Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 27, 2013

Hey, Folks!

It has been a SUPER busy and crazy week. Monday Elder Saenz left, and on Tuesday I picked up Elder Durrant. He is a great guy, went to Cottonwood, turns nineteen in like two weeks. So he is a young’n but a good’n. It is super cold here and wet here now and windy. Our tin roof is always banging around and it is crazy. We hear that it should be like this for the next two months. Sure will separate the men from the boys.
I have been learning a ton. Lots of patience, and lots of love. I feel like I have been just living in a dream this past week, just stressed and thinking about the next thing and what we are supposed to be doing and how we could be more effective as well as how to be a better example. But I am sure that it will get a lot easier here soon, especially once Elder Durrant starts understanding a little more. He is great! Good elder from Salt Lake, went to Cottonwood. I am very excited to be with him; we are very excited for the success we are going to see with him!

I have been just thinking a lot about the best example I can be, and I think more than anything it is just the love we exude. People can really feel it, and it can’t be felt when we are stressed and rushed and focused on numbers all the time. It really has to be something genuine. Definitely something for us all to work on. But just another example that it’s really the little details that really make big changes.

Have a great week! I love you all!

His new companion and first trainee, Elder Durrant

So long, Elder Saenz!

Romina's baptism!

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013
“Hello, hello, 1, 2 tree, 1, 2 tree. Wa’s cho name? Wa’s cho name?!”
That is the typical flyte Chilean greeting when they see gringo missionaries. They always say the exact same thing and somehow it never gets old. They stop, though, when they realize that you are actually willing to come over there and talk to them. Actually, they sometimes run away. Fun stuff.
So it has been an interesting week. Everyone has been super excited for cambios all week; we have really just tried to focus on keeping everyone else focused on the work--the tip was whenever thinking about any cambio stuff to instead think about how many people you were going to bring to church. The goal was three, and Elder Saenz and I were able to step it up and bring four to church, which hasn’t happened for a while. We are still having trouble meeting new people to teach, but we are going to make the changes so that we can really keep progressing.
This week, we are really looking forward to the baptism of Romina. She and her husband, Francisco, have been meeting with us for more than a month now. He is a less active member from San Pedro, and they are just great. They finally came to church again this Sunday--which was great! They almost didn’t show up--Elder Saenz and Emannuel Balcon, a joven from the ward, went by for them before. The Santa Cena was about to start and they still weren’t there, but they finally showed up right before. Sweet, sweet alivio. So she is set to go for Saturday. Felipe has permission from his dad, and Cristofer wants to baptize him, so that would be sweet, as well. Sebastian is still not married but making progress--they are going to set a date with the register civil soon—hopefully it will be set for June! And Nora is Nora. She might lose her chance to talk with missionaries pretty soon here.
But the big news of the week is that Elder Saenz is headed out. Poor guy. Real bummer. We have a great, great sector, a really fun ward, and he is sad, but excited to leave, as well. It will be a bummer to say bye to him. Also, I thought I was going to see Elder Ulibarri in the office today, but the punk was at President’s house all day, so I just left him a letter. Hopefully he gets in touch.
New comp--I will meet him tomorrow, someone new to the mission! Very excited for this chance to work and learn with someone. Hopefully we can learn a lot together and really be examples for the district. I’m very excited and have lots of ideas I want to apply.
I have been thinking a lot about conversion and the difference between conversion and testimony. Actually, I gave a talk on it yesterday, and it went pretty well. I’m feeling a lot more comfortable giving talks in Spanish these days; there are definitely a couple of phrases I can’t even remember how to say in English anymore. But then Grandpa just sent me a talk on conversion today-- neat how the Spirit really works and how the needs in the mission, which are always changing, are dealt with and directed in different ways. For example, this week we had an FHE with Pablito, our recent convert neighbor who is this little old man who just loves but doesn’t really understand much. HE wanted to give the message in his OWN FHE so we went, just us missionaries, but Elder Saenz and I decided to be more productive and bring Felipe, as well. And Pablito PERFORMED. Whipped out some 2 Nephi 31, a perfect message for Felipe, well presented, and really just helped him feel better in the gospel, helped Felipe learn more what he needs, and helped us as missionaries really see his progression and just love him even more. Great man, really led by the Spirit to give a great message. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.
Hopefully everyone has a great week, is enjoying the weather up there; every once in a while just drink a little hot cocoa, or better yet, hot Ecco, if you can find it. And those Delta biscoff cookies. They sell them in Lider! Huge find--delicious with Ecco.

Anyways, have a great week!

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13, 2013

Hey, Everyone!

It has been a pretty great week for us in terms of changing our attitude. It’s interesting that it has taken me this long in my mission to start to see the effects of really going out with faith—we have taken it all to the next level with our attitudes. We weren’t faulting any obedience before; all my mission, I have felt like I have been pretty exactly obedient but just not quite seeing those grand miracles that are promised us along with the exact obedience. But we had a great mini-cambio this week and I had the opportunity to really learn from my leaders what it means to have faith and how to really use your plans to achieve your goals. NOT a whole lot of changes, not really any changes, but just that small change of our attitude and really believing that people are going to be receptive to us has made a big difference-- we have been able to find a new family this week that seems pretty great!

Romina didn’t come to church which was a bummer but we are going by tonight. They are a great young family and I want so badly for them to really see the blessings of the Gospel in their lives as they apply it. But she just needs to come to church!

I am so convinced that even the smallest things can make drastic changes in the work. The most frustrating part is that by the time we fix something, something else has gone awry and we have to re-evaluate and re-apply. It’s definitely an uphill battle (ha ha, Penco joke) but I am thankful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and that we aren’t demanded to be perfect now, as long as we are improving and repenting.

We had a neat experience with some less-active members a few days ago. We read Matthew 14:26 with them (I think that was it), where it asks what we would change in exchange for our souls--a very valuable self-interrogative question for all of us. Thinking about that definitely gives a new perspective.

Love you all! Have a great week and really look for those spiritual experiences!
Elder Brown

A fellow Blue Devil!

A great chimichanga from an American restaurant in Conce called Mamut.

Found this in our bathroom. Not sure what you'd call it but we call it "picho."

The elders in this zone are GREAT!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 6, 2013

Hey, Everyone!

We have had a very inspiring week to work a lot harder but, more than anything, a lot smarter. We have always been working hard, por lo menos. But we were really spiritually fed at the mission conference this week with President, and really inspired and instructed in the ways we can improve. Very excited to make some changes and start to help the ward here a lot better.

We are putting a lot more focus on working with members and showing them our love, but more in a way where they will always respect the nature of our call. This is something that the mission has not really put much focus on but something that I had been thinking a lot about and I feel like this is going to give the ward the push to really explode this ward.

We also had a lot of fun this week--Elder Ames and Elder Hernandez were back and they sent me to Penco Centro to stay for the night. I slept on the floor, and it was the worst, and I got eaten by pulgas which is bad because from past experience I do not respond well to flea bites. Doing better, but every one I get swells up and hurts a lot. It is not highly desirable. The weather here is changing as well--there have been a couple points in the week when we have just been soaked, with all the wind, cold, and no one will even open their doors to see who it is. Bummer. But there it is. So it should be a lot of fun experiencing more of that coming up here! Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven, after all—hopefully, we will see some of those blessings coming our way!

Had some great spiritual experiences this week, more than anything just talking with members in hard times. Our converts are doing a lot better but we have talked with lots of members and investigators having marriage problems, and IT IS THE WORST: these people are tearing each other apart over the stupidest things. But we are working hard to help them out, basically just hand them over to the poor bishop to deal with. Tough stuff.

When I was working in Penco Centro this week, with Elder Clawson, we randomly stopped by a house of one of their old investigators, because we saw her son outside and I had to go to the bathroom. Elder Ames, the traveling assistant, and Elder Holt, my bud, had just taught her, but we were there so we just decided to share something as well. We talked with her, I got to know her, and basically just called her out on all her doubts. I asked her why she wasn’t baptized yet and she laughed and said she had a hard time with the Book of Mormon. Elder Clawson and I really just changed everything and were really led by the Spirit to teach her simply the importance of the Book of Mormon, what it is, and something clicked. It was a neat experience of watching her change, so hopefully that will help her in her progress and desires to be baptized.

I hope everything is well with all of you--weird to think a year ago from now finals at Duke were finishing up! Crazy stuff. Crazy. We have started reading the Book of Mormon as a mission, and it is great every morning to really just dedicate more of that personal study time to just reading, and still thinking how it can apply to the needs of our investigators and members. I am convinced that every word is inspired, and that there are things we can really apply to our times and situations in every way. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, written by ancient prophets, and together with the Bible is the way we can come to really know our Savior Jesus Christ and apply his atoning sacrifice more fully in our lives. And I would definitely encourage all that have never read it, or never prayed and specifically asked our Heavenly Father about its truthfulness, to do so. Definitely changes lives.

I hope everyone is doing very well! Keep working hard with everything! Have a great week! That’s it from my end! Love you all lots! Saludos to the family, friends, and everyone!

Chilean Kronk and Yzma toys--"the AWESOMEST!"

 Eating Ecuadorian food they prepared together--"Delicious!"
 With Sister Tidwell, another Timpview Thunderbird--"Look who showed up in Chile?!"