Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014

Hello everyone!

Welp, there is no denying it now. Last p-day. I am officially old in the mission. But not finished yet--there are still families out there for me to find this week! I really want to leave my comp, Elder M, ready for a great month in August, as well as the zone. So, working hard to keep up a good diligent and obedient example. In every moment we are disciples of Christ and people are watching that, whether we realize it or not. I hope my efforts these last two cambios have had some real effect on some people. 

Today we had a big cookout with the zone--it was super fun; we made custom shirts that say the zone stuff on them, and used the extra money to buy meat and bread and all this good stuff—tasty! Everyone had a good time, and at the end we did a tie trade, so win-win! I left with some real winners. It’s amazing how many more ties I have now than when I started! But they are good ‘uns.

Things are going well, Elder M and I are having fun. The members here are great and we have really built our confidence with them, so that they are willing to do visits with us whenever; one of the members here, Hna C, brought a less active with her to church without any pushing from us, even!

Excited to keep working hard this week! Please keep praying for us so that we can be blessed in the work of the Lord! 

Elder Brown
The mission logo: Obedience, Sacrifice, Consecration, Vision. Amen.

Zone leader duties...Talking to President in his problem-solving position.

Teaching his final zone class.

Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014

Hey, Everyone!
It’s been a great week, we are working hard and talking with lots of people. It’s been slow with the mundial [World Cup soccer tournament] but unfortunately/fortunately Chile is now out so things should start getting back to normal a little bit, or at least that is the idea. It’s been fun, though; it’s great to learn about all the different culture that there is out there--soccer really is pretty interesting in the way it can bring people together (and drive them apart) and unify their countries.

We have been blessed with great members in this ward, members that have really taught me a lot. We are working to try and be able to find better with them, as well--that seems to be the hardest thing for most members, to be willing to try to share the gospel with people that still do not know it. It shouldn’t be awkward or that hard, though, if we just explain that it really is something that has brought us so much happiness and that’s why we want to share it. 
It’s been a fun week, and we are excited for this next week--we designed t-shirts for the zone and they are coming this week, so we are all excited to see how they turned out--pics for sure next week. Also, an Area Seventy, Elder Waddell, came to our zone leadership council this morning. He had some amazing things to say and basically just gave a great sum-up as to what the mission work is all about, with some great insights into some great doctrine and scriptures. He summed up everything that I have been feeling lately pretty well. [See Zach’s summation paragraph, written for the ward newsletter, below.]
Excited for this next week! I hope everyone sees progress, as well!
Elder Brown

Zach's Summation of What He Has Learned on His Mission 

The Spirit makes or breaks any work we want to do; when we are able to recognize its promptings and follow them boldly, we will never fail. Success is guaranteed. What we need to do is live worthy of our covenants--not only obeying the commandments but also sacrificing ourselves and consecrating our desires to what the Lord needs from us and for us. Obedience, Sacrifice, and Consecration is what the Lord expects from us. It’s easy to talk about but hugely difficult to accomplish consistently. For me, the most important aspects of consecration that I think make the difference are obeying and sacrificing with a good attitude and with a smile siempre [always], and having our desires completely focused, or consecrated, on serving the Lord. Doing that, the Spirit is guaranteed to accompany us always; to give us the energy and courage we need to keep improving every day; to give it a little bit more the next day than we did the day before; to help him in his eternal work of sealing families, and eternal life to not only us and our families, but to every person out there. Obviously, none of this is possible without the example of Jesus Christ, who demonstrated perfect obedience, sacrifice, and consecration in everything He did, giving us the Atonement, the possibility to improve. The Atonement is absolutely essential to all this. Every day we need to apply it personally. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014

June 26, 2014

Hello everyone!

It has been a great week, even if it has been a little more difficult with this whole soccer world cup thing that we hear is happening. Just kidding, this whole soccer thing is Chilean life right now; I’ve never seen so much disobedience, craze, etc over a sport. I mean, March madness can get crazy and stuff, and I tented and everything, but Chile España has gotten to a whole new level of crazy. President has been telling us to just stay in the house during games, and then be careful after, but after the games, people are just going crazy. But the work goes on.

We haven’t been able to get hold of J all week, seems she has been dodging us. So we are still looking for more prepared people to find. I am determined to leave this sector a lot better than I found it, and leave Elder M with everything he needs so that the zone can just explode with success. 

We have been working hard and stressing obedience with the zone. We are proud of our missionaries, for the most part, for their dedication to the commandments we have as missionaries. It reminds me of a great video about a horse, from seminary days, I think--the horse is trained to come when the bell rings, and learns to be obedient, but then he goes without water, and gets let loose, and right when getting to the water, they ring the bell. That’s the question for all of us; to what level do we take our obedience? Do we have little things that are just too much, or that we choose not to obey, justifying that we are mostly obedient, or that it’s not that bad what we are doing? It happens a lot, and obviously we all have things to improve, but it’s sad to see when people blatantly rebel against what they know is right.

We have been talking with lots of people, and are giving a good example to our missionaries of diligence and obedience. The blessings of investigators aren’t coming yet, but they I’m sure they will. So we are just going to keep on keeping on! 

I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Brown

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014

Hey, Everyone!

It’s been a good week this week! We saw a miracle! J, our investigator, that has been coming along little by little, finally took the next big step and came to church! It was great. After, we talked with her pareja as well (which is a bummer she is not married), but he is great, and Peruano, which is a win for us as well, since my comp is, too, and he was nice. They could totally be my mission wedding and baptism! It’s gonna happen!

We have been working hard to find new people, as well, but it’s been going slowly. We talk with a ton of people and have been trying to help the members here participate more in that, as well, but it’s a process. This is the last week for me to bring new people to church that could get baptized before I leave, however, so I’m going to be giving it all I’ve got for sure.

Father’s Day yesterday was great; we had lunch with the fam Parra; they are favorites, so great. And yesterday was the first time that anyone has ever asked us to do division-- two young men, good kids, asked us to invite them, so that was neat, as well. 

Pray for things to go well this week for the zone, and the work in general! The power of prayer really is incredible.

Love you all!
Elder Brown

Zach's companion, from Peru, celebrating World Cup soccer with Lay's potato chips' Peru flavor, even though Peru isn't in the World Cup...

Housemates being goofy

Salvation Isn't Cheap! And these two are SERIOUS about that.

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014

Hey, All!

It’s been a good week, having fun with Elder M. This guy is a stud! He is just starting out as zone leader and is definitely just a good solid person. Really humble, really nice, loves everyone, and just pumped to learn and work hard. It has been a slow week for us with the finding, but we are being very diligent and obedient and the blessings are going to come. Hopefully sooner rather than later so I can see some more white before July! 

He is from Peru and knows how to cook, which every house we go into asks him and wants to make use of, we have been invited to so many lunches in the past few days! Not that I blame them, Peruvian food is amazing. So that adds some spice (literally) to the same ol’ same ol’ Chilean cuisine.

The zone is really progressing, besides for one or two problem sectors, everyone has really been working hard and the blessings are coming. We always work with goals as a zone as well, and this month we are not only going to meet them, I think, but we should be able to do way better! And I know that as we remain faithful to our plans, and really do what the Lord wants in each sector, it’s going to happen. The blessings always come. 

It’s been a great week as far as the Spirit goes; we have had some great short lessons with people, and we are going to keep working on getting a good commitment out of people. We had some good talks about the difference between the gift of the Holy Ghost and just feeling it, and what it means to be "strong in the spirit,” as it says in D&C 84:106, if I’m not mistaken. To me, that strength in the spirit comes from 1) recognizing it, and 2) following it always. If that were a pattern we would all follow more strictly, I imagine the results would really show.

So much rain! Pray for this week to be not as rainy. We have been working hard to run and stuff, too, but I’m kind of sick. But just details; the work goes on. Like the talk from Elder Holland says, it’s hoped for there to be a stinkin’ ambulance waiting to receive returning missionaries for giving it their all to the end. Challenge accepted.

Love you all and have a great week!

Eldercito Brown

June 2, 2014

So, it’s been a great week. A great way to finish the cambio with Elder H. Gonna miss this guy, a real good leader. He is going to go be with my kid, Elder D, in Linares now! 

This week, we put a big focus on exact obedience, talking with everyone, and always inviting to baptism in the first lesson. That was what our zone class was on, and we just kept it simple, presented it firmly, and the missionaries are starting to get it. And even starting to apply it--which is sometimes, unfortunately, an entirely different thing!

This week, EVERY STINKIN’ SECTOR in the zone did more than 140 contacts. So proud of these kids! Great to see. Unfortunately, it hasn’t really paid off yet... but it will. 

Some of our miracles this week--we did not even get wet. It was supposed to rain and stuff but it didn’t. Great miracle. Also, we contacted a less active guy in the street, and on Sunday he came to church with his wife. They are great, the only problem is that he works in the north in the mines, so we aren’t going to be able to go by until next week. But they even stayed for the classes, this guy bore his testimony, and the class was on BAPTISM, and the wife had lots of good questions. So we are going to try and get something going there. The others are all are kind of progressing a little but it’s been tough. We are basically starting over though with this cambio... But maybe going by now will be what they need... maybe they will just have been waiting for a Peruanito and a Gringuito to knock on their door again! So hopefully we will see some more families found this week. It’s time!

Working hard and staying on our toes, what with all the changes and problems and challenges and miracles of daily mission life. 

Hope everyone has a great week!
Elder Brown

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 26, 2014

Last week, Zach didn't have time to write us a full letter; luckily, we had had a great Skype visit with him the day before (Mother's Day), so we survived. Here's what he sent this week:

May 26, 2014

Well family, and friends, and all, heelloooooo!!!!

We have been practicing being firm but loving, and we have started to see some good changes. Being responsible for these missionaries has really taught me a lot of patience, and love, and the need to be firm sometimes. I am thankful for that; I’m sure it will serve me very well later in life. 

We went to Concepcion for council today, had some great talks. This week, we had a slow week as far as the finding goes but I love my companion. We have just kept up a great attitude, and we are working hard. We had found no one the entire week, which is an embarrassment, after really working at it, and were feeling kind of down, but just kept doing the work and Sunday night we found a great lady that accepted baptism and learning more! She has a lot of problems but I have the faith, and we are going to start on the works to help the Lord get her there. Her name is J.; Pray for her!

I have to run. It’s been a crazy day! But I will see you next week! Love to all!

Elder Brown
This and the following five photos are from a great P-day activity on May 18 that involved a big hike to some steam vents. He said they smelled really terrible (sulfur) but it was beautiful, and he found snow, which he was excited about.