Wednesday, March 30, 2016

WEEK 21: I know that my redeemer lives

Hello everyone! Another great week of miracles, Easter pageant, and Easter! Last Monday we had exchanges and Hna. Gonzalez came to my area, and Sister Judy went with Sis Hernandez. Every time we have exchanges I get nervous or unmotivated to do it, but then we do it and I love them! I am able to learn so much from the other Hermanas. We went to go see a new investigator named Laura, and when we came over she was home but said she was about to leave, so we asked to set up another appointment with her, and Hna Gonzalez asked to share a scripture and then she let us in! So we were able to have a little lesson with her. Then we had a lesson with Linda and read in the Book of Mormon with her. We have been trying to get her to church, but now she works and can't even attempt to go. She still feels confused and doesn't know what to do. So we invited her do everything she possibly can in order to receive an answer. Unfortunately now she doesn't have the opportunity to come to church.

On Tuesday we had a lesson with Carmen and she is doing so well! We read in the Book of Mormon with her because she had a hard time understanding, but now she understands. She told us that with other religions she would always find something she doesn't like about it, but with ours there isn't anything so far! She really likes it. We also taught the Estrada girls and we kept our teaching more simple and fun for kids. And it went so well. They still liked to talk, but it was about what we were teaching which was pre-earth life and the creation. We decided we are going to move really slow with them so they understand and learn.

On Wednesday we had a great district meeting and Sis. Judy and I gave a training on getting investigators to church. It went really well and we learned a lot from that! We also found two new families to teach that day! And we got to work the Easter pageant! It was so amazing just like it is every night. We met this lady in the cast named Travis, who plays the wife of the blind man that gets healed. And she carried the Spirit so strongly. She was telling us how her husband also plays one of the people on the cross beside Jesus Christ during the crucifixion scene, and how they dirty them up a lot with makeup to make them look tired and dead. But then she said it's the most amazing thing to clean him after because it's like getting cleaned by Christ. Through Him we can become clean again and forgiven of every sin and dirtiness that we carry. Every night watching the Easter pageant it gets more and more beautiful and I notice something new every time.

On Thursday, we finally had a lesson with Jesus and Idania! We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ to heir family and it was beautiful. And at times at the end we asked if being baptized was a desire he had and he said yes! So we're just working on getting him to church as well. But he said he's going to go in order to receive an answer.

On Friday, we had another lesson with Carmen and we taught the plan of salvation, well part of it because she likes to talk. And she really liked learning about it! She reads all the pamphlets that we give her and is fairly far in the Book of Mormon. So she understands when she reads and then has questions to clarify, so it's really great she has a desire to learn. We also met with Osman for a little bit. He's doing so well! We talked about the Easter pageant because he went to go see it on Wednesday with the youth, and he loved it. We also talked a little bit about baptism and he told us that that is his goal. Now he just has to be willing to ask his mom if that's okay. I really hope soon she will allow it because Osman is so ready! And then that night there was a wedding baptism (Waptism) for the other sisters, and Socorro came! We could only stay for the wedding part because we had to do the Easter pageant again, but it was so beautiful! Also the Easter pageant was beautiful as well. Every night we get to sit in on the cast devotional they have and I can just feel the Spirit so strong with that group of performers.

On Saturday, was the General Women's Conference and it was so amazing. I love being able to hear from the general authorities that give us specific guidance for our day. I also love how a lot of the conference was about service and forgetting yourself. Something I always need to work on in the mission field. Nothing is ever about you. It's always about the Lord and serving his children, and when you are doing that things are so much easier. We were lucky enough to see the Easter Pageant on e last night with Socorro! We were a little nervous because we can't go early to save seats and all he hold seats were full because it was kind of last minute, but then we talked to someone and they had four seats open in the front section that they weren't going to use! It was such a miracle. So we had pretty good seats and Socorro absolutely loved the whole thing. We were also talking to some other missionaries and she told us we are the perfect missionaries for her. It's just good to know that despite all of our imperfections with Spanish and teaching she still loves us and trusts us as her missionaries.

Sunday, we had seven investigators at church! So great for Easter Sunday. Socorro brought her mom to sacrament meeting, and Osman didn't use his phone for the whole three ours, so I said I would bring cookies to his lesson tonight. Hna. Ledezma also came for the first hour and she wanted to leave after that, and we tried so hard to find her a ride but no one could. So although she didn't have much choice to be there, she stayed for the whole three hours! We will probably drop her because she's only coming to church to get out of the house. That night we had another lesson with the Estrada girls and taught them a little bit more of the plan of salvation and it went really well. Our teaching tactics with them are getting a lot better. We're waiting to get their moms permition to invite them to be baptized, but once we do that they will be on date!

Well after studying the atonement for a month and getting to watch the Easter Pageant these past two weeks, my testimony of Jesus Christ and the atonement has grown so much! I know that He lives and gave His life for us only out of love. We are so lucky to have a Savior to redeem us from our imperfections and forgive us of all our sins. Never forget that. I love you all so much and am grateful for all of your examples to me to be where I am. Love you!

Hermana Brown

We got a picture with one of the centurions of the Easter pageant!

Thanks for the package to my family

Ward correlation!

So for district meeting Hna. Gutierrez made Mexican rice for everyone, but there was no silverware in the kitchen, so we all ate with whatever utensils we could find!

A little bit of the decorations from the Waptism!

Us with Socorro at the Easter pageant!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

WEEK 20: Happy easter!

What a great week! No worries, there were no accidents this week! Thanks for all of your concerns but i am doing just fine, it's possible I'll need to go see a doctor or chiropractor because I'm still having headaches, but I'm sure it will all get situated.

So last Monday we had a noche de hogar with Dulce and Pascual Garcia! The elders also invited themselves because they made us carne asada which was sooooo good! But we also brought Socorro and it was all really fun! We ate for a while and talked about Jesus Christ and then showed the new Easter video " Hallelujah." It was really good and Socorro has soooo many friends in the ward now.

On Tuesday, oh yeah so we didn't have a car for two or three days which was kind of hard just walking everywhere but we invited a lot of people to the Easter pageant and found new investigators. But some elders offered us their car and now we're all good. We also talked with Hno Estrada that night, unfortunately the girls weren't home but we were able to talk to him and the Perez family came with us. Hno Estrada is really struggling and he wants the blessings of being a member and he feels like he's trying but nothing is coming. So having Hno Perez there really helped because he doesn't live in the best circumstances either but because he has a good attitude about things he's just a lot happier.

On Wednesday, we had a lesson with Socorro about the law of chastity and she fully supports it and understands it very well! We also officially set her baptism date for May 7! I really hope I'll still be here for that, but it's whatever the Lord wants. So then that night we were talking with a potential investigator named Adrian, and he was just sitting outside his apartment and wants to learn and have religion I'm his life so he can have a strong family relationship. So we taught him very basically about Heavenly Father and prayer. And then we asked if he's ever seen the Easter pageant and he hadn't so we decided to walk over with him right then! It's so nice our area is right across from the temple so we got to watch half of the Easter pageant that night and it was absolutely beautiful!!!

On Thursday, we had a lesson with Hna Ledezma and Idania and they are both really struggling with their families. Hna Ledezma wants her daughter to live with her and not with her sister and the other day her daughter ripped up a bunch of pictures from her quincenera and she didn't know why. And Idania is having a hard time getting along with her husband and she swore in front of us. So we showed this video called "valor" about Esther to try and strengthen their confidence and know that the Lord loves them. But it was just sad to see them so sad. So then that night we got to work at the Easter pageant! And it was so fun! We went to a cast devotional before and it was just cool to hear about all their preparation. So then we got to go out into the audience and talk with people. We met a lot of people that are non members that are snow birds and come for the winter. But they all just keep coming back because they like it! Then we got to watch and we sat in the third row! It was again, soooooo beautiful! We are so blessed to be in this mission!

On Friday, we met with this boy about twelve years old and we've been trying to teach his family for a while now. But we talked with him and he is so curious about the gospel and asked us a lot of questions! We showed him the hallelujah video too and talked about why we celebrate Easter. So we're planning on teaching his family this week! In total on Friday we found 6 new investigators! That's a lot if you didn't know.

On Saturday, it was a bit of a rough one. In the mission handbook it says Saturdays are great days to find people at home. But that is not true in the Spanish areas of Arizona because people work ALL THE TIME. So our finding time was a bit rough and long and we didn't find anyone. But then we got to work the Easter pageant again! And it was Spanish night and we saw a lot of people from the ward. It was again so amazing! I can't say it enough. It's just all about the life of Christ and portrays it so beautifully. Also I saw Elder Hoffman there from my MTC district he's in the Scottsdale mission, and I also saw another girl from the MTC who is in the Phoenix mission!

Sunday was a bit of a rough one but still good. All of our investigators that we're going to come to church canceled, so we didn't have anyone at church and that was a bit sad. But church was still really good and I learned a lot. That night we were still a little stressed and our lessons kept canceling or they weren't home. So then we were at a house who wasn't home and we felt prompted to visit a potential who lives close. And they let us in! They haven't been home for a while but we showed the hallelujah video and they want to learn more. Their names are Hector and Carmen and they used to talk to missionaries a few months ago, but now they want to learn again. So that made the day a whole lot better!

It was a good week especially with the Easter pageant! And we have one more week of it. Love you all and thanks so much for all you do! I love everyone's emails and letters you send me! Happy Easter on Sunday!!!

Hermana Brown

We found these snazzy sunglasses in our new car.

The elders gave me and Hna Gutierrez cards because we werern't feeling well.

Classic selfie in the car

Liahona 4th sisters on Spanish Easter pageant night

It's Sister Morris's birthday today! So we put a bunch of balloons on her bed and made her pancakes!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

WEEK 19: Lets just say, I'm happy to be alive :)

Hello! I'm so excited to tell you about this week because it was quite the eventful one. And I'm so glad to be a missionary. :)

So last Tuesday we had a great lesson with Dulce and Pascual Garcia who are less actives. Pascual had been feeling sick for a week so we came over with the elders so they could give him a priesthood blessing. It was super powerful and great for them to come do that to help them remember some of the covenants they made at baptism.

On Wednesday, we went to go do service at the bishops house! We were helping them pick grapefruit off their citrus tree. It was pretty fun! I was picking fruit from a ladder about 5 or 6 feet high and I was on the step just below the peak of the ladder, and I moved just a little bit to come down from the ladder, and it tipped and I fell to the ground. It was kind of scary because I was just falling and there was nothing I could do, but I'm okay! I scraped my arm pretty bad, but I'm so blessed that I didn't break a bone or hit my head or anything. So I really am all good. :) We also had a great lesson with Socorro. We tried for the first time to give her a baptism date, April 2, and she kind of freaked out and said that was too soon and she wouldn't be able to repent fully enough by then. So she told us she's thinking May. So we told her to pray about it and we would talk to her about it next time. We also had a short lesson with the Estrada girls and still haven't finished the restoration with them because they LOVE to talk. So unfortunately we haven't set them on date yet, but we will definitely do it this week!

On Thursday, we had a lesson with Hna Ledezma. She hasn't been reading in the Book of Mormon or coming to church lately so we're probably going to have to drop her. She's kind of crazy too right now so she'll probably be ready sometime in the future. We also had an awesome lesson with Osman about Jesus Christ. He's doing so great and has been reading in he Book of Mormon everyday even though it's just 5 verses a day! His desire is getting stronger and stronger, and his testimony is better and better. We kind of had a scary experience this night. We were driving in this kind of not super safe area (where there are a lot of drug deals and stuff) and helicopters had been circling it all night and we saw a few police officers over there. So then we were driving a little bit away from that area and all of a sudden these two speeding cars were heading straight for us and sister Judy told me to move to the side. So it was SO CLOSE we almost got hit head on and that would have been really bad. So we just said a quick prayer of thanks after that and were really careful the rest of the night. We think the cars were running away from the police.

On Friday, don't worry no accidents happened. But we had a great zone training meeting and it was all centered on the atonement. We watched a lot of the bible videos and read a lot of talks and stuff about the atonement, and it was just so beautiful. So that night we had a lesson with Linda who we hadn't seen for a while. But she told us that she was walking by the park by the temple and she heard some of the songs and practices going on for the Easter pageant. She said that even though it was in English and she didn't understand much she felt something really peaceful in her heart and she really liked it and wants to feel it more. So that's why we told her we invite her to church. But now she works on Sundays so we're not sure what to do with her. But the Easter pageant starts next Wednesday and I'm so excited!!!

Saturday, we had a great breakfast with the stake president and talked all about missionary work and how we can help he ward council. So then after we had all our studies we were going out to go have a lesson with this golden family we had the other day. It was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and we were stopped at a light and there was one car in front of us. And we were just sitting there and all of a sudden we hear this screeching noise behind us and I looked in the rear view mirror for just a second, and his car was coming right toward us and then CRASH he Rams into the back of our car and we hit the car in front of us. We got pretty bad whiplash, well at least I did. I still have headaches and back pain, but other than that were alright! Again super super blessed navy the lord that neither of us got injured. So we had to do the whole police report thing which was really hard because I was still in shock with what happened, but it most definitely was not our fault. The guy hat hit us was an older guy and just wasn't really aware that the light was red so that's why he hit us. So we don't have a car right now and we have to share it with our roommates, but it's not too bad. So then we went to the the sisters baptism for their investigator Brian! He's 17 and the only one in his family who is a member now and it was a beautiful baptism. The estradas showed up late because there was a mix up on the time but then we had a short lesson with them on baptism and showed the video of Jesus Christ when he got baptized. It was really good!

So then Sunday was a great day! No accidents :) but Socorro, Osman, and the estradas came to church! Anddddd we were talking to Socorro for a little bit anspd she told us she talked to her mom and told her she's going to be baptized and she wants her mom to support her. So she said she's okay with getting baptized on May 7 the day before Mother's Day!!! I hope sister Judy and I are still in the area by then because that's in the next transfer. But I'm so glad she's finally decided this is what she really wants! And her mom is going to support her doing it. Thanks for all the prayers because I KNOW they helped so much.

So after these few days and these accidents I know this is where the lord wants me to be and the work he wants me to do. Which I'm so glad I'm okay because I love doing this work! What a way to start the transfer! I know it's going to be a good one. Also Easter pageant starts this week so I'm sure you'll hear lots of great stories about that next week! I love you all so so so much thanks again for all the prayers because I know they help and that he lord is blessing everyone. Thanks!

Hermana Brown

We got lillies at ZMT and took pictures

Sunday, March 13, 2016

WEEK 18: Hello Gov'na

Hello all! Happy March and everything! We had such a great week! It may be a bit of a shorter email this week so I can try to write back everyone today, but still good experiences.

So last Monday we had a super great lesson with the familia Perez who are recent converts, and we're almost done with their recent convert lessons, but we had a great lesson on the atonement and Jose came with us! We talked about some of the things we've been learning in our studies and the use of the atonement in our lives and the spirit was so strong. Miguel, the dad, has such a strong testimony and I heard a cool story about him the other day. His daughter Kayla told us they were at a family dinner and the rest of their family is Catholic, and they were praying over the food and doing the recited prayer, but when it got to his turn he prayed to Heavenly Father like we have a conversation and I thought that would've been sooooo hard, but what a way to live what you believe. Their family is growing so much from when I first met them my first or second day in the area and it's so amazing!

On Tuesday we went to go to the familia Pozos house to help their daughter make piƱatas for this event she put on. Hermana Gutierrez knew how so I was with her and my companion went with sister Morris to do some other things, because they had a a lot of plans at once, but it was really fun! We also had a great lesson with Osman! So we tried doing daily contact with him to read his scriptures every day and when we got there he read all of chapter 12 and applied it to his life really well! We also taught him the restoration and he has a beautiful understanding of that as well. He knows exactly what an apostasy is and that's something people usually have a hard time remembering! He's doing so great but still working on getting his answer to know if it's true.

On Wednesday we had a bunch of member present lessons because a member came out with us for 2 and a half hours! One great and quite hysterical lesson with the familia Estrada. They have two girls who are 8 &10 and they want to get baptized. And we are going to set a date tonight! So we taught them the restoration and their neighbor friends came to listen too! They all love to talk and answer the questions and ask questions as well. But they definitely have a desire to learn about God and his love for us! It was kind of a crazy lesson because it's hard to teach 6 kids at once who have never had primary before, but it was good! At the end we sang I am a Child of God and I had the two girls on each side of my looking at the words and they were both singing the loudest opera they could. So we tried our hardest not to laugh, but it ended really well and we all got to eat ice cream :)

On Thursday we went to a less active members house, Elena Gonzalez, who has cancer. I think I told you about her already but she served her mission with President Jenkins! So he came over to her house with us to give her a blessing and it was soooooo great! They talked about their mission in Spain. And some of the people they still knew and it was really good. And the blessing was really powerful and I think it's exactly what she needed. Plus it was pretty cool to put President Jenkins down as our member present. Jaja

On Friday we met with Luis Capatillo and he's doing pretty well. Still struggling reading his scriptures and coming to church but we're working with him and helping him realize this will really bless his family.

On Saturday we went to go watch the Thomas s monson documentary, "On the Lords Errand" with a recent convert Luis Mendivil. He said he loves President Monson and that he's his favorite prophet. So we walked over to he VC to watch it and he really liked it! He's got such a strong testimony for only being 16 and joining he church about a year ago.

On Sunday, church was good! Socorro was the only investigator that came and she is doing so great! She still won't accept baptism, but is really trying to get her mom to come to church with her just once so she knows what it's like. So she's being a missionary already! We also finally got a hold of Jayson Molina again, that guy from Guatemala! We think he was a little bit drunk, but we talked with him and kind of what he's expecting and he said he has a strong belief in God, but he wants to possibly add on to that with what we know is true. He said he's not working as much anymore so it should be easier to get a hold of him.

On Monday, we had a ward activity that we missionaries planned and executed. We want to help the members know how to be missionaries so they can help invite their friends to church or the Easter pageant or giving them a Book of Mormon! It was really fun and a great success. I think everyone enjoyed it and hopefully has a stronger desire to share the gospel. The spirit was so strong there as well.

But it was such a great week! I'm so grateful to be in the Mesa mission, we have so many blessings. Such as the Easter pageant is coming up starting March 16! Oh yeah! And we got transfer news on Sunday and I'm staying in Liahona 4th for another transfer with sister Judy! We were pretty sure we were going to be separated because you usually aren't with your trainer after you're done training but they tricked us! Haha. But it's going to be a great one! Love you all so much! Have fun switching your clocks back an hour on Sunday. I will be in a different time than you all :)

Hermana Brown

Here's some pictures of he ward activity!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

WEEK 17: That makes A LOT of sense

Hola familia y amigos! No hike his week so I definitely have time to write a good full length email. :)

So last Monday we had a SUPER great lesson with our investigator Eric. So when we got there he had just gotten back from the store with his uncle and aunt and had this huge cup of Mountain Dew. And he told us that usually he would get a beer when going to the store, but he wants to become closer to God so he felt like he should get a Mountain Dew instead. We haven't even taught the word of wisdom yet! But we talked about the Book of Mormon with him again because he had heard a lot of people telling him that they received an answer that the Book of Mormon is true, and he didn't know how to receive his own an answer. So we talked a lot about that with him and that it's important to read in the Book of Mormon to know its true. He's been reading in the bible and told us about what he read in John 4 with the woman at the well, and he LOVED that story, so now we're trying to get him to read the Book of Mormon.

On Tuesday we had a great experience with Socorro at the visitors center! So we've been trying to go with her to the VC about three or four times now but she kept canceling or we could find a ride for her. But we finally got to go and watch Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration and she absolutely loved it! I don't think she was expecting it to be that sad, but she did really liked it and told us she knows Joseph smith was a prophet if God! Her testimony is so strong, and even though she's not comfortable right now getting baptized, I know she will be a baptized convert one day.

On Wednesday we had exchanges again, but his time I went to Hermana Gonzalezs area. I LOVE exchanges because you get to know so much from other people just from one day. She covers an English and a Spanish ward so we did a few lessons in English, which was kind of nice because I got to express myself more easily than I do in Spanish. But we taught this one guy named Freddy and he just got confirmed a member of the church last Sunday. We taught him parts of the restoration and he has a beautiful strong testimony. He told me that he'd been meeting with missionaries for a few years, but the sisters who are teaching him now are the first ones that gave him a goal (to be baptized), and he was so happy that he completed his first goal. I just love that. Goals are so important if we want to improve.

On Thursday we had a great district meeting. We talked about a lot of good things and me and my companion did a 10 percent (something that doesn't have to be mission training) on drawing your companion, which you'll see pictures in the next email. It was soooooooo funny! And everyone had a good time. We also had a great lesson with Socorro! We talked with her about the movie and what she thought, and again, she told us she loved it. We brought a member with us and she asked Socorro if she's thought about baptism, and we found out that it's still her mom holding her back. Her mom really is not happy with her switching religions and so she doesn't want to disappoint her mom. But she did tell us that she's prayed and has received an answer that his is the true church! I know one day she will just decide and know that this is what she needs to do.

So for Christmas president Jenkins gave us a book/study guide on the atonement, and on Friday we got to start it and it goes until Easter! Wow it is so amazing! Just reading Matthew 26-28 was so powerful, and the rest of the accounts of the Lords sacrifice in the bible. It also reminded me of Savior of the World, and how the spirit and my testimony of the atonement grew so much during that experience. But I'm so grateful to be able to study it and I really would like to ask you all to join me and study the atonement, because our love for the gospel truly grows when we do. But that day we met with someone named Daisy who we recently met, and most of her family is Mormon and she was baptized when she was little, but her mom fell away and so she just followed. She is going through a lot of hard things right now with her sons and she just wants them to have a good example to follow, so she's trying her hardest with that. But the spirit was so strong and we were really able to testify of the Savior's love for her and that she's not alone.

On Saturday morning we got to be volunteers for the Phoenix marathon! And we got a free shirt. But we helped hand out water and Gatorade at the 19 mile mark and it got pretty crazy at times but it was super funny and some people would pass by and say, "MISSIONARIES!!!!" So that was fun, haha. We had a great lesson with Osman that too! He finally read in the Book of Mormon on his own! He didn't understand a lot so we read with him to help him out but he did try! We're going to go back to the basics on him because he has very little religion background and we want to make sure he understands things properly. We also met with a lady in the ward who has cancer named Elena Gonzalez. She served her mission with president Jenkins in Spain! I'll show you pictures of that too. But she is such a trooper, and it was good to get to know her a little bit better.

Sunday was super great! Especially sacrament meeting. A return missionary who got back from Brazil a few months ago spoke and it was so great. His testimony was so powerful and I think everyone felt the spirit soooooo strong. And Socorro was there and she felt the spirit too and she felt like she needed to tell the missionary that he did a good job. She also told a member that she thinks this is her church now! All she needs now is the encouragement from her mom or just the courage and trust to follow the Lord.

Such great things this week! I love being able to share and watch others testimonies grow as they learn to accept the gospel. It's truly beautiful and nothing like it.

Just so you all know, next week is transfers so you probably won't get an email until Tuesday. But you will get one! Love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week!

-Hermana Brown

The Phoenix Marathon

Our caricatures from the training at district meeting! It was super hilarious!