Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Miracle Marathon‏

Hello Everyone!! I am sorry I haven't been able to update you in a while! Have been very busy.
I am seeing so many miracles lately! It is incredible! Every day there are little miracles and I wish I could share them all with you, but for now we will have to stick with the super big ones.
1. The miracle of Brittany
In each of the areas we keep a book of teaching records called the Area Book, so that when the missionaries get transferred in and out, there is a record of what they have been taught and whom they have contacted.
We have been needing some more people to teach so we decided to go through the former investigators (people that were learning about the church but for some reason or other stopped) section and see if there was anyone we could try again. We prayed and picked 3 contacts out that we felt very strongly that we needed to try.
We tried the first one, but they had moved and the phone number was old. It had been a couple years. No dice.
We tried the second one... a girl named Brittany who the sisters used to teach here in Brownlee a year ago. She had come to church a couple times and was really progressing but all the sudden she stopped. The area book for her said - "Fiance asked missionaries not to visit" - so it probably had something to do with that.
We tried her house but she had moved... the house was for rent and nobody lived there, so we decided to try and call her later and see if the phone number worked.
The next day the relief society president in our ward calls us and asks if we are teaching a girl named Brittany????
we say...." no..... but we are trying to find her! why do you ask?"
Apparently Brittany had called a member in our ward (Sister Knudsen) that she became friends with when she came to church a year ago, and told Sister Knudsen that she wants God back in her life and needs help!!!!
Wow, Lord! It must be this girls time!!!!

So we got her phone number from Sister Knudsen in our ward and called her (the phone number we had for her must have been old so thank goodness she got prompted to find us!) and went and met her.

She ends up telling us that she just got out of jail a week ago and it was a very humbling experience. While she was there she read the whole bible. But she feels like there are things missing. She asks us, "Did you bring your Book of Mormon?"
Oh... why yes... we did!
We were able to answer many of her questions and bring her hope through the Book of Mormon. It was truly amazing.

She is so excited to read and she came to church on Sunday! But she is going to need some help overcoming some of her addictions. She wants to go the the addiction recovery class at our church in Shreveport and is just ready to get control over her life!
I can see she is HUNGRY for the gospel.

Follow the promptings and always update your area book.. that is what i learned this week! you never know the miracles it will provide for others!

*So that happened a couple weeks ago, and since then, Brittany told us she was moving. We were really bummed because she was going out of our area, and we would have to send the missionaries to where she moved to down in Keithville and we wouldn't get to teach her anymore!*

So Yesterday I turned 4 months old and that was pretty exciting. I remember when i just first came out!!!! Time is just flying.
Well yesterday I was pretty humbled. We went into the church building not expecting much... But the Lord showed us up!
We brought a less active member to church with us - his name is Stephen. He was baptized when he was 8 (his mom was LDS) but then shortly afterward, his parents got divorced and he lived with his dad. He doesn't really remember anything about the church.
He came with us to Stake conference a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it. He is really shy and doesn't say a whole lot, but I love the countenance change we have seen in him. He genuinely seems happier since we found him and have been teaching him!

We have a testimony of sitting up close with the people we bring to church, but unfortunately we were late because we had to show his ride (Richard Arndt, a recent convert) where he lived.
So we got there at 11:29 and I went and sat in the frontish with Elder and Sister Simpson (the senior couple that takes looks over us) and Sister D and Sister Holbrook went and sat in the back. It really makes a difference in the spirit you are able to feel depending on where you sit, at least for me!!!!

So church is going great. Evan.... (another recent convert in the Brownlee ward) (the baptist preacher I talked about while ago) blessed the sacrament (where we partake of the Bread and Water in remembrance of Christ's sacrifice) and I was just so happy and proud of him. Then all the sudden I look in front of me and see one of our investigators we invited to church sitting with a member of our ward. WHAT!? He came last week but the member said that he disagreed with some of the doctrine and probably wouldn't come back. They have been friends for a long time and we met him while doing a service project for this member. But there he was! He even drove himself!!!!!! Wow. I guess he changed his mind! :)
Then a few minutes later the door opens and in walks Brittany!!!

Now this was a big miracle because last week she moved to Keithville (out of our area) so we were planning on sending the missionaries down there to her and hadn't really had a lot of contact in a couple days. But I guess Sister Knudsen called Brittany Sunday morning and convinced her to come to church if she drove down to Keithville to get her. (45 mins away?) Keep in mind Sister Knudsen has just very recently recovered from surgery!!!
Turns out the situation she moved into in Keithville was not good and Brittany moved into a homeless shelter in Shreveport last night and the ward is helping her figure out how to get her life back in order. She came back!!!!
SO there I am sitting just totally in awe and thankful for all the miracles the Lord allows me to be a part of each day. 
Really the Lord could do this all by himself .... just look at what he did that day!!!! But he allows us weak things of the earth to become a little better by allowing us to take part in his work and his glory.
I am so thankful to be a missionary!

Stay tuned for episode 2 of Miracle Marathon next week. We will be discussing the miracle my dad likes to call "The Miracle of Dental Work"

Well i am almost out of time, but here are some other things that have happened lately!!!!
Icicles on the mailbox 
Happy Holbrook Day (Sister Holbrook's year mark! We decorated and had an awesome breakfast.

My parents sent me Chocolate covered strawberries in the mail!!!

Got to see some of my best friends! Eden and Markie

We have been doing a lot of service projects! Leaf raking... and Sister D and I built a fence around a garden for someone!!!
And.... I lost my shoe in the Swamp.
Tried to take a jumping photo and it flew in!!!! It was so sad. Good thing I had my tennies in the car because we had been doing a service project!!!!!

Well until next time... I am signing off!!! Love you all!!!
Love, Sister Brown

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snow my Gosh!‏

Well as you all know it has been freezing cold. It actually SNOWED for a little while here in Louisiana. It was very exciting and no one was outside besides us sister missionaries..... Everyone called us crazy for being out in the cold weather... yet very few people would let us inside to share a message of Jesus Christ with them.... brrrrr! I am surviving off those little handwarmers you can buy at the store and you shake them and keep them in your pocket!!

As missionaries, people in our church down here volunteer to feed us sometimes! So we love when we get to eat with the members of our church.
I need some more ideas of gospel activities/object lessons we can share with families with little children! One of our favorites this week was to hand them our empty backpacks, have them put it on, and then stand up and sit down a couple times.
Easy right?
Okay, now lets add some sins.
Maybe you disobeyed your mom... (add a book)
Maybe you told a lie.... (add another couple books)
Maybe you didn't clean your room when your dad asked you to... (add a couple more books)
And maybe you hit your brother! (add the rest)

Okay. Now can you sit up and down? Usually the answer is no.....
So we tell them how Christ doesn't want us to carry these burdens all by ourselves.
Read Matthew 11:28-29

We tell them how Christ doesn't promise to take away all our problems... but he wants to help us in every way that he can. He doesn't want us to carry our backpacks by ourselves!
*Lift Backpack for them* *Have them sit up and down*
Isn't it easier when i am helping you?
I can help you take some of these books out too!!!

So, if any of you have ideas for more activities we can do with kids... let me know!
Shoot me an email any time.

Sister Lewis isn't doing very well... her Lou Gehrig's disease is making her really weak and every time we go to visit her I just want to cry. I love her so much and it makes me so sad to see her suffer and not be able to talk. But she and Brother Lewis love our visits so much and I always feel the spirit so strong in their home.
Sister Lewis told us about how her grandma keeps coming to visit her. (who passed away quite a long time ago.) Luckily her daughter moved in to help take care of her and Brother Lewis too as he isn't doing too well himself. Their dog got outside and he was trying to get him back and he tripped and fell down. His whole face was bruised and I felt so bad for them!

Well Bill is getting ready to leave soon! He finished truck driving school and is going to hit the road pretty soon! Yee hoo!
We got pulled over by the cops this week! We had our car parked on the side of the road and we were trying to make some phone calls because all our appointments had cancelled. Apparently the house we were parked in front of called the cops for "suspicious car parked in front of their house..."
SO the cops came and asked if we were lost and what we were doing and we told them that we are missionaries... just making a couple phone calls.
The Lady cop said: "oh.... okay well I bet I know exactly who called in this area..."
So basically someone just has anxiety about people on their street and probably calls the cops way too often.

One more weird experience from the week.
Sister D really wanted to go to this house that had no trespassing signs and beware of dog signs. She was really "feelin it" Sister Holbrook was not "feelin it." I was basically indifferent, so I said #YOSO (you only serve once) and we clomped through the yard and knocked the door.
As we walk through the ward there is a big black hummer with a skull sticker on the back window... mysterious animal bones... poopy diapers... and garbage galore decorating the lawn.... eww.
But we knocked on the door and asked if we could "share a message of Jesus Christ" with them, but they said they were all sick.
There was an Asian girl sitting on the stairs who said Hi to us as well. Sister D loves Asians. So we walked away.
The day went on and we prayed to know where we need to go.... So then we drove about 20 miles away to go see some people.
We tracted later on and as we walked down the street we noticed the same Hummer with the same black sticker and we thought how WEIRD that was!
So we knocked on the door and a nice lady answered but said she was busy planning a baby shower. As she closed the door we saw the same Asian girl as before sitting on the couch in the front room!!!! WHAT?! We were in a completely different area... it was so weird!
Is God having us stalk you? Do you need the Gospel of Jesus Christ????

Well I want to leave you all with my testimony of the Book of Mormon today. I absolutely love to study the Bible and read about Christ's life. What I love even more is to have a FULL understanding of Christ's teachings and his Character. I love to read the record of the people in the America's at the same time as the Bible was written and compare what was going on in their world. I love to know that God loves ALL his children and the people in Jerusalem weren't the only ones that he sent his son to see.
That's simply what the Book of Mormon is - ANOTHER testament of Jesus Christ. So the Bible doesn't have to stand alone as a book of scripture. HE LIVES and LOVES us so much.
By reading the Bible and the Book of Mormon side by side, I am able to FULLY understand and comprehend what the ancient prophets were trying to tell us. That Christ is real, and the only way to get through life... is by faith! If you haven't read the Book of Mormon... You really should find out for yourself what it is all about! Don't take my word for it....
Until next week I am signing off!
Lots of Love, Sister Brown

Kids say the Darndest things dinner conversations:
Sister D: "So what's your favorite cereal?"
Miles: "Waffles."

Miles: "And my favorite Bat is a normal bat."

.....What? Haha, I love little children!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Power of Sister Missionaries!‏

Well life is going great down here in Louisiana.
As missionaries we rotate around areas and we get called every 6 weeks to find out if we are moving or staying. We just had calls on January 24... So I am staying here in Brownlee for at least another 6 weeks in case you are wondering!
For everyone who worries about Bill, he is doing great. He is getting back into the swing of things very well and leaning on his friends for support!

We got together with the Zone again this week for a meeting and had a great time!
Here is a picture of me with the Sister Training Leaders for our zone. Sister Zemp, and Sister Smith!

This week has been a little slow, actually this transfer has been slow! The work has been a little slow because of the holidays and because so many people are sick.
I try not to get stressed or discouraged, but honestly when the work is going slow, that is the times I feel closest to the Lord. He knows how it feels to be rejected.
I think that's the way it is with life. The times of trial and tribulation are always the times we come to rely on our Savior, and in turn... grow closer to him and feel his love for us.

I was able to make a lot of new friends!

Something really cool that happened this week is that we have been able to see how powerful sister missionaries can be.
We have been talking with a man named Mr. Green and he told us that
"I can't tell you how many times I have shut the door on missionaries! But there was just something special about ya'll sisters...."
The Green family is one of my favorite families I have met on my mission so far. They are baptists, but they love to feed us and they are always making sure we are warm, taken care of, and happy. I will have to tell more about them later.

We have been able to work with a lot of families in our area that used to be members of the church, but for some reason or another they stopped coming. That has been amazing to see peoples concerns and help them through mis-understandings or times they may have gotten offended or didn't understand something.
One family we don't know their concern, but they wouldn't let missionaries over for a while and they are now letting Sister Brown, Sister Dagupan, and Sister Holbrook inside and even feeding them! They let us help them with some service they needed done last week! We helped plant some tulips and fertilize some soil. I fertilized my shoe as well.

Sister Dagupan got fired from driving this week... she hit a curb and took a nice lil chunk out of our tire. So now Sister Holbrook is driving because I can't drive for another 6 months or so... I have a bad record ;) But at least I've never had an accident! Here is the tire...

It also snowed here this week.. that was really exciting! We were all going crazy because it doesn't snow very often in the south... that just proves how cold it really has been!!!! I have been having to wear lots of layers!

Well the Elders in our district had a baptism this week and it was wonderful. I got to play the piano again! Here is a short story about Evan....
Evan is friends with Brother Kitley (one of the members of the church) and they worked together at Lowes. Evan has studied every religion out there and was even a baptist preacher at one point. He would ask questions about the church and eventually started meeting with Elder Dalton and Elder Taylor. He loved every minute of their discussions and during one lesson they were reading from the Book of Mormon and a question that Evan has had about Adam and Eve and the "Fall" was answered as they read the pages in the book.
He turned to the missionaries and Brother Kitley with tears in his eyes and said this:
"I thought this book was crap. But those words you just read... those words...are some of the most beautiful I have ever heard."
And now he has come full circle within a matter of weeks. He said that the Gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the truth and the answer to every prayer and every question he has ever had.

He couldn't believe that the Mormon church... something for so long he had misconceptions and ideas of what it actually was.... was the church that contained the answers to the deepest questions in his heart and there was no doubt in his mind that this truly is... The Lord's Church!

The Simpsons are leaving soon which will be very sad.. they are the senior couple that helps take of the missionaries in Shreveport! They will get another couple to come in to take care of us, but I love them so much! They always help us out.

Well Sister D and I had a great time washing the car the other day. It was SO cold, but we got it done as quickly as we could!

And here is Sister Holbrook choking me with my scarf.

I just want to tell you that I am so happy and loving my life. I hope you are all well and happy! Please write... I love letters!!!!!!
God Bless you all!

Sister Marissa Jenell Brown
Mississippi Jackson Mission
175 Burnham Road
Brandon MS