Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A lot of learning!‏

Hey family and friends!

Another week passed by. They are passing by like hours here in New Rochelle... it’s insane! I'm loving every second of my time here in Westchester! This week was filled with a lot of learning experiences... some being good and some a little sad, but everything is amazing as always!

So, this past weekend we were supposed to have 2 baptisms - one for a girl named Kaylee and another for a man named Joao. The sad thing about the week was that neither of the baptisms actually ended up happening. Joao and his wife Julie are not married yet, and so we have to get Julie divorced with her past husband and get them two married (yes another one of those haha). So we have been praying and fasting super hard for him to get his papers by his scheduled date which was the 24th, but they didn't end up coming, which was sad, but it was a good experience being able to fast with Joao and Julie but having the will of God be otherwise. Heavenly Father really does know best! And with Kaylee, she just didn't feel ready. She has passed like 5 different baptismal dates because she hasn't felt ready for any of them, so we are hoping and praying that something just let's her know that this is something that she needs to do! But they are so cool! And WILL, without a doubt in my mind, be baptized when the time is right!

The coolest thing happened this week though!! Like I talked about last week, a man from Salt Lake City missionary department, or whatever they call that, came down and spent a couple hours proselyting with us, to see how the mission has been utilizing the whole online proselyting thing, he was taking lots of notes, etc., so we were pretty nervous, haha! But THIS GUY WAS A GENIUS!!  He taught Elder Hinckley and I so many amazing things that just changed the way we do missionary work. A little background on Elder Brown... I have always been that missionary that just wants to go out and knock as many doors as I can, walk the streets for hours upon hours talking to people and stuff like that. Now I learned that I have been doing everything all wrong! Hahaha, and Aaron (the guy from SLC) is the one that taught me that! The whole day me and him had been discussing about what missionary work ACTUALLY is. Now, what I thought it was was knocking doors and street contacting, and I mean that's not bad, missionary work does entail those things, but it isn't the BEST! He compared missionary work to an experience that we had while we were with him. We were doing a referral lookup in an apartment building and the apartment was on the sixth floor. So he said to us, "When you guys looked up that referral on the sixth floor why did you take the elevator? You could have taken the stairs, it would have felt like you were doing hard work and you would have gotten there, so why did you take the elevator?" And so we responded "well, it got us there faster and so after we could go knock more doors", and he said that is exactly what online proselyting does - its taking the elevator! So that's what we are doing now ONLINE PROSELYTING!!! WAHOO! Another thing he said that stuck out to me was that when we see a missionary come home with worn out shoes we all say, "wow that was a good missionary - he worked hard" and maybe that's true, but he said that when they see a missionary with his pants worn down where his butt is they say that he was a great missionary because he was sitting down and teaching lessons. My hope is to become a more efficient and effective missionary! Such a cool experience!

After a long wait, he was able to attend the temple today for their p-day activity!
We were able to go to the temple today for p-day and it was Amazing!! It's been a year since I have been able to go to the temple. In fact, it was the last time I was with Elder Hinckley that we got to go. So today was a very special experience! As I sat there in the celestial room the spirit testified to me of the truthfulness of the restoration of the gospel and the prophet Joseph Smith!  I know the restoration is true and I love Joseph Smith! Thanks to one small little question, we can be sealed to our families for the eternities... WHAT A BLESSING

I love you all so much! Thanks for everything! The gospel is true

Love Elder Brown

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Food, food, food!!! And goals!!‏

Hey family and friends!

I feel super grateful! I love y’all so much and I am grateful to have y’all in my life. The time I have out here in New York is short, but I am so grateful that I can be here and share the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ. I can say without a doubt that this mission has changed my life. I will never be the same person again, and I am so eternally grateful for that!

This past week was an awesome one and super busy! We were able to spend a lot of time with the members this week and really get to know them so much more. I’ve never met more people just so willing to share the gospel with everyone, and they just show so much love towards the missionaries. Haha, it is awesome I can’t lie! I think we ate like 20 meals this past week with members, haha, and it’s been cool to be able to use technology. So while we are in member’s homes we can just Skype in investigators and have lessons with the members there. Technology really is a blessing. The only bad part really about this past week was that there was so much food I got fat again ;) hahaha!

We met some LEGENDARY people this week as well!! Once again we were doing less actives look ups (like every miracle I ever tell starts out with that, haha) and we knocked this door. Well, this super awesome lady opens up and started telling us how she always used to meet with the missionaries back in Peru, and that like all of her friends were Mormons. She said she didn’t have time to have us over, but to come back the next day at around lunch time. So we come back and the family lets us in and they had prepared us Lomo Saltado. I don’t know if any of you know what that is, but it is legit the best Hispanic dish in the whole entire world! So we were pretty stoked. After lunch we had a sweet lesson with them about the plan of salvation. Her mom died not too long ago and she had tons of questions about where she was, if she was going to see her, ect ect. And all y’all that have served missions know that when investigators ask dope questions about the plan of salvation they normally end up being pretty dang cool! And they seriously are like the coolest people ever! We have super high hopes for them! Pray for Ruth and her family!

So, supposedly this Friday some people from Salt Lake City are coming down here on Friday and are going to be spending the day filming and observing what we do and stuff. Haha, that’s pretty sketchy. We don’t have too many details on that whole situation, so hopefully I can tell you more about that next week. But it should be a good learning experience! ;)

Recently in the zone we have been setting some pretty awesome goals. It has been cool to see how just by setting a goal and having that goal in our minds always can bring about such a big change in what we are doing. I don’t know, I feel like a lot of times in our lives we set these goals and then we just forget them, or we say, nah, tomorrow I will work on it, or whatever it may be, but the point is that after we set a goal we just have to do it!!! THERE IS NO SPECIAL SAUCE TO REACHING GOALS…IT’S JUST DOING IT. Nike’s words really do have some wisdom! I have seen that in my mission - if we want something we have to go out and do it and get it. No one is going to give it to us on a silver platter, but it is ours for the taking. I’m a super big fan of goal setting!

Well, that’s my little ramble for the day! Haha, I love you all! Thanks for everything! Let’s have another great week!

Love, Elder Brown

Some New York pizza 

Some activities

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Gospel and it's happiness!


This week’s letter is going to be a short one! Sorry about that. We have been super busy today and it’s been hard to find a minute of spare time! But I want to make sure I always drop you guys a line and tell you I love you so much!

This week was really good though! It was a little slower, because Elder Hinckley has this ingrown toe nail that has gotten pretty nasty and so we had to go to the hospital for that, but other than that little hold up this week was pretty amazing!  As always! Every week as a missionary is blessed!
Roxanna and her family are doing super awesome! It was the cutest thing… her little daughter that is 7 years old loved church so much that she said she was never going to miss church another week in her entire life. And then she drew a picture of her getting baptized! Hahaha, man it’s so cool to see the love these people have for the gospel!

A tender mercy that happened this week was when we were looking up less actives in the area. We knocked on this person’s door and a little old lady opened up the door just a crack - just enough that we could see half her face. We talked with her for a second and got to know her… she was being a little stubborn, if I do say so myself, haha, well we ended up asking her if we could just share a quick scripture with her… she said no. Well, if you know missionaries you know that we don’t give up too easily and we kept on being persistent. She ended up giving in and letting us share the scripture. Elder Hinckley whipped out John 16:33, which says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” In that moment the Spirit touched all three of us in a way that is indescribable. She opened up the door and told us the trials she was going through. It was a tender experience for all of us. Now we asked her if we could come back and she said no, but she did thank us for coming by. And I know without a doubt in my heart that the Spirit testified to her that the Savior lives and that He loves her, and I know she felt That!  Now on the other hand that scripture hit me in a personal way… at times in the Mission I think we, or I in particular, get caught up in things that don’t matter, get stressed or overwhelmed. Now the Savior didn’t overcome the world so that we can get caught up in it. There are a lot of things in this world that are here to distract us and deprive us from our potential as children of God. But as I spoke of last week we must bury these weapons of war and have peace through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I don’t think our Heavenly Father wants us to be sad, stressed or bugged, but he wants us to find happiness in the Gospel of His son. The Gospel really does provide the true form of happiness. We just need to find it.

I love you! Let’s be happy and make this week the most legendary of them all!

Love, Elder Brown
After basketball with President's son William.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Burying the weapons of war!‏

This week was awesome! A week full of amazing learning experiences and growth! I wish y’all could just come be my companions so that you could see how cool this work really is!  I try to explain it the best I can every week, but no one can explain the spirit that comes along with personal experiences.
We had an awesome MLC meeting this past week!  The focus of the meeting was burying our weapons of rebellion. Out of all the stories in the Book of Mormon, I would have to say this one beats them all! The righteousness and the willingness of the Lamanites makes me want to become a better missionary. As a missionary and as members of the church we aren’t asked to give up our lives, nor every single second of our lives, but we are asked to live our lives in accordance with our callings - whether that is a missionary, a mother, or a home teacher - we have to make the sacrifices to receive the blessings of heaven! I had one of the most spiritual experiences of my life as we ended the meeting singing the song “Armies of Helaman! The Spirit testified to me again that this is the work of the Lord, that all of us have been saved for these latter days to build the Lord’s kingdom in righteous ways! THAT SONG IS LEGIT LEGENDARY! Haha, I love it so much!
These following pictures are from MLC (mission leader conference)

We are teaching some awesome people right now! Man, it just makes me so excited! Haha, so we teach this family - Hermana Roxanna and her two daughters Christina and Carolina - and they are so awesome! Roxanna and Carolina will be baptized on Oct 15 and they are super stoked. Little Christina isn’t 8 yet, so she will have to wait a little bit, but she too is excited for when she turns 8! We also teach Juan Carlos and Veronica. So, they have been investigating for years! Their son is a member, but they aren’t married and Veronica is actually married with someone else in Peru. So there is a lot of paper work they need to get figured out before they are baptized. It’s tough because they are so cool. They are like the strongest members in the ward and they aren’t even members, haha, but we just need a miracle to get these papers!  The last lesson we had with them we were talking about fasting and Elder Hinckley, out of nowhere, promises them that if we all fasted together on Sunday and they did everything they could to get the papers, that by the end of the month the papers would come! Haha, wow the Spirit was super incredible!!! I know the power of the fast is real and I know that if this family does all they can and if it’s the will of our Heavenly Father that they will get their papers by the end of the Month! :)
OK, so we had just gotten out of an appointment and we had about 15 minutes until we had to teach English class, so we decided we were going to knock a couple doors right around the church. The first door we knock, a lady named Elizabeth answers and this lady is super cool! She tells us how she used to go to our church every Sunday, but of course work and stuff got in the way and she stopped going. So we taught her a little bit right there at the door and she invited us to come back another day. So, we come back and the whole family is there and they are all AMAZING! Such an awesome family! They are really big into their Catholic religion, but want to come back and try the “Mormons” again!  Please keep them in your Prayers!  Your prayers really do make a difference! :)
I love you all so much! Thanks for the emails! They really do mean a lot!
Love, Elder Brown
This kid reminds me so much of Blake!  They are like the same! 

The pad! (by that I think he means these Elders are all in the same apartment as he is)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Power of the Spirit!‏

Dear family!!
This week legit felt like 1 day! Last week for p-day we were playing basketball with President and it feels like that was seriously yesterday! It really is true that time flies by when you are having fun! That’s something that I really love about this area… it’s just Fun!  We work really really hard, but we have a lot of fun while we are doing it. First off a shout out the coolest brother in the world for being the oldest looking 24-year-old I have ever seen! Happy birthday Bro! I love you so much and I am so incredibly grateful for the example you have set for me of what a good missionary is! You rock! Hope your day was great!
Well, this week was filled with just little miracles here and there. Something really cool that happened was that I was on a split with an elder from the English program, and we had just gotten out of an appointment. We were walking down the road when we hear, “ HEY ELDERS STOP!” So we turn around and these two thug looking guys get out of their car and we are over there thinking ...oh boy what’s going to happen now? As we approach these guys we find out that they are from Brazil and just moved here like 3 months earlier. So it was a little hard to communicate with them. (Here in our area there are a ton of Portuguese people and so we have kind of learned a little Portuguese… enough to defend ourselves, haha!) Well, one of them starts telling us his life story and how he was baptized when he was 8, that he was going to go on a mission, but then life just got a hold of him and he kind of fell off the path. This guy was seriously so cool!  He was naming all the prophets, he was quoting scriptures from the Book of Mormon, and bearing his testimony to us. So this guy was super LEGIT!  After we had talked to him for a while we turned to his friend and asked if he was a member and he was like, “no… but I want to be!” WELL, ISN’T THAT JUST THE COOLEST THING TO HEAR AS A MISSIONARY! We were pretty stoked!
Something that kind of just touched me this week was something that happened after we taught English class yesterday. When we teach English class we always sing a hymn first and say a prayer and then we teach English. At the end we always share a spiritual thought. By the way, none of these people are members. So we decided that we were going to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon. We shared Ether 12:27 and everyone thought it was a nice scripture. When we were all leaving a lady (who is actually from Osorno, shout out to Tanner) walked up to us and asked for a Book of Mormon in English. Well, this lady doesn’t really speak a lick of English, so we were wondering why she wanted one in English? She told us that she has a friend that is going through a lot of hard times and she thought that the Book of Mormon would be a perfect way to try and help her friend out! That kind of hit me hard… this non-member lady… who doesn’t know much about the church, let alone the Book of Mormon, was able to recognize the power the Book of Mormon could have in changing lives from one verse. The power that the Book of Mormon has, combined with the Holy Ghost, is something that is undeniable!
A quote that stuck out to me in my personal studies this week was this, “The spirit of the Lord makes up the difference between the man who teaches, and the man who is being taught”. How grateful I am for that. We are far from being perfect missionaries… Elder Hinckley maybe a little closer than me, but I can say without a doubt in my heart that we are giving our best, that we try with everything we’ve got. We aren’t the best teachers… I would say that we are both men of few words, but the Spirit and the way he teaches in flawless. Like Jesus Christ said to his apostles before he was about to leave them, “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.” And he hasn’t left his missionaries either. Thanks to the spirit of the Lord missionary work is possible and successful!
I love you all so much! I love this work and I know it’s the work of the Lord! 
Love, Elder Brown  

A sweet member in the ward! MARIO!

View from our pad

Our room with a sweet view to help us go to bed, haha!