Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A tough week here at home...hard news for Caiden.

Wow, I can't explain the way I am feeling right now... The news of Tressler's death hit me really hard. And, at this point I can't really stop crying. I loved that guy so much, and he was such a great example to me and I will never forget that or him. I'm so shocked, I am at a lose for words really. He was always so nice to me. I always payed special attention to Tressler and the little things he did. What a great man and what an amazing leader and example he was for every single youth in the ward. I am seriously so sad. This is really hard for me. I loved him so much and I could go off about how amazing of a man I think he is, but I'll just leave it at I love him. I really do and I am and will be praying constantly for the Tressler family. Make sure they know my love for them and the example that Spencer was to me.

It's kind of hard to say anything else, really, after hearing that news and talking about that, but I am sure you guys would like to know how my week went, so I will fill you in a little bit. It really was a great week! I know I say that every single week, but it's true! Constantly meeting new people who are ready for the gospel and literally every second sharing your testimony with someone. The power of a testimony is limitless.

The confirmation of Lily went really well! I did the best I could and the Spirit was there and that is all that matters. The Spanish has its highs and lows and right now it's at a low, but all I do can do is continually work on it and hope that when the next high comes it stays! Spanish is so cool though, I love it. It's crazy to think that 3 months ago I barely knew how to say como esta y ahora, puedo entender y hablar con todos de los nativos. Gift of tongues sure is a real thing!

I want to tell you a little bit about all the progressing investigators that we are working with really closely right now and are looking for baptisms this transfer, because I don't think I have really talked about them too much. They are the best people so they deserve to be talked about! Hahaha.  We have Rigoberto, who still is hurting a lot and isn't able to get around and come to church, but we meet with him every Friday and call him everyday! He is so ready. He just needs to heal fast! We have Natan who we are working with pretty steadily and preparing him for baptism asap. La familia Estevez! We are now teaching the whole family and they love having us over. They want to take it slow though because they want to know it all before they dive like head first! And we have Fauso who we found when we were doing a look up and he is awesome. I love him to death! He is like 65 and loves reading the Book of Mormon and we plan on setting a date with him this week! We also met this kid named Michael the other day who is awesome!! He is 15 and met with the missionaries before! He also loves reading the Book of Mormon and we are setting a baptism date for him tomorrow! There are so many other people I want to tell you about but there just isn't time. This area is so alive. More than it has ever been and I am so excited for this next transfer to just kill it! I love these people so much! I can't explain in an email or even in words the joy I have when these people feel the Savior's love. That is why I am here. To show people how much the Savior loves them. Because He loves every single person no matter what they have done, no matter who they are, and I have seen that love so strong here in the Bronx!

So yeah, today is transfer day! We just finished with the meeting and are at Buffalo Wild Wings right now! Two people left our district which was sad. I get really attached to people and that is why it's so hard for me to say goodbye to people. I can't imagine what it's going to be like when I leave the Bronx.

I love you guys amazingly! The grace of the Savior is so amazing. Use the atonement everyday. It's not just for sins, but for everything. The price is already paid. I love my Savior. I love this gospel. I love my mission. And I love you all! 

Elder brown
Me and my best friend Junior, a member from the Dominican Republic

The "boys" at the Brooklyn Bridge

District Selfie

Friday, October 23, 2015

Things can get rough in the "Hood"!

Wow another crazzzzzyyy week here in the Bronx! I'll start off with kind of the bad news I guess. As we were playing basketball with the local studs, I got on to play my first game and I got elbowed in my face. I fell to the ground and blood just started pouring everywhere, all over the ground, all over my clothes, everywhere. I ran to the bathroom to see what was up and I guess I had bitten all the way through my lip! So we called Elder Gardner, who is the medical senior missionary, and he told us to run the hospital and get it stitched up. We waited at the hospital for about 4 hours and by the time I had gotten stitched up and back home it was 1:30 in the morning. Such a long and crazy night. They only ended up giving me three stitches on the outside because they didn't want to sow it up on both sides and get the infection trapped! It was a fun night! :) I'll attach some pics.
Waiting in the hospital

Inside of his lip

Outside of his lip

So, Lily's baptism was on Sunday and it was seriously so awesome! The Spirit was so incredible and you could just see the happiness and excitement on her face that day! I don't think there was a happier day than when I saw her enter into the waters of baptism and to start a new life. Such a joyful experience and one I will never forget that is for sure! The Gospel truly does change lives and really does bring a happiness that you can't get anywhere else. All these people in New York are so caught up in the things that bring worldly happiness and I just sit back and laugh because if only they knew the eternal happiness that gospel brought their lives would be significantly better. That's why I am so happy to be out here and to be a missionary; to share the happiness I have with others! Man I love it!! Still really scared to give her the Holy Ghost on Sunday, so pray that I have the gift of tongues hahaha.
At Lili's baptism
I love all the people here so much, it's insane! I love my district tons, but it's sad because this week is transfers and lots of them are leaving! We have gotten so tight and I'm going to be sad to see them leave. I am probably staying here for a couple more transfers. Well, I hope at least. I have gotten to know and love all the members in the ward so much and I have a huge love for every single person we teach! We are praying that Rigoberto's back starts to heal up so he can start coming to church again and get baptized. So keep him in your prayers! We also have baptisms planned the beginning of November for Kelly Estevez (hopefully is wife and kids too) and for this awesome kid named Natan that we met not to long ago! He is awesome. He just moved here from the Dominican Republic and loves learning about the gospel! Continue to pray for them!

On Saturday me and Elder Hinckley and some other missionaries from the city had the opportunity to go to this huge mega mutual thing in Harlem and supervise. It was awesome to see all the kids from New York come together on a Saturday and learn with the missionaries. We talked about the importance of being missionaries right now! Even if that be just sharing your testimony with a friend, invited them to meet with the missionaries, or simply just posting a scripture or short spiritual video on Facebook. The difference you can make is seriously unmeasurable. I know you all have strong testimonies, so put them to work! I want to invite you all this week to share a quick spiritual thought on Facebook or whatever social media it may be! Let's change lives! Smiling face with open mouthSmiling face with open mouth

I can't explain the love I have for my mission even though I have only been out like 2 and a half months. I really do have the best mission in the world! Nothing can compete. The people here are awesome! The food is great! And it's just the best! I still can't express all my feelings to the people, but I pray and hope that through my broken Spanish testimony that the Spirit can touch their heart! Guess what? THE SCRIPTURES ARE SO AWESOME! Getting the chance to really pick them apart has been something I cherish in my heart. The Book of Mormon truly is the word of God! It is evidence of the restoration of the Gospel, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and most importantly, that our Savior lives. Just like it says on the cover - Another testament of Jesus Christ. And it sure is that! I love it so much! And I love you all so much! You are seriously the best people! Love you with all my heart!! 

Elder Brown

Oh and P.S. Mom, these black shoes are already holey as can be... Like you can see my idk what to do about that.
A couple of pictures from the President's wife's blog when they ran into each other at the Manhattan temple on P-day

Missionary shoes a little over 2 months in

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The weeks just keep getting better and better!

Man, the weeks just keep getting better and better! More tiring and tiring, but certainly more rewarding. Yeah, it rained a couple days down here. One day it is pouring and the next it is so hot. Kind of reminds me of Utah in that way. I live more closer to Yankee stadium. When the games were going on we would be able to hear all the shouts and screams from the games, but they lost and don't play again till next year. Hopefully I will get to go a game in a year! Oh, the "bodegas" are the best thing ever! Those are the little treat shops. There are as many of those as there are churches in Utah! I basically get like one sandwich a day from there because they are literally so incredible!!

So, the average day as Elder Brown is basically the one of any other missionary... Get up at 6:30, do a slight work out ;) get ready for the day and then start studies at 8:00. 8 to 9 is personal study, 9 to 10 is companion study and 10-11 is language study. After that... Half the days of the week we have to do this thing called "twelve weeks" which is basically just training for new missionaries. On those days we pretty much stay in the pad until 12. That's something that is really hard for me because I always want to go go go, but that's something I've learned from Elder Hinckley - it's important to just calm down and to do some things that mean a lot even if that means staying inside until 12. But after that we would normally go tracting, contacting, or do some look ups because no one is really home in the afternoon, they are all working, so we don't have that many appointments.But in the night time our schedule is packed with appointments and lessons and meals and all that fun stuff!  Then we go home at about 9:00 and hit the beds as fast as we can! That's basically what it is like!

This week has been filled with a ton of teaching! It has been so great! Got a lot of new investigators and I am way excited to see where they end up! MY FIRST BAPTISM IS THIS SUNDAY! I am so excited! She is getting baptized on Sunday because her mom wouldn't be able to make it on Saturday. So then the next Sunday I get the opportunity to give her the Holy Ghost! I'm really excited but also pretty nervous because I have to do the whole thing in Spanish! It's pretty cool though that we have a baptism this early... A lot of Elders have been out here like 16 months and haven't gotten one, so that's pretty cool! Lili is awesome though! She has been ready for baptism for a while, but she just never read the Book of Mormon. So we pushed that and now she has a testimony, so it's all just dandy!! :)

A lot of cool things happened this week, but I am at the temple right now and I don't have my journal to look at everything to recall because everyday kind of is like a blur! I get to go to the temple for the first time today though! I am stoked! Manhattan is a lot different than the Bronx. It's a lot more crazy and up beat. A lot more white people too! I'm kind of in love with the Bronx, but I think that's what it is going to be like for all my areas. I get so attached to things and people. It's going to be so hard for me to leave the areas! Ahhhh, I hate thinking about that! The first cycle is almost over and some elders in my district are leaving their missions! It's really sad because we have all gotten pretty close!

We had the opportunity to have a member of the Seventy come to our mission this past week! His name was Elder Arnold, and man was he powerful! We talked about how important members are in missionary work and how we need to utilize them. I also really enjoyed when his wife talked about being genuine, and about how we need to not put in the effort to be fake good missionary or to be fake obedient, but how we should just take that effort and actually be good. Sometimes I think we all put so much effort into putting up a good front, when in actuality if we just took that same effort and put it towards being genuine things would just be better. Let's all try and be a little bit more genuine this week! :)
He didn't send any pictures this week, but we got this off the mission blog, taken at the conference he talks about above

This week I am pondering the scripture Alma 36:3 "Y ahora bien, ¡oh mi hijo Helamán!, he aquí, estás en tu juventud, y te suplico, por tanto, que escuches mis palabras y aprendas de mí; porque sé que quienes pongan su confianza en Dios serán sostenidos en sus tribulaciones, y sus dificultades y aflicciones, y serán enaltecidos en el postrer día." I think this applies so much to my mission. There are a lot of trials and you simply can't do them with just yourself, but as I put my trust in the Savior and give my will and all my efforts and time to Him, then these trials will be lifted! I love the Savior so much! And I love this gospel so much! I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to serve this wonderful mission! It's so great! I love you all so much! You're all the best! Have an amazing week! 

Much love, Elder Brown 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Hollllaaa mi familia! 

What a week! A hard and draining week but seriously such an amazing week! Mom, I am so sad to hear that you are sick! I kind of feel your pain a little bit. I have been a little bit under the weather the last couple of days, but nothing like what you have! I'm praying for you guys every single day!! I got your package two days ago! The coat is awesome! You guys did an amazing job at picking it out! And you know me too well with the brownies and the donuts. Love youuu! I don’t think I ever did thank Lois McKay and family for the package they sent me in the MTC! So thanks so much for thinking of me and being so kind to send those sweet socks and gloves and treats! Hinckley will probably be my comp for three cycles because normally your with your trainer for two and then the last cycle in the year is really short so we will probably stay together. The Spanish is coming along better. I'm not even close to fluent but it is coming!

General conference was so amazing!! To be honest it was probably the only time I have stayed awake for all five sessions, but man was it great! We are not supposed to watch conference at member’s houses or investigator’s houses and so they broadcast it at the church. We watched it in English so we could comprehend every little thing. I'm not sure who all came out of the Spanish members because they were watching it in the chapel as we were watching it in the relief society room. We were in there with all the English speakers and three members. Words can't describe the love I have for the prophet and his apostles. These are men of God. The words they spoke this past week are the words of God! It's crazy to think that we just received revelation. That is something that in the past I have most certainly taken for granted. The talk that I really took to heart was Brother Devin Durrant, the one about engraving and ponderizing a scripture every single week. What a great way to keep our minds focused on something good. When our minds and thoughts are idle then the devil can attack us. But when we have this scripture and we think about it whenever our mind wants to be idle it leaves no room for bad, just like Brother Durrant said. I chose 2 Nephi 1:23, it says "Awake my sons, put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains by which ye are bound and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust!" I have this on the screen of my iPad and on sticky notes all over the house and I have already seen the impact of it. If you haven't chosen a scripture... DO IT NOW!! Haha, it will bless your life! There were so many good talks! I loved them all, and yes mom, I cried during the mother one as well! Hahaha, it was also really hard for me to watch President Monson struggle at the pulpit, but one of my friends sent me a story that was really cool about it...

"Most of you probably did not see what was happening behind Pres. Monson at the end of his talk today.  
I was on the floor, just a few rows from the very front of the conference center with a clear view of the scene. 
You might have noticed that Pres. Monson really struggled to finish the last couple minutes of his talk and especially the last 30 seconds.  I was afraid for him.  I thought he might faint, pass out, or something worse.  And then... my heart melted when I saw, behind Pres. Monson was: Pres. Uchtdorf…
....on the edge of his seat, almost half way standing up, with his arms stretched out, ready to catch the Prophet at any moment if he fell.  
You could see the worried expression on Uchtdorf's face as well as focused determination.  He was on high alert and ready to catch him.  
...As soon as Pres. Monson said "Amen", Uchtdorf was immediately at his side and carried him back to his seat, safe and sound.  
What a great analogy and correlation to the love and support that exists and has existed between these men and all the leaders over the years. 
Elder Bednar also spoke of this love in his heart felt remarks.  
...I know that likewise, the Savior is on the edge of His seat, ready to catch us if we fall.  
I am so grateful to have heard so many beautiful words today...
And to have SEEN such precious love and care displayed.  
I won't soon forget"

How cool is that!? I love the connection she makes with the Savior. Like I have said time and time again, He is there and will catch us if we fall; Every time. Conference was a great experience and I am so excited to read them over and over again.

Okay, so Lili and her baptism interview was last night and she passed, so she will be baptized this month and I am so excited. She was an investigator they had before I got here, but I have gotten to know her really well. She is so funny and is always cracking jokes! Her ultimate goal is to go through the temple with her husband someday. The gospel has changed her life.

There have been so many great experiences this week, but mostly I have gained a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. I've read it and I know of its truthfulness. I've seen it bless lives and I know without a doubt in my mind that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ. He was called of God to be a prophet and I know that! I love you guys and all your examples! Hope you have the best week! 

Much love Elder Brown
Me and Juan Carlos's kids.. With the rings mom sent. They love them

Me and another one of Juan Carlos's kids... He is my best friend! Haha

Just at the subway chillin'