Friday, August 23, 2013

Things have been pretty busy...

Temple Day!!

Family Ties <3
Hello! Sorry it's been a week since I've written. Things have been pretty busy.
Right now I am waiting for Sister Bauer to get ready so I thought I would tell you how my week is going so far. I'll have a longer letter in the mail by the end of the week!
Today is Wednesday morning (8/14/13) and I am stomach is upset so I think I have a virus and the last few nights I have been the worst. I toss and turn all night.
Yesterday (8/13/13) was my 4 month anniversary since going through the Temple for the first time! It was also a hard day because I was so sick. We woke up and walked a mile and then I crashed on the couch while Sister Bauer was getting ready. When she came out, she checked my head and said I had a fever. She called Sister Luft who told me to go back to bed. I felt bad doing that but they both insisted, so I did. I slept on and off until 10:00 am and then I got in the shower and got ready because we had a lesson at 11:00 am with Susan. Susan is really cool and she would make an awesome Relief Society President, but I don't know if right now is the right time for her to accept the Gospel. We are not giving up though. We talked to her about Joseph Smith and she said she believes that he did see God, the Father and Jesus Christ, but she doesn't believe that he was the only one who was told to "create" a church. She thinks that Martin Luther and others were also called by God. She is almost too open minded...
After Susan, we came back to eat lunch and study Preach My Gospel. I hadn't eaten anything yet so I decided to try some chicken noodle soup, which I still can't decide if it helped or not...
At 3:00 pm we taught Sherry the Plan of Salvation, and Pearl was there! It was a good lesson. The first time we taught it we weren't able to cover the whole thing so we needed to go over it again. Sister Bauer has a Plan of Salvation packet with visual aids, so we used that and it was fun. 
Dinner was with Sister Taylor. She makes interesting food which I like and I think I would have really enjoyed what she made if I wasn't feeling ill. I forced it down though because I didn't want to make her feel bad. 

The Relief Society pool party was last night and we got to stop by for a couple minutes because Sherry was there. We got there a little late and when we arrived one of the ladies we are teaching was really upset, so she left. We walked out to the car with her and found out that she was upset because she was sitting at a table with a bunch of women and not one person talked to her. She said she tried to get in on the conversation but no one would talk to her. I felt for her because Heaven knows I have been in many situations like that and it makes you feel like crap. Although I am sure none of them realized what they were doing, it made me realize that we need to be aware of people around us who are in need. This lady swore up and down that she would never go to one of the ward activities again...which makes me sad :(  The Church is perfect, the people are not.

We stayed at the party for about a half hour and had fun. Then we went to the Mission Home to get some music for Sister Bauer. She was asked to sing in church on Sunday. We spent about a half hour there. We talked to President Tew and Sister Tew. Sister Bauer sang for them. Their son and his family were there so we knelt down and had family prayer with them. It was a nice visit.

We needed to stop by Sister Luft's apartment to get some notes that the "mini-missionary" left for us so since we where in the area, we did that real fast and then Sister Bauer let me drive home :)

On our way home we made a pit stop at the Goodies to say hello and shared Moroni 10:32.

I really tried to be a good missionary even though I was sick.
In and Out

Delci at Seal Beach
Monday after emailing we went to In and Out and then to the beach --Seal Beach, which I think is the beach the Goodman's took Dad to...I'm not sure. We aren't allowed to go on the beach or the pier but we were able to sit on the bench and look at the water. I was fine with that. The ocean is my peace and it was really relaxing. That is what we did for most of our P-day. During emailing we had a picnic with the mini-missionary, Sister Pito, before she went home (a mini-missionary is someone who lives the mission for 1-2 weeks to decide whether or not they want to go on a mission). After the beach we went back to the house to switch out our laundry and get back to work.
Monday was a good day.

I don't know how to cast my burdens on the Savior. I am really trying to figure that out. I am working on not running faster than I have strength. 

Thank you so much for the book. I love it.

AJ, Emma, Sam, Luke...good luck on your first day of school! I want to know how it goes :) I'll be thinking about and praying for you.

Mom and Dad, How are you? How is work? Has anything fun been going on?
How is Jansen? I miss him!

I've been really thanking Heavenly Father for all of the blessings He has given me --the biggest being my family. So many people don't have what I have and I realize it more and more everyday. Thank you for being my family <3  I love you all.


The church is true!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Signal Hill...I could see the ocean!

Sister Puttapong, Sister Brown, and Sister Bauer
on Signal Hill
Family <3,
I promise I will be better at writing. I just put the recorder and letter in the mail and now I am starting this one...see, we are already seeing improvements ;).
Today was a good day. Sister Puttapong's companions had a training meeting so she got to spend the day with us. She is the kindest, most Christ-like person. I haven't known her very long...probably about a week but even still... I'm sad to see her go. She is serving here temporarily as part of her assignment as a Salt Lake Temple Square Missionary.
View of mission area from Signal Hill
There is a place in Long Beach called Signal Hill. When you stand at the top you can see the entire mission. Sister Puttapong went there the first day with President Bubert, but she wasn't able to take pictures, so we went with her today. It was a lot of fun. It was the first time I have seen the ocean since we flew in, and I was so happy. Even though it was far away, it was fun to see.
We went to after we got done at Signal Hill and spent about a 1/2 hour there. We usually spend about an hour but we had a lunch appointment with Kaye and Jan at 1:00 pm so we had to cut it short.
Lunch was a lot of fun. I told you a little about Jan and Kaye on the recorder...they are such nice people and they love Heavenly Father and Jesus so much. I hope Jan decides to be baptized someday...
She is an amazing cook. She made us just a simple chicken salad --who knew a salad could be that good! (except Chuck-Your-Grandma, of course...hahahaha! :))
After we  left Kaye and Jan's, we came home to have Preach My Gospel study (language study for Sister Puttapong), I, however, was the only one that studied. Sisters Bauer and Puttapong chatted (okay, i'll admit...I chatted too) and said that technically chatting could be considered "language study" because anything involving English counts...I think that's a bit of a stretch...don't ya think? Oh well...talking is fun :)
The rest of the view of the mission area from
Signal Hill
Talking is fun, but I think everyone that knows me would be surprised to hear that besides Sister Bauer and maybe the Goodman' one would say I talk a lot. In fact, our investigator Sherry said that she likes it when I talk because I don't talk very often, but when I do...I talk with conviction. I don't know about the last part but it even surprises me when people put my name in the same sentence with "doesn't talk a lot", or "quiet" hahahaha!!!
We took Sister Puttapong to the Mission Office at 4:00 pm so she could have her departing interview with President Tew. We said goodbye and took pictures. I promised her that you guys would go see her at Temple Square...SO PLEASE GO! :)
In fact, tell everyone that reads the blog to go see her --she is awesome!
We met with Garden Lady today and we picked up a new investigator named Christopher. Christopher is 29 and we met him contacting last week. He is a super nice guy...I think I told you about him...he doubled majored in Bible studies and history. Ringing any bells? Well I was afraid it was going to turn into a Bible bash but it didn't. He honestly just wants to learn. He came with his Book of Mormon, a pad of paper, and a ton of questions. It was cool...we have another lesson with him on...well it was suppose to be on Wednesday but we have a Sister's Training Meeting on Wednesday so we'll have to reschedule, but we are optimistic.
Pat is great. She is Lauren Fagnant in 40 years --so tender hearted. She called us her "daughters". I love her. She loves her faith but she says she feels like there is a void in her life and she thinks maybe God put us in her path to help fill that void...I think she is right. We also have a meeting with her on Wednesday that we need to change but she is a rare person and at the very least, I'm thankful God allowed me to meet her...
7/25/13 - At District Meeting we learned about goals and how important they are, and how they help us reach our vision --Great stuff! I've never been good at the whole goal thing...
7/26/13 - Sister Bauer and I had interviews with President Tew. I had recently had an interview so mine was short. While we were at the office, the APs asked us to help them with the transfer board. We spent from 2:30 pm  to 5:00 pm helping them with that. They thanked us because they said it would have taken them hours to finish if we hadn't been seems to happen a lot that we are at the right place at the right time.I really enjoyed getting to know the APs. They are pretty cool. Elder Walker thinks I am funny, so mission accomplished there. Elder Dixon still thinks I'm trouble, which I don't understand because I don't think I've ever done anything that would have given him that impression...Ha!
We ate at the Goodman's. They always give us the emotional support that we need. Sister Goodman really is taking care of me, Mom. You owe her big ;) Brother Goodman is equally as great, obviously. He'd do anything for us...kind of already has.
We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Sherry earlier that day (7/26/13) with Sister Tew. It went pretty good except she said she doesn't feel comfortable setting a date to be baptized because she feels pressured...we need to find a way to help her see that she doesn't need to know everything before baptism...I was baptized at 8 for Heaven's sake. How much could I have possibly known?! I knew enough...How do we help her? We bought her a cake on Thursday (the day before our lesson) and brought it to her. The next day in our lesson, Sister Bauer asked her if she had to eat the whole cake before she knew it was good, or if she knew it was good after the first couple bites? She responded with, "Yeah...actually I had the first bite and I liked it but I didn't know what I liked about it until the last bite. I realized it was because there wasn't a lot of frosting." Well, that wasn't really the answer we were looking for but I guess that'll have to do. We realized as we were leaving that that is exactly what she is feeling about the Gospel. She knows it is good, but she doesn't know why.
Yesterday (7/27/13) was kind of hard.
Today (7/28/13) was much better. I kept looking at the time, thinking "they are getting ready for church, they are probably taking the Sacrament, Jansen is probably speaking right now". I can't wait to hear how it went.
Jansen, I know I have already told you but I am so proud of you and I bet you did amazing. I already miss you so much but I can't help feeling like I'm going to miss you lots more when Wednesday rolls around and you are gone. You are going to be an incredible missionary...
I realize that by the time this letter gets to you, he will most likely be gone already...but just in case...I just want him to know how much I love him. Will you relay this message?
Church was good. The talks in Sacrament Meeting and lesson in Relief Society were on being member missionaries. Gospel Principles was about our Heavenly Father. Church is a place of comfort for me. I always look forward to Sundays.
We did our week planning right after church. I am excited for this week.
Dinner with the Goodies again :) I always know I will leave their house feeling loved. It's nice knowing that someone is looking after and taking care of your little girl, I bet...;)
After dinner we went to Pearl's house. She's having a really hard time so we go over and lift her spirits. She couldn't come to church today because she was in so much pain. Sister Bauer was able to play some hymns on the piano which always makes everyone feel better. I really love Pearl.
Well family, I miss you dearly. I really love handwritten letters :) but anything is good! Thank you for making sure I get multiple somethings a week.
I love you all so much. Go around in a circle and give everyone hugs and kisses for me. Squeeze Wy's face for me when you see it.
I want to know everything that's happening in each of your lives...Jansen's farewell/MTC drop off.
I'm rambling because I don't want to say goodbye. I's time.
<3 Love, your missionary #1 XOXOXO

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Let's see...where did I leave off?

Family <3,

I am currently sitting at zone sports. So, naturally anything with the word "sports" in the title, I refuse to be apart of, so I am sitting on the stage in comfy basketball shorts, sporting a Utah State University t-shirt, and writing to you fine people...

Let's see...where did I leave off? I told you about Sherry right? Well Sherry is doing awesome. We taught her on Tuesday (7/2/13) about the restoration. She pretty much understood everything and accepted it, except for modern day prophets. She grew up baptist so she's been taught her whole life that once Jesus came to the earth that was it...what he says goes and prophets were on longer needed. When we started teaching her about prophets, Sherry's comments were, "Why did they get prophets back then and we don't? That just doesn't seem fair..." Well Sherry, you are right. That wouldn't be fair. As we taught her about prophets she said it made sense but it was just hard for her to grasp. We left the lesson feeling pretty good. We made a return appointment for the following Wednesday (7/10/13). We invited her to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true. She promised we would see her at church on Sunday. Come Sunday (7/7/13), sure enough, she was there. We were so happy (I would compare it to...I don't know...just a really good day)! During Sacrament meeting she had her Book of Mormon open and we saw that she was in 1 Nephi 10 and she was marking up different verses. This made us even happier :) Wednesday came along and we taught her a little bit of the Plan of Salvation and reviewed the Restoration. She told us that when we had taught her about Joseph Smith and the First Vision that it gave her chills. Wednesday night our ward had Enrichment (they still call it that here...) night. It was a potluck. Sherry came and brought the most delicious chili. There is a less active member that Sherry met the first time she came to church. He name is Pearl. Pearl has not had the easiest life and a lot of that is because of things that have happened in the church. Anyway, Pearl has a  hard time going to things but Sherry always makes sure to call Pearl and see how she is doing. I swear, that woman is more of a member of the church than some of the actual members of the church. She just needs to be baptized :) I love her. We invited her to be baptized on July 27th but she said that seemed soon and she wants to know everything before committing to be baptized. We told her that as she continues to pray, read, and go to church that through her faith Heavenly Father will give her the answers she is looking for. We have another lesson with her on Wednesday (7/17/13). We are going to teach her the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sister Tew might come along with us, so that should be fun.

We spent the 4th of July with the Goodman's.
They are like our family away from family. They really do take care of us. Anyway, there was a pancake breakfast to start off the day. We were kind of frustrated because earlier in the week a member of the ward came over to visit Betty, the sister we live with. We told this member that Betty wanted to go to the 4th of July breakfast but that we weren't allowed to give her a ride in our car so we asked him if he could find a ride for her. He said, "Sure, happy to do it." Well come July 4th, Sister Bauer and I go Betty up and told her to wait outside because her ride would be coming any minute. We hopped on our bikes and rode to the church. We got there and this member was helping make the pancakes, so we went up and asked who he'd gotten to pick up Betty. He said, "I didn't ask anyone. My wife usually does that but she is out of town..." Wait...What?!?! We were fuming mad. We hopped back on our bikes and rode back to the house to find Betty still waiting outside for someone to pick her up. The thing about Betty is that she has dementia, so she knows that she is waiting for something but she can't remember what. She would have waited there all day. We broke the rules and took her to the church. It wasn't fair to her that she miss out because a member forgot all about her ride.

After the breakfast we had District Meeting. Sister Bauer and I went and got 4th of July cookies to share with our zone. They love us...we are the only sisters in our that is cool. I don't really know any different, hahaha! Every Thursday is District Meeting and weekly planning, so it was nice that we stayed in for most of the day on the 4th because it would have been hard to contact people: 1. because it is a family day. 2. people get intoxicated pretty early in the day. We had dinner with the Goodman's. We wanted to spend the whole evening with them but we had strict instructions not to "plop", so we couldn't. We ended up going back to their house, and here is why... We planned to go see Pearl but while we were on our way to her house a dog darted out in front of our car (I know you are all thinking we hit it. You can rest easy, we didn't). Sister Bauer said, "That dog is going to get hi--(gasp)--(covers mouth)". I look in the rear view mirror in time to see the dog doing a stiff somersault. We thought for sure it was dead but we decided to flip around so we could at least move the body. The dang car that hit it didn't even stop! As we approached the "scene of the accident" we saw the little dog was still breathing as well as twitching. No one was even stopping so we stopped traffic and rescued the poor pup. I was nerve racking picking it up. Questions, such as "am I hurting it more? What if it decides to die in my arms? Am I emotionally stable enough to handle that?" ran through my mind as I bent down to pick it up (Sister Bauer couldn't help because she has this thing about touching hurt/dead things). Anyway, long story short...The dog didn't die, but it was emotionally traumatized. The owner came riding up on a bike and said, "The first time in seven years this dog gets out and she get hit by a #$!* car..." He picked the dog up in a very rough manner and rode away. uuhhhh...yeah, "YOU ARE WELCOME FOR SAVING YOUR DOG!!!"
We got in the car and suffering from some serious emotional shock, we decided we weren't stable enough to visit anyone so we went back to the Goodman's...sorry not sorry.

The next big event was the departure fireside.The Sunday before transfers they have a fireside where all the missionaries that are leaving have the opportunity to bear their testimonies, and the people that they taught/got close to are invited. The only way other missionaries are able to attend is if they have an investigator with them, or if they are a part of the program. They hold tryouts for the missionaries with musical talents who want to perform a musical number at the fireside. Sister Bauer tried out with her song "Go and Do". She was accepted as part of the program. She really is so talented, plus the APs are obsessed with that song. So technically, because Sister Bauer was on the program, we could have shown up without anyone and no one would have said anything, but we not only had an investigator (Sherry) there, we also had a nonmember (Margaret), a less active (Betty S.), and an active family (the Goodman's). We went above and beyond the call of duty.There was a point in the program where all of the full time missionaries got up and sang, "Bring the World His Truth". That was very cool --chills...almost more so than "Called to Serve" in the MTC. Mama Goodman cried her little eyes out. Ah, I love her.

Transfers were Tuesday. Obviously I stayed. Thank Heavens! Heavenly Father knew I needed to finish my 12 weeks with Sister Bauer.Elder Komoneck is our new District Leader. He is in our ward. He is training Elder Thorup, who came out with me, and now he is training a visa waiter, so he has his hands full, Ha!

Other than the stuff I told you about on email, this week has been kind of slow. We did meet a guy named Christopher while tracting, and he agreed to meet with us on Wednesday. He got his degree in Bible studies and says he knows the Bible is true because it matches up with things found in the history books, and that the Book of Mormon does not. I am nervous that it might turn into a Bible bashing or something, but you never know...I'll let you know how that goes.

We had a Pioneer Day celebration on Saturday and it wasn't even like Utah...Oh well, I got over it.
Sister Brown and Sister Bauer at the Pioneer Day Celebration
We talked to this guy named Gary who grew up Jewish and then converted to Christianity. He had a lot of questions about what Mormon's believe. It was a really great experience and I definitely feel like his faith in Christ least I hope it did. He is awesome. He created this database where you can get daily readings  from the Bible sent to your email. He said he wanted to put the Book of Mormon on it as well, but his wife would not be okay with that. She doesn't believe we are Christians, in fact his wife had no idea he was at the Pioneer Day Activities. He said she would not be okay if she found out. Anyway, he is awesome and I know we were instruments in the Lords hand by being there to water the seed that has already been planted.

Yesterday was Sunday (7/21/13) and it was a normal day. Sherry came to Church but couldn't stay for Relief Society. She was there for "Our Heavenly Father" lesson in Gospel Principles. She participated. She's elect.

We watched The Testiments with the Janzen's and it was good...until it ended and the spirit left. It is a long story --actually that was Saturday..the days blur together. Sunday evening we ate dinner with the Gallup's...the peeps who called you on Father's Day. They made us enchiladas. Then we went to John and Margaret's and made an appointment to come back and talk to John about Ecclesiastes, which he asked us to read...and 3 Nephi 11, which we asked him to read. I'm excited for this appointment because I really think he will except this Gospel as long as he gets an answer from God that it's true..which he will...cause it is :)

I figure it's time to mail this baby because I have been working on it for a week.

I love you family!!!

I love you, everyone in "cyber world"!

Please give a shout out to Trenidy Thomas!!! :)

The Church is true --Love your missionary, Sister Brown