Monday, March 27, 2017

A new area and a new adventure!!

Hey family and friend!

Wow! Last Monday was soooo hard... so hard. Especially on Tuesday morning when I had to say goodbye to Elder Frei. I about bust out in tears. If you know Elder Frei, he never cries. I have never seen that kid tear up in my whole time with him, and he always makes fun of me because I am a cry baby. Well anyways, when we said goodbye I was the one crying and he was over there laughing! Hahaha, that sums up our relationship. Anyways, I don't want to talk too much more about that because it makes me sad.. I'll send some pics of just a few families.

I am so excited about the news to have a new little niece!! That's so exciting! I laughed so hard when I saw Mom jumping up and down freaking out! Hahaha, she hasn't changed a bit! So, y'all think the baby will come before or after I get home? My vote for a name is Shay! I can't wait to have a niece!!!! Congrats!

Things are going great!! We arrived to the area on Tuesday and found out that we didn’t really have anybody to teach. It has basically been like opening up a new area. We made a few calls to some potentials to see if we could set up some appointments and then we hit the streets! I don't think I have walked or knocked as many doors in my whole entire life! Hahaha, of course we are also pushing to get in with lots of members and trying to change the past culture that was kind of  in this area! And, we have had so much fun and seen a lot of miracles! Saturday, my birthday was legit! We knocked and knocked and street contacted and street contacted and we had gotten rejected like a thousand times! Hahaha, really my whole entire mission I have never really had someone slam a door in my face, but Saturday was definitely filled with that. In my head I was like "whyyyyyyyyy!" "not on my birthday!" (Selfish I know)  But, we eventually knocked on a door and a 15 year old kid lets us in. We walk up the stairs and it's like a huge Hispanic family and they just invite us in, fed us papusas (one of my favorite Hispanic foods from El Salvador) and we were able to have a sweet lesson with them! Definitely a birthday miracle! We also had the opportunity to be able to serve a man named Christopher who was in need of a lot of help. Christopher made my 20th birthday the best birthday ever!

Elder Munoz is great! He is a little fire ball and it's hilarious! He actually reminds me a ton of AJ. It's weird how similar they are! His parents are from Mexico, but he was born here and is from Colorado. I'm happy to be with him and to be in this area at this time.

We are teaching a kid named Harold. He kind of reminds me of me before the mission, and so to say the least, he is kind of a punk! His mom is a recent convert and is super-duper strong in the church and he is kind of going along with the rid. We are trying to help him understand and feel how important this is in his life. We have really high hopes for him though, and we hope to help him get baptized here soon!

Anyways, I love this gospel! I know I am here in this are at this time for a reason. I know President Smith is inspired and called of God! How lucky are we to have leaders chosen by our Heavenly Father!

Con amor,

Elder Brown
A farewell birthday party in New Rochelle
More goodbyes.

Monday, March 20, 2017

VOY A REGRESAR AL BRONX!!! (I am returning to the Bronx!!!)


It's kind of sad to be writing y'all again... I didn't want the week to end. It's been a sad one to be quite honest. A lot of hard goodbyes and a little bit of tears here and there. If you know me, I get a little emotional.  But, it was good at the same time, because we had a lot of tender spiritual experiences with people, and I was able to give my final testimony. Wow, it's crazy how much I have come to love this area and the people that are here. But, things have to move on, so I am getting transferred back to the Bronx!!!! I am sooo excited!! It's the other side from the one I was on last year and it borders my very first area! It really is a blessing that I will probably end my mission around the same area that I started it! And, I get to be companions with someone part of my heritage! My trainee, Elder Molina, trained elder Hadfield. And Elder Hadfield trained Elder Munoz, who will be my next companion! So, he just got done getting trained in Newburgh, and me and him will be whitewashing into the Olmstead ward in the Bronx! I am so stoked!!! For those of you who don't know what whitewashing is - it basically means that both the missionaries that are coming in are coming from different areas and so neither of them have any idea about the area! I'm so excited to be able to start from scratch and help the ward out over there! Transfers are always so exciting, but sad at the same time. It is most definitely a bitter sweet experience. Elder Frei will also be getting my MTC companion, Elder Pugmire as his new companion! So that should be awesome as well!

Anyways, the baptism went so good this past Sunday!! Such an amazing spiritual experience! She was so nervous! Haha, it was great! We had talked to her before about bearing her testimony after the baptism, but she was very hesitant about that because she is kind of a really shy person. Right after the ordinance we asked her how she felt and she responded saying she didn't have words to explain the joy she felt. We asked her if she would try and so she stood up and gave a very powerful, simple testimony of the change she has seen in her life! It truly is a blessing for me to be able to see these wonderful children of God change.

After the baptism Junior came up to me and whispered in my ear, "guess what?!, I'm next" and then shot me a wink!  Man, I am going to miss this place!

The storm was good! Hahaha, NOT!! I have gained a real hate for snow, but it was a great opportunity to serve! We were asked not to drive around, but to do weekly planning and walk around and serve as many people as we could. We were on a split once again, so we weren't able to do weekly planning, but we did get to meet a lot of people and shovel a lot of snow! And to answer your question Mom - splits are basically to help missionaries, inspire them, and motivate them in their areas. We have tried to go on a split with all the elders in our zone and we have had a lot of great learning experiences from each other.

It's sad to say that me and Elder Frei's era is coming to an end, it's been about 8 months together and he has really grown to be my best friend! I am seriously eternally grateful for the things he has taught me about how to magnify my priesthood and just how to be a better person! His service and attitude have inspired me to be better, and even though he hates the way I sing hymns in the shower and dance in the elevators he will be an eternal friend!

I get transferred tomorrow and so next week you will have the whole scoop on the new area and all of that! I love you all! Make it a great week!

Con amor,
Elder Brown
The Baptism!

The rest of these pictures are of his farewell to the people of New Rochelle.

This is Junior!

Monday, March 13, 2017

New Rochelle or heaven?

Hey family!

How is everything going? Like I always say… it's great to be able to hear from you all and know you are alive and well. I wish I could respond more in depth to all of you, but as you know, time does not permit, but I just want you to know that I love every single one of you.

Just a little update on the weather... it's still freezing as can be. If I didn't know I would have guessed I was serving on the North Pole. You walk outside and you feel like an ice cube! Supposedly, we have a storm coming in tomorrow with about 24 inches of snow! So, we will see how that goes!

We are stoked for the baptism of Luz this weekend! Pray that everything goes as planned and that the Spirit can be felt! Cinthya has yet to come around, but we were able to do a fast with her this Sunday and she said that church was really inspiring to her, so our hopes are high with her! We are planning Junior’s baptism for April 15, which is awesome but sad at the same time because if I get transferred I won't be able to be there. Hopefully I will get permission to come back and see it! Also, we are teaching a man from a part member family who is planning to get baptized on April 2. Also, probably won't be able to see that, but it's been so cool to be able to see a change in him as he has put aside past addictions to be able to have an eternal family? What are we willing to give up to have an eternal family?! It's a good question... think about it!

Gosh, I love this area so much! Haha, I wish I could explain it... I really do! I wish I could talk about all the amazing friendships Elder Frei and I have made here in the area. We teach a lady named Rosi, I'm not sure if I have mentioned her before, but she has investigated the church off and on for about 5 years now and she is definitely one of my favorite people I have been able to teach here on my mission. She has such a sincere desire to know if this is the truth, but just hasn't received her answer yet. It's kind of hard being patient… waiting and praying that she receives her answer, but we believe. I promised her I would be at her baptism no matter what, whether or not it is in a week or in 10 years I will be there. I've gained a true testimony that Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives. He knows us! How legendary is that!? God knows us, loves us, and believes in us! The gospel is so cool!

Well, there is not much more to say about the week! It was a great one! Filled with a lot of splits, so we have had a lot of learning and growing experiences! Thanks for everything! I love youuuuu!

Con amor, 

Elder Brown 
Caiden and Elder Frei

While on splits this week

Monday, March 6, 2017

Remember Him!

Buenas tardes a todos! Ojal√° que tuvieran una buena semana y pudieran ver un milagro en sus vidas! Me encantan los milagros! Son reales!! (Good afternoon everyone! I hope you all had a good week and were able to see miracles in their lives! I love miracles! They’re real!)

Another legendary week here in New Rochelle! This week was such a spiritual and miracle filled week! I guess I will start off by talking about the mission tour with Elder Gong! Oh my goodness, it was so amazing! So, Monday night we had a devotional! We were able to shake hands with Elder Gong, and it's so crazy, haha, every time we have a general authority come to the mission they are able to give us a hand shake and look into our eyes, and they say that that looking deep into our eyes is the interview he has with us. And boy, do they look deep into your soul. But it was cool to have a little cool spiritual experience as Elder Gong and I looked into each other’s eyes for about 15 sec. The meeting started off with a hymn sung by a sister in the mission. She sang the song, “Savior, redeemer of my soul”. And the second she started singing, Elder Gong, President Smith, and everyone else in the congregation was in tears. I can honestly say I have never before felt the Spirit so strong in my life. It's Incredible the impact music can have on our testimonies and on our lives. There is a line from the song that I wanted to share with y’all this afternoon that touched my heart. It says "make me more worthy of thy love and fit me for the life above". Think about that for a second, and ask yourself what that means to you. Anyways, we had a great meeting with Elder Gong that night and we were able to talk about how we can remember Jesus Christ daily in our lives. As missionaries it is a little bit easier because we are constantly talking and bearing testimony of Him, but he also asked us what we are going to do to remember Him after our missions. I promised to fulfill my calling in the church and live up to my priesthood. And I will hold to that. To be able to remember Jesus Christ doesn't always mean that we have to continually repeat His name in our heads or never think about anything but His atonement, but as we grow and progress to become like Him daily through our actions we can slowly inherit His countenance. I love the Savior!

The next day, Tuesday, we had a zone conference that, of course, was based on teaching repentance and baptizing converts. It was incredible! We learned so many things! And after the zone conference we had an MLC, which was also fantastic, in which we talked about Alma 37:6. We made small and simple goals that will help us to better accomplish our purpose of teaching repentance and baptizing converts! It was great! I loved being able to hear from Elder Gong and to learn so much this week from him. He really is called of God.

On the investigator side everything is going great! Luz is preparing to be baptized on the 19ththe Sunday before I will probably be leaving the area. So, we hope that goes well! We are also teaching her friend named Cinthya that makes me sooo mad! We have literally had the most spiritual lessons with her and she has felt the spirit testify to her so many times, even through dreams, but she is having a hard time recognizing those answers. We pray that her and Luz will be able to take the big step of baptism together on the 19th.

Remember when I talked about Noche de Hogar with all of those people?! Well, a couple of the non- members have been coming to church recently and yesterday at church after the meetings one of the little boys that always goes came up to us and said that he wanted to be baptized! Supposedly, he finally got permission from his mom and so we can't wait to help him and his family also receive the blessing of the gospel! His name is Junior! He truly was an answer to our prayers!

Just a little funny story for the week: So, I was on a split the other day and President and his wife had asked us to take William and Lauren out for lunch, so after we had gotten lunch we were driving in the car and we pulled up to a light and we saw a lady in her car smoking. William looked at us and told us to share the gospel with her. So we did! We rolled down the window and started having a conversation with her about her smoking habit. Then the light went green so we drove away. Then we pull up next to her at the next light and start talking again, then the next light and then after that the next light! Haha, we were able to have an awesome conversation with this lady through our cars at 4 different stop lights! She wasn't too interested, but it was kind of a funny experience!

Anyways, I love you all! I love the gospel! Hope you have a great week!

Con amor, 

Elder Brown
These first three pictures are from the conference with Elder Gong this past week

A couple more pictures from their food fest last week