This is where I am!

This is where I am!
This is where I am!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Last email from Guatemala!!

1st Timothy 3:14
These things I write unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:

contacts: 271
Well we had a lot more lessons this week and also 9 investigators in church! there were 2 baby blessings so that's why but when we talked to them after they seemed pretty interested in learning more about the churc
Studying in Patzicia...sooo cold!
h and one of them said they really liked going to church! And then of course H went to church as well. He is still awesome and liking the church more and more. He feels alone in priesthood meeting though so we told our ward mission leader to assign someone to sit with him. 
H didn't go to church and his phone is messed up so it is really hard to get a hold of him.
T and R are willing to get married and baptized. We just need to teach R like...everything. His family are members and so he already knows a lot. I can tell this area is going to see a lot of miracles this month.
Well other than that I really don't know how I feel right now...excited to see my family, sad to leave Guatemala and stop being a missionary. On Sunday I bore my testimony in both wards and then when we were leaving I started saying see you later to everyone and then it hit me..that I wouldn't see them. I don't know - it's possible that I cried a little. This area has been like a refiner’s fire for me but I am glad that I was sent here. Coming on a mission has been the best decision that I have made in my life up to this point and I am grateful that Heavenly Father sent me to this mission to have the companions that I have had and meet the people I have met. So I am not ending with a baptism but I am satisfied with the work I am doing and I know that these people will be baptized in the future.

Well it's time...I love you and can't wait to see you all! You are the best family EVER!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Discouraging week, but still determined to finish strong!

Contacts 294

So last week was probably the worst week of my whole mission (k well maybe not but it didn't exactly go as planned). We didn't achieve ANY of our goals..Ok just one...lessons with converts and less active members. Every time we wanted to meet with H  he didn't show up..I don't know, I think Satan just wanted to see me cry (which is exactly what happened) and I guess I still need to learn more patience and humility. Heavenly Father is going to be teaching me right up until the last minute.
The best thing that happened is that G went to church. He is amazing and I am sad that I won’t be here for his baptism but I know that he will be baptized so that is enough for me. He has changed a lot and I am excited for his family...especially his wife because I know that she has been waiting for this day for a LONG time.
The elders came to our area and talked to H  and Elder Finch said that he can be baptized but H  wants to talk to his family first. Hopefully we see a miracle with him this weekend! Even though it's not about numbers and it's all in God's timing...I really don't want to go home without a baptism my last transfer. 

I am excited to see everyone too but nervous to not be a missionary anymore. Sometimes when I bare my testimony in lessons I start spontaneously crying because I think "you won't be able to bare your testimony as a missionary/representative of Christ soon" so then I just start telling everyone THIS IS THE TRUE CHURCH!!

Can you believe that I will be home next week? Crazy how quick time flies but I am excited to see you and give you a big hug. And I'm not going to drink a coke until I can drink one with you even though mom said to buy one in the airport. 
mom...don't forget that I want some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies waiting for me at home :)

I love you and I can't wait to see you next week..Wow that is weird to say but I Love you so so so so much I have the best family ever :)

I asked her what she was going to do with all these Cortes.  I really doubt she will be wearing them when she gets home.  She said she was having some made into aprons.  But come to our ward on August 18th for her talk, and she may be wearing one...I may wear the one she got for me too.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Photos of her apartment!

This email was from July 23rd, but we have been out of town.
Contacts 330
This week..I lost my agenda. That kind of stunk a bit. S came to church this week after a lot of persuasion...I don't think she is ready and her mom still doesn't want to give her permission to be baptized so we are going to have to drop her for a little while. 

H is doing well. He wasn't able to go to church this weekend but we had a really good lesson with him on Thursday. He told us that he really likes going to church and learning and visiting with us but he still isn't sure because of his family. He said he would pray to know if he should get baptized this weekend. We were supposed to have a lesson with him last night but he wasn't able to show up so we are going to try and meet with him tonight. We have been fasting and praying a lot for him.

We also saw a huge miracle on Sunday. There is a family in one of our wards who the only one who is not a member is the dad. We had them in our agenda like every night this week as a backup plan but never got around to going and then we showed up Sunday and started talking to him about well...the gospel and he had a lot of really great questions all of which we were able to answer and he was happy to be listening. The last time we had visited him he wasn't very positive so it was a COMPLETE change. At the end he started to say that he and his wife had been talking about the church and after talking to her he felt an overwhelming joy. He was like “I don't even know why I was so happy. I just felt good and it was just a really nice feeling.” So then we read Galatians 5 where it says the fruits of the spirit are love JOY...all the others and we were just like you felt the spirit. And he was so content and we challenged him to pray and promised him that if he did he would feel the same way again and he said I hope so. We then challenged him to be baptized the 11th (since he still needs 3 attendances unfortunately...) it was such a great lesson. We both walked away from it super amazed.

M and her sister I weren't able to go to church this week but both promised to be there next week.

So this week we had a zone conference which was good. Elder Hopper and Elder Brienholt both told me that they are expecting lots of packages from me when I get home... We also had zone pday yesterday which was good. We played sports and watched a movie and the Tanners (a missionary couple) made us lasagna, homemade rolls, steamed broccoli, and coconut cream tarts :) yummmmm 
The Pila (Kitchen Sink)

PS- I also found 100 dollars in my suitcase last week. The good news is that I will be able to buy airport lunch! (I put $100 cash in the liner of her suitcase when she left.  I showed it to her and said it was in case of emergency funds.  I guess she had forgotten about it!)
Sleeping arrangements
Back Patio

Stairs she runs for exercise

Mike and Hna Astorga

It was pouring rain that day!
We just got back from a Church History trip back east.  Of course one of the highlights of the trip was finding Hna Astorga who had been her companion for 3 months while she was waiting for her visa to go to the US.  She was working in one of the Joseph Smith homes in Palmyra. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mike's day at the Jordan River Temple
Wow...I was so happy when the secretaries called on Thursday morning!  I almost can't even believe it. I am so freaking proud of my big brother! Thank you all for being such great examples to me! I called the mission office and asked them to give her the news that Michael is going to the Seattle Washington Mission on August 28th!

Contacts 278
So this last week I was getting frustrated with all the people that don't want to receive the gospel. Not like angry frustrated just sad frustrated because we are seriously trying so hard to help them and when we go through so much in the mission and we are only here for them and they don't even want to open their doors! Even when their dogs almost ate us! But then one morning in my studies I was just thinking about it all and the truth is that our job isn't to convince them that what we are saying is true. We are here to testify and to challenge and to teach the restored gospel to as many people that will listen. To testify in every contact and every opportunity and they have to pray and make the decision. We can't do everything for them we can only teach them what we know to be true and hope that they accept it. What we are doing here is giving EVERYONE the opportunity to hear the gospel so that in the last day we won’t be guilty for not doing our best. We do everything we can and hope that they do their part as well so that Heavenly Father will do his part. The most important thing is to remember that this is the true church of Christ, this is his gospel, and if they are ready they will listen. We need to do our part and let them have their agency. We are just going to keep looking for new investigators and have lessons in the street and in the stores and in the doorsteps and in every place we can so that everyone will have the chance to receive the gospel since they don't want to actually let us into their homes.

Hna Tobar and Hna Brown - Companeras
 The members actually help a lot (well a good sized handful) so that is great. We have had family nights every Monday since I have been here. We actually had 2 yesterday which went really well. It's been a hard few weeks since a lot of people tell us no here but we are going to work harder to have at least the 12 new investigators to make the mission standard (since last week we only had 5). We would've had 12 but they didn't want to receive the second visit. We are just going to testify a lot more and rely more on the spirit.  
I will send you a picture of the other cortes I bought next week. They are super cute! I have one for you that will have a draw string and be like a normal skirt but it's kind of plain so I hope you like it...if not...that's ok we can get you a different one when we go down in December :)
Well have a great time in New York! Make sure you look for Hermana Astorga EVERYWHERE!! You have to meet her! (Hna Astorga is the sister from Guatemala who was called to the Rochester, NY mission, but she had problems getting a visa to the US, so she was Carolyn’s companion for a few months. We do have plans to meet her!)
I love you all so much! Have a great week hope all is well! LOVE YOU 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Contacts 271

Hna Alvarado, her 2nd trainer, now back home in Mexico
This week went pretty well. A lot of members helped us and we even went on divisions one day which went really well.  We also had 4 investigators in church this week and 2 of them already have 3 attendances and two have 2 attendances so we are going to work hard with them. The only problem is that it is 2 families that aren't married yet and at the moment don't want to get married so....we are going to help them with that :)

One of our investigators 
is the boyfriend of one of our members and is really interested in the church so we are working with him. He has 2 attendances. Other than that there are still a lot of people that don't want to listen but I think we are finally finding a few that want to progress! Hopefully we will have 4 baptisms this month. Our bishops are working a lot with us as well. And we have had a few family nights so we are gaining the confidence of the members. 

Patzicia is really beautiful but I got discouraged one day when all of the lessons fell through and we were just knocking doors. Hermana Tobar is really great though and we get along really well. We are enjoying every minute of the work even if the people don't let us in to their homes. It has been a really humbling experience for me and I feel like in this area we have to rely a lot on Heavenly Father and just work hard to be able to see results and be happy with ourselves as missionaries. 

PHOTO:  One of my now many corte (traditional dress) outfits :) this is one that a member from the Gomera got me but now I have lots of different colors...

Yesterday I bought MORE corte and slept for was glorious

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Transferred to Patzicia,

Carolyn was transferred to Patzicia.  So we looked it up.  Looks like a huge stake center from Google Earth!  The weather is quite a bit different there too?  The highs there aren't even close to what the lows were in La Gomera.
65/55, 62/56, 62/56, 64/54, 64/54, 62/52 those are the highs and lows for Tues - Sun.  Oh yeah, looks like thunderstorms every day except for Friday.  La Gomera (where she has been for the last 6 months has been in 90-100 every day)

 Click here to see a photo of Patzicia!  Photo of Patzicia

Tuesday  July 2, 2013
So the change has been...a change. It is a lot different here and not just the weather. Besides the fact that I am FREEZING cold all the time, the people here don't like to let you talk to them about the gospel and literally run away from us. I think Heavenly Father sent me here to learn more patience and humility because it's basically a lot of knocking doors of people who don't want to talk to us haha. But I really like the area. We are working on getting help from the members because knocking doors doesn't work too well.

My companion is really great too. The members all love her so much and she is a really hard worker. Sunday was her birthday :)

Right now we are also working to find new investigators because there isn't anyone progressing right now but I know that we will because we are working really hard.

I was studying in Alma 26 last week and I read verse 27.."Id entre vuestros hermanos los lamanitas y sufrid con paciencia vuestras aflicciones y os daré el éxito." This really is a promised land because a lot of these people are descendants of the lamanites and they are all native to Guatemala. So we are just going to work hard with patience and Heavenly Father will help us have success because these are his chosen people. I love Patzicia!

On her way to Patzicia
the internet here is sucking and I haven't even read all of my emails yet.

These were my questions that I asked about her new area…
So your companion is Hna Tobar?
Where is she from?
Xela Guatemala
What is she like?
nice :)
How much time does she have on the mission?
this is here 3rd change
What is your apt like?
big and cold but really nice
Is it just the two of you or other sisters?
Just us two
Where do you eat?
At the cocinera's house? haha
Is it a big city? The biggest you have worked in so far?
It’s big..LOTS of hills but not as big as the gomera
What was the ward like?
There are 2 wards so we go to 5 hours of church-- they are pretty big
Is this the first time you have worked in a ward, not a branch?
No second time...Las Margaritas was a ward
What Zone and District are you in?
Zone Sololá district Zerahemla...yes these are pure lamanits and there is a city called Zerahemla and the people have Book of Mormon names
Are there any other missionaries in the zone/district that are going home next month?
Yeah one from Honduras and also our zone leader Elder Gregory
Are you cold??
Can you buy the traditional outfit there that you wanted to buy?

Yes lots of it   

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013

contacts.....433! It was a really good week!

Well first of all I loved going on divisions with Hermana Espinoza. As you can imagine we talked a little about Hermana Neighbor haha since she was her trainer and all.. It was really nice to be with her, I felt the same energy and happiness that I felt when I was with Hermana Neighbor. She is really great and she helped me out a lot and taught me a lot while I was there with her. I was grateful for the experience I had to be with her in Sonora even if it was just for a day. She told me about the mini conference they had with their zone and their stake president and that he showed them the scripture about the things that they should be doing like praying, reading the scriptures, being obedient and fasting...and then she told me that because of that they have been fasting for like every week and so we fasted when we finished the divisions and we found some really great investigators and we also called the lawyer about the divorce so that A and JL can get married and he said....IT'S ALL FINISHED!! They will be getting married very very soon :) I'm really excited for them. A  wants to get baptized SOOOOO bad! So it's exciting.
The only bad thing is that we were hoping for like....5 miracle baptisms but none of our investigators that we were preparing didn't go to church yesterday. One said that he would get baptized the 7th of July though...the rest we haven't been able to talk to yet. 
we have started praying everyday to be able to find families and in our prayers we promise that we will challenge them all to be baptized and now we have 3 really cool families that are really interested in our message so that is exciting.
We also found a really positive man named O. He is really great and said that he believes it's all true. so hopefully he will be progressing quickly with his family too! 

Well President Herrador talked to President Brough Saturday night and it looks like I will be having changes. I did spend a little time crying...we won't know the final verdict until tonight but I’m like 98% positive that I will be leaving the Gomera. I DON'T WANT TO! The only thing I keep thinking is "Heavenly Father why don't you need me here anymore? Why can't I just stay in this area? Why does someone else need to come here?!" but if it's what He wants then I will do it..He knows my purpose and where I need to be...but I really don't want to leave the Gomera

Well as you know you are the best family in the whole world! Thanks for everything you have done for me and for your wonderful examples! LOVE YOU Have a great week! 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

From Tuesday, June 18th  (Sorry, it’s been a busy week!)

We had a really hard week finding new investigators also...we taught new people but they didn't want to receive a second visit. So that kind of stunk. I think I need to focus more on the people and not just the lesson. I just want to teach and I want them to understand but I just need to focus on the spirit and the investigators. I'm trying really hard to challenge more and bare my testimony more too. We just need to find new positive's time to refresh the area.

Other than that we are just praying lots for the 5 other people we want to baptize.  A is ready..just waiting, for her divorce to come through.

We need permission from S's mom and she needs to attend, J just needs to attend 2 more times, same with Jo (the girlfriend of a member), D
Zone P Day at the Beach
(Notice Carolyn is holding a REAL football!)
also just need 2 looks like everyone will be for the last weekend in June but we just really know that Heavenly Father will help us if we put in our part..things will work out well I'm sure of it...we're just going to work hard...

I don't know if I have changes or not but if I do or if I don't.  But if I do, I just hope he send somebody really really strong to this area because La Gomera deserves the best there is!

President Brough told me to be like Amber Neighbor...he said you don't have much time left and I want you to work as hard as her. You have to walk into the change meeting dead like you can't take another step..." so...that is my be Amber Neighbor :) 

He told me that I shouldn't feel bad about any of my work here and that I have been are really good missionary. It's because after a meeting we had with him on Friday I talked to him about a bunch of stuff and just said I just am scared that I will get to the end of my mission and never be the missionary I want to be and he just told me that I shouldn't feel that way and that I was a good missionary. It was really nice to hear. He also gave me a blessing which was really nice. He is the best mission president in the world

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

S didn't go to church and then hid from us so she can't be baptized this weekend but we are going to see what happened and then see if we can put a date for the 23 if she is ready.

A didn't go either and with her work schedule it means that she won't be able to get baptized this month. It stinks because ever since the first lesson we had with her I have felt that she needs to get baptized! We are just going to trust in the Lord and in his timing and keep working with her.

We have an investigator named D who is really great. He has attended one and a half times haha..The half is from when he only got there in time for priesthood. He's a break-dancer and he is super positive. We actually had a family home evening with our cook her family and D and his nephew that he takes care of. 

On an even bigger note..EVERYTHING IS READY FOR A'S BAPTISM!!! We are just waiting on the final process of the divorce and then they can get married and she can be baptized. The only thing is that supposedly it takes 2 months so we need LOTS of prayers because the goal is that they get married the 28th and she gets baptized the 29 and confirmed the 30! 
Her "placa" (name badge) in the toilet.
But check out how clean & shiny the toilet is!!

Oh and my placa fell in the toilet but I cleaned it with disinfectant.

THE WEEKS ARE FLYING BY SOOOOOOOO FAST! I can't believe it. There is a new sister here named Hermana Kilifi. Didn't I tell you about her? She is from California.  She is new and doesn't speak hardly any Spanish but she is AWESOME.   She is going to be such a great missionary.  

Well...just to let you all know...YOU ARE THE BEST FAMILY EVER and I love you more than anything in the whole world. Thank you all for your wonderful examples :) the time is flying and I can't wait to see you but at the same time I don't want to leave. The mission is wonderful and perfect and really hard but so worth it.
Love you all and have a great week :) 

xoxoXXXXOOOOO Carolyn a.k.a Hermana Brown

Friday, June 7, 2013

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

contacts: 349

M & JL's baptism
Well this week was good. M & JL got baptized so that went really well. It was actually kind of funny because M said that she didn't want to get baptized anymore and we were just like WHAT?! We had no idea what had happened but then at the end of the lesson she just said. I want to get baptized but I still like listening to music. hahaha We told her that she can listen to music (just not bad music). She was like oh then I want to get baptized. 

Then on Sunday we went and visited a convert that hadn't gone to church in like 2 months and her friend S was there (she's an old investigator) and she said that she had received her answer already because she had prayed but the other sisters never went back so we challenged her for the 16th and she said yes! She was super excited to hear that we were going to have a baptismal service! 

Her cook's daughter's baptism
A is up in the air. We are still planning on having her for the 23rd but she doesn’t want to get baptized because her daughter won't follow her but President Telon is helping us out a lot.

President Herrador is AMAZING. He works so hard in the church. He is the best branch president EVER!

Other than that we are just working hard trying to get our converts to get to church and also the investigators. Maybe I'm not being direct enough but they just aren't going...

CHUCHITOS!!! We made a food that are like small tamales that are called chuchitos yesterday for PDAY so that was fun :) I will make them for you in ...2 months.   The best part about the chuchitos is that the salsa is basically the same as the Jordans red chili... we'll see how it turns out :) LOVE YOU!! 
Have a wonderful week! See you in 2 months...did you know that on Friday I will have 15 months?

Wow que rapido LOVE YOU!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Contacts: 272

Well this week was awkward in the Gomera. We were supposed to have 2 baptisms but there was no water or electricity in ALL of the Gomera so as you know, without water we can't have baptisms. This week they will be baptized though so no worries. We are also working really hard to find the other 5 people we have promised to take to the waters of baptism :) 

We have had a couple of really good lessons with A. She is an old investigator who attended once and really liked it but she didn't want to keep listening because it was upsetting her daughter. President Telon (the branch president in Sipacate) has been visiting her with us since he lives here and works with her. He is really great. He invited her to be baptized so that was good! We had a family night with him and his family and A. She almost didn't want to go since it was raining...really hard. 

One of the investigators we were intending to baptize this month decided that she was not going to stop working which is bad...since she works on Sundays. We are going to pray and fast for her lots. 

Also Satan just likes messing with my head...We were so excited because EVERYONE (well almost) that we visited said they would come to church on Sunday so we were planning on like 15 investigators in church. Well basically no one went and we passed for ALL OF THEM. We only had 3 this week.

Also we have giant problems with a lot of our converts but we are visiting them and so is the branch so we are seriously hoping that we can get them back to church. Sunday I got super frustrated though because we saw 2 of the converts of the other hermanas and we were like let’s go to church and then they said ok we just have to do something really quick and then we will go. And I said oh it’s ok we'll go with you. And so they decided it would be better to just come with us to church. AND THEN outside of the building they tried doing the same thing but then we got them inside the building. But they "had to go to the bathroom" and escaped. THEY WERE ALREADY AT CHURCH! gosh it made me so why did they even get baptized if they weren't going to go to church once after they got confirmed. I guess it's the same with D though. We've tried everything and he always says he will go and then never does. But I am determined to make this the perfect month and have perfect retention as well.

My companion got a little upset when I explained to her that we would be waking up every day at 5 30 though. She understands that we have giant goals to achieve so it will be worth it. We are doing everything to be exactly obedient.  At least for this bed at 10 30 completely ready before studies, 30 minutes exactly or more of exercise...we are doing all we can so that we can have some great miracles :)   I'm not making her get up that early!!! desire to be awesome is making US get up that early...I hate waking up and you know that so it's both of us who are suffering.

ALSO.....Esperanza has her eye surgery today!! Gosh mom and dad...can you send me some money so I can build them a house...or better yet, construction management should come down with us in December to do it :)

 I love you lots and I can't wait to hug you (and drink coke) in 2 months and a week haha but who's counting

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

This week we had 296 contacts...SO CLOSE TO 300!!!

We set baptismal dates with M and JL. F still isn't sure but we are going to go and visit them today and explain that his baptism doesn't actually count because it wasn't done with the priesthood. Other than that we are just trying to find lots and lots of people for June. Our branch is helping a lot right now. We have started doing the visits we always do on Sundays with the members and so we are getting more visits to the converts and less actives.

I didn't reach my goal of 30 contacts every day last week...I averaged about 25 so I’m getting better but I will do it better this week and every week after. 

I decided also that I need to be when someone isn't keeping the commandments I need to tell them straight up, with love and cariño, that they need to repent. 

We have a few really good investigators but none of them are married. Just one...her husband is a less active member and she is really positive but he got in a really bad motorcycle accident last week for driving that was a really good example for her. He is back from the hospital now so we just need to help reactivate his family and get her to attend and she can be baptized. 

Perfect month starts next week so I think we are going to start waking up at 5 30 everyday to get more done during the day... my companion still doesn't know that though...I am still planning on having the 7 baptisms this month so we just need some big miracles but I know that if we are being obedient they will come.

Well I guess now would be a good time to tell you that we are breaking a the white missionary manual it says that we can’t have animals of any kind in the house...well, we have a ton of geckos, spiders, a mouse, a cucaracha, and millions of mosquitoes. AND there are 2 cats that get into our front patio like every night...we’re trying to get rid of them but we just love them all sooooooooo much. 

When I told her that the Geckos would eat the spiders, she responded,. No the geckos don't eat the spiders because the spiders are bigger than they are! yay!'s about that time...I love you so so so so so so much! Hope you have a wonderful week! See you soon...ish :) LOVE YOU! 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Goals for her last 2 1/2 months!

So this week I have been thinking a lot about my goals as a missionary and how I want to be better and that I should be holding myself to a higher standard. 

  • *   I will contact 30 every day until the end of my mission
  • *   In June we will baptize 7 people
  • *   I will walk faster (even though my body feels like it is falling apart sometimes) 
  • *   I will teach my companion better and help her to start leading so she will be ready after her training to work REALLY REALLY HARD. 
  • *   I will challenge more people to be baptized
  • *   I will be more direct
  • *   I will commit people to read, pray and go to church....

Zone Photo
Basically I just want to be the perfect missionary so I am going to work a lot harder. I want to leave the Gomera even better than I found it so I promise to do everything I can to do so..even if I have to be put on life-support when I get home haha.
"I ate cake for your birthday daddy...don't worry I enjoyed it :)"

"I love you Hna Blown"