Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Magnificent Change!

Hey the best family in the entire world!

Wow... This week was so amazing. I've had multiple experiences this past week that will and have changed my life for forever! Very, very tender experiences. I don't have too much time to write this week! Me and Elder Nielsen are going to this super duper cool hike in our mission, so maybe when we get back I will attach some cool pictures!( Oh and dad don't you dare add those pictures from zone conference on my blog or I will be mad! Haha we really don't look that fat!)

Oh, and just another shout out to the wonderful ladies in my life! Mom, Brittany and Lacee! I'm such an awful brother and son. I have yet to get even a letter sent out to you guys! I just want you guys to know that I think you are amazing. And each one of you have affected my life in so many ways. Your examples do not go unnoticed! LOVE YOUUUUU!

Things are going pretty well here in good ole Newburgh! No life threatening experiences this week, besides another dog encounter, so that is good! My love for these people is starting to go out the wazoo! Haha, they are seriously so cool and so humble! The other day we were walking down the street and during the day there are always tons of kids just playing around in the streets. Every time we see them we make sure we give them pictures of Jesus. Well, this past week we had some tender experiences with that. This one kid came up to us and he said that he hung the picture above his bed and he kisses it every night before he goes to sleep and he said he would like another one. As we were walking and talking he saw his mom and while freaking out he said, "HEY HEY HEY! LOOK THATS MY MOM! GO GIVE HER A PICTURE TOO! SHE REALLY REALLY NEEDS JESUS!" So we went and talked to her and got a return appointment! Haha, getting those referrals from the little kids, yaaalllll Haha, another girl we gave a picture of Jesus to just started to cry when she saw it and wrapped her little arms around our legs and whispered " I love Jesus so much"! She wouldn't let go and so we had to give her a hand full of pictures to get her to let go of us! Haha, it's so cute seeing how much these little kids love Jesus Christ! I love him to!! 

I have seen change in people this week. I love that word change! It's so cool that we have the potential to be different. To leave behind past transgressions or habits and to start over again. That’s probably one of my favorite things about being a missionary. Being able to see the gospel change these people’s lives. It was cool to see our investigator Carlos and his member wife Gladis who used to be drunks sitting in sacrament meeting, participating in gospel principles class and praying to receive help to overcome an addiction so they can be sealed together as a family in the temple one day. Then there was a changed man, a man named Jimmy, who hasn’t had a day sober in 20 years, not drink a beer, but turns to read the Book of Mormon when he gets tempted. That is what it is all about.

With the transfer ending, I am praying that I will be able to stay another one with Elder Nielsen. He is seriously my best friend! I'm going to miss him. We think he will be staying though, so I guess we will see this week!

I love you all so much! You mean the world to me! Please pray that Adolfo and Elliuth can get married. The process is coming along slowly, but please pray for them!

Love Elder Brown
Bike Crew!

Neighborhood kids

Splits with Elder Hill

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The legendary week!‏

Wow, I don't even know where to begin with this week! This week was such a legendary week! BEST WEEK OF MY MISSION SO FAR! Haha, no joke though! So many crazy things went down and we saw like loads of miracles!

First off, I want to say happy birthday to the best mom in the world!! I can't believe you are finally turning 40! ;) Haha, I hope your birthday was the best day ever and that you enjoyed it! It sounds like you and dad weren't lacking in the fun department this past weekend! Haha, I'm getting something sent to you pronto. Sorry for my lateness! Also, happy birthday to the coolest sisters in town these next few days! I love you all so very much! You guys are the best! Everyone is just growing up so fast it's insane!

I guess I will start off with a couple crazy stories.... (Mom if you don't want to get scared don't read this!) Haha, I probably shouldn't say this, but then I would be leaving you guys out of all the fun stuff, so I have to say it! Haha, so we were talking to this guy on his porch and he decided he was going to call his friend over. When his friend arrived he started going crazy on us! Yelling, screaming, spitting, and all sorts of other crazy stuff! Me and Elder Nielsen just stood there and took the worst verbal beating I have ever received ever in my life... Not saying a word we tried to leave the scene peacefully, but he wasn't going to have that happen. He then started to get a little physical with us... Pushing and shoving and eventually he had his hands around our throats. Well, at this point we got a little scared, haha, he cooled down a little bit and we told him that we had to go. Then, as we were about to walk away he pulled a huge kitchen knife out from his pants and told us we couldn't go. Haha, well, we waited for a little and then he hurried inside his house to get something and we took off running! Haha, so that was a fun experience. It wasn't as sketchy as it sounds mom I promise! Haha, it's was actually pretty cool! My testimony strengthened. Well, the next story is when we were knocking a door to do a less active lookup, and a little kid opened the door and we saw this HUGE dog from the back of the room start barreling towards us. And this dog was massive! So me and Elder Nielsen started running for our lives! Haha, and this door happened to be on the third story of a little apartment building and so we were running as fast as we could down these stairs, but the dog was getting closer and closer and so we jumped off the side of the railing and ran out the front door to the apartment building. As we ran out, one of our Street Homies slammed the door behind us and locked the dog inside. He then said "I ain't never seen two white boys do such athletic moves in my life before, y'all must play ball!" Haha, memories!! Words can't do these stories justice... Just know that they were legendary!

We found some awesome people this week! While me and Elder Guerra were on a split we street contacted into this super cool guy named Carlos. Super humble guy who really has a desire to change his life around. Well, the next day me and Elder Nielsen were doing some tracting and knocked into this ladies door. Turns out she has been a member for a super long time and stopped coming to church because her new husband was against the church. She was super cool though and we set up a time we could come back. We came back and the man named Carlos turned out to be her husband, and her son was actually a missionary and his wife isn't a member and they are all so cool! Carlos will be getting baptized here soon after they come to church a couple times and Gladis (the member lady) and Lester (her son) are super excited to be back in the gospel! It's a small world after all!!

30 minutes after that cool experience we knocked into another lady who just moved here from Mexico a year ago and has been a less active her whole 2 years in the church! She was super awesome and also lives with a ton of non-members, which is a straight up gold mine. We have got some super high hopes for them as well!! Loving life here in Newburgh!

I haven't had time to read the talk of the week, because I just barely found out what talk it was, so I will share my comments on that one next week if that would be ok with y'all! We also just had like a super legendary zone conference yesterday and my mind got blown! President Smith is like a missionary wizard! Haha, we focused a lot on part member families, and so it tied in perfectly with the work that we are already doing up here! Thanks so much for everything guys! I love you all so much! Mom, Britt, and Lacee, I hope your birthdays are amazing! I'll be celebrating over here in New York for you guys! Have the best week ever!


Love, Elder Brown
Ran into a high school friend who now attends West Point.

Birthday cake at the Chirinos family's home

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Under the pressure!

Hey my fam!

Wow, it was so great to see you guys this past Sunday! You are all looking so great and I love you guys so very much! I'll just apologize again for being that weird, awkward missionary. I'm not the best at explaining my feelings, but I hope you guys felt how much I love you and how grateful I am for the hour we had to spend together! You guys are the best family ever!

Given that we talked like 3 days ago there isn't too much to report on this past week, but I will try my best to write something good!

So, the day that we spent with President was so inspiring and I learned so much! That man is like the best missionary I have ever seen in my whole entire life! Haha, he just knew how to make people interested in the message of the restoration. Somehow he would get these people to just spill out all of the struggles they are having and all of their problems and then he would somehow relate what they are going through back to the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. It was so cool! He pretty much quoted the first vision to every one we talked to! Haha, to say the least I learned how to be a missionary this past week! He has this focus going on in the mission about sharing the first vision with as many people as we can. And it's been really cool to see that special spirit that comes with Joseph Smith’s own words. I'm so grateful for the restoration!

I forgot to mention that we had a baptism this past weekend!! Haha, he's actually 8 and his family is members, but it was cool to see a new little member of the Rama (Branch). His family is the Buenaventura family and they are so cool!! His dad, Memo, is like our best friend ever! Haha, I love that family! The Rama (Branch) threw a huge party for him and his baptism! Haha, it was literally insane how many people showed up and how much food they had there! I will send a picture!

I LOVE the chosen talk this week by Elder Owens on leaders and followers. There are so many good insights - it's unreal! A quote that I liked from the talk was when he said "Your ability to lead does not
come from an outgoing personality, motivational skills, or even a talent for public speaking. It comes from your commitment to follow Jesus Christ. It comes from your desire to be, in Abraham’s words, “a greater follower of righteousness.” If you can do that--even if you aren’t perfect at it, but you’re trying--then you are a leader." And this reminds me of a little miracle we had with our time with President. It had just taken us an hour to walk down one street, because we were having lessons with literally every single person that was outside and we were like 30 min. late to an appointment we had with this less active family. Well, when we arrived everyone was gone besides the 18 year old son named Irvin. Irvin is awesome and wants to serve a mission, but he just doesn't feel like he is ready. President was able to talk to him about missions and how they are so beneficial. We also shared the scripture Dad quoted last week in Exodus about Moses feeling inadequate to fulfill his duties. The Spirit was seriously incredible. But, back to the point, It doesn't matter if you are slow of speech, don't know the mission language, or can't quote a scripture to save your life, but being a true leader is based on our willingness to be servants of Christ. The Lord prepares the people he calls! I know that is true.

I know this gospel is true! I'm so grateful for it! I love you guys all so much! Thanks for being those leader/followers that I need as role models! Love you all!
Elder brown
I think this must be a photo from the "After Baptism" party that he was talking about

No explanation for this one. At least it is not the "teenage girl" pose from last week!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Classic Mission Miracles...(continued from last week!)

Hola familia!

Why is time going by so fast? Can somebody please answer me this question? Haha, I hate it. I seriously hate how time is going by so fast! I cannot believe that it's already time for another call home! I am super excited to see you all! Make sure y'all have some good questions for me! I'll try my best to have good answers! Haha, Mom all these questions you have for me in your emails, make sure to write them down because it would be so much easier to answer them over the phone than in the limited time I have writing an email! Love you!! And happy Mother's Day!! Obviously, we will be talking on Sunday but I just want you to know how you’re the best mom in the whole entire world!! (Sorry to all other moms out there... You are all awesome too!) I love you more than a little email, letter or words can even describe! I hope you have the best day! Love you loads!

Another great week here in Newburgh! Still doing a lot of finding, but we have focused a lot more on the now progressing investigators that we have. This last Monday we had a noche de hogar (Family Night) at this part member family’s house and I love them sooooo much! Their name is the Chirinos family and they are so cool! Adolfo, the dad, is just getting reactivated in the church after being gone for almost 20 years, and his girlfriend is an amazing investigator! She is so ready to be baptized, but the only thing holding her back is the fact that they aren't married. (That seems to be the case with LITERALLY EVERYONE!) So we are trying to get them married as soon as possible so that Elliuth, the mom, can be baptized. These guys are seriously the coolest people I have ever met in my life! Please pray that everything can work out with them!

So the black guy that I talked about last time – his name is Israel! And he is super cool! We went back to see him again and he had begun reading the Book of Mormon and he had marked all of the things that he liked and the questions he had. And he said that it all just made sense! Haha, super awesome guy! We had to pass him off to the English elders though because he doesn't know Spanish, which is a bummer, but the English elder here in Newburgh is actually Elder Richard Hill, and if you don't recognize that name he played on the Strikers team with me way back when with coach Frost! Haha, it's a small world after all! So he will treat Israel good! :)

President Smith was pretty stoked about the progress he is seeing in the area, and so he called us the other day just to see what was going on down here in Newburgh. He is actually going to spend the day with us tomorrow while we proselyte so we are pretty nervous, haha. Pray that the spirit will be with us to guide us to the places we need to go! Haha!

Just a short miracle for the week... It's another one of those classic missionary miracles that you always hear, but they are the best kind, right? Haha, so this day EVERY SINGLE ONE of our appointments fell through, and basically, this day was just finding. And let me tell you... Days like that are really really tiring. Well, it was getting close to the end of the day and we were walking back home and Elder Nielsen got a prompting to knock this door that we had already probably knocked like a thousand times up to this point. Well, we did and these two sisters from Puerto Rico opened up. We showed them a quick little video and they were both in tears. The Spirit was incredible in that lesson. Elder Nielson’s testimony is a killer! Makes people cry every time! Haha, but anyways they ended up being super cool! They are progressing really well now and we hope to see them baptized in the coming month! Their names are Nicole and Brenda!

Thoughts on Elder Uchtdorf’s talk in priesthood! The words that stuck out to me most while I was reading this talk was the ones that Mom mentioned in her comments. What legacy do I want to leave? I think this applies to every aspect of life, not just the family. We teach the youth at church, and recently we have been focusing a ton on little decisions and the impact they have on our eternal destination. The choices we make now will affect our legacy! The question is, what kind of legacy do we really want to leave? After reading this talk again I hope to base every decision I make on how that will reflect on my legacy. Haha, I know that had nothing really to do about families, but that's what just came to my head! Haha, I love my family. You guys are sooo cool!

I love you all so much! Can't wait to see you on Sunday!!

Love Elder Brown

This and the following one were taken at a place called Highland Falls

This one he titled "teenage girls". Haha!