Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Hello Hello Everyone!
Thanks for forwarding those emails from Mikey and Liza! I love reading emails from other missionaries just because you get to see the complete change they get to make in their lives as they grow closer to their Savior. I used to not understand why all missionaries are so weird when they get home... now I know! I got a good laugh from Mikey's email when he was talking about how he can't feel his hands! This week has been pretty eye opening weather wise... I always thought that I loved the cold (an I still do!) But this just might be a little too cold to love... This week the weather has been between -10 and 0 which doesn't sound too bad right? But then you get the rush of the wind screaming off of the tundra and with the windchill it drops down into the -30s and -40s. FREEZING!! When you walk outside and breathe in it feels like needles are getting shoved into your lungs. But I love every second of it :) Tracting is a whole lot of fun! We get to dress up like astronauts and walk around for a while. We have to use golf balls or hockey pucks to knock on the doors because its so cold that it'll split your knuckles! (thank you so much for the gloves mom!!!!) And its only November... haha!
This week truly has been so amazing! We've been able to see so many miracles as a result of working hard and enduring the long storm we were in these last few weeks. We were supposed to have a lesson with Robert (the one who just walked into church last week) but he was a no show so we were really bummed about that. But this last Friday when we were walking into an appointment he happened to be walking past the house and asked if he could come to the lesson with us. We both were pretty shocked but of course were more than happy to let him come! After the lesson we went back to the church with him and talked for a while. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he asked for sections to read (no one ever does that here). He told us that he was going to read it and find out if it is true and when he does that he wants to "Be baptized in your church" Crazy!! We also were about to have a few amazing lessons with the Brink family. Last night we were sharing a Thanksgiving message with them and decided to go around and share things we were thankful for. They started crying and told us how they were so thankful for us coming over and sharing the gospel with them. It's crazy how easy it is to grow to love the people! I really think that their whole family will be baptized here pretty soon. We just been so blessed with so many things! All of our investigators are coming around and we've been able to pick up so many potentials.Things really have been going so great. I've never had a time when things have just been going our way but i'm so thankful for it!
This time of year especially I am thankful for so many things. I'm especially thankful for the family that a loving Father in Heaven has so kindly blessed me with. I'm grateful for a mother who is so strong and such an amazing example to me yet so selfless and kind. She truly is the most Christ like person I know. All she does it go about her day serving others and her children and yet asks for nothing in return. It truly reminds me of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. How everything they do is for us. While other people are imperfect and may not always be there for us, our Father in Heaven is perfect and he is always there for us. He gives us that shoulder to cry and and is that rock that we can always rely on. All they ask is "If ye love me keep my commandments." If you really think about it... us keeping the commandments does not profit them anything yet it is the only thing they ask. The commandments are there to bless and to guide us back to their presence. This Thanksgiving season please show your love for your Savior and Heavenly Father by doing just that, striving just a little bit harder to keep him commandments and to "thank the Lord thy God in all things"
I'm so grateful for all of you and everything you mean and do for me! Have an amazing Thanksgiving!!
Love you guys!!!
-Elder Brown

Monday, November 18, 2013

Anchorage Vacation

Hey family!
It feel like it was just yesterday that I was emailing you! This week has gone by so fast. Like I said in my last email President flew us into Anchorage for most of the week for Zone Conference. You would think that it would be such a nice break, but the whole time I was there all I wanted to do was to get back to Bethel! Zone Conference was great as always but I'm not going to lie... being back in civilization with all of those people was a pretty strange! It was great to be able to go out to a fast food place and eat something other than ramen noodles for once! But hey, I guess I shouldn't be complaining because I'm sure that Kate would kill for a package of those things instead of the bugs and worms she probably has to eat! haha. The roads in Alaska in the winter are crazy! They try and plow the roads but it gets all packed down before they even get a chance. So all of the roads are literally a pure sheet of ice death trap. Without the studded tires it could get pretty sketchy! But I still get pretty scared when we're going 60mph down the freeway on that stuff! I guess it's too expensive to ship salt up here so the plows try and pour dirt on the roads but that doesn't really do anything.
This past week has really been so amazing and we really have been so blessed! Because of how slow things were going we really decided to crack down and do everything we could to qualify for the blessings of investigators we really need. Finally things have really started to pay off. The night before we left for Anchorage we received a text from a girl saying that she had really been going through a hard time lately and needed the gospel in her life. WHAT?!! I'm pretty sure I've never heard of that happening before! I guess she had met with missionaries a few years earlier but nothing had really come of it. Then just yesterday we had a guy just walk into church during our priesthood meeting and say "Is this church?" Everyone kind of looked at him big eyes and we told him it was the Mormon church. Then he said "Oh Awesome!" and came and sat down and listened. After the lesson we went up to him and asked him if he'd be interested in learning more and now we have a lesson with him in a few hours!! It really reminded me of this scripture from D&C 121:
 My son, apeace be unto thy soul; thine badversity and thine afflictions shall be but a csmallmoment;
 And then, if thou aendure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thybfoes.
No matter what it is we always have this promise. We are given trials and burdens to test our strength and to build character. These trials build us into the disciples of Christ that we need to be and to reach the potential our Heavenly Father knows we can reach. At times our faith may be tested but so long as we endure it well we will be blessed with better understand and strength. 
Our Heavenly Father knows each and everyone of us personally and by name. He knows what we are going through and so long as we are obedient to the commandments he gives us then we qualify and will receive all of the blessings he so desperately wants to pour down upon us.  (There is a alaw, irrevocably decreed in bheaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all cblessings are predicated And when we obtain any ablessing from God, it is by bobedience to that law upon which it is predicated D&C 130: 20-21)

Love you guys!! Have a great week!

-Elder Brown --- Out

Monday, November 11, 2013

Into The Elements

Dearest Family -
Goodness gracious I can't believe it's already November! My companion and I were just talking a few minutes ago about this. When you look at two years in worldly terms such as two years of high school or college it seems like such a long time! But two years on a mission seems so short! It seems like I've only been out a few weeks. Time flies when you're having fun right?

Things in Bethel are going pretty good! I really can't believe that I've already been up here for 4 weeks. President Beesley likes to bring all of the deep Bush elders in every once in a while to keep us sane so we're flying into Anchorage on Wednesday and then staying until Saturday so that should be pretty fun!

So cool story, Last week when we were teaching seminary we got a call from a guy that lives in Boise that had been living in a small village about 600 miles up the Kuskokwim river from us. He was just there working for a few months but while he was there he gave out 20 Book of Mormons and a ton of Plan of Salvation pamphlets. I guess he had a lot of success and that a lot of the people up there were really interested in everything about the church! We're talking with our Mission President but we should be able to get a bush plane to fly us in for a few days so we can teach them. That would be so amazing! I guess when they say the gospel will travel to every nation kindred and tongue they really do mean EVERYONE! It also really made me realize just how easy it is to share the gospel when you're a member. Heavenly Father really is hastening his work and he's relying on us to help him bring other people into his fold. I read an article from someone (can't remember who), but it was talking about hastening the work and sharing the gospel. It said something to the fact, with the enlarged emphasis on spreading the gospel Heavenly Father surely is preparing more and more people to receive it.

So this Friday we hit a huge pothole on our way in for the night and popped our tire. We figured out that we wouldn't be able to get it fixed until late the next night so we decided that all Saturday we would walk. Of course the one day we decide to walk the weather goes against us and makes sure that it's pouring rain with 50MPH wind gusts! You guys probably think I'm just being a baby and I probably am but it was COLD! The church is about 3 miles from downtown so we traveled into town and spent all day walking around trying to see people. The only bad thing was that after about 5 minutes of walking we were completely soaked to the bone! But we really were blessed that day and were able to meet so many new people as a result. It really firmed up my testimony of how much we get blessed as we put forth our efforts in serving the Lord!
Have an amazing day and be safe!
Church is true!
-Elder Brown

Monday, November 4, 2013


Holy Cow... Man it's been a crazy and exhausting week with so many ups and downs! It sounds like you guys have had such an awesome week full of fun stuff and parties!
I can't believe that Valley View is finally letting everyone have a Halloween parade. Of course they let that happen long after i'm gone haha! Ben's costume sounded like it was so sweet! And of course I'm sure your scones and chili, and soup were amazing! Haha you're calling yourself Miss Kay now? Has Mama Brown given in and started watching Duck Dynasty? I don't believe it! And I'm pretty proud of you guys for doing all of the leaves! Actually i'm pretty shocked... but good job!

I was pretty bummed out that I was going to be missing everything so I decided that I'd do some of it on my own! We couldn't find a pumpkin to buy for less than $20 up here so we decided that maybe we wouldn't carve a pumpkin this year. We had a lot of fun! Since we had to go in early, at 7 and miss all of the parties, we decided that we'd throw a party of our own! 

The night before Halloween I followed the recipe and made all of the scone dough and it actually worked out pretty good! Milk only gets shipped in every Wednesday and so by the time P-Day comes around there's never any milk left. So getting buttermilk was a little difficult but I finally found some buttermilk paste that I guess is the same thing? The scones actually turned out really good so I'm pretty proud to say my cooking skills are improving! Right when we got back to the church Halloween night I started making our Halloween feast which consisted of Scones, Halloween Oreos, Taco soup and candy. Since I didn't know what "cream the eggs and sugar" or any of those other cooking terms were I ended up having to ask a bunch of the moms what in the world that meant. And none of these poor people had ever heard of a scones, so a couple of families came over and at scones with us! (Grandma, if that scone recipe was supposed to be a secret then I'm really sorry cause they all made copies of it).  

After we ate, and they all left we set up the traditional "doughnut on a string game" that we do every year at grandmas but we decided to make it a little bit harder by flying around on our Nimbus 2000s jumping at it. (When you're out in the bush and there's literally nothing to do you get really creative haha!) I'm sending you the flash drive so you'll have to watch the video of it when you get it.  At the very start when you hear a big crash that's when I was flying around the church on my broom and ate it... haha! After all of this we pulled all of the tables and chairs out from underneath the stage so that we could switch things up a bit and sleep in our "Halloween Cave" for the night! We brought a tv into our little cave and then fell asleep watching 17 miracles. It was a pretty good night.
So to answer some of your questions....
Well to be honest I'm not really sure how we find people to teach. We do a lot of everything. We do have a car to drive around in, but we spend a lot of time walking around. Compared to in Kenai when we had 700 names on our ward roster we don't have anywhere near that here. I guess the main way we spend most of our time trying to find people is by tracting and just walking around town OYM (open your mouth) and talking to people. Probably my favorite thing to do is go to the store Saturday night and talk to all of the drunks that hang out there. A few weeks ago we got 10 people to commit to come to church the next day! Haha of course none of them came but I just think it's pretty fun. 

To be honest things this past week have been pretty brutal. We had our main investigator who was ready for baptism move back to Alabama and then found out that a few of our investigators who we thought were golden aren't really very interested. It's been really frustrating. All the missionaries say that going out to Bethel either makes or breaks you. You really find out a lot about yourself out here. Last night when I was at the lowest low I've had yet, I started to read President Monson's talk from this last conference and he said something that really stuck out to me.

"Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before."

After that he recited a poem that I memorized and really have grown to love! It goes like this

"Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow."
As I read that it really reminded me of our family and everything that we've had to go through. Despite all of it, it's made us stronger and resilient to any trials that come our way. After reading this talk it made me look at everything that I've already been through in this life and laugh at what I'm now facing. It's nothing. I'm thankful for all of the trials I've been able to face and to overcome because I know that it's made and is making me into the person and missionary I know I can become.
Ok enough of that! Yea we did run out of water last week and then I went to do dishes last night and found out that we're out again! I guess someone left a sink on in the bathroom during church again... 3 more days of towel baths! haha! It's pretty fun to experience though. It really makes you grateful for things back home!
Well this is really long and my hands hurt so i'll talk to you guys next week!
-Elder Brown

P.S. Thank you so much for the Package! I especially liked all of the rugs (or my comp and I were thinking that they might be scarfs?) that you sent me!