Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hello from the beach!

Investigator: 11 yr old named Tiara. We are teaching her and her mom, but her mom is on a lot of drugs and has a hard time understanding a lot of things.

T= Tiara
SM = Sister Missionaries

ALRIIIIIGHT. Let me set the scene for you.
Tiara loves going to church but has told us she was bullied at her last church.
Tiara's mom's name is Merissa. (mer-ee-sa) Like what my grandpa brown used to call me.
Merissa is kinda lost right a couple months ago she realized she needed help.
So she walked into our church one day and asked how she could learn more about it. Someone gave her a gospel principles book and she read it!
Well a couple months ago us missionaries tracted into her at her house and she was kinda excited because she remembered she had our book.

SO Sister Nielson and I go over a couple weeks later to follow up.

We are teaching the "Plan of Salvation." Which is a beautiful lesson that helps answer all the questions of "why we are here?" "where are we going after we die?" and "what's our purpose being here on earth?"

SM = So that is our lesson for today, are there any questions?
T = Well you know how in the days of Noah how God destroyed the earth with the flood?
SM = Yes, that's right!
T = So when Jesus comes again God said he's going to destroy the earth with fire right?
SM = yes!
T = Well, how are we supposed to know when that's going to happen if God is not speaking to us anymore?
SM = *****mouth of sister brown drops open******

Well I was just so astonished that an 11 year old asked such an amazing question!!!

Sister Nielson and I were able to tell her that God IS SPEAKING to us!
That we have Prophets and Apostles, just as in times of old!

SM = Would you want to be baptized by the proper priesthood authority from Jesus Christ that has been restored to the earth?

T = Yes!!!
SM = We know it will bless your life SO much! We will help you prepare for that and make sure that you know what it really means!
T = What about people that have died without being baptized?
SM = We will tell you more about that in our next lesson :)

Okay I was blown away again!
She is the most golden investigator ever and she is only 11 years old! Wow!
So that was our miracle for the week.

For our experimental new district lunch this week....we ate Thai Food at this really cool Thai place called the "White Lotus"
I LOVE PAD THAI! but this time I got some curry.
You even sit on the ground and eat on pillows.

Here are a couple of awkward animal photos from the week.

I really enjoy catching frogs and lizards.

The most exciting animal photo from this week is that....
I SAW AN ALLIGATOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was so excited! I have been waiting my whole mission to see an alligator!
We found this guy in a swamp called Davis bayou by the ocean, a member took us there because she says she has seen alligators there before!

Well driving through town here are 2 cool things
There is a house that looks like beetle juice right on the coast, i wonder if someone famous lives there.

And here is the Hard Rock, casino!
We are teaching a guy named Corey and he is the chef there! He is getting baptized really soon!

Get ready because I'm going to have a lot of baptisms coming up!
The Lord is blessing this area so much! I am so happy to be here in ocean springs and I wish that all of you could be here with me seeing all the cool things and meeting all the wonderful brothers and sisters that I get to grow so close to.

We are teaching lots of families and it's so wonderful to see how much they change!!!!
I love Jesus, I love all of you, and I love the wonderful people of the south!!!

Peace out till next time!!!
Love, Sister Brown

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lovest thou Me more than These?‏

This past Tuesday, all the missionaries in the "southern half" of the mission met in Hattiesburg and we had a Zone Conference with the Zwick's!
I got to see Sister McGrath and Sister Dagupan from the Brownlee days and it was such a sweet reuniting! I love these girls and they will always be my sisters!!!!

It was an amazing Zone Conference and I learned a lot.
President McDonough (my mission president) talked about how in John 21, Christ says to Peter
"Lovest thou me more than these?" (referring to the fish they had just eaten)

Peter says he does...
But Christ says "Then feed my sheep"

President McDonough asked what are some "THESE" that keep us from coming closer to the savior?
He asked us to commit to give something up, so that we can increase our spirituality.

Sister Zwick shared some powerful stories of the power of prayer.

Elder Zwick taught us that P-days = spiritual preparation, not a day to wind down and relax but spiritually prepare for the upcoming week. He promised if we would teach 2 lessons every Monday, even though it is our day to get everything done we need to.... our baptisms would DOUBLE!

He talked about the constant need to improve our selves by using the Atonement, sanctifying ourselves, and becoming like the Savoir.

He also told us that missionaries will be getting iPads in 40-60 days! These are going to be a great missionary tool for us and I am so excited!

We went to this cool place called "The Shed" for our district lunch this week. Every week we get together with the other missionaries in our district to talk about how the missionary work is going, and to feed off of each other's testimonies.
I was trying to get one of my classic jumping photos and have to include Elder Tonge photo-bombing my picture, but it turned out pretty sweet :)

I love driving through the coast! Sister Nielson and I took some pictures by the shrimp boats.

This morning during my personal study, I was studying about Evidences of the Book of Mormon.
There are lots of evidences to the book of mormon... if you want to study more about that, look here ---->
or here ----->

But what my conclusion came to, is that we have to gain a SPIRITUAL testimony of the Book of Mormon. It is a Book of Scripture, a Book from God.
We have to actually read the scriptures with REAL INTENT if we are to receive a true answer from Heavenly Father.
Nothing can ever PROVE the scriptures are true or not.

It makes me think of when Christ is resurrected and Thomas hears that his Lord has risen. But he says that he won't believe it until he feels the prints in his hands... he was doubtful that it was true!

Christ in John chapter 20
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 
here is a link to a video depicting this scene.---->
30 ¶And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
I wanted to include these last 2 verses from this chapter in John because I love it.
We are told that there were many other things that Christ did, many other miracles that he performed!
We are so lucky to have the Book of Mormon, Another Testament to the glory of Christ.

Well that is it for my update this week.
May we continue to study the scriptures and learn from Christ's example.

Love, Sister Brown

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Welcome to Ocean Springs, Mississippi‏

I am finally in Mississippi, Y'all!

It was so sad to say goodbye to Sister Sowards.... it's funny how quickly you become best friends with your missionary companions.

I rode a transfer van for about 10 hours with all the stops we had to make all the way down to Ocean Springs! I literally went from one end of the mission to the other.
I am now located right on the Gulf Coast, close to Biloxi, Mississippi in a little town called Ocean Springs!

The town is really cute and artsy. My kind of place! There are so many fun little places to eat and shop! I love that they are all original and there are very few chains here! I am really close to the beach and it is fun to see the water!

What's cool is that when we're out tracting, I  find seashells and crabs.... it's like a whole new world down here. Can you see the crab?

Hurricane Katrina really devastated this place back in 2005 and they are still suffering from it. A lot of houses and lots are still bare or torn apart.
People talk about Katrina all the time and refer to every story they tell like "Before Katrina" or "After Katrina."  It really impacted the people here.

Funny story, in the newspaper the hurricane Katrina damage clean-up was quoted to have been helped most by "the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" and the "Mormons."
That made me laugh.

Well Saturday was a big day for us. Sister Nielson and I went out tracting for a few hours. We only talked to two people. One of them was a British lady who didn't want to hear our message but she offered to drive us back to our bikes because she had seen where we tied them to the fence a couple miles away.
We didn't realize how far we walked....
So we got to ride back to our bikes from a British lady on her golf cart!

We realized why no one was home.... Basically the whole town was at an event downtown called "Cruising the Coast" which is basically the biggest special event in Mississippi and it's like a car show of vintage retro classic cars.
So we decided to go for a while and talk to people there! It was fun.
I took lots of pictures but will just post of few of my favorites including meeting a famous guy named Dennis Cage. He has a really cool mustache.

We have eaten at some really cool places here...
Including Stonewall's, the Shed, and Belgicans.
I don't have time to tell you all about them, but here are some pictures!

My companion Sister Nielson has been pretty sick and it has been so sad! She has an upper respiratory infection and a double ear infection and basically is coughing non stop! We finally took her to the doctor because she wasn't getting better and she is on antibiotics now. I'm so glad I haven't gotten sick yet!

Also, this was a little scary a couple nights ago!

The coast is so alive! It's booming and thriving and the gospel is spreading like a disease! There are so many people accepting the gospel down here and getting baptized! The ward here is pretty big, about 150 active members and there are 2 wards that meet at our building. The Ocean Springs ward and the Biloxi ward.

Basically I am really happy! I miss Shreveport, but it is so good to have a change. Mississippi has a different feeling that Louisiana.
I don't really know how I'm ever going to settle down because I love being a gypsy! It is so fun to get to see so many different places and meet so many diverse people.

I have made so many life long friends here and people that I will forever love.
Christ brings us all together!

Well I can't wait to tell you more about how the missionary work is going here next week, but that's all for now!

I know that the Lord loves each one of us. I know that he is mindful of our every prayer! Those times that we feel we are alone are the times that we can most sincerely rely on God to help us through! We have to humble ourselves and come unto him with our whole hearts.

I know that the we have to hold onto the iron rod to make it safely home.
The Iron Rod - being the word of God.

And I know that we can't just hold on with a finger... or a toe. We have to CLING to the rod continually! So that the mists of darkness do not lead us astray!

(see 1 Nephi chapter 8)

Thank your for all your love and support! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!! :)

Love, Sister Brown

Fun Fact: Elvis used to love to vacation here and Al Capone had a beach house down here too!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Finally got Transferred!‏

Hello everyone! I have been transferred!
Of course you can always keep in touch with me through email, but if you would like to write letters, i enjoy that as well :) and i write back!!!!

My new address is:
14510 Lemoyne Blvd. Apt 1101
Biloxi, Mississippi

I am serving in an area called Ocean Springs and it is right on the beach here on the gulf of Mexico! I LOVE IT! It is a change from shreveport but the area is on fire right now and so many people here are getting baptized! It just has the best feeling here, I hope i get to stay the rest of my mission!

It's great to finally be in mississippi although I will miss louisiana!
love yall!!!!!

Love, Sister Brown

Birthday Blessins!!!

I have so many pictures and so much to say about this week, i don't even know what to write!!!!!

Well first I want to talk about my teaching this week!

Awkward moment of the week:
Sister Sowards and I were out tracting yesterday and we knock on this door. 3 HUGE dogs jump out of no where up onto the porch and are jumping on us! Well that kinda freaked us out so we just slowly walked away from the door!
Well.... one of the dogs followed us about a mile down the road. We couldn't get her to go home! We named her sandy and she walked with us until we had to drive away!
Haha it was pretty funny! I guess I really am the dog whisperer.

Okay........ Miracle of the week!
So about a week ago, Sister Sowards and I were walking to the library to go do some research and on the way we felt prompted to knock on a few doors as we were going.
Well what do you know, we find a VERY sweet girl named Ashley, she is a young black mother with 3 kids inside.
She giggles a lot and apoligizes for her grumpy kids, but we don't care! We tell her we are representatives of Jesus Christ and we have a message we would like to share with her today.

Ashley didn't have a lot of time but she let us visit for a minute. She saw the copy of the Book of Mormon I was holding and asked about what it was. We gladly told her, and she reached her hand out and asked if she could read it!
We were so excited!

Well, a couple days ago we went back to visit with her and she says
"I haven't read very much....."
"I have only read the testimony of 3 witnesses, the testimony of the 8 witnesses.... the testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith.... the Introduction.... and the first couple chapters of the book."

WELLLL I was trying to not have my mouth drop to the ground because that is the most someone has ever read when we left the Book of Mormon with them!!!!

And THEN Ashely says
"So tell me about Le-fi." "And Ma-row-nee is Mormon's son?" "And he's the angel that came to the boy jospeh smith and tell him where dis gold plates at?

Well we had the best lesson with her. Answered all her questions, and she is excited to learn more. I was amazed at the knowledge that she has and the ability to recognize truth!
She even accepted a baptismal date, and we taught her about the Priesthood, why we need to be baptized by proper authority.

Here is a cute puppy that our friends got! It looks like my old dog, buddy!

Kirby the sweet old lady that we are teaching is still doing amazing! She loved the Women's Broadcast of general conference. She watched it all by herself at her house!
If you missed the session or are curious to what was said.... go here!

I also got to attend this week the baptism of a little girl that I started teaching when I was in Brownlee! This is the Kopp family and I know I have talked about them and put pictures on my blog before... but here is a pic of their family while I was in brownlee and getting to go to the baptism that night!!!!

We found out that the movie "Meet the Mormons" is coming to theatres in Shreveport and we are so excited because we got enough people to request it! The missionaries don't get to go see it in theatres, but we get to watch it when we have zone conference in a few weeks.

Well before I have to go, I had the best birthday ever!
I woke up on my birthday and Sister Sowards had sneakily decorated out apartment while I was asleep! Everything was so cute!!!!

I loved opening my presents from my family and also thank you to the Vance family for your little package of goodies as well! I am so spoiled!

We had a great day at church. It was fast and testimony meeting so we didn't eat breakfast or lunch but one of the families in the ward had signed up to feed us dinner that night. The Quick family told us to be at their house at 6:15 pm. They live close to the church in stonewall, so we drove our car to church, and just stayed out working the rest of the day in that area.

Well Sister Williams, calls us and tells us she has something that she really needs to give to Sister Quick, but that she wasn't feeling well and we would really be doing her a favor if we could pick it up before dinner.

I turn to Sister Sowards and tell her that we could maybe do it tomorrow.....??? Sister Williams lives about 15 miles away from the Quicks, and we were not even close to her house!

Well Sister Sowards and I talk and she tells me that Sister Williams is always doing SO much for us... the least we could do is help her out when she's not feeling well. I hesitantly agree because it was just a lot of miles to drive, but we agreed to help Sister Williams out, it's what Heavenly Father would want us to do!

So after driving for about 30 mins, we arrive at Sister Williams. I pulled up at her house and we walk in the door and i hear


Look around to see my stonewall ward family all cheering and smiling at me!
Tears of gratitude and a little embarrassment filled my eyes! And I just felt Heavenly Father's love as I looked at all these people that I LOVE and I am just so grateful that I know them!

Well I will post pictures of the party below, we had a fish fry, birthday cake, and lots of laughs! I am so spoiled!!!!!! Best birthday ever, the only thing missing was my family!
Thank you for all the birthday wishes!

ALL this was made possible by the wonderful compassionate service leader - Cheri Williams and my best friend Sister McKenna Sowards! OH I love them!

I love ya'll! Have a blessed week!
Love, Sister Marissa Spoiled-pants Brown