Monday, December 3, 2012

Well. I guess this is the last email I'll be sending as a missionary. . .


This week was pretty crazy. I'm not sure if there was any events that necessarily made it any crazier than usual, but it definitely was just the strangest feeling week of my mission.

Well, I guess most of the week was spent prepping for the baptism we had on Saturday. Everything went well, and Cinthia and Jose were both baptized Saturday evening. As per usual, one thing went wrong, but this one was definitely not too bad. We weren't able to be the ones to fill the font, because we had an appointment right around the time it needed to be filled, so an hermano from the branch did it for us, resulting in a freezing cold baptism for poor Cinthia and Jose. It was a really great evening though, and it was so awesome to see these two, who we just met a little over a month ago, make one of the most important decisions of their lives. They really have been so amazing through this whole process, and I feel so blessed to have met them. They have not missed one week of church since we met them, and have so much faith and desire to learn and follow Christ. They are going to be awesome examples to their families. And at the rate Jose is reading he's probably finished the Book of Mormon by now. :)

We got a couple of referrals from the hermanas in Arlington Heights, and they seem like some really legit people. We stopped by and met one, Antonio, briefly and invited him to church and he came. And then we just were able to call the other referral, Liliana, and invite her to church and she came and brought her husband. This may seem like not that big of a deal to you, but getting people to church is seriously one of the hardest parts of missionary work. I'm excited for them, and am sure that this branch is going to see so many miracles.

The rest of the week was spent with our regular appointments and saying goodbye. Because . . I don't know if you realize this, but. . . I'm coming home really soon. Which is the most bizarre feeling ever. I've held up pretty good until yesterday at church. I really very rarely cry. But for some reason I just couldn't control myself yesterday. It probably didn't help that it was fast and testimony meeting, and as I heard people's testimonies all I could think about was how it was my last Sunday as a missionary, my last Sunday in a Spanish branch, my last Sunday seeing people that I taught get confirmed members of the church of Jesus Christ and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. And it was my last Sunday to bear my testimony as a missionary. My last Sunday to listen to off key singing in Spanish. After Sacrament Meeting was over I was talking to Antonio (referral that came to church) and was explaining what would happen next when I saw in the back of the room Hermana Arreguin from Westchester. Oh my goodness, if I hadn't been teary before, I definitely was then. She's my mission mom. And she came to say goodbye, and I just hugged her and bawled in front of the whole fetchin branch. But it was so good to see her.

Today Moffat and I are headed to Portillo's for lunch, for my last Chicago hot dog, and then Elder Unick and I are having a joint funeral. I'm pretty stoked. And then more goodbyes planned in for the evening. And then a night full of packing. Tuesday night I doubt I'll get any sleep either, so sorry if I'm the grumpiest person ever on Wednesday.

Well. I guess this is the last email I'll be sending as a missionary. . .
So. Yeah. I don't know. Its really weird. I might be the weirdest person ever when I get home. I hope you can forgive me.

I never thought I would go on a mission. And then I did. And while I was there I never thought the day would come that I would go home. And now its almost here. I can't even express how grateful I am for the last 18 months. I have had so much fun, but I have also learned so much. I have seen so many miracles, and I have no idea where I would be if I hadn't done this. Maybe the biggest miracle I have seen is how this mission has changed me. I didn't want to be changed at the beginning. I thought being changed would mean I'd come back with a different personality, as some weirdo return sister missionary. And maybe that has happened, I guess you guys will have to be the judges of that. But more than anything I have changed in my priorities. What is important to me now, was not really that important before. Or at least I didn't realize how much more important it could be. Jesus Christ really should be the center of our lives. And when we are living the way He wants us to live, no matter what happens, no matter how hard things get, he won't leave you. and ultimately, he will make you stronger. I never really understood the gospel. I never really understood why this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was all that different from other churches. I never really understood the importance of a prophet, and I especially didn't understand the importance of Joseph Smith. I mean, I knew all the answers. But I just didn't get it. And I'm sure I still don't, but I definitely get it a lot more than I did before. I have no idea who reads these emails that are put on the blog, but if anyone that does read them is wondering if they should go on a mission, I say DEFINITELY. And if anyone is reading this that doesn't know much about what I've been teaching for the last year and half, member of the church or not, find out. If what I've been teaching is true, (which it is), its way too important to not truly give it a try. Its too important to not read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. And if its not true. Well, then I guess at least you'll know its not. But I guess in my last email home as a missionary, I want to promise anyone reading this, that the Book of Mormon is true. That it really is scripture. And that by reading it and praying about it you can know that this church is the SAME church Jesus Christ established when he was on the earth. That it is the ONLY church with the authority of God to perform sacred, saving ordinances. and that it is IMPERATIVE that you know these things for yourself.
So do it. Read the Book of Mormon. Pray about it. What can you lose? Especially not in comparison to that which you can gain.

Estoy muy muy agradecida por todo que he aprendido durante los ultimos 18 meses. Y estoy muy agradecida por todas las personas que he conocido y que han bendecido a mi vida. Les amo mucho, y les voy a extranar mas que pueden saber. Han sido mi familia aqui, y siempre van a estar en mi corazon.

I'll be seeing you soon. 11 am on Sunday- I'll be speaking. Hope to see you there.
Les quiero,
Hermana Brown


christmas lights in the city 


my last district
la familia Motta
el bautismo de Cinthia y Jose Martinez
Mommy V, or Hermana Arreguin
My girlssss, Nathaly y Cinthia

Hermana Boratto y Mia
Hermano y Hermana Flores
Nathaly y Alejandra
La Familia Ramirez
1020- La Familia Cortez

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! Mine was pretty good.


I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! Mine was pretty good. We spent it with a family from the branch, and had good old fashioned turkey. I missed tamales. :(

Sorry, this email is going to be pretty short. We're heading to the city today, so we're cutting our time short here at the library, but I also don't have too much to tell. The week was mostly spent getting fed way too much Thanksgiving food.

As for people we're visiting, everything seems to be going well. Cinthia and Jose are still on track to be baptized this weekend. No big stories to tell with anyone from this last week, cos most people cancelled with it being the holiday. This week thats coming is super full of appointments though, with members and nonmembers, so hopefully I'll have some good stories for you next week.

Saturday morning we helped with the Schaumburg turkey trot, which is a half marathon. Some of the missionaries ran in it, and some of us volunteered to freeze our butts off working at water stations. So we stood for a good couple of hours in below freezing temperatures holding half frozen water out for runners to spill on us as they ran by. :) But it was fun to spend time with the other missionaries and do something out of the norm. and we got free shirts. always a plus. :)

Saturday night was the branch Thanksgiving party. Pretty standard, but a good time to spend with members and watch people dance. Can't wait til I don't have to just watch anymore. :P

Well, hope you all have a great week and recover from the holiday! Good luck with finals and stuff!

Les Quiero,


before the marathon. its like 25 degrees outside, not too bad :P
Me and Giovanni. The story of right before this picture:
me: Giovanni, will you be my boyfriend?                  
Giovanni: NO!                                                                  
me: Seras mi novio? (same as before, just spanish.)
Giovanni: YESH! *kisses me on the cheek*                
Our thank you cards for members for Thanksgiving
Denny's after the marathon

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Well, this week was kind of a crazy one.


Well, this week was kind of a crazy one.
First of all it started off with us being homeless. Last Monday we had to take our car down to the mission office because it got hit like three times in three weeks, and we it needed to go into the shop. So we took it down to the office, and got a loaner car. Monday night when we got home and like 9:15 the conversation went a little like this:

brown: yay mail time!
moffat: oh. . . i forgot to take the mailkey off of our car key when we gave it to Elder Lines.
brown: . . . did you remember to get our apartment key off of the car key?
moffat: *silence*
brown: hermana?
moffat: uhoh. . .

so. . . we were locked out of our apartment until we could get the keys back from the autobody shop the next morning when it opened at ten. and it was snowing.
basically we sat outside our apartment and laughed at how ridiculous the situation was. when we called the relief society president to see if we could sleep on her couch, she didn't believe we were really locked out because we were laughing so hard. but luckily she pulled through, let us sleep on her guest bed, and bright and early the next day we got to show up at the mission office again in the same clothes we were wearing the day before. :)

We also had some super great appointments with Jose and Cinthia, the investigators who are on date for the first. They are doing AWESOME. On Tuesday we invited them to start reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning. Like from the intro, and the witnesses and everything. By the time we saw them on Thursday, Jose had already read to 1 Nefi chapter 9. Oh man, they are super legit. This week we are seeing them a couple of times again, and Saturday for Cinthia's birthday we're going to go over and watch the Testaments with her and Nathaly.

Speaking of Nathaly. . . she totally got baptized on Saturday. :) And it was awesome. She was so excited, and happy. Of course something went wrong, something always does. But this time was nothing I haven't dealt with before, just the crappy church water heater giving out and having to boil water on the stove. :) And Nathaly said the water was perfect, and when she came out we went in with her while she changed and she told us how she just felt so much lighter, like a weight had been lifted off of her, and she could breath easier. After the baptism she immediately put a picture of her and all of us missionaries up as her profile pic on facebook. Unfortunately, she pretty quickly got some pretty harsh backlash from her family in Colombia. Its not going to be easy for her, so please keep her in your prayers.

Well. yeah. That was my week. Weather is awesome here, staying in like the 50's, which means no coats needed still. Hope everything is going well for you. Good luck in the musical this week, Morgan! Love you all!

Les Quiero,

pictures are from Nathaly Castaneda's baptism

mas fotos from Nathaly’s camera


pics from moffat's camera

what they sleep on in mexico as missionaries. or did like 20 years ago :P
and the morning after being homeless

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

So its been an awesome week. We're seeing some really cool stuff happening in this area, and I'm really glad I get to be here for my last few weeks.


Hello hello. This week has been pretty awesome, but I don't know if I have enough time this week to write about it! I'll try to do my best.

So during the week everything was pretty normal, but the weekend was rockin. First of all, Saturday we got to go the temple with the Esquivel family. They got baptized last October in Aurora. And it was so so awesome to be able to go with them and see them get sealed as a family. I don't know if I can explain how happy I felt sitting in the sealing room watching these people get sealed to each other, to their son, and to a daughter that died for time and all eternity. I've never seen a sealing before, and I'm glad that theirs was my first one. Also, the whole session and the sealing was in Spanish, which was really cool.
I also got to see a lot of members from the Aurora ward, and ex-Hermana Maughan. Which was basically the best thing ever.

Then we had a really great Sunday. We had quite a few people at church again, including a dad and daughter who came the week before after we met them at the Halloween party and invited them to church. Their names are Jose and Cinthia. After church we had our first lesson with them, because we hadn't been able to find a time that worked with them during the week before. But the lesson was awesome. They told us how much they liked our church, that they've been to lots of others, but this is the first they've really liked. They totally understood everything we taught them about the restoration, agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, and agreed that if they get an answer that it is true they will be baptized December 1! Thats moving really fast, but if we're able to meet with them regularly I have no doubt they will be ready by then. If not, I guess I won't get to see their baptism, but thats okay, as long as it happens. :)

Then, after that lesson we had the most awkward appointment of my life. So when I don't know people, I'm pretty shy. I have a hard time coming out of my shell and just making small talk with strangers. And that is why this appointment was terrible. So usually Sundays after church we have an appointment with an hermana in the ward. so we get to the appointment, and call her to tell her we're outside so she can buzz us in, and she sends her son down. Her son comes out with a tray, and a bag of tamales and says we're going to his brother's apartment. now this guy is SUPER quiet and doesn't talk to us the whole way to the apartment. Which is just on the other side of the apartment complex, but we had to take the longest way possible, looping around different apartments, doing figure eights, etc. We just assumed that the hermana was at the brother's apartment. But we get there, and it turns out that no- the hermana is not there, just a whole lot of people we don't know, having a birthday party. and do they talk to us? no. so we sit on the couch awkwardly trying to make small talk. and then they leave the table and tell us to sit at it and give us tamales, and then leave us to eat the tamales by ourselves. finally the hermana shows up like 10 minutes before we have to leave. and it was just terribly awkward, and hermana Moffat thought it was the funniest thing ever. And I hated it. but thats the funny story of the week.

Anyway, after that we headed over to Nathaly's aunt's house, where we've been teaching her. She's getting baptized THIS saturday! and she is super ready. But we went over there to plan the baptism, and while we were there her nonmember uncle came home and started talking to us. Now, he's been coming to church with his wife for a long time, and meeting with the missionaries for a while, but as been just super resistant. But last week he told us that he did want to be baptized. . . "someday." Technically he is the elders' investigator, so we talked to Wilson (the uncle) and tried to see where he was at, and then passed the info on to the elders. But the elders have had a hard time getting in with him, whereas we see him all the time. So yesterday, we talked to him some more, to see if he really did still want to get baptized, and we set him on date for the 24. :) So yeah, he's the elder's investigator, but we get to teach him and see him baptized, which is good enough for me. :)

So its been an awesome week. We're seeing some really cool stuff happening in this area, and I'm really glad I get to be here for my last few weeks.

Love you all, hope you have a great week!

Les quiero,


me and the maughan!
Hermana Alvarez, Timothie, and I
Tim and I
The Esquivels
Joseph and I

The Esquivels and all the hermanas that have been with them since they've been baptized.

 mas fotos

Hermana moffat and I
Hermana Monarrez and I :)


Monday, November 5, 2012

We had 8 people at church, which is HUGE.


This week was pretty good. The first part was rough because I was having weird stomach problems again, but we got it figured out by Friday and worked hardcore all weekend.

A lot of our time this week was spent cleaning. There is a family that have been investigating the church for a long time, and they have 7 kids ages 12-2, but they haven't been able to be baptized because their mom has gotten super sick. She has breast cancer which has moved to her bones, and she also broke her back. She also happens to be a grade A hoarder. She wouldn't let anyone in to help her while she was home, but she is now in the hospital, so the relief society, the missionaries, and her neighbors have taken charge. we have organized a huge project, where we are going in and cleaning every day for hours, organizing, and overall trying to make these kids' lives liveable. they were all in one room, with only two beds, but now they have new bunk beds. :) we have been focusing on the kitchen and it took us about 4 days to finish. oh man, i really wish we'd taken before and after pictures, because it is crazy. you would not believe it. So that how we've been spending a lot of our days hours 10 am to about 2 pm.

Halloween we tried to find some people, but. . everyone was out halloweening. and we had to be in by dark. so overall not a great day. We did get delicious 50 cent corndogs at Sonic to celebrate though. :)

Things are going really well with Delia and Nathaly, our investigators that are on date. Delia said that in this last week she feels like she has grown a ton spiritually. Nathaly also is progressing a bunch, and its making her nonmember uncle have more interest as well- and he's been learning about the church for forever just not making any commitments.

This week we found a few more people to teach. We are going to start teaching Modesta Rivera's sister, who lives in the area. And also a part member family, where the wife isn't a member but has been on date for baptism like 7 times, and then backed out last second cos her member husband talks her out of it. He has way less of a testimony that she does. But they are awesome.

Saturday we had a branch costume party and there was a huge turn out. It was super fun, and a good opportunity for me to try and get to know more people.

and YESTERDAY. oh man yesterday was awesome. We had 8 people at church, which is HUGE. Probably the most i've had at one time. Some of the Rivera family relatives were at the party, and we invited them and they came to church the next day. so that was sick. After church we had 4 appointments back to back, which took us to the end of the night. So we ended the week exhausted, but feeling pretty good about everything.

so. . I think that about catches ya'll up to today. Which leaves me nothing left to tell you!
I'm glad mom and dad had a great time in Hawaii. I hope everyone else is surviving as it starts to get cold and finals and stuff are coming around. Good luck with rehearsals for the musical, Morgan.

Love you all. Miss you all.

Les Quiero,


happy halloween corndogs
how we safely move our pumkin from point a to b
the Bloomingdale 2nd missionaries at the halloween party
Wendy, Sonic (Katherine), and I

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hello from Bloomingdale


Hello from Bloomingdale. Yep, being back in the Suburbs after 9 months in south sideish Chicago sure is weird. My first day here it was def culture shock to be seeing white people and asians. :P And to go to gas stations with out bullet proof glass? dang that was a change. Haha when I tell people where I just came from they all comment on how feo and ghetto it is. . . I miss it. :)

But, Bloomingdale is good. I'm in a SUPER fancy apartment. I mean at least compared to what I'm used to. . We have our own washer and dryer! and a dishwasher! And the apartment complex has a pool, not that I can use it. . but dangggg I'm living the high life! I feel like I just came out of the projects or something and now am living in the Marriott. :)

It was definitely hard to leave the Westchester ward. When I told people I was leaving they all thought it was a joke. And then cried. Saying goodbye to the Salgado's was definitely the hardest. Oh man. And then coming here I def feel overwhelmed trying to meet people and remember their names, and getting to know the area. But I've met some awesome people, and some legit families. This area has a lot of potential, but needs some help.

There is a woman here that the missionaries have been meeting with for FOREVER, and she has a testimony and everything, but just hasn't been baptized yet cos her husband isn't on board. Her name is Delia, and she is super sweet. When we met with her this week we asked her to set a baptism date as like a step of faith that her husband will come around to it. So she is now on date for Dec 15. :)

Someone else that set a baptism date this week is Nathaly. She is the cousin of a family in the ward, and she has been coming to church for a while, but the missionaries haven't really taught her anything. So we decided to meet with her last night, and as soon as we brought up baptism she told us she had just decided she wanted to be baptized! Her parents aren't too keen on the idea, but she turned 18 today, and has decided she wants to go ahead and do it anyway. We're planning on Nov 17 for her.

There are lots of other people here who seem super prepared for baptism, but they just haven't really been invited- so . . thats what I'm gonna do. Invite them, and we'll see what happens.

The area here is different too because of the diversity. The last 9 months I've been working basically with puros mexicanos. Here there are Colombians, Hondurans, Peruvians, Brasilians, Guatemalans. . .everyone. And man, do they love to make fun of my Mexican accent and my use of Mexican slang.

I'm having a good time with my companion as well. Her name is Hermana Moffat, and she is from Arizona. She has been out just over a year, and we're having a lot of fun. She's a very hard worker and is keeping in me in line.

I hope you are having a wonderful time in Hawaii. I'm super jealous. It sure is starting to get cold over here. . .

My address is 362 Glenwood Dr #306 Bloomingdale, IL 60108. Just in case anyone wants to write me. . . I mean, I understand if you don't. I'm terrible at responding. :)

Love you all!
Les Quiero,


Imelda and her nietos, Sescie and Xavier

The Salgado kids
Hna Salgado
Benita, (Hna Salgado's daughter)
Evelin y Marlene
La familia Sosa
My welcome to Bloomingdale dinner. Super fancy. Definitely not in Kansas anymore.
Or Westchester ward. . .
me and Wendy
Hna Moffatt and I