Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Week, I don´t know anymore. This is going to be a fast mission :)

Week 6

Hello everyone!

I am doing well here in Brazil, not just surviving.
Some highlights of this last week:

Elder Richard G. Scott came and spoke to us last Friday! You’ll probably be surprised to know that he’s pretty short - around 5 foot 7. Also, you won’t be surprised to know that he’s an incredibly spiritual man. It absolutely emanates from him, and it was awesome to be in his presence.

I also got to direct the choir twice!!! Once on Tuesday for the Devotional and again on Friday. It was absolutely amazing!! I was actually not nervous for several reasons - first, we prepared a lot. Most people here just try to throw something together in the last hour they have before the program starts, but not I. We practiced well beforehand and I stressed about what to do, and when it came time to actually practice, it seemed to just flow together perfectly. I felt the Spirit immensely, and I know that those who sang and those who heard did as well. I could literally see their testimonies on their faces as they sang - amazing.

Also, Elder Jay Jenson of the presidency of the 70 spoke to us, and his whole talk was about how hymns bring the Spirit - woohoo!! It was a very awesome experience, and I felt like I was at home up there, in front of everyone. They listened to me, did what I said, and we were all edified together.
I have developed how a theory on how to lead, so see if you agree: first, love the people. Second, love what you do. Third, take responsibility - you ARE the boss, and they must know and recognize that. When those three things are present, the people will feel that they are loved, that you sincerely care about them and also what is happening, and also that you know what you’re doing (or at least look like it :)) and are running the show. I really, really enjoyed that experience. I’ve also been able to play the piano several times for the choir/sacrament/etc. , and I´m singing a solo/duet with Elder Monson (I know; he is related) on Sunday for the mission conference meeting. It’s been great to be able to use these things that I love to do so much and with such variety.

I also need to bring back a copy of the Brazilian National Anthem - one crazy song. Tell Ali to learn that one.

Talked to one of our Zone leaders (a teacher) here about some people that are a slight concern at times, and got some excellent feedback on how I’m doing as a DL. He’s extremely sarcastic and funny and reminds me a lot of Papa Bear Brown. Anyway, he told me that I’m doing really well as the DL, which was a relief to hear, and that it’s good to see someone that genuinely cares about the people, something I’ve been working hard on here.

One thing I would suggest to everyone at home or otherwise is this: if you’re learning a language like me, say a prayer in that language. If you can, say the whole prayer, and if you can only do a little bit, say a little then end it.

Next, say another separate prayer for those whom you love - the prophet, your family, friends, dog, etc.

LAST, pray for yourself and what you want to improve on. Pray specifically for Christlike attributes and then, after you pray for it, make a covenant with your Heavenly Father. Promise Him that you’ll do something for Him and ask for that specific blessing.

I PROMISE that as you are faithful in keeping these special covenants that your sincere desires will not go unanswered. Also remember this: our time is not the Lord´s concern- we need to be concerned with His timeline.

Last, after you are finished praying, WAIT and LISTEN. You will receive more personal revelation, comfort, and peace in this manner when praying in the peace of the night, during your special time with your Heavenly Father.

Class is going well - I’m doing well in Português and getting better daily. I’m actually thinking a lot about being a linguist/international business major when I get back, just because I enjoy learning the language and feeling intelligent in that way. Maybe I could be fluent in 4 languages someday - English, Portuguese, German, and Spanish. If I could do that, I would be very pleased.

How is BYU Football doing? Have they given up yet?

How is the family? I heard that Peter is doing wrestling- awesome! Now he’ll stand a chance when I get back :) Just kidding, just be careful how much you feed the machine - you might create a monster. How is Ali´s SAT and choir and school stuff going? How tall are Julie and Kathryn now? Do we have a job yet?

I love you all so much, and love reading your letters. Thanks for being supportive in so many ways - I can literally feel the blessings of your prayers.
2 more weeks here!!! AAAAHHHH!!!

Love you all; work hard, smile often, pray always.
Elder Brown

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Week 5!

Oi todas as pessoas,

Everything is going especially well here for several reasons: I just got to eat at a meat buffet where they carried around huge spits of meat and asked you if you would like more (of course, I politely declined them all; I ate some chicken hearts, warthog, and other stuff. Very tasty!); I also directed the choir last night (Nearer My God to Thee) and got very good feedback; I also get to direct when Elder Scott (yeah, the apostle) comes on Friday!!! Woo! Pray for me please. Also, Português is coming very well; every day is less worse than the day before. I´m able to read o Livro de Mormon and understand almost all of it, which is cool.

We went proseyting last Friday!!! We were given three LM´s to place and placed them all; we had such a good taste of the missionary spirit. It was amazing: even our first contact, ever, went well. We just walked right up to this man sitting on a bench and started talking to him about the gospel. It turns out he had a LM already (which stinks...most people already had LM´s but didn´t read, so we just had to challenge them to read it and maybe give them the nearest church address), so we just talked to him and then said bye. We probably talked to around 20 people (which might sound low, but we were doing pretty well) and, again, placed all three books. The people are so faithful and kind here! Even if they were busy or didn´t really care about our message, they would listen to it. The people we placed LMs to were very faithful and loving - one lady basically comitted to coming to church and maybe getting baptized if she felt the Holy Ghost. My favorite exp. that day was talking to a man who had already received a LM and was actually reading it with his family (amazing man). Elder Lott was a little tired so it was basically my turn, and I felt I performed admirably. I think people should get ticketed for talking too fast - he was definitely over the speed limit. It was amazing, though - it´s been what, a little over a month - and I´m nearly conversational in Português. It took me almost 6 years in German to do the same thing. Just goes to show you how the Spirit will take over and help us to do those things which might seem difficult at the time. Anyway, I talked to him, opened Moroni 10:4-5, and testified of the power of Moroni´s promise. He committed to praying that night with his family - I think he´ll be baptized! That was such a good feeling after watching his face light up as we talked about everything - polygamy, the Trinity, Lehi´s vision of the Tree of Life - and I´m ready to do it again. We do it again next week - in downtown São Paulo. That´ll be interesting, but it´ll be amazing, I know.

I feel like I had a strong testimony before I left, and I believe I did; now, however, I feel like a magnifying glass has been placed over it. I know now more than ever that this is what we´re supposed to be doing. I also found out that the meeting I had about me not being a good district leader was basically made up (why, I´m not sure), and that I´m doing well. We started a tradition in our district to compliment the person who says the closing prayer, one per person. Yesterday was my turn, and I basically was blown away with how kind and observant people were about me. They pointed out things that I had neglected to see in myself, and I know, I KNOW that I´m serving my very best, and will continue to do so.

Eu sei que a Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos de Últimas Dias é a somente igreja verdadeira na essa terra. Eu sei que Joseph Smith foi chamado para ser uma profeta moderna, e que ele traduziu o Livro de Mormon atraves do poder de Deus. Eu sei que Jesus Cristo é o Cristo. Eu sei que Ele vivo e ama nós muito. Eu amo vocés muito tambem.

All my love,
Elder Brown

I will be sending letters to our house

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Week 4!

I was in the temple today, which was amazing, and I had several thoughts;
first, I´ve learned better how to pray here. I pray three times at night: once in Português, once for my family/companion/district, and once for me. This has really helped me have the Spirit more, and I love being close to the Lord.
Anyway, using that rubric, I prayed in the Celestial room about the usual things.

Then, I thought of something: we saw a presentation by Richard G. Scott last night and I was impressed with how spiritual he was. I thought, I wonder what I could do to feel like that, to have the Spirit that strong! As I thought in that room, I had an overwhelming feeling that whatever happens, all I have to do is trust in the Lord and what He wants for me. I know that He wants me to be great, as do you and Dad and I. I also know now that even though it might be a little presumptuous, why shouldn´t we shoot for the moon? Why shouldn´t we try to live like the Apostles of the Lord? If we live like them, wouldn´t that qualify us to be like they are? I think so. I also believe it´s a process - you can´t just be really good one day and then take 10 years off, that´s not how it works.

Enduring to the end is a process, not a sprint. I´ve learned that through enduring and living with a smile (not just enduring with a grimace) we will be blessed.
I love this gospel. I love all of you. I know that it is true and that He lives.

PLEASE get your friends to write :)
I pray for you daily, and I know you do for me.

Elder Brown

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hello hello!

Oi minha familia, como çeta?

Another week here, mostly the same as the last one. It´s really pretty strange: when you first arrive, there´s a certain look that you have as a missionary - a ltitle nervous, shy, and confused. After a few weeks, that look is replaced with another one: outgoingness, cabin fever, and muita bonita bons de sentimentos. Baasically what I´m trying to say is I feel like I finally know my way around here, and that´s comforting.

Something interesting happened yesterday: our teacher for the afternoon, Irmão Fiallo, pulled me aside and basically told me that I was not doing the best job I could be doing as a District Leader. My pride was a little hurt, since I´ve been trying very hard to make sure everything is taken care of in that regard, but she was/is totally right. For example, there is a game most Elders play here called Ninja Destruction ( you try to hit the other person´s hand with your hand, and you can dodge and stuff - fun and addictive game) during any spare moments we have, which are very few. Sometimes, however, I have allowed the members of my district to play the game when study time has already started, which looking back isnpt appropriate, no matter the amount of wiggles we have in our system. We talked about that and I could sincerely feel that the only reason she was telling me this was not because I´m a bad missionary or a bad district leader - she just wants me to help myself by being the very best district leader and missionary I can possibly be, something that I lost some sight on for a few days. In short, I was doing very good, and in the future I will be doing excellent.

I asked her to continue to point out things that I could improve on throughout my time here, which will help, I´m sure. We went to the Federal Police today, which was pretty cool. They took (literally - it was so fast) our fingerprints and then we went home - kind of fast and fun. Then we just have our normal pday today, and we went to a place which sells these little pouches of pizza stuff and dessert stuff - very good and pretty cheap.

I can feel that I´m progressing in the language, finally. Someone in another district commented during a teaching session that I already sound like a native, which is of course preposterous but very kind. I´ve been working hard on that with my companion and district and we improve daily.

I have a testimony of this church and of this Gospel. Though it´s been difficult, I know that this is exactly where Heavenly Father wants me to be, and it´s right where I want to be also. I love you all and hope the best for you, but only if you send letters :)

Elder Brown