Monday, June 27, 2016


Almost got eaten alive yesterday.

We  were knocking on doors looking for a referral that didn´t have a super clear address, and one guy that answered said "Voce fala portugues?" If you don´t speak portuguese, you have about as much of an idea of what that says as I did when I heard that. Then he came out and told us that we needed to stop bugging people so late because at that time people start going to bed (it was 6:30 pm, some people wake up from the siesta at that time, and nobody goes to bed until 11, at least). Then he asked us if we like dogs, Elder Sanchez said that he does, and I said that I´m allergic. He went off on me for about 5 min on how that´s not possible because we are all "sons and daughters of God, dogs included". Then asked if we wanted to see his dog that has been trained to kill. I opened by mouth to politely decline, repeating that I am allergic to dogs, when Elder Sanchez, who wants to be a cop, said yes. So, we went in.

He said we would be fine if we were with him. Not true. That German Sheppard was insane. It was fine with my comp, but, apparently I was wearing a jacket that looked just the the jackets the cops wear to train the dogs and they train the dogs to wreck the guy in those jackets. I thought my life was over. The guy kept trying to get me to put my hand by it´s mouth, by the little devil kept trying to bite my hand. So I wasn´t having any of that. But, he had my hand in his, and put it by the dogs face, and the dog was growling at it. Finally, he put the dog in the garage. (Un)fortunately, the guy wanted nothing to do with the church so we won´t be going back to that house.

I have learned alot about happiness this week. I learned that to make other people happy, I´ve gotta be happy first to be able to make them happy. I´ve been focusing on the making others happy part and skipping over trying to be happy myself for all my mission. I have noticed during this last week that I like being happy. And when I am happy, it´s WAY easier to make everyone else happy too.

THE GUTIÉRREZ FAMILY WENT TO CHURCH!!! César is on date to get baptized the 16 of July, and transfers are the 10th. So, I hope I don´t get transferred cuz I really wanna see this kid get baptized. He is SUCH  a stud! He reads all the assignments from the Book of Mormon that we leave him and prays every day! And, he´s 10! I might have prayed once a week when I was 10. And read the Book of Mormon even less than that. This kid is definitely an example for me, and I hope my little siblings and cousins and all that read this follow this kid´s example. I´m so stoked for this kid!

Elder Brown

Ether 12:6

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Wacky Week

Gluten free banana bread!
This week was pretty nuts.

So we finally saw progress with the Villegas family, and we had set up a time to stop by on Wednesday to meet up with the kids that understand and can remember. When we went on Wednesday, there was a HUGE crowd gathered around their house, and a bunch of cops. Their less active neighbor waved us over, and told us to not go over for about a week or so. Apparently, Bro. Villegas´ nephew assaulted a 9 year old girl, and then came to Empalme and hid out in their house, and the cops found him. They were chilling outside waiting for order to break in and take him. Griselda was going nuts the whole time cuz she didn´t want her nephew going to jail. Since then, he has been thrown in jail and stabbed and beat up by the inmates. So, we are going to give them some time for things to calm down a bit before we go back.

On Sunday on our way home from church, we saw another huge crowd, this time near our pensh. There were a few women crying and a lot of people were on the phone and whatnot. We didn´t understand a lot of what was said, but, we did make out the word "gunshots" several times.

Sunday evening, all our plans failed. So, we decided to go visit a less active guy who lives in a neighborhood that is really unproductive. On our way, I saw a lady standing by her front window, and shouting from inside. I thought maybe it was joking until I saw the lights flipping on and off, and saw a man inside hitting the walls. She booked it out of her house holding her 1 year old daughter, closely followed by her husband. She booked it to our side of the street, and he jumped in the car, and peeled out. When he turned, he lost control for going too fast on a dirt road and almost flipped. He ended up facing his wife, and gunned it, right at her. She sprinted as fast as she could to get out of the way, and did. He peeled out of the neighborhood. She ran back in her house. We went over to see if there was something we could do to help out. We shared a scripture, and found out her name is Mauru and her daughter´s name is Angelina (pronounced how and English speaker would say it). We are going back tomorrow (wednesday) to try to teach and help her out.

This week I have felt the spirit really strong, and, aside from these crazy events, we have seen a lot of progress here in Empalme, and we hope it continues.

Elder Brown

Alma 37:35

Hace frío

The Carovana´s, one of the sweetest families I´ve ever met
So it´s pretty cold. Elder Sanchez and I had to buy gloves (and yes, they do match), and as my parents know, I hate gloves. So, for me to buy gloves, not just wear them, it would have to very cold, and it is. I guess it´s not the actual temperature that´s that cold, it´s the humidity. The humidity makes it just downright impossible to get and stay warm.

Fixing our shower box

So, the prospect of Domingo getting baptized is pretty bleak. The lady who takes care of him got mad at a member. We went over saturday morning with a member so Domingo could have a friend in the church that would support him. When we knocked on the door, the his nurse answered. We asked if he was there. She said, "No, he´s not here." later, "He´s sleeping." later, "He´s about to go with me to San Nicolás" (San Nicolás is a nearby city, about an hour or so by bus). So, the member asked which it was, whether he was getting ready to leave, sleeping, or simply not there, and she flipped out. She started insulting him and threatning to call the police (he´s the chief of police, hehe jokes on her) and whatnot. So, we left. Empalme is a small town, so everybody knows everything about everybody. Our member being the cheif of police, and us being in a small town, he literally knows EVERYTHING about EVERYBODY. He told us she is a drugaddict and basically steals Domingo´s money and is trying to sell his house so she can have more money. We also have to get her permission to baptize Domingo, so, it´s not looking like he´s gonna get baptized. Hopefully she softens her heart. Maybe we´ll just fast again.

Sorry for the depressing start. Other than the cold weather and cold hearts, things are going pretty well.

A fancy restaurant, with Coke
We had a sweet lesson with the Gutiérrez family. Our ward mission leader told us he wanted to go with us to visit them. So we did. On Friday they went to visit them with us, and we have a beast lesson. Bro. Gutiérrez is Catholic, and doesn´t want to change. Our WML was Catholic, and they hit it off. They are pretty good friends now and chat on Facebook and WhatsApp (basically a group chat/ texting app). So it went pretty well. We hope to baptize the 10 year old son, César, on the 9 of July.

Banana bread!
We pretty regularly stop by the Villegas family twice a week in the morning, and we´ve kinda felt like we´ve been running into a brick wall with them. I love them, but, they are not very intelligent. We literally repeat the same three words with them 5 or 6 times, and when we ask them what the words are, they say ".....Me mataste" which, literally, is "You killed me" which basically just means "I have no clue". But, on Sunday, we were able to talk a little bit to their 15 year old son, Rodrigo, and their 9 year old daughter, Morena. They are more intelligent. They pass their classes, they remember what we teach, and all that good stuff. We haven´t taught them in over a month (cuz they´re usually at school when we stop by), and they still remember what we taught the last time we went there. Rodrigo asked us to stop by on Wednesday at 3 in the afternoon when he´ll be there, even though that´s during the siesta. He´s willing to give up his nap time to talk with us. We hope to baptize him either the 9 or the 16 of July. We´ll see how he progresses.

The Villegas family is really teaching me a lot. They are suuuuuper poor. They literally can´t afford a heater. For their heat, they make a fire in a barrell in their "living" room. When we stopped by on Thursday, we ran into a social worker that helps them out. She asked if they had bought shampoo. She taught them how to use it right to properly wash a little kids hair (some of you may think "Is there really a proper way?" the answer is: no. according to the social worker, you get their hair wet, rub the shampoo in the hair, and then rinse, really simple). This family is making me really grateful for all the things I´ve always had that I never knew I did.

Those are just a few of the awesome things going on here. I honestly love this work and happy to be a part of it!

Elder Brown

Alma 5:27-28

Monday, June 6, 2016

Baptisms a-coming (hopefully)

We have a few people who may or may not be getting baptized in the next few weeks. I´m pretty excited.

Jorge Villegas: A capo that just turned 18. He goes to church and to soccer on Tuesday nights. He wants to get baptized this month. He doesn´t know how to read, so it´s a little complicated trying to help him get to the point of being ready for baptism. He´s a capo though and definitely showing me that these fun activities are really helpful in the work of the Salvation of Souls.

Domingo Montero: Oldish man who was a professional swimmer (technically still is, but he´s old and just competes with other old people). He say´s he got baptized in another province, but we haven´t been able to find any record of his baptism, so, we might be getting a free baptism if nothing gets found :).

César Gutiérrez: 10 year-old son of Sis. Gutiérrez. He reads the Book of Mormon and prays and does all the daily stuff. He hasn´t gone to church yet though cuz his parents don´t. And, as a 10 year old that lives in a different city as the church, it´s kinda tough to make that trip without your parents. We would go with him, but, even though we are super tight with the family, it´s hard for parents to give two kids that are 19 and 20 that aren´t related to you permission to take your 10 year old to another city for a few hours. So prayers for him would be greatly appreciated.

Anyways, it´s all good down here. Really, really cold. I know the number of the temperature isn´t super low, but, the humidity makes it impossible to get warm.

Elder Brown

Moroni 10:3-5