Friday, May 30, 2014

Here Comes The Rain da dadada‏

Our bayad for district lunch at church.  Peeling 1 million mangos!

Magandang hapon minamahal na pamilya and mga kaibigan! Mahal ko kayo :) Hope your week was super awesome and HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUNT KIM AND JILIEN JACKSON! Hope both of you have the best day ever, I love you! 

Well, malapit na ang rainy season. Hallelujah! It's still super hot but at least there's rain. I love Filipino rain storms more than almost anything else. So obviously I'm super excited for the next 4 months. 

Now that we've talked about the weather.... I honestly don't know what to tell ya. It was a good week, it really was. We have 2 investigators who are slowly but surely progressing. One of them is Sister Felicidad. She's 71 and she's getting baptized in a couple of weeks. It's kinda weird for me to think she's going to really get baptized. It's been kind of a while since that happened. The other one is Exequiel. He's 16 and he is a part-member family and he's super funny. We always sit down in his lessons and he immediately tells us that he has not yet received an answer haha :) Don't worry my friend, it will come. 

Other than that, I just want you all to work with the missionaries. Our current focus here in PSPM is working with the members. Members really are the ones that should be inviting and part of the teaching. We can't do missionary work without members. Those 2 progressing investigators we have are progressing because of the members that have friendshipped them and continue to help them grow in the gospel. So don't be scurred. Call the missionaries :)

Have a great week! Then tell me all about it. Love ya!

XOXO, Sister Brown


Monday, May 19, 2014

Happy Mayohan!‏

We ate waffles! And I can no longer eat with a fork...
Hellooooo my fabulous friends and family! This week I finally experienced a Filipino festival! It's the Mayohan here in Tayabas which is where they celebrate the Catholic saints by having random parades where people wear the products native to Tayabas, pregnant lady talent shows, and a hagisan, meaning a stampede of men runs down the street and people throw money and sticky rice and sardines from their windows. I will probably never experience anything like that again. It was awesome! 

I also have developed a new super power; every time a see a baby it immediately bursts into tears. Sister Lisaca's explanation when I asked her why was this, "It's because you're like a monster, or an alien... But not an ugly alien. A beautiful, amazing alien." Haha I love my companion :D But really, all the kids are scared of me.

This week we had a specialized training meeting with President Peterson. Lots of good things about that. One being I got mail from my favorite little family in The 'Bang! They are doing good. They moved into a new house and Joel has a calling in Young Men's. Clouie invited me to his baptism when he turns 8 in December and it's the week I get released. So it could totally happen! I also got a letter from the amazing Brown family so thank you! And President Peterson gave us Tayabas sisters special permission to come listen to the General authority in San Pablo!!! Woo hoo!!

But of course the best part of the training meeting was President Peterson's workshop. I love that man. He is absolutely amazing. The mission is really focusing on reaching our potential as a mission right now and so I've been thinking a lot about what my individual potential was. And ya know what conclusion I came to? I don't think people realize just how much potential they really have. I mean, do you realize that YOU are a child of God? And that you have the potential to BECOME like Him? Do you realize that because of that, NOTHING is impossible for you? So this week, go do something crazy. Reach your potential.

XOXO, Sister Brown

Laundry Filipino style
Hannah got baptized last week

Tayabas sisters

Service at the Sales'

There were so many lizards in our house this week!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Hello wonderful friends and family! Hope your week was awesome! Mine was great. We ran out of water completely for about 3 days. Forget Survivor, it was turning into The Hunger Games! Or the Thirsty Games would be more appropriate. And my companion was sick and so was one of the other sisters so the 2 Americans in the house were scavenging the streets of Tayabas for water. It was so fun!! And it wasn't actually that bad. We can buy water, it's just expensive. So I guess now that we've had American week, we will just be eating rice for the rest of the month until support comes again. Speaking of American week, we had breakfast for dinner one day; french toast, eggs, and bacon. My companion added a great big pile of nothing other than...RICE! We'll convert her. Oh and I just found out a general authority is coming to our mission!!! And that only missionaries within 2 hours of the mission home can come. We are about 2 1/2 hours away. I accept the fact that I will never hear anyone cool speak in my entire mission. It's fine. 

It was great to see some of your lovely smiling faces on Skype this morning! And Mike, it was good to meet you. Remember the ice cream.I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family. I love you and miss you but I know that I am where I need to be. And 7 more months isn't really all that long. The time will fly.

 Since it is Mother's Day, I feel like I should just say Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful, beautiful mother and also to my step-mom, my aunts, my grandmas, and to every other woman who has ever been a mother to me. I have been so blessed throughout my life with amazing women, especially my young women's leaders, who have helped me to get where I am today and who have strengthened my testimony immensely. I am so thankful for my mother and the example of strength and example she has been to me. She is the best mom in the whole wide world. Don't argue.

Since she was sick, we didn't do much this week. There was a baptism of one of the little girls in our ward. She is seriously the cutest thing ever! I have never seen someone so excited to be baptized :) Watching her baptism, I remembered the warm feeling that I got when I was baptized. And that mostly everyone gets when they are baptized. And I couldn't help but think that it was a great big hug from Heavenly Father and that His smile was just as big as Hannah's. I know that Heavenly Father is always there watching over us and that He is so proud of us when we do what is right, especially when it is hard. He is aware of us. 

Well that's all I've got folks, until next week! This week is the Mayohan so it should be good!

Love, Sister Brown

American Week: Sister Lisaca's plate
American Week: My plate
Hanna's baptism

Random Parade for Mayohan

Barangay floats

Zone meeting
Add caption

Monday, May 5, 2014

Waterless in Tayabas‏

Sister Kerr :)
Hello my friends! Kamusta po kayo lahat? (Do you know what that means by now?) First of all, thank you grandpa Brown for the birthday card! You are now the most loyal letter writer ;) And dad and Zee for the package! We are so excited to color Easter eggs and make more cake! 

So this week was pretty interesting. The temperature here in the Pines changes with the month and let me tell ya what May brings; HEAT. Not just any heat, like heat that makes it impossible to think or speak or move. Heat that puts everyone in the Philippines to sleep immediately. It's seriously like Tayabas is in hibernation.

But that wasn't the interesting part of the week. The interesting part was that we had no running water except for for about 15 minutes when we would wake up. So every morning we were running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to fill up as many containers as we could before the water stopped. It's awesome. I remember in the MTC, Elder Milligan made the analogy that the MTC was like a Mormon version of survivor. He had no idea what he was talking about. THIS is the Mormon version of survivor. I have developed the ability to shower with half a bucket of water. Who ever would have thought I'd need that skill? 

Also we got to do another zone conference. So if you want Lucena Zone Missionaries to run your youth con, you better schedule now! Joke lang. We can't leave Lucena. But anyways, it was really cool because we went on a half day mission which is where we go around and OYM and teach as many people as we can with the members as our companions. The two 16 year olds that were with me were awesome and it was so cool to see them go from being terrified to speak to teaching lessons on their own. I just love the youth! I can't wait for them all to go on missions :) 

I got an American companion for the first time this week too! I went on exchanges for a day with Sister Cowley and it was an eye opening experience for me. Because she let me lead a lot of the lessons and although I didn't know the investigators in their area, I could do it. And I felt confident about it. As I thought back on who I was before my mission, I realized how much Heavenly Father has and is helping me everyday to do crazy and impossible things. Wow, missions are amazing.

And the last experience of the week, I am now learning another language. We were referred to a less active member in our area who wants to come back to church. His name is Johnry and he is deaf. He is so great! I was sent back to my first week in the Philippines as I struggled to communicate anything at all to him. We had an interpreter but it was still frustrating because I want to help him, but I literally cannot. But as the lesson went on, he started to open up to us and I just love him. I am so excited to work with him more! 

Well, have a great week and be thankful for your air conditioned homes and running water. But also be sad that you aren't having all of the adventures that I get to have ;) Love you all!

XOXO, Sister Brown

10 months!!!!
We were desperate

Really desperate!

Only in the Philippines....

Half day mission and my companions

Half day mission in Lucban

Halo halo

Enya.  She is from Denmark!

Asian Cakes and Youth Conference

Yay cake!!!
Kamusta na po kayo lahat? Sana mga magaganda pa kayo! So just in case you were wondering, (and I know you were) it is completely possible to bake a Funfetti cake in a rice cooker. Now that I have done that, I don't know if I can get any more Asian. We made a cake because we got a new housemate! And it was her birthday the day after transfers. How sad is that? Her name is Sister Niupalau and she is from Tonga. I love her. Not only because she is Tongan, but because she is the sweetest person I have ever met! I really like Sister Cowley too. I always get pretty lucky with the housemate thing. I just love the 3 of them!

This week I went to Youth Conference! I absolutely love Youth Conference and who would've thought I'd get to go when I was 20 years old and serving a mission?? All of the missionaries in Lucena zone put on a mini MTC. It is so amazing how much emphasis is placed on missionary work for the youth here in the Philippines. I loved seeing hundreds of youth raise their hands when they asked who wanted to serve a mission one day. I remember being on the receiving end of that question and not really being sure and half-heartedly raising my hand. If I could just pick out those youth, the ones who weren't really sure, and tell them why they NEED a mission. If I could just explain to them that it will be the best choice they will ever make. If anyone that is reading this is one of those people, let me tell you. You need a mission. It is the hardest thing, but it is the best thing. I can't imagine what my future life and my future family would be without this mission. I needed to be pushed. 

And I am still being pushed. You might wonder why I haven't written much about our investigators. Well, in all honesty, it is because there aren't really any that are progressing. We have commitment issues in Tayabas. In all of my other areas, EVERYONE and their chicken committed to read the Book of Mormon, pray about it, get baptized, whatever we wanted. Then they usually just didn't do it. But here in Tayabas, our investigators do not want to read. Or pray. And they especially don't want to get baptized. We can explain the doctrine clearly, extend bold commitments, bring members to testify, and maybe even do backflips and they still won't commit. We're kind of at a loss here. But no worries, everyone gets over commitment issues eventually, right? 

We also had stake conference this week and it was super good! And in Tagalog! That was honestly the first conference where I felt like I knew exactly what was going on the entire time. And here is my favorite quote: "Count YOUR blessings, don't count other people's blessings!" How true is that? Living in the Philippines has taught me that in America, we consider a lot things necessities that are far from it. You will not die without TV. You will not die without your iPhone. You do not need a new pair of shoes to add to the 32 pairs you already never wear. You do not need to have everything that everyone else has. You have enough. Remember to count your blessings this week.

Love you all to the moon and back! Have a fabulous week! 

XOXO, Sister Brown

Sis. Niupalau

Asian cake

Our hold-the-rice-cooker-on contraption

Zone leaders
Prom queens of San Pablo mission
Future missionary
My cute date ;)
Las Pinas Stake