Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"I dunno. It shouldn't be below -15 out there."


District picture after P day

Hello from a very cold Californian! Out here in good ol' Kirksville, I have witnessed a new natural phenomenon unseen previously by my mortal eyes. You see, the other night, it got so windy and snowy, that snow was flying everywhere and creating these crazy piles all over the place, with ridges along the top. Elder Ontiveros looked out the window on Sunday morning and said, "Hm. That's weird. It looks like there is a white shark fin sticking up out of the ground." I went over to see what he was talking about...I thought this only happened in the desert, but not so! I've now officially witnessed a SNOW DUNE!:) Just like the sand dunes in the sandy deserts, we have snow dunes in Missouri. This place is something else.

The temp gauge in the car this morning(not counting windchill.)

It got so cold last night and this morning that the Assistants sent out a text telling us that we should not go outside for more than 2 minutes total today. If we must attend an appointment, we are not allowed to walk, and we have to get a ride. Estimates were as bad as -40 degrees with windchill, but I didn't believe it. Elder Ontiveros and I were talking this morning, and he asked, "How cold do you think it really is?" With my incredible amount of knowledge about inclimate weather, I said words I thought I would never say. "I dunno. It shouldn't be below -15 out there."

Ridiculous. -15. Ridiculous. 

Never fear! I have cold weather gear. Between your financial help and Wal Mart, I'm warm enough in layers. Thanks for your concern though!

But! A cool story. I have this special love for the Chinese investigators and the Chinese people we have been blessed to teach. There is a young Chinese Truman Student we have started teaching who goes by the name of J*mes (When I asked him why, he said, "It's for J*mes Bond. He's so cool!"). We have been teaching him with another member and he came to church this Sunday, despite the ridiculous weather. I love these Chinese people! We knocked on his door, had a ten minute conversation with him and told him that he could know about if God is real if he prayed. We then asked, "Will you pray for us now?" And he said, "Now? Well, if God will answer me, sure I will pray!" He invited us in and knelt with us to pray. He is so cool! I don't know what it is. They develop faith so quickly. They are so willing to WORK for their faith. They grasp the concept that faith without works is dead, and we never even explain it! I love this guy already.

Elder Ontiveros and I are getting busier by the day. It's been ridiculous to see how blessed we have been to find all of these wonderful new brothers and sisters of ours here in Kirksville. I love these people! We are definitely still whitewashing, but we have been immensely blessed!

By the way, I keep realizing just how amazing Dad is day by day. I was studying how fathers have influenced their sons in the scriptures. I cross referenced 1 Nephi 1:1 and 2:16, Enos 1:1,3-4, and Alma 36:17-18. That is how I feel about Dad! I know that his influence is one that I will cherish forever. Dad, you are my hero. Brothers and sisters and family, follow his example. He's doing a fantastic job.

I love you all!

Elder Brown

P.S. I didn't have any pictures super missionary work related. I need to ask my investigators if we can take pictures with them more often... but here they are!

The elders in their cold gear

Saturday, January 18, 2014

One of those weeks where I can't think of what to title my email.


Family, it was so great to hear from you this week! I love Christmas, but I missed you people quite a bit. Luckily, we saw a million and a half Christmas miracles this week, so it was made up for! I'll spin you a wonderful story of post Christmas cheer.

Elder Brown opening Christmas presents

The sisters in our district have a part member family that they have been working with for quite some time now. The mother was a member, but the father has been taking missionary discussions for the better part of a year. After 7 and a half months of consistent teaching by the sisters, Br**n was finally baptized on Saturday. Elder Ontiveros and I attended the baptism and it was a wonderful service, BUT! That is not even the crazy miracle.

His district as seen through Elder Brown's eyes
(He's the tiny one on Elder O's Shoulder)

The very same night, we were walking back to our apartment for the end of our night, and we received a text from the sisters saying, "Elder Brown, we need a baptismal interview tomorrow." Nothing else! No who, no when, no why, and then they wouldn't even tell us anything more until like ten o clock that night when they finally told us that another part member family they had been working with (the daughter was the non member and had been actively attending church for 18 months) had decided finally that it was time for her to get baptized. They set her baptismal date for the following day, and she was baptized yesterday, only 17 hours after she decided to get baptized! Not only that, but you have to understand how cool this is. Our Zone leaders live an hour and a half from Kirksville, and they couldn't have done the baptismal interview in time. Elder Ontiveros and I serve in the same ward as the sisters, and I try to meet everyone that stands in my path at church. We have tracted into two different member families and contacted three on the street. WE HAVE MET LIKE EVERYONE! Now, if I had had any sort of communication with the girl to have caused me to be biased toward her getting baptized, someone else would have had to interview her, but I HAD NEVER TALKED TO HER! I was able to do the interview. It was awesome.

Now, Elder Barton and Elder Dumais told me they have a sixteen year old in their ward who is another part member family, and he wa
nts to get baptized so badly. They are going to baptize him tomorrow if all goes well. I'm in shock. This is craziness.

I love you all! Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

By the way, Dad, It's really pretty sad not to be able to play the guitar. I feel like I won't be able to play anything when I get back. We met this one guy recently that has like 8 guitars and we are beginning to teach him, so hopefully it will be a good avenue to work through. Nobody has asked me to sing or play or anything. Not super surprising.

I love you all!

Elder Brown


Elder O and Elder B

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Go, Tell it On a Mountain!

All this week, a song has been going through my head that I heard sometime before my mission. The song's main chorus is,
"Go tell it on a mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere,
Go tell it on a mountain,
That Jesus Christ is born."
Nothing made me happier than hearing that you set up an appointment with the sister missionaries to meet this young lady after the test examination. It was such a joy to me to hear that you were telling it on a mountain! Our one and only hope of eternal happiness, Jesus Christ, has come! We don't have to wait for the Atonement to occur any longer. We can simply take the message to all the world that "Jesus Christ is born"! And "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who bringeth good tidings..."(Mosiah 15:18). Dad, I wish I could be more like you! I hope you have received my letter.
This week was hard and good at the same time... if that is possible. The mission is jam packed with mixed emotions. We were dropped by our chinese investigator I was so excited about, as a result of his parents disapproval. They are funding his trip and college experience out from China, so he couldn't go against their will... It was likely one of the hardest nights of my mission. I was so sad.
But a miracle came out of nowhere as well! We knocked on this one lady's door (and she didn't seem too stoked, but accepting nonetheless) and after a few missed appointments, we asked if we could set up their Christmas tree with them. It worked! It was really fun and we set up an appointment to teach. The next night, we taught them the Restoration, and she cried through the whole thing practically. At the end, I asked her, "Sh*ila, what has the feeling been that has made you cry as we've been here?"
"Joy, peace, happiness. It's just a different atmosphere in the home. I haven't felt this in a long time. It's usually just chaos here."
We went back the next day and taught the plan of salvation, which she really enjoyed. After that we had a church tour, and she was going to come to church the next day, but Satan was at work, and there was a HUGE Ice storm! CHURCH WAS CANCELED! I have never before told an investigator NOT to come to church. It was a strange and hopefully one time event... haha
Well, Merry Christmas! Talk to you all in 2 days! I'm so excited to open up this massive stack of Christmas gifts! Thank you Thank you Thank you!

Elder Brown

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Faith to Move Minivans!


Merry Christmas everyone! I love you all and I am so excited to talk to you in 10 days! I have so many cool miracles to report this week and not enough time to report them all. It's interesting to have only an hour to tell you about everything that has happened in a full week. That's a lot of hours to condense into one! But, I will do my best. I have narrowed it down to one huge miracles.

So it has been snowing quite a bit out here, and it's been a bit icy as of late. We had a lesson set up not to far from our apartment, and an older brother in the ward was going to bring us. He swung by and picked us up just a couple minutes early for us to be able to arrive on time at the lesson. We arrived on the street just on time, and looked around for a place to park. There was so much snow piled up all around we couldn't tell where a good place to park was! We finally decided to pull into the lady's driveway and park there for a time, but as we started to pull in, we misjudged our trajectory and went straight into a ditch which had been filled with snow... We were stuck! Elder Ontiveros used all of our manly strength to push the car from every angle we knew how, but we were stuck utterly. We had only an hour to talk with this lady and by the time all of this had occurred, it was already fifteen minutes past the time we were supposed to be there. I said a fervent prayer quickly in my mind asking God to move the van out of the ditch, and in less than a minute, 4 hillbillies pulled up in a big chevy and yelled out, "hey! Ya'll need some help?"

They quickly hooked up a chain to the back of the van and pulled it out in like 3 minutes. Right as they were getting back in the car, I asked Cl*nton (the chief hillbilly) where they were going. "Down to Wabash Street! We're taking these dogs back to grandma's place."

"Where is Wabash?" I asked.

"I think it's over that direction," He pointed west, "But I couldn't tell ya. All of the street signs are covered with snow, so we just turned down this way. I have no clue where we are."

God sent us hillbillies to move our minivan. He said he'd move mountains. I have just learned to stop asking how.

I'm out of time! I love you all!

Elder Brown.