Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Roaming Sleepy Hollow...again!!

So, another week here in New Rochelle has come and gone! And as always the week was... wait for it... legendary! Haha, but for real it was actually a really good week and we saw a lot of success.

There aren't too many huge, awesome, insane miracles that happened this week, but a lot of little ones really make the difference! Probably the biggest thing that we did this past week was go to the Hartford Temple in Connecticut! It's outside the mission, but if we went with less actives or investigators it was ok. So we were able to go with 5 of our investigators and a couple less actives. It was such a good experience to see the holiness of the temple work on these people! One of our members named Hermana Calderón brought a family that she was trying to share the gospel with for a long time. After going through the temple and feeling the Spirit there, the family wants to listen to the missionaries and start coming to church! We are super excited to see where they go! The temple was awesome and sooo pretty! It's like one of my favorite temples NOW!:):)

Tonight is the baptism for Brayan and Yari! We are super stoked, but super busy and that's why this letter is going to be really short, but I'll be sure to send pictures and tell you how it went next week! They are so cool and so excited!

Roxana is also doing super well! She should be getting baptized not this Sunday, but the next. I say should because her parents are coming to town from Peru and supposedly they are super Catholic and crazy. Haha, so we are bit sketched out for that, but she is sooo solid and we know it will happen! Please pray for her! As well as her two daughters Carolina and Christina!

We had zone conference this week and it was awesome! I always treasure the opportunities to be able to learn from President and Sister Smith and other missionaries. The Spirit is always so present! Something that was said that I really liked was focused on what we do in the morning! Now this is one of the most crucial things ever! IF YOU ONLY READ ONE PART OF MY LETTERS READ THIS!! Every morning we have the choice if we are going to have a good day or if we are going to have a bad day. We HAVE to make sure our attitudes our good in the morning... that will define our lives. I know I talked about that last week, but if we wake up in the morning and are happy and have a good attitude then our life will change dramatically!

I love you all so much! I love the people in New Rochelle! I love life!

Oh and by the way, happy anniversary to my favorite brother and my favorite sister in law! I hope to have a relationship like yours one day! One day wayyyy in the future, haha, but still wanna be like you guys! Thanks for loving each other!;) Haha, and I hope you have an awesome day!

Con amor, 
Elder Brown

Working out with the EQ president

Wandering around Sleepy Hollow

Some kind of crypt or something at Sleepy Hollow

They didn't find the headless horseman!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Smoldering (with) Pumpkins!!

Wow! I hate how these weeks are just flying by! I wish I could just take it all in! It's hard to find time to just think to yourself, “wow, I am really on a mission - like this is it - I have only got 9 months left - too sad.” But, always super excited that I’VE GOT 9 MONTHS LEFT TO GIVE IT ALL I GOT! That's what I'm gonna do!

So, this week was awesome, and of course as always, we saw a lot of miracles! Sunday was legit insane! The church building was packed! And of course, as a missionary you always love to see that! 20 non-members showed up to church in our little ward and it was such a blessing. Cool story behind one of those 20 souls - so as we were greeting everyone to come into church a man that we didn't know walked in, didn't say anything, just walked in and sat down. We weren't able to go and sit by him or talk to him or anything like that because things were super hectic. But of course, our amazing elder’s quorum president named Julian, (he is the legit coolest person, he just got back from his mission in Italy) sat by the guy, welcomed him and all that good stuff. Turns out he only spoke Portuguese, but he went on the Internet and looked up the address to the church and just came because he wanted to! Haha, he is golden! So we have started teaching him. It's a little difficult because we don't speak Portuguese nor does he speak Spanish, but we work it out! Haha, it really is cool though to see these people with a real desire to change their lives and then ACT ON THAT DESIRE! We are what we make out of ourselves. His name is also Joao and he is amazing!

That Sunday night wasn't as good as church was though - all of our appointments fell through and we got discouraged pretty fast. Haha, so as we were trying to contact in a park at like 8 o'clock at night everyone was just like bluhhh... and that brings up a good point... something I have seen so clearly on my mission is that when we are happy as the missionary and we have a good attitude, then the people that we talk to are more receptive and nicer. The amount of niceness we give reflects the amount of niceness we get in return. If we are like, bluhhh, then the people are going to be like, bluhhh. So let's not be bluhhh, haha. But anyways continuing with the story, things just weren't great. So we sat down on a park bench and said a very simple prayer. Just help us find somebody. Also, a little more background: So this whole week we had been so busy that we never had any opportunities to go out and find someone and so we had set a goal Saturday night that we were going to find a new person on Sunday. So we prayed to find that person. Well, after the prayer we did some more contacting and just no luck. Well, we felt the prompting to look up the closest former investigator to where we were standing right then. We looked him up and he was so cool. He had just lost his father and his whole view on everything had changed and he was so open to the gospel of Jesus Christ and it was just cool to be able to hit our goal and to find another soul to help come closer to Christ!

Today Elder Hinckley and another missionary that we live with named Elder Henrie got to go visit the Statue of Liberty because they are going home. It's like a tradition for the leaving missionaries. So today I am on a split with Elder Olsen, and we got to carve pumpkins with some members and it was so much fun! It reminded me of the coolest pumpkins that I used to make at home! ;)

I really do appreciate your prayers on my behalf! Little old Elder Brown needs em! Haha, y’all are the best and just know I pray for you always! STAY STRONGGG!

Elder Brown
Haha, posing with Pumkin. Yes, I still do the smolder, haha!!

On splits with Elder Olsen, carving pumpkins

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

That special baptismal tie!!

Hey family and friends!! 

This was an awesome week and we saw some amazing miracles!! As usual, I don’t have much time to write so I am going to have to make this a quick one, but I will try my best to explain all the cool things that happened this week!

So, I guess I will get right into it! So, I have talked a lot about Roxanna and she is so cool! Haha, so recently she hasn’t been able to come to church because she just got a second job so that she could take care of her family and pay the bills. So the past couple weeks she hasn’t come. Well, this whole week Elder Hinckley and I have been praying for a miracle or something like super cool to happen. Haha, well, it got to Saturday and nothing really super amazing had happened! Yeah, little things here and there, but nothing really big like we were hoping for. Well, on Saturday we were talking with her and she was like "Brothers, guess what?? I got work off on Sundays so that we can come to church!" Well, to say the least we were stoked!! Haha, it really is soooo cool to see these people make sacrifices in their lives to live their lives in accordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ! It seriously makes me soooo happy!!! Haha, we are super excited for them and the progress that they are making! The ward has been awesome in being friends and helping them along the way! She talks with the relief society president more than we talk to her and so we think she is in good hands!

As a zone we have made a goal to set a new baptismal date every week! So this past week obviously we were hoping that we were going to hit the goal, haha, and it had gotten to Sunday morning and we had yet to set a date with anybody. It was Fast Sunday and so we decided that we were going to fast for the cause. The English ward had a baptism after church and we really wanted one of our investigators to come, but we had invited everyone and no one really wanted to come. Haha, so we decided we were going to invite an old investigator that we haven’t taught for like 7 weeks. He and his girlfriend said that they would be willing to come! We were stoked! Now this is where it gets legendary... Little side note... as we were praying before leaving the house Elder Hinckley got the feeling that he should go grab a tie for Brayan (the guy that was going to come to the baptism) and give it to him and tell him to wear it at his baptism, which was obviously weird because we had no baptism planned for him, nor was he even meeting with us. So it was definitely out of the ordinary. Well, as we arrive to the baptism and we meet up with Brayan and his girlfriend Yadi, he says to us, "Elders, I have been thinking.... and thinking... and thinking a little more... and I want to get baptized!!!"  We had a group hug and it was just a special moment! After the baptism we were able to sit down with them and plan their baptism for the end of the month on the 30!! It was seriously such an answer to our fasts and prayers and just a testimony to me that miracles really do happen. Even in our day and time miracles are still as real as they were in the times of our Savior! We just gotta believe in them!!

I love every minute I have been out here! I love the people here more than I love anything in the whole entire world! It’s kind of sad because Elder Hinckley will be headed back home in less than  5 weeks, and it’s weird to think that there actually is a life that isn’t missionary work. I’m not too excited for that day. Haha, sorry mom and dad, I still love you, but you know what I mean! Haha, I love you all! Thanks for everything! I love hearing from y’all and I hope this week is amazing just like the last!!

Con Amor, 

Elder Brown

Bug extermination day!

A lady in our ward who is moving to Idaho 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Faith + Obedience = Success!

Hey family,

What a stellar week with conference, meetings and miracles! Haha, wow, I loved conference!! This time it was my first time watching every session in Spanish and it was awesome, because we had to put even more attention into what was being said! And, we got a lot more out of it! I would have to say my favorite talk from conference was actually from the women’s session - Elder Uchtdorf’s talk… fourth floor last door! President Smith asked us to read this talk in preparation for MLC, and I legit love it! If you haven’t read that talk, read it!!! And if you have read it… read it again!!! One of the quotes that stuck out to me was this, “Faith means that we trust not only in God’s wisdom, but that we trust also in His love. It means trusting that God loves us perfectly, that everything He does—every blessing He gives and every blessing He, for a time, withholds—is for our eternal happiness.” I love this!! I think sometimes when our situations aren’t the best it’s easy to think to ourselves, “Where is Heavenly Father in this situation?”  But it’s comforting to know that no matter what situation we are in… that it’s part of the perfect plan of our Father. If we have faith in that plan, if we believe it’s inspired, the hard times WILL be easier! Conference was Bomb!

And so, basically, that was the focus of MLC for this month - that faith + Obedience = success! That’s one of the reasons I love the Book of Mormon!! There is literally nothing that explains better that if we are obedient then we prosper in the land! As a mission we are reading the Book of Mormon together and we were asked to pick a topic and makes notes and mark in the book where it talks about that certain doctrine. I’m reading it keeping the topic of Obedience in mind, and it literally talks about it probably more than any other thing! Haha, it is awesome!  Let’s have the faith to be obedient!!

So we had one of those days this week where just nothing was going good.  We both were pretty sick, appointments falling through, you know just one of those classic bad days in the Mission field. Now, those don’t happen often, but it was just one of those days. And so, just in my heart, I offered a little prayer asking for something to boost our day. Well, we ended up knocking into a super awesome lady that said she was “waiting for us!” Now, not the biggest of miracles, but it was something that just made me happy and reminded me that God really does have control over every little situation. He really does hear the little prayers of our hearts!

Mom, I was thinking about you a lot this past week and I just wanted to tell you that I love you and that I am so grateful to have a mother like you!  You are amazing and incredible! And the things you have done for me from the very littlest to the very biggest have not gone unseen! I say the same things over and over again, and I sound like a broken record, but you are the best ever! I love you more than you know and I just hope you know that!

Thanks so much family and friends for the things you have done for me! Thanks for the support! You are loved from across the nation!

Love, Elder Brown

Sometimes we are dress up dolls for people... haha ;)       

The rest of these pictures are from MLC on the mission blog