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

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