Thursday, August 21, 2014

Spiritually Sanctified


I can't believe how fast this week went by! It always seems to me that the weeks that we have a car to drive go very fast.... :)

We had Zone conference this week. All the missionaries in Shreveport gathered together for a conference together! We had an amazing time. I learned so much from the talks that were given and the testimonies that were shared.
Whenever there are missionaries leaving, they share a testimony of what they have learned with all the missionaries. It is one of the most spiritual experiences I get to have on my mission to hear how this teenagers became extraordinary people, and changed because of how much their faith in the Savior grew.
Here are some pictures from zone conference!

We won the clean car award!!!!

AND look how funny this is. Here is my companion from the MTC - Sister Hartley.
Sister Hartley is training a new missionary named Sister Bithell.
............and Sister Bithell and Sister Sowards (who I am training) were companions in the MTC!

We talked a lot at Zone Conference about the Book of Mormon and the importance of it.
Paul the Apostle taught us that out of the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses shall every word be established. How the Book of Mormon is convincing evidence that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world! How he loves all of his children.
And how the Book of Mormon can answer those questions of the soul that we have.

I have noticed that as I pour over the words that are written in the Book of Mormon, and I remember that they were literally written for me to read, for our generation, I find myself very emotional at the faith and courage that Nephi and his Family, Alma, and Moroni, so many of these ancient american prophets had. I want my faith to be as strong as theirs.

I invite you all to watch this wonderful video about the importance of the scriptures! It really brings them to life!!!

And I love to read the words of the Propehts and Apostles of our day, of their pure love they have for the Savior and for all the people here on the earth at this time.
This is one of my favorite talks that the General Authorities have given on the Book of Mormon.

Well I would love to tell you about a really neat experience we had this week.
We went tracting out in the country on a very hot day. As we were walking around we came to a street that we have already knocked on all the doors on that street except a few at the end.
Instead of just picking a new street, we decided to finish those last 2 houses on this street.

Well we knock on the first door and the lady opens and says:
"Hi, i'm Pentecostal and not interested."

WELL a lot of times when people say this, I don't want to offend them or bother them, so i usually just get off their porch and wish them a blessed day.
But for some reason, the Spirit of the Lord put different words in my mouth.
I said: "Mam, we respect your religion, we are just out sharing a message that is for everyone, no matter what religion you are. It will bring you closer to our Savior Jesus Christ."
She said "okay!" and let us inside!

I was a little shocked that she let us right inside and also at how wonderful the Air conditioning felt!!!! So I looked around her trailer and noticed that she has dream catches and lots of paintings of the Native American Indians around the wall.
We asked her about them and she told us that her husband is from the Apache(i think?) Indian tribe.

We we were then very excited to tell her about our message and about the Book of Mormon.
We told her with excitement that the Book of Mormon is a record of the people that lived on the American continent a very long time ago, and the people that wrote this book are the ancestors of the Native American Indians. That the book was translated into english so that she can read it!
She said she was interested in learning more about it and that she would like to read the introduction to the book.

Well, at this moment her daughter Megan walks into the room. She says
"Ohhhh Garren is going to be so happy."

We introduce ourselves to Megan and ask who Garren is and why he will be happy?"
She then tells us that Garren is her husband and that he is a mormon!

so turns out that Garren and his dad are members of the Stonewall ward here but just haven't been to church in a long time. We were very excited not only to find him, but to find his family! And we are praying that when we go back that their hearts will be open to recieve our message and know that it is true!
It was a really neat experience because if I would have just given up and walked away.... we never would have met Megan and never would have known about Garren and his dad!

I know that the Lord puts us in the right places at the right times... and that if we pay attention to the spirit, the spirit will tell us where to go and what to say. We don't have to worry, because God knows everything.
We just have to align our will with his will. Submitting entirely to the will of God.

Well in other news, We also had Stake Conference this weekend. We had 2 General Authorites come and speak to us down here in Shreveport!
Elder Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy
and Elder Blooth of the Seventy.
They spoke to us on many things, and since I am short on time, I will talk about that in my post next week :)

But I did get the opportunity to shake Elder Clayton's hand and it was really neat!

I got to see some people from my last ward at stake conference and it was so fun to see familiar faces of people that I love.

I also decided that I am going to cut my hair short! I just can't stand it anymore! Everyone say goodbye to my lucious locks.

Well you will see my new hair-do next week... I'm pretty excited!

God bless you as you share you love for Christ each day.
I pray that you will have a missionary moment sometime this week to share your testimony!

I love you!
Sister Brown

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

All Creatures of Our God and King!

Wow... do yall understand how much I love all of Heavenly Father's creations???
I have a lot of crazy animal pictures this week. Stay tuned.
First of all - Happy Anniversary to my parents!!!!

Marriage is not an easy thing! Man... I teach people all the time how Satan is tearing our families apart. He find so much joy in it! We know that the gospel blesses families though.... truly unites them, not only in this life, but forever. What a blessing!

I have so much to update you on - it's crazy. I'm sorry for the lack of posts, sometimes that's just how it goes!!!!

Okay. It's been a couple weeks since Sister Sowards and I have been together!

Training her is going great... I really enjoy being a trainer. It is teaching me diligence in the Lord's work. I have found that the things I am teaching her each day are a good review for me as well... So i'm kinda re-training myself in a sense. Reading each day from "Preach my Gospel" and setting goals on how to improve myself.

We have been biking.... :) Man yall know that I actually enjoy biking right?
It's so fun to be able to talk to so many people. AND... It helps me to appreciate what a privilege having a car is! I put a cute basket and bell on the front of my bike. I love to "ding" at people. Especially little kids! The other day we were biking and it started to rain!
Ya'll southerners know how it rains here.
not just a couple of raindrops.
So anyways, we tried to take a picture of how wet we were but you can't really tell! I was so sad that my scriptures got wet! :(

We had an awesome lesson with our investigator Ashlea and her friend Skyla. Ashela is the sister of a recent convert and has seen how blessed and happy her sister has been since she joined the church. Ashlea was open to learning more about it so we have been teaching her when we can! She loves the young women's program and went to girls camp a couple weeks ago with all the other girls here in the Shreveport Stake.
But we taught them the Plan of Salvation, and had them each draw their own diagram using chalk! It was a good time! I love the spirits of these sweet girls. We also went and got snowcones with them a couple weeks ago and that was fun too!

We celebrated the independence day of Vanuatu for one of our missionaries here! She is from a very small island in the Pacific ocean. We all tried to wear matching colors for our missionary meeting and she gave us flags to hold so that we could send this picture home to her family! I had to get a copy of it too because I think it's so cute!

We got to attend a baptism this past week and Sister Sowards and I sang "I am a Child of God" and did sign language as we sang! I have always wanted to learn sign language so that was so fun that Sister Sowards could teach me.
This is one of my favorite little boys.... Jakob... I think I have featured him before! But he always gives me the biggest hugs and his Christlike love makes me smile!!!

Oh, I have to include a picture from one of my favorite dinners this week - spaghetti and meatball.

moving on..................

We went on exchanges recently and I was companions for the day with Sister White! Sister White and Sister Brown... everyone we met thought that was hilarious. I thought it was hilarious at how much sweat I had dripping down my nose! I have decided to invest in some handkerchiefs so that I don't always have to wipe my face on my skirt.
Sister Sowards went with Sister Giddens who is one of my favorite friends! She reminds me so much of Josie Mae, my sister... and I hope that one day Josie grows up to be as awesome as Sister Giddens. Not to mention her AMAZING singing voice.

I don't know if many of you know of my secret love for David Archuleta. He recently returned home from his mission in Chile and man oh man..... would I love to go on a date with him.
Sister Jones (a member of the ward here) showed me this new feature for him in one of the church magazines! Apparently they made a film of a little bit of his missionary service or something.... AH! I was in love!

Sister Sowards and I were out tracting and I think we got heat exhaustion. So we decided to take a pit stop at a gas station. I bought the biggest sipper of gatorade I could find and we also got a hot dog and sat on the curb and ate them like homeless people!!!! The situation was a little funny but I wish there would have been somewhere in the gas station to sit down and rest!!!!

Well I guess I will now do the feature of all the new friends I have made recently.

Watching a chihuahua drive a car.

Finding a stray dog that looked like my old dog buddy. (Don't worry, we found the owners)

Finding a ginormous mushroom. (Can you tell how humid it was? My camera lens was very foggy.)

Meeting a very cute dog - Bella - that has eyes like me! Mine aren't quite this drastic, but I loved this sweet dog!!!!


Catching a frog on someone's door knob.

And last but not least..... Teaching a green anole lizard how to do his family history.

Hope you all enjoyed that!

A couple miracles from the week.....

On sunday we went and sang Primary songs to an old folks home and they absolutely loved it. It was just a blessing to feel of their sweet spirits and those that are close to our heavenly father.
It made me miss my grandparents! I hope to always keep this tradition alive!

One of our investigators Ken is really progressing and it has been so fun to answer all his questions. This week he really expressed his desire for baptism. The spirit was so strong! We told him that baptism is the first step, but really he is changing his life for Jesus Christ.

I can't wait to give you another update next week, but for now that will have to do because I am out of time! I love you, I love Jesus Christ, and I love his restored gospel that is found in his living church.

Sister Brown

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hump Week

Hey Everyone! I hope yall are doing well!
Here is my child.... Sister McKenna Sowards :)

I am training a brand new missionary! Her name is Sister Sowards and she is from Bountiful, Utah. Right next door to where I have grown up!
She was even in a singing and dancing group with one of my childhood best friends, Tanner Rampton and knows him :)

Training is awesome..... Let me tell you a little bit about what it is like.
President McDonough told me that Training is the most important calling he gives to missionaries. You are training someone from the beginning - how they will act for the rest of their mission.

So it's a big responsibility. Basically it's like raising a child! But different.
Luckily companions can feed and bathe themselves.

We went and found a less active family recently... they are so sweet. Brother Porteau makes these amazing contraptions of a slug bug mixed with a motorcycle. I think I want to buy one someday! This one he isn't finished building, but it will be a beauty when it is!!!!

We went to dinner with Mr. Joe Klemm who is a German guy I met at the library, and he used to take missionaries to dinner when he lived in Germany so he asked us out too. I was trying to grasp for a spiritual message in the middle of the Mexican restaurant..... So I shared the scripture Mosiah 2:17 that says: "when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God"
Thanked him for taking us to dinner, and serving us.

It made Mr. Klemm Cry and I was amazed how strong I could feel the spirit a midst all the noise and business of the restaurant.
Then we saw the Juneau's a part member family her husband isn't a member and her son has taken a dive to the deep end and can't seem to swim back. Her husband(the non member) said we could come by and teach them since Sister Sowards is new.

That is what we say to everyone! Can we come practice teaching you the discussions? It's the best ever!!!! I love having a brand new companion.

I had my "HUMP DAY" this week - which means I hit my halfway mark :)
Elder Meekum (one of the missionaries from my MTC district) just got transferred to Coushatta so we are in the same district again! This is us, excited that we hit our 9 month day together!

We went visiting teaching with a recent convert to a less active the other day, and invited this less active to church. Like we always do. I was so surprised when she actually showed up!!!!!!! It was a miracle!
We had a a lot of less actives show up at church lately!!!! Sometimes it brings me more joy to see a less active at church than an investigator.... it really does. Because I know they have testimonies... just sometimes Satan... and the world get in the way of what's important.

I also have been playing the organ in church, thanks to the Organ lessons I got from Sister Jenkins. It is going very well and I am proud of myself!!!

My mom sent me a very cute "happy halfway" package this week. I saw it on our doorstep and it felt like christmas, i was so excited to see a package!!!!!! She sent me some goodies with an adorable new orange shirt, I wore it the next day. And ate cotton candy at the Carrolls house. They fed us dinner twice this week... that's how awesome they are.

Bibbet and Jerry showed up with a trunk full of groceries this week and I wanted to cry. I love good hearted people!!!! We stocked up our cupboards and fridge... they are both fixin to explode now!!!!

We are still waiting for Sister Sowards bike to get here, so we have been celebrating Pioneer Day every day by walking everwhere we go.
One afternoon after teaching Dyann, we had Sister Kabalan - the bishop's wife drop us off in the middle of no where so that we could go tracting before dinner.
Well, we then realized we forgot the phone. Dangit. We couldn't call anyone to come pick us up. So we decided to start walking to dinner which was like 5 miles away.
Of course Heavenly Father didn't want us to do that, and what do you know...... Sis Farmer- an older lady who is related to the family we were going to - happens to pass by and see us!

When people pull over looking like they want to give us a ride, I usually don't ask questions and just jump in the car and hope that we know them!!! haha.. just kidding mom. but seriously.

So we went to dinner/teach at the Nelson's who are members. They invited their kids and grand-kids (who aren't all members) to come, so we could teach all of them.
Dinner was so good...I have to get her macaroni recipe, it was delicious.
We taught the restoration and the wind was blowing outside.... It was getting stormy.
We told the story of the First Vision and a minute later.... BOOM the power is out.
We awkwardly continue teaching then it got crazy.
Trees were falling down cause the wind was so strong!
So...... we just ended there.... and the Nelsons gave us a ride home and told us if we didn't have power we were welcome to come back but luckily we still had power at our apartments! It was crazy!!!!!
The weather down here is schizophrenic.

Well I am trying to do my best job as a trainer. If anyone has any advice for me shoot me an email!

I have trained Sister Sowards on the ways of Southern Classic Chicken... and Southern Maid Donuts. A must have in the south. I am thinking about opening my own Franchise of Southern Classic Chicken back home in Utah.

On Sunday I did a special musical number and it was really beautiful!!! Sister Sowards and I went and taught primary because there are so many people out of town right now there weren't enough teachers! I played the piano for singing time with the little kids and it made me very happy. I love hearing the little kids sing about how much they love Jesus and how Jesus wants them for a Sunbeam and how they want to go to the temple someday.
It just warms my little heart.

Love, Sister Brown

P.S. GO LSU!!!! :)