Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Lord's Errand

Hello all!
Not much has happened around here besides the fact that it just keeps getting hotter and hotter. And hotter. And more hot. That's literally all that the members ask us, if we're surviving the heat. And surviving is the answer. Surviving, but just that and nothing else. It's hot.

So you remember Junior that we had a baptism for a couple of weeks ago? Well his family is just awesome. He's the second child to get baptized, and we were working on teaching a third. His name is Jai and he's 9 years old and is the most polite kid I've ever met! Super awesome. But before we started teaching him, his dad, Jay, told us that he didn't think baptism would happen for him, but we started anyways. We teach him and he loves learning! He understands everything we've taught him, is anxious to learn more, and absolutely loves primary and reading his scriptures! But for some reason, whenever we invite him to be baptized he says no. So sadly, we've had to drop him. We can't keep teaching him if he doesn't want to get baptized, but he'll continue to go to primary and church with his family. Super sad, but hopefully he'll want to get baptized eventually because he'll learn how important it is. We had to drop a lot of investigators this week for that reason and others. It's sad when you do it, but I guess you just trust that God will help them and that you can now use your time in a better way finding and teaching people who want to learn and who will benefit from us teaching them.

For service this week, Sister Jones and I got to go to Goodwill and help straighten up the clothes and things. It was fun! And we also answer any questions people had of why we were there and stuff. And we also keep going to this a woman's home and help her clean her house which is nice to. We get to share a spiritual thought with her every time before we leave and she went to church last week! Hopefully we'll eventually help her see that no excuse is worth missing the sacrament on Sunday :)

Story time! Once upon a hot Las Vegas time, Sister Jones and I decided to brave the heat and go tracting. We were walking and knocking and sweating and we had made the decision to stop at a certain point on the street to go back and get some water. Well we reached that certain point, and we thought about going back. But Sister Jones and I both thought about it and decided that there wouldn't be any harm in us finishing the street and that we would survive for a little longer. Well the next house we knocked, a man named Luis answered. As soon as he opened the door he was like "oh you guys haven't come by in awhile!" He has met with missionaries before and then he went on
vacation for a while and then never saw them again. We brought a member with us a couple days later and talked with him and he said that he loved talking abut God with anyone, but the trouble was
finding the people to talk to! We were like "We'll talk with you about God Luis!!!" inside :) just imagine if we stopped and turned back! We wouldn't have found Luis, our newest investigator! That is just a testimony to me that I am on the Lord's time and these are His children out there waiting to hear the gospel. I shouldn't be the one to decide when to quit, because while I quit, that is less time I have to find those people that need this church. So if I have already committed to sacrifice these next 18 months to the Lord and to do His will, then why should that ever change? It would be a waste if I used this time for myself or did it all using my strength. I am on the Lord's errand and will utilize my time to best fit the needs of His children!

Well I love you all! Thanks for taking the time to read my shpeals and caring about me enough to check up on me :) I hope everyone is doing great and I would love to hear your stories! Member Missionary stories and just stories about how your life is going :)
Hope all is well!

Sister Brown :)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Girls camp, members, exchanges, oh my!

What a great week!
The biggest thing was that I was privileged to go to Girls Camp for a day! We woke up super early and arrived at mount Charleston at 6:30. It was so strange to be cold! But it was super chilly up there and in the morning and at night I wore both a jacket and a sweatshirt. But man was it so great! Sister Jones and I did the hike with the first years and had a lot of fun. Then it was basically free time all day and I spent the day with the 4th years. It was weird being away from sister jones, but it was approved! I played card games with them, braided hair, made bracelets, talked with the girls, and it was just so much fun! At night after dinner it was the spiritual section and Sister Jones and I along with one other set of sisters did a 6 minute rotation spiritual thought thing about missionary work for 8 different groups. When the groups were all done, it was dark and there were lights going up a steep hill in a line, leading to the top. We all climbed it and grabbed hold of a rope, the "iron rod", up to the top where there was a tree decorated like the tree of life and hot chocolate waiting, because it was freezing. It was such a cool experience! It was also a reminder that the iron rod, the word of God,
isn't just there to guide us along. Sometimes you need it to help you get there because grasping onto it is the only thing keeping you from falling. It was so great and I love girls camp!

Something I learned this week: members are great. Especially when you are tracting in the heat of the day and didn't bring a water bottle and really need to use the restroom. You can just stop by a member who lives in the neighborhood! So, please be nice and let the missionaries in, and we're sorry if it's inconvenient, but you are just so nice! So if you be a member or nonmember, just let us in!! We are eternally grateful to you if you do :)

Also, I went on my first exchange this week, which means for 24 hours I was with a different companion other than my own. Her name is Sister Baxter, and she's one of my STL's, a sister training leader. I was honestly super scared and didn't want to leave sister Jones, but it turned out super great and I learned a lot! It also was super awesome because I met a family that my brother knew while he was here! God is in every part of our lives and he knows exactly what we need at exactly the right moment. He is in the details of our lives!

I love you all!!
Sister Brown :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Short but sweet :)

Man is it getting HOT. Counting my blessings for the car and air conditioning everywhere. But it's really sad that I'm already thankful for when it's 90. Because that's when it feels good. That's just sad.

But this week overall was super great! Lots of great experiences and times where the spirit was super present. Especially at Zone Conference this week! 3 zones gathered together to hear council from
President and Sister Ahlander, the AP's, and some of the senior couples who work in the office. It was super great! It all was surrounded by a talk called "Stay By the Tree" by an Elder Pearson of
the 70. It was all about Lehi's dream of the tree of life and enduring to the end and everything that surrounds the Iron Rod and what they stand for. One thing that I really loved was when the Assistants the the President, AP's, did their little training about attitude. That Laman and Lemuel are so  negative and murmuring. They saw Angels! They saw miracles! But they chose to murmur and complain. We can do the same thing. And if we choose to do that, we will just be a burden and
hinderance to your companion. So help make it easier! Choose to be happy! I liked it a lot, and we can use that in our everyday lives. Satan is miserable, and misery loves company. And he will discourage you and show you that you have nothing to be happy about, but you can choose to ignore him and keep pressing forward. You can choose to see Gods hand in your life, because it is there every second of everyday. You just have to choose to recognize the positive! You should all watch the video "Hope of God's Light" It's my favorite

We've been doing new member lessons with Junior and have started the lesson to his younger brother who is 9, Jai. This family is so great and so smart and can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for them in the future! 

So, it seems really weird to end this so short, because I'm used to writing a book every time, but I guess that's it! Not too exciting, but just the feeling that this was a great week. I guess that's the saying "They might forget what you say, but you will never forget how you feel." That's me right now! I kinda have forgotten what made it so good, but I know it was a great week and I can't wait to start another one :) I love hearing from you! Shout out to my cousins Brianna and Macy for painting me beautiful pictures and to Grandma, Fran, and Jerry for writing me and sending me a big envelope of letters. I loved it! And I'm pretty sure the mail is just slow here I guess, because I just got it. But I really appreciated it and love the love! The pictures are hanging over my bed :)

I love you and miss you all!
Sister Brown :)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Oxygen Mask

I just do not have enough time! I'll try to cover all the awesome details in a small amount of time. Members have been feeding me great here! Even though our dinner calendar says no desserts, we have had dessert at every house so far :P But it's always so good! One house,
the parents just came back from Hawaii and they made us Pina coladas in a half a pineapple shell and everything. And a member took us to In N Out for dinner! So good. And one time our dinner fell though, so a random member paid for us at Cafe Rio, and then we went and got frozen yogurt as well! The members here are awesome.
2nd week and I already had a baptism! Haha! He was taught by the sisters before me and already had a baptism date when I came in, but I still taught him a little. His name is Junior and he is 6' 9". His dad is Jay and he was able to baptize him, and he's only 5'8". What a sight! Jay was worried and it was super funny to see the difference, so he brought a life jacket for funny pictures and stuff. He was baptized when he was 17 but then went inactive shortly after, but the missionaries before me helped him come back to church and also taught and baptized Jace, his 10 yr old! Then Junior came into town and then seemed interested and moved here so he could get baptized and be in this Ward. Now he's looking for a church based school to go to. He's awesome! Junior’s 19 btw.
Last week we tracked into this family, the Jacksons, and they were welcome to us coming and visiting! So we taught me on Saturday, just the first part of the restoration, and now they want us to come back when her husband is there! Hopefully that works out well. We are also teaching another family, The Gibson's, who are golden! They are a sweet little family that took the restoration really well but the only hang up they had was that the Book of Mormon was more correct than the bible. But they said they'll keep moving forward with faith until they receive a “no.” So thats great! And not my words, theirs :)
Something that I've learned this week, there is such thing as being too lost in the work. Just like on the airplane, you put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can put it on others. So before you continue and completely get lost in serving others, make sure that you are functional first! You do no good as a servant of The Lord if you are pushing things down and aren't taking care of yourself first! So in missionary work and in everything else, put the oxygen mask on yourself and make sure you are okay before you help others or else you will make things worse for yourself.
 Favorite family I met: the Thunells! They are in the Willows Ward and you pronounce it like tunnel, but emphasis on the nel. Tu-NELL. We had dinner with them last night and they were my favorite! And not just because they made chicken enchiladas :) the oldest is like 10 or 11 and the youngest is around 3, four kids, 3 boys and the youngest is a girl. The middle child sat at the big kid table and asked me SOOOOO many questions :) but then they noticed my drama ring and it was the best from then on! He chatted about how he was just in Lion King and he was the laughing hyena. His younger brother was little Simba, and his older brother was older Simba! Then, the older brother came in and out on a show for us and sang "Giants in the sky" from into the woods and he was so good! Then the younger brother had to show his stuff and sang “I Just can't Wait to be King” and the others sang the ensemble and did the choreography :) It was so great! Oh and the oldest, he's reminds me of Braxton. (*a friend Jessica had in H.S.)
I can't tell if he has a disability, but he has perfect pitch and I'm so jealous! His family says it's annoying though because they can never sing in a comfortable key, because he always starts them in the key it's actually supposed to be in :)
Favorite lesson: oddly enough, my favorite lesson was one that went horribly wrong and left me with a pit in my stomach. Audrey was a referral we received and we went in and talked to her and asked if we could share a message, so we started the restoration. We got through the first vision, and then she proceeded to tell us she did not want to hear any more and that we were all brainwashed. I felt horrible! But it was my favorite because it was the biggest learning experience. We could have done some things differently teaching, and it was also good I guess to reassure myself that some people aren't prepared by the Lord, and if she was ready, she would have accepted it no matter how we taught it. I was expecting slamming doors rejection, but I wasn't really prepared for a rejection after I poured my heart and soul into a lesson.
So things in Las Vegas are great. Suuuuuupper hot, but great. Once it gets to 90 you can't really tell the difference between anything hotter than that!
Miss you all and hope everyone's doing great!
Love you
Sister Brown :)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Too Many Pennies!!!

Greetings from the wonderful city of Las Vegas!  I have had a wonderful experience here already and I have a fantabulous trainer!  So, on May 23rd I woke up at 2:45 a.m, finished packing, and then went to the travel office at 3:50 a.m. We took a bus to the Front Runner, Front Runner to the Trax, and Trax to the airport.  The flight was super short but super great and then we me President and Sister Ahlander in the airport!  We went to the mission home and had breakfast, even though we had already been up for 7 hours haha.  But it was nice to have our first home cooked meal in a while!  The aaaaaalllll day was training and just sitting in chairs, listening to instructions.  We got our iPads, and finally, at 4:00 pm we received our companions!  My companion is Sister J and she is super awesome!  She’s from WV and has only been out 3 months, almost 4! Super crazy, but she’s and awesome trainer! We then went to our Casita with is a little guest home behind a member house. 
Sis. J and I are over 2 different wards.  The Peccolle Ranch Ward and the Willows Ward.  We are in Las Vegas, so the wards are named after subdivisions, not cities. But on Sunday we go to 6 hours of church and 2 different Ward Council meetings!  It’s a little confusing and is going to take a while to sort everyone out and differentiate between what ward they’re in and stuff, but it’s great.  Twice the love!
Speaking of church, when I got here on Monday Sister J was like “Oh, and Bro. B., someone in the bishopric of the Peccolle Ranch Ward, asked if my new companion and I could speak on Sunday. So we have to prepare a talk.” It was a great opportunity! I spoke on the Good Samaritan and talked about service and charity and tied it in with missionary work.  I also get the same questions over and over again, so I just answered them all in my intro.  Especially the one “Why don’t you have an accent?” That question drives me nuts! Because, I wish I did have a cute accent! But as soon as I said people ask me this, there were a lot of head nods in the congregation, like they were thinking the exact same thing.: ) But I do say y’all!
Along with speaking and giving a real talk in the ard, in Willows sacrament meeting the talks were given a little too fast, so after the rest hymn, sister J and I were immediately called up to give an impromptu testimony and I was told to introduce myself.  Good thing I gave a talk just 4 hours earlier because I already had a little introduction in mind and basically said the same thing.  Then gave a basic testimony instead of my talk.  It was a good experience and I’m glad they gave me that opportunity.
This is going to be all over the place--
On Thursday we had the opportunity to go to the temple.  We woke up super early and left the time we usually get up at, and then participated in a session with a handful of missionaries and the mission pres and his wife.  It was so nice.  We even had a little meeting before the session in a special chapel in the temple made for actual meetings and stuff, like our little group of missionaries.
The weather here has been so nice.  It’s warming up, but it’s not that bad because we go tracting when it’s cooled down and other than that, we are either in the car, a house, or some place that’s air conditioned.  So it’s really not that bad.  I say that now though. Hopefully it won’t get any worse. (Moms note; it will!)
In all the meetings we have, like Zone meeting, meeting with the STL”s and the sisters they are over, and a meeting we had with all the greenies and their trainers on Friday, someone needs to play the piano!  And no one knows how to play.  I know how to play 2 hymns.  Sis. J is already so tired of Praise to the Man and Choose the Right! Haha.  I play these hymns everywhere we go and those are the only ones we sing lol.  Either I need to learn some new hymns or more elders and sisters need to be called to this area who can play the piano!
One thing I learned this week that Sis J taught me; if you know me, you know that I love detail.  I mean, just look at any of email or blog posts! Or, if you’ve ever had a conversation with me, I tend to say a lot more than needed.  Sister J noticed that pretty fast; especially in some of the lessons that we’ve had.  So she taught me something that I absolutely love and that I will always remember! Hopefully always thinking about it might jam the concept eventually into my head so I can actually do it.  When you give information to someone, or teach them a lesson, it’s like giving them change.  One lesson or point or concept or whatever, is $.25 cents.  There are many ways you can give that $.25. In pennies, nickels or dimes, or a quarter.  In what way would you like your change? Most people prefer one quarter, because 25 pennies is just too much change! When I teach and give detail, I speak in too many pennies.  I tend to give them the details and every point that I know and love about it, but most people just want a quarter.  It’s easy to handle and comprehend and having a lot of pennies is confusing and not fun to carry around.  Also, you are more likely to lose pennies than quarters in my opinion.  So I’m really working on, in all my conversations, to hand people quarters and not pennies!  It’ll be hard, but as long as I catch myself when I am about to give pennies, maybe I’ll at least give them nickels and dimes instead.  : )
Well, I love you all and miss you tons! Your prayers and thoughts and mail are all really appreciated and I love them more than you know.
I hope everything’s great back home!
Remember that God loves you, and that He’s in the details of your lives.  And I love you too!

I hope you enjoy all my pennies!
Sister Brown :)