Saturday, January 31, 2015

#7 Mission

Wow, what a week. I am really not sure exactly what to write about it, so this will just have a few quick thoughts.

But first, people are asking for my address and here it is:

Hermana Alyssa Joy Brown
Urb. Jardines de Caparra
Bayamon, PR 00959

All mail should go to the mission home. (:

A little about Puerto Rico:
-They say bien in front of every single work. Including Ella es bien mala. I do not understand it and pease stop me from this habit when I come home if I have it.
-The road are a little crazy, like how the stoplights go off after noon. Then I remember the DR and it isn't bad at all.
-The food is delicious and the whole island is so beautiful.
-Dirt magically appears everywhere. Knowing this, I'm not sure why all people have white tile floors. haha
-Just like most hispanic cultures, Puerto Ricans are pretty blunt. My companion's past comp was really skinny, so that change is usually the first things they say when they meet me. (; haha

I can hardly believe that I'm here. Remember how I've been waiting my whole life to be here and now I am! How awesome.

Also, Preach my Gospel is pretty much the coolest book ever, second to the Book of Mormon. In all seriousness, everytime I am try to thing of how to improve in something in the work or otherwise I read a part of preach my gospel that adresses it. Advice for those prepping for missions: KNOW IT AND LOVE IT. Seriously. I could send a whole email about PMG.

Okay, so I don't have lots of time so I just want to say this:

I totally loveeee contacting. We have 3 new investigators this week! So awesome.
Also, I am finding ways to use my talents to help people. One of our families (less active mom with non-member kids) would hardly let us in before, but now we have two scheduled appointments a week as I help their son to do math. Also, it's nice that people want to learn english-- that's something I can do.

It is humbling to know these people and hear their testimonies, especially those of less active members. Reach outside yourself, whether you have an assignment or not. We need to be looking out for our ward families more.

I love you all and I have been so blessed by this gospel. The gospel is restored, it is on the work, and I get the chance to help others come to know it. This is miraculous and wonderful. God is so good and so merciful. He lives. He knows and loves you. Christ is our Savior. His help is there for you, reach out for it.

Love you mucho,
Hermana Brown

#6 Mission

First off, thanks for the birthday wishes! As I sat in the chapel yesterday I realized that there is no place on this earth that I would rather be, and my 20th year will probably be among the best in my life because all of it will be spent serving the Lord. What a blessing!

Seriously, my wish yesterday was to have a sucessful day of teaching, and it was granted. As well as visiting less-active families, we taught two lessons with members present. One of them, was with our new investigator, Jose (I'll tell you how we met him in a second). As we began to meet him and his family, his nephew was running wild and there was chaos in the street. I remember thinking, oh please heavenly Father, help this to go well, and I got a distinct reponse: I'm in this with you. This really is the work of the Lord, undoubtedly. And the lesson went great (: 

I don't have lots of time, so I will just tell how we met Jose and leave it at that...

One day this week, we were walking and distictly in my mind came the words of a promise of the Lord "I will guide the paths of your feet." I remembered the talk from Elder Bednar about acting on good thoughts... The next few appointments we walked to fell through, and I remember wondering if we were where we needed to be, but remembering this thought, we carried on. As we walked, we greeted people that passed, but didn't really stop enough to talk to them. We realized that if someone was going to stop for a conversation it was going to have to be us, and remembered the advice of a former missionary, to greet contacts like a friends, and talk to them, and THEN ask their name. So, we did. That's how we met Jose, our new investigator. It was really powerful because as we talked, I asked him if he would be interested in hearing our message, and when he said yes, I felt the spirit so strongly. It was such a tender mercy. This was not the only time that we were led to run into someone, but I just can't forget that spirit. As we walked away, Sister Sanchez commented that we had just met a future priesthood holder. As I told her of the feelings I had as we talked to him, I again felt that spirit, so strongly. God is very much a part of this work and I am so excited to see what we can do with his help.

Seriously, things are going well! I love my companion. She is from el Salvador, she thinks and tells everyone that I am bilingual and I can't decide if that is a good or bad things, but it is definitely putting me in a place where I have to catch up, so probably good.

I am seriously blessed, but seriously out of time because were doing servive this morning, so please forgive me if you emailed me and I haven't responded. Know that I love each of you and I am grateful for you in my life!
God is real. He loves us and is very aware of us. I wish there was a way to communicate how 1092309840918234098209384% true that really is. Let Him show you how much He loves you. Ask Him to let you know, and I promise He will, because you are His child.

Love, Hermana Brown

#5 Mission

Guess what! This is my last P-Day in the MTC! I leave to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, and I am super sad to leave, but beyond excited to get out in the field! Things here are going very well and I am so greatful for all the blessings and tender mercies I've gotten to experience here. So awesome. Soo sooo awesome. I wish I could just sit down and tell you guys all the things I love about all the people here, from my district, to the leaders, to the cooks, to the cleaning staff, to all the other missionaries, to my teachers, to all the other teachers, to the security staff, to all the temple workings and senior missionaries I have been beyond blessed with wonderful people in my life.
I thought I would go ahead and share some moments with you guys from this past week!
Last Friday I got to go out into the field on splits with some missionaries in Santo Domingo. I was acutally in a triple since we have a tripanionship and we were splitting two companionships, but they put me with the 2 native speakers so that was pretty fun! All of the people we taught would roll their eyes because I'm a gringa, but after I sang an opening hymn and said the opening prayer they all pretty well realized that I can speak pretty good spanish. haha It was a really sweet day. It was awesome to testify to real people about how the gospel can bless your life and it was awesome to get back to the CCM and see the difference between the rest of the world and the temple grounds. So cool and so awesome to hear about all the elder's experiences.
Saturday was a pretty fun day. While playing a game during grammar, my companion "accidentally" hit one of the elder's in the face and gave him a bloody nose. Okay, so it actually was a 100% accident, but it was also just so hilarious. Also I finished TALL the computer language stuff so I'm pretty much fluent now! ahha, just kidding, but really, I'm getting pretty good. I'm not fast enough typing in spanish to make it worth proving it to  you (and I want you to understand), but maybe someday. Seriously though, gift of tongues is real and as usual, God is so good and blesses me so much. Also, I've been helping one of my teachers learn English since I'm done with the spanish work, so that is fun (:
Random note about how proud of the Elder's in my district I am. This week during computer time we reminded them that we aren't supposed to use headphones to listen to music (whitehandbook), so even though we use the headphones for TALL they stopped listening to the music (like, seriously, they have embraced exact obedience and I am so proud), but even better one of them talked to one of the Sister's and when she commented on how silly the rules can be, he testified to her of exact obedience. Alos, his companion's camera was stolen this week by a man who got hired to do some maintenance work. They found the guy, and gave him the option to call the police, but he said no and then began to testifty to the man about the gospel and Christ's mercy invited him to change and told him about how much the gospel had blessed his life and could bless the other man's life as well. All in spanish. Seriously, the elder gets it. Talk about learning attributes of Christ.So powerful and this from an 18 year old kid. That is the power of the gospel, this priesthood, and this calling.
Other things to say about this week.... I'm not sure. It's weird to know that my time here is coming to an end. So crazy.
I had an exit interview with President to me and he counseled me to find out from the Lord what kind of missionary He wants me to become, so that I can become that missionary as soon as I get into the field and then help others to be that missionary as well. As I pondered and studied about what that missionary is like, I had a thought to get a blessing. Note: I just got a blessing last week, so I shrugged it off. Last night I was talking to my companions and they were like, Okay Hermana Brown, what's going on, you are barely even talking! (obv, I haven't changed much I guess I still never shut up here! (; ) Anyway, we talked talking about how I'd been pondering on that I they helped me feel better about the idea of asking for a blessing but made it clear that it was my choice. I decided to get a blessing, but we were late, so I didn't tell them. Then we went to family prayer, and of course, on my night to play the piano, the music just touched me and I was just bawling in front of everyone while we sang. But in that moment I knew I needed to just humble myself and ask for a blessing, and the fact that the Lord let me know that, after I had already decided it was a good idea, was just a comfort and a tender mercy. The blessing was awesome, it confirmed the thoughts that I had been having and gave me more to consider. Seriously, the power of the priesthood is undeniable.
I love you all and I hope you know how much the gospel can bless your life. Embrace the love of Christ. He loves you and reaches out to you continually. Let Him into your life. I know that the power of the priesthood is real. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that He is very much aware of each of us and it is such an aweomse blessing.
The next time you will hear from me I'll be in Puerto Rico! I would not change the experiences I've had the past 6 weeks for the word, and I know that more great things are coming! I love you all and I hope that if you have any promptings, impressions, or good thoughts this week, that you'll think about me and then act on them. I know that acting on the thought to get a blessing has been a huge blessing for me and I know that you'll recieve blessings as you follow the spirit.
Love you all!
Hermana Marrón

Mission 4

I cannot believe how the time has flown! This is an incredible place and an incredible work! Sorry if my english is poor in this letter, I can easily see how poorly my spelling is based on how often I'm correcting it so I have no doubt that I am missing a lot. hahaha

Anyway, I don't have lots of time, but I will just share a few sweet moments and experiences with you from this week:

This week lessons have been going really well! We committed one of our "investigators" to baptism, however, we didn't need to do much because he chose to follow through on his commitments. And if we do the things that we need to to feel the spirit, we will receive answers.

Hermana Escobores is no longer our teacher because she is teaching the new district that is english speaking. Her english is better than probably any of the other teachers, so they switched her. She said she would no longer be our teacher and I told her "Pero siempre usted es nuestra madre" Which is totally true. I love her and it was a tender mercy that on our last class with her we got to have Book of Mormon study time (during which the teachers teach a lesson based out of the book of Mormon about whatever they want). It was awesome. Her testimony always gives me strength and hope.

This week I had a really sweet opportunity this week (actually more than once) to comfort some of the "younger" missionaries when they were struggling. As I spoke I knew that the words were my own, but I felt the spirits confirming witness that I was saying the right thing. It was strange because I feel like normally I feel the spirit guiding me with what to say and that's how I know I'm saying the right thing, but this time I just said what I thought was best and the spirit's presence showed that it definitely was the right things to say. I lay in bed pondering this and as I did. I had an impression that as we become more Christlike, we don't always need to be given the words to say because our words are the words Christ would use by nature of us being more like him. I'm not sure if that explains it very well. I am far from perfect, but I am sincerely doing all that I can to be more Christlike and His atonement is definitely bridging the gaps and inadequacies that I leave.

This week we got to go the tienda, which was pretty fun, I got some really cute shoes for $300 pesos, which is like $7, so boom, that rocks. haha Yes mom, I still love shoes. (: Also, Hermano Martinez is the best. He bought all of us ice-cream. He is seriously the best. He also made me a nametag that says "Hermana Marrón" which if you don't know is how you say Brown in spanish and is what all the people here call me!

Sad thing about this week is that Walski left for Haiti to visit his grandpa and won't come back until after we are in Puerto Rico. I love that kid and I hope the missionaries that are here when he gets back will keep helping him practice english. 

Oh, another awesome teacher story. In the first week we were here Hermano Nuñez told us that he had a twin (which basically just gives him an excuse to mess with people when they make him come in at a time that isn't his normal shift). He told our companionship awhile ago that he doesn't but we've been keeping the secret going for everyone else. The elders started doubting because he hasn't been here in forever (there aren't enough districts for the teachers to pull extra shifts), so he said "fine I'll have him sub." Needless to say Monday Manuel Nuñez, the dreaded evil twin came to teach us. He was not nearly so mean as I expected, and even though we knew it wasn't actually an evil Nuñez it was a huge relief when he smiled at us at the elder's weren't looking. It was super funny and a good joke, but at the end of the class he called the joke because he noticed that one of the elders in our district had been having a hard day and it was more important to him that he could talk to him as himself than keep a joke going.

Seriously, my teachers here are the best and I am so blessed here. I am so grateful for the chance to have met them and I am hoping that I will be able to keep in contact with each of them long after my mission.Also, the cooks here are sooo wonderful, and so are all the senior missionaries including and especially President and Sister Freestone. I am so grateful for all that is happening here.

Lastly I'll tell you a cool moment I had before I get off the computer!

I was doing TALL (on computer language training program). I'm actually almost done with all the lessons on it which is pretty cool, but I was getting really frustrated with some irregular verbs the other day because I always forget these certain forms. Anyway, I just said a prayer that Heavenly Father would help me to be able to do them. I got the help I needed. I would look at the verb chart and suddenly think of the first answer and the proceeding answer for each verb (including verbs that I had never learned). It was just such a blessing and I felt so happy that the spirit really can help us with all things. 

Life is totally good and I am incredible blessed. 

Also, all the missionaries are currently listening to our family singing hymns because I play our CD while I write and they are loving it. (: Dad, make sure grandpa gets my emails? I want him to know how grateful I am that I can sing with my family and that I love and miss him! 

Talk to you all next week!

I love you all so much and I am grateful to be a part of this work. I absolutely know that this is where I am meant to be. I do not doubt or fear because I know that my Savior is with me. He is also with each of you. Reach out to Him for He reaches for you continually. The truth is on the earth today and that is such an incredible blessing. Don't miss out on it! Go to God seeking truth and He will make it known until you! He has done so for me. I know that this is the true church, led by revelation. I know that there are prophets and apostles on the Earth today, and I know that God our loving Heavenly Father has a plan for you!

Love, Hermana Marrón

Thursday, January 1, 2015

#3 Mission

They tell us that it is week 4, but I think that they count the first 2 days as a week...
Also, starting this email off by saying that someone has messed with the keys on this computer and I{m not going to bother correcting all the symbols that are going to come out wrong...
Anyway! ¡Feliz Navidad! I hope everyone had a merry christmas looking forward to a happy new year!
I{m trying to think of the highlights to write you about.
Here we go...
I got a new companion! Her name is Hermana Ah Quin. Hermana Brown went home this week which was very sad, however, we are glad to have her in our companionship. She is the best, for serious. Also, both of my companions and multiple people I know here are from Utah. This is no suprise, but it is totally awesome that I{ll get to see them when I get home from my mission! I already love them all. Please note that Hermana Fielding is still also a companion, we are in a trio.
We went contacting and teaching at  the university! That was super cool! Graduation was happening, so there were lots of people around even though its a semester break. We all had really cool experiences sharing the gospel. The first person we talked to was named Jeyzon. He was really nice even though my spanish was pretty sloppy, we were about to talk to him about the Restoration. He was very interested so we sat on a bench and taught him the story of the first vision and about the Book of Mormon. He gave us his information so that other missionaries could continue to teach him. It was totally awesome. Then we met a man sitting outside a building eating snacks. He told us that he had heard of our church but had never come and didn{t know a lot about what we believe. We taught him the story of the restoration and he too decided to take lessons from the missionaries. We continued contacting and just talking to different people. When we had about 20 minutes left we set a goal to get information for 3 more people to want to learn the lessons and we wanted to talk to 8. We knew it was a lofty goal, but we went for it. As soon as we started walking down the road these men started yelling out to us to come over to talk to them. When we walked over I recognized Starlin, who we had taught outside the building that day. He said he wanted us to teach his friend the message that we had taught him. By the time we walked over to a bench there were about 4 people listening. By the end of the lesson there were between 12 and 15 friends all gathered together to hear our message. It was seriously awesome. Heavenly Father is aware of us and He wants us to know the truth. If you are reading this and don{t know the story of the Restoration of the Gospel, please email me and I will be happy to get you more information about it!
A new district got here this week from North America as well as a District from Haiti! They are all wonderful! It is such a blessing to have them here with us!
Also, I got sick this week, but I am totally fine again. It was some random 24 hour bug. I didn{t even miss class... well not much. =)
Obviously being sick didn{t kill my appetite off though. On Christmas I ate just as many pieces of pizza as the Tongan in my district, Elder Alatini. It was monstly just to keep him humble. Don{t worry mom, here everyone thinks its cool to hold down 6 slices of pizza easy. Best of all, it was Papa Johns! It made me feel right at home!
As you all know I also spent Christmas Eve and Christmas here. It has defintitely been a wonderful and special time. We spend the past two days focused on the Savior and living after his manner aka Service. It was definitely an unforgettable Christmas. They did so many sweet things and had so many awesome suprises lined up for us, such as the Papa John{s for dinner, but I honestly don{t have time to write about them. One nice things was that on Christmas Eve we walked around the temple alternating singing hymns and reading scriptural accounts of Christs birth. It was just like being home in Grandpa{s living room.
I am so grateful to be here at this time. I know that I am called of God to do His work. I know that He is mindful of me and each of you. I know that the truth has been restored to the earth and that Heavenly Father wants us to partake of the joys of the gospel. He is so good to us that He sent us His perfect son, Jesus Christ, who lived and died for us, that we might live with the Father again. He is why we celebrate Christmas, and this is who I will celebrate every day on my mission.
Love, Hermana Marron

#2 mission 

I can't believe that this is only week 2 guys! It feels like it's been so much longer, but in a good way. In a way that means I'm really adjusted to this lifestyle and I am loving being a missionary! Things are going well here. I feel like I should try to think of stories to tell you all, but I'll try to think about that while I share more about the DR CCM because appearently that is more the most FAQ about  my mission.
K the  breakdown (I'll try not to repeat stuff from last week....)
The CCM is on the grounds of the Santo Domingo Temple (literally, I can see it and the ocean from the window in our bedroom). The CCM is technically only the 4th floor of this building, the rest of it acts as apartments for those serving temple missions and as hotel rooms for those who come to visit the temple. (Please note that the temple services all the islands in the carribean, so people come from far and wide, not to mention that most people have to go wayyy out of the way to get to the island even if they live on an island very close because they're aren't lots of direct flights). Needless to say, we get to meet a lot of really cool people. Also, the weather is perfect so I love to go outside and study while I look at the temple. The food is fabulous and very Dominican. Lots of rice, beans, bananas, and meat. We have dessert for breakfast a lot, and I am pretty much always full. It is awesome. We have breakfast in the morning followed by personal study. Classes all morning until Lunch. Then class until physical activity (usually frisbee or volleyball) and then class until planning, family prayer, and bed. For each block of classes we have one teacher. I may be biased, but I think mine are the best in the CCM. I'll defintiely have to take picture with them before I leave and I want to keep in touch with them furing and after my mission. We teach TRC once a week (which is almost like visiting teaching the way it is done here) and the have progressing investigator lessons within the class time. Please ask specific questions because I already don't know what else to write about it.... I just love it here. Definitely going to have to come back after my mission.
We found what we thought was a lime tree behind the CCM, then we found out that it was a bunch of unripened oranges. They smell amazing! For serious.

Other fun fact: I've been teaching one of my teachers how to sing! It is very fun! He sang for our class the other day and it was totally awesome.
Another fun fact that will suprise no one from the 258th ward: everyone here says that I'm like a mom. ... of course. I can't help that I expect everyone to be their best. Also, they all totally love it and they don't try to deny it. They just like to tease me about it but then they are grateful when I remind them about things.
The other disctricts left and new groups came today so we are already the oldest at the CCM. It's a crazy thing that I can hardly believe. We taught them the most important spanish words to know at the CCM so maybe I'll share that with you. (There are words that Dominicans use alllllllll the time, so our teachers say them a lot):
Entonces -well, so, then,., etc (seriously... all the time when they don't know what to say)
Claro! - of course (I wish you could hear the way that I say that in my head)
Chiste! -joke! (this is the Elders favorite words, when they get in trouble for anything) hahaha (nothing to serious of course, they are all so good).
OH MI MADRE! (this is their Oh my goodness phrase) (Please note that it is not allowed to ever say a your mom joke to them after they say this, one of the other Hermanas found that out the hard way haha)
And that's pretty much it. If you know those phrases you are pretty much ready for the field! Just kidding, but they deinfitely make your first days easier.
I am having a super fun time getting to know my district and getting to know everyone better. We have our own jokes (most of them are of Tongan Origin from Elder Alatini) and we already have plans to meet up when everyone gets back home (one of the Elders works for Disney (; ).  Seriously though, God defintitely put me at the CCM at this time with a purpose. I've already learned so much and I feel so blessed by the experiences that I've had.
So know, how is everyone at home!?
Much Love,
Hermana Marron
(There are two Hermana Browns, so I get the spanish name)
Pictures-- my district and the other district that got here at the same time as us. i loveeee all of them.


I can't believe that I have only been here for one week! It seems like it has been sooooo much longer! I amnot sure how I'm going to fit all the joys of being here into one email, so I'll try to be brief... family, send this email out via fb/blog for all my friends please! Love you all and hope you're doing well!
Traveling was an adventure. On the flight from VA to NY I sat by Elder Grimmer, who is also going to Puerto Rico with me in 6 weeks. He's pretty cool. After the first flight we went to the Dominican Republic. That got interesting. The flight took off late and then several intereseting things happened. A guy on the flight got sick, so since I was sitting near the flight attendants, I offered up my seat. Because i did that the flight attendants offered me free beer/cocktails, I off course declined, I wish a knew how to say Palabras de Sabiduría... Anyway, because I switched seats I got to talk to a man named Fransisco. He lives near the temple and his sister is a memer. He has a Book of Mormon but doesn't read it. We talked a lot. He is a prosecuting attourney and a doctor! I told him to read the Book of Mormon that he has. I also suggest this to any of my friends. It is literally the best.
The DR is totally great! I love the weather here, it is always warm or hot which is my favorite.Also, I'm surrounded by palm trees. It is awesome.  Also, the food is the best. We have rice and beans every day. They believe in having brownies for breakfast and the juice is like no other (this is from the girl who doesn't drink juice). I just wish they ate something other than iceburg lettuce for vegetables. We have tons of fruit though. It's great. Today they had peppers and zuchinni and onions and stuff with lunch and I got a bunch of extra because I LOVE VEGETABLES, oh and because the cook loves that I have only been here a week and already speak spanish (:
We live on the temple grounds, which is the best. The view outside our window is a perfect view of the sky, temple, DR flag, and ocean. One day I'll get a picture of it, but we mostly use cameras on Pday and it's cloudy on the ocean today so you can't really see it.
I love all the classes and my teachers. They are for real a blessing for me. Each of my teachers are incredible and I'm sad that they swich them around every few weeks. Hermana Escorbores pushes me to get better at spanish and never fails to bring the spirit to any lesson. She is just so great, oh and if KAYLA SMITH reads this, yes, you know her! Hermano Martinez is like an older Hispanic version of my brother Gabe which is awesome. He is always playing around with us including at gym time, which is legit. I don't even know what to say about Hermano Nuñez. Basically I think we would be super good friends if we knew each other in normal life. Also, I'm teaching him how to sing and he's doing soooo good! It's awesome! Our lessons are going well! We committed "our investigator" to baptism, so that's going pretty well!
I love gym time! It's the best playing volleyball or frisbee everyday! I am the CCM keeper of the ball pump (I think it's because the Elders might not ever give it back) it's going pretty well! I'm  loving the Hermano Martinez plays with us because I get lots of setting practice and he hits well, but fair for the other Hermanas.
My companion's name is Hermana Fielding from Ogden Utah. We understand each other except I don't understand her need to run and she doesn't understand my need for sports. We work it out though. Ialso we ave lots of fun racing in the hallways during our class breaks! (:
My district is the best. I know everyone says that but mine actually is. I'd say more but I'm almost out ofo time. We love spending time with the other disctrict that came with us nad I'm making fun with lots of the native speakers (mostly because I'm one of the only ones that can keep up with them), but I love them all. They are soooo great.
'I don't have lots of time and there are more people to write, so I'll close by sharing some of the things that I know.
Sé que esta iglesia es verdadera. Sé que el libro de Mormón es las palabras de Dios y cuando leemos lo podemos venir a Cristo. Estoy agradecida que estoy aqui.
Love, Hermana Brown