Thursday, June 28, 2012

 We couldn't be happier than we are right now with our wonderful Missionary Mitch returned home after serving an honorable mission in Canada.  We feel so very blessed by his faithful service and are grateful for all those terrific folks in the Edmonton Mission who taught, befriended, loved, assisted, listened to, and fed our boy!

He reported his mission in the Kaysville 17th Ward on Father's Day, June 17th, 2012.

Mitch's plans are to resume his studies at  Southern Utah University this fall studying Accounting.



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mitch arrives home on Thursday, June 14th at 1:04 in the afternoon.  He will report his mission in the Kaysville 17th Ward, 850 East 200 North, Kaysville at 11:00 am on Sunday, June 17th, 2012.  We are so proud of Mitch and the service he has rendered to his Heavenly Father and the people in Alberta, Canada.  We are HAPPY TO WELCOME HIM HOME and look forward to spending the rest of the summer together before he returns to college in southern Utah.

Our love and thanks to all of you who've made his mission a success by your love and support.

Kim and Gaye
Hey everyone,
Well, I guess this will be the last time I'll have to email you before I see you. I guess it would be a good time to also thank you all for the love, support, emails, and comments for the last two years. I love you all so much and am so excited to be able to spend time with you and talk and catch up. I am so grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to serve here for these last two years. I love this work more than I ever thought I would. I love Alberta and it feels so much like home. I will miss it SO much. I am so grateful for the message I’ve been able to share for the last few years and am grateful it's the same thing I get to continue talking about and living at home. I am grateful for all the lessons I've learned and the experiences that God has allowed me to have for my growth. I have learned so much and am happy to have learned it. I love you all and look forward to seeing you shortly. Talk to you all soon.

For the last time,

Elder Brown

Friday, June 8, 2012

Hey Everyone,

This week has been pretty awesome. I guess I don't really have much to report on. We were able to go down to ZLC this weekend in Sherwood Park and had a really good experience. Some of the other missionaries in the meeting trained on "the A in Faith" standing for Action. It was awesome. I took good notes so i'll share them with you in a few days ha ha. I will talk to you soon.

Thanks for all the support and love.
I forgot to mention one of the cool things we were able to do this week. On our way down to Edmonton we were able to stop in Grande Cache again and see some of the members. While we were there we stopped in at the tourism office and we were told about what's called the "Grande Cache Death Race." It is a race that is 125 k over 3 mountain peaks and you have 24 hours to complete it. It sounds pretty stinking nuts. Apparently it usually has over 1500 "death racers" from all over the world. It is supposedly Canada's toughest race. Ha ha it sounds pretty cool. The mountains all around Grande Cache made me so anxious to live by mountains again. That will feel pretty strange having come from the plains for two years. I took some beautiful pictures while we were down there. Talk to you all soon
-Elder Brown

Thursday, May 24, 2012

HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY to our MITCHionary!!!
Sunday, May 27th, 2012.
See you in a few!!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hey Everyone,
Sorry we didn't get much of a chance to email yesterday. It was May long weekend so everything was closed. Ha ha Canada takes a day off for everything. I think the occasion this time was Queen Victoria's birthday. Anyway, we had a great week this week. We were able to spend 3 days down in Edmonton, which was pretty hard on our area's progress. We had a great time. We were on exchanges with some missionaries down there and had some pretty incredible experiences. I was with Elder Edgel and we were able to teach one of the most spiritual lessons of my life. We taught a girl named Ashlene who had called the mission office and requested missionaries to come visit. We met her at the church, gave her a quick tour, and then just started getting to know her. Immediately I just felt connected to her and really could tell that she was searching for something. Maybe the fact that she said those exact words about 10 times gave it away, but I’m not sure. We were able to teach her briefly about the book of Mormon, but mostly we just were describing our role as missionaries and talking about how central Christ is to out teachings. Towards the end of the lesson we asked, " are you feeling about all of this?" She looked at us both, smiled, and then just turned on the water works. Neither Elder Edgel nor I quite knew what to say. A few moments later she stated that she was completely overwhelmed and that she hadn't experienced this kind of clarity in such a long time. I don't really know how to describe it besides I felt pretty happy knowing that we had done some good. Leaving the lesson felt like getting to the campsite on the Wind Rivers hike. You take your pack off and you just feel like you can fly. It was a pretty neat experience.

We also had mission tour this week. We had elder William R. Walker of the 1st quorum of the 70 come. He is the head of the temple department. He basically talked about all the blessings that come from missionary service. It couldn't have come at a better time. I have been thinking about how I can keep up these good habits, and I feel like I got some good ideas. It was a great week. Thanks for everything. I love you all a lot and can't wait to see you. Tell Eric hello for me!

-Elder Brown

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hello Everyone!

We had a pretty stinking slow week this week, but it came with good success and good news. We found out this morning that Elder Taylor and I will be spending my last transfer together here in GP. I couldn't be happier! It will be good to dig in for these last few weeks and really just see how much I can get going for the next Elder to take my spot. I'm hoping that I can get this area going for him. We are just wrapping up the ward's 40 day fast for missionary work, and it has been a really cool experience to feel the prayers and fasting power from the ward. I can't say that I felt it every day, but I have felt a stronger determination to be better. In my mind what I’ve learned is Heavenly Father doesn't always bless us the same way as before, but just that he always DOES bless us. Ha ha took me a long time to figure that one out.

On a side note, I had an interesting discovery in the Book of Mormon this week. I was reading a few of my favorite chapters in the 40-ish area in Alma and read something pretty neat. Alma 40:20, "Now, my son, I do not say that their resurrection cometh at the resurrection of Christ; but behold, I give it as my opinion, that the souls and the bodies are reunited, of the righteous, at the resurrection of Christ, and his aascension into heaven." I think the part where he says he gives it as his opinion was pretty cool. I am sure that that doesn't sound as awesome to anyone else. I guess to me it just gave Alma such more of a real voice to me. He has been someone that I have thought a lot about during the course of my mission and have tried to emulate. To read that, and to really feel that he was a real person, and had just worked hard and learned so much was incredible. It was really inspiring to me. It also just showed me again, that a verse with relatively small doctrinal significance in comparison to the rest of the chapter, can just be HUGE when you're studying and reading/praying to find truth. It was a neat experience.

So as far as the work this week, like I said, it was slow. Donald's baptism is going to be pushed back a week so that he can have his family come. We were more than okay with pushing it back a week to have an extra 5-7 non-members attending the service. Done deal! We are continuing to work with him towards that date. He is just getting over his coffee habit. He was able to go down to Edmonton with some members of the ward for the ward temple trip. He wanted to go see what it was that all the members were willing to drive 5 hours for. I hope that it had a good impact on him. I really shouldn't be worried though. You can pretty much bank that the temple will come through for you ha ha.

Elder Taylor and I have been trying some new things in the area. We decided that we needed to just go through and clean out the area book and get rid of people who we'll never contact and talk to everyone we can. We spent about an hour calling one night and have 2 lessons set up with potential investigators that we're really excited for. I can't wait to see what happens.

Besides all that, I don't really have much else to say. Elder Taylor and I have been running and I’m really on a fitness kick right now. I really just haven't had the motivation to do it until now. It is great! We take about a half hour jog every day and spend some time whenever we get a minute just lifting some weights. I've dropped 3 pounds this week so far. I am hoping to come home right around 200 pounds. I think I’ll be able to do it.

Well I sure love you all a lot, and can't wait to see you soon. As for now, I love this work. I can't seem to get enough of those moments where I just feel the spirit testify and nudge me along. It feels like I’m just living for those moments now. It is great. Thanks for all each of you do. Have a great week!

-Elder Brown

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hello Everyone,

This week was pretty dang sweet. I really was just loving doing the work. I guess the highlight of the week was we were able to just have a really good lesson with Donald. He had previously had some big doubts about being baptized and we just spent some quality time talking and getting some concerns out of him. Afterwards we talked about why we set a date and why it's important for him to continue to progress. We set up May 5th for his baptism, so we're incredibly excited!

 Pretty much on every other front, this week was pretty slow. The only other thing that I guess we can report on is what we did to the other GP elders. When we came back from our ZLC last weekend we walked into our apartment which had been turned into a HUGE kid’s fort. They had rearranged all the furniture and put blankets over it all. It was pretty stinking funny. So to get back at them, we snuck into their apartment and flipped off all the breakers, unscrewed all the light bulbs, turned all the lights off, unplugged all the appliances, and put blankets over all of the windows. It was SUPER dark in there. We called it Project Black out. We thought it was pretty funny, so did they luckily. It would be a lot easier to do if Alberta wasn't still light outside until about 9:30. The members have been saying in June it stays light until around midnight.

I don't have too much else to report. I love you all a lot, and look forward to hearing from you on Mothers day! Talk to you soon!

-Elder Brown

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hello Everyone,
Wow! This week we saw some pretty incredibly shocking and unexpected events come to pass. Ha ha I almost don't have a clue where to start. So I guess to start off, Monday after P-day we had a really awesome lesson with Ryan and Katie about scripture study. I had no idea how much that would change throughout the course of the week.

We got a call Tuesday night from Ryan on the verge of tears telling us that Katie had taken off and taken Harlow (their baby together). Apparently she and Ryan got in a big argument and she is now living with her parents north of town. So as of Thursday morning Katie was talking to us and trying to make sure her parents were okay with us still meeting with her, and things were still relatively under control.

Thursday night we were helping a member of the Bishopric rip out his basement and I saw that we had a bunch of missed calls. I called the number back and it was Katie's father who was EXTREMELY rude, and then Katie finally came on the phone. BTW, Katie's family is incredibly anti-Mormon. So she came on the line and she said that she doesn't want anything to do with the church and she wants to discontinue her lessons. She talked about that she had a run in with Ryan's father (who is also in the Bishopric) and now she is judging the whole church because of some things that he may or may not have said. Either way, it is a ridiculous situation. We were both pretty shocked that Katie, who was bearing her testimony to us on Monday so confused so quick and has abandoned everything. We were pretty torn up about it.

Just because I needed some consolation, I called Donald who had been pretty solid all along. When we called him he told us that he was glad we called because he had been meaning to talk to us. Well he informed us that he still wanted to come to church and meet with us, but he has no intention of being baptized. Ha ha that was the last straw.

I called the less actives in the ward that we've been working with and I can't even describe the response we got. EVERY less active member we called was just in a good mood, excited to talk to us, couldn't wait for us to come over, and was looking forward to the next lesson. If that's not a gift from Heavenly Father, I don't know what is.

I was just thinking about the saying that when one door closes, another opens. I think that it sometimes true, but I think this is more accurate (at least in missionary work): One door closes, a few small windows, most of the time on the top floor making them difficult to get to, open up. The Lord continues to provide ways to get to the work inside, but he allows us some different routes that will help us work a little harder and get the benefits of the hard work for ourselves. I am surprised that I can say this at the end of such a cruddy week, but I Love this work. I have felt more love for people we're working with this week than ever before. I feel like the Lord is providing opportunities for me to be a little more humble and soft hearted. I have also realized I am pretty terrible in both of those departments. We're struggling in the investigator department, so any prayer you can offer in our behalf would be greatly appreciated. Sorry to continue to bug you for your prayers and support, but it means a lot. Just a few more months, then I’ll quit bugging you!  I love you all a lot. Have a wonderful week!

-Elder Brown

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hey Everyone,

Alright...well time to download all the information I can about such an awesome week. I guess i'll start off by just saying that I think I have taught more by the power of the Holy Ghost this last week than I have in my entire mission. Elder Taylor and I just teach super well together, and it is wonderful to have no frustrations or worries when teaching with a companion. We taught 2 less active members and 2 investigators and all four lessons were seriously not even close to what we had talked about teaching. Basically with all of them we just sat down, talked about what their wants and desires are and then offered ourselves and said we would do EVERYTHING we could do to help them get there. Dan Carlson (Less Active Return Missionary who is awesome) said that he wanted to come back, but was nervous. We taught him for only a few minutes, showed a video and then he said he wanted to come to conference. He came. Boom, roasted.

Next was, Toni Dumais. She has been LA for a while and her husband in a recent convert. Both are awesome and they have us over about once a week to just teach and most often feed us dinner too. We had a lesson with just her and she talked about wanting to get to the temple and get her patriarchal blessing. She expressed some concerns so we ended up talking all about the Atonement and about Emma Smith. As we were talking she started to cry and said, "you just hit the nail right on the head." If that isn't a good indicator of a spirit directed lesson...i don't know what is. I hope that doesn't sound super prideful, but I felt SO much joy knowing that Heavenly Father reached his daughter through us. I can't believe that God takes such goofs (19 year old boys) and uses them in such a great work.

Our next big lesson was with Katie and Ryan. We talked to them about reading and we had another spiritual lesson in which they expressed some concerns about why they weren't reading. We just asked some questions and they pretty much told us exactly what they needed from us to help them read. We have been trying to figure that out for months, so that was a HUGE blessing this week.

Last, but not least, was our lesson with Eddie (LA) and Ashley (non-member). We talked to them about what they wanted in life and in the gospel. We asked why they kept inviting us over and why they thought we could help. After asking what they were working towards and how we could help the pretty much told us that they wanted to be married within 6 weeks, and Ashley to be baptized within 7. So...that sounds like a miracle to me. We're hoping to continue working with all of these great people. In the mean time, i am just one happy camper.

I guess I shouldn't have said last thing, because the cap of an awesome week was General Conference. Holy! What a powerhouse! I was impressed by Elder Holland's talk in conference where he was talking about paying attention to the spirit you're feeling RIGHT NOW. Both him, Elder Hallstrom, and Elder Oaks gave incredible talks that I felt were perfect for me to know right now. I thought the underlying theme in the first session of "Our church is the bomb" was super sweet. Elder Taylor and I were talking right before the conference about how even if the church wasn't true, we'd still be a part of it. It felt like the brethren were listening and were agreeing with us. I am super grateful to be a part of Christ's church on the earth today. I am glad to know that that is a fact. I can't even describe how much I have learned about myself and how much I need the gospel in my life. I thought I could do this all on my own before, and it seems like the more i learn, the more i just get wrapped up in the gospel. I suppose it is an alright thing to be wrapped up in.

Anyway, i love you all. I hope that you will continue to read up on and study the words of our Leaders. It's what God wants us to be doing! I can't wait to see you all soon!

-Elder Brown

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hey Everyone,
I don't have lots of time on the computer, but I just wanted to say that Elder Taylor is here now and things are great. He is from Deweyville, and he's a Weber State football player. He is an awesome guy and is going to help me get at least a little less fat for when I come home. I don't really have much to say except the work is going forward. We were able to meet with both Katie and Donald this week and we had good lessons with both of them. We're looking forward to Donald's baptism on the 7th. Hope to hear from you all soon.

Love you!

-Elder Brown

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hey everyone,

Things are going pretty well up here right now. We had a great attendance at church this week. I know I’m kind of jumping to the end of the story, but it was good.

So, some of the big stuff that happened this week happened this morning. Elder Larson and I got a transfer call and he'll be leaving to go to a town called Edson which is SW of Edmonton. I'll be getting elder Taylor from Tremonton. He is a phenomenal football and basketball player so hopefully he'll teach me some moves and help me get in better shape. I am excited and think that he will fit in really well into the dynamic of the ward and I think the work will roll on without interruption. I am really looking forward to it. I will miss elder Larson though. 

We had good lessons with Katie and Donald this week. Donald has been looking for work since we've been meeting with him and he finally found 2 jobs this week. He had to pick between a job that would keep him from coming to church but paid quite a bit more and he said that he wanted to take the other one so he could still come. It was a really cool thing to see how much real intent that he has. He is a good man. We also we able to meet with Kristen again this week!!! We haven't seen her in about 6 weeks, and we finally got to see her! Regrettably her lesson didn't go as we were hoping. We thought that because she was having such a tough time, we would show Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration and show her that trials are meant to make us stronger and hopefully give her some encouragement. She watched the whole hour long movie stone faced and didn't really have any reaction to the movie besides, "that was intense. I don't really watch violence." Ha ha neither E. Larson or I quite knew what to say. We're hoping to meet with her again soon and gain some more insight into what we can do for her. I guess we'll see.

That is about it for this week. I'll tell you all about my new comp next week. I love you all and can't wait to see you all soon. Be good!

-Elder Brown

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hello Everybody,
I was waiting all week to write you cause we had lots of pretty awesome stuff happen this week. So I think I may have mentioned it last week, but for the last two weeks we have been teaching seminary from 7:00-8:00 and it has been super awesome. The kids we teach are 15 and 16 and really haven't had much interest at all in coming. We were playing lots of games, helping them memorize scripture mastery, and just teaching the stories from the Old Testament. I remember taking the Old Testament in seminary and just being SO not interested. The only thing that made it interesting was having good seminary teachers who changed it up and did exciting things. We had success and were really seeing and hearing about the excitement of our kids by the end of the two weeks. We were talking to some of the kids at church and they kept telling us that they wanted us to just teach the rest of the year. It would have been fun. Anyway, the best part about the whole experience was at the end when we heard a girl from our class give a talk on Sunday. She mentioned how much she had been learning from seminary from "the elders" and how much she has learned to love the gospel. It was an awesome to know we did some good.

The next highlight was on Wednesday afternoon. Both Elder Larson and I felt a prompting to go and visit Kristen, who we haven't been able to meet with in about a month now. We showed up and she looked shocked to see us at first. We had a good quick talk and then we just asked how she had been doing. She started to cry and tell us that things had been really hard recently. We were SO glad that we showed up when we did. We just explained to her that we missed her and wanted to meet with her again, and she said that she would love it and so we're hopefully going to see her this week. I know it sounds kind of messed up, but I really like seeing people cry...obviously when that crying is brought on by the spirit, not by tragedy or heartache. I feel like it was a good cry though.

Another great event this week was having Zone Conference. We had all 10 elders from around the area down and President/Sister Campbell and the assistants came up. We met on Friday morning and had a really great meeting. Elder Larson and I gave a training based on a talk called "An Educated Conscience." It is phenomenal talk! Basically it talks about how we can ensure more promptings from the Holy Ghost, and becoming more familiar with the voice of the Spirit. It gives 5 points: 1. frequently treasure up the words and love of Christ 2.Pray to know what God would have you do 3.Covenant to do it 4.Keep the Covenant 5.Return and Report. As I’ve been applying it, I have felt a total difference, especially in the last step. I really haven’t' ever felt more satisfaction after praying to Heavenly Father reporting that I have done what I said I would do. I have felt so much closer to Him as I have done this.

That really is all the highlights for the week. I guess another note is we had to change Donald's baptism date to April 7th so that we could get all the teaching in before he gets baptized. We are still working with him though. I love you all a lot and can't wait to hear from you and see you in a little while,

-Elder Brown

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hey Mom and Dad, your trip sounds so crazy! I wish i could come on a trip with you when i got home. If you need to go on a trip soon after i get home, you should go! It is no big deal to leave me here home alone for a little bit. I'll just hopefully be working a ton anyway. I was also hoping to get back up here the first week of August for Heritage Days and to see Elder Warner before he goes home. That would be ideal, but if it can't happen i won't be terribly heart broken. I guess we will see when the time comes.

Hey everyone else now,

So as for this week, we had a pretty good one. We were able to see Dan and Cheri and set a baptismal date for March 24th. So that makes 3 baptismal dates in our area, and 3 more throughout the zone. That is the most the stake has had in over a year. I can't even tell you how happy it makes me to know that the Lord is approving of our labors and really blessing us. That being said, we still have a long way to go and struggles to overcome as we get more motivated and keep working to become better teachers, finders, fellowshippers, friends, and ultimately just more Christ-like. I really am happy with the way the zone is headed. We have zone conference this Friday and elder Larson and i are giving a training on a talk called An Educated Conscience. It just talks about how the steps to ensure more constant promptings from the holy ghost are: treasuring up the words of life, praying for guidance to know what God would have you do, promising God to do it, and then follow through and account to God daily on your progress. I have been doing this the last few months and i have felt my heart and my desire totally change. I can't believe how such a simple thing has made the most difference in my service. Why didn't i think of that sooner? ha ha. I am glad i have the chance now to improve and purify myself and then just dig in and work the last few months.

We also had ZLC this week and we had lots of really good trainings. We did get to go see the Demetrioff's and elder Warner. It was good to see all of them again. That is pretty much it for this week. I love you all,

-Elder Brown

ps. there is an elder in our zone who has never recieved a letter on his mission thus far. He is almost a year out and has relatively no home support. I was just wondering if anyone within the influence of whoever this email reaches might know someone around our age who would just want a pen pal. The goal isn't to set him up with a girlfriend, just someone to write and to talk about his mission with. If yes, let me know. If not, no big deal, we'll figure it out. Thanks

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hello to all those who are reading,
So this week was above incredible. I suppose phenomenal would be a better word to describe it. Oh what a week! I guess I'll just report chronologically. On Monday-Tuesday of this last week we had the mission wide fast and we got lots of positive comments from not only our ward, but the missionaries/wards from the stake. We feel like it gave us a good boost of morale and visible success. More to come hopefully.

The next awesome thing that happened this week was we were able to have a member invite one of his former employees and his girlfriend to take the discussion. On Thursday night we went over to Dan Sansome's house to meet him and his girlfriend, Cheri. Both of them were anxious to learn and to come to church. Brother Blum, a member of our bishopric, was their friend who invited them and he came with us. We had just a short visit because their boys, James and Jacob, are young and were getting tired and cranky. So we kept it short but invited them to church. They told us that they were going to be taking a trip to Slave Lake this weekend to see Cheri's family, but they would be back very late Saturday night and would try to come. Well they came and brought their boys.
They woke up a little late so they didn't even eat breakfast before they came. Both Dan and Cheri wanted to stay, but because their kids were super hungry they had to leave after the second hour. We're meeting with them on Tuesday with a young couple from the ward and are hoping that they'll be drawn in by the young couples in our ward who love to fellowship and friendship. They're really good at it too.
I guess while I'm on the subject of church. We taught a primary class of 5 year olds this week and it was one of the toughest lesson's I've taught. To keep 5 youngsters busy and interested is near impossible. They were really good for us though. We also were asked to help teach in young women's because they were talking about their role in preparing young men for missions. We were happy to speak and i feel like we gave them some good advice.
That lesson was the result of a meeting the young men had on Saturday talking about mission prep, which leads me to the last highlight of the week.The meeting the young men participated in was for the whole stake and all YM ages 14-24 who haven't served missions. They were very specific about who could/couldn't come to the meeting. Only the boys, parents, bishop/branch presidents, and the stake presidency was allowed. Well, and i guess us because we are the zone leaders over the stake and I was asked to speak.
They were selective because they were speaking very candidly and directly about the worthiness and preparation aspects of missionary service. It was an excellent meeting and i wish our stake would have done this. I wish they would have just spelled out exactly what is okay and what is not. I didn't know ANY of this stuff until i went away to school. So if you have any sway in your stakes to suggest it. It is incredible and the YM will be sure to stay out if they go this way. I LOVED this meeting so much.
I was asked by President Cherwak (stake president) to just give a few minutes of my thoughts concerning my preparation and what it means to really serve and honorable mission. I was glad to have some time to address the boys and encourage them to keep working hard and to not be dumb and ignorant like i was. I really loved this week and am so anxious to see what our Heavenly Father has in store for His children that we have the privilege to teach this week.
I love you all so so so much and can't wait to hear from any/all of you,
Elder Brown

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hello everyone,
This week was pretty morbid as far as missionary work goes. We did have a lot of good things happen though, it just wasn't reflected in our key indicators. Anyway, we spent Thursday and Friday of this week down in Edmonton at a training meeting. We woke up at 5 and headed down to Edmonton that morning. It is about a four and a half hour drive to get there. We got there just in time for the meeting to start. We went until 4 and then we were able to go the temple. It has been SO LONG since i have been able to go. I haven't gone since before my year mark. It felt so good to be back at the temple and to do some learning and praying there. I love it.
We were on exchanges with the Elders in Londonderry that night and then we were back at meetings all day Friday. We finished up there at about 4 and then headed back up to Grande Prairie. During the Friday session of training Elder Larson and I were asked to give a training on the Role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion. It went really well and we feel like we did a pretty decent job of giving a training that would be something easy to stay awake through. Considering the meetings were so long, that is a pretty valuable attribute to the trainings ha ha.

This week we're hoping to have some more success now that we actually get to work in our area all 7 days. We are excited and especially pumped about the fast tonight. Wish us luck! Love you all and hope to hear from you soon,

-Elder Brown

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hello one and all,

This week was so so so so so sweet. I guess that many "so"'s isn't quite necessary because we didn't baptize anyone yet or anything, we just had some really cool and uplifting experiences. The beginning of this week went pretty normal. After we got transfer calls the elders heading out of our zone left for Edmonton Tuesday afternoon and we had Elder Vawdrey with us for about 48 hours. We were teasing him and telling him that it was his Zone Leader try outs. He wasn't too please about that. Anyway, we got our new elders here and one of them was elder Keck, and the other is Elder Stanke from Berlin. He is serving in Dawson Creek which is a little hole in the wall town and the BC/Alberta border. He already has been calling us and telling us how much he hates it. He was telling us that this morning during a zone conference call and we basically just had to tell him to suck it up. We explained to him that if he believes President Campbell is inspired and if he believes that the prophet is inspired....he needs to grow up and go to work. I hate confrontation, so that was a little tough, but it needed to be said. Hopefully it will have a good influence on him. He really is a great missionary and I really like him. I'm looking forward to going on exchanges with him and getting to know him a little bit better.

So after that we went back to working as normal and then on Friday we needed to head down to Edmonton for ZLC. We called and asked President Campbell for permission to drive through a town 2 hours south to go and see members of our ward in Grande Cache. It was formerly a branch in our stake, but because of lack of priesthood brethren, they had to close it down. They meshed into our ward, and now they have to do a 2 hour commute on one of the worst roads in Alberta to come to church. So needless to say, none of them do it. We were able to go down there and meet the members and some of them said they hadn't seen missionaries in over 3 years. They were pretty overjoyed to see and to have us bring down this year's manuals. It really made me take step back and think about complaining when Mom and Dad left church when I had a meeting or interview and I had to walk home from church. I am such a big whiner! The members there are so great and really want to live the gospel, but don't have anyone to uplift and support them. We feel pretty bad. The town of Grande Cache itself is one of the most gorgeous little cities ever. It is nestled in among mountains on every side. The town’s logo is a mountain goat, and it is totally a perfect description. As we were driving through the town it felt like we were just going to fall off a huge mountain at some points. I took some really beautiful pictures of the town.

We spent the rest of the night driving and finally got into Edmonton at around 9:00 and we stayed with the assistants.

We got up the next day and went to ZLC at the mission home. What an incredible meeting!?!?! In the meeting we were told about a mission wide fast that was decided on in a meeting called coordinating council. The people who are there are President Campbell, President Card(temple president), Elder Melchin(area authority, and the 6 stake presidents in our mission. It is a powerhouse meeting. The mainly discuss missionary work and they noticed a trend of the convert baptisms in our mission going down by about 40/year for the last 3 years. They talked about what might spark things again and start the trend going upward. They felt that this fast was the trick and so they talked for about an hour and a half about how to make the fast most effective. We took notes furiously and now we've developed a study guide to give to the members to help them prepare for a fast. I'll send a copy of it and you can take a look. It is just about fasts in general, but we want people to get excited and pumped up for the upcoming fast this week. We were thinking about the power behind 6 stakes worth of families all kneeling down at the same time petitioning for missionary work. I think it is cool to think about how much we can really accomplish in that 24 hour period. We're excited and are looking forward to it a lot.

That is about it for this week. We're happy and healthy and all is well. I love you all so much and look forward to hearing from each of you. Have a great week!

-Elder Brown

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hello Everyone,

We dodged the bullet this transfer! Elder Larson and I didn't get a transfer call this morning which means we'll be together another 6 weeks. We are both excited and looking forward to seeing the ward pick up again. We did have some good lessons this week. We met with Kristen and began teaching the plan of Salvation and it was a really good lesson. Elder Frazier, who if you remember was my district leader in Forest Heights, was here on exchanges and taught her with me. It was really neat to teach with him again, and see what things he's been learning and improving on and to show him I’m not the same lame missionary I was just a little while ago. I'm still pretty lame, just not that lame. Anyway, we thought it was a successful and uplifting lesson, but at the end she said that she wanted to take a break for a little while. We were pretty disheartened, but we were told about our Stake President's experience. He is a convert and told us that when he finally found his answer he was freaked out and kind of abandoned the church and the missionaries for a while. He put off talking to them for a while, then finally got back in contact and told the missionaries then was baptized. We're hoping Kristen is going through the same process. We've been told by quite a few members and missionaries that that reaction is pretty common. We still have hope and faith that she will be baptized here.

A member of the bishopric talked in church yesterday and was saying that the ward hadn't had a baptism for more than a year and they wanted to baptize again. At one point Grande Prairie was one of the highest baptizing/teaching cities in the mission. We feel like we can be again, and the members have been really supportive and are doing all they can to work with people. I am glad that I’ll still have Elder Larson here to introduce me to the people I still haven't met and help me to know who the families are working with. It is a ton to remember.

We were also able to see Katie and Ryan this week. They came to church and all of them got hair cuts and looked all spiffed up and it was good to see them continuing to learn, grow, and progress in the gospel. It is pretty awesome to see how true the scripture in the end of Jacob 5, is which talks about the last time they go into the vineyard. As we work this one last time, we'll find more joy and happiness in the fruit that we gather in and harvest.

I guess that is about it for the week. We haven't been able to meet with Wyatt Hommy, and we haven't found anyone new this week. We are hoping that a few of our potentials will come through this week. I called back to sturgeon a few nights ago and found out 2 people I was teaching there have baptismal dates now. We are hopeful and confident we can have someone on date here soon. I haven't seen it yet, but I sure want to. I love you all so much, and am grateful to have such a good family and group of friends. You make it all worth it.

-Elder M. Brown

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hello everyone,

So this week was literally teeming with crazy experiences that I’ve never been through on my mission. The adversary is throwing out ALL the tricks he's got since we've been trying harder. To begin this week we had a lesson with Kristen. The only thing I can really compare it to is a spiritual UFC match that all the two opponents did was ground and pound. NO flashiness or exciting things, just a totally intense and exhausting 2 hours of trying our hardest to listen to what she was saying and teach from the Book of Mormon accordingly. I have never been so exhausted in my life. The spirit is draining. The Sisters that we have been bringing with us have loved coming and said we did a good job. I hope they are right. After the lesson we walked her out to her car and she said, "Well if you can believe it, now I’m heading off to see my pastor! Lots of gospel today!" Elder Larson and I both felt our hearts drop as we heard that and watched her drive away.
I can't believe how hard this is! I don't think I have been tried so much as I have been here. I still have LOTS to learn, and Elder Larson has been great for me in helping me set meaningful goals of what things I want to improve on. Recently I have been doing a vertical leap program, memorizing stories as written in the Book of Mormon, memorizing the Living Christ, finishing the Book of Mormon in 100 days, and am going to be starting the Doctrine and Covenants this week. I need to also finish the New Testament before I come home. LOTS TO DO!!! In that sense I do feel a little overwhelmed.
On to event number two. After our lesson with Kristen, the Assistants were coming up and Elder Wild and I were going to be heading out to Goodfare to teach Wyatt. Well we got a call right after the lesson and the mom of the less active family told us that they didn't exactly know where Wyatt was. They got a call from the GP police department around 2:00 AM and they were told that he was found passed out behind the wheel of his truck that had crashed into a ditch. Great. He is 16 and got a DUI. I was shocked. Anyway, she told us that he could still be in the holding cell and he wouldn't be released until he could be claimed by an adult. Elder Larson and I went there, bailed him out and then just talked to him for a bit. He said that he realized how dumb he had been and we told him that we would need to teach the Word of Wisdom pretty quickly. He promised that he would still be in church on Sunday, but didn't end up showing. He is now living in GP with his Aunt which is great, but there is a catch. His Aunt really doesn't like the church, and doesn't want him meeting with us. We were pretty concerned.
Anyway, this week was nuts. I can't believe how crazy it has been. Transfers are coming up this week, and I’m hoping that Elder Larson will stay for another one here with me, and then I’ll just have one more companion after this. This Thursday I hit my 20 month mark. I seriously can't believe how quickly time is passing. It seems like there is nothing I can do to slow it down. I love the work, and I’m loving life. I love all of you so so so much,

-Elder Brown

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hi family and friends,

This week has been a pretty eventful one. We began our week with pretty much "freezing to death" temperatures. For the majority of Tuesday and Wednesday it dropped down below -40 degrees so not too much work was happening. At that temperature we're only allowed to go out to specific appointments. We luckily had a few. We also spent most of that time on exchanges, but we weren't able to see any of the work going on, so it wasn't super productive. I did get to know Elder Nichols really well though. He is from Sacramento, and is super awesome. He was telling me all about Ezra Taft Benson's talks on politics and how the gospel really applies to the Government just as well as anything else. He had quite a few talks and some pretty convincing statements that were talking about how communism/socialism and the law of consecration are totally different. It was neat stuff.

When we finally did get to get out and work we had some great lessons. We taught Kristen again this week and we had an incredible intense lesson. I think I said this last week, but I’m not sure so I’ll write again. She has a lot of Pentecostal-like influence so we're kind of working around that. She talked about a prayer that she was inspired to begin saying and it was a recited prayer about casting out evil influences and protecting the earth. She talked about casting out ants from her yard and all of these crazy things. We really had no idea where to go and then before we even really knew what we were doing we were teaching about how all of those things can be asked for in prayer, but in our church we value opposition and challenges. We talked about how we don't shy away from trials because that is how we grow. I had never really thought of teaching that, but I guess the spirit knows more than both of elder Larson and me. It was a really great and intense lesson, but she still didn't come to church this week.

We had a lesson with Wyatt last night and had quite the experience. We found out just prior to the lesson that he and the members' son had been out drinking and partying until about 3 in the morning and were pretty much breaking every part of the WoW possible. Ha ha I guess that means we know what we're teaching this week. We ended up finishing the Plan of Salvation and focused hard on repentance and the atonement. It was great to see that he received it well and wanted to do everything he could to repent and be better. He for sure has this weekend off to come to church, so we'll be very happy to have him there.

Katie and Ryan are doing well. Katie is down to 2/12 cigarettes a day and has picked Valentine's Day to be done smoking. Every time we talk about it she warns Ryan how grumpy she is going to be on their special day. Ha ha it should be pretty funny. Their kids really like us and their oldest daughter Sadie reminds me of Maura back before I left. She seems so much older now, but she reminds me of 5 year old Maura.

Things are good up here. The weather is getting warm again. It is only -10 today and it feels like Hawaii! Ha ha it is so weird to feel so warm at such a cold temperature. Canada is strange.

I love you all so so so much and love to hear from you whenever you get a chance to write. Have a good week,

-Elder Brown