Friday, December 27, 2013

Have a Ragin' Cajun Redneck Christmas!‏

Hope everybody had a Merry Christmas! I know I did! I got Legolas!

   Madi Adele

 Feliz Navidad, everybody!
This week was a little slower for me. We had transfers, of course, and then I caught a bad cold.
But I got a priesthood blessing that I would be able to overcome my sickness and work just as hard, because we had a lot of work to do.
And that we did!

We got our new companion this week. Introducing... Sister Holbrook!
Sister Holbrook is from Pocatello, Idaho and loves to sing and act. Her favorite color is orange and she loves to tell people how God loves everyone.

We also got a new Elder in our district.... Elder Dalton! He is from California and is a very BOLD missionary! Here is our new district family!!!!

I need to tell a little story.
Once upon a time.....
We met a lady who had about 16 starving puppies all over her yard. My heart was broken. I hate seeing starving animals! (and people too.)
We visited with her a couple times and I eventually asked what she was going to do with all the puppies.
"Are you going to feed them?"
She said: "No, they aren't my problem."
I asked if she was going to do anything about them and she said that she was trying to get rid of them by giving them away for free. She asked if we wanted any, but unfortunately, missionaries can't keep pets. 
I asked ward members if they wanted a puppy. I just couldn't even sleep knowing there were all these starving puppies a couple blocks away.
I literally woke up during a thunderstorm one night worried about them and tried to go back to sleep.

I wrote my mom a letter because I knew she would understand. I told her that I knew she couldn't do anything about the situation, but I asked her to pray for me. Pray  that I would be able to focus on my mission work and a little less about the puppies.

Next thing I know, my mom has shipped me boxes and boxes of puppy/dog food and has her friends enlisted in the cause as well. My companions would just laugh every time we would see a box on the porch because we all knew what it was!!!!

So I am so excited to take all the puppy food to the starving puppies!!!!
Turns out... the lady was able to get rid of all them.
What!? So now we have all the dog food and no dogs!!!
We stored it under our beds for a little while and think of some families who would need it.

There is a family in our area that used to have the missionaries over for dinner almost every week.  And for a while they wouldn't let missionaries in at all. They have a daughter that has a very rare blood disease and is ill all the time. That is why they don't come to church and other activities.
Sister Dagupan, Sister McGrath and I tried to see them a couple weeks ago.
I commented on how much I love their dogs (they have 4) and asked about their breeds/names and ages, etc.  Then they opened the door to us!!!
After getting to know their pets they said they were busy but we invited them to the ward Christmas party and asked when we could come back?
They said they should have us over for dinner and they would call us soon.
Well, we have tried to set up a couple of appointments to meet with them but they haven't worked out.

So the other day we decided to dog-food ditch them. We got a couple bags of dog food and dog treats and put a bow on top. We ran up and placed it on the doorstep and then knocked and ran away very quickly! We hid behind a bush and got to see the family open the door in amazement.
They were so grateful that they all ran out of the house and tried to find the culprits!
We huddled behind the bush and I silently prayed they wouldn't find us! And they looked everywhere but the bush, thankfully.

We heard them talking to each other wondering "Who could have done this... who knew we needed dog food?"
At one point I think I heard "Maybe it was some church people."
But I hope that maybe their hearts have been softened a bit and the next time we come by we will be able to invite the spirit into their home.  We hope to share with them a message they need to hear!

Thank you to everyone who has sent me treats, money to buy dog food, or dog food!
I have been able to anonymously help out quite a few families and it has made me happy.

Well, I have gained such a testimony of service since I have been out in the mission field. I read in the Book of Mormon the other day how Ammon was able to convert King Lamoni just by serving him.

Christ gave us all a light. I want to magnify it and pass it on to other people.
Light leaves no place to hide!
I am so grateful I am here. I am so thankful for the pioneers who suffered SO much so that we could have the gospel. It's something I take for granted sometimes.

Christ suffered so much for me. I feel so sad for all the time I spent taking this gospel for granted because I didn't understand what a big deal it is!
I feel like I am finally becoming the person I have always wanted to be. I hope that my name-tag isn't going to be the only reason that I talk to everyone. I would like to be someone that everyone can turn and run to.

I love all God's children and I truly feel that everyone deserves to have the opportunity to hear about his gospel. I am so happy.

Merry Christmas!!!!
With much love,
Sister Brown

P.S. This is how missionaries leave a tip!

P.P.S. Someone made us this!

P.P.P.S. Here is what I ate for dinner last night!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I don't get a lot of email time today, so I will just quickly update you on the happenings of the week.

Well everyone.... Sister McGrath has been transferred! :( I was so sad she had to leave, but she is needed in Jackson Mississippi to bless and teach people there! She has become a sister to me and I will miss her so much. You just come to love each other so much because we spend every minute of every day with each other and grow so much spiritually together.
I really did not want her to leave - especially before Christmas, but there is a reason for everything :) I am so grateful for the time I had to serve with her and how much she has taught me and blessed me. 
Sister Dagupan and I are getting a new companion though! Sister Holbrook will be arriving later this evening!

We had dinner at a really cool place called Shanes. I ate some real southern food!
We tracted into our first REALLY NICE HOUSE (most of our area is trailer parks) and the drive way was about half a mile long. Can you see the house in the back of this picture? There were horse pastures and ponds leading up to the house. It was SO beautiful!!!!
We met a woman this week named Cheyanna. She has her hands full since her husband is in jail back in Arkansas and she has to take care of their little girl by herself. We had her read in the Book of Mormon Ether 9:21 and after she read it she looked at us and said 
"Wow. I really like that. It rings true! I would love to read more of this book."
YES! We can arrange that! So we happily gave her a copy and invited her to read in Enos :)

This was the magical week when Bill entered the waters of baptism! Elder Taylor baptized him and did a wonderful job.
I was pretty much running around all day like a crazy lady! I played the piano for opening and closing hymns, prelude music, and sang and played the guitar for a musical number!
Bill asked Sister McGrath, Sister D and I to sing "Don't You Know" from the Best Two Years.
It was such a special day and Bill even made us gumbo!

We also had the ward party that night and the theme was "Christmas In Nauvoo."
Everyone tried to dress up like pioneers and we had a trail of hope, stores, and everything just like in Old Nauvoo. It was beautiful, lovely and amazing.
The ward put a lot of work into making it just like the olden days! I also played piano music for the event, and my skills are being used very frequently! I sure love this ward family and all the friends I have made here.
On sunday we went to church and Bill got confirmed a member during sacrament meeting which was really neat. We had to go visit some people for Sister McGrath to say goodbye to, including the Lewis'! It was really hard for them to say goodbye to her. They were happy for her but sad at the same time! Sister Lewis spelled out in the air "I love you" and gave her the sweetest hug ever.

We were invited to the Burns' family Annual Nativity Pageant! It was so much fun. Bill and Richard came (recent converts to the church) and they loved it too. Richard is SO cool - total biker dude! I will write more about him later!
We all got to have a part in the pageant and Sister D and I tied really big gold bows in our hair to represent an angel halo! I guess I just looked like a bunny though.
Someone's house had some really eclectic things on their porch. Including..... A TIMPANI!
.....Repurposed into a plant pot... :(
Here's a picture of Tracie, Sister McGrath and I. Tracie is dressed as an elf!
Something else amazing that happened this week was that my family sent me a nativity. It made me SO happy I almost cried!!!
Well here are some more pictures. I will talk to you all soon! Merry Christmas :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Tender Mercies

12 DAYS TILL WE GET TO TALK TO MARISSA!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, and there`s that thing called Christmas. #missionaryproblems

       Madi Adele

 As a missionary you constantly look for tender mercies. Little miracles that happen every day. Last week we had so many!
We ran into one of our ward families at wal-mart while we were looking longingly at trees. This family knew we probably didn't have the money or means for a Christmas tree. They came up to us and gave us some money, and told us to buy ourselves a REAL Christmas tree. What?! Tears sprang to my eyes as a simple act of kindness showed me what Christmas was all about. What a "tinder" mercy for me and my companions! We had so much fun decorating it and listening to some Christmas music together. (Sidenote: We had just purchased the "Duck the Halls" Christmas CD from Duck Dynasty.)
We had another Secret Santa leave a beautiful wreath and 3 candy filled stockings on our porch this week as well. It warms my soul to see how much people love and care for us and want us to have some Christmas around our home! Thank you to whoever did this for us, you will never know how much it meant!
We had a lot of lessons with Bill this week and we helped him decorate his house for Christmas! It was fun, and we always love doing service!
I love this month's copy of the Ensign. (The Ensign is a church published magazine.)
My favorite talk was "Come let us Adore Him"
 I loved reading how the innkeeper has a bad reputation for having no room in his in, but he offered what he DID have available - a stable. Which ended up being a blessing because the savior was born in a place of peace and where the spirit could dwell!
I would love for all of you to watch this Bible Video about the Nativity, it is really moving.

Speaking of the Nativity.....
Our stake did a nativity celebration this past weekend. We had Nativity Scenes from all around the world on display, and we had different groups from schools/churches/people that came and performed while people looked around. I loved seeing people from all over the community at our church. It made me so happy to see all different faiths gather together in a united cause - Jesus Christ!
Here are a couple of my favorite nativities!
Transferrs are next week and I hope that no one from my district gets transferred! We are all such good friends!!!!
I had a hard experience this week running into a preacher and getting torn apart. All the sisters and I could do was stand there and smile, and not engage in arguing with him. He told us we have been brainwashed all our lives and we need to do some serious research about our church. We need to "google" everything that seems controversial.
We told him "we'd pray about it" haha, and left with a smile and a Merry Christmas.
I left with my testimony in shambles and my pride and faith shaken. But I took a deep breath, another step forward, and wiped a tear from my eye.
Sister McGrath and Sister Dagupan gave me a hug and said "all we need to do right now is find those who are ready. That's all we have to do."
I'm so grateful for my companions and all I am learning from them. They are my best friends!

Here is a picture of a beautiful Louisiana sunset!!!!
I love all the little critters I get to meet and see. I have always loved animals! These 4 baby raccoons sure took us by surprise this morning when we went to take the garbage out!
AHHHH CREEPY EYESSSSS!!!!!!!!! - Madi Adele

Well that's all I have time for today! Miss Donna said: When it's 30 degrees here, it is worse than -10 degrees in Utah. We are trying not to freeze our faces off, but above all, the spirit of Christ keeps us together and keeps us feeling as warm and happy. :)

Scripture of the week: Matthew 11: 28-30

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Happy Holidays everybody! Are you excited for Christmas? I AMM!!! 
                          Madi Adele
 I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!! Mine was fantastic!
My Dad will be happy to hear that I started off my thanksgiving with a good ol' turkey bowl.
We played with the Stake and all the missionaries in the Shreveport Zone (but Sister McGrath, Sister D, and I were the only Sisters to show up!) #girlsruleboysdrool
The turkey bowl was more of a major mud fest.... everyone kept slipping and landing in the mud.
It was flying everywhere.
In fact, I'm pretty sure I ate some...
It was a blast though. Our friend Bill (getting baptized the 14 of December!) even came and watched us play!
The sisters and I decided it would be nice of us to make something for our friends. We made them some little turkeys and went and passed them out. It was a fun little craft for us to do together and we had a good time trying to make each turkey different and special in it's own way!!!
We had thanksgiving dinner at the Finklea's house, and I finally got my taste of some REAL GOOD southern food! Oh man! There was so much food we even had left overs! My favorite things that we ate were the sweet potatoes with brown sugar & pecans on top, and the cornbread dressing.
It was so fun to spend time with them even though I really missed being with my family! It was fun to hang out with Elder Taylor and Elder Spence, and we all brought pictures of our families to show and tell each other. :)
I ate so much food that I was in a food coma! What else is new!? But here is a cute picture of our district with the Finkleas!
I have some good stories to tell. We met a bunch of spanish people this week and we had trouble communicating with them. I tried to remember the little spanish I knew... but Sister D just told us to testify of Christ and they will feel the spirit!
So she tried that... and this spanish lady just looked at us like we were crazy people. BUT we did get numero telephono!!!
(where is my Grandpa Mansfield when I need him?!)
We found another spanish family and a very old man was sitting in a chair outside his trailor. We said something to him and then he just started going off in spanish! Somewhere in there I caught "navidad" and told the sisters he was talking about Christmas... so we sang him a Christmas Carol which we think he enjoyed very much. We said Adios and later as we drove past we yelled Feliz Navidad out the window... which he yelled back to us! And then we started singing together!

A funny little tender mercy from this week: Sister Madsen gave us a bunch of left over cupcakes from the baptism and the Sisters and I didn't want them.... I asked if we could give them away, but they said "We can't give strangers food, that's creepy!"
We tracted into this cute girl named Brittany and there were a bunch of kids running around her house. She told us she was babysitting and then later she told us that it was her birthday! So we sang her happy birthday and shared a little message about Christ. Then Sister McGrath asked if she "wanted some birthday cupcakes?"
SO we ran to the car and got them. I said something dumb, like "they aren't poisonous!" and we left with an appointment to see her next week.
The Sisters laughed at me but I said it was MY idea to give the cupcakes away! It just had to be the right person. :)

Other events of the week include:
-Helping Ben and Tracie break into their trailor because they locked themselves out and we were supposed to be teaching them a lesson!
-Playing piano for a baptism
-Sister D melting our shower curtain
-Finding a sunflower mailbox! (I love sunflowers!!!!)
-Finding enchanted lane
-A flooded yard from all the rain
I had a wonderful fast sunday yesterday, it was just what I needed! I gain so much strength from hearing everyone bear their testimonies at church. Bill even fasted!!!!! We told him that it was fast sunday the day before when we were teaching him - but we didn't really explain what that meant.
We could hear his stomach growling at church though! I love that he is showing his faith so much that he does things we don't even suggest/ask him to do!
We went and saw Bill later that night and he showed off his NEW SUIT he bought at the mall - for his baptism and for wearing to church! He said he felt like John Travolta :)
He is getting so excited for his baptism!! He takes such good care of us sisters. Always giving us things - tangerines, pencils, flashlights, caramels.... I just love him and who the gospel is allowing him to be - his best self!
I love mission work! I may never come home!!!!!