Monday, September 30, 2013

Senior Companion


How the heck is everyone doing??! Haha I hope everything's going great and everyones still alive and staying out of trouble!

On my mission I've realized how important it is to do two simple things: family scripture study, and Family Home Evening.  Make sure that everyone's doing family scripture study every night and family home evening EVERY WEEK! So I guess I need to apologize for all of the times that I moaned and groaned over them. I really am so thankful that despite all of the whining and complaining that we do, that you still made us do them. There's a huge difference in the families that are doing those two things and those that aren't! The spiritual aspect of family scripture study and Family Home Evening is really important, but even more important is that we take some time out of our day to meet together as a family and grow even closer. I was listening to a talk this week that I really loved and I want you guys to listen to tonight for family night. It's called Beware of Pride by President Benson. Something I've really noticed since I've been out, is how being prideful is probably one of the biggest things that almost everyone stuggles with. It is something that we have to at least attempt to overcome if we are going to draw closer together not only as a family but also to grow closer to our Savior. As we start to overcome pride all of our relationships will flow so much better.

That's awesome you guys had such a cool experience at the temple! That's something I really miss. We're supposed to be able to go every 3 months, but our zone is too far away from Anchorage so we don't get to. The last week and a half before I left I loved being able to go to the temple almost every day.  It was so awesome! Like you were saying, because it's the house of the Lord the veil in there is so thin. I've never felt the presence of Dad nearly as strong as when I'm in the temple. I think that's why I love it so much. 

Anyways... I can't believe you hooked up the boat to the Suburban ALL BY YOURSELF!!! WOOOO!!! who's a good girl? Hahaha! Now the question is did it make it to S.S. Marine alright without any crashes or anything? Is the boat ok? No mishaps at the dock or on the lake that I should know about? Is it waxed and vacuumed and cleaned out for the winter? Make sure you look at the fall clean up list that I left you in the housekeeping manual so all of those things get done and that the house gets ready for winter. You might want to start up the Snowblower and make sure its running before the first snowfall and doesn't need to be taken into the shop. 

So I didn't get transferred. At least not yet. We still have two weeks left in this transfer and then I'll be done training. We find out next Saturday if we're going to stay or not or where we're getting shipped off to! I really hope I get to stay here at least one more transfer. The ward and people here are honestly so amazing and I've really come to love them so much! They're so great to the missionaries and things are really finally starting to take off in regards to the work so I'm so excited for that. The reason I put the Strawberry road address in Anchorage on the letter to Lizzy is because I'm not really sure where I'm going to be sent after this, so thats the address to the mission office and they'll just forward it to me from there! Since it's the 2nd to last week of my training I get to be the Senior Companion for the week.  I get to drive, lead out in the lessons and planning and all that fun stuff! I'm pretty excited so we'll see how it goes. Its crazy how after just a few months you can completely forget how to drive a car.This morning when I was trying to drive, it took me a good half hour to get used to it again! haha.

This last week has been really good and was our best week so far! We spent a ton of time in the back woods helping people chop down trees with chain saws and haul them off and split all of the wood. Its so much fun! But pretty dangerous. This last week one of the elders serving by me got his finger chopped off by his companion. Terrible huh! I guess the piece of wood he was holding for his companion fell and he went to grab it and Boom. Bye bye finger. They were able to re-attach the finger but its pretty sad because the bone got all infected so now he has to go home and heal before he can come back out. Sketchy stuff!

So there's been a huge change in Elder Brown. Before I came out I wasn't really a huge fan of kids. I didn't want anything to do with them. Working with all of the families has really gotten me to love them! Even though they can be a little difficult sometimes, they're so much fun to be around! So guess what? My ankle gave out on me pretty bad a few days. I kinda knew it would happen but I has hoping it wouldn't be this soon. But such is life. 

If you guys wouldn't mind could you maybe send me attached to an email a different arrangement of If you Could Hie to Kolob? Since a lot of branches out here don't have anyone who can play the piano I've gotten really into it! Yea mom you were right alright? I regret not practicing when I was younger like I was supposed to. So Ben and Lizzy... PRACTICE THE PIANO!!! Especially the hymns. Don't be like me and regret not doing it. I promise it'll come in handy! And you guys really are the best for sending me those Halloween Oreos!! Those are my favorite :) 

Well that's pretty much all the fun stuff that's been happening around here! GENERAL CONFERENCE IS THIS WEEK!!! WOOOOOOO! You guys better be good kids and watch all of it!

Love ya! 

Elder Brown

P.s. the Salsa make it up here without breaking :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Winter Wonderland?

THERE'S SNOW ON THE GROUND!!!! Yea I thought that i'd be way excited for winter but this is just a little bit too early for me... I mean it's still kinda September isn't it? That just means from here until about May this is what its going to be like haha!

So that bear attack that was on the news you were telling me about I guess was about 30 miles from where i'm at right now! Someone was telling us that the bear populations up here have been exploding lately and a ton of people have been having problems with bears stalking them and their houses. Just a little bit scary! But pretty cool :)

Haha mom that story of Mason crying at the rec center made me laugh pretty dang hard! What a little punk! Meg was saying that he can make animal noises now too? That's so cool! It's going to be so weird coming home and having him be all grown up. By the way thank you so much for all of the sports updates. You guys are awesome! I'm so glad Utah was able to hold out against BYU! After hearing about them beating the Longhorns I was getting a little bit nervous but now I get to rub it in Elder Coombs face a little bit :) (He's a pretty big BYU fan) Speaking of Elder Coombs... hahaha so I guess before he came out he had 3 dreams that he brought a Huskie home. When I was serving with him my first week he told me about the dreams and how he thinks he's destined to take one home but I just laughed at him. But just this week someone offered to give him a Huskie puppy to take home with him if he wants it.  President said it was ok, so today we're going to go look at it haha! He's from Nephi and only has 3 weeks left.

This last week I was able to go down to Homer for a few days with Elder Bernham which was seriously so much fun! Homer's by far my favorite place I've been to up here, it's so pretty! Its just a little town at the end of the peninsula that's just surrounded by the mountains and all of the glaciers. We just went around visiting people that he had served while he was down there but it was great! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find my celebrity guy... Well I guess I kind of did. We had a pretty booked night full of people we needed to see when we drove by his homestead but I couldn't convince any of the other Elders to stop and go visit them for a little bit. It was a bummer but it was pretty cool to at least see where he lived!

Things here in Kenai are going pretty good. We wake up at 0630 and then have an hour and a half to work out and eat breakfast and everything like that. Then we have studies from 0800 to about 1100 and then we're out the door! We go around teaching lessons and visiting people until 2100 and then are in bed by 2230. Our teaching pool here has been alright... Right now it consists of three 10-year olds. That might sound pretty bleak but all three of their families are less active so by teaching their kids we're able to help the families get active in the church again which is really awesome! 

The ward here is really amazing! The people are so nice and welcoming and I absolutely love them! The members here are really good to us and we get fed just about every night which helps a ton! I guess in some areas in the mission you're really on your own so i'm pretty thankful. I mean I already can't look at a package of ramen noodles the same way anymore. After being out for just about 3 months I'm already so sick of eating that everyday for lunch. I guess I need to get a little bit more creative! The food up here though... its a wildcard. We've been eating a TON of fish which I love now! I mean it's a whole lot better than some other things we've eaten... (like burned goat intestine) You'd think that the food in Alaska wouldn't really be that bad since its still part of the United States but guess what? You're wrong! Dinner at quite a few of the families houses is actually pretty good but some of the others... ahhhhhhhh. I'm making you guys a Christmas package full of some of the amazing things i've eaten so you guys can have a pretty good taste of Alaska too :) 

This week has been pretty crazy and we've been doing a ton of service! Everyone up here is trying get all the wood they need for winter so that's what we've been doing. Most people's houses are run by a wood stove because gas up here is so expensive and it can't even make it out to most of their houses! We've been going over and helping people down trees then cut them up into sections and haul them off to be split and stacked. It's a ton more work than I thought it would be! Right now we have two people on date to be baptized Jordan Smith and Nani Demello. Nani was supposed to be baptized this week but her and her family have been having a problem with coming to church so we had to push her back and now both her and Jordan's dates are after transfers so I really hope I get to stay here one more transfer and see them baptized! Teaching 10 year olds was pretty weird to start with but it's been really forced me to get good at working with kids so i'm really loving it! 

Well I hope everything's going great in the land of the prophets and that you're all still alive! Is the house still standing?

Mom- you need to make sure that you turn off the water and clean out the system within these next couple of weeks alright? 

Love you guys!

-Elder Brown

P.s. Thank you so much for the package! The cookies were so yummy :) I'll try and start thinking of some things for my Christmas package and i'll try and send you a list next week or somethin! You're the best!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Halibut Capitol

Hey family!! So.... I just read Kate's email and i thought that Alaska was cool... but it doesn't even compare! 

Right now I'm down in Homer the Halibut Capitol of the world! It's so amazing down here I love it! I have some awesome pictures that I'll have to send to you next week because I don't have my USB converter with me. But anyways, My district got permission to go on kinda a 2 day vacation so I came down here to Homer with my District Leader Elder Bernum and then my comp and a few other Elders went over the Seward for a few days. So all of you guys know that before I left I was pretty obsessed with the Alaska the Last Frontier show. I was talking with one of the members in my ward and they knew the Kiltchers and told me that they are inactive members! They live about 20 miles out of Homer and are in Homers area! Elder Bernum was born in Homer and really wanted to come down here for a few days so we talked to president and got permission to come down! Today I'm trying to track down their address and then we're going to go out and visit them tomorrow! Hahaha I'm pretty excited hopefully I'll be able to find them. I don't really have a ton of time to write today because we're going to go dig for some clams but I'll write more next week! 

Hope everyone's doing great and that you're all stayin' outta trouble :)

Have a great week!

-Elder Brown

Monday, September 9, 2013

Blessings of the Priesthood

Hello Everyone! 

First I want to say THANK YOU for all of the sports updates and pictures! I love them! And especially thanks for the package you sent me! Candy is pretty hard to come by up here so you guys made my week! I was so happy when you sent me those oreos... I've been saving up my money for forever so that next month I can go and buy some of those Halloween Oreos they put out that are my favorite!!!! :) I'm glad the Utes didn't choke against Weber and it looks like we'll get a pretty good feel about how the seasons going to go when they play Oregon State this week so you'll have to let me know how it goes!

So this week has been pretty interesting! The start of the week was pretty slow just because of all of the rearranging with the transfers that went on, but once we got into the swing of things it really started to turn around! So I was laughing when Sarah told me how she got a huge sunburned at the Utah game because, it's almost the complete opposite up here! It snowed in Anchorage a few days ago so either this week or next week I'll be walkin in a Winter Wonderland! Not to excited about that...

Well as far as investigators go...we had a little set back. Our investigator is struggling with some things that we will hopefully be able to help her through.  Pray for our investigator!

I had something really amazing happen that was a huge testimony builder for me. Last week we went over to the McCubbins house to visit with them because we heard that Sister McCubbins daughter Amy wasn't doing very well. Amy is 28 and confined to a wheelchair and has severe disabilities and can't even talk. Sister McCubbins told us that Amy hadn't been doing very well this week and asked me if I could give her a blessing. During the blessing I did something I had never done but for some reason I felt inspired to do. I blessed her that she would be healed according to the will of the Lord and his plan for her. After the blessing I really didn't even think that much of it and we left. About a week after the blessing we went back over there and she gave us a little more background on what had really been going on when we came over and gave her a blessing. Before we showed up, Amy had been doing awful.  Her blood pressure and oxygen levels were rapidly decreasing and getting dangerously low. Sister McCubbins had packed her bags and was ready to take her to the hospital because things were looking so grim. However, after we gave her the blessing, within 2 minutes her blood pressure and oxygen levels had improved to above average levels.  They hadn't seen those levels from almost two weeks!  It is so crazy how the priesthood has truly been restored to the earth once again and how we can act in Heavenly Fathers name according to his will and bless others. 

Anyways things were pretty slow here the past few weeks but just these last few days we picked up two really solid investigators so I'm really excited for this transfer and for all the potential it has!

Hope everyone is doing amazing and enjoying the sun!

Love you Guys :)

-Elder Brown

Monday, September 2, 2013

Doggie Biscuits

Hello Hello Hello!! :) How's everyones week been?? Gosh when I heard that you guys went up to Park City I got so jealous! That's seriously one of my favorite places to go in the world! Did you guys stay at the Mountain Side Marriot as usual? Out of the group of missionaries that I was supposed to come up here with 2/4 sisters have already gone home. Can you believe that? So i'm pretty sure that the Utes started their season this week and I haven't gotten anything from you guys about it! I need schedules, scores, and all that stuff!!! Sarah told me we only beat Utah State by 4 so I hope this year's not going to be a bust like last year. 

Well this week has been pretty weird... It been the first time that i've realized just how cut off from the world I am! Everyone's talking about new movies, TV shows, and music and it's just been throwing me off! Its kinda funny cause when you're on your mission you expect that everything back home just kinda stands still and doesn't change! Things lately haven't been too productive. We had transfers this week and found out that my companion and i are staying in Kenai for at least another transfer. This last transfer has had its ups and downs but it has been alright.  But the Lord knows whats best for all of us and what will make us better missionaries so i'm excited for this next transfer and that I get to stay here in Kenai! I can't believe that it's already been two months! This week was just full of a ton of service. Now that it's supposed to snow here in a little bit everyone has been going crazy trying to run around and cut enough firewood to last them the whole winter and keep them warm! Most of the people in my area don't have gas that runs to their house so they rely pretty heavily on the wood to get them through. So really we've just been cutting down trees and splitting wood the whole week! We went as a district and worked at this flower farm for about 5 hours digging holes and man... I have so much more respect for farmers now! I was completely beat and SO sore after that! But it has been good to get out and do some work outside since we don't really get to exercise a whole lot! The average weight gain in this mission is 50 pounds. If I get home and i'm over 170 I want every single one of you to just walk up and slap me. But don't worry that's definitely not going to happen!!!! haha

This week we've been working with the Miller family which has been really humbling! Sister Miller is a single mom (about 30?) with 2 little kids. She's had a really rough time lately and has barely been making it by. They live in a single wide trailer and have four dogs that never go outside... I'm sure you can see where i'm going with this! So the dogs of course aren't really potty trained so it smells like a cranny in there. No actually worse than a cranny. My comp and I had to go buy some vasaline to put under our noses before we go in... it's really sad though! She was talking with us about how hard it is to wake up every morning and not even haven anything to put in your kids lunch bags. That really hit home with me. All my life I really have been so blessed. I've had a clean house to go home to with a warm bed and food in the cupboards and pretty much anything extra that I wanted. The Miller family has something that I never really realized until dad died. Its that in those times where you're at the lowest of lows and you can't think that you can push any further you realize what's really important, your family. I'm so grateful for the family that I have and how close we've been able to grow because of everything we've been through. I can't believe its been 5 years... Man I miss that guy everyday.

So as I was saying before everyone up here has at least 2 HUGE dogs. I was getting pretty sick of having those stupid things chasing after me when we were trying to run up to the door so I decided that we should go to Walmart and buy a bunch of doggie treats to put in the car with us. Now every time we pull up to a house with a bunch of angry doggies we just roll down the window a little bit and throw the treat out and book it to the door! Haha so far its worked pretty well so I guess just like us the way to a dogs heart is through his stomach! 

Well that's pretty much it for this week so I hope everything's going good in the land down south! Thinkin about you guys all the time and miss ya like crazy!

God is great, the Book of Mormon is true, and people are crazy
-Elder Brown