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.

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