Friday, January 1, 2016

1 January 2016

Happy New Year to all of you! 

With the changing calendar there comes lots of other changes too. Everybody has been setting goals and getting ready for the coming 12 months and I thought I'd add an item to everyone's lists of things to do. 

But first, a couple stories. This past week has been a lot of fun for me, visiting with members, talking to everyone on the streets, preparing people for baptism and teaching people from all over the world. Although things are sometimes a little dark and cold here in Norrland, the holiday season has kept everybody warm. We have been able to meet with some amazing people this week.

I think about Farhan and Bakhtiar and the willingness and eagerness they have to learn everything there is to know about the church. The way they happily attend all of our church meetings even though they don't understand any of it and only have translation every other hour. They sit there and listen, and although they might not be able to understand the swedish, they are able to understand the spirit. 

We met another guy this week named Peter. He's got a typical swedish story. He was baptized as an infant and confirmed as a 14 year old, but doesn't know if he believes in God. He only believes in "something." He was willing to meet with us after we talked for a few minutes on the street. When we sat down and began telling him about what we believe in and why we believe it, he opened up and listened openly and asked questions. At the end of the lesson, he said an amazing prayer, the first one he's ever said, out loud in front of us. I was so touched by his faith, in just saying "Heavenly Father, it's me, Peter. Thank you for what you've given me. Thanks for letting me meet the sisters. We'll be hearing later. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." Willing and ready, he decided to try something he'd never tried before. And he wanted to meet again. 

So. To add to all your new years resolutions, I want you to try having a more willing heart. I got an email from a friend from Heritage Tours a few days ago inviting me to give something to Christ for Christmas, and this is what I am giving him. I will be willing to talk to those people that I don't really want to talk to sometimes. I'll make my heart more open to love people without holding back. I'll follow those spiritual promptings that might put me slightly outside of my comfort zone. I'll willingly donate my time and energy to my callings, as a missionary, as unofficial branch music conductor, and as whatever calling I receive as a returned missionary this summer. I have already come so far in these past months, and that progress will continue unhindered if I allow it to. My heart is willing, and I am ready to face 2016. Recommitted. Rededicated. Willingly. 

love you guys!
syster janessa brink

p.s. now that the holidays are over, this will be my last out of place p-day. I'll be emailing again on monday the 4th like always. 


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