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!:(