Sunday, September 17, 2017

Exceptional Strengths 💪


How's it going??? It has been another wonderful week!!! We have seen the hand of the Lord so much this week, miracles truly do happen every day (look up the definition for "Miracles" in the Bible Dictionary, its inspiring). 

We are going to the temple this Thursday (YESSSSS SO EXCITED) so our pday is a little shortened today. I am so excited to go to the temple, it's been too long! 

What even happened this week? I'm having a hard time remembering......... 

Fun fact about Sister Blalock: she likes to rap and make up raps. 

Well, we found two new GOLDEN investigators this week! They are AMAZING. One of them is named Debra. She was a church headquarters media referral, and we did family history with her this past Thursday! Right afterwards, we gave her a church tour and she looooved it. We invited her to come worship with us on Sunday and she said she would love to!!! Buuuut then she got really sick and was not able to come to church. Huge bummer. But! It's okay! She wants to be baptized, and she is so open and receptive so it's awesome. We love her so much already. 

We also had a lesson with a former investigator named Kelley and she is so cool!!! She breeds dalmations, so whenever we go over to her house, we get a delightful overdose of PUPPIES. They are so cute. But yes, Kelley is great, she has four sons and has been looking for a church to take them to that can answer their questions. Also she wants to be baptized! Love her so much. We took one of our members, Sister Merrill, to the lesson with us and her and Kelley got along so well. What a dream. Awesome fellowshipper for an awesome investigator. 

I feel like this email isn't too exciting yet and I'm trying to think of things to amp it up a bit but I can't think of anything. 😑


This past Thursday I went to MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) and it was sooooo goooooood. So much revelation! Also the Dixons. Nothing I ever say will be sufficient to describe how AMAZING the Dixons are. It's just always so good to learn from them and they are so Christlike and have so many admirable qualities. President Dixon taught us something enlightening at MLC: he said that a lot of times as humans, we will only focus on improving our weaknesses. Which is not a bad thing! But he said something that changed the way I look at the world and myself: "Find out what you're really good at, and then turn that strength into an EXCEPTIONAL strength." When you think of memorable or influential people, they all had an exceptional strength that sort of defined who they were. 

Here are some examples of people with exceptional strengths:
-Moroni: a passionate and motivating leader 
-Nephi: obedient and steadfast 
-Mother Theresa: exceptionally kind to everyone 
-Sister Dixon: EXCITED about the gospel and life in general 
-Kardashians: good at being famous? (sadly they were the first celebrities I thought of)

Haha kidding about the last one, Im sure I have exceptional strengths, I just haven't taken the time to figure out what they are yet. 

But! I just love this idea, working on making your strengths STRONGER. We all have strengths, and these are God-given. How fun would it be to be better at something that we are already good at?! Are we all on board with this concept?? Woo!!! Of course, we should work on correcting any fatal flaws, and this doesn't mean that we shouldn't work on our weaknesses. ➡️Moroni still had weaknesses, for example, he had anger issues. But if Moroni wasn't able to lead the Nephite army because he was away for a while chillin in anger management, then we wouldn't have that exemplary leader in the Book of Mormon that we know and love. 

Anyway, having an exceptional strength sounds awesome to me, and God didn't give us strengths for them to just sit there while we struggle with everything we are bad at. He wants us to strengthen our strengths too! We have them for a reason, and that reason is to change the world, and change other people's worlds in a way that no one else could. I invite you all to identify something that you are really good at and work on turning it into an exceptional strength this week! I know you will feel joy in using and cultivating the gifts that God has given you! 

Let me know when you email me (key word: WHEN) what strengths you have and how it goes turning them into exceptional strengths. I'm excited to hear about it!!! 

I hope you all have a GREAT week!!! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! 💜💜💜💜💜💜

Sister Carina Brown 
California Redlands Mission 



Our ward mission leaders water supply 


P.S. the weather has been DREAMY this week, high 80s and low 90s 👌

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

the desert suits me


SHOUTOUT to my sister sidney whose birthday is TOMORROW!!!!! Happy bday diddle, I look up to you soooo much. Also shoutout to sister peterson who's bday was last week! Look at all of us growing up lately, wow, how fun. 

oh my goodness it has been an amazing week!!! We have definitely been seeing miracles. Also, we found THREE new investigators this week!!!!!! That was our goal and we reached it!!! It might not sound like a lot, but it's a lot for the desert, and it's a lot since our teaching pool was small to begin with. EXCITING things are happening in Yucca Valley! The Lord his hastening his work here for sure. 

I am loooooving the desert. I think I have become one with the desert. There is a unique style and attitude that people have here and it's coooool. 

Desert perks: 
- we go off-roading on a daily basis in our RAV4 

That's all I have time to think of for now 
SERIOUSLY THOUGH OFF ROADING IS SWEET, it reminds me of the Jeep that I WILL own in the future 

I forgot to mention last week, Sister Blalock has only been in this area for two weeks longer than me (because of an emergency transfer), so we are low-key white washing this area. We have been having fun getting to know the members and we have actually been teaching quite a few lessons which is great! The desert is blossoming as the rose! 

We had Zone Conference last week which was of course a spiritual feast, and on top of the mountain of revelation we received, we got to play lightning with all the missionaries after lunch! It was soooo fun. President Dixon won and it was awesome. 

Yesterday in gospel principles class, we were having a lesson on the Word of Wisdom. So the teacher asks the question: "what are some things that are not mentioned in the word of wisdom that we should avoid?" So the class is silent for a minute, and then this man in the ward speaks up (he has a sense of humor and also had his 2 year old daughter on his lap in the class) and says: "cocaine." And no one really laughed at all, but then his 2 year old daughter repeats him and confidently says, "cocaine." And the whole class DIED oh my goodness it was soooooo funnyyyyyy. 

Yes, illegal drugs, I'm sure that's exactly what you want to hear about from a missionary, you're welcome


Something that's been on my mind lately has been imperfection. And how that word describes me perfectly (haha). I feel like I am very impatient with myself when it comes to obtaining Christlike attributes, and I often find myself saying, "why am I not Christlike yet??" Which I know sounds silly, because obtaining Christlike attributes is a lifelong pursuit. Well the other day I came across an article in the September 2017 ensign that answered a lot of my questions and gave me a lot of peace! It's called, "A Better Way to Measure Myself" and I invite you all to read it. I realized that I don't need to be perfect. The savior knew I would be imperfect, which is why he suffered and died for me so that I could repent. A righteous person is a person who is repenting. It's as simple as that! Our spiritual direction matters more than our spiritual location. As long as I am constantly repenting and committed to keeping my covenants, then I'm good! Sister Dixon told me once, if you're good with God, then you're good. It doesn't mean that I'm going to be perfect in any way, but what matters is that I sincerely try. If you are not repenting daily, I invite you all to do so! Repentance brings JOY because the feeling of forgiveness is a joyful feeling. And it's all because of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Ok I hope you all have a delightful week. Send me pictures of all your lives. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!

Sister Carina Brown 
California Redlands Mission 

Ps get ready for some cool desert pics, we took a lot of pictures today 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Palm Springs Weekend 🌵🌵🌵

Those of you who have watched Saved by the Bell will understand that subject line.

WE WENT TO PALM SPRINGS TODAY AND IT WAS AMAAAAAZING, the Andersons (senior missionaries) paid for us and the 29 palms sisters to go on the Palm Springs tram and it was SO FUN. I have about a million pics of it so get ready. Palm Springs is in the Yucca Valley zone by the way, so we can go there on p days!!!


First of all, THANK YOU for all the birthday wishes!!! It was a great day. Also I felt like I had already been celebrating my bday for a week because the Smiley Ward was taking care of me so much. My birthday was so pleasant, like there was nothing else I would rather be doing than missionary work on my birthday. What a blessing!

Oh my goodness I have so much to talk about and I don't even know where to begin. How about here: I LOVE MY MISSION. Wowowowowwwwwww I love it.

SO I'm in the desert!!!! Leaving smiley was tough. WAY tough. There were definitely tears galore. It was sad. I'm going to miss everyone there sooooo so much. It's EXCITING though to be in a completely different part of the mission! The desert reminds me of southern Utah, like Zions and St. George. It's soooo beautiful and serene here. THE STARS ARE INCREDIBLE. 10/10 WOULD RECOMMEND. I love it here.

So, our area is reeeeally big! We cover three cities, Yucca (pronounced yuck-uh) Valley, Morongo Valley, and Joshua Tree (home of Joshua Tree National Park and also rumor has it that Johnny Depp has a house in Joshua tree). We live in Yucca Valley. Our teaching pool is pretty small right now, but I'm excited because it means that I'm going to see the desert blossom right before my eyes! I know that there are prepared people in our area, we just have to work really hard to find them, and we will. I'm soooo excited! Fan the flame of FAITH. President said he was thinking about taking sisters out of this area, but he said he would give it one more try with me leading out, because this area needed fresh eyes. No pressure. Really though, it's going to be great, stay tuned.

We saw an alpaca on our morning run today. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

We were having dinner with a member last week, and we had bread so the member went to go grab the butter. So we are all using the butter on our bread, and I'm thinking, "this butter is really sweet. Also it's melting really fast." But then I thought nothing of it. Eventually sister Blalock pointed it out and goes, "is this ice cream?" AND YES IT TURNS OUT THAT THE BUTTER WAS IN FACT ICE CREAM HAHAHAHA IT WAS SO FUNNY, we laughed so hard. Good times.

Oh yeah, Sister Blalock is my new companion!!! We get along really well, which kind of surprises me because we are sooooo different. But things are going great with her! She is going home at the end of this transfer, so I'm doing my best to make sure she has her best transfer yet.

Also, forgot to mention this last week, but I'm going to be an STL this transfer! It's cute because I'm going to be an STL with Sister Anglovich (she's serving in 29 palms), and at the beginning of our missions, both of our companions were STLs in Fontana. So that's going to be fun.

We had stake conference yesterday and alllll the talks were about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon EVERY DAY. It is the keystone of our religion, and it needs to be the keystone of our testimonies as well, otherwise everything else will crumble. I have made a goal on my mission to never miss a day of reading the Book of Mormon for the rest of my life, and I invite you each to do the same! I know that it's TRUE, and as Joseph Smith said, it will bring us nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book. Because it is all truth, and truth is light, and Jesus Christ is that light. I know that Jesus Christ LIVES. He is a reality, he has a body just like we do, and so does our Heavenly Father, and they both live. They love us. They want us to come home. The gospel of Jesus Christ has been RESTORED. I know these things with all my heart, with everything that I am.

You are all amazing, keep pressing forward, keep coming closer to Christ, keep reading the BOM every day, and you WILL see miracles! Have an AMAZING week!!! LOVE YOU ALL!


Sister Carina Brown
California Redlands Mission

Goodbyes in Smiley Pics