missionary plaque picture

missionary plaque picture

Monday, October 27, 2014

"I'm Going on an Adventure!"

10 points to whoever names that movie. Jeren ;)
Dear Family,
Aren't you so grateful for temples?? It's amazing the personal revelation and clarity of mind we can have there. Just goes to show that all important decisions gotta be made off of the Spirit and not by our own wisdom, 'cause logic will fail you sometimes. Thank goodness that we can take our questions to the temple. Your experience with Grandma and Grandpa in the temple was super cool :)
Laurie mentioned I'm getting transferred... I'm going to Kingman Arizona! O.o We show up to the mission office on saturdays to get our "transfer doctrines," these printouts with our new area and new companion and assignment... when I read mine I was initially like, "Is this someone's else's??" Haha :P I felt pretty confident that I was staying in Robindale for another transfer but Heavenly Father has a better plan! Saying goodbye is really, really difficult. That's the wonderful and terrible thing about a mission-- you get the opportunity to love so many people so deeply in such a short amount of time. And then you get to move and do it again. And again. I cried... and then I prayed.. and then I realized that I have the choice to complain the whole way to Kingman, or 1st Nephi 3:7 it. Nephi said "I'll go. I'll do it," and Laman and Lemuel murmured until they lost precious blessings, but either way, they went! I'm going to the promised land. And I'm very very excited to see what it's like. :) Because I have no idea!
My new companion will be Sister Martin, which I'm SUPER happy about, because she was in the MTC with me. Not my district, because she was learning English, but she came out in the field with me. She's adorable and we'll get along great. Meanwhile, Sister Smith is staying in Robindale and training a new missionary!! Lucky girl that gets Robindale as her first area. Who gets to be that spoiled? ;)
It was a great last week in Robindale, that's for sure. Too many amazing stories to write down. We got to do more reactivation work than we have in the past-- we found a girl named Inger, a guy named Brad, and a guy named Sean who haven't been to church in a while and we've been working with them. Reactivation work is so exciting; I really feel like I get to help the Good Shepherd find his lost sheep!! These young adults have made covenants with their Heavenly Father through baptism and we get to be there to help them get the anchor of the Gospel back in their lives. Super cool.
Zach, Derek, Stefanie, Akeem, and Sabrina are all doing so well-- which is the biggest blessing. The fact that they're all growing and progressing in the gospel is all I could ever ask for. We got to meet with all of them for new member lessons this week, and honestly, I think I learn more from them and their strong spirits than they ever learn from me! It's a privilege to be able to sit in on those lessons with the ward missionaries!
Seeing as this is my last email from Robindale here is a list of a few things about Robindale that I love:
  • The amazing, helpful, inspiring members that become your best friends
  • Being so close to the mission office-- we teach there sometimes and always poke our heads in and say hi to the office staff. They've become our best friends too :)
  • Bishop Tuke, one of the greatest bishops of all time
  • The Elvis impersonator that lives in our apartment complex... I'll miss him
  • Las Vegas Blvd. The APs send us so many referrals that we're there a ton, and we meet the most colorful people! From Santa Claus to a man in a skirt to the sweet old lady from Nigeria with no teeth... Las Vegas Blvd has it all.
  • Sister Smith!! The theme for the past few days has been "Sister Smith... who's gonna sing in silly voices with me now??" "Sister Browning... who's gonna quote Disney movies with me now??" She's a great girl and incredible missionary. I'm glad I got to serve with her if just for a brief time.
When I get transferred out of Kingman I'll send a list of things I love about Kingman too :)
Well I get to go to dinner with Laurie & Kevin & Rebecca tonight, which is about as exciting as it gets!! And then Tuesday morning I'll be heading out. I'm praying really hard that I'll be able to find rides back to Vegas for all the baptisms coming up-- especially DJ and Alexis. It's about an hour and a half-2 hour drive, I'm hearing.
1 Ne 17:13"And I will be your light in the wilderness, and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments... and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led."
Lots of Love,
Sister Browning
Pictures: A potential investigator named Samson left a note on his door explaining why he wasn't at our appointment... this is a big deal. No one's ever done that before! YSAs have this funny habit of just... disappearing, and ceasing to exist when you show up. The note made us so happy we asked our member to take pictures of it. Haha!
We put on a carnival this Saturday for children living in shelters to come and trick or treat and play games inside the church building. A big bus picked up them and their families and brought them to us. Sister Smith and I manned the bean bag toss game, and also had a photo-opp with Mary Poppins and Bert (Nan and Steven, the cutest couple to ever grace the Robindale ward.)
And us with Alexis at dinner before the fireside last night :)

Last P-day fun with Sister Smith

Monday, October 20, 2014

"I Cannot Say the Smallest Part Which I Feel"

Alma 26:16 :)
Hi Family!
Thanks so much for sorting through so many pockets of random Megan-things to put together that package! I don't even know where any of my stuff is at home, so... I can only imagine how long that's taken! I really appreciate it :)
Mom, I'm printing out your email and re-reading it whenever I have an "off day." I love you! :) And yes, green smoothies are my bread-and-butter. (That's kinda punny...) I usually do almond milk, spinach, kale, bananas, frozen mango and strawberry, chia seeds, sometimes peanut butter. If I can get my hands on all that stuff that you use, I want to give that a try!
Well this week, our teaching pool exploded. It was the most exciting thing ever. Do you remember how last week I said I had a feeling that the next week was going to be full of miracles?? Oh boy it happened! Sister Smith and I set a higher goal for finding new investigators than we ever have before. I know Heavenly Father blessed us because we commited ourselves to that goal! Prepared, amazing people just seemed to come out of the woodwork.
 We're teaching this amazing girl named Alexis who's preparing to be baptized on November 8th! She's had a hard life, but you could never tell just from looking at her. She's risen above all the hard things in her past and found a testimony of Jesus Christ on her own. A friend from college gave her a Book of Mormon and she read through chapter 8 before we even met her. Wow! She had the sweetest experience when she prayed about the Book of Mormon... she prayed before bed, and woke up at 4:30 AM with the book in her arms like a teddy bear. We promised her that Heavenly Father wanted her to know that her testimony of that book could be her best friend, and bring her more comfort and peace than any other book. She's become good friends with Michael, and Sabrina, and their recent convert experiences are helping her a ton. That's one of the amazing things about Robindale--  in the same week that we meet them, our investigators are already hanging out with the ward members and being included in the group, without us asking them to, without us being there.
One other fun story from Alexis: She graduated college recently as a fashion design major, so she dresses really smart. At institute on Wednesday she excitedly told us "I bought my first modest dress for church! It even has sleeves! I searched forever and finally found one I liked!" Of course we hadn't asked her to, but the fact that she took the initiative to do that warms my heart. She's so ready to follow her Savior and do whatever He asks. :)
If I wrote down every experience and tender mercy and miracle from this past week, it'd go on for miles. I didn't know I had enough room in my heart to love so many people so much! I  wish I could bottle up that feeling and send it home so you could know exactly what it's like. I'm so, so grateful. Ammon says it best... "Who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." A recently returned missionary spoke in church yesterday and said "I know I went on my mission to find my friends." That is exactly how I feel, especially serving with young single adults. I know I knew these people before this life. I can just imagine us making some kind of pact that whichever one of us had the gospel would share it with the other. And since I have been so blessed to be raised in a home where I always knew who I was and who God is and what His plan is for us, I get to be the one to share that with my friends! Because if the roles were reversed, I know they'd do it for me.
Speaking of love. I LOVE Sister Smith! She's such an amazing missionary! I've been noticing lately that the Spirit is really working in our companionship. On multiple occasions every day, we will have the same prompting of where to go, or what direction to take a lesson, or who to call or visit.. we even say the same things in the same tone of voice at the same time. And even though it happens every day, we'll just turn to each other, like *gaaassp...* the Spirit!!Anyway, Sister Smith is amazing. She is so good at loving everyone, right away, no matter what they're like on the outside. If she were a Disney princess, she'd be Esmerelda from Hunchback of Notre Dam. She's got this strong, independent, don't-need-no-man personality coupled with an incredible "God Help the Outcasts" charity and love for those around her. I love serving with her and I'm praying for another transfer together!
Well I'm fresh outta time but that's just a little bit of my wonderful week. Please pray for President Snow as he finalizes plans for transfers. I know that whatever happens next transfer is what Heavenly Father needs to happen :)
I love you all! Sending a belated picture from Meet the Mormons last week. :)
 Lots of Love, Sister B
P.S: Mom or Dad, do you have Brother Hillam's email address? I'd love to write him a lil thank you note. :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Project: Occupy the Movie Theaters

Dear Family,
The little white house is GONE? That's nuts... The house is going to look so different in 14 months! Will I even recognize it? ;)
Well this week, we went to the casino!! Haha but really. A member rented out an entire theater at Sunset Station for the missionaries and their investigators, so we took a nice little day trip!  Let me try and explain what it looked like...
Driving into the parking lot, we see President & Sister Snow:
"How do we get in without going through the casino, President?"
President looks around, holds out his hands, shrugs and smiles :)
So however many hundreds of missionaries and investigators there were took a little jaunt through the slot machines and congregated by the popcorn. It was quite a sight. :) 

We brought Sabrina and DJ and they both loved it. I'm pretty sure they both cried. I ran into Sister Luke who was there with two of her investigators-- according to her companion, the work is exploding now that Sister Luke's there! Who's surprised? No one's surprised. :) Sister Luke has a way of loving an area into a beautiful cacophony of success.
Apparently Meet the Mormons was #1 in Michigan's box office this weekend, and #10 in the country. If you haven't seen the movie yet, please go see it! And more importantly, please invite all your nonmember friends! It's the perfect way for people to understand what we're about without feeling like our beliefs are being shoved at them. Regardless of their religious background, they'll be able to appreciate it as an inspiring movie all around. Our prophet and apostles are so inspired. They know the far-reaching effects this movie is going to have!  
It's been a great missionary tool for Sabrina, especially, who works at a movie theater and has been able to tell people the day it came out, "Yeah, I'm basically becoming a Mormon tomorrow!" Go Sabrina! :)
Speaking of Sabrina, her baptism was wonderful. Her friend Giovanny who was baptized in a family ward a few weeks ago baptized her. I'm attaching photos now so that I don't run out of time... there we go... done. :) She had lots of support from our wonderful ward members! She's going to be well taken care of here in Robindale. :)

I'm also sending pictures from the temple tour we did with Sabrina. One of our members, Meriah, has become instant best friends with Sabrina. She came to the temple with us and took pictures with her nice camera. I just wish we had one with her in it! The temple tour was really significant for Sabrina because her mom passed away when she was 2, and she's been raised by her grandparents. Hearing that she could be baptized for her mom made her cry. "I'm more excited to be baptized for my mom than I am to be baptized for me!" We can't wait to be there with her when that happens. :)
Do you remember Bas, the boy with the cape and sword that we started teaching? Man I'm learning so much from him. For example, how kind and accepting this ward is. The singles in this ward have taken him under their wing, and as a result he's really progressing! I'm learning from their examples how to have a more Christlike love for him. I think this ward may be the first place in his life where he's felt loved, safe, and comfortable to be himself. The more he learns the principles of the Gospel, the more hie's able to let go of the defense mechanisms he has in place. On Saturday, during our lesson on the Plan of Salvation, he even took off his black cloak... This is huge. He came to Sabrina's baptism, and even brought a cake. He's a sweetheart!  
Well so many wonderful things happened I can't even remember them all. Uhhh.... That'll have to do. Thank goodness I'm keeping a journal. :) And I have an amazing feeling about this week! We have started receiving promising referrals from members and other missionaries by the bucketloads. This upcoming week is going to be FULL of miracles! I can't wait to tell you all about it next Monday!
I can't believe it's been 4 months already. I love this work! It's overwhelming and tiring and more rewarding than anything else I've ever done! It's given me a deeper appreciation for the Gospel and my family. I thank my Heavenly Father for you all every day. Thanks for being in my life and supporting me!
Lots of Love,
Sister B

Monday, October 6, 2014

Like Super Bowl Sunday for Missionaries

Dear Best Family Ever,
So you might put in an outbuilding and you're thinking about a POOL? Haha whaaattttt?? That's awesome. I told Sister Smith and she goes, "you must have eaten so much food at home, now that you're gone your family can pay for nice things!" I laughed so hard... Blessings from children serving missions. ;) Just kidding. It's crazy to see pictures of the demolition. I hope everyone in the extended family can get a little piece of the log house to keep if they want it. Can't wait to see the finished product!

I'm also really excited about all the missionary work going on in our family. You truly understand and apply how to bring people into the fold through genuine friendship! That's something I love about the ward I'm in... These singles are so good at taking investigators and less actives under their wing. No one looks at them and says, "Hello, I'd like to make you my personal service project." They make them their friends!  
Mmk, CONFERENCE. Can I draw little hearts all around that word?? I love it! It's like Christmas! Four hours (6 including the women's) of straight revelation. I think I took a half-dozen pages of notes. My favorite talk was Elder Holland's... He answered a couple of my questions very clearly. I loved it when he got personal and said, "I don't know why circumstances of birth vary... and I may not be my brother's keeper, but I am my brother's brother... and because I have been given much, I too must give." No conference talk has ever made me cry before. The past 4 months have given me a greater understanding of the deep need this fallen world has for Christlike love and service. It was just really motivating for me.
And yes, I LOVED Elder Bednar's talk, too! Funny enough... Our investigator, Steven, who is super Catholic, was there to watch that one session of Conference. Of all the sessions he could have come to, that was the most important, because of that talk. I think it helped him get a better feel four our Church and why we're so eager for him to know if it's true.
Sister Smith and I had a really really great week. Heavenly Father has been so good to us. Conference and my studies have made me very aware of my personal weaknesses, but that has just helped me feel motivated to continually try to do better. I'm just grateful that He is working through us for the benefit of His children even though we have no idea what we're doing! ;)
I've been going through the new testament and marking it by color for each of the Christlike Attributes in Preach My Gospel. Faith = pink, hope = orange, charity & love = red, and so on. It's incredible to see how the Savior's life and teachings literally pinpoint all of those attributes. It's helping me come to understand my Savior better and what exactly I'm trying to emulate. There's something in almost every verse! My New Testament looks like a rainbow! :)
Answering your questions, mom: Stefanie is doing really well. I forgot to give her your email address but I'll do that this week :) She was sick this past week and had her first experience receiving a blessing of healing. We called a few Elders to give her a blessing and I guess she could feel the pain leave her immediately after. Power of the priesthood is real!
Derek is also doing great. We meet with him and the ward missionaries once a week to do his new member lessons. Cool experience from this week's Plan of Salvation lesson... The Spirit was so strong as we looked at the plan laid out on the floor and realized how blessed we are to have that knowledge. The tide of conversation turned naturally to missionary work and our responsibility to share the plan with others. I invited everyone there to think about that one person whose name comes to mind every time we talk about missionary work, and reach out and act on that prompting. And I thought of Gladys Fernandez from high school. :) Mom or Katherine, could you get on my facebook and get her email address for me?
DJ is still going strong. She is struggling financially and emotionally, and sometimes I wish I could just solve her problems! But I know that even if I could, that would deprive her of some necessary faith-building lessons she is learning right now. In her lessons this week we talked about how this pre-baptism time is the perfect time for her to set the patterns of faith and obedience that she will want to have for the rest of her life. She will probably be baptized sometime in November.
Sabrina is doing amazing as well. Every time someone brings up her baptism, she just glows. Her testimony astounds me! She has been diving into the scriptures, marking it up about baptism and obedience. She came to every session of Conference, and said "I wish there was more!" What an example. "If all men had been, and were, and ever would be like unto Sabrina, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever..." Like... Seriously.
We got to do a session in the Las Vegas temple on Wednesday with Amber, and Mom, I thought of you :) Have a wonderful week everybody! The Gospel is the way to lasting happiness!
Lots of Love,
Sister B