Monday, April 24, 2017

Baptisms and Blessings

My wonderful family and friends,

Time keeps going by faster and faster. Especially this week! Wow, it was such a great and rewarding week! This work truly is so amazing. The miracles and seeing people's lives change completely is hard to comprehend. The gospel works wonders with people.

Well, we have been teaming up with the sisters in teaching Jeyuri’s family, and this past Saturday his mom and sister got baptized!! It was such a great service. A man named Nordic, that the other Elders teach, also got baptized on the same day and that guy is a legit stud muffin. He knows the Book of Mormon more than all the missionaries combined, and it was a sweet experience to finally see him get baptized. Nani (Jeyuri’s mom) had a problem with word of wisdom and that was something that was really holding her back from being baptized. Well, we were able to give her a blessing to resist temptation and she was able to get baptized! I want to share a little something that has meant a lot to me on my mission. In my patriarchal blessing it says that priesthood blessings will play a big part in my life. Blessing have been a huge part of my mission. The first blessing I gave on my mission was to a man in our ward that was really sick. I didn't speak much Spanish, and to sum it up, basically all I said was "te bendigo que estarás bien" or " I bless you that you will be ok". The next day we received notice that he had passed away shortly after the blessing. That was a burden to me for awhile, but as I have been able to give blessings throughout the past almost 2 years I have seen the power of God work miracles: from helping Rigoberto to stop drinking coffee and Nani to stop drinking beer, or to a companion that is struggling. The priesthood truly is the power of God here on earth. And it's manifested through struggling humans like us. It's amazing!

Francisco is doing so good!! He is going to be baptized in the end of May, and we are super excited for him! He is such a cute little old man! Haha, he thinks he is still strong though, and it's so funny. He just picked up this weight thing he had at his house and with the sneakiest skill he said that he could lift it 50 times! Haha, I love that man!

There is this guy named Milton and he is a classic Dominican man. He feeds us some amazing Dominican food and this past week he gave us some la bandera. If you don't know what kind of food that entails then go look it up! Anyways, the next morning I woke up throwing everything up and it was just a rough day. Haha, there should always be a caution warning when eating Dominican food! He is super cool though and there is always a lot of high hopes for him!

Love y'all so much! Thanks for your support and love!

Con amor,

Elder Brown

The recent baptism


The man Milton, and maybe that's the La Bandera that made Caiden so sick!

Monday, April 17, 2017

God answers prayers and sends His Spirit.

Fam bam!!

Happy Easter!!!!! Wow, I truly do love this time of the season. The weather is finally starting to warm up over here and it was Easter and so there really is nothing better than that! We had a great day yesterday! We were able to have basically three amazing sacrament meetings, because we had the opportunity to bring the sacrament to some single ladies in the ward who aren't able to make it out to church. The Spirit felt in those homes is incredible. I LOVE OLD PEOPLE!! Haha!

With the whole Easter initiative the Church is doing we were able to focus a lot on that this week. We went to some train stops and set up some tables, passed out some Kool aid and shared the message of the resurrection. We actually found a lot of success doing that this week and were able to find some new investigators. Everyone really enjoyed the Kool aid. I keep meeting people from my old area in the Bronx. While we were doing the APF we ran into an old investigator that we taught in Concourse and now we are teaching him again here in Olmstead! God knows his children!!

We also had a sweet ward party this week for Easter! We did an Easter egg hunt for the primary and ate lots of food as usual! The miracle of the week came during the ward activity. As things were just about to get started a random guy walked in the building kind of looking lost. We went over to talk to him and he explained that his girlfriend in the DR is a member of the Church and that she told him to come check it out. He really had no idea about anything and so he kind of just showed up... and he showed up at the perfect time. We sat him down with some members and he really enjoyed the activity. The next day he came to church and felt the Spirit really strong. He turned to me during one of the talks and showed me a picture of the temple on his phone and said to me "this is where I want to get married". We are super excited for Francisco and for his future baptism! He truly was an answer to mine and Elder Munoz’ prayers. We have been praying and fasting to find someone with real intent and potential and God blessed us with someone who just walked through the church doors. He truly knows His children.

We were also able to go to the temple this past Friday with a recent convert named Jeyuri! He is kind of a wild 12 year old, but it was cool to see his attitude change as we entered into the House of the Lord. Every time I go into the temple I feel that, I feel like it really is His home. It was cool because just us three were the only ones in the baptismal font area and it was just so silent and the Spirit was felt. I treasure the opportunities we get to go to the temple.

Con amor,

Elder Brown
The APF (some form of street contacting)

Baptism trip to the Manhattan Temple

Monday, April 10, 2017

God will always provide!


God will always provide! That was kind of the theme this week. I'll start off with the experience that makes me say that. So, when I started my mission in the Concourse Ward, Elder Hinckley and I would teach a less active man named Modesto. He was like our favorite guy ever, and in fact, we were able to help him start coming back to church! Every Monday we would go to his house and he would make us his famous apple smoothies and his little favorite dessert. We just treasured the time we had to spend with him and he loved when we came over and helped him. Well, just when he started getting active again he just disappeared. Out of nowhere someone new lived in his old apartment and his number no longer worked. It was the weirdest thing! And we were really bummed out. So, something that Elder Munoz and I are doing is we have a list of all the people in the ward and we are trying to get to know every single one of them and serve them in any way we can. And we came across a name - it was Modesto! After almost 1 ½ years ago I kind of recognized the name and I said to Elder Munoz that I might know this guy. We went and knocked on his door and some guy opened up. We asked for Modesto and so he went and got him and when we saw each other I was like "NO WAY!!!!!! ITS MY BOY!!!!" We were able to have a sweet reunion and it was a tender mercy for us after a long and kind of hard day to see that miracle. God will always provide!

I legit love fast and testimony meeting so much! I firmly believe that lives change on fast and testimony Sunday! We were able to see one of those yesterday. The family I told you about last week (Jacky, Roberto, Juan and Renordo) were able to come to church again this Sunday. It is basically starting from the beginning with Juan and Renordo because back when they were in the church they were very young, and now that they are in their 20's they have basically forgotten everything. Anyways, when we walked in with the family to church the Stake President was there at the door and just started crying when he saw them walk in. He actually went to the temple with them when they were sealed, and so it was a tender experience for both of them to be able to embrace each other once again. During the meeting, Juan felt the desire to bear his testimony. He doesn't speak Spanish too well so I was able to translate for him. His testimony was simple but powerful. "Whenever I come to church I feel happy, I feel like I am changing. In the name of Jesus Christ amen"! Missionary work is so cool! And God will always provide!

Oh my goodness, how I much I love the movie Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration! We had family night as a ward this week and we were able to watch that movie. The Spirit touched my heart and the hearts of everyone that was there of the reality of the calling of Joseph Smith! I can truly say that I know he was called of God to restore this church! I truly can say that I know he saw God and Jesus Christ. Truly what a blessing it is to be a part of God’s kingdom here on the earth.
Well, I love y'all so much! Hope you have a great week!!

Con amor, Elder Brown

P-Day Basketball


Watermelon Bust!


Monday, April 3, 2017

The atonement, Prince of Peace


It's been a great week here in Hunts Point! And Dad, to answer your question about where we are exactly serving, we are in Hunts Point, and we also cover Co-op City. Hunts Point is another area where they don't allow Sisters because of danger. Hahaha, I guess for some reason I am fit for these dangerous places! But no worries Mom, we will be all good! We are six missionaries in the ward! And it's probably one of the biggest wards I have been in on my mission as far as members go. There are us and two other Elders and then two Sisters as well! An amazing ward! During the sessions of conference the ward provided a dinner and chit chat type of thing, so we were able to laugh with and get to know a lot of the members! They are so strong and so willing to help which is a blessing! I have been soooo blessed with all the areas I have been able to labor in!

Speaking of conference, it was a bitter sweet experience for me - sad knowing that I won't be watching another conference as a full-time missionary, but that made it super special to me. I just about lost it listening to Elder Bednar’s talk! I can't explain how grateful I feel to be called to serve the Lord. Another thing that stuck out to me was when, I'm not even sure who said it, but he said that as we continue to walk with the Savior we can begin to see people the way that He sees them. I truly can testify of that. And, we were able to have an experience like that yesterday. We have been working with this super inactive lady, her two inactive sons, and her non-member boyfriend. The family was sealed together, but then the father passed away and they fell into some pretty bad addictions and habits. We have been working really hard with her visiting teachers and we got em to commit to come to conference. Well, we went to pick them up in the morning and they weren't there - it was devastating. The whole time I was thinking about them and how much conference would have been beneficial for them. After the first couple talks, we were sitting in the front, from the back we see them walk in. We hurry and rush to sit with them. They smelled like cigarette smoke, but they were trying. That was special to me. It was a reminder for me that the atonement works for those that try. We were able to, in that moment, instead of seeing their past we were able to see their future and their potential. Their names are Jacqueline, Roberto, Renordo, and Juan. That talk touched me for that reason. I would have to say that is my favorite part about being able to serve the Lord, that He lets us see people, not for who they are, but for who they come to be.

I love this new initiative - #princeofpeace!! Literally every time we show someone that video it opens up their heart to listen to more of our message! It has definitely opened up my heart more to receive the peace of the Savior. I can't say that it's been hard opening up this area, but it has definitely been a little bit stressful. Even with all the stress that we have felt there has been this peace knowing that everything is going to work out. Knowing as we put our trust in God that He will provide miracles! We called a former investigator this past week to see if they had any more interest in the gospel, and they explained that their husband had just passed away and they wanted us to come over ASAP. We were able to show her the video and it just helped her so much! Jesus Christ really is the prince of peace!

Sorry for kind of a scattered email today! I hope you feel the love that I am already growing for this ward! I love this place!

Con amor,

Elder Brown
A member from the new ward

Having fun with a recent convert

Caiden and Elder Munoz doing a little service

Caiden and Elder Munoz tearing it up in the new area of Hunts Point and Co-op City