20 December 2010

Abraham is rock solid

Abraham was baptised and confirmed this week! He's gonna be rock solid, I can tell. He's already feeling the Spirit work in his life and he's asking questions after applying his own understanding to the doctrine. We don't have to spoon-feed him and he's just a rock-solid guy.
No interesting stories today, though I did want to apologize for teasing y'all about me getting shot at. I thought it was pretty funny, though.
Alright I've gotta dash. I'll talk to y'all on Christmas day! Love you!
And furthermore, I love you guys.
Elder Joshua Brown

13 December 2010

We are having a baptism this weekend!

We are having a baptism this weekend! Abraham is an Ethiopian man, late 20's, with a strong conversion to God. He's having his interview with the Zone Leaders on Wednesday and if they clear him he'll be baptized on Saturday. If they don't clear him, we'll push it back and try again until he either gets baptized or tells us not to come anymore. We're all hoping he's ready. He's amazing and brilliant, if a little quiet. He accepted the commandments with very little hesitation and no resistance, and he's been living all of them as far as we can tell. So hopefully he's ready.
His baptism is both a blessing and a curse because although he will enter the waters of baptism and start himself on the path to salvation, he's also our only investigator who's really progressing. We have several others but one got sick and is out of our area for treatment, one is tied to a church for his college tuition (they hired him from Africa to tell them about life and culture there) and another is only there for every third appointment. Others are listening to us but not really progressing or not keeping commitments. Kinda frustrating.
Highlight of the week:
We went to a Baptist Christmas service this Sunday. It was a great learning experience because it taught me how our investigators feel when they come to our church, especially when they've never been there before. We had to leave in the middle to get to our own church meetings on time, but it was interesting to see the differences that there are between the way that we worship and the way that they worship.  When we left, a man was doing a 'sand story' about the birth of Jesus. (A sand story is where the artist moves sand around on a projector to make the pictures of the story, in case you didn't know).
Also I'm getting better at biking; I only have to get off every two or three miles now instead of at every hill. :) Still glad we're getting a car this week, though.
Yours faithfully,
Elder Joshua Brown
Servant of the Lord

06 December 2010

Shot at, yelled at, and snored at

Howdy all!
I'm much tired this week. I've been shot at, yelled at, and snored at. But I'm surprisingly very happy in spite of it all. 
Ok, details on the past week's happenings: been studying pretty hard so far. I'm very excited to study some more tomorrow. I've learned a whole bunch of stuff that I didn't know before. For example, the ultimate act of charity was the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Did not know that before. Also learned we need to have faith in people; after all, even God was a person once.
So, being yelled at. We were tracting a neighborhood in the northern part of our area, and we found out that there we Jehovah's Witnesses in the same area. Now, it's nothing personal with Jehovah's Witnesses, but we seem to have more doors slammed in our faces after they've gone through the area, so we decided to leave and find a better area to tract. well, on our way out, we ran into a really nice chap from another church who was out spreading the word (modernised gospel of John), and we stopped to talk to him. suddenly this lady comes storming up to us and rants at us for waking her up. I guess she figured we'd woke up the dogs and the dogs woke up all the other dogs in the neighborhood, or something like that. 
we felt bad for her, and it kind of wrecked our day, so when we finished talking to the guy we left the area, pulled over in our car, and prayed for her. we all felt better about life but even more sad for her, because she was obviously hurting inside.
so that was getting yelled at.
Snored at is pretty boring. I won't go into that one.
And lastly, getting shot at; that was actually pretty funny. We were on bikes because our Designated Driver was at a leadership training meeting, and as we cycled out of our apartment complex a couple of kids, couldn't have been more than ten or twelve years old, pointed guns at us and started firing. I was really quite scared for a moment until I realised that they were using laser tag guns. :) Not scared after that.
We found some pretty cool people this week. one chap, by the name of Nuke (cool name, innit?) we met at a bus stop and got to talking. He asked us about repentance, and how people could repent after committing the same mistake over and over. We set up an appointment and taught him about it, and we have another return appointment ... sometime, I'm sure... (nice planning, eh? I know we wrote it down somewhere... oh look, my planner) at 5 on Friday. 
Speaking of Friday, we're going to go visit a local seminary class and teach the restoration at like 6:00 Friday morning. :) 
Love you!
Elder Brown

05 December 2010

This must be God's work

I have a few words to say to Jake specifically,  First get in shape.  Get on a bike and get used to it; I have never biked so much as I have this last week. Easily 30 miles. Easy.  Also get used to hills. Pray your mission area is flat but get used to going up and down hills. I hain't never been so sore. I'm loving the work out here even though it's really killing me. Asthma is an issue when you're biking up a hill and more so when it's cold.  I've been using by inhaler faithfully but still having asthma attacks while biking. My companions are really cool but they're working me to death and I'm sweating buckets. My clothes are soaked all the way through every night when we come in. I have some trouble just walking because my quadriceps are so sore. But I've never been so happy. This must be God's work, because if I gave this much physically to any other cause I'd probably not be able to walk anymore at all. I'd hate it and quit. But it must be God's work because I'm still enjoying it despite the fact that I'm dying while doing it. :)

This is my testimony

The Book of Mormon really does hold all the answers. It answers why God allows bad things to happen to good people and why we are here, where we came from, and where we go when we die.  It answers all the deep soul questions of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and all the other deep thinkers. It answers the deep questions of Calvin, the reformers and others. It answers the deep questions that modern-day man asks so often: Who am I? Why am I here? Where did I come from and where will I go when I die? It answers the questions of the heart in ways that modern man in all his scientific glory cannot. The Book of Mormon is a Book of Answers. It brings us peace, hope, and joy.  It teaches us the truths of God from simple doctrine to "deep" doctrine. It truly is a marvelous work and a wonder. I testify that it is a true work, translated as Joseph Smith said, by the power of God. There is no room for doubt in my mind that the angel Moroni really did appear to Joseph and direct him to the gold plates. Read it.

Last of all this is the testimony which I give of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world: He lives.  He was born, He lived, He suffered and died, and He lives again. Let no doubt form in your mind that He atoned for us and pleads to the Father on our behalf. Let no doubt staunch your testimony that He appeared to Joseph Smith and restored, through him, the Gospel which He established while here on earth. Let there be no doubt that Jesus loves us. 

Do not let the clouds of doubt stop up your testimony of the truth of this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is the true church of God, restored once more to the earth by pure, untainted revelation. It is the only church with the power to seal marriages to last beyond the grave. It is the only church which has the fullness of the doctrine and with that fullness, the power to act in God's name for the salvation of the children of men. 

Thomas S. Monson is the correct and authorized successor to Gordon B. Hinckley and Joseph Smith. He holds the keys. If we follow His counsel, which is the Lord's counsel, we cannot go astray. This is my testimony. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Joshua B Brown
Servant of the Lord

29 November 2010

First week in North Carolina

I'm grateful for y'alls prayers and faith. The week has been trying and long but it's almost done.
I have two companions; Elder Fronk is the senior companion, our current district leader, and very engaged in the work. The other, Elder Fox, is waiting for a visa to Brazil and is helping us here in Charlotte in the interim. we practice Portuguese in the mornings when we have time. it's actually kind of fun.
Excited for the next week. We have a car this week. :D My poor companions have to put up with an asthmatic biking companion. They're very good about it though, thankfully. They're more patient with me than I am.
I'm in the Carmel area of the Charlotte NC mission (NCCM). It's the southern half of Charlotte proper, and it's got more hills than anyplace I've ever seen. Up and down are the two favorite directions to build a road in. I don't mind the down parts so much except that I know I'll be going back up 'em later that day. :) it's ok though. I can anticipate the opposite for the uphill slopes. :D
Tracting isn't near as bad as I thought it would be. the People of Charlotte are very nice. it's not very effective, though, and we're trying to think of some better finding activities besides the ones in Preach My Gospel.
so in my last letter I sent an acorn, right? Well here in Charlotte I've seen three different kinds of Oak trees and small acorns that are orange in the inside. They also have pecan trees down here; I opened a pecan with my bare hands. :)
going shopping soon; food and then goodwill. We're going to get an old tie, cut it open, find out how it was made, and sew a new tie from some other fabric. :) don't worry, I won't send dad any of the truly ugly ones. }:-)

The members down here are awesome. The members we ate with last night run a cleaning business and they are hoping to share a Book of Mormon with one of their customers. The husband also teaches English as a second language and has been sharing the gospel in some of his lessons. Very cool when members do their part.
Speaking of post, President Thomas has asked us to ask our families to send any Christmas packages straight to our apartments. I can't remember our address right now so I'll tuck it in the letter that I'm fixing to send to you, hopefully you'll get that before you send anything. He also said to remind everybody that letters/packages need to have 'Elder Joshua Brown' in the address, not 'Elder Brown' and especially not 'Elder Josh.' :)
Elder Brown
Servant of the Lord

24 November 2010

Josh with his mission president in North Carolina

Portions of the letter from Elder Brown's mission president, President Thomas:

We are pleased to inform you that your son arrived in Charlotte and to the mission home safely and in good spirits. He was a little tired from arising early and a long flight. Sister Thomas fed him a nice warm meal which included Banana Pudding dessert, a southern favorite.  I had the privilege of interviewing him. He is full of potential! Our assistants did a little training and our office Senior Missionaries were able to join us for dinner and an introduction to the new missionaries.  We are so glad that he was assigned the this mission. He slept with his group overnight in the mission home.

He has been assigned a ‘trusted’ missionary to oversee his introduction and training into a proselyting area. Hopefully, when he arrived at his new apartment, they opened the door just far enough to push his luggage inside, and then went out to work! He will make a difference here as he puts his feet on the ground and yields his heart and will to the Lord and his sacred call.

Boy, will he love it here! The landscape is so beautiful and the people of North Carolina are wonderful. Southern Hospitality is alive and well. Members and leaders of the branches, wards, and stakes love the missionaries and we are working hard as a mission to assist them. 

We recognize that the first 3 months of his mission will be personally demanding and rewarding as he makes many adjustments. We will do all we can to help him get his feet, shoulders, and heart established here. We are extremely loyal as a mission which means he has many strong and loyal friends already. Supportive letters absent the affairs of home will help him cultivate a strong start.

We are laboring with our might, completely dependent on the merits and mercy of Jesus Christ, in a unified effort with the Stakes of Zion here; to help gather Israel and establish both Zion and a Zion people. Additionally, we will do all we can to help your son grow, change, and progress into a bold, humble, and charitable missionary who is “fit for the Master’s use.”  We love our missionaries!  We will love, watch over and care for him, as if he were our own. 

Thank you for helping him prepare. Thank you for the sacrifices you have made on his behalf.

17 November 2010

Doing well still

It's been two weeks; how crazy is that?! I'm doing well still.   Say hi to all.   FYI I will probably be able to call you guys around 10:30 (give or take 20 minutes) on the 22nd on November.   love to Katie, Naoms, Jake, Dad, and all the rest! maybe I'll send a paper letter, too. love you guys!!

[We'll hope for a paper letter.  Sigh.  At least he is "doing well."]

15 November 2010

Things are great at the MTC

It's been awesome here.  Already I've learned a ton about how to teach.  Learned that we have to teach Doctrine because Elder Bednar gave an awesome talk about "The Answer is the Doctrine" also to follow the Spirit or the lesson will not be successful.

P-day is on Wednesday and is the only day we can write letters/emails.  I'm writing a letter because I'm sending the smallest maple leaf ever seen to you guys.  Maybe an acorn, too. :)  I've never seen a real acorn before!  They have massive oak trees here.  It's only snowed once and it's not really that cold so there are leaves Everywhere!

We went to the Provo temple today; it's right across the street...then we got to do service in the laundry room.  I matched up shoes and saw a size 5!!! SIZE 5!! lady's shoe.  Only one though.  Hopefully there is a matching shoe in that big bucket of shoes. :)  Also saw a size 14.  Only one guy I know with size 14 and he's my roommate.:)  My companion's shorter, Asian, and not terribly mature; name of Elder Max McKean.  Elder Flaherty is about 6'3" and has huge feet and the size 14 feet.  He's Irish, too. :)  He actually has ADD too, but no meds and no diagnosis, so also no training.  So he's a bit fun to be around, but as we all know, that can be tiring as well.  I'm trying to remember my training so I can help him.  Elder Chad Davies is our District Leader; he reminds me a lot of Captain Kirk.  Leader type, witty tongue, a bit headstrong and red red hair.  Same facial structure, too.

Taking lots of pictures.  Awesome mountains here, probably basin/range with volcanic (Basalt) rock origins and a healthy dose of limestone from the old lake Bonneville.  Also learned a very awesome photography trick to make light sabers/energy beams...

Food's decent but not amazing.  Most of it typical BYU cafeteria food or buy-in-bulk food.  Right now I'm eating a hoagie with turkey and swiss cheese.  And cookies-and-cream milk.  Like chocolate, only cookies and cream.  Which is really tasty, actually.  Not too great is the food, but there is plenty.

We've been here a week!  It's actually gone pretty fast.  We taught our first lesson on Friday and it was really lousy.  Our second was better, but not very much.  We practiced street contacting, too.  Then our third lesson was much good.

Met Elder Wasden [our neighbor's son] and have seen another good friend from BYU-I.  Another elder in my district loves to sing almost as much as I do and we harmonize to hymns often.  It's awesome.

Send stories about my ancestors.  Also send food, candy, cookies or any other tasty goodness you can contrive.

Remember that the answer is the doctrine, not principles, not applications, but doctrine.  True doctrine will allow folks to govern themselves.  So teach doctrine.

Love Elder Joshua Brown, servant of the Lord

03 November 2010

First Day at the MTC

I'm in the MTC and learning lots! I have much learned that I have tons to learn. Already learned how to teach much better. I don't have very long, but I wanted to tell you that I'm alive and doing well.  This work is much bigger than I thought it would be but I CAN"T WAIT!!
The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath annointed me to preach the gospel...
Luke 4:14(?)

17 October 2010


I wish to bear my testimony of the veracity of the work in which I will soon be engaged.

I know that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of Mankind and the Savior of the world. He has redeemed my soul from the sins of the world, Atoned for my sins, and died that I might live. He has called me to preach repentance and baptism to those who flounder in darkness, to preach the Gospel and bring souls unto Him.
My redeemer lives. He restored the truth through the prophet Joseph Smith and the true Church of Jesus Christ is once more on the Earth, with the power necessary to administer the saving ordinances thereof.
Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet on the earth today. He holds the keys of the Priesthood and is authorized, by God, to use them.
The Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the Gospel. It is a true work, brought forth and translated by the power of God, as the prophet Joseph Smith testified, and a man will get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book.
To the witnesses of Thomas S Monson and Joseph Smith, and to the witness of thousands of others, I add my own witness, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.