Monday, February 27, 2017

Repentance and the temple.

Hey fam! 

It's great to be able to write y’all again this week! I love hearing from you all and hearing your amazing stories! I want to give Bridger a shout out for his birthday!! I love you buddy! I can't believe you are so big now! Make sure he gets a big hug and a kiss from his uncle Elder Brown and make sure he knows that I fully plan on playing Legos with him when I get back! It's literally insane how big those boys are getting!

I learned a big lesson this week. Elder Frei and I work really well together and we get along great and we feel as if people like us, and to keep it short, we kind of felt like we were "all that". We were having a lot of success, things were going super well and we felt like we were on cloud nine. Now, I have always known and felt that if it was left up to me and my abilities that I would be legit lost in this work. Obviously the Spirit and the divine help from above is necessary, but sometimes we forget and sometimes we think to ourselves, “man, I'm cool!” I know how to do this and that, and basically, I'm the best! And I think Elder Frei and I kind of fell into that a little bit at the beginning of this week. And just like the Book of Mormon teaches, when a group of people get caught up in themselves the blessings of truly and fully relying on God are lost and we kind of fell into a little bit of that this week. But, it was a good lesson learned for me and I feel like I truly understand now the reality and importance of Heavenly Father in this work. We repented for being prideful and Sunday we had some miracles. #repentenceiscool (President Smith literally always uses that hash tag) I don't know if y’all remember but a couple weeks ago I talked about a lady named Nidia! Super awesome lady! Anyways, we have been teaching her and this week and obviously, we invited her to church, but she kind of gave us that “maybe I'll go” kind of response and so we weren't really counting on her. Well anyways, she showed up all by herself to church and turns out she was super good friends with like 10 of our members! She explained to us afterward how much at home she felt at church! The church truly is like our home!

The temple this past Saturday was amazing! Funny little story, while sitting in the waiting room to go into the temple I saw an Elder that I knew in the MTC. We had gotten pretty close in the MTC and he was serving in New Jersey. Well, turns out he went with some recent converts just like us and we got to run into each other there! It was cool to see him! The temple was so great though! To be able to see some of the recently baptized people the ward have the chance to get baptized for one of their own family members was an experience I am never going to forget! How lucky are we to have that blessing?! Anyways, Nerio is a stud! He got his first temple trip in on Saturday and gave his first talk in church on Sunday and he killed it! It was like one of the best talks I have ever heard and everyone was so surprised, because Nerio is a shy little quiet guy, but he did so well! We were so proud of him!

So, tonight and tomorrow we have the privilege to hear from Elder Gong of the Seventy and we are all stoked as can be! There has been a lot of preparations that have taken place and we are excited to be taught from on high! I love this work with all my heart! I know that we can only do it with our Heavenly Father's help and I know that repentance is real!

Sorry this is short, we have to end p-day a little early today for travel time, but I love you ALL! Have a great week! 

Con amor, 

Elder Brown
It's always good to get a picture outside the Temple!
Making Mexican food on P-day!

Monday, February 20, 2017

A new missionary miracle!


TIME! PLEASE SLOW DOWN!! Man, this week really flew by! And months are flying by like days! So, that's not good, but other than that this week turned out really good! We got to see some blessings and we had a lot of cool experiences, so I'm glad I get to share them with y’all today!

This past Saturday there was a wedding in the ward and after the wedding there was a Valentine's day party and it was sooo awesome! Haha, I am going to miss Hispanic parties so much! They are so funny! Sooo much amazing food! Everyone just dances the whole time and then there is us, the missionaries, just there at a table stuffing our mouths and conversating with those too scared to dance. Hahaha, it’s actually a super effective way to find new people to teach! After all, that's how we found Nerio!!

You know how There was the family who moved to California? Well, we have the dopest new investigator that moved into their old house!! She is Friends with a less active member in our ward and he is the one that helped her find this house. She was living in Miami, but she is originally from Nicaragua! And she is sooo legit and prepared! She actually used to go to the church with her whole family when she was little in Nicaragua, but then moved to Miami and started going to another church. It has really been a tender mercy that she knew a member who knew another member that knew of an apartment where she could live. And she happens to live in our area. She was an answer to a prayer for me because I have been praying (like I am sure every missionary does) to be able to find that prepared person and I think we got her! Her name is Ashley!

We get to go to the temple this Saturday with some recent converts to do baptisms for their first time! We are super stoked! We are going to go with Nerio, Noemi and the Rendon family, and it's been fun to see the excitement as they prepare their own family name to be baptized for. How great is the plan of our Heavenly Father!

In our zone we have a lot of new missionaries and we are supposed to go on splits with them within their few first weeks in the mission. It's been fun because it feels like I'm back training for a little bit and it brings back so many good memories! New missionaries rock! Well, anyways this past Tuesday I had a split with one of the new missionaries and we had a pretty packed day, so we had about ten minutes of time to try and find someone new and so we said a prayer on the side of the street. Then I asked the new guy where we should go. He pointed to a house and we knocked into a lady named Maria. We talked with her a little bit and she told us that she knew a member named Hermana Franco. The funny part was we were going to her house 10 min later for dinner! We set up an appointment and then went to dinner! Hermana Franco was able to have a conversation with her later about the gospel and we have had 2 lessons with her since then. The Lord directs!

Anyways, sorry this letter was lame! I am super full, and tired right now because we just got back from a member taking us to “all you can eat” sushi, so to say the least I am pooped! I love you all so much!!

Con amor,

Elder Brown
He didn't take any pictures this week, so he posed for a quick one to send home!

Monday, February 13, 2017

A windy week!


Haha, so I have to Tell y’all something funny that just happened to us! So, we left the house this morning to go to the car and the winds were legit insane! We live around a bunch of really tall buildings and it forms a tunnel where wind just whips right through, and so the winds were fast as ever and people were literally flying everywhere! We felt so bad because this little old guy literally got pushed over by the wind and started rolling down the street! We ran to his side and helped him up. He was startled! And then there was another older lady that was pinned against this wall! We walked her to the train station! Haha, it was so insane! And to add one more to it, the streets and sidewalk were icy so this was just a mess! But to be honest it was a little bit funny! 😂 

This week was full of a bunch of ups and downs, but it ended up really well! We were kind of sad because all of our church meetings got canceled yesterday. It was raining just like a little bit, but the Bishop decided that we shouldn't have it. It was a little disappointing, because we missed the sacrament. You never really understand the impact the sacrament has in your life until you have to miss it one Sunday. It was also sad that all our investigators weren't able to come this week and have a good growing experience. But there is always next week! 😊

We have a goal in the zone to work better with members, and so we decided that we were going to get a new investigator every week through a member. So, it gets to Sunday night and Elder Frei and I had yet to see a member referral. We had planned to go see a less active lady and her son who isn't a member that night and when we stopped by she was very, very happy to see us. She invited us in and her non-member husband cooked us like the most amazing meal I have ever eaten in my life! He studied in a chef school and literally made us the best food I have ever tasted. Anyways, we were able to teach her not-yet-member husband and set up a return appointment to teach him some more! We hit our goal!! The Lord provides a way!

The reason this week was kind of tough was because some of the super cool people we have been teaching just out of nowhere decided they wanted to stop responding to us and talking with us. But, I continually find peace and comfort in the promise given in D&C 24:12 "And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men." You know, there are some days where you think to yourself "Are there really people out there that will accept this?" But Jesus Christ himself said we are to preach this Gospel to all nations and the promise is that every knee will bow. People are ready, they really are! I'm grateful for the blessing of being able to be a missionary and preach this wonderful gospel! The church is true! 

Con amor,

Elder Brown
A recent baptism gets treated to Texas Road House!

Basketball with the missionaries

Snow Day!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Transfers and prepared people!


I got the news! Are you all ready?! OK, well, I am going to be staying in New Rochelle with Elder Frei!!! I am so stoked!! So, that's going to be 5 transfers here in New Rochelle and a total of 5 transfers with Elder Frei! Haha, I cannot believe how blessed I legit am to be able to have amazing companions and amazing areas! In total, I have spent 10 transfers with 2 companions and 3 with another 2 companions! We have a lot of good stuff going on in the area and so it really was an answer to a prayer that I get to stay here for one more!! I love my mission!

I totally thought I was going to be leaving and so I was saying goodbye to everyone. Then when we found out on Saturday and I came to church the next day and was like, “JUST KIDDING! I'M STAYING!” Haha, and so that was pretty embarrassing! Haha, but this past week was so great! We had so many amazing experiences as always! We do Noche de Hogar (Family Night), and it started off with just one family, right, but then they started inviting friends and those friends invited people and it has gotten pretty big! So, we have family night every week with a bunch of not-yet members and it is so cool! That's just a little example of how amazing the members of this ward are! I'll send a pic of our “Noche de hogar” this past Monday. This is like half the people, and 3 are actually members! Amazing people!

Noche De Hogar (Family Night)

 God blessed us this week with one of the most prepared people I have ever met in my life! We received this referral from a member in Peru. It was of her daughter that was going through a hard time. So we went to her house and we talked to a lady who happened to be the sister of the person we were looking for. She told us that she had moved, gave us her new address, and then we were able to teach her and set up a return appointment. We then went to the new address, knocked on the door and talked to a lady named Cynthia! She was super interested and we taught her and set up a return appointment, and then she told us where Luz actually lived, which was just the door to the left! We finally found her! AND SHE BASICALLY IS A MEMBER! She was teaching us about the Book of Mormon and talked about how she wanted to get baptized with her parents, but didn't feel ready. She then came here and has been looking for the church ever since! She is so legit and we are excited for what is to come with her. And she happens to be good friends with Cynthia and is now teaching her when we aren't there! Prepared people!!

We were walking down the street this past week and began to talk to a lady who was walking her dog. She was really nice and she invited us to come back and teach her more about the gospel. Well, when we go back... SHE ALREADY HAD A BOOK OF MORMON! Haha, she had been taught by missionaries like 7 Years before and had still been reading her Book of Mormon regularly since then! Haha, how amazing is that! She loved the Book of Mormon so much that she has been reading it ever since!! The power is in the book!! Prepared people!

One of the people we had at church this past Sunday is Jose!! Haha, he is such a stud! He is one of the most Catholic men I have ever met in my life, but like halfway through Sacrament we saw his little face poking through the window. We went and brought him in and he loved it! (It always helps when it's testimony meeting) and he made a ton of awesome friends while at church! Jose is an awesome guy! I love him to death!

Well, I love you all!! Hope you have a legendary week!

Con amor,

Elder Brown

Farewell cake! Now he's embarrassed he isn't leaving!

An "interesting" farewell gift.

The zone.
This and the following pictures are from Sister Smith's mission blog at Mission Leader Conference.