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 York...so 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 answered..so 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