Monday, August 18, 2014

Let the Waterworks flow!

Well.... That's all folks. I feel like I´m in this weird dream where people keep asking me about home and planes and goodbyes and I just think... "What? Ya´ll are crazy. This is never going to end. I´m trapped in Spain." Ya know? I have been in that mind set for a year and a half and now............. I just think about how I start school in one week and that's when panic sets in. Woah woah woah. When ever that stress settles in I just think... "Okay. That's not something I have to stress over right now. I will worry about that in a few days." Right now all I need to worry about is saying goodbye to Cartagena. I´ve been here for 5 months now and Cartagena feels like home. The goodbyes started yesterday in church. Actually, just walking into the chapel, I saw my favorite 8 year old. Andrea ran to me and gave me a big hug. That's when the waterworks officially started. Church hadn´t even started!! It was just hard. All day. Saying goodbye isn´t something I´m good at. Especially my family here in Spain. I think this is the ward I have been closest with in my whole mission. I feel like I´m just tearing out pieces of my heart to give to everyone so that they don´t forget me. There are people here who changed my life. This morning I had to say goodbye to my most favorite family.  Pepe and Fina. The only time I have felt my heart break like that was when I left home. Ya, that bad. I´ve never cried like that in front of members neither have I seen members cry like that. I¨m just super sentimental. Whatever. I just have to survive all these goodbyes.

So my plan for the week for all those who have asked:

Monday and Tuesday: Survive. HA! Too many goodbyes. Its going to be really hard. 

Wednesday: I leave Wednesday morning for my 7 hour bus ride to Malaga. Because I´m so far away, I´m going down a day early. So is Hermana Flake! When I get there I will have my last interview and then eat dinner. I will be with Hermana Flake and Childers that night! WOOT WOOT!!!

Thursday: For the morning I have to go turn in all my residency stuff.... Then I´m free. Literally they said we can do what ever we want until 5:00pm. So literally Hermana Flake and I are going to be running crazy all over Málaga doing whatever we want! Like what? I don´t even remember what that feels like to run around without a care in the world. Then at 6pm we´ll have dinner and have our final night in the mission home with the rest of the people going home. We´ll have our last meeting with President and then PARTAY!

Friday: What? Ya..... Ya. I GET TO SEE MY FAMILY!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Not like I¨m excited or anything.

So that's the line up. WOO! This is seriously going to be one of the hardest yet best weeks of my whole life. Every missionary dreams of this moment. And now I´m here. I don´t know how it went by so fast. But this is coming to an end and that hurts. 

I would like to share a couple of things I have learned and how I feel and what I will do. I have learned a few things on this crazy journey and I have promised myself a few things:

I will not constantly worry about whether my clothes are in or not. I will not worry whether my hair is perfectly in place, or whether I have the next best thing. As a sister missionary, I have been constantly dripping with sweat and zero make up this past summer. I have learned nobody else really cares what I wear or how I look -- they are all too busy fussing over themselves.  It is the inner beauty and heart that really matters!

I will not stew over whether I will get to see the Eiffel tower, the river banks of Italy,
 New York´s flashing lights, or live in a big house with a pool in the backyard. Being away from home for a year and a half makes me realize that none of those things are very important. Heck, I´ve been living in Spain! Is that to fulfill ones dream or to make one feel complete? No. In fact my memories with my family are more precious than any beautiful site. Memories are made when a child climbs onto your lap, you play a three hour game of canasta, you have the family Suburban break down on your way to Lake Powell, and watching your little sister cheer. They are not made in vacation destinations. 

I won´t have a tizzy  on my birthday because I¨m getting older. (I had a big meltdown about turning 20) Older is good. Older is smarter. Older has more prospective. Older has better priorities.

I won´t toss and turn over not getting the recognition I deserve or not ever opening an area. Fame and riches are shallow and unworthy friends.

Nobody can name the last five Nobel prize winners or even the ten richest people in the world. But almost everybody can tell you which teacher put an arm around him and helped him through a bad time, or who taught them how to find, teach, and  baptize, or who brought her flowers, and who helped her when she cried! I will remember that.

I believe I can´t quit the fight. To conquer doesn´t always mean to be the best or destroy something; it just means I can´t surrender ever though it seems I am losing the battle. Its not always a win/lose situation. Sometimes the victory is to just have endured.

I believe our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses. When I find something I´m really good at, its time to analyze they very thing to discover how it weakens me.

I believe support is wonderful... but a person succeeds first in their head and heart, all alone, like Christ in Gethsemane. Even though the disciples waited at the gate, He was ultimately alone. Life is not always a team sport. I may have friends or all the love of a family but on my mission and in my life´s race, my body and bones lift  my tired legs one after another. Its my forehead sweating and my chest that screams for air. I have had to learn to build that inner strength and learn to trust it; I can endure much more than I give myself credit for.

My mission is living proof of that. I made it. I did it. I went and I did. I have done all that the Lord has asked of me. I know on Friday, when I leave this beautiful country, I will be able to smile and finally relax knowing that I gave my WHOLE HEART to this place and people. To my Savior. I have to testify that I KNOW HE lives. I know it because I have felt Him in the moments when I didn´t feel I could walk anymore. I know this church is true. I have seen this gospel change lives. I have come to understand what charity really is and how the atonement works. How it changes people. And how its changed me. I would talk about all the changes but..... I guess I´ll just have to tell you in person :) I am Hermana Brown. This is who I am. I know by the end of this week the chapa  (name tag) will be off, but these roots have sunk deep into my heart. I will forever be Hermana Brown. I know this isn´t the end, its only the beginning. 

And for the very last time,
With all the love in my heart,

Hermana Brown

I will miss these beautiful people!!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Final Countdown!!!!!

I left with dark hair and pale skin. I´m coming home so darn tan and blonde. What? I guess spain will do that to ya!

Can I just say that all yesterday I had the song blasting in my head: ITS THE FINAL COUNTDOOOWWWNNN! Ba-da-bum-bum-bum!! Yes. I guess my countdown is a little different than those at home. Why? Because I´m so darn far away from everyone (8 hour bus ride back to Malaga), I will leave Cartagena next Wednesday morning. Yes. I said NEXT Wednesday. As in a week. I just have one week left. Liiiiiiiiiike.... one. Note the freak out? Ya, I´m starting to freak out. Yesterday was ten days left here in the field. WHAT. No. Shoot. Que hago? Ahhhhhh. FREAK OUT. So I´m now down to single digits here in Cartagena with my family. Because Thursday I will need to have my interview with President Deere, turn in all my residency stuff, and have our final reunion in the mission home. Then Friday..... I can´t even think about that yet. I was having a lovely conversation with my old companion and best friend Hermana Flake and we both feel the same. The closer the date comes, the farther away it feels. I don´t know why but 9 days feels soooooo long. Three months seemed shorter. And I´m grateful for that. I want this week to feel long because I am so scared for it to end. Really I´m fine, because that still feels like an eternity away. But then I think about how I start college in two weeks from today.... and.... okay. That's when the hyperventilation comes in. Don´t panic. ha.

Found this mirror.... who wouldn´t want two hermana browns? Am I right or am I right?

So many have been asking about my new companion and how its going. She´s wonderful! Her name is Hermana Jones and she´s from Seattle, Washington. She´s 19 and came from the Madrid MTC. And wow. She´s doing great. As many as you know, I spent my first couple of weeks crying on the bathroom floor but she is doing just fine. So happy and hasn´t even shed a tear. (Well, from what I´ve seen) She´s a champ. President Deere called us last night to check up on her and then I talked to him. I told him just that and he made a good point. He said "Hermana. She´s really a sharp girl and really prepared. But think about it. She´s with two missionaries who know what their doing and love the work and is very cushioned. You were with a trainer who had the same amount of time as you in the mission and opened an area. Then you went from one frying pan to the other. Don´t feel bad." hahaha I was like...... okay. yep. You´re right. He always is! In fact, please have President Deere in your prayers. His brother passed away this week and there is nothing he can do being so far away. So he has been one of the focal points of my prayers and I hope you´ll remember him in yours too.

My two beautiful companions!

Hermana Jones, I love her!

Beautiful Cartagena!

I had a super profound message written in my journal..... then I forgot my journal. We have spent all day at Mamita´s house with all the young women. We had a auction-fashion-show-kind-of-thing. I have officially given away all my clothes. All. Its so hard to find modest clothes here in Spain. Things like Shade and Downeast don´t exist. So I now currently own three skirts and three shirts. hahaha but one thing my mom has been so good in teaching me is the phrase "Because I have been given much I too must give." We are so blessed in the states. More than you can even imagine. And I decided that's one of the ways I can leave my legacy here in Cartagena. My little mark.
I´m about to start my last full week as a missionary. Just writing that made my heart sink to my toes. I look at my chapa  (missionary badge) and tears begin to sting my eyes. I love being a missionary. I love it. I love who I am here. I love what I do. I love the people I´m with. I LOVE this ward. They are like family to me and to think I only have a week left with them breaks me up into pieces. Because sure, normally when you leave an area you know you are going to another area with more people to know and fall in love with. A member/missionary relationship is so special. I know I´m never going to feel this way again. Then I´ll just be the member. But I know that all good things must come to an end. Life has to move on. I know. I´m not sure if I´m quite ready for it. And luckily, I don´t have to be yet. I have one more week. Filled with visiting members and finding and teaching and being with Aida and the kids and just loving every moment. It goes by so fast. I never believed that. I never thought this would come. But it has.
Being with a new missionary has made me realize just how much I have learned and how much I have changed. Like woah. My mission was an incredibly large, steep mountain placed in front of me. At the beginning I didn´t like climbing it. It hurt. Luckily I have had amazing companions and friends that have pulled me up when I was down and have helped me keep climbing. But there has been one above all that has carried my bag and lifted me when I had no more strength.... And that's my Savior Jesus Christ. He´s the reason I have finished my mission. He´s the reason I´ve changed. He´s the one I owe all this to. I have done impossible things. I really don´t even know how I´m still here or alive but I am. And that's because through the Savior´s atonement I have been strengthened and healed. And now. Standing at the top of this incredible mountain, I can feel the rays of God´s love and how proud he is of me!  I can smile at the sun, take that deep breath and say.... I´ve made it. I did that really hard thing. I am eternally grateful to my Savior. Seriously, I love Him so much. I have one more week to completely express all the gratitude I have in my heart and show Him that I truly love him by feeding his sheep.
Pray for me okay?
I love you all! 
See ya´ll next week.
Hermana Brown

Our Zone!

Cartagena District

Monday, August 4, 2014


"You do a grand work each day!" DANG STRAIGHT!

August. August. Woah. What. August. I´m scared of August. Very scared. I have a wonderful family calender hanging on my wall and last Friday when I had to turn it to August, I slowly sat down on the floor and just cried. NOOOOOOOOOO. What? How has this happened? One of the craziest things in the world to think... I go home this month. THIS MONTH! Woooaaaahhhhhhh. Ya. All the missionaries treat me like I´m already dead. So its whatever. People ask me if I¨m trunky and I think a better word would be anxious. Just trying to make the most of every moment and accept that the end is coming. 

This week was a good one and I really love the mission. Yesterday was one of the best sacrament meetings I have ever sat in. Ever. I just cried the whole time. One of the strongest times I have felt the spirit. Maybe because my three little recent converts got up and bore their testimonies. Britney, Nerea, and Dylan. Until you meet these kids you have no idea just how special they are. They brought the spirit so strong and I felt like a proud mom looking up at my three kids. HA! I love them so much. Then testimony after testimony were little kids. As a ward, we fasted for our member in Columbia who was in a gunshot accident. For a lot of the children, this was their first fast and they all had something to say. Little children are so powerful. Their testimonies are so pure. Then parent after parent bore testimony of fasting and how we must learn through little children. Our member in Columbia has come out of her coma and is on the road to recovery. Miracles. We are a church who believes in miracles. And we have seen one this week. 

Also we have been taking a big focus on member missionary work. I haven´t ever talked about the members here in Cartagena but they are INCREDIBLE! Literally the best there are. I love them. Especially one family. Pepe and Fina Ponce. Pepe is our ward mission leader and like my dad here in Cartagena. We were talking about how to get the ward up and moving in missionary work when the conversation turned to me going home. I said "the problem is that there is really no missionary work to be done where I live. I live in mormonlandia. I wish I could put this into practice." Then he started drilling me on all the people I know. And what happened? HE BLEW MY MIND. I realized just how many people there are in my life that need the accept the gospel. People that have already said no or people that don´t want to change. Every time I brought up a name and the reason it would be impossible to share the gospel with them, he just looked at me and said "Hermana Brown. What have you been doing for the last year and a half in your life? Telling these members that if there is a will, there´s a way. Are you going to go home and give up on everything you have preached?" Woooooooooaaah. Talk about a smack upside the head! I will always remember what Pepe Ponce said when I brought up why I know that person won´t accept the gospel.

"Look for an opportunity in every problem you encounter."

I realized something that day. All you Mormon's in Utah. I´m talking to you. There is so much work to be done. So many people that need our help. Look for them. I also realized that pretty soon I will be that member missionary. That this is coming to an end and I will never be able to teach with this power and authority again. That I have just 18 short days to go and go and go. But going home does not mean my mission is ending. On the contrary. On my new agenda I have the quote written:

"In his plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."

My work continues here for three more weeks then on through forever. I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!

Also my baby (greenie)  comes on Wednesday. WOOHOO! Be expecting pictures :) LOVE YOU ALL!

Hermana Brown

Remember that one time when the elders had our keys and we didn´t realize until 10:15 at night? Ya. Talk about LOCKED OUT! They poor elders had to come 30 minutes to give them back. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa..... things that happen on your mission!

Buy my Spanish cooking-wear :) OOOOOOLAY!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sooooo.... this is really awkward.... I don´t really know how to tell you all.... It just came as such a surprise..... We weren´t even expecting this.... Soo... Ummmmmmm...... WE¨RE HAVING A BABY! hahahahah yep, you heard that right! Hermana Herrera and I are training next transfer! Woohoo! I´m really excited. I think this will be such a wonderful way to finish. My last two weeks will be with a newbie so I won´t even be able to talk about going home. The Lord is very smart. I need this little greenie! Other than.... ha. When President called on Friday, he asked me to walk out of the room. He asked if my companion was ready to train and I told him yes of course! Then he told me "Now Hermana Brown, I know you. YOU are NOT the trainer. Hermana Herrera is. You are there to just help. Okay?" hahahaha I just laughed awkwardly and said okay. So when I say we are having a baby, really its just my companion but hey, I AIN¨T DEAD YET! So tomorrow my comp goes to Malaga for trainer´s training. Then next week she will go down again to pick her up. And who gets stuck in Cartagena? THIS GIRL! Whatever. I´m over it. But that's new and exciting!

Also, a little Book of Mormon love session. Anyone who knew me before the mission, knows that I am a crazy fourteen year old fan girl. I love Taylor Swift and One Direction and all those fluffy things. And when I say I am one of the CRAZY fan girls, I mean it. This week I focused my study on the war chapters in the book of Alma. Before the mission, I called those chapters (along with the Isaiah chapters) the DEATH chapter. All it talks about are wars and different parts of the land and no spiritual things. Looking back now, I just wasn´t looking at them with spiritual eyes. I LOVE THOSE CHAPTERS. This week, I have just been so obsessed. And Captain Moroni is such a boss! I have a feeling when I get to the spirit world, I´m going to go all crazy fan girl again. hahaha "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh! Its Moroni!! I need his autograph!  I will be holding up a handmade sign saying "Moroni, will you marry me?" Just like  I did for David Archuleta.  AHHHHHHHHH!" hahahaha that will be a funny day. But really I can´t wait to meet him and Joseph Smith and Moses and all these AMAZING people. I invite all of you to go read those war chapters. THEY ARE THE BEST!

So the work here is going fine. Walter and Jose Manuel didn´t get baptized. I swear Satan does all he can to stop someone from getting baptized. Walter just needs to stop drinking then he will be ready. I pray that I will be able to see him baptized before I leave. Pray for us will ya?

Missions are such interesting things. I swear as a sister missionary there should be an added paragraph on your call letter. "You have been called to be a shoulder to cry on and to give constant love to all those that are struggling. Just give love and love and love and so much love until you have no more left then dig a little deeper and give some more." STORY OF MY MISSION! Yesterday was a very sad day. A member family here in Cartagena went to Columbia for vacation. A man came up and tried to rob them. When they resisted, he pulled out a gun and shot everyone of them. The two daughters and husband are injured but fine. Its the mom who took a shot in the head and we are waiting to hear the news. Our whole ward was in tears yesterday and I held more crying women than I have held my whole mission combined. And THAT'S saying something. We are all still in shock and have to trust that this is all part of God´s plan. But yesterday was just so hard and we all just cried. I have seen so much suffering on my mission. So much heartache. So much emotional weight has been placed on my shoulders time and time again that I have stretched and grown more than words can describe. Our stake president said something so profound this week. He said "When we are in pain, we are sanctified." I have seen that so many times of my mission. When we are in pain, that's when we turn to God. That's when we learn Christ-like attributes. Patience, meekness, humility, long suffering. We change. I know that why we learn and change so much on missions. Because we are constantly doing hard things. There is a song by Hillary Weeks called Prove Me. I can hardly listen to it without tears swelling my eyes.

I will step into the fires where you love can purify me
and I´ll stay until you say I´m through.
Wash away all the flaws and every earthly imperfection
until my will turns to you.
Until I trust without hesitation.
When humility has chased away the pride.
Until that day and through your grace I´m welcomed home,
until then,

My mission. The Lord has thrown trial and after trial and I have been trying to move through them and have all my hard edges made smooth and all my stains made clean. That hurts but in the end I am so grateful. I have loved my mission. I love it. I LOVE MY MISSION. AND I LOVE YOU!

Hermana Brown

PS. Go listen to the song. You won´t regret it!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Most Important Day On My Mission

Alright. We need to talk. How in the world do I have just one month left? Is that even real? When you are on a mission you  have to look at it like you are never leaving. Like the mission will never end. When you realize.... Ohhhhh. Shootie. The next 21st of the month I won´t be here in Cartagena........ WOAH!!!    NOT OKAY! THERE IS TOO MUCH TO DO! I would be lying if I said I wasn´t excited because I cannot WAIT to see my family. But don´t worry amigos. We testify of the importance of enduring to the end and I intend on following my own advice. We have lots to do here!

This was a very exciting week! Last Monday and Tuesday, I had to go back on the 9 hour trip to Málaga to finish my residency. Only this time I had a friend to go down with. Elder Turley. He was in the CCM with me but MAN! Lets talk about WE-IRD! Nine hours with just an elder does not happen! Then when arrived in Malaga I was the only Hermana with ten Elders. hahaha I felt so uncomfortable!! To the point where I just helped Hermana Deere cook and didn´t leave her side. When it came time to sleep I realized I would have to sleep alone. President Deere realized that I was about to have a panic attack so he brought up one of the mattresses and I slept in the living room right next to their door. Now THAT'S something you will never forget. That's when I realized..... ooooooooo ya I´m not sure how I´m going to handle this whole "real life" thing. We woke up Wednesday morning and got all the residency stuff done then I had another nine hours on the bus ride back. An exciting little vacation when I realized just how weird I had become. Yay.

Yesterday was one of the most important days on my mission. I don´t know why I haven´t said anything before but we have been preparing for the 20th of July for a long, long time. Because here is the deal. There are three wards here in Cartagena. Two of which only have 80 in attendance each week. Then there is the 3rd ward. My ward. We have between 150 to 170 each week. We are on the verge of splitting but with the other two wards, THERE IS NO ROOM! Literally we don´t have seats. You can´t breathe in the hallways. So our stake president has been fighting to have another chapel built here in Cartagena. The Area Presidency said no until 2018. President Marmol freaked out and kept fighting to the point where The Area Presidency sent one of the Area Seventy to our ward to see if it really is necessary to build another church. So we have worked SOOOOOOOOOOOO hard for this day when Elder Obando came. And want to know what happened? We had 12 investigators in church, 8 less actives and a total of 201 people in church! It was incredible. I have never seen a church so filled. I realize that's not very much in Utah but here in Spain that is UNHEARD OF! We made history! It was so stressful and I had butterflies all Sunday morning because if we as missionaries failed.... all of Cartagena would suffer for the next 5 years..... All I pray is that it was enough and they start the construction of the new church! 

Elder Obando :) Area Seventy :) Not something you see every day!

This is our youth class. There wasn´t even a class room for them!

Investigator Class.... My joy is full.....

I don´t have much time and those were the two most exciting events of my week. Life here is good. We should be having two baptisms this Sunday! Remember Walter and his son Jose Manuel? Ya. They are getting dunked.  Then we should have Bryan on the 3rd of August. And we found the most incredible family to be baptized on the 10th :) So when I said I have lots to do this last month.... I MEAN IT!  The work is moving forward here in Cartagena, bringing souls unto Christ.

Peace out.

Hermana Brown

This is what happens when you let little kids take advantage of you :) 

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Few Things I have Learned

Another week has gone by and yesterday I realized that I´m under 40 days now. I can hardly think that without tearing up because I don´t want this to end. People tease me all the time asking if I´m trunky and my answer is....... Well, no more than usual! hahaha I think I´m more stressed than anything trying to find, teach, and baptize while I have this power and authority. You know? A mission is a once in a lifetime experience. So I´m trying so hard to stay focused. The best way to do that is just loving the people. I´m trying to focus all my time and talents on them so that I have zero time to think about myself. Or the future. Especially the future. 

Cartagena is a wonderful place. All my areas have done something for me. Have molded me in the way the Lord needs me to be. As I was thinking about Cartagena, I can say that here is where I have been sanctified. I have had so many questions and I have needed so many answers my whole mission. And I don´t know why, but here in Cartagena, everything has clicked. Answers to questions that I have been praying about for years. And there is the trick: Prayer. Here in Cartagena my testimony of prayer has grown and the way I pray is different. I have learned a thing or two on prayer so yesterday I decided to write down all the things. 

I lave learned to say "I´m sorry when I pray, take my shame humbly before the Lord, to take responsibility for my actions.

I´m learning to forgive --everybody, everything, every time-- because I truly want to be forgiven.

I´m also learning to pray to love those more whom I have loved less. I understand why God requires this of us. He loves us all more. He wants us to become like him.

I have learned  that kneeling and speaking aloud to our Father in a quiet place daily allows me to speak with God, person to person. I feel as though He is waiting on my every word.

Be formal; be informal; be always prayerful. I try to walk and talk with God every moment. That way I am constantly receptive to the Holy Ghost.

I leave learned to ask for daily guidance from the Holy Ghost.

I have learned to ask what I should pray for -- asking in a prayer what to say in a prayer.

I have learned that the Holy Ghost translates and delivers our pleading and praises to our Father even when we can´t find the words to express our deepest joy or darkest sorrow.

I have learned that Good can communicate to me on important matters and that He can say no.

I have learned to pray to recognize temptations, no matter how subtle, and for the strength to flee from sin once recognized and to avoid going counter to God´s will for me.

I have learned to pray for the strength to meet challenges, not have them removed.

RESIST THE DEVIL, AND HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU. James 4:7 I have learned we can all lose desire for sin. One day we will simply ignore the devil, not interested in what he offers because we are so mightily interested in the promises of our Father to share all he has with us.

So I don´t just pray to not be led into temptation, I pray to be led into understanding of God´s will for me.

I have learned the diminishing usage of "vain repetitions."

I have learned how the Holy Spirit speaks with us, spirit to spirit, putting words into our minds in the customized, unmistakable way only he can communicate to each of us individually.

I have learned that God can say yes!

I am continuing to learn that answers come in unexpected ways.

I am learning to sort out his impressions from my own ideas.

I´ve learned that the Lord´s thoughts are not my thoughts -- they are higher.

Don´t forget. God has been giving answers for a long, long time and commanded those who have received them to take notes. Search the scriptures.

I have learned to WRITE DOWN every spiritual experience. I have found some of my strongest answers come from my own journal.

I´ve learned another kind of "no". I have learned, and still continue to learn, to obey. To endure something that is totally against my will. I am beginning to learn "thy will, not mine, be done." 

I have learned that uniting our prayers with others changes things. Unity is powerful in prayer.

I have learned as we work our way out of depression, we move from focusing on our own coping to noticing once more the needs of others around us. We can fill our prayers with the names of others.

I have learned that its our hearts that need to change and will change.

I have learned the strongest prayer is a prayer of gratitude. There is nothing that invokes the powers of heaven more strongly deep hearted gratitude.

Gratitude can be contagious. I have received my most powerful answers through prayers of gratitude.

I understand how Enos and others could have prayed all night.

I´ve learned that counting blessings with all the energy of heart can be a glorious, communing experience and that it will leave your heart filled with love.

I have also learned that His love fortifies us for the pain and disappointment that are part of this earth life. After tribulations, cometh great blessings.

I´ve learned to pray when I don´t feel like it. How Satan must laugh as we abandon praying instead of hurrying to our knees to be nurtured and cleansed.

Prayer changes things. I´ve learned that prayer is our pathway to mighty change.

I have learned your desire to pray will grow in you as you read the scriptures. You will close the book with a renewed desire to speak with the author.

I have learned to breathe in the peace that comes from prayer and understand when Heavenly Father says "Just be patient. This will pass. Everything will be alright in the end." 

I am learning the meaning of sanctification. This sacred process is my own will being swallowed up in the will of the Fathers. Wanting nothing more than to see the Lord´s will done. 

I still have a long ways to go. I still struggle to understand God´s purposes, to align my will with his. The process continues in me. I know God listens. I have felt moments when I have barged my way through heaven´s door and my Father in Heaven is waiting on my every word. I know that miracles only come after dipping heart-deep in prayer. I have seen miracles. I know that prayer is the only avenue to true peace. I´m so grateful for my mission and that I have been able to apply this simple principle and understand the depth of its power. Go talk to God will ya? I promise He´s waiting for you.

Hermana Brown

A little morning Jog... Caragena, so beautiful.....

Zone Conference!!! Reunited with Hermana Flake....

Monday, July 7, 2014

Spain will ALWAYS have a piece of my HEART!

We took a wrong bus and got dropped off in the desert. There wasn´t another bus for two hours..... OOPS! 

My compy comp :) Hermana Herrera :) She is 21 and from Ecuador but lives in Madrid :)

She´s the best! 

First off, apology for no post last week :)  It was a crazy week and it literally flew by! Which is a scary thing when I only have six more weeks..... WHAT? I am officially starting my last transfer in my mission and I´m not quite sure how it has passed by so fast. Like.... I´m freaking out a little bit. Especially since tomorrow we have our multi-zone conference in Murcia. Our mission has these conferences about 3 times a year. Tomorrow we will be with 80 missionaries and a very special one......... HERMANA FLAKE! I´m literally jumping up and down I´m so excited! I haven´t seen her since March. And on top of that.... I´ll be giving my dying testimony. A tradition in our mission is that at your last zone conference you give your last testimony on what you have learned on your mission. I just can´t believe that day has already come. I have seen missionaries for the best year and a half cry their eyes out at this moment. And now I´m just like..."Ummm.... I still feel like a baby out here in the mission....." hahaha So that will be tough tomorrow.

But this week was an interesting one. Literally just traveling down to Malaga and back for 3 days. Have I ever mentioned that I am closer to Barcelona than Malaga? Fact. So I had lots of time to think and read and write. In fact. My bus ride back was.... interesting.
 I somehow managed to get on a bus that stopped in FIFTEEN pueblos and takes ELEVEN hours. That's literally the same amount of time to California from Utah. So during this half a country adventure we stopped in a little pueblo called Vélez Blanco for an hour. Everyone got off the bus and what was I going to do? Sit there in the heat for an hour? NO! So I got off and lost my myself in the streets of Spain. I suddenly found myself in a park surrounded by European, iron gated apartments with purple flowers falling from the windowsills. I looked up to see an old, abandoned castle and all I thought was.... woah.... I´m in Spain. SPAIN! I LOVE  SPAIN! I took advantage of the moment and sat down on a broken stone edge and began to write. This is what I wrote...

Strange pueblos and being lost on cobblestone streets. Dancing in my spinning skirt with my braid slowly coming undone. I am coming undone. Hair is falling and so is my heart. Twirling, prancing, and swaying for this country I love so much. The Spanish air. The purple flowers from the vintage windows. The abandoned cathedrals. Every inch of this place calls my name and beckons me to just let go. Take that deep breath and say "Spain, you own my heart. Here it is and when I leave in 50 days know that a part of me will always stay here with you." I´m lost in Spain and I think I don´t want to be found. I want to smell the roses and the dancing flamenco feet. Clack clack clack. To read soft, lovely words in a new language I now know. To feel the incense from the dry earth and love of all things God has woven into my soul day after day with the hope that in 50 days... when my time is up... I leave as the beautiful Spaniard that has danced around my head. Spain has a piece of my heart. I have given it freely. And there is a beautiful rule that states "When you give, you receive even more." And by the curls in my hair to the blisters on my toes, I can whisper back to my dear country "You have my heart and I have yours." Love is a funny thing and I sometimes wonder how many times I can split this pumping organ in my heart. But I am coming to find that the more I slice and break and tear this part of me that feels very small, it is mended and healed and sewed back together by the grateful smiles and kisses from from my warm sun. My freckles show that Spain loves me too. That I have his heart too. I know that no goodbye is forever and that this will always be sacred ground. If home is where the heart is then these rolling mountains and white houses have found their home in my heart. Spain is home.

I love Spain. I also love America :)  The best of both worlds!   We had a big fourth of July party with all the missionaries in Cartagena! 

Soooooo there´s my life. Catch ya´ll next week! LOVE YOU!

Hermana Brown