Wednesday, October 8, 2014

there's no place like home

Well, i made it home! It has been a strange experience, though not as bad as i thought that it would be. Taking off my tag, as little as that may seem, was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. The first day or two I constantly had inclinations to back the car, or it was weird to sleep in a room by myself the first night. I had to re-train myself to not internally smack myself every time a song came on that wasn't a hymn. I quickly got over that. I haven't had to worry about that social awkwardness. If anything, I think my mission helped me with social aspects of my life*. So that's a blessing.
I still want to help the random stranger i walk by to take in their garbage. and I want to walk around the farmers market with my family, and hand mormon.org cards to every one i see. I still miss having a companion at all times, that understands random missionary humor and quotes that no one else gets here**. I miss a better morning routine, and a better study schedule. I miss pday sports, as much as they stressed me out. i miss having things in the mail.... sometimes. I miss teaching.
But since i've been home, I still love pdays, and getting emails from missionaries i write! I love talking in church, and teaching gospel principles, and helping with seminary and youth conferences (especially when i get to talk about  missionary work!).
My family has been so loving and caring- making sure that we are not listening to music or watching movies that would be too much for me too handle. They make sure the jokes they tell don't have too much potty humor... little things to help me adjust. it's adorable. 

I am so grateful for everything that my mission taught me. I can't sit still anymore... i need to be going. Which makes me antsy a lot, but i guess it helps me be more productive... ideally.
I love the chance that I got to serve my mission and to serve. so that's my goal while i am home, and forever. to continue serving, and putting the needs of others before my own. It just makes life so much more meaningful!

work hard, and have a great week!

*note: I have not been on a date yet, nor have I really interacted with anyone of the opposite gender relatively close to my age. so that's an entirely different story, that i will inform you on. one day.
**though my family does not understand what i am saying half the time, because i have to transition back from 'missionary lingo', they are wonderful companions when i don't want to be alone.

Monday, September 15, 2014

#nevergoinghome

It's amazing how fast time flies when you're working hard and having fun. Really though. I started my mission on the West side of Albuquerque, and was there for about 4.5 months. Then I spent almost 6 months on the East side of ABQ, almost 6 months on the East side of El Paso, and now almost 3 months back where I started, on the West Side of ABQ. And suddenly, 5 wards and 10 companions later, 18 months has come and gone!

These last few days have been really surreal- filled with goodbyes and 'see you laters'. There have been so many people that have touched my life on my mission. Albuquerque and El Paso are so dear to my heart, and I will be forever grateful to have been a part of the New Mexico Albuquerque Mission!
I thought I wanted to go foreign and learn a language. But what's cool about life is that your Heavenly Father knows what you want, and he also knows what you need. So He sent me to the NMAM, the best mission in the world! He sent me to a place where I could get culture and language and new foods, and all the things I wanted, while still having the comfort of getting mail fast, and hot water, and friendly faces. A place where I would meet people and learn things from them that would change my life forever.
As a lot of you know, I never had any desire to serve a mission. I thought it would be too hard, and just not for me. But the Lord wants us to learn that we can do hard things. Ether 12:27 We have our limits that we set for ourselves, and then we have the potential that the Lord sees in us. He knows what he wants us to become, but He won't ever force us to do anything. He will give us experiences that will lead us farther than we ever thought we could go, down roads we never thought we would travel. And when we want to call it quits, he says, 'not yet. I know you have a little more in you. Keep going!'. And if we trust him- literally take a leap of faith- he will catch us, and mold us. He will be by our side constantly. If there is ever any gap in your relationship with Him, it is because you put it there and let yourself drift.

I have learned that we need to be 'anxiously engaged in a good cause'. Not just busy, but busy with a purpose. Busy in good things, but not the best things, will still slowly let us drift away from where we know we belong. Set goals, and have a purpose. D&C 58:27

And lastly, I learned a lot about charity. You must have it for anything to be done right. If an assignment is done, or correction is made, or teaching is presented, there has to be love present. And not just love, but a true Christ-like love. Those that we interact with can tell a difference. Things are simply more effective, and people are simply just happier, when they know that you love them. Moroni 7:45

'Live in a way that those who know you and don't know Christ, will want to know Christ because they know you.' and always leave people and places better than you found them! And when you work, remember to work hard, but have fun!
Thank you all for your support. My mission would not be the same without the letters and notes and prayers from you!! Keep the faith, and know that I love you, and that your Father in Heaven is indeed watching out for you, and that he has a plan. He knows you, and cares for you. Just trust Him.
Love you!!

Love,
Sister Brown :)





Tuesday, September 9, 2014

P-day and final stuff

Hi!
Okay, so for a quick pday recap, we went hiking the volcanos a couple weeks ago! That was really cool :) A lot of people didn't want to go... but they did to appease Sister Smith and I anyways ;) It was kind of a pansy hike.... like a mile round trip. But it was a nice walk, and it was cool to be on a volcano (once upon a time). Then last week, we went to the Navajo reservation, to the Acoma pueblo, to a place called sky city (maybe look it up and see what you come up with?). It was so neat. We got to walk around and see all the vendors, watch some traditional dancing, and an LDS family (we didn't know them, but they recognized us), invited us in and fed us! We split into 2 groups, so there were about 10 or so of us that they invited in to feed. It was so much fun! I love that culture :) Navajo's are a neat people :)

This week was really good! I got my itinerary in the mail, and I had my departing interview with president last night. That was weird. I am like, so excited, but it still hasn't hit me. It's just all super surreal.
Things are super awesome here though! Not all the people we are teaching are very committed persay.... but they are good. As for M... the (man) we texted and said he wanted to get baptized? So we taught him the WOW over text.  Well, he is doing great! We taught him EVERYTHING in 2 days, And then he had his interview on Sunday. He's so ready! He'll get baptized on the 20th! And he already friended me on FB, so I'll get to see pics and things right away. I'm so excited :)

This last week is work like normal, Except with more good bye's. Bittersweet.

My worlds are colliding in my brain. it's strange.  I had a dream last night that y'all surprised me and came to pick me up... and I was hanging out with some missionaries, and some people from Rexburg. So it was all a little weird. but you knocked on the door, and I was so excited to see you that I went to introduce you to everyone there, and I couldn't even remember their names. haha
I love you!

See you next week!! :D

Love,
Sis. Brown





Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Miracles and miracles!

Hi!
The birthday was good!  Mostly a regular day.   I got a few small gifts, and cards and messages which was really nice.   : )  A member had posted it on FB so more people knew and texted me.  So, no cake and no singing or anything like that.  But thank you for the cards!  I LOVED them!  : )

Things here are good!  I love it here!  : )  Teaching is slow...fairly.  Like, not too many of the investigators we have now are available, or wanting to meet right now.  So we're working on finding.  Still.  BUT, we were having an average of talking to like, 17 or so people a week...which is average for the area and the zone, but it's really low.  Our standard of excellence is 140/wk.  But this week we worked really hard, and we talked with 46!!!  It was awesome!  We found a new family to potentially teach, and we sent out a few referrals.  So...we didn't teach anyone really.  Well, just not very much.  But we are finding, and working really hard.  It feels so good.  : )
Miracle this week!  We contacted a former investigator a couple weeks ago, and he said that he wanted to get baptized, but he was really short on time.  So he was out of town for two weeks, and then just got back!!!  We contacted him, and we are teaching him EVERYTHING in two days this week, and he is quitting coffee (we taught him the Word of Wisdom over text) and he will get baptized on the 20th!!  Holy moly!  so, I haven't even officially met him yet.  But we are so excited!  : )  We have seen miracle after miracle, after miracle.  Young families moving in when they were prayed for, finding people...just tons of stuff.  It's been so good!  : )

Love,
Sister Brown!



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Birthday talk. And crazy, insane, upside down week!

Hi!
22 feels weird to be here already!  It's feels old, but adventurous.  I'm excited!  : )  It's just that, there's a brand new missionary that came in last transfer.  18, graduated THIS year.  He was in 8th grade when I was a Sr.  THAT makes me feel old.  Good golly.  I don't have any birthday plans, and I haven't advertised it too much.  There was a family that was going to make me a cake...but the kids are going to be out of town.  And the family that is feeding us, don't know it's mh birthday.  So, we have district meeting that day so it'll be fun to have a little bit of a party then, but other than that, no real plans.  I don't have a clue what we will do.  lol!

This week was CRAZY.  Like, really out of the ordinary.  Last pday we spent at a park playing footbal and things like that.  One of the other Elder's investigators bought pizza nd watermelon for everyone, and it was a lot of fun.  Today we're going to hike the volcanoes!  So then we switched on Wednesday for exchanges, and lucky me, I got to spend a day in the Volcano Cliffs area!  My very first area!  It was SO cool, and a little weird.  I slept in the same bed that I slept in at the beginning of my mission, and I got to tell stories to the sisters about where different pictures and items in the apartment came from.  And the best part, I got to go see a lot of people that I taught!  I got to have lunch with Christi!!!  That was a HUGE blessing.   It was so, so good to see her, and the way that she lights up.  She just glows with the spirit.  : )  And, she's expecting her mission call this week or next week!  SO exciting!  I also got to have dinner with Bobbie, which was awesome!  She is the same way...just glowing.  Her testimony is so strong!  : )
Well, during the day, Christi texted us to warn us about a shooting that was happening not too far from where we were.  So we texted the sisters that serve over there to be careful.  We went into an appointment, and got done about 8:00.  When we got out, we had texts from them, and our comps.  The first sisters said they were okay, but our comps called 4 times and left a voicemail.  When we listened to it, it said, "Hey sisters, don't worry, but we are at the hospital and possibly moving to a different one soon.  Call us!"  Man, we FREAKED Out!  Turns out they were on their way to dinner and Sister B was suddenly in crazy amounts of pain.  Blessings...when they got to the restaurant, there just happened to be another member there that was a doctor, and was able to asses and tell her to go straight to the hospital.  We eventually found them at the ER and the poor girl was so sick.  : (  We stayed until about 11 when Sis. Miller came to relieve us and we went home in a trio.  We got to bed about 12, and Sis. B finally got home about 3 a.m.  Then we went on a variety of exchanges the next day so she could rest, and we could all make our appointments.  It was crazy!
Then 2nd crazy story, we went to church yesterday, and when we got out of Ward Council, there was a guy there that was clearly a non-member.  So we approached him and he just said that he wanted to come and see what we were all about and what our service was like.  So, we talked with him for a bit, and invited him to sit next to us.  We could tell that something was a little off with him, but we weren't going to turn him away or anything, obviously.  So, he is super fidgety, and can't keep still or stay quiet.  During the sacrament, pretty loudly, he asked my comp if we believed in telepathy...so we told him that it wasn't time to talk right now and we needed to be quiet during the meeting.  So he would quietly whisper, but no big deal...he just seemed off.  Well, after the 2nd speaker, he just stands up!!!  We're sitting in like,the 4th row, and he just got up and stood in the isle and started addressing the whole congregation!!!  My heart has never pounded so fast.  People are looking at us to know what to do because they think he's our investigator, and we're looking at the Bishop, terrified.  He told everyone that he was the Messiah, and that telepathy is real, and that he was here to warn us not to sell our souls to the devil!!!  Anyways, we didn't know what to do. Thank heavens our RS presidents husband didn't miss a beat, and got up and just put his arm around his shoulder and walked him out.  The guy didn't argue until he was almost at the door, but then another man helped and they escorted him out of the building, and stayed outside to make sure he didn't come back.  It was crazy!!!  Later, a young woman told us she tried to share the gospel with him in high school, but he ended up getting arrested and kicked out of school for some crazy drugs he was taking...so  we're assuming that was the case this week.  And of course, it's all on the day that we have a missionary giving her homecoming, and there are literally like 3 rows of nonmembers and visitors.  *face palm.
BUT, Heavenly Father know what he is doing, and everything will work out just like it's supposed to.

We had a lot of other crazy things too...miracles, like members inviting us to lunch when we're with an investigator and it being the perfect fellowship.  And we got a member referral for a SUPER cute family that we are teaching now!  It's just been an insane, upside down kind of week.  But SO good.  : )

I love you so much!!  : )

Love,
Sister Brown

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Miracles!

Hi!
So, not really any crazy people this week, but a lot of miracles!  Jennifer, the lady that we have been pulling weeds for weekly for like, the last month, she asks enough questions that we have taught her a few lessons already.  So last week at lunch, we talked about our missions, and then just offered that, as a friend, we would really like to share more with her about what we believe.  She accepted a Book of Mormon, and it was awesome!  : )  We are going to teach her again this week while we pull weeds!  Then Lois...we were checking potentials, and she was nice, but almost turned us away.  We ended up getting in (I still don't know how), and talking with her, and taking her to the family history center.  Then on Saturday we dropped by and went through her pictures and letters from family for generations.  So cool! d Then talked to her about the temples and sealings and priesthood and baptism.  So we're going back to teach her again this week!!!

Other adventures...I went on a random health food craze.  So I made pico de gallo (delicious.  I'll make some when I get home.)  And added spinach and mushrooms to chicken and all sorts of fancy stuff.  Smoothies too.  It was so good.  But too much money.  Ha Ha!

Well, I think that about sums up the week.  I'm so excited for time to go fast, and yet really nervous.  Everything is so jumbled.  It's kind of taking an emotional toll.  It's  all really stressful.  But I mostly just try not to think about it too much.  You know.  I'm trying to leave it all on the field.  Seriously, miracles are happening.  It's been super cool, cause we'll be with a member, and they will be like, "You guys are awesome!  Seriously, everyone loves you!  The ward appreciates your work!"  Things are really good.

There was a missionary that got home a couple weeks ago, and she is just glowing.  And then another sister get home, and it's all her mom can talk about for the last month.  It's really cute. : )  (made me think of you a little, mom.)  haha

Love,

Sis. Brown

Monday, August 4, 2014

Thisheadinghasnothingtodowithhowfasttimeisgoing

You sneaky mom! What a clever title hahaha :) time is passing past though. It's so strange to think that I only have ONE transfer left! I am still here, and Sister Smith is staying too! So I'm really glad about that. The ward is crazy awesome :)
I cannot believe how tall Emily is. I think I refuse to believe that she is growing up. She's like, Jess's height! I think she's grown 5 inches since I left! That's insane! And Ethan too.... blows my mind.
haha man, I love Corrales. I really want to bring y'all to ABQ one day and show it to you. cause seriously, and an alpaca farm would be so fun. (i'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. i thought of you a little when i was taking them ;) But anyways, regardless, I do know that I want chickens! Those look like a lot of fun too! But I don't want horses, and I don't want cows. gross. haha
Studying.... admittedly my studies haven't been very focused lately. But I've spent a lot of time in this last conference's Ensign. And also in 3 Nephi. I'm almost done with the BOM again. I love it so much! This morning I read a verse that i really liked... in 3 Nephi 12:45 (I think). Anyways, it talks about gods love, and how the sun will rise on the evil and the good. We're all his children and he loves us and wants us back regardless of the decisions that we make right now.
Teaching is still slow, but I feel like we're on the horizon of something big. We have a few families in the ward that are hopefully going to be giving us some referrals soon! :)
We are seeing Jennifer this week! Helping her with more of her yard, so that's exciting :) I can't wait! There is seriously tons of service to do in this area... it's a blessing.

This last week was pretty good. We started teaching a lady named Margie that we found a couple weeks ago by trying formers that were in our area book. Anyways, she's crazy. Really nice though. First time we met her, she said she had done a lot of research on the beginnings of the church. She couldn't imagine why any woman would join the church, because her husband would be out wooing another 16 year old girl... yadd yadda yadda. Well, I turned to her and was like, "Margie, in all of your studying, have you read the Book of Mormon?" "No..." "Well, I have one for you. Just read this, and we'll talk about it next time we come. When is good for you?" It was awesome :) She has all sorts of interesting ideas about why would god use gold for the plates, because the conditions for mining it are awful and he wouldn't do that to those people. Or that there is a creator, but not really a god. We live now, and we need to be grateful for this life and not expect anything more... before or after. She just wants eternal rest, with no life after.... on and on. it blew my mind. We're going to bring some really smart people with us next time :) haha
I think that was the most exciting thing this last week. Besides I'm probably not going to lose the weight i
I want to for after my mission. people keep taking us out to eat. Like, lunch and dinner 2-3 times last week. aye-caramba.

Love,
Sis. Brown