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Semana 51 #almostthere

By 9:50 AM

Olá todo mundo!!!

Can you believe that ONE YEAR ago today, I gave my farewell talk?? This has been the absolute BEST year of my life, the most blessed, the most rewarding, and 365 days of KNOWING that I am where the Lord wants me. 

This week I had the opportunity to reflect a lot on the course of my mission and some of the challenges that I am facing right now. On monday we travelled to Natal for Mission Counsel, and I got to see Sister Lopes for the last time before she goes home. Sister Lopes was my favorite companion and saved my mission. She was, and has continued to be, an angel put in my path. We spent the entire night talking and reflecting on our missions and experiences together, we bore our testimonies, we cried, and I will never forget that night! The Lord lets us meet people here on earth that were our dear friends in the pre-existence.







I wanted to share another journal entry from this week that voices how this past transfer has been - very challenging. But with some introspection and guidance from the Spirit I think I have finally found out what the Lord wants me to learn.

"Today was yet another disappointing day - just to paint a picture, we saw a drug exchange in the street, passed a member drinking coffee, found out that Cristiano (investigator with baptismal date marked) doesn´t want anything to do with learning about the gospel and just ants our visits so we cut him from our group, and then found out that Damiana will work tomorrow and won´t come to church so she can´t be baptized tomorrow. I don´t understand why things are so difficult for us right now. We are in the 5th week of the transfer. We are being obedient, working diligently, studying the scriptures and fasting and praying - but the Lord hasn´t let us see success. We can´t seem to maintain a quality teaching group. We mark baptisms, but can´t get them to keep small commitments like go to church. It´s becoming hard to walk for miles in the sun and heat every day without the results we´re looking and praying for.. as we walked home from our baptismal interview that fell through, I vented to our District Leader Elder Albee and asked him for advice. He said, "sometimes, Sister, you need to take time and stop and smell the roses." It was in that moment when I realized how selfish I was! How could I forget the MILLIONS of blessings that the Lord has granted me in His infinite mercy? How many times did I not deserve His blessings in abundance? The DAILY manifestation of His hand guiding anddirecting us. The constant companionship of His Spirit. I think the Lord is teaching me the lesson of learning to BE HAPPY - even when things aren´t working out, or don´t go according to plan, or even when I´m failing. I think He wants me to learn how to be less worked up, and take time to smell the roses that He planted in my path. I need to be less tunnel-visioned and open my eyes to what is around me. I have NOTHING to be sad about, all the contrary! What happiness this gospel and this mission have brought me. I´m grateful for the Holy Ghost and His divine guidance. There is no better feeling than letting the Spirit guide your words to be exactly what others need to hear - to be a perfect vessel and instrument to convey God´s message. Today I had one of those moments as we sat down to teach Gabriela and her daughter. I fiddled around in the Book of Mormon trying to think of a message to share, when I remembered something from my personal study in the Bible. I opened to Luke and shared the simple message of the parable of the wise man who built his house upon a rock. I felt EVERY WORD guided by the Spirit and knew that it had touched that woman´s heart. I knew that those words were not mine. It´s in those moments that you know you are fulfilling your calling as a missionary. 
Sometimes, the "roses" in our path are little, tiny forget-me-nots (see Elder Uchtdorf´s talk https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/forget-me-not?lang=eng), that go unnoticed to anyone with an overwhelmed mind and the blinders on. We may even, in our rush and distress, trod all over the beautiful flowers! But if we stop for a moment, we can see that our path is covered with thousands of flowers, reminding us of the love of our Heavenly Father and the LIFE that we can find in Him. "

This has been a super hard few transfers here in Sousa. I´ve hit my lowest points on the mission here. But like my companion always says, "the BEST of God´s missionaries passed through the HARDEST trials before receiving the BIGGEST blessings."  It´s been a hard couple of weeks without seeing measurable, tangible success. I´ve fasted and prayed to understand why. But sometimes the Lord doesn´t let us know WHY, He just lets us learn. I think, that I am finally beginning to learn from all this. 

I hope that we can all take the time to smell roses along our paths. To have pacience, and pray for wisdom from the Lord. 

I love you all, and have a great week!

Sister Brown

photos -
1-mission counsel with sister lopes, sister j baker and sister hernandez


2- a little bit more of our area... it RAINED this week! Which only meant mud for miles and the smell of wet trash diffused in the air but we rejoiced!









3- family night not so well planned that turned into a primary activity but what we do to reactivate members!

4- an investigator braided my hair




5- we took photos of our newly cleaned apartment














6- P-day lunch at Subway! The first real lunch we have had in months!




mom note: This is a funny little email exchange that took place between me and Emily in response to her email. Can you figure out what makes this funny?:

Emily!

I really love your letter this week! Thank you so much for sharing your journal entry with us. I think some of the feelings that you expressed have been shared by millions of missionaries through the years. It is probably the first time in one's life that one realizes that no matter what WE do we are not always in control of the outcome. And we begin to learn patience, understanding, love for ourselves and others despite our weaknesses, and to recognize the small blessings of the Lord. I was reading about a been a guy in the book of Mormon last night, and the thought occurred to me, we don't know how many people might have been baptized due to the testimony of the Bennett I throughout his life, but we do know that the people of quinoa that he was preaching to or very wicked. The Scriptures indicate that none of them were keeping the Commandments. It would lead me to believe that no one was receptive to his message. And he was a prophet! With teaching skills and testimony far stronger than any one else. As I was reading about his death, I have the thought that perhaps he died believing that no one has excepted his message. In essence, he had baptized no one. Little did he know that Elma, one of the greatest people to walk this earth, heard his message received it, excepted it, repented, and became a great profit and missionary converting thousands of people. Our own missionary service can feel the same way sometimes. We're not sure that we are really making a difference at all! But when we are humble, and patient with ourselves and the Lord, we realize that there are other lessons to be learned, other reasons to be on a mission, people to love, people to serve, people to support, people to bless, and that it is about more than just baptisms.

Thank you again for sharing! I love you!

Momma!!!

Thanks for your words - thanks for adding on with your own testimony. :) What was almost better was realizing that you used the speak setting on your phone because all of the book of mormon names are spelt wrong ;) hahahah. Oh momma I miss you so much! I´m praying for you and your health and know that you´ll be better soon :)


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