Thursday, March 25, 2010

Semana 2 em Autódromo


Oi gente. Esta semana foi rápida e ótima!

Wow...this was a crazy one. First off, we had another baptism - Geni! She is an awesome single lady (only 25 years old) who has 3 kids and has no support at all from her husband. While we kind of want to bust in his head for not helping out, she is doing everything right and will be blessed. It was a beautiful baptism, a really model one. The only thing that went wrong is that our cell phone went off in my pocket when I started to play the piano, so I started doing a freaky dance while trying to play The Spirit of God and turn off the phone at the same time. The actual baptism was awesome - she came out of the water looking so happy that you can´t help but feeling like you´re really part of something awesome. Baptisms always strengthen your testimony. I always feel like I´m slacking off if we´re not saving at least 1 person a week - another mission goal.

Portuguese is coming fast, but very strangely and sporadically at times. I´ve had some people ask me if I´m from São Paulo or Salvador because of my sotace (accent) and then there´s the sweet old lady walking on the street who calls you a stupid American devil who can´t talk good. That´s always fun. But yeah, it really is just practice and patience, and like I said, I have a goal to become fluent. It will happen, but I have to remember that I have a lot of time to grow still.

Elder B. Fernandes is the man! He´s an awesome teacher and I started off being a little intimidated because I didn´t think I´d be able to duplicate the simplicity and spirituality in which he teaches. He´s rubbing off on me, though, because I can definitely feel the lessons going more smoothly and spiritually. He also does excercises, something that none of my companions have done until now, so I finally have someone to work out a little with. The mission isn´t being very kind to my abs, but then again the ladies at lunch have to be pleased in one way or another.
Dont have a lot of time - had to update the account and it took a long time. Just know that everything is more than well here, and that we are happy and working our brains out.
I love this work. I will never lose my fire for it, no matter what anyone says, including me. I love the Lord, and He loves all of us. Please, all of you, do your very best for Him. I promise I will.

Elder Brown, Autódromo, Pinhais, Missão Brasil


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

new email

HI yáll,
Just to let everyone know my new email is:
They´re redoing the website, so we had to change it.
Write stuff! Love yáll!
Elder Brown

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

not much stinkin time

Darn computers. My whole freakin email was destroyed.
Basically this happened:
transferred from Santa Felicidade to Autódromo
was called to be a Senior
received as a companion Elder B. Fernandes
was called to be the Co-Choir director
Elder LeBaron is going to train a greenie (Elder Bringhurst) in Santa
Life is excellent and the work is going to explode here! I´m thinking at
least 16 baptisms this month should do (right Dad? :) )
Sei que esta Igreja é a Igreja de Cristo. Sei que Ele nos ama. Sei que somos
parte duma grande trabalho, e que é o melhor coisa podemos fazer. Sei que
devemos ser muito obedientes e não perder este tempo tão corto. Sei que
Joseph Smith realmente foi chamado a ser um profeta de Deus e que temos
autoridade de Deus a agir em nome Dele.
Amo esse trabalho e quero fazer para sempre.
Love you all and wish that I could explain in greater detail. Basically,
life is awesome and the mission is blazing by. Hope all is well with all
Elder Brown, Autódromo, Missão Curitiba Brasil

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Talvez última semana em Santa Felicidade

Oi família e amigos,
It is becoming increasingly more difficult to write in English, which is
actually a lot more welcome to me than a problem. Hope that I can still make
This week was great! Taught about 30 lessons again with nearly all of them
with a member present. It really is the key to have the members not just
involved, but swarming. Once the "swarm" begins, it´s difficult to stop.
I would like to explain a little about how I have watched this ward
developed, the fruits of this development and why it has done so. Of course,
there is nothing more annoying than a missionary bragging about his success,
so this will all be a general explanation so I can hope to keep some friends
after reading this email. It is basically as follows:
When I got here to Santa Felicidade, I wasn´t really sure what to expect.
Brand-new in the mission, you don´t have any preconceptions about what will
be happening, how the ward will be, whether other people will baptize there,
etc. Naturally, fresh out of the CTM, I was "pscyhed" to baptize the heck
out of everyone. I did not know that in the last year they had only baptized
7 people, but frankly I didn´t care. We just went to work.
There is a formula in the process of finding people and baptizing people
that is much more effective than many other ways - through the members, ALL
of them. There are several ways to get their trust, but the best way to do
it is by good, hard, honest and loving work. If you work, people know it.
When you invite them to be a part of this work, they usually want in. To be
clear, I think this is literally the best ward of all time, maybe since
Enoch. It is completely stacked to the ceiling of people willing and able to
do everything possible for the missionaries. So we went to work - teaching
and finding and sweating and loving it. Then people started to come to
church. Then we started having baptisms. Then the ward started to notice.
Then the work exploded. Then...who knows what can happen. All I know is
this: since being here, we´ve had the opportunity to baptize 17 people, with
many more scheduled for upcoming times. This is more than in the last 2
years! Why? Not because we are the ultimate studs of the universe, but
because we were willing to do our part and gutsy enough to ask the others to
do theirs. To be clear: like I said, there is nothing more annoying to a
member than a whining and demanding missionary. Is all you do is ask, you´re
going to get punched in the face by the Relief Society president sooner or
later. You become a burden instead of a strength. That is not exactly what
we want to do as missionaries, in my opinion.
Elder LeBaron and I were talking about how awesome the ward is here and what
else we can do to progress the work here. He basically said that this is the
best and most excited ward he´s seen in the mission. That made me excited -
excited to progress and do more! Stagnancy is the enemy of all missionaries.
If Satan has any battle in the mission, it´s that one. It´s that the
Americans don´t really need to have Language Study. We only need to baptize
monthly - weekly is just too hard. We only need to do contacts on work days,
not Pday. This stuff is crap and we need to give Satan a give in the face
through our obedience. I am positive that when we do our best, Satan
cringes. He is absolutely frady-scared (spelling?) to see the Lord´s
missionaries at their finest. We need to be THAT kind of missionary, not
your everyday kinda good one. Like Elder Bednar said, "I am sick and tired
of people calling this generation the chosen generation!" We need to EARN
that privelege and step up to the work at hand, not give excuses as to why
we aren´t allowed to give our best.
I think I have an addiction to the baptismal font. If I´m not in it every
week, I start going through withdrawals. Seriously, for all you addicts out
there, baptizing is the best stuff there is. Highly recommended.
I also love Elder LeBaron - he´s the man. We´ve been talking a lot about the
ward, our investigators, about everything in general, and it really is FUN
to be working with someone you really enjoy being with. It´s awesome to have
someone with a lot of faith and that wants to set and acheive ridiculous
I love you all and hope you know that I am doing well. All is well here in
Santa Felicidade - let the good waters of baptism flow.
Elder Brown, Santa Felicidade, Missão Brasil Curitiba

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Quase 6 meses na missão...yeesh


Oi gente,

This week has been really interesting. We really wanted another blue week, and have been working like crazy to try and earn another one. We set some ridiculous goals and have been desperately trying to reach them. One thing that I´ve learned so far about the mission is that, even if we really want things, they don´t always happen in our time. Our Heavenly Father has a timetable, and we need to align our time with His. Otherwise, we´re in for a longer and more painful ride than we need to put ourselves through. We had three baptisms on Sunday! Matilde, Anderson, and Nice were baptized and it was an amazing experience. For those reading who haven´t had the opportunity to perform/watch a baptism, I encourage you to convert a family and try it out. It´s really the most addicting feeling ever. The ward here is basically addicted to baptisms: they ask me and Elder LeBaron every week "Quantos por essa semana?" (How many this week). We usually have an impressive number, and though not all are baptized in the exact time we would like, most of them are. Anyway, back to the week. We set some nuts goals and were pumped to see them all achieved. I´ll describe our area a little so y'all can see what It´s like: So we have two areas in our area: Santa Felicidade (Holy Happiness) - a richer, snobbier place with a plethora of excellent and frickin expensive Italian restaurants - and Campo Magro (Skinny Field), which is basically what I thought and hoped Brasil would be like, with the dirt roads, concrete jungle houses, and rolling hills of forest and jungle. It´s an awesome diversity, though it does come with a unique set of challenges. As all missionaries know, planning is very important. Here, it´s doubly so. You need to give attention to every person you have in every part of your area. Right now we have around 40 investigators. Without divisions and splits with the members, it´s utterly impossible to visit them all throughout the course of the week, let alone follow-ups daily. This means that we really have to plan well, efficiently, and prayerfully. As missionaries, we have a certain list of things we can do - teach with and bring the Spirit, help people gain motivation, make friends, baptize if people will let us, etc. The Lord also has a large part in missionary work. This may sound a little sacrilegious and stupid, but it´s a true principle. In our area, if we don´t pray and earn the fact for our investigators to be home, they won´t be. People work a LOT here, and get paid close to nothing ( depending on the job, but you get the idea). This means that we need to specifically pray for the people to be home, because that´s the field that Heavenly Father can work with. Then there´s the field of the members. We have an AWESOME ward!!! I don´t want to leave this area, and if President let me I´d stay for the whole time I´m here. We have an arsenal of returned missionaries and pumped up families at our disposal, and we´re only beginning to tap into the resources available there. My goal is to have every single one of them have at least monthly splits, FHE, or references, from each family and each person. It really is a formula of success: when you want to baptize, use the members. If you want to use the members, show them how you work by bringing people to church, proving your work, and by serving them like crazy. I have really grown close to the members in this ward, and I know that even though it´s a far away day, I can´t wait to visit them again later.
So yes, the work rolls on. Although we didn´t have fabulously high numbers this week and didn´t find many new people to teach, we baptized and worked our best. At times this has been the hardest thing for me to say to myself - that I really have been doing my best. It is important to ask throughout the day how you are doing, because sometimes without that small reminder it´s easy to get lost.

I know that I´ve vented enough on the fubecas (the lazy, stupid Elders who are here for other reasons than to serve. Yep, there are those.), but I just want to say this: it is utterly selfish to serve a mission and give it half your effort. It is not fair to our Heavenly Father, to the people whose salvations we will save, and to ourselves and our families. There are certain people who are here to gain a car, to be called Assistant to the President, to be recognized in the emails, to blah blah blah. One thing that gives me great faith is the fact that I was not called to be the district leader, trainer, zone leader, secretary, assistant, etc. I was called to be a MISSIONARY!!! WOOO!! What an amazing opportunity, to give a tithe for our lives until now (2 years out of 20. Cool!) to the Lord and receive and give the blessings that we are promised.
To end, I´d like to share an experience that happened this week. We were in another exhilarating District Meeting and talking about how we improve using the Spirit and helping others recognize it during our lessons. Elder Nascimento, our LZ and one of my favorite people on the planet, told us about when Elder Bednar came to visit the missionaries here. He said that as Elder Bednar was about to end, he basically said "I invite the Spirit to be with us as I share with you my apostolic testimony". It was powerful, E.N. said. I really liked that, and started thinking about our call as missionaries. If we are worthy, working, and serving with all our heart, might, mind and strength, it is possible to do those things! The priesthood really is that amazing! Later that day we were visiting a family - Miguel and Miguelina - and only Miguel was there. He was looking a little on edge when we showed up and gave us a letter that he said his wife wrote. They have a baptismal date marked for this week. The letter basically said that she loved us and knows that we are men of God, but she wants to stay in the Assembly of God. I almost cried at that moment, because she has come so far. I decided that there was no way we were giving up on them and we shared a message about the Spirit with Miguel. I did what Elder Bednar did - invited the Spirit to be with us as I bore my testimony as a representative of Jesus Christ. It was a physically Spiritual feeling, like you could reach out and grab it. He KNEW what he felt, and though he says he´s still looking for his response, he´ll understand that it has a white shirt and tie on soon enough. I would like all of you to know that I have a testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ. He lives. He knows us all and loves us more than we can possibly imagine. We are here with the Gospel in our lives because we have been blessed with a responsibility to share it with others. We CAN NOT keep this message to ourselves. That is SELFISH! PLEASE be the best missionaries you can, for our Heavenly Father, for the people we will serve, and for ourselves. I love you all and hope that after this email you will all run into the streets proclaiming the Gospel with the Book of Mormon in hand :) 2 more baptisms this week!!!

Elder Brown, Santa Felicidade, Curitiba, Brasil