Sunday, September 30, 2012

Change of Address

Zach is leaving the Missionary Training Center and flying to Chile tomorrow, so please do not send any more mail to the MTC. 
His address (probably for the rest of his mission) is:

Elder Zachary D. Brown
Chile Concepcion Mission
O'Higgins 940, Oficina 502
Casilla 2210

He would still love to get some letters!
Thanks everyone!


LAST letter from the MTC! (Week 9)

September 29, 2012

Hey everyone!

This last week in the ol' Centro de Capatacion por Misioneros has been great. It's been pretty relaxed, just going to class, really just trying to ponder a lot, and it feels a lot more real knowing I am going to be down in Chile in a week. Super exciting. It’s been a little colder-- we have been whipping out the jackets though and studying outside-- nice and crisp. Keeps ya awake. Learned a lot this week, and the language is coming right along. I’m not worried about really being able to understand people-- we have had a couple Chileno speakers for TRC and they have been a little harder to understand than Mexicanos or Salvadorenos or whatever, but if I listen closely I can understand. It’s just I’m not quite able to put all my thoughts together as quickly-- there is kind of like an awkward two second pause after they say anything to me. Oh, well. It’ll come.

Today we have our p-day-- two hermanas left today, and one elder-- they were reassigned to Ogden and LA to wait for their visas to Spain. The rest of us pretty much leave Monday. Elder Clawson leaves Sunday night-- gonna miss the guy, real good kid. Weird to think we will be in different countries actually doing all the stuff we have been practicing and learning next week. I feel ready and everything, but it’s still just weird.

We are getting haircuts today- gotta look fly for the field. I’m thinking I'll just go with the ol’ mohawk.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO CANDACE!!!!!! Now she has a whole year of bad luck-- 13. Bummer.

Now letters are gonna take a lot longer to get to me! I'll send off one last round of letters today from the MTC, but after that, honestly, don't expect quite as many letters being sent. I'll just try to include more in my emails, maybe send off two or three each p-day, but from what it sounds like we are just gonna be super busy all the time.

I'm traveling down with seven elders-- I've met like three of them-- they seem like nice guys. Should be good!

From what it sounds like in letters, everyone's lives are workin’ out pretty well right now-- Maggie's got herself an hombre, Candace is actually enjoying middle school (who’da thought?), Rachel is Rachel, and Dad's biggest problem is that golf season is ending soon. He could come down to Chile to play-- I hear Concepcion has some sweet courses.

Well, that’s about it for this week-- here's a little spiritual birthday thought for the little un-- one of the stories they told in infield orientation yesterday was about this race in Australia-- a 540 mile running race that they run for eighteen hours, then sleep six, then run, etc, for 5 days. It’s really just a race for like superathletes who get sponsored by Nike and stuff, but one year this one old sixty-year-old guy in overalls and boots shows up. Everyone is laughing when he signs up for the race, and by the end of the first eighteen hours he is way behind. But when they wake up they see he has run all night, and he is in the lead. This keeps happening until he finally wins at the end with a new course record. His name was Cliff Young or something. So be consistent! Like it says in Alma, the small and simple things we do all the time are what keep us going and approaching that finish line, even if it is 540 miles away!

Well, there ya go. Peace out Provo.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Week 8

September 21, 2012

Hey everyone! So let's see-- not a whole lot has been going on this week. We were hosts for new missionaries on Wednesday-- it was fun but kind of sad. We stood at the curb and helped them unpack their cars and then showed them to their room and class and around and stuff. It was pretty awkward with all the crying parents and everything-- we were only supposed to give them like four minutes tops but some were just taking forever.

We appreciate all Mom's wishes to bake us desserts—although, honestly, all the MTC desserts are like the same thing she makes. Almost like those are just the Mormon recipes that I thought only she knew but apparently the MTC knows too, but they just can’t make it quite as well.

So let’s see... nada mucho esta pasando aqui, except we are speaking WAY more Spanish and really getting pretty good. The lessons are just like almost second nature now, up until the fourth lesson because we don’t usually get that far. We had an interesting devotional on Sunday from some high up person about the Book of Mormon musical and ‘the Mormon moment’ and the Church's response to it. He showed a clip of the musical during his talk. It was really kind of a strange experience but a pretty good talk. We have moved on to new investigators-- we are now teaching the hermanas in the district, all of whom are not exceptionally good at Spanish so it’s a little bit difficult. They teach us too in return-- we pretend to be different people-- one of the first days we were teaching them and talking about prophets, one of them asked 'Ustedes tienen una persona como la popa?' or something along those lines. Being elders in the MTC, we had learned from the first week here that 'popa' is the word for poop, not the Pope as she thought, so Elder Clawson responds 'Casi, pero no.' Close, but no. Pretty funny.

We still don't have our travel plans--hopefully we get them today. But I heard from Pres. Humphreys that we will be flying into Concepcion from Santiago, and I think he wrote we arrive the 2nd of October, so we probably leave here the 1st, I would guess. I am going down with Elder Erickson probably, who is serving in Rancagua, and he is the funniest, coolest guy ever so it should be pretty fun. He is a little bit behind in Spanish though, it’s pretty funny, and Chilean Spanish is even harder, so he will probably have a real fun couple of months coming up.

Elder Brown

Monday, September 17, 2012

More Photos!

"This week I vacuumed erasers..." (Week 7)

September 14, 2012

Hey everyone!

We have been having a good time this week, working hard, getting ready to go. It feels like the week has gone by really fast-- we only have two more p-days left before we leave! We are still enjoying classes, the devotionals, study time (except for language study time which gets pretty boring and sleepy), and there are lots of fun little things and spiritual experiences every day to keep us going strong.

So we have started playing soccer a lot more because you get a better workout than half-court basketball-- I scored a goal the other day. It was sweet. It was a chip shot over like three elders right into the top corner of the goal. With my left foot. Gave me some street cred with all the Latino elders we play with. Funny elders.

This Sunday night we watched the Testaments, again, but in Espanol! It was fun. And funny. The voiceover was very dramatic-- when the main guy is talkin’ with the love interest and she asks him why he hasn’t asked her his name, he says "Ya se tu nombre" which means, “I already know your name,” but the guys voice is super suave. In an entertainment starved environment, that phrase has been quoted WAY too much. But we are not really here to be entertained constantly, so its whatever.

Our Spanish is really improving-- I keep typing words in Spanish randomly and have to change them. I’m pretty sure my English has never been worse, though. Other fun things we have been doing: Service on Tuesdays is always fun. This week I vacuumed erasers, under the pretense of cleaning them, but I’m pretty sure the girl in charge just had too many elders and so just sent me to the basement to "clean erasers." It was fun. I sat there with like eight big buckets of erasers and just vacuumed them all. I was sittin’ there, in the basement, vacuum on, all alone, singin’ some Les Mis, Lion King, Phantom, etc, and next thing I know I look up and President Brown is standing right there laughin’ at me. It was also funny because the second week we were here me and Elder Clawson had to mop, and we finished with like forty minutes left, so we just played shuffleboard on the stairs with the dryer stick thing and the rags. Since then we have had some REAL great games, including once when we were aiming for the railing, Elder C nailed it, and then mine pushed his off to clinch the win. Real good stuff. But this time Elder Walton and Howe were mopping and were playing when Pres. Brown walked up. Elder Howe started freaking out because he wasn’t holding anything and they were laughing and playing and everything. But when Pres. Brown walked by he was just like “oh sorry to walk on your wet floor” and kept going, and then when he came back he said what great workers they were. Funny stuff. We have lots of little games like that to keep it fun in here.

We have been talking a lot about receiving personal revelation this week-- how when we really get into the scriptures and apply them you can get a lot of different personal insights. We have been working on how we can help those we meet do that, too. There are some real good stories in the LdM and Bible that if you read while comparing to others, or with a different perspective, can really be more meaningful. Like when the Brother of Jared asked how he could give light to the barges, the Lord let him try it out. He worked to make some stones, and then the Lord helped him out by touching them. If we work hard and give our best effort to figure things out, the Lord will touch and light up our efforts as well. So there ya go.

Elder Brown

Saturday, September 8, 2012

First Photos from the MTC

Elder Brown and his MTC District

Their food supply...

Week 6

September 7, 2012

Hey everyone!

This week went a lot better than last week-- it really flew by. We have been working hard to stay focused on the work and to do all the things that we should be doing. I really just can't wait to get out on the mission and actually apply all the stuff we have been doing here. We have been talking a lot about the sanctification process, and how as missionaries and representatives of Jesucristo, necesitamos ser mas como el en todas las cosas que hacemos. My new favorite hymn is “How Firm a Foundation,” especially the fifth verse. Actually, all the verses. But the fifth talks about the dross melting away, and over the past week and a half I really feel like maybe that's what I've been feeling. I think my views of the gospel, the world, God, and myself have all really changed as I've started to really lean on Christ, His Atonement, and the plan of happiness in everything we do here.

Really starting to get used to this whole elder thing. It’s weird because we don’t really feel like real missionaries yet, but we have a lot of experiences each day where we learn a lot, and at least for me I feel like I just want to go share with everyone, teaching, talking, all of it. But we can't here... well we can, and we do, I guess... we go around to different classrooms and do 'door contacts' or other elders walking around-- the best is when you go to a brand new district and do a contact in Spanish and they think you're super intelligent.

All in all, I’m doing really well. I sort of complain about all the time to study and the repetition but personal study time is starting to become my favorite time, as I find more comfort in the scriptures, more blessings, and more promises. Each day here where we are becoming more converted to Christ is a day well spent.

I don't really have any super funny experiences from this week-- Elder Howe has been perfecting his disappearing salt shaker trick at dinnertimes; it’s pretty funny when he does it to other districts. He got Elder Tengberg really good the other day. We have been teaching Hermana Soliz and Daniel, and Daniel just committed to be baptized. It was awesome-- he just told us that he had read what we asked him to, prayed, and really felt something, and had kept reading. He said it had helped him with his whole week, so right then and there we went for it and he was excited. We taught him the commandments last time, but we only have 15 minutes with him each time so it’s tough to really get it all in. So we didn't quite finish. But our Spanish is definitely getting better. At least at Gospel things.

One more thing-- we have a dispute about what the fourth, fifth, and sixth derivatives of time are called. I claim that first is velocity, then acceleration, then jerk, and then snap, crackle, and pop. But no one believes me. Could we get a little proof of that?

Lots of love,
Elder Brown