Sunday, July 31, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Thank you so much for writing me! I got all of your letters from last week late because my zone leaders forgot to give them to me! Thank you all so much for all of your support!
I am going to try and write a personal letter to you all, but I don’t know if I will run out of time this p-day. Just know how much I love you all. You have no idea how much it means to me to get your letters. I didn’t realize it until being on a mission myself, but what a difference a few words on a piece of paper can make. You lift my spirits — THANK YOU!.
Well, I got a lot of questions this time around, so let me try to answer some of them:
Where should we send letters?:
I am not allowed to email anyone but mom and dad. I can read your emails but I can only write you back. I might be slow at getting back to you, but I promise I will try to write. The mission home address is the place you write letters to. We can’t get mail to our apartment.
How many girls are in your apartment? Is it church-owned?
No, our apt isn’t church owned, there are other people living on the same floors as us. We only have two of us in one apartment though.
Where is the mission home from where you live?
The mission home is 20 minutes away. The Mormon Battalion is in Old Town San Diego. Chula Vista is seven minutes away from the Mexican border. We have a car, because our area is the furthest away from where we live.
Do you cook for yourself?
Yes. Except for we usually only have 15 minutes for meals as Battalion sisters, so even cooking is hard to squeeze in (don’t worry mom, I am eating my fruits and vegetables)!
What kind of music can you listen to?
We go by the mission handbook so any music that is uplifting and brings our minds closer to Christ. Nick, that would be wonderful if you could send me a CD. I didn’t bring any and they are awesome when we are driving in the car.
So a little about what is happening with me in San Diego. I love being a missionary! It is so hard sometimes, but so great! Actually, I think if you could catch a sneak peek of my time here so far, you would get a few good laughs.
Every p-day, Sister Tardiff wants to play sports with the elders at an outside basketball court near our apt. Those of you that know me know that Sister Newman and a basketball = DISASTER!
Another funny is driving. I HATE DRIVING! Mix that with California traffic, and you have one stressed out Sister Newman. Not as stressed out as when I was driving in England with you though dad!;-)
Sara, you would like this, actually I thought of Bobby when we went to a members house and she has a huge garden so we got to pick avocados from her tree. (Don't worry though, Bobby: I used my hands and not a rock, so no black eyes;) She also has a mango tree, a banana tree and a tangelo tree. The fruit here is SO DELICIOUS!
We have been so blessed to be able to teach a lot of people this week. Sister Tardiff is such a great teacher. She teaches by the Spirit and really helps them feel that for themselves. I am trying my hardest as well to tell these people what Heavenly Father needs them to hear. The hard part is when Heavenly Father tells me to tell them something they don't want to hear. It is kind of scary sometimes because I have had a few investigators get really upset at me, but thankfully, they must think I am too sweet to get too mad at. It is amazing though, Heavenly Father really knows what needs to be said and miracles happen when we listen to him.
Well time is almost up, but I want to leave you with a excerpt from my journal from this week. (and mom, this will answer the question about us working at the temple)
Entry 1: Today was another day of miracles. I don't know why it surprises me when a miracle comes my way- there are so many surrounding me! I think Heavenly Father has just given me a tender mercy of opening my eyes to notice all the miracles around me.
We started out at the temple this morning. Once a week, we have our turn being the "walking visitor center" and talking to people on the temple grounds and showing them pictures of the inside of the temple. Our goal was to get 2 referrals each. We were so blessed to have received 11 referrals. The most amazing thing was that most of the referrals came from the little children. One little girl started singing, "I love to see the temple" to us. Another little kid referred 4 of his friends. They have so much love, so much courage and so much honesty and purity. It was a great reminder of why Heavenly Father asks us to be as little children.
Entry 2: It was extra special working at the Mormon Battalion on Pioneer Day. No matter how many times I have taken tours or watched one of the pioneer movies, my heart is touched with the faith they had in Jesus Christ and the sacrifices they made. There is a quote from the tour that Zemira, one of the characters says:
"God gave us what we wanted most where we least expected it."
I don't think the Mormon Battalion realized the extent of what they were doing would bless the Saints for hundreds of years to come. I don't think the pioneers realized that their faith and courage would be an example to the nations, to families all over the world of what true Faith in Jesus Christ really means. I was thinking today that I think we all forget the effect every individual has in life. I am so grateful for Joseph Smith, for the pioneers and for every individual that has touched my life for the better. I hope to live up to their names an follow their example they set to go forward with faith never doubting never fearing in following the example of Jesus Christ.
Natassja: thank you for the post card! You are the best. I hope you are having a wonderful time in London you lucky lucky girl!
Jessica: Thank you for the letter, I was so excited to hear how you are doing. I love you girl!
Grammy: You are the best, I love you so much and am so glad you and gramps are having a good time this summer with all of your adventures.
Hannah: Thank you for the letter and sharing your experiences with me. You are amazing sis and I know Heavenly Father is watching out for you.
Nick: Thank you for the email. I am keeping you in my prayers about applying for jobs. You are amazing at what you do. Dad showed me a clip of the blog- THANK YOU so much for doing that. It looks AMAZING!
Mom and Pops: As always thank you for your supporting words and guidance. You make me cry every time! I love you both. Thank you so much for the example that you give me! Mom, I know your lesson will be wonderful. I can’t tell you how much prayer means to me especially on this mission. He loves me and he loves you and I know that there is not one prayer that will ever go unanswered.
Sara and Chris: Did you ever get past that overhang we climbed before I left? You know, you can’t let your sis beat you like that! Let me know if you got it:) Hope you are having a wonderful summer.
Sara: How are you feeling about your next semester? You conquered the hardest part. You totally got this girl!
Time's up. Love you all!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Mom, I can't believe you start school already, that is so crazy! I guess life just never seems to slow down! Are you empty-nesters now or is Sara back in town? How are my siblings? I haven't heard from them for a bit. Is Chris still doing school? When does Nick get to come home? How was Juli's trip? Is Hannah still working this summer? Thanks for letting me know about Brenton. I always knew he would be a rockin' missionary!
My new companion's name is Sister Tardiff. She is from Boston. She is so great. We are both about the same size and everyone teases us that we look like we are 14. We serve with 22 other sisters — they are all so nice, it feels like a great big girls camp some days!
We live right next to the Battalion, so it is like 30-second walk: so nice! Our area is a place called Chula Vista — It is one of the more wealthier places in San Diego. I already love the people so much.
I got to the Mormon Battalion on Wednesday and there was no time to catch my breath. I took five tours my first day and by my third day, I started taking tours by myself. The Mormon Battalion is so inspiring — these 500 men and women who walked 2,000 miles from Iowa to San Diego all because of their faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to what their prophet asked them is so inspiring to me. If they could do the hard things they did, I know that I definitely can do anything Heavenly Father asks me to do.
You are probably wondering how being a visitor center sister works — despite what everyone says about visitor center sisters, we have the least time of anyone! It is okay though, Heavenly Father somehow stretches time for us. We work at the Mormon Battalion for half of the day and then the other half we proselyte in our area. Then one day a week we work on the temple grounds and street contact people.
My first day in the field, we had a lesson with Vernell, who is one of our progressing investigators. Sister Tardiff didn't waste time getting me started teaching. Part way through the lesson, she just stopped and looked at me waiting for me to say something. Honestly, I was so scared, but thankfully Heavenly Father gives us His spirit to guide us, and I was able to say what He needed me to say to her.
Then on Thursday, Sister Tardiff had us army climb under a fence so we could get into the trailer park and help a lady named Blanca paint her trailer home. She accepted a copy of The Book of Mormon and wants us to come back to teach her. It has been a bumpy week, full of ups and downs, but I am humbled and excited to be preaching the gospel!
Oh and please if you have any questions, Just ask. Sometimes I don't realize what you might like to know.
Monday, July 18, 2011
While this isn't Brittany in the video, I think it'll give those of you who don't know what missions are like some pretty good insight into what she will be doing when she isn't at the Mormon Battalion Historic Site. It will also give you an idea of what kind of things she will be teaching about.
So watch it, and tell me what you think in the comments. Hope you enjoy it, but eve if you didn't, I'd like to hear what y'all think about it.
SAN DIEGO — Dear Mom and Dad, I made it to the mission home this morning. It feels so surreal to be in San Diego! It is so true what they say about the weather here — it is warm, sunny and just the right humidity. It reminds me a lot of Hawaii.
After I got of the phone with you, I tried to do what my Branch President at the MTC challenged us to do. He told us to be bold — to be "Preach My Gospel" missionaries, and to talk to people, especially at the airport.
My Visitor Center teacher told me that something that she loved about her mission was that each transfer, she got to "reinvent" herself. If she wanted to be bold, she was bold. If she felt she needed more faith, she worked on that. Whatever it was, she got to start new because her companion didn't know who she was before, but who she was now. I made a promise to myself that this transfer, I would be bold in talking to people. I sat down in the airport and talked to a lady from Hawaii, another family from Colorado and a woman form Montana. It was a good experience for me and got me really excited to talk to people at the Mormon Battalion Historic Site.
Well, President Clayton met us at the airport and six elders and two of us sisters get to stay at the mission home tonight. There is a lady in the ward here that makes lunch for the incoming missionaries every week — her daughter actually did it this week She is a cake maker. She went to school in France and has been on a lot of the TLC cake shows. Her name is Charity. (Mom, I thought you would appreciate that :D)
They let us take a two-hour nap since we were up so early and then the zone leaders went over some things and we each got an interview with President Clayton. Tomorrow everyone gets to go to the Mormon Battalion Historic Site (so the other missionaries know what it's about) and then we each get assigned our new companions and it's off to work!
Something that I know even more being here in San Diego is that I am meant to be here at this time and this place for a reason. I can't wait to get to work!
I just want you to know I love you and thank you for supporting me on this decision to serve a mission. It is already the best decision I ever made. Just so you know, P-day is Tuesday. I think I am only allowed to receive e-mails from parents, grandparents and siblings.
Love you to the moon and back,
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Here's a picture of her with the missionaries that came in with her:
Brittany also was very excited at the MTC about her name tag, the one she referenced in past posts about having her name next to the Savior's.
I find it very ironic what the scripture, the name tag and the book all say about each other, and really, about Brittany. She's going to be a great servant of the Lord.
Here's one last picture for you. We're all awaiting her first letter from San Diego. Please keep your support of Brittany up by writing her an e-mail (good) or a tangible snail mail letter (better? best?) Instructions on this page. -Nick
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Missionary Training Center
Because I am in my visitor center training, my P-day got changed to today! I am not sure what day my P-day is in San Diego, so I guess you will just have to wait and see for my next letter to come! I hope you are all doing well, and I hope you know how much I love you. I wanted to thank you for all of the prayers on my behalf, they are definitely being answered. The MTC is amazing, I am learning so much!
Joke of the day:
Why do they not have fish at the MTC? Because it is the empty (MT) Sea (C)! My teacher made that up when he was like four. I thought it was pretty cute.
So, it sounds like you are all doing well:
Chris, I am so glad you got to go fishing with gramps, that sounds so much fun!
Sara, thanks for telling me about the cabin, I am glad you all had a blast. I hope you had a wonderful birthday too! I just sent you a letter and then I got your letter, so I am a little bit behind in things you asked me. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience about prayer. You strengthened my testimony so much today reading your letter. You are such a strong chica! Thanks for teaching me what it means to have Faith in Heavenly Father. You have always been such a great example of that. Oh, P.S.-When they get the new scripture mastery done, you should send them to me!
Dad - Thanks for the package; you are a lifesaver! The labels are saving my life and thanks for the envelopes.
Mom – Thank you for sending my stuff to the mission home. I’m glad you are having a great time with the kiddos, you are such a great grandma! I love you so much! I can’t wait until my kids get to play with the two most amazing people I know!:)
Question and Answer:
Visitor Center training is like a week of learning how to use pictures, the Christus, kiosks, pamphlets and everything in aiding us to testify of Christ. It is pretty fun. It is just three of us in a class, so kind of small, but I love it. I can’t wait to get to the Mormon Battalion site. I actually am not learning anything specific to that site, so hopefully i get some training when I get there.
I don’t know what my schedule is like in San Diego yet, but I will let you know as soon as I can.
I get to wear three pioneer dresses. The lady picked the colors- 2 pink and 1 green. They are pretty fun. But Sara, you will appreciate this: I HATE wearing the skirts half way up my belly button, it drives me CRAZY! I will send pictures soon:)
Let me know if you get tired of my Journal thing. Its the best thing I can think of to tell you about what is going on here. IF it is too long and boring or if you want something else, someone just tell me, I don’t mind at all.
July 7, 2011
It is funny how the Lord teaches us lessons in places we least expect it. For the past three weeks, I have been learning more about what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, about what a truly amazing gift Heavenly Father has given us to be able to return to him again, and that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ indeed appeared to Joseph Smith.
I have always had a strong testimony of these things, but there is something about teaching and testifying of the Gospel that has rooted my testimony deep within my soul. I guess I didn’t expect to learn the lesson I did today because my whole focus is supposed to be on other people this next year and a half. I promised God I would give my whole self to Him in furthering His work, so I have been trying to "forget myself and get to work!".
I think, however, I need a reminder of who I am. Part of Visitor Center training is that we practice how to use the media, pictures, pamphlets, the Christus, kiosks and other things to aid us in testifying of Jesus Christ. There are volunteers that come in and we practice teaching as if we were in a real visitor center. After we finished tonight, Sister Maxfield (my teacher) sat us down and told us we had some things she felt like we needed to hear. She opened up the Young women personal progress booklet and read us the first paragraph.
"You are a beloved daughter (or son) of Heavenly Father, prepared to come to the earth at this particular time for a sacred and glorious purpose. You have a noble responsibility to use your strength and influence for good. Your loving Heavenly Father has blessed you with talents and abilities that will help you fulfill your divine mission."
If you flip to the scripture under individual worth in the personal progress pamphlet, it says, "remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of God."
Sis. Maxfield shared a story with us from a book that Sheri Dew wrote, I think it is called: No One Can Take Your Place. Sister Dew was going to BYU and she described herself at the time as being "skinny and wussy looking" She walked up to the gym, looked inside and got too scared to go in, so she told herself she would walk around and go back in ten minutes. Over and over she went up to the door and got too scared until it was too late and tryouts were over. She said that not trying out was one of the biggest regrets she has. Later, she got to speak to the athletes at BYU and she related the previous story. Afterwards, the women’s basketball coach came up to her and told her that she was the coach during that time and that that year was the only year she could not fill the roster, and they had to play a person short all season. Sister Dew’s spot could not be filled.
I know my spot on earth cannot be filled either. I know sometimes it seems like we are insignificant in this world, but then I realize what a difference one person can make. I think of this fight against Satan as a stream of water eroding a crevice into the earth. (We being the stream and Satan the earth). Every individual drop of water makes a huge difference at cutting deeper and deeper and eroding away the hard, craggy rocks. I know I have a place in this fight and I am so grateful for it. I truly have a testimony that no one can take our place. An amazing gift that Heavenly Father gives his missionaries is the ability to see His children through heaven’s eyes. I have seen and felt the way He loves and cares individually about his sons and daughters. We are his creations — princes and princesses in His kingdom. We each have a spot in this world and NO ONE can take our place.
I wanted to share this part of my journal with you all because I know with all my heart that each of you, have a part in this plan — Go forward with faith. Ask Heavenly Father what it is, and I promise He will answer. We fought to come here to earth, now fight your hardest to show Heavenly Father how hard you will fight to return to Him.
I love you all so much. You each have individual worth, and though you are all spread out and I cannot individually talk with you, I have felt the love Heavenly Father has for you. Don’t doubt yourself for one second. You are God’s creations — It hurts him so much when you put yourselves down, or tell yourselves you can do this or that: He made you. He knows what you are capable of and the potential you have. Don’t get tricked by Satan in letting him tell you that you are less than you are. Turn to Heavenly Father. Ask him. What a better person to ask than the Father that created you?
K, My timer is blinking, I only have a few seconds to send this off. Love you all to the moon and back!
P.S. Mom and dad- we get to call from the SLC airport, so I think I will get to call you Tuesday morning between 7-9 I think. Mom I will call your phone so have it on! Sorry, I don’t know the exact time!
Monday, July 4, 2011
Missionary Training Center
Monday, July 4, 2011
What a week it has been! I love the MTC so much, I can’t believe I will be starting Visitor Center training this week! On Saturday, we get to go to the Salt Lake Temple [Square] to practice. I’m so excited! I got my departure date for San Diego — I leave Tuesday, July 12, FYI. So mom, if you could send my bedding to the Mission Home this week, that would be great!
Mom, Thank you so much for the package, my whole district loved the treats! I am so happy that school is out for you; I bet that’s a relief! What are your plans for summer? I’m sorry I won't be there to help you with the garden. Just remember when the rototiller doesn’t work in the fall, make dad pray: prayer works! I've lost so many things here, every time I pray, Heavenly Father helps me out. Dad would be laughing at me so bad with all the things I have had to pray to find!
Dad, Thanks for the Jimmer update. You saved my elders from escaping the MTC to find out where he was drafted! How was trek? I loved your BYU alumni letter. Great job! Did you get the camera card I sent? Let me know so I can stop worrying about it:)
Sara, Happy Birthday in 2 days! I sent you a card, but forgot that the 4th of July there is no mail, so you might get it late, sorry! I can’t believe you are almost halfway done with school. CONGRATS SIS! You rock my world! I want to hear more stories from your psych rotation! How is it? What's it like? Tell me everything!Nick- Congrats on getting your story on MSNBC! You are such a great writer-thank you for writing me so much. Your letter was the first I got at the MTC and I needed it so much. And thanks for the letter on June 27. I cried reading about Joseph Smith I almost forgot that that day was the day of his Martyrdom. Good luck with school, keep telling me how things are going if you have time — sure do love you brother!
Chris. Thank you so much for your letter!!! I loved hearing from you so much. I needed that letter! I wrote you back, but you didn’t put an apt number on your address so I don’t know if it got to you? Let me know!
Grammy Morgan, Thank you so much for all of your love support and all the letters you send. You are such a great sister to Aunt Lori, I hope you had a great time! You are an even greater grandma, I don’t know what I did to deserve you! Will you tell grandpa happy birthday on Wednesday and that I love him to the moon and back? I forgot to get a birthday card to send him, so I guess this will have to do.
Maureen- Congratulations! I'm so excited for you to be a mommy; you are going to be so fantastic! I was jumping up and down when I found out! YAY!!!!!!
Kim and Ray- Hope you are having a great time in Hawaii!
Well, I thought for today, I would write you another page of my journal and then answer some questions you all have been sending. If you want me to write something else, or you have other questions, just let me know. As a missionary, it's hard to remember what I write and how detailed I am. I’m so used to how things go here that I don’t even think about the things you may wonder about.
June 27, 2011
Wow, what a day.
You know, as hard as I try not to be homesick or miss my family, it is so hard when my whole message, what I am learning to teach, is based on how families can be happy and live together forever. It’s not a bad homesick — I am grateful for it, for being away from home has reminded me once again what an amazing family I have, and it has helped me to rely on my Heavenly Father one hundred percent.
It was funny, tonight I got some "dear elders"(Letters sent through DearElder.com) from family and just started crying. I wasn’t even sad at all, but I feel so much love all around me, it leaks out of my eyes sometimes. I feel love from my family, from my teachers and leaders and especially from my Heavenly Father.
I used to think I knew what love meant, but I realize I have barely skimmed the surface. I don’t think my heart can even understand how much love my brother, Jesus Christ, and Father in Heaven have for me. After I got out of the temple this morning, I was standing up and looked across into the mirror and the reflection of Jesus Christ with His arms stretched out towards me was right there — right in front of me! I felt his loving arms around me and the comfort of His spirit telling me that He was proud of me. I really needed to be reminded of that today.
My thoughts have also been thinking about Joseph Smith today, as this is the anniversary of his martyrdom. What an amazing man he was: to have enough faith, courage, diligence, long suffering and love for Christ and His church that he would endure trial after trial, heartache after heartache, and still lay down his life for the building up of Zion.
If Adam could bear facing a lone and dreary world; if Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni would leave their lands to serve a people who hated and despised them; if the pioneers could face trials and hardship to find a place they could worship in peace, I know that I, Sister Newman, can be a warrior in this wicked world to fight Satan with the truth. I know that just as Adam, the sons of Mosiah and the pioneers did what they did, I too can do this. Because they had just as I do, my Savior walking by me every step of the way. What a comfort that is and something I know to be true with all my heart — that with my Savior walking right beside me, I CAN DO ALL THINGS!
I know that Heavenly Father is not asking me to die for His gospel, but I want Him and anyone else to know that I will give my all to live everyday for it. I am a servant in His kingdom. I wear His Son's name literally everyday on my shirt, and I have promised to serve Him with all my might, mind, heart and strength. Being on a mission has helped me realize what a great work this is. There are God's children all around us hungering and thirsting for something they cannot remember. Helping God’s children remember who they are and where they are meant to be brings me a joy I cannot describe in words. It fills my heart and my soul with happiness.
Okay, Just for some random questions and answers:
- I play volleyball with the San Diego Elders- Sis, you would be so proud, I actually served and made it over the net three times in row!
- My favorite foods here at the MTC would have to be the tortilla wraps and the oatmeal raisin cookies-yum:)
- Sister Brandley and I got our investigator (not real) to commit to baptism! It was our teacher acting as his dad and he told us we were the only missionaries he has had get his dad to commit to baptism in three weeks. I’m so grateful for Sister Brandley and for the guidance of the spirit!
- We had an awesome Fourth of July celebration, and the MTC president, President Brown, let us all go outside and watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks —IT was a blast!
- I got my pioneer clothes fitted today. They are so cool! I’ll have to send pictures soon:)
Something I learned today:
We talked about making church worthwhile. We talked about how we teach our investigators the importance of getting revelation at church. Our teacher asked us how we did that, and I honestly could not tell him. I think I have been lazy in that category. So this week, I tried it. I prepared with prayer and wrote down two questions that I was wondering about. Heavenly Father answered those prayers through the speakers and testimonies shared. I love these principles. If you don’t already, here is a challenge for the week. Prepare to receive revelation at church next Sunday. Prepare with prayer, and ask Heavenly father to answer some questions you might have. I promise he will answer! Let me know how it goes!
Well, my two-minute timer is going off. I just want you all to know how much I love and appreciate you. You are all such an inspiration in my life. Keep being amazing and sharing your light with the world.
I don’t know the next time I will get to write or anything, but I promise I will once my new P-day comes!
Love ya to the moon and back!