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

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8th: 86 year old minister

   I love you guys. I keep telling people about all of you. I keep a picture of our family in the front of my scriptures so I can show everyone! People always think that Delphine is my sister... Looks like she is already fitting in to the family!:)
   Dad, I love to hear about your bike ride in Bidwell park, and I'm excited to go with you when I'm home. It's super weird to think that I've almost been out for a full transfer. I hit my two month mark in two weeks. Bizarre... As for the temple being a place where you are close to mom, I completely agree. My favorite memory of Mom from all time is being in the Sacramento Temple Celestial Room with her at the very beginning of May. I feel almost too blessed to have had that beautiful opportunity with that wonderful woman. She still is such a big part of my life. Her story is one I have told to many an investigator, and it has never ceased to touch my own heart.
   So! This week I received that package... I LOVED it! It made me start leaking out my eyes again... but hey. It happens. That picture you sent me is so beautiful, and let everyone know how grateful I am for their letters. Tell Aunt Kristen that I'm glad she didn't get hit by that bear:)
   I'll launch into the week now. So! the Highlight of this week is that I met 86 year old black former minister J*sse. He is my favorite person in Iowa. On Sunday night, we got a call from a Nauvoo member that wanted us to set up an appoinment with this man that he met in Aldi's(the grocery store). He hadn't gotten his phone number or address, but he got his full name, so he searched him on Google! He gave us J*sse's info and told us to call him. We did and set up an appointment for that night.
   J*sse is so sincere! He really is humble to be learning from these young missionaries and having them tell him that he needs to change. When we asked if he would be baptized, he said, "well, if the Holy Spirit leads me that way, I've just GOT to follow!":) We are keeping up with the follow up. I love this work! The people I get to work with are phenomenal.
   Also, I get to work at the Nauvoo Pageant for the next four weeks! I'm super excited. We are going to be asking for referrals and such.
   Now, for an experience. I just received this quote from my MTC teacher, and I thought of a scripture I really like.

"However dim our days may seem, they have been a lot darker for the Savior of the world. As a reminder of those days, Jesus has chosen, even in a resurrected, otherwise perfected body, to retain for the benefit of his disciples the wounds in His hands and in His feet and in His side-- signs, if you will, that painful things happen even to the pure and perfect; signs-- if you will, that pain in this world is not evidence that God doesn't love you; signs-- if you will, that problems pass and happiness can be ours." Elder Holland

  Before all of this occurred with Mom, I definitely had a testimony, but in all honesty, I had a hard time getting the Atonement from my head down into my heart. But now...Jesus Christ has become more than just a picture on the wall. He has become my Savior. He has become my strength. He has become my Miracle.
   Mosiah 18:30 really rings true for me. I feel that my "wilderness" where I learned the gospel has been my mother's cancer. As dismal and dark as this moment in all of our lives really is, I can honestly say that I have never felt more light all around me. I can say with the people of Alma, "All this was done [in the trial of cancer]... how beautiful [is this trial] to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever.
   I'm never giving this up. He lives!
   I love you all. Keep studying. Keep praying. I'll be working hard.
Love, Elder Brown
PS. The samurai sword and watermelon is a long story. Lets just say that the 4th of July was a pretty good night...:)

Friday, July 5, 2013

July 1st: Spiritual light bulb

   Iowa is having a cool down! It's been about 80 degrees with a breeze lately. We've had some nutso rain and windstorms though, let me tell you. I've loved to get all of the different letters and bits of mail from people I never expected to hear from right away! I love how supportive and loving everyone has been. Thank you for everything you have done for me.
   President Jergensen is gone... He and his wife left Saturday night for home. President Jensen is here! How exciting is that? I'm super sad to see President Jergensen go, but I'm glad he gets to see his family after these three long years. We have Zone Conference on Thursday so I'll meet President Jensen then.
    I love to hear all of the news at home! I'm curious, are most of my friends at college or on missions now? Who is still at home?
   Did Kate and Brayden take over my old room? How is school and the new job going? How big are Caleb and Brooklyn now?
   Is Gwen huge? Is she wearing makeup yet? Giving speeches at graduation?;)
   What is the plan for Brooke and Lyle? when do they head off for Sacramento?
   And finally, Dad. YOU SENT THIS EMAIL AT 1 13 AM!? You are a crazy man! I'll bet you were awake at 5 the next morning too... haha

   I love you all so much! This week was pretty neat. There is this older lady in her late 60s who is a less active member, and she hasn't been to church for probably 40 years. Her and her husband are members, and we have been working with her grandkids and her. SHE CAME TO CHURCH! The past two weeks she has come and absolutely loved the experience. In fact, we visited her after church, and she looked like she was lit up inside with a spiritual light bulb! Man, it's amazing to see her changing, just with two times of church. The sacrament has real, incredible power of healing and access to the Atonement. She said, "I just feel closer. Closer to God."
   To those who have written me and I haven't written back, know that I still love you! We can only write on P days, and it's really hard to find time. I have like six letters halfway finished. Be patient with me...:)
   I spoke in church on Sunday in our little branch, and the Spirit testified of something really special to me. I was taught by two amazing parents. My testimony was developed by careful nurture of these two marvelous people. Dad, I could not be who I am without your incredible support. Same goes for mom. The hardest times of my life are nothing when I look at the family God gave me.
   Know that the Gospel is true. I testify of that with every ounce of my body. Know that God lives. Know that the Atonement is real. Jesus Christ suffered for YOU. Not for the world as just a collective mass, He spent time suffering for YOU. Every pain. It wasn't your life in fast forward. He was there for every second of it. That's how He can know us. That's how He can succor, or "run to aid" us.
   I love you and pray for you always.
Elder Brown