Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rock climbing and Q & A

SAN DIEGO — I love the questions I was sent this week, so let's get on with them!

What is the most important/most valuable thing you have learned on your mission?

Funny thing you ask. I was sitting in an interview with a General Authority a few weeks ago, and he sat Sister Kennington and I down and asked us that very thing. Except for he asked, "What is the most important thing that you have learned on your mission that you could not have learned anywhere else?"

I really had to ponder that. Could I have learned the scriptures? Yes. Could i have learned Preach My Gospel? Yes. Could I have learned how to teach? Yes. Without my mission though, I would not have learned the eternal nature of missionary work.

I don't know if that makes sense, but without a mission, I am not sure I would have the eternal perspective of how important it is to talk to some who is less active, or do the life-changing action of sitting by someone on the bus, and just talking with them so that they can get a glimpse of the Spirit. I guess what I am trying to say is without my mission, I think I would be lagging behind in truly starting to understand my purpose here in life and how God expects me to live up to that purpose.

What temple do you want to get married in?
Oquirrh Mountain, most definitely.

Favorite Dessert?
Depends. I am definitely a chocolate fan. Summer time: Chocolate ice cream cake. Celebration time: Sam's Club chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream or hot brownies and ice cream. Holiday time: German chocolate pie. Pretty much, you want a happy Sister Newman? Chocolate anything sounds good to me!

What is one of your biggest fears?
I think this is one that many missionaries have. I don't want to return to be the same person I was. I want to still be me, but be the more refined person that God has helped me work an intense year and a half to become. I don't want to waste the work, the tears, the sleepless nights, the frustration, the joy, the happiness, that I have worked so hard for. I want to live up to my potential.

What is one of your greatest accomplishments thus far in life?
Definitely being here on a mission. I thought nursing school was tough, but there are some days – for instance, last night —when I went to bed with tears streaming down my face. I felt like the Sons of
Mosiah when they said,

"Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us..." 

There have been far too many moments when I have felt my heart depressed and wanting to turn back, but Heavenly Father wont let me of which I am so grateful for.

This week has been a pretty slow week, not much new to report on, so I want to leave you with a memory I have that has brought me great strength on my mission, and something I feel I should share.


Do you remember how much fun Sara, Chris and I would have going rock climbing up Provo Canyon?

I remember when I first started going with them, I was terrified. I love rock climbing, but surprisingly am really afraid of heights. That wasn't going to stop me from doing something I wanted to do. I remember one of my first climbs with them, I got halfway up the cliff, and was getting really tired, so I stopped for a minute holding myself up on the side of the cliff.

I made the mistake while admiring the view of the horizon, and looked down to see Sara and Chris way farther down than I expected. It's a scary thing when your 5'9' sister looks like she's two inches tall! My arms started to shake, my hands started to sweat, and I was for sure I was going to fall off that cliff to my death. Sara saw me crying and started to cheer me on. Despite my begging, they wouldn't let me down.

All I knew left to do was to pray and ask for help. As I said a quick prayer, the thought came to my mind: "Silly Brittany, take a breather, and notice how this relates to your life." As that voice pierced my soul, I did what I was told.

All of a sudden, I saw the rock wall as my life here on earth. I saw spots that were easier and spots that were tougher to climb. Moments I could take a rest, and times when the only option was to keep climbing. And then I looked down at my harness, wrapped tightly around me, and realized that the Book of Mormon was my support helping me through life. The harness was hooked to the rope, my lifeline between me and my brother. I had just used that lifeline, praying to my Heavenly Father for help.

Then my sister, standing right next to him, pleading for me to keep going, cheering me on, and helping me know where to lift my feet, what rocks would be the best to hold onto, because she had just climbed the same thing I was climbing. I no longer had any fear, I looked up, and climbed to the most breathtaking view of Utah Valley.

I share that story with you because of what Sara asked about my accomplishments in life. I feel like the biggest accomplishment we can all make is learning to become who we are meant to become and learning to put our lives in Heavenly Father's hands. I know if you will do that, your life will change.

I love you all. I'm sorry for the lack of stories. Todd went to the temple this week, it was amazing to see his beaming face walk out of the temple! Oliver received the Aaronic Priesthood and will be going to the temple soon as well. HR is still doing great. Cory got deployed to Japan, so keep him in your prayers. And we have a new recent convert named Mark that moved from North Carolina. He is amazing and blessed the sacrament on Sunday!

The work is moving forward! God lives!

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