Sunday, August 18, 2013

A call from the airport! 8/12/13

Elder Brown called us from the Salt Lake International Airport at approximately 7:30 pm on Monday August 12th. We were able to talk to him for about 20 minutes and he sounded so good. He told us that he road Trax from the MTC to the Salt Lake International Airport and along the way they met 3 returned missionaries who had served in Melbourne Australia. The returned missionaries told them about the jumping spiders and snakes. He was traveling with those of his MTC district who were going to Australia. It was fun for these missionaries to hear the experiences of those who had served there before.

He said that his MTC district had no sisters in it which is very unusual and had not happened in a long time.

He told AJ that she is now the oldest sibling at home and recounted all the responsibilities that go along with that, i.e. help with more chores around the house, etc. He then told Emma to stop fighting with AJ. It was pretty funny. He talked to his friend Ashley for a while. He sounded really happy.

He flew to Los Angeles CA and then it was a straight shot to Australia --18 hours in the air. How do those huge planes stay in the air that long?

We receive a short email from him after he landed. It said he arrived safely and he would email us on P-day (the next Monday), so we are now anxiously awaiting an email from him to see how he is doing in "The Land Down Under".

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I put away childish things...Days 4, 5, and 7

Dear family,

Day 4
I'm doing okay. You were right, this isn't's kind of hard for me, but that is alright because I CAN DO HARD THINGS! You are always there for me and I love you for that. How is everyone doing? Here is a scripture for you that I found during personal study. I found that I can tie this into my own life and it will help me through my mission: "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." --1 Corinthians 13:11.  I have pondered this scripture for a while. I just think this scripture is great for me because I was a child and I did childish things before this mission. When I got my mission call, I put my inner child away and became a man. I want to tell you that I know this is absolutely the only true church in these latter days. I know God performs miracles every day. I am indeed a walking miracle, and every day I thank Heavenly Father for helping me. I'm doing my best and always will. 

Day 5
Well I made it to Sunday! It was hard because it was fast Sunday and everywhere we went we could smell food. It was torturous. As you know, it is very hard for me to open up...truly open up to people anymore because of how I have been treated in the past. Well, because of my learning disabilities, I am taking an extra class here in the MTC to help me get all the information and learning I can while I am here. This class has really helped me...anyway, my district knows about this extra class and, once again, because of my disabilities (learning slower than others and needing extra time to learn what we are learning) I am being made fun of. This is hard because this is the way it has been all my life and I thought it would be different here...I am not having fun anymore. 
I did have a very touching experience as I was looking at a picture of the Savior. As I looked at the picture, the Spirit testified to me something that made me feel amazing. The Spirit testified that my Savior is always there for me no matter what. I testify to you that God is real and he loves every one of us, and through him and of him we can all be free. Jesus Christ really did atone for our sins and he is there to help us when we get down. All we need to do is pray...get on our knees and plead and pour out our whole heart and soul to him and he will hear and answer our prayers. He will. I promise he will pick you up and walk with you. You just have to be willing to open up and let him in.

Day 7
Well it is August 6, 2013 - day 7 of the MTC. It is P-day and I am bored out of my mind. I go to the travel office on Monday the 12th of August. Our flight leaves at 8:25 pm. I don't know the exact time I will be calling but it should be some time around 7 pm. I told Ashley to come over so I hope she will. Please do something fun while she is there so she doesn't feel awkward while waiting. I emailed Delci today and told her how I feel and what I am going through right now. I tried sending all my pictures in one email but it won't let me so I had to send them in separate emails. There are four of them. How is everything going?  How is my best friend Dad doing? Tell Dad he doesn't have to worry about me, I am doing fantastic! How are you Mom? A lot has happened since I wrote last. I taught my very first investigator and I felt the powerful hand of the Savior helping me and making me feel calm. It was awesome to know that the Savior is always there to help me on the path back to our Heavenly Father. I am getting along better with my district. I told them about my premature birth and the Cerebral Palsy which causes my learning disabilities. I told them how I couldn't walk or talk, and the miracles in my life that have brought me to this point...a happy healthy missionary, who can walk and talk normally.  When they heard my story they said that I am a walking miracle. I feel more like I can open up to them better without worrying about them making fun of me. I am really looking forward to teaching real people about the Gospel.

I love and miss all of you!

Your missionary,
Elder Brown

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day 1, 2, & 3...I am doing fantastic!

Dear family,
Day 1
On Wednesday, July 31st, we had a great meeting with three investigators. It was really spiritual and I felt the spirit stronger than I have ever felt it before. Even more than when I was in the mountains preparing for my farewell talk.
I have felt myself grow stronger in the Gospel and I am having a better understanding about the Gospel.
The Provo MTC
I love all of you --Sam, Luke, AJ, Emma, Grandma Donna, Mom, and one of my best friends, Dad. I didn't say this in my farewell talk, but dad, I would not be out here on a mission right now if it wasn't for you guiding me in the right path, and letting me make the decision to come on my own. You have played a very important role, maybe even the most important role in my life. I don't know what I would do without you. You are one of my best friends, if not my very best friend. I want you to know Mom, I am grateful you had that experience on your mission, and truly, I don't know what I would do without you in my life either. I love you Mom and Dad.
I am doing fantastic!!!

Day 2
I had a very good day. We had a lot of personal and companionship study...Oh, I forgot to tell you about my companion. His name is Elder Hurst. He is going to Adelaide Australia. The other elders in my district are either going to Melbourne with me, or Fresno California. There are 10 of us in all (he doesn't mention any sisters in his district so there must not be any). I am very happy here. I am praying for our family every day. I hope everything is good at home. I love you!

Day 3
Well, I made it this far...hahaha. We had so many discussions today that my brain hurts. I haven't been able to sleep for the last two nights because I have been pondering about the days.
I read John 3:16-17, which says, "16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." Those two verses meant so much to me...also Alma 7:15-16, which says, "15 Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.
 16 And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God from thenceforth, the same will remember that I say unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him, he shall have eternal life, according to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which testifieth in me." In my personal and companionship study I have been learning more than ever, and I feel close to the Savior. It's hard of course, but I can do hard things.
You are a huge influence in my life.

Elder Brown

Monday, August 5, 2013

To the MTC - July 31, 2013

Lunch at
 Jansen didn't seem nervous at all on the day he went to the MTC. He ended up getting immunization shots that day. We printed out his required immunization form and realized that somehow we had missed two shots. Luckily, the U of U Stansbury Park Clinic had a nurse who was able to give him the shots.
We ate at Chick-Fil-A for lunch (this is becoming a tradition because we ate at the same Chick-Fil-A when Jansen's sister Delci went into the MTC two months earlier).
After lunch we stopped at a grassy area across from the MTC to take pictures and say goodbye. Jansen's sisters, AJ and Emma, were not with us because they were at Girls Camp. They had a tearful goodbye the night before they left.
Elder Brown with his mom and grandma

Elder Brown with his dad and brothers

When we pulled up to the curb at the MTC, Jansen was greeted by two Elders. One of the Elders is a nephew of a couple we know well in Grantsville. These Elders helped Jansen get his luggage out of the back of our Suburban, We gave our final hugs goodbye and we watched as Jansen walked up the hill to the entrance of the MTC. He didn't look back...he is ready.