Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Results Are In

Sister Peterson is getting transferred.
We are so sad. For some reason I felt like we would both stay! But I am staying in the Oleander Ward, and she is going to Shadow Hills (apparently it's the richest area in the mission) for her last transfer. We found out last night and it was so sad! We both cried. So depressing. Our companionship study this morning was mostly us crying. Haha. Leaving her may be the hardest part of my mission so far! I mean we have literally been together 24/7 for three months straight. Ahhhhh. I feel like I'm going through a really sad breakup where you want to be together but you can't. So it's just really sad. Please send prayers of comfort our way! I have a feeling the tears are gonna keep coming.

This weeks highlights:

- I went to Urgent Care on Thursday! Yeah. I was feeling extremely dizzy in the morning, so we called the mission nurse and she told us to go to Urgent Care immediately! So we did. They thought it was anemia, but it just turns out that I have an infection. I'm on antibiotics now so it's all good. But! Everything happens for a reason, because sister Peterson was talking to a lady next to us named Lucy in the waiting room, and we set up a return appt with her! She actually seems really prepared! How cool is that?! Missions. ❤️ 
- We found tennis rackets and tennis balls in our apartment and there are tennis courts riiiight next to where we live, so we have been playing tennis for our exercise in the morning! I never realized how much fun it could be, and with two people it is a GREAT workout! Looove it.
- It has been raining SOOOO much here. And this is very unusual for California! I've been told that this is the most rain they've received in almost 8 years. Crazy! Some streets were pretty flooded which was cool. I'll send a video about it. It was almost like we were driving in a river!
- This morning we had breakfast with the Tongan sisters, Sisters Brindley and Hess (who are suuuper cool sisters by the way! It was so fun to hang out with them. We had such a great time) at a cute diner place called Red Hill on foothill blvd (Route 66). They had MASSIVE pancakes. It is out of our area and we had never been there before. So we are sitting there waiting for the Tongan sisters to get there and we look out the window and see this guy named Emmanuel (he is from Nigeria) walking on the sidewalk, and we had run into him three times before in REALLY random places. The first time we gave him a Book of Mormon. We knew it was no coincidence that we saw him again, so of course we ran outside and basically chased him down he street. When he turned around and saw us he had the most puzzled look on his face, it was so funny. We said to him (out of breath from running after him), "we know it's no coincidence that we keep running into you!" And he said, "yeah, I'm starting to feel that too!" It was cool! So we got more of his information, and he said he has been reading the BOM! We were so excited. He is not in our area so we have to refer him to other missionaries, but I just know he is SO prepared, and God has some great things in store for him, that's for sure! So crazy! 
- One more thing, there is a girl named Lexi Erickson who worked at Shirley's with me a while back, and she is serving in my mission! I already knew this, I mean I went to her farewell, but the crazy thing is, she is going home this week!!! Is that not crazy?! It feels like I just barely went to her farewell. Time FLIES!

Well, that was my week! I hope you are all doing well! Transfers this week are going to be wild, I'm not really sure what to expect. My new companion will be Sister Jamsa. Isn't that a cool last name?? I bet she's cool.

Also, there is going to be a Missionary Broadcast this week, and apparently there is going to be some sort of change to the missionary schedule! Ah! Stay tuned to find out more! I'm sure it will be all over social media though or something, so. We will all find out one way or another.

With Sister Peterson getting transferred, all that has been on my mind is that the Lord has a plan.  He knows EVERYTHING, which is a really hard concept to grasp, but all things are done in His wisdom, and he knows what is best for me and for all of us! Remember that everything he does is because he loves us so so so so so so so much. It's all out of love! So trust in Him, even though it may be difficult sometimes. I know he has a specific plan for each and every one of you, so trust in Him and enjoy the ride! Everything will work out! Because Christ lives! And he is going to come again, soon! Exciting!

I love you all so so much! Have an amazing week!!!

Sister Carina Brown
California Redlands Mission

P.S. I keep hearing that people don't know what to write missionaries. I always thought I had to respond to what was in their mass emails and since I didn't really read their mass emails I never knew what to say. But we just want to hear about your life! Give us an update! Send us some pictures! It doesn't have to be some amazing spiritual experience either, though that is awesome. Just some simple things that are going on in your life. It's just nice to hear from people! (I'm talking to you Cee Ryle. 😉 Publicly humiliating my brother in my mass email because he hasn't written me yet. Hahaha) Love you all! 😄

This one is for you Kailee!

Me being translated and Sister Peterson being mad because she is not getting translated. Hahaha.

Exchanges with Sister Marker!

Me in urgent care. 

Wooo yay for members getting us each our own pizza and browniessss

Cute selfie

Emmanuel! The guy we chased down! So cool! 

Huge pancakes 

Breakfast! (Zildy, that is sister Hess! She is the coolest!)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

UNREAL Experience

The CRAZIEST thing happened yesterday, I'm seriously still in shock. Wow.

First of all though, how are you all?? Doing well? Isn't this gospel amazing? I mean is it true or what? So true! I love it!

Okay, so yesterday. Sit down, grab the popcorn, and pay attention cause this is a good one. I still can't even believe this happened. Here it is:

So, yesterday was Stake Conference! So Sister Peterson and I get there early and are going around talking to everyone like Missionaries do. It was a blast, I loved it. Then, one of the counselors in the Stake Presidency (who is in our ward) named President Young comes up to us and tells us that Mark C. Davis of the Quorum of the Seventy is here, and that we should go talk to him. So we were like, oh that's neat, and we go talk to him. We talked with him for probably about 30 seconds to a minute, it was not that long. He told us about his daughter who just went into the MTC and a few other small things. He was so nice and cool! But it was a really short conversation. We were like, "cool we met him! That's nice." Casual.

So then, Stake Conference starts and it's so good, and eventually Mark C. Davis gets up to speak. So he's talking for a little while and invites his wife to bear her testimony so she did, and then he talks a little more and says, "I'd like to invite Sister Peterson and Sister Brown to come up to the stand please."

Um, WHAT?!? We looked at each other and were all, "that's us. What do we do? What is happening?" So after much hesitation, we get up and start walking to the stand.

Things to keep in mind at this point of the story:
- this is Mark C. Davis OF THE SEVENTY inviting us up there
- our MISSION PRESIDENT and his wife are sitting on the stand
- the Redlands temple President and his wife are ALSO sitting on the stand
- there are tons of other missionaries in the congregation that he could have invited up there
- I AM STILL IN TRAINING. I am no expert missionary ok.

Moving on.

So! As we are walking up there, Elder Davis informs the congregation: "they have no idea why they're coming up here." So we get up there and shake his hand, and he proceeds to tell everyone a story about how he met a woman named Cecily and how she met two Sister Missionaries and said they were just glowing. Then he says, "I met these two sister missionaries earlier today, and they really were just glowing." Then he keeps talking a little more (I'm still trying to remember everything he said, it's all kind of a blur) and says, "we are going to have these Sister Missionaries teach us today."

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Then he says, "Sister Brown, would you be willing to tell us about Joseph Smiths experience with the first vision, and your testimony of that?"

So I did! And I shared the first vision in Joseph Smiths own words (I didn't even mess up!) and I shared my testimony of the restored gospel and what I know to be true and how amazing it is. And it really was so cool, because I had really awesome and powerful studies that morning and I was just extra pumped about the gospel, so it was so exciting to share my testimony with the whole Fontana stake! I actually loved it! This gospel is so amazing!

So then I was done and he said, "sister Peterson, don't go anywhere" and he invited her to share about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and her testimony of that. And she did, and it was awesome!

Afterwards, he says, "this is what they say to people every day. And how could someone deny the power of these Missionaries testimonies? We have amazing Missionaries in this stake who we can trust with our family and friends who do not have the blessing of this gospel in their lives." And he said a lot of other amazing things that I can't remember right now, but WOW. What an experience! We are still in shock! I feel so humbled to have been able to share my testimony with the stake, especially in front of a general authority. My heart was beating so fast though! Wow. Missions. So cool. These are the types of things that only happen as a missionary! I love it!

Okay I'm out of time, but this really is the RESTORED gospel! How COOL is that?? Does anyone realize how amazing this is?! Wow! We are a part of Christ's true church! And Christ really LIVES! WOO! Let's go share it with everyone! The salvation of souls! Who's with me?! I love it!

Oh yeah, transfers are next week. So we will see if I stay with Sister Peterson for her last transfer or not! Also, an APOSTLE is coming to our mission to teach us in February! Amazing! I am so excited!

I love you all so much!!! Have an AMAZING week! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Sister Carina Brown
California Redlands Mission

Zone meeting

Dinner with Gardners

A selfie of us
after we spoke in stake Conference.

We met a family who was making
homemade churros and they gave us some! SO good!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Nothing Else Matters

Everyone! Listen! 

It's all about the gospel. It's all about Christ. Nothing else matters. Nothing! Not your Instagram account, not your tv shows, the internet, not nice clothes and fancy cars, nothiiiiing. One day, that will all be gone. One day, earthquakes and crazy things are going to happen in preparation to the second coming and everyone will be humbled and all we will be able to care about is each other and keeping each other safe and helping one another. I can't even explain to you everything that is going on in my brain right now, but just know, the gospel is all that matters! I'm not saying that when I get home I'm not going to use the internet or wear nice clothes, I'm just saying with an eternal perspective, none of that matters. This life is only the beginning! We can't even begin to grasp what lies ahead, I just know it's a lot more than social media, or how much money we have, or what celebrity is doing what. 

Some background on why all that is going through my head right now: Today we went to Yucaipa with Sister Western, an AWESOME member. We love her so much. And as we were driving she was telling us about this book she read called "Visions of Glory" (which let me tell you I plan to read that immediately after my mission), and wow. The things she was telling us about it, it's just crazy! Basically my thoughts on it are in that first paragraph of this email. Ah. I can't even explain it, but this life is only the beginning. We have no idea. 

Anyways, yes went to Yucaipa today for our excursion! It was so great. I'm telling you, it's like God knows me or something, because he sent me to a mission where it's the perfect balance of beachy and pacific-northwest-y. It is so BEAUTIFUL here. I mean Fontana is lacking a little there, but Redlands and Yucaipa are just gorgeous. So we went up the mountain in Yucaipa to this tiny town with an apple orchard and all this stuff, it was so great! I'll attach pictures. 

This week was kind of a blur for some reason, I'm trying to think of things that happened and my mind is drawing a blank! It's been a great week though. We taught someone named Victoria, and when we explained the first vision to her in Joseph Smiths own words, afterwards she said "when you were saying that, I felt tingles all over my body. I can't describe it, I don't know why that happened." It was the coolest thing! That's why being a missionary is awesome, because you get to witness amazing moments like that. People feeling the spirit for the first time. So cool. 

Well, just remember that Christ LIVES. He really, truly lives today. And he is among us! More than we know, I think. He is leading his church! We are so blessed to be a part of Christ's true church. Please please pray for missionary opportunities, because we have a responsibility to share this amazing gospel with everyone! A quote from President Spencer W. Kimball: “We must remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices, elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us to love and to serve. It will do us little good to speak of the general brotherhood of mankind if we cannot regard those who are all around us as our brothers and sisters.”

I LOVE YOU ALL!!! ❤❤❤🍿🍿🍿

Sister Carina Brown 
California Redlands Mission 

Pictures from this week! Most of them are from when we went to the mountains in Yucaipa today.

Exchanges with Sister Blalock!


P day in Yucaipa with sister western! She let us borrow her husbands coats since it was cold. 

We are wearing pants!!! Whoa!

How cute is this?

Look at the strange trees behind me.

Apple orchards! BEST apple cider. 

In the clouds.

Just so we can get an idea of the area that Sister Brown is talking about

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Happy New Yeeeeeeaarrrrr 🤘

HELLO! It's me! Sorry last weeks email was so short. Also heads up, I'm going to send a loooot of pictures today because it's basically been two weeks since I've updated you all! 

Okay hi hello HAPPY NEW YEAR! It's 2017! What the?!?! I hope you all had a great New Years. We had to be in our apts by 6 that night, and President Dixon told us to have a night of renewal in preparation for the new year. I LOVE my mission president by the way, he is literally the best. I am so serious. But yeah, we renewed by organizing things in the apt, catching up on journaling, and just making everything fresh for the new year! It was great! 

I feel like so much has happened, I don't even know where to begin. I have learned so much in the past two weeks! 

On Christmas Eve and Christmas, we were able to visit some less active women who were alone, and I just felt so much love for them. It made me feel bad for indulging in presents for the all the past years of my life rather than going out and loving those in need. Every soul is so precious, and everyone deserves to feel gods love, especially on Christmas! This may have been the most fulfilling Christmas I've had! 

Going along with how every soul is so precious (really sad story here, fair warning), a few days before Christmas something really sad happened. There is this woman in the ward named Megan, and she would always text us asking really bizarre questions about the gospel that we wouldn't exactly know how to answer, and usually we would just kind of laugh about it and respond to the best of our ability. Well on the Wednesday before Christmas, she texted us a strange question and we thought nothing of it. We later found out that she committed suicide that night. I was so shocked when the bishop told us and I felt so horrible. She was someone who really needed help, and here we were, disregarding her questions and not recognizing her needs. I had only interacted with her one time, but it still is so sad. After that, sister Peterson and I made a goal: rather than treating life like it's your last day, treat people like it's their last day. What if she had had faithful visiting teachers? Or if someone had just smiled at her that day and expressed their love? We never know the difference we can make, so just make sure that you always let your light shine and share it with others and SMILE, because there are so many precious and lost souls out there that need YOU! 

On a happier note, I just remembered we had multi zone conference a couple weeks ago and it was amazing!!! I love my mission! And my mission president and his wife! Also, I got to see sister Gunter and elder Wiest from the MTC! Woo! 

Another cool thing: Before Sister Peterson's mission, she had to delay her papers about three months because of "health problems" that the doctors couldn't seem to figure out. It's crazy, because by the end of this transfer, three months will be how long we have been companions! And then the next transfer she goes home! I just know our companionship was so inspired, and everything happens for a reason. I always wonder why I didn't get called Spanish speaking, but I am so glad I didn't because otherwise sister Peterson and I wouldn't have been companions! God always has a plan! 

With this new year, I've been thinking a lot about 2017 and how I'm going to be on a mission for this WHOLE year! And not gonna lie, it's overwhelming to think about. A year seems like a long time when it's only January 2nd! But I was reading in 2nd Nephi 3 the other day and i was able to relate it to me and my mission so much. I decided to replace the word "land" with "Year" in verse 2: "And may the Lord consecrate also unto thee this [year] which is a most precious [year], for thine inheritance and the inheritance of thy seed... for thy security forever"
I know that me being on a mission will not only affect me, but my future children and family as well for years and years to come, and I am so excited to give this year to the Lord! It's going to be such a good one, I know it! 
I'm so grateful for this new year and for a fresh start, and I'm so grateful for the Savior. he's the one that makes a fresh start possible, not only every year, but every single day! Because of him we can have endless fresh starts! He LIVES! 

This email was kinda long, so congrats if you made it this far! Haha. Just know I love you all so much, and Heavenly Father loves you SO so much! Never forget it! 

LOVE YOU!!!!!! 😄

Sister Carina Brown 
California Redlands Mission 

I might not even explain all these haha. Here they are!