Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The "New Roc" life! (Short for New Rochelle)

Buenas tardes familia! Como siempre tuvimos una semana fantástica!
This week as always was another incredible one! To start off, Seidy’s baptism went really Amazing!  We had a goal to invite literally everyone to the baptism and it turned out really well! The whole chapel was packed and we were even blessed with the presence of President Smith and his family!  Let me tell you a little about Seidy! She is probably one of the coolest people I have ever met in my whole entire life! When she first began her journey in the church she wasn't really interested in it... she basically just came to church because her friend invited her and she didn't want to be rude. Well, as she continued coming she kept feeling a spirit that "wouldn't leave her alone", and so she decided she was going to start taking things a little more seriously and listening to the missionaries on a regular basis. The day she accepted a baptismal date she lost her job. She is a single mom with two little kids under the ages of 4, and so losing her job was a big struggle. She continued with the church and continued praying to find a new job. Not long after she was offered a job (a really good job at that), but it wouldn’t permit her to come to church on Sunday because she would be working. To most I feel like this would be a hard decision to make... take this really nice job or put it off and be jobless but be able to attend church. But it wasn't hard for Seidy! With loads of faith she declined the job and continued praying. 2 weeks before her baptism she was able to find a job. It was a tender experience for me listening to her testimony the following Sunday and to be able to think, “how can I build my own faith so that when hard decisions come that I don't have to think twice?” I extend that same question to y’all today! :)
A cool miracle this week... so we were going to look up a less active and he wasn't there. We had about 10 minutes until our next appointment and we didn't have any back up plans, so we decided we were going to take it up with the Lord. We both went and said our own personal prayer and we came back together to see which of all the doors we should knock. Well, we came back together and I looked at Elder Hinckley and he looked at me and at the exact same time we pointed at the same door! So we knocked and just the Rojas family opened up! They are soo legit!  They had met with missionaries like 2 years ago and weren't really sure why they stopped coming by. Prayers don't always get answered so quickly and sometimes God lets us use our best judgement, but it is always cool when you can see the immediate results of your prayers.
Probably the biggest lesson I learned this week like I said before was I think I really gained a knowledge of what faith is. We always say faith is believing in things that we can't see, right? And that is completely true, but I don't think I really understood that until this week.  We were having a tough day yesterday with just a lot of knocking doors and a lot of no's, when we knock into a family who happily invited us into their home. We had a great lesson of the restoration with the whole family and it was awesome. As we got up to leave the dad said something on the lines of "I will read the book and all, but I want you guys to know that we are from another religion." As we left the home I felt kind of bummed... like oh they're from "that" church, they are never going to change. But then I thought to myself, “ELDER BROWN, OH YE OF LITTLE FAITH!” What was I thinking?!?! The promise of the Book of Mormon is that anyone with a sincere heart that reads it with true intent will receive a testimony of its divinity, but in that moment I don't think I trusted or realized the truthfulness of that promise. It all comes down to doubting our doubts before we doubt our faith. Our faith will never fail us and I KNOW THAT IS TRUE!
You all are the BEST!  Love you more than I can ever explain! 
Love, Elder Brown

They had a baptism this past weekend. Her name is Seidy

Caiden and Elder Hinckley

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Transfer number 3!!‏

First off, I want to give a shout out to the best dad in the whole entire universe! I sent you something in the mail, but I guess it hasn't arrived yet. I love you so much and I hope you had the best birthday in the whole entire world! Thanks for all you have done for me and for your example! You mean the world to me!

So, I still don't have my new iPad, so I will be doing this letter on the computer again, and once again my time is very limited!! (Man, I feel like I say that every week!) But, I really am just so grateful for the opportunity I have to be able to write you guys every week and see how you are all doing! It really is such a blessing!

So you guys will never guess where I got transferred... I got transferred to a place called New Rochelle... and guess who my companion is??? Haha, Elder Hinckley!! Haha, how cool is that!! I am so stoked to be able to be back with my trainer and to do some awesome work with him. So yesterday was my first day in the area of course, and it is an AMAZING area! There is a baptism happening this Saturday and we have 2 lined up for the next two weeks as well, so there is a lot of work to be done!! So, a little bit about the area... New Rochelle is a city right by Scarsdale and so we are pretty close to the mission home and the mission office. It’s a nice and big Spanish ward and the members are like legit the best I have heard! So to say the least I am super super excited for the next couple of transfers!

Transfers are always so bitter sweet like I wrote about last time... I love them but I hate them at the same time! Like you all know the hardest part about it is just saying goodbye to all the people who have literally become part of your life and your heart! This past week I have had to say some of the hardest goodbyes of my life. It was a fun experience being able to reflect on all the people we were able to teach and how they progressed and changed as well as to take a step back and take a look about the change that was brought about in myself. We can never underestimate the influence that we can have on the lives of others. There were people in Newburgh that literally shaped the person that I have become. And that is the potential that our examples, the things we do and say, and the way we treat other can have on other people. I am so grateful for the chance I had to serve the wonderful people of Newburgh and now be able to serve the amazing people in the zone of Westchester. I literally love my mission more than anything in the world!!

Something that President Smith always says to me that I love and I want to share with you guys today is, "we are all agents for change". We have the capability, and the potential to be amazing and literally change the world and people’s lives. If we keep doing the same things, we are going to keep getting the same results. But the more we strive to become better and do all we can, the Lord will endow us with his power and we will become new creatures in Jesus Christ. I hate preaching to the choir, but I just felt like I needed to share that!

I love you all so much! DAD, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Let’s make this week the best one of our lives!! 

Mucho Amor, 

Elder Brown

(He sent us this bunch of pictures of his goodbyes to the people of Newburg, but he gave no other details of who they are or anything! ;( Maybe he will fill us in next week.)

This and the next 3 pictures are from transfer day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Crazy Things!!

Hey family!

Thanks so much for the letters y’all sent me this week! I appreciate them more than you know! So this is going to be another short letter due to some complications we had this week. My iPad broke this past Monday, so I have been iPad-less the past couple days. So, for that reason I am writing this letter on the computer and my time is super limited! The bad news is that I am going to have to pay another fee for the replacement of my iPad. That probably stresses you out Mom, but don’t worry about it. I’m sorry I am adding another burden to you all the way from New York, but please don’t stress too much about it! Everything is awesome as can be!

So, with transfers coming up this week we have got some changes coming about. Just a few minutes ago Elder Molina got a trainer call!! So he will be getting a new guy and I will be heading off to a different area! It’s kind of that bitter sweet feeling... I am stoked for Elder Molina because he is going to have some of the biggest growing experiences and he is going to love training, and for that reason I’m super happy. But I am sad that I have to leave the area. To be honest this has been a tough 4 1/2 months. But these past 4 1/2 months have literally been the best months in my entire life and I have grown more in these past months than I have in my whole 19 years of life. Also, I LOVE all the people here. Man, it’s going to be hard to say goodbye, haha! As you all know, I’m not the best at explaining my feelings, especially when I am talking about people that mean the world to me. But I think the best way I can describe my feelings for the investigators and the members here is to say that my life would not be same without them. The influence they have had on the me and the person I have become is something that will affect literally the rest of my life. I’m so grateful for that.  Gosh, I really wish I had more time to speak about these people and explain my love for them, but like I said time is short. I love Newburgh. There will always be that place in my heart that says that Newburgh is home.

We met the legit coolest family this past week! Myra, Alberto and their 2 kids! Basically, they are like family already! We met them on their porch and we had a good conversation with them. They had a lot of awesome questions and it was crazy cool to see the Spirit work on this little family. They eventually just invited us in for dinner and they just made us feel like we were another two of their kids. Dang, and now it makes me sad that I have to leave them! We also had another cool experience with Hermana Garcia. She had just recently gone through surgery and was having a rough time. We kept on asking what we could do to help her out, but of course she declined all the offers of help we extended. We were kind of worried for her, because without being able to work we weren’t sure how she was going to be able to get things done, let alone put food on the table for her family. So of course, we kept her in our prayers. Well, a few days later her mom from Mexico gave the president of our branch a call explaining to him the situation with Hermana Garcia and asked him for any help he could offer. President Romero, being the stud that he is, went to the store and literally bought loads of food for this family and we had the privilege to help him deliver it. It was a tender experience for us to see the Lord work through our amazing branch president to answer our prayers and I am sure the prayers of Hermana Garcia and her family. It was another testimony to me that The lord works miracles through his worthy servants. It’s cool to know that if we prepare ourselves in the ways that we should and if we are worthy, the Lord could use us in answering the prayers of others. He really is looking after us.

I love you all so much! Sorry for the short letter this week! Next time it will be the best letter yet, I promise! Haha, I’ll make sure to let you know where I am heading next week. It’s pretty crazy to think that next week I will be in a totally different area with totally different people! Y’all are awesome!! 

Love, Elder Brown 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Figuring out God's plan and accepting it!‏

Como están todos! Siempre me encanta leer sus correos! Siempre me hacen feliz! Muchísimas gracias! (How's everybody! I always love reading your emails! They always make me happy! Many thanks!)
I really hate saying this every week but this week WAS THE BEST ONE EVER! Haha, I'm so happy to be here on my mission! It's legit the coolest thing ever. It amazes me the things that you can learn in a week. I think I learn more in a week about life than I did in a whole year back home. That's one of the reasons that the mission is so cool.
Well, a little bit of sad news this week. Caesar was not baptized. That was devastating for me. Saturday night we went over to just fill out his baptismal record and get some last minute things set before the baptism on Sunday, and he said that he just felt like he shouldn't do it anymore, and that he didn't really want to meet with us anymore either. To say the absolute least, we were crushed! He was changing so much as a person and we were so excited to see him make this sacred covenant, but sometimes that is how missionary work is. We were super sad, a little angry, and really confused. As we sat in his little room, we bore the strongest testimonies we have ever born in our lives, we said the most powerful prayers we had ever said and the Spirit was the strongest we ever had felt...and he denied it. I was having a hard time with that. There were literally hundreds of prayers and dozens of fasts done on his behalf and so I thought to myself "WHAT THE HECK?” I thought that the promise in Matthew 7 was that when we ask we shall receive, and it didn't really feel like any of the prayers were getting answered.  I learned probably the biggest lesson in my life that night as I kneeled in prayer, frustrated. The Spirit taught me something; it was something that I have known my whole life, but I have never understood it up until that moment... We pray not to change the plan of God, but to put ourselves in line with his will. I guess it wasn't Caesar’s time right now and I have come to accept that. It's been tough thinking that we aren’t going to be able to teach Caesar anymore, but God’s plan is perfect.

So, Sunday morning we got up and started to get ready and the phone rings, and guess who it is? Good ole Gulpertino! He said “Hey, what time are you guys going to pick me up for church - I want to go!" It was awesome to have him come to church and make so many awesome friends that are going to help him overcome his addictions. Like I said before, he used to drink like 12 beers a day and now he has gone down to one or two a week! It's been literally life changing seeing this man change. Everyone really does have a godly potential!

The other day we were knocking doors and we knocked into this man and he just wasn't interested at all and so we asked him if he knew anybody who was going through a hard time and that needed a message of Jesus Christ. Well, in a joking manner he gave us the address of one of his friends that lived a couple doors down, so we went to go check him out. Kind of the same story... Not really interested. So we asked him the same question. He told us the people that lived upstairs. We knocked and a humble little family opens up. Turns out they were going through some hard times and really did need some help. God led us to someone ready through a couple of people who weren't quite ready yet. Little miracles are the ones I love! Haha!
Love you guys! It's crazy that I have been out a year already... I don't want to talk about it so let's not mention it! Haha, but my time has been insanely amazing! Thanks for all the support and love!

Elder Brown
He says people tell him he looks like his pa with those glasses on.

The rest of these pictures came from the mission blog on Zone conference day. This is a former companion, Elder Frei.

That's him way in the back

Over there on the left...

The zone with President Smth