Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas pictures and video!

Since we got to speak with Caiden through Skype for about an hour yesterday for Christmas, and the day after was p-day, he decided not to write his normal letter today. He did send us a short voice recording and a few pictures. We also were able to get some pictures and videos from Facebook of him at some of the member's homes. This will have to suffice for this week.

This is a Christmas tree and presents that some of the missionaries helped provide for a family that had just moved to New York from Honduras. They had nothing but their apartment, but this is what they got to come home to! 
A Member gave them Superhero outfits for Christmas!

Christmas Dinner with some members

And, unbelievable gifts from some members!

Looks like it was quite the party.. This was Christmas eve.

This is the Elder's Christmas card. He said they were trying to look like a "Boy Band"! "Merry Christmas! We love you very much, from the missionaries."

Monday, December 19, 2016

The real meaning of Christmas!

So, we have a change everybody! P-days have been changed to Mondays from here on out. Not sure exactly why, but we will go and do! I can't believe that I get to talk to y’all in a week! I guess that gives me an excuse to write a little less this week ;) jk!

This week was certainly a great one, but a very stressful and tiring one as well! The baptism went really well! I'm so grateful for Nerio and the impact he has had on my life. He really has taught me what it means to be Christ like. He is so quiet, but the most humble man I have ever met in my entire life. His baptism was a special experience!

Saturday night we had the ward Christmas party! It was a fun time! I love this ward so much! We had to leave right after it started though because Hispanic parties literally never start on time, but it was super fun and there was a lot of good food!

We also had the mission Christmas devotional and it was AMAZING! Ah man, that is like my favorite conference in mission history! In the devotional, they asked us two questions. The first was “what does Christmas mean to you”, and I thought a lot about that. Obviously, it means the birth of Christ and all that, but I felt like that was just something that people say, you know, like I felt that was just engraved on my brain, so that wasn't a good enough answer for me. As I thought deeper about the true meaning of Christmas and what it truly meant to me I thought of my companion. He is so great and an amazing example. I don't think that he has thought about himself the whole entire time I have been with him and I think that is what Christmas means to me... not thinking about oneself. Giving ourselves to God, kind of like Nerio did this Christmas, and giving ourselves to other people like Elder Frei has done for everyone that surrounds us. Christmas really is the best time of the year!! The other question that they asked us was, “what was your favorite Christmas and why”? I thought even harder about this one because I have a lot of amazing Christmases! From cinnamon rolls in the morning, to awkward caroling around the ward, but this Christmas has got to be my favorite of them all, even though it hasn't even been Christmas yet! I think this year it finally hit me why we celebrate Christmas in this church and it will never be the same!

As a district, we went around to a bunch of investigators and less actives houses to carol to them and that had never been my favorite thing.... haha, IT’S SOOOOO AWKWARD!! Like, all they do is just stare weirdly at you while you sing in a terrible voice! Haha, so I just kind of went into this activity with a bummer of an attitude, but my outlook changed as we got to see that happiness on the faces of these people as we shared a quick hymn and a treat. The smiles and laughs were irreplaceable! So, I repented for having a bad attitude! :):) Caroling still will never be my favorite thing! ;)

Well, I gotta sign off! I love you all so much! I hope we make this Christmas week a great one and that we give ourselves to others! See you in a week!

Con amor,

Elder Brown
Staring down the photographer at the Mission Devotional conference

This was their attempt to try and get everyone in the mission into one picture. Didn't work. Can you find Caiden?

Posing at the Mission conference

Caiden and Elder Frei with their "Light the World" pledge sheets.

More missionaries, more "light"!

At the baptism of Nerio


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Testimonies and love


What's up y’all?? It's weird writing again, because didn't I just write like yesterday? It sure seems like that! But it's almost Christmas! I am so excited! It doesn't even feel like it here though. We haven't gotten like any snow or anything like that. It's a little bit cold, but Christmas just isn't the same without snow, so we are hoping that some will come soon! But I am excited to see y’all! It should be fun!

So, not much super crazy happened this week! It was another week full of service and helping others and so there really isn't much better than that! With sharing the initiative video and doing service projects with people, we also love showing the video called “Lift”. It's a Mormon message and it is legendary (if you haven't seen it.. watch it now)! I promise that the little acts of service we do, do not go unseen. I love it! The pure love of Christ is shown through service! I saw that love this week in a member who decided that he wanted to help another member out, a kid that comes to church by himself dressed in old jeans and a smelly shirt. The other member recognizing the need for help goes and buys him two new suits, ties, belts, white shirts, shoes and everything he needs to look like a stellar missionary. He is going to be able to bless the sacrament in his new suit! :) Your acts of service do not go unseen!

So, some good news and some sad news... I guess I'll start with the sad news. So we found out that Noemi has to work on the day that she was going to get baptized. :( and she can't really take off work because they only actually give her work one day a week and she has to sustain her and her 2 boys, so she is going to be baptized in January for sure. I hope I get to stay for that! Transfers will be two days after Christmas! I really hope I get to stay with Elder Frei for another one! But the good news is that Nerio is super stoked for his baptism this weekend! It's been such a good experience with him and I love him beyond measure! Given that we only met him a little while ago, we are trying to cram in all the things we have to teach him before he gets baptized. Meeting with him every day has been a blast! Please, please pray for Nerio!

Like a week ago we get a call from the mission office saying that they need our help. Supposedly, there was someone in Peru that wanted to get baptized, but she was under age and so she had to get written permission from her mom. But her mom lives in New Rochelle. So the mission president in Peru contacted our mission telling us that we needed to go over to see this lady and tell her what we are all about. The only thing they really told us was that she probably wouldn't sign and that she is really mean. So we were stoked to see her! :), those people are our specialty ;) Anyway, we couldn't get in contact her for like a week, and then the day before the Baptism we stopped by and she was home. She really wasn't too nice, haha! We talked with her and started to teach her the restoration and she just wasn't having it, fighting us on every little thing. But as my companion bore strong testimony of the gospel and the church, knowing that her daughter was making the right choice, after strong testimony her heart softened. She didn't sign the paper, she said she wanted to pray more about it and actually consider it, but she invited us back every week until she feels like she is ready to sign. Testimony really does open up the hearts of others. It makes hard hearts soft, and mean people less mean, haha! I love my companion and his testimony! He rocks!

I love you all! Can't wait to see you on Christmas! 

Ps. Sorry we didn't take any pics this week.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Another busy week full of service!Pictures

I legit love the mission more than anything in the whole entire world... like there is not a thing better than being able to serve the Lord! I love it so much! And this week was super busy as always and we kept the service train going by doing service projects every day! It's been super busy, but super-duper fun! I don't think there is a better way to show our love than service, and that's why I love this year's initiative, light the world, so much! Because the way Jesus Christ showed his love for the people was by the miracles he did, that is, the service he rendered to others, and we too are to do the same! Now, maybe we don't raise the dead or heal the blind, but the small acts of service we do daily are miracles because they change the lives of others. But another thing I love about the video is that we have the potential to become like our Savior Jesus Christ! By the daily things we do, we become more and more like him! And there is no better feeling than that! I love our Savior!

So, besides doing a lot of service this week we saw some amazing miracles! We are teaching a less active man named Miguel! I think I mentioned him in my last letter, but I can't remember. Anyways, he is so cool! But he has a really bad problem with drinking, and it's been super tough for his family, especially for their 3 younger boys who barely know who their dad really is. Well anyways, we have been trying our best to see him daily to help him overcome his addiction and he has been getting better, but with little progress. We have been praying and thinking about what we could do to help this man because it had felt like we had tried everything. But the other day we went over to see him and he opens up the door, sober as can be! Now that was super weird, because we had never seen this man not under the influence. To be honest, it was like the strangest thing I have ever seen. He completely changed. As we began to talk to him he had decided to change his life around. It was the first day in a long time that he hadn't drunken a beer and it was cool to see that change in him. Now, we are not saying that he will never drink a beer again and that he is sober for the rest of his life, but I love seeing a desire, a change, and a miracle in people's lives. That's what the gospel does... it changes our nature!

We are teaching some amazing people! We are seriously so blessed with the incredible people that are in our area. Nerio and Noemi should be entering the waters of baptism on the 18 of this month! We are praying and fasting that it happens! Satan really is doing his job, haha, doing what Satan does. I remember on our first lesson with Noemi when she said she would be baptized we told her something. We said that it was going to be a hard road, that Satan was going to do everything he could to keep her from being baptized and that she was going to face the hardest trials of her life, but that if she pushed through that it would all be worth it! And she has seen those trials... everything seems to be going bad for her. But she is awesome and she is going to do it! We have faith in her! Her job doesn't permit her to come to church on Sundays and so she is struggling with that, but she will make the right decision! We love her! But I think that is a life lesson that right before we are about to do something amazing, something that God wants us to do, Satan will do his best to make sure that we don't do that thing. I definitely saw that before I went on my mission, but I know that when we endure the hard trials, when we recognize that Satan is trying get us and we ask help from our Heavenly Father that huge blessings wait for us. There are blessings beyond our imagination that are waiting for every single one of us. I know that!

Well, I got to get heading, but I love YOU! Thanks for all you do! Let's make this week a week full of service and love! The week is what we make it to be!!!!!!!

Con amor, Elder Brown
Pictures from the service he was talking about in the letter 

The rest of these are from the most recent Zone Conference