Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Darn it....LOTS OF COOL STUFF this week! (and no time to write about it)

Hey everyone,

We baptized Daniel! I don´t think I´ve ever had a baptism that will help the church so much! He´s a law graduate who currently works as a policeman and his conversion has been an amazing one. As I think I already wrote, he was one of the first contacts that we did when I got to Paranaguá. He passed us his address and we couldn´t find it. We then saw him a few days later in a shop - he passed the same address and asked us to go by - no luck again. Then, one day, we were walking down the street going to another appointment, when all of the sudden...we saw his house! He was there, we left a message, and then (in a period of 3 months) was baptized, after having quit smoking, drinking beer and coffee, and prostitutes and stuff. He´s the MAN. And now he can baptize people! He was baptized on Saturday and confirmed Sunday, then received the priesthood that same meeting! It was amazing! He did his first split with us yesterday and it was AWESOME! Another Elder was in the area and was stunned about how ready he was. He really helped our investigators too!

I wish I had more time to write about the tons of amazing spiritual experiences we had this week, but it´ll have to wait. Needless to say, I don´t think I´ve ever worked so hard as we did this week, and I feel the Spirit testifying that we´re really doing our best. That´s comforting!

Love you all! Let´s do this! Batizando toda semana!
Elder Brown

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Sunday, July 24, 2011


Ola para todos,

This week, as every week in the mission has been, went by very fast. The sad part is that Daniel wasn´t baptized (he had a small relapse with cigarettes and alchohol), but he´s much better now after the interview and he´s getting ready for this week. We had a couple other interesting things happen, too:

- Ward Council happened for the first time in almost 3 years. We´ve been needing it for a long time, mainly because the greater part of all the organization in the ward was being done by us and Bishop Moura. Now, with the whole Council functioning as it should be, we´ll be able to work much faster and much more efficiently. The main tools by which we´re getting organized are: Progress Records (every week, we make copies of the PR for each of the organizations in the ward. We then mark with a highlighter which responsibilities are for that specific organization and explain exactly what the member needs to do to make that particular person happy and well-integrated. [the Help Needed section is filled out during our weekly planning session and specific and simple instructions are put in to help every member know what his/her special assignment is] After the designation is given, we ask that all members call us back after doing what was asked for their organization [in each organization in the ward, there is now one counselor responsible for Missionary Work - we give the progress records to them and let them take care of other designations in their own organizations] and what needs to be done in the future, etc.), the Weekly Planning Session (this has been something that I´ve always prized in the mission and have always used, but now President has been really emphasizing the need of a good, inspired and goal-oriented planning session to insure our success. We analize each part of our work and establish goals behind each part. I´ve actually learned that this is one of my favorite things to do, period. I really enjoy planning for success, and I don´t mind spending a good chunk of time doing it, if it yields results. Lots of my companions haven´t had the patience to plan as much as I´ve wanted to, but Elder Lott and I were able to plan well and it really made the difference for us) and our weekly meetings with the Bishop and Ward Mission Leader, as well as our meeting with the recently-called ward missionaries (we train them as if it were District Meeting and give them special teaching assignments and study topics - it´s been working really well!).
Elder Lott was transferred after having stayed here for a good 9 months - the ward and I will miss him. My new companion is Elder Romm - he´s awesome! He´s from
Washington and he´s exactly what I wanted in a comp. We´ll work really hard and very effectively.
Well, I am a little stunned to see how fast the time has gone. I knew it would go by fast, but I didn´t really know how fast. I have frequently felt very inadequate on the mission - as if I wasn´t doing my best, as if all my efforts were in vain, and as if something was always putting me under the microscope to magnify my faults and weaknesses. For this last transfer, I´m putting everything in practice that I´ve learned until now.
Here are some of my goals:
- I don´t want to have any regrets.
- help at least 7 more people be baptized before the end and become strong, active, contributing members of the church
- strengthen the ward infrastructure and help to hold up the Bishop´s arms
- lead by example and help others shine
- feel genuine peace at the end of every day
- talk to ALL that I possibly can about the Restored Gospel

There will be time for many things after the mission, and I will let those things wait as we work here. I have made a decision to, for at least these last 6 weeks, give myself and my will to the Lord. Even if I´m tired or don´t want to work, I have obtained a testimony as to the divinity of this work and I know that all who hear this message will be changed forever. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World - He lives. I know that through His Atonement we can receive opportunities to repent and show our worthiness. This act of repentance prepares us to more fully experience the joy that He wants us to feel, always. I know that I have much to learn, and that though it might not be easy, it will be worth it.

I love you all - let´s do this as it should be done.
Elder Brown

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Yay we baptized again!

Elder Brown’s letter from July 13th



Hey everyone,


We baptized again! Thomas was baptized and it was an amazing experience. He´s had a pretty interesting life thus far (he´s 17) - both of his parents were killed in an accident and his life´s been pretty rough. He said that before he met us he thought that God was just like a little kid running around in the boiling sun, frying ants (us) at will. Or, he didn´t believe in God. But he does now, after reading the BOM every day faithfully. He´s amazing. He was baptized on Saturday, confirmed and conferred to a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood on Sunday. He did his first split with us on Monday and he bore a very simple but sincere and true testimony. THAT is why we serve missions  - to have experiences like that and to help people to help themselves. Also, I know that I´ve talked about Eduardo - he´s the MAN. He´s already preparing to serve a mission and he was only baptized a month ago. Thomas is one of his best friends and Eduardo baptized him, after only one month in the church! It was so special and we saw the joy on his face after having helped his friend come unto Christ. Eduardo´s also helping us as Assistant to the Ward Mission Leader and is doing a great job helping us every day with splits, calling our investigators, etc.

I think I might´ve mentioned it already, but every week we have a special meeting with our Ward Missionaries and we train them from Preach My Gospel - it´s been really powerful so far. It´s basically District Meeting for the Ward Missionaries and they´ve already been able to learn about how to use the Progress Record (one of our biggest focuses) and how to teach the missionary lessons. We have one Missionary Couple (Weliton and Auri - Weliton is a recent convert, too) and 2 others - Nei and Marlon. They´ve been doing so great and it´s been fun to see them learn about how to be missionaries before they actually leave on their missions.

Going on a small tangent: we received a letter from Presidente Cordon and he showed his concern for the mission (he was really concerned about the lack of obedience and excitement that he saw a lot of Elders going through), and so for two days in Curitiba we had a big meeting in which we were trained to help each missionary (including ourselves) to magnify their callings and to talk with EVERYONE about the Restored Gospel. That really is our only message to the world, and that´s what we need to do to help the people here in Brasil and in all the world. We stayed the night in Curitiba and....we got to go to the Temple!!!! It was so special! It was literally like a interior cleansing and it felt so good to know that, even with my many imperfections, I can still go into His house and feel of His Spirit. We felt a lot better about the work that is being done here and that the things that we are doing are really helping people progress and come unto Christ, including us.

In this super-duper training we had in Curitiba, Presidente taught us (from Preach My Gospel, so we actually probably should´ve already been doing this) that not every single lesson needs to start with a prayer and end with one. That means that if someone is needing us to talk to them, right that moment, we can teach them and help them - not just mark another day to go by their house. It sounds obvious, but we really are trying to take that to heart and teach more people everywhere. So, on our way to the Bus Station, we taught a lady from Santa Catarina (the state below Paraná) and gave her the BOM. We also taught a guy who looked like he was having a really bad day/life and he lives in Ponta Grossa (so he´ll be baptized, for sure). We taught him in the middle of the Bus Station and we were still able to feel the Spirit and feel good about what we represent.

A lot of good experiences! Daniel, who´s getting baptized this Saturday, had a pretty rough experience in Curitiba and really needed someone to talk to on Monday. We were scheduled to have a Family Night at Bishop´s house but it fell through, so we went to his house and talked for a while. It´s so nice to see people that absolutely trust you and really want help, not just tell you they want it. We talked to him about hard times in our own lives and read 2 Nephi 4 - it was powerful. He´ll be baptized and help our ward SO much. 

- On the note of teaching people in the street, after Thomas´ baptism, we talked to a guy who looked a little...well, drugged up. Elder Lott recognized him as one of the most famous of all the noias (druggies) in Paranaguá - Galli-Noia. Apparently, he had bought some crack, dropped it on the ground and a chicken ate it, so he promptly killed the chicken and performed an amateur lobotomy to remove said crack. Yeah. And we taught him and I gave him my crappy watch (no, not that watch that Dad gave me) to help him get to church. He didn´t go.

I love the mission - it is the best thing I´ve ever done. I encourage all to be a missionary and feel the Spirit that it brings. He lives.

Let´s do this to the end! Every day!

Elder Brown

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Friday, July 8, 2011

What a week!

Oi everybody,

We baptized again!
Iran was baptized and it was great! He was supposed to be baptized on Saturday, but he started a new job on Friday and had to do inventory at the store where he´s now working, so he left us hanging a little. We left the water (which was pretty darn cold) for the next day, Sunday, and he was baptized after Sacrament Meeting. It was COLD, and as he entered the water he almost yelled, but he was ok. Our Ward Mission Leader baptized him and it was great - there were several investigators there, including our baptism for this week and for the next.
The people that are getting baptized are actually getting converted and put to work! This is the first time that I´ve actually seen this happen - people getting baptized and instantly incorporating into the ward and helping out. We can only attribute this success to God´s divine help and the good relationship that we´ve been trying to establish with the Bishop and ward leadership. Eduardo, who was baptized a little more than a month ago, will baptize his friend Thomas this week and next week, a really awesome guy (that looks like a movie action star and is a really smart policeman) named Daniel will be baptized. He quit smoking more than a week ago and is already inviting the Bishop and others to his baptism! We´re also teaching a lot of great families that are getting ready - one for the 23rd (Douglass, Vanessa, Leonardo and Guilherme) and a few for later on because of marriage complications (Arnoldo, Adriane, Tiago, Antônio, Mara, etc.). It´s been a great success and our planning has really improved during this last little time.  
We´ve been participating in a lot of divisions, and it´s been fun to get to know other ELders and help them out and get helped in our area. We just need to find more new people to teach.
It´s been a while since I´ve shared my testimony, and seeing as how I don´t have that much time before the end, here goes:
He lives and loves us. He understands all pain and all feelings of doubt and inadequacy. I love being a missionary and love the Spirit that is felt every day, as I try to do my best. I have loved to serve and grow during this time, and I´m gratefulfor the opportunity to use this last remaining time to bring souls unto Christ! Thomas will be baptized this week!

Love you all! Give ém Heaven!
Elder Brown

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