Sunday, March 2, 2014

Staying in the Ward...Holler. Love It...dated 1/6/14

So Sister Decker, Sister Mickelson and I received transfer calls last night... we are getting split up. You didn't see that one coming, did ya? Didn't think so. This is how it is working out... Sister Decker is going up to the Pickering ward with Sister Folsom, Sister Mickelson will be covering the west half of the Cerritos stake with Sister Black and Sister Merkley and myself will be covering the east half of the Cerritos stake and the Assistants will cover from Carson down.... It's planned so that each companionship is over an Institute. That means I am over the Cerritos Institute which means Sister Merkley and I have a lot to do in order to get that institute to a place where non-members will feel comfortable. Oh yeah! With the change I am now Sr. companion...  weird, but exiting. I guess we'll all "...find out what we can do"
Staying in the ward... Holler. Love it.

We have three investigators right now. Walter, Erika, and Chord. They are all really awesome. Walter was a referral from the Norwalk elders (they attract YSA's like cray, we all of a sudden have a massive teaching pool) he used to be in a gang... (I'm not sure how he got out of the gang, I heard you don't get out unless you're dead so that's scary) but now he is looking for good friends. We taught him the restoration and the spirit was definitely there. He said he believed it so... pray for him :)
Erika has been letting us meet with her but just for informational purposes. We taught her the other night on the plan of salvation and she totes knows it's true... she is just scared. We have another lesson with her tonight and we are going to teach her the third lesson and we are going to have Perla come. Bishop suggested it and we all thought... why not? Perla will be good for Erika I think...
Cord, was a member referral from the ward Elder Schoof is serving in? he lives in Norwalk. We made contact with him last night and we are going over to drop a Book of Mormon off. He works 13 hours a day so it's going to be hard to meet with him during the week but we'll text him passages to read everyday for daily contact and then make sure a member is at every lesson and I think he'll be progressing... he sounds super solid.
All in all I am excited for this transfer... I am excited to find out what I can do. I'm ready for that!
Sister Luft and Sister Fulgham came back for the weekend. It was really good to see them! Sister Fulgham went around hugging everyone and that was weird so....
Ivan got confirmed :) He is officially a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! I love him. He is just so precious!
I love everything and everyone... most of the time.
Peace and blessings. The Church is soooooo true it's insane.

I had the best time...dated 12/2/13

Congratulations to me! Who honestly thought I would make it this far....? HA! 
This week was full of food and sickness! Two things that do not go well together! 
Thanksgiving was so fun! We had 3 dinners. We had a Thanksgiving lunch with a member from the Norwalk ward who happen to be Sister Carr's in-laws. We were supposed to go straight back to our apartment after district meeting to weekly plan but the Carr's invited us to eat with them and we couldn't say no so we went there and by the time we were done there we only had about an hour and a half until we needed to be at the Tew's for our second. Our dinner at the Tew's was good but it was a little awkward because their kid's were there and the Assistants. We played a seminary game that Sister Tew had made a few years back and I was trying to crack jokes and make it a little less awkward but it proved to make it even more awkward. Elder Dixon got mad at me because I got a little frustrated (which I apologized for. You know it is something I am working on) because they are crashing our baptism day.... (which I understand that I was overreacting. I am over it now, I promise!) Anyway, I apologized for it and then continued to crack jokes about it which he was having none of and it ended with him being not so happy with me... I saw him the next day though and he apologized for getting so mad and then we shook hands and we are back to being best friends again :)The third was with the Cambodians! That was by far the most fun experience I have had thus far. We went and ate at a Cambodian members home who speaks little to no English. All of the current Cambodian missionaries were there plus three RM's and us :) We sat around learning Ca-mi and laughing while we waited for the food. The thing with the Cambodian culture is when they tell you to eat, you eat. and when they tell you to go get more... you go get more. So by the end of it we were all stuffed and I'm not sure about the rest of them but i honestly thought my stomach was going to pop. It was so fun! The host, her name is Ming, was laughing so hard at us because the turkey was the last thing to get done and no body wanted to eat it but we had to. I asked Sister Mickleson if she would grab me some turkey... when I asked her this I had in mind a little sliver that would show I was eating some but I wouldn't have to eat too much, but no. She comes back with an entire turkey leg that I now have to finish and I look like a barbarian doing it. Ming was so happy. She was having so much fun telling us to eat more... it was cruel. I love her so much. She asked us to come back for Christmas! Yay!! 
We also got Cambodian names which the natives call us. Mine is Thida. pronounced Tina with a "D". (Tida) It means "Someone send from on high. Royalty." 
In the California Long Beach Mission we have the only Cambodian ward in the world. There are some missionaries here that are called to speak Ca-mi and they will spend almost their entire mission in this one ward. So you can imagine how close they all become.... Well it has always been just the Cambodian's in their own district but last transfer they put us in their district I think for the purposes of trying to help the Cambodians feel more apart of the district and I have never been happier! I love them so much!
I had the best time.
I have to go though! I'll write you a letter telling you more about Anthony! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Lord knows what these people need...dated 11/11/13

Last week went by way fast but it was kind of hard because it felt like we didn't do any "real" missionary work... and this is why:
Tuesday was a Temple P-day. I love Temple days, I really do but sometimes we get up at 4:30 in the morning and by the time we get out of the temple we are all tired, hungry, ornery and we still had 13 more hours until we could sleep.... but even still, it was a good day! Every one should go to the temple. If you want to know for assuredly that your Heavenly Father loves you.... go to the temple, He is literally there. 
Wednesday was Mission Leadership Council (MLC) so we were in meetings from 11-4:30. MLC was supposed to end at 2:30 but we play hard ball in this mission and we couldn't leave until goals were set and everyone agreed. It was soooo much fun! We had to decide on what the baptismal goal would be from now until the end of the year. At first it was proposed 60 and then 80 was brought up and before anyone realized we were in a battle with each other and it was 80 against 60 and things were getting hostile... but we all knelt down and prayed about it and then president asked we all felt about 70. Oh, you mean there is another option that isn't 60 or 80? ha! We all agreed so we now have a goal for 70 baptisms which means we need to average 10 baptisms every week until then. It stretches us but it was possible and we are all pumped about it!!! 
Thursday was district meeting and that is always a good time. We learned how to have more effective companionship studies. And then we were stuck inside for the rest of the afternoon while we weekly planned... We had dinner with the Bishop that night and we asked him if he would be willing to come with us to teach Adrian on Friday and he agreed so we were happy.
Friday came and we had exchanges! I love exchanges especially when Sister Perry comes! We have a difficult area and it is really hard to tract. The only time we really have the opportunity to is on weekday mornings around Cerritos College and that is not as effective as being at the institutes so we hardly ever do it. BUT it was a Friday morning with no meetings and the institutes are closed so we had the chance to go contact and it was so fun! we got one new investigator named Edgar and we got a lot of potentials and it really felt good to be out walking talking to everyone instead of in the car all day... 
Later that day we taught Adrian with Bishop and it was so good! We were able to answer a lot of his questions and Bishop really did a great job with explaining the priesthood! He committed to come to church.... but then flaked. It's okay though... he just needs a little time. He loves his church and I think he is honestly scared that our church is true and that if he comes to know it's true... that he will have to act on that knowledge... I don't know though.. I could be way off. 
Saturday was Zone Conference the day I had been stressing about for weeks. I was able to teach the Schroeder family in front of two zones... it was really cool. The spirit was really strong. The Schroeder's are in the Atherton ward and have been investigator for a little over a year. They love the church but they just have never been able to feel ready for baptism. We were able to give a really power lesson about what baptisms means and how it brings us closer to Christ. I was going to record it and then totally forgot.... I am sorry. I wish I could explain to you and give you all the details because I didn't know them hardly at all but somehow Sister Wasden and I were able to address their concerns and teach to their needs. It really was a huge testimony strengthener on how the Lord knows what these people need.... 
I love the gospel. I feel the best when I am teaching people about the power of the atonement and how this Gospel changes lives. 
I invite you all to heed Elder Ballard's invitation and bring one soul unto Christ.
I love you all! Have a wonderful week! 
Until next time... Luke 12:32

It was the most bizarre thing...dated 11/5/13

So we had to give Gabby away to Elder Walker... That was depressing for two reasons. #1 I love her and we really connected and I really felt like I was her missionary and she helped me feel the spirit. #2 I had to give her to Elder Walker.
She really wants to go to the El Dorado ward so Austin and she are going to try and get permission for that to happen... I kind of hope it does but I don't know if it will.
We picked up a new investigator this week at the institute named Andrew. He takes a class so that he can park there for free and he is super awesome. A month ago he walked into the institute with a thing of chewing tobacco and a lack of respect. Brother Given had to pull him aside and tell him that his behavior wasn't acceptable and that if he wanted to park in the parking lot he would need to sign up for a class. He signed up for the Teachings of the Living Prophets class and when we were there on Wednesday we sat in and listened and he had some awesome comments about the talk that was given in general conference by Christofferson "The Moral Force of Women". It turned out he was the one that requested that talk. So after the class we called him over and I just said to him "Andrew, we want to teach you." and he paused and then said. "okay". We set up a time later that day to come back and we had a really good lesson with him. We have another appointment for this Wednesday again but we have to make sure he lives in our boundaries so we can know if we are able to teach him. Wouldn't want to end up with another Gabby situation.
Adrian is probably in Jacob by now in the Book of Mormon at the rate he is going. We still haven't gotten him to church but he is doing awesome with the lessons. He is really eager to learn and understand and he always has really good questions!
Christian is literally my favorite person but he is lacking the desire... and desire is what drives us to do something, so we asked him to read Alma 32 and the next time we meet with him we are going to talk to him about desire and then see where he is. If he doesn't start progressing we have to stop going by, and that would be really sad :( But we are positive thinkers over in these parts!! 
Funniest thing happened at church yesterday. We were sitting in the chapel and in walks the Elders with a non member. we start to kick ourselves because once again the Elders out-do the sisters and we were really just annoyed <---- we all had a bad attitude. obvi. Anyways, after church ended we were meeting in the gym for break the fast and their "investigator" was sitting all by herself so we decided to be the nice missionaries we are and go sit by her. We got talking and it came to be that she had looked up the Elders number on Google that morning and called them up because she was thinking about becoming Mormon. Sounds solid, right? yeah! until she starts asking really weird questions about polygamists and it turns out SHE WANTS TO BE ONE... she was soooo disappointed when she found out we don't do that anymore and then she started asking which states polygamy exists in and I become really awkward and Sister Mickelson said "I'm pretty sure it's illegal in every state..." hahaha
It was the most bizarre thing. She was so dead serious and she just said I know it sounds weird but I think it would be more fun. When the Elders found out Elder Dixon just awkwardly said "It's hard enough to handle one person of the opposite sex..." ha! I'm still laughing about the whole thing. Obvi.
Ups and downs this week. The downs were down but I made it through and now I am expecting a victory every day! :)
I am so thankful for the part the Lord plays in my life everyday. I love Him so much. 
I really want to do good on this mission. Through everything I really want to change my live as well as others. I am really trying. I know the Lord and I want others to know Him too. I want them to see a light at the end of their tunnels, and that light is Jesus Christ.
I love you all and I need you to know that! I am so thankful for all of you. You are in my prayers.

Monday, November 18, 2013

An invitation from President Tew...dated 10/21/13

I forgot to tell you last Monday but I've been asked to teach at zone conference...
Okay, so a week ago Saturday (10/12/13) President Tew called during companionship study. I answered it, "Hello, this is Sister Brown." He asked me how I was doing and then if he could ask me a favor. I thought he was going to ask me if I could come into the office to help him with something... NOPE. He says "The assistants and I have come up with an idea for Zone Conference and we wonder if you could help us out with it...." Alarm bells! He goes on to tell me how they want to have a demonstration featuring the best teachers in the mission but it's not the typical two missionaries practice teach on an "investigator". We are going to do a live teaching experience. We are going to have real investigators that have been investigating the church for a while come in. They have agreed to let you teach them in front of 70 other missionaries".
Elder Tewksbury told me that someone brought my name up and they all paused... and then agreed at the same time.
I am really nervous. I am still not used to the fact I can't recognize the spirit so I don't know if I can be as good as they think I am.
I am not teaching with my companions either... They said they picked who they wanted and then paired them up. The sister I will be teaching with is Sister Wasden. We have been given permission to go on exchanges together so that we can learn each others teaching styles.
She is in Los Alamitos which is only like 20 minutes away and zone conference is on November 9. Elder Pollard and I are the only ones that were asked to do it that haven't been out longer than 9 months.
I got a blessing yesterday where Heavenly Father told me he was proud of me so that was nice of Him!
We are going to sports today for P-day activity and I don't think I am going to play so I'll write ya a letter then. 
We got six member referrals this week and we get to hang out at the institute all the time! I really love this area! I am trying to think of what else happened this week... we have to spend a lot of time in the car because we can't do a lot of tracting because we cover an entire stake. I am not complaining because my ankle is getting a break, but sometimes it feels like we are getting nothing done. But as long as the ward continues to refer people, we won't feel like that for long.
I think I felt the spirit last night so that was really good! Yesterday day was really rough and I'm not sure why.... sometimes I just want to curl up in a ball. But the conferences were good. I went to two, I went and watched Sister Luft and Sister Andelin teach Sherry, and Elder Walker and Elder Blodsoe teach a guy named Moose. They both did an awesome job! I learned that we are allowed to go meet and talk to the people we are teaching before the conference so I think Sister Wasden and I will go do that, and it will be better then I have been thinking.
The temple was so good...
Love, Sister Brown

Meeting the new missionaries at the airport...dated 10/14/13

How are you family?
I hope you are all doing well. As for me, I have been busy...
So last Monday night we went over to pick Sister Luft up from the mission home (we had her companion while she was at her funeral dinner) and while we were there Sister Tew started making comments about how she wished that there could be sisters at the airport along with the assistants to welcome the new missionaries... we all got talking about who could possibly go and Sister Tew turned and said to me, “You’ll already be at the office and you are such a great greeter... will you come with us?" I said "okay" And secretly inside I was jumping for joy because I love seeing the poor new missionaries walk off the plane like the walking dead. Ha!
So I went with them to the airport and everything was so disorganized. The APs got there first and Sister Tew and I got there seconds after them. We were all late because of traffic so when we got to the place where we were to meet the new arriving missionaries,  the plane had already landed. The elders were waiting for us (President was still not there lol). The elders went with the APs to get the luggage and Sister Tew and I waited for the sisters to come out. The Elders were arguing with me trying to convince me that the sisters had already come. I kept trying to assure them that they just got off of a 2 hour plane ride and they all needed to go to the bathroom, and girls take longer than guys... they didn't believe me. But guess who was right?
I loved seeing Sister Tew's reaction when we saw them coming. She was SOOOO excited! We welcomed them to the Great California Long Beach Mission and gave them big hugs! They looked a lot better then I imagine myself looking in that moment 4 1/2 months ago... 
So we get their luggage and walk down to the loading dock, and while we are waiting Sister Oler (one of the new missionaries straight from the MTC) starts talking to a lady named Christine. She is doing an awesome job by herself but I could tell that she didn't really know how to bring the Gospel up so I went and helped her out. I told her how we were missionaries and she told us how she has relatives that are Mormon (let me remind you that I had the Presidents wife and the President observing my contacting skills... stress!) We talked a little bit more but then our van pulled up and we had to start loading luggage, so we ended the contact and went on loading. After our luggage was loaded and on its way back to the mission office we started walking to the parking garage and I mention to Sister Tew that I wish I had a Pass-a-Long Card to give to that lady (I left my bag in the car) and Sister Tew stops in her tracks searches through her purse and immediately starts to run in the direction of this lady. She is so awesome!
So we get to the parking garage and all the new sisters, Sister and President Tew, and I file into the elevator and just when the door is about the close a little old couple named John and Maria ask us to hold the door... We hold it for them and welcome them in with big smiles and happy hellos. We start talking and it turns into another contact but now I was in the spotlight (not the same spotlight I like to be in....) and I have all these new baby missionaries watching me along with President and Sister Tew... Even more stress! I made the little couple laugh though and I invited them to stop by the church building in Fountain Valley. I walked away feeling good! 
So then we get back to the church and feed the new missionaries breakfast while President Tew is figuring out their temporary companions, then off they go!
While we were waiting for the vista waiters and Spanish speakers to get in (they all came in at different times which never happens and is super annoying) my new companions and I loaded all of my stuff into the car. We then went and chopped up fruit and got lunch ready. Sister Fulgham and Mickelson would have rather been out doing missionary work but we are white washing (which means none of us have been in the area before) and the elders we share the ward with are the APs, so they were busy and couldn't give us any information about anything until 6:30 pm..., so my companions helped me get lunch ready and then we went to our apartment and cleaned (It was the most disgusting thing ever. I swear to you the elders that lived there before never cleaned ever, not once.) I had to clean the bathroom and I wanted to shoot myself in the face. Later that night we went to meet the APs at the office but they were an hour late so we just sat outside and got to know each other. When the elders finally showed up we were able to learn about our area and that was fun. They gave us a bunch of potentials and tips on how to work the area.
So the thing about the El Dorado ward is that it covers two stakes the LBE and the Cerritos Stakes. We are over the entire Cerritos Stake boundaries which to every other mission is small, but to this mission... its super huge! The elders have always just focused on the LBE side so Cerritos has really been neglected.
The area is awesome though! I love the ward. I would be okay serving here for the rest of my mission!
XOXOXOX, Sister Brown

The day before transfers....dated 10/7/13

Hello family,
How are you? Well this is what has been going on in my world...
After we moved from Betty's home we were living in an apartment with 5 girls and one shower. That was not easy!! Then we moved into our apartment on Thursday but the gas and hot water weren't turned on until this morning. We had to take cold showers. Thank Heavens that's over.  On Friday a bunch of Elders told us that Sister missionaries are basically worthless, so that was really hard. Most of our appointments fell through this has been rough. I have been proud of myself though, I have tried hard not to let it all get me down.
I'm being transferred and Sister Bauer is staying in the Woodruff ward for her 5th transfer. I will be in a trio... with two sister training leaders. I am a little nervous about being in a trio and about transfers in general, but transfers are life.  The only up side is that we are the first sisters to be in the El Dorado singles ward :) I'm super excited about that!! I am excited to be in a singles ward. Sister Bauer is happy to be staying in the ward. 
So, transfers are tomorrow morning, and then I am working in the office. Sister Tew needs my help. I am basically the SAPW - Sister Assistant to the Presidents Wife. I made it up :) 
This is how tomorrow will go...Sister Bauer will take me to the office where I will stay with her new companion’s old companion while we wait for our new companions to come. Then I will go with Sister Fulgum to get Sister Mickleson and we will go drop off our stuff at our new apartment (Elder Walker, one of the APs, was being a butt and wouldn't tell us where we were living and they left it off of transfer facts so we thought we were homeless until about 2 hours ago), and then they will take me back to the office where I will greet the new missionaries! 

Okay so that is Elder Cox he is one of my Zone Leaders... he is Uncle Brendon's doppelganger. I mean seriously they are the same person. 

Sometimes we take side walk chalk and draw things pertaining to the Gospel. While we do this, we talk to people about what we are drawing! It's pretty fun. We drew the Plan of Salvation while biking through Hartwell Park! - Yeah! It's a way to take the stress out of walking up to someone because, most the time, they will walk up to you and ask you what you are doing.

Bahahaha...aren't the pictures of the public restroom funny! I am not embarrassed that I use the facilities with no privacy. There was a nice breeze blowing...hahaha. The stalls are short with no doors to prevent rape and other crimes.

I gotta go. I'm gunna go provide some humor mom misses to everyone at sports while I try to play some basketball.
 I love you mucho grande!