Where I Am Now

Alright, before I start talking about myself, I have got to thank all of you who followed my mission through this blog. It made me feel so good to know that people were interested in what I had to say even when I was on the other side of the world in the beautiful Philippines. And, it motivated me to keep writing home faithfully about my week. So thank you everyone. I basically owe it to you for the novels of letters I now have to look back on about the best 18 months that changed my life. 

So, there may be some of you who are interested as to what I am up to now. Or maybe none of you are which is totally cool. Either way, I figured I would give an update on where life has taken me, but most importantly the plan that Heavenly Father has given me after returning from serving him full-time. It’s pretty easy for me to say that ever since I received that prompting in 2013 to serve a mission, nothing has been what I ever envisioned my life to be like. Oh my gosh, IT’S BETTER!

The story goes like this: When I arrived at the Laoag Airport as a new missionary, we were picked up by our mission president and the office elders. As I was carrying my heavy giraffe luggage over to the van, one of the kind elders approached me and introduced himself. He was Elder Van Brunt, and he offered to take my bags. Now if you were to ask him how it went, he would say that he kindly introduced himself to me, and I just told him to take my bags. Either story you want to believe, this was the first time I ever met Braiden. For him it was love at first sight. 🙂 From that point, he was the elder that was so easy to talk to and fun to be around. I looked at him as a great friend and was so grateful that I had him to chat with! We served in the same zone in my first area in Laoag, and then I didn’t see him for about 9 months. The last 4 1/2 months of my mission I was assigned in San Nicolas where he was already serving and where he also ended his mission. I was so excited to transfer there because some of my favorites were assigned there, with Elder Van Brunt obviously being my all time favorite. 🙂 As time started to dwindle down for him to go home, I noticed that my feelings started to grow for this Elder. I did everything I could to talk myself out of it, because he wasn’t what I always imagined myself being with. That didn’t last long. Our mission president knew about it, and was ALL FOR IT. Braiden and I kept everything extremely professional and how relationships should be between elders and sisters. Braiden went home in October and his parents went and picked him up and he was released there. Yeah yeah yeah, I got to meet them in the Philippines. 🙂 Before he went home I gave President a little letter and gift thing for him to give Braiden in his departing interview. Cheesy I know. The letter wasn’t all lovey dovey, it was meant to be hard to read and play hard to get, but Braiden saw right through that. He left me a letter that basically explained how he felt about me, along with a shirt that said, “My <3’s in Missouri.” (That’s where Braiden is from.) So from then on, Braiden emailed me for the remaining 6 weeks that I had in the field. Our feelings grew rapidly for each other and I fell in love with this amazing person. Here is some evidence of how I fell for him in such a short time, and… how dramatic I am. This was on a Monday, so I had gotten an email from him, and this is what I said about it. “Holy. Crap. Like oh my gosh! He is everything. He is everything I am not! I want my husband to be him. I know our life would be difficult, but I can’t stop thinking more about how AMAZING our life would be. There would never be a dull moment. Every day would be an adventure, and every day I would become a better person because of him. I now see what God thinks is a perfect plan for me. He IS the husband material I have always “dreamed” about. I can’t believe he even likes me. God is too good to me. I have a lot of repaying to do.” Okay Courtnee, settle down. 🙂


Laoag. Hi baby face! 🙂
San Nicolas

Six weeks later in November, I returned home and was released as a full-time missionary. That night before I went to sleep I made a late phone call to the man in Missouri, and that was the start of nightly phone calls for the next couple of weeks. Soon after that, he had made plans to come out to Utah to visit family, (or visit me), and he spent 11 days with my family and I. I know that in his head, he already knew we were getting married, but I was being the one that was thinking it was all too fast! Even though I knew he was the one. We spent Christmas apart and then he moved out here to Utah to be with me. Though at first I was the one putting a hold on any further progression of our relationship, in the end, I was the one asking Braiden, “WHEN ARE WE GOING TO GET ENGAGED?” So on January 31, 2015, Braiden asked me to be with him forever and he did it in the celestial room at the Bountiful temple. I felt so blessed for the chance I was given to be with Braiden. One of the things that Braiden wrote in his letter to me when he was leaving the Philippines was that “Blessings can come instantly.” I am so grateful for Heavenly Father and the blessings he gives us. Braiden being my biggest. That night I wrote in my journal (you all know how obsessed I am with documenting things), and it says, “I’m so excited to be with him. The beautiful ring on my finger is a constant reminder to me of Braiden and eternity. I am so happy that he chose me and that I chose him. Even though our beginning started when our spirits were created, this is our beginning here on earth into the eternities and I would’t want to do it with anyone else.” 

The night we got engaged!
A shower we had in Missouri.
The 3 months of being engaged trickled by… oh my gosh it went by so slow. Over that time I fell more and more in love with Braiden and we were both so ready to be married. On May 1, 2015, 5 months after returning from the Philippines, at 3:00 PM we were married and sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple. It was the most beautiful day of our lives thus far. The Spirit and happiness that was felt is indescribable. I know every bride says their wedding day was perfect, BUT I MEAN IT! I remember telling my mom as she was helping me get my dress on and flowers and stuff that I would be totally content with just going home now. The experience at the temple would outweigh any celebration we would have and I would have been fine with leaving it at that. But… of course we had something afterwards. I decided from the get go that I didn’t want a reception. So after being married at 3pm, we took photos with our incredible families, and then at 6pm we had a dinner at the Joseph Smith Building. Here I go again saying how perfect it was. It was just so relaxing! I mean I don’t know how other bride’s wedding days are, but this day was so stress free, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It all turned out beautiful. Of course my favorite part was Braiden singing “I Choose You” to me by Andy Grammar. Braiden is amazing. In every way, and I’m not being bias. 😉 He has taught me how to love, and given me someone TO love! 

4 girls in my family, 4 girls in his. 🙂

So there you have it. This is where I am now. I am more then happily married to my Elder Van Brunt. 😉 Just kidding, to my Braiden. He makes life so much fun just like I anticipated it would. I know this is a long update on my life, but just trust me when I say it could have been 10x longer. The story of Braiden and I will always be so special to me, and quite honestly I need to write it into a book. YES, there are that many details I didn’t include. What an amazing feeling it is to be married to someone who loves the Gospel just as much I do. And as we live it daily, that is where our happiness comes from. I would have to say that Braiden and I are not your normal couple. For many reasons, but don’t worry, I will be sure to write about that at some point. 🙂 I know that God’s plan for me is so amazing! It’s the coolest thing ever. Even if it has brought me down roads I never thought I’d pass. Always trust Him, He knows what’s best. Sometimes He will even send you to the other side of the world to serve Him for you to find out what is best for your life. 🙂


Love,
Courtnee Van Brunt
xoxo

I will put more wedding photos on in another post!
Wedding photography: Kailey Rae Photography

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