Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A pepper dare and Chinese coincidence

SAN DIEGO — Oh my goodness! I thought I would get over my tears on P-days, but I have a feeling I am going to be crying every P-day for the rest of my mission! It's not a bad cry of course, it is just that I love you so much, my eyes start leaking! I got a lot of e-mails from you, thank you so much for letting me know how you all are doing! The mail doesn't come until later today, so I will have to reply to those next week.

I have a few fun stories from this week:

District meeting was this week. We went to lunch, since it is one of the last weeks of the transfer. The elders were daring each other to eat these fried white peppers. They are called "white guy peppers" I forgot how you say it in Spanish. The first part of the pepper is hot, but the second half with all the seeds is definitely way hotter. The natives don't even eat the second half of the pepper. Anyway, they dared Sister Nelson and I to eat the half with the seeds. I bet you can guess what happened: you know me and being dared to do anything: I still have too much pride.

I looked at all of them, grabbed the pepper and stuffed the whole thing in my mouth. It was the funniest sight watching four Elders and Sister Nelson with their jaws dropped completely to the floor. It was the hottest thing I have ever eaten in my life! One more thing to add onto my list of crazy things I have eaten I guess!

Thomas is still in the hospital, but doing better. Hopefully he will be out in the next few weeks.
Michael is the investigator who we have been trying to get him to finish writing a letter to the First Presidency so he can get baptized. He handed me the letter on Sunday. Hallelujah! Hopefully he will get to be baptized in the next few weeks!

We are teaching a new guy named Archie: His mom and sister are baptized and we just taught him the Restoration. Keep him in your prayers, He has definitely been prepared by Heavenly Father to hear the Gospel.

I want to share with you a journal entry from yesterday. We had the tour uploaded in Chinese yesterday, and Heavenly Father really taught me how much he prepares his children and how much he loves them:

September 19th, 2011
Sister Nelson and I worked at the Mormon Battalion this morning. At noon, they had to shut it down for a few hours to load the new Chinese tour. Just as our shift was getting over, Sister Nelson and I were walking from gold panning to the front and a young Chinese couple walked up.

Sister Kennington and Kearsley were just four minutes away from doing the first practice run of the Chinese tour. Coincidence? Definitely not. The sisters told us how strong the Spirit was in the tour and both of the Chinese visitors asked to learn more. What a testimony of missionary work this is. Heavenly Father is fulfilling His promise that he will bring forth his Gospel to all nations.

There might not be missionaries in China, but the Chinese people most definitely are getting to hear the Gospel through other means. God does have a hand in our lives, He does care, and He has prepared a way for all of us to hear His message.

I want you to know how true that is. He loves you! He cares about you! God does have a hand in your life. It is your choice whether or not to notice it.

John 3:16 "God so loved the world that he gave his only Begotten son...." He loves you that much. Don't ever forget it!

Let me answer some questions from last week and from your emails today:

Juli: Thank you for your letter last week! They are definitely not too long! I was reading it in the car to my roommate, and I could not stop laughing! Annalie and Brooklyn are hilarious! And your doodles most definitely were not "girly crap" as Nick would call them.

Thank you for loving me and writing me Juli, it means the world to me! I hope you are doing well with the girlies. I will be praying for you! You are such a great mom, really you are amazing. You can do hard things! Have you seen the Emma Story movie? If you haven't, when you get to Utah, have mom get it out of my closet and you and her should watch it. I watched a clip about Emma the other day and I thought of you and Mom. You both are Elect Ladies. Isn't it so neat that Heavenly Father trusted you to raise his little Annalie and Brooklyn? You are doing a great job at it!

Nick: Thank you so much for that letter you sent last week. I am halfway done writing you back, so I promise a letter will be coming shortly. I would LOVE to read your articles. The only thing is, you and dad have sent me links to them, I cant go on the internet to read them, so you would have to print anything like that off. Don't worry if it is too much of a hassle. But anything you would like to send, articles, talks, are all most definitely welcome!

Ha Ha, I laughed when you said you and Juli are working on wedding photography ideas for for me- how about I just make my future hubby come to the Mormon Battalion Historic Site and we can have a pioneer wedding?!?

I think you asked me about music. I would LOVE anything you send me! We can listen to anything that focuses our mind on Jesus Christ and keeps the Spirit. So anything is great. THANK YOU! I haven't thought of my top ten hymns yet. I will write you those next week.

You had clinical today right? Oh my goodness, how did it go? Were you on Labor and Delivery? What is the girl professor you were talking about like? Do you get to do pediatrics? What kind of stuff do you practice? I forgot to ask, will you keep your handouts, especially the calculating ones, so I can have a review when I get back? And what is this about a Snuggie? SEND ME PICTURES of that please! My imagination is running wild thinking of you wearing a tye dye snuggie!!! Too Funny!

To answer Erianne's question: my advice, use as many outfits as she already has. She is going to get SO SICK of her clothes. Then when she gets back, she can get brand new things! Ten outfits is probably good. I have four pairs of shoes. Two brown, two black. There will be shopping where she is going, so if she needs more she can always get it there:)

Mom- Thank you for sending me a package! If you haven't sent it already, I would LOVE Instant Breakfast! I miss that stuff SO much! Granola bars are also my FAVORITE! I can't think of anything else I need, But I will let you know. You are the best!

Dad: The GPS is awesome, in fact it is a definite lifesaver so thank you so much! I get done being a trainee next week. Can you believe I will be on my third transfer?!? CRAZY!!!!

Oh Dad, you know singles wards. Of course there is most definitely a handful of guys who flirt with the sisters. (Not as bad as my Russian buddies though, so no worries:) I haven't gotten the mail yet, but I'm sure the spreadsheets are there. THANK YOU so much for helping me and supporting me so much. I can actually make copies from the Battalion, so no worries- THANK YOU!

I heard about the BYU-UTAH game: All I can say is I am so glad I am in California right now! What a BUMMER! It is weird to think it is Fall in Utah- Still the same old 70-80 degree weather here. I forget that time is passing, because nothing changes here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Challeged testimony, challenging companion

SAN DIEGO — Family, I love you so much! I have to be quick today because I only have 20 minutes to write.

I only have time to share something from my journal. But I want to give you an update on Robert and Michael. Both are getting baptized in the next few weeks! Hallelujah! It is amazing to see how much they have changed! We also are now teaching a new investigator, Archie. His mom and sisters are baptized. He is so awesome!

September 12, 2011

Today was an answer to a week full of many hours on my knees in earnest prayer to Heavenly Father. This week has been so rough. Sister Nelson and I have been having a rough time being unified, so of course Heavenly Father has not been able to bless us.

I have been so worn out this week with so many things: trying to figure out how to have more charity for my companion, how to help my investigators feel the Holy Ghost testifying to the truth of what we are teaching, and trying to learn how to be a better teacher. I think Satan is really trying to pull me down. What a dumbhead! I guess it is a compliment from Satan. I must be doing something right if he is trying so hard to get me to fail. I have to admit, though I am honestly ashamed to, I let Satan batter my testimony this week.

Having people constantly bashing my testimony and giving me hundreds of reasons why God doesn't exist or why the LDS Church is wrong, I let myself wonder about what I know is true. Getting that day after day causes one to really think hard about their testimony- something I have honestly been searching my soul about this week. It was so scary for me to have doubts and wonderings about my testimony, especially being a missionary. What I do is testify of the truth! How could I be doubting?!? I have spent so many hours on my knees in earnest prayer, asking Heavenly Father to help remind me of the testimony I know I have always had. My answer didn't come all at once, but each day this week, Heavenly Father has shown me that He is real, that He loves me and truly does care about me.

On Wednesday as I was teaching Tai, (an atheist) an testifying to him that there is a God who loves him, I felt the spirit say, "Brittany! I do love him! I love all of you!".

On Thursday when we had the blackout, I was sitting outside looking up at the stars, and I realized how much Heavenly Father has given us. There is so much beauty all around, we just have to put on the right lenses to see it clearly!

On Friday while we were working at the temple, a man named Hector walked right up to the front doors and said he was spiritually lost and wanted to learn about the church. God does number his sheep!

On Sunday as I stood singing in front of a group of people, about "one who knows us perfectly" as it said in the song, I stood proudly with my head held high, for I knew that I was a daughter of God.

Today as we were walking away from a members home who wasn't home, a guy rode past on his bike. We waved and said hello and kept on walking. He (Gabe) turned his bike around and rode up to us and asked us if we were Mormon. He lives with some members of the Church and asked to learn more. God is so mindful of all of us! He wants all of His children to hear the Gospel!

If that is not an answer to my prayers, I don't know what is. I am so thankful to Heavenly Father for that reminder. I do know that God lives. He is real, He is my Father!

I love you all. I want you to know that no matter what hard things come to you in life, God is there. He loves you. Don't let Satan get you down, don't let him tear at your testimony like I did. He wants you to fail! If you are struggling and aren't sure, I promise you, that if you ask with a sincere heart, God will show you that He is real, He will answer your prayers. I don't know how or when, but i do know He will.


Nick: I haven't gotten mail today, but thank you for sending me a letter! Also, I can't get on that site, but our branch president read us parts of it from President Monson's blog (in the Washington Post) - SO GOOD! Thanks for thinking of me!

Dad: Thanks for the BYU updates! We lost by one point?!????? GRRRRRRRRRRRRR! I can't believe I'm missing the first season we are Independent! This is SO exciting! Um- LIZZIE ENGAGED? I'm speechless- How exciting for her! My friend Maureen from nursing school is having a BABY! Wow, time sure does go by so fast! Wow. You might go back to Finland- SO SO SO SO SO JEALOUS!!!!!

Mom: We do go to the CES firesides (only because we are YSA missionaries) But, there was a missionary fireside that night, so we actually couldn't make it. Sister Nelson loves to sing, so we and 4 other sisters did a musical number, called "Let it begin" from EFY 2010. Can you believe I, Sister Newman, sang in front of a microphone with an actual audience?!? Yeah. I bet you are all speechless! Heavenly Father is finding many ways to get me to do things out of my comfort zone.

Speaking of things I don't normally do, Sara was asking what I do to work out in the mornings. I run around the Old Town Square for 15 minutes, and then the next 15 minutes consist of push ups, situps, lunges, squats, all of that fun stuff. Sis, You would be so impressed at my pathetically wimpy arms: you can almost see some muscle in there now!

Oh and about what I do with only having 15 minutes to eat: I have learned how to eat really really fast (no worries mom, I am the healthiest eater at the Battalion thanks to an awesome example of a mother!).

Mom, you called Sister Haggerty's mom. She was in the hospital this week. They don't know what is wrong with her, but if you could pray for her that would be great.

Someone asked about the power outage a few days ago. It was out from about 11 in the afternoon to 3 in the morning. We all had to come in from our areas and study and things. People had to leave the Battalion, and not finish the tours. I don't know how it worked out, but none of our food was spoiled- THANK GOODNESS, because we had just gone shopping!

Ray: Thank you for the email! So glad to hear everyone is doing well! I hope to see you today, if not, hope ya know I love ya! Tell your family hello for me!

Love you all with all my heart! Have a good week!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"I won't forget"

SAN DIEGO — Man! How did I get so lucky to have you? All the missionaries here are going to think something is wrong with me because every time I start reading your e-mails, I can't stop crying! I love you more than you know! I have been really behind on the news of everything at home since I missed hearing from you last week because of zone conference.

Shout Outs

Nick: BROTHER, I wish I was allowed to jump up and down and shout out loud right now, (one bummer deal about being a missionary;-) I am so excited for you to have gotten a job! You are so amazing at what you do. My companions' jaws always drop when I show them pictures of my blog. You are a stud — that is all I have to say. I hope the girlies are doing well, I'm sorry for Juli's family that you have to move, but YAY for Grandma Angel and Grandpa Dirt!

Juli: Happy Birthday soon! My card to you will be late, bad timing on my part, but I want you to know I love ya and HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTER! I hear you are moving to UTAH! So excited! I just love ya so much, I wish I could give you a hug right now!

Gina: I hope you read this, I am SOOOOOO sorry I didn't write you the last few months on your mission! I lost your address and by the time I got it again, I was at the MTC and forgot when you would be coming home! I just want you to know I love you girl. You have been such a good example to me, especially by serving a mission. I still think its too bad that we couldn't serve in Africa together like we planned, but Brazil and California definitely just as good!:) Sara says you have an awesome accent and my family loved seeing you! I just love ya so much! If you get a chance, let me know how you are doing!:)

Grandma Newman: THANK YOU SO MUCH for writing me! I was so excited to get your letter! I am so glad things are going well and you had a wonderful birthday. You have no idea how much that letter meant to me. I love you and grandpa so so so so much!

Sara: Oh my goodness! I cried so bad when I read your email (A good cry, I promise). I just love you so stinkin' much! I am so glad we got to have a sister hug a few weeks ago. Don't forget how much I love you! Girl, I miss how much you light up the room, how you lift everyone's spirits, how just who you are makes people happy. I am so glad I have had you as that example, when the times here get hard, especially with companions (you know being with another sister for 24/7 is not a piece of cake to say the least, even though I do love them!).

It is so true what they say this is going to help me so much for when I get married — Phew! I think I will be able to handle any guy that comes my way after this! :) Thank you for the pictures, for the update on your trip and for everything! I am so glad you are doing well!

Dad: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW! I did an "uh-oh" and forgot to write your card last week, so I had to wait until today, so it will be late. Just know that it is coming, that I love you and hope you have a wonderful day!

THANK you for the update on BYU! Holy Smokes- BYU vs Ole Miss! I can't believe I am missing the first year they are independent! Awe, good memories of our BYU games together. Mom wrote me a play by play of the other game, she said it was a last minute win by BYU, sounds like there was lots of screaming! I bet you didn't miss me walking in front of the TV during the plays though!:)

That is one important lesson I learned from you and Nick- To make a man happy, DO NOT walk in front of the television while any sort of game involving competition and a ball is in play;-)

(Yep. Pretty sure Britt woulda been killed getting in front of this play)

Oh pops! I love ya! I wear the blue Finland and Russia shirt for exercise in the mornings- It helps me start the day with the good memories I had with you! I met a guy from the UK at the Battalion the other day and he asked me about my travels. We talked about the Hans Christian Anderson Mermaid statue in Copenhagen —Awww, Little MERMAID! Wasn't that a good trip?! Thank you for those memories!

Mom: So good to hear that things are going well for you at school! My jaw dropped open when Dad told me you do your own fliers and power points- YOU ARE THE WOMAN! So proud of you mamacita!


I was just talking to Sister Nelson about how my favorite memories of summer are when we used to pick and can the peaches — oh man, my stomach is rumbling just thinking about warm peaches with sugar on them! I hope you ate an extra one just for me! I would love to see a picture of your class! I will have to send some fun pictures of "all around San Diego" for them.

There is a lot of cool stuff I am sure they would love to see! So a family moved in across the street? H0w fun! You are so awesome mom! I want to be like you when I grow up — I bet Cooper has a blast with you! I can't believe Michael Huff is going on a mission and Nate Ballash off to college! When did this happen?!? Time goes by WAY Too fast!

Oh and I have to tell you that Sister Haggerty told me this morning that you called her mom, she told me that you called at the exact time her mom needed it, she was frustrated, and questioning her faith, and honestly not knowing what to do. She said you called her mom at that exact moment and made the world of difference. I just wanted you to know that you were her angel that day. God uses all of us to watch out for his children. Thanks for listening to the Spirit, for being such an angel in her life and in the lives of all of us. You are the greatest!

Natassja: When in the world did I get so lucky to have such an amazing roomie?!? I LOVED the package! Thank you for the letter, for the essay you wrote about London, the bow, the pencil and the London button! I smiled for the rest of the day! I have so much to write you- a letter is coming soon I PROMISE! I saw Devin and Ken at the Mormon Battalion Historic Site! Small world huh? I guess school is starting?! You will have to tell me how it is going? How are the girls? How is the new ward? I just love ya!

Westridge Ladies: My dad sent the picture of you at work with all the boxes! Thank you so much, I loved it! I thought I would lose my "buff arms" not lifting all those boxes, but with not eating Oreos any more, and having to work out 30 minutes everyday, you would be proud of my wimpy arms! You can almost see some muscle there now! I love you all, hope you are doing well and have lots of good stories waiting for me when I get back!:)


I have a few more minutes to update you on what has been going on here in San Diego. Dad asked me about the Bug boys (they are the ones who were friends to Michael and Robert). They went back to school, but both Michael and Robert are still in our ward and are going to be baptized at the end of the month! They are so awesome and I am so excited for them to have the Gospel!

Being in a singles ward is much different than the family ward I was in last transfer. After Church, Sister Nelson is always saying in the car, "Sister Newman, why do I love men so much?!"

I just laugh at her, it is so funny! She has a really hard time being in the singles ward, because she loves to flirt. Luckily for me, flirting is not something I like nor am good at so I do just fine :)

It is easy to focus on the Lord's work here, so I am loving the singles ward! Dad asked if anyone has fallen in love with me yet. HA HA pops, you are too funny! It actually is though a little tricky being a sister missionary especially because they are pushing for us to look so trendy with makeup and everything. One of our investigators asked me if he was allowed to tell me I looked beautiful. He was so sincere and didn't mean anything by it, but it gave me a chuckle.

I don't have much time since I have had to catch up for two weeks, but I want to share with you a part of my journal about Thomas. He is an investigator that we have been teaching for quite a while. He has a few mental problems, but is very intelligent and sincere. He is in the hospital right now so we went to visit him on Sunday.

September 4, 2011

I never knew when I was doing my psychiatric rotation in the nursing school that a few months in the future I would be back, not as a nursing student, but as a servant of the Lord.

We found out that Thomas was in the hospital, so we went to visit him today. I will never forget walking down the hall to where he was waiting for us. He stood in the middle of the dark, gloomy visiting area. It was supposed to be set up like a park with a picnic table, but it was walled in and lights were out and cigarette butts littered the floor.

He looked at us with his eyes wide and really scared-looking. It was a flashback to some of the patients I took care of in school, who were lost and not knowing what to do. We read him the scriptures, sang him songs and before we left, we prayed with him. Afterwards he looked up at me with the most searching eyes I have ever seen — he wouldn't let go of my gaze.

With words not of my own making, I told him that I was sent by God to tell him that God loves him, that He is aware of him and that his hurt and confusion would be but a small moment. I looked back into those piercing eyes and told him that no matter what, don't ever forget that God loves you.

He looked back at me and all he could manage to say was, "I won't forget, I won't forget, I won't forget, I will never forget."

This grown man broke down and started sobbing. Right then, Sister Nelson and I threw the rule book out the window and held his hand. I have no idea what Thomas is going through, but at that moment, watching him sob and telling me that "I will never ever forget," I knew without a doubt that Jesus Christ knows exactly how he is feeling, and would be there by his side.

I just want you to know that I have such a testimony that God loves and Cares about us. He is there He is mindful of us. I love you so much and challenge you this week to "never forget" how much He loves you.