Monday, April 30, 2018

called to the work FOREVER ❤️


Well, here we are. My last mass email on my mission. It has been an emotional week! It’s also been wonderful and sweet to cherish my time with our investigators and the members and Sister Tomisin. All the goodbyes have been so sad. Of course this is a bittersweet time, endings always are. I know I can’t stay on a mission forever! But it’s still sad. The tears come so easily lately.

Highlights of the week:
- we met with our golden investigator Alexa TWICE 
- I had my departing temple trip on Wednesday! We went to the temple with the Dixon’s and it was such a beautiful experience ️ I saw Sister Gunter, my MTC comp! 
- we had dinner with Ed and Rebecca on Saturday (our faves) (also, they came church on Sunday for my last Sunday!!!) and dinner with the Griffins on Sunday (also our faves) 
on Saturday, one of our gated communities was having a community garage sale so we decided to do a “free lemonade and family history” booth there! We talked to some people and involved our ward mission leader and his daughter and it was so fun! 

So, I’m going to miss California. I love this place. Also I have definitely acclimated to the weather here. It’s been 100 degrees this past weekend and I loved it. I am so nervous to go back to Utah because I hear it’s about 60 degrees there (brrrr). 

Today I will finish packing up my stuff and Hermana Lopez (she is also going home) will head to the mission home. We will have our interviews with President, then dinner, then testimonies from the departing missionaries. I also have to say goodbye to Sister Tomisin today.  Basically I’m just expecting a lot of tears today and tomorrow

At the beginning of my mission I remember my trainer telling me, “when you’re called to the work, you’re called to the work.” This means that I’m not called to the work for just 18 months. I’m called to the work for LIFE. Being a missionary doesn’t stop when I take off that tag. I’ve been called to the work, so I’m going to work and serve the Lord for the rest of my life. The scripture on my missionary plaque is 3 Nephi 5:13, which says: “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.” 
Being a disciple of Christ is something that never ends. 

I love this great work and I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He lives. I know that the Gospel Of Jesus Christ has been restored, and that Christ’s priesthood authority is on the earth today. God has a plan for us. We are here for a reason. One thing I know for sure is that I don’t know everything. But I know that God does! And that knowledge allows me to trust Him. My ways are not his ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), and knowing that he is motivated out of love for me allows me to trust that what he asks me to do is right. I know that Joseph Smith truly IS a prophet of God, and that he translated the Book Of Mormon by the gift and power of God. I love that book and I plan on reading it every day for the rest of my life. If I know anything it’s that Heavenly Father loves us so much! He wants us to come home. 

I just want to say THANK YOU for all the support and love and encouragement I have received from all of you while being on my mission. It means the world to me and has allowed me to cherish this experience even more. Thank you for all your prayers, service, emails, and love you have shown to me and the people around you. I will always appreciate the generous kindness you have all offered to me over these last 18 months. 

AH! The end is here. But really this is only the beginning. A new chapter in life, my next mission. Luckily I know that with God in my life, things just keep getting better and better all the time. I love my mission so so much, and I will forever remember the experiences and knowledge I have gained, not to mention the incredible people I have met. I just can’t believe this time has come. 

I love you all SO MUCH and I will see you TOMORROW!!! 

Sister Carina Brown 
California Redlands Mission 

Last district pic 

Sister Dean and Avery 

Departing temple trip 

Last BOM class! (Ed and Rebecca are on the far right)

Alexa!!! Cutie 

The grams 

Red Robin, broccoli vs. shake

I LOVE HER SO MUCH how can say goodbye for 15 months 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Last week in the mission field 😭😭😭

Wow. Here we are. Coming up on my last week in the mission field. I really never thought I would be at this point! It just snuck up on me all at once. Let me tell you, missions are SO short. I plan on working harder than ever this week and to use my time wisely. 

Also let me just mention that I LOVE sister tomisin! I am going to miss her so much. We have SO MUCH FUN together every single day, and we work really well together too. What a blessing to have such a great last companion. I’m sad that she won’t be getting home for another year or so, but she’s about to be a great leader in the CRM. She already is!! I love her soooooo much. Also we are seriously so weird together. Let me tell you some things that we do:
- named our car and talk to it regularly 
- sing our conversations (and it’s not good singing)
- pillow talk about deep things 
- say “heyyy” to each other from our separate bathrooms because sometimes when we get ready in the morning we miss each other 
- get frosters from Circle K a little too frequently 
- talk like this out of nowhere: fleeshleeeebleekeeshlopjkhldnsifnlspamxlsm
I know we do a lot more strange things but I can’t think of them all right now. Basically we are very comfortable with each other and basically I just love her a lot. 

It’s been a great week! We have seen LOTS of miracles this week. 

Miracle #1:
On Tuesday we got a referral from the elders for a girl named Alexa. She is 23 years old and she is AMAZING. Apparently the elders were just randomly going through Facebook and adding people from La Quinta and messaging them about the gospel. So they added her and she seemed interested so they referred her to us! And it turns out, she has met with missionaries before and was praying about whether or not to meet with them again. And THATS when the elders randomly messaged her! She said her goal in meeting with us this time is to work towards baptism! So we put her on date for baptism for May 26th!!!  AND she came to church on Sunday

Miracle #2:
We had our Book Of Mormon class on Wednesday, and some of our FAVORITE less active members came! Their names are Ed and Rebecca. It was awesome that they came, and Ed was giving some great insights. It was a huge miracle because he experienced a turning point in his life from the class and the spirit told him some things he needed to do. 

Miracle #3:
WE WENT TO THE TEMPLE ON THURSDAY!!! it was amazing as usual! I looooove the temple. 

Miracle #4:
On Friday and Saturday we had a Book Of Mormon read-a-thon with the young women (some of you saw that I Facebook-lived it) and our investigator Ashley got to come! It was so good for her to be there. And it was fun for us to be there too and to unite with the young women of the ward! We had a great night. The young women did end up reading the BOM all in one weekend! We only went on Friday night and for a few hours on Saturdaymorning, but it was fun to participate when we could.

Miracle #5: 
We had an awesome dinner with Ed and Rebecca on Saturday. They are SO NICE. They are always willing to serve us and help us out as missionaries, even though they are less active. They actually gave each of us gifts since I am going home soon, and they gave me a BEAUTIFUL pandora bracelet! It was sooooo kind. We had a powerful lesson with them afterwards, and they talked all about how it was a strange miracle that we came into their lives when we did. No missionaries had visited them before us, and we randomly came into their lives right when they were struggling with a lot of things. They said they really appreciate our spirituality and that we have had a huge impact on their lives. They were crying and I was definitely crying and it was just a powerful experience. Definitely one of the most memorable moments on my mission! 

Miracle #6:
Ashley AND Alexa came to church on Sunday, and also our recent converts Pauline AND Sister griffin! Also we couldn’t find anyone to feed us dinner yesterday and so we finally asked Sister griffin and she said we could definitely eat with her! She always pulls through. She always posts pictures of us on FB by the way, in case you want to see what I’m up to throughout the week 💁‍♀️

So CLEARLY God is a God of miracles, and miracles have not ceased. I love this great work. I am so happy to serve my Savior every day. He has given so much to me and this is the least I can do to give back. I recently heard a quote that said, we become what we think about the most. This has been on my mind a lot lately, especially as I have been thinking about who I have become on my mission. What do you think about the most? What is on your mind day by day? Are you thinking about things that are of eternal significance? I know I definitely have room to improve in this area. If we become what we think about the most, then Jesus Christ should be on our minds the MOST. HE is who we came here to be like. HE has shown us the way to happiness. 2 Nephi 25:26 says, “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, and we prophecy of Christ.” I invite you each to REJOICE in Christ this week and to keep Him on your mind. Do the things that prompt you to think of him and remember him. I know that Jesus lives, and his gospel is the only way to peace and happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. He is our Savior and Redeemer, and he IS the Christ. 

I love my mission. I LOVE IT. I love participating in this work and serving the Lord. I am about to make this my best week yet! And don’t worry, I will still send one more email next Monday. I hope you all have an AMAZING week, and don’t forget to remember your Savior who has given everything to you and for you. LOVE YOU ALL!!! See you in a week! 

Sister Carina Brown 
California Redlands Mission

Temple pics 

Cute sister pics 

In n out with the Griffins

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Wedding, The WEEKND, & the Waters Of Baptism



So yes it was amazing! But before we get to that, the rest of the week was awesome. Actually, Sister Tomisin had a pretty bad migraine all week so she had to get some extra sleep every day, but it was still a full and busy week.

We basically saw Donovan and Destiny every day so that we could teach them the lessons in preparation for his baptism. We always teach them at the Vanbuskirks who are in the other ward, but D&D live in our ward boundaries which is why we are the missionaries teaching them. By the way I LOVE THE VANBUSKIRKS, especially Sis Vanbuskirk, she is like a mom away from home and it was so fun to spend so much time with her this week. We helped her a lot with the wedding prep! PS the Vanbuskirks house is MASSIVE and so beautiful.

The Wedding for Donovan and Destiny was Saturday and it was absolutely beautiful! And it was so sweet, they are he cutest. It was at the Vanbuskirks house and everything turned out so well. We helped with food prep and were able to talk to Donovan and Destiny’s families so that was really good. It was a really wonderful day! Pictures to follow.

So Coachella Fest was this weekend (EVERYONE is in town, traffic was crazy), and the Vanbuskirks neighbors (the Thatchers) have a reeeeally nice house that they rent out for Coachella. Sis Vanbuskirk told us that music was BUMPIN until like 4am the night before the wedding, so the Thatchers ended up coming over to talk about it (they were still in town, just not at their house because they make TONS of money renting it out). Well come to find out, THE WEEKND IS STAYING AT THEIR HOUSE. For those of you who don’t know, The Weeknd is a popular musical artist. So basically we were RIGHT NEXT DOOR to The Weeknd. Pretty exciting.


We couldn’t just let The Weeknd slip out of our hands. Its not every day that The Weeknd is in your area on your mission. So. I kid you not WE TRIED TO TRACT THE HOUSE. We drove by a few times to make sure it was the right house, and it was (there were red solo cups all over the grass - classic) (btw Sis Vanbuskirk lovingly gave us their GATE CODE). So we drive up and we couldn’t park on the street because their were “no parking” signs everywhere, so Sister Tomisin gets out and tries to type in the gate code but then A CAR CAME OUT AT THE SAME TIME and he drove away slowly (he definitely looked like a bodyguard), and then this foreign man came to greet Sister Tomisin and she played it off like “oh, were missionaries” etc etc and the foreign man pretended to have no idea what she was talking about. So eventually we had to leave. So that story may have been anti climactic but we can now say that we TRACTED THE WEEKNDS (rental) HOUSE. Good times.🤘

The baptism went soooooo well. The spirit was so strong and it really was an amazing service, especially for putting it together in a week. After the whole service ended, Donovan said, “I didn’t want it to end!” He loved it so much and was so happy. The Vanbuskirks did so much to help too and everything just turned out so well. I am just so happy for Donovan! What a huge miracle. They are moving to northern Cali TODAY so we are working on getting in contact with the missionaries where they are moving to. I just love Donovan and Destiny ❤️

Lately I have been doing a little something called MyPlan (a program that you do the last transfer of your mission) and it has been talking a lot about remembering. It shared some quotes from the talk “O Remember Remember” by Pres Eyring (I invite you to read it) and he talks about how the ACT of remembering helps us to notice the blessings in our lives, that we wouldn’t notice if we didn’t try to remember in the first place. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and reflecting on how far the Lord has brought me throughout my mission. And I know he will continue to lead me throughout my life. Though the end is near, this is actually the beginning! My aunt Ruth just told me, “now you have the chance to enjoy what you’ve learned on your mission for the rest of your life.” And I love that! God is teaching us every day, and we can enjoy the knowledge he has given us and be confident that he will continue to help us learn. In MyPlan it asked me two questions:
- what spiritual truths has the Lord taught you?
- what christlike attributes has the Lord helped you to develop?
I invite you each to ponder on these questions, and to write down the answers this week. You may reflect on the past month, year, two years, or five years of your life, but just try and remember how far the Lord has brought you! I know that Gods hand is in each of our lives every single day, and when we take the time to notice those small blessings, our lives will be more beautiful and sweet. God is SO aware of you!

Okay I gotta GO but we have a great week ahead of us, we are going to the TEMPLE on Thursday! Yayayayayayayayyyyyy I can’t wait. It’s going to be another great week in the mission field! I love you all so much!

Sister Carina Brown
California Redlands Mission

Contacting the Weeknd


Cutest kid, son of Ashley brown in our ward who cut sis. T’s hair today 


Sis t did Destiny's hair 

We are obsessed with frosters from circle k


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

how to: plan a baptism in one week


WOW what a great week, I don’t have too much time to write this so I will do my best to include all the important things. 

First of all Sister Tomisins 20th BIRTHDAY was on Wednesday! It was so fun! She and I have been making random “desert sisters” vlogs, so a few weeks ago I asked my sister Kailee to put them all together for me with cute music in the background so I could show it to her on her birthday (link to vlog She LOVED it! I loved it too! It was soooooo cute, so thank you Kailee. I also got Sis T a paper with personalized “scripture helps” on it. I will attach a picture of it we went to Olive Garden on her birthday, and the day before Sister Griffin threw a big bday bash so it was fun! 

We had zone conference on Friday! And OH MY GOODNESS I had to give my departing testimony and let me tell you, IT WAS SO SAD. I was seriously BAWLING before and after giving my testimony, luckily I was able to compose myself to speak to everyone. It was really hard though, my last zone conference.  I’m going to cry just thinking about it. The tears were freely flowing and it was sad. But also it was good, the Spirit was so strong and I learned so much! 

Okay on Saturday GUESS WHAT HAPPENED. So we were having a lesson with our NEW investigator Donovan. We just started teaching him a week and a half ago. We were having a great conversation and he was sharing his feelings with us and how he knows this is the right path for him, and we brought up the subject of baptism. He said he would definitely be interested in that, but the only problem was that he would be moving to Northern California on Monday, April 16th. He said, “ there any way I could get baptized before I leave?” And we were like ummm YES ABSOLUTELY. 
Side note: he and Destiny (his fiance) are getting MARRIED this Saturday, April 14th. So basically the only day he could get baptized would be Sunday, April 15th. So we asked him how he felt about that and he said, “what better wedding gift than to get baptized?”  And he said he was all for it! And on the inside Sister Tomisin and I were like:

But of course we remained calm (until we got in the car afterwards) and started figuring out the details. So basically he is getting baptized NEXT SUNDAY so we have ONE WEEK to plan his baptism!!! AND he is getting married on Saturday, AND he is moving on Monday. So we have a busy busy busy week ahead of us. But it was a HUGE miracle! We are just beyond excited for him! 

Also we are going to be helping some members clean their houses because some of them are renting out their houses with AirBNB and will make tons of $$$$$$$ when people stay in their house for Coachella fest this weekend.

I read a scripture this week in Alma 43:1 that says, “the sons of Alma did go forth among the people, to declare the word unto them. And Alma, also, himself, could not rest, and he also went forth.” 
I relate to this scripture a lot, especially since my mission is getting shorter and shorter with each passing day. I love the example of Alma. I imagine he was older at this point, I would imagine he was tired, and that he had been through so many things in his life. But it says he could not rest. He went with his sons to preach the gospel. It doesn’t even say that he did not, but that he COULD NOT rest. He was so converted and a true disciple of Christ that he just could not rest from declaring the word and preaching among the people. His motives were pure, and he felt so much love for the people that he also went forth to bring them the joy of the gospel. 

This is what I want to continue to do after my mission! I cannot rest, there is no time to rest. I plan on continuing to be a missionary the moment I get home, and for the rest of my life. I invite you all to study the scriptures and to pray to God, and ask him what he wants you to do to more fully share the gospel with others. That may be through setting a good example, or engaging in a gospel conversation, or even just simply reading the Book of Mormon. I know that God will tell you what he wants you to do. I know that THIS is the greatest work on the earth, and that when we are on the Lords errand we are entitled to his help. 

So I’m excited for this full and busy week we have ahead of us. If anyone has tips for planning a baptism in one week, feel free to send them my way. LOVE YOU ALL! The church is true! 


Sister Carina Brown 
California Redlands Mission

BY THE WAY I forgot to mention a BIRTHDAY SHOUTOUT to my best friend Blair this week!!! Her bday is on Thursday! LOVE YOU BLAIR 

Palm Springs tram last week

Zone conference, saw Sister vest and love her so much 

Sis t let me borrow her dress 😍

Sand volleyball today with the sisters! It was HOT outside

Elder pic 

Elder pic