Sunday, September 25, 2016

WEEK 46: On Becoming...

Hello everybody! Is week was a lot better than last week! We had a lot of member support, people opened the doors, we found new people to teach and it was just overall a way better week. A lot of miracles too! This week we had zone conference and I took a lot from it! We received a lot of trainings on working with members and asking them for referrals, and also asking for referrals from everyone. Our mission president is really awesome and I feel really strongly that he receives the guidance we need specifically for the Arizona Mesa Mission. 

This picture was posted on the Arizona Mesa Mission: President Townsend 2016-2017 Facebook page.
Zone Conference September 14, 2016
Missionaries from Superstition and Sky River Zones

We had a super awesome miracle this week! So it was about 8:30 pm and it was almost time for us to go back home but we decided to visit one more person we had put in our plans. We knocked on the door and we were looking for a man named Pablo, but a woman opened the door and just said "P├ísenles!" (Come in!) So us being a little shocked we accepted the invitation and walked in. She asked us what our names were and we told her we were Hermana's, and she was like "ohhhhhhh your Hermana's." She later explained that she thought we were friends of the friends she was staying with but she did know we were missionaries. As we got to know her we learned that she just moved here from Mexico about three months ago, and she's here looking for work but so far has had no luck. She also explained that she has an uncle who is a member of the church and he set her up to meet with the missionaries! So then she told us she had been meeting with them and trying to read the Book of Mormon but she had a hard time understanding it, but she really liked learning! But the she came here and she said were the first sister missionaries she's ever seen. She told us she wants to keep learning and she's really glad that we found her that night! So we invited her to church and she said she was going to come, but she called us that morning and told us that she had to take care of some kids so she wasn't able to come this Sunday, but next Sunday for sure! But it was such a miracle that we found her that night and that God crossed our paths so she can be in contact with the church again!

From my studies this week...
"Certainly the most successful lives are those that have the most worthwhile experiences. The religion of Christ itself is not so much a set of ideas as it is a set of activities. The purpose of the Church is to help us translate the principles of the gospel of Christ into constructive, meaningful human experience. And everyone should work toward this end by a daily practice of thinking some uplifting thoughts, listening to some fine music, reading some stimulating literature, doing some good deeds, and having some great experiences every day." -Elder Sterling W. Sill (General Conference, April 1971, Great Experiences)

The church is not only here to tell us how to live our lives and give us things that we can or can't do, but it's here to help us gain experience and live and apply the things that we do learn. In the church we are always learning about how we can improve and what we can do better, but if we don't live what we learn how are we supposed to gain the experience that our Heavenly Father wants us too? One of the biggest things I have learned on my mission is that if you want something the only way to achieve it is to just do it. I always find myself seeing things in others that I wish I had, or wishing I could have certain talents or strengths that to others it comes naturally. But one day I realized there is nothing stopping me from having those qualities I desire. At the beginning of my mission I had a hard time opening my mouth and teaching in the lessons, and I had always set a goal to be a powerful teacher. But it took me way too long to know that if I don't teach, I will never become a powerful teacher. Now I am still improving my teaching abilities,  the more I teach the more powerful my testimony is. I continue to apply this principle in all aspects and it has made the biggest difference. This is only possible through the enabling power of the atonement. So I challenge you all to stop worrying about who you are not and start becoming the person you want to be, or more importantly, the person God wants you to be. I am so grateful to be here in the mission to not only bring others unto Christ, but also myself.

Hermana Brown

One more thing I forgot to mention is that Sandra and Noel, the ones I were teaching in Valencia, go baptized on Saturday! I'll send Jose pictures next week because I don't have them right now but it was really special!

This is he same scorpion I saw last week, but Hermana Escobar took a way cooler picture of it!

Really cool cat that we saw! (Photo cred: Hermana Escobar)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

WEEK 45: Give Me This Mountain

Well, it looks like I finally hit a rough point on the mission. We had a bit of a rough week with the holiday weekend a lot of people were out of town. We knocked on A LOT of doors, hardly anyone opened. When the members were able to come out with us no one was home or they canceled there appointments. But the good thing was that we kept going! It was definitely hard to see that the input was not the result of the output, but I think my companion and I can both agree that whether people open the door or accept the message, it is definitely up to the Lord. He was definitely testing our faith but I think I learned a lot from it and I can just feel that this upcoming week is going to be awesome!

We did have a highlight if the week though... Zulma got baptized!!! It was definitely one of the most spiritual baptisms I have ever been at. Zulma has such a glowing light about her. She is always smiling and makes the most of her situation. She may be old but she definitely knows how to be happy and love her family. It was a little bit different having the baptism in English(because she got baptized into her families ward) but the spirit was still really strong. We talked to her after ward and she said she feels really good. The next day we were able to go to her ward and watch her receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and after that she was just very very happy. I'm pretty sure she's one of those people that will go strait to the celestial kingdom. So I feel honored to have taught her and helped her on her way there. Dad, I told her we would go to Puerto Rico with her since you know the area as well, so we will be taking a trip when I get back! Haha. We went to the rest of the English ward with her because her daughter wasn't feeling good. So we had six hours of church! But it was interesting to see how the English ward is after being in Spanish for so long.

Another miracle of the week, the familia Aguirre came to church this Sunday and we didn't have to go ahead of time to make pancakes! They still only came for the first hour but they are doing really well. Hermano said he's thinking about joining the free masons but we're not sure if he's serious. But other than that they are awesome!

I would share a really good talk that I read this week it is by Spencer W Kimball from the October 1979 general conference and it's called "Give Me This Mountain." I highly suggest you read it because it's absolutely beautiful! That's all for this week! I love you all and thanks so much for everything!

Hermana Brown

Zulmas Baptism! Sister Gaskell came to do the presentation so we were reunited!

Here's a picture of crazy air! It was super fun!

My first time seeing a scorpion!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

WEEK 44: Tip Top 2️⃣0️⃣

Hola familia y amigos! Well as most of you know today is my 20th birthday and thank you all so much for the birthday wishes and the cards that you sent. I am so grateful for all of your support and love, and I owe you all cookies or something. But I'm officially not a teenager anymore and it feels really weird to say that I'm 20. But I guess we'll just keep moving on!

This week was a little but if a rough one. Our area is really big so I'm still not super familiar with it although I've been here for 6 weeks. And now that sister Gaskell is gone and I have sister Escobar, I'm trying to figure everything out. Also since it was a holiday weekend it was really hard to find people at home. So it everything definitely relies on our faith in the Lord and really paying close attention to the spirit. I know that it will get better as we keep working hard!

But Zulma is doing so awesome! We were able to teach her the rest of the lessons she needs for her interview that's happening tomorrow! She is getting baptized on the 10 of September so she is getting really close! She has definitely has come a long way since the first time we taught her, and you can just see the difference in her face. She really takes seriously the commitments we give her and does them and every time we ask her if she did them, she is very honest and tells us how she feels. And she always does feel really good. So we're really excited for her
baptism this Saturday!

Although it was kind of a rough week, the Lord definitely put prepared people in our path. We went finding for a former investigator in our area book and we found someone named Nydia. She just moved here from Kansas so she is just getting settled in. But it turns out she knows the Zavalas in our ward and they have invited her to church before but she hasn't been able to come. But we were able to give her a Book of Mormon and she asked us to come back! She seems really awesome and I know there is a reason we met her that day. Because it reminded us we need to go back to visit the Zavalas as well.

So does anyone know who Gladys Knight is? Well she is coming to Mesa to come to a fireside and it's going to be awesome! Our stake is one of four that got first priority to go to the fireside! Basically what it is, is a missionary opportunity for everyone. You can only get tickets if you bring with you a nonmember, investigator, or less active. So we are really trying to invite everyone right now, it's harder for us though because we are Spanish and there will not be translation at the fireside. But it will still be a good experience whether they understand it or not.

But everything is going great! Thanks again for all the birthday wishes and the love and support you all give me. It really is a huge blessing! So I just want to let you all know that I am super grateful. For my birthday today I'm pretty much just going to be eating, shopping, writing you all. We were going to go to the trampoline park but we decided to change it to next week so more people could come. So a pretty chill birthday here! Love you all so much!

Hermana Brown

A bunch of ducks at an apartment complex.

We decided to do a photo shoot

Thanks for the skirt

Sunday, September 4, 2016

WEEK 43: New Opportunities

It was such a great week! But first of all I want to congratulate my sister Carina on getting her mission call to California Redlands!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhh I'm so excited for her and the mission absolutely the greatest thing ever! If any of you ever get the chance to go or even have the desire to go, just do it. I can promise you, you will learn more than you ever thought possible if you serve with only the Lord in mind. It's amazing to think that I am able to have incredible experiences here in Mesa, but there are miracles happening all of the world right now! So I'm excited to here what comes from the mission in Redlands!

So we were really busy this week and we really had to watch our time to make sure we would make it to all the lessons we had planned. One day we got out a little bit late for dinner and it was really stressful because we had three lessons planned for every hour of the night and we needed to make it to all of them. The night before we met this guy named Abel really quick. He was on the phone so we only got the chance to give him a Book of Mormon and tell it was another testament of Jesus Christ and invite him to read it, so we set another appointment up for the next day. We were really late arriving to his lesson and wouldn't really have much time to teach anything and we almost considered skipping it because we weren't sure how interested he was. But we decided to go and he was super interested! So one of the members of our ward works with him and has invited him to church and stuff and now he has a lot of questions so we're meeting with him again tonight! It just taught me that everyone is important no matter how interested someone may seem you ALWAYS give them a chance and are there for their appointment on time.

Yesterday there was a Spanish fireside at the visitors center and Obispo Gulbrandson was speaking! He's the bishop from Valencia and he's awesome and used to be a mission president so he is really inspired. So he talked about pretty much the gospel of Jesus Christ and that all is possible through the atonement and our agency. So then this morning I was studying in 2 Nephi 2 and it pretty much just explained everything he talked about last night. And it was really cool how last night I understood everything he said, but then as I was reading about it this morning in the BofM it helped me gain my own testimony about the doctrine he was teaching. I especially liked verse 10 which helped me understand a but more. So I challenge you all to read that chapter and maybe when I get back home I will tell you what I learned.

As you may already know transfers are happening this week and the good news is I'm staying in the Pueblo ward, but the sad news my companion got transferred. So I am going to be with Hermana Escobar! She's the one from Guatemala that I roomed with in Liahona 4th. So I'm really excited! Sad that sister Gaskell is leaving because we had a lot of fun together, and I learned a lot from her, but I guess it's time to learn something new! I'm a little nervous because I've never been the one to take over the area, and I'm still not super familiar with the area because it's really big, but I'm excited to see what this transfer has to offer! I love you all!

Hermana Brown

Arizona skies never get old!

We were at a recent convert's house and we got on the subject of their daughters quinceanera so they brought out everything they used and I put the stuff on (with the exception of the dress). And I felt like a princess.

At the Spanish fireside! Sister Judy and Sister Conway (my trainers) go home on Tuesday :(

Remember Hermana Ledezma from Liahona fourth? She was at the fireside and is preparing to be baptized! She was really excited to see me and wanted to take a picture :)

We got shirts for the Spanish missionaries, so this morning at Spanish
soccer we all took a picture together.