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!