Monday, July 29, 2013


I know kate "Claims" that Baltimore is beautiful but its got nothing on this! Our apartment is right next to the beach where the Kenai River meets the ocean. Most of the week has been such good weather and it has been SO HOT! (70 degrees) Usually its never like this so everyone is outside tanning. Yesterday the hot streak ended the fog rolled in and the temp dropped down to 40 degrees! Its getting a little chilly up here! 

As we were going around visiting the members, we went and saw the Thomas family. We got talking and some how it came up that her maiden name was McCubbins. That name some how sounded familiar but I couldn't really tell where it was from. Then I realized that that was the same family dad taught 30 years ago! How cool is that?! Anyways she completely remembered him and even knew his first name! Their family got really close to him and so she immediately got on the phone and called the rest of her family and they set up a reunion party for that night. We we went over to the party and started talking about dad and how close they got to him. They told me a ton of hilarious stories about him. They told me about how they were falling away from the church when they first met him. They said that he was the reason that their whole family is still active today in the church. (11 kids and 50-somethin grandkids) It was so cool to meet up with them and I was amazed that they still are here, let alone live in the exact same house!

As I read through Dad's journal its awesome to realize that I'm literally tracting on the exact same streets he did some 30 years ago.

For just getting into the area we've been doing really great! We have two golden investigators right now and we're waiting for a few more to get back into town so we can teach them. Last night we  taught a lady named Barabra who really is amazing! She's been looking for the truth her entire life and she thinks she's found it (she has). We taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ lesson and at the end we challenged her to baptism and she accepted! The other person we're teaching is Sister Olsen. She's about 30 and her husband is around 70. She's from the philippines and doesnt really speak english very well. She gets so excited every time we come over and we got her a Book of Mormon in Tagalog and she loves it! We're going to get her to commit to a date tomorrow so thats pretty great! A lot can happen in a month so i'm just hoping and praying that they're able to stay strong and come through! 

The Word of Wisdom is a huge problem up here. Just about everyone and their 10 dogs smokes. I'm really thinking that they should start to show those Terry smoking commercials and maybe that'll open their eyes! Anyways, do you remember how in the movie the Proposal they say that you cant let the small dogs out cause the eagles will take them? Well thats actually true!! We were at dinner with the members last night and this little girl was bawling the entire time. The mom told us that yesterday she let her puppy outside to play on the grass and a eagle swooped by and took it! I felt bad but I had to try so hard to not laugh!! Our area is huge. Its nothing like the lower 48 and all of the houses are sometimes miles apart. Most of the time we're either off roading or driving on dirt roads in our truck which is pretty fun! I love it up here in Alaska. Its so me! I'm pretty sure i'm not coming home for a lot longer than two years and if I do i'm moving up here as quick as I can! 

My comps name is Elder Wingard.  He's a really good guy.

I love being a missionary and even though i've only been out a month time really is going by WAY too fast! 

Hope everything is good at the home!

Love you guys!!

-Elder Brown

This is what I eat every day.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Walking In His Footsteps

Hey Family! 

Hope everythings going just great down there in the land of the prophets (thats what they call it up here) This week really has been amazing! Its kinda weird to think that i'm finally here!

Well since I really couldnt email you last week i'll kinda give you a breakdown... Flying in here was really cool. Looking out the windows of the plane you could see all of the mountains with all of the glaciers which i've never seen before so it was so cool! The airport's right by the ocean so flying in you could see that there still was a few ice chunks flowing around out there! 

The temp when I landed was 48 degrees which was almost a 60 degree difference from when I took off! 

Well I went and met the A.P.s and President Beesley and they took me to the mission office for training. It was a little weird since it was just me and they usually have about 10 or 15 missionaries but it was fun! Then I went to the mission home and ate dinner and I found out that I was getting sent to the Soldotna area in about a half hour. Elder Coombs is a zone leader down there and his comp was leaving a week early so me coming a week early actually worked out really well! 

We drove down to Soldotna (4 hour drive) and got settled in. I never actually realized how huge and far away everything is up here! Soldotna looks like its just across the bay from Anchorage but its a way long drive! The drive to Soldotna honestly is breathtaking. Just like those pictures you only see on greeting cards. 

The Alaska mission is by far the most expensive mission in the church. Everyone has to have vehichles because the houses are so far apart and so you go through gas pretty quick. Most of them are on dirt roads in the middle of the forest which is awesome! The mission cars are actually really nice and we have a 2010 Chevy Colorado.   But for most of the transfers the elders and sisters have to fly in to their new area.

The whole sun not setting till 2am thing kinda throws me off but its pretty cool! I'm just a little worried for what its going to be like when winter hits...Anyways, The reds are running and everyday there were between 100,000-300,000 red salmon going up the river everyday! So everyone from Alaska who are trying to fill their freezers come down as well as all of the sport fishers from the lower 48 so it honestly is a zoo here! There's RV's parked in almost every parking lot and people even camping out on baseball fields! 

The work up here is actually pretty good. My comp showed me a scripture that actually perfectly describes it: Jeremiah 16:16. All of the elders who go to South American and other places are pretty much fishers of men because they literally catch them by the net fulls but up here. We really have to be hunters up here because everyone is just hiding and we have to go find them. 

People are up here in these isolated areas for a reason. They dont like to be found and they dont want to be bothered. I guess we kinda look like FBI agents in our suits so we've had some pretty... interesting experiences with some people. The work up here really is a lot of reactivating members. There seriously are HUGE amounts of inactives. 

Everyone is so busy because of the salmon so its pretty hard to get appointments. I love Elder Coombs and i'm really lucky to have had him for a week. I've learned a ton from him and I feel like I am really starting to get in the swing of things. 

This week I committed 2 people to baptism which was really cool! The only bad this is that we got transfer calls on Saturday. 

I found out that i'm getting transferred to the Kenai Ward to get trained! Its really close to where I already am. I love it here so i'm so glad for that! Also if you haven't already figured it out thats the exact same area that dad started in! Getting up here on his birthday was pretty cool but starting in the same area he did is just amazing. 

They're whitewashing the area which means that both of the elders there are leaving so we pretty much have to start from scratch. Its going to be a lot of work but i'm really excited for it.

So I have to drive back up to Anchorage today to meet all of the other greenies coming in and go to training (again) with them. Then tomorrow i'll meet my trainer and we'll come back down. He's supposed to be one of the best so i'm really lucky.

Anyways... Do you know who Brenden Frasier is? Well my comp is really obsessed with him and he was staying with one of the members in our ward. Even though I have no clue who he is I thought it would be pretty cool to give him a Book of Mormon. My comp was freaking out and saying that he wouldnt do it so I ran up to the door and of course he had to come with. I knocked on the door and started talking to some people but the Frasier guy left to fly home just a few minutes before... Dang! 

So I know how I was complaining about the food at the MTC... well let me tell you. I'm going to send some pics home of what I eat for breakfast and lunch and you'll understand what i'm going through. Words cant even begin to describe. But we've had a ton of salmon that have been just caught that day. My favorite way it has been prepared so far is to grill it on tinfoil and then just to put a lot of lemon pepper and garlic salt! 

So since the salmon were running we decided to head down to the river today and catch our limit. We got down to the river only to find out that yesterday was pretty much the last day the reds were running so we caught NOTHING! (of course it stopped on our P-day) But the Silvers start running in a few weeks so hopefully i'll be able to fish then. Anyways i'm sorry this is so long but there's just been a lot going on!
Love you guys!
-Elder Brown

Monday, July 15, 2013

Arrival At Anchorage Alaska

Early this morning we got to talk to this cute Elder. We made a conference call to his sister's at work, so all of his siblings (except Kate) could be part of the conversation.

He LOVED the MTC and was sad to leave!  Wow!  You don't hear that much.  Time flew, as we laughed and talked about his MTC experience.  We loved hearing from Elder Brown!

Once Elder Brown landed in Alaska, and was brought to the mission home, we received this picture via Quinn.  Quinn's Uncle Ken Lambertsen, is a counselor in the Mission Presidency.  The text photo (to Quinn, not me), was an added perk!  We are so glad he is there safe and sound.

It happens to be Steve's birthday today.  Happy Birthday Steve! Mike arriving in Alaska on his birthday made us smile!  We miss Steve every day, and love him so much!

Got this photo via text message from a stranger that said, "From one Mom to another!!!" This mom sat behind him and asked if she could take a picture and send it to his mom.  She has a son on a mission in Peru.
Brother Lambertsen and Mike - Anchorage Alaska 2013
Steve - Anchorage Alaska 1980
Mike's Mission Picture 2013
Steve's Mission Picture 1980

Made it here great and i dont have a lot of time but i'm headed down to Soldotna for a week until the rest of my district comes in. Tell Ben to look it up on Google earth. Its crazy here! 

love ya!


Friday, July 12, 2013

A Battle With Starvation

Well Hello There! I just wanted to say thanks so much for all of the letters and packages that i've gotten this past week! (I'm being serious this time) They really have helped so much and after sitting in a classroom for 16 hours a day theres no better sight. This week honestly has been one of the busiest but most amazing of my life! Time really does fly by and it seems like I was just emailing you yesterday! Even though we have jam packed schedules and literally no time (except 15 minutes at night) for ourselves, the days seem to go by in the blink of an eye! I hope all of you have been getting my letters... Ben that Duck Dynasty poster was perfect! All of my companions were chasing me around the campus trying to steal it from me! And liz I love the stickers :) Keep the letters coming and I'm trying to reply to everyone as fast as I can! I found out a few days ago that I leave for the airport at 5:30 Monday morning. The rest of my zone doesnt fly out till the next day! In all of the packets it tells how many people are in your flight group and most groups have between 30-50. Yep in mine its only me. I'm really sad that i'm leaving the MTC in just a few days because I LOVE it here!
So since I was sent in a week earlier than I was supposed to, I was with a district headed for Little Rock Arkansas. There are 4 sisters and 4 elders. To be honest, starting out things were a little rough (Because of reasons stated in my letter) but i'm just so grateful for the other two elders that were put in my district. They're such fun guys to be around and in just a week we've become best friends! I've actually gotten along really well with all four of the sisters here and have developed a pretty cool bond with them. A few of them were really struggling with the whole home sickness thing and so they asked me if I would give them a blessing of comfort. 0.0. thats what my face looked like haha! I was really nervous to give them since I had never done it before but I would never say no. Going into the blessings I had no idea what I was going to say. I put my hands on her head and even though they were shaking, I felt a huge feeling of peace and I knew exactly what to say. It was by FAR one of the coolest experiences of my life! And both of them are still here so I guess it might've actually worked... haha! As everyone knows I can sleep pretty much anywhere. The one problem I've had is that they only give you ONE PILLOW here! Back at home I was so used to having at least 3 (1 behind me, 1 to hug, and 1 to lay on) that I wasnt really sleeping well. Finally I got a little creative and stuffed some pillow cases full of sweatshirts and towels and it worked perfectly! Sunday we had a really cool mission wide conference. They talked a little bit more about how big of a part technology is going to have on our missions. So i guess between 10 and about 2 everyday we're going to be on or facebook and talking with people who are interested in the gospel via skype, messaging, and email. I really think this is going to help out a lot because it will really give those people who dont get out of their houses much a chance to recieve the gospel. Plus there's a big chance we might get IPads by Christmas!
The work especially at the beginning is really hard! I came into it thinking that all you needed to know was the doctrine but that's not the case. Pretty much when we come here they throw us in the deep end and expect us to be able to swim. The key and kind of our district motto is fail fast. You have to figure out what their needs are in order to make a lesson plan based on what they need. Sounds easy right? Nope. The problem is that they never tell you what they need! You pretty much need to have a psychology degree to figure it out. We've been teaching an investigator named Arnold and it really has been going great! As long as you come into the lesson prepared, the spirit truly takes over and you know exactly what you need to say to them.
Yesterday we went over to the main campus for in-field-training. They pretty much teaching you all of the things you need to know that cant be taught in the classroom (working with members, approaching investigators, etc) I really love the west campus! The only problem is the food. For breakfast we have a box of prepackaged cereal and some milk. For lunch we get a packaged salad. SALAD!! The dinner is alright. So i was a little confused why everyone was saying how people gain tons of weight! When we went over to the main campus they let us eat lunch and dinner over there. I walked into the cafeteria and almost fell over in shock... There were all you can eat buffets EVERYWHERE! I was in heaven. For breakfast they have bacon, sausage, pancakes, french toast, anything you can imagine! I saw Sean Barton and he told me how is companion had gained 23 pounds since they got there. Now I can see why. I tried to find kate but she was no where to be found which was a little disappointing. Is she still there? There was an awesome lightning storm so i figured that probably sent her packing. Every night at least one missionary  escapes and the campus security knocks on our door asking us if we know where they're at. Hahah!
Well Its really early and my minds not really working so hopefully some of this made sense!
Love you guys!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Answers To My Questions July 10, 2013

So I have some answers...

My comp is from Mesa Arizona and his name is Elder Marquez.

We eat all our meals in the clubhouse of Raintree Apartments.  It's really a small make-shift cafeteria.  We have two elders per room, and two rooms in our apartment.  It has a full kitchen, a living room area with couches.  We have our own bathroom.  Our rooms are huge, and we each have a big desk to study at.  I have a huge walk in closet that is just a little smaller than yours!  It's so nice, especially compared to the barracks at the main campus!

We went over there today for our P-Day.  I haven't seen Kate and probably never will, but I saw a few random guys from High School.  I don't have ANY free time, so tell the fam to be patient with letters.  I can usually write one every two days.  We have a fun schedule from 6:30 til 10 every day and we go to bed at 10:30.


Love, Mike

P.S.  Tell people to keep the letters coming they help a ton!
West Campus

Saturday, July 6, 2013

First Letter July 5, 2013

Holy cow... what a crazy couple of days it has been!! Let me just tell you a little bit about it... so right when I got out of the car and went into the building they immediately handed me a BYU bag with all of my MTC materials. You know its going to be a long day when thats the first thing they hand you... After that we went into what I call the brainwashing meeting. We sat down in our new districts and met our companions (ALL of the sisters were BAWLING, I mean gasping for air because they were crying so hard) They kinda gave us the whole rundown of how things around the MTC works and then things started to get real bizarre. A nice lady came up to the stand and made us sing "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands" literally ten times. I mean ok one time is alright but ten? Thats pushing it a little! Then they went ahead and gave us a power point presentation. You'll never guess what it was of. Puppies. Straight up cute cuddly puppies. I mean I dont know how but that immediately shut up all of the sisters and I have to say they were pretty cute so I didnt really mind. I guess i'm just never going to be able to figure out how girls work. Anyways that day was really long, we just went around getting a whole view of the West campus we were on. Its so much different than the main campus. The RainTree section where I thing Meg Lived has been turned into the classrooms and the club house is now the cafeteria. I hear our food is nothing near what the main campus is but its not awful. Having to be with a companion ALL DAY EVERYDAY has kinda thrown me off. You know how I love to be a lone wolf and doing everything by myself so that has been a little hard. I really have had an amazing experience and just these two days have made it all worth it!! But i've got to say... everyone told me that my mission would pass in a blink of an I. But i'm pretty sure i've blinked like a million times and i'm still here! I never really realized just how much revelation we personally are able to recieve if we just ask for it! Today my comp and I taught our first lesson to our investigator. The lesson went really well but there's still a lot of things I need to work on. My teacher told me something that I thought was really interesting today, He said that everything we want for our investigators, we must first want for ourselves. How true is that!! In order to be an effective preacher of the gospel we must first be completely converted ourselves! Last night we got through early and had a 4th of July devotional. We sang a million hymns no one even had ever heard before and had a couple of speakers. After that we started watching 17 Miracles which was a HUGE mistake! It just made all of the sisters and some of the elders start crying and then that just made everyone think of home and get so homesick. It was kind of funny because since our area is right outside the stadium we could hear Carly Rae and Kelly singing so no one was paying attention. Once they figured it out they turned the movie up a ton so it was just blaring! It was kind of our ear muffs I guess. After the movie we all went outside and got ice cream and watched the fireworks. They sucked. It just goes to show how much worse everything in the city to the south is. I really missed seeing the fireworks at Eaglewood since that is one of my favorite things in the summer. Well that has pretty much been my two days. We only have 4 hours for P day so I dont think I'll be able to get back on this week but I should have a full one next Friday. Let me know how your week went and what's going on! I forgot to print out an item for the boat so hopefully you're not leaving for FG yet so i can sent it next week...
Love you guys!!