Monday, October 28, 2013

Another Week in the 'Bang‏

Beautiful Palo Alto

Palo Alto

Maligayang Elections Day! But really, I'm so excited for it to be over. For the last week they've been "campaigning," meaning they drive around in big vans blasting American pop songs with Tagalog words about the candidate. Let me tell ya, it's the bomb during personal study. Shout out to my mother for sending me the biggest package ever! Filled with food and headbands. You know my happiness. And this week was a good one for the bucket list. I bought a hammock. And I sang a solo in sacrament meeting. An entire verse of "Lord I Would Follow Thee." In Tagalog. Go me. I am also very humble ;)

This week we had exchanges again with the STL's and I got to lead our area. I was terrified but I did it! And guess what! I'm kind of good at Tagalog. And back to the humility thing... Also we went tracting a lot this week. Tracting is where you find the only 4 or 5 not nice people in the country of the Philippines. But it was a good time! We need ideas though of how to make it more fun, be more creative in our approach, so if you have any ideas, send them this way! 

As for investigators, we had 5 come to church! I don't know what happened! Actually, I do. Heavenly Father is helping us our here in the 'Bang. So our favorite little family, Joel and Arianne, are doing great! Ari came to church on her own with her 2 little kids because Joel had a meeting, but he came too as soon as he was done. We taught them more about the Word of Wisdom and made some goals. One of them was for Joel to cut down the number of cigarettes he had each day in half. That's hard. But he did it! They're already almost through with 2nd Nephi. They liken the scriptures to themselves almost every time we ask them about their reading. I still don't even know how to do that! They are just so great! Their countenance has truly changed and you can just see the light of Christ in their eyes :)

And spiritual thought of the week, brought to you by our STL's. We did this thing where we all laid on the ground and turned out all the lights and then just pretended we were alone and said whatever we wanted. Sister Anderson said something that really stuck with me. She said that there are people here that we knew in the pre-existence. Friends that we promised we would come and find. There have been multiple times on the mission that I've felt I already knew someone, that I'd known them forever. For example, my MTC companions. Or Sister Smart. And ya know what? It's probably because I have. This army of Helaman that we're all a part of, it's eternal. We fought together before we came, we're fighting together now, and we're going to fight the final fight together. The people we meet throughout our lives, they are literally our eternal friends. And I don't want to get to the life after this and have my friends come to me and ask me why I wasn't valiant, why I didn't have their back here on earth. And you don't want that either. So take every opportunity to share the gospel, to serve someone else. 

I know that this is the work of the Lord and that He has prepared His children for the trials of life. He wants ALL of His children to come back to Him and He needs His army to make it happen. I'm honestly humbled to be a part of this army. And you should know you don't have to be a full-time missionary to be a part of it. Like I said, this army is eternal. And if you're here, you're a part of it.

Love you all, have a great week!

XOXO, Sister Brown

Yay the package made it!

Couple of action shots....glad they're having a little fun too! :)

Strike a pose...

Who wouldn't love this?


What happens when we buy hammocks and the STL's spend the night!

Oh McDonalds, heaven on earth!!

Exchanges #2

Lemon soda...our favorite!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Giant Spiders and Cockroach fest‏

Freaking HUGE spider!

Ano sa taas aking mga kapatid? Shout out to my beautiful, hilarious, and of course, favorite, sister! Happy Birthday Kayla! Everyone stay off the roads. So I saw my first human head sized spider this week. Two of them actually. Happy to announce my fear of spiders has not decreased. At all. The highlight of the week was probably service at one of our member's houses. We cleaned her kitchen, which was outside. It pretty quickly turned into a cockroach killing fest. We have decreased the cockroach population by at least 200 so you're welcome. Tagalog word of the week: Pamumpkin. Which means niece of nephew. Is that not the cutest thing you've ever heard?! And the ACTUAL highlight of the week, I got a rose from a little boy. Between the kisses and the flowers, I am getting way more attention as a missionary than I ever did as a normal person. 
I got a rose from Cloudie!

Okay, so I could probably write a whole letter about my favorite investigators. So I will. Joel and Arianne. We went back for our 2nd lesson with them and when we followed-up their Book of Mormon reading they apologized for only reading 15 chapters. 15! And they totally understood the story. Arianne summarized it in a way that made me think, "Wow, this is a good book. I want to read it!" Then came the text. They had seen the picture of the Manila Temple on their church tour so we told them a little bit about it. They wanted to know if they could come with us sometime to the "church in Quezon City," AKA the temple. I so hope one day I do get to go to the temple with them! It's really amazing the difference the gospel has already made in their lives, especially Joel. After our first visit, he stopped wearing his earrings. Then he cut his hair. Once they offered us iced tea and when we told them we couldn't drink it, they  quit drinking it too. Then they went to a wedding and reported back to us that they had chosen not to have a drink with their friends. We hadn't asked them to do any of these things. We hadn't even taught the Word of Wisdom yet! Joel loves the Book of Mormon and he told us he's seen the difference since we started going there. His family is happier, they have more direction. He told me he was starting to feel that "boom-boom" feeling in his heart that we had explained as the Holy Ghost. They came to church on Sunday! My first investigators over the age of 12 coming to church and I was a mess. I was like a mother dropping off her child on the first day of school, hoping they'd like it and the lessons wouldn't be too crazy and the members would be nice. It was a stressful 3 hours but watching that cute little family singing hymns during sacrament and not even caring that they didn't know the words was just awesome! And they said they want to come every week. So that's a plus :) 

Sometimes I think it's too good to be true. This area is one of the hardest in the mission and so far, most people just listen because they're being nice. It's amazing to realize there are people out there that are really prepared, really looking for the truth. Heavenly Father knows what He's doing. And the Book of Mormon is for real.

That's all for this week! Have a fantabulous week and invite someone to church :)

XOXO, Sister Brown

We love conference! <3


It was Roslinda's 70th birthday, so we took a picture

Sister Peterson, my adopted mom

Monday, October 14, 2013

General Conference

The Canlubang sisters literally ate half of this table sized pizza at zone dinner (go sisters!)!

Well my friends, another week has passed here in "The 'Bang" (pronounced bong) and I have successfully broken my alarm clock, 3 umbrellas, and my bag in the 8 weeks I've been here. Now that's talent. And an update on my Tagalog, I got 63% on my grammar test on my online training. So that means I'm fluent. Right? Right. I have also successfully eaten my weight in chapatis, fried Indian bread. Living with an Indian is the best! 

As far as investigators go, we found this adorable family that lives by our apartment and they have stolen my heart. Their names are Joel and Arianne and their kids are Clouie and Venice. They're Catholic but they are totally open to learning more about other religions. In our first lesson, Sister Arianne was asking us if she converted to our religion if she had to go house to house like us and if they had activities for the kids and if they couldn't come to church every single week if we'd be mad and I was like can we just baptize you right now? Brother Joel lost his job and is struggling because he loves his family so much and he just wants what's best for them. They just need the gospel! We took them on a church tour on Saturday and they loved it. We have FHE with them tonight and they're coming to church next week! I just love them! Turns out every once in awhile, people really listen :)

This weekend we got to watch what we call "The Missionary Super Bowl." A.K.A. General Conference. Oh my gosh it was the best! Although I have waited my whole life for my stake to be chosen to sing in conference and of course, it would happen when I was literally on the other side of the world! But whatevs, what I'm doing is way cooler ;) It was awesome to see Makayla and Marsha Holmes and Bro. Peterson though! The main message I got from conference wasn't really spoken. I just felt it. And it was this. Just love people. Every question that I wrote down, hoping for an answer, was answered by that statement. How do I get my investigators to progress? How do I help strengthen family and friends at home? How do I enjoy my mission? How do I strengthen my testimony? Just love people. Another main point of conference was member missionary work, which as a missionary I love! But since most people are a little apprehensive about sharing the gospel with those they know, this is my advice. Just love people. We are all children of the same loving Heavenly Father, brothers and sisters. And if we will just reach out in love to others, they will feel His love for them. Sometimes you've done all you can to help someone and all that's left to do is love them. If we just love people, they will see the light of Christ in us. We will emulate our Savior and because of us, they will want to know Him. So love people. And share the gospel.

Another favorite part of conference was after President Monson spoke and the choir sang "We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet." The congregation was quietly singing along and as I looked around I saw tears in the eyes of many and my own eyes filled with tears. At that moment I just knew how much faith these people had, how much they loved the prophet. And I knew how much Heavenly Father loved each one of them. I wish I could better explain it, but I just know this church is true and President Monson is a prophet of God, and through Him, God is always watching out for us.

Try to serve someone this week. Share the gospel by just loving the people around you. Let the light of Christ shine in your eyes. And know that I love you. All of you. I don't even have to know you. You are my brother or my sister and you are loved. 

Have a great week!

XOXO, Sister Brown

Church tour

Venice, the little fashionista

Joel, Arianna, Sister Meti, me,
Venice and new favorite investigators!

Monday, October 7, 2013

From the 3 month old missionary

Randoni and Mawin's baptism

Kamusta po kayo lahat? Oh my goodness this week was great! Okay so first things first, I apologize for never replying to basically anyone. Especially to Aunt Kim, Mikayla, and the Brown family. You all are just too awesome and I have too many emails and I'm awful at summarizing so sorry. That doesn't mean you should stop emailing me though... I promise I'll write back to you someday. Maybe in 15 months. Which reminds me, I've been a full-time missionary for 3 whole months now! Yay! And I got told I looked like Emma Watson. So add that to the list. I wish someone would tell me I look like Cinderella since I wash all my clothes by hand, clean the floor on my hands and knees, and sing songs, all while only wearing one flip-flop. I'm living the Princess dream! Be jealous. Actually don't. That's against the commandments. So we got to go to the Relief Society session of conference on Saturday and when they announced President Monson was next I had a little silent Buddy the Elf moment where I was all like, "President Monson! I know him! I KNOW HIM!" I can't wait to watch conference this week!!! And I may be a little jealous you have all already seen it. What was your favorite part?

And guess what! We had our first baptism! Randoni and Mawin Babor got baptized on Saturday and it was awesome. They were so excited! And it's great because now their family is completed and their dad has started to come back to church! Up next, temple sealing :) The ward did a great job of organizing the baptism and supporting the family. Watching it reminded me of my own baptism, with Grandpa Brown standing on my prosthetic foot so it wouldn't float up during the baptism and then having to do it twice anyway! haha :) 

Inspiration for your week, I started reading "Our Search for Happiness," (which is a great book for any religion) and found this quote. "As we commit ourselves to Jesus Christ, spiritually, physically, and emotionally, He blesses our lives with loving direction. Every decision we make from that time on is affected...Simply put, after the spirit of Christ enters our hearts and our souls, we can never be the same again." I know that this is true. Once we have come to know our Savior, even in the smallest way, we can never be the same again. He changes our hearts, to make us want to be better. I know that if for whatever reason I was to come home right now, even though it's been only 3 months, I would be forever changed. Because on this mission, I have already come to better understand my Savior and the power of His atonement. The way I think and act is different. It's not a change we really consciously choose to make, it just happens. As we come to know Him, we come to be like Him. I am so excited to see this change in the people here and in myself! 

I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve and I realized I hadn't shared my Tagalog skills with you all for a while. So here goes. Alam ko na dahil mahal na mahal po tayo ng Diyos, ibinigay niya ang plano para sa atin na makabalik sa kanyang piling. At alam ko na ipinadala ng Diyos ang kanyang Pinakamamahal na Anak, si Jesucristo, sa mundo na magbayad-sala para sa and ating mga kasalanan. Alam ko na sa pamamagitan ng buhay na propeta, ni Joseph Smith, ipinanumbalik ng Diyos ang kabuuan ng kanyang ebanghelyo sa mundo. Ang ating tagapagligtas si Jesucristo at sa pamamagitan ng kanyang pagbabayad-sala, maramdaman tayo kapayapaan sa ating buhay. Alam ko na totoo ang ebanghelyo ito at ang salita ng Diyos ang Aklat ni Mormon. Alam ko na totoo ito. Si Pangalan ni Jesucristo, amen.

Yeah, I speak that. Have a good week lovelies!

XOXO, Sister Brown

Can't believe it's already been 3 months!
1st Baptisms :)

Me and my favorite little girl

Brought to you by Sis Smart
It was a comfy pants and 3 smores at once kind of day!