Hello my amazing family!
Soo-prise! The iPads are here! If you couldn't tell from the fact that every email ends with "sent from my iPad..." Haven't figured out how to get rid of that yet. They rolled out the devices to leadership at MLC this week and depending on how that goes, they will roll them out to the rest of the mission in July. So we are the guinea pigs. :) it was really funny seeing all the missionaries like kids on Christmas Morning... The funniest part is the APs, who are country boys from Montana and Dubois, holding theirs like "how do you work this fangdangled technology?!" Haha. We are just in stage 1, so no electronic area books or progress records and no Facebook, but that's ok. One thing at a time.
Here is our first picture Sis Mayfield and I took together post- iPad!
Moving on. :)
I have to apologize, to Mom especially, for the short email last week! Can you tell I was a little overwhelmed? Today is better so I have time to tell all the things. I will start by answering your questions, Jacob Forkey style. :)
- What did you do for your birthday?
Not a whole lot. I told you how sister Koyle turned FHE in the YSA into my surprise birthday party right? That was pretty awesome :) in my new area it was a normal working day and no one really knew me, but I did open your presents in the morning and then Sis Mayfield and I treated ourselves to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. So that was nice :)
- Did you get any cards or birthday greetings from anyone other than those living at 3971 E Menan Lorenzo Hwy?
Yes I did! I got that card from the relief society, nice letters from Josh and Jacee, Jerens letter with his mission stories, and grandmas card and birthday money. Please tell them I said thank you when you see them! :)
- What is your new ward like?
Whitney Ranch is very normal. Just a normal, good ward with good families and the typical struggles. I don't know how to explain it other than that. It's just... So... Typical. A typical family ward. It's nice but I don't know the people very well yet. It's weird to hear kids during the sacrament again. Half of my mission has been spent with silent sacrament meetings.
- How is the missionary work there?
The work is going really well, especially considering how the ward has been in the past. From what our ward mission leaders son told us, when he was growing up the ward was not known for having much success at all. But for the past year or two they've been doing a lot better.
- What have you done with your new theme and as STL?
There's a ton we've been doing. We go on exchanges once a week with our sisters. That's the really fulfilling ministering part of the calling. I did first exchange with Sister Sargent on Saturday :) We're really trying to inspire our zone into action. We have a very unique sort of zone... It's kind of like the island of misfit toys? There's a handful missionaries who are reaching the end of their missions and are just sort of... Giving up. It breaks my heart. But we're doing everything we can to lift, encourage, inspire, and bless. ;) the zone leaders and sis mayfield and I put on a zone training council on Friday. Normally you do skill training and practice teaching and stuff like that, but we really wanted to get to the root of what the missionaries need. Preach My Gospel describes it as an "iceberg concern." So I gave a 20 minute training on comp unity, then sis mayfield trained on charity, then elder Faldmo trained on accountability, and finally elder rockwood finished by training on the atonement. It was really powerful. The Spirit was definitely guiding every decision that went into that meeting. I felt so much love for each of those missionaries, especially the struggling ones. Now it's up to them if they take what they've learned and finish their missions strong :)
- What has been the biggest adjustment in this new area and with this new calling and companion?
With the new area, balancing the whole STL thing and the whole being-a-missionary thing. It's double the things to remember. I just want to have more time to think about our investigators and study for them. Also gaining the wards support more; due to some miscommunications the bishopric isn't our biggest fans. But we will change that with divine help! :)
With the calling, just confidence. For a while there I was having to pray every day that God would unbind my tongue so I wasn't nervous to speak up or add my ideas to the board so to speak. The enabling power of the atonement is so so real. :) For example, giving that training in front of the zone by myself was so scary for me. On the outside:
"So what has the Spirit done for you in your companionship?"
On the inside:
With my companion, no complaints!! She's absolutely incredible! She's a Georgia peach :) We laugh all the time and work really well together. And we can be super honest with each other and talk about everything. I want you to meet her when she goes to BYUI. She is truly sunshine.
- Have you been more stressed or more happy? What is your number one challenge now?
I'm truly happier than ever. I'm also more TIRED than ever. My biggest challenge right now is STAYING AWAKE. I think I'm developing narcolepsy. Can you develop narcolepsy? Haha ;) And also having the motivation to work when it's hot outside and I feel like I've done this all before. My greatest temptation is to nap forever. But there are souls to save!
- Lastly, tell us about your investigators!
Ooh ooh! My favorite! Ok so we are teaching a woman named April and her two daughters. She loves the church and wants to be baptized. Her teenage son joined the church a few months ago and then introduced her:) her hangup is the word of wisdom, so this morning during personal study we rolled up little pieces of paper with scriptures on them and put them inside an empty pack of cigarettes that we got from another person we're teaching. Hopefully those help! She wants to quit so bad!
Our gift to April :) haha
We are also teaching a woman named Alli and her two sons who have been coming to church for about 7 months. Lately Alli expressed that she really wants to be baptized but she doesn't want to do it without her husband. He hasn't really gotten on board though. She has cancel and is going through chemo right now. We heart attacked her door and she said she loved it :) we wish we could do more but she has a lot of support and fellowship from the ward members.
Dawnna is another investigator who has been taught everything and is ready for baptism :) she set her own date of July 18th though which is really far away, so we're trying to move it a little closer. We're going to walk around the temple grounds with her this week! Excited for that!
We also found a woman named Sharonda last week who welcomed us right in and told us she's been looking for missionaries ever since she moved to Vegas! She's excited to get involved in the ward family because she was really taken in and fellowshipped in San Diego. She said she's been to the temple and "never felt that way anywhere else in her life." The hallowed ground of the temple seriously works wonders in people's lives. If you have questions about whether the temple is a house of God, just ask the nonmembers who have walked around the grounds. They know.
This morning in my studies I basically picked apart Alma 42 and made a diagram of it! Not sure if it's doctrinally sound... Feel free to pick it apart. :) so grateful for the atonement and for mercy after reading that chapter.
I love you all sooooooooooooo much. A whole heck of a ton is how much I love you. Katerina, congrats on seminary graduation. Dad, way to go with stake conference. Mom, I'm sure you hostessed so gracefully. Aubree, I'd love to watch your ballet dvd when I get home. And Nelson, you have the prettiest friend there I've ever seen.
Love, Sister Browning
Sent from my iPad