Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My Experience - Caiden Shay Brown

My Experience 
By Elder Caiden Brown 
(A letter to me in 20 years) 

Dear Caiden Brown, 

Your time as a full-time missionary is about to come to a close. And for that reason, I wanted to write you a letter that you can read in the future that will remind you of your experience as a full-time servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Never forget, Caiden, the ways your life has been touched by the gospel of Jesus Christ, service, and the pure love of Christ from the people that surround you, especially the wonderful souls that you were able to teach in The Bronx, Newburgh and New Rochelle. Never forget where you found YOUR Jesus Christ.

You came out to the mission field not knowing much. You had no idea how to speak Spanish and you weren't too familiar with the gospel as taught in the scriptures, but you had the desire to work, learn and serve. That desire carried you through your 2-year long journey. It definitely wasn't easy at the beginning. You struggled a lot with learning Spanish and that was really frustrating for you, but you had a great trainer (Elder Hinckley) who expected a lot out of you and brought the best out of all you did. Although it was tough, you fell in love with the people the moment you met them. Remember Rigoberto? He will always have a special place in your heart. He changed your life forever. Even though you couldn't communicate with him, there was just something there that brought you so close together. After a long 6 months of working with him you walked into the waters of baptism with him. One year after that you saw him walk into the celestial room in the temple. Never forget how much you loved the people.

You weren't really prepared for your first transfer when it arrived. It was heart breaking to leave the place that became so close to you. And you definitely weren't ready for the surprise that was waiting for you in the city of Newburgh. You didn't know what hard was until you served there. Amongst all the mean words, snotty rejections, long hot days and the true desire you and your companion had to be obedient and work hard, you found YOUR Jesus Christ. Remember May 22, 2016? As you were studying the words of both ancient and modern-day prophets everything clicked in your brain and in your heart - the gospel was real, Jesus Christ truly was your Savior, the plan of salvation was a divine plan made by a loving and real Father in Heaven, repentance was real. The Spirit had never touched you so strong before in your life, and you will never to be the same after that day. After leaving that personal study, you knew Jesus Christ. And you knew what he had done for you. Never forget, Caiden, May 22. The work was still hard after that. You learned what earnest and heartfelt pleading with the Lord was and the comforting power of the Holy Ghost through sacred fasts. You learned how to work hard and be obedient. Never forget the lessons learned in that place called Newburgh.

Remember all of your companions? You definitely got lucky with them! The influence they had on you was life changing and they all became so close to you. I hope they are still your friends. If not… contact them! They helped you reach your potential and show love towards the people you taught. Remember the Gutierrez family? They were a family with not much at all. They had just arrived from Honduras and were living in an attic with 7 people. It was hard for you and Elder Frei to watch that. You guys did all you could to help them out, by gathering the ward together and uniting in finding them a place to stay until we found them a new apartment, helping them with clothes and food, finding work for those that were capable and providing an amazing, humble Christmas. That Christmas was one that I hope you never forget. You began to understand really what life was all about, and how to find yourself and your purpose while amongst a world so caught up in things that don't matter. Elder Frei, along with so many other influences, taught you how to serve and taught you what life really is all about. Never forget Matthew 25:40.

It was a tender mercy for you to be able to return back to the place you love (The Bronx) to finish your time as a full-time servant of the Lord. You and Elder Munoz went into your last three transfers with a fire that could not be extinguished. You both came into the area not knowing anyone, and so you started from ground zero. You both worked as hard and as smart as you could and you learned so many lessons from each other. Remember Francisco? After about 3 weeks of doing all you guys could to meet everybody and to help the work of the Lord grow in the area you were in, a miracle happened. At an Easter party, the ward was putting together a man walked in the door and his name was Francisco. He had a friend in the Dominican Republic who was a strong member of the church and he wanted to come and figure out a little bit more about who we were. You began teaching him and a month later Francisco walked into the waters of baptism. Never forget that the Lord provides when you do our part!

It's hard to put into words the experience you had serving the Lord’s mission. The Caiden Brown that came home from New York was most certainly different from the one that left Orem Utah to the big city. I just want you to remember, Caiden, how close you came to the Savior throughout this journey. He became your best friend, someone you knew was watching out for you and someone you knew you could count on. When times got hard you received strength through direct communication with your Heavenly Father. You learned to develop your life on the teachings of the scriptures and to study them with “real intent”. You learned the importance of the sacrament, a time where you were able to receive revelation from a loving Heavenly Father. Those short 10 minutes when the sacrament was being administered became the most sacred part of your week. Remember when you had a lot of questions and doubts about what you were doing? Your purpose, was it even worth it? You took those questions and doubts to the sacrament truly believing that God would provide an answer. And he did. Right as the sacrament hymn began to be sung the Spirit touched your heart and answered all the questions and threw away all the doubts. Never forget the basics of the gospel.

Well, as you can tell, the time you spent in New York was sacred to you. And I pray that you never forget it. Caiden, never forget the Lord’s mission.


Elder Caiden Shay Brown

This is the picture of all the missionaries going home next week at their final temple trip. This came from the mission blog.

This is it...

Wow... this is it.. the last time. I just want y'all to know how much I have loved serving the Lord. It has been the most life changing experience in my life up to this point. And, it's sad knowing that it's coming to an end, but comforting knowing that I have a whole lifetime to serve Him and do his work.

This week was AMAZING! We had a lot of sweet, cool experiences and we are teaching some of the coolest people I have ever met! A week ago we met a kid named Alex! Super solid kid! Well, this past Sunday was his first time at church and he loved it to death! He got along so well with all the young men and really enjoyed himself. Well, after church we were walking home and he asked us "How old do you need to be to be baptized?" "8" we said. "So I can get baptized?" Of course you can!" "When can I do it?" "Whenever you want", we responded. "How about tomorrow?" πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ we laughed a little bit and told him that there were a few more things we needed to teach him and so we set up his baptism for the 5th of August. He will be an amazing missionary!

I had my exit interview on Monday, 😭😭😭😭 but it was one of the most eye opening, cool experiences of my life. I sat down with President Smith and we said the opening prayer and he tells me that it's my interview - what questions do you have, he asked me. So I start with my questions and he interrupts me saying, "hold on I want you to meet someone". We walk outside the Manhattan temple and there were two men standing outside. President Smith goes and gives them a big hug. It happened to be one of his buddies from his young mission. His name was Brandon Fugal. (I'm not sure if any of y'all have heard of him, but supposedly he is like super famous πŸ˜‚) Anyways, so here I am, little ole Elder Brown, standing in the middle of probably some of the most successful business men I have ever met and guess what their conversations were about? No, they didn't talk about the success of their businesses or the positions they have had since the mission, rather they shared spiritual experiences and built the faith of everyone present. We are taught to build the faith of every single person we come in contact with. A lot of the time when you are in Manhattan on a p-day or something like that you come across a member visiting from their state and after talking with them the thought always comes across my mind "what did you do to build their faith?" And, I saw that put into action on Monday. The most important conversations we can have are about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope that as y'all have been able to read my letters the last two years that something has been able to grow your faith. I was able to get a blessing from President Smith after the interview and I just want to share a little something that was said... "Look to your patriarchal blessing.. it will tell you what to do." Amen to that! With the worries of what might happen after this coming week ends or where I will be in 10 years, I can look to that blessing and look for guidance.

Everyone in the area is doing really well! I'm bummed I won't be able to see Junior's, Antonio's (he decided he is going to be baptized on the 19th), Alex's, or Chris and his families baptisms, but I've seen them all change so much and hopefully I will be able to Facebook call in on some of the lessons after I get home.

As cliche as it might sound, I am sad to almost be done. I love Elder Munoz! He has been so great and such an important part of the changes that have happened in me these past 4 months. I'm going to miss him. I am going to miss all the incredible people we met here and had spiritual experiences with. And I can't wait to see them when I return. Olmstead has been a miracle place.

I wish I could write more and describe all my feelings, but it just can't be written down.

I love you all and I'll see you in a week!

He says he doesn't really like this picture, but he loves the Bronx!

Caiden and Elder Munoz with Alex

Silvan again with Caiden

Gabby and her family

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The spirit of the resurrection and loved friends!

My amazing family and friends!

I definitely procrastinated this email today, and so I am writing it kind of last minute. I just don't want it to end... it's been a little difficult I am not going to lie. I've cried a couple times, but I do still have two weeks and I'm dedicated to make sure my mind is in the right place to make it the best.

This week was awesome though! I guess I will start off with a miracle. So, we had gotten done with a lesson a little bit early and Elder Munoz and I have made a goal to at least spend 30 minutes either knocking doors or street contacting, because we have been busy and so we weren't really setting aside time to do those things. So we thought this would be a perfect chance to be able to do it. We offered a prayer that God would sanctify the few minutes we were going to knock doors and that we could find someone with a situation prepared to accept the gospel. So we start knocking, and we start talking to this one lady... she was really going through a hard time. She had just lost her husband like a month before and was still frantic about that, she had lost her leg in a car accident and that was prohibiting her to do a lot of the things she wanted to do and her mom was in the hospital sick. She was devastated. We shared a message of hope and the resurrection with her and tears were just streaming down her face. We shared with her the Book of Mormon and her tears turned into a smile. We were able to kneel down and pray for her and it was just a tender experience for me. We are excited to continue to help Omyra!

I told y'all about Antonio last week, right? Well, he is doing great!! The first hint he said to us this past lesson we had with him was that his daughter had called him from Mexico and told him that she wanted to be baptized. He asked why? She said that all of her friends were getting baptized and that she wanted to do so as well. He told her that that wasn't a good enough reason and that she needed to study and think more about it and then get back to him. He told her that he would do the same. So we had a great lesson about baptism and he ended the lesson saying, "well, maybe me and my daughter can get baptized on the same day"! Hearts are changing!

Junior is doing good! I really hope he makes it to his date on the 29th. He is progressing so much! He willingly accepted the word of wisdom, even though he smokes and drinks coffee all the time. He promised that he would live it and change his life. Hopefully he can stay true to that promise and that he can receive those amazing blessings of baptism!

But there was a baptism this week! I don't know if y'all remember me talking about Jorge, but he was a guy that Elder Frei and I found in New Rochelle like a month before I left. He was doing really good and we gained an amazing friendship in that short little month. But then I had to leave. ISN'T THAT JUST THE SADDEST THING IN THE WORLD?!?! But, he kept meeting with the Elders and he had to leave a lot of things behind but he progressed towards baptism and this past Sunday he got baptized! I was invited to go to actually baptize him, but things didn't permit with the schedule of both our wards and meeting on Sunday, but I heard that it was a great service! I'm so grateful Jorge took that step and hopefully someday he can have an eternal family!

Well, thanks so much for all your support and love. I have seen myself change over the past two years and I hope y'all have seen that change in me. I hope y'all are ready to meet a new and improved Caiden Brown, πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ and I am ready to keep on changing!

Con amor,
Elder Brown
Baptism of Jorge!

Junior with Lemonade instead of tea!

He says he is really gonna miss Elder Munoz

Below is a video he sent us  and simply said, "When you're about to eat fish soup!!"

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Lord's mission!!!

Hey fam!

So last week I said that it was a legendary week right?? Well, this week topped last week by like a thousand! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Just to answer a few questions y'all had about our return to New York... having to do with places to stay, I think wherever you can find the cheapest would be best. New Rochelle is a pretty expensive place and it doesn't take long to get from one borough to the next. So, Brooklyn wouldn't be terrible for transportation, especially if we are going by transit. The trains don't go up to New Rochelle, so if you are traveling from the Bronx to there then you have to pay like 12 dollars per person to ride the metro north, just take that into account. Probably would want to go to church at New Rochelle, and then after we could go to a member's home and eat. πŸ‘ŒπŸ˜Did I answer all those questions? What other questions do you have?

Well, the 4th of July was awesome!! We didn't get fireworks thrown at us like last year and so that was awesome! It was a scorching day and I have the biggest missionary tan line in the whole world! Haha, the ward was putting on a picnic and so we teamed up with them and did another APF (some kind of street contacting) at the park that they were doing the picnic at and it actually turned out really well! We were able to do a ton of service for people who had a lot to carry and we gave out a lot of Book of Mormons and found some awesome new people to teach! We had an awesome Fourth of July over here in the Bronx.

As some of you may know, President Uchtdorf came to visit our mission this past weekend and, wow!! What a special experience that was. The whole mission got together with a prophet of God to partake of the Holy Sacrament. Most certainly a moment to remember. He and his wife were amazing! You could just feel the love that they had for every single one of us, even though we weren't able to have personal moments with them. He said some amazing words, but some that stuck out to me was this, "You are always midway through the mission. It's never 3 weeks or 3 days until you go home, but you are always in the middle". The reason I liked that is because in reality the mission never ends. Like I have always said, my time as a full-time servant of the Lord might come to an end, but the mission isn't over. The mission is everlasting. Therefore, I am not close to being done and I never will be done, but we will strive to serve the Lord constantly throughout the remainder of our mortal life. I feel really strongly about not calling the time here in New York "my mission" because it absolutely isn't. If any of you catch me calling it that I just want you to correct me because it will never be "my mission". The work of the Lord is unstoppable... it's legendary.

Guess what??!?! Sweet surprise!! Waldir came back to church!!! He quit is old job and got a new one that allows him to come on Sundays! We were super stoked about that! He was able to talk to the Stake Pres., and he should be able to get baptized by the end of the year! That was an answer to a lot of prayer and fasting of ours!

I think I told y'all about Chris, right?? He is one of the non-members we are teaching right now and he is hilarious and knows so much about the church! (He went a lot in the DR) Anyways, we went over there this past week to teach him and he whips out from the cupboard like 6 Book of Mormons, an ancient Doctrine of Covenants and Pearl of Great Price and his Bible. We were like sooo surprised!! Haha, every single Book of Mormon had different missionary's names inside. He has read the Book of Mormon completely and so we are reading it again with him! He talks a lot and I love that about him! Haha, but he has so much potential! We are so stoked for him.

I wish I could explain all the amazing spiritual experiences we had this week, but as always time doesn't permit. I love you all more than words can describe!

Con amor,
Elder Brown

All of Chris's scriptures

P-day ball at the church

APF activity (Some form of street contacting)

Waldir's wall

Amado and Yovanny

Olmstead Zone

More Zone Conference pictures

Special meeting with President Uchtdorf (Caiden is in the upper right corner)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Spirit works wonders!!!

Hey fam! 

I don't have that much time today! We have been super busy so far today and we are now in Manhattan for my last time, and so we are trying to soak in all we can and do everything! We were just at the Brooklyn bridge and now we are going to head to Rucker Park and hopefully they will have the wood out there and we can play some fun ball!

Well, this week was.... LEGENDARY!! Every week it just keeps on getting better and better and Elder Munoz and I are seeing some awesome things happen. I probably felt the Spirit more in this week than I have in any other week in my life. It wasn't like one experience that was super spiritual, rather it was just a constant spiritual high and it felt amazing and so refreshing. It was my last zone conference yesterday, and it was a tough thing for me. But it was such a great meeting and as I sat there and listened to the last prayer be given the Spirit touched me to the point of tears and said "This is it Elder Brown... you got 4 weeks go. LETS GO!!" I pray to be able to keep the conviction until the end.

It was Junior's first week at church this Sunday and he loved it. Junior lives with two less active members named Migdalia and Alba, and all of them plus Alba's sister and home attendant were able to make it out to church. For all of those that have been missionaries before, you know what that feeling is when you see one of your families walk into sacrament meeting after it starts and you thought they weren't going to make it... it's a priceless feeling. Well, Junior loved sacrament and even came to tears during one of the talks. The next lesson we had with him after that we invited him to be baptized and he was very hesitant, but as we spoke of the Savior and his willingness to be obedient and be baptized you could just see the Spirit work on him and he committed to be baptized on the 29th of July. He is the funniest man ever.

The other day Elder Munoz and I went to the church do a little of online work. When we  walked in we saw 2 non-member boys playing basketball in the gym. It wasn't really unusual so we went up to the second floor and started working. Well, while I listened to the ball bounce on the floor below we just felt the prompting to go and talk with the two kids. We were able to have a sweet lesson and then committed them to come to church! Hopefully things turn out cool for them. 

Well, I am out of time! Love you all so much!

Con amor, 
Elder Brown

Harold, his Mom and Caiden

Missionary tags on the Brooklyn Bridge

Caiden, Munoz, Stevens and Davis on the Brooklyn Bridge

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A loving Heavenly Father!

Hey family!

Another great week here in the Bronx! It has been so awesome being able to serve here in this wonderful place for a second time! It truly has been a tender mercy for me to be able to start and finish in the place I love!

This week was full of a lot of meetings!! We had the "what's next" meeting on Thursday, which was a lot of talking about the future and setting goals for things to accomplish in my life! I have been able to set some awesome goals for the last little bit of the Lord's mission, as well as some goals for the life after my service. In all the things I do after this sacred time I have had to serve the Lord, I just hope to reflect the life of the Savior and be a disciple of Him. That's my true goal for the rest of my life, all the others things are just ways to accomplish that. I love my Savior.

We also had a meeting with all the leadership in the mission (there were two meetings, one for all the city leadership and then one for all the upstate leadership), but I just felt the strongest spirit testify to me of how much God loves every single person, no matter who they are, what they have done, if their from the church or not, in jail or a saint, but that God's love is equal. It's something we teach in every first lesson, but this week as I walked down the streets of the Bronx and saw all the "crazy people" that we pass every day my heart was changed and I realized how much they really matter to our Heavenly Father. He doesn't see them as crazy people, but he sees them as his children that have potential. We too should see them as our real brothers and sisters. We are helping a lot of people that are just having struggles in life, whether it be with smoking, family relationships or just struggling to come to know if this is true, but we have begun to see those people the way our Heavenly Father sees them and it has changed the way we are doing missionary work completely!

Everybody is doing really well! Modesto is giving me the biggest headache though!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚He has sooo much potential! He could be like one of the coolest leaders in the church! He has a way with people and he knows so much about the gospel, but he is just struggling so much to come to church! Every week we go over and he gives us this huge glass of carrot juice and some cake and we just have the coolest conversations with him! I just have the strongest relationship with that guy. Probably because I've been going by there every week for almost 10 months and I just feel so strongly about how much he can help the church!

I think I told y'all about Jonathan. Well, he was the one who called us out of the blue and was like "elders I want to serve a mission"! He has been super less active and so we were stoked about the call! Well, since then (that was like 3 weeks ago I think) he has been progressing sooo much! This past Sunday was his first week at church in a long long time!! It was hard for him before because he works nights and so when he finishes work Sunday morning he just wants to go to bed, but he has been making little sacrifices and we can just see his testimony growing! I love that guy!

We have really seen a difference in the ward and it's just becoming stronger and stronger! We are so blessed to be able to be here! Francisco also got the priesthood this past Sunday and it was great! He is doing so well!!

Love y'all loads!!

Con amor,
Elder Brown

Picking up people for church.

The weekly carrot juice and cake from Modesto!

Dominican food, yum!!
Below is a video of Caiden putting 30 grapes into his mouth to help the folks with counting during English class!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Get ready for.....The Final Transfer(Or, the best six weeks)!!!


Wow... it is insane to think that I am in my last transfer serving here in New York. So, transfers happened yesterday as well! I get to stay here in Olmstead with Elder Munoz to finish it all off! I am sooo excited. As Elder Munoz and I sat down to set some goals and to make some plans, we really just want to make this last one the best one of them all. I pray that we can see miracles this last transfer and be able to give it our best. I want to be able to look back on this transfer and the whole entire time I have been able to serve the Lord full time and say that I gave all my effort that this sacred work deserves. I am grateful for an amazing companion that is helping me with that as well. I loved the quote you sent me last week mom and I decided that I was going to memorize it and state it every morning before personal study! πŸ˜Š 

It was Elder MuΓ±oz’s birthday on Sunday and we had a great day! We had a lot better outcome than we did last week and basically everyone that said they were going to come, came, and so that was a nice birthday present for Elder Munoz! The sad part is that this Sunday was Waldir’s last Sunday at church before I go home. In the past he wasn't able to come to church because of a job he had working at a restaurant in Manhattan where he had to work on Sundays. So, he came up with a little business idea that he wanted to do and so he quit the job at the restaurant so he could come on Sundays, but everything that had to happen for his idea didn't work out in time and he ended up having to take the restaurant job again! When he told us that it just broke our hearts. We have been seeing him progress so much and it brought tears to my eyes knowing that I won't be able to see him at church anymore. But he made a promise to bishop that every Saturday night he would come with us to the church to set up chairs for church and clean before Sunday! I love that guy! It was Diana and Johnny’s first Sunday at church as well and even though they were sick as dogs they loved it so much and are super excited to start coming every week! Gabriella also made it out with her son Dylan. Oscar, her husband, didn't come which was a big bummer, but we were able to have an awesome lesson with them last night about their future goal of getting sealed and so we are stoked to be able to help them with that! Hopefully Oscar will feel the desire to get baptized soon and start progressing little by little to that eternal family!

A couple of days ago we had an appointment cancel. Luckily, we haven't been having too many of those lately! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚ We had a couple of back up plans in the schedule, but we didn't feel like any of them were right, so we decided we would look up this man that had been sitting in our area book for a long time, but we had never really put much thought or effort into him. We had called him and stuff, but we had never been able to talk with him. So, we went to his house. He opened the door so excited to see us, kind of like he had been waiting for us all day! We had an awesome lesson and we set up the baptism for July. He has got a lot of road blocks ahead of him and so just keep Charley in your prayers!

This week it was some type of Puerto Rican Independence Day or something, and things in the streets of the Bronx were crazy!! Puerto Rican flags everywhere and people go crazy! All the fire hydrants where open and water flowing everywhere and the weather has been super good and so the streets have been packed! What I pictured the Bronx being before I came here was exactly what it looked like! Haha, this week was great!! I love you all so much! 

Con amor, Elder Brown 
Caiden and Dylan

Gabriella and crew

Dylan says his favorite super hero is...himself!

The District

The Zone


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Eternal spiritual highs and awesome people!!

Mi querida familia!

This week was awesome and full of a bunch of spiritual experiences and hard moments and everything in between! First off, happy anniversary to the best mom and dad who ever were! Thanks for getting married and letting me be born! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‚ You truly are the best parents a missionary could ask for.

I got a little bit of Christmas this weekend. After our Sunday meetings were over we were able to head over to New Rochelle to see Rosi get baptized! I call it Christmas because it was so exciting being able to see all the awesome families I was able to teach there. It was a tender mercy when we arrived a little bit early and as we sat in the foyer waiting for their fast and testimony meeting to end I got to hear Luz bear her testimony for the first time. But it was a great service! They asked me to stand up and tell about how we found Rosi and bear a testimony and obviously the tears came! Like I always say the work is sooo rewarding!

The week kind of went rough for us this week! I felt like we were trying super hard but people just kept on bailing and not keeping commitments, and so we were kind of frustrated. Especially on Sunday, where we had planned for a lot of people to come and  like every single person messaged us and said they slept in too long. So we were bummed out, but then Antonio walks in! Antonio moved here like a couple years ago and had to leave his family behind in Mexico. He met with missionaries back in Mexico and his family is currently attending the church over there. So Antonio decided that with the Sunday he had off of work he wanted to come to church. He looked up the address online and came to church all by himself. He stayed for all three hours and loved it. We were able to talk with him and we had an appointment for Friday and so we are pretty stoked about him! Isn't it just the best when people kind of just walk into the church?? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ He works every Sunday and so it might be hard for him, but please keep him in your prayers. He is a super legit guy!

It has been a struggle because we have been finding so many sweet people that seem like they have sooo much potential and then they kind of just fall off the face of the earth and we can't get a hold of them. And I have seen this throughout the whole time I have been serving. Everyone goes on these spiritual highs where all they want to think about it the gospel and they are just loving it and doing everything, but then all of a sudden things might get hard and they stop. They forget the reason why they do all of it. This has really been bothering me lately and I have been thinking about what we can do to make it so that doesn't happen - where the spiritual high lasts into eternity. And whenever we have a question or something of the sorts we go to Waldir! Waldir is the legit smartest, most spiritual man I have ever met. And what he told us was something so simple but crucial - where is their testimony of the Book of Mormon?? Amen Waldir! The people I have seen really make it to baptism or make it to the temple or keep commitments have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon or they want to get that testimony. It motivates us to do things that we wouldn't have the strength to do otherwise. And I love it! The Book is true!

We found some sweet people this last week though! We have been working with this less active lady named Gabriella, and her husband isn't a member and he is super legit! He was taught by past missionaries, but then... like I was saying just fell off the face of the earth. We were able to meet with them as a family and he is super excited to get back into going to church to hopefully some day make covenants. We also are teaching a man named Junior! He is a little old, but really just has the desire to come closer to God. He has been through a lot of things and just wants to find rest in Jesus Christ. I truly do love the Bronx! It has literally become my home! I love this ward! Our Obispo (Bishop) is a beast and a half and loves to just go to work! I'm so blessed to be able to labor in this area! Transfer calls will be this Saturday, and so we will see if I will get to end here in Olmstead! Cross your fingers that I do!!! πŸ™πŸ™

I pray we can all have a conviction of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Con amor, 
Elder Brown
Waldir with the new scriptures we sent him.

Caiden with former companion, Elder Frei, and Rosi.

Baptism pictures are the best, aren't they!!!


Service day at the Food Kitchen.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

This is what it's all about!!


This week was such a rewarding week for me personally. To start off, I want to talk about the experience we had being able to be a part of the endowment of Rigoberto and Justino. What a life changing experience that was for me!! I seriously can not describe the feeling that I got as I sat next to some of my best friends as sacred covenants were being made. As I sat in the celestial room waiting for them to come in I just felt so good. I thought to myself, "what if those two sister missionaries in 2014 would have been too scared to talk to Rigoberto on the street corner", or, "what if Elder Hinckley and I didn't sit down on a bench to pray about where to go on that night in the Bronx and then knock on Justino's door?" These thoughts rushed into my head and kind of scared me to be honest. But, how grateful was I to be in that room with them and to participate in some of the most heavenly joy I have ever felt! I couldn't hold back my tears.

Also heard news the other day that one of my favorite people from New Rochelle is going to get baptized this Sunday. I don't know if y'all remember me talking about Rosi, but she is sooo cool and has finally, after a really long time, decided to actually do it. She actually called me to tell me the news and really wanted me to make it there, so hopefully I will be able to go see her be baptized.

Cool thing... so you remember last week when I talked about that lady that met us as we were walking out of the train? Well, she is awesome! Her name is Luisa (if I didn't already mention that) and this week when she made it to church she was sitting there kind of by herself when right in the middle of someone's talk a lady from the other side of the chapel stands up and runs over to her and gives her a huge hug. Turns out that they were in the same ward back in Dominican Republic when Luisa was super active. So the Hermana was super happy to see her old friend back in church! Small world!

We are teaching a pretty cool new family.  Diana is a member and Johnny her husband is not! They are super legit and we have super high hopes for them. Diana was in a coma for a year and it's a miracle that she is still here today!

Love you guys!! 

Con amor, 
Elder Brown
Caiden with Justino and Rigoberto on the day of their temple endowment!!! (Not sure what Caiden was thinking with that hair cut!!)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Me siento bien!!

Hey fam!

Another great week in the Bronx!! First off, I just want to give a shout out to the best 2 sisters in the world for their birthdays πŸŽ‰!! I hope your days were filled with fun and happiness! It was great to see all the pictures of the celebrations and the fun y'all had this week! Thanks for being the best sisters in the world and showing me what it is like to be a disciple of Jesus Christ!! I send my love!
Wow, this week was great! A lot of memories throughout my whole mission came flooding back in week as we attended Stake conference. Almost 18 months of my whole mission have been served here in this Stake, so it was definitely memory lane being able to see all the people this past Sunday and talk and rejoice with them. It's crazy how much a part of my life these people have become. I would seriously do anything for them! I love em.

Francisco’s baptism was awesome. So, I don't know if y'all remember when a couple weeks back I sent you a picture of the baptism of Nordic, Nani, and Jennifer. Well, we were thinking about who could baptize Francisco and we thought that Nordic, who has been a recent convert for like 3 weeks would be sweet. It was a great experience for them both and they were both so nervous because it was the first time for each of them. But, the Spirit was so strong during the service! After the baptism when they were walking out of the water we had a little group hug right there outside the font and Francisco just kept on saying "me siento bien, me siento bien" (I feel good, I feel good) it was awesome! He is going in for eye surgery today, so pray for him please! I love that man so much!
Elder Munoz has been like really sick this past weekend so that has been a struggle, and so we have gone on several splits, so just remember to keep him in your prayers. He is feeling a lot better now which is good but still not a 100%.

Cool miracle this week! So, we are walking out of the train station and the moment we get out of the station a lady walks by us and kind of like freaks out when she sees us. She asked if we spoke Spanish and we said we did and she began to tell us that she was a member, but hadn't been to church in a while, had been looking for the church for a while, but that she never really leaves the house and so she couldn't find it. (that seems to happen a lot in New York) Anyways, we got her info and everything and we stopped by a couple days later and she is sooo legit. She basically just bore her whole testimony to us and she just has so much faith! I just love it when people bear their testimonies! We are super excited to help her come back to the fold! 😊

Anyways... it was a great week. I had an awesome interview with President Smith yesterday, just talking about how we are going to make these last 2 months the best 2 months of the Lord’s mission. Oh, how I love my Savior! The work is true!!

Con amor,

Elder Brown
Caiden and Waldir

Sweet reunion with Rigoberto


The baptism of Francisco

Jokingly says this will be his pant size when he returns home.

Picture from the mission blog taken at Zone Conference

Zone Conference

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Exciting news and Hawaiian miracles!!


It was so great to be able to talk with y'all on Sunday! I love your little faces and I love the spirit y'all brought to the call! Thanks for being amazing examples to me! I love you more than words can describe! By the way... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!! I hope your day was full of fun things! May is always my favorite month because it is Mom month for me! ☺️

This week was great as always! It has been so much fun and kind of like an exciting adventure preparing Francisco for his baptism this Friday. He lives almost 2 hours away from us on bus and train, and so it's been a struggle to meet with him and teach him everything he needs to know before Friday, but he is legit soooo prepared! Every little thing we teach him he just accepts with so much faith. Like when we taught him the word of wisdom he response was... I drink coffee and tea... but from now on I'm done. He is so legit when he says, πŸ˜‚ "after I get baptized I am going to fill that church, I am going to talk to everyone about it and bring everybody". I can't wait for him to get the priesthood and go to the temple. Speaking of that... a got a call from Rigoberto yesterday and I get to go see him and Justino get their endowments on the 27th!! I am soooo excited! Oh, how much I love those two guys! It will definitely be an experience to never forget!

Miracle time... so, it was Saturday and we were on our way to this very confirmed and set appointment. It was raining super hard and we were soaked! Anyways, like right as we are showing up to the appointment they text us and cancel. So, there we are, sitting in the rain, thinking to ourselves WHAT DO WE DO NOW?? We remembered a name of a referral that we had received from the visitors’ center in Hawaii and we were kind of close so we went to go check it out. We knock on the door and there opens a man with no shirt on and his huge belly just hanging over the little boxers he was wearing. He starts freaking out and yelling to his wife that it was the best surprise they had ever seen and were just so excited that we were there. We went into the home and they fed us and we had an awesome spiritual lesson with them. They came to church the following day in their Hawaiian shirts and they are some of the coolest, most genuine people I have ever met! Hector and Anny!!

Anyways, sorry this was short. I love y'all so much! Have a great week!

Con amor, 

Elder Brown
That sweet family from the Hawaii Visitor Center, with Francisco in the background

A failed attempt at making a cake for someone!

Ward Correlation Meeting!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Cool people and the first impression!

Hello family and friends! 

First off... shout out to the best mom in the world. Holy cow, I  love you!! Happy Mother's Day and birthday coming up! Can't wait to talk to y'all on Sunday. How does it sound if I call at like 4:15 your time? Could everyone make it over?

Anyways, this week was LEGENDARY!! Definitely one of the best weeks of my mission! BY the way... I love Elder Munoz!! I don't know why I have been so blessed to have companions that always help me to become better and that are just so loving. Man, my mission has been awesome! πŸ˜‚ 
This week was full of some legit miracles. We are heading to the temple now to do a session and so I might not have a ton of time to explain them all, but I'll try my best!

We had just gotten done with a meeting in Manhattan, it was raining really hard and an appointment had just canceled on us. Elder Munoz really felt like we needed to go to the very bottom of our area to work, and so we did. We had one person in our area book that lived down in that area and so we looked him up. His name is Waldir. He opened up and let us into his room. The guy had close to nothing in there, just his bed, a banana and a Book of Mormon. He explained to us his love for the gospel and the Book of Mormon and told us that he had, just a month earlier, finished the Book of Mormon. HE KNOWS LIKE EVERYTHING ABOUT THE BOOK!!! He is the most genius man I have ever met! I will attach a picture of his copy of the Book of Mormon. When we got into the area, it was kind of a mess, and so with all the people we had in area book we would try to contact them a couple times and if we couldn't get in contact we would drop them. Well, we had tried to contact Waldir a 1,000 times, but never could, but something held us back from dropping him. And we are so grateful we didn't. He made it to the multi-stake conference we had this past Sunday and loved listening to Elder Oaks.

On our ward list there is like 630 members. I wish that many attended, but just over 120 attend each week. SOOO, we have a lot of people to work with,😊 and we have a goal to get to know every single member in our area. And we have seen so many cool things. We met this lady, her name is Stephanie. She was super receptive to meeting with us and loved the missionaries and the church, but hadn't been in like 15 years. We invited her and she said she felt something. She committed to come. And she did!! It was so cool! As we sat down she explained to us that she was so scared to come to church again. She said that she stood at the corner outside the church for like 15 minutes deciding if this was something she really wanted to do. The Spirit touched her, she said, and she came in. Always listen to promptings of the Spirit. It truly is what guides us in this life. She is sooooo cool! And, super excited to progress in the gospel once again. 

Attached is a picture of us with Juan! We were able to round him up some church clothes and he looked so good! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ He has completely stopped smoking and is progressing little by little. Gotta love him! 

Anyways, I love you all more the anything! Mom... you are the best thing in the world and you are a super hero!! See you on Sunday!! 

Con amor,

Elder Brown
Caiden, Elder Munoz and their buddy Juan

This is Waldir's Book of Mormon

He made no comment on this picture. Looks like the district or zone.