Monday, December 26, 2016

He Was Born a Babe. He'll Return a King. Are You Ready?

Found a butterfly during the warm Christmas week.
(it was around 76)
MERRY CHRISTMAS! What a week! To put a cherry on the top, I was blessed with the chance to talk with the most incredible family out there.

Saturday we held a special practice during lunch so we could feel a little more prepared for the musical number. About half way through our practice, the Bishop of 2nd ward walks in and introduces this lady to all of us. Her name was Rosie. I found out where she lived, and then suggested sister Boyer and I step outside with her into another room.

Christmas eve we went caroling and saw SO many people who wanted us to come sing to them even if they weren't in our original route. Such an amazing gift to spread the light of Christ with those around us.

Christmas dinner was with the Davis family. Love them!
Sunday we sang our musical number along with a few other special musical numbers. It was such a sweet experience to see both wards and all the families come together. We had a couple investigators there. It was an amazing experience to feel the spirit and hear the testimonies of those who shared their feelings on the Savior.

For the Christmas conference we were able to watch the Errand of Angels. I was thoroughly upset to hear it end sad when the sister had to return home to school. ;) Thankfully, we can all be missionaries even if our full time service out in the field has to end. We had a fun gift exchange and were spiritually uplifted by the trainings given.

Love you all to the moon and back!
Christmas Caroling

Have a blessed week!
Sister Brown

Monday, December 19, 2016

If the Christmas Spirit Isn't in Your Heart, You Won't Find it Under the Tree

Merry Christmas!
This week was so incredibly busy. Let me start off with an apology. I do not have a picture of Tiara's baptism to send this week but I WILL have one next week. With that being said....Tiara got baptized!!!!!! How exciting. She truly is a woman of great strength. I was in awe to see her stand by what she knows and believes even though she has been abandoned by her family in a great way. She is a pioneer for this city, and I believe she will do great things. She has already started to see ways in which the Lord is working miracles. Even without the additional blessings, however, she would still be completely obedient because she knows what God is asking of her and she follows that instruction with exactness. 
Christmas pic by the cute music store in town :)
Sunday was a whirlwind. We were supposed to be having about 4 investigators come. We typically like to sit by those who we teach so they can have an easy way to meet more ward members and so we can explain any questions they may have about the service. There are only 2 of us so we were already spread thin. Not only that, but I was speaking this Sunday which left sister Boyer quite nervous because there was no way she could be in 4 places at once. Well, the meeting started off with Sister Boyer sitting with Tiara in the front (we left the Lanes by themselves sister Lane said, "We've got this." They're so awesome!! We're praying they will make the decision to be baptized near the end of this year or the beginning of next.)

I then sat near the doors with a less active lady whom we absolutely adore (she has come for three weeks in a row now!! We're hoping she keeps it up!). We had a few people who were planning on coming in late, so I figured this would be location to be able to spot them quickly. I was the first speaker on the program. As I stood up to speak, two more of our investigators walked in--both from different ends of the chapel. Already walking toward the podium, I smiled as welcoming as I could at them and was relieved to see a fantastic member finding a seat with the first. Sister Boyer quickly left Tiara and headed for our other investigator. As I looked out at all of our less active, recent convert, part member, and investigator families my heart was about ready to pop with happiness. They made it! Of course not everyone was able to be there, but it was amazing to see a room full of people we are teaching. I have been here for many months and have seen complete miracles take place within that time. How incredible!

A little on Tiara's baptism...before being baptized she was a bit upset because the few family members who had agreed to come and watch changed their minds. Her morning was a bit hectic, but she made it and that's what matters. After being baptized, her smile was the size of the moon! She was filled with the spirit and completely over joyed. 

We saw so many amazing miracles this week but I am down to 2 minutes. I will talk to y'all more next week. Love y'all! 

Have a Blessed week! 
Sister Brown

Monday, December 12, 2016

Come Experience the Greatest Gift. We Call Him Jesus

To be honest, this week was absolutely crazy. It started off with a trip to Macon for our Mission Leadership Conference, followed closely by Zone Training Meeting, the ward Christmas party, a tragic experience for our most progressing investigator, and a spiritual Sabbath full of miracles.

Every preparation day when we go to Walmart I feel like
the store is counting down to the end of my mission.
It makes me so sad to see us come to the end of the year,
but I am so excited for the day we get to celebrate Christ's birth.
The Mission Leadership Conference was incredibly inspiring and uplifting! We felt the spirit surround us in the room as we discussed inspired methods for finding new people who are prepared to accept the gospel. Sister Boyer and I are ecstatic about incorporating these new methods into our missionary work. I had the unique opportunity to prepare and give a training at the meeting as well. It was the first time I believe I have been truly nervous to speak in public. Thankfully, the message was well received, and I am sure the other zone leaders and sister training leaders will do an even better job relaying the message back to their missionaries than I did on Tuesday. :D That's what matters most! My training made me consider my testimony of the Book of Mormon. To put it simply, ANY question we have concerning the church or doctrine can be resolved through the Book of Mormon. What an amazing truth! So many of my own concerns have been hushed by the quiet spirit of peace I feel each time I pick up that book. No mortal being could create a book that touches my heart in such a way. Only the spirit of God can accomplish that task. 

Those crazy Davis boys. We went over for dinner and a lesson.
They make us laugh. The family is still active and doing well.
Kaleb has not been able to be baptized yet..but he will soon.
In between meetings and preparing for the ward Christmas social (which we had at least 10 non-members attend), we had to rush to try and find enough time to teach lessons. We had an amazing experience having one the families we're teaching join with another family in the ward for a family night. It was such an amazing experience to see them not only read from the scriptures together, but it was so good to simply see the fellow-shipping take place. As we played the game for family night, I felt as if I was back in a family. There is a special spirit that enters in the home when a family is working toward the same goal: coming closer to Christ.

The ward Christmas party was a huge success. Sister Boyer did a beautiful job accompanying two young mothers in the ward as they sang Silent night in English and Spanish. The Christmas season brings out the best in people.

Saw Santa at the Christmas social! One of the funniest
little girls in the ward started screaming when Santa
walked in the room, "Santa! Santa! Santa!" Sooo cute
how crazy she got.
Tierra (a lady we've been teaching for a few months now) will still be baptized this Saturday, but that poor woman has gone through so much. I feel so close with her. It's hard to see bad things happen to those we love. Although she's experienced some road blocks, we saw little miracles this Sunday. The bishop was able to give her some good counsel and encouragement. Afterwards, he told her she didn't have to go through with the baptism for this weekend if she didn't want to. It was her personal decision and should be done at the right time and for the right reasons. She responded quite firmly, "No. I want to be baptized." She then smiled and laughed a little after seeing the expression on Bishop's face. I think we were all pleased to see she understood baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost is ultimately the thing which will give her the most spiritual power and support at this time.

Love y'all SO much! Have the most blessed week yet :)
Sister Brown

Monday, December 5, 2016

Today's forecast: God reigns and the Son shines forever

I thought this title was especially fitting for the family this week. Remember that regardless storms that blow in, Jesus Christ will always shine forever. He truly lights our way.

Group photo with the #LIGHTtheWORLD end of the float
We've been teaching an older woman (83) this past week. The first time we met her we left a "Finding Faith in Jesus Christ" pass along card with our contact information on it in case she wanted to get a hold of us. Well, she ended up calling the Salt Lake number and ordering a DVD. We received a notice the next day and scheduled a time to bring her the DVD. Little did she know we would be the ones coming back to deliver her movie :) She was pleasantly surprised. We've gone back a couple of times since then and introduced her to the Book of Mormon. The last time we were over, she was so excited to read the first chapter of Nephi. She has that humble heart which allows her to genuinely and sincerely ask God if our message is true. We're excited to hear what happened!

Sister Boyer and I. You can see some of the float in the
background...not too much though. I'll see if the members have
more photos.
Saturday was the huge success of the annual Christmas parade. Apparently the church hasn't done a float in a while. This year was quite different! Second ward made a float. They spent every night for an entire week constructing a breathtaking parade float. It was flawless. As we were walking down the streets of Douglas, many people said with wide eyes, "Y'all's float is gorgeous!" They were right. We're hoping to get first place because if we do, we will have a picture on the front page of the newspaper. What fantastic publicity to move the missionary work forward here! In addition, we handed out roughly 1,000 pass along cards. More importantly, however, it was wonderful to see the entire town of Douglas come together in a joined celebrating of Jesus Christ. The theme was 'Peace on Earth.' Jesus Christ is truly the one who can offer us true peace. He can calm the troubled hearts, lift up those who have fallen, strengthen the weak, and wipe all our tears away. I know He is my Savior, and I love Him with all my heart.

The Spanish Elders convinced us to all try a habanero
pepper. All I have to say is I will never be doing that again.
Sunday we saw the miracle of a less active lady whom we love so dearly come to church. She has some health concerns, but could be coming every week if she made the effort. She kept telling us she was going to surprise us one day by coming to church. Many people say that. I have been here 8 months and hadn't seen her at church once regardless of how hard we pushed for her to come. Amazingly, I looked over Sunday morning and there she was! Now if we can only keep her coming.

I love y'all! Have a Blessed week!
Sister Brown

Monday, November 28, 2016

History is HIS Story

One of Sister Boyer's top quotes from this week:

The best things about the South: 1-The southern hospitality 2-The food.
The worst things about the South: 1-The southern hospitality 2- The food

We were most definitely able to experience all the best and worst things about the South this week. How amazing that so many people welcomed us in and invited us to visit, eat their food, and share feelings of gratitude for our Father in Heaven and all He has given and done for us.

Thank you all for being so grateful and showing your thanks by the way you live.

Thanksgiving we visited a few people in the old folks home, saw many part member and less active families. How wonderful it was to see everyone's family getting together, enjoying the holiday spirit. The spirit of Christ.

This is Chaplin Smith. She invited us over for Thanksgiving
about a month ago when we tracted into her. Because of the
example some earlier missionaries set through loving service,
 she let us right in and told us about how much she loves us and
our church. She is determined to not leave her church,
but look at the power our examples carry!
Never underestimate the weight of one simple decision.
We had an amazing lesson this week with a part member family (the Carvers). From the past two visits we had, we didn't feel like they would progress very well. The husband told us he wasn't sure about Joseph Smith, and that he never felt like he had received an answer that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. So at this point, he didn't believe Joseph Smith was called as a prophet. They were still kind to us and allowed us to come back if we would like. Of course we wanted to come back! Quitting is not for us! Tuesday we took their home teacher to visit them with us (he is also in the mission presidency-president Fussell). We decided to use a new method of presenting the Book of Mormon as described to us in Zone Conference. We spent the time before hand to mark a special copy of the Book of Mormon that they can read in 90 minutes. We then had a great lesson where we drew a map explaining where the record came from and why we are nicknamed Mormons. The spirit was strong during the lesson, especially as we were testifying of Jesus Christ. At the end of the lesson, we asked what questions they had. The husband (who told us he doesn't believe Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet) said, "I don't have a question..just a comment." Oh dear, we thought. We were preparing for the worst--for them to tell us we weren't invited back ever again. What followed, however, amazed me. He told us how he believed the Book of Mormon was true. What?! We were astonished. He then went on to tell us what he believed about Jesus Christ being loving, merciful, and a few other aspects of his testimony. It was incredible. He then asked us to pray for his family to be on the right path-whatever that may be. Our hope for this family has been renewed, and we look forward to further lessons.

Friday night our plans were shaken up, and we weren't sure where to go. Sister Boyer had this idea to meet with a family we had dropped for a few months but just started seeing again last week. As soon as she said it, I thought, "Wow, that's perfect. It's even on the way." As we drove into their driveway, however, we became nervous they wouldn't appreciate us stopping by because it looked like they had lots of company over (different cars). We debated for a few seconds but then knocked on their door because we knew we had been directed here. As it turned out, the spirit was right again (as always). We had a wonderful lesson with the parents and their son who was here from out of town.
A southern thanksgiving.

Saturday we saw a miracle of a baptism! It was one of the Spanish Elder's investigators. He is 14 years old and SUCH a good kid. It has been wonderful to see the ward adopt him in. He will do amazing things. He is a pioneer for his family. I feel he will bring many people into the church one day. We should, hopefully, be having 3 baptisms to report on for December. I'll send pictures :)

Check out the new Christmas video and make sure to join in on the "25 Ways in 25 Days." Don't forget to share, share, share this on social media!! I promise it makes a difference. Here's an idea, pray about who you could specifically show the video to then send them a little message with attached as a link! Share away :)

Love y'all! 
Have a blessed week.

Monday, November 21, 2016

God Gave You 86,400 Seconds Today. Did You Use One of Them to Say Thank You?

Are you prepared for Thanksgiving? Countless apostles have taught the importance of being grateful. As a missionary, I have seen the drastic difference in my work when I have had an attitude of gratitude verses an attitude of self pity. We are commanded to be grateful. We should be grateful before, during, and after both our trials and blessings. How incredible to be as the one leper who returned to Christ to express his gratitude. In addition, we should be grateful before the healing even comes. Gratitude is a state of being. To be happier, start by being more grateful. Will you take the challenge to find 100 things you are grateful for? Try thinking of subcategories such as being grateful for certain living people, deceased people, gospel topics, physical abilities, things in nature, places on earth, food, you name it! I'm so grateful for this season!!
I couldn't remember if I've ever sent a picture of
Sister Boyer and I. oops. Here's one.

One of the new senior couples in the mission shared a neat training on the Book of Mormon with us at Zone Conference this week. We tried sharing it with one of our investigators and it went SO well! We were so happy to see the power behind the Book of Mormon. When we share with our friends in a simple way which they can understand, they will feel our love for the truths found in this sacred record and the Holy Ghost will "prick" their heart to learn more. Take the challenge to FIND someone to share your testimony of the Book of Mormon with someone this week. Let me know how it goes!

**A neat side note--the husband in the senior couple had a stroke 9 years ago that left him really bad off. It was amazing to see how far he has come. He told us to encourage our investigator who had a few years back to never give up and keep reading the Book of Mormon. He promised her that's what would help her most. That's exactly what we've been doing with her. AMAZING!**

 Nikita and her family :) Such a fantastic lady!
She's got so much spunk. She agreed to giving
Sister Boyer a few braids sometime. Her daughters
are SO sweet. The youngest came right up to us
when we were helping out at a service project
and gave us hugs in front of all her friends.
One of the things I was most grateful for yesterday was to see one of our part member families at church. Sister Boyer were saying hello to people for about 10-15 minutes before the meeting. We were waiting for a few investigators to show up, so we left the one investigator we were already sitting with and told her we would be right back. We walked out in the foyer to 'get a drink' and our heads turned to the front doors at the same time. Guess who was walking up? None other than the Lane family! I could feel sister Boyer's face light up at the exact same time a huge grin broke across my face. They looked so happy to be there! We could tell the spirit is working on them. The daughter still wants to be baptized. The son will get there pretty soon. We're not sure if their dad will join them or not. It's one of the hardest things when the father is never home because of work. Work is important, but it's one of the easiest ways for Satan to work his way in.

This one more accurately describes Sister Boyer ;)
Friday night we had a fantastic lesson with a man who recently got out of jail and his girlfriend. One of the most touching things I've seen was the video of his little boys running up to him when he got home. Even more than that though, was when the man had to leave the room to wipe the tears from his eyes as he was reminded of the moment he got to see his children again (about 6 months ago). As he said to us, he would never do something that resulted in him being pulled away from his children again. He bore to us the sweetest testimony of how he knows missionaries are representatives of Jesus Christ and he will always tell his friends to listen to us when they see missionaries. The spirit was strong that evening.

Love y'all! Have a blessed week!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Feed Your Faith and Your Fears Will Starve

This week we've been working on meeting new people. Wednesday we were on exchanges. I stayed here while sister Boyer ventured over to Hazlehurst. On Wednesday we visited with a less active lady and then went to see a good number of our investigators. Nobody was working out, so we tried a few people that have met missionaries a long time ago. We met this amazing family. A single father with 4 children. At the end of our lesson, he asked us with the most genuine desire if we would pray for him and his family. We're excited to meet with him more regularly. 

I bought a starfruit this last week and was
pleasantly surprised by how good it was. :)
We had a lunch appointment with an older couple in the ward this week. As sister Boyer and I sat down with our plates, we felt so posh. We felt so fancy to be in a nice, southern home and eating good food. It's amazing to realize just how humble of circumstances those we usually teach are in. 

Saturday sister Boyer and I had the 3 week meeting. It was really amazing to see all the companionships. Their experiences they shared strengthened sister Boyer and I. 

Finally, we had a little miracle last night. Everything was falling through, but we had the faith to see a miracle. We prayed about where we needed to go. We quickly went to the investigator who first came to mind. It turned out to be a great lesson in which the spirit led, and we now have a greater chance of preparing her for baptism. 

Love Y'all! Have a blessed week!
Sister Brown

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

No Matter the President, Jesus is King

This week's email is a bit scrambled...

To start off, we had a neat experience regarding one of the part member families (well, they're not married… but basically a family) we used to visit. As we were preparing for a service project at the old folks home, we got a call from Sister Jensen in the mission office. She asked us if we by chance knew such and such person. After a minute or two I was able to recognize who she was talking about. She told us how this inactive member's sister (who lives in Utah) had called the mission office asking if she could speak with the missionaries in Douglas so her brother could receive a priesthood blessing. He got incredibly sick at the last minute. Sister Jensen couldn't hand out our number, but she said she would try to work something out with us. We told her not to worry about it, and that we would set something up here. Within a matter of minutes we had called two worthy priesthood holders in the ward and asked them if they could administer to this inactive brother. They were quite willing and acted in a timely manner. I was overcome with a gratitude for these men and the Priesthood authority God has blessed them to use in order to administer to His children. We were not able to attend the blessing with these gentlemen, but we called all of them and followed up with what had taken place. As we kept in close contact with the girlfriend of this inactive member (who has never showed an interest in the church for years), she sent us a text that evening which read, "The power of the priesthood is real." Her boyfriend has and continues to improve. I stand amazed at the miracles we still see today! 
We went to a Thai restaurant! It turned out to be more like
american-ized Chinese food (and a lot of it),
but it was still fun :)

This week we have been dropping those people whom we don't see any progression with. That can be a really difficult process for me because I know these people have so much potential... they just don't always act on it. We've been praying to know who is ready, who we should continue working with, and who we need to take a break from teaching. We went to a house that we've been looking forward to teaching because this man, his mom and his son all have great potential. We had a pretty good first lesson on Faith. Well, they didn't answer the door one time after the first visit. The next time we went to see them, I saw a white paper on the door and felt it was for us (ha that's never a good sign...). We still prayed before walking out. As we got to the door, and read the note, my suspicions were confirmed. Their note wasn't mean, it just basically asked us to never come back again. Even though it always hurts because you just want to give these people one more chance, I realized it could have been an answer to our prayers. Even though we had it in our mind that this family would make it far, perhaps the Lord has another time prepared for them to learn the gospel that will truly prick their hearts in a way we could not. I pray I will get to see them again and get at least one more chance. We will never stop praying for them.

We had interviews yesterday (that is the reason for our late emails--our p-day was moved). The interview itself went well, but President Grayson's prayer at the end was absolutely beautiful. I think that may have been the most sincere prayer I have ever heard someone say in my behalf. I could feel the sincere love he had for the work we are doing in our area. He even prayed by name for two of our investigators which we had discussed. Everything I have been pleading with the Lord for these last few weeks he repeated in his prayer. The desires to work with the members, find those who are ready, have the power promised with our calling, and more... he said it all. I know President Grayson has been called of God to lead our mission. He relies on the spirit for every decision he makes. I pray to walk that closely with God one day.

I have felt the Lord's strength flow into the work as I rely on Him. My happiness and success does not rely on how many lessons we are teaching or how often we are accepted. Rather, I have found true joy in turning my will over to my loving Father above. We can know when we are about his work. We truly are encircled in the arms of His love. I am not adequate for this calling—but He is. That's all that matters. :) How blessed we are to be in the service of our Lord!

Love y'all and have a Blessed week!

Sister Brown

A few funny things from the week:

*We searched for a missing cat. (no luck yet :( poor lady) I'll tell ya... that's a hard task.
*I had some of the best tasting oranges from the back yard of a member
*A 48 year old lady in our ward is pregnant! It took her 10 years to have her first child, and now (10 more years later) she was surprised to be having another! The Lord works in mysterious ways. All I know is she's my hero. So crazy.

Here are some additional pictures found on the mission facebook page.

Halloween fun, missionary style. It's a cool fishing pond in the trunk of their car!

Sister Brown with her cohorts in Douglas, GA. Mission interviews!

Sister Brown with her trainee, Sis Boyer and Sis Tammy Fussell,
Tifton Stake and Macon CC Public Affairs Director.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Math Lesson: 3 Nails + 1 Cross = 4given

The atonement of Jesus Christ is real. It is for me and it is for YOU. We have been forgiven! Know that it is the only thing that will bring lasting peace and joy in this life. As a missionary, you feel the best when you throw yourself 100% into the work. The same is true for us every day. When we completely turn our life over to the Lord, He will guide us in ways unimaginable to our limited perspective. Trust in Him. When we feel inadequate, that is because we are. How glorious! You don't have to rely on yourself....we can simply rely on Him.

Cotton time again! This is the most white
we will see this winter ;)
This week I was able to witness on of the most beautiful baptisms I have seen. The Tull couple are both so humble and prepared for the gospel. These spectacular individuals live in the 2nd ward. We did not teach them, but we have had a small amount of contact with them. It was humbling to see their sincere excitement for their baptism. Many people were gone for hurricane clean up again this weekend. When the Elders told the Tulls that we could move the baptism to next week so they could have more ward support, they replied, "Elders, we just really want to be baptized." So they were. After Brother Tull came up out of the water, he stood in silence for a moment with his hands together. "Outstanding," was all he said. After Sister Tull emerged from the same water in that little font, she took a few extra moments to wipe her eyes. It was clear she was wiping away more than just tap water.

This week was a challenging one as far as the work goes. Sister Boyer and I are turning over a majority of our teaching pool. We are putting forth our best effort to work with the members to find those who are prepared for the gospel. While it can be more complicated and fact, I sometimes feel like I'm running a three ring circus in order to get everything lined up for high quality lessons...we know this will be better for the work in the long run. Member work is so critical! Please, please be involved. That's all I want for Christmas. ;)

One really great fellow-shipping activity we held was the annual trunk-or-treat. What fun! That was a fantastic experience. Not to mention there were SO many family members and friends there whom are not members. We had a great time talking to people and planting seeds of faith. Or candy. Our trunk was "Fishers of Men." We used a blue tarp for the water and had some pictures of Jesus upon the water. We made one of the Elders sit in the trunk and put candy on the line so we could mingle with the people. What a good sport.

Reggie and I had to take a goat selfie.
We went to one of the state parks today for pday. :)
Lastly, the primary program was INCREDIBLE. I have never in my time here seen more less active and part member families attend church. That was amazing! I had to make a list of everyone we needed to catch before they slipped out unnoticed. As soon as the closing prayer finished, I felt like a torpedo running from person to person. Poor sister Boyer said, "I couldn't keep up. You would call my name and then you were gone." In reality, she did a fantastic job. :) Truly, she's a wonderful teacher and asks the most inspired questions. She even taught the gospel principles class all by herself.

A neat miracle for the week:
We were sitting in Etirza's apartment teaching a lesson. She told us all her frustration with her boyfriend and how he has been really awful recently. He has let greed control his life and isn't using the money he has to help his dying family members. As she exclaimed her frustration through broken English (she has a stroke 3 years ago and has a very difficult time talking), she acted out how she fell to her knees and offered up the most sincere worries in her heart. She then said she felt a calm feeling come over her, and she knew God would take care of the situation. She said she knew her boyfriend would lose everything and therefore learn his lesson. Sister Boyer taught about patience. As she was teaching, we hear a loud honk outside the door. It was none other than her boyfriend's boss. Her boyfriend is losing his job. God heard her prayer, and this was His answer. It was jaw-dropping timing.

I love y'all so much! Never be afraid to do a good deed!
Have a blessed week! <3

-Sister Brown

Monday, October 24, 2016

Count Your Blessings, Not Your Problems

What the week!

Sister Boyer is wonderful! She's so sweet, bubbly, and ready to teach! It was hard to say goodbye to Sister Anderson, but she's ready to tackle Dublin with Sister Cottle. She's in good hands!

Tuesday started off with a cozy car ride-no room to spare-up and back from Macon to receive our new companions. As soon as we got home, Sister Boyer and I sat down as I introduced her to the area. We did a little unpacking, picked up a few groceries, and went out to teach her first lesson in the field. We had a wonderful time testifying of the importance the gospel has made in our lives. I know this message is meant for every single child of God. That evening we saw the hearts of a part member family "pricked" as described in the book of Acts. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation. This wonderful family has come such a long ways. When sister Anderson and I first met the wife, she wanted nothing to do with us and told us there wasn't much use in us coming back. Tuesday night, Sister Boyer and I were able to invite her children to be baptized and enter onto the path which leads back to our loving Father in Heaven. She readily agreed that was something of which she wanted to take part! We are excited for them and their deepening relationship with our Father in Heaven.

Georgia! :)
Surprisingly, lots of our appointments have been falling through this week. It's funny because that hasn't happened in a while, but maybe sister Boyer and I needed to have that experience together for growing purposes. The incredible thing is, among all the ruined plans, I never once felt discouraged. I was always happy. I knew that no matter what did or didn't work out, we would be teaching the restored gospel of a loving Heavenly Father to our siblings. There is nothing better! We got to meet some wonderful people, and set up many great return appointments.

A neat miracle we saw was a great lesson we were able to teach to the niece of one of the Elder's investigators. She is SO prepared and in need of the gospel. She has gone through a lot this week. To be honest, we haven't been able to help her out with it much at all. We have wanted to be right there by her, providing her with the things she needs...we did as much as we could, yet our resources failed us. Many nights I have gone to bed worrying about her and her situation. I have felt so disappointed in what I thought was a failure on my part to help. Yesterday, however, she texted us an incredibly sweet message, and told us she looked forward to meeting with us next week. Despite what I thought would have turned her away and made her unlikely to meet with us again, she still has a desire to come closer to God in ways we CAN help with. I was amazed that, despite everything, she still feels the spirit telling her she needs the gospel message we offer even if we weren't much help with the other needs she had in the time frame she needed.

Another neat note--Betty and Tierra are still preparing for baptism and will hopefully be baptized in November! :D They came to church this week! :) Tierra is so amazing. We leave her with the pamphlets and she takes notes on lined paper and everything! She had 2 FULL pages of notes on the Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet. Love her!

I love y'all so much. I know there is a part of what Jesus Christ has done for us that we can each relate with right now. Remember, Faith is fully relying on the Savior as well as diligent work. Testify often of what you know---even if you feel that knowledge may be wavering or limited. I promise it will bring the light of Christ into your life and bless those around you.

Have a Blessed week! Love y'all!

P.S. I just found out one of our former missionaries from this mission (Annie Schmidt) has been missing since last Sunday. She is an incredibly bright daughter of God who has changed the lives of so many. I, as well as many others, dearly love her. If y'all wouldn't mind saying a prayer for her and her family, I know they would greatly appreciate it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

In the Emergencies of Life, Jesus is Always on Call

The headline goes out to Abby. I love you girl, but don't give me a heart attack! No more ER visits!
Tamea (tamia..?) She's the CUTEST little girl I've
ever met! She sounds like a chipmunk and you can't
understand 90% of what she says. 

The big news of the week is Sister Anderson is leaving me. :( The running joke among the missionaries in Douglas is that if we had stayed together for one more transfer, we would have become the same person. I love this girl!! The good news though, I am getting another NEW MISSIONARY! To be honest, I wasn't planning on training yet again because President Grayson has been mostly calling younger, newer missionaries to train. However, Thursday evening we received a call from the APs informing me that President has asked me to train. I am so excited! I feel so grateful for this opportunity. There is nothing else I would rather do. The funny thing is, I will be in Douglas for a good minute. Most likely until the end of my mission. It's a good thing I love this place. :)

We made some brownies to give to people living
around our apartment complex. Sister Anderson
got mad at me for leaving a solitary brownie bite
still in the pan. If I don't want to eat it, I wont. ;)

Tuesday we had a neat experience. Everything was falling through. I was having a hard time listening to/following the spirit, and started to get frustrated. On our way back from a lesson, I noticed a trailer park I had thought to stop at during our drive out, but hadn't. Well, I wasn't going to let the opportunity go by again. We tracted a few doors without success. We had passed a man sitting in a lawn chair on our way into the trailer park. During my prayer before we left the car, I had prayed that we would be able to at least meet this man and leave a good impression. When we did walk over to meet him, we had a wonderful conversation about the church he goes to, particular bible trivia, etc. His wife was out in the yard busy at work. We could tell she didn't want to talk with us because she didn't slow down one bit, and didn't return our friendly wave. Well, near the end of our short visit, she walked over and introduced herself. She was pleasant, but strongly stated they were baptist and didn't need any of our materials of which I was currently reading from. We asked about their friends and neighbors. We asked who needed our message. As the conversation progressed, we learned the wife had lost a dear friend. We were able to testify of the Plan of Salvation, and she was able to feel the spirit. She explained to us that she originally didn't want to come talk to us because she 'knew what we were doing.' She, however, felt bad about not coming over. She said a prayer in which she said, "Lord, if you want me to talk to them...I will." She then tried to get the weed wacker to start. Nothing. She tried again. Not a sound. For a third time, she attempted to continue her yard work. Nope. She recognized her answer. A seed of faith has been planted. 

I have started being more bold. During one of my nightly prayers this week, I realized if I am going to fully give myself to the Lord and this work, I can't be afraid of hurting people's feelings. Of course, I still am teaching with love and being bold in a loving manner. After one particular lesson focused on faith and repentance-which was clearly and boldly taught. I invited the mother and daughter to be baptized on a specific day (they accepted). Sister Anderson turned to me in the car and said, "Well, I'm liking the boldness sister Brown." That is when I recognized the difference being bold made. We are seeing miracles by boldly teaching as Christ does. 

Joan and Tim! Funniest couple (well..almost couple).
We read with her every week. 

Friday we saw miracles again! We weren't going to have our car that day, but we had 2 set lessons that were roughly 10 or so miles away from us. The member who was originally going to come with us cancelled. We called member after member to see if anyone could go out with us. So far, nothing. We were at the S names when we saw a member we hadn't thought of. We didn't know her too well, but we thought we might as well give it a shot. She said yes, and she was the exact person that needed to be at those lessons. Her testimony of being a convert helped a particular lady who knows she needs to be baptized but can't seem to find the faith to act. The member was able to make living the gospel seem attainable and desirable. It is a blessing..manna from heaven...when we're able to work with members. 

Love you'all! Be loving, be bold, and have a BLESSED week
Sister Brown

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Person Without Prayer is like a Tree Without Roots

What you've all been waiting for... the Davis Family!
Thank you all for your prayers during hurricane Matthew. We were blessed and fortunate to not be directly hit. There was a significant amount of rain and wind here, but nothing that stopped missionary work from happening. Sister Anderson and I were praying with everything inside of us that the hurricane wouldn't stop the Davis' baptism from happening yet again. Remarkably, we left the apartment Saturday morning with no rain or wind. There were even a few sunbeams breaking through the clouds--a perfect day for a baptism! 

Real quick on the hurricane:

Last p-day we went to the junk yard owned by a member
and smashed some cars. Talk about a good workout!
We received MANY people into Douglas this past week. Most of them were from the Brunswick area..others were from Florida. There were a couple of shelters set up, and all the campgrounds and hotels were absolutely full. We spent some time doing service for those staying here this past weekend. It's hard to see these people not know when they will be able to go home or what they will be going home to. Thankfully, the atonement of Jesus Christ can strengthen us to overcome any trial or challenge and find the lasting peace we all so desperately need. 

The Zone leaders here in Douglas were also able to provide housing for some of the missionaries serving in Savannah since none of the missionaries in that area of the mission were allowed to stay. Many of them went to areas near/around the Macon area. Some of them were sent as far South as Douglas though. 

This week we had some wonderful lessons! One of the highlights was from last night. We went over to try and see Jennifer (a super golden lady who is running from the gospel because she's scared of change but she KNOWS she needs to be baptized and needs to make changes now! She will soon..anyways). We got to talk to her for a few minutes. She and her daughter BOTH had been reading the plan of salvation pamphlets we left with them. The second miracle, however, was that she was 'too busy' to really talk with she told us to visit her husband's brother who just returned from jail. She said he was really awesome, and we would love talking with him. I have to admit, I was a little nervous at first because it was late at night and we'd heard from his parents multiple times that he was the trouble maker of the family. We went anyways, and can I just say...that was an amazing lesson! Wow, his girlfriend(who we didn't know was living there at the time) is SUPER ready and open minded about the gospel. He actually gained a great testimony while in jail because he didn't have too much to do, so figured he might as well read the Book of Mormon (He's a member). He is currently on Alma 43. Alma 43! They said we would be welcome back any time. We set an appointment for Tuesday, and they even said they would cook dinner. It was such an incredible experience. 

A funny story from Thursday:
We went to a part member's home who we haven't been able to visit with much recently. They haven't been letting us in, but they did that night! We were able to have a great lesson on the Restoration. We used more bible stories and scriptures which allowed them to open up to us and actually listen to the message of the restoration rather than just blowing it off as they have with missionaries in the past. We all (at least we're praying they did, and they seemed to) felt the spirit, and they committed to read from the restoration pamphlet. The funny part though--We were sitting there talking and a bug flies into the face of the wife. She has had lots of health concerns, along with her husband, and she's probably late 60s or so. Well, she yells out, "What's that?" Swatting it away from her face. Her husband, answering in a very matter of fact tone, "It's a  bug." Ha that alone was enough to crack us up. The wife then proceeded, however, to wad up a news paper and chase after the bug. She then stood on the very old, unstable couch trying to smash the little bugger. Her husband was saying the whole time, "Woah, careful there honey." We also were seriously concerned for her safety and followed her around telling her to let us smash it. She, however, would not give up. Luckily, we didn't have to catch a falling woman from off the couch seeing how she was able to keep her balance for long enough. Hopefully that made y'all's day. It made mine. :D 

Love Y'all! Have a blessed week!
Sister Brown

Monday, October 3, 2016

Joy is Not the Absence of Difficulties, but the Presence of God

WWII museum that was closed... but we drove by it
anyways :)
Monday we had a powerful evening full of testifying as Sister Anderson and I rededicated ourselves to sharing absolutely everything and anything that the Holy Ghost whispered to us. It was amazing to feel the power that entered our lessons. It felt so good to open our mouths and be bold! I try every day to listen more carefully and act immediately. 

I have lots to say about General here it goes. First of all, on Thursday we knocked on the door of a sweet woman who is absolutely dedicated to the Lord. We visited for a while, and as we were wrapping things up, she mentioned that she had a dream about what she was supposed to read in the bible that morning. I asked her what book it was. She said Amos. I thought for a moment as Amos chapter 8 verses 11-12 came to mind on the apostasy.
I then said, "Actually, there's a verse from Amos in this pamphlet here (we had been talking about the restoration with her)." 
"What chapter," She asked.
Grits cup on the way to Macon
"Chapter eight," I responded happily. All of a sudden her eyes got wide and a grin broke across her face. 
"That's the exact chapter He told me to read!" Wow! How amazing is that? A great conversation ensued about the Apostasy. We are excited to go back and visit with her more. We told her about General Conference and invited her to listen to a living prophet. She gladly accepted and has actually already watched many sermons from the byu channel before. As she put it, "I love their pastor!"(speaking about the speakers from the byu channel.) How fantastic! 

Skip forward a few days to this morning. We were doing our shopping in Walmart and guess who we saw? The same lady! We stopped and went to visit with her. She missed watching it live...but guess what? She watched the whole women's session AND watched Thomas S Monson's talk. How wonderful!! It was a huge miracle, and the best way to start our P-day. :)

Something I loved about General conference was that it seemed to be a lot of the first three lessons we teach people who are learning about the church. Imagine the importance of knowing what God's plan for us is and how we can follow the path of that plan! As we increase our faith in Jesus Christ, repent more regularly, are baptized by priesthood authority of God, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and follow the promptings (which will lead us to making more covenants with God), we will more fully understand God's plan and purpose for us. 
Cotton time again!

One woman we have been teaching was able to come watch General Conference with us. She brought her daughter and grandchildren. It was amazing to see how visibly touched she was by the messages shared. Tears filled her eyes as an apostle of the Lord reminded us that we ARE sons and daughters of loving Heavenly parents. We can repent and we can be forgiven. 

The Davis family was also able to watch General Conference this weekend. The wife took everything in. She was asking us questions all about what callings the different speakers had if she didn't recognize the title. It was amazing! 

I love you all so much! Keep up that member missionary work. Our job is to spread JOY!! 

Have a blessed week,
Sister Brown

Monday, September 26, 2016

The World Needs a Change, but Jesus is Still the Same

To start off, wasn't the women's session of general conference great? I absolutely loved receiving such specific, clear, direct, and loving counsel from those called. We live in trying times, and the only thing that provides visible guidance is that from our loving Heavenly Father. Let's treasure those words we have already heard and will hear more of this weekend. Please prepare to watch general conference! 

This week we have seen many people in difficult and sad places in their life. From old drinking addictions coming back, to thoughts of suicide, we are all faced with some trial. Our investigators most certainly deal with these same challenges. What helps us in such times of need? First of all, the gospel of Jesus Christ! What seems like such a simple and automatic answer is actually applicable to our life right now and can and does provide answers. Search on for anything you are specifically having a difficult time with. Find strength from the atonement of Jesus Christ. What He has done for YOU cannot be comprehended by our limited intellect and perspective. While our understanding is limited, God's is limitless. Just as we have the need for earthly parents, we have the need for heavenly ones. Turn to your Father in heaven for direction. 

Sister Anderson turned to me last night and
said, "Can I play William tell with your bun?"
Seeing how we didn't have an apple,
I suppose my hair was sufficient for her
Nerf gun. I suppose this is when you know
you're close with your companion. Not to
mention we accidentally almost wore the exact
same outfit today. Enjoy the little things
in life! And take time to be a bit goofy :)
As we have lovingly testified to those in need this week, we have seen the smallest glimmer of hope enter into their eyes. Some of them have reached out for professional help. Some have turned to the scriptures. Some have prayed for the first time. I know God will magnify our efforts. Strength will be added!

This week we saw a miracle as we were able to teach a woman for the first time who felt that she was losing her relationship with God. She said she used to close to Him and feel Him in her life, but now she seems to be slipping away from His presence. We told her the story of Joseph Smith. He was searching for direction and a closer relationship with God. Without the proper authority to direct Christ's church on earth, people wandered in spiritual darkness. She enthusiastically agreed and said that was exactly how she felt. Through the miracle of the restoration, the light of the gospel was once again established upon the earth at this time. She agreed to pray about what we had spoken of, and to know if Joseph Smith had been called as a prophet of God. People are hungry for the news of this miracle! 

While visiting with a part member family this week, we were blessed to hear their testimony of God's love for His children. The father explained how he used to see God as judgmental, punishing, and anything but loving. Quite distant, really. Upon quiet pondering, he relayed to us the realization that no matter what mistakes his(the non-member father's) sons made, he would always love them and forgive them. It dawned on him that this is how God feels about us, His children. Our Heavenly Father has perfect love. Imagine how much deeper his care if for us than our love for our children. As he was testifying of the things he knew to be true, his wife couldn't help but tear up at hearing the testimony of her husband. 

God knows and loves us! Never forget it. :) 

Sunday the Davis family was able to watch a baptism from someone in 2nd ward. They were so excited. Even with the font flooding over, it was a spiritually uplifting experience. Power can be felt as we humble ourselves and dedicate our life to the one who loves us most. 

Love Y'all! Have a Blessed week!
-Sister Brown