Monday, July 25, 2016

God is so awesome!

(From July 25th)
I love being a missionary! Lots of people tell cool missionary stories and experiences and if you're like me, you'd be like "cool!" It's super cool, and you can hear about them and then brush them off. No one, not even me with all my detail, could ever explain to you how cool it is to be a missionary and to experience these things. Again, you reading this and reading these stories might mean nothing to you. It's just something cool that's happened. But as a missionary, experiencing these things, it is just the coolest thing ever! Nothing can replace these experiences I am having as a missionary. I get to see Gods hand on this work and how closely everything is connected and related and how there are no coincidences. God. Is everywhere. Like I said, I can't even explain it. But all I know is that I'm just coasting through as a missionary. I mean I'm working hard and being obedient and everything, but nothing that is out in from of me or happens to me is because of me! I'm just doing what I'm supposed to be and then wham! Something falls in front of me, right into my lap. That wasn't luck. That wasn't a coincidence. God is preparing people way before they are even though about. Their whole life they are being led to where they are supposed to be, in the right circumstance, in the right time. Where they move to, where they happen to be that day, what they're going through, who they're friends with. It is seriously amazing to see God's work in action. This work is important to him and he is working full force in every aspect in everyone's life to align things just right so that people will be prepared in the right place at the right time. It's utterly amazing.

I could go into the couple experiences that I had that help me realize this, but it probably would mean nothing to you, and it's sorta really confusing. A mission is really a "ya had to be there" moment. Yeah mission stories are cool, but be honest. How many people actually read my huge email and blog post. It's long. And it's about people and events that you really honestly don't care about. I understand, because I did that with some of my best friend's mission blogs and emails as well. I loved them, but I didn't really care. But just know that I am going through experiences and meeting different people and doing things that I could only experience, meet, and do on a mission. Not in Las Vegas, but on a mission. I never understood why people said a mission was just so great, because all I saw and heard were the cool stories. But the big thing is the experience. You really, truly, just have to experience this for yourself. I feel so lucky that I get to experience 16 more months of this :)

So yeah I hit my 2 month mark! I've found out you don't count MTC time, so I really will end up serving a mission closer to 19 months. Because on the 4th, I'd have been out on my mission, being set apart as a missionary, for 3 months. But I've only been in Las Vegas for 2, so I still have 16 months left, not 15. Crazy :)

Ok fine I'll tell you one cool story :) So, I live in a casita, so a house in a member's backyard. This member that I live with lives in a gated community, but it's a guard instead of a little keypad thing. It's pretty great. Well I just pass by the guard, they recognize my face, and they let me in. But there's a guard at night that works from 10-6 that we never see, because we are in by 9:30 and don't get up until 6:30. Well we just went on exchanges one night and I drove Sister Cox to my little casita home for the night. We then realized that Sister Cox kept the phone for her area, so Sister Campos and the other sister didn't have a phone at all! So even though it was 9:30, we had no choice but to put our shoes back on and drive all the way to they're apartment to give them the phone. So we came back to the gate, and it was 10:00, so a guard was there that had never seen us before. So all we needed to do was to drive up to the window and say to the guard "Hi! We're the Sister Missionaries and we live with the Blacks." After I had done that and the guard wrote down our info and what type of car we had for some reason, he came out of his little hut instead of just pressing the button and letting us through. He then proceeded to talk to us, but he at first looked a little hesitant. His name is Mario. He told us that he was an inactive member and that he's been pretty sick and has been searching for someone to let know that he wanted a blessing! So he asked us if we could get someone to come and give him a blessing, and we said absolutely! He wouldn't give us his address, but instead he wanted them to come right there where he worked. We said we would do our best to try and make it happen. Whoa! Like, we would have never met him if Sister Cox didn't keep the phone. And because we were missionaries, he knew what church we were from and he knew he could talk to us about it. I think he's seen our name on the list and just waited for us to come by one day, because once he found out who we were, the decision had already been made to talk to us I think :) so we called some elders and told them the story the next day, and they broke curfew for one day so they could show up at 10:00 to the little hut in order to give Mario a blessing :) So cool!
This investigator was a referral and they are the ones who came to church last week, but we are still working with them. For instance, the dad believes that he already is a member of the church because he was baptized in a different church, but he now goes to the Mormon church. So he really isn't grasping the concept of the restoration, so hopefully we'll teach him that again for the 3rd time, this week, but in a way that he'll hopefully grasp the concept.

I was in my first trio this week! There was a leadership training on Thursday, so all the trainers and anyone who had a title with leader in the name, went. Which left all us trainees together, and Sister Bair, Sister Cox and I were all together! We all flew out to Vegas together, so it was neat to see them again and spend a morning in the field with them and to see how they've learned and grown. Super fun!

Also, we tracted into this old lady who's turning 90 next month who was super nice and seemed interested. We came back and we talked to her and she ended up giving us these cute little bags that she had sewn! So now I have a cute new laundry bag and an adorable purse/bag thing that I don't know what to do with, but it's super cute. And she was super nice! So hopefully we can go back and we can talk about the gospel with her :)

K last thing. Vanessa, who I mentioned last week that let us in because we were persistent, she called us Saturday night! She proceeded to tell us that she read the Restoration pamphlet that we left her and that she was super interested and wants to learn more!!!! So awesome!!!

So, I can't week to go into this week and see what miracles Heavenly Father has in store for me. It's going to be another great week full of miracles and blessings!

Sister Brown :)

P.S. Read Alma 26. The way Ammon is talking is basically me right now. I just love God :)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Temple Blessings

Hello everyone!  (letter from July 18,, 2016)

It's getting hotter here. That's not surprising. It's also the topic of every conversation and the only thing anyone ever talks about it seems. That it's just. So. Hot. Welcome to Vegas I guess.

But other than the heat, things have been going so well here! Sister Campos and I have really hit it off and we have been blessed with some miracles every day. I have seen this week that when you keep pressing forward through tough times, God will bless you for your efforts :) I LOVE the scripture 2 Nephi 31:20. Every time I read it, I find something new in it and a new love for it. It is applicable for every situation! "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." And I have found that to be so true throughout every aspect of my life! Especially as a missionary, when sometimes it would be a lot easier to give up and go back to the Casita rather than keep moving forward.

Throughout the week we saw miracles, but especially on Thursday, when we were blessed with the opportunity to attend the temple with other missionaries early in the morning. When we got home and went on with our day, it seemed like the miracles wouldn't stop. Temple blessings!

Miracle 1: Sister Jones and Sister Southam tracted into this lady, Vanessa, right before I got here. Sister Jones and I have tried multiple times to talk to her again, but she always says she's busy or
she's not home. Sister Campos and I decided to go one more time and she answered and invited us in! She mentioned that we come over all the time and because we were so persistent, she might as well invite us in and see what we had to offer. We were so excited! We talked to her a little and she said at she would be open to taking her boys to he activities during the week that we offer and that she would like us to come and help her around the house and then maybe teach her a lesson or too :) So awesome!!!

Miracle 2: A less active member that we have been visiting to teach her 8 year old son texted us and invited us to come over again! And then we had an awesome lesson with him and they came to church on Sunday!

Miracle 3: a referral we received from other missionaries that we've been trying to get in contact with was able to meet with us this week! We Manet with them, and they also came to church!! Ahhh!!

Miracle 4: We've been cleaning Mitzi's house, a less active member, with her for a while and also sharing a spiritual thought and trying to find out what she needs to come back to church. On day we talked to her and decided that what she needs the most is to know more about the church, so we brought up the idea of her taking the missionary discussions again and she thought that was a great idea!  We will start those with her next week :)

Miracle 5: Remember that story about Gary we met in the park and then gave us no contact info because he was going out of town? Well one of our members knows him! So now we know where he lives!! She was just naming her neighbors to us and when she said Gary I talked to her to see if it was the same Gary, and it sounds like it is! We have to go stop by now! Miracle!!!

So there were a lot more of course, but I'm running out of time and this is getting a little long :) But it just goes to show that if you keep moving forward, even though it's hard, your Father in Heaven will
reward you for your efforts!! Because he loves you so much!! You should watch the Mormon message "A Shower of Heavenly Blessings" if you get the chance. It's what we've been sharing with members after dinner and I love everything about it! The music, the message, everything. It just illustrates how God is ALWAYS blessing us and is just waiting for you to receive the blessings that he is so willingly giving :)

What are your miracle moments? I want to hear about them! Missionary moments, even the super small ones! Scriptures you like! Let me know!  

Well I love you all and I hope you are doing great, besides all the news that I briefly hear about here and there from members that sounds absolutely horrible. Boy am I glad I'm away from that. Well, stay safe! 

Love you!

Sister Brown :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A New Adventure

Hi Everyone,
Same ol same ol here. Nothing really different, besides the fact that I have a new companion. Sister Campos! She's from the Philippians and only has 2 transfers left on her mission! She is great and I already know that God put us together for a reason.

This week, we had a Zone meeting and we made some goals. We are going to work hard and have each companionship baptize in this transfer and also have a lesson with a member present every single day. It'll be hard, but so doable. But it has rekindled a fire inside of me and I am
so ready to go out there and work and be the best missionary I can be. I know that as long as I'm doing what I'm supposed to and trying my best, Sister Campos and I will be able to make those goals happen for us :)

So have I told you about the Gibson family? Well they are a great family that Sister Southam and Sister Jones tracted into and were so happy and willing to take the discussions! They also, however, are meeting with missionaries from another religion as well. But they are so wonderful! We started teaching them the lesson of the Plan of Salvation on Wednesday and they had soooooo many questions! They were so eager to learn and understand. So there's the dad, Jason, his girlfriend, Traci, and Jason's kids, Zachary and Elizabeth, who are 12 and 10. We are hoping to commit them to baptism this week because they seem so eager and ready! It's exciting, because this is the first family I've really taught and it's awesome to watch them grow and just want to learn more.

And I've to,d you about Mitzi, right? Less active, and we go over and do service for her and help her clean. Well I have grown to love her and her son, mason, so much! We go over and now not only cleaning, but we also share a spiritual thought with her and she absolutely loves it. She even had us over to dinner one night! I just LOVE seeing people progress and open up. She rarely lets people in her home, but now she's getting better, and she's started to let her visiting teachers and home teachers come visit her. It's hard for her to get to church, but every week she tries super hard.

I am so excited to start off a new companionship! I know that Sister Campos is amazing and we are going to work so well together in this area. I'm learning to love the people in this area and I hope I know them enough to share what I know to Sister Campos. But here we go! Off to begin a new adventure together :)

Sister Brown :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Happy 4th!

Today marks 2 months on my mission! It's crazy to think that now instead of 18 months, it's already down to 16. So weird. But today also marks 6 weeks in Vegas which means I've lived though my first
transfer! Both Sister Jones and I are staying of course, because I would die if Sister Jones left me. She has taught me so much and I rely on her so much that I would not survive without her. And to know
that her trainer started training her after 6 weeks! I would not be able to do that. But anyway, she's stuck with me for another 6 weeks at least :)

Last week for p-day we went ice skating! It was super fun and nice to get out of the heat that just seems to keep getting hotter and hotter. So Ice Skating felt super nice and cool coming in from the burning sun haha

 This week was a little frustrating because most of our...sorry... ALL of our appointments canceled on us. We rescheduled most, but then they all canceled again. So we found ourselves tracting a lot more than we wanted to and in parks a lot trying to talk to people. So Thursday, at the end of the week, we were walking around a park, really frustrated that another appointment was canceled and we had had absolutely no lessons this week. Not one. So we started to evaluate what we were doing wrong. We could improve a lot to let us become better tools in the hands of The Lord. So we were walking in silence and I remembered what someone said. "If an appointment cancels, it's because the Lord needs you somewhere else." So I pondered on that and wondered where he wanted us. Well we were at the park! So by gosh we were going to find why we were at the park. The next person we saw was an old man walking his dog and we approached him. As soon as he said hello I knew he would talk to us. So we just started chatting and talking about his dog and him and his beliefs. He mentioned that he has read books from all other faiths and believes that they are all good. We explained that all religion has a little good in it and then I started telling him about Christ's earthy ministry and the apostasy! I told him that when Christ died, people still wanted the truth. They loved Christ's teachings! So people held on to the truths that they loved so much, but they eventually got twisted and turned into different sects because they didn't have the fullness of the truth and the priesthood, or power of God, was lost off the Earth when people killed Christ's apostles. We left it at that, committed him to read the restoration pamphlet, and left him with a prayer. He wouldn't give us any contact info because he was going out of town for a while, but he would be happy to read the pamphlet. So we didn't get a new investigator, but that was a lesson! Even though our appointments got canceled and we only finished the week with 3 lessons, two of which were with the same less active and one with that man, Gary, I learned a valuable lesson. ALL of my time is precious. My time is the Lord's time, and he will
not waste it if I give it all to him. 

So I'm doing great here in Vegas. I hope you all have a great Independence Day and have fun with your friends and family this summer and that you are staying cooler that me :)

Love you!
Sister Brown