Monday, July 29, 2013

The Crazy Mission Life....July 29,2013

Dear Family!!
I have missed you very very much this last week! This has definitely been the hardest time so far, but I'm still holding on :)
So I'm in a little town where the elevation is more than double the population. It's a lot of dirt roads and cowboy hats. And we have one investigator, which is actually really good for us apparently! Mostly we work with Less Actives and some recent converts. It's really hard, but the members are all really nice and feed us a lot :)
We got stuck in the mud on Thursday! we tried to go around a huge puddle on a dirt road... bad idea. I guess everyone knows to drive through the puddle where the mud is packed down. We never left the car cause of the mud, but called the elders and eventually found a ward member to pull us out. we were stuck for almost an hour!
It rains everyday out here- thunderstorms too. Saturday was crazy though- we parked and walked to do a neighborhood, and it started pouring. We were on a dirt road- although we were in the middle of town. A great LA finally answered the door and let us sit for a bit, and then we ran off to manuver through the puddles to the car. I knew without a doubt that God was watching us then, because the rain slowed to a sprinkle, and didn't pick up until we were across the street and under some trees. It was amazing :)
We went home and changed, and went back out. A text flash flood warning went out, and it was super scary watching the water pile up so we went home a little after 8 and studied unit 9.
Sunday was crazy! meetings starting at 7:30 in the morning- we had the pack a lunch! it was a long day, but it ended on a good note with a visit to some less actives who want to get ready to go through the temple again! The Spirit is so strong whenever we are teaching at a home, and it really makes me love these people! I'll have to tell you more about them when I have time.
The companion thing is hard. My companion is trying to lead me, but I can tell she's struggling, and I sure know that I am. I guess we'll see how everything turns out!
We're working out here. It's super hard, but I haven't had a complete breakdown yet! I miss all of you and love all of you more than I can say. Keep up the emails and the letters! I'll try to send out a letter today with more, but I'm about out of time for email! I'm taking some pictures, and I'll try to get some to you next week. My sister roommate says she uses Dropbox- if you can, will you set one up for us to use and I can send my pictures on that? I bet Shae can help!
I'm loving the cooler weather up here so no worries! I'm surviving :) I'll talk to you again soon!
Love, Sister Brown

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Let The Arizona Adventure Begin!!....July 24, 2013

Hello hello everyone!

It has been crazy that last couple of days! I was in the Emergency Room all day Saturday with a roommate (you heard that story, everything is okay now), Sunday was running around trying to get ready to go, and 4:30 Monday morning we were off the airport! After we landed in Phoenix and got everyone together, we went to the Mesa Temple Visitor's Center and learned about each other, and waited for the other flight to meet us there. We took pictures with the Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Sweeney. They have only been here for a few weeks so we are all brand new! Except for the missionaries who used to be in the Mesa mission, of course.

After seeing the temple, we went to the stake center that is next to the mission office and mission home and had lots of meetings and a yummy lunch! Then we had to get an overnight bag together and we were assigned to go out with a companionship in the area and stay with them for the night- because the mission home can't hold all 29 new missionaries that came in. I got Sister Rasmussen and Sister Perreira, both from Oregon and serving in a ward in Scottsdale. We went to a little fast food Mexican place for dinner, then Sister Rasmussen went with a member to teach a lesson to new converts and I went with Sister Perreira to teach the Plan of Salvation to a member home. The dad is Finnish and the mother Korean and a convert, so it is a neat family! Four kids, ages 15 to 7, and they sure got antsy. I think I did okay, even though I was quiet most of the time :) I love that family and would love to see them again. Too bad that isn't my area....

But we're not to that part yet! After that we visited a struggling investigator, just outside his door for a few minutes, then headed back to the apartment- which was super nice, two bedroom two bathrooms but only holding one set of missionaries, and they have a gym and a pool in their complex (never mind that they can't go swimming)- and went straight to sleep.

Next morning, we did some study and stuff, Sister Rasmussen had to pack because she was transferring, then we met up at the church again. It was fun to reconnect with my MTC district for a little bit, share what we did and all. Then a few more meetings..... and finally companion and area assignments! My trainer is Sister McCashland from Idaho, and she's only been out six weeks but she already knows so much about the area. Which is.... drumroll please!.....  Snowflake and Taylor! Mostly Taylor, which is a little town a few minutes south of Snowflake, but we have a YSA branch that covers both areas. I'm so excited to be here!!! It is so much cooler than the valley, and it seems like it could be Utah! In the valley there is a cactus and a palm tree every which way you look- when we stepped out of the airport, it felt like a mix of Mexico, Hawaii and Utah because of the heat and the humidity- it is monsoon season! Lots of rain and some crazy flooding, but they have dips in the golf courses and such to make impromptu takes and canals to keep the roads from flooding- mostly. I haven't been in any rain or seen any flooded roads, but they have caution signs up in Scottsdale, and we saw rain clouds and rain in the distance on the drive yesterday. The three hour drive. and we didn't leave until 6:00, because everyone is new and the Vehicle Coordinator was being bombarded with people needing cars, bikes, and driving tests. My comp had to take a test to drive because she has only been out for six weeks, and then we had to get a sister who is living with us a bike for her area. Sister (Hermana) Wadsworth, who needed the bike, is a Visa waiter from Idaho headed to Argentina (I think), and her companion is.... Sister Rasmussen! My day trainer! The four of us live in a two bedroom, ONE bathroom duplex, with elders next door. And Elders lived in our place for years, and it is pretty beat up- we have a standing shower and a bath shower in the bathroom, but guess who broke the standing shower? Elders. It will be an adjustment, and will take time figuring out a showering schedule, but we'll make do.

Last night we also had another pair of sisters follow us here in their car, but we couldn't find their place at 10:30 last night so they stayed in our living room. They are "zebra" sisters! Sister Jones is from Tennessee and was in my zone in the MTC, and Hermana Sanchez is from Spain! her accent is super thick, but she's super nice and awesome. They were able to find their place this morning, and I hope everything works out for them, working both Spanish and English! that would be so hard, but so amazing!

We're headed out to the local grocery store after this to get food. We stopped in Payson at Walmart for a few minutes to get cereal and milk for this morning, but the nearest walmart to us is in Show Low, about 20 miles away and out of our area. We can only go there if a member will take us, but the store here apparently only has food. So I guess we'll see what happens!

I love you all very much!! I can't wait to hear back from you, and get your reactions! I miss you all, and I loved hearing your voices on Monday morning. Be good!

I'll try to send a letter later today with anything I may have forgotten. I love you a bajillion!

Love, Sister Brown :)

 ps- we get to go the temple every other transfer, so next transfer I can go! Hopefully I'll still be here so I can go to the Snowflake Temple! Yay!


Friday, July 19, 2013

MTC Pictures....July 18, 2013



Life at the MTC...July 18, 2013

Hello everyone!
Miss me yet? I'll be honest here, they have been keeping us so busy I don't have much time to be homesick! Sixteen hour days- and that's if you get to bed on time!
So to answer your questions Momma....
My companion, Sister Chase, is from Alpine, Utah, and turns 20 in November. We had four girls in our room the first night, but the two in another district moved into the room they were supposed to be in the next day. The other sister companionship (and the other sisters in my room) are Sister Stevens and Sister Johnston, from Texas and Washington respectively. They are so amazing and spiritual and yes, we have a blast! Our district- which is actually like our classroom- has the four of us, and six elders. We're all going to Scottsdale! We have our ups and downs, but we love each other and learn so much from each other! Yes, the youngest elder in 18, fresh out of high school. The elders can get a little crazy- but to be honest, us sisters have our struggles sometimes too :) Yes, I'm living on the main MTC campus, which is awesome, and not actually as huge as I thought it would be! My branch president is President Robinson, and the entire presidency is super awesome. It's so strange that we will only have them for this short amount of time! Sunday was really good- Sacrament meeting first thing. At 7:30 AM. and THEN we had breakfast. and then sisters and elders split, and all the sisters in the MTC met in the auditorium/gym for Music and the Spoken Word at 9:30, then Relief Society from 10 to 11. We had good old Carole Mikita come speak to us, and it was awesome! The rest of the day was super packed as always. And it turns out July is the month General Authorities have off. and the temple is closed. But we still had a great devotional on Sunday by the MTC directer and another great one on Tuesday with Emeritis Seventy Richard G. Hinckley. and then guess what happened? we made history! for the third time in MTC history, all the missionaries, while gathered together in the Marriott Center, had our picture taken! So hopefully I can get a copy, or you can...? I don't know, they didn't tell us but it was so cool! And people I've seen- a boy from high school I swam with when I was a senior and he was a freshman (and he didn't see me so I didn't say anything), Joe Weiss from the stake (same thing), and then one of the Anderson triplets that are my age came up to me the other day! But I have no idea which one even knew me enough to remember me from high school so...
And teaching. Teaching is crazy! None of it is to REAL investigators, but everyone here are super amazing actors! Sis Chase and I teach one of our teachers, Brother Starkie, as Alec- which is actually his first name. We used to think he was super hard, because he knew everything, all this family is members, he knew he needed to be baptized--- but not right now. But Tuesday we got him to commit to baptism on a set date! YAYAYAY! and then that night we had our first meeting with a potential investigator, Sarah. We barely got in the door, and then she said she does yoga, not religion. She believes in nirvana, and positive energy, and reincarnation. Whoo hoo! We meet with her for the second and last time tonight, and we're going to talk to her about God as our loving Heavenly Father and the principle of Faith. Last time she just jumped from question to question and we felt like idiots so I hope we can actually teach her something resembling a lesson this time! I guess you will have to see what happens next week!
I got your DearElders on Friday with the first package, and the others yesterday! besides one from Dad which came Monday or Tuesday. I love to hear from you! and the packages were amazing and made me want to smile forever! I might have some things I want you to send, but I don't remember right now- I'll write you a letter later today with more details.
Departure plans! on July 22, I take US Airways flight 2901, leaving SLC at 8:20 AM and arrive in Phoenix at 9:04 AM. We meet to leave the MTC at 4:30 that morning, so I'm guessing I'll call sometime between 5:30 and 7:30- but I'm not really sure! I am going to buy a calling card and I will call! I'll plan on calling the home phone, unless I hear otherwise.
I miss you all a ton! Our amazing teachers, Brother Starkie and Brother Martin, are the very best here and I could not be in better hands :) I love learning about the gospel here, and feeling the Spirit so strong! This is definitely super hard, but the very best place to learn and study as fast as we are! I wish I had time to write you everything that happens each day, but not even my journal can hold everything! Maybe when I fill this one I can send it home and you guys can see more of what has happened each day.
I've got to go, but I love you all so much and miss you a ton! the very first day I kept wanting to text you updates and pictures :) I hope you are taking good care of my phone mom! And don't miss me too much!
Love you all a bunch times a billion! Talk to you Monday!
Love, Hailey
or if you prefer, Sister Brown :)
ps- my comp took a few pictures and if I have time I'll send them to you! and thanks for the pictures of the family, I was going to ask for some!!! You guys rock
And the hardest part of being here is trying not to say, "you guys," but "elders and sisters." haha



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Going to the MTC...July 10, 2013


Pictures from taking Hailey to the MTC



Together with the girls
With Mom and Dad
Hug from Dad
Wave goodbye

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mission Farewell Talk.....June 30, 2013

June 30, 2013
For the last three years, I have been studying at BYU. One thing I love about BYU is the religion classes it offers. These classes give the same spiritual benefits as seminary or institute or Sunday school, but require a lot more work and studying since they have to give us a grade. These classes teach a lot of the background behind the scriptures, facts and meanings about words or actions, and give a lot of extra knowledge and understanding the scriptures.
This last year I took Mission Preparation and the Pearl of Great Price. In these classes we learned a lot about the Great Apostasy. After Christ visited the people in the Americas, He established His church and the people were righteous. However, after several hundred years the people became so wicked that the Lord took away his prophets and apostles. Mormon 1:13-14 reads, “But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people. And there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any, because of their wickedness and unbelief.”
The church on the earth was corrupted and divided many times. This period of history is known as the Dark Ages. There were many churches, but they had lost the authority of the priesthood by falling away.
Then European Reformation in the 1500s-
Preach my Gospel says; “After centuries of spiritual darkness, truth-seeking men and women protested against current religious practices. They recognized that many of the doctrines and ordinances of the gospel had been changed or lost. They sought for greater spiritual light, and many spoke of the need for a restoration of truth. They did not claim, however, that God had called them to be a prophet. Instead, they tried to reform teachings and practices that they believed had been changed or corrupted. Their efforts led to the organization of many Protestant churches. This Reformation resulted in an increased emphasis on religious freedom, which opened the way for the final Restoration.”
            Some important men whose work led the Reformation were Martin Luther, John Calvin, and William Tyndale. Elder M. Russell Ballard said, “I believe these reformers were inspired to create a religious climate in which God could restore lost truths and priesthood authority. Similarly, God inspired the earlier explorers and colonizers of America and the framers of the Constitution of the United States to develop a land and governing principles to which the gospel could be restored.”
            These men of the Reformation in the 1500s, along with many men during the American Revolution in the late 1700s, created an environment in which the gospel would be able to be restored.
            Joseph Smith was born only 29 years after America declared their independence from the British Empire. Because of religious freedom in the United States, the time and place for the Restoration was at hand.
            Just as God called prophets in the Bible, Joseph Smith was called by God to be a prophet in the latter days.  In D&C 1:17,23 we read “Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;   That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.”
True to the Faith pg 89 reads “As Joseph Smith proved his worthiness, he was given a divine mission as a prophet of God. Through him, the Lord accomplished a great and marvelous work that included bringing forth the Book of Mormon, restoring the priesthood, revealing precious gospel truths, organizing the true Church of Jesus Christ, and establishing temple work.”
Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God.
I learned from a speech given by Elder Russell M. Nelson that the King James Version of the Bible was produced by 50 English scholars, translating at a rate of one page per day, which took seven years. Today, expert translators do well if they can also translate scripture at the rate of one page per day. In contrast, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon at the rate of 10 pages per day, completing the task in approximately 85 days.
This shows the power of God and the truthfulness of Joseph Smith’s calling as a prophet.
The Book of Mormon has been called the “Keystone of our Religion.” Ezra Taft Benson, in his talk called “Keystone of our Religion,” talks about the importance of the Book of Mormon. It came before the restoration of the priesthood, it was published a few days before the organization of the church, and it was given to the members to read before they were taught the doctrines like the three degrees of glory, doing work for the dead and celestial marriage.
In the Introduction to the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith testified that “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on Earth, and the keystone of our religion.”
The Book of Mormon is the keystone to our religion because it bears witness of Joseph Smith. If the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith was a true prophet and he restored God’s true church and the priesthood to the earth.
This resonates with me as I prepare to leave for my mission- so much of missionary work is focused on the Book of Mormon. It truly is the keystone to our religion.
I’ve learned that the first lesson is Preach my Gospel teaches about Joseph Smith and the Restoration, and concludes with the Book of Mormon. The commitments of the first lesson are to read the Book of Mormon, to pray to know if it is true, and to pray to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet.
The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith are so important they come first. True to the Faith says, “For your testimony of the restored gospel to be complete, it must include a testimony of Joseph Smith’s divine mission. The truthfulness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the truthfulness of the First Vision and the other revelations the Lord gave to the Prophet Joseph.”
In the First Presidency Message of the February 1996 Ensign, President James E. Faust said, “We can expect increased attacks upon Joseph Smith as a prophet and upon the Book of Mormon. Satan will attack us at the core of the Restoration and our belief: the Prophet Joseph Smith and his divine mission.
It is important for all of us to develop a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restoration and a testimony of the Book of Mormon. In True to the Faith, under “Testimony,” it reads….
A testimony is a spiritual witness given by the Holy
Ghost. The foundation of a testimony is the knowledge that
Heavenly Father lives and loves us; that Jesus Christ lives,
that He is the Son of God, and that He carried out the infinite
Atonement; that Joseph Smith is the prophet of God who was
called to restore the gospel; that we are led by a living
prophet today; and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints is the Savior’s true Church on the earth. With this foundation, a testimony grows to         include all principles of the gospel.” (page 178)
A testimony begins with a sincere, righteous desire. With effort on our part it comes through the quiet influence of the Holy Ghost.  A testimony grows through experiences and as you share it.
We must strengthen our testimonies continuously.
I bear my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. It is true. It contains the fullness of the gospel. Joseph Smith was called of God to be His prophet. He translated the Book of Mormon and he restored the true church and the priesthood of God to the earth. All of this he did through the power and influence of God.
I testify that Thomas S Monson is God’s current prophet. He leads our church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
I know that God loves each of us. Because of His love for us He provided a plan. He restored the gospel so that we can return to live with Him again. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He is God’s son and He atoned for our sins. He died for us so that we could be made clean and live with Him again.
I am thankful for my testimony, I hope others will continue to grow and strengthen their own testimonies. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.