Monday, August 11, 2014

Amalia and Katia.

thats Quechua for how are you? i think. i dont know that language is nuts. people only teach me basic phrases and insults. quality.
so last week on monday, as i mentioned, we kicked it in caral. solid day with the zone.
oh. before i forget. elder paredes is done this week and will be back in the 480 on wednesday. i gave him your number mom so you could meet up, go to lunch, swap stories, take selfies, all that. i mean only if you want to talk to someone who knows the real live elder brown.
on tuesday we went with some elder from the zone to do a service for the tenorio family. their roof was falling in so the branch got together and took it out and set up a new one and we went to help. if you have a real nice house, you have a concrete roof. dont worry mom, my room has a concrete roof. and if its not that, they lay giant bamboo poles for support beams. then on top of that they lay down flattened out bamboo, then a giant plastic tarp, then a thick layer of mud. so we got shovels, buckets, and a ladder and made a roof!
all week the branch had activities in the chapel. most nights we ended up there at night. one night there was a food festival. they had a little bit of everything peru has to offer. they told us to go first. and, so as to not offend anyone and overload myself with a combination that would end badly, i snuck in straight to the cake, snagged some causa, and bailed. the sisters walked over to us after with each carrying two full plated of food they had to shovel down. while we were sitting down, a kid walks over holding a cat. i told him to give the cat to hna leya because she hates animals. the kid looked at her. looked at me, wound up and threw a dang cat at me. haha theres a first for everything. luckily i dodged it and it hit my chair. later that night they had a pet runway. the majority had little lap dogs. the kid who threw the cat had his pet sheep. and a little girl had the stray cat, which she basically dragged on the leash haha. 
then on friday they had a talent show. i played the guitar and elder castillo and i sang "en marcha estoy" from the spanish soundtrack from Brother Bear. i cant believe ive never even seen that movie. but it turned out nice. kinda. i had one week to learn the song and my finger tips were raw from playing so much. i made a make shift capo to make the guitar into  a ukulele and i had a little personal jam sesh. gotta hold off for a few more months, i can make it.
the night before we had taught amalia and katia in the chapel (john decided to go out of town the week of his baptism). we had an awesome lesson which ended with a prayer in the sacrament room which brought a strong answer. but, fear of baptism got to them and they both decided they werent ready. so the next night we had them come for their interviews so an authorized person could tell them if they were ready or not. BOOM. amalia and katia both walked in doubting and came out ready to be baptized. john made it on friday to be interviewed but on saturday he bailed to work so he didnt get baptized. we´ll get him in the water this week. 
last night we had a lesson with the other family thats getting baptized at the end of the month. it was a solid lesson. we taught the plan of salvation. Carmen and her two daughters amabilia and maira. they´re the ones we had the huge experience with in the chapel the other week. at the end of the lesson we asked if they were willing to keep putting in their effort to get ready for the 30th. carmen and maira answered yes. amabilia, who didnt sound too sure the week before, responded. she told us how shes been praying alot to know whats the right path to follow. she then said how she has had dreams where she has been standing there feeling alone and then saw a light guiding her. she said how she sees us sometimes in those dreams also, as if we were guiding her to that path. ive heard of alottttttttttttt of dreams since ive been in peru. and for me, the grand majority are kind of bogus. but when we heard that we knew god is responding to her in a manner that she can understand what she needs to do. god hears prayers. he answers.
something cool i learned yesterday. so we know how the prophets were well educated and well instructed in their languages to be able to write and preach. but what i didnt know is how in depth. go take a look at Alma 36. there are 30 verses. compare verse 1 and 30, 2 and 29, ad so forth till you get to 15 and 16. apparently alma was a mad poet. the verses correspond like a ladder. works its way up, then back down in the same pattern.
so mom to answer your questions, right now im studying what i always study. preach my gospel. last week i tried to break away and set a goal to finish the book of mormon before the end of the week. but after two days of just reading, i realized how little i was getting out of it. i would finish to say i read it once again and other than that, nothing. when i study pmg, i am studying the other scriptures with it and its in a way i can apply to teaching. that hour goes by wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to fast, i want more haha.
the best thing IS the hardest thing. every week god throws little curve balls at me that i need to learn to overcome.sometimes they bring me down to my knees, other times i brush it off and keep going. but when i get comfortable or things arent hard, im not happy, because i know im not learning or growing. kinda weird but ive learned to enjoy trials. i think paul mentions something like that in the new testament, how he rejoices in tribulations. ive faced just about every pain and sickness out here but right now, and all throughout my mission, my biggest trial is within my mind. satan cant read our thoughts, but he can sure as heck throw whatever he wants in there. whether its feelings of inadequacy or doubt or fear or anything else that shouldnt be there. elder packer said thats the greatest challenge we will ever face in this life is controlling our thoughts. but when accomplish that, we have conquered ourselves. cool stuff.
and yes, im keeping warm.
i love you all, thanks for the prayers and support. elder beckstead, a kid from my seminary class senior year, is coming to my mission in two weeks. PRAY THAT I CAN TRAIN HIM. that is all,.
peace. ayweya.
elder brown

Monday, August 4, 2014

To mah family. hey.
so november 7 in the gilbert temple eh? there ya go sterling! haha its so weird that hes getting married. i feel like we should still be playing super nintendo and yugioh in his room. whered the time go?
so this week was a good one. alooooooooooooooooot of hard work.
last week on monday we went to the sister´s pension and ate pizzas. we then all went to the beach and made a giant sand castle. and the best part.. I GOT TO CHILL IN A HAMMOCK. sister jones bought one in a work visit to Huaraz. so after we all took turns, my companion passed out in it while the rest of us made the sand castle. but yes. hammock. on the beach, with gold fish and redvines. that should hold me off till march.
its been another long week of knocking doors and looking for new people to teach. i think i broke last weeks personal record for doors knocked. surprisingly its something i enjoy. my companion was super bummed with the results this week. eh, i know we´ve worked hard. good enough for me haha. 
we are doing our best to focus in on our recent converts. i dont think the lord is going to give us more families to bring into the church if we cant take care of the ones we already have. despite our efforts, jose, the one who got baptized on my birthday, still hasnt made it to church since his confirmation. we go everyyy sunday to pick him up. and everyyy sunday we find that he isnt there. its alright we keep doing what we can. its a patience game. i think of the mission of the longest endurance race of my life. and then im reminded that i was a sprinter in high school. then i give myself a fist bump for sticking it out and then i keep on walking. 
yes, the temperatures are dropping. and it is cold. and wet. arizona isnt helping me out right now. i am so grateful for the few minutes of hot water i get in the morning. i decided the only thing worse than getting out of bed is getting out of the shower. you just gotta get dressed as quick as you can and man through it. ahhhh winter.
this past week we went to the tenorio family´s house. they´re the ones that got married and baptized recently. they´re also the ones with a harp. as we were waiting for everyone to gather together, i pulled up the harp and played "if you could (hie..?) to kolob", "when theres love at home", "come sail away" and "banana pancakes". i might be getting into the harp when i get back home. if not, for sure a mandolin or something. getta expand my abilities ya know?
here in peru, everyyyy school is a private school. uniforms and all. and so whenever theres a national holiday, all the students have to march (kinda look like nazis) in parades. and, because of that, our investigators dont make it to church. so yesterday Amalia came alone and sat with the other old single women. Katy was marching and John was out doing some work with his cousin. no worries, we are still keeping verryyyy close watch on them so they can get baptized the 9.
this month in barranca, our zone met our goal of 22 baptisms. something i dont think has ever been done here. 
well last night, i walked (more like trudged) into the house, beat by the week. i fell on my bed and tried to get the strength to go plan for the next day and do my district stuff. i looked over and sw my quad laying next to me. i remembered the many times ive needed immediate answers, opened my scriptures, and found exactly what i needed. so i think i offered a quick prayer in my head, grabbed my book, and opened it to a random spot. i opened to mosiah. i read verses 18 and 19 and knew god was watching me, knows what im doing, and knows how to help.i know this work is true and im grateful for every day. thanks for the love and prayers. have fun in cali!
elder brown
 "O ye, my people, lift up your heads and be comforted; for behold, the time is at hand, or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies, notwithstanding our many strugglings, which have been in vain; yet I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made.
 19 Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust inGod, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob;

and the cave goes home...

well its amazing to see that the first fruits of the mancave mission are starting to come forth. elder jeffrey todd kerr is now at the end of his time and will be the first of fourteen of some of the lord´s best to finish their time in His service. good luck in the real world jeff. 
so mom, new calling eh? congrats! you´re going to do awesome in the stake. and on top of that, there has been a ton of other changes in our ward, the biggest of which are the fact that brother nansel and brother beavers shaved their beards. you´ll have to send pictures because this is groundbreaking. i remember seeing brother nansel when i was a little kid and i remember even then he had his beard. well, i guess all good things must come to an end haha. 
oh, speaking of the ward, tell bishop traasdahl i say hi and that im alive and well. oh, i forgot to mention that i received a letter from brother griffin a few weeks back. and, as always, his words helped alot. he told me about  lesson he was preparing and reminded me of elder nelsons talk from conference. "obedience to divine laws brings blessings. every time!" sometimes i feel like even when im doing whats right, i kinda stay on a neutral level, and then when i mess up, only then is there a change. but no. every time we obey. there are blessings. every time. thanks brother griffin.
maaaaaaaaaci. duhduhduhduh duh dudhu duhd duh M V T!!!! big toro this week eh???? my seminary teachers were brother smith, jones, burnham, peterson, and stirling. if you have any of them. tell them i say ho. be sure to send me the rest of your schedule so i can see whats going down on toro campus. 
so this week was better. kinda. we had more lessons and taught new people! my health wasnt on its A-game so that took away from it a little bit but we´re doing what we can.this saturday we have the baptism planned for amalia and her two kids, john and katy. we also have another baptism planned for anther singel mom and her two daughters for the end of the month. carmen, amabilia (sounds like im a billio...naire), and maira. the other day we taught them the restoration in the church. we asked them that if god responded them, if they would be baptized on a set date. "eh, if god tells me..." welp. hes gonna tell you. now. we went into the chapel, knelt down, they prayed. the spirit came in strong. we all felt it. maira and carmen were crying. well  mair was kinda bawling. it was awesome. the next night we had a FHE with them, ill send a picture. 
tomorrow the zone is going to help out the branch in re-roofing the tenorio family´s house. never put a roof up before so we´ll see how it goes! 
this morning the zone went out to Caral. they say its the second oldest civilization on the planet. i mean i thought it was kinda cool but lets get real here. its dirt. modern day temples are wayy cooler. the jaredites (if its even real) knew how to build their stuff. 
our group of investigators is slowly growing, but we are still trying to find less active people that want to listen to us or are capable of getting back into the church. and we are trying to keep our converts as our focus. before, we didnt understand that as much, and now some are leaving town and working and we are working to keep them afloat. no worries though, things are going well! president archibald came up yesterday for a priesthood meeting and set things in order. it was soooooooo awesome.
so aside from being a little sick and the weather dropping. things are going good. we are starting to pick things back up and it will all work out. it always does. god sometimes needs us to prove our willingness to make the sacrifices, and in the end, requires that we know and acknowledge, that even with our greatest efforts, we are a hundred percent dependent on him. his hand is in every part of this work. its HIS church. its the only true church on the earth, and i know it because he has told me manyy times. 
love you all, stay safe, eat eggos for me.
elder brown
heres caral, us making tacos last week, and me in my hammock. oh, and i learned that nate bohns dad baptized the branch president in the barranca branch. thats just a side note, im not sending a picture of that.