Sunday, February 26, 2017

Tender Mercy in Mesa

This was posted in a Missionary Momma's Facebook group. One of my friends from Virginia saw it and took a screenshot of it and sent it to me. I was not a member of the group at the time but now I am! I am so grateful for other Missionary Mom's out there that take care of all missionaries! Tender mercy for me and for them!

WEEK 68: We're going on an investigator hunt

Well, the first week of the transfer went fairly well! We're still in a drought of investigators but things are still going! We actually met a really cute family this week! They are Pedro and Nancy, and they have three sons, and a girl on the way. It was actually kind of weird because they're really young, like not much older than me and they already have a family! They are both Mexican but they kind of were raised for the most part in Arizona, so they know both Spanish and English, which means we will probably have to turn them over to the English missionaries. But, they did allow us to teach them the restoration and I think they liked it! And Pedro is moving to Utah, actually today! He didn't know what part, but I told him to go visit Salt Lake City and Temple Square. So hopefully he makes it over there. At the end of the lesson they started asking a lot of questions of what we do and what we don't do as Mormons and as missionaries, so we took that as a good thing. We may just end up making them some cookies to show them some love. 

Also, other sad news for the week, our only progressing investigator, Berta, is going back to Mexico at the end of the week because her visa expired. So we're going to lose another one! But we know the Lord is preparing even more people for us to find. We will get there soon!

On the bright side, I've had really good studies this week! Our mission president has asked that we study Repentance which has been soooooo cool to learn about. There's a scripture I found that I like and really explains the importance of repentance. In Alma 12:33-34 it says

33 But God did call on men, in the name of his Son, (this being the plan of redemption which was laid) saying: If ye will repent, and harden not your hearts, then will I have mercy upon you, through mine Only Begotten Son;
34 Therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest.

Recently in a training video we watched we were taught the the most important R in the Repentance process is Redeemer. If we do not use or acknowledge the redeemer in the Repentance process it was not true repentance. If we just change our behavior without using the atonement of Christ, we just changed out of obligation and not out of desire to be more Christlike. Repentance can other words be described as an acceptance of the Savior by using His atonement to change us. It truly is only through Jesus Christ that we will be able to live with our Heavenly Father again someday. Sooooo yeah! Don't forget to repent because it is a gift we've all been given. It's not something for the people who sin, but also for those who want or be changed.

I love you all sooooo much! I really appreciate all the prayers you are saying on behalf of the missionaries, it really makes a difference! I know next week I will have an amazing story to tell!

Hermana Brown

Sister Gonzalez was super nice and surprised me on Valentine's Day
with hearts, and heart eggs!

Pretty Arizona Skies

Continuation of "A day in the life of a Visitors center Sister"

I helped to play a musical number for our WML son's baptism on Friday and that is him!

Car we saw in a parking lot. Good thing the Lord is on our side!

We had an STL meeting with Sister Townsend at the mission home!

We got invited for our dinner appointment to go to a members sons wedding. He married a girl from Pakistan! Unfortunately we didn't have time to eat because they showed up late, but the girl was so pretty! Anyway, this is the place they had the reception, and it's a house
where people live! They were just renting it for the day, but It's huge!

One of the sweet hearts said "be old" instead of "be bold"

We live on the second floor apartment, so in general morning we had been doing jumping jacks and stuff like that and didn't realize we were causing a lot of noise. Hahaha...

She makes her own bread! It's really cool and really good.

President Uchtdorf as a pilot!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

WEEK 67: Larga Vida y Prosperidad💫

Hello family and friends! It's been a good week! Better than last week and I'm learning a lot. We're having transfers today, but sister Gonzalez and I are staying in Escondido together! Super super exciting! Although the area has been a little slow, we're ready to keep working hard and finding those people that are prepared. Actually a few days ago we had an area book crash and so all the plans we had we couldn't see because the app wouldn't open. So we kind of just had to go by memory the plans that we set. We remembered one name in particular that we knew would only be available on saturdays so we went to go knock in his door and it has been months since we've seen him, and he answered! He has a lot of questions about the Bible. He didn't really grow up with a lot of religious background, so when he got married his wife taught him how to read by reading the Bible. So he knows the Bible really well but sometimes gets the context of the scriptures mixed up because he didn't grow up with that strong Christian background like most people, which is kind of sad, but luckily he agreed to learn more! I think it's going to be a neat experience to teach him.

Well, this week I think I had my first "breakdown" in the mission. It wasn't too bad, I just think I needed to cry. For the past two to three transfers I had been holding a lot of my feelings in. My companions have been people that really need a lot of love and support for the things they go through, so I kind of thought to myself it would be better for me not to be struggling, than to have two sister missionaries feeling stressed. I read a quote from President Monson that says,  "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved." I didn't want my problems to become something more important than the love my companion needed, so I just kind of swallowed down the feelings that I had and continued moving. But after weeks and weeks of this happening I had a trunk full of feelings down in my heart that I was carrying around with me. Until one day in the car my companion asked if I was okay, and I said I was fine, but we waited there in silence a little bit and the tears slowly began to emerge from my eyes. I told her everything that I had been feeling, and that I was really trying to apply being selfless and using the healing atonement to somehow magically take away the things I was feeling. Unfortunately this is not how the atonement works. By trying to be selfless and make it appear that I was a person without problems, that turned out to make me even more lonely than I was before. I came to learn that I am not a problem to be solved, but a person that needs love as well.  I have come to know that God loves his children, and I love his children too. I feel so much better now that I have experienced the love God's children have for me as well. I'm so grateful for the baptismal covenant we made to "to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light... to mourn with those that mourn...comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places..." because I have been blessed and healed by the comfort others have offered me in times of hardship. So no worries I'm doing really great now! And I'm grateful for this experience to help me understand the real healing power of the atonement and the love people really have for their fellow men. I guess it was appropriate to understand the love of the Lord and the love from his children the week before Valentine's Day. 😊

Yesterday in sacrament meeting I had to give a talk on missionary work! It was super scary but it turned out really well. I'm amazed at the blessings that have come while I've been on my mission. And I realize those blessing can continue to come after the mission if I continue to share the gospel with those around me. And so can you! Wow, this sounds like a commercial, but seriously! There are so many benefits from sharing the gospel: we get to know more people, we come to know the Savior more, we feel happier, we become more Christlike, we learn more about the gospel. I could go on and on and on with the blessings that come from doing missionary work, so don't have fear, just do it! One of the scriptures I really loved sharing in my talk was the allegory of the olive trees in Jacob 5, where the Lord tells us "Behold, for this last time have we nourished my vineyard; and thou beholdest that I have done according to my will; and I have preserved the natural fruit, that it is good, even like as it was in the beginning. And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away, behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard." Of all the blessings that come from sharing the restored gospel, I think among the greatest is the fact that we will have joy with the Lord because we have been working with him. 

So yeah! As I said the area's been a little slow, but I think now that my companion and I are both at full capacity to work things will start to pick up! I hope you all are doing well and I challenge you all to try to share the gospel with one person this week. It can be through service, technology, your example, whatever. If you're at loss for ideas go to Elder Oaks talk from the October 2016 general conference and you will find your answer there. Love you all! Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow!

Hermana Brown


Making up for not having pictures last week, I took a bunch this week.

Me sitting behind the front desk at the visitors center. Title, "A Day
in the Life of a Visitors Center Sister."

One of he Young women's birthday and she really likes Japan, so we made her these things. (I did the writing, sister Gonzalez did the drawing)

We had a stake relief society activity where all the ward got up to sing a song. This is not our branch but a picture I took of the other English wards. SURPRISE, I played the piano for our branches musical number. Hahaha

Trying to be more healthy, so this is my green smoothie.... yes I know I'm a health nut.

Really hipster picture. But also really pretty sunset!

Already setting up for the Easter pageant!

Sol Canyon Zone!

We took a picture of this gecko that was in an apartment complex and we were really surprised it wasn't moving because we got really close to it. So we finally worked up the courage to touch it, and we think it was dead... but not long after we talked with a really nice guy walking his dog!

Our dinner was at a members birthday party for her four year old daughter and there were like 20 kids on the tramp.

Cute drawing sister Gonzalez drew of the Escondido branch missionaries!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

WEEK 66: Repentance is a Gift 🎁

Hello! It was a good week, not really missionary wise, but we're still enjoying the work! We've been having struggles finding. All the people we find are either not in our area, speak English, or aren't interested. So we've been saying a lot of prayers of faith to find, and we will continue to find referrals for others as well! I'm just glad the gospel is being shared. 

Something cool that happened this week though, so a few weeks ago we got a referral from the English elders saying that a member from Guatemala moved in and she has a lot of non members she's living with and so she wanted us to go visit her. When we did, we found out her name was Rute, and she's actually from Brasil! She recently moved here from Florida and has an awesome conversion story, and is really good in doing missionary work. When we first knocked her door, she spoke to us in Portuguese and I was like  uhhhhhh why can't I understand what she's saying, because it sounded like Spanish but I didn't know what she was saying. Luckily Hna Gonzalez knows a little bit of Portuguese so she responded back in Portuguese and I was like woah. So yeah! She kind of speaks half Portuguese Half Spanish to us, so I get about half the conversation! But it's pretty cool! She's actually going to temple prep classes and preparing to entertain the temple. So we sang "I Love to See the Temple" in Portuguese! It was hard but cool. She is going to start coming to the Escondido branch because Spanish is easier for her to understand. Super cool!

Our mission lately had been having a focus on Repentance and teaching it to others as well as applying it to ourselves. Lately we've been listening to a talk that puts Repentance and the atonement in a good perspective. So, let's say you're 12 years old and you want to become a professional pianist. There is no way you can become a professional without a teacher, but you're only 12 years old, you don't have a lot of money or knowledge of how to do this, so how are you going to pay for these piano lessons? Well, that's where your mom steps in and pays the debt of the piano lessons. Because she did this you would like to show her you're gratitude for the gift and repay what she already paid, but here is absolutely no way you can afford that or ever pay her back. So all she asks is that you practice, and practice, and practice to show how much gratitude you have for what she paid for you. Although you continue to practice and practice, you continue to make mistakes and you never become a perfect piano player. But because your mom has paid for the lessons the piano teacher is able to transform you and teach you how to become a professional although you continue to make mistakes. So hopefully if all that makes sense, the piano teacher represents our Heavenly Father, the mom represents Jesus Christ, and we are all the 12 year old kids that need to show gratitude for the gift our mom has paid for us. And the practicing represents Repentance. A lot of the time people look at repentance as something that's bad, for people who have made major sins. But it's not. Repentance is a gift we've been given to be transformed into the sons and daughters of God that we have the potential to become. 

In Alma 34:32-33 it says...
"​For behold, this ​​​life​ is the time for men to ​​​prepare​ to meet God; yea, behold the day of ​​​this​ life is the day for men to perform their ​​​labors​.
"And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many ​​​witnesses​, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not ​​​procrastinate​ the day of your ​​​repentance​ until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the ​​​night​ of ​​​darkness​ wherein there can be no labor performed."

Repentance is a way we can improve our lives. When we repent we put God's will above ours and by doing that, although it maybe hard, in the end our lives turn out better than they were before. Like it says in the scripture, right now in our lives on earth is the only time we have to improve the quality of our lives. So take advantage if the gift Jesus Christ paid for us and change. I would like to leave with an invitation found in Alma 5:33...

"Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you."

I know that we will be received in the arms of our loving Heavenly Father if we repent. I have experienced it myself and I would love for you all to experience it as well. Thank you so much for everything you all do for me and I wouldn't be here today if I hadn't seen your loving repentant examples. Love you all!

Hermana Brown

Sunday, February 5, 2017

WEEK 65: The Day My Life Changed.

We have had an amazing week! We had many people to visit, we had two back to back exchanges, and mini exchanges as well. Something SUPER crazy that happened this week is we had a special missionary broadcast! So last year around this time they had one called "Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts" and it was really good. And so in this one they started at the church office building and kind of gave us a mini tour of the floor with the missionary department and we entered their conference room. Present was: Dallin H Oaks, David A Bednar, Neil A Anderson, Bonnie Oscarson, and a few other seventies and missionary department people. Elder Bernard offered the prayer and it was really cool to hear because you don't hear the twelve apostles pray very often. Then they kind of had a long brainstorm/discussion about the broadcast from last year. But the reason why it was so crazy is that at the end they changed our schedule! We still wake up at 6:30 am, and do studies and all the missionary stuff, but now we pretty much have a lot more time to go proselytizing and stuff and find people that need the gospel! So its been quite a little bit of an adjustment because I'd been living the old schedule for so long, but I really think it's all for the better, I like it too!

So one day we were out tracting in some apartments and we saw this man walking with a guitar (in a case) and since we talk with everyone we went to go talk to him. We introduced ourselves and he said his name is Samuel. We kept talking for a little bit and it seemed like he kept wanting to get away and avoid the gospel conversation, so we left him with an invitation to a genealogy class with our names and number on it. A few days later it was raining really hard and we were on our way home. We were cringing and we saw this man walking home without an umbrella. As we kept driving we felt we needed to turn around and give him ours. We stopped and we realize it was Samuel! We were all kind of surprised to see each other again but it was no coincidence God crossed our paths for the second time! So next day we were studying and we get a call from an unknown number and guess who it is... Samuel! No surprise there. He kind of played a song on the guitar for us for a really long time but we eventually got to setting up an appointment at the visitors center to meet with him. He can and we had a super great lesson! We had planned on watching a video but we ended up teaching the restoration and it was soooo powerful. He said he's been looking to get closer to God for a while. And so at the end we invited him to be baptized and he accepted for a specific date! The only unfortunate thing is that he is English so we had to turn him over to the English missionaries but it was a really cool story!

While we were in the lesson everyone was sharing there stories about how they came to know the church was true and I was thinking about an experience I had once when I think I was about 14. One day in church we were asked to write down a question that we had that we would like to have answered and during mutual one day the bishopric was going to answer our questions. I remember sitting there thinking about What I should write, I wanted to make sure I picked the right one. I thought of many things I could write but the one that kept coming to mind was "How do I Know the Church is True?" I wrote it down in my paper and turned it in. A little while later the mutual activity comes and I distinctly could remember the question I wrote down and I was anxious for my answer. Each member of the bishopric would take turns with the questions they had received and studied to answer to our needs. They kept going and going and many good questions had been answered but I was still waiting for my turn. The mutual was coming to a close and my question had still not been answered. Until My dad, who had been a member of the bishopric at the time, pulled out his last piece of paper and read it saying "How do I know the church is true?" He explained that he saved this question for last and bore his pure testimony, and explaining that there's never been a doubt in his mind that this is e true church. I felt the spirit so strong in that moment and I could feel power in my dads words. That was a moment I'll never forget that helped me receive my own testimony a few years later. I now I can tell you all that I have doubt that this is the true church. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he restored Christs church. And more importantly than anything I know Christ is our savior and that he has paid for whatever sin, transgressions, sadness, trial, etc. that has happened, is happening, or that will ever happen. I hope you all never forget that, because that is the key to happiness!

Hermana Brown

Back with sister Howard!

Our district hike last week.