miracle of forgiveness

i dont have much time to write today, due to all of the Memorial Day
festivities. so i apologize if this update is shorter than usual!

This week was crazy good. We met so many new people and saw sooo many
tender mercies.

So the reasoning for the subject line- Yesterday Brian, (our
investigator who’s on probation) was interviewed by our mission
president. He came out of the long interview looking so peaceful… We
talked to President after and he told us that Brian is an amazing man,
and that the sooner he sends the letter to the 1st presidency, the
sooner brian can get baptized. He gave us some details of Brian and
his circumstances and dang..it hit me so hard how forgiving and
merciful the Lord truly is. It doesn’t matter what you did or who you
were in the past….what matters is the direction you’re headed. I
know that the Savior wants to forgive. He’s just waiting for us to
come to Him so he can relieve us of all of our mistakes and guilt. Its
funny how thats one of those things that i’ve always “known”, but then
you witness a real life situation and it becomes so much more real.
and your understanding and gratitude deepens.

Have a great memorial weekend everyone! love you all! pictures and a
longer email next week!

hermana brown

spiritually and physically well fed.

chorizo breakfast burritos. so good.

chorizo breakfast burritos. so good.

holy moly. so many amazing teaching experiences this week. We also had
Zone Conference with Elder Wilford Anderson of the 70, and we also ate
sooooooo much good mexican food. ah, im exhausted.

So, Patricia. i cant remember if we’ve talked about her, but she’s one
of our investigators. She loves loves meeting with us and tells us
that she’s learning so much and can feel her faith growing, but she
wont keep a gosh dang commitment!! we keep committing her to come to
church and she always says ” i’ll come when i get that feeling in my
heart that its what God wants me to do.”  So this week we watched the
Restoration video and talked about how Joseph Smith acted on his faith
and prayed to God to know what to do. We explained to her that a lot
of the times we wont get our answers until after we take a step of
faith. during our lesson she told us a story about how one time she
was feeling really lonely and depressed, and then she felt this warm,
happy, comforting feeling come over her. She said it was the Virgin
Guadelupe…haha but we helped her see that it was the Holy Ghost. We
told her that those are the feelings we can have with us allllll the
time, when we’re baptized and follow the example of the Savior. We’re
so blessed!

THEN! gabby sanchez

 

. oh my gosh she is an angel. So she’s 18 and she
has been taking the lessons for a few months now. We had our first
lesson with her this week and we asked her why she keeps having the
missionaries over. She said ” i dont know what it is! but while you
guys are here, and even after you leave, theres this super peaceful
feeling in our home. and i love it!” ah, thats one of my favorite
parts of being a missionary. Hearing our investigators describe the
feelings of the Spirit, but just not knowing what to call it. She also
told us that she wants to get baptized…and she’s wanted to for a few
months now…but she has this super demanding job and she can never
get sundays off. she told us “i want to get baptized so bad, but i
also want to be committed once im a member. so i dont want to be
missing church all the time.” She is so solid. Her plan is to quit her
job at the end of the summer, get baptized, and then go to study. I
absolutely love meeting so many people with so many different
background stories. Every story and every person is so different but
seeing them all arrive to the same conclusion and hearing them all
testify that they know the church is true..its the best. It
strengthens my own testimony so much.

celebratin a birthday with la familia flores.

celebratin a birthday with la familia flores.

okay and the grand finale…so when we first got to the area the
elders serving in American falls gave us a referral for this dude!
they said, “his name is brian. His wife is a member. he’s not. He’s on
probation. But he wants to get baptized.” Sooooo we were dying to meet
him, but he drives truck, so he’s only home on the weekends. So this
saturday we finally got to meet him! and holy moly, he has the coolest
story. So him and his wife got married however long ago, she’s a
returned missionary, super active…but Brian always thought the
church was dumb and just not for him. Then 10 years ago he messed up
and went to jail and was there for 5 years. So his wife decided to
keep him busy and sent him the book of mormon. for 5 years he studied
the heck out of the book of mormon in jail and became converted and
realized that the book was true. When he got out of prison he started
meeting with the missionaries over in the Twin falls area. Then he
moved over here! So we got it all set up and he’s going to meet with
our mission president this weekend to see if he can be baptized. so we
shall see!

who knew i’d experience so much crazy stuff in Idaho?? haha i sure
didnt. but its a testament to me that God knows where we need to be.
Doesnt matter where you serve, its the same powerful message that
we’re all sharing, and it changes lives! its so dang good.

love you all and hope its a great week!

Hermana brown

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otra semana

so this is was in one of the many "little mexico" trailer parks. hahaha these boys were sooo cute. "cheeeeese & peace signs!"

so this is was in one of the many “little mexico” trailer parks.
hahaha these boys were sooo cute. “cheeeeese & peace signs!”

anotha week. So much to tell! but ill just keep it to the happy good
highlight stuff.

So this week we had a crazy lesson with Hermano Cruz. His wife has
been out of town, so we had the lesson with just him. We talked about
how faith without works is dead and how we can better show our faith
and love towards jesus christ. We had a member with us who kinda took
over the lesson and was being pretty pushy, so i was thinkin
“nooooooo! this isnt goin how we planned!” (which is like missionary
work in a nutshell) So i said a little prayer that we would be able to
bring the spirit back into the lesson and help Hermano Cruz feel that
what we were sharing was true. After that i felt sooo impressed to
bring up his daughter who is a member of the church. And just how i
can imagine that she just prays day after day after day that her
parents will accept this message so that they can be an eternal
family. And man, as i was saying all of that, the spirit was so
strong. One of those moments where i could truly tell that the spirit
was doing the teaching, and not me. We could tell that that kinda made
him think for a minute. We extended the invitation for him and his
wife to show their faith in christ and come to church this week. So
we’ll see! keep them in your prayers.

Im grateful for that experience and what it taught me…with every
person that we share the gospel with, theres a whole line of family
behind them. And by sharing the gospel with that one person, you bring
the blessing of eternal families to that whole family tree.

We also met this dude, Gerardo this week. and holy moly, i’ve never
had so much antimormon material thrown at me before…hahaha. He
reminds me a lot of nick, our buddhist/atheist investigator back in
IF. So many crazy theories..It just makes me sad. But also so much
more sure of the truthfulness of the gospel. I was reading Bonnie
Oscarson’s conference talk this morning and i love what she says

“Whether we were born into it (the church) or had to fight our way
through mists of darkness to find it, we have tasted of this fruit,
which “is most precious and most desirable” and has the potential to
bring us eternal life, “the greatest of all the gifts of God.” We need
only to keep feasting and not heed those who would make fun of our
beliefs or those who delight to create doubts or those who find fault
with Church leaders and doctrine. It is a choice we make daily—to
choose faith over doubt. Elder M. Russell Ballard has urged us to
“stay in the boat, use your life jackets, and hold on with both
hands.”

As members of the Lord’s true Church, we are already in the boat. We
don’t have to go searching through the philosophies of the world for
truth that will give us comfort, help, and direction to get us safely
through the trials of life—we already have it!”

Yep, we already have it. and we’re so blessed! the church is true. God
is truly our loving Heavenly Father and i know that he’s created a
perfect plan so that we can be eternally happy and make it back to
him. He’s given us the plan..we already have it..we just gotta follow
it.

love you all. thanks for everything<3

hermana brown

love ya mom

we're teaching these cute girls the new member lessons and their neighbors were like "we wanna learn too!" so it became a party.

we’re teaching these cute girls the new member lessons and their
neighbors were like “we wanna learn too!” so it became a party.

 

Kinda have to make this quick, which works out nice because theres not

much to update on in the past 12 hours or so that we havent talked…
🙂

this week was CRAZY. so so busy. We’ve finally kinda got our feet on
the ground here in the area. So the work is pickin up! We’re working
with this family, la family Cruz. They’re an older couple, theyre both
about 70 or so. And they’re so precious. They’ve had missionaries for
quite awhile and they LOVE us. they love the visits and whenever we
come they pull out their book of mormon and are ready to read. They
know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and they read it all
the time even when we’re not there. SO, we went over for a less this
week trying to figure out what their concern is…because they arent
progressing! they never come to church or want to do any of the
commitments that we leave with them. So, we ended up just meeting with
hermana cruz because her husband was busy. and she totally opened up
to us. Basically she would get baptized tomorrow if she wanted to, but
she doesnt know what to do because her husband doesnt want to go to
church and she wants to make this decision with him. They have a
daughter who married a member and got baptized and so hermana cruz was
telling us “my daughter always tells me that she knows one day we will
join….and i know she’s right. i know one day it will happen. my
husband just doesnt know it yet. and that worries me, because were
old! and we dont know how much time we have left here”  Her saying
that kinda shifted my whole perspective of this message we’re
sharing… it got me thinking, holyyyy moly, this is urgent! we have
to get these concerns resolved and we gotta get them baptized before
their time here on earth is up! but then later i was thinking..it
should be that urgent with everyone we teach! This message is so
important and so valuable. I love a quote from Ezra Taft Benson:

“We are commanded by God to take this gospel to all the world.That is
the cause that must unite us today. Only the gospel will save the
world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel
will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the
gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family”

its so true. the gospel is the only thing that can save this world. so
its for everyone. and its our duty to spread it.

love you all. Shout out to my fam, it was so good seeing you all
yesterday. I love you momma and am soooo grateful to have your
example, love and support in my life. Hope you all have a great week!

con amor,
hermana brown

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hermana lopez makin me elote. SO GOOD.

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little mexico

 

goodbyes in IF

goodbyes in IF

goodbyes in IF

goodbyes in IF

we did a missionary question and answer panel at the seminary building the morning before i left!

we did a missionary question and answer panel at the seminary building the morning before i left!

goodbyes in IF

goodbyes in IF

castros<3

castros<3

 

I never thought i’d get the “out of country” experience here in Idaho, but i can now say that i have. American Falls is straight up Mexican Falls. And its wonderful.

Hermana Lopez-Hernandez is my new compa and she is so amazing. I have been blessed my whole mission with such awesome companions, i feel spoiled! she’s originally from Guanajuato, Mexico, but she’s lived in Taylorsville, utah for several years now. She came out to the field on fire and ready to go! it’ll be a great transfer.
hermana lopez bein brave and holding a snake for the first time

hermana lopez bein brave and holding a snake for the first time

This week was bitter-sweet, thats for sure. The first part of the week consisted of lots of goodbyes back in Idaho Falls. But i feel so blessed that my mission is so close and that i’ll be able to see all these people again for sure. so it really is just a “see you later.” im grateful for all the people i met in the Mesa spanish branch and for the investigators that we have over there. Sister Cole is keeping me posted and says that Ernestina is progressing and that Mario and Carlos both prayed about the plan of salvation and said that they got this crazy comforting feeling assuring them that it was all true. I love knowing that this work truly doesn’t stop. the mission is the best.
Sorry that this email is ADD… im trying to group all my thoughts together and explain all that has happened!
So we arrived here in American Falls on wednesday and met some amazing people that day. the sisters before were teaching this teenage girl, Angela. She talked about how when the missionaries watched the Restoration video with her, she felt this super warm feeling in her heart and that the next day she felt like “sunshine & happiness” all day. haha but she expressed how she loves the catholic church, and just feels at home there, so she’s really confused. she told us “ive been praying about it, but i feel like im not getting an answer because im being stubborn and i like the catholic church too much!” haha it was nice that she was able to point on the problem on her own. We shared Moroni 10:3-5 with her and talked about “real intent” and being willing to do whatever the Lord asks us to do. it was a really good lesson..she definitely has potential!
yessica & maggie

yessica & maggie

 

we got serenaded on the acordian by this kid juan. he's basically a mariachi prodigy

we got serenaded on the acordian by this kid juan. he’s basically a mariachi prodigy

Sunday we got to meet the spanish branch members. I loooove the branches here in idaho.  Small in numbers, but so dang faithful. Im looking forward to working with them and getting to know all of them better.
On the drive down here from idaho falls, Dont Blink- kenny chesney popped into my head and i almost cried…hahaha i just got thinking about how fast this is all going. I just want it to all slow down!! Im cherishing every moment and just feels so grateful to be out here in idaho serving the Lord and proclaiming his gospel. Its the best.
Love you all and hope its a great week! i have lots of pictures to attach.
con amor,
hermana brown
Cecilio Sanchez. (yes, legit mexican cowboy)

Cecilio Sanchez. (yes, legit mexican cowboy)

back to the boondocks

Martha!

Martha!

Ah, transfers once again. Theyre sending me down to American Falls/Aberdeen!! The straight up boondocks. haha back to the good ole farm towns. Im really excited, but nervous too. I’ll be training a new missionary which was something i definitely did not expect! ive never trained before….so I know i’ll be looking to the Lord a lot for help. It might be hard, but i know the toughest times of my mission have been when i’ve gotten closest with my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wow, this week we were blessed with 2 new investigators. And they are SO awesome. Carlos- he’s 15. And Mario- he’s 18. They’re cousins…originally from Mexico..they’ve only been here in the US for a few years. We met them last tuesday and they had so many questions for us. They talked about how they lost their grandpa a few years back..and how someone told them that when they saw him again, he wouldnt know them or be able to remember any of the memories of the time they spent together here on earth. We shared a video with them that night and then they literally set up their own return appointment for that Thursday (that never happens…) SO! we went back on thursday and taught them the whole Plan of Salvation lesson. and holy moly that was a golden lesson. It was so amazing to be able to teach them about the spirit world and the resurrection, and how everything will truly be restored in that day. At the end of the lesson we asked Mario if he would offer the closing prayer. He was so nervous at first, it was precious, and then he was like “oh wait! it shows me how in that pamphlet thing you gave me, right?! okay okay.. i got this.” and then he proceeded to give theeeee best prayer ive ever heard an investigator offer EVER. It literally sounded like he had been a member his whole life… I must say, hearing investigators pray for the first time is probably one of my favorite things about the mission. Its so dang powerful. We have a return appointment with them tomorrow! so im glad i’ll get to have one last lesson with them before i go.
The past couple days have been sad…Yesterday Martha did a farewell dinner for me… hahaha carne asada, arroz and fijoles. i told her that i want that to be my last meal before i die..haha. Im going to miss her so much. Ive met so many families here in this area that have made such a big impact on my mission. I FEEL SO BLESSED.
Also- shoutout to sister Cole. My #1. ive been so blessed to have her as my compa the past 3 transfers. so many good memories.
The church is true. I cant wait to report back next week from American Falls with my new compa. Love you all!
con amor,
hermana

cutest future missionaries

cutest future missionaries

la viña del Señor

we took the Castros to the Visitors Center this week

we took the Castros to the Visitors Center this week

 

woah nelly. What a week. It was a roller coaster ride, thats for sure. Some really good days and some really rough ones. But hey, its part of the experience. Ya live and ya learn.

last tuesday we got asked to come teach the mission prep class over at one of the high schools. (yes…at the high school. #idahoprobs) And man, it was so awesome. its a class of like 50 students at 7:00 in the morning, its all seniors, and a bunch of them already have their calls! We were asked to teach them how to teach the Plan of Salvation. So we studied a lot on that subject to prep on it….Then that night something really cool happened. We had an appointment at 7pm that fell through, so we went with our backup plan- la familia Gaitan. We didn’t know much about them…other than that they’re less active. So we drive up to the house and theres tonssss of cars parked in front, and people walking in and out of the house like crazy. So my initial thought, of course, is…”Dang, hispanic party. It’s probably crazy in there, and they probably definitely dont want to hear from the missionaries right now…maybe we should just come back later”….. BUT. i quickly pushed the thought away and after like 5 minutes of workin up the courage, Sister Cole and i went to go knock on the door. A man opened up and as soon as he did, we could see Hermano Playas and Hermano Love sitting on their living room couch! Two of the brethren from the branch…so they invite us in and there’s tons of people there…including an old lady, a middle aged lady, and a teenage girl, all sitting together on the couch, holding hands and crying. They then explained the situation to us….Hermana Gaitan’s brother had just passed away from some random sickness… he was a member, but not active…and before he died he said he wanted to be buried in Mexico. But for some reason or other, the only way the family could make that happen was if they cremated him. So there was this family duel goin on, on whether they should cremate him or not, the only objection being the mom..who is very active in the church. She cried and cried to us and expressed her fears that when the Resurrection came, her son would have no body to reunite with. She was so worried that her son wouldnt be able to live again. Hermano Playas gave her a blessing..and then Hermana Cole and I were able to testify of God’s perfect plan of salvation..which we had studied long and hard all week. We testified that God knows our circumstances…and he knows the desires of our hearts, and that he would make it possible for her son to be resurrected, even if he was cremated. It was amazing to be there in that room..where soooo many of them weren’t members of the church, but we all came together to testify of the resurrection and the peace that it brings. The wife of the man who passed, who lives in Logan and isnt a member, expressed that she loves our faith and even has desires to meet with the missionaries at home. So we’re definitely gonna be sending that referral!  It was just a really cool experience..i know that initial thought that i had when we first pulled up to the house was satan trying to stop that experience from happening. Im sure glad we didn’t let him win!
met this family. la familia avila. We did service for them and got to help clean out the goat and cow pens....it smelled real nice. haha cutest kids though

met this family. la familia avila. We did service for them and got to help clean out the goat and cow pens….it smelled real nice. haha cutest kids though

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This week we also got to have our first lesson with Ernestina! nick’s mom. We taught her the restoration and she loved it. we have our next appointment tomorrow. Miracles miracles.
This week i’ve been reading in the book of Jacob…I read Jacob 5 this morning, (which before the mission i always DREADED reading) hahaha i thought it was so long and so boring and repetative. but i realized it kinda takes on a whole new meaning as a missionary.  I love one verse in particular…
71 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.

72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.

I love that. “and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them.” I know that we’re not alone in this work. it truly is His, and we’re truly in the last days! its our job to harvest that vineyard until He comes again.

Love you all! have a great weeeeek!
hermana brown
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