Monday, March 28, 2016


So I know that title is a little weird for a missionary, but, don´t worry, I´m not getting super homesick or trunky or anything like that.

On Saturday, something amazing went down in the ward. A 55 year old couple got sealed!!! The Cabanilla´s. They have been members for about 3 or 4 years, and have about 10 kids, most of which are married, and all except 2 are inactive. They got sealed to the one of the two active kids (this son´s 12). They brought an amazing spirit to church the next day and bore powerful testimonies. It was really awesome to see. And what´s more, they are from Empalme, not Villa! So we have this awesome spirit in the little tiny town. I have definitely felt a change in spirit in these streets (call me crazy, but, it´s true), and people have been more willing to meet and talk with us.

I am also learning a lot about marraige. About the way I act when I am under a lot of stress and the person I am living with is also under a lot of stress. I am learning that just loving the other person really helps, and yeilding makes them like you more, makes you less prideful, and makes you feel better. I am certainly glad I am learning this on the mission with someone I´ll only be with for a few months, and not with my wife who I will be with forever. Never imagined I would learn lessons like this.

Also learning a little bit about parenting/ raising kids. Elder Dale G. Renlund said in his most recent conference talk that to effectively love and teach, we gotta look at people through a parents eyes. That is exactly what I have done with Juan José, and it has caused a lot of heartache, migraines, and taken up many, many study hours on both my and Elder Ostler´s part. I love that man. The third day I was here, Elder Bednar visited Buenos Aires and held a huge conference for all the missionaries in the area. During that, the spirit told me many, many times that Juan José is ready to get baptized. So we have worked super hard to make that happen. He was on date for the 5th of March, but, for reasons of life, it fell through. We kept working though. Later, he read some things on Google about Joseph Smith, and, one thing led to another, and now, he wants nothing to do with the Book of Mormon and will not listen to a single word we say about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon. He is, however, still reading the book Teachings of the President´s of the Church: Howard W. Hunter, so we hope he reads something in there that gets him going again. I really hope none of my kids ever stress me out like this guy does.

Painting Bishop´s roof

As is custom in Empalme, about 97% of our plans failed, this last week, and, so, on Friday morning, instead of walking around aimlessly knocking on doors or street contacting, we went to Bishop´s house to try to get a referral. We showed up, and he was painting his roof. We helped out, and, as a result, he is gonna cook us up some asado on Tuesday for Elder Ostler´s birthday (apparently, his asado is to die for). So we are pretty excited for that.

Our dog Spot
We went to visit a less active lady the other day, and her dog hasn´t stopped following us since. We call him Spot. Not sure why, it was just kind of an unspoken thought that we both had, that his name was to be Spot. Most dogs down here are super annoying and make me want to kick them, but, this dog is pretty cool. I like him.

The Jehova´s Witness´s contacted our pensh this week during weekly studies. The surprise on their faces was priceless when they discovered that they had contacted the Mormon missionaries. They quickly handed us a pamphlet and took off, a move I am all too familiar with.

Happy late Easter and don´t forget that conference is this weekend! Take advantage of being able to watch it literally with the mere push of a button! In many other parts of the world, that luxury does not exist.

Elder Brown

John 13:34-35

Monday, March 21, 2016

Keeping up the Faith

Awesome sister in the ward

Jesus Loves You, ALL NIGHT LONG

This week was kind of mundane. Actually, truth be told, it was a good week, just there wasn´t a whole lot that went down.

So, like I said, not a whole lot went down. The work has been really slow. Literally every single appointment we´d set up fell through. We have had to spend more time outside of Empalme than in, and, because of the cold, literally nobody is ever outside/ willing to talk to us. So it´s kinda dragged by.

We did have about 2 solid lessons though (one of which we dropped in at an unscheduled time so they wouldn´t know when to not be there). The first was with a less-active family. This family (Gutierrez is their last name) used to be a solid family, they fed missionaries, the sons went out with missionaries, gave tons of references, they were just a golden family. They were, that is, up until the Branch in Empalme closed down. We´ve met with the mom before, and she hasn´t progressed at all. We always leave just one verse for her to read, and she never reads it. This last time, however, we met her two oldest sons. They are total capos. They haven´t read the Book of Mormon in years, and were stoked when we left them something to read and invited them to church, like more stoked than a little kid that just got asked if he would eat a chocolate bar we were about to give him. It was really cool to see. Unfortunately, they didn´t show up at church. Next week we´re gonna stop by their house in the morning and try to motivate them to wake up and come.

The other was in a lunch appointment that we had with a family whose daughter recently returned from her mission in Brazil, but the father is less active because their son died a few years ago in a motorcycle wreck. He usually leaves at the end of the meal before we can share a spiritual thought, so, we whipped out our scriptures during the meal, while everyone was still eating, and had a super spiritual moment. The mother bore a powerful testimony of keeping the commandments, even though she was super stressed about her husband not being active. After the meal, they gave us HUGE chocolate eggs for Easter. The members here are awesome. They are few in number, but are all capos.

Haven´t been able to talk to Juan José more than 2 minutes at a time. He´s never at home when he say´s he will be, and won´t come to church, it´s not that he can´t, cuz we´ve offered to pay for him, it´s that he won´t. We have stopped by his house in the morning, but he won´t get out of bed. Member´s have stopped by to pick him up and drive him but same story. Dude worries me and stresses me out. I have never once in my life been really worried or stressed about anything at all, but this guy is gonna give me some gray hairs. I really hope my kids don´t worry and stress me out like this man does.

Long story short, this work is really, really hard and super tough. However, it is super rewarding and pays off a ton. I love it.

Elder Brown

John 17:3

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ray Ban´s and Building Houses

Our super cheap Ray Ban´s
Real pretty sunset

Making raisins with our old grapes! We´ll see how well they turn out!
Horse that stopped by our pensh and left me a birthday present on our porch ;)

Laying bricks

So Empalme is a really different place. When I was in Casilda, I thought I got that small-town missionary game down perfectly. I was wrong. Empalme is so much smaller, and way different. I don´t know if I´ve talked about the siesta before, but, it´s basically national nap time. In Casilda, most people sleep from 2-4:30ish, but there is almost always someone outside you can talk to, and people are out in the streets all morning. In Empalme, people are outside (or inside and willing to talk) for like 3 1/2 hours a day, which makes missionary work really, really ineffective and super slow. Our effective hours are: 10:15-11:30 a.m. and 6-8:15 p.m. These people take their daytime sleep very seriously. I like it a lot, I would totally down to be live in an area like this. But, it just makes missionary work really slow and ineffective pretty much all day. Also, I feel like we are always on the bus going from city to city. I´m not even district or zone leader, and we have to leave our town, not just the area, the whole town, about 5 or so times a week.

Things are going great though. Even though it´s tough, I´m loving this place. Pretty much everyone we do talk to is super nice and willingly to talk for a few minutes in the street. The people are hilarious. The few members are awesome. One family in particular, family Cabanilla, is prolly the best family a missionary could ask for in his/ her area. They feed us every week. The husband always invites himself to go out and do visits with us (which is especially nice cuz he has a car, which definitely beats walking). And they bought me a tie pin of Argentina for my birthday. That was really sweet and awesome of them. Also, we have really proactive mission leader´s, both from the ward and the stake. Always ask us when they can come visit certain less active member´s or investigators with us. It´s way sweet.

So we found some super sweet Ray Ban´s for 100 pesos (like 8 bucks). Pretty sure they´re fake, but they look real and are pretty nice. So, naturally, we each grabbed a pair. Now we got two pairs.

So Juan José Pilotto is totally changing my mission. This guy is really awesome, but worries us a ton. He made a ton of changes in his life, and stopped drinking and smoking cold turkey, and kept at it real well for about a month. About a week and a half ago, he messed up. We had a real great talk with him that day, and the spirit was super strong. Then, after that, he dropped off the map. He wasn´t at home when he said he would be, and when he was home (when we dropped by at unscheduled times) he wouldn´t get out of bed to talk to us. So, we were really worried he had been going to another town or city to drink. So, we decided we needed to do an intervention (that´s prolly the first time I´ve ever used that word other than to quote Nemo). So, we left the pensh early, and went to one of the farthest out bustops in Empalme, and got on and off every single bus that passed by, and asked the same question that we already knew the answer to "is this bus going Rosario?" the answer "No you have to catch a bus going the other way." The idea was, if JJP was on that bus, we would just buy a ticket anyways and ride with him until the last stop in Empalme, and try to convince him to get off with us there. I don´t think I´ve ever felt dummer in my missionary life than I did getting on about 10 or 15 busses asking the same question, getting the same answer, and getting off and facing the same people who had heard our previous attempts. Luckily, we didn´t see him on any bus. And ended up being able to talk to him later that night. It was a good talk.

We spent about 4 hours organizing our area book. I found out it was a complete disaster the other week, so, this week, we bought some things we needed to organize it, and then spent four hours organizing it. Hopefully it saves time in the future and someone can get baptized because of it.

On Friday we helped a less active guy build his house. It was pretty cool of him to let us lay the bricks. Most people we help don´t even trust us to make the cement mix, just enough to move the bricks. Laying bricks was pretty copado.

Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Brown

Matthew 22:36-38

Monday, March 7, 2016

happy birthday to me, happy birthday tome

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me!

Well, technically my birthday is tomorrow, but, I can´t do anything tomorrow, but I can today on P-Day.

So Elder Ostler is a pretty cool guy. We get along really well. He literally has the exact same personality as my brother Zach, even more so than Elder Yaques did. He has the same sense of humor as Zach and has the same quirks as Zach does. It´s really weird sometimes how much he reminds me of him.

This week has flown by and been filled with stuff to do. Unfortunately, don´t have a ton of time to write about most of what happened. Guess I´ll just write the more significant things.

Juan José is such a capo. He has his baptismal interview next week and we are SUPER stoked! Seeing the changes the gospel and atonement have brought to this man´s life are really inspiring. At some points in my life, I have felt like it might be better to be born without the Gospel to be able to sin in ignorance and not have as high of a penalty of sin. Juan José is really opening my eyes up as to why those thoughts are so wrong. The stories he has told us of his life, and all the pain he has felt from sin, make me way grateful to have had the gospel all my life. Even though living the Gospel is a harder and higher lifestyle, it definitely is worth it, and I have seen firsthand why.

I got sick on Tuesday, just as we started division´s with our District Leader in Villa Constitución (the city where we have to go for literally everything, church, shopping, email´s, etc.). Then it started raining, and I didn´t have my rain jacket (I had my umbrella but it was way to windy to pull that out). So I was miserable and pretty out of it, not really feeling like sharing the Gospel. Then I noticed how my attitude was affecting the level of my effectiveness, and I felt bad for letting that affect my attitude and letting it drag me down. So on Wednesday after we got back from division´s, and before Elder Ostler and I went out to work, I asked him for a blessing so I could feel better and thus be able to focus better and work harder. I thought Heavenly Father would drop the cane during the blessing and tell me to get my head out of the clouds. Luckily, and very gratefully, his ways and thoughts are nowhere close to my ways and thoughts. Literally as soon as Elder Ostler said "Scott", I felt a huge wave of love just crash into me, and it didn´t stop coming during the whole blessing. It was amazing. I know that God loves us a ton. Like more than we can imagine. I am so grateful for these two years I have to be able to share this love with everyone down here. If any of you ever have doubts as to whether or not you really have a Father in Heaven who really loves you and knows who you are, I am here to tell you the answer, straight, clear, and simple: You do. He loves us a ton. I honestly can´t find words eloquent or big enough to come close to describing the love I felt, nor do I think such words exist. It´s truly amazing.

Anyway´s, that´s about it for this week. Have a good one!

Elder Brown

John 3:16