Monday, February 23, 2015

Anguishing desperation brings us to desperately ask, seek and knock!

No serious blessings from the fast yet, but I am sure they will come! This week was pretty good. Although we struggled a lot with people who were uncommitted and others who didn't keep their appointments, the lessons we did have were very good.

I felt the spirit more this week, and although we didn't seem to have success with what we had planned to do, I really felt that God was pleased with our efforts. This was a huge help for me, and I am striving to be a successful missionary as defined in Preach My Gospel, and not let other peoples decisions influence my motivation to work diligently. 

We had some very successful lessons with some of our investigators who haven't seemed committed. We have started to be a lot more bold, and have done it more out of love as well. All of the people we teach know our purpose very well, and many of them have dropped us because they do not wish to go further now that they understand that we are not there just to chat or to be good company, but that we are here to help them find the truth and change their lives. 

Those who have decided to continue meeting however, have shown greater commitment, and are becoming more comfortable with prayer. I just hope we can find a few more people to teach this week, because we currently have very few appointments set. We will really be walking by faith!

The other elders are doing well. They are struggling with their teaching pool too, but they definitely haven't lost faith, and their teaching abilities have improved a lot. I can really see the growth in everyone's love for the people and their desire for their eternal welfare.

The following is an extract from President Millar's weekly letter to the mission, Elder Russell M. Nelson and his wife both talked at a recent Mission Training Center President’s training seminar.  Sister Wendy Nelson made this comment that I think some of you have heard and is applicable to us in the England London South Mission:

 "My dear elders and sisters, I pray that on your mission you will have many moments of complete and overwhelming and even anguishing desperation. Why? Because then, and only then, will you desperately ask, desperately seek, and desperately knock. Then, and only then, will you find the courage and determination to follow through with exactness everything the Lord needs you to do in order to serve a valiant, vibrant, worthy, and very successful mission for Him."

This quote seems to be very applicable to our area right now, I don't know fully about everyone else, but I am having exactly that, an "overwhelming and even anguishing desperation." I just hope that I can follow with determination without getting discouraged. I hope and pray that the refiners fire doesn't burn me, but rather shapes me. This whole experience is most likely a big answer to prayer. I have asked a number of times (a lot in my last area) for Heavenly Father to help me be more bold, and now, I have no fear in telling people they need to change, because I really do care about what happens to them. I really do care about their eternal welfare. This is my work and my glory, to be an instrument in the Lord's hand to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I truly feel sorrow for the sins of the world, it saddens me to see so many who "know not the workings of the God who hast created them."

I have never taught investigators through hymns, but we have used them to bring the spirit in (more often with members) and we do sometimes quote parts of them in lessons. The hymns teach a lot, and it is funny when you think about what some of them say, which people don't get offended by, but just think about these lyrics, "so wake up and do something more than dream of you mansions above." It's like saying "wake up you lazy wasters and do something nice for a change", but because it is put to a nice song, people don't get offended. Music is wonderful! 

Pictures of Guernsey Island


                                       My Missionary companion  Elder Kastner

Thanks so much! I love you all, and hope you have a wonderful week!!!!!!! 
Elder Brown

Monday, February 16, 2015

New Companion!

My new companion is Elder Kastner, he is from Germany.

My new companion is pretty good, he wants to work hard and is obedient, so all is well. He just doesn't like the bikes too much, but neither did I when I first got here. I love them now, it can be quite fun biking around! He has been out for 6 months. 

We have had a decent week, but the work is going slow, people keep cancelling or flogging appointments. The adversary has really been working hard over here, we can all feel it (some investigators have mentioned it also). The zone leaders can tell as well. It seems like we meet a lot of cool people, but they all fall through the cracks. So this week was a bit tough, but we have high hopes for the next few weeks.
We are doing a branch fast, each member fasting one day until the end of February and we really feel that it will help!

Elder Brown by the Victor Hugo Statue in Candie Gardens

I am also excited for the new training plan for the mission. The Europe authorities are going to train myself and the other district leaders and zone leaders on it, and it is supposed to be pretty intense! 

Also, I was thinking about how we might be able to better work with the members, and it brought to my mind a letter that we got while on the trek (all those years ago). 
The letter was from "Heavenly Father" and was given to everyone, but I remember it being very touching and seemingly very personal to me.  If you could send it to me. I don't know how much it would help us, but anything that brings people closer to God works for me!

We have flowers blooming over here, so it must be just a weird winter!  

We have been playing a game called nerts in the evening when we have everything done and have time before bed. It is really fun, I will have to teach it to you guys sometime.

I love you all, Hope you have a great week!
Elder Brown

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Traveling to the main Land for transfers!

I traveled all day on Monday because Elder Senkans got transferred and I went with him on the plane and then came back with my new companion.  I got to see most of "Meet the Mormons" at the visitors center while I waited though. It's really good! I wish they would put it in theaters over here on this side of the world. 

My last picture with Elder Senkans

I am wearing my new suit 

I have been reading the February ensign the last few days, and they talk a lot about family history and how it is much easier than it used to be, and how it is supposed to get even easier soon. I think I will focus on it a lot more when I come home. I want to make sure I spend time on it. I had a cool experience during studies and it left me with the profound thought that if we want to be happy with our ancestors in the celestial kingdom, then it is extremely important to get to know them now, and even though they are not here, we can grow to love who they are, their personalities and everything else. It was cool.

This delicious cake, was made by Sister Sharpe for Elder Senkans' birthday. I told her about the Reeses peanut butter cake, and Elder Senkans said that it sounds good, but if she can't find a recipe, cheesecake would be his next choice. Sister, Sharpe found this cake, which is a three layer reeses peanut butter chocalate cake, and one of the layers is a peanut butter cheesecake! It was sooooooooooooooo good! Really heavy, but so good!

This picture was taken from our bowling fun on 
preparation day, after eating the cake.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Best Brownies in the World!

This week wasn't too bad. M_ (investigator who has been taught since last may and has known and testified of the truthfulness of the church for months) finally began to progress. She has struggled so much. The adversary has thrown so much at her, and that she says is a part of why she knows it is true. She has felt his influence, and has seen so many trials since last May, that it couldn't be anything else. She is easily the "Job" of all those I have taught. We decided to pray each night and morning for her and our other investigators. In fact we went to bed 15 min early each night to give us time to pray more earnestly for each of the people we teach. We definitely saw the blessings. We called her Saturday night, and spoke with her for a while. eventually she broke down in tears and decided she needs to just get baptized soon. We comforted her and told her that we would be there every step of the way, and that if she needs any help she should not hesitate to call us. We now have established daily contact with her, she came to church, and she is praying about a date for herself to be baptized. This is a massive improvement for her progression. I had only met her once before this.

We also had good success in finding. We went out as a district with Elder Andersons homemade brownies and stopped people in the street asking them what they would think if we said they were the best brownies in the world. The response we wanted was that they would have to try it first to see, and then we related it to the message of the gospel. You must experience it first before you can decide whether it is good or not. It was a lot of fun, cheered up many people's day and helped many to think about listening to us, and being more open about their beliefs. There are many people on the island of Guernsey that have now testified that our claim of the world's best brownies is true, now we just have to get them to read the Book of Mormon!

The district is doing well, but Elder Heninger is a bit frustrated, because M_ M_, our miracle from last week came to church and dropped them last night over the phone. She felt really bad about it, but she got freaked out because each time she has met with the missionaries and come to church her feet have been really cold, like icy. Even though she was wearing thermal socks and boots. We feel like it is the adversary again. She is so sincere, and was so prepared. She said she will still read the Book of Mormon, plans to finish it. (She read 18 chapters of it on her phone before the missionaries even mentioned it to her). Elder Heninger was so upset. A lot of their other investigators are becoming less committed as well. You can see how much genuine love he has for each investigator though. He definitely cares about them. 

So a bit of a mixed week. All of us hate Satan though, he has been working hard. M_ actually called him a jerk on the phone. It was really funny. Elder Heninger told her that the adversary would do everything he could to stop her and she was like " I know, that guy is such a big jerk!" 

My health is doing great, fast Sundays are the only struggle, but I still managed it. I can really feel the difference without water though, unbelievable how much function my body loses without it.

Weather here is basically wind, rain, hail, and occasional sunshine, but that never warms things up because the wind cuts right through you. I have determined that if you want to know which direction the wind is going, all you need to do is find out which direction you are going and it will be the opposite of that. It is literally always against you. 

The building we meet in for Church is called the Castel Douzaine Room. It is very small, one room and a kitchen. We have the full 3 hour block. Primary meets in the kitchen for second hour, and then (as their is just one kid) they join with relief society for hour 3 and the priesthood use the kitchen to meet then. We just got the go ahead for a new building though, and it will be rented for full use this time. The building we are in now only is rented out to us for Sunday mornings for the three hours.

Love all of you!!!! Have a wonderful week!!!
Elder Brown

On the shore of Guernsey Island