Tuesday, February 23, 2016

WEEK 16: Life's a climb, but the view's great...

So I apologize that no one received any emails last week! I will resend the one I wrote last week and this ones going to be a bit shorter because I'm super tired today, and you'll find out why in the email.

So the highlight day of my week was going on exchanges with Sister Wong! She just got here about 3 weeks ago and she's from Peru! She served in the Lima south mission for 2 months while waiting for her visa! She is so cool! So she's called as a visitors center sister, and she's called to speak English! So she's learning English just like I'm learning Spanish. We had a such a great day though! So we went to go see Alma, Hermano Beltran's niece and had a super great lesson, well at least I thought it was. But we just went over to talk about what she's been reading and stuff and then talked about prayer, and many other things. But she needed up telling us that she knows that one of our purposes of visiting her is to be baptized but she said she was baptized in her church and is content with her religion, she likes going to church and stuff but doesn't really want to change. So then we went over the restoration and the priesthood a little bit, and invited her to pray specifically to know if the Book of Mormon and these things are true, and the spirit was so strong. We also had an awesome lesson with Eric that day. We had a lot of questions about Jesus Christ and basically the godhead. So we answered those and it basically led into the atonement. It was such a beautiful lesson and such great experiences were shared that related to the atonement. I'm truly grateful that we have a Savior to help us and redeem us of hard times. And there's a talk I read by Elder Holland today about the atonement and it's just beautiful. It's called "where justice , love and mercy meet" from April 2015 general conference, and it talks about a story about these two boys that go in a hike...

Sooooooo this morning we went on this hike called "Flat Iron" for the people that hit there year mark on the mission, and my companion happened to be one! So this hike. It's 5 miles round trip and it's super beautiful but REALLY hard. It's uphill and climbing rocks pretty much the whole way so going up and coming down were really rough. It took us 7 hours to complete it. We got up at 3:30 this morning and started the hike at about 6am because we got lost on our way there. But it was so beautiful at the top and so worth it. If you know how much I love the flat iron building in New York, the top of this hike was beautiful. And I apologize I may not have pictures to send this week but for sure next week there will be some!

But it was a really great week. Our investigator Socorro is still doing great, she's reading in the Book of Mormon and came to church, we have focused on baptism a lot this week but she gave us a firm no, when we extended the invitation, so we're going to take a break from that. I also learned so much from exchanges, and so much from sister Wong, she is amazing for learning English and being such a hard worker. She inspires me to do better and try harder.

And if I don't respond to your emails this week, it's because I'm tired and probably don't have time. But next week for sure!

-Hermana Brown

WEEK 15: Lots of love...

Woohoo! Another awesome week! What's new, haha. But it was really good, we did a lot of finding this week because we're in need of some new prepared investigators.

So on Monday we had a lesson with Osman (Osmond, we just found out on Wednesday that his name is actually spelled and pronounced Osman, and not to mention he's been taught for about 6 months and didn't say anything! Don't know why but he really reminds me of Shayden) we talked about the Book of Mormon with him. It was really great! We had this girl come with us who just got back from Australia that we met in Walmart while we were grocery shopping. Lots of return missionaries ask if they can come out with us, but a lot of the time it's more effective if they're in the ward, but we let her come along. It was a great lesson though! Osman said he feels like his answer is like a puzzle and it's slowly coming together to know of the truth.

On Tuesday, we had interviews with president Jenkins! I was super nervous because of the recent training we had on "teach repentance and baptize converts" he decide he wanted us to teach repentance to him! So yeah, that was a bit scary but it went so well! My mission president is the greatest. We had a lesson with Hna Ledezma and it went sooooo good! She listened the whole time and hardly interrupted us! So we finally finished teaching her the restoration. She said she likes reading from the Book of Mormon, but she can't read on her own because the words are too small. So today we bought one of those giant book of Mormons for her. We actually extended he baptism invitation, but she said no because she's not exactly sure if she wants to switch religions and right now. We finally had a lesson with Eric again too! It was in the VC and it was perfect because we had spencer Avalos come with us who just got back from his mission a week ago in Canada. So we talked about the Book of Mormon a lot with him too, and he liked asking us why we read the book and what parts in it were our favorites. So he said he's going to read and he downloaded the whole gospel library app and everything on it!

On Wednesday, we had a lesson Socorro and we brought Hermana Avalos with us, and she talks a lot! But it was really good. We talked about temples and eternal marriage and Socorro thought it was all really beautiful! Then we talked about baptism a little bit, well we talked about a lot of things, but I think it was really good and what she needed. She still doesn't think she's ready for baptism yet and thinks she needs to know more, but there's so much to know! The only thing she really needs to know is if the church is true, and she know that! So she's not in date yet and we were planning on doing that this week, but she got really sick so we didn't have anymore lessons with her, and she wasn't able to come to church. We had a lesson with Osman as well about faith. It was really quick but his faith in prayer is truly growing. He's struggling reading his scriptures right now, and his mom is still saying no to baptism. :(

On Thursday, we had a lesson with a new investigator named Angela and we taught the restoration. It went really well! She said she would be baptized but then said she likes her Catholic Church and doesn't want to change, so not exactly sure she understood. But the rest of the day we had four or five lessons planned but they all fell through, so we did about five hours of finding the day! But it was pretty rough and we didn't find a ton of people. So that was a pretty long day.

On Friday, we had a lesson with Hna Ledezma again but she was talking a lot during this lesson! She told us she read in the Book of Mormon though! Just a little bit but she did read! We tried teaching her the plan of salvation but she was talking so much. It wasn't too bad though. We had a lesson with the Cervantes family. We asked them to read Mosiah 5 and they did! So we talked about that chapter a little bit and they said they want to start reading again. They also want to come to church but unfortunately that didn't happen.So then that night we had a very interesting lesson with someone named Anna. We met her a little while ago but she told us to come back this
day at this time. So we did and this girl named crystal answered the door and let us in. We talked with her for a little while because Anna was cleaning and she was really nice! She said she was baptized into the church a few years ago but doesn't really go anymore. So when Anna finally came over we started talking about her experience with the missionaries. And she started telling us a lot of things and then she told us that Crystal is her wife! So we were a little shocked but didn't let it show in our faces, and we just kind of expressed love for them and invited them to read the Book of Mormon, and come to church. They were really surprised that we invited them after they
told us about their situation. So that was definitely an experience for the books.

Saturday was such a great day! We had this Spanish conference with president Jenkins and all the other Spanish missionaries in the mission. We started out the day by going to the temple and doing a Spanish session, which was so so so great. And then we had a lunch and some trainings about Spanish culture and the language. It was super great and definitely needed. They used to have just Spanish zones in the mission and have things like this all the time. But now we're all mixed together. But I'm so grateful to have had that experience. So we ended up having dinner with Nadia (Pineda family who read anti Mormon stuff and doesn't want to be taught anymore). We were really surprised that she still would be willing to feed us, but it was really good! The other missionaries tried inviting her to church but she just was really hesitant, but elder Moreno shared an awesome spiritual thought in Matthew 19 about coming unto Christ and it was very powerful! We also had a lesson with Eric and it was really great. We talked more about the Book of Mormon because he listened to a lot of it in his phone when he was at work. He especially like the testimony of Joseph Smith. But unfortunately we found out that he's moving so we're praying he'll still be in our area but we don't know for sure.

Sunday was a little rough because we only had one investigator at church, which was alma. Socorro was really sick, Osman didn't want to come, Eric was moving, and we couldn't find a ride for Hna Ledezma. But church was still really great. And it was valentines, so it had to be a good day! So we had a lesson with Hna Candelarias and her kids, and this little girl named Abigail. We watched a lot of videos about Christ and listened to the Christus. It was very great and good to keep it simple because her kids are a bit wild at times! And we found new investigators on Sunday! Maria and Jesus. They've listened to missionaries but about six years ago. So we taught the restoration and they seemed to like it. I hope they have a strong interest to learn.

This morning we got to go to the temple again because it was open because it was closed for a little bit. So that was a super great way to start the day. Just want to say happy Valentine's Day to every one, And I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Especially want to say thank you to all my family. I have so much love for you all and I hope you know that! I love the Lord and I love he scriptures and those are the things that brings us closer as families. My favorite part in teaching the restoration is when we talk about families, because I get to tell everyone about my awesome family, and it's awesome because of the gospel, and I have he best family. So thanks again!

Con amor,

Hermana Brown

We had a picnic in the park on Tuesday because our dinner canceled. So
it was super fun and the weather is sooooo beautiful!

This is from the Temple on Saturday

We took a bunch of crazy photos with Hna. Morris' ipad

Monday, February 15, 2016

WEEK 14: Three months!

Wow! It was such a great week and it literally flew by. So many great things happened. And can you believe I have already been out three months?!

So on Monday we had a super great lesson with a less active family, la familia Ruelas. We taught faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. And it went so well! The whole family was participating and really engaged in the lesson. At the end, Hno Ruelas shared with us a general conference talk that his boss sent him (called "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence" from gen con 2014, and it's really good and everyone reading this email better read it) but it really made an impact on him and he really wants to come to church every week and make a change. And he kept texting us all week about setting an appointment up with the bishop, and he kept asking us questions about what things meant in the Book of Mormon! It REALLY made an impact on him and it's been amazing to see his testimony and desire to learn grow so quickly, just from a talk that his boss sent to him. So you never know the difference you're going to make. So challenge you all to share something, somehow, someway, it doesn't have to be anything grand but just do it. We've been using that talk all week with everyone and it's so great!

On Tuesday we had a visit with Hna Ladezma and I think I said his last week but she talks soooo much! She tells us all about the things going on in her family. So we taught a little bit of the plan of salvation, but it was hard to get past the first point because she wasn't 100 percent there and she kept talking. So we're still not exactly sure what she wants from us, but we will figure it out. We also had a great a lesson with Linda and her kids about the sabbath day and they understood really well. Unfortunately they weren't able to make it to church which is hard because they might not have a car all the time, but at the same time we let them know we can find a ride if they need it. But i think eventually they'll make a change and really want to come.

On Wednesday we had an awesome lesson with Socorro! If I thought she was prepared since the first lesson we had, she is most definitely prepared now. Since he last time we met with her she read pretty much all of 2 Nephi. We were going to teach the plan of salvation again because she had some questions, but she ended up asking us questions about the commandments and specifically the word of wisdom. She asked us why we haven't asked her to give up coffee yet, and she's so willing to change! She knows it's all true and now we're just waiting for her to commit to baptism.

On Thursday we had to do a training at district meeting on using time wisely. And just got to give credit to my parents for teaching me so well how to set goals because I definitely used all of that. Especially the SMART goal thing. So thanks! But we had a lesson with Osmond and it was so great. We reviewed what a baptismal covenant is and what happens when we're baptized. We also talked about chastity, word of wisdom, law of the fast and he seems to understand really well. He's really ready for baptism. Except he still hasn't received or prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true. He asked his mom about baptism but he said she ignored him. But I really think once he knows the truth of the Book of Mormon, his mom will soften her heart and say it's okay. We also had a super great lesson with Hno. Beltran's niece who just moved here from Mexico. We taught the Restoration and it went really well! And it's great because we had member present lessons! But it was good. Hno y Hna Beltran, it kind of seemed like they've been waiting for a chance to talk about the gospel and they did it in the lesson, which was good, but it was hard to keep on track with the lesson. At one point they just started singing "Jospeh Smiths first prayer." But it really did go well and she is so nice and willing to listen. The spirit was super strong.

On Friday in the morning we went to go help an investigator of the elders in our zone. And it was really fun! We had some interesting encounters with animals that day. First we found a little gecko and caught it, but then one if the elders accidentally ripped it's tail off. Then we were taking a box out of her shed and this huge rat jumped out of it and ran around the corner. And then we were finishing up and we saw this cat jump into the air and catch a bird in its mouth. And then she ate it. So that was an adventure! We had a great lesson with the familia estradas that too! We decided to read the talk that Hno Ruelas showed us and it was perfect. I think it really helped answer some questions they were having. They also have a goal to come to church every week now too! So our less actives are doing AWESOME right now!

On Saturday we got to attend a baptism for the elders in our ward! It was absolutley beautiful  and Socorro came! She really liked it, and she said it's a big decision you have to make. Which it definitely is. I would only want her to get baptized if she know it's the right thing for her. I had to play the piano at the baptism. Now that Hna onway isn't here, I'm the designated piano player. But it was a great baptism, and I definitely think Socorro is considering baptism now, regardless of what her mom thinks. We got to visit with Julia that day and it was so so great. We did't actually have a lesson, but when we got there her two kids ( they are the ones who are special needs) told us that their dog Lucas ran away and they were really devastated. So we went to go look for him and said a little prayer and we found him! It was so great. I love talking to her kids they have such a great happiness about them. So you may be wondering what happened to our investigator Eric. We haven't seen him for two weeks because he didn't answer the door or our calls. And we think it's because his uncle isn't very fond of him meeting with Mormons. But we left a note in his door that night and then we were able to call him on Sunday and he still wants to meet with us! He just said he's going through a lot of hard things right now.

Sunday was also a great day, and Socorro and Hna Ledezma came! Socorro absolutely loves church and is starting to make friends with lots of he members. During sacrament meeting Hna. Ledezma wanted to bear her testimony, but it ended up being her telling them all about her accident and her problems she's having in her family. So that was a little interesting. But the whole meeting was really great.

Well. Another week down! And it went by sooooo fast. Don't forget to read that talk because it's good for everyone to read. Love you all a bunch!

-Hermana Brown

So everywhere in Arizona there's orange citrus trees and they are the
best oranges ever! Members give them to us all the time.

This is what Hna Judy and Hna Morris would look like with Hna Guiterrez hair and mine.

And what me and Hna Guiterrez would look like with Hna Judy and Morris hair!

The roommates :)

Monday, February 1, 2016

WEEK 13: Then There were two...

Buenos días! Such an amazing week again! It was kind of interesting just being two this week now that Hermana Conway left, but we're used to it now!

So on Tuesday last week we taught our investigator named Reymundo, who is Yesenia dad. And it was really well! He has a lot of questions just about the restoration, so that's good! He always wants to cook for us though, and we've usually already had dinner by then, so it's kind of rough sometimes. So then that night, we were going to go visit Nadia, and when we were knocking on the door we noticed Gelacio (her boyfriend) just got back from bringing in groceries, so we decided to go help. So then when we got to the door, he told us that Nadia had seen some things on the internet about our church that she wasn't really pleased with, so it probably wouldn't be very good to see her for a while. So that was a little sad because her son had a baptismal date, but I'm very glad this happened now and not after his baptism. But I guess it explains why she had all those weird questions last week.

On Wednesday day we had a lesson with Socorro and she is doing so great! We talked a lot about church and the Book of Mormon, and she loves it all! And at the end of the lesson we asked her if she's prayed to know the church is true and she she knows it! We're still struggling with getting her on date, but I really think this week it could happen! We met this new referral named Hermana Ladezma this week. And we went to go visit her and she talked soooooooo much and really fast too! We're not exactly sure if she wants to keep learning or if she just wants someone to talk to. But I guess we'll see! We also had great lessons with Julia and Heria! We realized they didn't exactly know how to read the scriptures. Like what is a verse and a chapter. So we went over that with them, and we read the introduction of the Book of Mormon and just made sure that if they want to know that this church is true they actually have to read the Book of Mormon.

On Thursday I went to go get certified as a mission vehicle driver! I only am going to drive on Friday and Sunday now because I'm still confused on where everything is but I'm so excited to drive! We had a lesson with Linda and her kids about the gospel of Jesus Christ. About faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. And it went so well! She's really been changing a lot and has such a desire to learn and she also has a desire to be baptized! No date yet, but I'm sure it will one day be there. We met a Christmas lights referral, a lady named Sandra. She works a lot and told us straight up that if she doesn't read it's just because she's been working. So she seems super prepared, we're just not exactly sure if we'll be able to meet with her that often. But she wants her son to learn too! It was also Osmonds birthday! And he wanted us to come visit him on his birthday! It was so great. We taught him he gospel of Jesus Christ and did a scripture race. And then we ate cookies for his birthday.

On Friday we went to go help a member, Hermana Avalos paint one of the walls on the outside of her house! It was super fun and she made us really good quesadillas for lunch! We also had a really great blessing at Hermana Candelarias house. She is a member, but her boyfriend is not. But she wanted us to come bless her home and she asked for a priesthood blessing as well. So we went to there house with the elders to do that and the spirit was so strong. Also it was probably really good that her boyfriend was there for that.

So then on Saturday we had a lesson with her boyfriend, Luis! And it went so well! We decided to go over the restoration again because he didn't quite grasp the whole thing the first time. But I really think he's starting to warm up to the gospel and he had a lot of questions about how it was restored so we're hoping to have a lesson at the visitors center so we can watch the Joseph smith movie with them.

So church was super great, and a bit nerve racking because my companion and I had to give talks, in Spanish for  15 minutes each! We found out on Friday so we only had two days to prepare. It was super scary but I really think it went well. We also got to pick our own subjects, so I did mine on the atonement and service, and hermana Judy did hers on taking upon the name of Christ. But other than that church was really good! Hna Ladezma, Osmond, and Socorro came. And Socorro told us that her family is very fond of her coming to another church, because she grew up as a strong Catholic, but she likes how she feels at church and she likes everything about the church so she is going to keep coming! So that was super great!

Well, another week down! It was a tiring one! A lot more to do when there's only two of you! But we're still going. Oh yeah, we didn't get to see Eric at all this week which is a little sad. But we think he went out of town because his mailbox was overflowing. But just so you know. And Spanish has definitely gotten better this week too. Everything weak gets easier and easier. Love you all so much!

-Hermana Brown