missionary plaque picture

missionary plaque picture

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Lord is in Las Vegas!

Hello Family!

How is everyone?? Mom, I got the package you sent :) I'm so excited to start using my blender for breakfasts again! I love getting those funny quotes of the week, those really make my day. Keep writing those down! And yes, sometimes I think Dad is my real life hero too. :) Dad, it sounds like you really did have an EXTREMELY high adventure! I'm glad everyone came out of it ok! Congratulations on the new Fin Fun office as well! And yes, Sister Browning is starting to sound pretty normal now. Although I did start to introduce myself as Megan to someone here on my second day. Hahaha oops :) 

Well. May I just say that I am in love with this mission! This past week has confirmed to me just how much Heavenly Father knows and loves ME personally. When I met Sister Luke on Wednesday, I knew she was going to be my trainer before it was even announced. Even though nearly a dozen sisters introduced themselves to me, hers was the only name I remembered. And when I looked at her it was like I saw Sarah Wood in her face!  It was as if God was telling me, "This sister is going to become one of your best friends." She is one of the kindest, sweetest, most Christlike people I have ever met. She has really been helping me to adjust to mission life and we are having so much fun together!

What makes the whole thing even cooler is that Sister Luke and I know the same people. Her best friends from high school, Kalli and Jessie, were in my student ward at BYU! I hung out with Kalli a ton over the summer and Jessie was in choir with me. Sister Luke and I figured out that we have been to the same sacrament meeting, the same night games party, the same luau party, and Sister Luke has even been inside my apartment. She knows Tanan, Zach, Kyle, Jason, Jen, Melanie, and so many of my other college friends. And somehow, we were never introduced!! What the heck?? I just think that's the craziest thing ever! :) 

You guys, the work is on fire here in Las Vegas. And so is the weather, har har har. Yes Mom, I am serving in the Robindale YSA ward that covers Las Vegas and a little bit of Henderson. It is HOT but that is the smallest price to pay for how much the Lord is blessing us! I wish I could do a mind meld and show you all the amazing people that I've met, but since I can't and time is limited, I'll just tell you about a few special people: 

First, Zach. He is a golden investigator who was a pass-off from the other YSA ward to us, because he was going to church with a friend. Short, adopted, intellectual, chivalrous, talkative Indian guy.Every time we teach him, I feel like I am learning more from him than he is learning from me! Let me just tell you the analogy he came up with during our Plan of Salvation lesson. When we were explaining the kingdoms of glory, he goes, "What's interesting to me is that the telestial kingdom is represented by stars. Stars are individual, separated, and isolated. Then, you only ever see half of the moon, so in the terrestrial kingdom you are incomplete. It's in the Celestial kingdom, like the sun, where you experience wholeness and completeness." WHAT IN THE WORLD?! This guy is awesome! He comes to literally every activity, reads way farther in the Book of Mormon than we ask him to, and receives the strongest answers to his prayers. He is all set for baptism on July 12th!

Second, Josh. Josh is SO COOL. He is standing right at the gate of baptism. He wants to be baptized sooo bad, and we are just waiting for permission from the 1st Presidency. I am so sad that I was not here to begin teaching him, because it would have been amazing to see all the ways that he has changed. When we visited with him on Friday, he was telling us all about how much peace and happiness he feels, how much his life is now together and blessed because of the Gospel. He said he's so happy that he wishes that he could just serve everybody he meets, including little old ladies walking down the street, but he knows they would be terrified, so he just cant! haha. And he said he feels every blessing that he possibly could from the Gospel "without kerplunk" (he was talking about baptism, ha ha ha.) There is no more amazing thing to me than to see someone with tattoos down their arms and hands and the Spirit lighting their eyes, because it's evidence to me that no matter their circumstances, everyone has the potential to become like their Savior. 

Third. Radu! Radu is so sweet. Teaching him the restoration was my first appointment on Wednesday. He is from Moldova and speaks with a Russian accent; we think he has some memory loss problems because of an accident that he had. But he is so eager to learn, really knows right from wrong and recognizes truth, and wants to be baptized. He's awesome! 

Fourth. Danny. I have GOT to tell you about Danny. We contacted into him on Thursday when he was outside on the phone. We taught him the first lesson last night and WOWWWWZ. It was so solid! This guy has been prepared. He told us that he was raised Christian, knows God has been leading his paths, and is looking for the whole truth. I just thought to myself... "Do we got a show for you!" (veggie tales reference.) And this is the really cool part: He has lived in Riverside AND San Bernardino and now somehow finds himself in Vegas! (Hi Jeren and Nelson!) Could this be the magic person God has been sending us Brownings after?? I guess we'll see! 

The members in the Robindale YSA ward are absolutely amazing. They are so helpful, giving, and fun. People are so eager and willing to come out with us to lessons, to buy us or make us dinner, and to befriend our investigators. The relief society president, Amber, goes running with us in the mornings on a trail by our apartment. Her and her boyfriend Michael, a convert in our ward of one month, come with us on splits and give our investigators rides to church. An adorable girl named Carly who just got back from teaching English in Ukraine (Hi Lauren) comes with us and bears testimony like she's been teaching the gospel her whole life. And Donquel, who was baptized on Sunday, is from Compton and comes with us as well and has decided to use his God-given rapping talents to rap about the Gospel. Haha. I am humbled by the goodness of these 18-30 year old young adults! 

Those aren't all the people we're teaching or all the amazing people I've met, but I could be here alllllll day telling stories if I let myself. We literally talk to everyone. Everyone. I never thought I'd find myself running across parking lots in 110 degree weather to stop people getting into their cars to tell them about Jesus Christ. But I absolutely love it! 

Church on Sunday was an interesting experience! We had 3 investigators at church-- Zach, Josh, and Radu! I kind of started to understand what it's like to be a mom at church, trying to make sure everyone's doing okay and poor Radu keeps getting lost when we're singing hymns and trying to look up scriptures in the hymnbook and crossing himself after the prayer, AND meanwhile THE original creeper is sitting on the other side of the chapel staring at Sister Luke because he thinks he's in love with her and the police force bishopric is eyeing him like hawks and I'm wishing I was a 250 lb Samoan sister and could shield her from the creeper with my mass... The works of God continue! haha 

 I have truly been sent to the best mission in the world! I feel so blessed to have shown up just in time to reap an amazing harvest. I know that none of the success we are seeing right now is because of anything that I'm doing. Heavenly Father is literally putting people right in our paths that are searching for the happiness that comes through the Gospel. My heart is so full of gratitude. As the world gets closer to the Second Coming, we need to do all we can to bring our brothers and sisters with us and get them on the path! There are so many people who want the truth and don't know it or don't know where to find it. It's our job to find them! I know Heavenly Father has been guiding us and protecting us and will continue to do so as long as we do our part. 

Sorry this is a novel, I hope you can find the time to read it :) Your prayers in my behalf are definitely being answered. I love you all so much! 

Sister Browning  

P.S: Mom, I left my camera charger plugged into the wall at the MTC so my camera's dead and I can't take any pictures. :( Can you look into ordering me a charger from Amazon? My camera is a canon powershot SD1200 IS and the battery says "Fits CANON NB-6L 3.7V 1200mAh"... if that helps. Thanks so much!  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Only 105⁰ in Vegas

Megan didn't get to email this week because she left the MTC and was travelling from Utah to Nevada.  We did get a photo and letter from her Mission President.  He said, "I am happy to inform you that Sister Browning arrived in Las Vegas with a smile on her face and a wonderful spirit."  

She did get to call us early in the morning from the airport.  She told us the funniest story about Janice Kapp Perry!  Sister Perry came to the MTC to give a devotional, and she told a story of how she met her husband at BYU.  They were in a music class together, and as she was about to play the clarinet, he said something to the effect of, 'your lips could be used for something much better than playing the clarinet!'  The missionaries all whooped and loved it.  Her husband got up from where he was sitting near her, hobbled over, and gave her a big kiss on the mouth, right then and there.  Funny story!  Megan said the devotionals in the MTC were absolutely the best thing she'd ever experienced!

Megan sent us a postcard from the airport, which showed the Las Vegas temple glowing brightly with dim city lights and a freeway in the background.  The scripture printed on the postcard read, "'In the habitation of dragons... an highway shall be there and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness' Isaiah 35." 

Because her current Mission President, President Neider, is getting released July 1st, she didn't meet him and instead went to the home of another mission leader.  She wrote in her postcard, "When we pulled up I was like uhhh, are we in the Smedley's neighborhood??  Haha, it all looks the same.  :)"  

She said it was only 105 F that day in Vegas.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Helloooo From the MTC!

Hi Lovely Amazing Family! 

Well it has been a week already! Happy late Father's Day to Daddy :) I hope it was a lovely day. Dad, I did get your letter on Thursday or Friday and I read it twice and loved it :) How is everyone doing? Everyone doing alright with Lucy gone? I'm kinda glad I left before you had to let her go to the shelter. I hope she does get placed with a family. And Mom, I got your package on Monday! The raincoat got here just in time for the rain to reach us. I haven't had any other wisdom teeth problems, thank goodness, but I'm glad the mailman was nice. And having that little bit of Grandma Snow in that postcard was really special for me. Aubree, I just got your letter; it made me laugh and giggle and I shared parts with my companion. I'll write you back today!

First off: My companion looks like Natalie Portman. Sorry misters, she's a sister :) Sister Robinson and I get along so well! We had a nice little powwow on Friday where we realized that we have the exact same personality type (INFJ), which is apparently really rare, less than 1% of the population are INFJs. I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father gave me someone for these first two weeks who totally understands what makes me tick, so we can figure out this whole mission thing together without driving each other crazy.  She's from San Antonio Texas and say's Y'all. She likes to eat healthy as well so we've been hitting up the salad and wrap bar for almost every meal. :) She's awesome. She and I have been assigned to be the Sister Training Leaders for our zone, which means we had four leadership meetings to attend on Sunday and several spread throughout this week. There are only four sisters in the zone though, so our job is essentially to look out for and help the other companionship. Pretty easy. 

I've realized that the MTC is basically like marine boot camp in your head and Disneyland in your heart. That's the best way I can think of to describe it. This week has felt so long simply because there is so much learning and so many new experiences that happen every day that it feels like each day is a week. I've wished I could email almost every day just to tell you about all of the exciting things happening!  We spend 3 straight hours twice a day in class, studying the scriptures and Preach My Gospel, roleplaying, focusing on our purpose as missionaries, asking questions, and planning lessons with our mock investigators. 

Sister Robinson and I are teaching "Emma," who is one of our teachers posing as our progressing investigator. She is one tough cookie! We had a humbling lesson with her on Monday where we realized that we need to love her and teach to her needs, not just teach her doctrine. The entire Restoration that we taught her went in one ear and out the other. So the next day, we backed up and really tried to get to know her better and find out what her struggles and questions are. Then we read with her from the Book of Mormon Alma the Younger's conversion story. We explained to her that through Jesus Christ, she could feel the same peace that Alma the Younger felt, "as exceeding as was [his] pain." That went over a whole lot better. The hardest thing for me is getting over my personal pride and learning to be tutored by the Spirit. While some missionaries come to the MTC to learn Russian, French, or Portuguese, I am trying to learn the language of the Spirit, and it's a tender mercy for me that Heavenly Father isn't asking me to do any more than that right now. 

My absolute favorite thing about the MTC is the devotionals. When you have hundreds of missionaries in the same room, listening to a speaker who teaches with the power of God, the Spirit is in every crevice of the room. It's like chills up and down and peace in your heart and clarity in your mind and happiness that makes you want to do a little dance, all at the same time. You simply can't deny what you know to be true when you're in an MTC devotional! Sheri Dew talked to us on Sunday about grace and how it's essentially the same thing as power-- the Power of Christ. She gave us ideas of how to better access that power, and the best way is through prayer. We can pray to know what gifts of the Spirit we should strive to develop and how better to access that power. She told a story about a time when she was sitting in a nursing home with her dying father, praying that God would forgive him for the temper he'd had, and she literally felt any pain leftover from the backlash of his temper leave her body. Amazing!  

We also had M. Russel Ballard come speak to us last night, and that was incredible. I sang in the choir and we sang "Consider the Lilies," hi Mom ;) He spoke to us about not being ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. Even though things will come out in the news that don't paint the Church in a very good light, we know in Whom we put our trust and Who will eventually be our judge. He encouraged us to not just study the Doctrine of Christ, but to make it a part of us, and stand behind the prophet and his apostles because they will not and can not let us down. 

We got to go to the temple this morning and that was my first time in the Provo temple :) lovely experience! We also went on a temple walk on Sunday morning and took pictures as a district. I will try to upload them and send them but I'm having some trouble with the computers here. Cross your fingers! :) 

Well I love and miss you all! One request: Can I have Jeren, Lauren, and Nelson's emails so I can send them my family emails directly? This will most likely be the only time I write from the MTC as I fly out around 8 next Wednesday. Mom and Dad, I will be calling home from the airport around that time so keep your phones on ya.  I've got a phone card that'll give me about half an hour. Have a great week everyone! :) 

Sister Megan Browning 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I Love Love Love It Here!

Megan entered the MTC!  While it was tempting to cry when we dropped her off, and the thought of being without our Megan for 18 months is a tough one, no one got too tearful because she was so thrilled and excited to be entering into that long-awaited Missionary Training Center.

Megan sent as a brief hand-written letter when she arrived at the MTC, and here are some quotes from that letter:

I love love love it here.  I'll see how I feel in a couple days, haha.  It's been a whirlwind!
My companion is Sis. Robinson, imagine a subdued Amber Eborn.  Love her.  We work well together.  :)
Sis. Bell, the 1st girl who found me on Facebook, is in my district!  I have run into Ben South, another kid from high school, two kids from Wyview, and the girl who went through the temple with me...

Her p-day was Wednesday, so we only got one email from the MTC.