Monday, April 25, 2016

Week #41--April 25, 2016

Good morning! We've had yet another great week!

Big news: Reatha is for sure getting baptized on the 14th! We scheduled the building and everything! This is my first experience doing all of the teaching of someone and seeing them baptized! It's super awesome. 
Our investigator Jeremy also agreed to be baptized on May 28th, and we're pumped about that too. 
About two weeks ago we had a really poorly delivered lesson with him. Multiple factors played into the bad lesson, but needless to say it was rough. The Spirit was not present, we were teaching something that had nothing to do with his needs... It was a wreck. 

That being said, after A LOT of repenting and preparation we returned again and taught him and ever since then the lessons we've had have been incredible! The spirit has guided us to speak what was necessary and the change in his life has been huge! That's a common factor with him and Reatha/Dan. All 3 keep talking about how happy they've been and what a difference they've seen in their life. 

Other than that however, we didn't get to do a ton of real missionary work. We did SOOOO much service. So many weeds, and we had to clean out this mother in law house for a member of the ward who is letting other people move into it. It was filthy. No one has been in it for like 10 years. But we got it looking pretty good.

We're in the war chapters as a mission in the Book of Mormon, so that's been fun. Something that has stood out to me in this reading is how the help of the Lord came. Rarely did the Lord just out of nowhere turn the tides of losing battles (Although he has). He doesn't destroy the Lamanites with pillars of fire. Rather, he gives revelation of preparation to Moroni. Whether it's preparation with armor, or building forts, Moroni remains faithful. At times he seeks guidance from leaders (such as Alma), but however he receives it, he puts preparation into play to protect from the ever attack Lamanites. 

Think about the implications for today! The Lord knew when the economic crisis was coming. Rather than sending manna from heaven during the crisis to keep the saints alive, the Prophets/Apostles commanded us to get Food Storage. The Lord know's that there will be times of crisis in our Testimony. When these times happen, it may be easy for us to look for a miracle, some grand sign to reaffirm our doubts. There are times when the Lord will answer these prayers, but I have found (at least in my experience) that ESPECIALLY in Testimony, he is a God of preparation, rather than a God of 'Parting the Red Sea when we feel we need it'. He asks us to read, pray, pay attention to small miracles and go to Church. Our testimony turns into conversion, and we find ourselves firmly planted on the Rock of Christ. 

So when people around us take the attitude of Zerahemnah: "Behold, we are not of your faith; we do not believe that it is God that has delivered us into your hands; but we believe that it is your cunning that has preserved you from our swords. Behold, it is your breastplates and your shields that have preserved you."  
We can take the attitude of Moroni: "But now, ye behold that the Lord is with us... And now I would that ye should understand that this is done unto us because of our religion and our faith in Christ. And now ye see that ye cannot destroy this our faith.

"Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith."
Well, I apologize that this was so long, but I love you all!
Church is true! 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week #40--April 18, 2016

Well it has been another incredible week! Our bishop came up to us this last Sunday and said something that really touched me. "You know Brown and Wedel, things just won't be the same when one of you leaves." That kind of comment is a bit uncharacteristic of Bishop, but it made us really happy. By far this has been my favorite ward to serve in, and I hope Elder Wedel and I stay here for 6 months! 

We were super blessed this week and found 5 new investigators in one day. We had an amazing District Meeting that morning, and the Sister missionaries suggested to the district tracting with the pamphlets and offering to give 30-60 second lessons right there on the doorstep. The 30 second lessons quickly turn into 5 to 10 to 15 minutes lessons. This approach did cause me to slip up once, and I ended up saying "Hi, we're sharing thirty to sexy lessons." Elder Wedel thought it was hilarious, and so did the guy. So he became a new investigator! So we tracted like that for 3-4 hours and saw such amazing blessings! We were so grateful, especially because we're such freaking clowns, holy cow. Grade A Goofballs 24/7.

We also had a super amazing experience. We had borrowed the car, and parked it aways from where we were planning on tracting because I insisted on walking to "get skinny", haha. As we started walking down the road, we began to argue as to which way to go, and which houses to knock, which resulted in us walking up and down a small stretch of road 3 or 4 times like turkeys. After a bit of this, a Less active from across the street waved us over. We had met with this man before, and I may have mentioned him, but he has lost all belief in God and firmly believes in Aliens, and is not all there mentally, and has become a Do Not Contact, so none of the members drop by anymore. This being understood, we were pretty worried that we were about to get anti-ed or preached too, but he just invited us into his garage and asked us to sit. 

With tears in his eyes he informed us that he'd been really struggling. He was struggling with withdrawals from his pain medication, and for the past few days had been in a miserable state. Finally, that morning, he decided to pray to a God that he wasn't sure was there asking for help. "A little voice in my head" (he said) "Told me to get a blessing from the Elders." He was too afraid to call, because of the rude things he had said to us last time we met him, so he ignored it. The voice continued all day to bother him, until finally he looked out his window, and what did he see? No, not popcorn popping on the apricot tree, but two elders walking back and forth looking for where they were supposed to be.

So we gave him a blessing, and I can honestly say I've never felt the spirit guide me so much while giving a blessing. The spirit was SO strong, and as we opened our eyes, we were all teared up and emotional. (well, I wasn't teared up but I was very emotional) He thanked us and we left. We were on a spiritual high for so long from that. It was so awesome. 

Church is true! 

I love you all so much!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week #39--April 11th

Well another transfer has come and gone Brothers and Sisters. Elder Wedel and I are the only Elders in the Zone staying together. So there's the good news! We will be together for another transfer. But everything else has changed, 3 areas whitewashed out and one of them was a complete close out. While this for sure is not a big deal for most people reading at home, it was a huge deal here! When I came to this zone there was this terrible reputation it had for being super lame and slow, and all transfer it felt like Elder Wedel and I and a few other missionaries were the only one's pumped about missionary work! But with so many changes and so many hard working missionaries coming into the zone it should be an exciting transfer!

A lot happened this week so I will try to sum it up fast

1) Dan and Reatha went out of town. Didn't get to see them at all after Teusday

2) Did service 3 days in a row for a less active with the sisters in the ward. We weeded a small section of his yard, and cleaned out his FILTHY mother in law apartment. That was a ton of fun! But super gross

3) We got permission to switch off having the car with the sisters. All missionaries who only have a car and don't bike: HOLY COW YOU HAVE IT SO NICE

4) We got a new Ward mission leader, who is (ironically) the guy who just got released as the 2nd counselor in the stake presidency. So him and Brother Kirby literally switched places! He's going to be awesome.

5) While driving yesterday, Elder Wedel let go of the steering wheel and began to sing "JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL". For about 3 miles I had to steer while he sang the 4 words he knew of that song, (He literally just knows those words in the title) until finally he slams on the breaks, parks the car and gets out in front of a random house. We knocked on it, the guy let us in, we taught him, he accepted to read the Book of Mormon and set up a return appointment. #WhereIsYourFaith

6) Elder Acox went home, which means Elder Wedel and Elder Golden are my only companions still on the mission, and they either go home with me or after me. 

7) Did a stake wide service project cleaning up trash in the desert. Found multiple teddy bears, a jar filled with feces, then Elder Wedel tried to discus throw a tire, tripped and fell on his face. Good freaking times. 
That's pretty much it. 

I just want to let you all know again that I know the church is true. I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that Christ is our Savior, and that through him we can reach Eternal Life. 

I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week #38--April 4th

What an awesome week! 

So we've got 2 investigators, a husband and a wife that are really progressing well. Dan and Reatha are their names and they're super awesome. We met with them 4 times this week, including watching General Conference with them. They were really touched and Reatha will be getting baptized in May it looks like! Dan is on the fence. He grew up in Utah, took the lessons, hung out with all members growing up before deciding to go his own way. Joined the Navy, worked in California, and didn't have anything else to do with the church.... until he moved next to our Bishop, haha. The spirit was so strong Sunday afternoon with them. They even invited some of their non member friends over to "Meet Dave and Derek" (He wont call us by our surnames, haha) and to "Watch some Mormon Conference" They were all touched by Elder Oaks and Elder Hollands remarks. Dan even said "It felt like that last guy was talking straight to me!" The spirit is so awesome!

We also last night were on the way home from a meeting with Brother Kirby (Now President Kirby I suppose) and saw a skate park that was empty. Naturally, our first instinct was to hit it up, and we did so. While this may seem like not the best thing for missionaries to do, and not the best thing for Elder Brown to do, due to the fact that he is accident prone, it turned out to be a miracle. 

After ten minutes of laughter, some people started walking around, calling for someone named Bubba. Some police came, and we asked what was going on and if there was anything we could do to help. Bubba was a mentally handicapped young man with a history of running away. He had last been seen 4 hours before and was gone. They had no idea where. For those of you who know the History behind my little brother Sam, also has a history of running away, you'll know that this hit close to home and there was nothing in Heaven or Hell that would prevent me from searching for that young man until curfew. We biked like crazy calling his name and searching every stretch of desert we could find. After about 30 minutes of this, and soon before we were to go inside, Elder and Wedel and I remembered that WE HADN'T PRAYED. 

Elder Wedel said: "HOLY COW! It's like we're not even missionaries! What do we tell people to do when they need something? Pray. Holy cow. Holy cow." So we prayed sincerely that he would be found soon and he would be safe. About 10-15 minutes later, we received the call that he was just found and was alright. 

It built my testimony that much more. If you consider the head ground he could have covered in 4 hours, and the fact that they had only been searching for him for about an hour, it makes the prayer and his being found a little less of a coincidence. "Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people... therefore, for this purpose have I come... that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith." 

A prayer with Faith can work miracles! Mighty miracles! Just look where a prayer of Faith got Joseph Smith, and in turn all of us who are members of the restored church. 

I love you all so much! And I'd love to hear your insights on Conference. My favorite talk was President Uchtdorf's on Sunday morning. 

I love you all so much!

Church is true!