Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014

Hello, Everyone!

It’s been a fun week! H. passed his baptismal interview at the last second and got baptized (in a freezing font in the middle of a huge rainstorm) then confirmed in the sacrament meeting the next day. So that was the highlight of the week. Super great guy, really happy for him.

Other than that, we are seeing some problems in the zone for stupid stuff—it’s good, though, because it’s all stuff that Elder G. and I are getting over lately so now we can totally testify from heart how to do it. It’s great. Just nitpicky stuff about people wanting more cleanliness in the house and others doing nothing (I know how this one goes all too well), as well as just some general unkindness, pride, and just some missionaries feeling bad about not having the success they are wanting. The good thing is tomorrow, being the first Tuesday of the month, we are going to have the chance to teach a classic zone class; we have a lot of great ideas-- this is going to be a classic. 

We taught a great lesson the other night to R. and E. We were teaching about marriage and charity to get these chambones married at some point but still nothing going on, and they are still bickering constantly to us. They talked at us for like ten minutes straight, just pure complaints about ‘she does this,’ ‘he does that,’ and then an idea came to me. Revelation. We cut it, and I was like, look, now we are going to go in a circle and say one thing we LOVE about our comp. I started, went in a circle, they got all quiet, awkward, and then we went around the second time, and then told them that’s what they need to do and peaced out. But hopefully we finally see some progress with that marriage. I really just want them to be members--they are so great, and so ready. I feel like if for no other reason, I needed to be in Chiguayante for them, and their two small future missionary boys.

Today we had our leadership council again, and then played paintball after! It was fun, even the mission presidente and his wife played! Neat stuff. I imagine it’s even more fun when all the equipment is good and stuff and no one cheats but whatever.

We are having fun and growing in the zone! SOOOOOO pumped for General Conference this weekend! And Priesthood session! We are going to bring all of Chiguayante to hear the prophets voice.

Love you all!
Elder Brown

Exciting baptism day!

Paintballing with President and Sister A

Camo wearing with Elder G

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014

Hello, Everyone!

It’s been a great week for us, for the work, for the zone, for the people of Chiguayante, and for the ward! We are very excited for all the changes that are happening in our sector and in the work here--let me tell you…No, there is too much, let me sum up. 

H. is a great guy. I was going to take a picture of him for y’all but I forgot. He is getting ready to be baptized on Saturday! It has been a miracle that came from talking with everyone, faith, and patience. 

And this week we also found M., who is a miracle, too. She worked with missionaires in Santiago for a long time, never got baptized, moved to Tome, never got baptized, and now lives right by our church here in Chiguayante. Golazo. She is super ready, smokes a bit and is not married, but has lots of desires and she came to church and loved it. So we are really happy about that, as well. We found her in the street--by talking with everyone. 

Kinda making me wonder why I didn’t start this whole “talk with everyone” thing a lot sooner in my mission; it seems to work a little bit! Just some advice for any of you missionaries or future missionaries out there-- the cure to anything you have going on is to just open your mouth and don’t let a person pass you by without them hearing your testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I feel like I am progressing a lot in this sector, and that we are starting to see all the blessings from a very long time of hard work and stress and disappointment, but now things are all coming together. SO excited for General Conference this next week, and for all the zone. 

We have had some powerful lessons this week, especially with some less actives. We have been sharing the story that Elder Holland shared in October of 2012, of Peter and Christ at the Sea of Tiberias--Do you love me, and what it means to really love Christ. And that, at its base, I think is really the foundation of a testimony-- a solid motivation to obey, sacrifice, and consecrate yourself. 

Loving the work, and working hard. A great quote from President Uchtdorf for the week: "It is not your responsibility to convert anyone. That is the work of the Holy Ghost. Your task is to share your beliefs and to not be afraid."

Have a great week and remember why we do what we do!

Elder Brown

The cutest gaucho EVER!

Dancing the Cueca at a ward party in Chiguayante--a dance about a rooster and a hen which everyone knows. "If you don't know it, you don't fit in. I'm learning!"

A favorite family, the Familia Riquelme. Hermano Francisco, Hermana Pamela, Francisca (9), Montse (4), and Pedro (14, not shown). They were reactivated and now have tons of neighbors who want to come to church and learn more!

Simply adorable, says Mom.

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014

Hello, hello!
This has been a great week; we have been talking with everyone we see, we have had some great meetings, and now we are starting to see miracles from all our efforts! Just another testimony that obedience to what the Lord wants brings the promised blessings, even if they are delayed sometimes. 
We are teaching H. right now, a great guy. He was Adventist, and was having problems accepting baptism because he has some worries that if the owners of his house find out (they are Adventists, too) they will kick him and his fam out, but on Saturday a miracle occurred. We were having a baptism from the other companionship in this ward, and invited him, and in the middle of the baptism he leans over to me and whispers, "I’m getting baptized at the end of the month.” Winning. 
Also, S. was going to come to church but it rained and she didn’t make it, super disappointing. We hadn’t prepared her well enough, I guess. Granted, we only saw her once in the week but whatever. Next week, she will come and be spiritually blown away.
As always, we are remembering the importance of our message. Not one soul can go without hearing about the Restoration of the Gospel; everyone needs to hear about what Jesus Christ has done, and continues to do, for us. So we have been sharing it with everyone, and remembering it ourselves. I have been learning a lot--in my spare time (ha, if it existed), I have been going over all the talks of all the conferences of my mission. There are some classics. I am so excited for conference! Just a few more weeks! Somethin’ crazy is gonna happen. I’m callin’ it.
I hope everyone is doing well, is happy, is working hard, is playing hard, and is finding joy in the journey. I’m loving my time here, all the things I’m learning, and hopefully what I’m becoming. The trick is just makin’ it stick. 
I love you all!

Elder Brown

The "Best Thing to Happen to Lider" (Chile's WalMart equivalent)--a pack of mini Ritter Sport that only costs about $2!

Elder Cruz, Zach's "grandson" (his trainee's trainee) with a real, live bull--appropriate since he is from Spain

Saying "adios" to good pal Elder Durrant on his transfer to Linares

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014

Hello, Everyone!

Not a lot of time this week because I accidentally erased the whole informe and had to do it all over again. Way to go, Brown.

But it has been a week of miracles! Just gonna talk about miracles in this email. First, we had Elder Zeballos come, a Seventy, and he gave a conference. It was amazing and became yet another point in my mission that is going to make me better. Other miracle--seven of our investigators came to church this week. That was awesome. It has been so long but, finally, we are starting to see some possibilities opening up in the sector. Biggest miracle—S., the lady that was reading a Liahona when we knocked her door randomly, finally came to church! We had completely given up on her, on Thursday we went and she just kept saying that church isn’t a commandment, that she is Catholic, etc, so we bore testimony, cried in our souls, and left. BUT SHE CAME. I was playing the piano, the closing hymn, and looked up and randomly saw her, just about started crying right then and there. Wow. That was an answer to prayers right there. Some much-needed fruits, just one of those reminders that even when we feel like nothing is working out, the Lord is always there helping things along.

Cambios were today but I am staying in Chiguayante with Elder G. So we are going to have another six weeks to see miracles here, and then most likely I will head to my last sector. Weird. Lots to do, very excited for this time-- and general conference!
I love you all!

Elder Brown

Zach and Elder G eating at Mamut, which he calls "Chile's answer to The Texas Embassy in London," which is where his grandparents and their missionaries always went for "real" American food--Zach says Mamut isn't exactly "real" American food, but as close as they can get, and they love it!

The Chiguayante Zone before transfers on March 11.

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014

G’day, folks!

It’s been a fun week. We have met a lot of Chiguayantinos, or sea people that are from Chiguayante. They are mostly chill folk, quite a few Evangelicals and more testigos than one would hope for but, when it comes down to it, they love their families and want the best for them, even if they don’t accept our (and The Lord´s) help in that.

We have been going crazy with opening our mouths and talking with everyone. It’s been fun, interesting, embarrassing at times, awkward (which is really fun), frustrating, and spiritual. We are the Lord´s voice, His hands, wherever we are, and we have the responsibility to help our brothers and sisters understand what He has done for us, the price He paid for us, and what that means for us and our families. Granted, not everyone wants to listen but I”ve learned that I can walk a lot faster than any Chilean, to keep up when they try to get away. And in every twenty or so people, there is someone that is a little interested and wants to hear more, which makes it all worth it.

This week, we have a conference with Elder Zeballos; it is going to be great, I am sure. It will probably be my last general authority visit in my mission, so I am really hoping for it to be something special to help me internalize everything that I have been learning, be more Christ-like, and just be my best for the rest of my life.

This last time has been full of challenges, sadness (I found out last week that one of my converts is pregnant out of wedlock, and that the others aren’t going to church), and trials. At some points, you just have to ask yourself what it’s all for, what I’ve been doing out here, if in the end no one remembers or is changed. I still think they were changed and remember, even if they try to forget, but I do know for sure that I have been changed. Maybe all this missionary service isn’t exactly what I was expecting or wanted, but I think it’s what I needed, and I am extremely grateful that the Lord loves me enough to give me these learning opportunities and really internalize my testimony of the Atonement. That’s what it’s all about, in the end. 

We are having fun, trying to be healthy, keep the house clean (I clean, at least) and help everyone! I hope everyone else out there is doing the same, and I am so proud of all of you! Thanks for your examples and prayers always.

Elder Brown 

During a Friday night meeting at the church, they were pretty sure the place was haunted. Here they are, looking for ghosts.

Zach loves Peruvian food!