Monday, July 27, 2015

A Marvelous Work!

Much has happened this week!

First of all, I had my first experience with exchanges. That went really well. I went to a place called Warner Robins.
Yep. Llamas. Who knew?
It's the town with a military base and many of the people there are military families. It was great to see how other missionaries do things, and it helped me realize what I was grateful for certain things my own companion did. For example, I am so grateful for my companion's respect for being strictly obedient. We are not in bed even one minute after 10:30 and we try to not come back to our apartment at all during the day so we can teach as many people as possible. I absolutely love those things! Obedience is critical, especially as a missionary.
We had just been walking streets and knocking 
on doors for a couple hours and looked to see what
the temperature was when we made it back to our car... Joys of Georgia! :) 

On Friday we had a 24th of July Ward activity. It was so wonderful. This ward makes you feel like you're right at home. It reminded me of our big family get-togethers or the ward parties we used to have when I was younger.
There was lots of food, and the cutest talent show ever. Sister Connie Swinson played her violin for a bit before the talent show. I'll admit, it did make me miss my sweet little violin back home, but this work is so much more critical! I'm more than willing to put all those things on hold for a while. A couple of my favorite "acts": One of the Brothers in the ward writes funny stories for a small newspaper here. He shared a few that gave all of us a good laugh. A family sang "Come Thou Fount" together with the guitar. It was incredibly well done and brought back many great memories. 
Fun ward party. It is great to socialize with members!

So one of our investigators, India, is never home but sister Cattin kept wanting to go see her again. I was wondering why she was so intent on catching this young woman until we finally did get a hold of her one afternoon. We had a lesson with her about the restoration again, and at the end of it we were talking with her about how she felt. She believes everything and says each time we come over that she feels more and more like this is the church she needs to join. She said she feels like this is what she needs to do for her family. We haven't gotten a hold of her again we'll see if we can figure this situation out. But it was such a neat lesson I wanted to share the experience. 

Going along perfectly with the first picture,
this marquee sign was outside one of
the Methodist churches in Warner Robins. :'D 
Also, Saturday we had an incredible day. We went to Eastman which is a town about 30 minutes away. We try to travel out there two days out of the week. There are so many people to see in this area! We were trying to contact someone who we hadn't been able to find for the past three visits! We finally figured out where she lived. Because of our determination to find her, we ran into two other ladies who are so ready for the gospel. One of them kept talking about "confirmation." Basically, she notices all of the little things God sends her way that let her know He is watchful of her. She said she was praying for a way to be more devoted to God. To come closer to Him. Then we knocked on her door. She then said something like "Bam. Confirmation." I pray we can help her as she continues on her search for a greater connection with God!

God loves each and every one of you! He is watching out for you. He is waiting for us to welcome Him into our hearts.

Have a wonderful week!
-Sister Brown

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sweet Peach Cake and Georgia Rainstorms!

Hello Family and Friends of the world of the world (something a cute member here always says),

My companion's name is Sister Cattin (pronounced Cattan. It's french). I'm not sure if I remembered tell y'all that last email. oops. She is from Seattle, Washington but lived a year in Switzerland as a nanny. She originally served in France but had to come home for medical reasons, and then went back out to Georgia. The whole time she has been here she has been in Cochran. It's a great help for her to introduce me to everyone. I can't even imagine what whitewashing an area must be like. We both have the type of personality where we want to work as hard as we can and go, go, go. That has been really great, but we both realized we need to remember to find the fun in the work/mission. We've been focusing on that this week. It's wonderful. I've noticed when we take a few moments to breathe, or just talk about something not gospel related, we still get just as much done, and we get to know each other better...therefore allowing us to work better together.

Something fun this week was that we had two incredible thunder/lightning storms. They were absolutely gorgeous. One night we sat in the car to do our daily planning so we could watch the thunderstorm at the same time. Also, the rain here in Georgia is not like the rain in Utah. When it rains, the raindrops are huge. You're soaking if you run more than three steps without an umbrella. I would even dare say it was worse than a rainstorm in new york. 
Bright blue day, blue buildings, blue shirt!
 Love that turquoise!

As far as the weather..I think President Cottle put it pretty well when he told us in his weekly letter: "We are all aware that it has been way HOT HOT HOT!! I think it is record heat for Georgia. It won't last forever, but in the mean time, don't forget to DRINK, DRINK, DRINK!!!. Staying hydrated will be the very best medicine to keep you healthy during these crazy temps. Please don't forget. All of you but especially those of you out walking and riding bikes. Father will bless you but you must be smart. Please." It's funny because if you leave your water bottle in the car during an appointment, you WILL burn your mouth on the water after it has sat for even 30 minutes in a car without AC. So we try to carry our water with us inside as often as we can. Whenever we tract..we just drink plenty as soon after as possible.
I had some real Georgia peaches this week! They were mixed with Sugar and served over even better ;) Brother Davis is the sweetest man alive (although he pretends to be tough). We said we were going to come visit him and his sweet wife. They can't do much because of her health so we try to see them once a week. And he surprised us by baking a cake! So sweet. Oh, and every time we come over he pretends to slam the door in our face because he wants to be the first door-slam we've gotten that day.

Since I'm on the topic of cake, it was Elder Holt's Birthday this week (he's in our district and they're also the zone leaders). So we baked him a cake during our lunch hour. When we went to deliver it, a boy across the street came running over to us yelling "the mormons are coming, the mormons are coming!" I felt a little like he was reenacting Paul Revere or something. It made us laugh. Turns our the Elders were walking down the street back to their apartment and that's what he was warning us about. :D 

As for a few highlights of the work: 1-We contacted a referral named David Jackson. He was so ready for the gospel! It was how every lesson should be. He led the discussion. Not us. Sadly, we haven't been able to catch him again, but I'll let you know when we do. 
2-One day we decided we needed to find this lady named Erin Mcintry who was in our area book. She lived in an area we don't usually go to, but we drove out there and followed our gps to an area absolutely full of construction. We couldn't see an easy way around it so we prayed to know if we really were supposed to find her or if there was someone else we needed to see or tract into around the area. Nope. We needed to find Erin. So we used our navigating skills to work our way around the construction and back to the right street. After much confusion, we realized the sisters before us hadn't written down the last two numbers to the address. We thought her house number was 55 when really it needed to be 55_ _. Ha. What did we decided to do then? Well, we started at the beginning of the street and figured that after enough tracting, we were bound to run into her. Long story short, we found her at the FIRST house we knocked on. Her name was actually Tanya  (daughter's name was Erin). She doesn't want us to try and convince her to join our church, but she said she would love to talk bible with us. Luckily, we aren't trying to convince anyone. Our job is to invite and to help others come closer to Christ. We're going back, and we'll see how it goes. :)

Flushed three cockroaches this week, played tennis with the elders twice so far for our morning exercise, taught a baptist minister's wife (slightly intimidating but they are such amazing people). I think that's about it.
Holy Cow, I feel like this email is so long. I hope it's not boring! Love love love you!
Your missionary,
Sister Lindsay 'shell Brown ;)

Monday, July 13, 2015

First Week in Georgia!

Whew, has this week been one I will always remember! It seems like months that I last talked to you all and emailed y'all. I have been running and running every since I set foot outside the mission house in Georgia. The first night we got here, we stayed at the mission home in Macon. It felt so nice to be in a real house again. We received training and then the next day we were transferred into our area. I'm in Cochran!!! I have been told at least 6 or 7 times "Welcome to Zion sister brown." Little do they know the Salem stake has also been using that one for years ;) The members here are absolutely wonderful. They love feeding the missionaries so we have a few dinners every week. My companion actually has lots of food allergies (gluten, dairy, and eggs) so we don't even have to eat anything fried! I'm so blessed to have her :) I feel sorry for her, but I'm so grateful she keeps us from gaining too much weight ;) She said her last companion said the exact same thing. 

But back on the members, they are also all related to each other in one way or another...that gets a bit interesting. Pretty much everyone goes our of town, gets married, then moves back in. We have the ward family tree to help the newbies (like me) figure out everyone's relation. The town is small. There are some really, really poor areas. but there are a couple places with nicer houses and where people are better off(they don't like to talk to us as much, sadly). Everyone in the south LOVES talking about Jesus! They will talk to us and listen to us. The truly difficult thing is that hardly anyone actually progresses. They are grateful for what we are doing, but have no desire to keep the commitments we ask them to. It makes me so sad. I just want to be able to see them again in the Celestial kingdom! Somehow, we need to help them see why our message is so important. 
This flag is flown by businesses in the South where
owners wish to proclaim their belief in Christ.

A little about Georgia.. I haven't actually seen much as far as sights or anything besides neighborhoods goes, but what I have seen is amazing! The trees are incredibly tall. That's what shocks me. I'm used to seeing lots of green, but not at this height. Yes, it is quite humid..I'm becoming accustom to the feeling that you are never dry. Whether the moisture is from the air around you or your own sweat...that's not always clear. Our apartment is in a pretty safe area in town. I think it's cute and humble. The toilet seat tips side to side if you aren't careful, and we have little cockroach friends that we teach how to swim in the toilet..(poor guys) but honestly, it is perfect for us. All we really need is a bed, bathroom, cold water, and refrigerator. I love it.

Now for our investigators, we have so many people we can talk to, we just need to help the ones we already have learn why they need to 'progress' and keep commitments. That's our goal for this next week. But a couple stories from the first week  in Georgia. Most everybody loves Jesus and God. We met one man who had some interesting views. We let him tell us his perspective..and he basically said he knew we would think of him as that crazy guy who was ranting on about some ridiculous theories (like how God was in everything/we all put together make up God), and that we would never visit him again. So what are we going to do? Yep. We're going back this week! Never give up on someone. I actually think he would be interested in the gospel if he is willing to overlook his feelings of hurt (it seems like there is something deeper he is dealing with.). 

One of our investigators, who truly wants to be baptized, ended up in the mental hospital a few days ago to help treat some mental disorders. This one kind of threw us a curve ball because we thought she was doing much better and really progressing (she's great when she is on her meds. We have no idea what went wrong). I don't always know how I am supposed to help, but I know the Lord is really in charge. I know He knows how to help her perfectly. So I will let Him guide :)

Another sweet, sweet lady we have been seeing for a few weeks is ready for the gospel. She believes everything we have taught her (even with her husband being completely against it and very strongly Jewish--he's still super wonderful and so funny. He gave me a Hebrew name!) but will not come to church. She would even be willing to be baptized, but she will not come to church. Because of poor experiences in the past, she has always felt awkward and unwelcome at churches(not just lds)/by members at other activities(an lds wedding reception). I would encourage you all to please, please, please always say hello to a new face. God's church is based around love. Everything we have from Him is because he loves us, and sometimes those searching for truth won't feel they have found that love and will therefore leave. I still have hope for her. She finally agreed to come to church on a random week(so we can't tell the members to say hi to her) and she will kind of "test" the people. While the people are important, I hope she can understand our message that the gospel is so much more than that. This is her trial of faith. 

Lastly, as sister missionaries, we get lots of people who open up to us completely. We sincerely love them and I think they can see that so they want to share with us what they are feeling. We had one of those moments this week. It's hard to see people dealing with certain trials and challenges. Through the atonement, we can overcome anything. We hope to help one young lady,her marriage, and faith in particular this week. 

Ok, well that's enough for now. These people are wonderful. I love them! And I'm working hard with my companion to be able to work together best we can even with our differences. She's a great trainer. 

Have an amazing week!
-Sister Brown

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy 4th of July!!

Hey Everyone! 

There is so little are a few things from this week. 

A bunch of great sisters! Lindsay's companion
is the sister on the right hand side.
This week we got to teach our amazing TRC investigator all but one night. She is incredible! She reminds me so much of the people we might meet in the south. She has such strong faith and wants to know as much as she can. She loves God and is so thrilled by how we are able to clear up confusing concepts in the gospel. We've talked about things such as the law of Moses, how you can tell if something is from God, what faith is, who Jehovah is in the Bible, why we call Jesus "Christ"..etc. It's incredible. She just soaks it all up. She loves analogies. 

I have come to realize why baptism is absolutely crucial for those we teach. I never really felt the true weight of its importance until now. ONLY through baptism can we obtain our salvation. No matter how amazing we are as a person, baptism IS a saving ordinance that grants us access to the path of living with our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ again. I can't really find the right words to explain the importance it has in my mind now. We ask people to be baptized because we truly, truly love them and want the best for them. I almost want to take a sign around the streets of Georgia inviting people to talk to us about how they can be baptized..but I won't because they would all think we were crazy. :) God is preparing people. It is our job to find them (whether we are wearing a name tag or not).
Missionaries must do laundry too! P-day chores!

The MTC is amazing and full of learning opportunities. What you put into the classes is what you will get out. It is so hard to get enough sleep, but I know it is so important, because it is 100 times harder to focus with a tired mind than when you have a focused one. 

I'm out of time,
have a wonderful week!
Sister Brown