Monday, December 30, 2013

Maligayang Bagong Taon!‏

Love the new shirt! Thanks Mama!
Helloooo from the Philippines! Hope you all had the best Christmas ever! Ours was really kind of just another day, except our couple missionaries fed us dinner in their apartment and I felt really overwhelmed by how American it all was. Also this week has been a good one! I've been freezing all week and come to find out, it hasn't gotten below 75 degrees. So I'm just gonna stay in the Pines forever. Side note, our Branch President's name is President Escobido, pronounced Scooby-Doo. You wish your branch president was that cool.

Challenge of the week, see how many times you can find a Filipino with the white girl that speaks Tagalog on Facebook. I can't even count how many times someone has asked to take a picture with me or with their kid or how many times someone walks up and very obviously takes a picture of me like I'm an alien haha :) I can only imagine the captions...

Here in San Jose, things are great! However, the work is super duper slow. We have no investigators. But we have 4 recent converts so we just teach them. They are the most amazing people ever! I told you about Brother Michael last week. Every time we teach him, I just am more and more amazed by him. Yesterday he brought his friend, Leo, to church and we taught him after with Brother Michael and Brother Romel and it was the coolest thing! Leo was really, really quiet. For some reason in Batangas, people are afraid to talk to Americans even though we speak Tagalog (kinda...). But I asked him what he believed about God and after some silence he looked up and said he was just realizing how much he needed to start going to church and change his life. The feeling in the room was just one of absolute reverence and I could just feel how much Heavenly Father loved the 3 men in that room. It's getting a lot easier to see people that way, as children of God and as my brothers and sisters. And that makes it a lot easier to love them :)

So since it's New Year's, that means New Year's Resolutions. We all know that means resolving to lose weight. And we all know how that will go. Week 1, eat salads and go to the gym everyday. Week 2, eat a whole box of girl scout cookies and wish yourself better luck next year. So instead of making resolutions you know you won't keep, make one that is of eternal importance. Share the gospel. It doesn't have to be hard. Pray and ask Heavenly Father to help you know who is ready. When the names come into your mind, don't judge them or rationalize not following the spirit. You don't know who needs the gospel, but Heavenly Father does. And then pray for help. Ask your local missionaries to practice with you, they would love to do that! And take 20 seconds of courage and just do it. That resolution will mean more than any other resolution you could make. 

Love you all more than the world! Hope you know you are amazing and that you are important. You can make a difference. Have a great week!

XOXO, Sister Brown

San Jose Sisters

San Jose Branch Christmas party
Destiny's Grandchildren and No Direction
Sis. Banzali and Nico

We won! 
They love us so they had us play the flour game at the Branch Christmas party
They go all out for the branch Christmas party here
That thing is my kasama! hehe Love her!!
Trekking through the jungle
I LOVE headbands!
Christmas Eve sleepover
Christmas Eve present
Kasama Ko
Christmas Eve 2013
Christmas Eve dinner

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Lipat na ako!‏

Sister Meti...going to miss her!
MALIGAYANG PASKO!!! Even if it does feel more like the 4th of July here. It sure was good to see your cute faces pamilya! Keep working on those luscious locks Jaden ;) So it happened. I am transferred. I now know the way to San Jose because I live there. And my companion is none other than Sister Banzali, my old housemate in Canlubang! She is Filipina and we live with 2 other Americans, Sister Seastrand and Sister Ricketts, who have been out for 3 months or less. Saying good-bye to Canlubang was rough and saying good-bye to the Canlubang sisters was even more rough. Our last night there we went to Joel and Ariane's to say good-bye and cute little Clouie just looked up with tears running down his cheeks because Sister Smart and I were leaving. It was kinda adorable but it was also heart-breaking and then I was crying and then Sister Smart was crying and then Ariane was crying and Joel went inside so I'm pretty sure he was crying too ;) We were all crying and then we went home and had a little Christmas party with muffins and cookies and presents and final testimonies. I can't even tell you how much those sisters did for me and how much I miss them but I am so, so grateful for all the good times we had together in the 'Bang. 

Now for the new area, San Jose. It is the "Egg Basket of the Philippines," which means it is the pinakabahong lugar in the Philippines. It smells lovely. And our next door neighbor is a pig slaughterer and he likes to do it in his front yard. So that's cool. However, it is also the coldest area in my mission so I'll take the smell of chickens and rotten eggs any day. AND we live in the nicest house. It's huge. But it also has no water pressure, so bucket showers and no flush toilets for me! Yay! And remember that one time I saw a pig in a tricycle in the 'Bang? That's totally normal here. Tricy's, Jeepney's, walking down the road. I also saw a man walking his cow. Welcome to the Philippines.

San Jose is right next to the biggest city in the mission, but it is not a city. It's kind of a town. But there are areas where we literally trek through the jungle to hidden houses with no electricity too. It's so beautiful here! I can see stars and mga alitaptap (fireflies)! And there are also about 400 billion foot-sized spiders floating in the sky. It's actually pretty cool. I just hope there's never a wind storm cause I don't want them on my face.

We just have a branch here, no ward. They just barely got a chapel like last month. The branch is super fun! My first few days here we went to branch FHE/welcome party for a returning missionary and we all drew on each other's faces with lipstick. Most of our ward is between 18 and 30, so they sometimes are a little... immature? But I love them and they are great at giving referrals! I am so excited to work with them!

And lastly, we had a baptism on Saturday! I never got to teach him. I actually met him at his baptism. His name is Michael and he's 19. He is seriously amazing. He overcame smoking and drinking and is totally converted to the gospel. He's really shy and so after his baptism he went up to bear his testimony and he looked like he was gonna pass out he was so nervous and he couldn't speak. But he kind of bowed his head and closed his eyes for a second and then he bore the most powerful testimony with so much confidence. We have taught him a couple of times since then and I just love him! He reminds me so much of Joel and Ariane.

Transfers are hard. But transfers are good. I am so excited to be here in San Jose and to start this new part of the adventure! Have a great Christmas, eat lots of good food, spend time with those you love, and most importantly, remember what it's really about. Christmas doesn't stop with the baby in the manger. Keep Christ in your heart all year round.
XOXO, Sister Brown

Hannah always ran up to me and gave me a hug and told me she loved me! She is one of my favorites! 
Napolitano Family
RICE anyone?????
Lechon Baboy
Ward Christmas party
Nanay Pataueg <3

Saying goodbye is hard to do! :(

Pres. Peterson at Zone Conference
Our New House in San Jose
Dinning room
Our living room
Our very pink room!
Our own bathroom (bucket showers)
Our awesome kitchen
First Baptism in San Jose - Michael
Branch FHE (Family Home Evening)

Beautiful San Jose

That this is HUGE!

Spiders...All those black dots are face sized spiders! YUCK!!!! 
Cute new housemate (had to end w/ something cute those spiders are freaky!)