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Week 2 (2/2/15)

By 10:41 AM

Ola familia!!

I never believed anyone that said time flew by in the MTC during my first week, but as of today nothing could be further from the truth!! Today is my last day in America for 18 months - kinda weird. I'm super excited for Sao Paulo and the hot weather :) 

Tuesday's devotional was Brother Ketcher of the 70, he gave an amazing talk about how to become a consecrated missionary, took some good notes but don't have them with me. But afterwards we had a district meeting review, and everyone was crying as we bore testimony of our experiences here in the MTC and how they applied to the devotional. The spirit is so strong here.

Sunday's devotional was.......THE RICHARDSONS!! Woohoo! I was so happily surprised to see them! I ran up to Sister Richardson and gave her a hug, and then she took a picture of me to send to you guys (ps so many people have done that, and I saw the Broughs, the Browns, the McGees, and the Dowlings again yesterday haha) and I got to say hi to Brother Richardson too. They team taught/spoke about the importance of companionships. Relationship goals right there... I came out of that meeting with a greater love for my sweet companion Sister Arbuckle. I love her and she makes me a better person. I am so grateful for her. I also came out of that meeting with a deeper understanding of the importance of eternal companionship in marriage. (Don't worry dad I'm not getting any ideas yet lol) But it was a really perspective changing talk. 

This week consisted of more learning, studying, and teaching. I taught 2 more lessons with Larissa, there was a better spirit there, and this time we only used an English outline and translated as we went! Amazing how far I've come in the past two weeks. She didn't commit to baptism.. again... but finally accepted the need to be baptized by proper authority after a long and unsuccessful lesson on wednesday about the Apostasy and priesthood authority being restored.. she still felt like her baptism from her pastor was valid. Regardless, I'm grateful for the opportunity to fail. Not that her declining an invitation to be baptized is a failure, but I'm learning to understand that it doesn't matter what my goals are, if they aren't in line with what Heavenly Father would have me say, then I can't accomplish hardly anything. Larissa DID however commit to thinking and praying about baptism seriously, so that was muito bom. 

We got another teacher on friday, and it ended up being... LARISSA! Our investigator! Or, rather, Irma Wells. We were all SO happy. We knew that she was an MTC teacher just acting but we didn't know if she would be our teacher or not. I love her so much more because of the opportunities i've had this week to pray and study in her behalf. Her portuguese is harder to understand, she speaks faster but it's just prepping me for the Brazil MTC TOMORROW haha.

ps, HUGE shoutout to MTC teachers, wow. I LOVE THEM. Huge respect for the influence they have on us missionaries. They are absolutely amazing people, and honestly you can't really appreciate it until you're a missionary yourself. So shout out to Jackson Birrell, Derick Simmons, Brennan Mills, Zach Adams, and anyone else I forgot that teaches there. You guys are life changing. 

I absolutely love being a missionary. Every morning and night when I get on my knees the first thing I do is thank my Heavenly Father for this opportunity. Friday I realized how applicable these lessons I'm planning and teaching are to my own life. That's how you know what you're teaching is absolutely true. A few things I've learned: NEVER underestimate the power of testifying truth with the power of the Holy Ghost. It absolutely doesn't matter what you say, the Holy Ghost does the talking and the converting and the teaching, not Sister Brown.  

I've learned the importance of being exactly obedient and the blessings that come from it. Unfortunately our zone has not been a very good example to the new districts. Our zone leaders and sister training leaders spend hours over their allocated email time on P day, don't follow the schedule, and are extremely disruptive during our study blocks. As a result, we've distanced ourselves from them, but have been able to maintain our focus, discipline, and we are progressing much better than any other district. The Portuguese teachers had a conference the other day where they discussed the progress of each district and zone, and they unanimously agreed that our district was the best. We were the most obedient, and we had been progressing the most. Because of this, we have gained the respect of others and are learning from the mistakes of others. I don't say this to put down any other missionary, especially in our zone, we love them. After being in the MTC for 6 weeks it's hard to stay focused. But we can all tell the difference between those who obey and those who don't. It's good motivation to continue in obedience not because I am asked to, but because I want to, and I want to receive the blessing of deeper faith and protection.

I want to share a thought with you from my personal study this morning. Alma 29:9-10 is why I am a missionary. "yea, and THIS is my glory,that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and THIS is my joy...when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, THEN is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me."

This is so applicable to my life. I have always wanted to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord, that has been my heartfelt prayer for many years. It's the driving force behind my desire to become a doctor, to serve people with my music, and to be a missionary. Never have I wanted to serve people more in my life than I do now. Who am I to fear about saying the right things to the right people? All I need to do is open my mouth, having faith that this is the work of God,and not mine, and the Holy Ghost will testify of the truth as I share the messages that the Lord would have me speak. "Faith is not about everything being okay, but faith is a matter of being okay despite everything." No matter the outcome of my work, as long as I am perfect in trying, I know that I can work many mighty miracles through the power of God. I know this is true.

I have so many other thoughts, as always, but that will have to do. We leave for the airport at 6 am tomorrow, and then it's off to Sao Paulo! I think we get to email you again when we arrive to let you know we got there safely, but don't count on it just in case. I'll most likely call you in the morning from Salt Lake because we have a short layover in NY, sometime between 8 and 11 in the morning. If not then, I'll call around 4 pm during my layover.

I love you, I love this work, and I thank the Lord every day that I am here on my mission and that I worked to be here. 

I'll talk to you soon!

Com muito amor,

Sister Brown

Mom sent Swig sugar and chocolate chip cookies

Sister Brown with friend Sister Ellen Frederickson

Elder Markham and Elder Reynolds

Chips and salsa party courtesy of the fabulous Dawn Meeves!!

Sister Brown with President Jackson, her branch president

All the sisters in the zone

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