Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Laying a Foundation

My incredible family and friends!

I can't believe another week has passed by!! The weeks are passing by like days and the days are passing by like minutes. It's so insane! I wish it wasn't going by so fast. I feel like I just started and now I'm
getting close to a year.... It's so sad. But anyway, let's not talk about that! This week was super good! It was probably one of the best weeks of my mission! Haha, I feel like I say that every week, but hey they just keep getting better and better! We did some hard core laying of foundation this week. Like I said last week, we didn't really have any investigators when the transfer started, so me and Elder Nielson just went to work! Literally talking to everyone! And when I say everyone, I mean not a single person can walk by without getting talked to. And we have seen so many miracles it has been awesome! This past week we found 20 new investigators and we have got some super high hopes! We are also working with a lot of part member families because basically they are all part member families. The branch here is seriously incredible. There are very few members, but they are so strong and so loving. I gave a talk this past Sunday and they all made sure to welcome me to the area and tell me good job! They are super willing to help with the missionary work and I love that!

Like I said, we have seen some awesome miracles this past week trying to find people, but there is one that stuck out that I would like to share. It was almost 9 o’ clock, and it is advised that we don't really walk the streets at night, but we felt like we needed to go look up one more person. We got there and she wasn't home. As we started to walk back to the car we noticed a super huge black man sitting on these steps. It kind of looked a little creepy to be honest. No street lights, pitch black and just us and this guy. Well, we passed him, but we got a specific feeling that we should go back and talk to him. So we did. Well, as we started talking to him he began to explain something that hit me really deep. He said "I have seen two white kids come by and knock that same lady’s door for years. Only once have they ever talked to me. I was excited to see whether or not you guys would pick and choose who you wanted to share the gospel with." I've thought about that every day since that happened - do we pick and choose who we are sharing the gospel with? I know I have at times. It's hard because some people just don't look like future bishops or relief society presidents, but that is not our place to judge them, it's our Heavenly Father’s. Our job is just to open the door for everybody and then they can choose whether or not they want to walk through it.

I'm so lucky! My companion is so cool! I have never had so much fun, but worked so hard! He is going to be my friend forever! He is from West Haven Utah, which is by Ogden I guess. He has been in the mission the same time as Elder Frei, so just one more transfer than me! Haha, he is a super dope football player and super hilarious! Haha, oh, and the hardest worker I know. So I hope we get to stay with each other for a while!

My thoughts on the talk by Elder Oaks: Opposition in all things... Haha, how true is that. We were talking to a youth in our Ward about this just the other day. Specifically we were talking about missions. We explained about how there has never been a day when we have just thought to ourselves “wow missionary work is easy”. It's always going to be hard. Good things don't come with ease. I love when Elder Oaks says "None of us is exempt. Opposition permits us to grow toward what our Heavenly Father would have us become." Yeah, some moments will be hard but they are worth it in the end!

I love you all! I hope you have a great week! The church is true!
Love Elder Brown
Caiden and his new companion, Elder Niellson

The new apartment!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Transfers Baby!!!!!!!!!!


Transfer day
So, the transfer happened... It actually happened yesterday, so this p-day is just going to be tranquilo. So here it is everybody... Are you ready?!! I've been transferred up to Newburgh! And guess who my companion is? Elder Nielsen! He was in my district when I first got to the mission and we were super tight friends and now we are together! I am seriously stoked out of my mind! I have gotten so lucky with some
amazing companions! Obviously, it's been super hard and sad leaving my old area and Elder Frei! Because the last two transfers have seriously been amazing! But I have got some super high hopes for things to come! Haha, I just can't even explain my excitement. When president told me I was going up here to be with Elder Nielson I about cried I was so happy! Haha!

Being silly while saying goodbye.
So, Newburgh is like way upstate and it is so much more different than the Bronx. It kind of feels like back home in Utah at times, bunch of trees and cars. Nobody is really walking around; music isn't always getting blasted, and it just is a lot more chill. Definitely going to take some getting used to. We actually live and work right by West Point Academy, just to give you a general direction of where we are at. The funny thing about my area is that I guess it's like super dangerous and so they don't let sisters come up here. Elder Nielson said he has seen a bunch of shootings and stuff like that, but don't worry Mom, I will try my best to be safe! ;) We are in a small little branch as of right now, but we have a goal to get some more people in attendance to make it a ward. The work up here is a lot different than before as well. Back in the Bronx we would teach around 30 lessons a week, had tons of baptismal dates, etc., but right now in this area there isn't anybody that is progressing. Elder Nielson and I have some good plans to pick up the work though, and we are super excited! I can already tell I am going to love the people up here so much! I'm super grateful for this opportunity to be here in this area at this time with these people!

We actually live with 2 native Spanish speakers and so that is going to be really fun! A lot of good Spanish food here at the house, and we are always just speaking Spanish, so that should help out. Haha, I LOVE
the Spanish culture; the food, the accents, the traditions, just everything. It's treating me really well! :)

There is not much to say this week, because I have only spent a day and a half up here but I promise there will be tons of great stories next week.

I’ll just share a few thoughts I had on Elder Holland’s talk for this week’s chosen discussion. I think all of you guys said basically it all in your comments. This talk was seriously incredible and changed the way I look at myself as a missionary. I think sometime I get caught up on whether I'm "doing well enough" or if the Lord would be pleased with the work I am doing. I actually was having a hard time with that this past week. And, as I studied this talk it was just reassurance that MY BEST is enough. I'm grateful that our best, our very very best, the most that we have, counts in this gospel. It's such a blessing!

I love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers! They are needed! Have the best week ever!

Love Elder Brown
The following pictures come from the mission blog on transfer day.

Caiden's new companion is the one on his right, Elder Nielson.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Bronx Era Ends‏!

Hola todos!

Again, we just had another amazing week here in the Bronx. My last full week in the Bronx, and it was probably one of my favorite weeks in my whole mission. A lot of good things are happening in our area and ward and I'm pretty bummed out I will have to be leaving. Transfers will be next week. I will find out where I am going and who my companion will be on Saturday, so next week y'all will know! I'm super excited to see what happens! :)

It's kind of hit me the past couple days that I'm not going to be in this area in one week. I know transfers are just what happens as missionaries and they are necessary, but the Bronx has just become part of me. It just feels like home... I'm sad, to say the least! But I'm also super excited to meet new people and start new friendships and just to continue sharing the gospel. It seriously is such a blessing.

Okay, for those of you who don't know and are reading this, my family decided to pick a talk from conference every week and study it and share their feelings with each other. So, I would just like to share a few comments on the talk "Do I believe?" by Bonnie Oscarson. I really did enjoy her talk, like a lot a lot. The more I read it in both languages, it just hits more and more at home for me. I would like to share a quote... "We believe that this Church is more than just a good place to go on Sundays and learn how to be a good person. It is more than just a lovely Christian social club where we can associate with people of good moral standing. It is not just a great set of ideas that parents can teach their children at home so they will be responsible, nice people. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is infinitely more than all of these things." Something that I have noticed while on my mission is that a lot of people JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND! Haha, especially in the Hispanic culture, they think that all churches are of God and that the priesthood just flies over the heads of every person who claims it, and that it just doesn't matter what church you go to or how you get baptized, but just as long as you have faith you will be saved. IN THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST WE ARE SURROUNDED BY AND GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITIES TO RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE. There is nowhere else in the world someone can find that. I think at times we don't recognize that... We are literally in the exact same church Jesus Christ established. I would say we probably teach the restoration 7 times a day and it has just changed my whole outlook on the church in general. We really are in God’s kingdom on the earth today. I know it and I believe it!

Here’s some more about the two guys I talked about that we had that cool experience with last week. It was about the one that was the uncle and his nephew. Well, they are doing really well! They came to church and just loved it! It was Eduardo's first time to church in a long, long time and he was just having a blast. There was a huge smile on his face the whole time. The church also brings smiles if you didn't know that ;) and Eber, the nephew is kind of like a thug kid, but I can already see him changing in side. That's probably one of my favorite things about the mission - seeing the change of people's hearts! “The Family” also came to church which was great. Haha, they are so crazy. I won't be here to see them all get baptized, which is sad, but I'm grateful for awesome funny people like them! Also, Flávio will be getting baptized here pretty soon. Obviously I won't be here to see it, but that guy is seriously so prepared and such a great example. He went from being in jail and into all the bad stuff to being the type of father and person everybody strives to be. Super awesome guy! Man, as I type I just realize how much I am going to miss all these people. Forever they will have a place in my heart!

The work is going really well! I've loved my time in the Bronx and my time with Elder Frei! He has taught me so many things. I've definitely changed because of his example! The weeks just flew by! It feels like just yesterday it was me and Elder Frei’s first p-day and now it's our last.... Haha, sad time!

I love you all! Keep being the best examples. Thank you all for your love and support in everything!

Love Elder Brown
Squatting picture with the Perez kids, Jaja!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Somos hijos de dios y él nos ama‏ (We are children of God and He loves us)

Family and friends!

Wow, the good weeks just keep on coming! Haha this week was so much fun and was particularly special because of General Conference. Oh man, how I love General Conference. I will share a few more remarks about that later.

To be honest nothing really exciting or different happened this week besides good ole missionary work! Nothing more excited than knocking on a lot of doors and meeting tons of crazy people! Speaking of crazy people, we met this family this past week and they are literally insane! There is so many of them that when we talk about them we just call them THE FAM. They are so interested in the gospel and just excited to learn. After we teach them something, if one of them doesn't understand, then all the others will just take over the lesson and answer the questions and just teach for us. I wasn't mad! ;)

I had to say goodbye to Rigoberto. That was pretty sad. He is heading off for vacation to Puerto Rico and when he gets back I won't be here. We had a huge feast at his place and it was just kind of sad. I know I have talked about him a lot. And it kind of just seems like an end of an era of something like that. I will always remember that guy. He has been a big part of the change that has happened in me and also a big help with my Spanish. Haha I'm so grateful for people like him. It makes those hard days just so much more worth it!

Soooo, I LOVED conference. Before my mission I liked conference, but to be honest I think it mostly was because of the cinnamon rolls in the morning. Haha but as a missionary it has just been so special to me. I love our prophet Thomas S. Monson. That guy just makes me smile. I know he is called of God. It was cool to see that if the prophet only had 5 minutes to speak what he would say. His message came straight from the Lord. I know that. I think every single one of the talks were my favorites, but I especially loved Elder Holland’s, and it just hit home as a missionary. Sometimes we feel inadequate and that we are failing. Well, at least I have felt like that at times, but his talk was just reassurance that the Lord blesses those that WANT to improve. How true is that? It's natural for men to sin. We will not be perfect in our time here on this earth, but God knows our hearts. And He blesses those who give it their all. And every time we fall He will be right there to pick us up. The number one truth of the gospel is that God loves us, even when we feel inadequate, and even when we aren't enough. He will make up the rest. Elder Holland just rocked our socks off, didn't he?

Another talk that hit home was the talk about fathers. Dad I love you! Thanks for being the perfect example of kindness and humility. Like I always say, if I grow up to be half the man my father is then I am set. No way would I be on a mission if it wasn't for my two great parents. You guys are the best people in the world. I hope you know how much I love and am grateful for you!

We had some marshmallow wars today for P-day and so I am really cutting close on time! I love you all! Conference was great. The people in the Bronx are incredible. I love knocking doors and teaching the gospel. Have a super week!

Love, Elder Brown
No explanation for this "Jackalope" look.

Marshmallow wars - pretty rough lookin' bunch! They seem to take their marshmallow wars seriously!