Thursday, July 28, 2016

WEEK 38: Behold, I Am Disciple of Jesus Christ the Son of God

Hello everybody! It has been an amazing week in my new area with my new companion. The people here are soooo great and so prepared. And the members are absolutely great! The area is huge and so it's getting a little while to get used to, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it. Also my companion is really great! We're getting a long really well and having lots of fun!

So right now we are teaching two ladies, Lupita and her daughter Cristal. I actually met them on exchanges one time! But they are super prepared and love the gospel! They've been taught for a little while now but can't get baptized because they're husbands who live in another town won't marry them. Or else they would totally be baptized by now. But we still are working with them and praying a lot for some sort of change to happen. We read with them this week in 1 Nephi 8 about Lehi's dream and they really liked it! It's actually one if my favorite stories as well because it has so much symbolism in it, and I don't even think we've discovered the half of it. But I love how we must always hold on to the iron rod.

Something cool that happened this week! The ward council had a list of people new in the ward that we need to go visit. One if them was a man named Rodolfo Bodden. We went in there and asked where he is from which is the Dominican Republic and then we asked him how he came in contact with the church and what his conversion story. And it turns out when a mission first opened up in the Dominican Republic he was the first person baptized there along with the rest of his family! He showed us this whole book he has about the church opening up in the DR. He had a really cool experience with the missionaries and it was super cool to get to know him!

Then we met with someone named Hermana Cruz this week. She got in an accident a little while back so she's had to be in assisted living center for a few weeks now and has been a little lonely so we payed her a visit. She has a really cool story and definitely has a lot of knowledge to share with us. She told us a story that caused some deep thinking inside me so I will tell you about it. So she has been in this assisted living center for a while and sometimes they have to run some procedures and they can sometimes be painful. As they were doing this she was very uncomfortable and in a lot of pain and just asked for a cup of ice from the nurses. They told her to keep going and that they would be done soon. She waited a little bit but she was still in a lot of pain so she asked again for a cup of ice but she got the same response. Eventually they finished and left the room and Hermana Cruz was still waiting for her cup of ice. Two hours pass and a nurse returns to the room to do a checkup but does not have the ice. Hermana Cruz was a little frustrated at this point and tells them, "I give you as students permission to practice on me (because you can tell a student to not do it if you want) so you can get your degrees and everything to progress, and the one thing I asked from you is a cup of ice." The students stood there in silence and didn't really know what to say and eventually returned to her with some ice. As she was telling us this story I kind of realized that that must be how Jesus Christ feels. He suffered and died for ALL of us so we can be resurrected and live with him again and I can only imagine him saying something like, "All I ask of you is to love me, and keep my commandments." I don't know why it had such a big impact on me, just wanted to share it with you all. The atonement is truly amazing. :)

I don't know what it was about this week, or it might be the area, but I have just really felt like a missionary these past few days. It's like I know I'm doing what's right and it is the one if the best feelings ever. I have only told you about some of the miracles and people that we are seeing in this area, but I am learning a lot from them. It really is such a pleasure to serve among Gods children in the Arizona Mesa mission. Love you all so much! Thanks for all your love and support!

Hermana Brown

Sooo I feel super bad because we hardly took any pictures this week

We went to do a photo shoot today and it was super fun!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

WEEK 37: Alza Tus Ojos

Hello! Sooo I think I forgot to mention that it was transfers so today is p day and not yesterday... Sorry! But now you get the email so it's all good. Definitely a week of miracles.

So the familia Vasquez are doing really well! We had a noche de hogar with them last night at the familia Reynas home and it went really well! We taught them about the gospel of Jesus Christ and it was super beautiful. We had a super cool lesson plan with papers and steps so the kids could be involved in the lesson but it ended up not really working because of the fan that was going in their house. But it was still a really good lesson and the Spirit was really strong. Plus the two families really got along well!

Super cool miracle of the week! So it was about 8:40 o'clock at night and we still hadn't found a new investigator for the night although we had done finding that whole day. But we went to go knock on a former investigators door and a lady answered the door who spoke English and she told us she wasn't interested and that she was moving out soon.But right before we left, we asked if she knew anyone in the area that would need a visit, the message of the gospel or service and she pointed across the street and told us she thought people over there had talked to missionaries before. So we walked over there and they are like apartments, and there were two doors and we weren't sure which one to knock. So we picked the one that looked the most Hispanic, and someone named Juan answers the door. We talked and got to know him a little bit and then he invited us inside because it was hot and they gave us water! So we talked a little bit more and met his wife Karen and their baby who was about eight months old. And it turns out they had never spoken with missionaries before. So we introduced out message to them briefly and gave them a Book of Mormon and hey really want us to come back! It was such a miracle we were there that night.The only unfortunate thing is that they are a lot more comfortable in English so we have to turn them over to the English elders, but they are such a golden family!

One other cool thing that we've started doing this week is teaching the youth. We were at the Arellanos house waiting for Hermana to come home and we were there talking to her son and a friend he had over. We talked a lot about missionary work and the things we've been doing.And then we asked if we could "practice" teaching a lesson to them,and they said yes! So we got to teach them the restoration and have them see what missionary work is like and also get feed back on our teaching! So we are definitely going to be doing that with more youth in the ward now so they get an idea of what missionary work is.

Well, it's been a great six weeks here in Valencia but they're transferring me once again! I'm going to Pueblo ward which is more the outskirts of Mesa and closer to the Apache junction (the reservation) so it's a little bit out there probably about twenty or thirty minutes from the temple, but I have heard amazing things about the ward! Almost everything as long as companionship wise changed in the mission this transfer. So now my companion is Hermana Gaskell! She is from Oregon, and is also a dancer so it will be fun! Super excited to tell you all about the things that will be happening here! Love you all!

Hermana Brown

Some cute little boys with the Felix family. They have sooooooo much
energy so that's why the picture is blurry.

So before I came into this zone they had this thing that if you found new investigators in a certain day you got to through a pie at the zone leaders. So that's why they are covered in whipped cream.

Completely forgot to mention we finally had temple trip this week! It was super great!

Still goin with the "photographer" thing.

It rained yesterday and so the temple was super beautiful.

Last companionship picture! We did have one where we were both frowning but this is the only one I could find. It really was hard to leave sister Morris!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

WEEK 36: When you believe

Hello everyone! Amazing week this week and this upcoming week is the last one of the transfer and we finally get our temple trip on Thursday so that will be really good.

Last Monday on the fourth we didn't really do much, but there were definitely miracles! It was just a regular p day so we went to the mall and bought some stuff and then at night during proselyting hours we kept an eye out for any fireworks. But at the end of the night we were going to go visit a less active old lady and as we were praying in the car and we heard some screaming outside. So we finished the prayer and got outside of the car and we found a little nine year old girl named flor who we have been teaching and I actually taught her dad in Liahona 4th. But that night she was left alone outside and her parents weren't there. So it was a miracle we were there because she was really scared and didn't have a phone to call anyone. So she was able to use our phone to call her dad and he came to pick her up.

Lately we've been teaching some kids whose names are Carlos, Clarissa, and Angel and they live with their dad and their grandma who are both less active members. But the kids are super golden and love learning. We've been teaching them points of the restoration over the course of this week and they are very interested in learning! They always have really good questions that sometimes we even have a hard time answering, and we really want to set them on date but we need to ask their dad first, and whenever we have lessons he usually doesn't come out to listen. But I know they are going to be baptized one day. I think it amazes me how well they learn and the interest they have about the gospel even though they are just kids.

We've also been working with Juan Estevan which is the one who has a baptismal date for July 30, unfortunately we are going to have to change his date because he didn't come to church this Sunday, but he said he will probably make it next week. But we taught him about the plan of salvation this week and it went really well! He always has really good questions and comments during the lesson and we can really see his interest by the way he is involved in the lessons. He is always reading in the scriptures and says the prayers and it is amazing to see.

Sister Morris and I decided we want to be more healthy so today we bought a bunch of fruits and vegetables and healthy food because we get fed a lot at dinner! So hopefully by doing this we will be more healthy. Also Sandra is still having hard time to leave behind her coffee so we are trying to keep the word of wisdom more too. That way we know how hard it is for her. Sandra is doing really well though! Her and her son Noel are always reading and praying and still coming to church, so it's going to be really good!

So it has been a super good week. Our mission president has made an emphasis on preach my gospel since he got here and so I've been studying it a lot and it has made a huge difference in teaching, studying and really just everything! So I recommend that everyone reads it, especially if you want to go on a mission. It really helps strengthen your testimony about the scriptures as well. So yeah! Thank you so Much! Love you all!

Hermana Brown

So the pictures I have this week are kind of random because I kind tried being artistic and I just thought they were cool so hopefully you enjoy it.

We teach a less active that works on a ranch so this was really pretty :)

We started growing sunflowers becaue a member gave us seeds!

Inside the home of Hispanics

Sunday, July 10, 2016

WEEK 35: Let Freedom Ring!

Happy Independence Day everyone! So blessed to be in this country where we can express religious freedom and all that. Also today I compete 8 months in the mission! Crazy how fast the time has gone. But sorry this is going to be a shorter email, but it definitely was a week of miracles!

So last Sunday our bishop who is a former mission president in Argentina, well we told him about our investigators that are progressing and that they are really close to baptism but we haven't set dates yet. So he showed us a way to invite them that really states our purpose and helps them understand baptism. Basically the thing that we needed to change is give people a baptism date in the very first lesson. It really states our purpose and it lets us know if they're interested. So we did that all week and we had a lot of success.We first did it with this guy named Juan Estefan who is someone who was found in exchanges and we were teaching him the restoration and we did the thing that bishop showed us at the end and he accepted the date for July 30! It was super scary but after that it wasn't as scary. So then we did it with this guy named Javier and his date is August 6 and we also did it with Sandra and her son Noel! Sandra has had a a lot of dates in the past but now she is for sure preparing for the 23 of July! Miracles! So that was pretty amazing to see and we have four people on date!

We also got our new mission president, President Townsend and we met him for the first time on Thursday! He is super great! He is from Washington state and it looks like there will be change in the mission but not too much right now. But it is super exciting! He seems like he is going to be a great fit for the Arizona Mesa Mission!

Well yeah! I hope you all have a lovely Fourth of July and enjoy some fireworks! Sorry if I can't respond this week individually but I love you all so much! Thanks!

Hermana Brown

Sunday, July 3, 2016

WEEK 34: You are Doing Great (cooking mama)

Miracle week... Again! We are being soooo blessed right now. Everything is all good in the hood. The area is really blooming, we have so many families and prepared people we are teaching, and my companion is super great! Sister Morris is so humble and always glorifies Heavenly Father, she is super funny, from West Jordan Utah, and has a super strong powerful testimony and I am learning a TON from her. So yeah!

On Monday the familia Vasquez fed us dinner again and we had a lesson in the morning with a new family we just found! They are the Gonzalez family and right now only the wife and the kids are interested but it seems like the husband is opening up. We talked to her about her experience with missionaries in the past and it wasn't too good. They told her that their baptizing goal is to baptize monthly and that she really needed to get baptized and she wasn't quite ready for that yet, and her husband is really Catholic so he told her to tell them to stop coming over. But when we stopped by to set a return appointment he offered us Gatorade. And she told us after we left she was super surprised he didn't say anything about a return appointment, that we offered us water, and that he asked her why she didn't invite us in to eat. He did not like missionaries in the past but I think his heart is slowly being softened. So she has five kids and two of which are baptism age and they are all so cute! We read the introduction in the BofM with them this week and extended a soft baptismal invitation and she said she would be baptized if she receives an answer! Which of course she will if she reads, prays and comes to church.

On Tuesday we had a way cool miracle. So we were doing some finding and knocking on old investigators doors and we came to one who we were looking for Bernardo, and this girl answers the door who is early 20's and she was super nice. Turns out Bernardo doesn't live there anymore, but also turns out we met Fernanda who is slightly less active but is trying to turn her life around. She told us she wants to join the marines and all this stuff but is really ready in her life to strengthen her relationship with God. So we actually met with her the next day at the visitors center and she's been through a lot of hard things with her family and friends but has this super strong desire to make a change. She told us she was really looking for something to help her change and then we knocked on her door! It is so cool to see how God leads us to the people we need to talk to and the people that are looking for something. And it's so cool to know that not only is God answering our prayers to be guided to those who are in need, but also he is answering there prayers by sending us to their homes or putting us in the path. He loves us MUCHISIMO!

On Wednesday we had a wonderful district meeting in the morning all about "becoming". President Jenkins in leaving this upcoming week and we will meet our new mission president, President Townsend, on Thursday! So we had our district meeting all about things President Jenkins taught us and it was really good. Also something cool I got to be a part of on Monday was an FHE for President Jenkins! Sister Udall (one of the senior couples that works at the office) asked if I and a few other missionaries could help her out with a musical number for him. So it was a complete surprise and we all sang this president Jenkins version of an old song called "Red River Valley" and then at the end we sang "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" so that was a really neat opportunity I had.

On Thursday we met with one if our new referrals named Elvira! Her landlord referred her to us and told us she was interested! So she has never really met with missionaries before so we mainly just explained to her our purpose and what we do and she was really impressed at everything we do at such a young age. And it's kind of crazy how The Lord trusts people like me, a 19 year old to teach his children... That's a big  responsibility and sometimes it's a lot to handle! But it's definitely worth it. But we introduced the BofM to her and we are going to meet with her next week! She seems really prepared.

On Friday we had a lesson with the Vazquez family by the pool they have at their apartment! They are doing really well and reading in the BofM everyday! and also praying everyday! Also Andres has told us he has been thinking and reading a lot about baptism and how it's supposed to be done. So we read in Alma 32 with them about faith and it went really well! They definitely have a lot of faith to know that God is going to answer their prayers. Unfortunately they haven't been able to come to church yet because they have family visiting from Mexico and they can't leave them alone, but I'm sure they will come this Sunday! Also we haven't been able to set a date for them yet because they haven't been home for our appointments, but probably tonight or sometime this week for sure!

On Saturday we had a really long day. Mainly finding and knocking doors and at the end of the day we realized we didn't talk to a single person in Spanish besides our dinner appointment. We did talk with every one we saw even though it was hot outside. But I think it's very necessary to have long hard days or else you would take the really good ones for granted.

Sundays really great because we have church and it is always the best. Sandra came for all three hours again, and Noel (her son) went to primary! Usually he likes to stick with his mom, but he was really happy today. We met with them after church and read the introduction with them in the BofM and reminded them all of what it is and the invitations and promises it gives us. And now they really understand the importance of reading everyday. Sandra is also going to get a solid date set as well!

So it really as such a great week and I am so blessed to be at the front row of all these miracles. I am also so happy to be here in Mesa serving among the Lords children. Just remember that you all are children of God and he loves you so so so much. I want to invite you all to think about and right down in what ways you have seen Gods love, and I know the list will be endless. Love you all! Thank you so much for all your support!

Hermana Brown

These are some kids we are teaching right Now!

We decided to take a before and after picture from the beginning to the end of the day and this was the result...