Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

Greetings from Chiguayante, Concepion, Chile, the Southern Hemisphere, where there is sun, and there might be a war starting soon! But more on that later…

It’s been a good week--Elder S headed home today! Crazy, feels super weird to send some missionaries off; he was super sad but excited at the same time. And just when we were starting to see some results from all our efforts here! But I think he felt good that, in the end, what he did here has helped and we have been able to start changing the attitude of this ward.

Saying goodbye to Elder S

This week F had her baptism! It was awesome; they are an amazing family. They brought some neighbors, as well, who were asking about when they can get baptized as well... “Um, you tell us?!” So that was great, and there example is helping all the ward. The M family has also been bringing their friend M, who is really interested, a great guy, and progressing well. So we are very excited about all the possibilities for this cambio.

My new companion... drumroll, please... is going to be Elder G! He is Chilean, from Santiago. He was a district leader in Tome when I was zone leader there, so I already know him really well, we have had some great times together, and he is a very diligent, obedient, excited, buena onda missionary that is going to help us get stuff done here. I am super excited for this cambio and for all the progress that the zone can have. 

Also this week, I gave a talk with last minute notice--we were confirming F and the bishop asked me right there, two minutes before, if I could speak for ten minutes. The great thing about the mission is that is just like not even a scary thing—it’s a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY! Of course, wanting to share something that would show love but bring out the missionary in everyone and invite them to repentance and encourage them to be better, Elder Holland came to mind. Luckily, I’ve watched the talk he gave in the MTC about Feed My Sheep enough times to have it memorized, so I just gave that. No one caught it, I don’t think, and it was pretty powerful. If talks had copyrights, though, I’d be toast. But I think Elder Holland would be just fine with it.

We had a fun water activity in the ward, as well, on Saturday--people showed up, we cleaned all the chairs and tables, at the same time having a water fight. It was awesome. Great to see the ward all coming together for stuff like that, feels more like a family. Then we basically had NdH and fiestas all week for Elder Solari leaving. We tried to stay diligent and get stuff done, and it worked--we picked up 3 great new investigators this week, and they are all friends of members, go to church with them, and are all interested in coming closer to Christ, following Him, and getting baptized. Amazing blessings. 

The firemen came to hose down the chairs (and us)

I have been working hard to get pumped for this cambio, to work hard and give a great example to Elder G, as well as our new district leaders. Also to avoid being that lame old missionary that is just way chill and nothing matters. That ain’t me. 

So it’s been fun, having fun in the sun, being safe for the most part, but being obedient so even when not entirely safe, still protected. Right, right? Just kidding, Mom, being safe, too.

Have a great week, love you all and hope everyone has a great week of miracles and spiritual experiences. I liked what Dad said... hopefully everyone "fails better" this week. 

Elder "Burton Guster" Brown

P.S. Oh yeah... there is some problem between Peru and Chile about the divide line, which they have had a war over before, and Chile has been sending up boats to Iquique full of marines to do "practices." Today they are finishing negotiations to see what all happens. Kind of crazy, but just a lot of sensationalism and scare tactics going on. Probably.

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014

Zach mostly just sent photos this week. Clearly he's been having some fun playing dress-ups. Doug and I were both able to email a bit back and forth with him this morning, and he seems to be doing very well. He has less than six months left, which seems remarkable!
Classic "cueca" garb


This is a serious spur.

January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

Well everyone, it’s been a great week. Disappointing in some ways, but A STINKIN’ GREAT WEEK…just because we are missionaries, doing what we should be doing, having fun, helping others, sharing the love, teaching people about Jesus. Does it get better? I submit that it does not.

Elder S is doing great, love this guy, tons of fun to work with. Trying to help him stay diligent and exactly obedient to the end but it’s tough with all the members, missionaries, and everyone in general always talking about it. Doing my best, though, to be that good example for him, and it gives me more motivation to really avoid that attitude when that time comes for me. Just gotta keep the head down and work hard every second of every day. That’s what the Lord expects-- and as the salt of the earth (all of us who are trying to be disciples of Christ), we can’t just go and lose our savor!

It’s been some fun times here, and we are working hard to keep the whole zone excited about working hard, doing their best, and finding more people to teach! It’s tough with so many young missionaries but there is Tons of potential. (Tons with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for... Predicad mi evangelio. Sorry, the Music Man in me came out there for a second.) 

Hope it’s been a great week for everyone, and that everyone is being Christlike and helping others feel the love of our Heavenly Father!
Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 6, 2014

January 6, 2014

Hello, hello! 

All the little kids here yell that at us--that and, "One, two, tree, one, two, tree, was yer name, was yer name" and other things that kind of sound like really bad words... The other day, a little kid in the street, like eight years old, with his mom right there, asked me what some profanities in English meant: kinda shocked me at first and then I told him that it means, "I want to be Mormon!" The mom laughed--but then they accepted to get baptized in three weeks. Ha ha, just kidding, that would be cool, though!

We have seen some amazing growth this week. All the missionaries are working super hard, even with some tough days, what with the holidays and all. Ain’t nobody want to talk with missionaries on New Years’, what with all the alcohol. Not even the members! On New Years’ Day, I think we woke up people in every single house we went to. Good stuff. 

Amazing to see the contrast between the poverty and vice in this sector compared to the peace and hope that the Gospel brings. We have been teaching a family recently, who live in a block that shouldn’t have people living in it—it’s condemned and everything. But they have gotten super active, and it is amazing going to that place, feeling so dark all around, and then entering their house with pictures of Jesus, the temple, and a happy little family all around and the Spirit there. And the awesome thing is that their neighbors are starting to feel it, too-- this Friday, we are doing an FHE in the chapel, and inviting ALL of them! So pray for that, we really have a great chance to change all these people’s lives, maybe save some of their kids from the same future even. 

We have been having fun and working hard. I get along real well with Elder Solari but it is hard finishing the mission. I think when it’s my turn, I’m not going to tell anyone when I’m finishing; the members love to talk about it and that’s when it gets rough. Poor old missionary. Thank goodness that ain’t me!

Today we are going to go check out the Huascar, a Peruvian ship that the Chileans beat in battle and is now in the harbor, supposed to be really cool but usually closed Mondays but we have a hookup in our sector. Gonna be sweet.

The gospel is true! Have a great week everyone!
Elder Brown

December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas to all, and Happy New Year’s!

It has been an amazing week. We have gone caroling, done a Christmas concert for all of Chiguayante, taught some great lessons, talked to a lot of people, had a lot of fun with our missionaries, and built our relationships with the members. We have tons of potential in this ward, and in the zone, and are excited to see miracles as we keep just applying the Gospel of Christ. 

Got some cards from the Bradford family, the Wardrops, and a package from David Bradford that I’m excited to open! Say hello to all of them, and thank you! Also, while we are at it, say hi to Brother Seamons, Brother Wynder, Brother Bachelder, Sister King, Sister Cox, and all the rest of the great ward family. Being in other wards and seeing the importance of the organization, I am SO grateful that I have always been in a great, functional, amazing ward, where I could trust in my leaders 100 percent to be there and always make fun things happen for us youth. And there is nothing like having those elderly examples in the ward, that just teach us so much through their experience, and all the charity and kindness they have. I think it’s still my favorite to visit the fun older members of the wards, they just love everyone so much! And it’s true with the Riverwood Ward, as well. 

It has been a fun week but we now need to get all the zone back on track. Time to put the nose completely back to the grindstone, and, now that no one is distracted by Skype or anything like that, we are going to get things clicking. We are trying to put the focus in the zone of being owners of their sectors-- really just being on top of everything, leaving nothing to chance, following through with all the responsibilities. If we can apply that in all the zone, we will see miracles this month. 

Elder S and I are working hard and having fun, and this week is going to be Great! With a capital G! It is his last week to find people that can still get baptized while he is here, so there is a ton of urgency. We are going to be talking with EVERYONE! Just like we should be every week... Intersting how that works sometimes. 

But, I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas focused on Christ and are making Christ-focused goals for the New Year. My goal is to memorize more scriptures and be a more consecrated missionary. Won’t bore y’all with the specifics but, in the end, what else do you need?! 

Say hello to everyone, and have a great New Year’s!

Just before Christmas, Santa made his customary visit to the family home in Provo and spent a traditional moment with Zach on his knee.