Saturday, December 30, 2017

Merry CHRISTmas! 🎄


What a beautiful day! It is a lovely 70 degrees here in the desert in Southern California. Also, it was so good to be able to Skype my family today! What a blessing that we get to do that twice a year as missionaries. I love my family soooo much. The next time I see them face to face will be at the airport! 😯

Okay so I am LOVING my new area. It was super hard to say bye to the Onaga Trail ward and everyone there (there were definitely tears), but I know it’s inspired that I am here. I am in the Shadow Hills ward in the Palm Desert Zone (the city we are in is called Indio) and things are going really well here. Also I just LOVE my new companion Sister Losee. She is so kind and humble, and I learn so much just from being around her. I feel very at peace with her which is refreshing! I love her already! 

Fun facts about the area: 
- 95% gated communities (and they are GATED, we’re talkin security guards at every entrance) (there has got to be someone famous that lives here, will someone please google that for me thanks) 
- wealthiest area in the mission (I think I mentioned that last week) (SERIOUSLY IT IS SO NICE HERE) 
- I have ROOMMATES ❤️ (Hermanas) (this is the first time I have had roommates on my mission) 
- there is a gym in our apt complex so I can get a good workout every morning! 💪
- it reminds me of a Utah ward (ie lots of blond moms with blogs and instagram-worthy homes, plus lots of kids) 
- a member of our ward (Brother Romano) was Josh Grobans vocal teacher and apparently he is good friends with Barbra Streisand 
- the work is going really well 
- we have two people on date for baptism, one next Sunday (Brother Brown), and the other is on January 13th (Brother Ricketson) 
- everyone is super nice
- there is a ZOO in our zone 😍
- there is grass here 😍 (there was definitely not grass in Yucca Valley, just dirt)
- that’s all I can think of 

Wow that was a lot of fun facts 

Anyway, I am so happy to be a missionary at this time of year. What a wonderful opportunity it is to focus on Christ and celebrate his birth, and to bring others to the knowledge of the truth and to help them to feel of Christ’s peace and joy. I heard something cool yesterday, that if you break up the word “Christmas” into Christ-mas, and “mas” means “more” in Spanish, then it means “more Christ”! And that is exactly what we need in the world, more of a focus on Jesus Christ. More of a focus on spreading His love. I came across a BEAUTIFUL scripture the other day:

1 John 4:7-9 
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

I absolutely love those verses! Let us love one another, for God IS love, and that is why He sent His Son into the world, because HE LOVES US. And through Jesus Christ, we can really truly live and experience joy. I invite you all to remember Jesus Christ today. Every day, but today especially. Remember that he came here and lived and died for YOU, because he loves you. He knows your name. He suffered for you. Remember Him today by loving others. Reach out and help someone else. Refrain from saying something unkind. Serve someone who might be going through a hard time. Smile and give someone a hug. I know that God IS love, and that’s why Jesus Christ was born. So we can feel the joy of His love ALWAYS. Let us love one another! It’s never to late to #LightTheWorld! 

Well I hope you all have a very merry Christmas today! Eat lots of food and love everyone. And remember to put more of Christ in your life. LOVE YOU ALL! Feliz navidad! 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

Sister Carina Brown 
California Redlands Mission 

District meeting in a library because the carpets were being cleaned 



Christmas pjs from a member 

Looks like Christmas morning to me

Friday, December 22, 2017

Transferring to my Last Area

How’s it going???

Yup I am getting transferred! I am going to the Palm Desert Zone to be in the Shadow Hills Ward with Sister Losee. This will be my last area in the mission! 😯

Fun facts about the Shadow Hills ward:
- wealthiest area in the mission 
- it was also Sister Peterson’s last area! (Shoutout to you sista p) 
- President dixon told me the work is goin* really well there right now 
- that’s all I know 

I am sad to leave Sister McNary though! We have had soooo much fun together and have worked really well together in this area. I know she will take care of Onaga Trail, she is an amazing missionary. ❤️ I also loooove this area, there are so many great members here that I have gotten so close to! I am for sure coming to visit after my mission. There will be lots of tearful goodbyes in the next couple days! 

On Thursday we went to the TEMPLE! It was soooo refreshing, I love the temple so much. I have really come to appreciate the temple on my mission. Plus the Dixons surprised us by greeting us in the Celestial Room, so that was amazing. After the temple we had our Christmas zone conference, which was so spiritually uplifting. I was once again reminded of how much I love being a missionary. Also, Sister Vest and I did a musical number and sang “O Holy Night” a capella! And it actually wasn’t too bad! That was just overall a great day. 

Something that has been on my mind lately is just being natural in being like the Savior. We have been focusing on that a lot in our mission, because sometimes as missionaries we get robotic and impersonal. Sister Dixon always says, “if it’s not personal, what is it?” Jesus Christ was always personal and worked individually with each person, one by one. There are no coincidences, so each person god places in our path is for a reason, and god has entrusted us to love them and help them in the best way we can. I invite you all to be aware of the people around you this week, as you’re doing Christmas shopping and standing in line, at the gas station, or around family and friends, etc, be aware that you are around everyone you are around for a reason. Take the time to notice people and look them in the eyes and SMILE. Ask God for the courage and ability to recognize the people around you and see them as He sees them. I know you will see miracles this Christmas as you turn OUTWARD and remember the Savior. And I KNOW He lives! 

Today a member (Sister Truncale, bishops wife, she is so cool) took us to the mall, and tonight we are going caroling with a big group of members! It’s going to be soooo fun. My last shebang in the Onaga Trail Ward. 

I hope you all have an amazing Christmas! I cannot wait to skype my family next week! I love you ALL! Have a WONDERFUL week! 🎄🎄🎄

Sister Carina Brown 
California Redlands Mission 

Us after Cafe Rio 

Zone conference! 

Team Onaga (Elders + brother Trimm (he is the ward mission leader))


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Parade Crashers

This week went by soooooo fast wowowowowowow

How are you all?? Can you believe Christmas is in two weeks?? 

Btw I love Sis McNary she is so funny and an amazing missionary #MVP 

For our pday today, some members took us on the Marine base in 29 palms and we went bowling and climbed on TANKS! So fun. 

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we had MLC with FOUR people from the missionary dept there! It was AWESOME. And I my MTC comp Sister Gunter was there! I have basically not seen her my whole mission. We learned soooo much and I am so excited to see these things implemented in our mission. We mainly talked about three things:
- effective planning and having a VISION 
- being natural in our finding efforts and not being pushy 
- working with members 
I wish I could just tell you everything we learned but WOW there was so much. One cool thing:

Based on an accurate study the church did, there are 9 million people in the US who would join the church TODAY if they knew where it was or who to talk to about it. They calculated it and that is 2500 people per mission in the United States. Crazy! There are SO many prepared people out there! What attracts people to the church is not the institution, it’s Jesus Christ. When we start representing him and being like him, he will be the center of our lives and more people will be able to recognize that Christ’s Church HAS been restored on the earth. 

Another cool story:
A little while ago, Elder Bednar and Elder Nelson were having a meeting on the Google campus, and no one knew who they were, but when they were walking through, EVERYTHING stopped because of the light that they carried with them. As it says in Alma 32:35, Light is discernible! “because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible.” Pretty neat. They related that to us as missionaries and how we need to carry that kind of light with us. 

There were soooo many amazing things that we learned. It was a revelatory three days! 


So basically we were planning on doing another hot chocolate stand at Walmart like we did last week, but then there were lots of people that said we couldn’t do it. So we called some other stores and nothing was working out, so we decided with the elders that we would just plan for next Saturday when we had more time to plan. THEN our ward mission leader calls us and says “I’m making nine gallons of hot chocolate, so you’re going to need to find a way to give it away tonight” and we were like WHAT THE, NINE GALLONS 

So THEN we remembered that someone had mentioned that there was a PARADE going on in Yucca Valley that night! And we were like WE HAVE TO BE A PART OF IT so we call the elders and they’re like YES LETS DO THIS (btw this was at 4pm and the parade started at 6pm). So it was decided that we would use the elders truck as a float, but they had a dinner appt and didn’t have time to decorate the truck, so we quickly switched cars with them and said we would meet up right before the parade. 

SO we got supplies to decorate the truck and just casually went and lined up at the end of the float line at 5:30pm (we talked to someone who said it was ok for us to be in it) and we were decorating the truck like CRAZY (it ended up looking pretty ghetto haha) and THEN the line started moving at 5:45 and we were like WHOA WE HAVE TO GO, so we started driving and its just us two girls in a truck and we were like WHERE ARE THE ELDERS and then like thirty seconds later, four elders come RUNNING up to the truck and we got it all ready to go and I gave the keys to one of them so they could drive, and then we just jumped into the parade and started handing out free hot chocolate! Oh my goodness the whole situation was SO comical, I loved it. There were a bunch of people chasing our truck so they could have free hot chocolate. So we basically got rid of all the hot chocolate and handed out Light the World cards! It was sooooo FUN!!! Plus the elders met a referral from it that they have been trying to get in contact with! Miracles! 

Wow yes it has been an awesome week, I just love being a missionary and I love my mission so much, ESPECIALLY at Christmastime. Something that has been on my mind lately is making Christ the center of our lives. I put a sticky note on my wall today that said “Remember to put Christ at the center of your life today.” I encourage you all to set a goal and make plans to how you can be more centered on Christ! Make HIM the center of your Christmas! 

Thank you for Lighting the World, I know you all do so many wonderful things each day to be more like the savior. I love you ALL!!!

Sister Carina Brown 
California Redlands Mission