Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014

Hello everyone!

It has been a great cambio. There are just sometimes in the mission where you feel forgotten, where you feel even though you are working hard and doing your best, nothing happens, nothing results, no one sees your efforts, no one cares. I felt a little like that. After just working real hard for so long in Chiguayante with nothing, finally seeing MIRACLES and getting changed two days after, it was like, what the heck, this is a bummer. But then I get to Chillan. 

Let me tell you about Chillan. This sector is huge. It has about 180 members that assist weekly. Sometimes like 220. The bishop has been stake president, he loves missionary work, and just lets us do our thin. We have a ward mission leader that was in the stake presidency before, he is unreal, gets stuff done. The members love us. They give us delicious food without forcing it down our throats. We are in centro, it’s fall, there are beautiful trees everywhere changing colors, our zone is full of great missionaries that are working hard, two sister missionaries that are working hard as well, and things are just in place to go crazy and find families! 

That’s just talking about Chillan. Now let’s talk about my companion. Elder H, who is from Washington, is a stud. His family is Mexican, he is a convert, teaches really well, chill but super fun, kind of reminds me of Jason L. He has no problem talking with lots of people in the street, he is willing to run with me, and we have even been going to the gym. It’s been like 2 years since I’ve done that!!! So I’m really happy to be with him; his last two companions have both left this sector as assistants, and they are just super buena Honda, these guys. So we are looking to have some fun this cambio.

Also, Chillan is famous for this market it has---every single Chilean souvenir that I have ever wanted to buy (but never done it because I didn’t want to carry it around and stuff) is here. In abundance. Cool hats, jerseys, spurs, yugos, ponchos, posters of Felipe Camiroaga, etc. If you don’t know who Felipe Camiroaga is, you’re going to have to look it up. But he is the most interesting Chilean man in the world. 

We also had a baptism this week, of F; she is a good joven that her grandma brought into the church, and she has two sisters that are going to be baptized next week. I love the members here; we are getting to know them better, and want to help them do their missionary work that they want to do, too! Missionary work is just the key to success. Brings such a strong testimony. I love it so much. 

Well, keep praying for us, we are excited for another week in Dieciocho A, Chillan Ñuble--that’s our sector and our zone. Go us. 

Tomorrow we have to head down to Conce for a consejo, and next week, on Sunday, I hear its Mother’s day or something, so get that Skype account ready. Ay oh.

Have a great week!
Elder Brown

After 21 months, who knew how absolutely thrilled McDonald's could be?!

AWESOME Chillan Ward!

With his "son" and "nephew"--great to get the fam back together again, even if it's for flu shots.

Terrific Chillan Ward members

With his terrific new companion, Elder H

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014

Hello, Everyone!

Well, it’s been another eventful week on the mission front. As Dad says, Chile is on fire, and not just the spiritual kind. Valparaiso has been burning since Saturday; hopefully it’s out by now but we still haven’t heard. Last time we heard, over 3000 people had lost their homes, and there were at least 11 dead with a lot more missing. Very sad. Yesterday at church, they were talking a lot about it, how in the temple this weekend they had been there with another ward from that area. It reminded me of the talk a few conferences ago about the people of Mexico losing all their crops in a freeze and still being there to work in the temple. It’s always a testimony builder to see those good examples of consecration, and know that even with all the terrible stuff that goes down in the world there is still a lot of good out there... and it’s worth fighting for! --Samwise Gamgee.

We also had interviews this week. We then had lunch with President in the mission home, which I’ve never done before, we ate tacos (which never happens), and an apple cake that was amazingly flavorful and American. So that was fun. 

And, in other news, we had a good run in with the Chilean police detective force. Apparently, if you don’t change your address in their records within thirty days after changing addresses it’s a legal infraction. Welp, now we know. It wasn’t just me, it was a bunch of missionaries, but I guess that’s what I get for not following the details with exactness of what the office elders say to do. Ah, well. Unfortunately, it sounds like all the lawyers and all this stuff had to get involved and we are going to see what that means--it didn’t seem like a big deal when we went in--the detective I talked to had already talked with tons of missionaries, has a Book of Mormon on his desk and a photo of the temple on his screen.

We have been working hard in our sector to just find some new people to teach; we have been talking with tons of people, knocking doors, getting our members involved, and little by little we are starting to see some possibilities. We have transfers this week, and it’s more than likely that I leave Chiguayante. But I want to make sure that I leave everything here hopefully MUCH better than I found it, and make sure Elder G is good to go here.

This morning we had to get up super early to go look for H’s dad in the bus terminal and bring him to the house. He has Alzheimer’s and was getting in from Puerto Montt and no one else could go look for him. Good thing we are called to serve.

It’s been a fun week. It’s starting to get cold and rain more here, but that’s just the way it goes! Can’t always be blue skies or we would never really appreciate it!

Have a great week!
Elder Brown

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 7, 2014

April 7, 2014

Hello, Everyone!

Wasn’t General Conference the BEST! I think one of the huge wins of the mission is how much you gain an appreciation for General Conference. It is like a mix of a huge movie coming out, or Duke in the finals of March Madness (a dream that will be completed next year, right?). So awesome. We were able to watch it in English as well, so that was great. We were able to really learn a lot of great things to apply in the whole zone, but I think personally I learned a lot of good stuff as well. We all have perfecting to do but, as we were reminded in the conference, it’s all about love and being, not just talking it up and being hollow.

Something I was thinking about was the difference between the Spirit I have felt during General Conference while on my mission as opposed to before my mission. And I think it comes down to two basic reasons that are super important.

1. In the mission, we are more spiritually prepared to receive revelation. We give more importance to the talks, we honestly treasure them, we seek to apply them, and, because the Lord sees all that, he blesses us with more of his Spirit and a higher capability to apply. We also are studying daily, deeply, have lots of prayer during the day, and see tiny miracles in all we do. And, after more than a year and a half of being a missionary, I feel like my spiritual appreciation, power, potential, and capacity have grown a ton. After a weekend like that, ya just gotta feel like you need to share it with all the world, and now I feel like I have at least a part of the know how to start!

2. In the mission, we have our priorities straight. There aren’t other activities, practices, games, shows, etc, that call for our attention and make watching conference a ´sacrifice` and pull our attention away from the talks, make us only listen with half our hearts, or not even listen at all. It’s nice reading the talks after, but the Spirit is special seeing the conference given tal cual. It’s easy in the mission--in fact, the conference is almost like a little break where we are protected by all the hard things of our sectors and just spiritually fed. But how much harder is it to really appreciate conference when we have fifty other responsibilities calling for our attention?

I was thinking about these two things a lot, and thinking about how I am going to keep applying them after my mission. Now is the time to obey with exactness and build my testimony of these things, because after there are new temptations, distractions, and it’s so easy to lose the clear perspective we are blessed with as set apart servants of the Lord. So I am going to apply these things now, and after, and may we all do the same! 

I also liked something that Brother Dallstrom said, that even though we may think we are ´just this way` we should never think that we cannot change. We can’t give up on ourselves, we need to improve. We need to leave our pride, our lack of love, kindness, patience, and forgiveness, and each day BE better, because in the end, it’s our character that will be measured. "The soul that rises with us, our life´s star," as Wordsworth says.

Just some thoughts. We had a fun zone activity today, ate empanadas and hiked a hill. We are working to find some great investigators, and feeling frustrated for the lack of progression in others! Pray for us!
I love you all! Thanks for all your examples and prayers!

Elder Brown

Eating empanadas at a zone activity, then playing pelotes

After hiking the Chiguayante hill--holding the national flower of Chile, which he did NOT pick, because that would be illegal. It happened to have fallen off its plant, so he brought it home.