Wednesday, September 23, 2015

First week in the Bronx!‏

Hola familia! Que lo que?

How's the good ole family doing? I love reading your letters and knowing all that is going on back at home. Sounds like all my friends did great jobs on their talks. I have some great friends don't I! About me emailing Cory, hahaha, we got my iPad, then it didn't work, so, they gave me a loaner one and we had to test out all the apps to see if they were being enabled with this thing called "Mas 360" so I was not breaking the rules. Hahaha, about the coat... Yes send me one asap. It is starting to get chilly around here. My address is 700 White Plains Road, 315 Scarsdale, NY 10583. And, I don't think you need to worry about sending me the camera... We just take pics on the iPads, and when I get my real one I will try and start taking a lot of pics. I'm not exactly sure what to take pictures of though, hahaha. More about Elder Hinckley... He is from Ogden, Utah and is kind of quiet and soft, but I love him a lot. It is just me and him kicking it in this pad. We have some Elders that live in the apartment next to us, but just me and him in this one. It is kind of quiet at times but I like it. I am broken-hearted to hear about Boston.. :(That is so sad! Give him a kiss for me! The ward here is pretty big, but there are a lot of menos activos (less active) so we visit them a lot. I hope that answers all the important questions!

So, about this week! Wow, what a crazy one! First week in New York was definitely one to remember! OK, so that night that I got here, that Wednesday after p-day was over and we got everything situated here at the pad, we went and did my first tracting ever! Hahahahaha, what a great experience! We head to this huge, most ghetto building I have seen, and start at the top floor and work down. My very first door I ever knocked on  in my mission this guy starts yelling at us about how we are a cult and how we don't accept colored people and how we needed to leave or he was going to come out and beat us. Hahaha, how awesome is that for my first door? Man, I wish mom could have been there! ;) Anyways, we just tracted the rest of that night...and got in some doors, taught some first lessons, and placed some BOMS, so it ended up being a pretty good day!  The worst thing about tracting is that basically all the people we find are English speakers, so right after you teach them and start to love them you have to hand them over to the English missionaries. It makes me want to scream, but it doesn't really matter who teaches them, just as long as they come to Christ, right?  Anyways, I forget to tell you something in my last letter that I thought was pretty cool. While we were at transfer meeting, Pres. Smith gets up to talk and he told the mission about how right when I stepped off the plane he saw me and leaned over to his wife and said he knew who my companion was going to be. Talk about inspiration, am I right? So that was pretty cool!

Thursday's are basketball night. Basically we just go to church and all the local ballers come over and the white missionaries show them what is good. (The only white people where I am are the missionaries. I see maybe one a day! Hahaha I love it! ) Anyways, every one was going crazy when they saw me, the white kid, dunk. Haha, they all wanted to take turns throwing me alleyoops. It was way fun.

Alright, now for some good stuff... So, some elders that were here like way before us had this investigator named Rigoberto. They taught him, but he stopped answering the door for them so they stopped teaching him. So we decided to stop by and see what was up. To our surprise, he answered the door and let us in. He is like this 80 year old man who is, legit, the nicest looking old Mexican man I have ever seen. Well, as we sat down he pulled out from his desk a BOM, all the pamphlets and basically every single church resource we have. As we talked, he told us that he was reading in the Book of Mormon about how Jesus was baptized and how he needs to follow his example. We were, oh yeah OK, that's awesome and of course, after that I asked him to be baptized and he said yes. We were so stoked afterwards! The worth of souls is soooooooo great; it's amazing! After the lesson he told us his life has been changed and he feels so much peace and joy in his life! THIS IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT!! It seriously feels so incredible to be a mouthpiece in helping these people. I couldn't be happier to be a missionary right now.

Another experience that I thought was pretty cool... As we were walking to a lesson this super drunk man on the street stopped us and started talking to us. As we talked he began to cry and then started to bawl. He continued to say how much he needs the gospel in his life and how important the gospel is to change his life. How true is that? The gospel changes lives and that is a fact. I have seen this change in my life and I am sure all of you have seen it to. Through Jesus Christ our lives will be enhanced and be changed in miraculous ways. I have a strong testimony of this. As I have been diving into the scriptures and into so many different books pertaining to the gospel, I have seen a difference  in my life. My motives have changed. The gospel and Jesus Christ needs to be the center of our lives. It's hard at times, but just like Matthew 16:25 says when we lose our life for His sake we then will find it. I love this scripture so much and it has kind of been my motto so far in the mission. This isn't my time, but it's the Savior's and me, as a missionary and us as members, need to try our best to give all we have to our Savior because everything we have is because of Him. The gospel is true man! I love it so much.

Gosh, I have so much to tell! So, we have this golden family named the Estevez's! We found them knocking doors in this super ghetto building. They let us in and we taught them of the Book of Mormon and the restoration. They seemed way interested and had a lot of questions. It was fun because he is helping me with my Spanish and I am helping him with his English. They seriously are great! Can't wait to talk to them some more! So on my first Sunday in the mission they had me go up and bear my testimony in front of the ward. It was scary because my Spanish is literally awful, so I tried my best to get all the grammar but it was hard. Although I couldn't understand everything that was said at church, I still felt the spirit just the same. That is awesome how that works, huh? Yeah, the language is tough for me, I will be honest. In the MTC I felt pretty good about it and I felt like I was at the top, but now I feel like I am so bad at it. Everyone speaks so fast and slurs their words and so I don't get like anything, and so then I get flustered and can't say anything. Most of the people are Dominican and their Spanish is so hard to understand. It has been really tough for me, but Hinckley is helping me a lot! Estoy mucho agradecedo por el. (Which I am most grateful for) He is trying his best to help me as much as he can. I love him. Anyways, I am grateful for all of you and your examples to me. I wish I could tell you about every single person we teach and all the members, but that's impossible so I will keep it brief, but want you all to know that I love my mission so much already and I love all the people! Pray that I don't die here in the Bronx! Haha, jk, but yeah, love you guys so much! Have the best week ever!! 
Much love, Elder Brown
Me, my trainer and my grandfather

Some pics of the pad

I don't know if you can tell what that says but it says 201.8 pounds

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