.

Answers from God don't always come when we want them to, but I testify that they come. It was almost a month later, sitting in a small, dark living room that my answer did come. My companion and I were finishing up a lesson on the restoration, when all of a sudden as I went out on a limb and began to testify that what we had taught was true...I began to feel it. All of a sudden, all the things I'd heard didn't really matter anymore. It was then that the Lord told me that Joseph Smith really was his servant. He was a prophet called to pull the world out of the dark fog of apostasy. It was by his hands that God restored the church that Jesus Christ had originally established here on the earth, with all of the authority to properly perform the ordinances necessary for salvation. I now KNOW that the be true.
Second, I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I've felt the power of his word as I've taught & testified of it. I can remember one experience in particular that helped me to get there. I was in Spartanburg, sitting in the living room of one of our ward mission leaders. He'd forgotten to assign a scripture thought & had asked me last minute to do one. I flipped open to 3 Nephi 17:19-22 (my go to for spur of the moment spiritual thoughts) and began to share the story. As I explained the background & began to read, a distinctive spirit filled the room. It was almost like Nephi was sitting there next to me, saying "It is true. I was there...and I wrote that, so you could know the Savior. Come to know him like I do." Man, it was cool. To this day, it's stuck with me. I know that the people who wrote the Book of Mormon (Nephi, Jarom, Enos, King Benjamin...) were real people. They knew the Savior, and they labored with great diligence so that thousands of years later we could know him too. I can almost hear their voices as I read and I love those men for what they did.

Third, I have a testimony of repentance. I know the the Lord wants to forgive us again and again, because he wants nothing more than for all of his children to return to this presence and live with him again. What loving parent wouldn't? Lots of times, we make mistakes. Sometimes, they're big mistakes. These mistakes create within us feelings of guilt, shame, and isolation. Satan wants us to feel like we're stuck there, like it's all over for us. God doesn't feel like that. He's provided a plan of action, and promises peace if we follow though. I can testify that there is nothing in the world more wonderful, or more worth wile than feeling completely clean. Take a look at Alma Chapter 36...he'll tell you.

The final thing I wanted to write about was my testimony of the Savior. I know that he loves us. This morning, as I was doing my studies, I read Mosiah chapter fourteen, and it struck me. "Surely he has borne our grief's, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." After all that he suffered, he has it within him to love me. It amazes me. I know that because of the savior I can change. I never have to feel stuck. He suffered, so that I can become. I know that he knows you. My mission has given me the opportunity to know him, at least a little. It's been the coolest thing coming to know him and not just know about him. If I had not baptized a single soul, re-activated one member, or even touched a single person's life, my mission would have been worth it...just for that.

I know he lives. I know he loves us. I know he's just waiting for us to exercise a little faith. So he can show us the amazing potential we have. I know that I want to live my life in such a way that he can say to me, as he did to Nephites of old "Sister Derrick, blessed are ye because of your faith and now behold my joy is full." (3 Nephi 17) I hope y'all do too.

Y'all have a blessed day. (See ya soon!)


Sister Derrick

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fort Jackson Mlitary Base!

Hola Familia!

Well it's been quite the week.. One of those weeks where you sit down on P-Day with your open notebook and think "shoot...where in the sam heck do I even start?..."

Well, coolest part of my week (or it might be the craziest. I can't decide...): I had the opportunity to teach on Fort Jackson Military Base. Every Sunday, a group of missionaries go, and help conduct sacrament meeting services @ the little chapel on base. Members come and usually bring their battle-buddies (similar to a mission companion...with each other 24/7). The missionaries' job is to find, teach, and baptize these soldiers. The cool thing is these privates spend their whole week being beat down, yelled at, and kicked to the the moment they walk into that chapel,they're so humbled that they feel the spirit almost instantly. Many tears are shed and many people are taught. It was like nothing I've ever experienced. Wonderful.

I'm sending pictures (finally).

Love y'all!

Have a blessed week!

Sister Derrick
We send this as a postcard through the mail to every member on their birthday.  They love it!  I've never seen my face posted in so many people's homes...

Sister Clark, Bryndee, and Ruby (their red car).

Mongolian Grill.  They look like wet dogs...but cute wet dogs!

P-Day at the Zoo!

Such a cute picture of cute girls!  Sister Clark and Bryndee

Sister Clark and Bryndee got recorders.  She found a hidden talent...she can play almost any hymn (with in range)!

Sister Clark and Bryndee at church
(this picture was actuallly sent to me from a thoughtful member)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Bryndee's Short But Sweet Letter!

FYI Bryndee arrives home Thursday, September 18th. Her homecoming will be Sunday, September 21st at 2:00 pm at our stake center located at 4170 S. Ranch House Pky, Gilbert AZ 85297. Please note this is not the same building where we had Porter's Farewell. 
Well family it'll be another short letter this week. Sincerest apologies!

Things that happened:

* I somehow got roped into singing a duet with Sister Clark at a funeral this Wednesday. 2 part harmony. I'm freaking out a little!

*We met a woman named Michelle. We taught her a lesson about the book of Mormon. She texted us a few hours later dropping us. Then...that night...we get another text saying she'd read through 2nd Nephi...slightly confused, but we think she's got potential.

*Taught a sweet new - member lesson to La Familia De Shardin. His mom and extended family gathered together on the floor of his small living room, and down the hall. Cool spirit in there. His Mom is opening up quite a bit. We're excited.

A few more bug bites, and few more miles on my bike, and a few more degrees hotter than I'm used to, but man am I happy!

Y'all be blessed!

Sister Derrick

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Word of Wisdom

Bryndee's very short letter for this week...short but great. Only 3 more letters then she will be home. FYI she arrives home Thursday, September 18th. Her homecoming will be Sunday, September 21st at 2:00 pm at our stake center located at 4170 S. Ranch House Pky, Gilbert AZ 85297.  Please note this is not the same building where we had Porter's Farewell. 

A quick experience before we head out tonight!

We got to take President Turner's daughter out teaching with us pressure. We did a lot of thinking as to who we should take her to go see, and we finally settled on a man named Jim. Jim has been taught for years. His son was baptized a few years ago, but he never jumped on the wagon. We were nervous because we had just picked Jim back up (he had been dropped due to lack of progression) and we weren't sure how it was going to go.

Man it was a cool lesson.

We had planned to teach him the Work of Wisdom. It was a principle of the gospel that Jim had struggled with for a long time. We pray, hand him the Work of Wisdom pamphlet, then he puts out his hand to stop us "Sisters," he said "I already know this is true."

Turns out, he'd opened his bible that week looking for a little comfort and first verse he saw was something about Abstaining from wine (one of his major concerns) he was surprised, he didn't know that was in the Bible. You see...he'd studied out all the "health benefits" of drinking wine and was SURE that God couldn't oppose. But...there it was in black and white.

So he decided to try it. He quit drinking alcohol and he felt so much better. Surprise, Surprise!

I know the Lord really does prepare people. He's always ahead of things, never behind them.

Y'all have a blessed week!


Sister Derrick
Sister Clark and Bryndee enjoying some good Mexican Food!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Friends, Family, Foes, and Fellow Men...

I feel like it's been ages since I've written a real-life letter (I wonder how many of my letters start this way...) so I hope this one makes up for the lack.

My week in review-

Monday: We helped a less-active woman clean her home in preparation for a new baby. Poor dear...she found out that she was pregnant, and then was scheduled for her C-Section a week later. She'd been going to the Dr. feeling sick, gaining weight...and they could not figure out what was wrong with her! Anyways we went and scrubbed her house with her. It was so fun.

Tuesday: had a cool experience with one of my favorite families. We went over to the Martensen's home to teach, and when we got there, Sister Martensen was trying to do laundry. About half way through our lesson the washer quit working...just stopped, mid-soak cycle. Sister Clark decided that "oh! Sister Derrick's dad is an engineer! I bet she could fix it!"

Ummm...? So I start messing around with their washer, and praying way hard. Harder than I 've prayed in a while. Then...all of a sudden it starts. It was such a cool experience. No matter what it is, or how un-qualified you are to do something the Lord can and will help you, if it's His will.

Wednesday: Met a cool new less-active member, got dropped by one of our investigators. Weird day!

Thursday: Taught some cool Hindu people! It's my first Hindus I've ever taught...we went over with a member and prayed with them. Pretty sweet!

Friday: Sister Clark and I got to give a training @ Zone Training Meeting...and believe it or not, I actually enjoyed it!

Saturday: Biked in the rain. Had some super spiritual lessons. Worked way hard. Good day!

Sunday: Church. Ahh I love church! Jim (one of our eternal investigators) came. Shardan got the priesthood...good day!

And then today. Oh! I got a letter from Brother Bryson Bailey (Bryndee and her companion, Sister Belyea, taught him when she lived in Simpsonville)! He's going to the Temple at the end of August/beginning of September (she hopes to still be around when he goes through so she can be there with wonderful it will be to see him again...and in the Temple!)! I'm sooooo happy! Well that's my week. It was hard, exhausting, and completely wonderful!
Bryndee, Bryson, and Sister Belyea, July 2013 right after Bryson's baptism. 

Y'all have a blessed week!


Sister Derrick

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bryndee's Pathetic Letter...

At least she's healthy and happy...right?

I Love Tough Things!!!!!

I’m trying to think of a creative way to start this letter in honor of my brand-spankin-new mission president, who has a degree in English…, I’m comin’ up blank though.  I apologize. 
Whelp, this week was excellent.  We had this weird break in the weather where it was like 80 and hardly any humidity…it was phenomenal!  We biked all over creation, talked to tons of people, and had a great time!
So, update on Shardin.  He was not baptized.  We ended up pushing the date because he had decided to go on a campout whit the young men which went over Saturday and Sunday.  A little mixed up on the priority scale, but all-in-all not a bad thing.  So he’ll be baptized on the 12th (which he was).  He passed his baptismal interview on Saturday morning, and he’s way excited!
Cool miracle:  On Sunday, the sisters that we live with got a confusing phone call from a man named Lorrin, who is from Pohnpei.  So they hand over the phone, because I’ve gotten really good at interpreting the accent.  We called him back and he just kept saying over and over and over again “I rean pwuken mormon, and I see misineri on bike, and I cry tears of you!  I need baptized!  Can you help me!?  His English was very broken, and he couldn’t remember his address.  He had found the phone number somewhere and was so happy you could hear him crying on the other end.  It was so special.  We were able to ask Sel, one of our Pohnpeian Rc’s…and she knew who he was!  So the missionaries in Lexington (turns out that’s where he lives) are seeing him this week.  It was so cool to see the operations of the Lord in the life of this single man.  We are never, ever forgotten!
Something cool from the scriptures:  This morning as I was studying about the liahona and how it worked…in Alma 37:41 Alma is talking about the family of Lehi, and what happens when they tried to use it.  “They were slothful and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence, and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not travel a direct course and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgressions.”  It seems slothfulness = cessation of miracles in this story and every other I’ve been able to find.  There are no shortcuts…to making money, to losing weight, to learning a skill, to gaining a testimony.  It seems that we, as a general people, are always looking for that quick fix, but…we’re taught here that hard work will bring amazing things.  This is why the book of Mormon is so difficult to get through.  It’s why commandments appear so difficult to live.  The hard things torn out to be the world’s best.  That’s why our mission say’s every morning, “I LOVE TOUGH THINGS!” ‘Cause we do!
This week, I invite y’all to embrace tough things…to do something difficult this week.  I promise that you’ll see progression in your individual journey & you’ll be an example to those around you.
Love y’all
Have a blessed week!

Sister Derrick