missionary plaque picture

missionary plaque picture

Monday, June 29, 2015

Coming Full Circle

Hey everybody! 

This has been one of my favorite weeks of the mission! The heat is brutal, but that's a minor detail compared to all the miracles and tender mercies and super cool things. Here's the short list:

1: We got to teach Alli about the Atonement. There is nothing better than being there for that moment when you get to help someone see that the atonement 

2: We got to go to a sealing of a little boy to his adoptive parents in our ward! After the sealing this sweet almost-three-year-old looks at the sealer and asks, "are you Jesus Christ?" Oh my gosh, everyone was crying. Everyone, get yourselves to the temple. There is no better place in the world. 
Also, after the sealing Alli floated into the lobby of the temple like a beautiful vision. She knew she could go that far and so she came to congratulate.

3. I went on exchanges with sister Martin! We had a fun day reminiscing about kingman! It was amazing to see how we've both grown and changed a ton in the last 6 months. I was able to apologize to her for not being the companion that I wanted to be. That was one of the most healing moments.

4. While on exchanges with Sister Martin (in the stake's YSA ward) we got to go to ROBINDALE's institute!! Saw so many members that I love so much! And the interesting thing is that I was there exactly a year after I entered the mission field. And where was I on my first evening in the mission field? With our investigators at institute. Things are really starting to come full circle. 

 Sister smith was there too on exchanges with Robindale's sisters! 

Zach, Amber and Cody!! 

5. Brissas baptism was on Saturday! It was beautiful! She didn't have any family support but she had great fellowshippers, including her next door neighbors who have become like grandparents to her and her boyfriend's family who came down from Utah. She's a strong girl and she's here to stay. I sang "I stand all amazed" and it for sure wasn't flawless but it was fun :) 
All the Sisters and Elders that have taught Brissa

6. We've finally started actively teaching Sharonda... She is the most elect woman on the face of the planet! She had taken notes all over her restoration pamphlet before we even taught it to her. She is soaking up the Book of Mormon like she's been looking for it her whole life. In relief society yesterday the lesson was on temples and she cried through the whole thing and begged us to take her to go see it. She knows that going inside is her ultimate goal! 

So there's my amazing week! It sounds like you've had a blast with grandpa! Give him a big hug from me :) missionary work is so cool you guys. Heavenly Father loves His children. Even though the world is crazy, focusing on and living the doctrine of Christ will get us and our families through anything. The solid foundation I invite you to rely on is active faith, daily repentance, and remembering and keeping the covenants we make with God! We have a prophet living today. How cool is that?? President Monson and those who serve with Him will always point us to Christ. Even when it's not popular to follow His teachings, it will always be right. I love you all and pray for you constantly. Hurrah for Israel! 

Love, Sister Browning 

Monday, June 22, 2015

116 Degrees You Guys!

Dear Family,

I hope you had a wonderful Father's Day yesterday! Dad, it didn't take any time at all to come up with 10 reasons why you're the best. I could have made a much longer list. If I've learned anything on my mission it's how rare it is to have a family like ours. Satan tries to put a lot of bullet holes in families from every angle. I hope you all give each other lots of hugs cause we're very very blessed to have each other. I'm grateful to have the best dad in the world! 

Well this week was hotter than hades. Have you ever stood inside an oven and turned on a blow dryer? It kind of feels like that outside! I'm quickly discovering that last summer was child's play compared to this summer. On Saturday it reached 116 degrees. Someone also said 119, but I'm not sure if that ones true. It will definitely get into the 120's soon. Small price to pay! We won't stop working :) we are moving our studies to after lunch though and going out to proselyte at 8am. It'll just be more effective that way cause no one is outside at 2 in the afternoon.

We had a huge miracle happen on Friday. Our investigator Alli signed up to feed us so we went over and had a nice dinner with her and her husband. After dinner we talked about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and she said she's ready to be baptized!!! YES! She's been coming to church since October and she's finally taking that step. This is the first time she's ever accepted a baptism date. We are so excited for her and her two boys, Braydon and Brennan who have been wanting to be baptized forever. Alli has cervical cancer and is going through chemo so we are scheduling the baptism around that. Right now we are planning on July 12th for the baptism. She really wants it to be a big celebration so we get to help throw a party! :) I wish I could introduce you to this woman. She is one of the physically, emotionally, and spiritually strongest women I've ever met. Even going through chemo she is so strikingly beautiful and so loving and other-focused. Sister Mayfield and I cried thinking about how much we want her to be able to have her boys sealed to her and have that eternal family. We hope that one day her husband will recognize the difference that the gospel has made in his family's life and want to know more. 

This week I realized that I really want to increase my faith... So I studied it for 3 mornings in a row and learned a ton. Faith is really a principle of power, and it's very much like a muscle, where the more you use it the more you have! It is through faith that God works in our lives and brings about miracles. It's how the brother of Jared was able to see the Lord, how Enos was able to receive a remission of sins, and if I want to do the meaningful things God sent me here to do I need to develop faith! Here are the puzzle pieces to exerting great faith that I studied about: 
This one might take you a little longer. But enjoy :) 

I love you all more than homemade chocolate chip cookies, 
More than sister mayfield loves to sing Broadway, 
More than missionaries love to guzzle cases of water, and 
More than the number of degrees outside! ;) 

Love, Sister Browning

A few gems that have made me laugh recently: 

A flamboyant gentleman we met on exchanges with sister Kraus, after introducing myself:  "Sister Brownies?! You sound like a Girl Scout!"

Me driving our struggling little Corolla up a hill: "I can't get this car to go the standard of excellence...." Uh... Speed limit.

Sister Mayfield after everything: "shoot dang!" 
Me in return: "dang shoot!" 

A member giving a talk in sacrament meeting: "I'm about as enthusiastic about sports as an Amish in a BestBuy." 

 Standing at a door waiting for it to open: "I'm exerting so much faith it's giving me a headache." 
Alice, our helpful member: "That would be the dehydration."

Can't remember who said this one: "New zone vision: black mountain/green valley bops to the top 2015, #neverforget" 

Monday, June 15, 2015

"You can tell how long a sister has been out by how far her eyeliner is from her eyelashes."

--A leftover quote from Sis Hame that I just remembered the other day. It's becoming more and more applicable to my life. :) 

Dear Family,

I loved being able to see little updates from you on the iPad! Even though I can't reply till Monday, it was nice to feel a little loved throughout the week :) 

If you're still willing to pray for a list of investigators, you could pray for Dawnna, Alli, April, Bella and Rita. Dad, your question is my question too! Where are all the husbands?! We are teaching a lot of 30-50 year old women right now with young kids.  Hopefully Dawnna and Alli's husbands will come around soon. April is a single mom and Rita is an older woman that we found this week. That was a real miracle! She was a referral from her member neighbors. It turns out that she is a theater teacher and has been really impressed by the example of the students in her class. Wow... Something I learned this week is like it or not, as members of the Church, we are literally missionaries all the time! People notice the things we do and say. Even in high school. The question is, are we going to live in a way that everyone will recognize the light of the Gospel in us? She also noticed when some students weren't living the standards and that was confusing to her, but after we explained that that was their individual choice and not a reflection of our belief, she decided to still investigate. PEOPLE NOTICE! The good and the bad! 

This was a challenging week but also very rewarding. Most of our progressing investigators have been really sick or experiencing family struggles. Darn Satan. After several days of not very much success, the miracles came :) Dawnna said that she was finally able to talk about the church with her husband, who has not been super supportive. He had lots of good, sincere questions for her and even gave her a ride to church! Yayyy Dawnna! Tonight we're going to go walk around the temple with her. She is sticking with her baptism date in the middle of July which is a ways away, but it's what she feels comfortable with, I've learned you can only draw someone to the waters of baptism, you can't drag them. The important part is that she will be here to stay. :) Please pray that her husband's heart will continue to be softened and that he will want to learn about the church. 

Bella is a woman we met this week who has met with missionaries in the past, is about to marry a less active member, and really wants to be baptized. Hooray!! We are excited to help her prepare for baptism and also help reactivate her fiance John. She wasn't able to come to church but please pray that she will come next week and really start progressing. 

We presented a missionary tool that Sis Mayfield came up with to the stake president and the bishops and WMLs in the stake. It's called MTC, but it stands for Member Training Center and that's where we'd work with the WMLs to train groups of 4 or 5 families at a time on how they can effectively do member missionary work. We're super excited about it :) We're basically piloting it in our zone and if it does well, they may implement it in the rest of the mission. Time will tell!  We had a good correlation with our WML yesterday who had some other ideas and we've kinda come up with a conglomerate that will work for our ward. 

Sis Mayfield and I last night re-committed ourselves to our missions. We both kinda reached a point where we were a little tired and frustrated and Satan was working pretty hard on us. We were just having a heart-to-heart talking about this when we came across a man named Tony sitting in the doorway to his apartment. He told us he was genuinely interested in our message and to never get discouraged because we're doing an amazing thing. We both just about cried. It makes a huge difference to hear that from people, even when they don't fully understand what it is we're doing. Thank you, Tony, for being an instrument in God's hands to help out the missionaries. We might never see him again but regardless, he taught me that Heavenly Father can work through people in very simple ways. 

Funny story of the week: Sister Mayfield and I went to the temple this week, and decided to eat at the cafeteria first. Bad idea (the eating first part). I got food poisoning and was alerted to this fact right before the session started. I sat in the endowment room, sweating and dying, pleading with the Lord to let me make it through. Right at the moment when I was pretty sure I couldn't make it... they closed the doors. The session starts and I sit there in pain and finally, right after they talk about how if you're not ready to make these covenants please raise your hand, I bolt to the door. Hahaha embarrassing. I came back and they looked at me all concerned and then started the session again. Pretty sure they thought I was feeling the fire and the brimstone... Nope... just needed to puke :) I always wondered what would happen if someone ran out. Never thought I'd be the guinea pig to figure it out! Haha 

Sister Koyle has a necklace with a pendant shaped like a knot, and when we were companions she would always say, "when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." My new motto is "when you reach the end of your rope, get a new rope." I've been doing that through prayer and repentance and relying on the Atonement. I know that because Jesus Christ loves us, He can give us the strength to renew our commitments and endure to the end and continue to serve and do whatever he's asked. And that can be a daily thing :) If you're tired or struggling with any challenge large or small, I invite you to take the Savior up on his offer to pray for His enabling, strengthening, and comforting aid :) 

Love you lots! Sister Browning 

Our celebratory cranberry juice at the end of the week. Do we look like we're about to pass out?  Missionaries party hard. :) 

Monday, June 8, 2015

An Obligatory Selfie on the New iPads!

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. :) 
  1. 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 :) 
  1. 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! :) 
  1. 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. 
  1. 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.
  1. 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 :) 
  1. 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.
  1. 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! 
  1. 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. 

Us and the zone leaders at MLC! We coordinated on purpose. 

Sister Sargent and I on exchanges! Sweetest sister ever. 

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 

Monday, June 1, 2015


Dear Family, 

I'm just now starting my email, this has been the craziest Pday! So this will be a very short one! Thank you for spoiling me on my birthday :) It was hard to save that package for May 29th! 

Well the heat definitely hit this week! On Wednesday we walked outside and we were like.... nooooooooooooo. Sister Mayfield and I are joking that we are having PTSD flashbacks to last summer. It is really hard to go out and work in the heat. We're eternally grateful for air conditioning and cars. But our bodies will adjust faster the more we go and do :) 

I love my new area; it is by far the smallest area I have ever served in. I've covered a whole stake, then two wards, then 3 stakes, and now I cover this little haven of a ward called Whitney Ranch. it basically just stretches from one end of a shady tree-lined road to the other, with some apartment complexes and neighborhoods branching off of it. Not sure how big it is, but to me it feels tiny. It is full of elect and amazing people though, who are all ready for the gospel! My first day in the area there was a mom and daughter named Kim and Christian baptized. Surprise! There are a few others set with dates and we're finding new people to teach all the time :) 

Sister Mayfield is amazing. She is basically the 20 year old version of aunt Amy and Becky combined. She sings like an angel and is the best storyteller I've ever met. I love her, heart and soul. 

One thing that's been really fun is working with the zone leaders on the vision for the zone. The theme we came up with is "Becoming Missionaries the Lord Can Trust." Sis Mayfield gave a training on friday where we hid a candy bar somewhere in the gym and turned of all the lights. We handed the missionaries flashlights and sent them running to find it. Then we talked about how the urgency they felt looking for the candy bar was the urgency the Lord asks us to have about His work! It turned into a really amazing discussion about the Atonement and missionary work. Hopefully we'll see the missionaries in our zone, especially the sisters, get really excited about the great things they're doing. 

I love you so much l and wish I had more time to write but please know that I pray for you by name every day! Next Monday's email will be better- and will have pictures :) Have a great week! 

Love, Sister Browning