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Semana 10

By 3:11 PM

Woop woop! How´s it going family? WEEK 10. Hit one month in the field...

Our mission is split into two sections - interior (the rest of the mission), and capital (around Natal). This week we had a huge conference with President with all the capital zones! It was a whole day of training, lots of good spiritual (and physical) feasting going on there. I sent you a bunch of pictures from the conference. 

Bummer #1 - we can´t listen to EFY music :( everyone was SO sad after President made the rule. But rules are always there for a reason!

Sister J. Baker and I did a musical number! I played the piano while she sang. Apparently she was on American Idol last season! She made it up until the last day of Hollywood week I think.. but anyway she has an amazing voice so that was fun to do. Everyone loved it and President wants us to be more involved musically in the mission. Honestly I´m so grateful that I´ve been blessed with musical talent, it has come so in handy on the mission and I´ve only been out 2 months. I play every sunday for church, play for conferences, baptisms (don´t get too excited) and whatever else anyone needs music for. 

Sister Brown with sister J Baker

We had a baptism on saturday of an 8 year old girl in our ward. Sister Carvalho and I were on splits - while she visited some less actives with the Relief Society President, I ran the baptism. Turns out I was on the program to speak that I didn´t know about (naturally) so that was fun. Never would have thought before the mission that I could physically put myself in front of people and give a talk without having prepared every word that I was going to say! But what can you do #missionlife. I played the piano for the whole thing too. Sometimes it´s really frustrating because the bishop will just pick some hymns for me to play and I´ve never seen them before in my life and the first time I play them is performing haha but really I´m grateful to contribute and i know that the people appreciate it so much.

K I promise this is the last time I´ll brag about the language but President came up to me after the conference and complimented me on my Portuguese! Like everyone else, he said I have no accent and he really could tell even from my emails that I have a good hold on the language already. There´s hope for the future :)

This week we visited a less active member who showed up at church last week. Turns out he and his sister were baptized several years ago. The sister has two kids, a 2 year old and a 6 month old. Want to know how old she is? 16. SIXTEEN. I couldn´t believe it, I felt so bad for the poor girl.. hopefully we can help them out.

Bummer #2 - one of our investigators named Lauro, who we´ve been prepping for baptism this week, confided in us that he was ALREADY BAPTIZED last month in a different area. WHAT? Turns out he didn´t tell us that he was already baptized because he felt the spirit again when we were with him... so. That baptism fell through. But now we can help him get the Aaronic Priesthood and become a strong member in the ward!

Bummer #3 - we´ve been teaching an older man named Carlindo. He has lots of health problems. When we first met with him, he couldn´t move his whole right arm, and had real problems walking and was very reserved and didn´t like to talk. But after one of our lessons with him, we promised him with health if he would pray to Heavenly Father. The next time we visited him, he said to us, "look look look what I can do!!" and he raised his arm all the way to the ceiling! Miracles, people! He began to open up and confide in us, and accepted our invitation to be baptized last week. However, we realized that we needed to make sure that he was married to his wife.

You guessed it, they´re not married. And the even bigger bummer is that he hasn´t been officially divorced from his other wife. So that complicates some things... another baptism put off. BUT! There isn´t a problem that the Lord can´t fix, right? If it´s according to the will of the Lord, everything is possible. Just takes a little more time.

All week long we´ve been having activities at the church in preparation for our ward conference, and on saturday we had President and Sister Soares speak for the ward about missionary work! I love them so much, and they really love their missionaries and invest so much time and thought about us individually. I say this, because President gave us a ride back home after the meeting, and he said to us that our neighborhood is a little bit....... sketchy. So we need to be home by 8:30 every night at the latest. I hope that this doesn´t impact our teaching too much, because the prime hours to teach and contact here are from 6-9 pm, when everyone is out on the street relaxing and chatting and grilling meat (churrasco).  However. I would rather be safe and we will definitely be listening to the counsel of President! (Don´t worry mom, I´m fine, It´s not the bad. It just gets a little dark at night and it´s a really poor area).

I studied Alma 26 a lot this week. You know, the mission is hard. But, in the words of Elder Holland, "salvation was NEVER easy." We may experience all of these hardships, sufferings, tribulations, failures, difficulties, but we do ALL THIS, "that perhaps we might be the means of saving but one soul." (in reference to Alma 26:28-30)

This area may be difficult for me. Yes, it´s difficult that I´m serving in a mission where missionaries baptize every week, and here I am with no baptisms in a month, with the only progressing investigators are people that we have to marry first (our count is up to 3 now). But really, the mission is different for EVERYONE. I don´t know what I was expecting. Maybe that I would just waltz into the mission and street contact every walking (yes, walking) minute between appointments, that people would keep their commitments to pray and read the scriptures and come to church, and that I would baptize every week and just love every second. But really? Is that how the Savior´s mission was? Not at all. In reality, what occurred during the history of the world when he WASN´T physically here preaching, has effected every single occurrance and will continue to do so for eternity. We can´t always see or even expect the results of our labors. We can only have faith that if we work our hardest, no matter the outcome in front of us, we will one day reap the rewards and partake of the fruit. (see Alma 32 and Jacob 5)

Our zone is reading the Book of Mormon together, two chapters a day. yesterday was 1 Nephi 2. You know, reading the scriptures in another language is really interesting. You pay closer attention, and you notice different things. In 1 Nephi 2:16 it talks about how Nephi had a desire to know the mysteries of God, and to know whether the words of his father, the prophet, were true. So what did he do? He "cried unto the Lord" in prayer, and the Lord visited him through the power of the Holy Ghost, and he knew that the words of his father were true, and so he didn´t rebel like his brothers. I find it so interesting that even Nephi, a Book of Mormon hero and prophet himself, had to gain his own testimony.

In other news: I finally slept in a hammock! Don´t recommend that to anyone who wants a REAL night´s sleep...

My time is out, but know that I love you all so much and am so grateful for the emails I receive every week. <3

Com amor,

Sister Brown

(mom note: This week in reading Sister M Baker's email, I learned that there are only 6 American Sister missionaries in the Natal mission.  I also learned that there are at least 2 Sisters waiting for visas in the Provo MTC, and there may be some other sisters visa waiting in other US missions currently, but regardless, the US sisters are few and far between…which is good for the language!)

Glad to see missionaries can still have fun!

The beautiful Natal beaches…missionaries are not allowed on the beaches, but they must have gone with members somewhere where there was a great view of the beaches...

This is the famous "largest cashew tree in the world" that all the Natal missionaries visit

Sister Brown with the bishop's wife

 Check out that curly hair!

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