Well, friends, this is it. Soeur Holmes and I had an awesome week these past seven days. Right now I'm in the weird phase of being like, "Wow, last week I was sitting here writing emails, and by this time next week, well, honestly, I'll probably be writing emails, but from a different computer, and to missionaries and members instead of friends and family." But really, I can honestly say I've been very proud of myself. Soeur Holmes and I have been staying focused, and I've been trying to make sure we have time for finding and contacting these past couple of days, instead of just going around and seeing everyone I want to see. Here are some cool experiences I had a few days ago. We were out contacting, and we talked to this 18 or 19 year old Belge girl, Deborah, on the street. It was such a good moment to talk with her. We talked about how Christ can help us, and we prayed with her. I just felt so good afterwards, and I'm so excited to call her to fix another time. Later on in the day, we were sitting on the tram. I turned to Soeur Holmes to copy down some of the things she had written in her agenda. Across from me was sitting a woman. In my head, I thought to myself, "I have a totally justifiable reason to not talk to this woman. I am doing something that I need to do (copying stuff down from the other agenda)." I then said to myself, "I have lots of stuff I need to do. However, that is not what I am HERE to do. I am here to talk to people and invite them to Christ." So I put down my agenda, and started up a conversation with a woman whom I came to find was named Martha. Martha is from Brazil. She knows the church already, in fact, she's already been to the church in Brazil before. She is very sweet, and kind, and even though we were on a crowed tram, I asked if I could leave her with a word of prayer, so she and I folded our arms, and bowed our heads close together, and I offered a sweet, simple, prayer. It made me so happy to have decided to talk to this woman (and don't worry, I got her number from her!). We also had a miracle this weekend with our amie, Emilia. She, and Gustavo (a young adult in the ward), came with us to have a FHE with another Brazlian family in the ward. The evening went super well, and we finished with the four of us going to the church to see the end of the baptism of Landrine, a wonderful sister that Elder Alfaro and Elder Bananier taught. Emilia loved it. She talked with some people that she had met before, and had a great time. The next day (aka, yesterday), we had another rdv with the Perez family (the family that introduced us to Emilia) and Emilia. And when she came, she didn't come by herself, she also brought her two daughters, Daniella and Béatrice, and her boyfriend, Manuel, who is also from Portugal. It was PERFECT. We had planned to watch 'The Restoration' film, so before beginning, Emilia explained to her daughters what prophets were. Gustavo was also there and helped explain. Then all 10 of us watched the film. I felt the spirit tell me to place my trust in the inspiration of this film, and I truly felt the spirit. Afterwards we asked them questions about the film, then watched as Daniella (age 8) and Béatrice (age 10) offered their very first non-memorized prayers. It was beautiful.
I've noticed my thoughts becoming more and more easily distracted with thoughts of going home and such, but I've also felt the Lord's strength in helping me get up every morning and keep going. Lots of missionaries ask me how I'm feeling, and sometimes, I just tell them, "As far as I'm concerned, tomorrow I'm waking up at 6h30, and Soeur Holmes is going to make me go running." Bishop Keesling thanked me for my work yesterday at the end of Sacrament Meeting, which was so sweet to me. I love that man, he is so kind, and I love this ward! Belgium has been having an awesome winter, which makes the thought of coming home to the dreaded cold even harder. But I know we are all called for a specific time, and that Soeur Nilsson, who will be taking my place here in Louise, will do a wonderful job with Soeur Holmes. Today President talked about how we all have specific missions and sometimes we work really hard and we accomplish what the Lord asked of us, and then He gives us a new mission. So... I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for me. But, until that moment comes, I'm still Soeur Bracken! I am so blessed, and these past 18 months have done more for me than anything else I could possibly have dreamt of doing. I've made some eternal friends, and I know for SURE that the Lord has been with me throughout these months (although we all have moments when we distance ourselves from the Lord). He loves us, like, seriously, He loves us so much. John 3:16, people, JOHN 3:16! We can all change, we can all become better. His grace is sufficient! I want everyone to just take 30 seconds of your life to think about that phrase. "His grace is sufficient..." Sufficient for what? For the tiny children who are taken from this world while still in their innocence? For all the righteous people who lived in the time of Enoch or King Benjamin? People in our day? His grace is sufficient, but for what? To forgive us of our little sins? To heal us when we're broken-hearted? Even with depression? With anger? The answer to all of the above, as I'm sure you know, is "Yes". End of sentence. In Moroni and D&C 18, and in other places in the scriptures, the Lord simply says, "My grace is sufficient for you." End of sentence. Through the Lord, and only through the Lord, can we expect any real progress in this life. I love Him so much.