Monday, February 24, 2014

Another One Bites The Dust‏

Kamusta kayo lahat? This week's letter is going to be pretty short. To be honest, it was one of those weeks where I had to buy a whole tub of cookie dough ice cream. And then the next day we lost our curiente and it melted. But I ate it anyway. Ice cream is precious. And sobrang mahal. We tracted a lot because we got punted more this week than ever before. I wish punted was a key indicator sometimes so when I report that we only taught 10 lessons all week I could also say, "But don't worry Elder, we got punted 37 times!" The good thing is, there was a surplus of adorable little children! Heavenly Father is there.

Evangeline came to church this week again and brought her daughter! We found out that she doesn't know how to read. But Erica, her 11 year old daughter, reads The Book of Mormon to her every night. How awesome is that?! She really wants to be baptized and she has a Baptismal Goal Date, but we aren't sure if she's married yet. That's a big problem in the Philippines. There's no divorce so if you've been married before and it doesn't work out, you just move in with another person. It makes the work a little challenging but the Lord always provides a way. 

I know this email is lame. Sorry. Thank you for all of your love and support and prayers! I had quite a few little emails today that I very much appreciated. They were much needed. Thank you. Have a wonderful week! 

XOXO, Sister Brown

The sign says it isn't allowed to throw trash here or you will be fined...I don't think it is working! 

Another day of tracting...
Ivan the Adorable!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Light of Christ

Happy Belated Valentine's Day! Oh Valentine's Day in the Philippines! People are so cheesy here. I love it! There were so many guys walking around with roses and giant teddy bears. Me and Sister Valdez had a good time making fun of all of them. I just love that girl! She is so sweet and so funny! To be honest, we had some rough days this week. I have never been punted or had so many disappointments in my whole mission as I have this week. But Heavenly Father gave me Sister Valdez to make sure that even though it was the hardest, it wasn't the worst week ever. Sister V is an awesome singer! So we sang a lot of Annie. Haha :) Despite the set backs, we also had some miracles. And that's what I want to tell you about.

So this week I've really come to understand what we call "The Light of Christ." Everyone has the light of Christ, but just like a fire, it can be a blazing flame or just a flickering light. This week we taught Evangeline. We taught her once last week and she didn't really seem to be listening or interested but we left her a Book of Mormon. Then when we went back she looked sooo different. She had the biggest smile on her face and she told us she had been waiting for us and she just had this... light. Her countenance was truly changed. She said she really wanted to come to church with us on Sunday so we set up a time to pick her up. Well, she wasn't there. Her kids said she'd gone to the plaza and we were supposed to meet her there. Here's the thing, there was a graduation in the plaza and there were hundreds of people walking around! So we said a prayer that we would find her or that she would find her way to the church and headed towards the chapel. Guess who walked in 10 minutes later? Evangeline. With that same big smile :) 

Then there's Michael. I talk about him a lot because he never fails to amaze me. This week we taught him about the Priesthood and committed him to prepare to pass the sacrament on Sunday. He was nervous but the smile he got on his face was evidence that he was so ready and he was really excited to do it. He even went out and bought some slacks and got a haircut in preparation! With Michael, the light of Christ has continued to grow and grow so that it has physically changed his appearance. When I look at pictures of him from when I first met him, I can't even tell it's him. And the spirit just radiates from him and I know he is going to do great things in the church.

And finally, there's Ruel. We had been punted by every single person that day, it was a million degrees, and it smelled like eggs. We were discouraged to say the least. BUT then we tracted Ruel. There was just something about him. He only let us in to be nice but as we spoke to him about the Book of Mormon he really listened. His family is so important to him and he wants to do what's right. We have a return appointment with him this week. I don't know what will happen with him, but he definitely has the light of Christ. 

The Light of Christ reminds me of a song my mom used to sing to me when I was younger. The lyrics say "Never let His light go, never let your love grow dim." You have the Light of Christ. Whether you are a member of this church or not, you have it. It's up to you how bright of a light it is. People see that light. It IS visible. So don't do anything that would dim your light and lessen your ability to share that light with those around you. You are all amazing people and I am so blessed to have you in my life. Keep on keepin' on my friends! Love you more than you know!

XOXO, Sister Brown

Eating Filipino style
The other Zone Leader....
Sis Richman from Logan, Utah.  Totes skyped her before the mish.

E. Pulido, E. Sinilong, E. Magaule, S. Valdez, me, S. Seastrand, S. Ott  S. Rasmussen
Elder Magaule is an amazing singer!
Elder Caling, My favorite Zone Leader!
Zone P-day
Sis. Seastrand and I
S. Miranda, S. Ortiola, S. Cortes, S. Malig, me, S. Valdez  S. Reed
Zone P-day hike
My adorable anak
The bad day required a picture taking break!
Sis. Ricketts did what you do mom!

Zone Lunch at Pizza Hut ...where they were out of pizza

Monday, February 10, 2014

Welcome Back to the Philippines!‏

  • Pamilya at mga kaibigan! Ano sa taas? This week was a nice "Welcome Back to the Philippines" where it's a million degrees and everyone tells you how malaki you are. Summer is on the horizon. I hope I survive. Anyways, this week was... a struggle. Training is going okay, I know more than I thought I did. But there's certainly still a lot that I don't know and I've been feeling a little inadequate and homesick for some reason this week. One of our struggles is that our teaching pool is soooo small! It's like a kiddie pool. So we've just been trying to find new investigators this week. Yay for tracting! We do have a couple of promising new investigators.

  • Brother Owen works as a social worker and one of the hospitals here and he was very impressed that the church was willing to help one of our members, Eva, pay for the expenses of her very premature baby. So he wanted to know more. He has a million and one questions but I like that. It makes the lessons more interesting. When we extended a baptismal invitation to him he told us he never had any doubts that it was all true from the first time he met us, he just wants to learn more. So that's Owen. He's awesome. Then there's Marvin. He is Sister Eva's boyfriend. He's been taught before but he promised that if his baby was okay that he would listen to the lessons again. The worry with him is I think he just wants to get baptized because he feels like he owes God, but he doesn't really understand what it means to make the covenant of baptism. They are a super cute little family though and I really hope that they will understand how much the gospel can bless their family!
    And finally, we have Michael. The light of the week. So last week I told you I was worried about our recent converts with Sister Banzali being gone and all. Well, we taught Michael last night. I'm not worried about him. We watched a video, "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go." (It's on and if you haven't watched it, do it!) We use it to help members fulfill their responsibility to share the gospel. When we asked Michael what he had noticed he told us that he'd teared up a little and he just really had the desire to help people like those missionaries did. He told us that when he sees the little kids going to school with no shoes, he just wants to give them shoes. And he really wants to serve a mission so he can help people like the missionaries in the video did. He's only 19! Who says things like that? We then explained that the people in the video actually weren't all missionaries. In fact, they were just regular members like him. His face was just like, "Really? I can do that?" And he told us all about his twin brother and how he wants to go on a mission but he feels like first he needs to help his brother find the gospel, because 2 missionaries will be better than 2 right? He's the best and he's going to be a great missionary :)
    Thank you for your love and support and prayers. Have an awesome week!

    XOXO, Sister Brown
  • Sister Rhea

    District 3 at our cute little restaurant in San Jose

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Life of Being a Nanay‏

My anak, Sister Valdez
Ano ang buhay? That is the question I am asking myself this week. And only Amanda and Avery will properly appreciate it. But first things first, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAILEY JO, YOU ARE MY FAVORITE! And thank you to the Quintana family, the Brown family ulit, Hermana Veater, and the Bezzant family for your letters. Loved them! 

So this week I became a true Filipina. I ate a baby duck embryo, AKA balut. Guess what, it wasn't that bad! I would totally eat it again. Besides becoming a Filipina, I also became a Nanay. Sister Banzali is now in the lovely island of Marinduque and I miss her like crazy! But my new companion is Sister Valdez. Filipina po siya at 20 years old siya. Let me just tell you, I'm pretty sure being a trainer is exactly like having an actual baby. You bring it home and then you're like "Now what?" And you just have to fake it til ya make it but sometimes you both stay up crying at night because you have no idea what you're doing and you're just exhausted ALL the time. Luckily, she came pre-trained and she already speaks Tagalog. Seriously. She is so magaling. The stressful part is the part where we don't have any investigators to visit. But we're working on that. We have a lot of very interested referrals and I can't wait to start teaching them this week!

The only problem with me and Sister Valdez is although she speaks English very well, she doesn't really understand it very well. Plus I have to lead the lessons and call all of the members that work with us so my head is exploding with Tagalog. At night I have a hard time speaking English. My Tagalog will definitely be improving over the next 3 months. 

Finally, I just love these people! And it's kind of stressing me out. Michael and Virgie, our recent converts, are so, so important to me and I don't think they understand that. Preach My Gospel says "Each and every convert is a great responsibility." Kasi, when they are baptized, they commit to live the gospel for the rest of their lives. This is their salvation. It's a big deal. And I'm really worried because Sister Banzali and Sister Sita are the ones that taught and baptized them. I met them the week of their baptism and although I love them so much, the bond with the missionaries that really help you change your life is just different than with any other missionaries. And now that Sister Banzali is gone, I just want to help them and answer their questions and tell them how important they are to the church and to me and to Heavenly Father but I don't speak the language. I still don't know everything about their conversion. And Sister Valdez has even less of that bond with them than I do. AHHHHH! I know that they are in God's hands, not just mine. I know that He will take care of them. But if you all want to pray for them to, that wouldn't hurt. :) 

Love you all so, so much! You are seriously the best! Keep on sharing your light with everyone around you. Remember who you are and what you stand for. Mahal na mahal kita!

XOXO, Sister Brown

Wow...& months!

I love her so, so much! Reunited!
The day I got my anak
Castillo family

Sis. Banzali and....yeah
District T-Shirts
 The coolest DL, Elder Abad
Me and my favorite ZL, Elder Caling
Elder Pulido, Elder Quinco, Elder Caling initials on a trike
This is how we drink soda in the Pines
That face..haha
(That doesn't look like a it's not that bad I might eat it again face to me??)