Monday, December 28, 2015

CHRISTmas :)

Hello all!

The Cottles, a senior missionary couple, gave all themissionaries a stocking full of Christmas goodies. 

This week was an incredible one filled with many miracles and wonderful Christmas spirit. Christmas Eve we went to the Herr's for dinner. We were with 4 families who are stationed on base right now. They had such a cute dinner! It was fun to get to talk with a few of the young families in the ward and get to know them better. You can really learn so much from the experiences of others. 

After dinner, we went with the Cottles and the Elders to Christmas carol to a few of the families in the ward and that we were teaching. So many people were so grateful for the visit and were truly touched by the spirit that the music brings in. I absolutely love the spirit that can be felt through music. The last family we sang to was the Sanchez family. Their two kids were baptized this Saturday (26th) so that was really fun to see them before their big day. Talk about an amazing Christmas gift to the Savior! Truly using the atonement He provided for us. 

Our Christmas Tree!
Christmas day Sister Lewis and I studied, read Luke 2 together,and then went to the Cottle's for a Christmas breakfast. It was so fun. The Cottles are seriously hilarious. I love talking with them. We talked a little bit about our Christmas traditions back home...and then Elder Cottle talked about golf for the rest of the time. He loves golf :) And they live on a golf it works. It was the cutest thing, Elder and sister Cottle surprised us by buying stockings for each of the missionaries. :D How awesome is that? Sister Cottle acted like the classic grandma as we opened them oohing and awwing at our mini shampoo, soap, baby wipes and other practical things every missionary needs. Such sweethearts. 

Christmas night we went to a Less active mom's house.
She really needed the visit, and we absolutely
love her kids! Her little girl did my nails while
we talked with her mom. such a cutie!

Opened cards and presents. It was so wonderful to hear from you all!! I'm going to send personal emails soon.. It might just take another week. :) We then SKYPED. So great to see the family :) Such fun surprises to see Larson and Ella have grown up so much already! 

Christmas day we visited a few families who could really use the cheer.  We saw sister Mims ( an older lady who lives with a friend and her granddaughter)  They were all so very grateful for the Christmas visit and it was so so good to become friends with her granddaughter who is really in need of the peace and joy the gospel brings. We also met another family we will be teaching more in the future. 

We ate dinner at the Matavo's. A Polynesian family.
It was a lot of meat! This is one of our friends!!
She's planning on serving a mission so she's going
to come teaching with us every once in a while. :)
Such a wonderful ward!
This Christmas I loved knowing that it truly is Jesus Christ who we should always celebrate. Because of the incredible gift of our Savior, we can live with Heavenly Father again! 

I pray you are all doing well and that Christmas this year was one that made you consider everything we have to be grateful for :) 

Sister Brown 

Monday, December 21, 2015

White Washing for Christmas :)

This week has been one to remember! Seriously. Some of the craziest missionary work yet. My new companion, Sister Lewis, and I got in Hinesville Tuesday night around 7:00 at night. It was quite the drive from Macon. A sweet old brother drove us. He's the perfect picture of a southern farmer :) We got into the apartment (previously owned by elders) and were very grateful the Cottles had called them ahead of time and told them to scrub scrub scrub it clean. We still did a good amount of cleaning of our own...but it was so nice to have a good apartment to walk into. :)

We got our car from Elder and Sister Cottle (not the mission president and his wife...a different senior couple serving on base with us.) that night around 10:00. 
Our broken car. We got it from the elders in Rincon...
but apparently it did not see happy days with whoever
was there before this transfer.
Kind of crazy how it all worked out.

On Wednesday we were finally able to use the car for a while, so we went shopping and got our passes to get on base! Yep, we're serving on post around 50% of the time. SO COOL :) Having a pretty large chunk of our ward be military creates some interesting dynamics. Many of the couples living there have only been there for about a year or so. Ha very different than Cochran. But I love love love the ward. We got to go to a young women activity on Wednesday and meet our three young women. They are wonderful, and definitely need some sister missionary influences in their lives! They're so amazing. Elders are wonderful, but I just know how many people these ladies will touch. The future of their entire families lies with them. I pray that Sister Lewis and I can be a god influence on them. They're not bad girls at all, they're just around a lot of worldly influences. One of them is actually planning to serve a mission! So that's super fun to talk with her :) Thursday we met the Relief society. Lots of young moms. Loved it! 

We've seen so many cool miracles this week come from the Christmas initiative. I love the video "A Savior is Born." We are super excited to meet more people who will be touched by the feeling the get when they watch the video. 

One thing that's interesting is how many people in Hinesville don't celebrate Christmas. I have learned a lot. Something I believe we must always remember is to look at why we do what we do. If we get too caught up in the presents and commercialization of the holiday, we aren't celebrating it for the right reasons, and it will turn sour. But I've also done some study on the Pharisees and I believe with everything we can't get too caught up in the dos and don'ts instead of focusing on what should truly be the center of our worship. Stay centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ and you will be guided as what to do and how to act. :) 

Sister Lewis, William, and me. This is William after his
baptism. Talk about a crazy first week. Thankfully the
zone leaders are also serving in Hinesville
and Elder Peterson has been here for a while
so he set up the baptism logistics.
Saturday William was baptized! That was so incredible to see! His wife was baptized last week, and now they are able to grow in the gospel together. I love to see families join the Church. It is so wonderful because they are stepping on a pathway as an entire family. They're setting a pattern for their life. 

A couple of random things.
1- We met a 60 year old who is a retired professional European model. She has walls full of expensive souvenirs. (an 80,000 dollar monkey and a 200,000 dollar snake) yet she says she has no money for food. Ha. I love her. She's so cute, funny, and a tad bit us all :) I love people. 
2-Sister Lewis is super afraid of animals. SUPER. We went to visit a Less active couple who has two cats...she probably jumped 7 times because the cats walked too close or sniffed her. One time she actually screamed. Ha poor girl. I seriously love her so so so much! I told her we would role play with cats now. She's going to be teaching me the restoration and BAM incoming cat out of nowhere! Don't worry..I won't be that mean. :) 
3-We're going caroling this week!
4-One of our most progressing investigators is a man who is currently studying to be a minister :D. 

I am so very excited for Christmas! Please be safe and remember what it is about. Keep CHRIST as the center. 
Sister Brown

Monday, December 14, 2015

Tear of Joy, Sadness... Just a whole lot of tears :D

What a week it has been!! Wow. I feel like I'm always saying that..but it's always true! This week there was especially a lot that happened. We had a baptism, the ward Christmas Social, Transfers calls, we found two golden families, worked with Kerry, packed, planned another baptism, Zone Christmas Conference in TIFTON, had Exchanges with the Forsyth was crazy. 

Ok, I have limited time, so we'll see how it goes. 

First, we had a wonderful Christmas Conference in Tifton. I really, really love adventures. Apparently that's something I will need to always incorporate into my life because as we were driving early in the morning, I was absolutely giddy. I was just so excited to be doing something out of the normal routine. We learned so many amazing things at the conference..not to mention some incredible music numbers. Music can truly bring the spirit in an incredible way. The spirit was so strong there with at least one hundred missionaries in the same room, it was like you could reach out and touch it. 

Shandora (recent convert) from Forsyth. Love her!
The next day, we had exchanges with the Forsyth STLs. I went to Forsyth with sister Goade and Sister Demann took sister Mcolough around Cochran. It was a wonderful to spend some time with Sister Goade. She has had a lot placed on her shoulders recently, and it was a great experience to simply let her know that she was loved and that she can do what the Lord knows she needs to be doing at this time. I loved the people in Forsyth! the second picture is of a sweet lady. She's a recent convert who has done much for the missionaries. She needs lots of support right now, so they go see her often. She was cute and brought us breakfast the day I left. 

As soon as I got back to Cochran, we had some amazing lessons in Eastman. (a long day of driving..well driving to Tifton and back was 3.5 it was just a long week of driving). We got to catch up with a lady nicknamed CAT whom we hadn't seen in several weeks. We met her whole family this time (her son was there visiting). And shared a Christmas message with all of them. I often pick scriptures from the BOM to share so then I can introduce it to people. Well, her son was very interested in the book I was reading from. We taught a little about it, and near the end, I asked if I could share one of my favorite passages of scripture from it with him. 3 Nephi 11: 8-14. As I was reading about Jesus Christ appearing to the people in the Americas, I felt an intense witness that what I was reading was true. I couldn't stop the tears from sneaking out. It was a wonderful lesson. I don't know if they got as much out of it as I did, but I sincerely pray they did. 

Jennifer is baptized!
The next day we were up and preparing for Jennifer's baptism!! I haven't written too much about Jennifer yet, but she has been through MANY trials to get where she is today. At one point she told us she was never coming back to the church and she wanted nothing to do with it. The next day she was there in class because the spirit wouldn't let her stay away. As our Bishop said concerning the situation,"Brothers and Sisters, what you are seeing here truly is a miracle." Yesterday Jennifer was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was the most beautiful service I have attended. This morning she wrote us a text telling us how she had received much persecution since joining the church, but she was staying strong. She had been reading the Book of Mormon and said she could not put the book down. She had an overwhelming feeling arise in her chest, throat, and heart. She told us that what we had all said about the burning feeling of knowing is true. She had felt it. What an incredible journey we have been on with her! The adversary threw every possible dart at her, and she still listened to the Holy Ghost and followed what she felt was true. I am so so so happy for her.

Mr. and Mrs Claus (Brother and Sister Kersey)!
They dressed like this for the ward party and
then again on Sunday to visit a large family gathering.
Then on Saturday, we had our ward Christmas Social. Wow, I love all those people!!! It was absolutely wonderful to see all those I have drawn so close to in this last transfer come together in order to celebrate the Savior's birth. We had so much fun. It was the perfect way to be sent off. 

Miss Louise I absolutely love her!! She is so on fire!!
She's getting baptized in January. She loves the Lord with
all her heart and more. We tear up together
while reading scripture. Her testimony is so strong. 
That night, we came home for transfer calls. I was praying I could stay for at least one more transfer, but felt in my heart that the wish may not be granted. Yes, it will be hard to leave the amazing people we are working with right now, but I know the Lord will protect them. Sister Demann is here to help them step toward the path that leads to eternal life. I love them. I never knew how hard it would be to leave. I'm more sad about leaving these people behind than I was about leaving home (maybe that's because I knew I would eventually be coming home). I am excited for the new place that I will be going with my new companion :) You'll all get a picture next week. Oh, Rose will also be baptized next week so I'll forward a pic of that from sister Demann. Wow, it's so hard to leave these people!

Lastly, Sunday we said goodbye. Well, we said hello to two new families who are so so ready for the gospel. We wanted to work until the very end, so we visited a few referrals we had received, and the Lord showed us miracles. I wasn't planning on it, but I'm so glad sister Demann asked if we could. I'm excited to hear about how their progression in the gospel through emails. 

I love you all! I'll send a few more pictures. 

Sister Brown

Monday, December 7, 2015

"I'll go where you want me to go"

Where to start? This week was full of all sorts of crazy. I keep forgetting that it is the Christmas season because the weather goes from cold rain to warm 70s. We put up our Christmas tree this morning though! How exciting is that :D it's a cute little thing. I'm sure we'll take a picture with is at some point. 

This Tuesday we finished the rug cleaning project. Yay! Later that afternoon we also went to about 15 minutes of one of our investigator's son's soccer games. It was really odd to be there..but sister Demann and I both felt like when she invited us that, that was what she needed. She needed some true friends, and to know that we cared about her. Plus, it was a great way to meet new people in the community. I love how you can literally share the gospel anywhere!! That's this week's challenge, try sharing the new Christmas video "A Savior is Born" with someone. It's a wonderful message! I can feel the spirit bursting through the screen each time I see it. How incredible. That shows me just how true this message is. We have a Savior. He was born of humble circumstances. He has given us the perfect example to follow. As we do so, we will find TRUE joy. :) 

Mary and Joseph
Wednesday we had a wonderful experience with a family. The mother and her 11 year old daughter are baptized, but no one else. The father has taken the missionary discussions many times before, but has never been baptized. The wife really wants to have their family sealed in the temple..but can't seem to understand what's holding her husband back from being baptized. They're always very busy, so it's hard to get a hold or them. On Wednesday night though, we had an appointment set up with them. We brought another recent convert with us so she could maybe relate to some of the husband's concerns. It was an amazing lesson! He has never really opened up to us like that before. We hope and pray we can continue meeting with them and see their family become sealed to each other forever. That's something that I know I want. Baptism is not a finish is the starting. Our time here on earth is not to be wasted, it is to be used to progress and come closer to our Heavenly parents. We have to practice now so we can understand what life will be like then-when we get are welcomed to all our Father has waiting for us. The gospel has a reason. We are given the tools we need to become who we originally wanted to be. We can't forget the decision we have already made once before! Anyways, we're excited for their family :) 

Something fun for this week--> Friday we had a Christmas parade! Cody (a 12 year old recent convert...super energetic and crazy kid) stole my camera and took some pictures. So I actually have pictures to send :) Although they're mostly selfies of himself. :'D Enjoy! It was sooooo much bigger than we were expecting. We ran out of candy and pass along cards before we were even a 1/4 of the way in! I was kicking myself a bit. Oh well. It was seriously a blast! I just don't know where all the people came from....apparently everyone in Cochran was there as well as their extended family. Or something. 
Cody takes a selfie

Saturday was Rose's Baptismal interview! Whew. It has been a journey to get to this point. Even now though, Satan has been working triple time on her. She has had so many doubts. We're doing all we can to remind her of the testimony she has gained. An hour before the interview she texted us and said she wanted to cancel. She just wasn't ready. We called her and talked for a good while. Knowing that there was a place she could go to for more help than we could ever give her, I told her to pick a random place in the Book of Mormon to read from. After a few minutes, we would call her and see how she was feeling. She said ok. About 15 minutes later we called, and her granddaughter said she was in the shower. We were a little confused and saddened. We thought maybe she hadn't read. Then her granddaughter told us she had said they were all going to drive to the church after Nanna finished her shower. Oh, ok. Well when she got there, we talked to her. She said she had read a chapter (I can't remember which one) and she had just decided to come. She was still nervous, but she came. After the interview, we could see such a peace and calm about her. We pray she will always remember the power the Book of Mormon holds. It is God speaking directly to us, of that I promise. It contains the fullness of the gospel. How incredible to see that Heavenly Father preserved a second witness of His son, Jesus Christ, because He knew we would need it because of the faults of mankind. I love my Father in Heaven and my Savior! I promise you will also feel their love for you as you read from those wonderful pages. 

Have a blessed week! 
Sister Brown

P.S. If you didn't get to watch the Christmas Devotional, I would strongly encourage you to do so this week! Such wonderful messages were shared! One of my favorites was that we can be truly Grateful during the season. 
Love y'all

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Southern Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

Yes we had Turkey, yes the food was all amazing, yes there was a lot of it. It was pretty much the same as a Thanksgiving meal in Utah. Some of the more "Southern" Foods that were included in our Thanksgiving meal were butter beans, Mac and cheese (the good kind), fried corn bread, corn bread dressing (I have to admit to liking the other kind better), lots of Pecan pie, Sweet potato pie(that was a new one), and of course banana pudding! I have maybe had banana pudding twice before coming it's a regular ;) Really though, it's so much better in the south! And it's everywhere.

This week feels like three all smashed together. 
Thanksgiving- It was super fun! We ran the Turkey Trot on Thursday morning. It was a 5 mile run with all sorts of members of the community. Oh how I miss running!! At least we get to do a little on the track by our apartment in the mornings. That was a blast though. Sister Demann actually won 50 dollars because everyone who ran was placed in a random drawing for money prices. Crazy right?! Later that day we went to a member's house for Thanksgiving lunch. We got to see lots of less active members and even non members. It was wonderful to see their family love and unity. There were many times when we were all able to bear testimony of the blessing of the gospel and families. It was a wonderful, spirit-ful meal. The neat thing was that President and Sister Cottle actually came to lunch with the same family! Pretty neat to have thanksgiving with your mission president.
A cute recent convert made a Christmas wreath for us
so Sister Demann and I sent our Christmas greetings :)
Make sure it's a season full of service and sharing the
light of Christ with all you meet :)
ALSO look up "A Savior is Born" if you haven't yet.

This week my testimony of fasting has been strengthened. Yesterday sister Demann and I held a special fast for a few certain investigators. All of them were close to their baptismal dates, doing great, and then all of a sudden..they were hit with different challenges that they weren't sure how to face. While we are helping them through their challenges, there is another level of conversion they must experience on their own. We knew Heavenly Father could help them with this if they had sincere desire and real intent. 

One of the individuals who had been struggling told us she was never going back to the church again, and that she was done. Our hearts ached for her and her situation, but we had to accept that it was in the Lord's hands. Naturally, we were shocked to walk into Gospel Principles class yesterday and find her waiting for the lesson. Later that night we met with her and she told us the story of how the Holy Ghost had been working with her. After watching the restoration video and reading a few scriptures afterward, she described a feeling that started in her heart, made her feel all "light and bubbly."She said she couldn't get rid of the feeling. It had stayed with her and somehow pulled her to church. She didn't mean to come, but did anyway. She told us she was trying to get away, that she was done, but that something wouldn't let her. We had been fasting and praying for her that day, and she could not deny the conversation the Holy spirit had with her spirit. When we open our heart, He WILL enter.  It was an incredible experience. 

Rug Doctor!
On Saturday we got to do a lot of service. We decorated the Ward's Christmas float and Shampooed the carpet of an investigator's house. They had 7 puppies that weren't potty trained :( I sent a pic of me with the rug doctor as the second attachment.  

Love you all tons!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Attitude of Gratitude

What a week! :) We have seen miracle after miracle this week. We have also had to deal with heartache. Even among the sadder moments, there is something to be grateful for. That is what I have realized this week.

One of our investigators is in a difficult situation. He is absolutely incredible, yet facing challenges that no one should need to face all because of the decisions of others. After much searching for guidance, Sister Demann and I just sat together and cried in our companion study because our hearts ached for his well being. We then realized how truly grateful we should be. There was so much good in the situation! We discussed how God has led His life and how He IS being strengthened in Christ. I am grateful Heavenly Father allows us to feel for others. I am so grateful for moments of sadness because they cause me to look for the good. As I look for the good, blessings can be found in every moment of our lives. I am SO thankful for a Father who allows us to become more like Him through the experiences we face in this life. I know He is there. I know that He is watching over you, me, and all of His children. He loves us. He LOVES us. Amazing :)

Something funny this week, we have been sporadically teaching this lady named Sheri. She wanted us to teach her husband, so we kept trying to go back and meet him. Well, we went back one day and a man opened the door. He introduced himself as Patrick. Hmm we were thinking...that's the name of Sheri's firstborn son. We kept talking to him and figured out he was not Sheri's husband, but he was Annie's husband (we thought Annie and Sheri are sisters). Ok, cool. So we keep talking and he mentions that his twin is actually married to Sheri. Oh, ok... so sisters married twins. Then the twin pulls into the driveway. Patrick introduces us to his twin (Sheri's husband) saying, "This is my twin, Patrick." WHAT? Yes. The twins married sisters, and are both named Patrick. Really? Well, to make matters worse, they both named their firstborn sons Patrick. Goodness, that was one of the most confusing doorstep contacts I've ever had. Now we just call them Annie and Sheri's husbands.

I don't have a ton of time left, but I just want to say I'm grateful for the driving experience I've had with 4 wheelers and my Uncle Matt's land rover while driving in sand and clay. There are some pretty sketchy dirt roads here, and the rain has led us to some great adventures. Last week was the first time we almost got stuck, but the Lord prepares his servants with the knowledge we need. Thanks for all those who helped to prepare me beforehand!

Be safe and find some way to express how grateful you are to your Father in heaven this week :)
Love you all!
Sister Brown

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pigs and Pecans

Surprise! It does get cold in Georgia! Well, in Cochran anyways. Sister Demann and I were both quite shocked by the weather this week..but when the sun's out, you couldn't ask for more perfect weather. 

This week we had our Zone Training Meeting. One of the "trainings" was on the Book of Mormon. I absolutely love this book! While being on my mission, I have found a greater love for this book of scripture that I didn't know I could have. It has always been a source of peace and comfort for me throughout my life. When I needed to find an answer to a question, I would study its words. However, since I have been out sharing it with others and studying it more intently, my love for the teachings has blossomed. One morning about a month back, I picked up my copy that is marked with the individual pieces of the Doctrine of  Christ in different colors, and a sweet, pure love filled my heart. I cannot describe how much closer this book has brought me to my Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a treasure! I promise it can change your life. But back to the training, something that stood out to me was the thought of "How are we introducing the Book of Mormon to those we meet?" If this is something more valuable than gold, how do we present it? We should tell people, "I am privileged to share something so precious to me with you.." What an incredible give for free. Something their salvation depends on! Something that can and will change their life. How incredible. We should share our love for the Book of Mormon with all we meet. It was not given to us in this day to be hid. 

We have been trying to find some of the less active members that we've never met before this week. While we were looking for one gentleman, we ended driving to a sketchier part of town. It was really confusing where we were supposed to be going, so we got out and decided to walk up to the community of trailers and ask someone if they know where he lived (one nice thing about the south...people know a lot about their neighbors ;) Love them!). Anyways, we were walking on this dirt road up to two men working outside. They were trying to cut something in half with a chainsaw...neither of them seemed drunk though, so we continued along our journey. As we got nearer to them, I noticed what they were trying to cut...a pig. Like a full on pig. Yep. To spare you the details, it was quite messy and I wasn't planning on shaking hands with either of them. I'm not sure if they did get the head off or not. Sorry, that may have been a bit much. Sister Demann didn't notice at first, but when she did she kept saying sister, sister, sister. Under my breath I just said, "I know" and had a short conversation with the men. Good news is, we found the less active! Yay! We'll try to visit him again later. 

As far as the Pecans go...they are everywhere! It's crazy.. everyone here seems to have pears and pecans :) I've started noticing pecan trees are everywhere. Not just at people's houses...but in the random lots that no one owns. Pretty neat. We went out with a member and she was picking them up from the side walk. She told us we should take them home with us because she already has tons from her yard. It was so cute! She's such a funny lady :D 

Be safe, share what you love with someone else :) 
Sister Brown

Monday, November 9, 2015

Stayin' in Cochran!! :)

Good Afternoon!! 

Yet another amazing week here in Georgia. This week, however, is especially fantastic. Why is that? I'll tell you why. Because we had 8 investigators come to church! Nope, that's not a typo --> 8, eight! Ack. Eight people kept the commitment they made to their Heavenly Father that they would set aside time to purely worship and deepen their relationship with their Him and their Savior. How wonderful!! Church is more than just attending is commanded that we attend church. ALL the commandments God has given to us are given in order for Him to more freely bless us. These people were allowing God to pour even greater blessings upon them. As sister Demann and I were discussing church in the car ride home, I literally squealed. How incredible that these people are preparing for an even more important commitment and ultimately a covenant between them and their Father. Oh, how I love this gospel! As Doctor Suess would say, "Try it, try it and you will see." Or something like that. Experiment upon the Lord's word and you WILL see how wonderful it is!
Sister Demann and I have loved having our rain coats!!
So much rain here :D There were rivers on the road.
I'm buying boots here..that's for sure :D

hmm what else happened this week..Oh, it was also transfer call weekend. Ya, forgot to mention that last week. Sister Demann and I are both staying in Cochran! Surprise ;) seeing as she's only 6 weeks through the 12 weeks of training, that didn't come as too big of a shock. But you never know...My old companion (sister Cattin) lost her trainee and she will be trained by someone else for the 2nd half. Wherever the Lord needs go :) I'm so glad I don't have to make the decisions. 

We were planning on holding Haley's baptism this Saturday, but because her dad hasn't signed the permission slip looks like we'll have to push it back, and keep working with him. She may be able to be baptized the same weekend as her Grandma, Rose, though. We are praying her father will allow her to do so! :) I have faith it will all work out. She's such a cutie and has wanted to be baptized for so long. 

Also, Louise (Who is preparing for a baptism in the first of January), has continued the quit smoking program! She is doing so well! We are excited for her! she is smoking considerably less and is on her way to seeing the blessings living the word of wisdom truly brings.

Love you all, be safe and LIVE the gospel because it DOES bring true happiness. 
-Sister Brown

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Happy Halloween :)

First of all, can I just say that we had the best FHE activity this week? We do a Recent convert, less active FHE activity every week. Last Monday, we went to a member's home to have it. We had a family come who we have worked with for the longest time, but they have a  hard time keeping their commitments. It was so wonderful to see them there. Not only that, but we had the funnest activity! The lesson was based off of President Monson's General conference address. We talked about how we are supposed to be an example in everything we do. We discussed Matthew 5:14-16 "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." We then gutted a pumpkin. The seeds represented all the bad within us and all the gunk we need to sometimes get rid of. We can do so through the repentance process which is made possible through the Atonement of Christ. Lesson summed up, we carved a pumpkin and let our light so shine. :) how cute, right? 
District Pumpkins!

Something I was reminded of was that sometimes people need their physical and emotional needs met before you can really help them with their spiritual. Remember the spicy shrimp story? Well, we went back to the lady's (Donna) house this week. We were hoping to talk with her and her husband. When we got into their little house, we realized they really needed someone to just listen and love them. We talked with them both separately and tried to talk them through their fears and tired spirits by using uplifting scriptures and our love for them. We then helped her husband with little things around the house such as stirring the dinner that was on the stove and baking the corn bread so he could have an evening just to sit down and not strain his recently operated on neck and back. It was crazy hearing all he had unexpectedly gone through. One moment he was outside talking to his buddies, the next he was 5 minutes away from being completely paralyzed. We pray they could feel our love for them, but more much their Father and Savior love and understand their situation. 

Saturday we were in lock down all night. In order to use our time more productively, we had been asked to wait until then to complete our weekly planning. It was a unique Halloween experience, but one that I wouldn't trade for the world. No worries, I was festive and had popcorn and hot chocolate. :D plus, one of the cute families in the ward stopped by and said a quick hello :) we were able to give them cupcakes we had made that morning from a package sis. Demann's parents sent. They were so happy! 

I pray you all were safe this weekend and continue to enjoy life's smallest treasures :) Even things like a rainy morning can make us smile if we let it. I love the power we have to choose! 

Keep up the good work,
Sister Brown

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Went back to college :)

This week has been all sorts of crazy. 

To start off with, I need to update you all on the Lazarus family. I think I have talked about them before...basically, we have all sorts of crazy experiences with their family. The sisters have been teaching them for a few years now. One of the daughters was baptized (13 years old) about a year ago, and the sisters have always continued teaching the rest of the family slowly. Well, the grandma Rose and her granddaughter Haley are finally seriously preparing for baptism. If they hadn't have missed church last week, they would be baptized together on the 17th, but now it looks like they may be baptized on different weeks...but both coming up soon. We are so so so excited for them and pray everything works out. They realize this will open up a whole new door to their life that they never knew existed. 

This week we also had the "Greenie" meeting. Both sister Demann and I had some great ideas on things we hope to implement into our missionary work. We are excited for the upcoming weeks together. I think sister Demann really enjoyed getting to see some of her friends from the MTC. I know I really enjoyed that when I had just come out(not like it was that long ago:D).

Sister Demann and Sister Brown. A local
member sent this picture to us!
Immediately following the greenie mtg, we had exchanges with the Forsyth sister training leaders. I got to be in Cochran with sister Foster!!! I absolutely love sister Foster. Seriously, she has such amazing insight and we were immediately great friends. I look forward to spending time together after the mission as well.  A funny story from exchanges... Sister Foster and I went to Eastman on Thursday and we had some amazing lessons. We had a small number of lessons, but they were both very meaningful and we pray will lead to great things. Well, on our way out we had about 15 minutes to stop by this lady's (Donna) house. As we walk up to her house, we see there are a bunch of men sitting around the front drinking their afternoon beers. Well, one of them we recognize as Donna's husband because he had recently gone through neck surgery. We talked to them for a short amount of time, and then left him with a card telling him to let us know if he needed anything because we would love to provide any service we can. At that moment one of his friends pipes up and says, "spicy shrimp". I had to have him repeat what he was saying three times because..well the accent was thick and the first time it was a bit slurred. So as he's clarifying what his request was, he says, "I'm in the mood for some spicy shrimp from the Chinese place down the road. People always say they'll do things that they have no intention of actually doing." Well when I heard that, I realized we were not going to add to the number of people who must have caused him some sort of hurt in the past. So with the "Georgia" directions given...I dragged sister Foster on a search for the spicy shrimp. We were victorious!! We ran into the restaurant, made our to-go order, prayed it would come quickly so we could get home on time, and zipped back to the large group of men sitting outside. The look on their faces was priceless! I loved the happiness it brought them. As we walked up this time, the man stood up, stuck out his hand, and said, "I'm Vincent Man. Good to meet you." Another of his friends stood up, did the same thing and said "I'm Willie." Such a huge change in demeanor. We left them with a Restoration pamphlet and zipped home in time to drive back to Macon. Mission Accomplished :) 

To finish off the email, I'll briefly touch on the fall festival. It was tons of fun. We had chili, hot dogs, games, bouncy house, trunk or treat, and some of our investigators came! I was so excited about that :) Although I acted a bit too much like a helicopter mom I think...hovering over them making sure they met as many people as possible, making sure they got food. ha so stressful, but so fun :) Hopefully I'll get a picture from sister Demann to send.
Sister Demann, Sister Goade, Sister Mchullen,
Sister Foster, (the member from Forsyth who
drove them is kind of in the background
there...she's so funny!), Me

That's all for now folks. Keep being an example to the world!
Sister Brown

Oh my goodness, I totally forgot to tell you about how I went back to college....oops. Ha this morning we helped out one of the sister's in the ward who was asked to share a presentation on what "Mormons" believe to a religion class here on campus. we were there to show them what many of the young adults their age would be doing at that point in their life. We answered some questions and shared a little info about the church as well. It was a great experience and a neat opportunity to be a part of. Some wonderful seeds of faith were hopefully planted. And if nothing else, some common misconceptions could be cleared up. :) love y'all

Last week Lindsay mentioned she worked with the Red Cross.
I found these pictures on the mission facebook page.
I didn't realize Lindsay had taken up photo bombing. She did well!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fire trucks and smoke alarms

This was quite the week! We had a surprise service project pop up...we went to Macon Saturday to work with the red cross and installed smoke alarms in people's houses in the highest risk neighborhoods. I realized we should do this in every city because holy cow...what an amazing finding opportunity this was! And some great service as well. There were so many grateful families. We not only installed new smoke alarms, but we also educated them on how to reduce fire risk and how to create I proper fire escape plan. It is so good to always be prepared so when the time of need comes, you know exactly what to do! We have a few pictures up on the Georgia Macon Mission facebook page already....but I didn't have any personally. One of the sister's got one of our group with the firetruck so hopefully I can get that soon. It was such a fun day, and I absolutely love the city Macon. Sure it has a higher crime rate and some scarier areas....but there is a special charm about the place. I wish sisters were serving there. The buildings are wonderful! So many older, unique structures. And the houses, oh the houses! I'll try to get pictures one day when I'm not the one driving...or we'll pull over and snap a few. Actually, we are going up there this week because we have the "Greenie" meeting! It'll be quite a week!

I apologize for the random structure of this letter. It seems that's how my brain is managing today. Jumping back to Monday, We spent a little time at the Perry Fair! This was actually the Georgia National fair. It was huge! We didn't get to see lots of it simply because of lack of time and because we had no idea what we were doing. :D We did get to see a fun Acrobatics show (one picture attached). That brought back so many memories of working in the gym and trying new vaulting tricks/drills. :) We also tried some fair food! For how many fairs I have performed at in the past you would think I would have tried the food. Nope. This was a first! I tried funnel cake for the first time...honestly I wasn't super impressed, but it was fun! :) 
Loved the Gyro in New I just had to buy one at
the fair :) They had done a surprisingly good job :)

Now, a highlight of the work :D For the past few weeks we drove past this house while on our way to other appointments, and the thought of "oh, we should stop there sometime" kept popping in my head. Well, this Friday we planned in a time where it could be a back up plan to visit the house. When we did, this sweet older gentleman came to the door. He was a military Chaplin of 11 years. He was so sweet and welcoming. It was wonderful to talk to him. The neat thing though was that he had 12 Lds young men who served near him in the past. He got to watch them and how they acted. He told us that we should be proud. Never in all his 11 years did he have such hard working, respectful, honest, and enthusiastic soldiers. He spoke VERY highly of them. I'm not sure how interested he is in the gospel at this point, but regardless...what an incredible experience to hear how our example truly does speak volumes. Everything we do shouts as a testimony of what we believe. People should understand what our religion is all about just by knowing the type of person we are. There's a thought to think on this week :) 

Love you all :) Let the Lord lead your life. 
-Sister Brown

Monday, October 12, 2015

My Mother Sent You

Hey everyone! My time to write this week is especially short because we are going up to the Perry fair today!!! YAY :D It's just like a state fair. I'll send pictures next week. When something big happens, and it's on a Monday, we have to go to it :) Cochran and the beauty of a little town. 

Anyways, this week I wanted to make sure I was able to share a really neat story. On Saturday night, we had a few appointments we were headed to, but they were all falling through. People couldn't meet, weren't home, etc. So 8:00 rolled around and it's super dark here by 8. When it gets dark, people in Georgia typically don't want to talk and many of them even go to bed. Kind of a tricky time for mission work. Well, one of our back up plans was to visit a lady who lived in an apartment complex near our house (well apartment). We also had planned to try and meet her neighbor (a young mom of a little boy who had often been outside when we were visiting our investigator) who we kept trying to talk to before this night but it had never worked out. Things just didn't line up right, or it was awkward, etc. 

Well, we drove up and noticed that this young mom was sitting on the curb in front of their house talking with a man. Well, we parked by our investigator's house and realized we needed to go meet the young woman. We walked up to them, somewhat discouraged from the disappointing evening, and I began to introduce ourselves..something I have done hundreds of times..but the words weren't coming to my mouth the same way. Instead of a confident introduction, it was a more humble, softly spoken statement where I basically said, "We are missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. We have a really important message that we would love to share with you if.."and then I sort of trailed off because they kept looking back and forth between each other. Fully expecting the young man (who was covered in tattoos with a big chain across his pockets, and a cigarette in hand) to tell me they were in the middle of an important conversation and that we should come back later, he instead stood up to face us. The young woman followed, and he said, "My mother passed away 23 years ago to this day. I miss her dearly. I feel that she has sent you here to me today, and so yes. I would love to hear whatever it is you have to share. Would you like to come inside?" Woah. The way he spoke was filled with such sincerely and with his whole heart. You could feel that the spirit was testifying so strongly to him. 

For the next hour he told us his life story. His mother, his first marriage, his second marriage, his wonderful kids, his hardships, his weaknesses, everything. We did nothing but simply listen. At the end he thanked us for listening and for following the prompting we had to come. He said he was warm all over. He said that he KNEW his mother sent us to him. We exchanged numbers and they invited us to come back any time. He told us of a friend that he felt we needed to go see. He said "I don't know why I just said that...but I suppose I was supposed to. He must need you as well." We were stunned by the experience. Looking back at it, that evening lined up perfectly so that we drove up right as he got home from a hard day, and sat down to discuss his inner turmoil with his wife. 

I pray so, so intently that they will both keep this strong desire to hear our message of the restored gospel and how it can bless their lives. I know it can and I know it will. I love the truth we are fortunate enough to have. May God bless all of you! Look for His hand in your life everyday because I assure you it is there. 

Keep up the Good work! Let God direct your path because He will!!
Sister Brown

Monday, October 5, 2015

General Conference!!!! And Much More :)

Hello Everyone! 

Another amazing week gone and passed. Don you know what was especially incredible about this week? General Conference!! Goodness gracious. What an incredible opportunity we have to receive revelation STRAIGHT FROM GOD about what we need to know for the next 6 months!! I gained so many spiritual witnesses that what these speakers were saying was true and that they are called of God. I pray you did as well. If you didn't get a chance to watch all the sessions, go back and do that now! I promise there will be something in there that will touch you personally. Not only were the addresses at Conference incredible, but we also got to see three new apostles be called to the quorum of the 12. Wow, what a glorious work they have ahead of them. Remember to keep them in your prayers. 

Parting ways with Sister Cattin and her companion.
Sister Demann and I are excited for the work to come!
This week was my first week as a trainer with Sister Demann. She is such a sweetie! She has such a strong desire to be obedient, rely on the spirit, and love the people of Georgia. She is from Murray Utah and is the 2 to youngest of 7 kids. She worked as a CNA at a rehabilitation facility before coming out on a mission and has lots of crazy experiences with that. She was also involved in drama and dance in high school. Something kind of unique is that her family was involved in lots of pioneer reenactments. Neat huh? I'm not totally sure what that all entails...but she has cool experiences from it. It's been wonderful to serve, study with, and get to know her. I'm so excited for our 12 weeks together. 

One of the things I stressed the importance of with Sister Deman during our first week was how the Lord will put people in our path as we follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost in our work. With that being said, we try to always knock a few of the neighboring doors on a street of someone we have planned to see, but who isn't home. Well, we went to deliver a bible to a woman in Eastman. No one we got back in the car to leave to our next appointment (it was a really full day). After I had finished backing, Sister Demann opened her door, poked her head in, and told me there was actually a girl sitting on the porch of a nearby(but slightly hidden) house. I hadn't even noticed it earlier. So we parked the car and went to talk to the young lady. Her name was Katherine and it turns out she had a good number of questions about our beliefs. We're going back to talk with her again this week and we're really excited to see how it goes. I just pray everyone we meet will at some point recognize the truth and joy our message brings. THIS is how we can live with our families and God again. Ack SO amazing! Anyways, I was so glad something I had said had stuck with Sister Demann and led her to contact this woman. 

Kind of a funny story this week...yesterday around 8:00 at night (it's absolutely dark, dark, dark by that time here) we were driving to go visit an investigator and I see an old lady parked in her motorized scooter on the side of the road (many elderly people here in Georgia have them). I hit the brakes, rolled down the window, and asked if she needed help. She said yes so we pulled over and went to go talk to her. Her scooter had run out of batteries several blocks from her home. Well....long story short, this has happened before and we couldn't get a hold of anyone who could come give her a ride. So we called the police (she said they had helped her with this issue before) and waited for them to show up. Two cop cars show up. They helped us cram her scooter thing in our trunk while they have her a ride and the other car followed me to make sure the scooter didn't fall out (we couldn't get the trunk to shut). Ha well... let me just say it was quite a night. Apparently one of our investigators drove past while all this was happening and was worried for us. They called us that night just a few minutes before 10:30. Since that's our curfew, we couldn't listen to the message until this morning. It turns out they were just wanting to check on us and see what was going on. It's definitely a funny memory. 

We have lots to look forward to this week. Keep up the good work! Never forget how present God is in your life! He KNOWS and LOVES you! 
-Sister Brown

Monday, September 28, 2015

Craziness in Cochran

Well, this week was full of crazy..but that's good. 

To start off, the news of transfers is that Sister Cattin is moving on to another area. With that being said, there have been lots of goodbyes this weekend. so sad :( I am staying in Cochran and will be training a brand new missionary. It's crazy to think that after just 12 weeks I'll be training someone else, but really, if I do my job right, it will be the spirit training and not me. Whew. I can see many prayers in my near future. 

Jazmin (one of our investigators) loves animals and
catches them...then they jump into my face :)
This week I also got to experience what it is like to be a mom with crazy kids during Sacrament meeting. Yesterday we had a wonderful investigator, Desaree, come to church. She lives about 20-30 minutes away from the church building, but we set up a ride for her to be able to come and she didn't cancel!! That's amazing :D Plus she brought her two kids! I was so, so happy to see her there. There is nothing better as a missionary than seeing people come closer to Christ. When we go to church, it is not the physical building that is important but the saving doctrine we learn(whether from a speaker or the spirit) as well as the renewal of our most precious and sacred covenants. Each week I am absolutely Giddy to walk through those doors and be welcomed into the chapel. But back to yesterday's story.. sacrament meeting is last in our ward, and by that point, Desaree's children were tired. We were trying our best to help keep them quiet..but that was really all we could do. Oh how my heart goes out to the mothers with small children! Something I hope to do when I have my own kids is to "practice Sunday" with them throughout the week in preparation for sacrament meeting. Even with such practice, I can't imagine how difficult it would be to continue going to church every week with noisy kids. I'm so grateful my mom did. Keep it up moms!! You're superstars :D 

Heavenly Father understands how hard you're trying. Not a hair of your head goes unnoticed from God (D&C 84:116).

This week I have been thinking about what I've learned throughout my training that I want to keep with me all my mission. The 'motto' I guess you could call it that I've come up with is that I want to Teach with power, authority, and love. As a missionary, we have been given a special authority to teach the true restored gospel. We have been given a special job and a special power to accomplish this job. I never want to limit God's work because I doubt His ability to work through me. While I am weak, He is not. Where I would fail, He never would. I don't have to worry about my shortcomings, because this is not my work, it is His! He can work through us. "If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work" (D&C 4:3) Let Him work through you!
The Baptism:D:D:D:D

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot... One of the families we have been working with to help "reactivate" them had their son baptized this Saturday!! By his father!!! That's so amazing :D It was a huge miracle. Oh I am so happy for their family! The parents are hoping to be sealed together (with their family) around Christmas time. 
Love you all so much! Be safe! Rely on the Lord even when it seems He is too far out of reach. He is there. waiting for you to truly come back to Him.

-Sister Brown

Monday, September 21, 2015

End of Transfer #2

Wow, time has flown and it is already time for our next transfer call. It will be interesting to see what happens because Sister Cattin has been in Cochran for 6 months already. There is less and less of a chance we will both be staying here. I guess I'll let y'all know next week what happens :)

This week we had some wonderful experiences. To start off the email, I'll talk a little about Josh. When I very first came to Cochran, we tried multiple times a week to get a hold of this person who Sister Bradford (the sister who I replaced) said she just couldn't get off her mind and wanted to try to contact. Well, we had NO luck. So we stopped trying for a while. Well last week we felt inspired to swing by his house. When we did, he was actually home! A miracle! He had met with sister missionaries in the past so as we were talking to him, he brought up a bunch of wonderful questions. It was such a good discussion! Later, when we came back the next week, we asked him about his BOM reading assignment (the intro page). He had read it! And he had yet more wonderful questions. Sister Cattin kept saying that she feels so strongly that she had known Josh in the life before this because he seems so familiar. There's a reason we've finally been able to meet with him. He's probably one of the most open minded baptists we've talked to while here. Maybe not now, but at some point we pray he will accept the gospel and start on the pathway to eternal life. Anyway, at the end of our discussion, he said, "Well since you've taken up some of my time..can I take up some of yours?" We said sure, and he went to go get his guitar. Apparently he plays for his church's band. He played some commonly known worship songs (thank goodness I listened to the k-love, the christian radio station, before coming out :D ) and we all sang along. The spirit was so strong. It was a wonderful experience! We were then able to testify that how we all felt while singing is exactly how he can feel when he reads the Book of Mormon. 

Exchanges were this week and sister Cattin was almost too sick to have them. Luckily, she was able to feel well enough to get up and push through the nausea. I stayed in Cochran while she went to Warner Robins. I got to drive for the first time in about 3 months! ha that was exciting ;) Only teasing, everything went really smoothly. It made me realize just how much pressure is put on the person who has been in the area for the longest though. It was a good experience to have seeing how I'm not guaranteed to stay with my trainer after this week. 

We had a fun service project where we painted part of a house! I was so nervous I wouldn't be doing it right, but apparently it's a whole lot easier than I'd thought. Oh the things you learn how to do on your mission :) 

One of the Elder's investigators was baptized this week. He has had a very long journey while learning about the gospel. It was wonderful to see him finally step into the waters of baptism! So exciting :) 

That's all for this week. I wish you all a safe and wonderful upcoming week!
-Sister Brown