Querida familia y amigos : Well this is it, my last email serving as a full time missionary of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I can't even begin to explain how I feel right now, considering I don't even know myself. I can't believe that for the last 18 months of my life I have had the opportunity to represent my savior Jesus Christ and teach those around me all about restored gospel. Let me just tell y'all how much I love my mission ! I love everything. Everything about it :) I try to think about what I could share about the things I have learned and I feel like I would probably be writing them until next week if I tried to do that. As I have thought a lot about my mission, the experiences I have had, the people I have met, and my personal conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ I can't help but smile and think about a loving, merciful Father in Heaven who has allowed me, someone so far from perfect, to labor in his vineyard. To get to know and serve his children, and to deepen my own understanding of the gospel. I think of my savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for him. Someone who literally gave everything, his time, his love, his patience, his life, for me, for everyone. If that's all I could learn on my mission I am happy. I remember my first week walking down some creepy road in Columbia at 8:45pm when Hna Torres asked me what I wanted to learn or be at the end of my mission. I thought about this question for a little bit and then answered by sharing a quote from Elder Dallin H Oaks. This has been the theme of my mission. "A testimony is to know and believe. Conversion is to do and become." that's what I wanted out of my mission. I didn't just want a testimony of the gospel, of Jesus Christ, or of Heavenly Father, I wanted to do and become. I wanted to become someone who because of their testimony was changed, and not just for a little while. But who's heart had truly been changed and would stay changed. The Lord is so merciful and he truly knows exactly what we need in our lives. Everyday, every minute. The lord has taught me so much and helped me learn little by little everyday, just enough so that I could, over time , become truly converted and changed. I am so grateful. :) I don't want to be all sentimental and everything during my last email, but I guess that's just how I truly feel about my mission. It is all just a big sweet tender mercy ! Full of hilarious stories, awkward moments, sketchy people, crazy bible bashers, spicy food, it's full of daily miracles, full of service, full of laughter, full of tears and frustration, full of faith and hope, full of prayer, full of happiness. Enos 1:26 "And I saw that I must soon go down to [my home], having been wrought upon by the power of God that I must preach and prophesy unto this people, and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ. And I have declared it in all my days [for the last 18 months] and have rejoiced in it above that of the world." Although I am sad it's over, I am so happy ! I am so happy because I too have rejoiced in this work ! This is the work of salvation. This is the work of the Lord. What more could we rejoice about ? I am so blessed to have such an amazing family, thank you for all you have done for me! I love you sooooo much ! I am grateful for goodly parents who have raised me in the knowledge of the gospel and for older siblings who have supported me and been the best examples to me. Call me trunky but I am so excited to see y'all on Wednesday morning :) I know that this work is true. I know that God lives, he is our father, I know that Jesus is the Christ. He is the savior and redeemer of the world and all mankind. I know the gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that when he prayed that spring morning, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. What happened in the sacred grove that day changed the world. It changed everything. And I know it can change lives, because it has changed mine. I know the Book of Mormon is true !! I am grateful for the chance to serve in "the Bible Belt" because my love and testimony for the bible has grown so much as well. I know that this is a gospel of happiness and joy. I can't wait to see you on Wednesday morning !! Con mucho mucho mucho amor , Hermana Elizabeth Brown
Monday, February 22, 2016
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Hello family ! Wow I can't believe that I am starting my last week of my mission this week. Can you believe it ? The time has flown by sooooooo fast! I am seriously so grateful for my mission. It's been the best, hardest, craziest, funniest time of my life and I am very grateful for all that the Lord has taught me and helped me become while I have been laboring in this part of his vineyard. This week was a great week and I am excited to fill y'all in on everything that has been going down here in Tennessee :) the weather has been cold and warm and wet and snowy and icy... My body can't take these climate changes.... But it's okay. Last night it was literally raining ice... Not hail, ice... That was interesting So I think one of the biggest miracles we had this week was.... We found Margarita Anderson! After you know knocking on almost every house, getting the cops called on us and screamed at by a bunch of old people we found her :) she is the sweetest lady I know and my love for her is already so big ! It was literally such a big miracle that we found her and she wants to start meeting with us too! We had planned with Hna Burgos to go and try and find her this week because she said she remembered a little bit where she lived, but then it started snowing and Hna Burgos didn't feel comfortable driving in the snow, so we said its alright and that we would go another day, well as we were leaving our apartment I said to Hna Reynolds... Should we just go try one more time to find her ? And so off we went ! And because it was snowing, she was at home and didn't go into work.. MIRACLE. so that was pretty awesome We met with the Leguna family this week and we had another amazing Lesson with them! They are so prepared, both of them! Lupe came with us to the lesson, his first time not being the one we are teaching, and he loved it! I was pretty nervous because ya know he is still learning and has only been baptized a month and you know how sometimes investigators can say some weird things and such.. But anyway it was a perfect lesson and a perfect lesson to bring Lupe to !! Dorian had a few questions about how he could know if Joseph smith really saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and was a true prophet, and Gilda just wants to know how she can grow her relationship closer to God and Jesus Christ. We had a great lesson all about the Book of Mormon and prayer. They asked Lupe how he came to know it was true and he said "to be honest I haven't been a part of the church very long, but really all it is, is praying. I prayed and I know that this is Heavenly Father helping me and showing me that this is the truth" bam SPIRIT!!! It was awesome. We have another lesson with them this week and I am excited to watch them keep progressing. The best part was when we were leaving Lupe looks at us and said "what you guys are doing is really awesome" HE FELT THE MISSIONARY SPIRIT. And I think he really realized how the gospel can really bless everyone. That was an awesome night ! Oh also, Lupe blessed the sacrament yesterday !!! Annnnnnnnnd he got a calling. He is progressing SO much. Who would have thought, my first Sunday here he came , just because presidente Burgos invited him, and now, my second to last Sunday he is blessing the sacrament. This truly is the work of the Lord and I am amazed that I get to even be apart of this work. I love my mission sooooo much Oh also this week we went to the temple and that was awesome :) I love the temple! And a couple from Winchester was working there that day so I got to see them. That was a sweet tender mercy :) I think that's probably about it for this week.... It was a good week ! And now, this week is gonna be even better ! Try not to do anything toooooo fun without me this next week I can't thank you enough for all you have done for me while helping me on my mission. I love you all sooooooo much ! Have a great week !! XOXO HERMANA BROWN
Hno Alduenda, he is sick and can't leave his bed, so we go and sing to him every Sunday. He is sooooo sweet.
At the temple with Hna Reynolds
Hna Alduenda she said she didn't want her picture taken but I had to get one anyway. I love her :)
Temple with Diana, I love this woman !! Next year we are coming back for her sealing in the temple with her husband, just so y'all can start making plans now
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Hey Family !!
Happy monday! :) I cant believe that it is already monday ! that is absolutely crazy. The time is just picking up faster and faster..... I cant quite tell if that is a good thing or a bad thing as of right now... i am going to go with a both... haha But i am excited to tell you all about our great week!
So we had some sweet miracles which i am very excited to tell yall about!
FIRST OFF we have a baptismal date!! yahoo! its for a 9 year old boy we are teaching him and his family! The date is set for March 5 and i am sooo excited! I dont know if yall remember me talking much about our investigator Maggy Romo or not... Well back in the spring the missionaries found her and started teaching her, she started progressing and then went from progressing to not progressing and so forth, SO frustrating as a missionary. Literally a roller coaster of emotions with her. But its awesome because we started teaching her and her son Carlos again and now Carlos has a baptismal date! they use to be going to the catholic church and her kids were getting ready for their baptism into the catholic church, but then some things happened and such and now her and her husband both want their kids to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! Yahoooo! so sweet! So this is all pretty exciting. Now we just have to get maggy on date and soon her husband which could be hard considering i have never met him before... BUT we will start to teach him soon :)
Next I dont remember if you guys remember me tell you about Gilda Lenguna, she was this total miracle we found back around Thanksgiving and since then we have NEVER been able to meet up with her, BUT this week we had our first lesson with her and her husband, Dorian and it was AWESOME! they are sooo totally prepared. So that is awesome :) and seriously they are just looking for the true church and I am just so excited to start teaching them!
LUPE GOT THE PRIESTHOOD! Lupe got the priesthood yesterday so that was sweet! He is progressing a ton. and that makes me really happy! He is really growing in the gospel too and he fits in perfectly with our little branch :)
Okay here for the big miracle of the week!
So we had a lesson set to go and visit the Guttierez family but since its a single dad and his sons we always need a member to come with us. Well, we had a member set up and everything and then like right before, things happened and our member couldnt come.. haha typical ;) BUT i just had the feeling that we needed to go and that everything would work out. As we were driving to their house frantically trying to call as many people as we could last minute to come with us. No one answered. it was soooo strange because usually i would have just been super stressed but I was strangely calmed the whole time. Which was kind of freaking me out that i was so freaked out, ya know what i mean? haha hna seemed a little bit just mad, so i was trying to be positive and everything and just saying "its fine everything will work out, no worries, God has a plan its finnnneeee" AND GOD HAD A PLAN!! SO we pull into the apartment complex and head towards their building, we are about to park and i see this lady walking and i am like "is that mari's mom?!" (Mari, our recent convert lives in the same apartment complex but on the other side, and her nonmember mom has been staying with them for the last 4 months or so) and i am like no... then we get closer and it was TOTALLY her! So we hurry and park and we run over and start talking to her. We told her we were going to go and visit some friends real quick and asked if she wanted to come with us and she totally says YES!!! IT WAS A HUGE MIRACLE!! literally i had the biggest smile on my face ever just thinking WOW GOD IS SO MERCIFUL!!! THANK YOU! So although we werent able to get a member present, we were able to go in and teach an awesome lesson all about the book of mormon to the guttierez family and to Rosalba. I feel really grateful God's plan that he has for all of us and that he allows me to see all these incredible experiences everyday. I am so happy and i love being a missionary!
Funny story. We went to go see a less active family and at the end of the lesson we asked them all if they would come to church on sunday. one of the daughters, trying to make excuses said "i dont have any shoes..." so i took mine off and said "okay here are your shoes, now you have shoes to come to church in" and then we left. I think that they thought i was joking and would come back for the shoes, but nope, we didnt haha it would have worked out perfectly... but then i remembered we had to stop at the store on the way home... so i had to walk into walgreens without shoes on... but hey it was worth it because THEY CAME TO CHURCH :)
Thats about really all for this week! its been a great week and I am excited for this next week too! we get to go to the temple! yahooooo! :) so that is excting. We have a lot of good things going for us these next few weeks and I am pumped to keep working hard these next two weeks :)
Thanks for all you do for me! I feel so blessed to have such an amazing family and to have so many prayers given for me, i can feel them so much! The gospel is soooo true! never forget it! have a great week! Love yall sooooo much!
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Yo fam ! Seems like we just talked..... How was your week ? It sounds like things are going well at home and I am happy to hear about that, expect for the cold... It has been like 65-70 the last couple days, I have been loving ! The thought of coming home to a cold place is kind of horrible sounding... Haha so I will just enjoy my time in the south as of right now So this week was great ! It was a little bit different because we didn't teach as many lessons this week, but it was nonetheless full of so many awesome miracles ! So first off I am very happy because I feel like Hna Reynolds is adjusting more and more to missionary life, which is a lot less stress on my part. And I am really happy because she has been a lot more active in the lessons! It's crazy because she always says she never has any idea what people are saying but whenever she talks to shares something she always is teaching about what we are talking about or addressing the needs of our investigators or less actives. So either she understands a lot more than she thinks she does, or she is just super super in tune with the spirit, regardless of what it is, it makes my part a lot more easier. So yay, progress :) This week we had zone conference and it was awesome! And my last zone conference of my mission. That's SO weird !! And all the departing missionaries that go home this transfer, we had to go up and give our departing testimony. It was so strange because it was my turn... It doesn't even feel real at all ! And of course I was the first one called to go up... Seriously I think I just word vomitted all over up there haha but zone conference was seriously awesome. President Andersen shared this really cool motivating video to get us excited to as he said, "turn up the heat. Turn the water into steam" haha I love him! But it was seriously awesome and it was just what I needed to hear, and I also think what Hna Reynolds needed as well also guess what we had for lunch ? Chik-fil-a . Like best way to end my last zone conference. I was very happy :) We had an interesting run in with the po po this week, and by po po I definitely mean the police... Let me explain. Thursday night we were eating dinner with Hna Burgos and we asked her if she knew anyone we could go visit. She thought about it for a second and asked if we had ever heard of Margarita Andersen. She said that about 10 years ago the missionary were teaching her and she loved the gospel so much , but then her husband ran into anti Mormon stuff and told her she could never go back.... Margarita loved the gospel so much she asked Hna Burgos to do your temple work for her if she died before she could become a member. WELL apparently on of our members awhile ago saw her at Walmart and guess what?! Her husband had DIED ! Which, is sad, but is also a good thing for us but the only bad thing is that no one in our branch has her number or can remember where she lives... Only the area... So being the great detective missionaries that we are, we set off to find margarita. Well so apparently where she lives is on the side of a busy road, no where to really park your car. We drove down a few peoples driveways and knocked on their doors, but no luck. So we decided to drive down the street a little more, park our car in a neighborhood and then just walked down the road knocking on doors. We didn't have much time so we knocked the first door and no one answered, then we got to the second door and met a really nice lady, but she had no idea who she was... We had to get to dinner so still determined to find her we started to walk back to the car. As we were walking this undercover cop car drive onto our side of the road with their lights on and pulls into the grass. This lady just dressed in like normal clothes jumps out of her car and says "stop, under cover police!" I'm like what the heck is happening right now ? She goes "we got a call that you guys are going door to door soliciting and this is a none soliciting area" and I'm like, in my sweet, not at all irritated voice said "we are actually just looking for our friend, Margarita" and she says "well they said you parked your car in that neighborhood and they watched you pull pamphlets out of your trunk" feeling pretty creeped out that people were watching us closely I said "only because we want to give one to our friend" she then goes "well you need to leave" and so then you know again being my sweet angel like self said " do you know Margarita Andersen lives?" Haha she kind of gave us the stink eye and got in her car and drove away. Guess she didn't know who she was either... But we are still determined to find her, as Joseph Smith said, no unhallowed can stop this work!! ALSO. YESTERDAY WAS A MIRACLE DAY AT CHURCH 2 of our investigators, Heriberto and Eric came to church !!! It was awesome, they couldn't stay for the rest of the meetings, BUT THEY STILL CAME !!! I was literally so happy ! And we also had a ton of less actives come too. It was seriously a miracle ! I am happy that mom and e were able to meet presidente Burgos and Heber and Lupe. That's so funny, they are great people ! Hopefully Hna Danise and Heber were good translators I think that's really all about it for this week ! It was a really fun week and we are starting to see the fire catch again with our investigators and our members, which is a blessing! I hope y'all have a great week and try not to freeze ! Thanks for all y'all do for me. I love y'all soooooo much ! XO Hermana Brown