Wednesday, July 5, 2017

my one and only fourth


Wooooooo happy 4th of july tomorrow!!! I only get ONE fourth of july on my mission, so I plan on making it amazing and talking to a lot of people. Luckily Redlands goes all out for this holiday (parade, festival, fireworks in the U of R stadium, etc) so there will be no shortage of excitement. I can't wait!!!

Its been a great week!!! So much has happened! 

My favorite thing that happened this week is that WE GOT TO GO TO THE TEMPLE WITH LAURA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Tonga, her husband who baptized her. She made it to the temple!!! It was AMAZING. And it was also great because WE GOT TO PARTICIPATE in baptisms for the dead!!! It recently became a thing a couple months ago for missionaries to be able to participate in those, so we are pretty lucky! What a blessing! We even found some family names to take. So cool. Highly recommended. 10/10. 

Also this week, my love for family history grew exponentially. We do service sometimes for this place called Linda Valley Villa (in Loma Linda) (a retirement home) (basically the coolest retirement home ever btw), and this past week we got to help some of the elderly people there get started on family history! We set up accounts for them on, and helped them put in their family info. 

I was helping this 90 yr old lady named Alison Hayashi (originally from Japan, later moved to Hawaii), and we put in some of her information and FamilySearch found her dad! Which was so cool, all of his info was already in there. So we are looking at his info and it shows his wife's information too, Alison's mom. So we click on her and there was actually a PICTURE of her mom that someone else (she had no idea who) had put there. The thing is, Alison's mom died around 30 years ago, and before that, she lived in Japan so she didn't see her mom much. So basically at this point in time, Alison hadn't seen her mom (or pictures of her mom) for AT LEAST 30 years! A long time. So I click on the picture and ask her, "Is that your mom?" So she looks closer, squints at the computer screen and then her face lit up. "That's her! That's my mother!" And she put her hand over her mouth because she was so surprised, and she got emotional. I was feeling the spirit so strongly in that moment that I got a little teary-eyed too! I'm even getting emotional now just thinking about it. She said, "why is that in there? who put that there?" And all I could say was that I didn't know, but I was just so happy that she was able to see her mom and find her family on there! She said all her family has passed away except her. 


Anyways, the point is, families are where its AT. They are central to God's plan. We feel connected to our families when we learn about them through family history, and it just makes everything so much more real. I was so grateful that God allowed me to experience that tender moment with Alison! It was really so special. 

We have been struggling with finding people to teach in our area lately, and it has been hard for Sister Vest especially. We are just doing our best to work hard and to be patient, we know that the Lord is preparing people in this area, we just need to find them! 

This week I was reading from a talk called "The War Goes On", an article in the Ensign (which btw, SO GOOD, highly recommend, again 10/10, read it ok), and it talked all about the ways that Satan gets to us. One thing I have been working on lately is only saying positive things about words and situations, because I don't want any negativity flowing out of this human being right here. So this talk just validated what I was working on, JUST READ WHAT IS SAID HERE: 

"Another significant limitation is that Satan does not know our thoughts unless we tell him. The Lord explained, “There is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart” (D&C 6:16). Perhaps this is why the Lord has given us commandments such as “Do not murmur” (D&C 9:6) and “Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor” (D&C 42:27). If you can learn to bridle your tongue (see James 1:26), you won’t end up giving too much information to the devil. When he hears murmuring, complaining, and criticizing, he takes careful notes. Your negative words expose your weaknesses to the enemy."
[btw idk why the spacing is weird now in this email but i'm just rollin with it] Ohhhhhh isn't that interesting??? The devil can't know our thoughts, but once we say negative things out loud then he can have power over us!  But seriously doesn't that make sense?! I just thought that was the neatest insight. I invite you each to try a little harder this week to say positive things about people and situations, no matter what circumstances you are put in. I know that you will be filled with the spirit of God as you do so, and you will feel greater joy and gratitude for the world around you! 
Ok well gotta go, i hope you all have an AMAZING fourth of july, I probably should have shared something about how great America is and how it is such a blessing that we have religious freedom here, and how that foundation was set hundreds of years ago for us so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ could be restored. Well, I guess I just shared something about it, so there ya go. 
We are having a BBQ at the Dixon's tomorrow for dinner (#smileywardperks), and we will also be at the parade talking to people and at the festival making ourselves known. I am so STOKED. 
Ok love you alllllllllllllllllllllll MWAH
-Sister Carina Brown

BTW we played volleyball with the sisters and sister Beall today and it was SO FUN I haven't played volleyball since the MTC so I was craving it fo sho. Also here are pics of exchanges with sister whitehead (who is HILARIOUS love her), also last week we played pool at the Dixons, and also pics of the temple and other things. Enjoy. 

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