Monday, March 24, 2014

MMM (Missing March Madness)

Holy smokes it sounds like everyone has just been busy busy busy! The big famous CAA dance recital is already coming up? Make sure you get her a flower and give it to her from me! I would send one but I'm not sure if it'd look so good when it got there haha :) That's so cute that Mase watches Frozen almost everyday! I remember how I'd always watch when Rugrats go to Paris and then start bawling when he's on the plane and the song "I Want a Mom That'll Last Forever" comes on! Man I'm such a baby. Does he have a blankey that he carriers around everywhere with him?

This week has been a little bit on the slower side. This weekend was the Camai Dance
Festival where people come in from all over the world and from all of the villages in Alaska (Of all the places to have it... Bethel?) so the whole town was busy getting ready for that. Friday and Saturday we volunteered as gym ushers (Drunk Patrol) so we got to see a lot of it which was pretty fun! It's really cool to see all of the different Native cultures and all of their different dances and rituals they have. At the entrance there was a ton of vendors selling all of their Native handi-crafts and I bought Ben a Gussbuck for his State Project which is kind of like a hoodie that all of the Yupik people up here wear in the Spring Summer and Fall when they're gathering. I'll send it home in a little bit but tell him he better take care of it cause I want it back when I get home!

So for volunteering we got a bunch of free admission tickets that we could give out to people that we knew so we decided to give one to Paul for Saturday! Well it turns out that he ended up staying too late so he slept in for Church ... (I guess you could say that was a lesson learned!) In order to get baptized he had to come two times before the 29th so as of right now he's off date. Transfers haven't happened yet but their coming up this Saturday so this probably will be my last week in Bethel! I'm pretty sad because I've come to love all of the people up here so much! I wish I could just stay here for the rest of my mission! Plus it's going to be a bummer that I won't be able to get to see Paul baptized.... But that's alright. It's not about who baptizes him or when but that they are able to make those sacred covenants with their Heavenly Father and continue on in their pathway to returning to live with Him again! 

Yesterday we were able to have our first lesson with an awesome couple. Their names are Richard and Tomlynn. They're not married but have a cute 4 year old daughter. A little while ago they had been having some real problems with their relationship and were just about to give up. As a last ditch effort they decided that they would say a prayer for God to send someone to them that could help them get through this and turn their lives around. Then just a couple of days later we showed up on their doorstep! All growing up I had always heard of missionary stories like this but it really amazes me how much instances like this really happen! There's only one explanation.... God knows each one of his children individually and personally. He prepares them and leads missionaries by the hand so that we can find these people and bring them to a knowledge of his plan for them! 
 Elder Clark failed to see the wall of snow on the river... most of yesterday was spent digging our way out!
 Us in our Yupik Gussbucks
Volunteering at the Festival.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Just Like The Eskimos

This week has been pretty crazy... Paul is doing great and he and his cousin Mikey who's been an investigator for a year and a half came to church this week so we were so excited! He's still progressing really fast and hopefully we can keep him on date for the 29th. If I get transferred we'll fly out on the 31st so I'm really hoping I get to see him baptized! Well apparently we've been stealing a lot of members from a certain church up here. Well the minister wasn't too happy about it and she decided to pop in during one of our lessons this week! Lets just say it was pretty interesting :) The Church has been examined and attacked, persecuted, and doubted for its entire existance; yet it still stands. Nothing has been discredited or disproven, and nothing ever will be. I'm so grateful to be a part of it! It's been pretty funny... they've seen how much success we've been having so they decided they they'd get name badges too! haha! Hey they say copying is the best flattery right? (or something like that :)  )
So yesterday during church I guess someone decided to leave the water on.... Well we went to go and clean some dishes and you guessed it... No water was coming out! Turns out all of our water was drained during church! That makes things a little bit harder since the water truck doesn't come until Wednesday. So we decided to put all of our acquired Eskimo skills to work and go harvest some ice! So most of last night was spent out on the lake chipping out pieces of ice so that we would have some water to drink and wash up with! After we got all the ice we thought we needed we went back to the chruch and started boiling all of the water. Well its turns out that what they say about ice/snow is true... You thing that it will make a whole lot more water than what it really does! Needless to say I think we're going to have to go back and pay the lake a few more visits today :) Just makes more cool mission stories for the journal right?
My new mission president's name is Ranger Robinson (I dont think that's his real name?) He's from Bear Lake and has been a park ranger there for a while I guess. He won't come in until the summer but I'm really going to miss President Beesley. He's really one of the greatest guys i've met so it'll be hard to see him go.
Well I hope that everything's going great and that everyone has an amazing week!
Love you guys!
-Elder Brown


Monday, March 10, 2014

Three Prospects

Thank you so much for all of the Birthday wishes and the package! I've gotta say the card was a killer. At first it wasn't working so I was a little bit confused but don't worry I figured it out. You've just gotta be smarter than the card I guess! By the way who made the sweet pillowcases? I loved my birthday celebration kit! I was strutting around the church with it on all night long.
That makes me so happy to hear that they finally did it! Thanks for sending me the story it sounds like it was the game to watch! I can't believe that Nixon missed both... that's so crazy! I'm so proud of them though, especially Jordan Bleak, it sounds like he's been a little stud this year! Man I'll have to admit this is probably the time of the year that I miss the most... High School Playoffs, March Madness, all the works! 

This week has really been so great! For the first time in the 5 1/2 months I've been out here we finally got not one...not two... but three people to commit to baptism! One of them is Paul Anvil the guy I mentioned a few weeks ago! He's just really been on fire and has been progressing like crazy! He's on date for the 29th of March which will probably be my last Saturday in Bethel so that would be so great to be able to have a baptism before I go. The other two that committed are Tracy and Patrick. Last Monday we had a killer night planned. However obviously the adversary isn't too excited that things are going so well so within about 30 minutes all four of our appts. called and canceled. So we decided to go tract! It was late, freezing cold and I had long since lost all the feeling in my hands when we were about to head in for the night. Then we felt like we should just try one more door. We knocked and then Tracy answered and immediately let us in. Since then we've met about 4 times and her and her friend Patrick have both committed as well. They have a long road ahead of them but I'm so excited for them!
To answer a few of your questions...
I think by the beginning of April I should be headed out of here... but then again I thought that last time so I guess we'll just have to wait and see!

It's not dark at all anymore! The sun doesn't set here until about 10 PM so it's pretty much already light when I wake up and light when I go to bed! I thought that it would get a lot darker than it does but it wasn't too bad at all! 
It was warming up... but then it dropped back down this week and has been in the -20s which isn't too bad. Bethel's really really small so everyday especially after being here 6 months it's a real battle to find something to do between 10am - 4pm. So usually even when it's really cold we still go out and go street contacting or tracting. It's pretty fun to see people bolt across to the other side of the street or completely turn and walk the other way when they see us coming! I mean hey I think I'm a pretty nice guy... But when it gets below -40 then we usually stay in!
That's so crazy that Liz got bit by a dog... hopefully it wasn't too bad! Yeah... the reason why I haven't had so many dog stories in Bethel is because lets just say there's a lot of Koreans and a ton of Eskimos here... so dogs tend to go missing quite a bit! But I don't mind, I wasn't a huge fan of running away from them anyways!!

Anyways I hope everyone has an AMAZING week!
Love you guys!!
-Elder Brown
Birthday package.

My little native friends.

Monday, March 3, 2014

What in the World is going on Here?

Hey Family!
Haha thank you so much for all of the Birthday wishes... really means a lot! And thank you so much for all of the presents and the money! I'll have to go out and buy something good for dinner so I won't get caught into eating fermented "she-fish" (a catfish the Eskimos catch and bury in the ground for 3 months and then dig up again and eat) for my Birthday blaaaaaahhh!

Sounds like you guys had such a good week! Hahaha when I read the stories from your blog I started laughing so hard! I can't believe that Meg still trusts you with Mason after all of that corrupting you're doing to him by taking him to a rated R movie! I'm not really sure what's worse... the fact that you took him there or how he started crying when you had to leave. I'm SO glad you're not one of those preppy moms that are too cool for school to make a goof of themselves and have fun with their kids. One of my favorite quotes that I've really been trying to live by on my mission is "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone" So often we stay in the mold of what people or society thinks that we should be that it hinders our happiness and prevents us from becoming the person we truly can become.  Gosh it's so weird seeing pictures of everyone in the ward... they're all so grown up now! I plus now I only recognize about half of all of the people in the pictures... have things really changed that fast?? Crazy!
This week in the mission has really been so amazing! Almost too amazing... I've never in all of the time that I've been out have seen things go as well as they have been going lately. But I've gotta say I kinda like the change :) To answer some of your questions the drunk guy we met (Robert) is doing so great! He's really been searching for truth all of his life and really is embracing the gospel. He has had a real rough life but that is where the Atonement really comes in. These past few weeks we've been teaching a Native Family named the Mochins. Sister Mochin was EXTREMELY against the Book of Mormon and wouldn't even let us bring it up (pretty hard when that's what your whole message is about... haha!) Anyways these past few weeks I had really been fasting and praying to soften her heart and for the Lord to provide a way for us to help her overcome this huge obstacle. Needless to say the Mochin family now is fully accepting the Book of Mormon, reading it every night, and progressing towards baptism. It is so amazing the power in which our Father in Heaven has to prepare his children to receive the gospel. The thing that is so great about the Mochin family is that they're a real prominent family in the Eskimo Yupik community. The Native people are so family oriented that most of the ones we've taught, even though they have gained a witness that the Book of Mormon was true, still won't fully accept the gospel because it would mean "defying their culture and their heritage" If we can get the Mochin family then I know that it'll be monumental for the Church out in Bethel and that So many people will follow and be so much more accepting!
We also have 1 other person we found this week named Paul Anvil but this email is really long so I'll talk about him next week! But he should be baptized real soon!
Hope everything down south is going great!!
Love you guys so much!!
-Elder Brown