Monday, June 30, 2014

Im coming home, coming home....tell the world that i´m coming home.

This week was sooo miraclulous. Mostly, Nidia and her family are the most precious, most amazing people on the face of the planet, and I could not love them more. We got there this week and asked how they liked church and Nidia said, ´We think it´s something really good for us and that we should go every Sunday.´ MIRACLE. And thenNidia was like, ´I have some questions...´ And we brace ourselves and say, ´Okay...´ And she starts asking what her daughter is supposed to wear. She asked if it had to be a white dress or if it could be any color, because apparently Diana came back from Primary and thought she had to wear a white dress (I think she got confused with the baptism dress), so they went to the mall and searched for a white dress, but they only found one and it didnt fit her, but they still bought it just in case. OH MY I DIE. And Nidia was all concerned, because she didn´t know what to do and then she was like, ´And Luis´ tie? Does it have to be plain or can it have patterns on it?´ Oh, they are soooo precious. Then they told us that they are so anxious to go to church again, that they want to know if they could go before Sunday. Luckily we have Noite Familiar during the week, so they came to that all dressed up in their sunday best, and oh, i just died. Seriously, they are sooo incredible.

And then we went over another day this week, and her 17 year old son was over. We watched the Restauration and it was awesome, and then we invited him to come to church on Sunday, and he was like, ´Yeah, I dont know, because my friend´s cousin is getting baptized on Sunday, so i´m probably going to need to go to that.´ And Nidia looks at him and says, ´Family is more important. I´m sure they´ll have a party afterward. You can go to that.´ SHE IS THE COOLEST. Seriously, such a boss. 

And this week at church, they came in dresses and ties and literally already look like members. They are so incredible. SO incredible. I die of love and happiness for them.

We were seriously SO blessed this week. There are no words. I am SO grateful for Heavenly Father and His perfect love for us. I know that He knows each of us perfectly. And I am still awestruck by it every single day.

I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. I know that He has a perfected body of flesh and bone and that we were made in His image. I know that each and every one of us are His children. We are Spirit children of a Heavenly Father who knows us and loves us perfectly. I know that He sent Jesus Christ to this earth to do His will, to be lifted up on the cross and give His life for us. I know that He is our Savior and Redeemer and that through Him, all mankind may be saved on conditions of repentence. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can all be freed from our sins. We can feel peace, comfort, and the Spirit of God in our lives. We can have the strength to overcome all of our trials and tempations in this earth life. I know that God hears and answers our prayers. Every single one of them. It doesn´t matter how important we think they are. WE are important to Him. Prayer is the biggest blessing, because we can literally get assistance and orientation from the most Divine Being in the universe. I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Priesthood was restored to the earth again through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Priesthood is the power to act in God´s name here on the earth, and that with His authority, we can be saved through His divine ordinances. I know that His Priesthood today is the same Priesthood Christ used to perform miracles--heal the blind, cure the sick, cast out devils, and raise the dead. I know that worthy priesthood holders in His church have that same power to perform those same miracles. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ´s church on the earth again, and that the Book of Mormon is our proof to know for ourselves. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it can bring us closer to Christ than any other book. That and Jesus the Christ. I know that there is nothing more important on this earth than helping others come unto Christ and helping Heavenly Father get His children home. I know that God gives us commandments because He loves us and He wants to bless us and if we do our part, He is bound to do His. I LOVE Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They are SOOO amazing. Amazingly perfect. And we have the potential to be like THEM. And that´s exactly what they want for us. 

I can´t thank my Heavenly Father or you all enough for helping me through these past months in Portugal. This has been the hardest, best, greatest blessing of my whole life. I am so grateful to have been blessed with this experience and to have had this time here to learn and grow and let the Lord mold me. I don´t even know who I am anymore, but I know that we are God´s children and that He loves us perfectly, and...that´s really all we need to know.


PS. I dont know if I´ll email next Monday or not, but probably not, so.... 

See ya next Tuesday <3

Sister Samantha Brooks

District Meeting

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It´s wrong how much joy I find in a can of Diet Coke. wrong it´s right? :)

So, yeah. It was kind of one of those weeks where I was feeling very...broken and incompetant and just kind of not worthy of all the blessings we are receiving, BUT. It was wonderful and we were SOOO blessed that I don´t even know where to begin. 

JOJO IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!! Oh my heart. It´s too good. Seriously, he is SO elect. I honestly think he is the most elect person I have ever taught. It´s a dream teaching him. A dream. About the commandments, he´s just like....if God said it, then we have to do it. And we were teaching about repentance and enduring to the end, and afterward, he gave the most wonderful prayer asking for forgiveness of his sins and for strength to always do what is right and to be able to stay on the true path until eternal life. Oh, my heart--when people really get it, like actually understand what we are saying and apply it in their lives, it is the BEST.

And, he has this friend, Tony, who has a family that is SO elect and so wonderful, and oh I just DIED teaching them. Literally, there is nothing better than kneeling down with the whole family and saying that closing prayer after a really powerful first lesson and their 11 year old daughter saying the most amazingly sincere perfect prayer I have ever heard. And, when we invited his ´wife´ (the quotations are there, because turns out they arent married yet, plans!!!) to be baptized, she just looked at us with the most intent eyes and said, ´Of course!´ And then when we were leaving, she looked at Tony and said, ´You´re going to get baptized on the 28th too right?´ And then she looked at us and winked. Oh, my heart. Seriously, they are the most amazing family. Nidia and her two children came to church on Sunday, and afterward, Nidia goes, ´Do you have it every Sunday?´ And then she said (about her 11 year old daughter Diana) ´She really liked it and she wants to be baptized in this church.´ Ahhh!! Yes, absolutely we can make that happen. Open the heavens are just opening and pouring down blessings on us. They are the most precious family. I love them so.  

It´s the month of invites, so I´ve been thinking a lot about the importance of the Sabbath day and how we can keep it holy. On the mission, every day is kind of like a sabbath day. So, I was trying to think about how we can make sure that we never forget God. And that´s when it hit me. He literally made it impossible. Like, He gave us a day to dedicate to Him so that we COULDNT forget him. Oh, He is SO good. And so smart. And then, everything we do on that day should be to show Him that we haven´t forgotten Him and to serve our neighbor and to share the gospel and to do visiting teaching or visit less actives or make cookies for someone who needs a little pick-me-up, and then I got sooo excited for Sundays :) Hahah I love Heavenly Father. I am SO grateful that He loves me despite all of my imperfections and weaknesses. 

Thank you for your love and your prayers. I really felt the power of your prayers this week. I can´t really explain it, but between your prayers and the enabling power of the Atonement, I had the extra strength and energy that was so beyond needed. I know that through Christ, we are capable of all things. I know that this is the most important work on the earth. I know that Christ lives and He loves us and He is aware of us and He is by our side every step of the way. 

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH. So. so. SO. much. I dont think you will ever know how much I love you or how much you all mean to me. 

Sister Brooks

Monday, June 16, 2014

Another day another destiny.


Another week of miracles and lots of laughs and collapsing on the bed at night. But, I´m living the dream and Sister Mullen is actually an angel from above and just the sweetest and puts up with all of my neediness and I am in heaven. 

So, Saturday we were walking to meet with this lady (who when we got there magically wasnt home anymore and her phone was turned off--hahah oh its too good), when we saw this man and started talking to him. Well, his name is JoJo, and he was actually the coolest. He had already talked to the Elders in Angola, and he remembered like EVERYTHING they had told him. Seriously, I was so blown away. I feel like I dont even remember what I say, how can they remember what we say? That and...most people dont haha. But, he was like ´hey, can we go sit down on a bench and talk?´ Yes. Yes, we can. And it was SUCH a cool lesson. He understood everything so well and like really understands. I dont know how to explain that to you, but there just is a difference. But anyways, then he calls up two of his friends and invites them to come and talk to us too, and oh they were so cool! And then Jo Jo came to church on Sunday, and he LOVED it. Seriously, loved it. He is the coolest, and I am sooo excited about him.

Also, it is just such a testimony slash reminder to me that Heavenly Father really does place His elects in our path. He knows our plans and where we are going to be and when we are going to be there, so He puts His other children in our paths, so that we can talk to them and help them find what they are looking for. So, moral of the story: talk to everyone, open your mouth, and share the gospel--yay!! 

Something I´ve studied a lot on the mission is vision and goals. Like, you have a vision of running a marathon, but then you make goals of how many miles you will run every week and you set a date of when you want to run the marathon and you sign up and you buy running shoes and yada yada yada. But a vision without goals is just a good idea. And goals without direction don´t make any sense. Well, this week, during studies, it hit me. Heavenly Father´s work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. That is His vision. And EVERYTHING else that He has created slash done is to help make that vision possible. So, he established goals. He created a plan, and within that plan He provided a Savior who would make it possible for all to gain imortality and eternal life. The universe was created so that we could come here and gain our bodies and have experiences. He gave us commandments so that we could learn how to be obedient, because that´s the law of the Heavens. He gave us prophets to guide us and direct us, so that we dont get too lost and caught up in this world. He had people keep records, so that we could get to known Him and His Son better and understand more perfectly His plan, so that we can keep an eternal perspective and help Him reach His vision. God is perfect. Literally, perfect. Therefore, everything that we do, every commandment that we keep, every time we humble ourselves and do the Lord´s will. We are helping him achieve His vision. But, He is so perfect, that His vision is just to bless us with the greatest blessing there could ever be. Ah, God is so good!!!

Also, I was reading in Jesus the Christ, and James E. Talmage was talking about Christ´s death, and how he believes that He died of a broken heart. And when I read that, I just started bawling. He has SO much love for us--all of us, every single spirit child of our heavenly father--that after all the hatred and rejection of those that crucified him and watching all of the sorrow and pain that it brought His disciples, along with His own personal heartbreak at these people´s inability to understand His real purpose and what He has to offer, that His heart literally broke. It made my heart so full of love for Him and for my Heavenly Father. And, like, I know I can´t really relate at all, but on like a .0000000000000000000001 scale, sometimes I feel like I have SO much love in my heart for SO many people and all of the people of Portugal and all of you people at home, and sometimes I literally get scared that my heart is going to overflow with love. Like I just wont be able to handle it anymore, ya know? But, that´s mostly just when I start crying and everyone looks at me like I´m a crazy person ahah. Anyways, it just touched my heart at our much our Savior loves us. He literally died because He loves each and every one of us so much. Could He be any more perfect? 

Also, Sister Mullen and I have been playing these ABC games which include song lyrics and scripture references and bible names. Also, ´Who Am I´ with scripture characters. You all should be proud that the people I know now goes further than just Bathseba :) 

Also, the Church is true. The Church is so true, and everyday I just get a stronger and stronger testimony of how perfect Christ´s doctrine is. We don´t have to know everything, we just have to live the basics and do our very best, one day at a time. I love Jesus Christ. I love Heavenly Father. I love the Gospel. 


Sister Brooks

Thursday, June 12, 2014

JB crushes and sacrament swag.


Oh, you blessed people. You are so incredibly wonderful ya know that?

Belém stole our pday away, but that is obviously the greatest, because all know how much i love the water slash sunshine, so I am currently the happiest, and I love remembering that this country actually is beautiful and not just apartment buildings on apartment buildings forever and ever and everrrr. Hahah, but really. Belém was a dream, and I am so happy I got to see it. 

So...quick update.

Roseane is going strong, and the Lord is blessing her so! She got a job and an opportunity to move to Switzerland and everything! Oh, I just love how immediate the Lord is in blessing his children. Like, you start keeping a commandment and trying to be better and there you go, another blessing. Oh, He is just so good to us. Also, Roseane told us ´Ai de voces (woe unto you) if you forget about me.´ I love when the Brazilians use the Book of Mormon curse in everyday language haha. Oh, she is so wonderful. 

As for me, I have been studying a lot about how the Lord has asked us to give our all. To leave everything behind and follow Him. It´s weird, because He never asks for the same thing. But He knows what each of our weaknesses are and the things that we want to hold on to and He knows what we need to put on our individual altars of sacrifice, and so...that´s what He asks for, but He who loses his life in the service of the Lord gains it´s to trying to be more consecrated every day and get rid of those little extra things that I still try and hold onto sometimes even though I know I shouldnt...oops. It´s a process right? Good thing the Lord is patient and loving.  

I was reading today about how Jesus voluntarily laid down His life for each one of us and it was compared to the seed of a plant. A seed, saved, won´t do anything. But, if you sacrifice it and spread it, then it will grow and bear fruit, which will produce more fruit which will produce more seeds and all of the whole earth can be blessed. What a beautiful image. Oh, I am just blown away at how perfect the Lord´s perspective was, and how He knew EXACTLY what He had to do, and even though it broke His heart sometimes, He had the eternal perspective and just did it. Oh, how having an eternal perspective changes everything and makes even the hardest of times a little bit easier. I love Jesus.

Also, Sister Mullen and I have been thinking a lot about angels this week, and how incredible it is how the Lord uses each and every one of His children to respond to and help those around us. He places us in situations where He knows we can bless the lives of others. He puts people in our paths, because He knows what they need. Sometimes, I get frustrated because there are so many people that I love and want to help, but I can´t help them because I am millions of miles away, and here I love the people so much and I want to help them, and sometimes, they just don´t want to be helped. But, then I remember, that it really doesn´t matter. Because God is capable of all things. We are all here to serve and love one another regardless of how it is accepted, regardless of whether or not we actually make a difference. Every moment of kindness and love is a moment worth living. It doesn´t matter where we are or who we share it with. Every act of love is an act worthy in the sight of God. And everything we do should be done for the glory of God.

Anywayssss, I love you SOOO much. You are all perfect and you keep me going everyday. 


Sister Brooks

look!  im in portugal!

it says ´share with your sister!´could it be more perfect? i think not.

statue of discovery.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jesus is seriously SO amazing.

Pretty sure I said that like 45 times this week. He´s just the perfect teacher and does everything perfectly and knows every thing and is all powerful and literally perfect and I am just dying. And I am addicted to Jesus the Christ. Addicted. Fun fact: Did you know it was written inside the Salt Lake Temple? I learned that last week, and that just changed everything for me. Literally, scripture. So incredible.

Well, this week was funny and an adventure. On monday, we were going to have 6 sisters in our branch. On Thursday, it dropped down to 5, and on Friday we were back to four. So...there were a bunch of mudanças in and out of our house, but now it´s back to just Sister Mullen and I. It´s quiet, but peaceful, so I´m not complaining. 

Roseane came to teach Rui with us this week!! And, oh it was sooo wonderful!! Rui is doing SO incredibly and just has such a real desire to do what is right. He is trying to hard to quit smoking and stop drinking coffee and he is reading the Book of Mormon regularly, and he just really wants to change. He really wants God to help him, and I just LOVE when people understand repentance and really want to make it a part of their lives. And Roseane just went off about how even though life is hard, it is ALWAYS easier when we are doing the things teh Lord has asked of us. And it was so perfect. The two of them were able to really help each other, and I just sat there so happy and so proud. I love my little Portugal family. 

Roseane is seriously so incredible! AND she bore her testimony on Sunday!! And she said she decided that she was just going to give her life over to the Lord and even if everything was falling apart and she was depressed, that she would do what the Lord has asked her to do and it will all work out. Seriously, faith is the most powerful medicine in the world. I love her dearly, and I hope and pray she stays strong, because Satan is working really hard on her, and I dont know how much more my heart can take it...let alone hers. But she will. She is incredible. 

João Carlos is marked for baptism too!! Oh, God is seriously SO good, and I do not feel worthy of these blessings, but luckily it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them, because he REALLY needs the gospel in his life. He is really struggling financially and spiritually and everything, so one of our recent converts introduced him to us, and so we started talking about the power of faith, and even though we need help in a lot of different aspects in our lives, the Lord knows everything that we need. So, if we put our faith in Him and just rely on Him and keep His commandments and do what He asks, He will provide. Well, he came back and told us that he felt SO much better after we talked to him for just that little bit, that He knows this will be a influence for good in his life and what he is needing so that God can help him turn around. I LOVE when people realize what they are feeling and then put two and two together! It is seriously the most rewarding thing in the world. So, we taught him the first lesson, and he accept the convite, and so now...its just praying and working with him to stay firme!! Que felicidade!!! Miracles I tell ya.

I seriously feel so happy lately. Like yeah, I am super tired and have no idea how the Lord is still helping me get up every morning, but I am SO happy. I just love talking to people. I WANT to share the gospel with everyone. I want to hear these Portuguese people go off about their lives for forever and I want to just sit there and listen and love them and help them see how the Gospel can bless them. Oh, it is seriously such a miracle. I know that as we come to know our Savior better, we can´t stop ourselves from sharing His gospel. And I know that if we dont share it, we are robbing those around us of the greatest gift God has ever given us--eternal life. Oh, I am so happy. God is SO good. (PS. Sister Mullen makes fun of me all the time for saying that too, all are not alone. But, she says it all the time not too so....) This really is the best time of my life and the greatest blessing and opportunity the Lord has even given me. I love Jesus Christ with all of my whole heart. And my heavenly Father too. And even better, they love each and every one of us even more than I love them or you or any of us can even imagine. And, I feel like my heart is going to burst at the thought of that much love. 


Sister Brooks

sister sorenson!!

conferencia with elder kearon

sister hirschi!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

´Happy people just don´t kill their husbands...they just don´t!´

Elder Kearon, who is part of the Area Presidency over Europe, came to do a mission tour this week, and it literally changed my life. CHANGED. MY. LIFE. Seriously, it was the most incredible meeting I think I have ever been a part of. He really helped me see that we are making such a difference here, and that every small thing we do counts. Also, he reminded us to relax and just be ourselves and keep working hard, because we are doing a good job, and ohh it was just exactly what I needed to hear. I also just felt his love for each of us individually. It was unreal. Seriously, halfway through the meeting he just stopped and looked over at one of the sisters and goes, ´Are you cold? Let´s turn the air up a little bit.´ And then kept going. It really was so amazing to see that people are what is important, and as you tell them and help them feel loved and important and like they are the center of everything, they will want to be better and work harder and take care of one another better. Oh, I wish I could explain everything I learned to you, but it was so perfect, because I felt so much calmer about everything, and yet sooo desirious to just keep working hard but just be myself and keep loving everyone and it will all work out in the Lord´s time and in His way. 

But, there was one time when he was talking about exact obedience and telling us to make sure we do our exercises and not just like throw your leg up on the wall and call it stretching, but get your heart-rate up. And he says something about how exercise gives you endorphins, and immediately, Sister Mullen and I look at each other and go, ´And endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don´t kill their husbands...they just don´t!´ Oh tooo good. Literally, I love her so much and I am learning so much from her, and I just love serving with her. 

Speaking of love, during the conference, 7 out of the 12 zones in the mission were there..aka 150 missionaries, so it was just like a huge reunion and ohh I died. Also, a million sisters just running around saying, ´I LOVE YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!!´ hahah duh you KNOW i was in the center of that. hahah. Oh, it was so good. I saw Sister Call, from viseu, again and oh how I miss that beautiful woman. 

Miracle of the week: Roseane came to church!! Oh, it was so wonderful. She is a less active, returned missionary, who is in really really deep depression and it just breaks my heart, so we have been sending her texts and calling her and giving her conference talks and just trying to help her feel loved, well Sunday, she showed up to church! And then afterward, she sent us a text and just said thank you so much for your love and prayers and for everything you have been doing to help me. You have no idea the influence you are having in my life. I decided to accept the invite from the Lord (in Matthew 11:28-30). Thank you for always telling me you love me. You have no idea how badly I need to hear that.´ In tears. Oh, it was the sweetest and so perfect and just....that´s what it´s all about ya know? It´s just about loving people. And loving them so much that you want them to have the gospel and true happiness in their lives. Oh, it was so perfect. And it just really helped me remember that we are making a difference.

I was reading through old letters one night and it just really warmed my heart, and was exactly what i needed, because oh my...sometimes I forget that there are people that love me in the world. Like, obviously I remember, and I have my companion who says it every day, and every week I get on email and feel so loved and I know the Savior loves me and that´s all that really matters, but sometimes throughout the week, there are still those hard days of rejection and I was so wonderful to remember that I am loved, and that you are all out there. So, thank you. Thank you for loving me and for being there for me and supporting me and for writing me letters and helping me remember.

Also, Rui is doing so well!!! He is smoking so much less, and he is trying so hard to just follow what we teach him and do what is right. We marked him for baptism in June!!!!, so we´ll keep praying for him and all will be well! Oh, and his whole demeanor has just changed. He is so much happier--visibly. And even Irmã Fernanda has noticed. Oh, it is so wonderful to see the change the gospel and the spirit makes in our lives.

I LOVE YOU ALL SOOO MUCH!!!! You are the light of my life. Thank you for your love and support. You have no idea how important you are to me. 

Sister Brooks

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

´What´s there to do in Póvoa?´ ´What.. you haven´t seen the animal farm yet?´

Yup. That is apparently what there is to do here. Don´t worry, still haven´t been. Something tells me that it isnt quite like that horrid place you dragged us to at home where the cow´s tongue were....I cant even finish. 

BOM DIA ALEGRIA. bah. hahah. HELLO FAMILY THAT I LOVE SO MUCH. It´s raining and cold. Whyyyyy, Portugal, whyyyyy?

We had the most incredible lesson with Rui this week. Oh, it was so wonderful. We were teaching him the Plan of Salvation and Word of Wisdom, and he just accepted it all so well. Also, he tells us we are like angels in his life and that our friendship is gold to him, so it´s like the most precious thing ever. Well, anyways, we taught him about baptism and he just got so excited. I love when they get excited and start asking like the logical questions--like where and when and what they have to wear, ahah. But anyways, he is really afraid he isn´t going to be strong enough to do it all and quit smoking and drinking coffee and everything, but we asked him if he believes that God is strong enough to help him and he just, without a doubt, said yes. Oh, it was so wonderful to see so much faith. So we had him say a prayer and ask for help and ask to know when he should be baptized and he was all nervous and saying that our prayer would be more effective, but he ended up doing it, and right after the prayer, he looked up and just had this huge smile on his face!!! Oh, it was so wonderful, and my heart was just so full and so happy and we asked him how he felt (which is normally like my least favorite question because people are just like...uhh normal?---you dont feel normal when you are fasting people--you feel hungry! haha whatever), and he says, ´Happy. And relieved. Like God lifted a weight off my shoulders.´ Oh, it was so wonderful. Sister Mullen and I left so happy. And he came to church again on Sunday! Oh, I am so excited for him.

We had a branch activity where we watched the Restauration video this week, and ohhh my goodness--the church is so true!! Literally, SO true. Like, there is no way that it could not be true. And what those people went through and were willing to do and sacrifice. Man, I think the mission is hard sometimes--HA.  Also, I want to be like Joseph Smith. Honestly, I have NO idea how he did it, but he was just always so like, ´Well, it´s what God said, so we have to do it.´ Like, God says we need to build a temple. And how do you build a temple? No idea, but He said we need to do it, so...we have to do it.´ Seriously, to just do the will of God always. Even if you have no idea how. Or if everything about your life is being challenged and threatened. Ah, my dream. Slash goal. 

Well, my weekly revelation came in church yesterday (shocker), this girl in our branch got up to speak before she leaves for her mission this week, and OH MY HEART. Literally, I felt like I was looking at myself a year ago. And I just realized how much I have changed and grown and experienced. And then it hit me--like really, really hit me. I am at the end of my mission. My mission is coming to an end. Yeah, I still have a lot of time left and a lot to get done, and I am SO grateful that I still have so much time, but it´s still the end. And I am sitting here, understanding perfectly, and just watching someone at the beginning of the most life changing, amazing experience ever. And I just got so overwhelmed with love---love for the Savior, love for the mission, love for Portugal, love for how perfect God is and how He perfectly creates things like missions to help change us and mold us and make us start to reach our potential. 

Then, her dad gets up afterward and has her stand by his side, and starts talking about how proud he is of her and how much of an example she is and yada yada and I just LOST it. Literally lost it. I was bawling. Luckily, when I looked up, I saw Sister Mullen was a mess too. Oh man, I was just so overwhelmed with love and happiness and it was so precious, and my heart broke, because I missed Dad so much, and I just got so excited to stand by my dad´s side again, and then I was just so grateful that you are who you are, Dad, and that you taught me and raised me how you have. And I just missions are the greatest thing ever. It´s like a mini-life. And I just can´t wait to be able to return to my Heavenly Father and have him say He´s proud of me and He loves me and all that wonderful dad stuff, and oh man. I was seriously such a mess. So Dad, thank you for being you and for being the best dad in the whole world and for loving me and supporting me and always being there for me. I love you oh so very much. 

Mom, don´t worry, I love you sooo much too--and I tell everyone how much I want to be like you all the time. Sisters---I LOVE YOU ALL SOOO MUCH. But you all already know that. Well, now that we played the equality game... :) 

I love you I love you I love you. The church is true. God is good always. I am dyinggg to go to the temple again, so....enjoy it this week :)

Sister Brooks

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It should say Sister Middleton!

Yup, a little girl in our branch ran up to me at church yesterday to tell me that I look like the princess in England and I should change my nametag so we can be sisters. Hahaha, oh I love children. 

Well, I have NO idea what to tell you, because we talked yesterday, but Povoa is full of miracles. Seriously, miracle after miracle after miracle. Remember Rui that I told you about last week? Well, we met up with him this week, and it was wonderful. He is really searching for Spiritual help, and it is just so wonderful to see how the gospel really is the cure for all. And we ran into a less active on the street that actually stopped us and then he came to church on Sunday! Oh, my heart was so full.  

Also, we are teaching this Brazilian family that the other sisters here found and they are sooo incredible. The dad knows the Bible like the back of his hand. Literally like the back of his hand. And he is studying the Book of Mormon so intensely to know whether or not it is true. I mean, he´s going to evidence and doctrinal correctness and so maybe thats not the best tactic, but is wonderful that he really wants to know whether or not it is true and he is just reading and making lists and lists of questions, and it is so amazing, because it gives me an opportunity to really study the Bible and makes me a little sad that I dont have an ipad and like automatic access to all the manuals and stuff, but it´s fine. I learn more during the searching process....right? But, I feel like it is really giving me an opportunity to learn so much more about the history of it all and like priesthood lines and everything, but just makes me feel like there is SO much that we dont know. Like there are so many missing pieces, but that´s okay, because we know exactly what we need for our salvation, so we dont have to know all the little details of the other things--even if they are super interesting to know--but we can walk by faith. and ohh how i love faith. and hope. and charity. hahahh ohh I LOVE YOU GUYS. Also, I die over their accents. SO brazilian. So good. 

Darbs, Kristan, Caisa, Erin, EVERYONE--read ´Come Unto Me´ by Elder Holland. It was a CES fireside Im pretty sure. It is wonderful and you will LOVE it. 

Also, our neighbor is an aspiring rapper, so every night we hear screaming/rapping that goes a little something like this--WINDOW YOU WINDOW ME WINDOW. It´s real good. He also blasts Kelly Clarkson from time to time, so...that´s fun. 

Sister Brooks

KENA--HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY PERFECT BEAUTIFUL BEST FRIEND!! I hope it is the most wonderful day every and that you are the happiest. You are still perfect, therefore you deserve it. I LOVE YOU SOOO. 

Marleice--HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! ayiyi you are 21?!? and married. ahh I hope it is the greatest and that you are the happiest and I love you sooo much!!!

Ev-- HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRO!!! I hope Shannan makes you something wonderful and you get a whole day to whatever it is that you like to do ahhaha. i love you!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lives ruined. Blood Shed. Epic.

Okay, maybe not Logan and Veronica dramatic, but still...broken hearts and abandoned areas.

Ai minha querida familia. I don´t even know where to begin with this week, because I am still in shock with it all. 

Welllll ...first thing´s first. I am currently in Póvoa (it´s part of the Lisbon stake), serving with Sister Mullen (again, haha). Yeah. It´s quite the change, and I guess that´s what I get for being so happy and comfortable and letting everyone know how perfect my life was. The Lord wants us to grow,´s to growing haha. But, I was saying that I would never get to actually serve in Lisbon, and now, here I am. 

President called us on Friday night and told us to pack our bags and get on a train to Lisbon ASAP. I literally felt like my heart stopped. I was sooo sad I couldn´t even process it. Lagos was like my family. And Sister Sorenson and I were just perfect together. Oh, I miss Sister Sorenson SO much. We actually got to see each other again yesterday for interviews and we just like ran into each other´s arms. Then all the Elders made fun of us. #thatsister #sorrynotsorry Obviously I miss the ocean and Nelma and our Lagos family dearly as well.

Sister Mullen and I are pinkwashing the old AP´s area, so we joke about being the new Sister AP´s. As we contact and contact and contact and contact. I never wanted to pinkwash in my mission, and I thought I wasn´t going to have to, but...haha. Oh well. It´s actually kind of fun. Povoa is a LOT different from Lagos. Lots of buildings everywhere, but that also means lots of people, so that´s a happy thing. The branch here is also a looot different. Like, I walked in on Sunday, and I thought I was home again there were so many people in church haha. 

But, I am really excited to be here. Church was such a blessing for me, because when I got here on Saturday, I was kind of bummed. Not like I didnt want to be here or work, but just like...I felt like I left Lagos behind and I didn´t leave anyone to take care of it (well, I our area), and there was still so much to be done, and I didn´t understand why, and yeah. Well, during testimony meeting on Sunday, I felt the Spirit SO strongly. I felt such a strong love for this branch and for the people here, and from the Lord. I really felt like He is the one that made this change, because He has big things in store for Povoa. President actually said, ´Well I guess we´ll see what the Lord has done here with this transfer.´ And one of the members of the stake presidency (I think?), got up and asked us what the most important thing that happened to us during the week. So, I started thinking about the emergency transfer and everything that had gone on and how we had just taken the sacrament, and how it really was all just the start of something new. I felt an overwhelming peace and love for Povoa, and I just knew that this is where I am supposed to be. Yeah, I think it is going to be hard and very different, but I am also very excited, because there is a lot to be done, and I feel very blessed that the Lord chose me to work here. 

Also, during our interview President said that this branch is just a couple of people away from becoming a ward and therefore creating another stake. So...there´s a lot at stake. Punny, President. #englishmajors So, here´s to building Portugal´s temple. 

Like this guy who texted us today and said, ´Hey, I´m Rui and I like your message. When and where can we meet?´ !!! Miracles come to those who whitewash. Or so says our District Leader.

We had interviews with President yesterday (which is why I didn´t write), and it was exactly what I needed. I was so nervous about it before, and I just felt so comfortable once I was in there. Like I just felt like the Lord is very pleased with me and like I was prestaring contas and I was proud of my work and what I have learned here and how I am applying it in my life. It helped me feel a lot more relaxed and secure and understand how the Lord needs us to always be prepared.

Side note: if you all new how many special musical numbers I have done since being in this country, you would die. Hahaha. 

Anyways, I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!! I can NOT wait to hear your beautiful voices on Sunday! Dont worry, I´ll be looking at a picture of your faces on this end :) I love you so so so much. I love the gospel SO much. I love how our Heavenly Father knows each other us individually and perfectly and how He puts us in each other´s lives so that we can help lift each other back to His presence.

You are all my perfection.

Sister Brooks 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAN!! I hope Caisa makes you snickerdoodles and you get all the other things you love, including a mexican festa :) AND BRENNER! Wow, you are getting so old I can´t even believe it. I hope you have the most wonderful birthday and that Aunt Darla makes you ice cream roll up cake :) 

Sister Demourdant--THANK YOU SOOO MUCH MERE!! Maybe I already ate half of that jar. Literally so heavenly. We might have to make road trips back to Canada just to stock up for the winter :) Haha you are the most amazing missionary, and I love you so much. 

Sarah Kathryn Smith-- YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED!! Congrats!! I hope it is magical and the happiest day of your life! I love you so much!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

And then, everything just kept being perfect.

HELLO PEOPLES. loves of my life. my sunshine. my happiness.

I am like on cloud 9056, because I have no idea what I did to deserve this perfection that I am living in, but...I could not be happier!! My companion, Sister Sorenson, is literally an angel from above. We are kind of like the exact same person, except that she just graduated from high school, so sometimes that´s funny and makes me feel old, because I feel like high school was a million years ago, but that´s fine. Literally, we are having so much fun and we work so well together and think so similarly and she is just absolutely perfect. Pray we stay together for the rest of forever. I have honestly never enjoyed just knocking doors so much or working so much, and she is just so perfectly obedient and I just love everything about her. She is so sweet and loving and patient and perfect. She is just what Lagos needs, and I am SO grateful I get to serve with her. Also, I dont think we´ve stopped talking all week long, so...time is flying here, and that terrifies me haha. Moral of the story- I love her, and I love Lagos, and I love being a missionary, and I love this transfer so much already. 

So, Felizmina, our kinda crazy velinha, doesnt really understand everything we say. Well, this week...I REALLY realized how much she doesnt understand everything we say, because we were trying to get her to say a prayer and teaching her how to do it, and so, I was like okay, repeat after me. ´Pai Celestial,´ ´Pai shi les te cha chang?´ Hahahha, Sister Sorenson and I started DYING laughing. It was literally like she started speaking Chinese. Oh, it was the funniest thing and that sweet little old lady, just looked at us like, ´Did I do it right?´ Oh, she is so precious. Who knew I would ever like old people? #saidit

Remember how I told you about Qasim, our internet guy from Pakistan? Well, he came to church again yesterday!! And then afterward, we had this super long incredible lesson with him, and oh my goodness...just I am so mind blown. He´s muslim and knows so much history of the world and he starts like talking about some of the things he thinks are truths that from what he has studied and come up with and it´s actually just super deep doctrine that IS truth! Basically, he is so elect and my mind is just blown, and I am SO grateful that I dont have to know everything and that the Spirit is who testifies of the truth, but I also wish I had paid better attention in our Islam class in Jerusalem....oops. Hahah, but I also am so so grateful I went to Jeru and sometimes I think that maybe thats why I needed to go so that I could help him, or maybe not, but either way, I just love working with him and my love for the middle east and the muslim culture grows more and more each day. He is SO amazing, because he is really searching for the truth. He even said he is searching for the truth!! AND he said he is way more concerned about his eternal life than he is about his life here on earth, and that he just wants to know what he needs to do to be saved, and oh man. I LOVE people that really want to know the truth. And that GET it ya know? Like...this life is so not that important. Anyways, here´s to lots of prayers. 

AND, we were teaching this lesson on Easter, and halfway through I just thought, Hey! Im teaching and testifying about the Savior on cool is that?!  

Other than that, I am studying a lot in Jesus the Christ again and I love Jesus so much. He is just so amazing, ya know? And had to be him. He is the only way. He is the light and life and without Him, nothing works. Oh, I am so grateful to know that He lives. And that we get to celebrate His life everyday by feasting on the words of Christ and living and sharing His Gospel. 

Fun fact. We played a game at Nelma´s house the other day where you see how many words we could come up with starting with the same letter going around the table and not repeating any, and Nelma and I won! I love feeling like I can actually speak this language! Just a year e tal later....but whatever. 

I LOVE YOU ALL WITH ALL OF MY HEART. All of all of it. Really, you are perfect. Keep being perfect. Never forget how much I love you. God is good always.


Sister Brooks

Happy Easter from our sweet primary class!

´Eu preciso meu escravo de dente´ -Elder Ogles

I need my tooth slave. Hahahha, or tooth brush, but that´s fine. Oh the joys of learning a language/it´s so much funnier when you are on the other side.

Tra-tra-tra-transfersss. Well, big surprise, my comp got taken from me and put on a flight back to the motherland. (Actually, I think this is supposed to be the motherland, but...whatever. It´s bigger over there.) So, I am staying in Lagos, which obviously I am so happy about, because Lagos is Sião. I got a new comp, Sister Sorenson, who is absolutely adorable and the sweetest. She is 19 and from Washington and has been out for about 5 months, but she seems absolutely incredible and just the happiest, so I know that we will see lots of miracles and that she is just what Lagos needs.

Also, they took sisters out of my last ward in Porto, which obviously breaks my heart, but all is well. Pray those elders keep taking care of my family there.

I can´t even remember what happened this week, because it was just spent running all over, but it was wonderful and terribly depressing at the same time. Sister Blanco and I had just become so close, that it hurt so much to let her get on that bus this morning, but she is an incredible missionary and I am so proud of her slash so excited for her to be able to see her family. Ah, imagine. Anyways, but I am so grateful that I got to serve with her and learn from her, and oh my goodness- to see how many people were just absolutely heartbroken when she left. She is the epitome (which is the same word in Portuguese! And enigma too:) ) of a disciple of Christ. And she taught me so much, that I don´t even know where to begin. I feel like all of Lagos lost someone special today. Hahhaha, okay that was suuuuper dramatic, but funny. But really, I feel like I learned that the most important thing we can do is act as Christ would if He were here. Take time for people, and listen, really listen, and love them, really love them, and help them with what they need, serve them how they need to be served, and be the example that makes them want to follow you. Because, when it all comes down to it, that should be the real reason anyone decides to follow Christ, because they want to become like Him, because they know that it is only through Him that we can be saved. Also, we have been studying and teaching repentance a lot, and I am so grateful/a little sad that I didnt learn this earlier on in the mission, because baptism is the first fruit of repentance, not the other way around, and it´s actually so amazing to see people want to change their life. Slash try to find out how it is even possible that the Atonement works for everything. And I love studying about the Atonement, so you should do it too. It´s life changing. Literally. bahaha #missionjokes

Anyways, Fatima and Francisco are....well...we found out why they dont want to get baptized yet this week, which is good, because at least now we understand better and can help them develop their testimonies and prepare themselves.

OH MY GOODNESS FELIZMINA! I dont think I have told you guys about her, but she is like our Portuguese grandmother. We´ve been really busy, so we weren´t able to visit her for a couple of weeks, and the other day when we knocked on her door and she opened it up and saw that it was us, her face literally lit up and she squealed of happiness. I have never been received so well. Oh, what a blessing. I love that little old lady. I think she is 87 actually, but she is wonderful, and she came to church with us again on Sunday, and oh...I just love her so much. She loves hearing us sing, and she would have us sit and sing to her for hours if we could. Oh, it is the funniest. She is the sweetest, and like a child at the same time. And asks us every single time we go there if we have boyfriends and where we live. Hahha, oh I love her. But, she knows there can only be one truth and she wants to follow Jesus Christ, so...we think she will get baptized.

Okay, no more time, but HAPPY EASTER!! I might not be at the Garden Tomb, or the MTC, but...there are big chocolate eggs and pictures of Christ hanging all through the city, so it´s kinda the same right? I LOVE YOU ALL WITH ALL OF MY WHOLE HEART.

Sister Brooks