Monday, February 24, 2014

I'm not afraid anymore.

Or as my dad would say when my mom yells at him "I'm not scared." haha.
Today I decided to spend some time at the cemetery where my grandma is buried. I have always found peace in going to the cemetery. Preparing for my mission I spent a lot of my study time there. It is just a place to get away from electronics, the noise, and just being outside is great! On my mission I could just feel my grandma's spirit helping me along in the work. My grandma was the best example to me of a missionary. I've always wanted to grow up to be just like her. She had a love for everyone around her and showed that love to those around her. 

As I was sitting at the cemetery reading my scriptures I just couldn't help but think of my grandma and her being the first member in our family and how she started it all. I was just reading The Book of Mormon knowing that this is the word of god and I want everyone to know it for themselves. It could bring peace to their lives like I had searched for and finally found. I thought about all those times I went tracting and how scared I was to knock on these strangers doors. But why should I be afraid? I have this knowledge to share with them. This knowledge that can guide them, bless them and bring happiness. This stranger is my brother or sister and they need this message in their lives. I sat there just thinking about how much I love missionary work I mean if there were nuns in this church I would be one! haha. I just had this feeling that I'm ready to return. I'm no longer afraid to share this message. I sat there wanting to run up to everyone in the cemetery to share this message with them.

It was so overwhelming to feel this that I'm needed and can return to the mission field! When I first got home I was like okay Heavenly Father whats the plan? Should I stay or should I go? I have felt that returning is what I needed to do and just to have that reaffirmed makes me the happiest girl ever! I'm just hoping it will be soon! But patience is also a thing I'm working on. 

I'm so grateful for all the support that I have in my returning. I love this church and this work more than anything! I'm so glad to have found what makes me the most happy. 
Keep on keepin' on! I love you all!
Sierra Mackenzie Brooks
Brandon Flowers knows whats up! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Why I'm home... The Real Deal.

Okay so I'm finally writing this... I came home from my mission on medical release a few weeks ago. Leaving Indiana was possibly the hardest thing I have had to do in my young life. How I ended up back in the glorious Tooele, Utah all started at the MTC. So I've always struggled with anxiety and depression something I'm not normally super open about. I have always fought my way through it. My anxiety has always been over the little things and I've been able to get past it for the most part. I mean I would get anxious over asking for a refill on my drink which is probably the weirdest thing anyone has heard. But you know anxiety is a very real thing. Most of the time I find myself making fun of my stupid fears which is a pretty good way of coping haha. 

So anyways in the MTC I started getting panic attacks and I would put every little small thing on myself. I also struggled with thinking I was a terrible teacher and I thought I could never be a missionary. Which is completely stupid! Because you know what? I'm an instrument in Heavenly Fathers hands he isn't going to let me fail his children. I really came to learn that when I got out in field and I want everyone who thinks about serving a mission to think about that. Feeling inadequate can eat at you and its what the adversary wants you to feel. For a time I did let that eat at me and that is where all the craziness happened and that is how I got here. I felt physically sick from the anxiety everyday because I just over stressed about my inadequacies and it was all about me. I worked very hard to push through it. I ended up going to the doctors because I thought maybe he could possibly help... well because that is what doctors are supposed to do. He put me on some super heavy I mean HEAVY medication. 

In the mission field you are only allowed to take this medicine for 10 days to kick start everything. So I did as the doctor directed and we pretty much had to stay home most of the time I was on this stuff because my companion's license expired and I wasn't allowed to drive. It was pretty crazy stuff! I was throwing up throughout those 10 days and just feeling like complete crap. But getting off of the medicine was another story...
My body was pretty much addicted. I stopped taking them on a Sunday and church was pretty much a complete blur. I remember walking down the hallway and how it felt like it was getting smaller and smaller. At the end of church I was so ready to pass out. So I called my mission presidents wife to see what she thought would be best and she said to try and slowly stop. As I did this I wasn't able to sleep for 5 days. I started having the craziest hallucinations, throwing up some more, my heart was beating a million miles, and my eyes were dilated actually up until a few days ago. I was scared! I was laying in my bed thinking that I might not wake up in the morning. 

I had fought so hard all the physical and emotional crap up until this point and I finally decided to call President Cleveland to see what he thought I should do. He told me he was going to call my mom and mission medical in SLC. I had a feeling he was probably going to call back and give me bad news.
I was sleeping finally for a few hours when President Cleveland called. I was barely awake when he told me he thought I should go home. I was so upset. I was like President there is NO WAY! I can't go home! except I was crying my eyes out so he probably didn't understand. I was just thinking there is no possible way I can leave. I love this. I love these people. I love serving the lord. I love Indiana and the tropical weather they were having. I love Sister Howard. I love all the missionaries I'm surrounded by. I'm finally happy for the first time. I need to share this message with everyone! I was filled with so much anger that I would have to go home. I felt like this was my final answer. I just kept telling him no and he was like well okay Sister come to the mission home tomorrow and we will talk. 

As soon as I got off the phone with him I got down on my knees begging heavenly father to let me stay here in this place I love with all the people I love. I need this and they need this. But as I was praying I knew that wasn't his plan and I was so angry. Then I realized it would all be okay. I kept having the spirit remind me of my favorite scripture in John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." The whole rest of that night I kept being reminded of scriptures about peace and I was prompted to read D&C 121. When I read that verse nine really stuck out to me and it says: "Thy friends do stand by thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands." I was so so scared of what everyone was going to think of me coming home early. Living in Utah I have seen the negative way people are treated for coming home early. You know what anyone who has the courage to serve a mission and serve the lord even if it's for one day has followed their prompting and has shown heavenly father that they are willing to listen. I just was so reminded that it doesn't matter!!! Your family is all that matters and they aren't going to think any less of you. I realized everything would turn out okay because heavenly father had a plan even if I did have to go back to Tooele.

So the next day we drove to the mission home so that I could talk to president. I still didn't want to come home because mission life is the life for me even if it was difficult. We sat down in the front room and he told me he had never been in that room before... haha in his own house he had never been in his front room! I thought that was pretty funny. He started talking about how great of a missionary he thought I was. It was funny because he always talked about this specialized training that we had. We were roll playing and he knew how much I hated and got really anxious about roll plays. So what does he do?! sits down and decides to roll play with me?! haha. But ever since then he always tells everyone about that roll play. I've had so many missionaries ask about it because he always tells everyone how great it was. Anyways he then started telling me that he had a feeling I needed to go home the morning before and it was the first time he had a feeling that I needed to go home. He told me that I was the first Sister that he had seen push so hard to stay here being sick. He was just like look you have been sick since November 20th and you can't be sick anymore, I look at you and I can see you are just exhausted. I was like oh thanks President! haha. He then was like I know how much of a desire to stay here you have so as a friend I have you up on the transfer board with another companion. 

So he did give me that option and I just thought about my next companion and how I would drag them down because I still wasn't feeling well. I couldn't do that. Take someone who is so willing and able to serve and make them stay indoors because I felt like crap. So I told him you know what you are called by god so I should really probably listen to you... haha I finally got it. I knew I couldn't get better in the field. I really didn't want to know that but I guess I had to. So he called everyone and I thought that I would have a few days to say goodbye to everyone.

I was still in shock that I would be leaving soon I didn't know how soon but leaving my mission in general just seemed awful.... Not going to lie and say that I don't somewhat feel that way still. 

We were in our apartment because I still felt awful and we get a call from President and he says my flight leaves tomorrow. TOMORROW!?! I freaked out I just started panicking and I couldn't control my tears. I had no time to say goodbye. I couldn't even pack I was so freaked out my heart was running a million miles and I was staring at the wall. I just wasn't there at all I felt so numb. I started calling everyone to say goodbye.

My companion Sister Howard is seriously the best person ever! She packed everything because I was so out of it. I just sat there like man I'm leaving! I had the Zone leaders give me a blessing and it was such an amazing blessing I felt so much better about leaving. It was really sad they were both crying and told me that they really thought it was cool how I could be myself and a missionary. It was cool hearing that. I called everyone in our zone to say goodbye and they all came over. It was so awesome to have their support. I called Elder Romcy and Elder Johnson at 9 and Elder Romcy with his sweet Brazilian accent answered he was like " Noooooooo Man! You can't go! We come over.... looks at clock oh no man it nine.... we come anyways." hahaha I laughed my butt off! But really the best young women and men our out on the lord's errand and I love them all!

The next day we were off to the airport at 6:30 am. I was SO exhausted and completely out of it due to the medicine withdrawals. Me being me tried to act like I was all cool with leaving. But I was so upset. They dropped me off at the curb and it was so sad. :( I just wanted them to stay with me forever! I know realistic. I got on the plane to Minnesota which connected to Salt Lake. I sat by a guy named James and I actually taught him a full Restoration lesson and got his phone number to give to missionaries where he live. I also happened to promise I would find him a woman. haha Jokingly of course. I knew that heavenly father still wanted me to be a missionary no matter where I go. 

When we arrived in Minnesota I was so out of it that I managed to space out so hard that I missed my flight. So I sat in Minnesota for 3 hours eating PB&J like a five year old crying looking through my journal. I asked the lady at the front desk to let me use her phone so I could tell my mom I wouldn't be there until four thirty instead of one thirty... So lets just say I had a lot of time to reminisce and it got ugly sad. When I finally got to Utah I was just so mad that I was there. I wanted to be in Indiana and Utah was disgustingly hot! I was being such a punk to my parents and I'm sorry mom and dad but I love mission life more than Tooele.

Through all of this I have really realized that this is what heavenly father wants for me and it is important to align our own wills with heavenly father. I still am struggling with that because I much rather be in Indiana. I know that I will be able to go back out and that I will go! Heavenly Father has told me this is just a brief moment in the blessing that the Elders gave me and through my studies and prayer. A mission is all I want. I want to serve I want to help others. I have also come to know that we are all children of god. Learning that has helped me to love others, better serve others and just seeing people the way god sees them is MAGICAL! Check it out! You can't hate anyone seeing them in that light. I really do love everyone! I'm grateful for the knowledge of the restored gospel and the overwhelming happiness it has brought to my life and that is why I even want to be a missionary so my brothers and sisters of the universe can find it for themselves. Isn't it the coolest?! We all can know for ourselves! Not because some guy told us. 

Leaving Indiana was so difficult because I just wanted to continue in teaching but I have learned that I can teach anywhere. The home is the most important place to teach and I think that is why I'm here is to strengthen my family so that I can leave them and not worry.
I just have to say that this work is the best work and I know that it is a never ending work. I'm just so thankful to have found what I did on my mission. Before my mission I wasn't happy and now I'm pretty dang happy I would say! I just can't wait to get back out there and serve!

I love all of you! Thanks for the support and if you read this you are one cool cat!
Peace and Blessings
Sierra Mackenzie Brooks
Elder Romcy at 9:10 haha
Elder Johnson (he was actually in my YSA ward before the mish) and Elder Romcy
Sister Howard is a sad Tunia.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Family really is everything…

I'm so glad that everything seems to be going so great at home! :) I can't believe you are giving a talk! I feel like you would never do that haha. I'm a proud daughter. I went to a member’s home and they had one of your signs and I freaked out! haha. I was like thats my mommy!!! I'm trying to spread the word to Indiana about your creativeness :)

Sister Correll she is basically my mother out here haha. She is pretty much like the best person in the world! She bore her testimony on Sunday about missionary work and how grateful she is too be able to teach with us all the time and to have met such an amazing family. Lisa is so amazing! I think I'll be here for her baptism but you never know! Transfers are on the 12th and I think Sister Howard will be leaving me. :( I'm hoping I'll be with a younger missionary so I don't compare myself to these all stars.

We have had a lot of good people help us out this week with getting us place to place. The Elders were even nice and got me Theraflu and 7-up. Sister Robertson hooked us up with chocolate cinnamon bears and chocolate covered Santa. She has a storage of sweets candies she orders from Utah because you can't get those things here. She brought some to us last night she drove up to our door and we just went out and got them. She is like a Sweets dealer here for all the Mormons who know about that stuff haha. Also she is a McDonalds’ Diet coke addict.... So looks like I'm finding you more best friends. She is seriously awesome! :) I just think it's hilarious she has like a food storage of chocolate covered cinnamon bears! haha. 

I pretty much love like everyone in the ward they are like the best people I've ever met. They are all so willing to help in missionary work and being motherly. Sister Couts is our grandma basically :) I can't remember if I told you she taught us how to knit with our arms and she is like a super amazing quilter. Also she is like the funniest person ever! haha. When we first met her she was all formal with us and then we just became best friends! 

I'm feeling a little better. Still can't drive but I'm planning on a better week. One day I had like the most amazing day because I could just feel Grandma helping me. I think of her like always because she really was a missionary to everyone. She has influenced me to be a better person.  We can't find true happiness in worldly things and I think I've come to realize how much you all mean to me. Family really is everything…tell Dad that is not a stupid quote haha. 

We talked about temples on Sunday and I thought of our family and how much temple work there is to be done! I was thinking about how me going on a mission got you guys back to the temple :) Good things are happening. The gospel can really give you confidence and I think you are finding that. :) I am too. It takes time and a lot of work. But it is all worth it. I really hope my brothers can find that. I think about those weirdoes almost every minute haha. I want them to realize what we have and stop taking it for granted.

I miss staying up with you too Dad! Insomniacs for life! haha. I won't be moving away when I get home I'll live with you forever! haha. I told Sister Howard I'm going to be rich enough to have a big house where I can take care of my parents in. I hope you are okay with that. :) I love you guys so much! 
Keep being Legit! 

Sister Brooks