"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."
--Ether 12:4

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Hardest Thing I've Ever Had to Do

Hola Familia y Amigos,

Well I am off to the office and other things---I have no idea what will go on but imagine an interview and dinner, etc.  This week has been AWESOME and full of miracles and tender mercies and my heart is SO full of gratitude and love for my Savior and His love for me and this work and the people here.

I have been in a trio since Wednesday with Hna Diez and Hna Welch!!!!  We knew we would be comps someday :) Hna Welch stays here, Hna Diez has transfers and that was way hard for her but I know it's all according to the Lord and His will.

I've been in and out of feeling like this is all a lie, and I don't believe it, and then bawling because it hits me at random times and my heart breaks into a million pieces.
But before I wanted to go, I wanted to express a final testimony.  And this is the final testimony that I give as a representative of Jesus Christ on the earth.  He lives.  He knows us and loves us.  I have come to know my Savior and my Lord and God and see how they work and how their mercy and love extends to me at all times.  I have come to fully trust them and their will and rely fully on them for everything in my life.  I KNOW that Jesus Christ lives.  He is my Savior, my Redeemer, my best friend, my comfort and guidance and I love love love learning about His doctrine every day and trying to apply it to my life.  I KNOW that this is the true church.  There isn't another with the Priesthood authority of God and I know the miracles and importance of the priesthood.  I know that we have a living prophet here on earth today to lead and guide us.  I know that families can be together forever.  What a blessing and a miracle!!  I know the meaning of true repentance and forgiveness and what it means to apply the Atonement in my life.  I know that by giving Heavenly Father our hearts and will, we give Him all, and our lives are blessed beyond measure.  I know that charity is a true gift and attribute of Christ and that He will help us develop His attributes to become like Him.  That is our potential.  We can become like Him!  Missionary work is real life.  Many people say I am going back to real life, but missionary work and temple work---that is real life.  That is what it is all about.  True joy comes from sharing the gospel.  I know what it is to share my heart and soul with strangers.  I know that without the influence of the Spirit, we can't make decisions, but with the Spirit, we have success and help not only ourselves but everyone else around us.  I know that we can be a light to the world and share love and happiness with everyone we meet.  This gospel brings true happiness!!!!  This is the truth.  The Book of Mormon is true.  Christ lives and wants to bless us.  Obedience is the key to every blessing we receive, and enduring to the end with faith will be the challenge of a lifetime but ultimately the one thing that brings us eternal life and salvation.

What a miracle and privilege for me it has been to serve in Ecuador, love, and grow.  It was never a sacrifice---it is a privilege.  How blessed I feel.  For as much as people think we give when we serve, we always end up leaving much more blessed, and that is how I feel.  I received WAY more than what I could give.  I am my best convert.  I have grown to know my Savior.  I have tried every single day to be better and more diligent and give the Lord my heart.  He blesses us when we do that.

Thank you for being here every step of the way.  It's hard putting a mission into words.  I can't do it justice.  But this has been the best decision I have ever made in my life and leaving is without a doubt, the hardest most heart-breaking and painful thing I have ever done.
But that's when all these lessons learned and spiritual strength found in the mission come in handy, right?  It's time to put it all into practice :)

I love you so much.  Thank you.  The church is true.  What a miracle.

Representative of Christ and missionary July 2011-December 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012


Welp I have like 10 minutes cuz I'm in Condor and still have to visit some families before I go back to Duran, but this week has been incredible.

This week I learned a few hard lessons but incredible lessons--about obedience, trusting in the Lord, working HARD, being super animated and excited, etc.

Really it was amazing and all started with our fast and going to the temple and Christmas Conference with the mission.  We went to the temple fasting and it was incredible how much I have missed the temple and HOW MUCH I learned on Friday!!!!  Wow I learned so much about the Gospel, covenants, why the Doctrine of Christ is so important, the simpleness of God, the importance of the Priesthood and how how how important it is to me, etc.  I still have a ton to learn and understand but wow it was incredible.  I was also blessed to see people from Manta, Francisco, Tarqui and Condor in the temple!  Like the Lord gave me a mini tour of my mission again!  I felt so so so strongly the love of my Heavenly Father and Savior in the celestial room and teared up with such JOY and GRATITUDE for being there in my beloved Guayaquil temple with people I love and just feeling so much love.  What a blessing.

Then in the Conference it was INCREDIBLE how the Lord answered my fast and prayers.  The President and Hna Amaya talked exactly about what I needed to hear wow.  Also the President began to congratulate us and tell us the Hnas de Duran the great job and I don't know why he included us because we haven't had a ton of baptisms but he said, "And Hna Bryan...great job with Hna Diez---we wish you were staying another 1.5 years, we have had GREAT references about you."  Wow I was shocked, and he had me say a prayer and also give a goodbye testimony.  The biggest blessing was that in that moment I didn't feel like I was leaving!  Other blessing and answer to my fast and prayer haha to replace my sadness with work and love and joy and gratitude.  

It was the best day ever.  We did a Christmas presentation that was incredible and hilarious and I'm excited to show videos and pics when I get home.

Saturday we had a Stake cultural activity where we the missionaries had to make food from our countries and share it.  I made brownies and it was awesome because we had food and missionaries from Brazil, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and the States!  Also the miracle of the loaves and fishes occurred because we didn't have enough, but my brownies made it for each and every person.  The last person got the last brownie and I was shocked passing them out how there seemed to be more and more.  Wow :)

Ok yesterday in a Stake meeting we had, they rearranged the boundaries of the Stake and called new bishoprics, and the ZLs and us sang, "I Will Not be Still" in Spanish and it was awesome.  Man I'm SO excited for barrio Duran now---the bishopric is AWESOME and they will work tons and the ward is going to have so much success now.  Can't wait to hear results :)  

We were with the other Hermanas de Duran in a sleepover we had last night haha when we got a phone call from the Familia Gonzalez and another Miracle----the hermano decided to be baptized.  It is a MIRACLE.  Literally.  The Lord saw it fit to bless us according to our fasts and prayers and desires of our hearts despite our weaknesses.  He will be baptized in a few hours!!!!  

WOW  I am in awe of how much the Lord loves me and shows me that daily, and how merciful He is being to me as I am finishing out my mission.  Today in Condor He has let me visit everyone I love and even run into people I wanted to see but wouldn't have had time to go visit.  Fam Correa, Angela Jimenez and family---big story there I have to tell, Fam Izquierdo, Hna Dayse, Fam Noriega, etc etc Eduardo who got baptized, etc etc.  Man I feel SO blessed and love it here:)  Feel like I have never left these people I love.  That's what the celestial kingdom will feel like!!!

Well I'm sorry I have no time to write and share scriptures and more details but I promise I will next week!!  Hopefully I will get to write-- hahaha.

I love my mission.  I love Ecuador and these people.  I love my Lord and my God and my Savior, and daily depend on His grace and forgiveness and repentance and faith.  I love trusting in Him.  He literally is a God of Miracles.  Trust in Him and see your life begin to change from His love.

The church is true :)
Hermana Bryan

Familia Correa
Angela Jimenez and Family

Monday, December 3, 2012


At Mercado Artesanal in typical clothes from Otavalo

Hola Familia and Friends!!! 
Well this has been another great week of opposition and refinement and tender mercies of the Lord.  How blessed I am to be here and learn from my Father what He would have me learn.                              
Hna.Vidrio, Me, Hna. Amador, & Hna Diez
Monday was awesome---we got to go to the Mercado Artesanal and it was so fun and though we were exhausted and dehydrated afterwards from running around buying things for everyone and it was SOOOO humid and we were sweating like crazy, we had great times and memories created together and with the other Hermanas Vidrio and Amador.  I'm sending a pic of me dressed up in typical clothes from Otavalo---part of the cierra of Ecuador :)
Monday night was way way hard.  For some reason all of a sudden, all these doubts and questions and feelings came over me and I felt like such an ungrateful person and spoiled, and felt badly for all of my weaknesses as a person and missionary and it was just one of the deepest things I've felt---I was just lost in profound questions and feelings and it was just hard recognizing so many more weaknesses especially finishing up the mission and questioning things.  Well I was bawling like a little child and Hna Diez was so wonderful, listening and loving, and at one point strongly begging me to come back and not lose myself because that wasn't me and that was the adversary, etc.  That stupid Satan always tries to get in the way.  Well it was a good learning lesson and another wake up call that it's NOT over 'til it's over and I need to do even more!

Tuesday we had a wonderful lesson with Ariana---it was so powerful.  The Spirit was there and testified to her that this was all true, and she expressed her mixed feelings about being baptized but that like all the other major decisions she has made in her life, has seen the wonderful fruits of those decisions and knew it would be the same and be worth it.  She's SO great I love her!!!!
Also we were able to meet with Silvia and we just love her so much---she is so strong and awesome and faithful.

Wednesday morning we had a capacitacion with the Assistants for the 12 week training program for Hna Diez.  It was good and all about PMG and we did practices with the assistants, and it was incredible for me to see how much farther advanced Hna Diez is and how we are all here together in the mission to help each other out.  The practice went great and it was a tender mercy for me to be able to know all the questions and where they were found in PMG and recognize that my goal of becoming a PMG missionary is being reached (though I still have more to go!).
Then in the afternoon all the hermanas in Duran and Guayaquil had exchanges.  I was called to go to Kennedy with Hna Sanchez (remember she was my comp for the week when I opened the area in Samanes to help her and she had been a pretty difficult missionary but had progressed?)  Well it was amazing to see Hna Orantes again and catch up--I love her!!!   I found out that Hna Olguin is in Condor now...NOOOOOO.  Man I'm worried for my converts haha.  
Well Wednesday night was great.  It was wonderful to be able to see Hna Sanchez´s progress and be able to help that area that was dead.  I left lots of notes in the house for her companion (she's an hermana from my group who is super trunky and I left them notes about the need to fill out the area book, etc etc because man this is a sacred work and gave her animos with dealing with her comp)
Hna Sanchez and I went to an inactive lady who had a reference for us and it was a miracle.  The reference--Guillermina had actually listened years ago and been to church a few times but now the Lord had humbled her through her husband's death, major sicknesses she is going through, loneliness, etc and it was a lesson where the Spirit was present and I extended a baptismal date and helped her accept it and trust in the Lord.  The Spirit revealed the same scriptures to Hna Sanchez and I and afterwards, Hna Sanchez said she had never felt like that in a lesson before with anyone else.  I was grateful to be there and help and see the Lord's miracles and recognize that there are elect everywhere!

Thursday was a harder day.  We had to go to the doctor for Hna Sanchez and she ended up getting us lost afterwards for more than an hour.  When I finally paid a taxi to just take us back home, she stopped it in a random place to get out and have us walk for more than 30 minutes more, and I was just frustrated---the Lord still helps me learn patience haha.  We got home and I immediately studied and she didn't, and I was wondering when to say something and when not to, but finally she came in and started studying.  We had an ok day but it was pretty stressful and frustrating so when at 5pm when we got to the terminal to switch back I was SO grateful :)
My comp is AWESOME and so amazing and when she told me everything they did in the intercambio I was so proud of her, and proud and grateful she could help the other hermana forget herself and go to work again.  She told her, "Take the word trunky out of your vocabulary.  Hna Bryan is leaving and she isn't trunky---she's killing herself wondering if she's done enough."  hahahahaha I love my daughter :) She was a great help to this hermana and told her she needed to love and get to know her comp more, like we have gotten to know each other, and apply the como comenzar we learn in the mission to her comp!
We went to Ariana (who had passed her baptismal interview when I was gone and was excited) only to have her tell us that she had thought it through and she didn't want to go through with it yet---later on yes, etc etc.  I was like man, I come back and now have to fix things again and more opposition? haha but was just like yep I'm used to this---the Lord wants to teach us more things.  The worst part is that Kleber defends her----he doesn't understand or even show like he desperately wants this.  I would if I were him.
Miracle on Thursday night is that the Lord helped us find a reference of a member who said he felt like this time listening he should be baptized, etc etc.  Wilson is his name and well he didn't come to church so his date fell through but know he will progress.
Thursday night I was saying my prayers and just crying and begging Heavenly Father for Ariana.  I love her and want her to enjoy the blessings of the Gospel and know she is ready but a bit scared, and her husband and his example doesn't help.

Friday morning was a great study.  I was reading in Job and noticed something.  Satan tried Job so much BECAUSE he was so faithful.  Everyone remembers how he never denied God but reading, Job definitely mourned a ton, cried, wished he didn't have to suffer, asked profound questions too, etc etc but the important thing is that he still trusted God and was bleessed.  We had a wonderful comp inventory and my comp answered a lot of my profound questions without even knowing it! :) that when spiritual levels are higher, opposition is also higher, etc and that Satan is a necessary evil.  Only in overcoming him and his opposition do we recognize how able and willing we are to follow God and show Him how much we love Him. We just both expressed how blessed we feel to have each other.
While teaching Valeria and Kristel (who didn't come to church because their dad didn't give them permission now) we watched the Restoration and it hit me again--I teared up and just felt of its truth again and thought, "It's true!!! And that makes all this worth it."  That's the truth.
Ariana and Kleber were in Guayaquil all day so we couldn't teach them to help her out with her doubts.

Saturday morning I received a HUGE tender mercy after a week of full opposition it seemed like :)  The Christmas conference every year that includes attending the temple was scheduled for the 19th, and I was so bummed realizing I wouldn't be able to go to the Guayaquil temple again.  Well, I had gotten over it, kind of, when the ZLs called us first thing yelling, "WOOHOO HNA BRYAN good news!!!!!!!"  I was expecting a reference and they said laughing and yelling that the Assistants had called them to reschedule our Conference and Temple session for the 7th!!!!!!  THIS COMING FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  They said they barely hung up and called me right away and the Lord had heard and answered their prayers for this (they prayed for this and so did I!  wow love them) and I just felt like that was a HUGE tender mercy and miracle and love of the Lord for me and felt SO grateful.
Well Ariana and Kleber went out of town on Saturday last minute and confirmed that she would not be getting baptized.  We were surprised and hurt but still have faith and were able to see that the Lord helped us be where He wanted us to be that day.

Sunday morning we were doing practices and I had my companion stop and re-do them a few times because it was for Ariana, and I didn't feel the love or worry or care, and knew she could follow the Spirit to touch Ariana.  The last time she got better but then didn't know how to extend a commitment in the same loving way, and she said she didn't know how and felt she couldn't do it, etc etc.  I said she was right that she (Hna Diez) maybe didn't know how but that Someone did, and asked her if she trusted that person.  She paused, said yes and re-did the practice and made me cry, and it was incredible how the Lord answered my prayers for her to feel the difference and experience this, and she just trusted in the Spirit and let Him take control.  She cried too and said she knows now what it is to fully love and to fully trust in the Spirit.  It's so wonderful to see her progress.
I related all this to an article I was reading in a Liahona called, "Teach a Man to Fish" about a young man whose father always took him out to fish and said, "Watch carefully because one day when I am not here you will need to know how to do this."  The young man's father died when he was 16, and he was scared and felt unprepared but relying on the Lord and thinking what his father would do, he was able to do it.  He was prepared and in turn helped teach others as well.
I told her that had been my goal all along---when I am not here that she can do it, and told her she is prepared now and know she will feel insecure and scared but that relying on the Lord, she will do it and grow and be able to train another hermana and teach others all she has learned.
She was crying and said that it also applied to me--that the Lord had been teaching me and preparing me to fish in this time and I know how to do it all now so it's time to apply that alone, and fish and teach others how to as well---as my Father has taught me in the mission.
It was a special time in companionship to reflect on our time together, progress, the mission, the blessings and lessons and miracles we experience in the mission and how grateful I feel to be here and how sad I am to finish and know I will feel when that day comes.  I love being a missionary and I love my Savior!!!

It was a good Sunday---we were able to make sugar cookies with the Fam Gonzalez and help them enjoy a unified family activity and they went around sharing words for us and crying and thanking us, and it was incredible to hear the Hno Armando Gonzalez especially express his heart and love for us, and I felt my Father's hand in that experience letting us know that though we may not have tons of baptisms, we have helped those who have needed us, especially in this time.

I love my Savior.  I love the mission and I know that the mission and life is a refining process, and though opposition isn't really fun, it's an incredible learning experience and I feel grateful to learn from my Father in Heaven.  Romans 8:17-18 how much He blesses us!!!!  Wow. How I love Him!!!!  How humbled I feel to be His representative in this time.  Pray for Ariana please.  I love you so so much!!!  Thanks for your prayers and love.  I love you!

Hermana Bryan
LOVE Hermana Orantes!
Hermana Sanchez and Me 

Monday, November 26, 2012

When I can´t Speak

Hola Familia y Amigos!!  

Well I just finished a mini bawl fest alone, reading your experiences in Guatemala and the revelation you always receive for me.  Thank you.  So so so much.  I feel so edified reading of those experiences and seeing your pictures.  Mom you look so Latin in your typical dress!!!  CUURRR :)  And Dallin is a giant now--not ok with me.

Well I don't know why I am so blessed.  But that's how I feel today.  So beyond blessed and so tiny and unworthy of those blessings for being so weak and complaining in trials and sicknesses--I'm a wimp right?!  But the Lord is SO merciful.  I don't even have words to describe what I feel.

So to begin :)

Tuesday morning I woke up and was like dreaming about 3 Nephi 11 and felt like I should re-read it because we would teach it that day.  In that chapter we find also the Doctrine of Christ and I noticed something interesting--that when Christ comes and lets the people touch him and come to him one by one, after that happens, he calls a prophet and apostles and in the scriptures it says that He conferred upon them the sacerdocio (te doy poder...). Then immediately He began to teach about baptism.  I thought to myself wow--the first two things Christ addressed in the Americas were: 1) the Priesthood and 2) Baptism.  Shows us what is important to the Savior, right?  Justamente that evening we were with William and he said he had been reading 3 Nephi 11!!!  WOW.  So we read with him and though he felt the Spirit, continued to deny baptism.  That was the final lesson for now.  But I felt great Tuesday giving it my ALL.  :)

Wednesday we had a tender mercy with 2 girls that we had taught a couple times, Kristel and Valeria, and their mom Veronica never had really wanted to let them go to church, etc just learn.  Well they are always SO excited about singing, reading, the church programs, etc.  We got there because they had come to church last Sunday miraculously!!!  The mom then told us that her girls will be able to keep going to church, that she was committed to supporting them in this, etc etc.  MIRACLE!!
That night we had a FHE with a family and the theme was Jesus Christ.  We all got to bear testimony and learn about the life of our Savior, and I just LOVE talking about Christ.  I love Him so much and the Spirit is always so sweet when we talk about our Redeemer.

Thursday I got really teary reading and re-reading the emails of my family and their experiences in the brigadas and just felt the special spirit of missionary work and service, and how much I LOVE this work and always have.  I envy---SO envy those who are just beginning their missions.  :)
We had a special experience with Isaac that day calling us because he needed some help clearing up some of his doubts.  We got there and it was so neat to hear his feelings and wanting to repent and be better, and though he has improved so much, he has the deep desire to not even think bad things or listen to them and wants to repent, and said that he wants to be 100% clean blessing the Sacrament because if not how can he have everyone else eating his sins?  haha He is so good and it touched my heart so much.  The best part is we had planned a lesson for him with the EXACT things he needed help with.  How I love the Lord and personal revelation.
Thanksgiving dinner = schwarma with Fam Cedeno--Ariana and Kleber :)

Friday I woke up and was feeling pretty dizzy and not all the way better from my infection and a bit down again because I was studying and then felt so sick I had to lie down.  I was resting when the phone rang and the Assistants were calling us to do the 12 week program verification for Hna Diez---I was like are you kidding me right now? Man!  But anyway, we talked to them and wow it was SO amazing.  It's always EXACTLY what I need.  He said that President and they trust us and we are doing a good job, and he said that if we are being obedient and diligent, the rest is up to the Lord and our time often isn't His time.  He asked about William and said that we left a seed planted super deep in his heart and he will never ever forget us.  He then talked about the Doctrine of Christ and the 3 aspects of it (learning, applying, teaching it) and then read Alma 26:22 about applying the Doctrine of Christ and the blessing for that.  Wow they said the President said the mysteries of God are how to help investigators, etc.  Things we need!  We have to have faith and WORK and pray like crazy.  Then he said that after trials come the blessings and the fruits of our labors.  Then he said that maybe the fruits of our labors wouldn't be tons of baptisms but attributes we will be taking home with us.  (I was shocked to hear that from an assistant! wow) He then told Hna Diez she has to learn everything she could from me and take and absorb every good thing I have because they consider me excellent and she has to be ready to train.  He then said,  "Hna Bryan, you should have the vision that you are training a trainer!!"  I then told him that actually that had been my vision and goal, and lately I've been saying that I'm the new companion and want her to take initiative and control for when she has to train.  And he said, "Man, the hermanas are always a step ahead of us."  hahaha  Then he said, "Well there is a scripture President has specifically asked us to share with you two."  He read Eccl 4: 9-10.  Wow how does President always know?!!!  He truly receives revelation for us and loves us.  He said if one is sick, the other should help out and lift her up and vice versa.  He then said we have trials and challenges because we are being prepared for something a lot bigger.
It was so uplifting and edifying and exactly what we both needed to grow closer in our trials and realize it was ok--this was preparing us and we have to be ok and work and be happy!!!
We had a BEAST day and put 3 baptismal dates!  Ariana will be baptized on Saturday!!!!!!  We love her so much.  Pray for her that she will stay firm in her decision.
Valeria and Kristel will be baptized the 8th---pray for them that Veronica will see their desires and still let them be baptized.

Saturday we had a good day and then went to support the ZLs in their baptism because the kids of the hermana that was getting baptized were going to sing.  While practicing and just playing the piano waiting for them, Hna Diez started crying and she said she is going to miss me so much and we cried together and I had a conversation that was SO similar to one I had with my trainer, Hna Angulo.  It was very special.
Crazy stuff happened and the baptism got canceled and then re-put together and started at 9:20 pm!!!  Crazy stuff haha but the Spirit was SO strong when the kids sang "I am a Child of God," and the hermana was bawling and the elders also.  We love our crazy leaders haha.

Sunday morning we were running late to church and standing on the street waiting for a bus or taxi and NOTHING was passing.  I began to pray in my mind for someone or some car to pass by so we could get there on time and didn't even get done saying Amen in my mind when Ariana and Kleber in their car came passing by to go to church and we hopped in with their kids.  The Lord is so aware of us and our tiny needs, and He always shows His love for us!  I felt so in family going to church with them and their funny kids, etc.
Sunday in church I began counting investigators and writing their names, and Valeria and Kristel were there, Ariana, and then looked around and realized that the daughter of 2 investigators had come with her friends, and then looked and low and behold Maria Jose (one fo the girls we taught like 3 weeks ago and then later didn't want us to visit her anymore) was sitting in the back with some friends.  I began cracking up silently in sacrament meeting as I shared all the blessings I saw all around me with my companion, and she looked at me in awe, and us in awe of how much the Lord was blessing us after opposition.  Wow!!!

All in all, I love the Lord, I love being a missionary.  I do question how much more I could have done or given to show all the love and gratitude I have for my Savior and Redeemer and His Atonement.  I depend on His grace daily, and joy in the light of the Gospel and love of missionary work.  How blessed I feel to be a very small instrument in His hands.  I love the scriptures and testify of their truthfulness!!!  I was so impressed this week with Alma 46:15, 20-21 of Moroni's invitation to the people to make covenants with the Lord to show their faith, and how people came RUNNING to make covenants.  They really understood the importance of making and keeping covenants and the blessings they would receive.  Do we understand?  Would we come running to make covenants with our Lord and God?  Let us keep the covenants we have made and treasure them.  Show the Lord you love Him :)  I love this work!!!!!!  And I love you :)

Hermana Bryan

Monday, November 19, 2012

Disciples of Christ

Beautiful Sunset in Ecuador

Hola Familia y Amigos!

Welp another week of full challenges!  Haha literally these last 2 weeks have been CRAZY full of oposition.  But that just means that things have to get better, right? :)  The Lord is teaching me a lot!

Monday we had an awesome practice with our ZLs practicing the song, and I loved helping them reach their notes and sing better--I imagine that's how Jeffrey and other voice teachers feel all the time :)  It's rewarding!
Afterwards, we had another lesson with William and it was INCREDIBLE because my comp extended the baptismal invitation and halfway through, William interrupted her and said, "Yes.  But not Saturday."  hahahaha  It was like he knew, and after that kept hiding behind the pillows, knowing that he had his answer.

Tuesday we had an awesome Zone meeting about the Doctrine of Christ and sang "I Will Not be Still"--it was really special.  We love our ZLs so so much because they are always animating us and sending us texts that make us laugh and it's just great to have their support.  Well we went to William's house and he was a bit weird and different, and it was strange.  We also went to Ariana, and her husband and her expressed to us their gratitude and love and said that they will never ever forget us because we are the first missionaries who have really taken the time and diligence and love to help their family and be there always helping them progress and with Ariana, etc.  Their words touched us so so much.

Wednesday we saw a GORGEOUS sunset and that was a huge tender mercy from the Lord that day :) Also we found out the last part in our drama of scary and dangerous things that have been happening to us, and I honestly have had to be SUPER aware and have protected us from a few situations--the Lord has truly helped me.  Wednesday night was pretty scary and good news is that the members and ZLs were behind us 100% of the way and checking up on us when we went to bed, and at 6:30 in the morning on the dot to make sure we were ok, etc.  But I don't want you guys to worry because things are already taken care of and it was just opposition, and the adversary always trying to scare us.  What a piece---that guy!

Thursday I woke up and a pot of boiling water spilt all over my left hand--that was fun haha--more opposition.  Also I woke up so confused from what was happening, and questioned myself and many other things.  No good--I couldn't even concentrate while studying so we called our leaders to have a meeting with them and it was wonderful.  We were able to tell them everything and the solutions we had come up with and they agreed, and we all felt great about it (like the brother of Jared had to find a solution and then the Lord would help him). They also gave us blessings and in my blessing, Elder Zepeda blessed me with a few things that are actually in my patriarchal blessing, and that I would be able to be super in tune with the Spirit and that I would be strong and prepare myself for the many challenges that would come after the mission, and that I would be very strong.  After that I was like, oh great!  If this is just going to continue, I should just stay here hahaha.  But then I was like, duh Sister Bryan, there will always be challenges and trials!  It's a perfection process and I am FAR from ready and perfect, so how great that the Lord is preparing me for those!
Thursday William decided not to be baptized, and we even prayed with him and everything and he said he got an answer that he was fine where he was, etc.  I don't know if we did something wrong to lose him or what, but he had his answer from the Lord and didn't follow it.  We still have hope, as do the leaders, but man. I know someday :)  

Friday we literally felt the Lord's protection and fulfillment of our blessings and we were excited to keep on going despite opposition!  The Lord also blessed us with a perfect situation with Ariana.  She was alone and we got to talk to her about sacrifices and watch a short video and she was touched and said she was willing to make that sacrifice to be baptized.  However, not quite yet.  She said she doesn't want to wait a long time either but not immediately, etc.  But that is a huge huge progress from what it was before!!!

Saturday I found out I have an intestinal infection again.  Hard day but Ariana and her husband--we had a great lesson with them and helped Kleber recognize the need to help his wife with household duties so she can go to church, etc.  hahaha He wanted to kill me but sorry buddy! :)  Also we got to sing with the ZLs in their baptism and once again, so grateful for them and their friendship and leadership in our lives.

Yesterday Ariana came to church!!!  So did a few others, but WIlliam, no.  The Lord protected us yet again and we had a wonderful sacrament meeting. Afterwards, the Bishop called all the leaders and us together in a mini meeting and we felt like we were in a movie with superheroes reuniting to set a plan, and it was awesome how much they are supporting us now.  Maybe the Lord used these situations to wake the ward up and support us and have ward missionaries, etc. :)  I think so!  But it's so comforting to know they are supporting us and the Lord is protecting us.  We had a lesson with Armando again and sometimes it's crazy how stubborn the human is in resisting the Father's will.  But we are not giving up.

Lots of things on my mind and in my heart these last few days.  It's hard being sick yet again and not having people who want to progress even though they know this is true.  I'm trying to get animos again and I know I need to give more and do my best and not let the opposition get to me!  Hna Vidrio has been heaven sent helping me with medical things and also being there emotionaly when I need it and showing me love.  I know the Lord has placed people in my path in this time for a reason.  I was reading Alma 38:2-5 today and it really touched me again that I need to endure to the end, and REMEMBER that when I place my trust in God, He delivers me!  I've done it before!  All my mission!  And I can do it again.  I need to fully trust Him, rely on theAtonement and keep moving forward :)  That's my goal this week---try to try harder and trust in the Lord and give more of me despite all this opposition and I know He will bless us.

I know this work is incredible.  I love my Savior.  I know that trials are given to us to perfect us, mold us, help us remember things we forget often, and to be able to help others as well.  I trust in the Lord and in His will and need to be a better representative of Him daily and will strive to do so :)  Thank you for your prayers and love.  I love you!!!  

Hermana Bryan

Monday, November 12, 2012

Life is Hard, NOT the Gospel

Hola Familia y Amigos!!  
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Odie and Papa!!!!!
Well this week life and the mission was way hard but I love that quote from Lawrence E. Corbridge that the Gospel sure isn't hard even though people make it seem like it!  It helps us through our hard times.

Monday was a way rough day and that is hard cuz it's our only day to recuperate but ya pues! :)

Tuesday was awesome because Hna Diez did her verification and the ZLs in that practice almost didn't have any suggestions--she is progressing so much and didn't need my help that day.  That was wonderful to see.  Isaac accompanied us on Tuesday which was awesome to see and it's always so cool to see new converts ready and willing to share the Gospel.  He gave us a reference and bore testimony.  This day we were walking in the street and saw a man walking by and, well I guess this needs a little history so I will go back a bit--on Halloween, a man passed by with a suitcase and I saw him and noted something strange but didn't talk to him.  Then later on in the night, he crossed our path again but before we could talk to him didn't know where he had gone.  I immediately said a prayer in my mind and said to Heavenly Father that I was so sorry for not talking to a person He had put in our path twice, and I promised Him that if this person crossed our path again I would talk to him no matter what.  So Tuesday we were walking and talking and I looked up and this man walked right past us and I recognized him and yelled out and ran back, "Excuse Me!!!  Hi nice to meet you!" hahahaha He smiled and introduced himself but before we said we were missionaries, he told us he would like to talk to us and asked where we could sit down!  We were stunned.  His name is Ludwig and says he is looking for the truth because he wants to change his life and serve God. Cool experience (or so we thought haha). 
Tuesday night the Hermano who lives below us called us all night updating us on elections and when they finished, called us to tell us the results.  Crazy but I kind of predicted it and actually so did the Book of Mormon!  Mosiah 29:26-27.  The world can't get better before Christ comes :)

Wednesday was one of the most tiring days EVER, and man we were so drained physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, everything.  Ariana told us that she has thought about baptism so many times but she is Jehovah's Witness and her whole family too, and started bawling saying that in that religion when you leave that religion you are considered Apostate and none of your family can ever talk to you again.  She said that was her fear because she is really close to her Dad and that kills her to think about.  That's the only thing holding her back--knowing her dad won't speak to her if she gets baptized.  Wow we are praying hard she will recognize the importance of sacrifice and the recompense that will come but man, hard situation no?  
Leaving that draining lesson we get a text from William like every other day this week, saying he was way too busy and couldn't meet with us, etc but he had his second interview with the ZLs and I wasn't accepting that, so crying in the street, haha, we marched over to his house and made a deal, and my comp helped him with physics quickly and we went to his interview.
After his interview, he came out so gentle and kind and although he is always like that and always shining, he had a new look and face and was like super super shining and so sweet and happy and calm--like Christ-like and said he couldn't get baptized because his high school is Catholic and it's a requirement to do the confirmation, etc or you can't graduate, but in 2 yrs Elder Hernandez told him he could, and he was so excited for his baptism in 2 yrs and told us not to worry--he would tell people it was because of us, etc.  At that moment, my heart broke and something died inside, and I was past the point of tears.

Thursday I woke up DEAD because Wednesday night I wasn't able to sleep hardly at all--I was worried all night long about our investigators and their hard situations and their salvation and the blessings they would receive, and our goals, and what we could do, etc.  I woke up like dead and a zombie in all forms, but the Lord blessed us with revelation in personal study.
We were practicing a song with the ZLs when the phone rang and it was WILLIAM!!!  Wow that never happens.  He called us for physics help so we quickly accepted and took advantage to teach him afterwards.  Before we could start, he asked us about what a fast was because he wanted to do it and wanted to do it right.  We explained to him the law of the fast and the blessings and how to do it.  I suggested to him to include in his fast that God could bless him with the courage and strength to follow the answer he already has. He nodded and said, "That's the hardest part right?  Following the answer."  I agreed and shared a personal experience, and he shared he had actually thought about including that.  Then he shared with us underlined scriptures in the BOM he had liked and we shared scriptures in the Bible that touched him and he underlined them, etc (all things that never have happened with him, and it showed us the Lord really had touched his heart and opened it in the interviews wowwwwww).  He committed to fast on Saturday and we told him we would join him!

Friday I ate guatita--SICK.  Look it up.  It made me SO sick in all ways.  We had some really uncomfortable scary situations with Ludwig (I was SO uncomfortable and bothered after we taught him Wednesday and he came to the Elders' baptism Friday, and he seems like an elect from what he says but something was telling me otherwise and it spiritually bothered me.  I think the Elders thought I was crazy but I couldn't deny what I felt and be ok with it).  Also a very scary situation almost happened but thank heavens for the strong impressions of the spirit and how immediate it was that I began to run, and my comp followed me and we were protected to get home okay.  So grateful for discernment and the Spirit!!

Saturday I was excited to actually be there (back home) with all of you and continue this work but in different ways, and start on my goals.  A few personal challenges and feelings I was strugging with--I'm tired of being a mom and senior comp and having to be the one to be in charge, haha, but oh well!!
The Lord blessed us to go to Jennifer's house and her mom needed us.  She began bawling and sharing her experience of how she feels--her husband left them and everything she is going through.  She said the Lord sent us and we were able to share the Atonement and be there when the Lord needed us to be.

Sunday, William was ready to go to church and dizzy from fasting but felt great spiritually!  Told us after his fast that he felt so so calm and peaceful and HE JUST SHINES!!!!!!  It's crazy cuz he doesn't even have the Spirit yet!!  Imagine when he does :)  Pray hard he accepts a date for this Saturday.  I know the Lord worked miracles in this fast we did.  Also he told us yesterday he wanted to pay tithing and how to do it.
Sunday our plans totally changed, but the Lord again had us be where we needed to be.  The Fam Gonzalez is a family who is like our family here.  The dad isn't a member but the daughters and mom are and the dad has had millions of missionaries haha pass by and teach him, etc.  He was going to be baptized at one point but didn't. Yesterday the mom told us he has never interacted with missionaries the way he does with us and she felt it was the moment, and so did we, and we had been fasting and didn't even know the daughters had also--but for their dad to open his heart!!  It was SUCH an intense lesson with him rejecting it the first 3/4 of the time but we were patient, Ginger expressed all all all of her feelings and testimony, and the Lord blessed me to ask questions and use scriptures that helped him accept a small step to read the BOM and pray.  He has already had an answer and dream this is true just doesn't believe in Joseph Smith.  The way to fix that?  Testimony of the BOM.  Bingo.  Pray for Armando Gonzalez!

Welp don't have time left but I love you!  This church is true.  I am so blessed and so excited that this work never ever has to end, and the Lord always blesses us with His miracles!!  Let's pay attention to them!!  Share this wonderful news with those around you!!  I love you!
Hermana Bryan

Monday, November 5, 2012

Love My Mish

Hola Familia y Amigos!!!

Welp I'm gunna rush this but try and give as many details as possible, especially cuz I've been such a slacker with my journal lately that I know this will have to substitute for my journal :)

Ok, well Tuesday was a pretty hard, sensitive, emotional day for me and I didn't realize or understand why at first.  I felt like I wasn't good enough with the leaders and goals and numbers, and like I just want to be awesome and have my comp be awesome, etc.  During our Zone meeting I was upset and down, and then Elder Zepeda (our ZL) started saying that many of us don't have much time left in the mish and we have to give our all, etc etc and I literally started bawling without control and couldn't do anything to stop it, so I was silently looking down with tears streaming down my face (good thing I bought waterproof mascara lately! haha) and kleenex soaked, and I'm sure everyone in the Zone thinking I was a basket-case.
haha Then while walking in the street, and lessons failing and contacts rejecting us (which doesn't happen very often so made me think something was wrong with me, etc) I just looked around and my comp asked if I was ok and I started BAWLING in the street, and we sat on a bench and then it hit me what was wrong with me.  I had woken up that day with this huge profound sadness and I didn't even know why.  DUH, Hermana Bryan!  hahaha The news of my release date, etc really had impacted me because before, it was a looming reality and didn't hit me.  Welp Tuesday it for sure hit.  I bawled and expressed my feelings, my sadness, my love for the mish and these people, my desires to do my best and give my all, my fears, etc. etc.  It was good to get everything out and realize a lot a lot of things.  And then I was good to go hahaha oh geez.  "Maria, it's been EMOTIONAL!" :) 

Well after that bawl-fest, we went to Silvia!!  She told us she wants to be a missionary!  I mentioned something about joy and she asked, "Joy, is joy related to being blessed?" great question.  I asked her boyfriend what joy meant to him and he held up his recently received mission call.  Perfect definition :)

Wednesday we were trying to re-set our baptism goal for November cuz we really don't have many people set, and so we prayed about 3 and the Lord just gave us another answer to our prayers that it is 4.  So I just have to have faith and trust in the Lord!  Wednesday we got excited and full of animos and put together the backpack signs you can see in the picture to try a new way of contacting and getting people´s attention!  No one asked us, but a lot of people looked and looked and stared at us and so we are excited that we could plant some seeds these last few days with those! :)
We had a great lesson with William and got to know him better and more deeply. We had an awesome contacting experience and I literally felt like Ammon (and coincidently I had just read that chapter that morning!) We discerned through the Spirit a lady´s feelings and thoughts, and told her what we felt and she was surprised and asked how we knew, and I testitfied that we were called of a prophet of God and part of God's Spirit was in us to help us in this time, and we testified.  It was way cool.

Thursday was a great great great day.  I had felt like my best self after my bawl fest, like my best teaching was happening, like I was way more in tune with the Spirit and people's needs and doing what comes to mind.  It's so neat and I was so grateful to really FEEL like Christ's representative.
Wow we had an incredible experience with Silvia.  She came for her baptismal interview and before the interview we had a lesson with her.  She expressed the desire to postpone her baptism until the next week because there would be the opportunity that some family members would be able to attend, whereas this week no.  But nothing was sure if they would support her or not.  Well I was torn because I knew the blessings she would receive for completing that ordinance, but also how much I would want my family to be present at my baptism!  After teaching her and testifying, I felt the need to pull out the Liahona I had brought about the temples and show her pics of inside the temple and she said she felt so so happy and felt so peaceful.  But still was set on the next week.
I then felt like we should pray about it.  I felt prompted to testify about personal revelation and how my comp and I receive revelation together and we talk, make a decision, and then pray for a confirmation.  We all knelt down and Silvia prayed silently and said she wanted the 10th but wasn't sure.  I asked her to pray outloud and she prayed about the 10th and afterwards said, "That's strange, I didn't feel anything, and feel the same."  I then asked if it would be ok if I said the prayer and we prayed about the 3rd.  Well afterwards, I asked her how she felt and she looked at me widely and said, "I felt like something fell down over my body and continued down in my chest that was warm and tingly----is that an asnwer??!" YES!!!!!  She was so happy and then said, "Well I am determined now---I know for sure what I need to do and I am for sure."  
She is so so so awesome.

Friday I realized how much I love William and how much I want him to progress and how good he is!!!  Also it was so awesome practicing another musical number with our ZLs----I know that My Redeemer Lives--the EFY version.  We are all like bffs and it's so awesome to have that support here.

Saturday was a hard morning--we had a long, long, long and teary convo with my comp talking about some things and then having a mini comp inventory and then realizing that the situation that really was bothering us both inside was me leaving.  And I got to know my comp more, and how much she is scared for when I leave.  I had the same feelings and sadness and tears that I had Tuesday (just when I thought I had gotten it all out! haha).  Man it literally breaks my heart leaving the mission.  But ya I still have 6 weeks so I'm stoked for that!

Silvia's baptism!!!  Silvia and Kevin, her boyfriend, were dressed in white and it totally reminded us and we totally imagined them in the temple one day!!!  What a blessing the Gospel is!!!!   Her testimony was AWESOME!!!!!  And the musical number was incredible.  Silvia is really a chosen and elect of the Lord, and such a blessing to us.

Sunday Isaac blessed the sacrament and bore testimony!  William came to church and that was an answer to prayers and fasts because he didn't know if he would, but we got there and he was showering and getting ready already!  Silvia was just shining and SO SO happy!!!!  
There is lots and lots of opposition going on here, and we don't have people and our baptismal dates fell through, but we are praying for William, Ariana (who is the wife of an active member--Kevin's dad), and Aracely (a new awesome person) so please pray that they will accept and progress and be able to be baptized.  I know the Lord will provide and after opposition come the blessings!!

I love the Lord.  I love this Gospel and this work.  I am grateful for my trials because they help me become stronger!  I am grateful for you and your prayers and love.  THANK YOU.  I love how when we are down, the Lord sends his spirit and comfort and there is ALWAYS someone else who needs comfort and help and that experience yesterday in church helping someone who feels so alone and is going through some really hard stuff helped me so much and taught me so many things.  Why do I ever complain?!  The Lord is so merciful and loving.

Share the Gospel please!  The missionaries are under-used teachers.  I read an article that members have the power to find and missionaries the power to teach.
Silvia's Baptism!!!
The church is true :)

Love you,
Hermana Bryan