I am Sister Brown.

Send me to my people.

Was Christmas Just Yesterday? December 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lyndsishae @ 8:18 PM

December 26, 2011

Hey family,

It’s like I just talked to you!

What else is left to say?

I’m finally feeling better. My voice is mostly back to normal. But I was naaaasty sick last week. Members were practically throwing medicine at me. One of them took me to get some 12 hour sinus stuff. Another gave me dayquil and nyquil. Another brought out the vitamin c powder to stir up in my water bottles. An elder from Palmdale saw us at a dinner appt on Christmas Eve and went back to his apartment to get me some throat-coat herbal tea. Sister Escobar gave me some nose spray and Sister Mix had throat spray. Sister Mix used her nurse skills and showed me how I could combine it all the best way. Sunday morning I took it all and didn’t sing any of the hymns at church– and that was a sacrifice because they were some good christmas hymns. But I was so worried I was going to lose my voice completely and not be able to talk to you on the phone! So I just mouthed the words to the hymns and tried not to talk too much to anyoneat church– which obviously didn’t work because I can’t ever stop talking. But hey, my voice still worked on the phone! And now I’m better! Time to train our little greenie!

By the way, for the blog people:

Our greenie is from Japan. JAPAN!!!

She is learning English in the MTC as we speak.

This is so great!

Christmas week was a little rough because everyone was so busy. We didn’t have many appointments but we got this genius idea to make cookies and cards for all our investigators… and then we got different members to go around and deliver them with us… and when people let us in we taught a short lesson about Christmas and the atonement. So we racked up a good number of member-present lessons, made good contact with all our investigators, and still came out with a good week! I just brought my box of tissues with me and took a big nap at lunch each day. And by the way, those cookies were SO GOOD.

We got lots of scarves and gloves and bike reflector lights from the ward– they’ve never had sisters before and constantly freak out about us being safe.

No one worries about the Elders. I think it’s sad but they don’t seem to mind.

We even got reflective ankle bands– so we will be riding in style.

We also got about ten million plates of cookies and fudge and wonderful things, which we will be sharing with the world for the next decade or so.

We’re going to pick up our new companion on Wednesday and see if she can ride the extra bike in our garage!

Love you!

Sister Brown

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The Brownie Mix

Filed under: Uncategorized — lyndsishae @ 11:31 AM

December 19, 2011

Quote of the week:

Sister Mix – “I don’t know if you knew this, but I went to Marsh Valley High School in Idaho. My graduating class was 125. We went to class in the middle of a cow pasture. So no, I don’t know who TuPac is.”

We had zone conference this week and a temple trip and somehow it still flew by.

Last night I wrote down our numbers in the back of my planner and realized that week 5 was now complete. One week left in the transfer. Then I had to go get in the shower.

These days the shower is my Zen place.

It’s where I go to think and be alone.

Time is going so fast and sometimes I just don’t know how to process reality.

Lately the AP’s are working on transfer boards

(That means they’re deciding where everyone should serve for the next 6 weeks).

They call all the time. “Quick question for Sister Brown…”

“… do you think so-and-so can handle training?”

“…are there any sister areas we could open next transfer?”

“…can so-and-so ride a bike?”

I’ve never been asked my opinion on transfer boards.

I didn’t know anyone got asked their opinion on transfer boards.

So I just tell them what I know and say “Don’t forget to pray, ok?”

This morning President called.

“Does your companionship have the capacity to train?” he asks.

What does that even mean? Like the emotional capacity?

“YES! I love this idea!” I tell him.

“Do you have room for a 3rd bed?” he asks.

…oh, is that what he meant?

“Sort of…we can make it work in here.”

And then he asks me all sorts of other  things and we just freak out and rejoice together.

I love that man.

And now I am so greenie hungry.

I want another one! And I want Sister Mix to help me raise her up right.

Sister Mix would be a great trainer. I always tell her that.

She says she’s too scared and I don’t want to give her up next transfer anyway.

I used to want to train again but… now I just want to be with Sister Mix.

This way we can both train and stay together!

And get some greenie spark goin to pump us up!

It’s trio trainin time.

Annnnnd…

Training new missionaries has changed since I was with Sister Warr and Sister New. They just introduced a new program and I’ve always wanted to do it because I think I would learn so much. But the program lasts 12 weeks, which means Sister Mix would train the last 6 weeks on her own. Perfect! She’ll be so great! But she won’t have to start it alone, so it won’t be as scary for her.

Can’t you just picture a little greenie on a bike with us?

We’re already talking about making her a t-shirt and decorating our apartment and oh man I love training.

By the way, Sister Mix and I made these fantastic shirts that say *Brownymix*. Be jealous.

We picked up a new investigator a few weeks ago. We’ll call him Rockerboy.

He is 18 and his girlfriend is a member in another town. The elders were teaching him out there for a while but now he’s ours and I’m so pumped. This kid is just like Jared Robertson. I think he ponders things all the time but is never sure how to express them. He has shaggy red hair and plays guitar and adores this girl he’s dating. Like can’t stop adoring her. They’re precious.

“What do you remember most from what the elders taught you?”

“I like the idea of faith,” he says.

“As in, you want to have faith?” we ask.

“Yeah, I want all the faith I can get.”

Me too.

This is great.

He came to church this week. His girlfriend came with him but you could tell he was nervous. He’s been to her ward before but he knows a lot of youth there. He did great though and we’re excited. He wants to be baptized in late January. We invited him in our first lesson and he said he’s been looking forward to it for a long time.

“What about it are you looking forward to?”

“I don’t know…. I guess I look forward to how it will feel.”

“How do you think it will feel?”

“Clean,” he said.

I love this!

Do you remember Jared? The one I knew from efy with the reddish hair? He came to visit us with his big brother one time and then he was up at UVU when I was at BYU. They look so much alike and have the same mannerisms and everything. It’s strange but it’s great.

We taught another youth fireside this week. I really love teaching to big groups, especially youth. I get so pumped and loud and I’m scribblin on the board and calling out for participation and the momentum of it all feels so good to me.

We also went to a baptism in Spanish this week. The three kids getting baptized play soccer with us and the Elders sometimes and we promised them we’d go. I made friends with the lady next to me.

“Me gusta tu zapatos!” I love going to baptisms in Spanish because I can feel the spirit even without knowing what’s being said. And because I think it’s a beautiful language. And because we get to sing in Spanish, which I love doing.

That being said, I’m so glad I am serving in my native language. There is so much I want to say to people all the time and it would be frustrating to hold back and only say what I could translate. Or to not be able to have my thoughts come out in their rawest, most sincere form. I feel lucky that I’ve been able to express all of my testimony and all of my heart in their language since day 1.

I still think I’d love to speak something else. I really miss my sign language. And I want to play an instrument. And there’s just a lot of things I’m going to do in my life.

I love you!

Sister Brown

 

Sannn Fernannnndo December 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lyndsishae @ 11:03 PM

December 12, 2011

It’s raining today for the first time in at least 2 months and everyone is stir-crazy.
I know I have so much to tell you– let me try and think of what it is.

Last week we rode our bikes in 70 mph winds, and thus we have bragging rights for LIFE.

A while ago Bubbles showed us pictures of her boarding school in China. We got to see the strict schedule they live by (they study SO MUCH!) and the school uniforms and how all the girls have the same hair cut. She is excited to be here in America because she can grow her hair out and wear bracelets.

This week we brought her pictures of our friends and family. She was surprised so many of our friends were married.
“And not even finish the university yet?!” she said.
In China the government suggests they don’t have children until they are 26.
“Because there are too many people there,” she says.
We started talking to her about her future… about whether she wants to be married or have kids and where she’ll live.
“Will you still believe in God and pray after you leave America?”
She looked surprised. We really want to know where her heart is. We want to make sure she doesn’t feel pressured to meet with us just because she lives with people who go to our church.
“Yes,” she said.
“My environment will change but my belief will not change.”
I love these simple English statements she makes. They are so beautiful.
“Why?” we asked.
“It helps me. And I like having someone to talk to at night.”

We talked to her about getting baptized. I just love teaching Bubbles because everything is new. She’s never heard of baptism. It’s stretches my mind to teach in such basic words and think of what it must be like to hear them for the first time. We told her what you do when your baptized and what it means and why.
“I don’t think I’m ready. I need to be ready to keep my promise forever.”
She’s right. We’ll keep helping her. She did pick a day she thinks she can be ready by. I am so excited.
Teaching her has changed my life.

This week our friend Escargo spoke in church. She’s leaving on a mission at the end of December.
The Bishop got up and announced “She’ll be serving in Nashville, TN.”
And I remembered when my call started floating around me.
“Where are you going?!”
“California.”
“Where in California?”

I used to draw out the words. It was so fun to say.
“Sannn Fernannnndo.”
I would smile so big.
Because that was the place God called me to!
It was just out there waiting for me.
I loved that place but I had no idea who was there or what it was like.
I was just hopeful and starry-eyed from afar.
Now I hear “San Fernando, California” and it is so personal to me.
I found pieces of myself in this area.
“Mission Hills. Valencia. Lancaster.”
They are symbols to me.
Symbols of change and believing.

And when I say I found pieces of myself there…. I don’t mean I was lost before.
I was very self-aware before my mission. I’d been finding myself for years!
But I have truly found myself on my mission, in ways I don’t believe I could have in any other setting.
Because I found my Savior and in Him I found myself.
I am more happy, more healed and more whole that I ever have been or could have been on my own.
I needed Him.

 

Fear Not December 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lyndsishae @ 10:29 PM

December 05,  2011

Bahhh! Almost no time to write this week. I’ll be fast.

Bubbles:
It was her birthday this week! We came over for cake and taught her about Jesus’ birthday so she could understand what this whole Christmas thing is about.
“You mean it’s not about that big red guy?” she asked. (She meant Santa Claus.)
Nope!
“Actually it’s not but people in America forget about Jesus sometimes so we can see why you thought that…”
We taught her the Christmas story and at the end we read the verse about the angel bringing good tidings of great joy.
We told her about how Christ has brought us great joy, and that the angel said this joy was for all people.
Then we gave her an angel Christmas ornament for her birthday.

I am loving this Christmas.
There is this thing at the church here in Lancaster called The Creche Festival.
Creche is a German word for nativity. The festival has over 1,000 nativity scenes from all over the world.
It’s the biggest one on the west coast. In Lancaster! How random!
I’ve seen them from Nicaragua! Japan, Native Americans, Mexico, Africa…
They also have nativities made out of all different things– marshmallows, volcanic ash… everything!
The church is decorated BEAUTIFUL. There are poinsettias and lights everywhere.
They’ve been doing it for 17 years so the whole community comes and choirs from different high schools and Christian churches in the community come to sing.
Our ward choir did a gospel clap-your-hands thing!
There was a bell choir and a big Catholic sings-in-Latin choir and some people on bongos and all sorts of things!
There are so many different representations of Christ here.

It goes from Friday til Monday. We’re not allowed to proselyte or pick up new investigators because they want it to be a unifying, no-pressure event. That’s probably a good thing but it’s hard to hold back. We did sign up to be “greeters” every day. It’s beautiful.

I can feel how much I love Christ this year.

More than any other year. When I walk around this place I am filled with peace, awe, fulfillment. He matters more to me now. I understand him a little better. I feel him and recognize him. By the time we watched the Christmas Devotional last night I was so ready. I’d been teaching the Christmas story for weeks and reading it and thinking about it and when it was finally taught back to me, I really felt it. It was so meaningful to me. So different this time.

“Fear not.”

Sister Brown

If you haven’t seen it yet– go to lds.org and check out the new Christmas videos. They are AWESOME.

 

God Would Rather Me Be Joyful Than A Warrior. December 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lyndsishae @ 9:55 PM

November 28, 2011

Family I am beaming with pride and I’m a huge mess of emotions.
I’m looking at Corey’s pictures… reading about Lacey’s struggles and stories of Nicaragua and I am crying and laughing and I love you.
I can’t even read the emails from my friends! I cant handle any more emotion! I printed them for later.
It doesn’t help that the elders are playin guitar in the background– like a soundtrack to my dramatic heart.
I love you I love you I love you.
Corey looks so grown up! I am so proud of him and his destroyed shoes. And all his talks and his people and his spanish.
I would have loved to see that.
I can’t wait to talk to him on Christmas! I tell everyone that he’s home this week and that I get to call him soon!
I prayed so hard that that trip would go smoothly. I really wanted it to be beautiful and strengthening for you, especially Mom and Dad.
I hope you see how much you’ve built together.

I loved what the man from Corey’s greenie area said about him: “You are so different now– you are powerful.”
The other day someone read a quote from a conference talk about a boy who was about to go through chemotherapy.
“Will I be the same after this?” he asked the doctor.
I can imagine his fear and his uncertainty. I don’t know what chemotherapy is like but I can remember people telling me how hard it is to serve a mission. How many trials will come my way. I remember leaders at the MTC saying that we would need to learn to talk differently, walk differently, teach and invite and testify more boldly than we ever had. I knew I had to grow bigger than I could imagine. I remember several times at the beginning, having to face myself, my pride and my fear and my weakness, and knowing that there was no way I could get through this alone. I’ve seen so many sisters leave early and that always kills me. I have had many times where I wondered how I could carry one more thing. It can be scary to think of what comes next, of all that will be different when this is over.
“No. You will not be the same,” the doctor said.
“You will be stronger. You will be AWESOME.”
When the man read this in church I felt the spirit testify to me that I had completed much of God’s plan for me, that I had a lot of good left to do, and that I was awesome.
It sounds so funny, but it felt so good to know that my Heavenly Father thinks I’m awesome. That I’ve fought the good fight and He has never left me.
I want to be awesome!

I’ve had a few opportunities this week to think about how I’ve changed…
I’ve always wanted to be stronger. I’ve endured and fought-through and toughed-out so many things in the name of this goal– I want to be strong. But the biggest change in me from my mission is that I’m happier. And I know that God would rather me be happy than strong. He would rather me be joyful than a warrior. I am blessed to have received a change so different than what I imagined.

I’m out of time!
Love you!
Sister Brown

 

My Brother is an RM. November 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lyndsishae @ 6:05 PM

November 21, 2011

Hey!
I was just printing off my e-mails and thinking “What? My family didn’t write? They always write…”
And then I realized it is because you are in some distant jungle of Nicaragua picking my brother up from his mission! He’s done! My brother has gone all return missionary! He speaks spanish! He’s 21! My parents are OUT OF THE COUNTRY. Since when are we all old enough to be doing these things? I feel like I haven’t seen Corey in a billion years. My whole mission has gone by since I last saw him! And those 8 months or so before I left were among the most eventful 8 months ever so…. I feel like I’m in a time warp. Like he’s been gone since I was 18 or something. Did you know I’m 23? Someone asked me how old I was the other day and I said “I just hit my year mark.” But for once they weren’t asking about how old I was in the mission. They meant my age. I couldn’t remember! I knew I was 22 or 23 but I had to count back from 1988. What is happening to my life?

Whenever I get overwhelmed by reality, I just pretend like none of it is a big deal and keep moving forward. So I’ll just do that again now.

Sister Mix and I had THE BEST WEEK EVER!

Check this out:
We taught 29 lessons. 29!! That’s more than I’ve ever taught on any other week of my mission. Mission standard is 20 and I’ve busted my face plenty of times trying to reach that. All the sudden we’re at 29.

10 of those were to investigators with a member present. That means our investigator set an appt with us, we invited a member to come and meet them, and both actually showed up. Ten times! Also unheard of.

13 of them were to investigators without a member there– many of these were just drop-by’s or at the door.

That means only 6 of them were to members (dinner appts).

In all of this, we found 11 new investigators. ELEVEN new people! The mission standard is 4.

We also set our first baptismal date since we got here!
That happened on Saturday. Saturday morning we decided we were going to invite everyone we talked with to be baptized. And we did! We invited the people at our appts, the people we dropped in on, and even the people we met at the door! It made us feel fearless. And it was great! They all said that once they know for themselves that these things are true, they’ll be baptized. And now when we come back, they understand what they’re preparing for. It’s not like baptism will just pop out of nowhere later. They get it. They’re expecting it. I love this! This is how it should be.

I’ve got a new layer of dollar store duct tape on the soles of my shoes and I feel good.
(I have plenty of shoes Mom but these are my favorite so I’m makin them last.)
What else can I tell you about?
The wind was blowing so hard this week! The wind always blows in Lancaster.
And biking against the wind is awful. You just PUSH on your pedals as hard as you can.
Over and over and over.
Saturday we rode through the streets yelling “Take that wind! Our quads are as big as our faith!”
And then we had to stop because I couldn’t stop laughing.

I am really happy.
I feel blessed.
That’s what people in Lancaster say. When they read our tags they say, “Have a blessed day!”
It happens everywhere. With people on the street or in the store or at the cross walks…
People love Jesus here.
So do we! So we just keep talking and visiting and building relationships with them so we can teach them.
“How are you?” we ask.
“Blessed and highly favored!” they say.
I know this makes it sound like a bouncy little bible town– but that’s the thing– it’s not.
I feel like I am serving my mission inside an MTV music video.
Everyone’s got a parole officer or a doo-rag or a gang affiliation or a court date or is havin their non-husband’s baby.
But they want to listen and they’re blessed and I love these people.
I just want to ride my bike around and talk to them about Jesus.

I can’t wait to hear about Nicaragua!
Love you!

Sister Brown

 

This Is Epiphany Phase

Filed under: Uncategorized — lyndsishae @ 5:57 PM

November 14, 2011

Familia!

I come to you at the conclusion of a fantastic week.

We taught 23 lessons and found 4 new people! And although Bubble was our only investigator at church, we were the closest we’ve ever been to getting other people there! Progress!

I love Sister Mix. I can’t believe I get to keep her another transfer! This is exactly what I wanted.

Other transfer news: Sister Warr is training! I can’t believe she is in her 6th transfer already! I was in my 6th transfer when I trained her. Her greenie is from Japan! She doesn’t come in til Wednesday but I’m excited to meet her someday. I have lived to see my grand daughter. I was so happy that she called me to freak out about it.

Sister Starr is whitewashing Stevenson Ranch, a super wealthy area in the same zone as my last ward in Valencia. It used to be an elders area and now she and Sister Robb (who came out with Sister Warr) are takin over! On bikes! Sister Starr has been prayin to go on bike ever since I did. This is hilarious to me because she doesn’t know how to ride one and in the MTC she flat out refused to ever serve on bike in the field. But then she changed her mind and prayed and now she’s the woman for the job. I love her. She’ll be great.

I’ve been meaning to tell you that this ward treats us so well. Every p-day we wake up, clean the apartment, and walk to the store. People have offered to take us but it’s literally a block away so we just walk over. After that a member comes and picks us up and lets us do laundry at her house. We’ll call her July. July is the daughter of Cuban political refugees. She lived an insane life and is full of great dramatic stories. She joined the church ten years ago and is now homeschooling her youngest 3 girls. They all have super long brown hair and their own hobbies. Someone’s making a paper mache piñata or learning the guitar or creating a recipe every time we go over. I love this family.

We also have a man here who helps us slime our tires and fix our bikes every chance he gets. He feeds us lunch once a week and after he saw my wobbly wheel, he took my bike away and gave me his daughter’s so I wouldn’t fall again. Luckily I got my old bike fixed so he’s back now. I missed him.

There is another lady here who recently started coming back to church. I love her because she’s so driven to change. She’s a high school math teacher and works very hard at all her 10,000 goals. She has running goals, spiritual goals, eating goals, calling goals, reading goals— we are a lot a like except she’s more diligent. She tells it straight up like it is and I love that. She comes out to appointments with us a lot and gives us rides to church and always volunteers dinner when someone cancels. I keep telling her how great she is and the other day she said “Well don’t spread it around too much– I might get married or something!” Haha love her. We’re going to her family’s for Thanksgiving and they’re gonna have sweet potatoes!

Bubble is doing great. We taught her about Jesus Christ the other day. About how he came to set an example for us and provided a way to overcome all things.

I always try to teach the gospel like it’s fresh and new and a miracle that we’re hearing for the first time. But with Bubble– it actually is. It’s beautiful.

We watched Finding Faith in Christ so she could visualize him and see some of the things he did.

I showed her that book I got for Christmas last year too. (Reflections of Christ.)

“How do you think you can have more faith in him?”

She thinks for a while.

“Talk to him

… get information

… trust

…believe.”

I love teaching this girl.

The next time we taught her more about the Book of Mormon.

She is in 2 Nephi already.

“Did you know Jesus going to come back?”

“Again?”

“Yeah. We don’t know when but this book can help you be ready for Him. If you grow your faith in Him you will recognize Him when he comes, because you will be like Him, and He will be your friend.”

Her prayers are starting to sound more natural– like she’s really being herself with God.

I love this job. I’m having a lot of realizations lately. I go through waves on my mission of learning tiny principles and then all the sudden realizing how they all relate to one another. I’m in an epiphany-phase these days. Things are connecting and my understanding is really being enlightened, specifically about the atonement and how it applies to my mission. I know God has a plan for me and that I’m in the right place. I’m grateful he picked this place for me.

Love,

Sister Brown