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!!
video

Thursday, June 15, 2017

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

Fam! 

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

Missionaries!

video

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!!!

Junior

Service day at the Food Kitchen.