Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Conferences, Companionship changes, cold climate and the crazy chirgurie(french for surgery)

Well, this has been a totally hectic week for us, but like, what else is new?

First off, 3 Nephi 1:13- A wonderful verse that gets me everytime.  The Lord tells Nephi that the next day he will come into the world.  What an amazing moment that must have been for Nephi.  The Savoir, knowing He was just hours away from accomplishing the most incredible mission anyone could ever embark on, gave one last message of comfort to the Nephites.  He truly did come into the world to fulfill His Father's purpose, and that is something that literally has the power to change everyone's life.  How grateful we should be!  When I was younger, I always used to see the wooden star that my mom would have displayed on the piano mantle around Christmas time that says, "Wise men still seek Him".  That used to always confuse me.  I would read it over and over again, but I never 'got it'.  There were times I would just flat out not like it, because I thought it was written incorrectly, perhaps it was supposed to have been written in the past, like, "Wise men still sought Him", afterall, the wisemen lived well over 2000 years ago, right?  Eventually I just dealt with it, but every year, I just didn't like that star!  It was only within that last couple of years that I finally read it and it 'clicked'.  WISE MEN STILL SEEK HIM.  Haha, you can imagine my "Aha!" moment!  Now, almost 17 1/2 months into my mission, I can truly testify that the wisest thing any of us can do is to seek the one and only Jesus Christ.  Seek Him, and seek Him always.  
 
  The Christmas Conference was amazing this past week.  There should be pictures on the mission facebook page.  The Poznanskis are so loved by the missionaries.  I truly felt the spirit while we were there.  I did exchanges with Soeur Allred and Soeur Covington this past week, so that was fun, but tiring.  Soeur Wynn is really sick, so pray for her, please.  Speaking of prayers, the surgery for Soeur Anderson went incredibly well, and we all feel very blessed.  After being diagnosed with a cyst in her brain, the entire mission prayed for her as this amazing sister missionary underwent emergency brain surgery.  President Poznanski felt prompted to let us know that everything would be fine, and it was!  She is recovering, and our thanks go to Heavenly Father (and the awesome surgeon).  Well, this is Christmas week!  I hope everyone remembers just how blessed we all are!
     I love you!
         Soeur Bracken

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A request for Lexi's blog followers

The Bracken family is requesting prayers for Sister Emily Anderson. She is currently serving in the Paris, France Mission. After suffering with migraines for 2 weeks, she was diagnosed with a cyst on her brain. She has undergone surgery to remove the cyst. Her parents have arrived to be with her. Our prayers and best wishes for her and her family, please.
Thank-you

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Contacting!

Buenos Dias, tout le monde!
So, what a crazy week we've had!  Tuesday, Soeur Holmes and I had an awesome FHE with the Wright couple, and Marie-Pierre and Marie-Paule.  We love those sisters so much!  Marie-Pierre is such a solid rock in the gospel, and all the kids in her family are so classy and wonderful.  Wednesday, we weren't affected by the change, but we did welcome two different elders into the Ward, Elder Martin, who is dandy, and Elder Everett, whom I've known for about a year now.  Elder Everett is from Canada and speaks Quebecoise french, which I LOVE!  We had an interesting expercience on Wednesday.  We had a received a text from some of the elders who were waiting at the church for their new companions to arrive.  It was just kind of a joke text about my mormon.org profile page, which they had recently stumbled upon, while looking through profile pages online.  We decided to get back at them, by taking a few minute detour and visiting the church.  My plan was to pretend to get really mad at them about the text, and then shortly after tell them it was a joke.  Soeur Holmes didn't have the composure to stand beside me, so I walked into the computer room, straight-faced and serious-toned, and just tore into them.  Poor Elder Platt, who had sent the text, and was sitting in the middle of the room, got the blunt of it.  I told them that what they had sent was inappropriate, stupid, and that they shouldn't even have been there, they should have been out talking to people.  Then before I lost the seriousness in my voice, I turned around and left, walked down the two steps to where Soeur Holmes was waiting for me, and smiled as we listened to the Elders sit in complete silence.  Then I came back into the room and told them it was a joke.  The sigh of relief that came out of those elders enough to keep a kite flying for a least a couple of seconds.  Poor Elder Platt, he looked like he had almost gotten a little emotional at me getting so mad at him.  Everyone was so shocked and were like, "That just wasn't like you!"  We all got a good laugh, but Soeur Holmes and I were like, "We can't stay, we have no need to be here"  We tried to encourage them to really go out and do contacting, but they're good missionaries, so we weren't really hard on them.  But then, talking about that, Soeur Holmes and I said, "You know, it really is important to use up this time wisely, and to do contacting (talking to people on the streets)", So off we went.  And would you believe it?  The first lady we talked to gave us her number, and then the third or so lady stopped, and we talked with her, prayed with her, and fixed a RDV!  How amazing is that?!  Her name is Patricia, and we're going to see her tomorrow.  Then, the lady after that was a lady that we had ALREADY contacted about 2 weeks previously, but hadn't been willing to give us her number, and we had unknowingly given her the wrong number from us.  So, miracle of miracles, we ran into her again!  She didn't look familier to me, but Soeur Holmes recognized her instantly, and amazingly enough, she was able to pull her name out of the depths of her memory.  Clemantina!  We got her number, and gave her our number.  All of this happened in just 25 or so short minutes.  It was amazing, and fortified my testimony of being outside when we're supposed to.  On Thursday, we went to the hospital to decorate the room for Catherine, our Recent Convert, who is still there.  She loved it.  On Friday, we had mission council, so I took advantage of seeing Soeur Mataalii, and listening to Elder Clawson sing.  It was also a wonderful time, where we learned about how to focus on Christmas while we contact people, hence, Christmas Contacting!  The Ward Christmas party was amazing!  There were SO many people there!  Marie-Pierre came with her sister, brother, and mom.  I love all of them.  It was incredible.  Our amie, Catherine, also came, as well and Cassandre, the neice of the Palomakis, and Filipe (Maria was too tired to come).  And yesterday, we had another amazing experience.  We decided to do the 'Christmas Contacting', and, would you look at that?  More miracles!  We contacted two Belge women, talked to them about Christmas, sang for them, prayed with them, and fixed a time to come back this week.  Then, 3 minutes later, we contacted a woman from Portugal, prayed with her, and fixed another RDV, after having talked about Christmas, and how to make it more centered on Christ, with her.  SO COOL!!!  Well, every day I get more and more tired, but as you can see, the Lore hasn't gotten tired of helping us.  He just waits for us to do our little part, just so He can show us how much He can give us!  How blessed we are!
            I love you all,
                   Passez une bonne semaine!
                                Soeur Bracken

Monday, December 9, 2013

I'M STAYING!!!!

Hello everyone!  Sorry, I'll have to keep it short!  So, I'm staying in Bruxelles!!! I'm SO EXCITED!!!  Soeur Holmes and I are staying together.  Christmas in Bruxelles!   Cassandre, the niece of the Palomakis, came up, and she is LEGIT!  She is so ready for the gospel.  And Suzette, oh, we had the best experience with her yesterday!  We went together to visit Catherine at the hospital, and they got along SO well!  Then, on the way out we ran into some people who kind of knew the church, and Suzette totally bore testimony!!!  I love this week!  Have a great week everyone!
       Soeur Bracken

Monday, December 2, 2013

Peanut Butter Pie, Parties, and Perfectly planned Trams

So, we had an awesome week this week!
This past week, Soeur Gordon came up from Charleroi and spent the day with me.  Soeur Holmes, the lucky duck, got to have dinner with the Ypersiers.  This past week was also everyone's birthdays- and by 'everyone's' , I mean both Marie-Pierre and Maria.  So happy birthday to our recent converts!  Marie-Pierre is doing awesome, and we FINALLY saw Maria and Filipe yesterday.  Of course, Thanksgiving was a party.  Soeur Wright went all out, with decorative turkey cupcakes and everything.  Can't beat her.  I managed to 'whip' together a pomegranate salad, which included actual whipped cream.  Later, all the 'kids' (aka the sisters and elders) watched '17 miracles', which was awesome.  Haha, I admit, it was a little weird watching a movie with a large group of people- not usually the norm.  Then, towards the weekend, it was Stake Conference!  Whoo!  Another party!  We had lunch with Joanna, a recent convert from Brazil, taught us how to make some wicked blackbeans and rice.  Man, I'm not going to lie, my cooking skills have become much better developed since starting my mission.  Then, all of us went to the adult session of Stake Conference, which all the missionaries were invited to attend (seeing as the entire session was about missionary work).  Then, the Li├Ęge sisters slept over.  Haha, and luckily for us, Soeur Holmes had prepared THE MOST AMAZING PEANUT BUTTER PIE EVER!!!  Here's a teaser for you- it contains peanut butter, powdered sugar, sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese, an oreo crust, bananas, and nutella.  So, the answer is yes, you'll die of a heart attack, but yes, you'll also die happy.  Seriously, it's incredible.  Then, Sunday, oh blessed day of the week, it was a day full of miracles!  So, it started out with us all heading to Stake conference in Strombeek.  First, we picked up Suzette, our amie, and walked to our church, there, we met Marie-Pierre, and all jumped in the car with Joanna.  Elder Teixeira spoke and Stake Conference, and they also reorganized the Stake Presidency, so that was cool.  Then, that night, we had 3 rdvs fixed at the homes of members, and they all happened!  First we went to the Perez family, but unfortunately, that went longer than intended, and we were unsure how late we were going to be to the Kabongo's, our next appointment.  We ran out of the Perez's house at 5:55, our next rdv being at 6:00.  I did the math in my head.  There was no way we were going to be there before 6:30, and Marie-Pierre was meeting us at the Kabongo's with her non-member sister.  The only information I knew- We needed the Tram 81 in the direction of Marius Renard.  The Tram had a stop at Gare du Midi, which was a 15 minute walk on foot.  I had no idea how long it would take us once we got to the gare, maybe another 20 minutes.  We get outside the Perez's, decided to run to a random metro stop and look and see what we need to do to get to the nearest 81 stop, and we see a Tram coming towards us.  Wonder of wonders, it's the 81!  Heading in the wrong direction.  We run across the street to the other side.  Miracle of miracles!  We see the 81 in the right direction coming right to our stop!  We jump on, say a prayer of thanks, and we're off!  We got the Kabongo's at 6:15, just 5 minutes after Marie-P showed up.  Then, back on the metro, and Maria answers her phone and says we can come over!  So we're back on the 81 for a wonderful lesson with Maria and Filipe!  It was incredible, and we felt immensely blessed.  So, life is going well.  Winter is coming on, but so is Christmas!  I feel so blessed to be able to serve the Lord again this Christmas, and help those in this place that I love so much.
             Passez une bonne semaine!
                    Soeur Bracken
PS-I totally burned my hand on the coil on the top of the microwave.  Dang thing hurts like the dickens.