Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Burn them Ships!

Humid Cold is a lot different that Dry Cold!!!! I am so cold! It's supposed to be the coldest winter they have had in the south for over a decade. Maybe I WILL have snow for Christmas!
I have seen lots of tender mercies this week!! Our investigators are feeling the power of the true restored gospel.
One of the couples we teach - Ben and Tracie live in some hard circumstances. I love watching the members want to get involved. Someone overheard that they didn't have any food, and what do you know.... we get a call to come over to their house and they gave us 3 giant brown bags full of food from their food storage to take to them. They were SO grateful.
When they came to church last week they were amazed that there wasn't an offering tray passed around.... They showed us that they had scraped up some change. (and we know they don't have any money.) That simple tender mercy of them being ready to offer EVERYTHING they had amazed me. Ben and Tracie also told us that they want to quit smoking which is pretty impressive and amazing! We didn't even hint that that might better their lives. They somehow found enough money to pay their rent which was a miracle because they were about to get evicted! The Lord blesses us when we accept his gospel!
They have told us that they feel like they're getting a second chance at life! And are so grateful for this gospel that allows them to do that!

We had a wonderful P-day last week with our friend Miss Cherry. She's a member and comes to lots of our appointments with us so that we can have member contribution in our lessons. She LOVES and takes care of us because she knows what it was like to be a missionary! She served in New Zealand when she was 21! I love her more than words can describe! She has one of the most golden hearts i've ever seen and she is ALWAYS helping us when she's not taking care of her very sick husband.

We had ZDM (zone development meeting) this week with all the missionaries serving in the Shreveport area and it was AMAZING! (I got to play the piano for the meeting!)
We have some really flippin awesome Zone Leaders.
They told us a story of Cortez. When he came to conquer a land, they got off the ships prepared for battle. Cortez told his men to "BURN THE SHIPS" so that they had no chance of going home. That way - when they fought - they had no option but to be focused on their work ahead and to do what they came to do! They encouraged us to "burn our ships" and be fully engaged in this missionary work and let go of whatever is holding us back so that we can really live up to our potential!
I am going to be the best missionary I can be!!
I may have disappointments... but I am going to have NO regrets.

Missionaries are always looking for ways to serve people. Whether it's helping them tie a quilt, helpling people move, or jumping someone's car :) I love helping people and Sister McGrath, Sister Dagupan and I always try to make sure we have a "kind deed of the day!"

We met a man this week claiming that he was Satan. (Don't worry mom!) He was SO wasted! He opened the door of his rotting trailor half naked and almost fell out as he did. He asked if we wanted to see his book of spells........... and as we tried to talk to him, he was just ignoring us and couldn't focus on what we were saying. He told Sister D that she looked like an Indian (even though she's phillipeno) and she told him that the Book of Mormon is actually a record of the ancestors of the people that are among the Native Americans. We testified that the Book of Mormon is much like the Bible - the dealings of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas, where-as the Bible is the record of the people of Jerusalem. But the situation just wasn't getting any better. We left him with a prayer and went on our way!

My Aunt Nancy wrote me a card this week. She said she was a friend named Barbara Houston in Shreveport and that she hoped I get to meet her! Funny thing is - we are at the Houston's ALL the time because President Houston is is the 1st counselor in our mission presidency. It's a small world!!!! We helped Barbara tie a quilt that same day I got that letter from Nancy! We know them very well and it's funny how the Lord blessed me with this tender mercy this week.

We also got to visit the Lewis's again this week. I shared with them the story in Mark where the woman touches Jesus's clothes and is healed because "her faith made her whole." We also shared the story from Enos in the Book of Mormon whose story is very similar.
We told sister Lewis that we know she can get through her trials. We asked her: what this trial has taught you?
Sister Lewis wrote out in the air that she didn't know, but she knew before she developed her disease that she would have it. The Spirit told her in the hallways of her house early one morning. She said that the spirit tells her lots of things.
It was an amazing moment to watch her write these words in the air. We sang the hymn "I need Thee every hour" to her and she afterwards, she started to cry, and spelled
"Thank you for letting me bear my testimony."
We realized that she doesn't get to do that very often. and we cried with this amazing woman and hugged her as the pain of her disease and sadness of not being able to communicate very well streamed down her face.
I told her than in the pre-mortal existence she must have volunteered to be one of the ones to take the hardest trials. Heavenly Father knows her pain and loves her so much.

The best moment of my week was our lesson with Bill! 
We met with him on Saturday evening with Pres. Kitley and Sister Kitley (LOVE MEMBER PRESENT LESSONS) Bill had gone on and had even watched 'The Best Two Years' twice! (A hilarious movie about Mormon Missionaries in Holland)
Bill had read quite a bit of the Book of Mormon, AND the doctrine and covenants which he loves because it pertains a little more to our day.
The spirit was so strong, and when Sister D popped the question of if he wanted to get baptized, he said:
"I wondered when you were going to ask me that!" with a smile :)
He accepted! And is so happy.
It's so beautiful to see the gospel change people's lives. Before - Bill was searching for knowledge. He is now "hungry" for the gospel, and I love seeing him at church soaking every word up. He has changed his life around and we can see the gospel lighting up every aspect of his life!

What a light in the darkness this gospel is.

Scripture of the week: Mosiah 2:41

Awkward moment of the week: Sister Dagupan and I found this sign and we got SO excited because we are both always quoting the kids TV show Arthur! Yes.... we are immature!
(Nadene is D.W.'s imaginary friend.)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Everything you wanted to know about Louisianna

Greeting everyone! I hope you all are doing well!

Here are some random things about Louisiana
* Shreveport, Louisiana is mentioned in princess and the frog!
Prince Naveen: Excuse me, but your accent, it is funny. 
Ray: I'm a Cajun, bro. Born and bred in the bayou! Y'all not from 'round here, are ya? 
Prince Naveen: Actually, we are from a place far, far away from this world. 
Ray: Go to bed! Y'all from Shreveport? 

* Gas is only $2.90

* The baptists and a couple other religions have little buses to pick people up for church! The sad thing is that a lot of people just stick their kids on the buses and send them off....

* The movie theater has shows playing like "Grace", "Church Girl", and "Counselor"

* Yard Sales are year round down here

* Almost everyone and their dog has a dog. Every time we knock on someone's door, you can *cue* the eruption of dog barking!

(I love how she is talking about trees but standing by a lamp post:) Madi Adele)

Well I have had an eventful week as usual! I love seeing the change the gospel is bringing to people's lives.
While tracting this past week we knocked on the door of a trailer and an grandma answered the door. She let us in and told us her name was Shirley. She kept asking our names and told us how beautiful we are about 100 times. I'm almost positive she has Alzheimers and it made me miss my grandparents while we were talking with her!

We also met with the Lewis's and they have a very special place in my heart. They are both converts and have a love for sister missionaries since that's who they were converted by! Sister Lewis has Lugheric's disease... a disease that attacks the nerves. She can't talk anymore, but communicates by drawing letters in the air for us to see and then we have to guess what word she spelled. Her little dog Sam takes good care of her and holds a napkin for her so she can wipe her mouth. She is one of the sweetest spirits I have met out here and I could tell she loved having us there to visit her. We sang "Lead Kindly Light" (my favorite hymn) to her and she loved it. There will be a special place for her in Heaven.

Our district did some service this weekend for a family who moved her from Arizona. We helped them move into their new house which is SO beautiful! I love the big old houses with the big old porches! It was fun to hang out with the Elders and all work together!

I had been sleeping on an air mattress but one of the members of the ward gave me a cot to sleep on instead and it's so much better!!! I love having my quilt here that my mom sent me! I made this quilt with the Beytiens while I lived in Iowa this summer.
Shoutout to all my Iowa friends and Family, I miss you!

Well you know you're being a good missionary when you have to give up your lunch break because you have so many appointments in one day! I absolutely love my companions. We all get along SO well and will be friends for forever! It's so good to be sharing this experience with them! Rumor has it that our tri-panionship is ROCKING it! We have gotten a couple congratulations even!

I love the people of the south. Our friend Elton is one of the craziest men I have ever met, but he has such a thirst for God in his life and we LOVE meeting with him. When we met with him the other day, we saw him throw his bottle of alcohol over the fence when he saw us coming... it was pretty funny :)

Well i miss you all and hope you are doing well.
Please keep my Uncle Mikey and my friend Maddie Morris in your prayers.

Love, Sister Brown

Quote of the week: Come to church. Church isn't a museum of the Saints - but rather a hospital for the sinners. We go because we need help!  -Sister Simpson

Monday, November 18, 2013

Better than Disneyland.‏

We got this BEAUTIFUL picture from Marissa. She has been receiving everyone`s mail and loves it! She likes getting mail throughout the week, instead of emails on just Monday. So please feel free to write her at her new address:)      1680 North Forty Loop Apt. #3
                                                           Sherveport, LA. 71107
                    Madi Adele!!!!

Well time is already flying by!!!
I am in my first area... Brownlee! In Shreveport, Louisiana. Our area is the west side of Louisiana and goes almost to the Texas and Arkansas borders. I am not currently on a bike, my companionship has a car because our area is pretty big! When we don't have to drive, we walk!

I had to say goodbye to my old district and companion which was hard!

I absolutely love my mission president and his wife. They are some of the sweetest people I have ever met in my life! They will look over all us missionaries down here and be my mission parents!

Well last Tuesday was transfer day, so a lot of us got put into new areas! It took about 4 hours to drive me from the mission home in Jackson Mississippi to my new area in Shreveport, Louisanna.
Everyone, meet my new companions (yes, i have 2!) Their names are Sister McGrath and Sister Dagupan!
They are literally heaven sent, and everyone was telling me how I was getting put with the best 2 missionaries in the whole mission before I even got to Shreveport!
Sister McGrath is the happiest person I have ever met - not to mention her knowledge of the gospel is astounding. She attends BYU and is from Alpine Utah. She has been out on her mission 6 months!
Sister Dagupan goes to BYU Hawaii and is from Arizona. She is so funny, and SOOO beautiful. She's half Philippeno and her hair goes to her butt and I secretly covet it! You can literally see her testimony through her smile.
Mission President said that as they were planning transfers - he was 100% sure to send me to the Brownlee area, that that's where I needed to be!

My first day was amazing. We had a district development meeting to start off the day!
My new district consists of the Brownlee area.
Me and my two companions, two elders named Elder Taylor and Elder Spence, and a senior couple: Elder and Sister Simpson. (they are like my mission parents for the area because President and Sister McDonough can't be everywhere at once!)

After the meeting, we had lunch at the Simpson's house where I helped make the food - biscuits and gravy, hashbrowns, and eggs. We then went tracting into a neighborhood that was a little sketchy to visit some investigators.

Elton is a very interesting man searching for truth, and I LOVE him. The other sisters had met with him a couple times and he is currently reading the book of mormon and he loves it. Elton has a hard life and his body is paying for all the abuse he's put it through with drugs and alcohol. He's an older gentleman and all he wants is to hold a grand-baby in his arms, but he's afraid he might not make it that long.

So far everyone that we've had prayers with here likes to hold hands and they do "prayer talk" as we pray. Saying things like "thank you Jesus, or "oh yes Lord"

The best part of my first day in the field was visiting George and Amanda. They are GOLDEN! And so prepared. They live in a small house within their means. Amanda loves to be prepared and has actually been called a food hoarder before because she does so much couponing and stocking up. But really - she is just doing food storage! She's been able to help out so many people that were in desperate need because she has been prepared. They have 4 kids, and the oldest is a non verbal Austically challenged 8 year old. I love his sweet spirit.
Get this - Amanda has been researching our church for years and has been reading the Book of Mormon! She bought one herself because she wanted to read it! Which is funny because we give SO MANY out for free ;)
They are looking for a family oriented church where their kids feel important and they can be together as a family!

There are a lot of crazy people down here! It really is like speaking a different language sometimes!
Many people love missionaries and the fact we are "spreading the word of God."
Serving in the south is so interesting.
Everyone loves God and Jesus and many believe that there are living prophets and apostles on the earth today.
But a lot of people don't care what church you go to, as long as you go to church.

Many people when we are out tracting will respond with: "I've already been saved" or "I've already accepted Jesus Christ into my heart" or "I've already been baptized" and don't want to listen to our message about the RESTORED GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.

I think it's cool that a couple times we have eaten out in public, I always see people blessing their food out loud, in public! People are committed to God!

There are so many religions out here. Lots of people are baptist, but there are different kinds of baptists too. Driving to an appointment the other night I counted 24 different churches/religious meeting houses. SO MANY RELIGIONS.

The good news is - we are SO busy. Our planners are filled with appointments every day and we are running out of gas miles because our area is pretty big and appointments are far away! Mission work is hard at times but I am loving it. I have a whole new appreciation for hard work.
You should be exhausted at the end of the day so you can eventually rest with the LORD!

I've already witnessed miracles. It blows my mind! We needed someone to come to an appointment with us the other day and we had been calling people all day. We finally just sat down and said a prayer, and little 2 seconds after we hung up the phone, someone called US!
Miracles. Errrrry Day!!!!

There is a place to eat much like the southern equivalent of Golden Corral called Ryans. The man who owns it is named E.T. and he's a member of the church, so he lets the Brownlee missionaries eat there quite often!

One of our investigators named Bill is a substitute school teacher who loves kids. He came to church with us on Sunday and it was the primary program where all of the children 12 and under participate in teaching us through talks, scriptures, and songs. I think he really loved it, and we can't wait to keep teaching Bill!

My first P-day was a lot of fun. We got all the shopping done that we needed to and then we went over to the stake center and played some sports with our ZONE! (All the elders and sisters serving in the Shreveport stake) We played a mean game of ultimate dogeball which was VERY fun actually.
I was a little scared, but I embraced it!

There is a CUTE little donut shop near to where we live called "Southern Maid" which is BETTER THAN KRISPY KREAM. You have to get them while they are hot though! MMMM
Even Elvis approves.

Well sorry for all the pictures, but I didn't get to send any last week! I hope you all are doing well, and feel free to send me a letter!
My new address is on the WRITE ME section of this blog - under current address. It will be good at least until the next transfer date which is December 6. But I probably won't be getting transferred!

Love and miss you all!
Peace and Blessins!

Awkward moment of the week:

We were tracting around and walked up to a house. I noticed they had a bull dog in the backyard and then we knocked on the house door. All the sudden we hear barking and look above us... the dog was on the roof. SCARY!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Greetings from Ol' Miss‏

My mom left the gas on, on ACCIDENT. So now im stuck outside in the freezing snow. Funnnnnn. Anyways I decided to check my email on MY laptop:) And found this new letter from Riss!
XoXo from a very cold Madi Adele

Hey YA'LL!!!!

Well I am in Mississippi as we speak! We are in Clinton getting ready to transfer everyone to their new areas!

I have been assigned to Shreveport Louisiana! I am going to an area assigned Brownlee! :)
I looked at the map last night and guessed I was going there because it's like my name!
Then BAM! This morning I was assigned there!
The missionaries here at the mission home said that the people there are really humble and it's a little bit ghetto.
As they were assigning missionaries to areas last night, they said that they knew without a doubt that's where I needed to go! I have also heard that my new companions (I am going to be in a tri-panionship) are AMAZING and I will get along with them so well! That is really comforting because I am so sad to leave Sister Hartley and my district from the MTC!

We are getting to email home today since we are getting transferred but from now on my p-days will probably be on Monday.

The plane ride and traveling yesterday was SO tiring!!! We left the MTC at 3:00 AM and were up late of course packing. I wouldn't recommend only getting an hour of sleep before a long day of travel. I got to call home and talk to my family for like an hour before our flight took off and try to describe to them everything that has happened so far!
On the plane from Utah to Atlanta I sat next to this really nice woman who is from New Zealand and she is a member of the church. When she found out I was a missionary she bought me some awesome airplane food and we chit-chatted about mission work and the joy it brings!
Once we got to Atlanta and got off the plane we had a 2 hour layover, so we all got some pizza and called home to say one more goodbye.
I felt like everyone was staring at me at the airport.. and realized that now I am wearing the Savior's name on my chest... people are watching everything I do and say. So I am going to stop being a little less weird. ;) A lady walking behind sister Hartley and I made a rude comment about "there go those crazy book of mormons" and it just made me smile!

We got off the plane to Mississippi and the Mission President and his wife and a bunch of missionaries were there waiting to pick us up!
Our mission president is seriously one of the most softspoken, cute, sweet, and humble men I have ever met. I absolutely love him. They keep up a blog of all the missionaries and I am sure there will be a bunch of pictures of me on there soon. :)

We had a great homecooked meal which was so AMAZING compared to the MTC food we have been eating the past 2 weeks! #ihatecafeteriafood

Sister Hartley and I stayed in a member's house last night - Brother and Sister Rust - and Sister Rust were so sweet! I am getting my first taste of southern hospitality! She took a picture of Sister Hartley and I and sent it to our parents to let them know we are safe!

I got out of the shower last night and couldn't see because I didn't have my glasses on, but I saw a quarter on the ground right by my foot. As I reached over to look at it I realized it wasn't a quarter... IT WAS A HUGE BROWN FUZZY HARRY POTTER SPIDER.
I ran and got Sister Hartley and we inspected the situation in the bathroom. I then proceeded to grab the beast with a huge wad of toilet paper and flushed him down the toilet.
Mind you - I did all this in a towel. #reallifehero

As we were driving past all the houses yesterday I noticed A LOT of the houses have porches. I made this comment, and Sister Rust said
"We don't put away our crazy people... we just set them on the front porch in rocking chairs."
It made me laugh so hard!


Everything is greener than green, and there are some weird plants I have never seen before.
The roads here are terrible!!!! Apparently they are made of Yazoo clay... and it shrinks and expands and the result is that you feel like you are riding the white roller coaster at Lagoon.

I am so excited to get to work and start doing what I came here to do!
We were given some advice yesterday and our mission president said it's so importand to take your mission one day at a time.
If you don't... you will go crazy!
We were also told that a mission will the best thing of your life and you will see miracles happen every single day. Mission work brings true joy to you and is one of the funnest things you will ever do.

I can't wait to tell ya'll about all the crazy people I am going to meet!
So for now, I am signing out of Mississippi and headed off to Louisanna!

I think I already have an accent......
Much Love, Sister Brown

Scripture of the week: Luke 23:43     "Today thou shalt be with me in paradise"

Awkward moment of the week:
(Elder Jamal Odies is a Hatian from Boston. He is a crazy person!)
Elder Odies: "Once I saw a turkey outside me window."
Sister Brown: "That's weird.... 
Elder Odies: "And once I had a racoon. We named it Jofifa."

Jo-fi-fa. Probably the weirdest name I have ever heard!

P.s. Sorry for no pictures this week - The computer I am on doesn't have a camera port! I will send lots next week!
P.p.s. for anyone that wants to follow Sister Hartley's blog, it is:

Saturday, November 2, 2013



I literally cannot keep my eyeballs open!

It's funny to think in college I got a lot less sleep than this but I wasn't quite as tired. I think having every minute of every day planned and constantly in deeeeeeeep thought and feeling the spirit more than you ever have in your life before is #EXHAUSTING.

Here's another picture with my cousin Elder Cole and I and our companions :)

Sundays in the MTC are amazing. I loved every meeting! We got to go on a walk to the temple on Sunday night and it was really fun. Here is a picture of Sister Hartley and I, and then one of our whole district :)

I had my very first real missionary lesson on Monday and that was exciting. Here in the MTC they have people you get to practice teaching. Some of them are LDS members that are actors, some are converts that portray themselves before they joined the church, and some are REAL INVESTIGATORS. So you never know! It's crazy!

One of the Elders in my district named Elder Guillume is from Farmington as well and he went to Davis High school... it's fun to have someone to talk about University of Utah football, Lagoon, and everything else Farmington with. He is the Elder on the very far left of the picture above.

Here is a picture of my friend from my district - Sister Ridge and I. She reminds me SO MUCH of my best friend serving in Baltimore Maryland! We love to goof around :)

Sunday Night we got to go to a devotional and Carlos A Godoy of the 70 talked to us about his conversion story, it was awesome! Something i loved that he talked about was the fact that we are called to teach "ALL." Someone that may not look like the perfect investigator can be just who is waiting to hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Then we watched an old devotional titled "The Characters of Christ" talk by David A. Bednar. He talked a lot about missionary work being more about who you are - rather than what you say. That has been so comforting to me along with "Teach people, not lessons." I feel like I don't know a lot of doctrine and so I love the fact that I can teach people what they need, and not worry about every single thing I am going to say. The spirit will guide!!!
Turning outward and converting myself is going to be such a big part of my missionary experience.
Christ truly turned outward in every way. The natural man turns inward and we all know that "the natural man is an enemy to God.
When you replace the word "repent" with "turn" you will find it's necessary to live with your Heavenly Father again. It's possible and I know it is!

I don't know how I never realized the the LDS church is literally CHRIST'S RESTORED CHURCH! It blows my mind! The ministry that Christ had during the New Testament times with his 12 deciples is RE-ESTABLISHED on the earth today!
How could you not want to hear about it?!
I don't know why that never clicked before...

We have been meeting with a lot of investigators. I have 2 favorites... Linda and Sarah.
Linda is a 58 year old retired special ed teacher who has a deep love for the Bible and love for God. She has been meeting with missionaries for a year and can't get an answer if the Book of Mormon is true or not. She tells Sister Hartley and I that she's "not a feeler" so I think she has had a hard time recognizing the holy ghost. Sister Hartley and I just want her to feel so badly of God's love for her because she seems so lonely and sad!

We have also been meeting with a REAL LIFE investigator... Sarah :) We have run into her quite a few times outside of classes and we don't think it's a coincidence! She is from Tennessee and moved here to Utah pretty recently! She has given us all sorts of tips about the south and food and I think she got a crack out of the fact that my Grandpappy was a moonshiner from Signal Mountain! Here is a picture of all us girls from the district with her!

Halloween was just another amazing day of missionary work.... :)
My family was thinking of me though and I was so happy to get some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies in the mail! It made my whole week and my district LOVED THEM!

We had another lesson with Linda and it was really powerful. She is still hung up on the Book of Mormon being true. Sister Hartley and I gave her a card and a Halloween present that she loved! It seemed to touch her that we genuinely care and love her. I asked if maybe she's not getting her answer about the BOM because she is already in her head doubting it since she loves the Bible so much. How can she get an answer when she's not open to one? ----- yes or no!
"How do you know the Bible is true, Linda?" She says she just knows... and we asked if she has prayed to know the Bible is true. She said no, she we invited her to pray about BOTH books :) and that if she really wants to grow and progress... she has to get out of her comfort zone! I also told Linda to "Doubt her Doubts" and never doubt the faith that she has. I think she really liked it.

I auditioned to play a musical number this week and it went really well!

I can't believe it is November now.....

Yesterday we had In-field orientation all day and it was really fun. There were lots of object lessons which I loved. One of my favorites was when you tried to squeeze a hard boiled egg through a bottle.... it just crumpled and smashed. But, if you lite a match and toss it in the bottom of the bottle and place the egg on top.... it just magically fell through! This was to show that we can't force our investigators to conversion... they must do it for themselves.

There was also a really neat play they put on for us exemplifying the first few weeks out in the mission field and how to work with our ward mission leaders and bishops. Member missionary work is so so so so important! At the end of the play there was a short video. It was a map of the world and it started with one dot on the map in Kirkland Ohio. The dot moved to Nauvoo and more dots began to appear as time progressed and different colored dots popped up, indicating all the stakes, temples, and members all over the world. It was so powrful to me and made me cry!

My favorite part of the day yesterday was teaching Linda her 5th and final lesson since we have to leave to Jackson on monday! The lesson went so well.... we shared D&C 20: 11-12 with her and invited her to be BAPTIZED! After a very long pause............... She said YES!

I am missing a lot of things... My mom's cooking... my dog Dexter, listening to and playing music all day, watching finding nemo... and my family. Mom, I even miss your green smoothies!
Well I have to go get packing.... but I love you all! I can't believe that Monday afternoon... I WILL BE IN JACKSON MISSISSIPPI!!!!!! The time here in the MTC has flown by and I already feel like a completely different person.
The church is true and there is not a doubt in my mind! 

And thank you for the mail.... it keeps me going. I'm sorry I don't have time to respond to you all right away... But i will soon, I promise!!!!! Please keep writing!!!!!!

I love you all so much!! Goodbye, and I will talk to you in MISSISSIPPI!

Love, Sister Brown

Favorite Scripture of the week: ETHER CHAPTER 12
Awkward moment of the week: 

Sister Brown and Elder Guillume Beat Boxing some Hymns! LOVE IT! :)