Monday, February 23, 2015

In The Short-Run, Failure Is an Option


I thought I had this missionary thing down! Apparently not. It seems like every time you get comfortable in one way or another, the Lord shows you that you aren't as cool as you thought you were.

I don't think He does it to "put us in our place" or make us remember that He is the alpha male or anything of that nature, just to help us keep progressing.

Let me explain. I wrote this earlier to Damon and Little Brooke:

Just yesterday my companion and I taught a terrible lesson. It was really disappointing because we reacted to the situation in a really poor way. Our investigator Zouzou, who has a baptismal date for the 14th of March with Jesse and Tanya, had a lot of complicated questions that we chose to answer rather than direct her to the Book of Mormon. We fielded them poorly, the Spirit wasn't very present, and the whole lesson was completely out of control. After the lesson, we visited about it and came to the conclusion that we handled it so so wrong and made plans to improve.

Last night in my personal prayer I pleaded for forgiveness. I felt really embarrassed because I have been out 21 months and my companion has been out for 23 months. How could we have made such a poor decision? We had both sat across from someone else with the exact same questions and felt the out-of-control parts of the lesson before. It was so difficult to face the Lord in prayer after the lesson and explain to Him what happened.

I feel as though the 'infinite' nature of the Atonement is for moments such as this. This mistake could be made at any time, but there is not a time limit on utilizing the Atonement. It will be available at 3 months, 21 months, and long after the finite mission of "Elder Brown" is over.

Use it often!

That's a bit of the spiritual thought for the day. I still am praying for an opportunity to help Zouzou refocus on the most important things. I plead that the Lord will give us another opportunity to correct this mistake.

Tanya is still smoke free! She is wonderful. In her pure and precious way, she related to us that when she gets resurrected, she wants to be an eagle. We quickly cleared up that misconception:) She will most definitely be a human. She now understands that. haha

Elder Leavitt goes home this week! Back to Las Vegas where he came from, then I'll get another companion here in Clinton. Good things are happening always!

I love you all!

Elder Brown

Picture: Zone P-day baby! Us posing as ninjas:)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Low on Time


If I'm going to be obedient, this email is going to take me seven minutes to write.

I want to be obedient.

I now have 6 minutes. 

Sorry it is short.

But Tanya, Jesse, and Jackie all came to church yesterday! Tanya quit smoking on Wednesday and is now FIVE FULL DAYS a NON SMOKER! Woot woot! We had an amazing miracle on Friday evening. We were supposed to go and teach them at 8 pm, but right when we pulled up, we received a text from Jesse that said, "Sorry guys, it's a no go." We were practically at the door, so we knocked anyway. Jesse told us that his mom was really not feeling well, but he let us in to see her. She was laying on the couch covered in sweat and shivering.

Jesse spoke up, "I think it's because she quit smoking cold turkey."

With all of the medicines and stuff that she has to take, I wasn't super surprised that she was struggling, but we offered a blessing, and she accepted.

Two days later, at church, she raised her hand in the combined Relief Society and Priesthood meeting and told about how on Friday night, she had been feverish and had bad chills, but when we gave her a blessing, the chills went away and the next day she was completely fine.

Miracles are real! I'm out of time! The Lord is working in this part of the vineyard! Please be praying to help bring people to Him!

I love you all!

Elder Brown

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Transfered for the Last Time


About 3 months ago in an interview, I sat across from Sister Jensen and she asked me, "So, Elder Brown, where have you served?"

"Well," I replied, "I've been on the river nearly my entire mission. The only area that wasn't on the Mississippi was Kirksville. I was in Fort Madison, then Kirksville, then Davenport, and now Quincy. Every area has at least been super far East."

"Really?" She seemed a bit astonished, "Well, that won't last long."

I sat across from President Jensen not 10 minutes later. "Well, Elder Brown, how long have you been here so far?" I told him the amount of time I had been in Quincy, about 4 months at that point. "Hm... Maybe a transfer more and you'll be out of here."

"President?" I ventured, "I've been on the Mississippi my whole mission. I'd really like to see Des Moines or go somewhere in that direction."

He looked pensive, then said matter-of-factly "Well, that's pretty logical. It will happen, don't you worry."

So, you may ask, was I surprised when I got transferred to Clinton, IA? Why yes, I was. And then you may ask, is that anywhere near Des Moines? No, No it is not. Well then where is it?

You guessed it. Right on the Mississippi river. I'm still in the Davenport Stake, serving as one of the Clinton Zone Leaders. My companion is Elder Aaron Leavitt, who I replaced when I went to Quincy. He was one of my zone leaders during the time that I served in Kirksville, so I already know him well. He goes home at the end of this transfer, and so I'll be his very last companion! He is wonderful. He is from Las Vegas, Nevada, and he is a great missionary. I've looked up to him for a long time, and so I hope I can learn from him in the short time that we'll have to serve together. So far, the zone has struggled a bit over the last little while. I hope that good things come about as Elder Leavitt and I serve together. I still have little to no idea about the area, but we have a sweet African young lady who is scheduled to be baptized on the 31st of January. I hope we can help her to reach that date!

Also, just a little miracle. I can't remember if I mentioned how we did a Called to Serve program during the time I was in Davenport. We had mini missionaries, and my mini missionary was Chris? Well, he lives in Clinton. When I got here, I found out he was less active! So maybe that's one of the reasons that the Lord has sent me back to the Mississippi... We will see.

I love you all!

Elder Brown

Spiritual Food

From Brett Brown

AttachmentsFeb 9 (1 day ago)


Maybe it's been obvious to everyone else, but the sacrament took on a new meaning for me this past week. Last week we had an INCREDIBLE snow storm that dropped 13 inches of snow in a very short amount of time. As such, church was canceled and we didn't get to partake of the sacrament.

This last week was good, but it dragged on and on and on. I couldn't figure out why I was so tired until the very end of the week. Saturday night I sat down on the bed, exhausted, and remembered that the very next day I would renew my covenants. Suddenly it hit me. I was trying to do a spiritual work when my spiritual reservoir was running desperately low.

I was so pleased to be able to receive once more the bread and water and to be fed spiritually. It made me wonder, if I'm spiritually hungry after only one week, what is happening to those who haven't been to church in a month? a year? Never before in their life? President Boyd K. Packer said,
"Almost any returned missionary will have a question: “If they are starving spiritually, why do they not accept what we have? Why do they slam the door on us and turn us away?”
Be patient if some will not eat when first invited. Remember, all who are spiritually hungry will not accept the gospel. Do you remember how reluctant you are to try any new food?Only after your mother urges you will you take a little, tiny portion on the tip of a spoon to taste it to see if you like it first.
Undernourished children must be carefully fed; so it is with the spiritually underfed. Some are so weakened by mischief and sin that to begin with they reject the rich food we offer.They must be fed carefully and gently.
Some are so near spiritual death that they must be spoon-fed on the broth of fellowship, or nourished carefully on activities and programs. As the scriptures say, they must have milkbefore meat (see 1 Cor. 3:2D&C 19:22). But we must take care lest the only nourishment they receive thereafter is that broth." (Feed My Sheep, Boyd K. Packer)
I know that this is true. We are searching them out here in Iowa and Illinois. Please do the same where you are! There are even some who sit at the dinner table but never choose to eat. Those who attend church but who never internalize the principles will remain hungry.
We had a great week besides. We taught our wonderful little family, Jesse and his mom Tanya, yet again. They are scheduled for baptism on March 14th! We're excited for them. They have been taught the Word of Wisdom and have agreed to live it. Tanya just has to stop smoking! Pray for her please:)
And if you're hungry? Just remember, "He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away."(Luke 1:53)
I love you people! Keep eating!;)
Elder Brown

Monday, February 2, 2015



This week... what happened this week? I can hardly remember what occurred by the time I sit down to write an email...

Well, I know for a fact that I got a SPEEDING TICKET on Monday night. I was pretty frustrated by that. It taught me a good little lesson about Justice and Mercy. Justice is a true principle! I'm going to have to take traffic school when I get back home... sigh. I've got $120 worth of justice hanging over my head right now.

It caused me to reflect a little bit about how the world is nowadays. There is a lot of "relativism" or ideas of "it doesn't apply to me". I can't tell you how much the phrase "It just doesn't fit what I believe" is said to missionaries. We teach and we teach that truth is truth, and God can help you see what that truth is and apply it in your life(The most difficult part of repentance is changing the fundamental core of what you believe. That's why it requires you to have enough faith to know that God knows better than you do.), but still people seem to think that they are their own higher power.

But, think about it, so do we an awful lot of the time. I do it WAAAY too much.

I guess the ticket just goes to show this. Is the consequence for speeding immediate? No, not really. I don't have to pay the ticket for another month.

If I convinced myself that it wasn't that bad and that the judge would be merciful, would it automatically happen? Nope. "For Justice cannot be denied..."(Jacob 6:10)

There is your doctrinal discourse for the week:)

In news of my life, the inhaler is working miracles! I'm feeling soooo much better. I can walk around outside without a hitch anymore. My singing voice is still non-existent though. It hurts a LOT to sing.

We found a beautiful little family this week. We were walking down the street and talked to an 18 year old kid named Jesse as he was coming home from school. He told us where he lived and invited us to come to his home later that evening. We arrived at his home at the appointed time and when we met his mother, we were dumbfounded. His mother's motor movements were jerky and her speech was halted. Jesse was almost certainly her caretaker. We never got a clear answer for why, but we heard them discussing something about a car accident.

As we visited with them, there was a sweet spirit that permeated the entire home. You could tell that these were people that God had His had over. Jesse could not take care of him mom alone, especially not with school and other things. She needed much more help than just he could provide, but you could tell that there was some other source of help in action. It was divine and we felt overwhelmed with gratitude that we had been led to this family. They accepted a baptismal date of Mar 14th.

I love this work! I promise you that I will not slacken! I'm doing my best to remain humble and show the Lord that I want to help in his work.

I love you!
Elder Brown