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Semana 68 ---Mother's Day skype and a Birthday

By 8:50 PM

Olá genteeee!

Wow so it was SO GREAT talking to you guys yesterday! It´s all still a dream..

and on top of it my birthday was on saturday and that made it the best week ever! Thanks everyone for the sweet birthday messages that I received and all the emails! I cried a ton when I saw all the pictures with the birthday messages, and the birthday emails - you guys are awesome!! 

Her companions surprised her with breakfast in bed!

Then they made her do silly things like dress up in this baptism jumpsuit and dance in the street and yell "It's my birthday!"

She had to sing some birthday songs

Sister Brown in her birthday Tiara

Going somewhere special to celebrate....

...PIZZA HUT (their apartment)!

21 birthday cupcakes

I won´t lie and say that I´m not trunky, but I also won´t lie and say that I´m not excited to live up my last two months here in Natal! 

I don´t have really anything to say this week, other than some thoughts that I wanted to share on a talk I read recently by Tad R. Callister about "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary" (not sure if that´s the official title but it´s something like that). 

Elder Callister talks about the difference between our behaviors and our nature. Our behavior is the things that we do. For example, if I were an alcoholic and went 10 years without drinking but still had the desire and felt the temptation to drink, then I have only changed my behavior and not my nature. Applying this to missionary life, I can live all of the missionary rules and gospel principles in my life, but if I fail to change my nature and, after the mission, return to my old habits and way of life then I did not consecrate my time. There is a real difference between changing our behavior and our nature. A lot of things can change our behavior - restriction programs, discipline, sheer will power. Like soldiers at base camp. But I think there is truly only one thing that can change our nature, and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon teaches us that there is literally ONE way that we can be saved. ONE path that leads us to happiness. ONE name that we can take upon ourselves that can bring us eternal blessings. 

2 Nephi 31:20 teaches us, "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

 21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is NONE OTHER WAY NOR NAME GIVEN under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the ONLY AND TRUE doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen."

There´s no other way we can cut the deal, God has explicitly set the conditions. We cannot become clean of our sins without baptism by immersion and priesthood authority, and afterwards by constant repentance. We cannot continue to progress and receive the Lord´s blessings if we do not live His commandments. Lots of times we want to be the ones to set the conditions, to adapt the laws of God to our own personal circumstances. But I have learned, and sometimes the hard way, that it is so much faster and less painful when we submit to God´s will humbly.

I have learned to know that what we learn in the scriptures really is God´s will for us. Brasilians all say that the word of God is just a bunch of "beautiful words". While that is true, there is more significance than just that. The word of God shouldn´t always be just gratifying. It should sting when we read something we know we need to improve. It should mend our broken spirits. It should inspire us to be better, and it should become the pattern of our lives. It should PRODUCE RESULTS. Actions. Sometimes there´s a disconnect in learning and applying the gospel of Christ in our lives, but that´s where the grace of God comes in. And that´s also a topic for another day with more time. :) 

I love you all so much. I am so grateful to be a missionary, for the time that I have had to learn for myself that these things are true. Often times when I tell investigators that I gained my testimony of the Restoration when I was 19 years old while sitting in the MTC, they are shoked. But then I have the chance to tell them that we cannot rely on the testimony or words of others to carry us to the celestial kingdom, to our salvation. We MUST search for our answers in the Lord. I am so grateful for that sacred experience I had to receive a personal witness through the Holy Ghost, because that is something that I cannot deny. We MUST open our hearts, to ask Him in prayer, what we need to know. He will reveal His truths to us. 

I love you all, have a great week!

Sister Brown

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