12 December 2011

Learning Spanish is stressful


I'm having a good time here. Spanish is stressful; I feel like I need to be talking more and I just don't have the language skills. But Elder York is patient, and the members of the branch are doing their best to help me learn Espanish. To be honest with myself, I think that I am actually learning quite rapidly (it's only been about 5 weeks since Elder York started teaching me Spanish) but it just doesn't look like it, because it's every day. Excited for Christmas!
I can't wait for next Christmas. I'll be home for (next) Christmas.
Please pray for Jose. He's scheduled to be baptised this weekend (and so are the Ortizes!) but he may need a little more preparation. Could be next weekend. Exciting days!
Merry Christmas!

05 December 2011


I will be home for next Thanksgiving! Kind of exciting, but coming so fast! Thanksgiving day we had three dinners and a lot of heartburn. I was so full I thought i would explode. Oh, so full. We almost lost Elder York. He ate way too much.

We had investigators at church on Sunday! Brenda came, and so did the Ortiz daughters. we're baptising the Ortiz girls on the 17th of December.

Transfer calls are indeed this week. I hope to stay in Lakefield but I'll find out soon enough!

Love and hugs and a christmas tree,
Elder Joshua Brown

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

I am being transferred. I'll still get to see the baptisms. I'll be in the same district. It's a big transfer, but not in terms of distance. I'm really just moving right across the street... into the Spanish Branch, with Elder York. I'll be learning (and hopefully speaking) Spanish for the next 6 weeks, probably more (hopefully more!). Special assignment from President Thomas.

It'll be tough learning a new language halfway through my mission. But I know that with the Lord's help I can do it. The Lord can do whatever He needs done if I just have the faith.
My new address will be 2017-B Pepperstone Place, Greensboro, NC 27406. Same complex, same city and zip code; entirely different area.

more adventures ahead!

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas,
with every person that I teach,
the font's a-fillin,
and we are thrillin'
and soon, our friends will be baptised.

may your days be joyful, and bright,
and may all your Christmases be white!

Love, Elder Brown.

21 November 2011

Enjoy Thanksgiving

This week was pretty crazy too. It was really fast and I don't remember a lot of it, but we taught a lot and found pretty good new investigators. We have several people who have baptismal dates, but none of them have actually come to church yet, except Ava M. We're working on that, though.
Our best new investigators are the Ortiz Daughters. All three of them want to get baptized, though only two are old enough to be convert baptisms. The youngest is eight and will be a ward baptism. Right now they're aiming for the 31st December, but that may change after they talk to their mom about it.
We ran into a pretty hardcore AntiChrist. We all bore testimony to him but to no avail. He'd done a lot of research into our religion (not just ours, though) and decided that Buddhist was the route he should take. He openly attacked the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith, and denied that Christ could change the past. I'm really proud of Elder Bentley, though, because he stood up to the guy after I'd already made up my mind not to bother with him. Elder Bentley bore powerful testimony many times and, if this was the military, I'd put in a recommendation for commendation for courageous action in battle. He's a good missionary.
Most of our new investigators are due to Elder York. He has a gift for talking to people and beginning to teach without really letting them know he's starting to teach. I'd put in a recommendation for promotion in for him, but this isn't the military. :D
I'm really impressed with my companions and maybe someday I can measure up.

Thank you for your love and support! I love you, and don't forget it. Enjoy Thanksgiving! but don't enjoy it too much. :D We have three dinners on Thanksgiving day and I think I might not make it... but here goes...
Elder Joshua Brown

16 November 2011

Everything I knew about missionary work

So, this week, everything I knew about missionary work got put in a jar with Spanish and turned upside down and shaken around. Still waiting for some of the mud to settle. It may be in suspension, though...
Monday, we cleaned like crazy because we knew that Elder Alonso of the Seventy was coming to visit and we knew he would be checking our apartment (President told us). We cleaned so much that I got blisters on my hands from wringing out rags. 
Tuesday, we got up early (5:30 am) to go to mission tour and learned a bunch, on the way there (courtesy of Hugh B. Brown), at various trainings while there (including a special training from Elder Alonso and a powerful testimony is Spanish from his wife), and then also on the way back as we discussed everything we learned during the day. We were back at the apartment around 3:30pm, and we waited there for about ten minutes for Elder Alonso to come inspect our apartment. He came, pronounced it clean, and left. President and Sister Thomas also came, and Sister Thomas didn't find anything to chasten us over, so it must have been sufficiently clean (the Mission office had our apartment's carpet cleaned while we were at the meeting. That probably helped a lot).
Then we had about half an hour until our appointment with someone (I actually don't remember their names), so I thought we could sit down and discuss what we learned during mission tour. It was a good thing we did, because about fifteen minutes into it, the door opens and in walks Elder York, one of the Spanish missionaries, with the assistants (of whom there are currently three), carrying a bed! I was extremely confused. My bed works fine, so I couldn't figure out why we were getting a new one. I asked what was going on, and apparently Elder York's companion was going home because of headaches (he hopes to come back out, though), and Elder York is now with us! The rest of the week was kind of a blur. 
I'm suddenly senior companion for Gate Field Spanglish Area, learning Spanish and still trying to sort this whole thing out. I've never been so busy. We showed up at this week's district meeting without suits on because we had to rush over straight from a lesson. But we're having a blast, working our brains out, and somehow still getting in on time every night. Miracles have flowed in plenty this week as we've done our best to make it work.

In other news, I'm tired. And I think I have good reason to be. But I'm also having a great time. Elder York is another one of those amazing missionaries who just does missionary work.
Love, Elder Brown

13 November 2011

Don't give up

We're working hard, but not a lot to show for it. Most of our really cool investigators have fallen off of the map. We do have at least one ray of sunshine, though. Three daughters of a less-active member of the ward have requested that they all be baptized. So we will still have a white Christmas!
Love you all! Don't give up!
Elder J Brown

31 October 2011

I hit my year mark this week

It's felt like a year since last Monday. I don't know why but this week was long, even with transfers and all. We taught a lot this week; maybe that contributed.
Tonight, being All Hallow's Eve (or Hallowe'en, as most normal people call it), we are strictly not to do any finding after 6. We have an appointment, but if it cancels, we'll probably have to go in early. :(
I'd kinda forgotten, but I hit my year mark this week. :-/ not sure how I feel about it, but there's nothing I can do about it, so... I guess I'll just not do anything about it. But thanks for not sending me a camel. :D
I don't know what President was thinking, making me senior companion. I'm just really not sure. But I'll do my best.

Elder Bentley, my new companion, is a good egg; he works hard, has a good attitude. He keeps me smiling, which is good. He's from Eagle Mountain, UT, and enjoys drawing, programming, and shotgun shooting.

Even though we don't have any baptismal dates right now, we're still looking forward to a White Christmas this December. We'll work hard and, if the Lord is willing, it'll happen.

Dennis, our Recent Convert, received the priesthood this Sunday. Hurrah! Another soldier in the army!
Love, Elder Brown

District Picture

 District 15-9-2011
Back L-R Elder Cutler, Elder Hurtzeler, Elder Lane
Front L-R Elder Greenwood, Elder Me, Elder Rose

25 October 2011

We nearly got run over

I am not being transferred. I will remain in Lakefield (ward in Greensboro) for the next transfer, possibly two; however, Elder Hurzeler is leaving. I'm sad about that, he's my favorite companion so far. I'm sure the next guy will be pretty cool too, though. Onward!
Slow week this week. Not a lot of news. Most exciting thing that happened this week was that Elder Hurzeler and I nearly got run over (different incidents, same day).

Elder Brown

PS I just got a phone call from President Thomas. I'm going to be the Senior Companion in Lakefield this transfer.

23 October 2011

I enjoy the work so much

We're working hard and the days seem to blend together and disappear in a whirl of color. Time is speeding up for us, which is a pity. I enjoy the work so much. Transfers are next week, and we're kinda hoping that we don't get transferred. But we've been companions [with Elder Hurtzler] for three months now and that's when rotation usually happens. Either way, we find out Saturday night who's leaving, etc.

I love you! don't forget! 
Elder Brown

26 September 2011

Poofy-headed syndrome

 I have a confession to make and a funny story to tell. 
Elder Brown went out to tract with his companion, Elder Hurzeler. As they were tracting, Elder Brown saw a large round nut on the sidewalk. Well, Elder Brown was suffering from poofy-head syndrome that day and thought he could be cool. He leaped mightily in the air, descended in power and awesomeness, thrust his foot forward just in time to kick the nut, and sent it flying into the distance, never to be seen again...at least, that's what he wished had happened. The true ending is that Elder Brown didn't time his kick just right and instead landed on the nut, resulting in a lot of flailing and falling. Don't worry, nothing hurt but my dignity. And my pants. My pants kinda got hurt a lot, actually. They have a large rip in the knee, one that I don't think I can fix. Anyway, confession: Elder Brown needs another pair of pants. And he's not quite as cool as he thought he was. :)  Fixed my poofy-head syndrome, though.

In other news, Dennis got baptized Saturday. President Smith, one of President Thomas' counselors, interviewed him and cleared him for baptism.
Alexis is doing well, or at least was. she's going through some trouble and tribble-ation right now, though, and your continued prayers for her would be much welcome.
Love oodles and bananas :)
Elder Brown

19 September 2011

French 'terrible'

The Pinkards, in Dobson, and Michael, in Mount Airy, all got baptized. :) Happy news!

Now, in French, the word 'terrible' can mean both 'awful' and 'awesome', and I'm not sure which one this week was.
We tracted a lot, taught some, and may even baptize someday. Still working with Dennis. Alexis is progressing nicely, except that we can't get her to pray for a specific answer. She's afraid that she won't get one. We promised her blessings and testified, and now we're praying for her to have the courage to pray and to be able to recognize her answer.
It was nice and cold up here this week, so to save a little on the power bill, we kinda just turned the AC off, since it was about 60 outside. It stayed about 65-70 in the apartment. It was glorious, reminded me of home. The natives didn't like it too much, though. :)
I'm still at 2011-C Pepperstone Place in Greensboro, NC (27406).

Elder Brown

06 September 2011

If'n you can, please give the Elders a referral. It's like manna from heaven. But if you can't, get them to rake your yard. Or cut your grass. Or build a wheelchair ramp for somebody. Or help somebody move in/out. Something. It doesn't need to be a big project, in fact, if it's not, that's probably better.
We're keeping a close eye on the weather. There was a flash-flood warning last night and there are tornado warnings for today and (I think) tomorrow. But we're in good hands (the best!) and we'll be okay.
Don't send packages after tomorrow, transfers are around the bend! I think I'll be staying here, but I won't know for sure until Saturday Night. Please tell everyone.
We actually played dodgeball for zone activity this time around. maybe next time we'll go to the zoo. :)
This week was fairly boring. Dennis had a slight holdup and will be baptised on this Saturday, not last Saturday, and will be confirmed Sunday. Alexis, our next-most promising investigator, has read 13 chapters of the Book of Mormon and apologized for not reading more. :) that's the kind of commitment that gets people baptised! :) Could be more good news soon!

Love y'all! keep up the good work! And don't worry, I'll still be a goofball when I get home. Just an older and slightly uglier goofball. :) With maybe some benefit from serving a mission.

Elder Joshua Brown

29 August 2011

Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene was really pretty boring. We only got the outer bands (the very outer bands) in Greensboro. We didn't even get any rain. The wind was almost like Rexburg winds, though, so that was good. President Thomas has us taken care of. He sent out a message to get some extra food and water and make sure we could ride out two or three days without power.  So the official report :boring. windy. some good gusts. two branches knocked out of small trees. boring. repeat, boring. :)  
I actually didn't feel the earthquake. everybody was talking about it but I still don't have any idea what they were talking about.

Good news: if all goes well, we'll have a baptism this weekend! Dennis is his name. 
Also please pray for Alexis, our newest investigator. She's been dating a member and wants to know the wholoe shebang. She's committed to baptism and to read the Book of Mormon to know if it is true. Just as a side note, she has two cute kittens too, an orange tabby named Luna and gray longhaired something-or-other named Tonks.
Going to Zone activity today, so more next week!
Love, Elder Brown

15 August 2011

Only tracting 6 hours a day now

We're still tracting, but we're only tracting 6 hours a day now, instead of eight; we've found a couple people and maybe we'll baptize.

One of these people is John. we found him on his front porch, and after talking with him for a while we taught him the Restoration. He committed to read the Book of Mormon and be baptized on September 23rd.

We have a car-share area; car two weeks, bike one week. This area isn't as hilly as Mount Airy (by the way, I never did go see the Andy Griffeth stuff. It was kinda neat but after we drove past it about every day it got to be part of the scenery).

Elder Brown

14 August 2011

My favorite companion so far

I am exhausted. I hain't never been so tired. I am now with Elder Hurzeler (pron. her-Zel-er) and we are serving in Greensboro, North Carolina. Elder Hurzeler is probably my favorite companion so far. He's just as nerdy and dorky as i am (he plays Magic: The Gathering, video games, and D&D), plus he works hard and has a great attitude. We're already good friends and we still have a full transfer to go. I'm excited for this transfer. It's hot. It's boring. We tract a lot. But the ward is good and my companion is better.
Highlight of the week (actually from last week): we watched about eight hummingbirds duke it out over a sugar water feeder. I took a video; I'll see if I can send it to y'all somehow.
Here's my new address:
Elder Joshua Brown
2011 C Pepperstone Pl
Greensboro, NC  27406
Elder Brown

01 August 2011

Getting transferred


Oh, and hello.
This week actually went a lot better. I'm still very tired and still wishing I had a chance to sleep for a week, but that doesn't look like it's going to be able to happen. In fact, I'm getting transferred, so I get to sleep even less than usual this week. :( Bummer. But I don't mind, other than I may have to take dinner-naps now, too. And p-day naps. 
It's been fun serving with Sherrif Mathis; he's a good kid. To be honest, I'm a little glad to get a new companion. But I will miss him, eventually. 
I'm now anxiously awaiting Wednesday, when I find out where I'm going next and who I get to drive crazy- I mean, serve with, next.
Elder Joshua Brown

25 July 2011

So tired today

I am so tired. I didn't know I could be this tired and still be awake for 18 hours at a time. Probably why I'm not awake that long (I've taken a liking to lunchtime naps). I'm just... tired... +yawn+

But we do have a scheduled baptism for the 6th of August. Michael (a new investigator) will be baptized then, if we can just keep him from getting washed away by the fierce attacks of the evil one, which attacks have utterly destroyed our other investigators.

This week we lost Keisha. Elder Child (on exchange from Dobson) and I went over and taught the word of wisdom, it being the appropriate time for that  (or so we thought). the lesson was beyond bad. Awful doesn't describe it. 'Apocalyptic' might be strong enough. I don't know what we did wrong, but by the end of the lesson, her parents hated us and almost didn't let us back in on our next visit. Things went so bad that we went from having a good relationship to them not wanting Keisha to be baptized. Again, I don't understand how it happened. I did use boldness, but not (at least I thought) overbearance. maybe I wasn't polite enough? I dunno. 

The good news is that Michael is still planning on baptism, and he's been quite thoroughly prepared for the gospel by his girlfriend Chelsea, a member of our ward. Doctrinal concerns are almost zero, and he's very much commited. so there is some good news.

Did I mention how tired I am? Oh how tired I am. I am tired. A lot.

Love, Elder Joshua Brown

18 July 2011

I sang at a Baptist cookout

I'm 21 now! I'm old! I can buy beer! (yay?)
My birthday was rough; I missed you guys a lot that day. It ended happy, though.
Adventures of this week:
Elder Brown is now old enough to visit whatever establishment he so chooses.
I sang 'Mi Amigo Jesus' at a Baptist cookout to which we were invited. (I bet dad didn't know he was helping me prepare for my own mission when he played that song from his.)  Also at the cookout, we had burgers and hot dogs, and listened to some good old fashioned baptist hymns, then listened to an excellent sermon from a preacher about the brass serpent in the wilderness. (Elder Mathis is absolutely convinced that it was aimed straight at us in an attempt to get us 'saved'. I had to disagree with him on that one.)
Oh, here's a note from the mission office:
/begin message
Just a note to let you know that we are moving the North Carolina Charlotte Mission Office on 23 July 2011.  The phone number and FAX number will remain the same.
The address will be North Carolina Charlotte Mission  3020 Hilliard Drive, Charlotte NC  28205
Missionaries:  In order to receive your mail you will now need to have North  Carolina Charlotte Mission or NCCM on the first line on all your letters and packages.  The Missionaries name will need to be on the second line (with FULL name - we have a lot of duplicate names).
We can only forward United State Postal Service mail.
FED-EX and UPS  (United Parcel Service) - CANNOT be forwarded.
/end message

so the full address is:
North Carolina Charlotte Mission 
Elder Joshua Brown
3020 Hilliard Drive
Charlotte NC  28205
I love you guys!
Elder Brown

11 July 2011

New mission home address

It's been a decent week. nothing too big, good or bad, except our phone's broken. We had an adventure that day and it's worked kind of off and on ever since. We don't know what's wrong with it but we've put it in rice in case the problem is humidity.
None of our investigators were at church, and it turns out Gene is moving to New York, so we won't be baptizing him. Bummer. Keisha is still strong. We're having dinner with her and her parents tomorrow night (Tuesday) and we hope to resolve any concerns her parents have about her upcoming baptism. We may have to move Becky back a week, because she wasn't able to come to church at all the last couple of weeks. Ronald M. is still plugging on. He's being put through a fiery furnace right now but he'll be fine and we'll keep our eye on him. He's been down on himself a lot lately, so I told him that if he keeps beating up my friend, Ronald, I'll have to come deal with him, because I don't let anybody pick on my friends. :) that at least got him to chuckle.
Oh, important update. The mission office is moving. Instead of the address being:
Elder Joshua Brown
North Carolina Charlotte Mission
6407 Idlewild Rd Ste 104
Charlotte, NC 28212
it should be:
North Carolina Charlotte Mission
Elder Joshua Brown
6407 Idlewild Rd Ste 104
Charlotte, NC 28212

So they can forward it until they get established at the new location.  More on that later. 
Love you guys!
Elder Brown

07 July 2011

Pictures from April 2011

Front L-R Elder Redford, Elder Child, Elder Stanley, Elder Jackman
Back L-R Elder Mathis, Elder Brown (me!), Elder Wells

This is the mushroom in the bathroom.  In Dobson, we had a horrible plague of mushrooms. :) Every other week or so we had a new one.  This one's name is Stanley.

Cool story for the week!  We were at a member's house doing some service taking apart a double wide and we were taking a lunch break down by a little stream that runs through the property.  The member had it set up to where he had a PVC pipe fountain fed and pressured by the river.  Well, we're just chillin', eating, when all the sudden we hear a little "pop" and the fountain disappears.  I went to check it out and it turned out that a crawdad had gotten in the pipe upstream and been whisked away by the flow, and when he got to the end he broke it off.  Poor little guy.  So I met a crawdad this week.  I also got to use an axe while we took down the double wide.  Good times, good times. Don't worry.  I still have all my fingers.

Love you guys!
Elder Joshua Brown

05 July 2011

4th of July

I didn't email yesterday since it was the fourth. Don't worry, we had a good time with a recent convert family; grilled burgers and watched fireworks. (We actually stayed out ten minutes past curfew o.O). But at least we had a good time. don't worry, the apartment is still in one piece. :D

This week we found four new investigators, two of whom have solid baptismal dates. Keisha M. is a young women-age girl with a strong desire to be baptized. We still have a lot to teach her but she's moving forward with faith. 

Becky, her friend, is a little less solid but is also interested in receiving the gospel. They're both set for the 30th of July. 

Gene, a young black kid, is set to be baptized on the 23rd. He's a very pentacostal sort of guy, and the reverence in our church is a little hard for him. His concerns are more doctrinal than commitment. He'll still get baptised though. I hope.

So, good things are happening in mount Airy. 

We have a Leadership Training Meeting this week on Thursday.  

Brandon M. recieved his endowments this last Saturday. He's coming with us to the LTM on Thursday, and then reports to the MTC on the 13th.

Well, I love you guys! Don't forget!
Love from Elder Brown

27 June 2011

I admire the faith and dedication of the pioneers and the early saints

As for this end of things, the work is going well. the Sheriff and I are getting along fairly well.  Brandon M. got very worked up about some kid hot-wiring his car, taking it for a joyride and then sneaking it back into our parking space. All the evidence considered, I don't think it was really stolen in the first place. Even if it was, why would they have brought it back?
We found a man who's ready for the gospel this week. His name is Tony E. (pray for him, he's in a lot of pain from an accident at work) and he wants to change his life around. Perfect baptismal candidate. We're seeing him tonight.
We watched Legacy with one of our recent converts. I still admire the faith and dedication of the pioneers and the early saints.
Other than that, things are pretty smooth. Onward!
Elder Joshua Brown

20 June 2011

Healing ecclesiaphobia

The last couple of weeks have been wearing on me, but for some reason I'm in a strangely good mood right now. The Sheriff and I are getting on fine. We do have some disagreements, but that said, who doesn't?

Transfer calls came and went, and I'll be staying in Mount Airy with the Sheriff. Good thing, too, Mt. Airy is one of the coolest parts of the mission, and if it's already breaking 90 on an average day, I'll be quite happy staying here. We've had a lot of rain lately and it's nice to see the sun this morning.

We lost some of our investigators to ecclesiaphobia (not-coming-to-church-itis) but we're going to go heal them of their infirmities this week. We're also going to be doing a lot of service and we already have several appointments planned. So good week coming up.
I learned how to stain glass this week, too. Apparently egg dye works just fine, but you have to dry it on Saran wrap or it loses its color. It's also not permanent. But still cool.

How many Jedi does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Obi-Wan! :D
Elder Brown

31 May 2011

$5 Flounder Special

I sang a solo, a capella, at zone conference, and I just about passed out. I'm pretty sure if it hadn't been a hymn I wouldn't have been able to do it. I pitched it about three notes too high and made the mistake of eating first. but I did indeed sing. Nobody threw anything at me, either, so it must've been alright. :)

We haven't been able to go fishing yet. I'm hoping we can go this next Monday but we'll see.

My foot's fine. Well, actually it's not. But it's not the Sheriff's fault, I just sprained my ankle. It's actually not hurting anymore; I think the Lord's had a hand in that.

I don't have any fun stories this week, we've mostly just been knocking doors. Although we did have fun knocking doors in a nasty rainstorm this week. Friday was a beautiful day, sunny and gorgeous at first. Then the clouds started piling up, and it got dark (which was nice, seeing as we got to be in the shade a lot). It threatened to rain on us but didn't, until about 5 ish, when of course we were far from any shelter. But we had fun. A nice lady let us stand on her porch and talk to her a bit while we waited for a break in the storm. We tried to teach her a lesson (in fact, we counted it, just for all the trial and nastiness of the day). Then after we went and ate flounder at a local restaurant (the Derby; they had a $5 flounder special, all you can eat. And it's goooood flounder, too). And of course, we walked home. (Usually we plan straight after we get in, but not that night. That night we changed into dry clothing first. :)

Brandon's with us this week, and we're mighty grateful to have him today. Things would just have not worked out as good if we hadn't. More on that next week.

So, I had a stroke of genius in the shower the other day. Ready for this?
what did the laywer do when he found out his counter-top wasn't really granite?
ready? ready?
He had a counter-fit!
Well, I did warn you it was a shower joke... what did you expect?

Love y'all!  Elder Brown

24 May 2011

Sheriff Mathis ran over my foot with our car

This week was busy and really fast. We worked hard. We're going to baptize people, but not this week. I am so tired it's not even funny. Sheriff Mathis ran over my foot with our car (it's a car-share area like all my others).  I love North Carolina, even though it's 85 with equal percent humidity.

Not too many fun stories this week, but here's some good things happening in the near future:
   *We're going to have Brandon M. working with us for three days each week for
    the foreseeable future (this is amazing, it means that for those three days we
    don't have to bike anywhere. also, it allows us to have a member present in a lot
    more lessons).
   *I'm singing at Zone Conference on Thursday (pray for me; I'm really nervous)
   *We might be going fishing next Monday.

So, good things happening here.

I love you guys! Don't forget!
Elder Joshua Brown.

16 May 2011

Transferred to Mt Airy, NC

My new companion is Elder Mathis. I call him Sherriff Mathis because of a funny incident while we were out contacting. A mentally handicapped man came up and just started blabbering at him, then told him that Elder Mathis was his favorite sherriff and he wanted him to stay in office forever. :) So now he's Sherriff Mathis. :)
It's been humid and rainy since I got here and we've only seen the sun a handful of times. I actually saw the full moon last night and was astonished how bright it was. It's also super hilly here. There are no flat parts of Mount Airy. Everything is a slope, gentle or steep, and nothing is ever just up or down hill. 
We have no investigators who are progressing, but I still love it here. The ward is super-friendly and happy to help us. We also cover a branch in Stuart, VA, where the same is true as well. In both wards we have members who are preparing to go on a mission. Mike Warner, who I mentioned a lot when I was serving in Carmel, is living with his Grandparents in Mount Airy until he leaves on his mission to Pocatello, Idaho. :) Small world. So if'n you ever see a large elder by the name of Warner, who looks kinda like me, only bigger, take good care of him and tell him I said hi.
I got the best news last night. John and Melinda Bennett, also in Carmel, got baptized!!! I could have died and gone to heaven.

Also, I love you.

Elder Brown

02 May 2011

Good things are happening

This week, we got rejected by everybody [whose doors] we knocked on. We were tired, hungry, hot, and sweaty. We lost two amazing investigators. But none of that even matters, because TONY CAME TO CHURCH!!!
Thursday afternoon we call Tony after not hearing from him for almost a week. He says he's got something he wants to talk to us about. "Oh, great," we say, 'he got anti-ed'. Turns out he'd been doing some research and came across blacks and the priesthood. (He's a big black guy, likes his flowers. Tulips are his favorite, fyi.) So we sit down and pull out Official Declaration II, talk about it, and have an incredible spiritual experience. We were all crying by the end of it. 
Then we find out it was his wife's concern, not his so much. We didn't get to speak with her that time, she had a migraine or something. Later that week we find out that our ward mission leader and his wife went over and talked to them and Bobby's concern got resolved. The ward mission leader arranged to get his son to pick up the whole family. Tony was the only one who made it, but at least he did make it.  The ward embraced him and in priesthood opening exercises he bore his testimony about us. The short of it is, He's getting baptized.  :D We're super excited.
Go Naomi! Piano scholarship, playing an 'organ' (liver, lungs? lower intestine?), making dad cry, and playing dead. All in a day's (week's) work for my sister. Go get 'em.
Thanks for your love and support. I can't tell you how much that means to me. Thanks for your continued prayers.

Love you guys! Thanks for all you do!
Love from your favorite
Elder Brown

26 April 2011

Everybody's Baptist down here.

Sorry this email's a little late. Nobody warned us that the library would be closed for Easter Monday.

We ate Easter dinner at two places: lunch time-ish at an investigator's house (she's almost ready to be baptized) and again at a members. I've never eaten so much ham in my life. Good stuff, though.

I haven't seen an armadillo here, but there is a groundhog who lives under the house that we've seen a couple times. Fat little thing.

Tony, Bobby, Michaela, TJ, Moriah, and Jesse (all the family except 6-year-old Olivia) are being baptized on 28 May 2011, If they ever stop being sick long enough to come to church three times.  Tony went to the ER Saturday morning and still isn't doing too good.
your prayers on his behalf would be appreciated.

Our other baptismal date is for a week and a half from now and is still trying to quit smoking. she sent us a text saying that she's done with it and isn't ever buying any more cigs, and we're praying hard for her to continue faithful to that promise.

Everybody's Baptist down here. Everybody. Except a handful of Methodists, a Buddhist or two, and that Evolutionist we met last week.  It's kind of funny how so many of them try to convert us to the 'true' Bible.  But they mean well.
Love you guys!

Elder Joshua Brown

18 April 2011

Yup, still alive

Yup still alive. we got called crazy for being out in it [thunderstorm/tornado watch] but we're all in one piece still.
We taught a big black guy this week and he and his daughter are committed to baptism. The only reason his wife isn't is because she was sound asleep during the lesson when we invited them. The previous lesson was pretty much her teaching us the plan of salvation and us trying to keep up with her. Tony, the husband, is a funny guy. He's about 6'3" and keeps a garden. We were teaching him on his porch when his kids came through and damaged some of his garden. Then he said my favorite quote from him: "I may be a big guy, but I like my flowers!" It was even funnier because he said it so indignantly. :D His daughter's name is Michaela, and his wife is Bobby.
Second favorite moment of the week. We went to teach a PMLA family (part member less active) and we met their 3 year old twins. The twins went to their chicken coop and I GOT TO HOLD A BABY DUCK!!! But that wasn't the best part. They mom started to tell us about the black snake that got in and ate two of the chicks. The little girl told us that "He couldn't even move, he was so full" in the thickest country accent I've ever heard. I almost died laughing. 
Good times, good times.
love yall!

Watch out for Naomi. She's going to take over the world before too long.
love ya!
Elder Brown

11 April 2011

Biked around in a severe thunderstorm and tornado warning

I've had an awesome week and learned a lot. We baptized an investigator, Sandy H. on Saturday, for the Sparta Branch, which we also cover. Most of our other investigators have stopped progressing but we're going to dig about and prune the vineyard and hopefully they'll start growing again.
After Sandy's baptism, her cousin Melvile (there really ARE people named Melvile!!) offered to give us the complete tour of the Andy Griffeth stuff. We're figuring out when we can go still but no worries, we will be getting plenty of pictures when it happens.
This area is a tri-share, where we have two cars between three companionships. This last week we spent on bikes, which was fun, as we biked around during a severe thunderstorm and a tornado warning. I had a blast.
I love you guys!
Elder Brown

04 April 2011

The Andy Griffeth Show was filmed in our district. :D

We watched all the sessions of conference, except the Sunday afternoon one, at the church. I saw a lot of friends in the Saturday afternoon session when the BYU-I choir sang. Sunday afternoon we watched at the Goodson's home in Mount Airy. 
Speaking of, the new area I'm in is the Dobson Branch area. It's not a ward but we're hoping we can make it one by the end of the year. The Andy Griffeth show was filmed in our district. :D
My companions are Elder Child (English-speaking trainee) and Elder Jackson, who's going home in five weeks from tomorrow. I love them both to pieces already. We're a lot alike and building on our similarities. None of us are really sure why we're in a threesome, as we all speak English and none of us are waiting for a visa, but president said so, and we're having a whole bunch of fun, so no complaints. We are one. :D
We have a CD player and we use it a bunch. Usually music is provided by other parties, though. :D I've acutally developed a taste for talks on CD, so I think I'd request talks before music now.
Love you guys! Thanks for praying for me! 
Elder Joshua Brown

28 March 2011

Transfer this week

Elder Bringhurst and I are getting along just fine. Plenty of sparks but at the end of the day we're still glad to be companions.  Kinda how it's been the whole transfer, really.
I'm being transferred this week. I don't know where or with who I'll be serving. but I do know I'm going to have fun. I'll miss the folks here in Carmel but new friends ahead.
The Carmel Ward of the Charlotte South Stake doesn't exist anymore. Yesterday they changed the name of the ward to Providence Ward and changed the boundaries quite a bit from what they were. Good thing I'm leaving; I don't have to deal with that. :D Poor Elder Bringhurst. He's also training a high-functioning autist, and the result of the next three months will determine whether or not the kid can stay on a mission. so he's pretty stressed, too.
We were able to help Bonnie again. It was raining and she was pretty impressed that we still came and helped her on our bikes. So we had a huge positive impact on her.
Yes, the Catawba Indians are in our mission. That's all I really know.
Good solid counsel for a missionary: stay positive and know that success does not equal baptisms.  
Love you guys,
Elder Fruitcake
(for thus I have been christened by Elder Bringhurst).

21 March 2011

She called us angels

Our investigators are mostly doing well. We lost contact with Liz, but we're going to try and get reconnected soon. John and Melinda are just as ready as they're going to get but we still don't have the clearance to re-baptize John. It's a little frustrating.

We found two new investigators this week. One we found while tracting a road where nobody liked us. (Brad, age 20, unemployed, Anime fan). The other we found Saturday when we went to go see a do-not-contact (who, by the way, wasn't home). We knocked a couple of doors and then saw a lady trying to move some rocks for her garden. We offered to help and she said "Oh, you're too clean". Well of course we did it anyway. She called us angels. I guess she'd dislocated her shoulder during the last year or so and she was mighty grateful for our help.

Also, Saturday, we got five more hours of service when we helped Mike stain his deck. We had a lot of fun with them while we did that.

Nice weather up there, huh? Here it's green and windy, and the pollen -oh, the pollen!- is everywhere. Including in my nose. I've never had allergies before. It's miserable. I heard that eating local honey is supposed to help with that. I've got some local honey, and I'm eating it. so... I guess we'll find out.

Love, Elder Brown

19 March 2011

Saturday was a good, good day

Probably the coolest thing this week was Saturday.  Saturday morning we went to a specialized training with Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  I got to meet him and shake his hand.  Then we had a two hour meeting where President and Sister Thomas both spoke and gave us instruction.  Elder Gay of the Seventy talked about member involvement in missionary work, and Elder Oaks spoke to us at length about personal revelation.  Something that really stuck out to me was that the scriptures are a personal Urim and Thummim.  I'd never really thought of the scriptures in that way before.

Then at four o'clock that evening we watched the baptism of Bill Grey, our district's most recent convert and one of the purest souls I've ever met.  John and Melinda Bennet came to the baptismal service and the sisters in that area had a pleasant surprise when one of their own investigators came unexpectedly.  It was a good experience for all concerned.

Finally, to top it off, we had an awesome lesson with a single member in a restaurant (Firehouse Subs, good food). I won't go into too much detail but I will say that it was among the best lessons we've had recently.  Saturday was a good, good day.

Sunday was good, too.  We were blessed to have three investigators come to church.  One of them was LIz, who I've told y'all about before.  She came at the invitation of her member friends, the Berrys.  From a missionary perspective, there is just nothing cooler than an investigator coming because members asked her to.

All told, this was one of the best weeks we've had yet.  Another cool thing that happened Sunday was that a part-member-sort-of-active family came to church and brought the non-member-sort-of-active part of the family with them.  To make it even better, the non-member-sort-of-active-part invited us to come over again.  We'd been there once before and didn't think we'd had too much of an impact, but hey, we can be wrong.  We can take it.  We can cope.  Especially when it comes to a new investigator. :)

Something that's been of immense benefit to me is a talk that Elder Bringhurst and I had during a rainstorm on Monday.  Thanks to Elder Bringhurst and his exceeding great stubbornness I've discovered that being happy is a choice, and moreover, it's a choice you only have to make once.  I made that choice.  It made a difference.  I'm happier, I can take more crap from people (Elder Bringhurst), and I don't have to struggle with it.  It used to be a battle for me every morning. I used to let the little things weigh me down.  Now I don't have to.  It wasn't a magic cure; I still feel sad for people.  But I'm not sad for me much anymore.  Which is good, because I don't have time for that.

Elder Fronk gave me a tie that matches my fedora. :D  It is a pretty sweet tie.

Well, I gotta got now.  Elder Bringhurst wants to throw a frisbee around.  I love y'all, though, don't forget.

Love, Elder Brown

07 March 2011

Making soup in our shoes

It's 70 degrees, and we have all the sun you could ever want down here. Most of the time, at least. I think if I ever live down here I'm going to get a duck car- one that can cross rivers- because every once in a while we have amazing torrential downpours.
Monday night we got the most incredible storm. It came out of nowhere and poured down in torrents. Mike W. our team and most amazing member, was driving us around during that and we couldn't see through the window except a little after the windshield wipers did their wiping. It was awesome! And the lightning! Oh, I wish I could just send you some, it was so awesome.
And yesterday, we got another one. It rained a lot Saturday night and we hoped it would be done, but it wasn't. We got out to go tracting and there was a light drizzle, so we took our raincoats and umbrellas and went a-walking for to preach the word. We got to our first street and we were a little wet. (It was a beautiful road, by the way. The forest just grows everywhere in Charlotte, and you know how beautiful a forest is during a rainstorm) so we tracted it, and then walked through the little forest twice more (I got us turned around and we had to go back. Oh, and we saw a lake in the little forest too.) And then we were wet. But we were diligent and didn't go in. No, we walked another mile and a half to our next road, and my companion has the brilliant Idea of saying "Is this all you can do? That's pathetic, rain! Do your worst! I can take it!" So of course it did. We were making soup in our shoes on the way home. I poured a quarter cup of water out of my shoes when we got home and just threw everything I was wearing into the dryer. Thank goodness for electric dryers.
John and Melinda are progressing. Still waiting though. We're teaching Liz this week.
Thanks for your prayers. we need them.
I love you all! 
Elder Joshua Brown

28 February 2011

Banana pudding

No more roach sightings and no crashes... but I was in the car (this week), not on the bike. so next week maybe some reports. :)

Liz is progressing still. She expressed some very deep and personal concerns about the celestial kingdom and her family. We're not quite sure how to help her work through them, but we're going to keep praying and hoping. She has two adopted children from Russia. One we've never met; I guess he's moved out or something. The other, Kathryn, we've met several times and we're trying to convince her to join us in the lessons. She's around 17.

My new companion, Elder Bringhurst, is short and spunky. He's a good elder, though, and he does good work. We have little disagreements, of course, but right now we're able to work well together.

Funny story of the week:
Our most progressing investigators, John and Melinda B. came and ate dinner with a family in the ward, and for dessert we had banana pudding. Well, it's a strange thing, but I like banana pudding, and told them all so. We invited them to a baptism another ward was having on Saturday. Friday night, John calls and says 'I made you something, can I bring it to you then?' I told him yes. We got halfway to the baptism on Saturday before they called us and canceled because Melinda wasn't feeling well (we went anyway, more details later). Sunday, they come to church. When we see them John's face lights up and he digs in his stuff for a minute, then hands me a little bowl of homemade banana pudding! It was funny enough that he remembered, but what really took the cake was that he brought me a spoon, too! I just about died laughing.

At the baptism, we were honored to help confirm two of the baptized persons, twin boys. that was a special and unique experience for me.

Love, Elder Brown

25 February 2011

New Companion

My new companion is Elder Bringhurst.  He's about 5'4" and from Hurricane, UT.  He's a funny guy.  He reminds me of the squirrel on Ice Age I sometimes.  He also has a very blunt and bold personality.  We get along well most of the time and we can work through the rest.  He makes me laugh a lot.

Saw a couple of MTC friends at transfers.  I actually was thinking about that and -poof- there they were. :D

We worked hard this week and we don't have a lot to show for it.  We talked to lots and lots of people but nobody let us in.  We're down to four investigators.  The good news is that two of them are committed to baptism-John and Melinda.  We just have to wait for permission since one of them is a former member who asked for his records to be removed.  But we think he's got his heart in the right place and we want him to be able to get baptized.  His daughter expressed a desire to be baptized with her dad.

I had a very awesome bike crash into a bush (no, I did not hit my head) and I whacked my knee real good.  I kinda just lay there and was like, "Fine.  I'll just sit here where it's safe."  Elder Bringhurst just laughed at me.  I laughed too.  No roaches this week, no trash cans but I did manage to wreck on my bike even without any trash cans.

I got yelled at for not ringing a doorbell this week. :D The guy came out and gave me a talking to for not ringing his doorbell.  First time ever but there's a first time for everything, I guess, isn't there?

I saw the funniest thing ever on a basketball:

Ward & Stake
Tournament Edition
Church Ball 
1. No foul language
2. Call your own fouls
3. Lights out & lock up
(Made in China)

Love you guys!  No dying.  I will be upset if you do.  So don't
Love, Elder Brown


The roach next to a pen.

The District: (Left to Right) Elder Brown, Elder Fronk, Sister Hernandez, Elder Lane, Sister Wayaz, Elder Fox, Elder Powell

Elder Brown, Abraham, Elder Fronk and Elder Fox at Abraham's baptism.

18 February 2011

Almost done training

This week we didn't really have any fancy adventures, it was actually about like normal.  I'm almost done training; Elder Fronk's done a good job with it.  I'm not really ready to be done training but I'll keep making the best of it.

We did get to teach an awesome lady this week.  Her name is Liz and she's totally ready for baptism.  Her sole concern is how the priesthood works with her as a single mom.  We'll have her ready before too long.

Love you guys!  Be safe, no dying!
Elder Brown

14 February 2011

Valentine's Day

Thanks for the new helmet, and the advice about cockroaches. I liked the story about crayon-colored roach poos. :)

Nothing needed in particular for march. :) I'm out of spam, though. :D

Mission news: Elder Fronk is being transferred. I'm getting a new companion tomorrow! No idea who he is but I'm excited to meet him. I'm going to miss elder Fronk, though.
Highlight of the week:
I drove this week! It was scary. We had some very intense adventures. I drove some missionaries home while on exchanges and I was fine, and then I drove on exchange with Elder Oaks and I almost wrecked the car twice and nearly hit several things (including a McDonalds' sign). The Lord really does protect His missionaries; I know it because I experienced it! The car's still intact. Just so you know.

No roaches this week, and I stayed well away from trash cans. I did almost get clotheslined by a mailbox, though.
Well, I love you guys! thanks for taking care of me. I miss you guys a lot and think about y'all a bunch. I've gotta go write president.
Elder Brown

31 January 2011

Battle of the Roach

We're doing quite well, actually. This week was a little rough by the numbers but we've been working hard. I had a very awsome exchange with a Spanish-speaking elder who is greener than I am. We worked hard and though our numbers weren't the best we still did our best, and we even got to sing together. :) That doesn't happen every day.
Most exciting thing to happen this week was the Battle of the Roach. Right before bedtime I went into the kitchen to get a drink and there was this big bug scuttling around on the kitchen floor. I called Elder Fronk and asked him what it was. Well, I didn't expect him to go pale. I guess it was the biggest roach he'd seen, and he wouldn't have anything to do with it. So Joshua fit de Battle ob de Roach this week (it was so cool that I'm sending pictures home. they might take a while to get there, though).
Still no new investigators. we have two solid ones that are going to take a while though. excited for them to get baptized... someday!
I love you all! thanks for your support!

24 January 2011

Fogged up glasses

I took a most awesome spill on my bike last Monday. it was dark, and raining, so my glasses were fogged up and I couldn't see. I'm biking at a pretty good clip behind my companion, following his taillight (which was all of him I could see). The thought crossed my mind that there might be trash cans on the side of the road. 'Nah,' I said, 'it's not trash day, that's Wednesday." Well, guess who was wrong. :) I clipped the trash can with my handlebars and next thing I knew I was upside-down in the bushes (prickly bushes, of course) with the bike on top of me. The great thing was that Elder Fronk, my dear companion, knew that the trash can was there and didn't warn me. He told me he thought I'd notice it. I guess he's never worn glasses in the rain before.

We had a sweet new investigator in the last couple weeks. we tracted into Andrea, and she didn't seem all that interested until we bore our testimonies. She let us in and we taught her a very informal restoration lesson, gave her a Book of Mormon, and set a return appointment. We were way stoked when she asked in her prayer at the end of the lesson if this was a new chapter in her life. I say "had"; she called us this morning and dropped us. We don't know why. but it was nice while it lasted, and sad when it ended.

Drew and Jesse are our other two investigators right now. we got a referral from Mike (Mike Warner, most amazing member ever) and we went and saw him this last week. Drew had a friend come over just to hang out and we dropped off a pamphlet and set a return appointment (we would have taught them but they were fixing to have band practice). They read the pamphlet that night and had some good questions for us when we came back. we're not sure how serious they are, but they asked us for copies of the BOM, so we're waiting to see what happens...

Love y'all
Elder Brown

12 January 2011


"I write unto you again that ye may know that I am yet alive, but I write somewhat of that which is..." COVERED IN ICE!!!
This week we had a nasty snowstorm, which covered Charlotte in about three inches (that's pretty nasty down here). The storm lasted about 24 hours and then turned to freezing rain and we got a thick crust of ice all over everything (including, incidentally, the car, the parking lot, and our front steps). So... we didn't go to the library on Monday like usual. instead, we walked for an hour, knocked a few doors, got rejected, and had to trudge an hour home too. We were pretty torqued.
Thank you, mom, for teaching me how to sew and cook and clean. They have proved most invaluable skills in the seven weeks I've been here.
Highlights of the week:
We had interviews with President Thomas this week. It was nice to be inside during the cold day, and we got some pretty solid training from it as well. 
We have been teaching an investigator, Desmond, who's from Africa on a student visa. he wasn't progressing very well and we were thinking about dropping him. Elder Fronk invited him to dinner with The Barbarian and his family, and Desmond came (Bro. Vailahi is awesome, he's always saying "anything to help"). After we ate, sister Vailahi bore her testimony and the spirit was strong. On the way home, Desmond started asking about coming to church! He didn't make it to the meetings this week (he had to babysit his brother's kids) but we're way excited.
I haven't been asked to drive yet, so no, no driving. Elder Fronk is the designated driver for our companionship.
Elder Fox finally got his visa to Brazil; he leaves Thursday. I'll probably be with Elder Fronk five more weeks, though it might be eleven; the higher-ups are trying to keep missionaries in the same area for longer periods of time.
Elder Brown

03 January 2011

Report of much length

These last two weeks were a blast. I have a lot of funny things that happened to me, nothing quite as exciting as being shot at this week, but here are some highlights.
Elder Fronk got a remote-control helicopter for Christmas. It was a lot of fun and we even managed to break it before the day was out. :) I fixed it, though. That stick-to-all glue that stinks to high heavens held it together.
Oh, I got my first case of food poisoning. :) I spent a day and a half being sick (I won't go into details; suffice it to say that we didn't go tracting). So that was fun. But the real fun happened the morning after I got feeling better. I had managed to keep toast in at dinner the night before, and I wanted an egg. So I made toast, and there was an egg in the fridge. Cracked it open and found out it was hard-boiled. Well, what good is a cold hard-boiled egg? Not for me, thanks. So I put it in the microwave. Imagine my surprise when there was a sudden "Thump" from inside the microwave. :) Yep. I blew up an egg in the microwave. it was fun, too. :) Don't worry, I cleaned it up.
I did manage to set my tie on fire last week. There's a missionary-tie-care technique called 'singeing'. Real simple: take a lighter, light it, and melt all the little fuzzies that stick off of your tie. easy, quick, and not too dangerous... unless you're me. :D I only set the loop that holds the short end on fire, though, so the tie is still good. Elder Fronk managed to set his sock on fire the same way. :D
Elder Fox, who's waiting for a visa to Brazil, is getting transferred out of our area tomorrow. I've only known him for six weeks but I'm still going to miss him, dangit.
Oh, and something else really cool: I got to eat dinner with THE BARBARIAN the last two Fridays. He's a great big Tongan guy with a thick thick accent. I guess THE BARBARIAN is a famous professional wrestler. THE BARBARIAN is really nice, though, and a member of the church. Brother Vilahi (THE BARBARIAN) is just a giant teddy bear. He's very soft spoken. He wears a hat to church because his hair is shaved in places (as part of his character for THE BARBARIAN). 
Love you guys. Don't forget. and no dying either. For any of you.
Elder Brown
Servant of the Lord