Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sheep and Wolves & My weekend in Minden

Hi everyone! There will be two emails today because I am behind on them:) -Madi Adele
  Hello from Louisiana! I am having another wonderful week of missionary work.
My new companion Sister Matson is awesome!!!! She is from a town called Forest, Illinois! Yay the midwest! About 2 hours south of Chicago. I was so excited to talk with her about cornfields and Nauvoo, and the beauty and lovely people of the midwest!

Sister Matson actually got her mission call to Victoria, Brazil. But she got a re-assignment to the United States while she is waiting for her Visa to come through. She has already been here 7 months, but I admire her faith that the Lord will send her to Brazil when he needs her there, and right now, he needs her in Louisiana! She has been serving in Monroe, Louisiana (duck dynasty land) and we are so happy to have her here with us in Shreveport! She loves animals as much as I do, and wants to be a vet when she gets home from her mission! :)

This week I have realized how much Satan wants our souls.
I would like to tell you an Indian Legend!!!

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
I read a great talk in the ensign from last month (february 2014) about how the Savior teaches us to keep Satan at bay. If you don't have an Ensign (a magazine the Church puts out) and you would like to read the talk I am referring to - you can find it below!

As much as I know Satan wants us.... I also know that the LORD wants us!!!!! He wants us to come unto him. To feel his love. He wants to bless us!

I saw so many miracles this week! It is always so difficult for me to just write down a few that touched me in a very special way. It's such a blessing and testimony builder for me to be in the Lord's Vineyard at this time, and it's a miracle that he uses me - a weak human being - as an instrument in his hands to bring his children back to him.

One of the biggest miracles that I saw this week had to do with our Investigator Brittany.
She told us that she wants to get baptized! But she wants to change some things before she gets to that point.
One thing she wants to change are some of her addictions. She knows that she needs to quit smoking!
As missionaries - we have a stop smoking workshop that we teach. It is 100% successful if you follow all the steps! Sister Matson has seen it take people from chain smokers - to smoke free happy people in 7 days. It's amazing. The program is based all around FAITH.
So on Saturday night, we taught Brittany the workshop in Sister Knudsen's beautiful home. (Sister Knudsen is the one that picks her up for church every week, and now they are really good friends.)

Brittany is truly so ready to change her life and I saw her do one of the most amazing things I have ever done.
As part of the workshop - Brittany needed to throw away all her cigarettes and anything associated with them. (lighter, chew tobacco, etc.)
I watched in awe as I saw her holding them one last time... looking longingly at them, touching and smelling them, and holding back tears. They had become a part of her.
But she then took them into her hands, and crushed them. She broke them in half and with each cigarette in the trash, I saw her gaining a piece of her life back. She was ready to be back in control!

Satan carefully... so carefully... leads us away from having control over our lives. He WANTS OUR SOULS!
We have to remember that we have righteous spirits inside our bodies, that we can put off the natural man. We can come unto Christ, lay our imperfect selves at his feet, and he will hold us in his arms and tell us that he knows how we feel.
He is our Shepherd. We are his sheep. He makes us into so much better than the world tells us we can be.

I see this world today in turmoil! Satan is everywhere. We have to keep him at bay! There is safety in the spirit. In the spirit of the Christ.

I admire the courage and bravery that Brittany showed me that night. That we are in control. That we don't have to give in to the temptations of Satan and the world. The spirit was so strong as we told her of God's love for her, and our love for her.

Here is a picture of us after church. Brittany, Me, Sister Knudsen, and her daughter.

It's crazy how much you can love people you hardly know. But that to me is a testimony that this is the Lord's work. And I am only feeling a piece of the Love he has for them.

Let us remember who we are... and let us feed our spirits each day!
Have you talked to your Heavenly Father today? He wants to hear from you. :)

Love, Sister Brown

One of my best friends - Megan!

Ice cream street
 And here is the second update/email. -Madi Adele

Oh wow it has been an amazing week! I saw so many miracles!!!!

Firstly... Brittany Jones quit smoking as I said last week - and she hasn't smoked since!!!! It has been amazing to watch her faith grow!!! As we were teaching her the other day, she just stopped us in the middle of the lesson and told us how much she wants to get baptized. It made me so happy for her.

I turned 5 months old yesterday and that was pretty exciting. I can't believe I have already been on my mission for 5 months!!! It just blows my mind how fast the time is flying!!!!
We met a 21 year old mom Tori, and Alexis her 11 year old sister who lives with her a couple weeks ago. We have met with them a couple times and they are aMaZiNg!!!!!
Tori LOVES to read and has been really interested in the Book of Mormon. Alexis has a lot of questions about Jesus and about his gospel and it has been so fun to teach them.

Yesterday they came to church with us and they absolutely loved it. Over the weekend, the youth in our ward had gone to the Dallas temple to do baptisms for the dead. If you are confused on what that means... check out these two websites that tell more about what the temple is - and what it is used for!!!!

But during Sacrament meeting (the first hour of church) I sat by Alexis and told her about what the temple is and what we do there. During the meeting they had 20 minutes for the Youth to come bear their testimonies about how much they loved going to the temple together.

Alexis LOVED it. She watched those kids her age get up and talk about how much they love Jesus, and how much they love going to the temple to get baptized for people that didn't get the chance to here on earth. I gave her a picture of the Salt Lake City temple to look at as they spoke and talked about their experiences.
She is such a sweet and shy little girl! But she kept looking down at the picture I gave her - like it was her hearts desire to be there! After the meeting I noticed she very carefully tucked it into the pocket of her purse...
It touched my heart!

We are going to go back and see them tomorrow.... I can't wait to hear what they thought about church! I know they felt the spirit, as they watched 22 youth bear their testimony to our congregation about how much they love the house of the Lord, and how much they love their families, and their savior Jesus Christ. Tori was moved to tears later on in the meeting when we talked about the talk "You Never Walk Alone" and I know that she felt the spirit testifying to her that the Lord has not Forsaken her.... that he loves her so much.
If you would like to watch or read this talk I will put it below.

So this weekend I got to go to MINDEN, LOUISIANA.
There are Sister Training Leaders in our mission, and they go around and help out all the rest of the sister missionaries so that we can be better! The current Sister Training Leaders here in the Shreveport area are Sister Rocha and Sister Giddins. I got to go with Sister Rocha to Mindin, and Sister Giddins took my place in Brownlee! So it's basically a swap.

I had a great time in Minden. Some of the Highlights?

We went to teach Mimi and Papaw. Mimi got baptized in November and now Papaw is learning from the missionaries! He is a truck driver and gave us a tour of his semi. I got to sit in a semi truck and Sister Rocha honked the really loud horn! It was hilarious!

I also had an amazing experience visiting some very special friends - Doug and Za'cariah. They are both in the Minden Rehab center and the missionaries are their very special friends. I got to feed Doug cheetoz and we talked about how much he loves God and loves the missionaries.
We read the scriptures together and I had such a fun time getting to know them.
Here is a picture of me and my new friend Doug!

I LOVED being in Minden, but I sure missed my area! I am glad to be back! I am so lucky I get to serve in such a great ward. They love us missionaries so much! Especially the kids :)
When I get home and have a family of my own, I can't wait to feed the missionaries dinner!!! One of my favorite families in the ward here is the McCabe family! They are the family that I had my famous Jalepeno experience with!!!! Haha! They will never let me forget it!

Well folks I am about out of time! But I hope you are all doing wonderfully. May the Lord bless you in all that you do!
With Love, Sister Brown

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Hey everyone, it`s Madi (Marissa`s sister). I am currently in Idaho and can`t post Marissa`s blog. But I will be back Saturday, and immediately post it. Have a good day :D

Sunday, March 16, 2014

No Regrets‏

Hello Everyone! I hope you are having a great week.
I have sad news for you all... We had Transfer week this week and Sister Dagupan got transferred to Gulfport, Mississippi. Right on the coast! She is going to love it, but MAN I will miss her.

So that means I will be staying here in Brownlee for at least another 6 weeks :)
Sister Holbrook and I are getting a new companion later today named Sister Matson! I will have to tell you more about her when I meet her!
Well this week has been awesome. We had a week of no regrets.
I finished up all my dental work... yay for happy teeth! I have invested in a large bottle of mouthwash and lots of yogurt because my mouth will probably be sore for a while.

We got to go on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders this week and that was really great. I always learn so much from them, and it's so good to get to know other missionaries!

Sister Smith (The one on the Right) got transferred to Monroe this week and she said she is going to go convert the Duck Dynasty Crew!!!

The best thing that happened this week was we had a BAPTISM!
The Baptism of Miss Destany
We have been teaching Destany for about 3 months. Here is a picture of us. I feel like she actually looks a lot like my 14 year old sister Madison!

So here is Destany's story (with her permission):
Hang in there because this gets confusing!
There is a married couple in our ward - Brother and Sister Segura. Sister Segura has a daughter named Moriah! Brother Segura was married before to someone else... Destany's Mom. Destany's mom is her mom, but Brother Segura was her step dad when married to her mom. Brother Segura and Destany's mom got divorced a long time ago - but he kept being her step dad and loves her. Since then - Brother Segura married his wife he is married to currently. Read that twice or 3 times, most likely. Well, Destany was not in a good situation with her bio mom. Her home environment was not a good place for a 15 year old girl to be growing up. Her relationships with her mom at home and new step dad were toxic and without saying too much; drugs, alcohol, and other things tore her family apart. Her mom decided she couldn't take care of her anymore.

Brother and Sister Segura somewhere along the grapevine heard about the situation, and decided to take Destany in. After a while... they even adopted her!
Destany had never heard anything about the church. She used to think it was dumb and not something that she wanted to be a part of.
But as she met with the missionaries... she realized what brings true happiness.. and she wanted it!
She went through all the lessons.. was embraced by the Young Women in the ward, put in a safe home, and given a new family.
And she decided she wanted to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.... and get baptized :)
We have been preparing for her baptism but weren't exactly sure when we would be able to do it because she wanted Brother Segura to Baptize her.. and we weren't sure when he would be home! (he works in the oil field)
But she wanted to do it before Elder Taylor and Sister Dagupan left... so we did it last night! :)

It was truly beautiful. Some of her friends in the Young Women's group sang a song called "I am His Daughter" and I played the piano.
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I loved seeing the SMILE on her face. The LIGHT in her eyes.
That to me..... Is the best proof in the world that the gospel changes lives.

Well I am excited for this next transfer. (6 week period of time!)
When President McDonough called and told us Sister Dagupan was leaving! :( He told me I am in change of the area now!!!!!
I always love rising to a challenge. I am excited to take the lead of the area and am excited for the miracles to unfold as they always do.

Thank you for your prayers... I really need them!
Love you all,
Sister Brown

P.s. Final Photo of our District Family here in Brownlee with Destany!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Miracle Marathon (round 2)

As promised... here is the story of the Miracle of Dental Work.

About a month ago... I got a tooth ache. This is really frustrating because I have had to have a lot of dental work done this past year!!!! I knew i wouldn't be able to be able to really go to the dentist on my mission. So... I get this tooth ache and don't know what to do. I struggle with it for a while but then can't take it anymore! So Sister Huston (in our ward) offers to take me to the dentist.
We go to the dentist and turns out one of the teeth I got fixed before I left on my mission had decayed again. And.... i had 12 more cavities. A bunch of my metal fillings had decay around them and I had a couple from not flossing very good.

Now I don't need lectures on taking care of my teeth.... I didn't do the best job of flossing in college... but now a days I brush and floss 3 times a day. I even carry floss around in my purse!!!!
So there I sit in the dentist's chair... and he said if we don't take care of the cavities... they would turn into a bunch of root canals.
I ask "how long could I put it off...?" Because my insurance won't cover my out of network. So was hoping I could wait 14 more months until I get home to fix them.
But he said "at best 6 months."
I started to cry... and was really overwhelmed. I told the dentist and my dental hygienist I would have to think about what I was going to do and I would let them know.
So afterwards... I get back from my appointment and get down on my knees. I plead with my father in heaven to give me some guidance for what my next step should be.
The next day I get a call from my mission president - President McDonough - saying that someone had from the dentist's office had called my parents and asked if they could pay for the dental work I needed done.
Someone anonymously wanted to pay for $2,000 worth of dental work.
What a miracle.

So they set me up 2 appointments to fix 12 of my teeth. I got the right side done (7 teeth) last week and am getting my left side done tomorrow. Please pray for me! You all know about my dental phobia. I did REALLY well for the first appointment though..... they had to give me 6 numbing shots. I took my iPod and listen to a book on CD during the appointment and that helped a lot because my mind couldn't focus on all the drilling noises!
Here is a picture of me and my Sweet dental hygienist - Miss Kenna. She has helped me through all the appointments I have been to and held my hand when I needed someone!
Last week during the 1st procedure I could tell something was on her mind, and I asked how she was doing. She ended up saying that she has had a really hard and sleepless week and that her dad was probably going to pass on soon. She told me she was going to leave her phone on during my appointment, so in case he did... she would be notified and could go home.

About halfway through.... Miss Kenna got the phone call that her Father had passed into the next life. She started to cry and I sat up and we just hugged for a few minutes before she had to go. What a tender moment I was able to share with a stranger. She strengthened my testimony with her faith in the next life. She knew her father needed to go... but sometimes it is harder on those of us here left on earth without them.

I am so grateful that Christ - broke the bands of death... so that we can be with our families for eternity. That this earth life is just a small piece of forever. I am grateful for a savior that cleansed us from our sin - so that we have the chance to live with God again! What joy this sentence gives! I KNOW that my redeemer lives!

After my appointment we went to an Investigator's house. She is one of my favorite people I have met on my mission! Her name is Bridget and she just had twins - they are 6 months old. Bridget feeds us lunch a lot and in return we help her come closer to the Savoir and we try to help her out a little! (folding laundry, singing to her babies, or doing her dishes.) She laughed at my numb face.... I was numb to my ear!

Well this week we also had Zone Conference and were able to see President and Sister McDonough. We had a great conference and learned so much! I always love being with the other missionaries!

Our friend Miss Donna also taught us how to make a wreath! EVERYONE in the south has one of these on their door.....

And we said goodbye to Elder and Sister Simpson! :( Their mission was up! And sadly... we won't be able to get a replacement. There is a shortage of senior couples in the mission field... so if you are reading this and want to go on a senior mission.... THE WORLD NEEDS MORE OF YOU! We have 3 senior couples in our mission and they are all leaving this spring! What will we do without them?! The Lord will provide. :)

Thank you all for your support. I miss home and family some days - but there is not one day that I want to "go home."
What a joy it is each day to wake up in the morning and get to go to work with the Lord. It truly is AMAZING.
I love mail. It's what keeps me going!
If you want to send me a letter - my address is:
Sister Marissa Jenell Brown
Mississippi Jackson Mission
175 Burnham Rd
Brandon, MS

Thank you for your unwavering support. I love you.
 Sister Brown