Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

Hey, Everyone!
It has been a crazy week in Chile, what with cambios falling in the same week as the 18 of Septiembre, Chilean Independence! Chileans take the whole week off and eat and drink and party like it’s the end of the world. Learned a lot about Chilean alcohol!

Big news of the week, Elder S headed out to Chillan. We were finishing up a long day of contacts after finding no one on the 18 of September, everyone drunk and partying in the streets. President calls us and tells us that he didn’t want to do it, but Elder S has a new assignment as zone leader in Chillan. It was sad but obviously inspired so we were excited, too. President told me that Elder R would be getting to the sector with me, an elder that served in Cancha Rayada, right next to Talca Centro, he got there six weeks before me. That was good to hear--he is a great guy, very spiritual, very humble. We are going to see great progress in this ward together I think, and we are very excited.

For the 18th in the morning, we went out to Dichato to do some service and then came back and had a barbeque with D. Tons of meat, potatoes, and he gave us something they call chicha, that, if you wait, it ferments and becomes alcoholic, but he said it was fresh and without alcohol. We made Sister Martinez, a Chilena, try it first and verify that, but it was just like sparkling cider. Not bad.

Then on Friday we had the big ward activity, did some fun activities, basically like field day games. They made the missionaries do this one where first you have to take out a candy from a pile of flour with your mouth, then eat a half apple as fast as you can, then drink a cup of bebida as fast as you can, then open up a candy really fast, and lastly blow up a balloon and sit on it to pop it to mark the finish. I lost to Sister Martinez. What an embarrasment. They call that game the Jincana, or something like that. 

Working hard and starting to see little by little how universal all the principles of the gospel are. It’s interesting that the doctrine and all the principles will never change but the applications are always different. We can apply the same basic principles to almost any situation--just be good and love everyone and everything basically works out.

Have a great week everyone! Love you all a lot!
Elder Brown

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013

Well, Hello!!!!

So it has been a very long week. Amazing it has only been one actually. But at the same time, it flew by. Strange how that works.

It was a great week for finding new people to teach--in the end, we found 16 people who accepted a second visit, and some are even interested in progressing and coming to church and preparing for baptism and stuff! It is still troubling us that no one wants to come actually check church out, but we are working on it. 

Skin is getting better. Hermana B, the mission nurse, showed up at our house one night with meds and did a spontaneous cleanliness check. Without any prep, we passed, so go us. This week everyone in Chile is getting ready for the 18 de Septiembre, the huge celebration of Chilean Independence. We are very excited--they dance the queca, eat lots of meat and empanadas and mote con huesillo and other Chilean stuff, play field day games basically, and drink a lot of chicha and eat a lot and eat some more. Everything you need! So we are getting pumped for that. We are going to have a big ward party on Friday. 

And the big news: Played tennis this morning! It was fabulous, tons of fun. Played some with Elder S and then with a Chilean joven, a good player--I haven’t played that hard since Duke maybe. Now I’m sore. Darn. But worth it. 

Been working hard to find the positive things and be more grateful, as well as recognize the Spirit working in the work more. This week, we went to a part of Tome called Punta de Parra, that’s like a 20-minute bus ride away. Missionaries haven’t gone in almost a year, so we went by and there we found a woman that wants to get married and get baptized. That’s what she told us. AWESOME! Couldn’t help from grinning in that lesson, that’s never happened to me before. She is a great woman, very humble, and her partner is a menos activo. So that’s going to be great here. 

Other than that, we are working hard and having lots of fun! If you’re not enjoying your mission, you’re doing something wrong. There is lots of stress and pressure but knowing we are working hard and obediently gives solace.

Anyways, until next week!
Love you all!
Elder Brown 

September 9, 2013

September 9, 2013

Hey, Everyone! 

It has been a fun week, pretty busy. Had a great zone activity on Monday, playing volleyball on the beach. Good times. Also some service on Tuesday morning, basically digging and pick-axing dirt for a couple hours. Ah, good times. 

We had another conference this week (conf on conf on conf!) and a good mini-cambio with the assistants. Learned a lot from them, very inspired leaders.

I had a very funny, humbling experience with Elder S this week. He recently bought some pants from a local store, and tried them on two days later and they didn’t fit. So we go to return them and get a different size and the lady insists that he hadn’t bought them there. He insists he did, and for about 5 minutes they went back and forth arguing--not quite to the point of accusation, but getting there. I try to mediate a bit (been doing a lot of that this week), and we go back to the house to see if maybe there was a different pair of pants he had mixed up. Turns out there was, he was wrong, and so we go back to apologize to the lady. Ha ha, she was still ticked, and he felt super stupid, and me, too, a bit, just by being his comp, but it was super funny. Been teasing him about it all week.

So my skin is kind of getting bad again, same weird rash, not sure what is going on. Might be about time to call in a real, actually certified dermatologist. Hopefully that works. So far, we could entitle my mission, “How to puzzle every single Chilean doctor with your skin 101.” Not so much fun--hopefully gets better with the summer. They keep saying it’s right around the corner, but then it starts raining again. So much fun.

Other than that, not much going on. Fun stuff all around--we have some fun FHE´s planned for the week, Chile is getting excited for 18 de Sept, their big celebrations of independence. Should be tons of fun. Heard first Christmas song already... wow. That makes me scared. The time is flying by. And there is so much to do... never a dull moment in Tome! 

Been studying a great talk from President Uchtdorf from the Priesthood session of 2012 May, I think, about the why of Priesthood service. How important that focus on the why is--it is so easy to always just focus on the what and lose ourselves in the business, but if we can keep a focus on the why everything resolves itself better, we see more lasting changes. Definitely applies to leadership--teach the missionaries to fish instead of giving them fish and the zone is never going to be hungry again! So trying to focus more on that, a little testing on the patience, but my patience was needing testing anyways! Que bendicion mas grande! Que felicidad! 

Having great times, pray for it to stop raining!
Elder Brown

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2, 2013

Hello, hello! 

Well, it has been another crazy week in the wonderful Mision Concepcion. Not much sleep (more running, though, so that’s been great), some great conferences with Elder Gonzalez of the Area Presidency, and some fun times with the Elders! It’s been crazy.

Started off well, after a great consejo [counsel] from last Monday, Elder Saenz and I gave the zone class to present all of these great and inspired changes to the zone. More than anything, it is a change  in attitude with the members—basically, everything we do now needs to be unified with the members--if we do things on our own and without them, it is almost even worse for the ward-- just makes people more tied to us and, when we leave, what happens? Those people are gone as well. So we watched some videos, did some practices, and explained the changes. Still not quite sure how they all work yet either, but we are working on it. Coming along. 

Then Friday all morning we had conference with Elder Gonzalez. The Elders from Quirihue and Dichato both came and slept with us--8 elders in our house that has a capacity of two... not fun. But it worked, and we made it to Conce at 6:30 in the morning for Dunkin Doughnuts and Elder Gonzalez. Great consejo, and the next day he came and talked to just the leadership of the mission--it was amazing. He talked about “Doctrine, Principles, and Applications.” One principle he explained is of presenting things and allowing others to accept them, not just forcing things on others. For example, asking them how things can bless them, not just telling them. They were some neat ideas that we all have heard before at some point but definitely needed reminding, and could yield much more committed investigators. 

Then on Sunday, we had a good day, and today we did a great zone activity! We grilled meat and chorizo on the beach, ate lemon bars the sisters made, and played volleyball and catch and stuff! We also explored a neat cave kind of thing. So that was really neat; the whole zone seemed to really enjoy it—it gave us a little boost of enthusiasm in the zone hopefully. 

We are having lots of fun! Really enjoying my time here. Hope everyone is doing well, enjoying school, etc. We officially passed August--celebration time in Chile! 18 de Septiembre comin up, I hear it’s a blast! 

This week, more craziness ahead. Another conference, minicambios, interviews in Quirihue y Coelemu, super far away, and lots of preaching of the word!! It’s amazing what sharing the gospel does to people, to the members, to us--there is no better way to feel the power of the Spirit and the love of God than by sharing it with others. I like what Dad said--when we can love others for who they are and the divine potential they have, forget ourselves, and just go make things happen, we can see changes in them and changes in ourselves. Great stuff. 

Well, that’s all for now! Have a great week everyone! Love to everyone!