missionary plaque picture

missionary plaque picture

Monday, January 26, 2015

This Will Be a Short One #obedience

Hi Family!

 Whoooooooo... I have approximately 10 minutes left of emailing time left! Where did the time go?! So I will spit out as much about this week as I can and I apologize that it's so short!

Something amazing happened this week... Who am I kidding? Something amazing happens every week. But this was really cool. Bobby is NOT gone! :) He called us on Monday evening and told us how after we said goodbye he had this sick, hollow feeling. He could hardly sleep that night and couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. The next day, the feeling wouldn't leave him and he said he finally dropped to his knees at the train station and asked God what he should do. He said he felt a voice say, "Call your angels!"

So we've started teaching him again but we're taking it slow and not pushing baptism right now. We've been teaching him in member's homes which is making the biggest difference. I have a testimony of teaching investigators in member's homes!! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is changing this 60 year old war veteran from the inside out. This is one of the coolest things I've been a part of my whole mission so far.

Yesterday I spoke in sacrament meeting about the joy of sharing the gospel and it's made me really reflect. Missionary work is true joy! Here are a few things I experienced this week that sum up joy to me:

Joy is sitting in sacrament meeting with Bobby and getting a sticky note passed to me that says "What's my next reading assignment? Need more knowledge."

Joy is reading back through your journal and realizing that you can see the Lord's hand in every day of your life for the past 7 months.

Joy is when a plan falls through and Heavenly Father leads you to the exact street and exact house you needed to visit at that time. 

Joy is realizing that it is completely true when Christ says  "Without me, ye can do nothing."

Joy is recognizing that sometimes, you're a complete nutcase, and having a companion that loves you anyway.

Joy is that moment right when you're tempted to give up on the day and you get a timely phone call from someone you met that wants to set up an appointment with you.

Joy is hearing a member say "our lives were blessed by having the missionaries in our home."

The week in general was a little slow until Saturday night, when we found lots of new investigators! Miracle Sunday! We have been visiting a ton of members and inviting them to make family mission plans. Really trying to get the wards excited about missionary work. Hopefully we'll see lots of success from that :)

A couple priceless quotes from Sister Hame this week:

After another investigator asserts less interest in the gospel than we thought: "Maybe you should start wearing a sign under your nametag that says 'I have a boyfriend.' "

Some time later: "... Maybe you should write 'celibate' on your forehead."

"On a scale of one to Herbine, how missionary minded are you?"

Reading a sign on someone's door that says "Enter in Peace:" "And then if you sit on their couch, you're resting in peace!"

We found an entire box of free toothbrushes in our "room of requirement." This is EXACTLY what Kingman needs! Salvation and a toothbrush!

Also thought the "women working" was pretty applicable. :)

Thanks for all your emails and your prayers! I'm so grateful for my mission! The Gospel of Jesus Christ allows us maximum happiness and maximum freedom! I know this is true! I sure love you all. Even though I'm over here in Kingman AZ, you are in my prayers every single day!

Ever onward! :)
Sister Browning

Monday, January 19, 2015

Spiritual Construction Zone: Molding & Refining Underway

Dear Family,

Holy busy!! I can't tell you how excited I am that the bathrooms and the living room are being remodeled. And I totally approve of the tuscan theme. Can't wait to see more pictures! And congratulations to Ryan on his blue belt! He's turning into a ninja!

I was thinking about Dad and how much he's in the spotlight everywhere he goes... No pressure! You definitely feel a small amount of that pressure as a missionary. The question is always, "would my behavior right now make anyone question if I'm a servant of the Lord?" Because of the nametag, people recognize us and have expectations before we introduce ourselves. Dad probably feels the same way. I'm praying for him all the time and I know that if anyone can masterfully handle the challenges that come with the calling, it's Dad! And I know the Lorenzo ward misses you as much as you miss them.

I'm so excited for you to strengthen your relationship with the missionaries and teach someone in our home this year!! And thanks for sharing your goals with me as well. I am a firm believer in setting high goals and not being afraid to work hard to reach them, so your goals look awesome. The best way to reach those goals will to be to get the ward members to the point where they have ownership of the missionary work. When I get some time, I'll find my notes from Elder Foster on how to do that and send them to you. :)

Well, I decided to make a spin-off of Dad's email and title my email "Spiritual Construction Zone" because that is what's happening in my life right now :) This week was definitely a challenge. On Thursday, Bobby dropped us because he's got too many physical & psychological challenges right now to think about making any big life changes, like joining a church. He's going into a program for a couple months and because he's so sick, he thinks he probably won't see us again in this life. Man. We stopped by last night and had him sign our transfer journals. As a parting gift he gave us a giant chocolate cake because we had given up dessert in an effort to help him live the word of wisdom :P so that was sweet of him. Bobby taught me how to really love people.

 Ingrid, our sweet 70 year old German investigator, came to a baptism Saturday and told us at the end she's going to stick with her Presbyterian faith. Man... I guess she's just not ready for change. But she said she still has questions about Joseph Smith so we may be able to go over and answer those for her :)

Brock, our long-time investigator who is now ENGAGED :) to member Sis Tooley, has almost been taught everything on the teaching record. He told us this week that he still doesn't feel ready for baptism, yet. He's been taking a very logically-based and methodical approach to learning about the church and we just don't know how to help him recognize the answers that come from the Spirit. He still wants us to come over once a week and answer his questions about the Gospel Principles lessons, but he doesn't want to set a baptismal date. I still feel that with him, it's a matter of when he accepts the gospel, not if, but it may take some more time! I'm learning lots of patience there. :)

I think the biggest lesson I'm learning right now has something to do with faith, hope and humility. I can feel Heavenly Father chipping away at my tendencies to get discouraged and frustrated, to blame or complain, and to think that I can do it without His help. I sure can't do it without Him-- I am completely and totally dependent on my Savior. So I'm grateful. It hurts so good! :)

On Tuesday we had interviews in Havasu with President Snow. In my interview, President told me that I remind him of his oldest daughter, who's a perfectionist, achiever type person. When he dropped her off at BYUI with her full-ride scholarship, he told her, "Don't worry too much about grades. Loosen your bun & enjoy school." So that was his advice to me: "Loosen your bun, Sister Browning!" I'm supposed to not worry about being the perfect missionary, have fun while still being obedient, try some new things and take some risks. So Sister Hame and I made some plans this week to try some new things. We are working with the members more and trying to get them excited about the work with "family mission plans," trying new street contact approaches, working on a "junior missionary" program for the priests and laurels in the ward, and lots of other cool things! I know Heavenly Father will bless us with success for trying new things. I just have to trust in His timing, too. :)

Helaman 3:35 "They did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling of their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts to God."

Slowly, but surely!

Ever onward,

Love you times a million :)
Sister Browning

Monday, January 12, 2015

Marriage Proposals and Menudo

Hello to my world-traveling parents and beloved family!! 

It sounds like the theme of the week is cruising!! Sounds like the cruise was wonderful, you got to cruise along parasailing, the ward is cruising to a new bishopric, and all the Rigby kids are cruising off to missions!! That's got to be the best experience to be a part of! It will be so cool for you to see how they've changed when they come home. :)

What a cool missionary moment you had at the airport!! I hope Meagan takes the lessons and lets it change her life! Way to plant seeds and invite! You are all such great member missionaries. :) 

Well this week was just grand. On Thursday we took a day trip to Las Vegas with the two other Kingman sisters for doctor's appointments. Ironically-- one sister has ADHD, the other has anxiety/depression, and Sis Hame has bi polar. We're all a little mad here. ;) So they were all going for perscriptions and counseling and stuff, and I just got to go along for the ride! We were joking that, hopefully the next time we go to Las Vegas, I won't be the one having the appointment. It's only a matter of time before I go crazy, you see. ;) I love those sisters so much. We got to walk around temple grounds for a few minutes before we left for Kingman (the temple was closed for cleaning) and that was wonderful.  

The previous mission president's wife, Sister Neider, passed away from cancer early Friday morning. Lots of missionaries who know and love her said that even before they heard the news, they just felt different. She made an incredible impact on a lot of people. That day, we saw so many miracles in the work that we knew she was helping us from the other side. 

Have I told you about the Herbines? They're the most amazing family.. They have been members of the church for 2 years, Bro Herbines on the High Council, and they love missionaries. They just treat us like royalty! It's always a good day when the Herbines are involved. For example, I went to use the bathroom after the prayer over dinner and when I came back I found that everyone, teenagers included, had waited for me to dish up! And 11-year-old Jack prepared the dinner message for us about the refiner's fire and overcoming challenges. Being in their home really feels like being in the temple. I want my home to feel like that someday. 

The same night we were there for dinner, Bro and Sis Herbine came with us to a lesson with our investigator Bobby. Bobby's so excited about baptism, he jumped up and wrote it on his calendar! He is one of the most humble people I've ever met. 60 years old, been everything from a marine to a jailbird to homeless, and now he just wants to repent and be clean and feel close to God. (This is the same investigator who was reading the Book of Mormon by candlelight.) Bro Herbine was able to relate to him so well and shared his favorite scripture, 1 Ne 2:16 about how we need to humble ourselves and seek for answers. The Spirit was so strong in that tiny little trailer home. Bobby told us that if it wasn't for our persistence and patience with him, he may never have investigated, and now he's preparing for baptism. The Herbines said, "they're angels," and we both cried :P 

It just feels so good to know that someone appreciates what we're trying to do. A lot of times I feel like the members and others that we meet see us more as two bumbling fools than servants of the Lord. But that's one thing I've been thinking about a lot-- the words of a hymn keep coming to my mind. "Go forth to serve and do your best with no thought of reward; then you shall know the boundless joy of serving Christ the Lord." If I start thinking about my own personal recognition, that's when I get discouraged. But when I'm motivated more by love for the people I serve and for my Heavenly Father, that's when the good things start happening! A mission makes you painfully aware of your weaknesses and limitations, and Sister Hame and I make mistakes a lot, and sometimes they're embarrassing, but I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father lets me, little 19-year-old Sister Browning, play a small role in blessing and serving His children. It just puts me in awe sometimes.  

We finally have neighbors in the apartment next door to ours, and they are a sweet Hispanic family. We picked up the mom, Cynthia, and the 20 year old son, Franco, as new investigators yesterday! And it was Carlos's first experience being the member at a lesson! We didn't know this when we asked Carlos to come with us, but they used to be Pentecostal, just like Carlos. He bore a powerful testimony about how they can recognize the truth of the Church from what they've known in the past. Preach My Gospel says that's the ideal scenario, and they were right! :)

Jeren, Cynthia and Franco also gave us a freezer bag full of menudo this week, and I thought of you and your mission! That was the dreaded soup stuff, right? Thankfully it was chicken, not cow stomach... but it was still suspicious. Haha

Alright, let's get to the important stuff: Your weekly dose of quotes from the hilarious Sister Hame. Hopefully you think these are funny, maybe there a have-to-be-there kind of thing?

In a lesson with a less-active, and again at a dinner appointment: "Church and scripture study are SO detrimental to your testimony." I do not think that word means what you think it means. 

After attempting to ride bikes and realizing that her brakes are shot: "Biking's like an ex-boyfriend, you keep giving it another chance..."

While reminiscing about childhood: "Can't we get back to roller coaster tycoon and good charlotte?" 

After our new and supposedly golden investigator asks me to marry him: "Sorry you're pretty, Sister Browning..."

At the end of a miracle day: "My heart, like, hurts, it's so full of joy... Maybe that's just the menudo coming back up" 

After borrowing my lotion: "I smell like a daughter of God."

Musing out loud while driving the car: "I change my hair all the time... like I'm bi polar or something." 

...But she actually is. So it's funny. 

After our investigator came to church drunk: "Alcohol smells like Satan's armpit."

Well, I sure love you all! The Church is so super true! Thanks for taking the time to write to me! 

Ever onward :)
Love, Sister Browning 

Monday, January 5, 2015


Hey Family! 

Well, the family history center is still down so I am typing from a members iPad and the whole touch screen thing has become a foreign idea to me. I apologize in advance for any autocorrect blunders! :) 

This crazy thing happened this week where it SNOWED, a lot... Not something I expected to encounter on my mission! id say that sister hame and I used our Missouri and Idaho expertise and handled it pretty well. We used our shoes as windshield scrapers and took that little corolla out to work work work! A lot of our appointments fell through on the days with the most snow, so we were out in it quite a bit with frozen noses and toes. But it was pretty fun. On New Years day we ran over a nail had a flat tire. since it was a holiday we got to put our little donut spare on and use that all day, which miraculously did pretty well on the roads!

Our New Year's Eve consisted of being in the apartment at 6 PM to avoid the drunk crazies (and also the Kingman-ites that can't drive in the snow), watching White Christmas with Bing Crosby (thanks, President!!) and drinking apple cinnamon herbal tea. It almost felt like a real girl's night! The whole movie-watching thing would have been exciting, but we were so tired, we skipped all the boring parts and slept through some of the rest. I guess sister missionaries just don't know how to party. ;) 
 We got to see our cute 13 year old investigator Abbi get baptized on Saturday. She is a little bit of a Cinderella story, plus the gospel! Over the past month that we've been teaching her, she has just blossomed. That is the best word for it. I'm not sure how much love or self-worth her family has instilled in her in the past. She's been coming to church with her semi-active grandma for a long time, just quietly sitting in the back, looking a little like a lost puppy. Now, she stands straighter, smiles more, speaks louder, and bears a confident and powerful testimony about the happiness the gospel brings. The YW leaders, the bishop, and the beehives have been amazing about taking her under their wing and being true friends. She will do great things in her life. In fact, I'm pretty sure she's the key to her current and future family's activity in the church. She's awesome!!  

Carlos is still doing great, he's absolutely on fire. We're so grateful, especially considering he lost his job the day after his baptism. The mine here in the Hualapais where he works as a surveyor closed on monday and sent 300 employees packing... It's pretty devastating. But Carlos is so hopeful and positive. In his words... "I don't need luck, I got God."Yes you do, Carlos! 

We also have the coolest guy ever in our teaching pool. His name is Bobby. Bobby called us on new years eve to ask us questions about the Book of Mormon, which he has been reading BY CANDLELIGHT because his electricity is out! Dedication. He is the bomb. And we love him. What a blessing. :)

Funny quotes from Sister Hame this week: 

"I think President Snow was just like... 'send the 2 retards to Kingman' " 

"Do we need to plan backups to FHE?" 
"Well, we have learned by sad experience, that it is the nature of almost all plans..." 

D&C reference. Anyone catch it? 
Seriously, if for any reason we don't plan backups to some event we have planned, that event falls through 99.9% of the time. Make backup plans, no matter what! 

"That will be funny until we get dead" 

"The two things that Kingman really needs: Salvation and a toothbrush." 

I love you all! The Church is true and the Gospel changes lives! Happy New Year! 

Ever onward--
love, Sister Browning