Monday, September 30, 2013

Starbursts and Tithing

This week we taught M______ about the law of tithing and fast offerings. We used starbursts as an example. We gave her ten and told her to pay her tithing if she was willing. She gave us one starburst back. We then tossed a whole package of starbursts (one of the big packs with like 50 or so candies) into her lap and said that God will always pour her out a blessing, so large that she won't have enough room to receive it. It worked out perfectly, because her mother had just fed us an amazing meal, and I don't think any of us had room left to receive starbursts or anything else! We committed her to live the law of tithing and the law of the fast and she accepted! I don't know if I mentioned it last time, but she has a baptismal date set for the 12th of October! We might change the date to the 19th because the 12th is stake conference so it might not work on the 12th very well.
Elder Brown eating tacos

I love apples, and I am jealous of all of the tasties you guys are having. I don't miss American chocolate though. The chocolate here is soooooooooooooo much better! When I get back I am going to miss it! You know Cadbury, like the Easter egg chocolate? It is the most common brand here! Imagine if they replaced all of heresy's and nestle with Cadbury. that is what it is like! EPIC right? 
I am going to be quite fat when I get back.  I have been fed so well that I don't know what to do with all the food! I don't know if I told you guys yet, but when I weighed at home I was about 172 , and when I weighed on my last day at the MTC I was like 184! LOL I haven't weighed since, because we don't have a scale, but hopefully all of the walking has helped me go back down a bit.
Eating with Zone leaders
 Elder Mannucci is pretty funny! I was reading back in the beginning of my journal, from when I first got into the field. The only thing I wrote about elder Mannucci that first day was that he is Italian, and he laughs a lot! He has been out about 17 months. I don't know how I lucked out. The ward here is amazing, I get to go on exchange all of the time, because my companion is the District Leader. I get to work with the ZL's because they are in the same ward, we are getting new elders in our ward on Oct. 2, so we will soon have six in the same ward! It is so awesome! Also we have Dinner Appointments nearly everyday, and sometimes we have one for lunch and dinner on the same day as well. This is the best area ever!
Elder Mannucci (district leader) and Elder Brown and other district leaders
Elder Mannucci has one brother and one sister. his bro is like 21ish and his sister is 4. Elder Mannucci is like 22. He is from La Spezia, which is pretty close to Pisa and its famous tower! 
His brother went to the branch president to talk about going on a mission. But his branch president said he is not needed because there are already so many missionaries serving. We were all shocked and pretty upset about it. We are going to call our mission president, and we know that because our mission pres. is awesome, he will most likely call that branch president and see what he can do. The Lord needs everyone he can get, and no worthy young man should be denied the opportunity to serve the lord!
I have had some crazy dreams, somehow here and home meld together and become one. The possibilities become endless when you have two different areas, and cultures coming together in one strange situation. I have seen so many weird things that I would still be typing at the second coming if I were to tell you all of them! It suffices to say that some people don't understand, and when we offer to explain they refuse to listen. I love knocking doors! THAT IS NOT SARCASTIC! It is so much fun! I love getting doors slammed in my face, and seeing how people react. They are like little children, its hilarious!
The pictures are of me and this statue outside of the library here! Elder Mannucci just thought of the idea of making a picture with us taking a BofM out of the wall next to the statue, so maybe there will be more sometime!
On Tuesday this week we stopped a guy in the street at about 8:20 at night. His name is B___ We talked with him for about 10-15 minutes in the street! That doesn't happen often. We gave him a chapel card, and he gave us his card with his address and phone number! He seemed pretty interested, but so do a lot of people who we never see again. Well this Sunday was fast Sunday, and I fasted that we might be able to find new investigators who will be committed, because recently most of our investigators, and potential investigators have been hard to get a hold of, or they never give us an exact time for an appointment, and they just haven't been very committed. Well, that man, B___ came to church at 12:30 on Sunday, and we gave him a tour while everyone was in their classes! We talked about the restoration, and the BofM. We gave him a copy of the BofM and he seemed pretty excited. He has read tons of religious texts as well as the bible, and he has always enjoyed them, but he has no clue what is about to hit him.......MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! He is going to be slapped in the face by the spirit, and he is going to finally find the truth that he didn't realize he was searching for. At least that is what we hope. I think that he is going to be a good investigator, because he kept telling us that he really wants to meet us again soon! 
I love you guys, and I can't wait to hear from you again.
PS: I am super excited about General Conference, and I don't know why, but for some reason I have a feeling that something big is going to be announced, or that something huge is going to be mentioned, or hinted at. I don't really know. It is probably just me getting all excited because I haven't been so eager to hear what the general authorities have to say in well....forever. I can't wait, and I know that it is going to be really good!
Elder Mannucci and Elder Brown
Dailen and Zone leaders

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Oh how I miss the taste of pumpkin!

Oh how I miss the taste of pumpkin! The sweetness of that squash like deliciousness formed into the art of a delicious pie! Gahh... they don't eat pumpkin over here! they don't think it tastes good, instead they have Christmas pudding, which is basically the nastiest excuse for a chocolate cake that is more raisins than anything else! But that is ok, I don't mind at all! I like raisins, yes I do! (I am trying to convince myself!)
When working with less actives, Don't get too upset when things don't work out, that is something that I have had too learn. It just makes you want to do less, and it makes everything worse. Remember that prayers are answered, but it is done on the Lord's timing, not ours!
One of the members have a dog. The dogs name is ringo and she is obsessed with shadows, so we always hold our hands out and watch her go nuts!
As for M_____ our 14 year old investigator, she is doing.........great!!!!! We extended a Baptismal date last night for the 12 of October and she accepted! We are super happy! As for exercising, I have been doing push-ups, sit ups, planks, lifting weights, and a lot of walking! Walking doesn't make me tired, but my shins hate me sometimes! 
I have used my umbrella, but it hasn't been bad. We are going to have a few weeks of hot weather soon, according to the weather reporters! I am not missing the frost you have back at home at all!
A month to me feels like one flippin' day! How can one week go by so fast! It feels like just yesterday I was e-mailing you! 
hahahahaha try to read that one in under a minute! I will also have the same companion for at least 7 weeks or so because he is training me, but after that who knows. He is the district leader here and he has been here for about 9 weeks now. He says that he tends to stay in one area for a long time, his last area he was there for 8 months!
I miss you all, the work is going slow right now, but we are hoping it will pick up soon, and we are going to do our best to make sure that it does! I am thinking at least one baptism a month for this ward will be good.We have two so far set up for October, and we are hoping to pick up some new investigators soon.
The 2nd of October we will have 6 missionaries in the same ward! We finally got a ward mission leader. There hasn't been one in this ward for nearly three months! We can't wait to work with him, because he knows a lot of the members, including many of the 300 or so less-actives we have in the ward!
This is a picture of my companions English smile

This is one of my favorite street names
My trainer's Trainer, My trainer Elder Manucci, and Me
 This last picture is of me, my father (my trainer), and my granddaddy (my trainer's trainer). They do this whole posterity thing her in the mission field. Your trainer is your dad, his trainer is his dad and your grandpa, anyone you train is your son, etc. And when your companion goes home, it means you killed him. I have two brothers, and I am an uncle, I think, and I probably have a few uncles as well. my grandpa is dead, but I got to meet him because he came and visited (even though I am pretty sure it isn't allowed! I don't know). It can get confusing, but it is a really fun way to refer to people!  
I love and miss you!
Elder Brown, the consumer of raisins, and the one who misses all things of American taste! LoL JK   

Monday, September 16, 2013

5 weeks in England

 We are teaching a 14 year-old girl named M______ and her mother has had her named removed from the church, and is working to come back. Her mother, T_____, wants to be an example to her daughter, and she is doing a great job. M______ only has a few lessons left, and she knows that the church is true, but she hasn't committed to a date. Last night, we showed her the testimony of the Book of Mormon by Elder Holland. She hasn't gotten far into the BofM, but she has a testimony of it. We asked her the baptismal questions (without telling her what we were doing), and she did great. She wants to watch general conference before she can say she believes that President Monson is a prophet, but she believes that God would still call prophets today. She also said that she wants to have all of the lessons before she gets baptized so that she doesn't do something bad without knowing it. I literally laughed at that, and explained to her that that is a good thing because we aren't allowed to baptize her until she has had them all! She laughed and was like, "oh, ok, that makes sense!" I then explained why we set baptismal dates with people early on, and that it is a goal for the investigator to work toward. I told her that she doesn't have to feel ready to get baptized for us to set a date, but that she should feel confident that she will be ready by the date we set. I then told her that Elder Mannucci and I were going to pray about it and I asked her if it was ok if we could set a date the next time we taught her. She said that it was ok. I expressed to her that we want her to feel comfortable, and that we don't want to rush into anything, but that we also feel confident hat she will be ready after general conference which is the first weekend in October. I think that she feels much more comfortable now that she understands a little more. We also picked up a new investigator through a member. We ate dinner with the member, Kathia, and her friend, T_____. She asked us about why we don't drink coffee or wine, etc. So Elder Mannucci and I taught her the word of wisdom lesson, and committed her to live it. She came to church on Sunday, which was awesome. It is not very often when you teach a commandment as your first lesson. It is usually the Restoration or the Plan of Salvation. So it was a little weird, but the spirit was there, and Kathia, the member was a huge strength, and it was the first time that Elder Mannucci and I had taught in nearly perfect unity, which was funny, because it is also one of the few lessons that we haven't practiced teaching together. Tania, the investigator seemed to understand quite well, and she expressed that she thinks she could live it pretty easily! We are going to teach her at Kathia's house again on Saturday, and Kathia has invited another friend who has expressed interest in the gospel as well. Kathia is a GOLD MINE! She is also the one who introduced us to the Spanish family that I talked about previously. And the best part about it is that she has only been a member for a few years, and she can't speak English extremely well, but that doesn't stop her! Working with members is the best way to do missionary work, so keep it up! You don't know how much the missionaries will appreciate it!
We are also teaching an Excommunicated member. He is probably in his sixties, and his name is J____. He has had all of the missionary lessons multiple times, and he knows everything is true. He is one of the most active people in the ward, and he isn't even Baptized! He just has to work with the bishop and stake president, but the bishop told us he will be ready soon, and that we should just continue to teach and strengthen him. He is one of my favorites because he used to work in a bakery, and every time we visit, he bakes us an amazing cake!
Jaren  keep up on the piano. Don't ever give it up! I seriously regret it because so many missionaries in the MTC were really good, and one of my zone leaders, Elder Fingerle, from Germany is really good. Every time I hear someone playing I want to play, but I am not very good. I still know the basics, and have been getting better. We also have a guitar in our flat, and we play it while waiting for food to cook! I knew some of the basics for guitar from watching tutorials this summer, and I am picking it up better as well! But that is not why I am here, so I don't spend a lot of time on it, only when we have a little free time while cooking lunch etc.
So elder Mannucci made this Italian desert, called tiramisu, for district meeting on Wednesday. He wanted to do something special, because he felt like it was a disgrace to have tiramisu without a specific reason. So, he told everyone, including me that it was Elder Fingerle's b-day on that Wednesday. The sisters in our district actually bought him a present and I brought the party poppers that I got from a member on my b-day and we organized this huge surprise for him. His b-day is actually October 15, so it was a month early. I think the funniest part is how much elder Mannucci laughed, because no one knew that it wasn't his b-day until the very end! We also did a fake interview with him about the experience!
Speaking of b-days, I got my gift Saturday night, thanks so much for the camera card! I don't have any worries about space at all now! Also thanks for the sour-patch kids! You know they are very different from American ones! They have a purple one and a yellow one! The green ones are a very gross color, because they don't use a s much die, I think! but they are still very good!
I also attached a pic of the average meal we eat in the flat when we don't have a dinner appointment! I love having an Italian companion!  I actually made this one, but still!
I love you all, and thanks for the b-day cards from the Acton's with all the signatures it means
a lot.
Love Elder Brown, Your favorite missionary from Montana serving in England!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

One month as a missionary

Remember I said I would send you a picture of Josh, my favorite Investigator.  He was baptized on Saturday, my first baptism, and Sunday was my one month mark!
When we filled the font, we had to cool it down by adding buckets of cold water, because the water was hot, and we had to speed it up because the water was slow. It took over 3 hours in total time to fill the font!
This is a map of the Area I will be serving in.
I am in the Portsmouth Zone. Here are some photos of  the missionaries in my Zone.

 It is starting to get colder here. Saw a bolt of lightning the other day, and my companion was like, wow, it has been a long time. Apparently they don't get much lightning here in England! Haven't received my b-day package yet, but the mission office is always busy though, so who knows when I'll get it. 
 I went on my first exchange on Thursday, with a Chinese elder. They are there to speak to both English speaking people and Chinese, so I didn't speak a whole lot, with some people. It was fun though. I left my toothpaste , and Elder Lam, the one who took my place in Hamble during the exchange tried to tell me I forgot my toothpaste, but I couldn't tell what he was saying for a long time. It sounded like "too-pas!" I haven't learned a lot of Italian, but we do randomly burst out saying things like "Pizza!, Pasta!, Tortellini!" in an Italian accent just for fun.
We work with the zone leaders quite a bit because they are in the same ward as us. We have 4 companionships in our district, and then there are the ZL's as well, so we have about ten missionaries that I get to see fairly often, at least once a week. We are about to get some elders for our district, and also some sisters, for both our district and our ward! The district might get split up though depending on the way things go. 
I haven't had any weird foods.  I had kidney once, but it wasn't that weird, because lots of people in Montana actually eat it.  In fact most of the stuff I have had is very similar to what I ate at home, and at Wasabi.  I have had a dinner appointment almost every night. I think there have only been like 3 or 4 nights so far without one.   I love the people here so much! We do a lot of tracking, but we are hoping to work with members a lot more.  The members here are wonderful, and totally willing. The problem is we don't know them very well yet! 
Work with the missionaries! they will love you. And when members work with the missionaries it makes everything easier, and miracles happen! 
I always have prince of Egypt music stuck in my head and we sing it all the time, because it is the best mission approved music ever!
They don' have labor day here, but there was a bank holiday one of the Mondays. It makes bus travel really inconvenient! 
I have had so much soda here, everybody has soda for Dinner Appointments, it is awesome, but unhealthy. Turns out that Pepsi is actually pretty good. It is one of those things that gets better the more you have it. Either that, or it is just better her in England. Everyone here loves Pepsi, and Coca-Cola. They don't have Root-Beer here though! it has to be imported, and the only place to buy it is a small international shop, that is too far for me to get to. A member actually bought some for us though, and either I haven't had root beer for too long, or they make it better here, because it was soooooo goooooood! The cans are printed in like Pakistani or Hebrew or some weird language, because the ingredients list is in symbols!
My favorite food I've eaten, is this pasta I made at the flat! We bought this pesto sauce, that is red pepper and cheese pesto. Pesto, by the way, is not a sauce that has basil in it like we thought.  Words from an Italian missionary, "pesto in Italian means crushed, and a pesto sauce is just a crushed mix of any ingredients you want!"
We had this coconut that we bought, but we didn't realize we didn't have a hammer to open it with, so we had a fun time dancing around and chanting  with towels on our heads and then used a cutting board to open it. That is how missionaries open coconuts!
This is an MTC picture of the Kimball Zone

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

2nd week in mission field

Thank you for sending me a package, you guys are the best! I haven't got it yet, but hopefully I will get it soon. I got a b-day present from the member family I was with for district p-day last Monday. As soon as they heard it was my birthday, they went up and made me a gift with a card and everything. I was shocked! Here is a picture of all the stuff they gave me.
 My area is pretty large, one of the biggest in our zone. Most people I meet have a British accent, and most are white, but there are some people from Spain, and we are teaching a family that speaks Spanish and very little English. I met a few people from Zimbabwe and other places in Africa as well.We walk and use buses a lot! The zone leaders drive us around a lot, because they work in the same ward as us. But they have to find a flat in another area, because of complications, but still see them often. We have district meetings every Wednesday, but when it comes to meeting with other missionaries, we just do accounting by phone. We have district P-day sometimes as well. On p-day we e-mail usually, and we play sports and such. We actually don't need to shop at all today, because we didn't use most of the stuff we bought because my companion has been quite sick for a while. We played a game last p-day. It is weird, some kind of Italian game little kids play. We also played stick-pull, Classic Joseph Smith game!
I met a sister Brown at the MTC. We took a picture together, and also one with the other colors in the MTC. She said she went to Kalispell a lot to go shopping. 
I am teaching a young man named Josh he is progressing quite well. I will send a picture of him to you next week, I don't have one with him yet. I am teaching the Spanish family, and you saw the food they made for us! We had a challenge given to us from the Zone leaders, to have at least two new investigators by the end of the week. Our personal goal was actually three, but my companion hasn't been feeling well, and on two days this week we had to stay in the flat to let him rest. We still got 1 teach done on both of those days, but it was rough. Anyway, I didn't think we could get 2 new investigators, and this was  Saturday at noon. I started my fast after lunch, and I fasted for my companion, that he might have the strength to go out and work, and that we might be able to get new investigators soon. Sunday evening we taught a family, who we had been trying to get with for a long time. We finally were able to catch them at home. They were very receptive, and the father and mother both are excited to read the Book of Mormon, and they are earnestly seeking for truth and understanding. The father has a lot of good questions, but a few of them go really deep, so we have to be careful. He has told us that he has talked with a ton of religious people, and discussed things, and tried to learn, but we are the first to be totally honest with him, and we are the first to have answered any of his questions with an answer that he feels is true. The lord works in mysterious ways, and he truly does prepare people for his gospel. Teaching by the spirit is key, and studying, listening and discerning are more important than anything else I can do.
My feet hate me, and they hurt at the end of the day, from walking, but they are doing much better. I have used GSE, and it doesn't seem to be helping, but I found some foot powder in the flat, and it seems to be helping. I think a combination of the two is eventually going to do the trick. My nice shoes are not so nice anymore, They got worn out in the MTC a little, but I still get comments on Sundays when I wear them, that they are really nice shoes. My other ones, the more sturdy walking shoes are excellent, my feet feel much better in them, and they still look great.
They don't have labor day, or memorial day, or a lot of things. I have gotten a lot of strange looks when I mention any of them. Walmart is called ASDA, and AXE is LYNX. Lays, the chips, are Walkers, and they are called crisps. There is so much weird stuff here!
The weeks are not long for me they go by so fast it is ridiculous! I feel like two hours ago was last Monday! not really, but it is going by faster than any time in my life ever has so far!
Mondays and I have a love hate relationship. I can't wait to email, but it is overwhelming! with all the letters I have to write. I also love to play sports and stuff, but I get too excited to teach people sometimes, that I almost wish it wasn't p-day! Weird right?! 
My companion is the district leader, and the zone leaders used to live in the same flat as us, but they had to move because the land lord only wanted two people living in one flat. They still are around us quite a bit, because they are assigned to work in the same ward as us. Anyway, before we ever leave to go work we always say a prayer. In order to choose who says the prayer, we basically do rock paper scissors, but instead we either do a dragonballZ version, or a Lord Of The Rings version. Every time we do it I think of Karissa and her geekyness.  
Recycling is huge here! Don't get caught putting plastic into the rubbish bin! Traffic here is ridiculous, and I am in a "small" city.The keyboards here are weird too, the @ key is swapped with the " key. There are more differences, but there just small inconveniences for me. I literally hop on and off of buses. We hold out our hand, and the bus stops. We get on, and show our bus pass, sit down, press a button to stop at a bus stop, and get off! The bus starts moving, before you have a chance to sit down, and if it is full enough, there are people standing up. they drive on the wrong side of the road, they spell things wrong (colour, Labour, Centre, etc.), signs are weird, road lines are weird, and people drive like maniacs. If a sign says drive slow in this area, people go 40 mph. There are traffic lights at every crosswalk, and intersections are totally different also. Have fun , and I love you all. I will try to take more pictures, but we don't have a whole lot of time to do so.
With Love,
Elder Brown