Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April 29, 2013

Hi, Everyone!

Sounds like it’s been quite an eventful week in the Brown family--/Hammond family, I guess. My sister just broke the second oldest Provo rule in the book (only slightly less known than to never get into a land war in Asia)--not only did she salir with a wardy, she MARRIED a wardy! That’’ll sure go down in history in the ward.

Anyways, it’s been a busy week here in Chile. We had a good district class--the traveling assistants came--one of which is good ol’ Elder Hernandez, my first zone leader! Great little Peruanito, definitely changed a lot. He’s very serious now, but still pretty funny. It was good to see him and Elder Carter together again. Just like the good old days. But they were around, stayed the night in our house, it was madness, and then I got sick. The next couple of days are kind of a fog--full of headaches and lots and lots of mucous. Luckily this all coincided with some weird reaction to some bug bites on my legs which made it really hurt to walk. So, this week I had my first real brush with Chilean healthcare! Luckily, Penco is much better than Talca! We went to the consultario, as they say here (just like a doctor’s office) but they told us the best way to do it was just to go to the emergency room. So that’s what we did! Got there early, before it opened, but people started to arrive in caletas, so that was lucky. Got in and out fast, got some medication, and now I’m doing a lot better! Overall, I give it a seven but we got pretty lucky-- could very easily have been more like a three. Blessings for missionaries, once again.

Ended the week well--Romina was able to come to church with Francisco again, and Sebastian is coming faithfully! We are really blessed to have them but it is just the worst that Sebastian just can’t make his marriage happen! We always have planned to meet with Ciomara but she always bails. I think she kind of feels pressured to get married. So we are going to keep them on the burner and get finding!

Really been seeing the blessings of dedication this week—it’s been a defining week for me, really trying to stay focused on the work besides lots of distractions. Hopefully we can have lots more success in May as a result. We saw some amazing blessings on Sunday for the zone--we had decided to fast as a zone, and church assistance sky rocketed!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 22, 2013

Hi, Everyone!

Another great week here in Valle Hermoso. Nice and grey and cold. Still some sun, though; we hear that winter gets pretty miserable here. As in: You are never, EVER dry nor warm and the winds don’t help. Sooo, that should be good times rollin’. 

It has been a tough month for the zone. We have been running around, trying to help the hermanas, figuring out the best way to help them help themselves. We have been having some success, as well—Sebastian, our favorite lil’ man, brought his pareja to church! So we are going to teach them and then marry them and then baptize them. In that order. Also, Romina and Francisco are great. We are working hard to keep finding new people here, as well. The demographics of Valle Hermoso are very different than those of Talca--here there are very few Catholics; almost everyone we meet is Evangelico of some sort, usually Pentecostal. They are very devout Christians that are very confused and absolutely refuse to listen to anyone. People tell us a lot that they don’t like our church because we don’t believe in Christ, we believe in Joseph Smith and “the book he wrote,” and we can literally explain it well, to their face, and they will still refuse to believe us. Oh, well! Hard to say how receptive any of us would be to missionaries having grown up in their position. 

We almost painted a house this week... but then it was cloudy, and Chileans don’t do things when its cloudy. We went one day and worked with Pablito Diaz--that was fun. He wanted to accompany us so badly, and he really was great. Very, very nice, little, old man who really doesn’t cachai much but keeps on keeping on. So we had some good teaching experiences with him. 

Probably our coolest experience from this week was teaching an Antigua we found named Mirta. We started getting to know her and learned her husband had died suddenly about a year ago. She has shared with missionaries for ten years or so, on and off, and has only come to church like once. So, we went in, learned this, and figured she just had no desires and was just buena onda. But we started asking questions and then bore testimony of God’s plan for us and how she can be with her husband again. She started to tear up; Elder Saenz asked her if she had ever heard that before from the missionaries, and she said she had not, or at least she had not understood. That was a shocker, and we continued to talk. She is stubborn and doesn’t understand much, so it looks like we are just going to leave her for a while until she can find some desire, but it was a neat experience and a reminder of how we really find the needs of others and help them see how they can fill those needs with the Gospel. 

I am happy with how we are working and excited to keep working hard this week. I am excited to keep working diligently and with all of the corazon. With how little time we are given in our lives to dedicate completely to the Lord, there is not a moment to waste. We have great potential to really change people’s lives, and it all comes from doing small and simple things with consistency. So we are going to keep working hard and lifting the good people here in Valle Hermoso! 

Have a great week!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 15, 2013

Hello, Everyone!

I am glad to hear that everyone is doing well and that wedding plans are going along just swimmingly. That’s very neat that Elder Choi could come to all of your birthday party and everything. It’s pretty cool that a Seventy was recently in our house. Power. Authority. It’s amazing that these inspired men go out of their way to be human and make kind gestures like that. We can really learn a lot from that.

So a great trip to New York, Maggie is going to live in the most made fun of city in the USA, Candace is being a teenager, and Rachel is bugging Candace. Just another week in the life of the Brown family on estrogen. That’s what we call the Brown family with the sad lack of man they have going on in that house. Dad would count as more, but seeing how he is father of the bride and all, and basically just the same as Steve Martin at this point, obviously there is a sad lack of testosterone. Kind of like the Zona Penco here in Chile.

Lots of news. First of all, I hear my sister is getting married in like a week or two. Not sure what that’s all about. Not sure what’s up with all these marriages going on. My good friend Alice also told me that a certain Latina friend [Sara Avila] is also getting married. Not sure what is going on down there in Provo, seems like everyone is just rushing these things. And, from what I hear, the whole North Korea thing was way overblown by the Chileans, and the world isn’t going to be blown up, so really, let’s just take a breath and cut out all this marriage garbage. Na, just kidding. The prophet said marriage should be the highest priority of young adults after missions, so I must grudgingly accept that these are, in the end, righteous decisions.

It has been a very busy and fun week here. We have been cutting down our investigators a bit, finishing teaching those that really have no desire to progress and are exercising their agency poorly. Sad but it has to be done. We were really blessed to find the young family of Romina and Francisco, who Elder Saenz said they had passed by and they had been pretty unprepared, but when we went by this week, they asked us to come in and asked when was church and when we invited her to baptism she readily accepted. That was kind of a miracle. Also, Sebastian, our miracle man and home-run hitter, is in the process of setting a marriage date, which is stressful for us, since that needs to happen before baptism. We are going to go lay down the law with his pareja this evening. Hopefully it goes well. That would be cool to couple my sister’s wedding with the wedding of an investigator or two. So start praying for that to happen. So all week we have been working on that and on finding new people to teach. Still struggling to find new people-- but excited for another week at it!

Let’s see--that has basically been what’s been going on here. There was a fire here. That was cool. There were also some drug killings (don’t freak out, Mom). Real great stuff going on. Just a sign that people need the gospel!

So we are busy with all that. Doing the work. Trying to help the hermanas keep it up and work hard, trying to do that ourselves, and praying for a less harsh winter than all the Chileans say it is going to be. I figure I need to live up this winter to complain about the weather because, come next summer, my complaints about heat will hold no water since Als will be in Africa at that point. Actually, at that point, probably none of my complaints will hold any water. Probably I should just not complain.

Have a great week everyone! Here is a fun NdH--2 Ne 5. “And they lived in a manner of happiness.” Find the five things they did to live with that happiness. It’s a classic we use. Great for families--and that’s what it’s all about!

Love you all! Happy Spring and Finals!
Elder Brown

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8, 2013

Hey, Everyone!

A great week this week, what with conference and all. Really learned a lot, and am in the process of studying and putting specific goals, which I will apply, and we will be more blessed and successful and there shall be much rejoicing. Verify with me on that. But, honestly, a long stressful week.

So, we fell short of our goal of five this week in the conference. We had the people but they faulted the desires to come. But those who did come were changed. At least I was. That last session of conference, with the power trio of Elders Holland, Oaks, and Christofferson... who could have asked for more? We will be going by Nora’s to see how she liked it tonight.

Great story for y'all. That “y'all” is just a little shout out to you folk out in North Carolina (/South Carolina, I guess). Go Duke, go! But, anyways, last week during the mini-mission, when the young kid Tomas from Talca came and worked with me for two days, we met a guy who told us he had found a Book of Mormon and was reading it and had questions for us. So I got his number; he wouldn’t let us come in at that moment. But then, we were walking by the house later, and I felt impressed to stop and knock, even though he had told us he is almost never home and the other people who live there are not interested. But then he came out, and we set a time to meet him in the chapel and teach him! We taught him, and invited him to baptism. He didn’t accept then but set an appointment for the next day. He came, we gave him a tour, we taught him some more, and then he accepted a date and came to the conference! He has a pareja and is not married, so that’s a problem, and he smokes, I think, but we are going to get to work there. Sebastian se llama.

So that’s our cool little story for the week. Many other miracles and cool experiences but I forget sometimes. Don’t worry, I keep a journal.

Cambios were today--we are all staying, except dear Elder Rees, from Kaysville. The man went ahead and went assistant on us. Great choice at this really important time, too--best missionary ever. I learned a ton from him, but it’s sad to see him go. It will change the atmosphere of the house and the ward, I imagine. The ward is still having ward problems. But that’s old news.

Overall, I am having a real great time. Elder Conti died [finished his mission] today--that was weird. Elder Ulibarri will die [finish his mission] in six weeks more. Wow. This is weird. I feel like I am almost a real missionary, almost not new anymore! This is strange. Chile is almost normal now.

Well, love you all! Have a great week! Get busy applying all the conference talks with good goals and everything.

Elder Brown

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 1, 2013

Hey family and everyone!

Well, this week was great. Lots of great experiences, the most special being the baptism of Julian and his two daughters, Barbara and Natalia, this Saturday! It has been such a great blessing and privilege to see them really grow and accept the gospel. They are so great, and I am so excited for how much they are going to continue to grow! That was a great service, and I got to baptize Julian. He is a really big guy. Good thing I have really big muscles. Woops.... never mind.

We also had the chance to do this activity in the entire mission--a mini-mission for all the jovenes over sixteen to come and work with us for a couple days. They got here Thursday and left Sunday. We worked two whole days together. I was with Tomas Kandalaft, a joven from Talca Centro! Great kid, very young; I learned a lot of patience. I also realized that it is quite amazing how far missionaries come in their learning. I mean, this kid already spoke Spanish and he still couldn’t contribute to the lessons! Other than a very powerful testimony, that is. We found some good people with him, and I hope he really grew from it. So all four of us in the house had jovenes with us--8 in total in the sector! It was crazy. Lots and lots of contacts. But we are looking forward to a great week.

We are working hard together and loving the work. Starting to find that rhythm. We have had some pretty big problems with the ward here in the past week. Pretty complicated stuff, and pretty depressing that these things happen.

So that has been what’s been going on here. It’s been a very eventful week. There are big problems with the church in Chile due to old members that don’t apply the gospel. There is a great talk from Elder Hallstrom, I believe, that talks about the difference between the church and the gospel. You have to apply both. If only we could all just be more like Jesus. Maybe I’m naive but it shouldn’t be all THAT hard.

Well, have a great week. Wish us luck. Or better, pray for us to get a family of five in conference this week. We are going to make it happen!

Also, Elder Ulibarri told me they baptized Claudia, the lady we found over there in Talca Centro! It is so awesome. I am really happy for him. They also taught a guy we saw all the time there—they found his house by accident, and they got him baptized! So that’s good. Miracles! Tell everyone hi and have fun with conference! I’m so pumped!

Elder Brown