Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fogo nos ossos!

Oi gente,


This has really been an interesting week. Let me explain:


As you know, I have a new companion. This means several things: first, we are working our everloving brains out. Second, we have a new Bishop and new investigators that we´re finding daily. Third, we have a plan to baptize weekly! Starting on Saturday!


We had a great interview with our new Bishop and our LMA (Ward Mission Leader) on Wednesday; made some goals to start up some great gincanas (contests) and activites tha´t´ll bring more investigators from the members and get the ward excited to get going here. They aren´t doing a whole lot now, but this ward has a lot of potential. We´ve got a lot of strong people that are just waiting to see that we really are the missionaries that they´ve been waiting for, and every day we´ve been putting our face to the grindstone to get it done. It´s amazing that when you ask for things from your Heavenly Father, you get them. I asked for a companion (Brasilian) who wanted to work and wanted to baptize. I got just that! Elder Sousa is a machine, and it´s easy to see that he´s a baptizer. We´re beginning to establish a new system in which we find more people and work more with the people that are genuinely interested; we´ll leave the rest of the slackers in the Area Book with our notes. We don´t have time for slackers, but we are willing to give everyone a chance.

One of these chances was Ziza, a crazy old lady who has more facial hair than is reasonable for most men. She´s between 78-85 years old (she´s not sure) and she is one of those people that looks like a free baptism but really takes a good chunk of work. She accepts every invitation that we leave, but then when Sunday rolls around, she has an excuse and can´t come to church. This Sunday we decided to give her the last straw. We passed by her house every day and left a message about going to church, and reminding when it was, who was coming to get her, etc. On Sunday...she came!! She´ll be baptized next week!


We´re also going to baptize Vanessa, who is Daiane´s sister. She´s great, and has basically no problems with anything. The only thing she wanted to know was about receiving an answer, and how she would receive it. It was amazing what happened in that lesson. One thing that I have learned is that authority with obedience and hard work brings power. I invited her to think about a cake recipe and what you need to make a cake. Without one of the ingredients (eggs, milk, etc.) it won´t be cake. With receiving an answer, you need to read the BOM, think about it a lot, pray about it, and go to church. She had done everything but pray, and was scared to try. I bore my testimony to her and bore witness that she had already received a witness; she believed and accepted it! She´ll be baptized on Saturday!


I also had one of the best experiences on my mission on Monday; we met an awesome guy named Marco Antônio. He lived in Florida for a long time and is divorced from his wife, who still lives there. He is the coolest guy! He only wanted to talk to me in English, so I decided to try something special; we taught half of the lesson in English and the other part in POrtuguese! It was reeeeally hard. I haven´t taught in English for almost 8 months! But he understood and it was great. My favorite part was the First Vision. I told him to pay attention to his feelings, and that he would feel the Spirit. I shared it in English, and after in Portuguese. It was really cool, and for some reason I became really emotional. He literally got goosebumps and wanted to know what it was that he felt. We told him that it was the SPirit, and he wants to feel it forever. He´ll be baptized too.


I´ve been learning that baptism and lessons taught aren´t the only successes on the mission. I´ve also been learning a lot about humility and how long I have to go still. I know that these people need this message and that I, with the Lord´s permission and SPirit - can help them.


I love this work! It is amazing! I encourage all of you to pray for the missionaries, even more! They feel those prayers during the hard times! I love you all and hope that I haven´t done anything to any one of you to frustrate or offend. Know that I am working hard on improving and that progress will be made in the time of the Lord.


Love you all - good week to all!

Elder Brown

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010



This week we had transfers again. It was reeeally suspenseful and I hated waiting, but it all turned out all right. My companion got transferred to another area and my new companion is Elder Sousa, from Manaus. He´s from the same group as (i.e. he arrived in the mission field with) Elder B. Fernandes. It´ll be a really good transfer with Elder Sousa - I continue to get Brasilians! The Portuguese is getting better and better, and the accent is slowly developing for the better. It´ll be a good day when I say something to someone on the street and they don´t look at me like I´m trying to rob them or hurt their children. Also being called an "alemão" (German) or "polaco" doesn´t help. Better than calling the Brasilians Mexicans, though; they sure don´t like that.


This last transfer absolutely flew by. Granted, it was only 5 weeks, but I feel like I just got here and now here I am, being the Senior in the area. My comp was called to be LD, and so I´ll get to help him out with that new responsibility. Two giant things that I´ve been learning on the misison have been humility and patience. Without the two, you can´t be a successful missionary. I´ve been really learning to love Pregar Meu Evangelho; I have been studying in it about Christlike attributes whenever I can, and with choir coming to a close soon I´ll have more time to study, so that´ll be great. I love reading what it says in the manual, taking my own notes, and then reading the scriptures about each topic and marking them up nice. It´s amazing how many powerful scriptures there are! Before the mission I thought that the scripture mastery scriptures were the big hitters, and they are, but there are SOO many that hit so hard on each topic of the gospel. It´s obviously impossible to know them all, but I´ve got some awesome scripture tabs that´ll help me at least try. It´s an amazing feeling to be in a lesson, feeling the Spirit, and then feel a distinct impression to turn to a certain scripture that you might´ve studied that same morning. Experience time! We´re working hard with a family - Paulo and Daiane, and their little girl Gabriella - that really, reeeally wants to get baptized. Paulo has to stop smokng and they need to get married, but they´ve already gotten the papers all together to get married and it´s all underway - they´ll have a date for us soon, and their baptisms will be shortly after their marriage. We went to their house (which is at the veery end of our area; it´s always that way for the best people) and I was thinking about what we could share with Paulo to help him to stop smoking. I thought of what I had studied that morning, about Naaman (Naamã) and his leprosy. I read the story, explained it, and then we talked about how just showing our faith to our Heavenly Father will act as a trigger in helping us with whatever we need - in Paulo´s case, smoking. We explained about how faith is works, and without them we can´t show anything or receive anything from Heavenly Father. The previous day I challenged Paulo to stop smoking that second, and he agreed. I invited him to say a prayer and read in the BOM every time he had an urge to smoke. He agreed, but the next day (the day of our visit about Naaman) he forgot to take the BOM with him to work and he smoked. It was easy to see the dissapointment on his face with himself, especially because he and his fiancé really want to get married and baptized. BUT, in spite of his small fall, he accepted again the invitation to stop with vigor, and I have faith that he really will. We also have a baptismal date marked with Vanessa, Daiane´s sister, for this Sunday. She´s "firme", and will totally be baptized this week and be strong in the church. She´s also a severe snake and is trying to flirt with me at all costs. I´m like a Brick House. Not in the sense of the song by the Commodores. Yeah.


It was been 2 weeks since I last baptized, and I can´t stand it. It´s like a drug, and the withdrawals are ruthless. We NEED to baptize, and I know that with our work done in the Lord´s way it´s possible, if it´s His will. If not, we can at least prepare the people for someone else to baptize. It has been interesting to see that sometimes it´s not a fault of effort or faith, but the baptisms just don´t come right away. I know that we will, and I have a goal for 10 baptisms this transfer. It´s possible! I want to absolutely work myself into the ground, something that I couldn´t really do with my last companion, but that I think that Elder Sousa will be excited to do. We will run this town into the ground and call them to sincere repentance and baptism by fire, with God´s authority!


Our Bishopric got changed! Bispo Wilson, who had been serving for his 5 years (and had already served for 7 years before), just got released. New Bispo: José Antônio! He is the MAN! He´s only been a member for a little less than 3 years and is on fire. It will be awesome to work with him and get this ward into a baptizing frenzy. We have a meeting planned with him and the WML tonight and we will go over our investigators and what our plans our for these next 6 weeks. We want to start up a gincana (contest) and get people giving referrals like crazy. One thing that I´ve learned is that you can´t just ask and ask and ask the Bishop and the members for stuff. They will want to kill you and burn your nametag. You have to really show them that you´re good missionaries and that you´re willing to work and serve your heart out. There are several ways to do this, but the very best way is to go through the Bishop. Serve him, gain his trust, and then work with the rest of the leaders. After this happens, you only need one good division with the members to talk about how great the work is in the area. Then, Baptize! It really is a proven formula, and I´d love to put it into practice here as we did in Santa Felicidade. It really is miraculous to watch people´s progress, inside and outside of the Gospel. We are reformers and changers! We can´t allow anything to remain stagnant! Stuff will get done if we want it to!


Another crazy experience: we went to teach Gení (Recent Convert) and Camilla (referral of Gení; 16 years old with a kid and living with a guy the past 3 years. Yep.) and Camilla needed to go take a test or something. We talked to Gení about her day, and during our conversation her 6 year-old daughter was crying and screaming about her earache. I said that if Gení wanted we could give her a blessing, so after a few minutes of struggling and crying Giovana let us give her a blessing. I anointed and William, and 18 year old guy who I was doing a division with, sealed the anointing. It was really nice and afterwards we explained what the blessing was and how it works. Then Giovana began to act really strangely and make strange noises and flail around. She is a crazy little girl, but this was weird. I went in to see if she was ok, and she looked up at me with a really weird face and told me to get out. It was really strange, and I felt a really weird presence there. When Camilla finally got there, she shared an experience that she was having about her being alone in her house and feeling like someone was there, but no one was. We shared en experience about how Satan has power (darkness), but God does too (light), and darkness can´t abide the presence of light. Read Moses 1; you´ll like it.


I know this church is true, and that the baptisms are coming! Here they come!

Elder Brown, Autódromo, Pinhais, Missão Brasil Curitiba

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Elder Brown's new mission president


Derek L. and Bonnie H. Cordon

Derek Lane Cordon, 46, and Bonnie Hillam Cordon, four children, Brazil Curitiba Mission; Bridlewood Ward, Bountiful Utah Orchard Stake. Brother Cordon serves as the stake mission preparation instructor and is a former high councilor, bishop and counselor, Scoutmaster, ward clerk, ward Young Men president and missionary in the Argentina Cordoba Mission. Director, Omniture, an Adobe Company. Born in Upland, Calif., to Nolan Ralph and Roberta Larsen Cordon.

Sister Cordon serves as a seminary teacher and is a former ward Primary president and counselor, ward Young Women adviser, counselor in a ward Relief Society presidency and missionary in the Portugal Lisbon Mission. Born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to Harold Gordon and Carol Lois Rasmussen Hillam.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Batismo! Conferência Geral! Woot!

Semana ótima, deixa eu ver a onde começar.
 As vezes quero só escrever em Português, mas pelos benefícios das pessoas que não falam, escreverei em Inglês. Sigh...
Portuguese is coming along faster. I´m trying to learn around 5 words a day, and I´m starting to try the more complex words. Hopefully that´ll increase the good ól vocabulary.
This week was an interesting one. We had to walk all the way across town to get to the stake center to watch conference, but it was well worth the walk, of course. It seemed to absolutely fly by, and I tried the best I could to take lots of good notes. It´s always difficult to choose a favorite talk, but I think that Elder Holland and Elder Bednar caught my attention best. It was really amazing to watch in English; we speak a lot of Portuguese here, and it was amazing to be able to hear the speaker´s actual voices. Plus we got way better seats than in the big room :) A Really amazing conference, one that we can apply directly to our lives.
 Alex was baptized this week! He´s a really special kid, and his baptism was a really good experience for all of us. The day of the baptism, Sunday morning before conference, Elder B. Fernandes was feeling like he might try to give us the slip, because as we all know Satan is a really big doofus and doesn´t leave people alone. We went over there and, sure enough, his mom was waiting to tell us that he couldn´t leave his house because he had dirty pants. As a missionary you hear all kinds of excuses, but I think this was probably the worst and most desperate one. I basically told her that it didn´t matter if he didn´t have any pants at all, and that I would give him my pants so that he could be baptized. Her ploy was destroyed, and he walked with us to the church and was baptized. It was an amazing service, and there was a good gathering of members there to support him. Also, he was baptized by William, a young Elder in the ward who will be leaving on his mission soon and is a reference-giving machine. It was really cool, and William did really well with the baptism. It is amazing the testimony that you feel during a baptism that the church is true. It really is true! We really are doing the right things out here, and not one drop of sweat is wasted.
 This week was basically a summary of the mission; you work the whole day, plan everything immaculately, and work by the Spirit, but nothing seems to go right and no one is home, until the very end of the day. I am positive that Heavenly Father has a huge sense of humor, watching the retarded and dorky 20 year-old boys running around, trying to talk to people. Eventually though, we did find a lot of new investigators, including an enormous family. Here´s the story on them:
So we were walking down the street near the end of the day, searching for some addresses that we marked from contacts the day before. It was April Fool´s Day, which only added to our joy as people gave us fake names and other jargon. Fools. Anyway, as we were walking, there were two 10 year-old girls who were giggling and looking in our direction. As those who have served a mission know, this happens about 3 times a day. They came skipping over to me and started speaking fluent English: "Hi Tcheacher! Whatch tchim is itch? Is yer nayme Elder?" I love it when this happens. Naturally, we tried being polite and explaining who were were and where we were from. Once they found out that I was actually American, they basically screamed and said we had to come teach them and their family. We are here to find families, so we went with them to their house. Upon arriving at the incredibly stuffed with junk house, we found out that there were two familes that lived there, comprising of about 5 people each. We taught a lesson aobut the Restoration and there was a remarkable calm, even with so many kids. It is AMAZING what the Spirit can do! It can even make little crying children pay attention during the First Vision! After we were done talking about the Book of Mormon and having left them to read it, they got really excited. When people get excited, you commit them to do something. We invited them all to be baptized, and they all accepted! There were 10 people above 8 years old, and they´ll all go to church this week! It was amazing! We just need to be careful because both of the dads are in prison and we´re almost sure that the mom has problems with the Law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom. But, it is possible and I have a testimony of people that change, 180 degrees.
I am starting to feel like I know what to do here. Of course, when you get to the field, you want to do everything and know how to do nothing. But after some significant learning experiences and practice we are ready to continue and expand the work here. We have 3 people scheduled to be baptized this week, and we´ll check up on them every day to help them prepare.
I hope all of you are well, and that you know that I´m doing well. The mission really isn´t hard like most people think - it´s just working and obeying and loving. Those things are easy and simple, but if you overthink it, it will always be difficult. We had interviews with Pres. Araújo yesterday and I really had a good experience with mine. First of all, I was surprised that he talked about the last email I wrote to him. I was pleasantly surprised that he was that interested in my email, and it made me feel important. He also talked about the work in our area and how it really is ready to baptize every week, as we are doing. We just need to keep it up. He also said that I need to work on learning to develop Christlike attributes, especially Humility. I also feel that I need to study more about Patience, so I´ll make the both of those part of my study curriculum. It was a very positive interview and I left feeling refreshed and ready to go. It will be difficult to watch Pres. Araújo leave, but I´m sure the next Pres. will be up to his caliber too.
 I love you all and want youto know that we need to try harder. We NEED to do our best, and then improve and do better. We can´t compare ourselves to others, we can only do our very best and the Lord will accept it. He loves us and wants us to succeed. He WANTS us to succeed!
 Elder Brown, Autódromo, Pinhais, Missão Brasil Curitiba

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Opa todo mundo, todo está dando muito certo aqui no Autódromo! Espero que todo é bom convosco.

Wow everybody, we are working very well here at Autodromo! I hope that all is well with you.

This week has been an interesting one; we had 4 interviews marked to baptize, but unfortunately we didn´t have any that passed or that were even home. We were accompanying them really well and they knew everything, but some of them just wussed out and they won´t be baptized for a while. One of the dates we had re-marked for this week we caught smoking (when she honestly told us that she had already quit. People are great.), and it´s always fun to have the LZ´s come out for a great division and have everything blow up in your face. Wee, the mission! But seriously, it´s an amazing learning experience and you grow and learn how to better prepare people for their baptismal dates.

We taught a whole mess of lessons last week - around 30 - and it was cool. It is interesting here in the mission because, as I have already explained, there are a lot of people who are simply only interested in getting high numbers (lessons taught, contatos, etc) for GH (Glória dos Homems - Glory of Men). This stinks, because it´s one of the ways that Satan enters into the mission. People think that "well shucks, I´ve been teaching a million lessons a week and finding a trillion new people to teach. It´s true that I haven´t baptized, but this means that I´m better than you." Sure they don´t say that, but their actions scream it. I have been worried that slowly I might become one of these missionaries if I wasn´t careful, but I have a promise to make to myself - that I won´t let it happen. There isn´t time here for messing around and being prideful little boys - it´s time to grow up, work, and be men.

Also, to add to the party, and as I have already said, I have been called to be a director in the choir. I also get to sing in a small group, an opera duet (O Divine Redeemer), and 3 duets with Sister Pond who I sang with during Christmas. This makes for a healthy bowl of insanity, and I find myself with ever-decreasing amounts of free time. This of course isn´t bad, but it is nice to have 5 minutes to stop and rest.
Another thing I´ve really been trying hard to work on is thinking more of the area and the investigators and less of myself and what others think. It´s difficult, especially when directing a choir of Elders who have for the most part way more experience than you do, but I know that I was called by the Priesthood to step up, and so I will. I was really worried that I would appear like a little retard who´s trying to kiss up to President because of my short time on the mission and the fact that I work with him more now, but I´ve been praying nightly for ways that I can think less of myself. I think the best way is just to forget yourself and go to work, like President Hinckley said. That we can do, and will do.

We have 5 dates for baptism marked for this week; I hope to report 5 baptisms next week! Also, it will be amazing to listen and apply General Conference to our lives. Every time we testify about the Prophet or about the Book of Mormon or the Restoration, etc., we receive another witness that it´s true. Seriously, there is NOTHING better than the missionary spirit. I´ve played all kinds of video games, played sports plenty, and tried music in many types and forms. There really is nothing better than to meet someone and then watch as they progress in the gospel and are baptized. It is even more amazing to watch these people become firm, strong members in the Church, in the Lord´s battalion.

Sei realmente que esta Igreja é a Igreja de Jesus Cristo. Sei que Ele vive e nos ama. Sei que as aflições que passaremos serão por nossa bem se quisermos aprender deles a nos arrepender. Sei que temos autoridade de Deus a agir em nome Dele e que devemos fazer nosso melhor, SEMPRE! Sei que o Senhor nos ajudará em todas as coisas, em cada lição, em cada contato na rua, em cada testemunho que prestarmos. Sei disso porque estou vivendo disso. Farei meu melhor, sempre!

Really know that this Church is the Church of Jesus Christ. I know He lives and loves us. I know the pangs that pass will be for our good if we learn from them to repent. I know we have God's authority to act for Him and we should do our best, EVER! I know the Lord will help us in all things in each lesson, each contact in the street, in every testimony that we pay. I know because I'm living it. I will do my best, always!


Fogo nos ossos! Vamos batizar e confirmar the heck out of everyone!

Elder Brown, Autódromo, Pinhais, Missão Brasil Curitiba

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.