Sister Brieanna MacCall Gould
Nebraska Omaha MIssion
11027 Martha St
Omaha, NE 68144-3107
United States

Monday, April 25, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like...‏

SPRING TIME!!!!!!!!!

And I love it a lot.

Yesterday we were driving to dinner and neither of us knew where we were going and our GPS got all whacked out BUT hey we made it... ANNND on the way, we somehow wounded up in the middle of the most beautiful area of Sioux City, which I didn't even know existed, so that was nice. (pictures below)


Actually there's too much.


The sister missionaries here have been teaching Bertha long before I got here, and she has never ONCE come to church. I was able to teach her once a long time again, like back in December, and then a few times in February. And then just recently, like starting in March, she became more of like a legit investigator. She had an accident at work which made her unable to go back, so she's home all the time (which means perfect for missionaries...). We had some incredibly powerful lessons with her, helping her understand and realize that she indeed does have strong faith and that that faith can bring about miracles.

Well one time, we asked her if the elders could come to give her a blessing. We had come the day before and she was in a neck brace. She told us how frustrated she was that the doctors didn't really know what was wrong with her, so they just put on a neck brace and gave her some medication. SO we brought up the priesthood blessing, and she said she would love one.

The elders - I am so grateful for priesthood holders dangit! - came and gave her a beautiful blessing. She said she felt at peace afterwards, and we continued to teach her the plan of salvation. She was absolutely amazed when we told her that before this life she lived with her Heavenly Father. She never knew! She was honestly without words, and just sat there, soaking it in. 

We spent so much time and effort in these lessons, trying our best to help her continue to learn and feel that her faith was sufficient.


She didn't come to church that week. And she still says no to baptism.

At that point, I was like, "Ok, ok is all of this worth it right now? Is she actually going to progress??" We came to the conclusion that right now may not be her time, and so we decided to drop her. I KNOW IT SOUNDS HARSH but sometimes you have to do that as a missionary!

So we planned our last lesson with her and had a member and her daughter come with us. 

And guess what? Something INCREDIBLE happened during this lesson.

God's plan was obviously different than ours! He had something prepared for this woman and her family. We get into the lesson and its just perfect, the spirit was so strong. The member, Penny, was just bearing solid, amazing testimony. But somehow along the way, the conversation got a little off topic... okay actually a lot off topic... and we completely lost the focus. We still don't know what happened haha but as time just continued on, I was starting to lose my patience as I felt the spirit leaving the room. The member was practically arguing with the husband about why they haven't come to church and why they aren't getting baptized and so many others things. It just wasn't the best situation. My companion was getting really antsy! 

So Sister Castagnola just blurts out, "OK WE HAVE AN APPOINTMENT WE HAVE TO GET TO SO WE GOTTA WRAP THIS UP." hahaha everyone got all quiet.

And then I took that opportunity to be bold.

I looked at the husband, Salvador, and at Bertha and I just said, "We have come into your home, we have shared our message, and we know that you have felt the spirit. We know that this is what your family needs. We know that God sent us to bless your family. But we know that you will never know for yourselves in your don't do something. You will never feel the Holy Ghost testify to you if you never allow it to. You will never, ever know the truth if you never go to the source. We can't keep coming here just to share a spiritual message. Our purpose is to help others come unto Christ through baptism."

The room was quiet.

So we sang a hymn, said a prayer, and left.


She came to church! And not only did she come to church, but she participated in class, she regurgiated EVERYTHING we have ever taught her while we were in class as she helped answer other peoples questions, she told us that she recognized the miracles of that priesthood blessing because her doctors FINALLY found out what was wrong, and that she knew that good things ALWAYS happened after we would leave her house. She felt that what we were teaching her was actually changing her. She could feel it!


"Have miracles ceased? Nay."


Hermana Brie Gould

Monday, April 18, 2016

100 days‏

Starting that 100 day countdown, can you even believe it? I will forever be grateful for the chose I made to serve a mission for my heavenly Father.

"Opposition permits us to grow toward what our Heavenly Father would have us become." - Elder Dallin H. Oaks

So I have a rock-solid testimony of that quote after what I just experienced this week. Never have I experienced so much opposition in a short amount of time. From crazy, rude humans to my companion getting the flu to our top investigator dropping us out of nowhere... it was something else this week.

BUT I don't want to focus on any of that. I want to focus on what came AFTER all of the opposition. I know that God blesses those who not only endure but those who endure patiently and with full confidence in Him. 

Last week we recieved a call from this lady in our branch, Sister Flory. She told us that she had a friend who needed help filling out some paperwork to try and adopt her granddaughters, and she asked us if we could come help her. She said it wasn't really a "referral" but kind of! Haha "kind of" is good enough for us! The first time we met with her, Martina, I sat with her at her kitchen table and helped her the best I could fill out some of her paperwork while Sister C entertained her little 3 year old daughter. It was hard! It was all in Spanish! But I'm telling you, the gift of tongues is real.

Half way through, we both got a little discouraged, and I felt the Holy Ghost prompt me to offer a prayer. I ignored the prompting, only because I didn't want to make Martina feel awkward by suggesting it. Well, the prompting kept coming back, stronger and stronger, so I was like, "Martina, esta bien si ofrecemos una oracion?" I explained a little bit about prayer and the power of the Holy Ghost and testified that I knew it would help. She agreed, so I offered a prayer. At the end of the visit, she told me that she felt peaceful and that everything would be okay, that she would be able to help her granddaughters. I invited her to offer a prayer of gratitude to end the visit as well as before going to bed. Just like a good missionary, I told her I would follow up! :)

We followed that same pattern for the next 4 visits - opening and ending with a prayer. Throughout the visit, I would try and relate whatever we were doing back to the gospel and back to God's love for families. I would bear testimony as often as I felt I could. On Saturday, I invited Martina to come to church.

And guess what.

SHE CAME TO CHURCH. And she loved it! She said she felt so good and so welcomed. The branch just loved her and loved her daughter, Alexia. It was amazing. We had only met her a week earlier and now she was at church and had agreed to take the lessons! SUCH A HUGE MIRACLE.

While we were at church, our investigator Yaretd and her family ALSO WALKED IN. I was sitting up on the piano, playing the sacrament hymn, and I couldn't help but cry. They both stayed for all three hours and participated in classes with everyone. Gosh dangit, it was so cool.

And the best part - if you can imagine it ANY better - we met Briana. First of all, so cool because she has a GREAT name.. :) But secondly, SHE IS THE GREATEST HUMAN. She was a referral from the elders from like forever ago that we were never able to contact. We finally met her and I'm so glad that we did.

She is 14 years old, loves to write and loves photography. #bestfriends

We started to get to know her, set expectations, etc. and she was just so open to the spirit and she was eating it up. She is so mature for her age - as we started teaching the Restoration, she kept saying how amazed she was. She understood the apostasy and said how much it made sense to her, that NOW she understood why there were so many churches in the world. When we shared the story of Joseph Smith, she was like, "Yeah, I totally believe that happened. I'm sure it did, it had to!" Annnnnd theeennn, when we went over the Book of Mormon, she was looking at it and said, "Wow, I feel special holding this in my hands!" SHE FEELS SPECIAL HOLDING THE BOOK OF MORMON.  Is that not the most amazing thing!? We asked her to read 1 Nephi 1, focusing on Christ, and she asked, "Well, is it ok if I read more? I'm really interested!" hahaH YES.

At the end of the lesson, she said that she would be baptized and accepted a date for May 14th. She is so prepared and so excited.

God is so good, everyone. God loves His children. And He WILL fulfill His promises if we hold out faithful and endure.

I love you all so much. So so much.


Hermana Brie Gould

pictures: Alexia & crafts, selfie taken with my mission president BY my mission president, and crazy Journy

Monday, April 11, 2016

He is aware of you‏

So first of all, this time last year I was just startin' out fresh in Nebraska. WHAT IS TIME/////

This weekend, we had stake conference, and I about lost mah MARBLES. It was the best thing ever! Could I haaaave a more spiritual high!?


Well maybe, but idk.

Let me just share a couple tidbits..

"The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph." "Our two biggest worries in this life need to be serving God and saving souls." "Don't settle for anything less than the eternal glory." "The world is irrelevant. Christ will not have the world define what happens in His church."


This week was a full one! We had exchanges, zone training here in Sioux City, and zone training in South Dakota! We were all over the place. We learned a whole lot, saw many miracles, and felt the hand of the Lord guiding us every step.

I'll share 2 of my favorite experiences from this week:

1. Ungor & Kirby. So before I got to Sioux City, the sisters had found this family. We started teaching them, and it went well for a few weeks, but it got to a point where they weren't progressing, they weren't understanding, and they weren't acting. We hated dropping them, but we did. Nothing was happening. I had a strong feeling though that their two kids, Ungor and Kirby, were going to be the ones truly affected by our visits. I remember telling Sister Castagnola one time, "It's going to be one of those cool stories where like in 10 years we'll get a call from some stake president and he'll be like, 'Remember me?'" Hahah for real, though, I think more than anything these two kids will remember our visits and the spirit they felt when they grow up. 

Well this last week, we were in their neighborhood and saw the dad working outside. We decided to go say hi, and he told us to go inside. We waited a couple minutes for him to come join us, but when he never did, I had an idea. I told Kirby, the little girl, to go grab her brother. We spent the next 20 minutes or so going over the pictures in the front of the Book of Mormon, teaching simple yet profound doctrine in a way an 8 year old and a 10 year old could understand. It was incredible - they are both usually fairly quiet and don't talk, but as we started, they came up with some of the coolest questions... "How do we know God is real? Did He create us? What happened to the prophets in this book?" When we explained what baptism was, the boy, Ungor, told us that baptism was how we could be safe and protected. They both said they wanted to be baptized. My heart broke a little, knowing the situation with their parents, but I had faith knowing that God would provide a way for them to be baptized in the future. At the end of the simple lesson, we asked them which pictures were their favorites. Kirby flipped to the one of the Savior appearing to the people in the Americas and Ungor chose the picture of Alma baptizing the people in the waters of Mormon. I was honestly speechless when they gave their reasons. "Because Christ is asking us to follow Him." "Because baptism is the first step to happiness."

We finished the lesson with a prayer - I whispered a simple prayer into Kirby's ear as she repeated it out loud. When we said amen, tears were streaming down Sister Castagnola's face and I couldn't help but feel the Spirit, causing my heart to pound rapidly in my chest. 

Suffer the children to come unto me...


2. Yaretd. This human is one of the best. I love her so much. I've talked about her before... she already has a strong testimony of the restored gospel, she was taught in Mexico and just loved it. Her goal for this year is to read the entire Book of Mormon with the sole purpose of learning more about Christ. Due to immigration and other complicated jazz, she can't be baptized right now. And because of that, she hasn't been coming to church as much as she probably should. SOOO that's where we're at with Yaretd. Teaching her is the best, it's so fun.

Well most every lesson, it's about 7pm and Dasha, her daughter, falls asleep and Yaretd, bless her heart, starts rubbin' her eyes and yawning by the end. SO I was like, "Hermana, we HAVE the come up with something different to teach them so they don't fall asleep!" LOL

So, I grabbed our box of unused Ensigns and Liahonas, some white printer paper, glue, and scissors. WE ARE MAKING COLLAGES OF OUR FUTURES. Hahah it was such a YW project but it was actually so fun. Dasha LOVED it and her two cousins, Neeshe and Shy were there too. Even the grandma and Yaretd made a collage! We all cut out pictures of some of our goals and put them all together.

We then presented them, and my heart was full when I saw Yaretd's. She had a picture of the temple, church, a couple walking towards the temple, a family, the Book of Mormon, and our Savior. She talked about how she wanted to have her family together forever. It was so special. God has plans in store for her, I can feel it.

The overall lesson this week?

God is aware of all of His children, no matter where they are. If you feel that you are lost, you aren't. He knows where you are and He will come to you. He will rescue you. He loves you. He knows our struggles and pains, but He also knows our strengths and our joys. He is with us because He loves us. He wants us to come home to Him.


Hermana Brie Gould

pictures: "Hermana, let's knock this house." "" & the sunset in Iowa :) & this picture I took of a picture because my companion wouldn't send it to me... lol

Monday, April 4, 2016

As I have loved you‏

I have decided to nickname the last three transfers of my mission as "the refiner's fire." It hit it's peak this weekend during General Conference.

Wasn't that the most amazing conference... EVER? I received so much guidance, so much peace. I got spiritually slapped in the face a few times, which hurt but ya know, was needed. It was just absolutely incredible.

Elder Holland's talk at the very end got me - could anything be more perfect for a missionary close to finishing? I felt as though that message was meant specifically for me and as he said amen, I bowed my head in gratitude to my Heavenly Father, who knows me far better than I know myself.

Well turns out, we made it through another transfer! Sister Castagnola are going on our third transfer together! Making that the longest I've been with one companion :) I love it here in Sioux City. We are making great strides, and we're seeing miracles every day. 

The biggest miracle this week was with a woman named Elois. Last week, we had dinner with a member and her family, and she told us of a lady the elders had taught a few months ago down the street from her. We decided to go check her out! This lady... so prepared.

The first lesson we had with her was focused solely on her - her beliefs, her family, her relationship with God, etc. It was cool to hear her talk about the things that mean most to her. When we asked her what her family meant to her, she got silent. She looked up at us, shrugged, laughed a little, and said, "There are literally no words. My family is absolutely everything."

We came back two days later and taught her the message of the Restoration. With every question we asked, she gave the most perfect answer. She was understanding and comprehending all of it. She told us of her desire to change, and how she wanted to help her whole family get on the right path. We talked about God, and His incredibly perfect plan for us. At the end of the lesson, she was holding the Book of Mormon in her hands and while staring down at it, said, "I really want to know if this is God's plan. I really want to know soon. I hope I will." It was so sincere and so full of faith, I was blown away. She said that she would be baptized if she received her answer.

Last night during nightly planning, I experienced something so overwhelming, it is still affecting me at this moment.

I was frustrated last night - we have been finding so many cool people, like Elois, but yet, no one came to church. No one is progressing. We've had 0 progressing investigators for a few weeks now.

As we were planning, I just shut my planner in a moment of frustration and asked my companion, "What are we doing wrong?" 

We both sat in silence for a couple minutes - neither of us really knew what we were missing. I mean, we were obedient, we were diligent, we were thorough. And then the sweetest feeling came over me and a thought filled my mind.

Do you truly love these people? If you do, stop thinking about yourself.

I could barely even get the words out as my sobs shook my chest. I wiped tear after tear as I told my companion that we needed to forget about ourselves and focus everything on these people. I looked at our whiteboard filled with names of families and individuals, and I was overwhelmed as I said, "Theyneed this! They need what we have! They don't know that God loves them!" 

I love my Heavenly Father. I love Him so much. And I love these people so so much, but I don't think it has truly entered into the very depths of my soul like my love for Him has. 

He taught me an incredible lesson last night:

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

That's what missionary work is - love. I am so grateful I have spent the last year of my life learning the most important and most necessary lesson that will have eternal benefits for as long as I exist.


Hermana Brie Gould

pictures: Happy because we're still together, happy because God is good, happy because General Conference was literally the best 8 hours of my life.