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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Teaching and Inviting

 Hi mom and dad :) .I'm glad of the good news this week.  There've been a bunch of people praying for Jaalah (missionaries, investigators, and members alike).  You didn't get an email Monday because it was transfers again, and as you know, Elder Misselwitz is now going home.  My new companion will be Elder Moreira, who's Portugese and a pretty cool guy.  He's English-speaking like Elder Misselwitz, but I suppose that's likely to be the norm for me now.  I'm glad you could get together with the Williams family--it was my idea to have that happen, working through Sister Allen.  You're right, you do look oddly the same.  Maybe we're distantly related.  Hooray for a new cousin!  That's exciting.

I wanted to share two miracles from this week that I'm really happy about.  The first was in a lesson we had with M.  We went through the message of the Restoration again because he had a lot of questions concerning it.  We emphasized the need there is to read the Book of Mormon through and ask God in prayer if it's true.  He understands quite clearly the importance of it now, and he told us that he would read it through and if he got an answer, he'd call us and get baptized.  We haven't got a call yet, so we're praying really hard for the biggest miracle with him so far--an answer from God about the truth of our message.  He's serious about reading, though, and I was really impressed by the determination he had to read it.

The second miracle happened just yesterday in a lesson with a new couple we had our first lesson with a couple weeks ago.  Since then it's been really difficult to get ahold of them, but finally we did.  The lesson went really well (the Restoration again), and at the end I invited the husband to be baptized (the wife had left a few moments before to go mind the children outside).  The conclusion he came to after a question leading to a review of priesthood authority was that he would discuss it with his wife.  He had a really positive demeanor about him as he pondered the invitation, though, and what happened later leads me to think the conversation he had with his wife was a good one.  As we were coming out from a different investigators' house and started up the long walk home, I said hello to a Slovak guy I dimly recognized from somewhere (at this point I've gotten good at talking to everyone who's Slovak, and sometimes I can't remember where I've met people before).  The man was really friendly and told me that as soon as he gets a house of his own we can come and start seeing him.  That took me aback slightly--things normally don't happen quite like that--and I asked where he was living right now.  Turns out he's living with the man we'd just spoken to about baptism.  This was long enough afterward that they'd certainly had time to talk, and I imagine this guy was listening to that conversation.  If he's responding in such a positive manner, I can assume with hope that the conversation went over very well.  I'm excited for our next appointment there, to say the least.

Those are the highlights from this week, and I'm glad to see you're all doing pretty well.  I love you very much, and seeing and hearing from you in emails and letters is really a joy.  You're the best family ever, what can I say?  Love you lots, remember that :) .

Elder Brown

Mission Wide Tour (Elder Brown is front row left)

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Letter From Elder Dyches

         Dear Brown Family,
I had the pleasure to interview your son during the recent mission tour and have enclosed a letter to you and photos of him with me and also with his companion.  Enjoy!
What a cheerful and wonderful young Elder! He is a great influence for good among the missionaries of the England Leeds Mission.

All the Best,
Timothy J. Dyches                                                            

July 24, 2014

Dear Brother and Sister Brown,

I was blessed to have the opportunity to meet with your son, Elder Zachary Brandon Brown, while we were engaged in the England Leeds Mission Tour with President and Sister Pilkington.  He said to tell you, “I am loving my mission. Don’t worry about me.”

He is doing well, a humble, hard-working missionary, striving mightily and adapting well to missionary life and the Slovak language.  He mentioned that he is learned more in the past 12 months of his life than at any other time.

He looks great, is in good health and enjoys current companion, Elder Misselwitz.  He is such a vital and engaging young man!

May the Lord bless you abundantly for your outstanding preparation of your son.

Warmest regards,

Elder Timothy J. Dyches
Europe Area Presidency

2nd Counselor

Monday, July 21, 2014

Protected and Defended

Hello mom and dad :) .  Thank you for the package, I won't open it until the 31st (I'll try to pick it up by then).  (Editor's note:  Hump Day is July 31st!)

Thank you for telling me some of the details here about Jaalah.  That's better than having a very vague knowledge and waiting for days in worry for more information.  She was protected, of that I'm 100% sure, and my gratitude is boundless.  It's strange that this happened this week, because I was having some random worries at one point during the week about losing my family members while out here.  Please give her all the love and shelter you can.  I'll send my love in prayers.  Angels will hold her tonight.  (Editor's note:  Sister Jaalah was involved in a serious car accident this week.  She shouldn't be alive but she is and it IS a miracle.)

Now I don't know what to talk about...this miracle is clearly my greatest miracle: God has defended my sister this week.  Perhaps I can share a bit about how I defended my God.  We came to the home of a recent convert one evening this week, Saturday.  There we unexpectedly encountered several other people, including M, one of our investigators I've told you about before.  At the home were a couple of relatives, visiting from Slovakia.  When we walked into the room, M was actually reading the introduction of the Book of Mormon to them.  Upon seeing us, he introduced us in a very complimentary manner, emphasizing how good we were and how much we had sacrificed to come and serve God.  He told us to tell these two visitors about our message.  After a prayer, I shared the message of the Restoration, M and Z (the member) encouraging the other two to listen.  After I'd taught the lesson, one of the men began to speak.  It turns out he's some kind of pastor from a church in Slovakia, and he proceeded to bring up many concerns he had with our church by using verses from the Bible.  Well, it's not like I haven't encountered this before (a lot), so I wasn't especially bothered and was able to peaceably deflect every attempt to discredit our church with scriptural verses and personal testimony.  Elder Misselwitz told me afterward that every time I spoke during that lesson he felt the Spirit of God testifying of truth.  He wasn't alone.  M also leaned toward us in mannerism and words, and the non-member daughter of Z told me as we were headed out that I am wise, know what to say, and she's proud.  The pastor himself told me before we left that he'd found at least one thing out:  that I have a very good heart.  I love this work and the ability and responsibility I have to defend the faith God's way.  We support him, he supports us.

I love you ever so much.  I tell people how great you are all of the time.  Many people here already love you and they haven't even met you, looking forward to the day when they do.  They often ask me when you are coming.  Thank you for your love.  It's a treasure of the greatest worth.  Write you next week!

Elder Brown

Me with a couple of ladies we often interact with who like me a lot.

Little D, eating his bowl of gulaลก.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Best Lesson of the Week

Hello mom and dad :) 
This week we had some good stuff happening, but one of the best lessons was with my buddy J, an 18-year-old member who we've been talking to about going on a mission.  This lesson at his house one of his younger friends (not a member of the church) was over and stayed to listen to the lesson.  We've basically been going through the things J needs to know for a mission each lesson to help him prepare, so this lesson was about the Word of Wisdom.  We covered the principle, and as I expected, simply talking about the gospel brought up lots of mostly off-topic questions about missionary work that we were happy to answer.  J is a bit reluctant to accept the idea of him going on a mission because he claims his English isn't good enough, but I told him he has a heck of a head start on where I was with Slovak when I came out.  Then his buddy sitting next to me starts to testify of this as well, supporting the idea that J should go on a mission.  I was kind of thinking that this was the reverse of what usually happens where the member testifies to the non-member, but I wasn't going to complain in the slightest.  Things got even better.  As we talked and J asked questions that we gladly answered, his friend started to join in, too.  These questions transitioned into ones about Joseph Smith, the friend saying he didn't believe anything about that.  We'd talked to J about this topic before (that it was one we need to know well as missionaries), and I could tell he recognized what needed to be discussed.  He basically started the message of the Restoration, and as we taught about it he continually added his own input about it's truth.  It was a bit funny because the roles had totally reversed--now J was the one testifying of something the other didn't exactly want to intially accept.  His friend really listened well to us, and J then brought up the Book of Mormon, which we explained to his friend, who was a bit reluctant to accept it.  Then from the other room walks in J's non-member father, a long-time investigator of the church who believes it wholeheartedly but struggles to give some things up that he needs to.  J's father just starts testifying about the Book of Mormon and truth of the church, while J tells his friend that he reads every day from the book.  I was thinking to myself during this part that I almost didn't need to be there.  God was taking care of things in quite an astonishing way.  The non-member was encouraging the member, the member the non-member, and the investigator encouraging both of them.  Wow.  The friend ended up accepting the Book of Mormon and the challenge to read it, and Jan came away from the lesson with a great missionary experience that will hopefully help him desire to serve a mission himself.  I walked out of that lesson feeling pretty good, to say the least.

That's my week's highlight in teaching, and I know that God works through many ways to bring His children unto him.  I hope you all have the chance to be a part of that--look for the oppurtunities and pray for them to come.  I know they will.  I love you very much and am continually grateful for your loving support in this great work of joy.  Looking forward to hearing from you next week, and with much love,
Elder Brown

Monday, July 7, 2014

Surprising Miracles

Hello, my beloved parents :) .  It sounds like you've had and are having a crazy couple of weeks.  I can't say that mine have been so varied--I'm in one area all the time with no change in scenery ha.  I can't complain though, the people I work with make all the difference.  Thanks for the pictures, they're great :) .  It's good to see my family.

This week we had a couple of surprising miracles in lessons that we weren't exactly planning on having.  One was at R and D's house (some recent converts that I really love).  R's brother has been living with him for the past while, and before that was living in the area, so he was familiar with who the missionaries were and what they do.  However, he's never shown a lot of interest in all the things to do with religion.  I've always been really friendly to him though, talking to him on the street and such, just being a friend.  Well, when we came to R and D's and began talking with them, M (the brother) actually stayed and was listening.  Usually he would just leave before, but this time he was listening without any direct encouragement from us.  As we began to talk, we were able to touch on some points of the gospel that really connected well with him, mainly about how the gospel blesses families.  M also revealed that he has been occasionally reading the Book of Mormon (one of the copies R and D have in the house), despite only being able to read at a very basic level.  Later this week he was in a lesson with his twin brother, J (who is also a recent convert), and stayed for that.  He listened with interest to the message of the Restoration, leaving near the end to take a phone call.  I feel like God is working in him, bringing his heart nearer and nearer to where he needs to be.  These lessons were unplanned to happen with M, our plans being to teach the recent converts.  God, however, led all aspects of what happened, from inspiring our planning session the night before to making sure Milan was there when we came by.  Pretty cool, right?

Another lesson we had was with a Czech man who we've been teaching for a while (actually more his wife until recently).  In that lesson about baptism, he was inspired to ask a question about if a family member who had recently died still lived spiritually.  We were able to share with the him the joyous news that she indeed did, both of us bearing personal testimony of this truth.  Elder Misselwitz has lost his father while he's been out on a mission, and I have recently lost my grandma, so our words to him that this life is not the end and that we will see our loved ones again connected deeply.  I could see the relief and peace that this answer to his question from his heart brought, and I was able to see (like I am so often priviliged to see) that these truths about God and His ways bring joy to those without them.  Those moments in lessons where you see that are some of the absolute best ones.

Those are this week's highlights, and I know that as we continue to teach God's children, we will continue to lead them to further joy.  I love you very much and testify often to those we teach of the strength my family has given me.  There are many families who can't wait to meet you :) .

Love you much,
Elder Brown

Pancake Breakfast- Elder Brown and Elder Misselwitz with Elder Allen cooking