Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24, 2014

 Saludos a todos!

Here we are in Concepcion, good times, good times. We had a classic consejo today--in the middle of the meeting, we all went out to the street and did contacts for an hour or so. It was great; I was with Elder E, we did work. I felt like a European missionary where you just gift materials and stuff (or that’s at least the impression I have from The Best Two Years movie) and met some real good folk. Good times.

This week was a good week for us. We were able to work a lot better with the members of the ward here to really get work done. We visited a lot more people with them, their neighbors, friends, and just got stuff done. But we need to work and find more time to teach more people and really just talk with all the people that are out in the street all the time. That’s really going to help the attitude of a lot of the missionaries as well here, I think, so we are excited to put it into practice. And see the miracles that come. 

This week we have seen some miracles as well. I think they could write a Church News article about this one neighborhood here--there is a block (department building) that was ready to be torn down, but that people moved into again, pretty humble circumstances, lots of vice, etc, there. But this entire block loves us. They all came to play soccer at the church on Saturday with us, we said a prayer to start, they behaved themselves well, and the next day in the afternoon we went by and all of them want us to teach them now, super fun. Hopefully something will come of it; they all are pretty complicated with drinking and smoking and drugs and chastity etc, but their souls are precious, too.

So there’s lots to do but we’re seeing good progress. Elder G is doing a lot better, as well; we are getting along well, and having fun. Trying to be really diligent and show that to all the zones—that’s really what the Lord needs from us right now, I think, so we are going to make it happen, and show it to the missionaries. 

I love you all, love being a missionary, and being on the front lines of the fight of faith right now—that’s what it feels like down here in Chiguayante--definitely feels like enemy territory. Pero estamos agradecidos. 

Have a great week, and find the spiritual experiences! If you can’t feel how you felt the first day after your baptism, do the analysis and look for ways to feel the Spirit--there is so much joy in the journey to be found when we just look for it!
Elder Brown

Enjoying empanadas with Elder G

With Elder and Sister Pulsipher, who arrived at the same time Zach did

With favorite buddy, Elder Saenz

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014

A very cordial greeting. Raspberry cordial.

It’s been a good week. Missionaries are progressing, members are converting, investigators are feeling the Spirit, new converts are growing in their testimonies, and menos activos are coming back--or slamming the door in our faces (which is sometimes actually not that bad a deal for us, given all the marijuana smoke that wafts out of some of those doors.) 

We have been having some rough patches in our sector, but overall the zone is seeing promising signs of growth. And if there is someone in the zone that has to pass through some trying times, who better than the leaders of the zone, right?! 

I’ve been thinking a lot about attitude this week. It’s tough sometimes, with all the hard stuff that happens, to stay positive and keep up the excitement, to be happy, to find joy in the journey, etc. This week there has been some sadness in the house but we have had some good long talks, all with the same focus-- "Attitude reflects leadership, captain." If you didn’t catch that quote, please schedule a block of time to go watch Remember the Titans, an all American classic. 

Sometimes things don’t work out like we want them to, after we have worked hard and prayed and fasted and tried to see success. But those are sometimes things we can’t control, and in those times we have just got to keep playing the one string we control all the time--our attitude. It’s kind of even a question of integrity--we have to live the same standards all the time, have the same happiness, etc, all the time, no matter the circumstances, or it kind of shows a lack of moral character/integrity/conversion or however you want to put it. 

So there are the rambles of Brown for the day. I’m grateful for the things I’m learning through all the people, experiences, and situations here, and grateful for every day the opportunity to learn and apply maybe the same things but more deeply.

Hope everyone is doing splendidly and finding joy in the journey.

Have a great week, Everyone!
Elder Brown

Zach with a bag of mayonnaise, "a Chilean classic"

With Hno Riquelme, one of Zach's favorite guys, who happened to be wearing a Duke t-shirt!

Valentine's Day at ward party

Service project

More service...

Zach the Welder, maybe a little scary?

At least they are wearing protection...even if they have no idea how to actually weld

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February 10, 2014

Well, well, well, another week has passed. 

Here we are in Chiguayante, hittin’ the paint, doin’ work, ballin’ hard, puttin’ up points, etc, etc, etc. 
It’s been a good week of progress. You could even say that we are “failing better;” there is still a lot more that we can accomplish, and I’m not sure that personally I’m ever satisfied, which is probably a good character flaw to work on. 

But this week we have seen some miracles. Last week, we were feeling a little bit down, with all the missionaries I think, that it was a slow week and not many people were progressing towards baptism in the zone. But this week we really changed things up and almost every sector is making big changes and starting to see the results. 

On Tuesday, we were thinking about what we could share with everyone to get them pumped to work hard and be bold and always do their best. Came to mind 17 Miracles, so we showed a short clip of when a women and her children are starving and put two biscuits in a pot with water, let it cook, pray, and it’s full of food. Talked about that, remembered a little that, in the end, even though missions are hard, it’s nothing like the price that has already been paid, and I think it got everyone going a little bit more. 

One of our favorite families here have been bringing their neighbors to church that we have been teaching. They are awesome and have a lot of potential, but aren’t married. They are really willing and wanting to make changes together, so we are going to see what we can do with all the paperwork. We have heard lots of different things from all the members, that it might take a long time, it might be really easy, it might take forever, or not. So we are praying for a miracle this week for them to be able to get married in March and then baptized. 

This week we were in some of the apartments (se llaman blocks) and had just had an appointment fall through. We went straight to a block, without really planning it, climbed to the top floor, knocked the last door, and the lady let us right in. SHE HAD BEEN IN THE VERY ACT OF READING THE LIAHONA. Are you kiddin’ me?! That does’nt happen. She was like, “I love this, I wanna learn more.” We invited her to baptism. She said she would think about it, but then doesn’t want us coming back until next week, so that was a bummer, but we got her number (big win) and we are going to see what happens there. But it was neat.

We played soccer this morning but this time we won. We made a plan, played better defense, and just let the elders up front do the work. Went well. Helps that we are almost all Latinos in the zone and all of them are very good athletes.

Hope everyone has a great week. Keep praying for us here. I love you all! 

Elder Brown


Making lunch for the household, a rare treat!

With Elder E, AP

Monday, February 3, 2014

February 3, 2014

February 3, 2014

Hello everyone!

It has been a fun week, full of trials and limited results, but lots of great experiences and memories! Elder G got here on Tuesday, and it has been crazy. He is a new zone leader--he was actually one of our district leaders in Tome, so I already know him well. But he still just kind of looks at me too much like his leader, which is weird. I’ve been feeling pretty stressed for a couple days this week, like I’ve got the whole zone on my back, but little by little he is picking things up and he is really excited to work hard, which is really all you can ask for. 

Elder G and The Weekly Sandwich

Zach with the Familia Poblete from Penco (now restaurant owners in Concepcion)
Right now we are just trying to make sure that all the missionaries are really happy in what they are doing, enjoying their time, and really working hard. And ironically, all those things go together. The best way to enjoy yourself, be happy, and avoid all the pessimism is to just lose yourself in the work and do your best, leaving to the Lord the rest. 

This week, we brought a bunch of people to church in our sector! It was awesome to see that some stuff is finally coming together for us.

Keep us in your prayers; we are working really hard and just trying to stay focused. I love these people a lot, even though it’s not always easy. 

Pray for us, for the missionaries, and especially for those that need us to find them! 
Have a great week!
Elder Brown

P.S. This week I learned how to make humitas--basically tamales without meat. Super tasty--they use basil! Weird, huh? But yum. I’ll show you how someday!