Sunday, November 30, 2014

Better than Thanksgiving‏

We are on the squa
Hey, how's it going? This has been a week of... well, not much. We got 2 new sisters in our house, we taught a whole bunch of people the gospel, and had a stake conference ALL about marriage and family. It was a good week. However, this week is going to be even better! Because it's Grandpa Fred's birthday, Uncle John's birthday, AND Thanksgiving this week! But even better than Thanksgiving, I AM GOING TO THE TEMPLE!!! Thus, I do not have time to reply to any of you so sorry. But only a little sorry. Because I am going to the temple.

So in honor of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a scripture I read this morning about gratitude in Alma 34:38.
38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

Last week I talked a little bit about some of the many trials and challenges our investigators were facing. I've faced my share of trials as a missionary as well. But the more I've thought about those trials, the more I realize that those many mercies and blessings that this verse talks about are actually those very trials. What would we be without trials? How would we ever become what our Savior needs us to be? I am the missionary and the person that I am because of the trials that I have faced in my life. I am thankful that my investigators have trials. That means they're going to be unbreakable when they get through them all. Heavenly Father is just helping them, and me, become. 

While you all are stuffing your faces with turkey and pumpkin pie, take a few moments to be grateful for the trials and challenges you've had in your life that have made you who you are. Thanks for being who you are and for all of your love and support.

Love ya! 

XOXO, Sister Brown

Maria Jean, called to serve in Urdaneta!

San Jose future Missionaries


Root Beer Floats?!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Losing it!

Lost my shoe! :(
Kamusta family and dear friends!? First of all, I am officially Filipina. Multiple people this week have asked me the typical, "What is your ethnicity?" question. And I have given them the typical, "America." And then they have continued to ask, "But what part of the Philippines did you grow up in?" YES!!! And in case you were wondering, I usually answer, "Mindanao." 

As you may have noticed, the title of this email is about losing things. Like our investigators and baptismal dates. We have SOO many great investigators that are so ready and willing to accept the gospel. However, they are all facing some seemingly insurmountable obstacles in actually reaching the waters of baptism. I think I've mentioned DonDon and Viana before. They had to save their money to get a CENOMAR which would verify if Viana's first marriage was really valid. (It was just in a house...) They'd been waiting months! And after their great act of faith, they will continue waiting for about another 2 years because apparently that house wedding was the real deal and in the Philippines there is no divorce so you can only be baptized if you have lived together for 5 years or longer and then you still can't be married in the temple. I was on exchanges with Sister Dadivas when we found out. And to end that day off, I got out of the tricycle, looked down at my foot, and realized that I had lost my right shoe! Hey, at least it wasn't the whole leg!

Another thing we lost this week was Sister Waldrom. She's given PSPM all she had and is now on her way back to America. Which is not a notion that I like. Because if she's gone, that means I'm next. And I'm not ready. However, kids say the darndest things. We were teaching the Vilela family (I'll tell ya about them next week, they're great!) and little RJ comes out of the room and says, "Huwag makulit, huwag kayong maingay, darating si Jesucristo!" Meaning everyone behave and be quiet, Jesus Christ is coming. It was pretty hilarious. But at the same time, it got me thinking. What if Jesus was coming? Would I be ready? Would they be ready? Would you be ready? How would I feel if I had to finish this mission right now? RJ is a wise kid.

Can't wait for another great week here in San Jose! Thanks for all of your love and support and prayers!

XOXO, Sister Brown

(No caption but I'm guess this is her I'm afraid to go in there after the incident with the snake look!) :(

Exchanges :)

FHE for Sister Waldrom

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What the ahas?‏

Kamusta na po kayo? Buhay pa sana. First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!! You're the best, have a great day but don't get too crazy, you're getting old ;)  It has been yet another crazy week in San Jose. There is NEVER a boring day. It's always an adventure! We started out the week with QUITE the adventure. We were supposed to go to Lipa for exchanges with our STL's but being the awesome missionaries that we are, we decided to try and squeeze in a lesson before we headed to Lipa. We got about 3 steps from the door. Then I felt something stick into my leg and our investigator started yelling, "Ahas! Ahas!" You know what that means! Oh wait... you don't. Let me fill you in. It means nothing other than snake. Yep. I've officially been snake bitten.

My sweet little investigator took us to the hospital and there were just so many grim faces all around. The moment I told them I'd been bitten by a snake they would just kind of shake their heads as if to say, "It was nice knowing ya." Here's the thing. I was totally fine. The 2 shots they gave me hurt way more than the bite itself did! The hospital here in San Jose doesn't have any way to treat snakebites so I got to go to Manila. I had to stay there for 24 hours to be "observed" for signs of venom so me and the mission nurse, Sister Galbraith, got to know each other and all of the nurses. And janitors. And patients. It was a long 24 hours. We were about to hour 16 and I was dying. Of boredom. Not literally. No worries. But then I realized why I felt so awful. I was a missionary! I was supposed to be doing missionary work! So Sister Galbraith and I started OYMing everyone that came into the room. Which was everyone because it was the janitor's closet and also the shortcut to the other side of the hospital. And I felt SOOO much better! There was only one other snakebite patient and he just happened to be from Batangas, about 20 minutes away from San Jose. By the end of our conversation, Lorena (his mom) told us that maybe it was a blessing that we'd both been snake bitten because they were able to meet us and they are so excited for the missionaries in their area to come visit them! God works in mysterious ways.

I just love San Jose ward by the way. They all showed up outside our house in a big truck about 20 minutes after the whole thing happened. I don't even know how they knew! They were so concerned. They still keep asking me if I'm okay a week later. After talking to so many people, I did start to realize how lucky I was. And the more people that tell me it was a miracle that the snake wasn't venomous, the more I really believe that Heavenly Father was watching out for me. And the more I think about all the people I met at the hospital that didn't know what they were going to eat or drink or how they were going to get home because they didn't have any money, the more I realize how blessed I am to have the gospel. There was one patient who was 24 and had leprosy. It was curable but they didn't have any money. So they left. They took him home to die. You don't know how lucky you are. Don't take things for granted. 

This verse has brought me comfort as I've tried to understand why it is that there are so many trials for these people. 

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

There is always hope because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for the hope that comes from this gospel. Thank you for everything! Have a great week! 

XOXO, Sister Brown




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy All-Saints Day!

Happy Halloween! But we don't celebrate Halloween here. We celebrate All-Saints Day. If you remember, that's when everyone and their dog goes to the cemetery with flowers and candles to have a little party. And our chapel just happens to be on the very road leading to the cemetery. So our genius ward mission leader came up with the idea to stand outside and offer people fee juice and The Plan of Salvation! So that's exactly what we did. A few of our YSA are preparing to serve missions and as we stood there trying awkwardly to share about the plan of salvation to the hoards of people rushing down the street one of them said, "This is so awkward!" And then I realized, missions are awkward. And then I remembered a speaker from the MTC. "If it's awkward, you probably need to do it. It's probably inspiration." So we did. And now we have a bunch of potential investigators and I just upped my awkwardness points :)

This week we also had a special meeting with Elder lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy. He spoke in General Conference. So it's kind of a big deal. He's kind of famous. He spoke to us about agency and how because of that agency, we have 100% responsibility for our lives and 100% control over how we choose to act in any situation. How many times do we try to rationalize, blame others, lie our way out of a tough situation, make excuses, etc when we make a wrong choice? I know I do. But here's the thing, excuses don't get the plates. If Nephi had reverted to complaining, blaming, and rationalizing the way Lemuel and Laman did, the plates would have been forever in Laban's hands. So once we cross this anti-responsibility list out of our lives, we are 100% in control. We are on our way to becoming Nephis, becoming champions. And we are on our way to becoming a whole lot happier, no matter the circumstances in which we may stand.

Finally, we went to a broadcast last night in Lipa City. We were really late because there was traffic (and we left late...100% responsibility) so I didn't get a whole lot from the actual broadcast. But on the way there, Sister Waldrom and I had a lovely conversation with 2 drunk men who were also Mormon and proclaimed to have known that we were also Mormon because they had a "Sixth Sense." We asked if they liked basketball and the younger one pointed enthusiastically at his brother and said, "He is the BEST!! He's going to the finals! But me, I'm on the cheer squad." The way he said it was as if it was obviously the coolest thing any one could ever be. Even a 26 year old drunk man who is begging you not to tell his mom he got drunk "because she will KILL us!" So the lesson you can take away from that is, be who you are. And be happy about it. You have 100% control over who you are and what you are going to do with your life. Heavenly Father has given you that amazing gift. So remember who you are and what you stand for. 

Love you all, thanks for being awesome!

XOXO, Sister Brown

Goodbye part for the Smith Couple


Sis Josephine

Back in San Jose

The District

PB & egg sandwiches, we have such a kind district leader!

My trainees
Lake behind the church

Reunited with the best comp ever

Sis Mahoni