missionary plaque picture

missionary plaque picture

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Dear Family, 

The Phoenix temple dedication was wonderful! No, we didn't actually go, but we did watch it broadcast at the stake center, just like when the Boise temple was rededicated. That's so cool that Chase got to carry a flag for it! It's fun knowing that the Browning cousins are doing double-duty on Arizona right now. ;) 

Speaking of extended family, please tell Grandma and Grandpa I said thank you so much for writing. :)  Their advice and encouragement was just what I needed! And it was nice to see pictures of the cabin too!

That's really scary what's been happening at CCC. What are you going to do? Has that caused a strain in the homeschool group? A lot of churches out here have similar classes. It just shows how true the gospel really is, if Satan's working this hard on it. Breaks your heart when it's honest, good, Christian people who have good intentions. I loved your thoughts about covenants, mom. Without ordinances and covenants we are left with only a shell of Christ's gospel and teachings! I agree, I would never trade that in for less. I think at this thanksgiving, that's what I'm the most grateful for-- the Gospel, my covenants, my family, and my Savior. 

Well this week was pretty fabulous! Prayed hard and worked hard. We are teaching a young couple named Kim and Terry (Sis Martin and I always get it mixed up and say Tim and Kerry... how horrible haha). Terry was baptized when he was 8, and Kim is a nonmember. They have an adorable, bashful, chunky-monkey 18 month old son and a lot of heartbreaking financial struggles. On Thursday, we went through a big pile of old clothes that sisters have left behind in our apartment, filled two big gift bags with what we thought would fit Kim, added a couple old things of our own, and took it to her. We also found a toy Finding Nemo turtle and took it for Levi. The look of joy on hers and Terry's faces was the best part of the whole day. Sister Shade, whose family got sealed on Saturday, bore the most wonderful testimony to them about how this Gospel blesses families. You could just see how hopeful it made them feel. I want to see Kim and Terry make it to the temple so bad! That would be a dream come true! 

One of the best things about the mission is that I never have to go to bed wondering if I served anyone that day. Sure, I may occasionally wonder if my efforts made a difference, but I never have to wonder if I tried! It's the best feeling! :)

We had a little miracle with Carlos last night. We decided to be bold and have a lesson about the importance of church and the sacrament, and he told us that a really grumpy ("frumpy, not grumpy" in his words) coworker switched with him so he can have Sunday Dec 13th off work! That's only one week earlier than we thought, but we'll take it. "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass!"  Sis Martin and I just about cried. Haha :) We're still praying that he can have as many Sundays off as possible. Preferrably, uh, all of them. :) 

Xonya is one of the most incredible 16 year olds I know. The young women have been really welcoming to her, and we're having an FHE with her in one of the young women's homes tonight! Last night, in our lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, she told us that before we met her, she had been struggling with drugs and using them to cope with her problems. The day after she made the resolution to quit was the day we knocked on the door. I see what you did there, Heavenly Father ;) His timing is muy perfecto!! 

On Saturday, President and Sister Snow stopped by on their way back from Havasu to drop off some mail. Our 4:00 appointment cancelled, so they came to the stake center to see us. Our dinner cancelled too, and what a blessing, because we were with them until 5:30. He took the time to visit with Sis Martin and I individually and give us blessings. It meant the world that he'd do that for us! It has been made clear to me over and over again that President Snow is called of God. This mission needed to have his tenderhearted, wise, compassionate, optimistic leadership at this time for missionaries like Sis Martin and I. There's been a lot of people in my life that I'd consider "second moms," but President is the first "second dad" I've ever had! It blows my mind how much he loves the elders and sisters in this mission and how much he sacrifices for us. We're sure spoiled out here in the NLVM. 

As far as living conditions go, our area almost feels like it's split into the Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial kingdoms. I wanted to show you the contrast, so I took a picture in the "celestial zone" and one in the "telestial zone." Yep, those are both in my area! 

Funny story of the week: While going through the old clothes for Kim, we found a cute purple button-down shirt... upon further investigation we realized it had an horribly tacky snap at the bottom, like a toddler's onesie? Gotta do something to keep the shirt in place, I guess? Ha well that onesie/blouse thing has become the running gag in our apartment. I'll hang it in Sis Martin's bathroom, then she'll put it on my desk, then I'll put it on her bed... Sometimes we'll leave notes with it, like "A gift for you!" 

Well I hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving!! Tell the Forkeys and Smedleys and Grandpa I said hello and I love them :) We'll be helping out with the community turkey trot in the morning, then we have district meeting and then a member family is feeding us dinner. Should be a good day!

Sister Browning 

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