Sunday, March 26, 2017

WEEK 72: For My Soul Delighteth in the Song of The Heart ❤️

I honestly cannot believe it's been 72 weeks! That's crazy! But the best 72 weeks of my life! And I still have a few more left to enjoy. A little bit of new: next week I will be entering my last transfer (nooooooooooooooooo) 🤦🏻‍♀️😢😥😭😭😭😭😭😭😭. I do not know where I'm going or if I'm going to stay, but we do know that sister Gonzalez and I will be getting split up because she's going back to the visitors center (again, noooooooooo) but it's because next transfer is the Easter pageant. Yayyyyyyyy!!!! Which I am so excited about because that is one of my favorite times of the year here in Mesa! Our mission is so spoiled and I love it. I've never realized until I've been here in my mission that the reason the church has Visitors centers, pageants, Christmas lights, concerts, etc. it is for the purpose of allowing others to feel the spirit and have a chance to accept the restored gospel, and also to make it easy for us as members to invite others. So what are you waiting for? If you have ANY of the resources near you, bring your friends! And tell them to bring their friends! This is the easiest most casual way to allow someone to feel the spirit and for you to share your testimony. 

So on Sunday night we had the Charla Fogonera (Spanish Fireside) and the turn out was so good! It was hosted by the Escondido branch (the branch I'm serving in) which made it really good! Haha. But just all of it was really good. The missionaries are always the ones that provide the musical numbers, and while we were practicing I just felt the spirit so strong. It was so cool to be in a room full of missionaries testifying through song that Jesus is the Christ. The song we were singing is one from the children's song book called, "He Sent His Son" pg. 34 in case you want to use this for family home evening ;) As we sang the in the practice as well as in the Fireside, the spirit was so strong. It's beautiful how even songs for children teach the doctrine of Christ. The lyrics are so beautiful. Full of simple but profound questions and answers.

How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness?
He sent his Son, a newborn babe, with peace and holiness.
How could the Father show the world the pathway we should go?
He sent his Son to walk with men on earth, that we may know.
How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death?
He sent his Son to die for us and rise with living breath.
What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way.
What does he ask? Live like his Son.

The fact that we know that our Heavenly Father has sent his son so we know exactly the path we need to follow is beautiful! As many of the prophets have said, we don't need to question which way to go, because of the knowledge the plan of Salvation provides us. And central to the plan of Salvation is our Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement. We cannot let this knowledge be kept inside of us we must share it. At the end of the Fireside we sang hymn 264 "Hark, All Ye Nations"  and particularly verse 3 stood out to me the most.

Chosen by God to serve him below,
To ev’ry land and people we’ll go,
Standing for truth with fervent accord,
Teaching his holy word.
Oh, how glorious from the throne above
Shines the gospel light of truth and love!
Bright as the sun, this heavenly ray
Lights ev’ry land today.

How glorious is it that we can testify of this great gospel we've been given!  The gospel is a light the cannot and must not be hidden. Let us live up to title of being those "chosen by God" even to serve him. I know that this is the church of Jesus Christ that has been restored upon the earth. If you also know that I encourage you to share that with your family and friends. If you still don't know that, I invite you to read the Book of Mormon and find for yourself the truth, light, and happiness the gospel brings, when we live it and share it. I can promise you the blessings God has in store for you all cannot be withheld! He wants to give us these blessings. I love you all so much which is why I share this with you. I hope you take this and act upon it so you can experience the joy that is found in living and sharing the gospel. 

Hermana Brown

D&C 25:12
For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.

Easter pageant stage is all the way up!

Trying to video call investigators through Facebook

Exchanges with sis. Escobar!

All (or at least most) of the Spanish missionaries!!!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

WEEK 71: Los Dedos. 🤚

Hey y'all! It's been a good week. Kind of a harder one, but we've seen a lot of miracles! We actually had a lot of service projects with non members so that was good! I got to go on exchanges with Sister Howard this week because since my companion usually works in the Visitors center, and Sister Howard's companion does as well, we decided to do splits while they were in a special meeting for Visitors center with the guy (Chris Billings. Super classy name) from the missionary department! It was really fun! We actually went to go knock on one of their investigator's doors and a really cute dog was sitting outside the door tied up and it was so peaceful, and we wanted to pet it. Sister Howard went in first and it kind of snapped at her but didn't bite her. And I still really wanted to pet the dog, so after knocking the door a few times, the investigator wasn't home and I went in to pet the dog. I put my hand up to its nose so it could smell me and it didn't do anything, then I went in to pet its head and it totally bit my finger all the way off!!! Just kidding. It just kind of bit me and scratched a little bit and I was bleeding a little bit but it wasn't too bad. 

We also went to go visit with an investigator Juana the Saturday before church. We didn't have much time and we were planning on dropping her. Juana is an investigator that has been investigating the church for a long time now, and the problem is her husband. He has familial problems with joining the church because his family is Jehovah's Witness. So he's a little scared and he does not even step close to the church now. Whenever we visit Juana he hides in his room and doesn't come out. So we've been inviting Juana to come to church the past few months but she never comes. So this lesson we taught her about coming into Christ and invited her to church. She was like, "well, maybe I'll go, if God wants." And we told her that of course God wants that! So that Sunday morning we went to go knock on Karina's door because she hadn't been answering our texts but she told us she was coming to church. We went by her trailer but it seemed like no one was home. We were a little bummed, so we called Juana and she said she was on her way to church! She beat us to the church building and participated in all the classes and really liked it! It's been really cool to see how God shows us when people are ready or not. It's cool to see that as we show our faith by dropping people he tells us and shows us who are the elect. 

I think this week I learned a lot about the atonement, and its forgiveness. Nothing mind blowing. I think I just really came to be really grateful with how merciful God is with us. We are so imperfect, weak, prideful human beings. But through his atonement, we will ALWAYS receive forgiveness, as long as we repent. I read this quote from an Ensign article this week, "Jesus Christ loves us, and He forgives us as we sincerely repent and serve Him. Through His Atonement, He removes our regrets." There is no need to live with regret, because the atonement erases that. He forgives us of all our sins. We are all even going to resurrect and receive a perfect body. But we can achieve something even greater, eternal life. I just think that's really cool. Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are sooooo loving. 

So I hope you all have a great week! Time is flying here. I always come to the end of the day or the end of the week and I don't even know where the time went. So it's kind of scary but cool too. Love you all so much!

Hermana Brown

The zone!

The service project.

 My dog bitten finger.

For all those living outside of Arizona. Hahahahahahahaha!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

WEEK 70: x7 is how many times we should forgive someone

Hello family and friends! We had such a good week! Being serious though we really had so many miracles! So this week I got to go to a special MLC with two people from the mission department. Brother Delamare, and Brother Littlefield. It was SO GOOD! We learned a lot and they talked about so many good things pertaining to missionary work. I think the most important things that were mentioned were that the majority people that are prepared are the friend and family of the members. We had like a three hour training on that specifically. That the best way to missionary work is through the members. The key is them! That means YOU! One of the questions they challenged us to ask to the members instead of "who do you know that is prepared to hear the message of the restoration?" But we need to ask them "who do you know who isn't prepared?" So I ask this question to all of you? Who do you know who isn't prepared to receive the message of the restored gospel? And what can you do to help them be prepared? It could be sharing your testimony, inviting them to your home, offering service, etc.

We actually had a big testimony builder of working with the members. During our weekly planning we had been praying to know what the Lord wanted us to do with our area. We looked at our investigators and it felt right to drop pretty much all of them, because after the MLC they also told us about knowing who the elect are and teaching those that are progressing by reading the scriptures and coming to church. If they are not doing those things, you drop them. We looked at our schedule for next week and it was really blank and were really lost for what to do and have been praying and seeking for revelation. So one night we went to go visit a new member that moved into our ward and while walking to the house the Lord wonderfully put in our path a nice member from one of the English wards, Brother Richardson. He told us there is a Spanish family he's been trying to invite to the Easter pageant but there has always been a language barrier. He told us to go knock but we invited him to come with us and he kindly accepted. We found the grandpa at home who knew brother Richardson already. We were able to invite him to the Easter pageant and he accepted the invitation to learn more about the restored gospel! After the lesson Brother Richardson didn't understand much of what was going on, so we explained to him the situation and also how his act of faith and desire to share the gospel answered our prayers. It was so great to see it in action, member missionary work, and how great it is to work with the members! It was such a cool experience and totally an answer to our prayers! It had been about 6 weeks without finding anyone, and that night we found a new investigator because a member wanted to share his testimony.

Second miracle of the week. We have been teaching a lady named Karina for a while and she was someone that hadn't really been progressing and after teaching her about church attendance she said she would go but it's been a while we've been teaching her and she never comes. So Sunday morning we showed up and she was getting ready for church! We passed by right before and she followed us to the chapel. And she loved it! It was so good! It's also been a while since we've had an investigator at church, and she totally came!

So we are feeling very grateful this week and showing a lot of our faith so we can perform miracles! They talked a lot about faith in the MLC and how if someone has faith they can definitely work miracles and I actually read about that in my studies this week. I'm almost done with the BofM again! In Moroni 8:26, 29 it says, "And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you.
"And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men."
After dropping all of our investigators it was a big act of faith and we were honestly a little scared, but the Lord provided a way and miracles to know what we did was right! You can all work miracles as well!

So yeah! It was soooooo good! And I'm feeling greater than ever! It's kind of a random title but today is week 70! That's really weird. But it's all good. I'm making the most of it out here! Love you all!

Hermana Brown

Sis. Gonzalez's first time at Jamba Juice!

Missionaries studying before MLC

The Sarmiento family! Berta's mom. She just moved and so did he testify the family so we took a picture to say good bye. 😭 

Eating tamales with Berta!

Chilean chocolate!

Brother Richardson, the nice member with the referral

Just discovered that my study chair says t-Rex on it

Sunday, March 5, 2017

WEEK 69: I caught a Chicken!

Hoooooolllllllllaaaaaaaa! I hope you all are doing well! There are weeks when I get a bunch of emails and other days when only like one or two people email me, and to day was one of those days when everyone emailed me and I don't know if I'll be able to respond to everyone, soooooo just so you all know i love you so so so much!

Yesterday we were eating dinner with the Familia Freestone and as we were talking they brought up the chickens that they have in the backyard, and how there's one really crazy one that is super fast and always flies over the fence and eats the vegetables in the garden, so they've been trying to catch it so they can cut off one of the wings so it can't fly anymore. And they said that the elders a few years ago tried to catch it but they couldn't so we told them we would do it for service! So the four of us sister missionaries went to their backyard into the chicken coop, but before starting we said a prayer to be able to catch the chicken. Hno. Freestone stood us which chicken is the one they needed to catch and we could already kind of tell which one it was because it was running really fast. So we were all a little scared at the beginning to touch the chickens and pick them up, plus it was running super fast and sometimes they would flap their wings and it would be really scary but we were determined to catch the chicken. We kept running around and we kind of cornered the chicken and it eventually got stuck climbing on these fence tunnel things they have and I was right by it! So still a little scared I went in with my hands and I caught the chicken!!! We were all sooooo happy. I was holding the chicken and I was really happy, and then Hermana Freestone comes over to look at it and she was like, "Oh no. I think that's the chicken we caught already that we thought looked like the other one and we cut the wing." And we looked at the wing and it was the wrong chicken. We were all a little disappointed, but then we saw the chicken we actually needed to catch. We cornered it again but it was a super crazy chicken! And it was really scared of us. At one point it flew on top of the chicken coop, and then on top of the fence and then into the tree. Hermana Freestone said to leave it alone, but Hno. Freestone kept trying and eventually it came out of the tree. It was then running around all over the yard and all of us sister missionaries plus Hermano Freestone were running around chasing after it. You could tell it just wanted to be back in the coop with his chicken friends. And it kind of slowed down for a bit and I went in for the chicken and missed and then Hermano Freestone caught the chicken by its legs! So we caught it! Truly shows that God answers prayers, haha!

This week we also did service for the Phoenix marathon! I got to do it last year as well and it's super fun! People love running by the missionary station and they're like "missionaries!!!" And then they stop in the middle of he marathon to take pictures of us and tell us where their kids are on missions. So it's really cool!

We also had some conference which was super fun! And it always really good to here from our mission president. He is soooo inspired. I really love my mission president because he is so normal. He openly admits his mistakes and weaknesses and I feel very comfortable around him. I trust him in his calling.

This week I was reading a lot about "real intent." Which can be defined as "understanding the Why and the motives behind your actions." Coming to the end of the mission I have been really evaluating the actions I take and the way I use my time, because it is going faster than ever. And I really want to make sure I'm doing the things in doing out if really intent and not just because I'm doing them, or because I'm obligated to do them. I read a talk about real  intent and I love he explains the real intent of partaking the sacrament: "As we always remember Him and keep His commandments, think how the compounding effect of always having His Spirit to be with us would impact every area of our lives. Imagine how it would influence our daily decisions and our awareness of the needs of others. "There are countless ways we can keep our promise to always remember the Savior in the course of a day. How will you always remember Him?" -Randall L. Ridd

Doesn't that perfectly explain the why of taking the sacrament and keeping our covenants? I just love it. I invite you all to ponder this and then ponder the why of all the decision you make. But especially the sacrament. Isn't it great that the reason we take of the sacrament is so we can have the spirit to be with us, so we can make righteous decisions and fulfill our full potential and also help others fulfill theirs. SO COOL!!

Any way. I love you all and I hope you have a great week. I love you all lots!!

Hermana Brown

This is Berta our investigator that is moving to Mexico this week!

It was Sister Escobar birthday and this is what we did for her.

The zone at zone conference!

Our district at the Phoenix marathon!

Us, Chicken feathers, and Hermano Freestone.