Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Latest Adventure: Eternal Marriage

Hey there!!! I haven't blogged in awhile, not sure if anyone even reads this anymore--I certainly neglected it for the past year. I have come to appreciate this blog as a sort of personal remembrance though, so if no one reads it but me, all the better! Hopefully my (future) kids will find this interesting...and not think their mom is too crazy :). Definitely a little crazy though.

ANYWAY, the point is I am a married woman! A new adventure has begun and it is amazing. In January on this year I went on a blind date and on August 17th I married him for time and all eternity. Seem short? Yep, for those who have talked to me about my dating views before, this is the ONE thing I promised to NEVER do. So naturally I did it! And I am so grateful for it because it is the best decision I ever made.

I think we are cute too :).

Andy and I decided together that an eternal marriage (a marriage preformed in a temple of God) was our goal and we would settle for no less. We were rewarded for our commitment to each other to stay morally clean and place Christ as the center of our relationship. Because Christ is the center of our marriage, I feel so at peace with this huge decision! I know we have the same goals and it brings comfort to my soul. Together, we want to live a life of service to our God and to each other. It is the most worthwhile endeavor of my life and it has already brought me tremendous happiness :). Andy is great and I love him with my whole heart. 

All for now, but I will try to keep this updated a little better! Everyday is an adventure. 


Brooke George

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Last Note from My Mission

Dearest Family,

Well, my time in Taiwan is drawing to a close and I don't like it one bit! Part of me would rather just zap back home with out all the good byes. Sigh, but thus is life right? I am very excited to see all of you again, but the whole transition part is not my favorite!!!! It will work out though and I can't wait to hug you all! Keep us in your prayers--I am going to finish strong with all of your support.

We are working hard to do what the Lord would have us do, and really praying with all our might for our investigator. Her family still hasn't given her permission to be baptized. But she did pass her baptismal interview this Sunday. The Elders already have a baptism planned for this Saturday and so if she gets permission this week, the ward would support her baptism on Saturday. So we are hoping for one last miracle here! But of course it is not the end to God's miracles. I read about that today in Mormon chapter 9. I really liked how Moroni explained that God is a God of miracles. We think miracles have ceased only due to our own unbelief and wickedness. I have seen miracles every day of my mission. I am sure that as I remain faithful and abounding in good works, I will continue to see miracles every day of my life. We just don't always get the miracles we really hoped for--but God will always give us what we really need.

I do know that I have been able to work hard every day, and that I am improving along the way. God loves me and as I remain His humble servant, I will be able to return to Him one day. I love the simplicity of mission life. I don't have to worry about anything but doing God's work. I know that I am doing something meaningful every day and my life is so full of joy. I am scared to go home (school, work, social life..what is that??), but I know that these great happy things don't have to end. They just take on a new form with the new stage of my life. I have been slightly emotional about that today, but it will all work out. I just need to rely on God and He will guide my life. I have faith in Him and on His Son Jesus Christ. I know Christ is my Redeemer--I know that as a missionary I still desperately need the power of His Atonement every day. I am so grateful for Him and that I have this special consecrated time in my life to wear His name boldly every day.

We found some really amazing people this week!!! Probably the most miraculous add we had this week was when we went on an errand for our bishop. He had the address of a less active, but knew she had already moved elsewhere--no phone number though. He wanted us to go to her old address and check it out--see if they neighbors knew where she had gone to. We weren't too excited to play detective (we ended up taking a camera and taking pictures of her mail to confirm her identity...it was kind of fun), but we decided it was important to do what the Bishop asked. So we went, and the apartment complex was a mess. The floor she had previously lived on was gutted out and we met a rather peculiar man squatting on the property. We were a little creeped out and about to give up, but decided to check out the second floor since it seemed inhabited. We knocked and it didn't seem like anyone was going to come out. But then a cute girl about our age opened the door and started talking to us. She didn't know anything about the less active member, so we decided to invite her to learn more about the message we brought. She added and we will be meeting with her tomorrow! So exciting!!! We would NEVER have tracted that house in a MILLION years--we know the Lord guided our bishop and guided us to her.

We are finding and doing our best to teach all of the many people who want us to meet with them. I find that we are so busy with lessons because we have soo many people who are willing to meet with us. On Sunday a less active I contacted on the road came to church--the first time since she moved here a year ago. Her life is not in a very happy place, but she had met our bishop at a baptismal service she attended with us and the yesterday went in to have an interview with him. She had such a glow about her and was sooo happy to be with her sisters again. It was so amazing! We actually had quite a few less actives show up at church this past Sunday--as well as some part member families. Also on Saturday we had the R.S. president peike for this family and the mom and two kids came to sacrament meeting!! We have been meeting with them for like four months and this is the first time they attended sacrament meeting. They attended primary once before, but didn't know anyone so felt kind of awkward. They plan on coming again next week.

I could go on and on about all the miracles we are seeing--God has been soo great to us. I know I fell short on some of my goals for this week, this move call, and this mission---but I know that my goals pushed me to do more than I could have ever imagined. I love the Lord; I love His work. I will work hard to always be the Lord's missionary.

Love you so much and see you soon :)

Sister Brooke Smith

P.S. For my last P-day our district had a potluck--Sister Thomas and I made the salad. After the huge lunch we played Jenga and had primary songs playing in the background. Yep, missionaries know how to throw a party :). The jenga blocks are HUGE cardboard pieces (kind of like the bricks we got for Christmas when I was little). It was really fun and we built it up over our heads! I will show you pictures soon!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Happy Father's Day-June 17, 2012

Dearest Family!!!!!!

We have worked hard this week and we did a lot better with our goals this week!! Still striving to finish strong---we have faith we can have a baptism this month--we have some really awesome people. They all just need miracles, so we are working hard to provide the faith required. The most promising investigator is a very sweet sister. She is 15 and her family initially opposed her baptism back in May. We went from not being able to visit to visiting almost weekly to weekly!!! We have been able to sit down with her whole family once, but with both parents three times! Our relationship with them have become so close--She comes to church every week with her classmate (she is a member referral!). We have also had peikes at all but one lesson! It has been a huge miracle. So we have faith we can receive permission this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am going to work my hardest to do so. And then we are going to keep working with the whole family can be baptized as well. They are such a strong family---her mom LOVES the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet the young women's leader gave her. She reads the scriptures with her mom and invites to them to pray with her daily! She has been a little bit nervous to ask her father, but is gaining more courage. I know she can do it! We invited her to re-ask her family this week so will call her today for an update. We have amazing investigators with some hard obstacles, but we have been working really hard to overcome them. And will continue to do so.

I feel recently my companion and I have been working to change the way we work to be more in line with what God would have us do. We have been working more with active members, searching out new people to rescue and working hard to find those prepared souls. Recently there has been a really cute group of girls attending the Beginners English class. They have stayed afterwards to meet with us three weeks in a row (so since their first time coming). We added four of them this past week and will meet with them again this Wednesday! It was such a miracle and they have such a great relationship with us (I switched into the Beginners class two weeks ago, so now I am their teacher too). Three have been/are Christian, but they are excited to learn about the Plan of Salvation and what we do at church.

We have also found an amazing family from English, a mom with two teen aged boys. The Elders are working with the boys and the mom has become our mom! She calls US up almost every day and just drops by to give us bananas and homemade jellies! She loves talking about the Gospel with us---but she feels that her Buddhism is good too. So we are working to show her how God is every one's God and that we are just here to give her the whole truth--the Plan of Salvation. There are a lot of exciting things going on here right now and I feel like I just need another move call!!! Please????? You all would probably kill me though--- all getting excited for my return. And I know by July 3rd I will be too.

As for our RCLA work, we keep working together with the ward and have been able to find some really great people to rescue. The ward is getting more and more involved with our efforts and I know it will make all the difference. We also received four member referrals this week....we usually get ZERO, so huge improvement. Also, on Sunday, three of our newer members brought family members to church! So even though we had only two investigators, we had FOUR family members brought to church! It was soo awesome. We were able to switch info and refer a few of them. It was great!

So pretty much life is amazing and I am realizing more and more how blessed I am. I can't wait to see what else the Lord has in store for us. In my personal study this morning I especially liked 3 Nephi 22 verses 7 to the end of the chapter. It mentions all the blessings God will give to His righteous servants and I felt very comforted. God has never forgotten us; his kindness will never depart from us. He is always there and ready to help. We just need to seek His will.

I love you all and am glad to hear things are going well over with the Smith Clan. Happy Father's Day and be good! No count-down chains!!!! So funny. Oh, and not that I think you all would try to, but they asked us to remind friends and family not to send packages with me only having less than a month left. :)

All my love,

Sister Brooke Smith

Reflection-June 10, 2012

Dearest Family!!!!

Glad to hear you all are all doing so well--sad about Mom's poor little finger!!! Hope you all are taking good care of her! As for the mission--we are loving it! Last week's numbers look really bad, and some of them really were, but I also feel they don't reflect all of the wonderful things we accomplished. Which is why I will keep doing my best to hit our goals, but also understand that not every good thing we do is shown in the numbers. I feel like we had done some great finding the week before, but some of those people were just not ready for the gospel yet. We were able to "re"-find a family though!!! Our sweet little sister (who is soo ready for xili--baptism) has parental fandui, and so we have been working with the whole family lately. Last Saturday we met with her parents (her sisters have only been home once...need to work on that!) and we had two peikes (members at the lesson)! One is her member friend (who is the Elder's RC) and another (who is a super solid member who has a similar background). Our lesson went soo well and at the end the father gave his first prayer! We invited them to church, and they said, "kankan" (we will see). Although they didn't make it to church the next morning, I feel we are a step closer. She shares scriptures with her mom and we recently re-invited her to ask her family to pray with her every night. We have a really good feeling about this family. They are so close with us now. The dad reminds me a lot of my own father--we get along really well. We feel soo at home with them all and they have told us we are always welcomed! We are really excited to keep working with them and giving them all goals!!!

RCs have been a little rough lately. With the rain they seem to go into hiding--whenever it rains here, almost no one comes to church!!! It has been raining a lot lately. But we have been more diligent about correlating with the wards. Also, we have recently been dialing through the ward rosters and setting up visits with less actives and active members. It has been soo awesome! We have found some AMAZING less actives that need saving that everyone had forgotten about! The R.S. president is going to come with us on some return visits too. Also, we have been able to meet with some active members and it makes Sundays so much more fun. We know more people and are able to more fully incorporate them in the work. Plus we are discovering a wealth of part member families that need to become eternal! One of the coolest experiences is that we prayed we would be able to find a less active to visit, and the first one Sister Thomas called agreed to meet that very day. When we came over, she was so warm and we found out in July she is going to be in America visiting the Sister who taught her! I will be home pretty close to the same time and so when her Sister Missionary is at work she can come find us! She and her husband were married before either of them passed their year-mark in the church, and thus weren't sealed before becoming less active. I really want to help her set a goal for a temple sealing! Pretty awesome!

This past week we had to go to Gaoxiong to give my "Reflection"...the last talk I will ever give to other missionaries! Weird!!! I was able to make it through with out crying--and I wrote it up, maybe I will send it next week. It was a hard thing to prepare for, definitely emotional, but it was good to reflect over my whole experience. I know God has guided me through every step of my mission and I love it so much. I know this is what God wants me to do--this is where He wants me to be. We see miracles daily here! Even though it gets hard sometimes, we just have to keep doing our best to endure well.

In the Gospel Study area, I have just been feasting on the Book of Mormon. I am going to finish it for the second time straight through before I end my mission! I am reading in 3rd Nephi and it is just so sad to see how at one point everyone can know the truth and then a few short years later almost all depart from it! I shared a few verses with a less active previous last night from Helaman 6. 13-14 just talk about the divide between the righteous and the wicked. I feel that is how our day is becoming. There are the very righteous and the very wicked. I am so impressed by those who are standing fast and will not depart from the Gospel. I want to be, and I will be one of those people as long as I live the patterns of the Gospel. God has prepared the way and I will obey. I love this Gospel!

I know miracles are still around the corner! I will work hard! I am so grateful for all of your support! My family is the best.

Oh, and Sister Thomas had a great birthday last week--will send pics next week! I was wearing my hippie pants...they look really awesome! I have a really cool jumping picture with them on.

Well, love you all soo much!

Sister Brooke Smith

P.S. Is the time on turbo mode????????????? Where is the SLOW button???

The Grace of God, June 3, 2012

Dearest Family,

Hello there!! This week has been pretty amazing! We have seen a lot of miracles--and I really do believe it came from striving to actually discern the needs of others, along with the grace of God. He is so merciful to us, His Children. I have really had that hit home this past week. While I was studying in Helaman I found so many gems!!! I really liked Helaman 3:27-30--it is kind of what started me thinking about the grace of God. He is so willing to help us--He has already prepared the way!!!! I just need to make sure I keep myself and those around me on that path. And that can only be done through charity--by really loving God and all of His children.

One of the huge miracles from this week is that we were able to hit our finding goal! It still isn't up to what it should be, but we usually don't even get close to hitting it! So we were really excited---especially since we found some AMAZING people. The Lord is blessing us with formers, part-member families (found through doing less active work for the the Bishopric), member referrals and from the street. It feels like we were really supported by our ward and it is such a blessing. We love our wards sooo much!!!!! The Tainan Second ward Elders did an amazing job with the ward activity we had this last week--we had a little skit and I was the investigator. I ignore them a billion times until my friend refers me--we were trying to encourage member involvement. It was hilarious and in the end they put a baptismal picture up on a power point...me in a baptismal suit...it was soo funny. I was still wearing my dress under my jumper and it was hilarious because when we were taking the picture our ward mission leader walked in...it must have been pretty funny to see Elders taking a picture of me in a baptismal jumper...lol. ANYWAYS, I see really good things coming from this. But no matter what we do, it always comes back to the grace of God. Last night He wrought mighty miracles for us! We were getting ready to visit one our less actives when our phone rang. A lady had a member friend from Yongkang that told her to call us if she was looking for more peace. So she did! And then we met up fifteen minutes later. She agreed to baptism and we all felt the Spirit so much in her first visit.

Then, as we were heading over to our original appointment, we passed by another Less Actives' work place. She hasn't been answering our calls, and didn't express much interest in meeting, but her really active sister has been working with us to find a way to bring her back. So when we drove past her work (which was because I took a different way for some "random" reason) we saw her outside and decided to say hi. Surprisingly she invited us in (it was after hours, so no one else was there) and we had pretty awesome visit! She was so sweet to us and because her sister had given the lesson in R.S. I had learned they didn't work in the morning anymore. So I asked if we could have lunch together (we are going to make the Chinese chicken salad--everyone just LOVES IT!)--and she said yes!!! Her sister will be there too--and the appointment is tomorrow!!!!!!! Huge miracle!

I just love being with Sister Thomas--she is exactly who I need right now. I am so proud of her righteous desires and know she will keep working miracles and doing her best to become the best missionary she can be. Today is her birthday and we are going to go to the beach as a zone to celebrate! Wooohoo. Since we will be playing Frisbee (we played last week too) we get to wear casual clothes...we are wearing our hippie pants!!! You will see pictures for sure.

I was also ALMOST a movie star....but then the it didn't receive approval---and I didn't really want to do it. But some Tainan movie people wanted me to do this short film for a competition...it was sooo weird! Anyway, I will have to tell you about that later. Time to get going!

Love you all sooooooooooo much,

---Sister Brooke Smith