Monday, April 25, 2016

A Week in Stateboro :)

To start the week off, we have a great YSA group (lots of inactive ysa...but we're getting there)! They all meet on Monday nights for Family Home Evening. Apparently they sometimes bring friends (members and less active members) with them. It's so great to reach out and just invite. When we went to dinner yesterday, the wife of the home told us that when she was 14 she would get dressed and ready to go to church..then wait for someone to invite her (she  wasn't a member). But then they never would. How sad! Eventually....someone did invite her to a youth activity, but imagine how much happier she could have been if a simple invitation had been made months earlier. That's this week's challenge...INVITE. They don't have to say yes, but we MUST invite. :)
Tuesday we service for a part member family in the ward. You learn lots of neat skills on a mission...a new one for me was when we painted and crackled doors. After that I did a bunch of cleaning. Cleaning can make you feel so good because by the end of it, you feel so accomplished. By spending quality time with this family through service, it has softened the husband's heart a little. Years down the road, I pray he will be ready to look into the messages we share with them. :)
Tuesday evening was when the real cool story comes. Since this is a college town, we have a few investigators who are going to school. One of them is a Sorority girl who invited us to come to this coffee shop Tuesday evening with a few of her friends. She said a bunch of girls just come together and talk about Jesus. Sounded good to us. She had been hard to get a hold of recently so we thought this would be great, and we could meet new people. So we go...and order our sodas :D While we did so, she saw us and headed over to tell us to come upstairs and find a seat wherever we could. hmm So we go upstairs..and there are about 30 Sorority girls gathered in a group! wow. we find a seat and listen to this senior tell every one about her 'journey' of finding God. It was super neat to see this side of these girls. After the big gathering, everyone split up into smaller groups. We were able to tell a good number of these girls about the Book of Mormon, how we can have faith, the power of prayer..basically it was amazing! We were mostly planting seeds of faith for later, but who knows when they will be ready? We're hoping to meet with 2 of the girls this week. 
Thursday I was able to have a signing lesson! We have a less active member in the ward. She really doesn't have many people to sign with (even her sister, whom she lives with, doesn't sign much). So it was an amazing experience to use the little I knew to carry on a normal conversation with her. Signs came back that I thought I had forgotten. It was wonderful! I hope to sign with her more and be able to learn more "church/religious" signs. 
Friday night we had an interesting experience...while at a less active YSA's apartment, we got caught in the middle of some pretty nasty roommate drama. The one roommate started asking us a whole bunch of questions to get at the girl we were visiting. It was incredibly uncomfortable, and there was the potential for it to turn really sour really fast. Through prayer, and listening to the Holy Ghost...our mouths were filled with what needed to be said to calm the spirit of contention. I was especially grateful for sister Stout's powerful testimony of the Atonement. The spirit entered back into the room, and we left with things placed in the Lord's hands. 
Saturday night we had a lesson with a young family. The grandmother and husband are not members. It was full of the spirit. Neither were originally open to the idea of our religion very much...but since the spirit was there, we could see a change happen within their hearts. The next day, the grandmother came up to me and thanked me for the simple, yet profound way I had connected with the children. That most definitely wasn't me...but she had felt the spirit! That made me so happy! When we feel like what we are doing isn't adequate, the Lord has a way of sending the encouragement we need. 
I love this Gospel and I KNOW that when we pray with all the energy of our heart, we CAN know the truth of all things. We can know our divine potential. We can know the plan our Father has for us. We can know that God does has not shut the pathway of communication to heaven! WE CAN KNOW. 
How I love this work!!! Take hold of it :)
-Sister Brown 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Whirlwind of a Week

Well, this week started off crazy and ended up even crazier. I'm just grateful for the power of prayer and the strength that we can gain because of the atonement in those times when we need it most. I know that we are all put in the positions and places that we are for a reason. I have felt that it is going to be a wonderful, yet challenging next couple of weeks. Good thing life isn't easy...or else we wouldn't become any better! 

This week was interviews with President Cottle. We drove to Pooler on Wednesday afternoon for the interviews. We went over briefly how we were doing and if there were any concerns. Both sister Lewis and I just told him we loved each other and that things are going GREAT. We've had a bit of a rough time in Hinesville, but we always relied on each other and kept a positive attitude..even if we were just 'planting seeds.'  Now, some things have started progressing. President Cottle also quizzed us on our memorized scriptures for the 42 principles. It was wonderful and I was so grateful I had spent the time to gain a personal relationship with the stories I would use to teach my investigators because it gave me the confidence needed to teach President what he asked about.

The Villellas Family. Baptisms set for May!
My favorite part about interviews though was in the very beginning when President Cottle offered the opening prayer. Every time he speaks I can feel the spirit. It is powerful. Tears had formed in my eyes before he had even finished the 90 seconds of communicating with our Heavenly Father. The Spirit DOES bear witness when our words are true. When we are living our lives in alignment with the 'frequency' of the spirit, others will feel it as well. 

After interviews we had the Sisters from Statesboro meet us in Pooler. They had asked us before hand if we could please move exchanges earlier. So we knew before hand it was going to be a little bit of a rough exchange. Well, I went to Hinesville with one of our sisters and Sister Lewis went to Statesboro with the other. What an incredible learning experience it was for us all. By the end of the time together, both the sisters expressed to us that the felt they could make it to the end of the transfer. We knew, however, that we would keep close contact with them to offer support needed.

Thursday night (Sister Lewis and I were back together) we went over to the Villellas (they are the part member family who we absolutely LOVE. They are making such fantastic progress). After a wonderful lesson of missionary work and service, we followed the spirit and invited them to be baptized on a specific date. We were nervous to do so because when they son prayed for the first time, he felt he had received the answer that he needed to wait about 5 months so he could learn more. While waiting is not a bad thing, he was most definitely ready to be baptized sooner. It will only bless his life. So, when the time was right, I worked up the courage asked them both by the Spirit. Wow, as soon as the words left my mouth, both Sister Lewis and I could feel it was right. It was like the Spirit had rolled into the room so thick, no one could deny it. I probably should have asked sooner..but regardless, they will be baptized this May. Such an amazing family! 

Lindsay and Sister Lewis said goodbye.
These two sisters have been a dynamic
force for good together in the field.
From Thursday night on has been a bit of a blur. To make a long story short, we were up late talking with a set of our Sisters, President and Sister Cottle, and the Lord. For the sake of the Emergency Transfer was made. There were many tears from both sister Lewis and me...but we knew we were always willing to do what the Lord needs.  I packed my bags on Friday, said goodbyes, and we changed companions Saturday morning. I know it is hard on President Cottle as well to perform these ETs...he said only 4 or 5 like this have been done while he has been here the three years. I can feel why. It is not enduring to the end. At the end of our trials, we receive the biggest witness of our faith. Maybe we will receive little ones along the way that makes us seem that we have learned what we should and now we are ready to have the trial taken away...when in reality, the biggest blessings are right around the corner. 

Don't worry though, I have started adjusting to the new area. To be honest, it felt like I was that feeling when you can hear people speaking but you don't really know what they're saying...for the first couple days. But the ward is incredibly sweet! And I have started to kick myself back into gear, talking to everyone. That has helped me feel the spirit guiding my footsteps once again. This work is so precious! I'm grateful I get to serve no matter where I am. I pray I can be of the best service needed and give this area and companionship the help it needs. 

I love you all very much! Continue sharing your light. Others WILL see it. Pray for missionary opportunities.
Love y'all!
Sister Brown
Pic 1-Goodbye for now
Pic 2-Villella Family!!

Monday, April 11, 2016


Talk about a week! Between exchanges, zone training meeting, addiction recovery class, and new beginnings, it was a busy one! 

Tuesday was full of following up with people we have met over the last couple weeks and seeing if they're really interested. Always hard work, but it's worth it if you find one person who accepts this JOYFUL message into their lives. 

Wednesday we drove up to Pooler for exchanges with the Sisters there. That, as always, was such a neat experience.  It was wonderful to see how the sisters down there work and to serve them at the same time. Their companionship seemed to be getting along quite a bit better than expected, so that's always a plus. I love being in this position because you're able to look outside yourself and see if there are ways to serve those around you. It is so true, when we lose yourself in the find that much more happiness. Sister Lewis and I met back up at our Zone training meeting where she trained on how the Book of Mormon answers questions of the soul, and I trained on Joy. Studying Joy has helped me immensely in this work. As one of our mission presidency members said, "I'm not going to be a cheer-leader for joy." Joy goes much deeper when we truly study what it is, and how to have joy. Joy is so much more full than its synonyms. It lasts through all circumstances. To know, and take an active part in, the plan of Salvation is to know joy. 

One of our investigators, whom I've mentioned before, is named Michaela. I figure I'll be sharing more of her story each week so I may as well give a few more details so y'all can follow easier. ;) Anyways, she's the lady we met who's originally from Germany. We met at a volunteer activity. She has had MANY trials and hardships she's been facing lately. She Loves everything she learns. She always says, "Oh, I knew that was true! No one could tell me it until now though." She loves every time we read from the book of Mormon. And every time something inspired comes into our lessons, like an answer to question or a scripture that perfectly fits her needs..she says "Stop it, you're freakin' me out." She's the cutest!! I just love her! And I truly feel that she is one of the main reasons I have been sent to Hinesville. We connected right away. Not to mention God has blessed me to be able to somehow understand her questions that confuse many other people. I know it's the Lord's guiding spirit. I'm so grateful for that guidance. 

On Sunday, she came with us to the addiction recovery program. Her friend, whom she had brought for support, ended up turning on her in the middle of our discussion. It was so sad. Michaela is at a point, however, where she is giving everything up to make the changes she needs to feel God's love and support. Even one of her best friends, she had to let go of for a while. Michaela has been so stressed recently that sister Lewis and I will be leaving soon. She says she has finally found 2 people who love her for who she is and that are willing to help her overcome the hard things in life. She's scared she won't be able to find people like this again. Those moments are when I am SO grateful to know that the same spirit she feels with us now will stay with her as she meets other members of the ward, and other missionaries who will help her on her journey just as we are now.

I love her to death! The cutest part is she always says, "I'm not going to become a Mormon, but..." It's so funny :) She is so very sensitive to the spirit, and I think she knows deep down that this is the path God has prepared for her. 

Thank you all for continuing to be a light to those around you. I know this Gospel brings true Joy. I know we can always be of use to our loving Heavenly Father. Ask Him what more you can do with an open heart and He WILL tell you :)

Love y'all!!
-Sister Brown

Monday, April 4, 2016

A spiritual FEAST

Talk about a week full of spiritual uplifting direction! 

Wednesday I was quite ill. Something has been going around and sister Lewis and I caught it once before..but then the same type of symptoms hit me hard Tuesday night and Wednesday. Wanting to be obedient, I still woke up on time and followed the schedule just as usual..but I was performing at far less than my usual ability. The entire day it seemed we had appointments falling through and people not wanting to talk to us. To be completely honest, all I wanted to do was sleep for days. I knew, however, that I didn't come out on a mission to sleep. This was our only FULL day of missionary work because we had additional meetings this week and then general conference this weekend. I had to push through. Although we didn't see any particular miracles or blessings, my testimony of enduring to the end was strengthened. I knew that I tried my hardest regardless of physical limitations. Luckily we didn't have a dinner appointment that day, so I was able to come home and take a quick nap. That was greatly needed and appreciated :) I am so grateful for the strength that the Lord will give us to be able to endure our trials. We can be strengthened just as Nephi was when his bands were loosed. 

Lindsay helps Sister Mim do her hair while they watched
some of the priesthood session. 
A story on the power of the Book of Mormon- We've been working with a less active lady recently. We have tried to encourage her to read the Book of Mormon. we downloaded it onto her phone and her son showed her how to use the listening function of the app. We went back this week and asked her about her study. It had only been a couple of days, and she had already listened to the first 7 chapters. She was in love with the story! We could see the spirit coming into her study more and more. She used to only study the bible because that's what she grew up with and was comfortable with. We went back two days later and she had read 7 more chapters! She was overjoyed with the results. She explained that it was so much easier to understand that expected. She told us about how she felt a great connection with this book. We called on Sunday to make sure she was able to watch General Conference. She said yes she did and she loved it. Then she told us about how she wanted so badly to keep listening to the Book of Mormon, so she also listened to that after the Conference session. She said she couldn't describe the feeling she had while listening. She was just filled with the spirit. Her voice over the phone exuded joy, love, and gratitude for this book! I know that what she felt is how I feel when I read this account of Jesus Christ. It IS another witness of our Lord and Savior. The only way you can know it is true is by reading it. God loves us, so He gave us the Book of Mormon. 

Lindsay says where else do you see a truck flying three
full-sized flags? Georgia, that's where.
On Friday, Sister Lewis and I drove to Macon for the Missionary Leadership Conference. That's where all the Zone leaders and Sister Training leaders meet to receive direction from the mission presidency which we will pass on next week at Zone training meeting with all the other missionaries. During the drive up, we got a text from the Zone leaders in Hinesville asking if we had already left. They told us there was a Tornado warning until 9 pm that night and that we should be careful. They also told us the meeting had been moved up an hour. Seeing how it was April 1st, we figured all of it was a joke and laughed it off. The moving of the meeting time was a joke...but as we continued making the 3 hour trip we ran into a NASTY storm. We realized the tornado warning was actually very real. Thankfully, we were safe..just a little bit wet :) What a blessing to arrive safely to the meeting house three hours away while we drive by multiple areas ruined by the tornadoes. We didn't see the wreckage until the drive's always a bit of a shock. 

We received much needed council at MLC. One thing I would like to touch on is how powerful the spirit can bear witness of our message when we live worthy of his additional witness. This was not a training given, but it was something I felt while President Cottle was speaking. His words hit so powerfully that everyone in the room knew they were true.  The spirit was so thick, you KNEW what was being said was true. I am grateful for the power of the Holy Ghost and the conversion we can receive by listening to those promptings. 

Notice the gator!?!
My time is short, but I want to encourage everyone to listen to General Conference over and over again! The messages shared there are critical for our understanding and salvation. Let's Please humble ourselves to accept what the Lord would have us hear. Put aside our personal views to listen to Him for a time. I love you all and I love this work. I see miracles every day. Just being here is a miracle. 

Love you! 
Be safe!!