Saturday, August 25, 2012


MTC Rap 
By Zach & the other Elders of his District 
(as mailed to Allie, 8/25/12)

(no title) -it's pretty indie like that. 

Just kickin' it here in the MTC,  
Ain't nobody here as spiritual as me, 
On that side we got the speedsters, Brown & Clawson 
On this side it's the big dogs, Howe & Walton. 
We live the life, we're missionaries, 
Except when Clawson tells us stories that are super scaries. 
District A, we report to district leader Brown, 
We're the baddest 4* elders you've ever seen around. 
We're the best in the zone, 
We're bad to the bone, 
We can't use a phone, 
But we're at the top all alone.  
We reppin 8A til we die 
In our nametags we look fly. 
We are the best, we know you hear it 
Try to ignore us, and you'll get shocked by the Spirit! 

eehhhhhh, in the MTC (x4)* 
*now 7 
*I had direct orders from Elder Walton to write eehhhhhh w/ 2 e's and 6 h's. 

DJ microonda --> (microwave--cuz he gets hot in a hurry) 

As Allie summed this up so nicely, “It looks like they need a place to release all their pent-up humility.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Week... I dunno (Week 4)

August 24, 2012--From the MTC 

Hey fam and everyone! 

So let's see... this week has been going pretty well. Starting to lose track of time in here, we kinda just go to class, study, do gym time, eat, sleep, and repeat. P-day is always super nice to go to the temple, eat some temple breakfast, write all our letters, and usually get a nice nap in there at some point.  
I liked Mom's letter about sleeping in and stuff. How difficult it must be to have to get up at 6:30 every day!!.... Oh wait.... Ha haJust kidding. It is getting easier, though; we have ways of keeping ourselves awake now. The best is just pulling the good ol' wall sit. You find a lot of ways in here to keep things lively. The big thing this week with this one district was timing their bathroom breaks-- the record right now is 26.8 seconds for going, washing w/ soap, drying, and zipping all up. Highly impressive.  

It was good to hear that the YW retreat went well; I was wondering how that would go. After studying the LdM (Book of Mormon) a lot more lately than I ever have before, I find it really crazy that, so soon after Christ came, these people became so terrible. All the secret combinations and stuff going on remind me of Duke frats. And when the families aren't helping by raising kids right, that doesn't help either. I got lucky that I have a Mom that doesn't take smack from nobody.  

I went into the health clinic on Tuesday to check my leg, its fine by the way, mostly. We are working hard, running a lot faster now, doing a lot of crunches, pull-ups, pushups, and everything. I won our district pushup 'non-competition' (because we don't compete at the MTC) with 84 pushups in one go, I believe. The doctor at the clinic said that my leg looks like it’s totally healing but it feels weird around it, like its numb. He said I probably cut a nerve or something and that it'll take months to grow back if it ever does. Thank goodness for resurrected bodies. It’s not bad though; I don’t really notice it. I liked your comment about optimism-- we were sitting around at dinner on Wednesday talking about our Thursday schedule, in which we have six hours of class in a row, and people were getting down on it. It made Thursday go by a lot more slowly. 

In answer to Candace’s question, we don't really get bored of classes here because we are (usually) learning new things-- we love our teacher, HnoTonson (Thompson), and he keeps things entertaining and really gospel related. But sometimes we have some terrible subs and then it stinks. We have two investigators right now, Daniel and Patricio. We are teaching Pat about the plan of salvation tonight, and following up on our baptism commitment from the first lesson. Daniel is harder-- he has more questions that we are starting to be able to answer better, but Elder Clawson is still kind of struggling with the language. We would both appreciate your prayers. We need that “ol don de lenguas.” 

So let's see... What else happened this week... We played some real good soccer, some real good basketball. My free throw shots are on fire these days, because if you miss you don’t get to play. I am getting really good at the pull-up shot from the free throw line, except when Elder Walton is guarding me. They call me The Mouthwash, because I always be swishinJust kidding. They dont call me that. They call me Elder. 

I heard it was Thomas F's birthday! What a kid! I hope that he is doing well with his lil FAClets, and I hope that first week at Duke goes well next week. I've been missing it just a little, but not really because I’m way less stressed being here, most of the time. And it was Sam's birthday17, I believe? Hopefully he is doing well, too. Haven't heard from him or Ben, but I'll write Ben today and send you the letter to send to him.  

We are doing real well here in the MTC! We got some air fresheners for the room.  We have been working hard, staying focused. Elder Andersen came and gave a great talk on Tuesday about Thomas S. Monson but I had a stomach ache so it was rough. But I really liked what he had to say about spiritual promptings. Elder Clawson and I have been working hard to receive personal revelation as we study more and to be more converted to Christ. But its important to remember that we have to act on the revelation and promptings we receive.  Elder Andersen shared a story about how President Monson had ignored a prompting and a guy had died before he got there, so be sure you follow the promptings that come from the Spirit. The Spirit is the real teacher, not us. 

Love you guys! Hope all is well!  

Elder Brown 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"We are having a lot of fun in here, too!" (Week 3)

August 17, 2012 

Hello Everyone! 

Another week in the MTC! The week went by really fast, it seems like we were just barely having our p-day yesterday. A lot has happened though. 

So this week-- I don’t even remember what we've done. Basically we wake up, get ready for the day, go to breakfast, go study, go work on the computer on the language, do other language study, have personal study, companionship study, prepare to teach, and teach investigators. I think I told you all about Lesme who is getting baptized, but now we also have Daniel who we challenged to baptism on the first lesson, who is thinking about it, and Patricio, who we gave a Book of Mormon to and he said he would read and pray. But we still need to follow up on them.  

We sit a lot and are sleepy a lot. But it’s all fun, except for language study, which is way too easy and boring and repetitive and dull and I dislike it, and the TALL (the language computer program). We had a good Tuesday night devotional from Elder Evans of the Seventy on Luke 15, a chapter that talks all about lost sheep, lost coins, and lost sons. He showed a picture of a shipwreck that President Monson talks about. Really a good talk. Look for the similarities between the three parables in Luke 15 and the different sides of being lost they focus on. It was really enlightening.  

We are loving gym time-- we always have a really good time with Elder Howe and Elder Walton balling, they are really good and we are getting a lot better, too, and sometimes we play soccer, which is fun as well. Our classes are three hours long each, and we usually have them twice a day, so gym is a really nice break from our studies. We have still been running each morning.  

We are having a lot of fun in here, too! Elder Howe is a really quiet, big kid from Ephraim, and he says the funniest, most random things. We were talking about how, as a missionary, you have to keep a picture of an attractive girl around so that you don't lose all sense and appreciation for beauty for the next two years; we were saying how we have pictures of our girlfriends and stuff, and then out of nowhere Elder Howe says-- 'Is it okay if I just have a picture of my dog?' He was totally serious and it was the funniest. 
We have been growing closer as a companionship as well-- running together really helps, but sometimes Elder Clawson has a hard time staying focused. We are practicing our patience and our trust in the Lord doing our lessons; we tend to plan too much and end up kind of shoving stuff down the investigators’ throats. And we are working on being brief in our testimonies and words-- all too often a testification of a point during a lesson takes like three minutes of our precious fifteen minute lessons. 

But we are all doing pretty well. I love getting letters-- they really are what we look forward to every day. We have been having district fifteen-minute spiritual sharing times at the end of each night, which helps us all come closer, and we have been focusing on how to increase patience, humility and love, with emphasis on your companero 

Love you all! 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

"The spirit of the MTC is amazing. I can’t believe anyone says they don’t love it here, it’s like nothing else in the world." (Week 2)

August 10, 2012

Letter #2 from MTC

Hi everyone! It feels like it's been forever since I've written!

So first just a little update-- we are all doing well; our district is really coming closer together. We have started sharing experiences from our personal study at the end of the night, and those insights and time with each other sharing the amazing spirit of this place I think helps put all our hearts in the right place, keeps us focused during study, and we really feel the Spirit. We are learning to better feel, know, and be missionaries and representatives of Christ in all we do.

So our district consists of eight people: Elder Clawson from Flagstaff AZ, who is my companion, Elder Walton from San Clemente CA, Elder Howe from Ephraim UT and las hermanas- Olsen, Greenwood, Butler, Minert. Elder Clawson reminds me a lot of a talk-a-lot version of Linus from Oceans 11. Elder Walton is really great, he is kind of a Cali kid. He has been sharing all of the surfer lingo with us, he is pretty funny. Pier rat. Elder Howe is like 6' 3" and totally just the nicest guy you will ever meet. He plays b-ball real well, as does Elder Walton, and we have fun doing that. We try to run a couple laps around the MTC every morning at six as well as our gym time to do b ball or soccer or run or 4-square. Elder Clawson got kicked out of 4 square. Classic. He was playing too competitively.

We have been just studying a lot of the language, which I am feeling pretty good about, I feel like I can understand most everything and share my thoughts, even if it’s still pretty slowly. We have been teaching an 'investigator' named Lesme, from Cuba, and after four lessons and a lot of prayer, inspiration, and Spirit she committed to be baptized. We know she is just a member, but it’s still a really awesome experience. We are getting two new investigators next week.

Life in here really is so different. We get up at 6:00 to run, get ready by 7:10 for breakfast, have class or study at 7:40, study until lunch at noon, then prepare and teach for three hours after, maybe more language study, maybe personal study. Dinner at 5:00 and then we have another three hours of class, then personal study, then we close off the day (at least our district does) with a little devotional, which is always a really nice way to end. By 9:30 we leave the class building and head back to our room to get ready for bed, quiet time at 10:15, sleep at 10:30. It’s already coming pretty naturally, and we really only feel very tired when we are sitting for long periods--which is almost all the time. He he.

The spirit of the MTC is amazing. I can’t believe anyone says they don’t love it here, it’s like nothing else in the world. Everyone is united in purpose and striving to come closer to Christ, and you really can feel the Spirit, like you carry it with you everywhere you go. Like Nephi and Lehi in the prison, we feel often (when we obey and focus) like we are surrounded by fire, protected from outside distractions and cares. It will be strange leaving this place after nine weeks, especially since the four of us elders have already come very close. But we are all so excited to start teaching for real already, especially after this experience with Lesme. The call is intimidating, but I have really come to understand the power of prayer here and the comfort in trusting in the Lord. Often we get in the habit of saying in the church to go by the spirit is known as winging it, but really it’s being so prepared that any change in plan is clearly the Spirit.

Love you guys!

Elder Brown

Monday, August 6, 2012

First Letter from the MTC! (Week 1)

August 4, 2012

Everything is going well here, its been a little tough to get into the hang of things, but things are coming along.
So our first day here we basically just went straight to class and got right in on Spanish. They really stress that we try to speak as much Spanish as we can, but it’s hard to do especially when you feel like you need to be building up relationships with companions, which is a lot harder to do en espanol. But then the MTC presidency talked to us, and President Brown and President McIff said hi to me. They called me up onto the podium, so that was kinda cool. I saw Tucker and Boden both here; we've eaten together a bit and stuff. Then we went to a group observation of a lesson. . . And that was basically our first day.

Then Thursday we just went to class, had a lecture, had our gym time, more class, studied a lot, and met our branch presidency. The branch president quickly interviewed our entire district, and he made me district leader, which means I basically just collect and hand out everyone’s mail at the end of the day, I had to interview my elders, and just basically watch out for them. That call was nice, it kinda helped me stop worrying about myself and focus on the needs of those around me more.

Friday we taught our first fake investigator in Spanish! It went pretty well, we just spent the time trying to get to know her and asking her about her beliefs, and bearing our testimonies of God's love for her. We are teaching her again this afternoon, on the restoracion. We kinda knew what her trials are now and what we need to prepare so hopefully this will go better as well.

I saw Sister King on Thursday and she gave me some cupcakes that the district really enjoyed, I got a tie from the Jacobs that I'm wearing right now, my laundry is in the washer, and we are just getting ready for tomorrow. I’m excited for Sunday because it means we have a lot less class than the other days. I'm not too tired yet, although some of the elders in the district are struggling. My companero is very good, he is really caring and we have gotten pretty close already.

My leg is healing up really well, I've been taking all the meds and everything, it should be totally fine soon. I've been running with Elder Clawson, who is in really good shape, so I've been getting my trash kicked daily. The hardest part of being in the MTC is that I'm so close to everything and it feels like, especially towards the end of the long day, that it would be really nice to just get in my own bed and unwind with a book or something. The first night was weird, I was trying to go to sleep but I couldn't stop thinking about gospel stuff, so I kinda tossed and turned for a while. But now I'm getting tired enough that it’s always easy to go to bed.

The Spanish is coming along, I understand it really well now, it's just a matter of being able to form sentences fast enough and with correct grammar and everything. But it’s nice having a companion because whenever you need a break to think of your next sentence, he can pick it up. I think Elder Clawson thinks I’m a really quiet guy, just because I’m trying to mainly speak Spanish and can't say much. Oh well.

Well, the first week is almost done, and my time is almost up. I'm doing well, no need to worry mother, and I know that this is what I need to be doing right now. Although I can tell that in about six or seven weeks I am going to be very, VERY ready to get to Chile and start doing all this for real.

Elder Brown