Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 16th: Acceptance of baptism


   First of all, Dad, you have to be the best father on the planet. I honestly cannot express how much I love you and Mom. Love for our family seems to burst out of me whenever I think of all of us being together forever. Can I promise you something? I will never, ever give up on doing the right thing. I may make mistakes, but I will ALWAYS say that I'm sorry. I love you so much. I want to be a strength in our family. I know it may be difficult with me being away during this time, but I promise you that there is a prayer in my heart at every second of every day. I know that the Lord has carried our family. In fact, I know that He has sent angels specifically charged to lift each one of us off of our knees each morning and support us during each day. 

   Secondly, I want to tell you a super neat story, and then a funny one to close it off. So there is an investigator whose grandparents are members(though they are less active) who we play disc golf with on p days. His name is *alton, and he's 15. He has a little brother who's 14 and an older sister who is probably 25. As we played disc golf with him last Wednesday, we met his older sister, *ella, and her boyfriend, *avid. They have a 18 month old girl who is so funny! As we played with them, I just felt like they needed the gospel so badly, but try as I might, I could NOT bring up the gospel! haha. So we finished our game and said goodbye.

   That night, as we got back into proselyting clothes and ate dinner, I knew that we needed to stop by their house and set up an appointment. Now, these people are pretty rough! It looked like they had lived kinda crazy lives, but obviously God has a plan for them, cause the Spirit wouldn't leave me alone... I asked Elder *damson if he knew where they lived, and sure enough, he did! So we stopped by. We asked Dalton when he came to the door if there was a time we could meet when *ella and *avid would be home. Tuesday, we met them, and the Spirit testified so strongly as we spoke of the Plan of Salvation. Saturday we had another lesson, and this time *ylan, the 14 year old, asked if he could come! We stayed there for 2 hours because they kept pegging us with questions. Oh man... It was amazing! The Spirit was so strong. They have such a desire to learn. We asked them to be baptized on July 20 and they accepted. Our Heavenly Father really does love them!

   I wish I could make more sense while I write... haha
   One of the things that I've learned is that most people, at first, will not keep their commitments. That's probably the hardest part about missionary work. Agency kinda stinks sometimes.

   One more quickie. We had an appointment set up in Montrose, a town in our area directly across from the Nauvoo Temple(where I took the picture from). Just as we pulled up to the house, a young family pulled up in front of their own house and started to get out of the car. We got out of our car and walked over to them, inviting them to the Nauvoo pageant, then went our merry way and thought nothing of it!

   So, when we knocked on the door of our actual appointment, the family decided that they were too busy and couldn't meet with us, which was kind of an awkward situation in the first place. See, now we were a 20- minute drive from our main area and we had a long time until our next appointment. Elder *damson had some potential investigators to go see, so we got back in our car and started to drive away, but as we did, the thought came, "you need to stop back at that young family's house and set up an appointment. They need the gospel!" So I turned to Elder *damson and said, "Hey, we need to stop back at that young family's house and set up an appointment. They need the Gospel!" He didn't even say anything back to me. He just turned the car around and started driving back. 

   When we knocked on the door, the mom came back up to the door and looked at us, a little surprised to see us again. I said, "I know we just talked to you... but as I looked at your little family, it made me think about our message. Our message is about how your family can be together forever. Could we stop by sometime and share that with your family?" She nodded. She gave us her phone number and name. She set up an appointment with us! Miracles. Every day.

   Family, I dare you to expect miracles. I dare you. 

   I love you all. Keep up the good work. I'm working hard!
Love, Elder Brown

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 10th: Fort Madison Iowa, Book of Mormon handout!

   I hope you know that I loved EVERY SINGLE LETTER! Thank you so so so much for all writing me! I definitely needed the strength and courage that all of you are showing. Give Momma some love for me:)
   I'm gonna write one big group email, but I love the package I got for my birthday! I made the Jello, and I hope to make the Gluten free cookies soon! Elder Adamson and I already ate ALL of the Butterfingers, and I didn't open the package til Saturday morning... I'm a fatty. No big deal.
   As for if we did anything special for my birthday, the answer is heck yes! We ate like a whole tub of ice cream! It was awesome! Once again... I'm a fatty. BUT! We had a miracle on my birthday! President and Sister Jergenson(who are fantastic! I love them and feel so much support from them with Mom) wrote me a card for my birthday and challenged me to hand out a Book of Mormon. So, I took it to heart. I knelt down on Saturday morning and set a goal with Heavenly Father that I would hand out that Book if it killed me! Well, it nearly did. Some crazy drunk guy started yelling at us while we were talking to a Potential Investigator. He was way cool. But! The whole day we were going from one appointment to another and just couldn't seem to find time to do some finding... I started to think, "Well, maybe I'll just have to share the MESSAGE of the Book of Mormon with someone, because everyone we're talking to already has one..." Doubting Thomas nearly took over. BUT! I prayed hard again that I would be able to hand it out!
   So, We had an appt with a less active lady named Sister *lynn. We were going to talk to her about the importance of church attendance, but when we got there, her online boyfriend had come up to meet her, and boy was he awesome! *ommy from Louisiana. My mind suddenly went into overdrive. He was prepared and interested in the Book of Mormon. We shared what we were planning, but as we talked to them, the Spirit kept nudging me to talk about the Restoration. So, out poured the story. We both bore our testimonies on the Restoration and I invited *ommy to read the Book of Mormon. He accepted! I gave it away! I have a testimony that if we set a goal in faith, the Lord will do miracles to make them happen.
   I have met so many amazing people, but looks like you'll have to wait two years to hear the unabridged version. I'm keeping my journal every night! no worries.
   Now, about my Companion. Drumroll please.... udududududududu
   Elder BRETT Adamson! Crazy right? We're practically twins. He's been out for 21 months! I'm his last companion. I'm a bit sad about that, cause I really like him. He's from *arrie, ID, and he loves the work! He has kept me so busy, and he loves to work hard. It's great to have a trainer who is so into it all, but he helps me know that I don't have to be a robot. He's awesome. He's the one in the picture.
   The picture on the bottom is of me offering a Book of Mormon to a dead bat we found on some stairs.
   Oh! Where I live. It's in the far southeast corner of IA. It's called Fort Madison, about a 15 minute drive from the temple. We get to go see the pageant! I'm stoked about that. I met Elder *hamberlain! He was way cool, and I told him to give my best to the family.
   My house is pretty cool. It's old and super skinny, but way cool. We sleep in this loft thingie... And! just in case you were worried about the endangered species known as the cockroach, worry no longer! Turns out all of them were hiding in our house.
   Well, that's it! Love you tons. I'm sad I can't be there to hang out with everyone, but I'm working hard, so expect blessings.
    I have no doubts anymore. The church is true. Never forget that. Never.
 Elder Brown

May 29th: MTC Captain James T. Kirk

   I'm still lovin it here! We ship out on June 5th, or Wednesday for those of you who are not quite as calendarly savvy. After that, I am officially an Iowan, and will join the Iowan hall of fame to stand alongside Captain James T. Kirk, the world's biggest ball of yarn... and that's it. There is nothing else famous out there. BUT! Soon, I'll be there, so then the hall of fame will be overflowing with greatness! haha
   We've had such an awesome week here. Dad, I loved talking to you this past week, and I'm going to include a little letter for you to read out for mom if you can. As for my lovely brothers and sisters, I love you all too!
   So, biggest miracle was this. Our investigator's name is *ric. He's from Chicago, and he is REALLY well versed in the Bible. He has such a strong faith in Christ and wants to follow him. He goes to BYU and he is black. I really like him. However! His questions were super hard because he knew so much. The first lesson, we just kinda got to know him. Elder Allred and I answered his questions as well as we could, but we still had a little bit of difficulty. I really felt my patriarchal blessing coming true though, cause it says, "you need never be misled by outward appearances, for the Spirit will school you in getting to the heart of the matter". There were a few moments where *ric would try to pull us into a discussion on faith and works, where he knew we would get trapped, but the Spirit practically put a billboard on them, and showed us how to dig deeper into what he was really asking. At the end of the lesson, he asked, "Do we really need ordinances to be saved? And if we do, is it really necessary that they are done by authority?" I was stumped. I knew we needed it, but I didn't know how to explain it, and we were out of time. I wrote down his question and told him I would study it.
   As I studied and prayed my guts out for the next two days, I think I got my answer. When we went to meet with him again, Elder Allred just let me talk... I told him to pray for me the WHOLE time, because I was about to link in the Book of Mormon at the end, and he had been pretty opposed to it at the beginning. I'll tell you what. A miracle occurred. We brought in scriptures and everything we had to that lesson. Dad, that was Wednesday. The same day you called me. I just wanted to be sure that I wasn't distracted. I have NEVER felt so much like I was being guided before. *ric didn't ask questions this time. He just sat and soaked it in. Elder *llred and I testified and then linked in the Book of Mormon. Then, I felt the distinct impression to share what had happened after I talked to you, namely the peace that I felt from reading the Book of Mormon. I want to be sure you understand though... I didn't do it. It was all the Spirit. I've never felt more like an instrument before in my life. I love the Lord.
But. I was EXHAUSTED right after he said he would read the Book of Mormon. I'm dead. haha I loved it though. We just basked in the Spirit for a moment after.
In other news! My companion and my roommates have really stepped up to love me more this week as everything's been going on. My teachers both helped out and my brother teacher gave me a much needed hug, but I am being led by the Spirit. Help me to know how I can help more!
Dad, if you can read this to Mom please.
"Momma! I love you soooooo much! I hope you know that. I'm excited to be out here on a mission, and I want you to know how big of an example you are to me. Never worry about me, cause I'm a servant of our God. I'm safe in His hands. I know that you are too. Doesn't it feel great to be encircled in His love? I can feel your spirit as I write this. I know you love me, and I'm working my tail off! Your son, Brett"
Looks like my camera is being dumb. Sorry! hopefully pictures next week!
Elder Brown