Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 25, 2013

November 25, 2013

It has been a great week, a few ups and downs and bumps along the way, and complete craziness all the time, but that is just how it goes sometimes. This week there was a training for the new missionaries, so I went ‘cause I’m so new. Just kidding, there were only two missionaries in the zone that went but they had to come from Quirihue and Dichato, the furthest out, so they just stayed with us for a few days. It was weird, a bunch of traveling, waiting for them to come, a few lousy days of plans falling through and stuff but that’s just what happens sometimes. They learned a lot, I think, and hopefully we can apply it all in the zone and get more prepared as missionaries for the success the Lord has prepared for us.

We had a great experience finding a family this week. The dad is a relative of  a family from Valle Hermoso; he wants to come back to church, and his family is looking for change in him. He closed with the prayer and started crying. We were able to help them recognize the Spirit they were feeling, and it was a great experience. 

I am trying very hard to be a servant and disciple that the Lord can always trust. I am esforzaring me (not sure how that is best said in English anymore) to always be worthy of receiving the Spirit´s guidance and help others see in me the Lord´s example. I have been studying Jesus the Christ, finishing it up, and time and time again, I have been struck by the requirements put on true disciples of Christ. There can be no halfway devotion, no wishy-washy whateverism; the Lord is looking for missionaries and followers that are in it forever and will never go back. We were able to share this with a menos activo in the ward, and it was a great lesson--he came to church on Sunday after a very long time. 

We also participated in a wedding. I played the piano. It was funny, each speaker shared the same example, and it’s one we have used before in talking about unity in companionship. As both partners come closer to the Lord in a triangle, they will come closer together. That’s the gist of the example, but the Stake President, former bishop, and branch president that all spoke all used the same example. I guess it’s kind of important.

We are having a lot of fun and seeing progress in the zone, as well. Today we ran, played some more tennis, which was awesome, and are just living it up here in Tomé! We got confused and celebrated Thanksgiving last week, woops. But still delicious--D made us turkey with homemade bbq sauce, not quite North Carolina but still delicious. 

I am so grateful to be out here helping others and seeing the changes in them and in myself. I am thankful for the time I have to internalize everything I have been learning. Hopefully all´s well at home and everyone is getting in the Thanksgiving spirit. Send my love to everyone and eat some good food for me!

Elder Brown

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013

Hello, Everyone!

Well, it’s been a great week in Tome. Lots of fun. Chile had their presidential elections on Sunday. It was weird. Chilean campaigning consists of lots of cars waving the candidates’ flags all afternoon and blasting their campaign songs. I’m still not sure what any of the candidates think about any issues but I know I want Navarro to win as senator because his picture is ridiculously ugly and his song is so terribly catchy—“Navarro por la gente, gente!”

So, church attendance this week hit a new low. That was fun. It was probably because everyone heard that Elder Rhodes and I were giving talks. Just kiddin’... but actually.... I talked about the Spirit, and Elder Rhodes talked about the story of Naaman washing himself in the river. Good stuff, good times. 

We had some very spiritual experiences this week. It’s amazing to think that every day we help people make changes in their lives. We have been asking ourselves after every visit, “What are the evidences that our work is helping those people build their faith in Christ?” We have seen miracles and changes in the people and changes in our attitude. I am sure that when we give simple, direct testimony, and cut straight to the chase, that people feel the Spirit more powerfully and are willing to keep their commitments. Only with the power of the Spirit can we have any lasting success in anything we are doing. 

I wanted to end with a note to anyone that is passing through a hard thing in this moment. From the little experience I have, I know that these things happen because God loves us. That may sound contradictory, but it is true, and I have seen it and felt it many times. This week, we were walking with one of the members of our ward and went to knock on a neighbor’s door. She came out and started scolding him, not even looking at us, for coming by, saying that God has abandoned her, that her father has died, her brother was brutally killed, and now her mom has cancer; she just kept talking and talking and was completely closed to letting us help her. The only words we could really get out were a quick scripture and testimony, which just made her cry more, and she told us to go away and that she would tell him if she ever wanted help. It was pretty sad to see, and it left the member pretty impacted, but we did what we could. But the saddest part is how closed she was to understanding why those things happen, to be willing to forgive, and to move on. Hopefully she comes out of it and later on we can help her, but, from what I have seen, all we really need to do in those moments is turn to God and He will fix things. It may not happen right away, and it may take patience and diligence and pains, but in the end things all work out, but only if we do our part. 

Last thought: I’ve been reading in Jesus the Christ about excuses. If we look for excuses, we can find them. The Good Samaritan helped because he wasn’t looking for excuses; the Priest and the Levite found whatever excuse they could to make their conscience feel better; the Good Samaritan had his heart so completely consecrated that excuses never came to him, he just did what needed to be done—an example for us all. 

Have a great week!
Love you all!
Destination of a great run this morning

Our beautiful sector in Tome

Cute little friend, Brandon, who gave me his Darth Sidious and ObiWan when he discovered I was a fellow fan.

Me with Elder Rhodes and Elder Jorge

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013

Dear Fam and Friends,

It has been a great week. We had interviews with President this week, and they went really well. Elder R and I had a chance to talk with him just one on one and get all of his insights into the zone; it was fabulous, and we are going to see some changes, I am sure. He had a lot of great things to say, and really helped me personally as well; I am very grateful for the time I have left in the mission to work on my Christ-like-ness. It’s a work in progress. Baby steps.

So, interviews….Also did a mini-cambio with Elder D from Quirihue, a new missionary, super fun guy, doesn’t speak a lick of the language but it was fun. We walked in through a guy’s gate to knock his door--usually that’s not a problem with people here but he got super mad at us, and, at this point, I have had my fair share of handling mad Chileans, so I just told him that "we said permiso" and then just tried to share with him anyways. Oh, well. It’s weird to me that I’m where Elder C and all them were when I started. I wonder if the new missionaries see me as I saw them... 

Saturday, the sisters baptized A that we had taught--the sisters are getting it done here. Just cleanin’ up everything we start, which is good. People coming to Christ. 

It’s been nice weather; my skin is getting better little by little, fitness too--we are running a lot on the track and it’s been great to get that stress out. We had leader council this morning and now we have a ton of great ideas and animo as to what we are going to do to improve this month. Gonna be great. 

Oh, we also built a fence today for some of the hermanos of the ward that are starting a business and didn’t want to pay for workers to do it, just the missionaries. It was awkward--obviously we gladly did it but there were nonmembers there who were laughing, telling us that is what you call "aprovecharse de la nobleza" here in Chile--“taking advantage of us” but I learned how to build a fence and it was fun. Dig ‘em up up on, dig it. 

Good stuff!
Elder Brown

November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

Hey Everyone!

It’s been a fun week this week, made a trip out to Quirihue and had a great time, super pretty place. We had a meeting with Elder C, a great guy that goes home today. The last one of my real leaders in the mission to leave; now we are all just young bloods! 

We have been working hard here all week but, come Sunday, not a ton of people showed up to church so that was depressing. I have been having some allergies and skin problems, etc., but the doctor here has given me cualquier cream to try--it doesn’t really work but here’s hopin’.

We were feeling pretty bummed after church for no one coming after saying they were going to but we just kept going, working hard, and that night we met D and his wife, and they have a daughter and her family there, as well. They are pretty great! D asked us if we could tell him more about why Jesus was baptized and why he should do it. We gladly obliged. 

I am working hard on my Christ-like attributes, trying to change the little things to slowly but surely be more patient and humble in every situation. I think the Lord is just helping me out giving me some of these skin problems; clearly, I need more refining than just a mission by itself can give. 

Having fun and working hard! Pray for us and for all the new missionaries in the zone; we need the help of everyone out here in the field--this is the Lord´s work and it will go on! Hopefully we will all go with it!

Have a great week!
Elder Brown

The countryside of Quirihue. I have a great desire to ride a horse over these hills.

Go Timpview, go! Played some tennis with Elder R. Working hard or hardly working?

At a special sisters' conference. We got invited, not because we're sisters but because we're so cool.

The mission got us cars. Sick Hot Wheels. Actually, I bought it for myself. Corvette. Whaaaattt?!!