Monday, December 30, 2013

"This snow is a lot different from the stuff in Idaho."-Elder Ontiveros

Dearest Family of Mine,

I love you! I am so grateful to have received emails from Aunt Becky, Brooke, Michael, and Dad! I really live off of the strength those emails give to me. Thank you so much for always updating me on what is going on back home. I'm sorry if I can't answer all the questions which I have received, but I love each one of you and I read every email that comes into my inbox. Each one is noted and loved.

This week has been soooooooo cold! It still hasn't dipped below zero, but the coldest temperature that I've seen on the thermometer has been 7 degrees. It snowed on Sunday morning, and while Elder Ontiveros and I were walking to wake up someone for church, he looked up at the snow and said, "This snow is a lot different from the snow in Idaho. It's a ton more fluffy out here. It just floats down to the ground." I responded, "It's a lot different than the snow we got in California too." "It snowed in California?" He asked. "Nope, just rain," I said, "That's what makes it so different." He didn't think it was a very funny joke.

Probably the highlight of the entire week is that we got to return to Nauvoo on Thursday to witness the baptism of Karen! She had completely finished the Book of Mormon and was so prepared for her baptism. She had never heard if I was coming or not, but President authorized us to go and we made it a surprise! When we showed up, it was so wonderful to see the expression on her face. Seeing Karen get baptized was probably the best experience of my mission thus far. You see, every single person that I had met up until this point on the mission that has eventually been baptized knew Elder Adamson and had been taught at least 3 or four lessons with him, so I could never tell if I was really helping the area or if I was simply riding out his success in the area. Karen was my "independence baptism"! I had never had a chance to be the senior companion and help someone come unto Christ. She wanted to so badly that I didn't have to help much, but it was still amazing!

This is Karen and her grandson Shakir. Brother Billings is the one who baptized her. 

When we were walking out of the room after the baptismal service, she told me, "I've been praying morning, noon, and night that you would show up to my baptism, and just the other day, the weather got all cold. The weather always gets all cold when you guys come over, so I knew you were coming today!"

Not only that, but I saw Elder Lindhardt stand up at the front of the room and share with everyone the most humble testimony. Seeing that Elder stand up there and bear witness, the Lord showed me just how much he had changed. I was nervous that when I left, I had failed as a trainer because I couldn't see much change in him, but the Spirit testified that I hadn't failed. He was being changed by the Lord the whole time. I wasn't a perfect trainer, and he wasn't a perfect trainee, but we had fulfilled the measure of our companionship, and had accomplished all God had designed for us. It was a beautiful moment. Now I just have to do the same for Elder Ontiveros!:)

I love you people so much. I am excited to call on Christmas! I still don't have any more info on when or what or how, but I'm excited nonetheless!


Elder Brown

PS: I'm all the way through Journal #1. I just bought a new journal today. It's a big milestone!

Right before I left my last area. It's Mike, and Buddy and Rhonda.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Whites in the washer


Last week I bought bleach for my laundry, and I put all of my white shirts into the washer together. I had never used bleach before, and I knew how bad it could be if I happened to use it wrong, so I made sure that I looked at the directions. The back of the bleach instructed me to "fill the washing machine with water and clothes, then add 1 cup bleach to soap and water solution. Wait five(5) minutes for solution to settle, then begin regular wash cycle." So, I waited 5 minutes, then started the regular wash cycle. Out came wonderfully white, pure white shirts.

This last week has been much more trying than I initially expected after reaching this area. We have had miracles of course! We have just also had many many frustrations. Finals week for the University is coming up and everyone is going out of town or is too busy to meet with us. It has been really crazy trying to find people that will actually connect with us and be taught something! Not to mention, this town has been ghostly for the past week with Thanksgiving break being in session.

The more and more I consider the time I spent bleaching my clothes, the more I think about what President initially asked me to do when he sent us to this area. He asked Elder Ontiveros and I to "Whitewash" this area. I had never thought about that phrase until now! I started to think about why anything would be "whitewashed". I think the reasoning would have to be because something was previously stained, tainted, or soiled. This area had some ground in distrust for the missionaries, be it member, nonmember, and less active. The Lord didn't even trust the missionaries here for a while! To align this with my allegory, the whites were put into the washer, and the Lord applied the bleach. He put his Spirit over this area, and He is softening the people here, but it does require some time and some patience. I honestly think Elder Ontiveros and I got tossed in with the wash. God doesn't waste his resources. He's bleaching his missionaries too! I feel like each day is a serious personal purification. Soon, out will come wonderfully white, pure missionaries and members.

There has been such a cool miracle here though! A majority of the people that we have contacted have been Chinese students studying here at Truman State, and they are really cool kids. Their culture is so unique and interesting. I find it truly fascinating! But one young man in particular that I have to point out is N*o (yes, just like the Matrix). We knocked on his door the other day, and as we spoke with him, we asked if he believed in God. "No." He said, a bit puzzled that we would even ask.

"Well," we replied, "God exists! He made you. He is your Father!" N*o nodded. "N*o, if God made all of us, do you know what that makes me and you?" I asked.

He shook his head again, this time a little interested, "No..."

"That means we're brothers, man!"

"Oh! Cool!" He said, a smile coming across his face.

We went back two days later and shared all about who God is and how awesome it is that we get to pray. A chinese recent convert came along with us. It was such a powerful experience to see this young man who had had no idea who God is or, for that matter, who HE is, begin to understand. He does have a long, long way to go before he can really make the baptismal promise, but he has identified the Spirit speaking to him. The next day when we were in the church building showing him around, he identified the Spirit in the chapel, saying that the room "feels good."

Don't take for granted how incredible it is that God is real, and that you know that! Also, don't take for granted that He has ASKED you to talk to Him. That is such a marvelous blessing and privilege.

I love you guys! Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!


Elder Brown

Wednesday, December 11, 2013



   Hello again from Iowa! News this week? We've seen another miracle! K*itlyn, our long time investigator, FINALLY got baptized. After much trial and tribulation, she finally decided to make her covenant with Heavenly Father. It was a long and crazy ride, but it was one that really helped ME understand why baptism is so vital.

   Another amazing miracle of the whole baptism is that J*sey, our Recent Convert who was the one who helped K*itlyn get committed in the first place, spoke at the baptism! For only being twelve, she did a phenomenal job.

   I'm sorry I don't have many words today. It has been a draining week... I'll tell you a couple of the specifics:
1. One of my zone leaders, and the last missionary of my original district, finally went home today. I had held onto him, my trainer, and my other district leader, and after six months, I feel a bit... left behind. It's amazing to be on a mission, but it is sad to lose those who have been your family out here.
2. I'm getting transferred. President Jensen called today and asked if I would once again train and be district leader as well as whitewash an area. I accepted, but I'm still trying to get past that all. I've been here for nearly 6 months! I just don't quite know what to do with myself now. I guess I'll just move on to companion number 3.

I don't think anything is necessarily wrong. It's just a week of goodbyes and big changes. It feels a lot like when I left college. Just like everything is changing, and it's not going the way I wanted it to go! Luckily, I have a sure knowledge that everything is going to be pretty much identical to what it has been in my last area. Still doors to knock on. Still sheep to feed. Still people to love. Still fun to be had:)
Dad, I loved to hear about your wonderful missionary experiences! You are such a phenomenal man and I love you so much. Keep up the good work. I really hope all of you can feel the love and the prayers and the joy that fills my heart when I think of the fact that we are going to be a family forever.
Keep reading the Book of Mormon! It is the GREAT RETAINER of testimony.

Elder Brown

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Miracle of Daylight Savings Time


   Have I ever told you how incredible daylight savings time is? Well. Let me clue you in:

   For those of you tuning in who may not have been on a mission or know much about them, you follow a very strict schedule! We go to bed at 10 30pm on the dot, and we wake up at 6 30am on the dot. 8 hours. No more, no less. Now, be assured, I understand that is a lot more sleep than most of us get on any given day, but there is something interesting about missionary work. The constant interaction and spiritual aspect of the work causes a lot of physical tiredness at the end of the day. Also, when you are sick, you still don't alter your schedule or change your plans so you can sleep in. Such became my problem this last week.

   On Halloween morning (by the way, I got the package... I think I gained another 20 pounds:)) I woke up with a sore throat, the sure sign of an oncoming cold and fever. I'm used to just busting through colds by napping at certain points throughout the day, but that's not really an option out here, so 8 hours would have to do for now.

   But here's where the miracle comes in. Saturday night, it hit me hard, and the last 3 hours of work was much harder than usual with a pounding headache and a stuffy nose, not to mention aches and pains all over, and I was unsure if I was going to be able to get over this cold if I didn't have more sleep. I truly wanted to work hard all day, and I did, but the cold had pretty much laid me out. I wondered if I really COULD work the whole next day. Could I call in sick... to God? I just started to pray my guts out for a miracle healing or an ability to push through the next day and be able to rise from bed.

   Was I miraculously healed?! No.

   Did I experience incredible, Herculean strength the next day? Not at all.

   Did the Lord provide an extra hour of sleep in the form of Daylight Savings Time? Thankfully, YES. He literally stopped time for an hour just so Elder Brown could get the sleep he desperately needed!:)

   D&C 123: 17- "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

   I think all too often we expect a bolt of lightening from the sky to fix all of our problems when all we do is throw up feeble, half formed prayers. This is not the way that our Heavenly Father works. He expects us to "Pray like it all depends on God, then work like it all depends on YOU." When we work for our sustenance, we show God our faith that He is going to fill in the gaps that we, as His frail children, will undoubtedly make. He simply expects our faith first, and the miracles will always follow. Believe it!

   I love to see the pictures of Halloween with Brooklyn, Gwen, and Caleb. If those kids were any cuter, they wouldn't be related to me, that's for certain!:)

   Our Halloween was pretty relaxed. We just ate a ton of candy and stayed inside in the evening time(we weren't allowed to be out after 6pm.)
I love you all! Keep the faith. I pray for you always!

Elder Brown

PS: It was really rainy this week, and as a result, My pants got a little wet while we were walking around to our different appointments... Luckily, I have an umbrella! Those things are miracles!

Also, check out those fall colors!

Monday, November 11, 2013

I'm Running Low on Creative Titles


   I know that I usually have a really good title to my emails, but I'm sorry. We have hit the bottom of the tank. We have scraped the sides of the peanut butter jar. Only juice is left in the pickle container. In other words, I'm fresh out of creative things to say!

   I guess I'll just get down to the nitty gritty... THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL OF THE EMAILS AND LETTERS I HAVE RECEIVED! I love getting them so much! I was telling Elder Lindhardt this week that I love nothing more than my family. That really is the truth. I love you guys so much. How in the world we were blessed with each other I don't know, but I sure am grateful.

   In connection to my comment to Elder Lindhardt, we then drove by the US Post Office here in Fort Madison. I pointed at it and said, "I sure love my family, and that building there is my best friend." That place is a miracle for a missionary who lives in the middle of nowhere...

   I love to hear about the missionary work that each one of you are doing. Dad, WAY TO GO! You are, in missionary vernacular, "a gospel sharing fool":). I love you and you are an example to me of a powerful missionary. Tell Dr. M*zj that I love him and I am so grateful for the wonderful care that he gave to Mom. Please communicate that I am sure that Heavenly Father gave him to us as a gift for his incredible talents. I will always be grateful for him.

   Happy Halloween! I am curious, what will Brooklyn, Caleb, and Gwen be for Halloween? And is there any such fun activity going on with the family?

   Ok, as for the experience of the week, this one happened just last night. It was a very interesting prompting:

   About a month ago, we met a lady named D*ebra. We walked up to her as she was in her car and she stopped us and said, "No thanks guys! I'm saved." As we talked with her, she told us that she has an aunt who is a member and after some gentle cajoling and the Spirit's guidance (not to mention some fancy talking by Elder Lindhardt), she agreed to let us come back. We had such an incredible first lesson with her, where she identified the Spirit and agreed to read and pray! Sadly though, we lost contact with her just days later and she stopped answering our phone calls and everything.

   Last night we went to dinner with a member who is out on the edge of our area, very much in the direction that D*ebra lives. These members had such a strong spirit in their home that as we left, I felt so uplifted and inspired. Now, I hadn't even thought of this lady for probably two weeks, so as we came up on the entrance to the trailer park where she lived, I was surprised to feel a distinct pressure and urge to turn and go talk to her. It was later in the evening, but we followed the impression. My heart was pounding and and I felt a very urgent need to talk to her.

   When she opened the door, nothing special or miraculous happened, but as we visited, we shared how much we loved her and had missed her, and she set up another appointment to meet with her. As we drove away, I wondered why I was so impressed to go there, but I think the Lord was picking up the slack. He wasn't done with her yet, and we had lost focus.

   I know that this is the work of the Lord! He is the way, the truth, and the life. Never forget it! Read the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, every day. It will keep you "continually in the right way!"

   I love you all and hope you have a great Halloween!

Elder Brown

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Our area has been compromised!


   This week, something terrible happened! Our area got SPLIT! I don't think anything could have been more sad for me, due to the fact that my very favorite recently reactivated sister lives on the other side of the area. It has been such a miracle to see her journey back into activity, and I miss her already, but I know that she is in the hands of the two new good and faithful missionaries of the now "Fort Madison South Area."

   Other than that, we are still doing missionary work. This mission is growing exponentially. This last transfer, 37 new missionaries entered the field and only 10 went home! It has been incredible. Every area in our district has been split, so now instead of 4 areas in the district, we have 6!(One was split last transfer) That brings the total missionaries in our district up to a grand total of 13. I was getting stage fright just standing up at district meeting and giving a training... it's nuts! It's funny too, because half of the district is way older than me, and I'm supposed to be their leader! It's probably one of the most stressful things, especially with all of the areas opening up, because I want to be such a good missionary, but sometimes sheer inexperience trips me up. I have already changed so much in the way that I think and work and pray and study, but I still have so far to go!

    So it's miracle time! This is my favorite part of the week:) This week, we have been caught up in a lot of logistical things getting the other missionaries locked into place with their living situation and things, so it's been hard to find time to see and keep in contact with our investigators. This caused a lot of worry for me because a young man named C*** that we have been working with really struggles with depression and anxiety, so we feel a real need to keep in contact with him on a daily basis. He has a baptismal date, but it has been getting more and more shaky since we set it. This week when we went to teach him, my fears were all realized. He was acting super unnatural, wanting to smoke in front of us, asking us weird questions, and acting a little bit like he was drunk. We asked a lot of questions, but he just wouldn't open up to us and the member that we brought. Eventually, we had the Spirit tell us to show him Elder Holland's talk from this last conference about mental issues, and so we asked if he had a computer. As we watched the talk, C*** didn't change one bit. At the end of the lesson, the member bore a strong testimony about the love that exists in the church, and how Christ can help everyone, no matter their situation, but still, his expression was unchanged. We exited the lesson a bit downhearted.

    The next morning during our study hour, C*** called us. "Hello, this is Elder Brown!" I said nervously, not sure if he was calling to drop us.

    "Hey Elder Brown," Said C***,  "I just was calling..." He paused, and I clenched my teeth, bracing for the blow, "I just was calling to apologize for last night. I wasn't myself. I... I want to be baptized and learn about the...Jesus Christ." My jaw dropped.

    "Hey, C***!  Don't worry about it man," I said, my grimace turning into a shocked expression, "We totally understand. Last night was rough for you. But... What changed?"

    "Well, after you left, I got back on youtube, and I listened to more talks from that guy. I really felt good. Then I watched a video about missionaries helping this one lady who was a party animal. I thought, 'if she can change, I definitely can'."

     AH! I think I gave my companion a hug, and ran around the house screaming after that. It was a good morning:)

     I know that D&C 123:17 is true. "Let us cheerfully do all things which lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." This gospel is true! I love to share it. Do your best to become the faithful proclaimers of the Gospel that the Lord needs His children to be! I love each one of you! I'm excited to hear your missionary experiences! I loved the letters I have received, and thank you so much for the package! Also, Dad, you made Elder Lindhardt's week. That's the first letter he's gotten. He said, "Man, your dad is AWESOME!" I said, "Oh, believe me, I know." :)
I love you guys!
Elder Brown

PS This is me and my favorite Assistant to the President. He just went home this week. I got to know him really well because he served with Elder Adamson. It was almost like I was sending home my trainer all over again!:(

Sunday, October 20, 2013

It's a miracle that I'm still alive!


I want to let you know, only about 30 minutes ago, I nearly DIED! It's my companion's turn to be "senior companion" for a week, and as a result of that, he's driving. On our way to the library to write home, he swerved into the other lane without looking and got like 2 feet away from this massive truck which had to slam on his brakes! Tires squealed and everything.... At first I was a little bit mad, but I have definitely made those mistakes many a time when Dad or Mom has been in the car, and I tried to act like they would have. I started to think after this experience, and a thought hit me very hard: Being a parent must be terrifying! So, Dad, thank you for being patient and risking your life daily when I drove:)
Dad! You are amazing! How did the triathlon and everything go? You and Mike P and Mike F are awesome, and I'm pretty sure that Mike P has lost some serious weight since I have been on the mission. That is awesome! Did you enjoy the opportunity?
To answer your questions, I have not been able to sing in church. I don't know if I am supposed to! My companion definitely wouldn't want to do it with me, so I'd have to go solo... plus, I'm not sure when I would have time to practice or anything of the sort. Have I told you that I have been able to play the guitar 2 times since I've been out? It was a saving grace. Both times were in the middle of the most stressful weeks of the entire mission, and I know the Lord provided an oasis where I could de-stress and play a song or two for the less active members and investigators that allowed me to play. It was an incredible opportunity.
I am so excited to get the letters you will send! I cannot tell you how giddy I get every time that I get mail! It is amazing. 
I wanted to share a couple miracles just quickly though! So this week, 19 years after being separated from Church, Chr*s was re-baptized. I can still remember meeting him the very first day I came into Fort Madison. At the time he was bitter and completely opposed to our advances with ANYTHING having to do with the church, but he would always come and help out with any service project that we needed from him.

To see him soften over the past 4 months has been nothing short of miraculous. This man who once was calloused and offended is now tender and testifying to everyone he comes in contact with about the truthfulness of our Savior's divine message. His baptism was powerful, and the Spirit was undeniable. As he stood to bear his testimony, shortly after his confirmation and ordination to the office of a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood, his eyes were wet and he admonished how sorry he was that he didn't allow himself the blessings of the gospel sooner. My own body coursed with joy and electricity as I witnessed him go underneath the water and come back up. He actually was cleaner. I don't know how else to explain it! Elder Adamson, a recent convert friend who recently received his endowments, and the aunt and uncle that Chr*s has been living with have been invaluable assets to Chrs's return to his covenants! He now calls me "Lebrown" as a joke (like Lebron James... Though I'm still bad at basketball). I now call him "brother".
One last miracle for the road. We taught a lesson in Spanish yesterday! We met a man named Ju*n, and he speaks very little English, but we came back to teach him. Essentially all I could say in Spanish was that I know the gospel is true and can help Ju*n! I read him out of the Spanish pamphlet Joseph Smith's experience, and testified again and again. So many times as we were talking, I desperately prayed, "Heavenly Father, I don't know Spanish at all! What is this word?" And suddenly, miraculously, into my mind would pop the exact word I needed to say! Ju*n is so prepared, and so we were sent for one reason or another.
I love the Gospel! I know it is true.

Please, everyone who reads this, go back and read Elder Gerald Causse's talk in conference. Follow his advice! He is correct! I know what he said is true and vital for member missionary work.
I love you all!:) Keep smiling big!
Elder Brown

Sunday, October 13, 2013

3 Blind Mice


I love you all so much! I received a lot of emails this week and I can't help but be soooooo grateful for all of those! Just communicating with you all brings me so much joy!
Dad, you are a buff man. I am convinced that you are in ten times better shape than I am. I can run 3 miles just barely! I feel like such a fatty lately, but you inspire me to be better.
News in the mission, our area is splitting! We will likely start biking soon, so I might need another check from my bank account to try and purchase a cheap one out here. The area will split in about 2 weeks or so. That'll be good for the little bit of chub that I've accumulated out here on the mission:)
We have had such a cool week out here! The highlight of each week in the past month has been teaching Chr*s. Chr*s is a 40 year old man who left 19 years ago, and recently, through the example and friendship of a recent convert as well as a ton of work and humility on his part is preparing for baptism on October 4th! The mission president has given us permission to teach him the gospel once more and to help him prepare for baptism. He is amazing, and he has inspired me to be a better missionary! He has been out to teach lessons with us about 4 or 5 times now. That gets really funky on our key indicators. There is no box to mark for "investigator present" lessons!
I don't have much new in the way of things to tell you other than that we have now caught 3 separate mice. They have been scampering around our kitchen, and no countertop is safe around here! They have already desecrated my bananas and defiled my corn chips. It's all out war now. I've included a picture of the one we call "Harry the Bandit". He is number three caught in this little glue trap. Don't be taken by his cuteness. He is pure evil. Or was... We had to get rid of him... Elder Lindhardt is the exterminator. I don't have the heart to kill the little guys, even if they have eaten my stuff.
We have taught the plan of salvation a lot this past week as well, so I'm including a picture of our visual aids that we use to help explain the spiritual body and the physical body. That is super fun:)
A scripture that has really taken me lately is Alma 42. It has really helped me to understand WHY we need Jesus Christ so badly in our life. I've read quite a bit this last week, and it has strengthened my testimony a lot. Justice and Mercy. That's where the plan of salvation lies!
I love you all! I know the gospel is true. I know that there are people being prepared in every town and city across the world! Acts 16:14
Love, Elder Brown

Sunday, September 29, 2013

No rain, but a whole lotta water!:)


My 13 year old buddy in the branch whose last name is also Brown. I let him wear one of my name tags...

We had another baptism! L*vi got baptized on Saturday, and that was sooooo neat. We found L*vi about 2 months ago when we knocked on the door of a less active man and his family, and Levi came out and said, "hey guys, I want to be baptized!"

So what did we say?!
"No way! Find another church!"
Just kidding!:)  After a moment of stunned silence where our mouths hanging open, We said, "Well you asked the right people!"

Baptismal font in Nauvoo 

Now two months later, Levi is a member of the Lord's church on the earth. We had such an amazing baptism for this 9 year old boy, where he bore his testimony and talked about how he wanted to "be closer to God and live a longer life." At first when we started to teach him, I was pretty nervous that he would get baptized and then fall away just like his dad, but as he was up there talking, I felt the Spirit testifying that one day, L*vi would be leading a ward or branch and helping others to come to Christ. He might have a tough road ahead of him, but he will make it. He's on the Lord's side now.
L*vi and us and his grandpa!

Dad, I love the picture of mom's grave. We knocked on the door of a lady whose name was Cindy the other day, and I couldn't help but tell her how wonderful mom was and is. She wasn't interested, but I really loved that minute connection that I had with her. How are you doing with everything?
Seeing Mom's grave makes it a little bit more real. It's still hard to imagine she isn't around anymore, but I know that she sure isn't GONE! We have been giving people tours of the church building, where we take them through different rooms and share the Plan of Salvation with them. Each time we enter Spirit Paradise, I feel strongly that Mom is doing the same work. She's telling them about Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring! Those things are eternal. Those things matter.
So Shaun gets home this week huh? How weird... tell him I love him a lot and he is super great. I really look up to Shaun a lot. He is one of the reasons I know that this mission is possible and this mission can be a blast! Shaun knows how to have fun, and I know that he made the mission one of the most fun things for each one of his companions.
That's something that I struggle with a bit. What do you suggest for having fun? I feel like with training I should try to be serious and help my companion to focus a little bit more, but at the same time, I get tunnel vision and I hate every minute if I do that! I really want to be able to have fun!!!! I need to learn to do the Lord's work in a way that allows me to be really happy, and also be really effective. I think a few laughs along the way will increase my effectiveness.
Tell me more about the waterski trip!
What is Brooklyn learning about in Kindergarten?
I love the letters I get from each one of you guys! They are pretty funny, especially the one from Brooklyn and Chase about how aliens took over our pool...:)
The gospel is true! Study it each day. I love you all!
Elder Brown

PS Pictures are of me and  Also a picture of the Baptismal font in Nauvoo and one of Levi and us and his grandpa!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Growing a third arm makes running much harder!

Hiowa! (Pronounced Hi-O-Wa... Say it out loud. I made it up, cause I'm in Iowa...:))

Here I am again, one week further into the mission! Just to explain the title of my email, I need to spin you a little story first.

So Elder Lindhardt was a cross country runner in high school, and he was pretty good too. We go running every other morning, just like Elder Adamson and I would. Now, I don't want to give anyone any crazy ideas, so let me explain. When I say run, I mean that Elder Lindhardt runs and I frequently ask him to slow down so I don't keel over and die. If we make it two miles, it's been a good day. But! I need to stay in shape, so we keep running!

Our regular course that we run is down by the Mississippi in a park right along the banks. For those of you who have never been to the Mississippi or have any illusions about it's cleanliness, it's probably the grossest river I've ever seen. It has these MASSIVE lily pads growing in huge patches all over the place. I'm 90% sure that it's toxic, and I have a hard time imagining why people would take a boat out on it, but they do!

So, naturally, today as we ran by the river, my companion said, "man, I really want to go and touch that water." I responded as my old companion would have, "If you do, you'll probably grow a third arm." "Wait, from where? Like my stomach?" Elder Lindhardt says with a puzzled look on his face, then suddenly he grins, "Sweet. I'm gonna go touch it!"

I wish it HAD made him grow a third arm. Maybe it would have slowed him down and helped me out a bit with the crazy pace! But alas, he still only has 2 arms!

Anyway, I have some serious questions! Dad, you told me when Melanie leaves on her mission, but you definitely left out where she is going! That's really important! Also, I can't believe Shaun is home. That is amazing! It seems like he has been gone for forever, but at the same time, he was at college for a long time before he left as well. It sounds like he really did some good work down there in Brazil. That's why I love that guy! Tell him I say hello and welcome home!

Also, Brooke and Lyle sound like they are doing so good! I loved hearing about them canning and making dried fruit with Aunt Becky. I love them both a lot!

Dad, about what you mentioned with the grief for mom, that is actually very interesting. This last week was probably the hardest week of my life for the exact same reason, but here is the story.

We had Elder Robert C. Gay of the Seventy come to our mission this last week and give us a zone conference, and out of the 8 zones (about 190 missionaries) he interviewed 4 missionaries. One of the missionaries that he interviewed was me! I knew my time would be short, so the second I got in there, I started to just spill my guts to him. You see, when Mom passed, President Jergensen had been my mission president and he had helped me a lot. Not only that, but Elder Adamson knew the intricate details of the whole situation, and HE helped me a lot. Well, President Jergensen left shortly after I arrived, and then Elder Adamson just left last month. That made me feel more alone than I think I ever have before, and the feelings of stress and grief came rushing back. After I had told all of this to Elder Gay, he asked me to stay for another few minutes while he interviewed the other missionaries, and right after, he wanted to give me a blessing with President Jensen.

That blessing said that I would have the power to discern Mom's hand in the work that I was doing, along with the blessing that I would be able to turn to my mission president at any time that I needed. It also gave other blessings and told me to "get lost in the lives of the investigators."

The next morning, while pondering this spiritual experience, I began to pray harder than I have ever prayed in my life that I would have discernment right then. I began to ask my Heavenly Father if He would please just have Mom appear to me. Others have seen their loved ones, so why couldn't I? I prayed and prayed and prayed, but nothing happened. I went back to my studies feeling defeated, but with a prompting. "Read John 14" This is the scripture I read.

18 "I will not leave you comfortless (the greek footnote is "orphaned"); I will come to you."
19 "Yet a little while and the world seeth me no more; But ye shall see me: Because I live, ye shall live also." I learned that right now she is in a place where physically, I won't see her for a long time, but His promise still stands: "ye shall see [her]: Because [she] lives"
27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

I wanted flashy and immediate, but that is how the world gives. he does things a bit differently. he gives quietly, patiently, powerfully, and CONSTANTLY. He gives individually.

I know the gospel is true. I feel the prayers that you send my way every day. I wouldn't have made it this far without help from each of my family members. I'm sorry this is so long, but I've had a lot on my mind this week! Sorry sorry sorry. Thank you for taking the time to read this!

I love you Dad. I love you family! Thank you for everything you do. Hold on to His hand. He won't let you down!


Elder Brown

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Father Knows Best

I love you all sooooo much! I keep our big family picture in the front of my Book of Mormon so I can show everyone else how amazing my family is. I really do feel blessed to have such an incredible group of people that I am related to. I'm sorry I didn't get to write you yesterday, but it was Labor day and the library was closed up. So we instead have permission to write you on Tuesday!
Dad, thank you for your kind encouragement. I think more than anything I just need to work at it all before I really can feel comfortable in any calling. I love how you said the part about "congratulations". I definitely feel as though when people say congratulations it's like they are patting you on the back for getting a promotion... but it just doesn't click for me the same way. Sure! It feels good that the Lord trusts you enough to call you, but at the same time, I didn't really WANT to have to tell a bunch of other people how to do a job that they have been doing a whole lot longer than I have. Regardless, I'm going to do my best, and I'm going to love the time that the Lord gives me to serve Him in ANY capacity He needs.

Now being a trainer, that is a whole different story. Elder Lindhardt is my new companion. He is 18 years old and he is from St George, Utah. He is extremely enthusiastic and ready to do missionary work. To give you an idea about his personality, he reminds me a LOT of Drew Boyles. He is really funny and has the greatest laugh I've ever heard. He makes me feel good about myself because he laughs at all my stupid jokes. It's great! He is a really good missionary. At the same time, training is kinda crazy. I feel like I still have no idea what I'm doing, but my companion still hasn't been out for enough time to make any decisions in any way, so it's all on me at this point. He'll pick up quickly, but I'm a slow learner. He still has the attitude of "Father Knows Best" in all situations. I have an attitude of, "Wherever the car takes us"... Which hopefully is influenced by the Spirit! I love growing so much though. It is kinda painful at times, but it is so good for me.
An experience for you though! A few weeks ago, a recent convert of a little over a year introduced us to his 11 year old cousin Josie, and she started meeting with us after we invited her to be baptized. She has come to church twice and is really excited, but her parents, who we have talked on the phone with multiple times but never met in person, began becoming a bit antagonistic. So, we felt impressed that we really needed to set up a meeting with her dad specifically to meet in person rather than just with phone permission. As we talked to him on the phone, he said, "Elder Brown, I just want to know what you are teaching my little girl. I want her to know the Lord, and I don't care where she goes, I just want to know what you are teaching her."  We are meeting him tonight and hopefully we can invite him to investigate as well. I just see that as a miracle! The Lord sometimes works through His younger children to influence the older generation. I am excited to meet him.
Chase, thank you so much for your incredible example. I know that I can do it because I am related to you. Many times I have wondered how you must have felt on your mission, and I have looked to your example to carry me through the hard days. I am so grateful for you and Delphine both. I will make sure to follow your advice.
Michael, I love to get your letters and I am sorry I don't have a ton of time to reply each week, but I will do so when I can! I love you and your little family. I am excited to see Gwen when she is up and walking in 2 years!
Aunt Becky,  How is living with Brooke and Lyle? Are you and Brookie having a blast still? I remember how often she loved to go to your home and hang out with you during the summers.
I have such a profound love for each one of you, and I can feel your prayers like they are tangible hands lifting my spirits each day. I can't quite express how I feel in words! Just remember, this family is eternal! I have a testimony that we are feeling celestial glory each time we work together as a family unit. I love you all!
D&C 10:5

Elder Brown

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Here I am!


Dad, I really really loved to get that letter from President Davis about what a stellar missionary you were. That really gave me a boost and made me want to be better! Also, you must be in super good shape. I can't believe these distances you are telling me! Is it pretty hard to keep the yard up without a lot of help from the kids anymore?

So for this week, it is only 3 days until transfers, and Elder Adamson is going home! I feel like I'm going to mess up Fort Madison really badly, especially since they decided to have me train... Me. The missionary who has been out three months. To train. mmhmm. Great. Elder Adamson has described this change as "the blind leading the blind." Good thing Christ has healed a few of those in His time;)

Elder Adamson and I spoke in church yesterday on sacrifice. It was really funny, because when the Branch Presidency member was introducing us, he said, "our two speakers for the day both have the same first name!" meaning "Elder". Then I stood up to give my talk and told everybody that we had the same REAL first name! meaning Brett. It was pretty funny.

Most of the week has been the same ol same ol though. We have been working with quite a few less actives, and trying to find new investigators. Knocking doors is always kind of a fun experience because you NEVER know what is behind that door. We did knock on this one guy's door, and he opened the door and said "What can I do for you two?" "Well!" We responded, "we are sharing a message..." He quickly cut us off and said, "Not with me you're not!" Bang.

Then, a little later on, we knock on this door and somebody inside yells, "Oh man! The Jehovah Witnesses!" The guy was pretty nice though. Just a little disinterested. But let me tell you! When somebody thinks you are a Jehovah Witness, it feels like plain old Identity Theft. But I guess that's just our cross to bear!

I love you guys a whole lot, and I am really starting to love the mission. I have met so many great people and continue to meet them. I finally feel comfortable wearing a name tag and doing missionary work all day! It really is the most fulfilling work.


Elder Brown

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Live"... from Elder Brett Brown

Of Courage and Covenants

This week has been so incredible. Rh*nda was baptized! In just 8 weeks, this wonderful lady met us, changed her entire life, and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She asked me to baptize her, and it was an unforgettable spiritual experience. Nothing feels better than exercising priesthood authority to help someone else come closer to their Heavenly Father.

Before I launch into that though, Dad, I'm going shopping for a sidebag and all that good stuff today, so thank you so much for your help with the finances of everything! I'm sorry you haven't been feeling good. Knowing your schedule though, I can't imagine that you haven't gotten sick sooner! Who have you set apart to go on a mission that I would know recently? How many missionaries are out from our stake currently?
So for the baptism. I'm not going to say other cool things didn't happen this week, but here are the highlights. As missionaries, we share the Restoration at every baptismal service while the people participating in the ordinance are changing out of their wet clothes. Because Elder Adamson was solo on this one (I baptized Rh*nda, so I was changing) He decided to compile Rh*nda's incredible story from his journal entries and read it with scriptures laced throughout it to teach the Restoration. It was powerful! The whole baptism was permeated with the Spirit. To think that 8 weeks prior to this service, she had no idea that the missionaries lived just down the street or that her next door neighbor was a wonderful member of the branch, and now her whole life is changed? It's just unreal how much the Lord has guided each and every member of her story to bring her to this point. She bore her testimony shortly after the ordinance, and spoke of the wonderful people that had been the answer to many prayers along the way. I got her testimony recorded on this little recorder! So handy. Thanks for that again.
After the baptism, Sister Speir (her neighbor), Rh*nda and the two of us went over and walked around the Nauvoo temple. As we walked around and the sun went down over the Mississippi, there was a surreal peace that filled my heart, and subdued each one of us. I looked up at the windows of the temple and felt very distinctly that Mom understood exactly the feelings that I knew at that very moment, and that she was feeling that way. I felt my heart, after two months of being heavier than I ever admitted, truly heal. I know that only through temple ordinances can the Atonement heal us UTTERLY. Only through Jesus Christ can this healing really occur. He is so proud of Rh*nda, and is so proud of all those who make and keep sacred covenants.

Don't ever allow yourself to forget the promises you have made. They will link us for eternity, and I, for one, don't want to lose a single one of you. Keep your courage. Keep your covenants. He will provide for the rest.
All the love in my heart,

Elder Brown

Friday, August 16, 2013

Boy, do I love you guys!!

Well Howdy!

Here I am again, still on a mission. Just in case you forgot, I'm in Iowa. Well, that about covers our review section for the day!
Just to start off, thank you sooooo much for all of the emails that I got! I loved them all! I'm sad to hear that Brooke and Lyle are leaving for Sacramento, but I'm sure they are going to have so much fun living with Aunt Becky. And Brooke, you are such a great missionary! I had no idea that you have been going out with the missionaries! That will bless your life so much. Missionaries NEED member help. Finding a good member to accompany you is like finding a paddle on a rowboat. You need it to be able to really GO anywhere. I have felt the blessings of member missionaries as I have worked with Rh*nda. She's getting baptized on Saturday, and she has asked me to perform the ordinance! But her baptism has largely been accomplished by her neighbor, a member of the church who has become her best friend! This wonderful sister has been an answer to desperate prayers for help. Thank you for your efforts, and keep it up! The missionaries need you.
Michael, I'm excited for your new job! Let me know how Full-Timin' it goes for you! Let me tell you, knocking on doors isn't gonna help if you want to sell your accounting services. You should make an area book. That'll do the trick! Pass it on to future accountants so they can see your "formers, potentials, and such." Finding is the best when you have a good area book! hahaha
Dad, I love to get Mom's letters each week. Those always come in such good time. I love to hear from you and to hear about you training for the triathalon. Brooke says you are in really good shape! Are you getting buff?! It's fun to hear about Caleb crawling around everywhere:)
OK! News for the week. This week I learned a ton. A ton a ton a ton. I have really felt humbled this week. We've had a couple lessons that I just tried to wrestle with the whole time, and I just wouldn't allow the Spirit to take over, so naturally, they didn't go anywhere. It's hard to do this because every time I think I've finally got missionary work, I get another curve ball. But I'm learning, I think. I keep praying that the Lord will keep me around. I know I'm still pretty unreliable, but I'm trying. The hard part is that I really felt prepared, but I still struggle to apply the things that I'm learning. But He will help me. "I know in whom I have trusted" as Nephi says.
I went on an exchange with Elder Austin, my Zone Leader, and we went finding for most of the day. He is such a good missionary. I love that guy! He taught me that you HAVE to be yourself if you are doing missionary work. People don't respond to robots. I'm not sure if you've noticed ever, but I tend to be a bit robotic at times... NO MORE! I want to change so desperately. I want to turn myself over to the Lord, but it is hard work. It's like Brooke said in her letter when she quoted Elder Anderson, "Repentance is a journey." And so it is.
I love you all! I know the gospel is true, and no one can truly improve their life without it. Keep your faith burning bright, and the Master will mold you into a new creature. Jeremiah 18:6.
All the love that I have,
Elder Brown

PS. As for these pictures, it's amazing how much facial hair you can grow in between 9 30 and 10 30 PM. Just some pictures of our "9 o clock shadow."

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Spiritual truth doesn't come from logic

You know, whenever Chase sent letters home, he always got to start his letter with some foreign language, so I decided I'd try that too. As weird as some people talk out here in Iowa, it's still not a foreign language...
Anyway! I really appreciate all of the letters that I got. I included a little soundbyte recorded on the voice recorder you sent! Hope you like it! By the way, the sirens in the background at the end are an ambulance and a firetruck. They stopped at our next door neighbor's... I don't have a clue why.
I had no idea that you were doing a triathalon until Grandpa told me, Dad! That's awesome! Are you and Michael doing that together? And I love hearing about stake coordination and how that goes. You are a wonderful missionary, and I bet it's neat to work with the mission president as well. As for having 26 baptisms in the stake, that's INCREDIBLE. Our zone covers about half of a stake, and we average about 6 baptisms a month. I don't know what you are doing, but keep it up! haha
Is Chase thinking about someday settling at an accounting firm like the one that Michael is at? That would be so fun if EVERYONE ended up in Chico. I solemnly swear that I will try to end up there:)
It's gotta be kinda a party with everyone at home now. How is it having Brooklyn and Caleb there? Is Caleb starting to walk or anything yet?
So for this week, we had a little scare with our golden investigator! Do you remember me talking about R*onda? She was the lady that was a miracle when we found her. We taught her the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity and Law of Tithing all in the same lesson. At first she was great with all of them! She was living them anyway, all except for the fact that she drank tea. We had a misunderstanding where she thought that she was going to be able to drink a certain type of tea, so we tried to clear it up in the next lesson. The members that were at the lesson are so wonderful for R*onda, but the discussion got kinda crazy cause she didn't want to give up her tea. She had done a lot of research on how it was really good for you, and we started trying to prove logically that it was bad. NEVER USE LOGIC. The Spirit is the only one that can confirm truth. Proof of spiritual truths doesn't do a thing. They need a testimony of it. so, at the end, when everything was kinda intense, we bore our testimonies on the word of wisdom then asked her to pray about it.
The next day we watched the pageant with her, and she mentioned that we had taken away "her tea flavored lollipop..." Suspicious.
She needed to be living the Word of Wisdom by Saturday, and we helped her move on Friday, so we were going to bring it up again. When we started into the conversation, she interrupted and said, "guys, I gave it up the night we talked about it. I'm sorry that I was acting like a two year old!" She laughed, and I cried for joy. It was a miracle! this woman is truly an answer to prayers.
Now for your questions, Dad.
I have been very very lonely without my guitar... I miss it so much! It's a necessary sacrifice, but boy do I wish I could play it! A couple of weeks ago a member offered that I could play hers, but we were running out of time, and it took all my willpower to say no. Oh boy I miss it a lot! It's just hard not to be constantly creating that thing. It was something I focused on daily if not hourly. It was part of who I was! But I'm doing good without it. I have found other ways to relieve my stress!
Local customs... well, tons of men walk around with their shirts off. Pretty much no man wears a shirt on a hot day except for the missionaries. I have no idea why... too many lessons have been taught to shirtless dudes in my opinion! haha just kidding. I really love it here! It has a very laid back culture of sitting in your yard and visiting with neighbors.
Remember, the gospel is true!
Elder Brown

Monday, July 29, 2013

"When you're here, we're here also!"

Elder Adamson with his 17 planners from his mission and Elder Brown with his... 2. haha
I love you guys so much! It's been great to get letters and emails and (most recently) audio files from you! Dad, I love the little recorder you gave me. It was like Christmas when I got that thing! It's fun to record the experiences that a journal just won't do justice to. Thank you for the wonderful treats as well. Elder Adamson and I have been chomping down on those Lifesavers:) I feel really blessed to be serving in the US so that I can get so much mail and so many packages! I am so grateful for all that you are doing and the wonderful messages you are sharing. I have to admit, after hearing that you went fly fishing, I wondered why you didn't send me any of the fish that you caught in my package! I guess the only conclusion I have left to make is that you didn't catch many... ;) haha just kidding!
That camping trip really sounds like a blast. I can only imagine how great of an influence the Brendon Brown family is going to have on the world. 5 missionaries, practically consecutively, will be serving the Lord with all their heart, might, mind and strength! What power. Tell those guys that I love them and I look up to them for caring what a missionary has to say in the first place, especially when it's me... haha
Michael, I think that your Freemium Model is, sadly, very true, but I'm not going to say it didn't make me laugh pretty hard. It is really awesome! There is this one specific area of Fort Madison that we just kinda avoid because it seems to be all people who will talk to you all day and never change. It's sad to see, but apathy is one of Satan's most potent tools in the world. Just people who couldn't care less about ANYTHING. But the work moves forward nonetheless.
Aunt Becky, I love your letters. Thank you so much for taking the time to write me... Your letters and the love that I feel from you reminds me of Mom. You and her are two of my biggest heroes.
Now! I'm sure you're wondering why in the world I titled this email like I did... but here it comes! Elder Adamson and I get the chance to work at the Nauvoo Pageant twice a week, but we work just the "Country Fair" portion from 7-8:30. The Pageant starts at 8:30, and that is when we are supposed to leave. It is super fun, and that hour and a half simply FLIES by. (Funny side note: one night on our drive home from Nauvoo, Elder Adamson said, "Man, if my whole mission had gone by that fast, I would have been home a year ago.") But the sad part is that we leave right when the pageant starts, so we miss out on the best part. Well! Not on Saturday! We got a referral from the pageant to go and deliver a CD to a lady in Farmington, which is the furthest West our area goes, so when we contacted her on Saturday morning, we got to meet Amb*r, M*tt, 11 year old Er*c and 2 year old T*mmy! They are a wonderful little family and they had attended the Pageant and really enjoyed it. They referred to it as "Happy Land" because everyone and their mom came up and welcomed them to the Pageant. They had to leave early last time because T*mmy was getting rambunctious, but they wanted to come again and see the whole thing. So we got approved to go see it with them! One of the coolest things though is that when we were actually teaching them on Saturday morning, M*tt told us that he was more or less agnostic. He just didn't believe God was really there. When we watched a video about Christ and asked them how God could bless them as a family, 11 year old Er*c piped up and said, "I really want my Dad to know that God loves him, because that will really help him to feel good. I know that God loves him. I know that God loves us. That will really help us to all believe that."

Elder Brown and mission companion at the Pageant

That kid has a testimony as tall as Everest. The Spirit really struck my heart and testified that that is all we really need as a starting point. It's like Alma said,
"Yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye can give place for a portion of my words." (Alma 32:27)

I know that God "lives and loves each one of us", as Mom once said. He called a prophet because of that love. He gave us a man on the watchtower to see threats from far off, but He also gave us His own personal telephone number. Never be afraid to pray! It will never hurt you.
So anyway, at the Pageant, one of the lines that they say a lot is "When you're here, we're here also." That's all. I just wanted you to know that. haha
I love you all!

Elder Brown

After a morning run in the pouring rain.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The only number better than one...

Dear Family,

Does anyone want to venture a guess at how long this Elder has been in the mission field? Anyone? Do I hear 1 month? Sorry, you are a little short. Oh! Someone said 6 weeks? sorry, try again... Hold on... I just heard someone say...

Haha! I just hit my two monther today! I am soooo old. I'm practically molding by now. As for my trainer, I think he actually IS molding. He only has one transfer left! He is such a great missionary. Elder Adamson has really helped me to latch onto missionary work with an enthusiastic zeal that I didn't think could really come this quickly. I am really starting to have fun.
Now, Dad, I'll answer your questions.
My view of Jesus Christ has not changed all too much since I arrived in the mission field. I guess more than anything, my understanding of how to REACH Christ is the thing that has changed. I have always known in my heart that He is there, that He lives, and that He loves us. I guess the thing that I didn't understand was how I was to get that understanding from my head to my heart. All my life I thought that if there is a will, there is a way, and it was all about just wanting it badly enough. But it's not. Before if you asked me the question, "Is there really just one way to come unto Christ?" I probably would have answered no, but I think I finally get it. 2 Nephi 31 teaches the Doctrine of Christ, or the path that we need to take in order to continually ACCESS the Atonement. This is the only way to truly get to Him and feel His power in its divine abundance. I encourage you all to study it deeply. We have all read it before, but focus on getting it from your head to your heart.
The most pleasurable part of my missionary routine is sleeping and eating. It's the only "worldly fun" you get to have on a mission... hahaha just kidding. My favorite feeling is when you sit down in sacrament meeting and your investigators come into the building. It's like all of your work that week actually amounted to something! They had enough faith to get up and come to the house of the Lord.
As for the New Testament, I have found many insights there, but I'll have to report on that later. I'm really trying to get through Preach My Gospel and the Book of Mormon before I hit my second transfer.
I love this work though! Rh*nda, our wonderful friend that is so stinking prepared, accepted a date for baptism this past week. It was incredible! During our lesson on the Plan of Salvation, she practically taught US the Premortal life. Not to mention, she read 2 Nephi 2 and said, "You know, it was so great to see that somebody FINALLY got it right! I think the Mormons are the ones who actually get it!" She came to church for the first time on Sunday and had great comments in Relief Society! People were crying when she told a story! Well, at least that's what I heard. I don't typically attend Relief Society...;) She is a miracle. Elder Adamson always says she is "Gold as the gold plates, Elder!"
Dad, I love the letters from Mom. They have strengthened me immensely. I want to share my testimony of how REAL the Plan of Salvation is. I have been prompted by the Spirit to share my account of mom's passing WAY more often than I am really comfortable with, but it has strengthened my testimony. It's not just some story that makes people feel better when their family passes. It's a pathway to Exaltation. It's a journey back HOME. "Believe in God; Believe that He is... Believe that He has all wisdom and all power, both in heaven, and on earth..." (Mosiah 4:9)

I beg each of you, at home, for your prayers. People in this world are sitting in darkness and they don't even know it. Share what you have! It is powerful. Share this pathway so we all can get back home together.


Elder Brown

Monday, July 15, 2013

This week on "Elder Brown In Iowa"...

  • Ch*ndler passes the sacrament for the very first time.
  • Elder Brown gets on the scale and sees the numbers 167.4 lbs.
  • J*nnifer gets baptized!
  • So dim the lights, buckle up, and put out your footrests, cause here it comes!


I love you so much! I love hearing from you and getting your letters. Brooke, thank you so much for your insights... those really help me. I know that sometimes I seem kinda crazy in my emails, but sometimes a pickmeup is exactly what I need. I loved that. I think I'll print it off and take it with me. I can't believe you are moving in with Aunt Becky! Tell them I love them and I am grateful for their love.
Michael, thanks always for your letters. I'd love to see pictures of the family!
So a follow up on my 86 year old friend... We have had the WORST luck with finding him a member friend. The members that we have brought with us have been kinda... overbearing. They are great great members who love the gospel, but they have scared him a little bit. He said, "I like your people, but I'm worried that if I didn't join your church they would never talk to me again..." ah man... but we're working with him. The lessons that we have had with him have been filled with the Spirit and powerful. The Lord is proud of this man's life and desires him to know the fullness of the Doctrine of Christ.
As for meeting my new mission president, I didn't get a boatload of time to speak with him yet. He was really busy and trying to figure things out at zone conference. He is fairly quiet, but is a BRILLIANT man and extremely loving. He isn't really what I expected, but I really like him :-)
This past week, I had the incredible experience of seeing J*nnifer get baptized. Elder Adamson found her about 4 1/2 months ago, and when I got here. After working day in and day out, the Lord blessed us with a baptism. She was baptized in the Nauvoo Stake Center, and then right after, we took her, her husband, and her two little kids around the Nauvoo temple and talked to them about getting sealed. Her husband is too macho to admit it, but I think he teared up at the baptism...:)

Our next miracle was that our recent convert, 12 year old Ch*ndler passed the sacrament for the first time on Sunday! He was so nervous, but he did great.

And yes. Let it be known to all the world. I have gained 20 pounds since I got here. Now let me clarify, I don't think it's all fat! Elder Adamson and I run three times a week and he makes me work out super hard in order for me to "get big" Whatever that means. Just look at the pictures. I'll let you judge... haha

One of those pictures is of my wonderful district. Transfers are Thursday, so we're losing a couple of the sisters, but the rest of us are still here!
As for what you should tell the people in Mission Prep... tell them to remember who the Senior Companion is. I was super antsy and agitated on Sunday morning, thinking that there was no way I could do this for two years and not go nutso. As we went to our investigator's houses, I kept praying for relief, I got nothing again and again. I hoped for any sort of answer to prayer, but I felt nothing! It took until I was sitting in sacrament, partaking of that wonderful healing ordinance. I finally was calm. It just washed over me. Peace and utter calm. I felt the Spirit whisper, "You don't need to be afraid as long as you remember who is your senior companion." Christ will ALWAYS be the senior companion. Christ will always comfort you. The most wonderful woman I've ever met said it this way, "He is our great hope in this life." That's truth. Remember who your senior companion is, and He will lead effortlessly.
I love you. Keep up the hard work. Know that you are in my prayers and I love your letters!
Elder Brown