Monday, September 29, 2014

Sick, but still a good week!

Why are we here?
This world was created for us to find happiness and learn.

Grant is a diver and marine biologist who has the privilege of working in one of the most beautiful places on Earth: the ocean.  As a scientist, he's thought a lot about creation and how this magnificent world has been put together.  He's also a father who finds joy and lasting happiness in his family.  Our Heavenly Father has built this world for us to grow in faith and hope, in our families.

"Grand as it is, planet Earth is part of something even grander: that great plan of God.  Simply summarized, the Earth was created that families might be."  - Russell M. Nelson

Elder Piseth and Elder Brown

We had a pretty good week. I was sick for most of the week with a sore throat and a bit of a headache, but we were still blessed to be able to teach many of our investigators. Toni is doing so well! We are still waiting on information from her son, but she at least knows that he will be allowed to attend. I can see her testimony has grown, and she definitely recognizes the spirit very well. She has pointed it out a few times, and loves every lesson we have with her and loves church! We are really trying to find people to teach, but being sick made it pretty hard to feel effective. We are hoping that this week will be better when it comes to finding. Didn't get to use the cars, as i was sick, but we are hoping this week.

The district here is doing great, Elder Piseth and Elder Hafen are doing good work. They saw a lot of miracles this week and now have 4 baptismal dates when two weeks ago they had no investigators. They have really improved and been blessed for their efforts. I went on exchange with Elder Piseth Wednesday in his area. It was a successful exchange and I got to know him more, and how he is working in his area. He is doing very well. It is obvious that he knows why he is out here, and he is trying his best to be effective.

Elder Alambra and I had a lot of really good spiritual conversations recently, and although I am still sick, he always lifts my spirits and helps me get through.  You'll like the next finding idea we are going to try, We are going to make chess pieces out of large pieces of cardboard.  This should get some attention. We are also going to try to do a Name that tune finding activity, we just have to make sure the music is appropriate for us to listen to.  Sunday we had 4 less actives at church and 4 investigators. 

I visited this 94 year old less-active lady, and she was proper fit! Moving all over the place going up and down the stairs, bending over, it was crazy. When we asked her secret, she said "Use It, or Lose It." I thought that was a pretty good slogan, and actually used it in a district meeting this week when talking about Strengthening our recent converts.

Anyway, love ya lots! Videos are up, pictures attached here(they are from my exchange with Elder Piseth. hope you enjoy!
Have a great week!
Elder Brown

Monday, September 22, 2014

Castle, Paper t-shirts and prophecy!

Will what I do ever be enough?
When we try our best, it is always "enough" to the Lord.

We all wish we could do better.  We all wish we could increase our performance.  Sometimes, though, the most important things we do each day weren't on our "to-do" list.  Often we don't see the results that come of what we do. 
"You never know how much good you do."
- Gordon B. Hinckley

We haven't gotten to use our remote control cars yet. It ended up raining at the time we had set with the members, so we cancelled it! However,we were able to try out a new finding idea with one of the members here in the ward, Sister Mansfield. She came up with the idea, which involved her talent of folding notes into little t-shirts. We met her at a relatively busy park Friday morning and set up on a picnic table with all of our materials. As we began to fold pass along cards and paper money into little shirts, people walked by and looked over. We said good-morning to everyone who passed by and started conversations with many of them. Sister Mansfield went up to young mothers with their children and gave folded pass-along cards to the children and started talking with the parents, who were interested by the small t-shirts she had just given to their children. She spoke with them about who we were and what we do and we could see that it softened the hearts towards us and right away we could tell that this could be much more effective for finding than the ways we have been used to. We didn't have a ton of success this first time, but we are hoping to do it weekly on a Saturday morning when it is busier, and hopefully we will see some success as we get used to approaching people in this new way. Sister Mansfield had a great experience and sent us a text full of gratitude for our involving her in our work and using her talents! 

Elder Brown and Elder Alambra at the Park folding paper shirts

We have many new ideas to try and more on the way! Many of the members here are becoming more excited about the work and as we invited them to do, they are planning times and activities they can try with us!
We found some very nice new people to teach this week and hopefully they will turn into new investigators as we meet with them at the times we have set with them. 

Our baptismal date T__, unfortunately has dropped her date, but she still wants to be baptized. We fasted with her about the 20th of September, and she felt that God wants her to wait a bit longer to see if her son will be allowed to attend the service at a later date. 

I will keep you updated on the new ideas! 
For the mission changes, I am not sure if we are guinea pigs or not, but this implementation is only in our mission at the moment, however, there is a prophecy that was given a few months before I came into the mission. It was given by the area authority for Europe in a conference to the mission presidents and some missionary leaders in the Europe area, and he said that "the hastening of the work of salvation will not progress in the world, until it first starts in the Europe area, and it will not progress in the Europe area, until it first starts in the two London missions." Or something like that, I don't know if that is word for word, but it's pretty close. Either way we think this might be the start of the fulfillment of that prophecy! I know, pretty sick right!?

We went to Leeds Castle last Monday! "The loveliest castle in all the world" Hope you enjoy!

Elder Brown, Elder Hafen, Elder Piseth, Elder Alambra

Elder Brown

Maybe this guy will listen to our message!

Elder Brown and Elder Hafen

Elder Hafen

Monday, September 15, 2014

Member Talents and New Rules!

What does it mean to be patient?
Patience is delaying immediate gratification for future blessings.
Whether it be waiting for a marshmallow or enduring fighter pilot training, success follows those that are patient.  God promises us many things in life as we exercise faith; however, His promises are not always fulfilled quickly, immediately, or in the way that we may think.  Instead of questioning whether the promise was true or false, we can ask ourselves whether or not we are working on the Lord's time table.
"Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith."  - Mosiah 23:21

This week was pretty good. We did a lot of service for some Less Active's and a few members this week. We were able to help them with the things they needed and got to know them a bit more which was great. 

We are going to try out the remote control car idea this week with some of the members, and we will have much more member involvement in all of the work we do soon. The members are excited to come with us and use the talents they have in order to help us find and fellowship those who are being prepared by the lord to receive the gospel. I will let you know how they all go.

We had a good district meeting this week and the Zone Leaders gave a wonderful presentation on compassionate service as I had asked them to do. I got to work with Elder Schuman on Thursday while on exchange.We learned a lot together and I will be applying those things right away! It was a good exchange and we both enjoyed it.

We had a Hawaiian night with the ward on Saturday and Elder Piseth and I destroyed everyone! My legs are so sore now though! Had tons of fun this week, and it will only get better and better! 

The new mission rules/techniques are awesome! We made a really good presentation that we show to the members to help them understand what it is all about, and we haven't had one member that wasn't excited about it and willing to help!

The new changes in the mission are essentially that we are counting our other lessons and new investigators differently, which helps us to get out of the number mindset, and focus more on the people behind the numbers. In other words now we aren't afraid to use all of the ideas for finding that we thought would be "ineffective" because they wouldn't give us useless numbers like knocking and street contacting often does. The lessons we count now mean much more, and we no longer count anyone as a number if we don't ever see them again. We in this area are asking each member to give an hour of each week to find or teach with us using any talent or ability that they have that they would like to try out. We have gotten ideas for things like, making name bracelets for people for free, a rain shelter during the winter where we give out free hot chocolate, game nights at members homes, a tennis group in the community put on by us and a few members, a guitar group at the chapel where we teach and learn from each other, etc, etc. We will be trying all sorts of things out, and if they fail, we will make sure they fail quickly and move on to the next idea we have!
I love you all so much!!!!!! Hope you have a great week! no pictures this week sorry! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Big changes!

What do we all have in common?
We are children of a loving Heavenly Father.

All of us are looking for happiness, and as we come to know our Heavenly Father,
we can find true joy. He is there for us whether we are in times of trial
or success.  We can always look to him to lead us and guide us, because He
wants all of His children to return to him one day.

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."

This week was quite a bit different than what I have been used to, be prepared to hear some very interesting things in our video journals. President Millar implemented a new training plan as he does each transfer, but this one is going to, in fact it already has changed the way we work completely! We have spent a bit of our time this week training and introducing the members in our area to the new training plan and getting ideas from them on finding with their help. We have committed many of them to set apart 1 hour of their week or more to working with us. Many of them are very excited for the changes and we have already gathered many new ideas. We plan to implement them right away in our work finding. We had the chance to serve some of our investigators this week, and it was great to get to know them a bit better and to help them with some of their more temporal needs! 

T__ is doing really well, but her date is liable to change. She wants her son to attend, but he is in foster care, so she is trying to find a time that he would be allowed to see her baptism and than we will set it for that time. It should still be sometime around the 20th of September, but it might be mid week before or after.

My companion and I get along very well, and it is only getting better as the days go on. We haven't told president about the TV licence thing, but we already sorted it out. The number we were meant to call didn't work, so we just went online and did it there, so we should be all good! Sorry to scare you! LOL! It would have been interesting to end up in court over something like that.

Every transfer I ask myself where are the next 6 weeks going to take me? and guess what, I always look back afterwards and say, I would have never expected where it took me, what I learned and experienced, what things I tried and saw, etc. It always is a surprise! You can do great things if you put your mind to it! I challenge you to see the changes made as you look back, and make sure you act accordingly. If you don't like a change you see in yourself, fix it! If you do like a change, add to it! There is so much we need to do and to learn, there is no time to waste! 

In my personal study this week I realized that we can learn faster and develop skills and abilities faster when we have the help of the spirit. If I had the choice to either learn any skill, spiritual or not, for free from a professional trainer who had trained for their whole life in this one talent, but I had to do it without the holy ghost, OR for free with only the guidance of the spirit, I would choose the latter option. Might sound weird to some at first, but it is a no brainer if you realize that nothing good can be learned without the holy ghost! NOTHING. If you want to excel in any talent or skill or attribute, whether related to the gospel or not, you must do it with the help and assistance of God through the Holy Ghost. I promise you, with full faith in God that if you do all you can to have the spirit and you ask for help from on high, you will succeed in ANY worthy activity you choose to partake in.

Righteousness (and wickedness) shows through us more than we often realize, and I think we can develop the ability to see the difference in those around us. I think children might naturally be that way.

I love you all! Keep on being the coolest family ever! I only have one photo to send this week.

Both darts in the same place!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Birthday, District Leader, and new companion

Spiritual Thought:
Catching life's waves of opportunity?

Happiness comes as we position ourselves for success.

Joy loves to surf; so much so that she is the 2008 Woman's Longboard World Champion.  Joy finds the best waves when she's in the position to catch them.  The same applies to our lives.  Putting ourselves in the right place at the right time is the key to making use of life's many opportunities.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..."
--- Ecclesiastes 3:1

     My new companion is pretty cool! He is funny, and just overall chill about everything! He reminds me a lot of myself sometimes actually. Not to be vain or anything! LOL 

My new companion, Elder Alambra

We performed some service for a neighbor in need

A pie we made with blackberries and apples.

Elder Alambra and I with T____ at the temple.

We thought we would join in the tug of war.

We ended up in Tonbridge because we apparently got on the wrong bus!

     Thanks for the birthday treats! I am still enjoying them! My new companion is Elder Alambra, from Brisbane Australia. he grew up in New Zealand, but was born in the Philippines. He had never heard of captain crunch, and was very surprised at how much sugar was in it! LOL!
I haven't got the shoes, I didn't know you had gotten them, but I will pick them up today. Thank you for sending them, as you could tell they are very needed. When we Skyped, they were perfectly fine, but by mid-transfer with Elder Smith, the 3 months or so of walking took them out! They have been pretty comfortable with the hot glue fill in, and the hot glue lasted about 2 weeks and then had to be replaced, but it will be nice to have the new ones thank you! I was planning on buying a pair, but never got around to it.

     Elder Smith went to one of the most dodgy places in London! Clapham. He will have some experiences there, that's for sure!

     On my birthday, I taught people with Elder Smith, had Lunch at an awesome all-you-can-eat buffet, called Buddha Belly!...I Know Right?! Then, the rest of the day was taken up by moves. They did moves over 3 days instead of having everyone come to Staines and disperse, they just had the ZL be Taxi Services for 48 hours or so. 

     As a DL my job is to lead, uplift, encourage, inspire, and bless the district. I need to have a model area for them to learn from, and need to be an example in conduct, work, attitude, etc. I conduct a district meeting once a week, attend a Leadership council with the other leaders in the stake/zone, once a transfer to set goals and make plans for the transfer. I account over the phone with the other missionaries in my district twice a week, and account for the work of my district to the zone leaders twice a week, as well as constructing exchanges with each elder in my district once a transfer, and on top of all of that, I relay announcements to my district given to me from the ZL's, and do anything else that the ZL ask me to help with, such as Stake Correlation, which is a bit like correlation with the ward, but for the stake as a whole. That essentially involves sending info to the zone leaders that they compile and give to the stake! Loads of FUN!!!! A bit of extra responsibility, but it will be a learning experience and I am excited. 

     This week was a bit of a slower week. We tried our best to get return appointments, and met a lot of really nice people who showed some interest, but they didn't want us back! We worked a lot with our baptismal date T___, and she is doing great, she has been living the Word of Wisdom for 2 or 3 weeks now, and is feeling much better because of it! She has a strong desire to be baptized, and loves learning and meeting with us and other members. We brought her to the Visitor's Center at the Temple on Thursday, and we all had a great experience! I feel that she is nearly ready for baptism, we are just solidifying her understand by reteaching the lessons, and helping her to develop greater faith as well! She really has grown a lot!...Oh Also as a district leader, I do baptismal interviews for the baptismal dates in my district (other than those taught by myself and my companion, the ZL's do those) when the time comes.

Missionary work is the most fulfilling and rewarding thing you can do! D+C 15:6