Sunday, February 19, 2017

lovelovelovelove

Hellloooooooooooooo!!! I literally sat here for like three whole minutes trying to figure out a subject line and I couldn't come up with one. Maybe I will receive some inspiration on that by the time I'm done writing this email. ***note: I have now finished writing the email and nothing came to mind so I just wrote the word "love" four times. #creativity)

It has been a goooood week. It started off kinda slow, but by the end it was just ROCKIN. I met Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the QUORUM OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES. WOOOO missionary life!!! 

But before I get to that, here's a quick embarrassing/funny story: 

We were having dinner with a member named Sister Gunderson last week, and I asked to use her restroom. I had to GO. So, I'm in the bathroom, and there is this nice big scale on the ground, and I'm like, "yeah let's see how much weight I've gained woo" (haha) (missionary probs) (I haven't gained THAT much weight ok). So I go ahead and stand on the scale, see my weight, cry a little (just kidding), and then it starts READING MY WEIGHT OUT LOUD. And there was NOT a lot of talking out in the dining room at the time okay, so it was heard. So I'm standing in the bathroom, hesitating leaving because I have to shamefully walk out knowing 1. She knows I used her fancy talking scale, and 2. They heard my weight. *Side note: I really don't care that they know how much I weigh, it was just a funny situation altogether.* So! I shamefully walk out of the bathroom, hoping maybe they didn't hear anything, and I go sit down at the table, and then the scale CONTINUES TALKING about my weight and talks about how it is recording it for future reference. Perfect. And I'm like welp. There it is. Of course I laughed it off and I was like, "sorrryyyyyyy I used your scale" etc (which totally wasn't even awkward, proud of myself there), and Sister Gunderson says, "yeah that's a scale that the doctor gave me. It records my weight so he can keep track and help me with controlling it. He's going to think I lost a lot of weight!" Hahahahaha. Oh my goodness. She was okay with it and it turned out to be fine, I just thought it was really funny. Luckily it was only her and Sister Jamsa there and not a whole family or something. 

Aaaaanyways! 

I met an APOSTLE this weekend! Wow! Elder Oaks is the coolest, he really is. Who knew he was a real human? He shook alllll the missionaries hands, as well as Elder Miskin and Elder Gong from the seventy! What a spiritual treat! They spoke to all of us missionaries on Saturday which was AMAZING, and Elder Oaks also came to FONTANA for a special stake Conference yesterday! He could have gone to 20 other stakes around here and he came to Fontana. So cool. Stake Conference was just so happy, one of those "I couldn't stop smiling I love being a missionary" times. One thing I like that Elder Oaks said to us missionaries: "I'm just an ordinary Latter Day Saint with an extraordinary mantle and responsibility." And he really seemed like an ordinary man! He was so nice and also so funny. I love that the apostles have a sense of humor. But yeah, it was so good. One thing he emphasized: just like we pray before meals (before we are physically fed), we need to pray before we are spiritually fed as well! So before we study the scriptures. The Book of Mormon was written under the influence of the Holy Ghost, which means it can only be understood under the influence of the Holy Ghost. And we invite the Spirit by praying! I thought that was cool that he emphasized that. 

One story we heard this week when we were having dinner with the Diaz family: Brother Diaz was talking to his friend at work who is currently taking lessons from the missionaries. We will call his friend Sarah. Apparently Sarah approached him and said, "if this really is Christ's restored gospel, and if this really is what is going to bring true happiness, why hasn't anyone shared it with me? I've worked with Mormons all my life and none of them have ever shared this with me. If they are so happy, why don't they share that with others?" BOOM. I heard that story and I was like, WHOA. So true! Why don't we?? And it's because we forget! We forget how good we have it as members of Christ's true church, and how happy it makes us! But it is SO important to share it with others! We are basically carrying around loads and loads of treasure, and when we don't share it we are selfishly keeping it all to ourselves! I mean this is the REASON we are here on earth, to make it back to our Heavenly Father, and we as members know how to make that happen! I invite each of you to reach out to someone, anyone, this week and share the message of the restored gospel with them. Quote: Clayton M. Christensen, who has impressive experience as a member missionary, states that “over the past twenty years, we have observed no correlation between the depth of a relationship and the probability that a person will be interested in learning about the gospel.” You don't have to know these people personally! It can be anyone! And pray for the courage to act on promptings you receive, because it absolutely can be scary. But I know you can all do it! 

Also, we saw LORI this week (the one who we felt was breaking up with us a while ago), and she is back on board for getting baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am seriously so excited. She is the coolest most hilarious human being and I just can't wait for her to become a member. She is going to do great things! I am seriously so excited! I will keep you updated on her! 

Well I hope you all have a happy Valentine's Day. I keep forgetting that holidays are a thing! Haha. I really love you all. Let me know if there is anything I can do for any of you! You are constantly in my prayers! 

Ohhhh by the way, Christ lives, and he loves all of us, and he knows everything that we have ever or will ever go through, and he wants to help us! Let him in! I know miracles will happen when you do! 

LOVE YOU!!!!!!! ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

Sister Carina Brown 
California Redlands Mission 


Lots of photos of my beautiful mission, as well as sister jamsa finding out that I'm weird, as well as our weird outfits when we study because we still have to wear skirts but we want to be warm, as well as valentines gifts from Lori, and a whole mission pic with Elder Oaks! (Do NOT try to find me in that, I look pretty terrible) 
Love you all 🍇












Sunday, February 12, 2017

I Love Being a Missionary

Hiiiii!!! Hello! It has been an amazing week! So many good things happening. How are you all? I heard the Super Bowl was yesterday? It's so weird how you're all out in the real world. I just forget that the real world exists sometimes haha. Anyways!

Yes! It's been a great week! Oh my goodness, where do I begin???

HIGHLIGHT of the week: 
On Monday night last week, the Zone Leaders called us and told us (Sister Jamsa and I) that we were invited to a special MLC (Missionary Leadership Conference) with Brother Lee Donaldson, who was the mission president in San Diego when The District 2 was filmed (for all you RM's, the mission president who taught Elder Moreno and Elder Christensen how to teach the law of chastity to German hahaha). This is HUGE! He is a proselyting specialist for the missionary department for the church, so basically he knows what he's talking about and is awesome. So MLC is normally just for the Assistants, Zone leaders, District leaders, and Sister training leaders, but when they called, they told us we were invited because President Dixon wanted a few of the new missionaries who would be the future leaders of the mission to be there. What! So cool! So we got to go! The meeting was on Thursday. Also, Sister Peterson is still an STL in her new area, so I got to see here there! It was great! 

Anyways, this meeting was amazing. Talk about fueling my flame of faith. This gospel is the BEST! Brother Donaldson is an INCREDIBLE teacher, and everything he said was so inspiring and helpful. Also someone named Brother Webb was there who works at the MTC, and he gave some awesome insights too. I wish I could include all my notes from the meeting, but then it would take you all an hour to read this email. I will include just a few:

- The Lord is truly hastening his work through technology, and we are now going to start using Skype a lot more for lessons and member presents! This is so exciting. Also at some point in the future, our mission is going to use Facebook messenger. I'm hesitant about this but also super excited to see what happens. 
- Facebook and Preach My Gospel came out in the same year! I'm not saying this means anything, but... it's still cool. Facebook is a HUGE opportunity to share the gospel with lots of people! Inspired, if you ask me. 
- Quote: "Too long we have quarantined missionaries. It is now time to IMMUNIZE missionaries." How cool is that?? Sounds like some real end-of-world stuff! Technology is about to become a huge part of missionary work and it's going to be really great to see how the work progresses because of it! 
- If someone is on earth and has a body, they were once a member of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Pre-Mortal Day Saints". We have to help our brothers and sisters remember that! There is a loving Heavenly Father who wants his children back home, and WE know how to get them there! So let's do it! Who's with me??

I just felt so PUMPED after that meeting, what a blessing it was to be there! I LOVE this gospel! It is just so perfect and so true! And I love that we have all the truth. We see Jehovah's Witnesses walking around sometimes and I just think it would be so hard to be a missionary without having all the truth and knowing it for yourself. We are so lucky! I also love how the gospel can answer any question. Too often we get people who are like "well what about this? Or that?" Etc etc but we have all the answers! I love being able to clarify things about Mormons, because there are so many misconceptions and it's just awesome to have the truth. Also, I love how we get to meet so many people every day. It really is the coolest thing. Not only do we get to meet with and talk to tons of people, we get to share the message of Christ's RESTORED gospel with all of them! How great is that? Man! Gotta love being a missionary. 

Another great thing that happened this week is that Angie and Hector got MARRIED!!! (Have I even mentioned Hector yet?? Idk) Angie was the one who got baptized in December and who was so prepared, and Hector was her boyfriend (now husband), and he also got BAPTIZED on Saturday! It was so special, I just adore their family. And it is so cool that I will be here in year when they can get sealed in the temple as a family! I am so excited for them! They are truly examples of baptized converts. They're ready to throw down in the church. Haha. Love them! 

Oh yeah, and we finally saw Lori this week!!! We haven't seen her in so long. She says she still wants to get baptized, she just has to get back on her feet first, because she has been hit with tons and tons of opposition lately. If only she knew that the gospel would solve all her problems!!! I had the opportunity to testify to her, probably more powerful than I ever have before, about how I just KNOW with all my heart that this is the right path for her, and if she will just follow Christ then she will find true peace and happiness. I seriously just want SO BADLY for her to know that this is right for her. It will make all the difference! Ah! I will keep you updated on her. 

Also, on Saturday we couldn't go to our apt to get dinner because it was too far away, so we went to Jersey Mikes Subs and ran into some awesome members who paid for our dinner! It was so nice. They were like "do you want a drink? Yeah, they want drinks. The biggest size. Do you want chips? Yeah we're getting you chips." They were just so sweet! That's happened to us a few times that we run into members who end up paying for our dinner. Missionary perks and tender mercies! I just love it. 

Oh yeah, Sister Jamsa! She's awesome. It took us a little bit to get used to each other, but everything is great now. I am learning so much from her. She is 19 and is from Missouri and she has been out one transfer longer than me, so almost five months. And it turns out I know her sister Shelby! I went on a trip to St. George with her and some other friends after I graduated high school. Crazy! What a small world. 

Wow is this email long or what? Lots of updates. Just know that I know God lives, and He wants us to come home. And the way home is through Jesus Christ and his perfect gospel! Christ gave his life for us, and I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to be on a mission and give my life to Him. 

I hope you all have an amazing week! Send me pictures of your lives! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Sister Carina Brown 

Angie and Hectors wedding! Simple and sweet. 



Sista P at MLC

Pretty beach-housey neighborhood and nice view

Dinner at jersey mikes


BOM on top of someone's car outside our apt (not members)

Me picking Sister Jamsa's nose (still working on the whole maturity thing)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Summer Vibes in January

Greetings from sunny California! There are some serious summer vibes here, it's crazy. It is 80 degrees here today. Yeah. I am going to die in the summer. 

What a week it's been! 

I'm with my new companion Sister Jamsa! She's a great missionary. Leaving Sister Peterson was tough though. The adjustment was really hard for me, probably the hardest part of my mission so far! It was just really hard having to adjust to a new companion and taking over the area and making sure I can take care of these people like Sister Peterson did. But I a good now! Great, actually! It's a good thing we only email once a week, because if I would have emailed you on Wednesday or Thursday you all would have been very concerned. But everything is great, I still love being a missionary! Lots of opportunities for growth. 

Saturday was the "second day in white", which gave all the recent converts who got baptized in December to take names to the temple and do baptisms for the dead in January! We ended up taking FIVE recent converts to the temple, because there were some who hadn't been there yet! It was a dream, I'm telling you. So fun. We all carpooled in a couple vans there, and it was just a beautiful day to go to the temple. The spirit was so strong inside, and it was an incredible experience to see all these recent Converts getting baptized for their ancestors. Plus it was so fun to take a field trip to Redlands! It was strange, I felt like I wasn't on a mission. But yeah, that was an amazing day and an unforgettable experience! I couldn't stop smiling! I will send pictures! 

Church was also amazing yesterday, it was just fun to be able to know everyone and introduce everyone to Sister Jamsa. This ward feels like family! Again, I couldn't stop smiling. It's just so fun to be able to love so many people in one place. I love it! 

ELDER OAKS IS COMING TO OUR MISSION IN TWO WEEKS TO TEACH ALL OF US SO YEAH YOU COULD SAY I'M PRETTY STOKED

Also! The missionary schedule changed! Which I am sure you heard about. We have a lot more time in the morning and evening, and a shorter lunch. Which at first I was like "whoa whoa brethren what are you doing I need sufficient lunch time" but it helps us stay more focused throughout the day, eat less, and that time is made up in the morning and at night! So it's good. With this new schedule I already feel more refreshed and healthier and more able to do the Lords work. I know it was inspired! 

We went hiking today! It was hot and I got real sweaty, but it was so fun and so beautiful. Who knew Fontana was so pretty? Ill send pictures of that too. Also I am going to be sore tomorrow. Love it. I don't get sore too often being on a mission so that's a good feeling haha.

This week I've been thinking a lot about Gods plan for me, since a lot of changes happened and I was wondering why. But it is so important to remember that God sees EVERYTHING and he knows what is best for us. 
Quote from Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "God lives in an eternal now where the past, present, and future are constantly before him. He knows the end from the beginning! Because the centerpiece of the Atonement is already in place, we know that everything else in God’s plan will likewise finally succeed. In His plans for the human family, long ago God made ample provision for all mortal mistakes. His purposes will all triumph and without abrogating man’s moral agency. Moreover, all His purposes will come to pass in their time."

God knows everything! Time is not a thing to him, he sees everything, all at once, all the time. So why wouldn't we trust in him?? It only makes sense! I know that everything God does is out of love for us, so I invite each one of you to think of one way that you can put your trust in God a little bit more this week. I know you will see a difference as you put your trust in him more fully! Also, miracles happen when we trust him! So go for it! It will be great!

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

Sister Carina Brown 

Picture with Angie and her bf Hector who is getting baptized on
Saturday, and also forgot to mention they are getting MARRIED on
Tuesday!!!! AHHHH WOOO SO EXCITING

Going to the temple!







Hiking and having fun with panoramas. I was sweaty and gross but it's
cool. Beautiful view, right???