Elder Zachary Brandon Brown
England Leeds Mission
Lister House, Lister Hill
England LS18 5AZ

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Lesson on the Restoration

Hello mom and dad! I did get your Valentine's Day box, and it was great :) . I loved reading all the notes like normal and eating the candy (I'm still working on that) . The reason it wasn't in the email last week was because we went to the library and the whole server crashed, so we had to go to the Allen's house to do email, and I forgot to retype that part. Sorry about that. That was also why the email came later, but every email will be later from now on since we don't have the car anymore.

I just received your letters before I left the flat, so I didn't have time to read them yet. I'll wrok on getting you a picture of Elder Frahm and I. I just am never thinking about my camera, honestly.

This week has been really different than usual thanks to all the changes made, but we've still been getting a lot of good work done. Most of the work we've been doing has been with less actives and recent converts, and this week we'll be asking them for referrals, because they always seem to have friends who would be interested. We've found a lot of potential investigators this week that we'll be contacting this week, which I'm excited for.

One of our lessons this week was with Z and A's family (A and her son D were recently baptized). We have been teaching their daughter, D, who is hopefully going to be able to be baptized soon. She hasn't been yet because she didn't understand and remember some of the more important things that we'd taught the family previously, so Elder Frahm and I are going back over those lessons with them now. This particular lesson was the Restoration of the gospel, and it was easily the most spiritually powerful lesson I have ever been in, and we've had some great ones before. The turning point of it all was when I retold Joseph Smith's account of the 1st vison. Beforehand I told them that I wanted to share something with them that had very powerful words, and that they should listen closely. They all did, and by the time I finished, everything was still and silent, even the energetic 4-year-old daughter. Elder Frahm and I bore our testimonies about the truth of it, and explained why it was so important, and the room was just totally calm and peaceful. The warmth of the Holy Ghost that I felt, I could see radiating from each of these people. D even said the closing prayer (with help from her younger brother D, who's the greatest little 8 year old ever) . At the end as we were getting ready to go, D quietly whispered to herself something that I only caught part of because it was so soft, but what I heard was "true faith". I know that the Spirit testified to every person in that room just as much as it did to me that what we had shared was true. As we left, everyone was still speaking in quiet tones, nearly whispering, reverent of the bright light that had filled each of us.

I love it when I am able to be a part of God telling his children when they're doing something right. I love feeling his love for them and for me. It's the best part of being a missionary.

That's this week's highlight, and this week is sure to bring more miracles yet. Thank you for what you do for me :) . I love you all very much, and I know that there wouldn't be any way I'd have made it out here if you hadn't raised me right. You're the best parents I could've asked for, and I'm sure that I did before I came down here to the earth. Heavenly father was looking out for me then, and he still is now. He knows and cares for every one of his children, of that I'm sure.
Until next week! Love,
Elder Brown

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Some Changes

Hello family :) .  I hope you're all doing well, I pray for you every day.  I got your letter from last week today, along with one from Grammy and papa, and Marissa.  I was really happy to get them, so thanks for that :) .  You should've gotten my letter this week as well. This week has been really interesting, and pretty different than what I've had experience with so far because now I'm training, and we've been in a threesome.  Elder Sindylek is now going to be a zone leader, and will still be in Sheffield 4.  I am also still in this area, but we have a meeting tomorrow at the mission office, so I am either going to be receiving some instruction on training, or they could possibly be having us open up a new branch in Rotherham, so we'll see what happens.  Training is going really well--I like elder Frahm a lot.  He works hard and is putting a ton of effort in to learning the language.  It's harder for him than it was/is for me, but he's improving quickly, and I appreciate his hard work.  Things will be different with investigators now, because all the ones in Firth Park and Rotherham are going to have to go to Elder Sindylek, as he will take the zone leaders' car, and the car we were using is being taken by the sisters.  Elder Frahm and I will now be on foot, so we're pretty limited to our proselyting range.  We'll spend most of our time in Darnall now.

There have been miracles this week, as there always are in missionary work.  I'll share a couple of them that were highlights for us.  The first is what happened while we were in a lesson with P and M.  Near the end of the lesson, P's uncle came in the door and sat down and started listening.  He had some great questions that we were able to answer about the gospel, and then he told us that he had met missionaries who had given him a Book of Mormon, and he had been reading it every night.  Those missionaries had never come by his house to talk to him more, so he gave us his address, and really wanted us to come over.  He lives pretty close to our flat, so Elder Frahm and I will get to teach him :) .

Another miracle involved a referral received in a very unique and unexpected way.  Yesterday I received mail from a sister missionary companionship in Slovakia, and they were writing to let us know how they had come across someone for us to teach.  While they were street contacting, they stopped a woman who was visiting the city because it was her hometown.  It turns out that she married an Englishman, and has been living in or near Sheffield for years now.  She was very impressed by how young people were out serving God, and said that she would love to have the missionaries come by to see her.  We'll be giving her a call soon to find out where she lives, and I'm hoping it's close enough for Elder Frahm and I to teach her.

That's my week, and I'm excited to let you know about my next one next week already.
Love you lots!
Elder Brown

Monday, February 10, 2014

Another Great Week in England!

Hello, matka a patka moje :) .  You're right, I found a loophole in using Slovak accent marks--I typed them all into a Word document while I was at a different library and saved the file to my account, and now I can just copy and paste them into my emails wherever I am.  President Pilkington let me know about Grandma.  It's definitely not easy to get that kind of news while far away and be unable to do anything.  But God looks after me, and I know he does the same for you.  I sent a letter on Wednsday or Thursday last week, so you should get it about that time this week.  It's been a long time in coming, I know, but I finally got it done.  I have had a lot of miracles this week, too many to fit in here, but I'll do my best to get the best ones in that I can.

This week, as you know already, I was called by the mission president to be the trainer of a new Slovak-speaking Elder named Elder Frahm.  He's the one who met Laura Tureson, and like you said, he's from Roy, Utah.  He's a great guy who's really devoted to the work and has a lot of desire to learn the language and work hard.  He's a convert to the church himself, and has been a member for two years.  I've been really impressed by him and his efforts, and he's already learned a ton language-wise and in teaching.  Elder Sindylek is still with us, but only for a little longer (until transfers roll around, because Elder Frahm came in mid-transfer, having been in the MTC for a transfer and a half) .  This means we're in a trio, which is really interesting.  We've had to adjust our teaching to account for another missionary being with us, but things are going really well.

The most recent of the miracles of this week were first: M's baptism!  He's a wonderful man and has a powerful testimony about the truth of the gospel.  He shared this after his baptism, and several other people came up and bore their own testimonies of how the gospel has blessed their lives.  F (baptized the week before M) was one of them, and being the one who introduced us to M initially made it all the more from the heart.  It was about helping people who are in need because that's what Christ did, and it really touched me, and I could see it doing the same for all the people there, too.

We found a new family of people who have turned out to be very receptive to the message we bring to the world.  We were at an investgator's house in Firth Park, and after the lesson with him, he told us that he had a relative that he wanted us to see, and he took us over to meet with him.  We ended up scheduling the man and his wife for baptism, and he and his two sons walked to church with us on Sunday (his wife had to take care of a sick baby and toddler at home, but will come next week) .  This family, like virtually every family we've worked with, has come from a very hard situation and an exceedingly difficult life.  I honestly don't know how they make it through the things that they do.  P (the name of the father and the oldest son) told us that for the four months he's been here in England, he's been looking for someone to speak to him the word of God, but he couldn't find anyone.  He was so happy to have found us, and even though we only had a little bit of time before we had to go, I could see the joy that filled his home as we testified of our Father in Heaven's love for his children.  I'm so glad that P's relative, our investigator, was inspired by God to have us go by, because now we can bring the joy and peace of God's gospel to another home prepared to accept and cherish it.

This week's been powerfully spiritual, and with the trials have come the blessings of a Father in Heaven who cares.  I love you very much, and I hope my letter gets to you soon.  Dad, you especially I want to let you know that I love you.  When I get home we have a lot of making up to do for father-son time--I hope you're keeping a list of all the games we have to play and all the movies we need to see :) .  Keep a smile on :) .
Elder Brown

Friday, February 7, 2014

A New Slovak Speaking Missionary joins the group!

Welcome Elder Frahm!  As Elder Sindylek always says "It's going to be great." Elder Brown is his trainer and they are in a threesome. There will be changes in three weeks when transfers come.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Baptisms and Teaching

Things this week have been really good as far as missionary work is concerned.  We've been finding a lot of new investigators in Rotherham and Firth Park, and of course the baptism was fantastic.  I had the privilege of performing the baptism for F, as well as giving him the gift of the Holy Ghost in church on Sunday.  I have so much love and respect for the guy.  His desires to serve the Lord are immense, and he shows it constantly with the things he does.  Before we went into the baptismal font, he told us that he was afraid of water, but he immediately waved it off, saying that the Lord was more important.  I reassured him, reminding him that I'm more than strong enough to bring him back out of the water, and supported what he had said before.  It was a beautiful thing seeing him sitting with his new wife (as of last week) and daughter all together, beaming with happiness.  He bore the greatest testimony afterwards about how he got to this point and all the trials that they had to overcome, and how grateful he was that he could finally serve God more fully. 

We actually have another baptism coming up next week (M, another investigator from Rotherham), so we've had some great lessons with him.  He's a spiritual giant, and the things we teach he understands wonderfully.  He's read to Alma in the Book of Mormon, but the reason he hasn't read the whole thing twice over by now is because he rereads every page a couple times to make sure he really understands it.  By the time he moves on, he's always got a great understanding of what he's read.  He really loved the story of Abinadi, and read that many times over to make sure he didn't miss anything.

We've been rebuilding our teaching pool because we've baptized most of the investigators we were working with. To do so, we've contacted a bunch of referrals we had because we finally had time, and now we have another group of really promising investigators.  I'm excited to begin working with them, and I know that they've been provided by God because they're ready to hear his message and come closer to Him.

That's my week this time around, and I know this coming week will bring it's own miracles as well.  Thank you for your love and support :) .  You are in my prayers every day, and I hope you know I love you very very much.
S láskou, dovidenia,
Starší Brown

Here's a picture of some food I ate that I've never had before.  It's like a fried pancake texture and tastes like garlic bread, and they also gave us a very fatty piece of pork meat to go alongside.  I spent more than half the meal time peeling all the fat off of it ha.