Friday, August 21, 2015

The Weeks are Flying By

These weeks are literally by.

Tons of great stuff has gone down. We (the MTC choir) sang with the Nashville Tribute Band. If you've never heard of them, they are a LDS gospel band that sing about Jesus and Joseph Smith. They are a really talented group. Apparently a lady I used to live by has an ex-husband in the band. On Tuesday, the choir sang again for a devotional with Larry Echo Hawk, the first Native American member of the 70. When the men had our intro into the song we sang, the camera panned directly on me, and I realized that someone had stuck a spoon in my tie when I saw myself on the screen. So the whole MTC got a nice view of the idiot with a spoon in his tie. Hopefully it wasn't too noticeable. His talk was awesome though. He told a cool story of a mission that was in his area in the Philippines. He said that it was the highest baptizing mission in the church, and when he went to find out why, he discovered that everyone there was exactly obedient. That combined with literally every single RM telling me to be completely obedient, has made me think there must be some sort of pattern or lesson to be learned here...

We are finally diving into doctrine and teaching skills in class. The first few weeks were centered on Spanish so that we would be able to teach, and now we are learning how to teach. So we are all having really awesome revelations and insights into how to teach and the Spirit is really starting to blossom within us.

We have been doing a temple session every P-Day as a District. Going through the temple and doing a session as a missionary is so fantastic. The spirit is crazy in the celestial room when all us missionaries are there. There is just such a powerful spirit of love that is felt. Is so intense and amazing.

Anyway, my testing and knowledge of the gospel is growing so much stronger and stronger every day. Being forced to learn the basics to teach them to others makes one learn them and make deeper connections than they ever had before. I love it. I testify that this Gospel is true, and that nothing and nobody will be able to do anything to slow it or stop it. So we might as well be a part of it. I am so grateful I have the opportunity to be a part of it and help others to come unto Christ and receive eternal glory and eternal life with their families. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Brown

Moses 1:39

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Week 2!

Week 2!

Well, week 2 flew by so fast.

Week 1 took so long. But now it's as they say, every day is a week, and every week is a day. Things that happened on monday feel like forever ago, and thinking that Monday was 3 full days ago is ridiculous.

Our devotionals this week weren't nearly as cool as last week. Our Sunday speaker was the facilities manager here, and his talk seemed really rushed and last minute. On Tuesday Elder Grow of the 70 spoke. His talk was pretty good. He spoke a lot on his time as a mission president. I fell asleep for most of it though cuz the room was really warm and some cranky old guy wouldn't let us take our suit coats off. Speaking of cranky old guys, they seem to employ a lot of them here. Last Friday, an elder in my district, Elder Ostler, stuffed some napkins in my cup. When I went to put my tray on the conveyor belt for the kitchen staff to clean, some other cranky old guy started yelling at me. He was yelling stuff like "What do you think you're doing?! Why would you do something like that?!! No representative of Jesus Christ would ever try to pull a stunt like that!!!" There is also a cranky old guy that sometimes monitors the doors of the cafeteria, watching to see if someone tries to take food out of the cafeteria. There is a really obscure sign placed in the middle of the doors that no one looks at that says "No taking food out of the cafeteria." He has yelled at so many people, who then proceed to stuff whatever food they had in their hands in their mouths before he can grab it out of your hand. This morning, an elder from Japan who didn't speak English, was getting yelled at, but he didn't know that he was getting yelled at, or what the sign said. So the cranky old guy barreled through the crowd to get to him, and ripped the banana out of the elder's hand and yelled at him while waving it in his face. Haha these cranky old guys crack me up

We finally got our TRC investigator to commit to baptism. TRC is a training program that is designed to help missionaries prepare for the field. Our investigator, Hely, is from Guatemala. She is pretty old, I think in her sixties or so, and really short. Like maybe 5 foot nothing, if you round up. Every single lesson, we've had the spirit super strong, so I have invited her to be baptized. And every single time she had said something along the lines of "This is a really big step in my life, and I'll have to pray about it." Every single time. But yesterday, while my comp was talking, I felt the prompting that she would say yes if he invited her right then and there. So I said "Quiere invitarle?" "Do you want to invite her?" so he did. And after some brief persuasion, she said she would be baptized, but would need to talk to her husband about a date. The Spirit was pretty powerful. This week, we also started teaching members. That is so much harder than teaching investigators because we only know Spanish things to say to investigators. Members already know, and are harder to teach because the words are less basic that you use. 

Anyways, my testimony is growing so much stronger here, in ways I didn't even know they could. On the first day, a Sister going to Tahiti that had been here for 10 weeks bore her testimony to us on how the MTC has changed her life and how much she loves the food and that we shouldn't believe any negative things anyone tells us about the food. We all made fun of her later on, not to her face, but just joking around in the residence hall. Now I realized how right she was. Not about the food, but about the fact that it changes lives. My testimony has grown so much here, because it has forced me to focus on other people besides myself. "My Purpose" that we always recited in mission prep has so much more meaning now that I am here, than it did when we would recite it every week in mission prep. It goes "My Purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." That really is central to this whole deal, not just to missionary work, but to the Gospel and Church as a whole. I had thought it was just something to keep at the back of your mind, like the pledge of allegiance. But this is really something to focus on. It's legit.

I bear my testimony that this church is true, and that Joseph Smith really did see our eternal father, and his son, Jesus Christ as a 14 year old boy. We read the first 20 verses in JSH the other day in class and the Spirit bore really powerful witness that the events described really were true, and really did happen. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Brown

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Adventure Begins!

Provo MTC 49th Ward

They don't give us very long to email in the MTC, so I'm just gonna send these emails to family who's email I have, for now.

The food is gross here. The worst thing my mom every made is better than the best thing they've ever served here. At least they have a serving area that has gluten and dairy free foods. The food there is still nasty, but at least I won't die from asthma and stomach problems if I eat it, just stomach problems. The food hasn't really gotten to me yet. It messed with one Elder in my group so bad, he didn't poop for THREE DAYS STRAIGHT. And it infected another Elder's wisdom tooth whole and made his right cheek bigger than my right bicep, which is really saying something ;). The ice cream is good though. They bring it straight from the BYU Creamery every Wednesday and Fast Sunday, which was a nice way to break my fast.

There are 11 Elder's in my district, and no Sister's, which is nice. It would be really hard to focus on the Gospel and Spanish if we had Hermana's in the room. The temptation to flirt would be too strong. They are also all really loud, which can be really distracting. Anyway, out of our 11 Elder's, 10 of us are going to Argentina, 4 of us are going to Rosario, and the other 6 are going to Buenos Aires Norte. The other guy is a really coincidental story. He got called to Trinidad Port of Spain and English speaking. The day before we came, on Tuesday, he got a phone call and was told that a Spanish area opened up in his mission and that he's being reassigned to there. Then, when he got to the MTC, he was put with some Spanish speakers going stateside, who all ended up testing out of the beginning class and into the Advanced class, which is 12 days instead of 6 weeks. So they stuck him in our room.

Turns out, he is from Virginia, and his family is moving to Phoenix sometime in the next few weeks (Phoenix is really close to Gilbert), he has a sister in the Argentina Rosario mission right now, and he said he used to live in Aurora, Colorado. Prophets have said that there are no such things as coincidences, so I wonder what I am supposed to learn or gain from this.... There is another guy in my room who has the exact same personality as Spencer. They say and do the exact same things that the other would do in the same situation. My companion, Elder McCardell, is a quirky kid from San Diego who went to BYU for a year before the he came on  a mission. He said he studied computer sciences and worked as a mover during the summer.

On Sunday night, Sheri Dew was the guest speaker at our Sunday night devotional. She is a really good speaker, she's funny and insightful. If you don't know who she is, she wrote biographies for two prophets, I know one was Pres. Hinckley and I can't remember the other. On Tuesday, Pres. Nelson spoke to us. He is such a good guy. I was a part of the choir that sang for that devotional. It was a really neat opportunity cuz they broadcasted that to every MTC in the world. So that was awesome. I couldn't stay awake during his talk though. We had to wear our coats, it was really warm in the room, and I was super tired. So I kept nodding off. Something I did catch though, that apparently he said during his last devotional talk, was that the best two people to make friends with as a missionary, is the ward mission leader, and ward family history consultant.

After the devotional was over, when he was leaving, before he walked through the doors, he turned around, when in the middle of the crowd, past several really tall Elder's and spoke with an elderly woman who could not have been more than 5 feet tall. That really stood out to me as a good example of finding the one and listening to the spirit. There is no way he could have seen her at all, yet he followed the prompting of the spirit to go find her.

I tried to follow that example of following the spirit yesterday, and we connected with our investigators better than we did either day. We didn't follow either lesson plan we had made, but we connected so well. When we were teaching our TRC investigator, the lesson was kind of spiraling out of control, and neither myself, nor my companion, had any handle on what to do. So, while he was trying to answer her questions in a language he barely know's, after being asking questions about concepts we don't know how to explain in Spanish, I decided to say a prayer, and ask Heavenly Father what he wanted me to tell her to bring her to him. Then I got a clear impression to "Tell her that I love her." So I said, "Hely, no conocimos hablar bien en espanol. Pero, yo se que Dios le ama. Dios mucho mucho mucho le ama." Which roughly means, "Hely, we don't know how to speak good Spanish. But, I do know that God loves you. He really really really loves you." And she didn't stop balling after that. It was such a cool experience.

I know the gift of tongues is real. I know there is no possible way anyone in my district could have progressed as much as we have without the gift of tongues. I know the Gospel is true and that because God loves us, he gave us prophets to help guide us back to him. En el nombre de Jesucristo.

Elder Brown