Category Archives: Sister Brown

Parting Testimony

zdravo,

This will probably be my last email as a full time missionary.  As I write this email, my heart is full of emotion and the peace of a loving Father in Heaven.  I could have never imagined a year and a half ago how hard leaving this beautiful country would be; it’s really trying and testing my faith.

How to describe my mission experience?  I would choose one word, or maybe two:  Conversion and Mercy.

I was not prepared for the emotional and physical trials that awaited me on this mission, but I am so eternally grateful for them.  I will probably never be able to express my gratitude fully enough, but it fills my soul and deepens my love for God.  I know that God mercifully picked the perfect mission where I would be shaped, molded, refined, and pushed to every extreme possible in order to grow.

In His infinite mercy, He called me in my weakness to be a part of His eternal work.  I could go on for years about what a mission has taught me, and in the future I probably will.  But I know I have changed because I have learned what God has wanted me to learn and because I have given God the things that were hard for me to give.  With God’s help, I humbled myself to the best of my ability, and I learned how to really talk with God.

I have loved deeper than I ever thought possible.  I have worked harder than I ever have in my life.  I have more peace and joy than ever before.

In essence I was changed.  That is the true miracle of the Atonement.  God can take us as raw materials, and with the permission of our willing hearts, shape and mold them into a Christ-like character.  That is true conversion.

I marvel sometimes at the love that God must have for me.  He sent me half-way around the world and orchestrated the perfect opportunities for me to learn and grow.  How much meticulous thought and effort does He take with each of our lives?  In His mercy, He has made it possible for me to change.  I truly found myself on my mission because I found God.

I love God.  He is, and forever will be, my teacher, my adviser, and my Father.  His loving arms reach out to me through the Atonement of His son forever.  I know life can be difficult.  But I know through Christ’s Atonement we can use life’s difficult experiences as catalysts for change.

I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and Joseph Smith was a prophet, called of God.  That knowledge gives me the strength to do anything.

I know the Lord’s work will continue to grow here and across the world.  It is exciting to see it progressing so quickly.  I will miss being a part of it as a full time missionary.

I will miss Slovenija; it truly is my heart and soul.  The people and their kindness, the wonderful food, and beautiful nature will forever live inside of me.  I know it is only because of God that I had the privilege to experience it all.  In gratitude, I will continue to love and serve Him the best way I know how, in whatever He wants me to do.  In that service there is true peace.

I hope we all will one day have the privilege to feel as I do now, because there is no better thing in the world than wearing your life out in the service of your God.

Sestra Brown

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Exactly Where I Am Supposed to Be

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This week flew by.  It started with an amazing zone conference that was really uplifting.  It was so crazy to bear my testimony to the zone for the final time.  Of course I could barely keep it together, but the conference was great.  We received a lot of inspiration for ourselves and also for those around us.

Towards the end of the week we had an exchange with Maribor.  I stayed in Celje with Sister R, my former trainee.  It was an amazing experience seeing how we have really changed since 5 months ago.  Both of us had a great time contacting all day and teaching.  She is one of the most humble people I know.  Seeing her was a testimony to me that God shapes us as we do our best.  Maybe I sound like a broken record, but I feel God keeps showing me that I have changed.  It remained undetectable during the process, but now it seems so clear.  I know that through the Atonement we can change; it’s the catalyst in our lives.

This week I read a really good talk that clicked for me.  It was like God put everything I have been wondering about and studying into one talk.  Life isn’t only about doing the right things, but doing them with the right attitude.  Although I don’t always have a good attitude and sometimes still feel grumpy, I felt a change as I realized that when we know that the course of life we are pursuing is acceptable to God, our faith is strengthened and we can weather any storm.  We will find joy in what we are doing because we want to do it, we are excited to do it.  Sometimes as silly as it sounds, it takes faith to love doing something that the natural man doesn’t like to do.  Even hard things bring us joy if we know we are following God’s will.  Instead of gritting our teeth and enduring a trial, we come to realize that the Lord knows what’s best for us.  And that makes all the difference.

This week I realized that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and doing what God wants me to do.  I have been so much happier, and the work has been unfolding in beautiful and miraculous ways.  Acceptance and love of God’s will for us in our lives is the key to happiness.  Of that I am sure.  I hope this week we can truly accept God’s will, to seek it and to accept it, and then joyfully continue on our way.  I love this work and hope you are all doing well.

Sestra Brown

Oops…Is That the Croatian Border?!

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We got entirely lost this week and it was so funny.  We had all of our lessons on Thursday fall through so we decided to try and locate some people who live outside of Celje.  We hopped on a train that we were told connected the two cities we needed to visit.  So thinking I knew what was going on, I said we should get off at the farther city and then work our way back.  So we got on this little train and off we went.

An hour later we started seeing signs for the Croatian border.  Then we saw the boarder about a half mile to the left of the train.  So we looked at each other, and then the train stopped.  We looked around and we were in the middle of nowhere.  I asked the conductor who had taken my ticket where our stop was.  He replied, “Oh, you should have gotten off a half an hour ago and transferred trains…why didn’t you ask earlier?”  So we waited and re-calculated, and got back on the train to go to the first city.

Once we got there, we found out that the address really wasn’t in the city; we needed to walk 3km to the next town.  When we got there we didn’t know where to go.  So we went to the only thing around, the local bakery.  We bought something and asked the girl working there where the address was.  While we were waiting for our order to heat up, she asked us what we were doing.  It turned out that she knew who we were looking for, and got us her phone number!  It was at that moment that I knew that God was guiding us.  There is no other way we would have been at the right time and place to meet this person.  It was such a faith building experience to me that demonstrates God always knows where we are, even if we are totally lost.  He has a plan, and as long as we are trying, it will work out.

Last week I attended my final Missionary Leadership Counsel.  I learned a lot about revelation from the meeting.  It was really great.  We were able to discuss what makes a meeting spiritual.  We came to the conclusion that one thing that makes a meeting spiritual is the receiving of revelation.  I was also reading a talk this week called “Having the Vision to Do”. (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/having-the-vision-to-do?lang=eng)  I think what was discussed at the meeting and this talk go hand-in-hand, and it really helped me this week.  The talk says the way that we can build our faith is by gaining a vision of how the Savior sees us, and then act on that vision.  Essentially, you gain revelation about who you can become, and then work to become that person, trusting God will help.

Thanks for all the love and support.  I hope that you are all doing well and have an increase of vision this week, and act with courage on that vision.  I know that God will help you.

Sestra Brown

“Not in a Million Years”…Umm…

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This week as a pretty normal week.  We had exchanges with the Ljubljana Sisters and we didn’t do anything crazy for P-day.  The weather was getting sunnier, but then it got cold again.  I am still praying for a warm spring before I leave, although it looks like it will snow again this week, so who knows what will happen.

This week I saw a miracle.  On Friday we had a district finding activity in the city center.  We all decided that we should start in the middle of the plaza, and while being able to see and hear each other, each take a street direction and contact individually.  What was so cool about this experience is that I remember someone suggesting the same thing when I was in Ljubljana about a year ago.  I remember the fear that filled me at the time.  I remember saying and thinking, “No way, not in a million years”, and my companion and I awkwardly standing there waiting for me to make up my mind what we should do.  I remember not doing anything, and letting my companion go up to people and talk to them while I stood next to her.  Well a million years got shortened through the Lord’s time, because on Friday I contacted by myself for three straight hours!  I just did it!  Sure I was scared, but I did it anyway.  And you know what?  It wasn’t so bad.  It was probably the fastest three hours of my life, and I handed out five Book of Mormons.

I know that this is God’s work, and that it is only by Christ’s atonement that I am able to accomplish what He wants.  I love that I have this time to grow and to serve God.  I know that He is working miracles in my life.  I know that it is because of Him that I am changing.  I hope this week we can all see the hand of God in our life, and how He is changing us.

Love you all,

Sestra Brown

Donning the Kurant Costume

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This was the week of Pust!  So we went to Ptuj and ate our fair share of donuts.  The town was pretty much dead when we got there, but as we continued to stick around it livened up.  The best part was the Kurants. (http://www.slovenia.si/culture/tradition/kurents/)  Seriously amazing.  It was like someone dressed up and ran around banging pots and pans, except with cow bells and people jumping up and down.  I have some great videos.  We were able to dress up, so that was funny too.  I’m just hoping it worked and that winter is really scared away now.  (http://youtu.be/9HOLTkgVnQA)

This week I thought and studied more about the Atonement and why we need it.  I have been thinking a lot about my mission and how much more I could have done if I knew what I know now.  I think the times when we feel this way, we really must trust God and have faith in the Atonement.  Although we don’t know why it took us so long to get to where we are, we can be assured that what we have learned and accomplished in the process is for our benefit.

God has promised that if we continue to change to become more like him, He will consecrate our efforts for our benefit.  We need to have faith in that!  Change is a hard thing in any form, and sometimes it can seem impossible.  But with God’s help we can overcome any difficulty and have everything work together for our good.  I am so grateful for every day of my life that I have to change and become better and to leave the past behind, no matter how good or bad it was, and look to the future.  I love the freedom that we have because of the Atonement and that we can choose to live our lives without fear.  I hope this week that we all focus on having more faith in our ability to become better and do more together with Christ.

I am doing really well and loving it here!  Hope that you are all doing well too.  Time to work-off all the donuts I ate this week!

Sestra Brown

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Pust Again!

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This week was pretty great!  It’s starting to turn into spring and I am hoping that with the upcoming Pust holiday we will finally scare away winter.  We walked outside our apartment on Saturday to find a parade and free donuts!  How great is that!  It has been great seeing everyone in costumes walking around for the past couple of days.  You would think it was October or something haha!

We also had an exchange this week with the Kranj Sisters.  Sister B and I were serving again for the last time.  It was wonderful, but just strange because the mission has all happened so fast.  I can see how we both have changed, and I’m excited to see what good she will do at home.  She is so talented.

This week we taught a wonderful lesson to some new people.  They really accepted the message and told us that we could come back!  I am excited to continue to teach them.

On Sunday we had some really great talks in church about judging others, and how we really have no right to judge.  That really got me thinking.  I believe we often are so quick to think something about someone else.  “Why did they do that?” or “What were they thinking?”  But we really have no right to judge them.  We don’t know what they are dealing with.  It’s a lesson that I don’t think I have fully learned.  I know all of us can work on not jumping to conclusions and judging others.  I am excited to become a better person through God’s help.

For our preparation day we are going to one of the local Push festivals today in Ptuj!  There will be lots of costumes.  It truly will be a once in a lifetime opportunity!  I will send pictures next week.

I hope this week we can all focus on following the Savior’s example and bless the lives of others and see them how God sees them.

Thanks for all the support!

Sestra Brown

“Then Will I Make Weak Things Become Strong unto Them”

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This week was meetings, meetings, meetings, but it was also really amazing.  My companion and I met a lot of amazing people who are potentially interested in meeting with us.  We also had a wonderful zone conference and missionary leadership conference.

At zone conference, my companion and I taught about overcoming fear.  It was all about doing the things that are hard for us and becoming stronger.  We did some really great role playing.  I pretended I had to contact a group of teenagers, which is really hard for me.  After sweating a little, I did it and it was really helpful.  We had everyone stand up and say, “The Lord can do this, I can be an instrument.”  I think it was just the right amount of corny and inspiring.

I also talked in church on Sunday, which was a great experience.  I know that this life is all about conquering fear and growing closer to God through obedience and faith.  Sometimes we complicate things too much, when in reality we just need to exercise faith, even when doing the things that are hard for us.  It is still hard for me to talk to large groups of people, but I do it more often now because I know the Lord will bless me for doing what is hard for me.  What is hard for you?  This week I challenge you to focus on a weakness, and God will change it from a weakness to a strength through your efforts and the Atonement.

Love you all and thanks for your support.  Have a great week!

Sestra Brown

“Go to, and Labor in the Vineyard, with Your Might”

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So I am here in Celje and it is so beautiful!  It is such a wonderful place.  It is nice to be in a small city again.  I can see nature everywhere and after the recent snow, I can’t believe how lucky I am to be here.  Moving again was crazy.  You need to pack all the things you own, realize you have a lot of junk, lift it on and off trains, and pull it down cobblestone streets.  It was certainly an adventure.  I am still trying to get my bearings, but I was able to get settled in and now I am getting ready to work hard.

This week I have felt the need to work more diligently with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.  I feel this surge of the Spirit in my life as I try and rededicate myself to God more regularly, and really listen to the Spirit.  It is so important to listen.  That is something I will be really working on this week.  I found this great verse of scriptures today:

He who hath faith to see shall see.  He who hath faith to hear shall hear.  The lame who hath faith to leap shall leap.  (D&C 42:49-51)

I know that as we continue to seek the Spirit with faith, we will find more faith and miracles because they are all around us.

I think sometimes we feel it’s not cool to be spiritual, or that it’s strange or hard to believe.  We may worry that other people think we are not logical.  But we need to open our eyes, ears, and heart to the Spirit because it is a vital part of our lives.  The Spirit will bring us light and life.

My new companion is amazing.  Although she is the newest Sister in Slovenia, she is so faithful and diligent.  She is unafraid to talk to everyone.  I am already learning so much from her.  I get to help her with Slovenian, which has been a joy because she is a really fast learner.

This week we taught a wonderful girl who is definitely prepared.  When we first met with her she already believed it, but just wanted to know about Joseph Smith!  She is so sweet and prays wonderfully.  I am excited to keep helping her!

Thanks for all your prayers and help.  I feel them every day.  I love you all.  I am doing well, and I am proud of you as you further the Lord’s work in your own sphere of influence with His help.

Have a great week!

Sestra Brown