Like Father, Like Son; Ode to Pres. & Sister Allred

 

 

Logan24

Me with my “trunkie” American flag tie that President Allred gave all the missionaries leaving soon.

 

June 6, 2018

This week was awesome.  I have a lot to talk about and not a lot of time. We had a training meeting called ADTM were we were trained on using technology, as part of the training we hiked a mountain.

 

logan20

On a training hike

 

The Holy Ghost is amazing. We had an investigator start progressing rapidly because of his experiences with the Holy Ghost. It is really cool to see how what we felt inspired to teach applies in his life. Missionary Work is awesome. You could really feel the peace of the Holy Ghost at the baptism.

We had two investigators get baptized this week.  They had been wanting to be baptized for almost 2 years but for legal issues they were not able to be baptized till now.  The work of many missionaries payed off that day, and tons of people showed up to their baptism.

Stake Conference was this week.  It was cool and all, but I miss the taking the sacrament 😢.  And because P-Day wasn’t this Monday, Sunday really didn’t feel like a Sunday at all. We went to the Temple today because it was our three-month Temple trip today.  I love going to the temple and it blew my mind again today.

And for transfers Elder Lowe, the first Missionary I trained is coming up to Logan to be me and Elder Bowen’s companion!!!  We are in a tripanionship!!!  And I was released from being a District Leader and senior companion, so I get to focus on the work!!!

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

logan19

Elder Bowen and I and our investigators at their baptism

 

June 11, 2018

This was a great week.  The work in our area is still going strong (and likely will until the end of my mission), the work in the district is going strong, and the work in the zone is going strong. Our mission is finishing super strong, President Allred ain’t slacking and neither are we.

As I draw to the end of my mission I am kinda surprised how normal everything is.  Of course things will change rather dramatically, but I feel very calm.  I feel a bit like Joseph Smith who said while on the way to his impending martyrdom, “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning.”

Clearly my situation is not as drastic as Joseph’s at that time (although the comparison to mission lingo is funny); but this is going to be a dramatic moment of sudden change in my life, of which I most likely don’t fully comprehend.  Yet despite that looming moment rising on the horizon, I am calm.  Perhaps it is because I am swallowed up in the work of the Lord, or perhaps it is a spiritual gift.  Nevertheless, I am glad that I have this time left to serve the Lord with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength.

This Sunday we had our “departing” testimony meeting at President and Sister Allred’s home.  Normally this meeting happens the last day of our missions, but due to the fact that President and Sister Allred are leaving the mission field as well this month, we had to do it sooner (Sorry Mom that you didn’t get to come). It was great to hear the testimony of all the Elders that came out with me. As I shared my testimony I was able to reflect on all the moments that I have seen the hand of God in my life. I felt a deep gratitude for Heavenly Father. By far Heavenly Father has made the biggest difference in my life. And it was amazing to hear the testimony of President Allred.  He has been a great mission President to every individual missionary in this mission, and it is sad to see him go home.

But I still have two weeks left of my two-year mission. And this won’t be my last testimony, that testimony will be growing everyday as I follow Jesus Christ.

Regards from Elder Brown.

June 18, 2018

First things first.  Happy Father’s Day Dad!  There was a talk this Sunday about the critical need of fathers in society and in the lives of their children. It reminded me about all the life lessons my father taught me. Truly with my Father I wouldn’t be a quarter of the man I am today.

In other news the work this week had been great. I’ve learned some lessons and had some good experiences. But my time here in the Logan Stake is numbered.  (Even more numbered than my time on my mission). President Allred called me and told me that I will be going to join the Mendon and Wellsville stake Elders for 4 days. One of the Elders (Elder Wooten) had to have surgery, so I will be working with Elder Hoemke while his companion recovers, then I’ll be back in Logan.

I’m excited!

In this last leg of my mission I have had the privilege of interacting more with President and Sister Allred. And while their impact on my life doesn’t compare to the impact on my life that my parents have had, and doesn’t even begin to compare to the impact Heavenly Father has had on my life, the impact of the Allred’s has meaningfully changed my life.  But now, like me, they are closing their missions and leaving behind the ministry that they served in.

 

Logan23

Me with President and Sister Allred

 

For a while I have been reflecting on the impact that these two have had and I have a few thoughts I would like to share. Perhaps one of the most influential parts of their mission here in Logan had been their ministry. Throughout my mission I have been surprised to hear the stories of missionaries who cited President Allred having one of the biggest impacts of their life.  Often, they mention the advice that President Allred gave them, or how he patiently listened to their problems and helped them see the big picture of the Gospel. Throughout all of this it amazes me how President Allred would perform this service hiddenly with little fanfare.  He never talked about these little moments; he performed this service out of love and concern, not out of pride or duty.  He knows the worth souls, and is, like Christ the master, concerned with the one.  Truly he is an amazing example of ministering.

Also, President Allred is an inspired man who knows to receive revelation.  Like in his ministering, President Allred followed the revelation he receives with little fanfare. On my mission I would often be transferred with missionaries that had struggles.  And I learned how to help them. Often I would be transferred to Elders who had certain struggles that I’m sure President Allred had no idea about. But God knew and would inspire President Allred to put them with me, and because of my past experiences I was able to help.  This was a common occurrence.

Sister Allred is not a step behind President Allred in terms of impact on the mission. Sister Allred is fearless and bold.  She knows what is right and is bold in declaring the truth. Often Sister Allred would give training, and often she would rebuke the entire mission. And it was never just rebuking for rebuking’s sake.  Always you would understand the importance of what she was saying. In addition Sister Allred is a student of the gospel.  She is always learning.  In her downtime, she would talk to the missionaries and discuss the gospel with them.  Some of the most meaningful and spiritual conversations I have had were with Sister Allred.

And it was amazing to see how their strengths complimented each other.  Alone they were amazing, but together they have left an example and an impact that has forever changed my life, and countless others.

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

logan21

At a P-day BBQ

 

Advertisements

Of Kayaks and Siblings

 

Logan13

(From left to right) Elder Bowen, our newest convert, Elder Brown (me)

 

May 28, 2018

This week was good.  We had interviews with our mission president but he did it differently this time.  Instead of sitting down to do an interview we walked around the church building and talked.  It was a cool and chill way to have an interview.  However afterwards president Allred said his legs were sore, so it has its pros and cons.

One of our investigators just got baptized.  His family has been returning to activity for awhile, but they have been struggling to get him baptized.  However when we went over a week ago things just fell into place and he set his baptism for the this week.  It was a miracle, and after the baptism he just seemed super happy.

This week has also had a lot of hard moments. But those ended up being good things because I learned more about faith and repentance.  One major lesson I learned is described in this Conference talk I read by Elder Zivic. Here is a quote:

 Several years ago, while on vacation, I wanted to go kayaking for the first time. I rented a kayak, and full of enthusiasm, I launched into the sea. After a few minutes, a wave overturned the kayak. With a great deal of effort, holding the paddle in one hand and the kayak in the other, I was able to regain my footing.

I tried again to paddle my kayak, but just a few minutes later, the kayak tipped over again. I stubbornly kept on trying, to no avail, until someone who understood kayaking told me that there must be a crack in the shell and the kayak must have filled up with water, making it unstable and impossible to control. I dragged the kayak to the shore and removed the plug, and sure enough, out came a large amount of water.  (“He That Shall Endure to the End, the Same Shall be Saved”, April 2018 General Conference)

Sometimes I think we try to solve the wrong problem in our life, and we inevitably fail and fail again and wonder why we keep failing. Sometimes we might even blame God, because we feel we doing our part and God isn’t fixing our problem. But really what we need to do is slow down and listen to God speaking to us, like how the bystander in this story spoke to Elder Zivic.  Then God will show us our weakness and he will help us fix the problem.  I really appreciate the hard moments in retrospect because I learn the most from them.

I realized that today is my sister Arianna’s birthday (it convenient fell on a P-Day)!  I love you Arianna.  You are my best sister, and my best sibling, and my best older sister.  I don’t have any other sisters that compare! 😁.

I owe many of the skills I have to you.

  • When driving I know to be cautious of the corners because how many times you traumatized me by jumping out of corners at our home.
  • And like the time you taught me how to ride a bike, by yelling at me and telling me to just pedal.  I now bike every day.
  • You got me to like Chipotle.
  • I love animals because you did (although I don’t love them as much as you).
  • At Christmas you made sure that I was aware that it was time to go down, even by opening my eyelids to ensure that I woke up.
  • You led by example by going to Utah first.

Truly life isn’t the same with an older sister.  Love you sis. ❤️. And happy birthday

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

Logan14

Me and an Elder in our district who just received a new mission call to Independence, MO

 

 

Finishing, Faith and Repentance

 

Logan10

On my bike.

 

May 7, 2018

This week I had a lot of cool experiences.  Our mission president wants us district leaders to spend a lot of time with the members of the district in order to train them about specific things.  So, I got to
spend a lot of one-on-one time working with elders in my District, and it was great. The members of my district are the best and understand how to work in their respective area very well.

In addition I got to attend a special MLC with Elder Taylor of the Seventy.  (MLC = Mission Leadership Confrence).  He taught us about how Jesus Christ taught people and invited us to use the Savior’s words when we are teaching. He also brought out a two-edged Greatsword, which was part of his presentation. President and Sister Allred also trained us, and so did the Assistants to the President.

We had a ton of people come to church on Sunday, and we also have a ton of people with a date for baptism. This area and this mission is awesome.

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

Logan11

Me with Elder Wu

 

 

Logan8

Thanks Mom. Foam greatsword

 

May 14, 2018

This was a super busy week, a lot of things happened.  And most of the things happened outside my area. We had a lot of exchanges this week, starting last Sunday, and basically every day until Wednesday.  But all the exchanges were awesome, Sunday I conducted a baptismal interview for an investigator that some Elders in the district were teaching.  This was my second baptismal interview I have ever conducted, and it just happened to be with the same family as the first interview I ever did. The spirit was definitely present during that interview. Then I went on exchanges with these elders until the end of the day. These Elders are serving in an old area of mine so it was awesome to go back and see people I knew half a year ago.
Tuesday, we had another exchange with those elders for training purposes. Again, I went into their area. The elder I went with is really new and has that greenie fire.  I learned a lot from him. Wednesday we went on exchanges with the zone leaders, and again I left my area.  I have been on exchanges with those zone leaders a ton of times in the past, and I have been into their area on exchanges a ton,
so I knew a little about what to do there.

Then the following day we had zone conference for the majority of the day, so when I finally got back to my area it felt like I was transferred in again.

In my personal study, I have been focusing on virtue. It ended up being a bit frustrating because I realized I can’t force myself to have focused thoughts 100% of the time.  But that experience taught me more about repentance. I learned that if we try to repent without Jesus Christ we will never succeed, but if we follow Jesus he will purge us of our stains as we follow his direction. I also realized that how interconnected Faith and Repentance are. And how they are incomplete without each other.

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

Logan3

Me and my companion Elder Bowen

 

 

May 21, 2018

We had an awesome miracle this week.  In our weekly planning we were wrapping up and we were setting goals for key indicators for the upcoming week.  We had no baptisms coming up next week, so normally we don’t set a goal for that very often.  But we decided to set a goal of one baptism confirmed that week, with the though in our mind that we would have a miracle. That same day we found somebody who has been going to church and wants to be baptized this week. This experience built my faith that 1) God can inspire our goals, and 2) If we have faith in our inspired goals, god will make things work for our good.

I also started My Plan this Sunday.  My Plan is a program we do for the last 6 weeks of our mission to prepare us to go home.  To start it out we went to the mission home and we were taught about what My Plan is and how we should us it. That was the 2nd time I’ve ever been in the mission home; the 1st time was my first day in the mission, so it was cool to be back there. At that meeting we were told a story about how finishers are needed. President Allred told us to work our hardest for this last part of our mission, and how this can be the best part of my mission.

Faith has been a subject that has come up a while now; I’ve learned a bit more about it and about how it applies to people. One of our investigators had some questions about Faith. He didn’t think he had faith and he didn’t understand how to get it.  I think this is a quite normal question for people to have. I have noticed that faith is a very abstract topic, but I have learned that faith is less of a feeling and more of an action.  Faith is the ability to act on a belief, or in other words the ability to act on a testimony. And we
get testimonies from revelation, so how important is it for us to do the things that bring the Holy Ghost into our lives!

Anyways Love y’all, see y’all soon.

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

Logan4

Modeling my new reflective strips for my backpack

 

 

 

Charity and Transfers

 

LF22

Me and Sammy (the dog)

 

[Editor’s Note: I fell a bit behind on Alex’s blog posts. This is the second of three I will post today.]

April 23, 2018

This has been a fun week, hard but fun.  We have had a lot of lessons getting rescheduled for next week, so that has been difficult.  But we also had some wonderful experiences during our finding efforts where we got to have a lot of very interesting conversations and a lot of spirit filled conversations.

One of our Zone Leaders was assigned to be an Assistant to the President.  We got to be involved in that process when the other Assistants to the President came down and picked him up. I helped him pack, and we took his companion around with for a couple days after that. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot.

Also, we just found out what is happening for transfers. I am leaving the Lorin Farr Stake in Ogden and I am going to the Logan Stake in Logan.  This will likely be my last area, I only have 9 weeks left! I have been assigned as a district leader, which slightly terrifies me. And my companion will be Elder Bowen, I’ve heard a lot of awesome things about him, so I’m excited.

This week I have had some awesome experiences with Charity or the love of Christ.  I’ve been able to see how Charity means everything first hand this week.  I was trying really hard to improve myself this week, but I didn’t really know what I needed to work on at first.  Near the end of the week I read and heard a lot about Charity that really touched me.

It put me in a little bit of a down mood at first actually. I realized that I really didn’t possess that great gift from God (at least not in the degree that I wanted).  That humbled me, and I felt a great desire to improve my charity super bad. As we went out and worked I felt God help me and I had some awesome experiences with Charity at the end of this week.

#Get’ErDone

I am really excited to for these next nine weeks.

Regards, Elder Alex Brown

 

LF23

Mom asked for photos–this is our morning planning session. [Mom would like to see some smiles on those faces]

The Character of Jesus

LF19

Exploring a cave on our P-day

 

April 16, 2018

 This has been a good week for our area. We are starting to teach more consistently, we have been able to do a lot of service (spring is awesome for that), and our days are busy.  But other than that, nothing really exciting has happened. It has been a pretty chill week.

One cool little moment is we decided to just go to a normal haircut place to get haircuts this week instead of going to a member (the members don’t charge us any money). The lady who cut my hair and I ended up talking a lot about going back to church, and we had a good little discussion about that. I don’t know if she will end up going back, but I’m glad God placed me in her path and let me help out in a small little way

I have been reflecting a lot on Jesus Christ and some things that stuck out to me about his character, so I wanted to share a bit. What impressed me about his character is how he could not be restrained from blessing others throughout his life and ministry. Being the Son of God, he had the power and ability to do anything he wanted to do.  But what he chose to do was to bless others. For example, the story of Jesus and the man with the withered hand.  Jesus encountered this man on a Sabbath day, and there were those who accused him of breaking the Sabbath by healing somebody. But Jesus healed him anyway, despite the pressure and persecution he would face.

Jesus loved people. I am sure that Jesus wished for nothing else but to see everyone blessed and free from afflictions and sin. At the same time, Jesus could not enable others to sin. On another occasion the Pharisees placed before Jesus a woman whom they claimed to have caught in the act of adultery. They essentially told him that she should be put to death, but they asked him his opinion. He dismisses the crowd by calling out their hypocrisy and then spoke to this women in private then told her that he did not condemn her, but to go and sin no more.

Jesus wanted not only to heal the short-term problem (their sins), but he wanted to heal the cause of their problems (their moral failings). Jesus could not heal people without their faith, despite how much he surely would have loved to.

After Christ’s resurrection and ascension, he appeared to a multitude of the Nephites.  After spending hours with them teaching them his doctrine and establishing his church among them Jesus was about to leave and return to Heavenly Father, but the people wanted him to stay. Jesus recognized that they had enough faith to be healed. So, he stayed and healed the entire multitude of any affliction or illness that anybody in the multitude had.  Afterwards he blessed their children. And after all of this Jesus wept, he was so grateful that he was able to heal all these people and help them that it moved the resurrected Savior to tears.

Christ’s charity is extremely moving to me. I am just stunned at how much love he has for people. I hope that one day I might obtain a fraction of the love Jesus Christ has.

 Regards from Elder Brown.

LF20

 

The Plan

 

LF17

Me and my district at the Ogden Temple

April 9, 2018

 

This week was good. It started off as a really slow week where we did not find anybody until the weekend; but we ended up finding many people that seem really interested in the Gospel. Looking back on it now I don’t really remember the hardness of the week, I just remember the joy I felt as we managed to find. Interestingly, the day after we first found people to teach we were still happy despite that day being a harder and slower day in comparison. These experiences helped me strengthen my testimony of the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the restored gospel.

We had an All-District Training Meeting (ADTM) this week about fundamentals from Preach my Gospel, which gave me a wonderful time to reflect on how amazing and true Preach my Gospel is. (I love it so much I plan to apply it after my mission).
We had some good lessons this week that went rather in depth into our beliefs, and why we believe them. I am super grateful for revelation, because receiving revelation in my life has given me courage to boldly testify of what we share.

We got talking with a member of the Baptist faith and we taught him about the Restoration, but as we progressed we ended up talking a lot about the Plan of Salvation and what it means to us, and what it means to him. He was particularly surprised about our belief in a pre-mortal life (sometimes called pre-existence). Which got me thinking a little bit.
To me the doctrine of a pre-mortal life, in which we lived with God, gives me a sense of purpose in my life and a greater reason to love others. It is an ennobling doctrine, one that gives worth to every human soul on this entire earth. Simply put the doctrine goes like this: We lived with God before this life, but we were not like Him. We had spirit bodies, and God has a perfect immortal and glorified body of flesh and bones. We are His Children; He loves us. He wanted us to become like him, so he made a plan for us, that would enable us to become like him if we followed His Son Jesus Christ, who He chose to be our savior. He gave us agency, the ability to choose, on which we would be tested in order to see if we would follow God or not.

Nobody has to belief the doctrine we cherish, but I hope that everyone understands that these are things that we believe in with all our hearts. And really God is just concerned about our eternal happiness; this life is designed to prepare us for eternity.

Thanks for all the prayers. Love y’all

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

LF18

Me and my companion at a dinner appointment.

 

 

The Book of Mormon; Conference Week

 

LF12

Spring in Utah

 

March 26, 2018

This week was hard but good. It was one of those weeks where we didn’t hit many of our goals which was a wonderful opportunity for us to learn and improve. But we were able to get some really good investigators and make a ton of progress with the investigators we are currently teaching.

Spring is here, and it left as soon as it came. There has been more snow this spring than this winter.  In other news, we helped one of our investigators move in their middle of the night.  The Ogden zone got together and pruned an orchard—it felt like we were living Jacob chapter 5 in real life.

The Book of Mormon is amazing. It has taught me so much and it testifies of Jesus Christ on nearly every page. There is a promise made in the last chapter of the Book of Mormon. It states:

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things (the Book of Mormon), if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:3-5)

We meet all different kinds of people here in Ogden, from different walks of life and various religious backgrounds. We share with them the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and ask them to read the Book of Mormon and pray to learn from God whether the Book and the church are true.

Those are pretty important things to know if they are true or not. The implications are eternal. That is why we as missionaries invite people to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, so they can learn for themselves, independent of any other person, that all of what we share is true. It cannot be understated how important the Book of Mormon is, it can and does change lives.

Regards from Elder Brown.

LF16

April 2, 2018

A lot of things happened this week all of which were amazing.  Our mission had a musical fireside about Jesus Christ called “The Living Christ.” It was all about the testimony of the apostles and prophets
of Jesus Christ, both ancient and modern.  Our district was selected to read the document “the Living Christ” at the start of the fireside, which I committed to memory almost a year ago.  But the music and the spirit were the real stars of the show. The music was superb and the Spirit could really be felt.

Then the following day we had a Zone Conference in which our mission president and the assistants to the president talked about teaching by the spirit.  President Allred started things off with a funny series
of videos from sports of people celebrating too soon and then losing which he used to challenge us to finish our missions strong.

It was also Easter this week, which is by far my favorite holiday. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do much to celebrate this holiday but regardless I was glad for Easter to come. I was glad for every mention of Christ that I heard this weekend, because the joy I find in this holiday doesn’t come from Easter eggs but from Jesus’s glorious resurrection.

What I was most looking forward to and what amazed me most was General Conference.  The solemn assembly at the beginning of Saturday Morning Session was the first solemn assembly I remember; I definitely felt the Holy Ghost during it. But one moment in Conference caught my attention more than any other.

It was President Nelson’s talk at the end of the Sunday morning Conference.

What he said about personal revelation stuck me and resonated with me as true and extremely important. It gave me a greater desire to receive personal revelation in my own life, and to help other learn how to do the same. As missionaries, it is absolutely essential for us to help our investigators gain personal revelation for themselves. For those looking for a understanding of what revelation is, think
about this comparison: prayer is when man communicate directly with God, revelation is when God communicates directly with man. People may receive revelation for their responsibility; prophets for the
world, bishops for their wards, fathers and mothers for their families. And every single person can receive revelation for their own lives, thus personal revelation.

God can communicate to us in a variety of ways: with visions, dreams, His voice and many other ways; but most often He communicates with us by the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead and he teaches us truth.  He is described in the scriptures as a still small voice and will often communicate to us by our feelings, but the Holy Ghost can communicate by other means as well.

President Nelson stressed that members need to learn how to recognize the Holy Ghost, so that in times of trial we have the ability to access heaven sent help. Learning to feel the voice of the Holy Ghost is not a skill that can be taught, rather it is the result of personal experience that comes as we seek to receive revelation. Prayer is the single most important way to invite personal revelation.  As stated earlier it is the act of directly communicating to God. We address all our prayers to Heavenly Father, and we close them all in the Name of Jesus Christ.  Other than that, there is no set structure to prayer, we are free to say anything to God, to ask Him for anything (warning: you will likely get what you ask for).  When we
ask questions to God he answers with revelation. As missionaries we ask those we teach to pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith so that they can receive personal revelation and know for themselves that our message is true. However, God will not give an answer unless we are willing to do
something with that answer, God seeks to make a difference in our lives.  Thus, we need to act with real intent, which means we will follow the answer we receive.  For example, if we ask God if the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true then when we get an answer that it is true we will be baptized into the church. When we adopt an attitude like this God will answer us in a way we can recognize as we are humble. For me, I have definitely felt the Holy Ghost in my life.  But I still excited to follow president Nelson’s council and improve my prayer; and I would recommend doing the same to everyone else.

Regards from Elder Brown.

LF13

Jesus Christ and the Restored Gospel

 

LF8

Elder Nettles and I posing for a photo.

 

March 5, 2019

This week was a good week. Our zone worked really hard to find a ton of new investigators this week. That was awesome, tons of miracles.  We were also challenged to start inviting one person to baptism a day, that is something I haven’t ever done before on my mission so that was challenging but rewarding to try.  I feel like I’m getting pushed to be even better, things are great.

We met a lot of people this week that are super zealous for Christ in their own religions.  Jesus Christ is the most important figure in all Christianity (I mean, its named after Him). What he did while he was on the earth is the most important things in Christian Religion, (and has major historical significance in secular history as well). Learning about who He is and what He did on earth is one of the most important things we can learn about.  So here is a short summary of what He did, and what we believe:

Jesus came to the earth as the Messiah (or Christ) as prophesied by many prophets, such as Isaiah, Moses, David, and many others. A wonderful scripture that I love in the Book of Mormon says:

Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. (3 Nephi 1:13)

The coming of Christ is one of the greatest examples of God always keeping his promises. Jesus was given the most important mission. He was sent to atone for the sins of the world, and to ransom the entire human family from death.  This was possible for Him, and Him alone, because he is the Only Begotten son of God. In LDS scriptures we learn that Christ will save us from sin on the condition that we accept and live His Gospel (Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism and Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End).

To make sure that people could have the chance to hear and accept this message he spent much of his time on Earth establishing a church.  He called 12 men and called them to be Apostles (see Matt. 10:1–4; Mark 3:13–19; Luke 6:12–16).  The Apostles were to be special witnesses of Christ and His Atonement.  Jesus gave the Apostles the priesthood so in addition to their special calling there were entitled to receive revelation like the prophets of old; this even after Christ’s death, resurrection, and Ascension the church of Jesus Christ was guided by Christ and not man.

Christ also set the perfect example for us and taught us what we needed to do on to return to live with God.  He lived a perfect life, never sinning.  Despite being perfect he was baptized, which as Nephi said, shows us how much more we need to be baptized.  (See 2 Nephi 31:5)

He taught His Gospel with power and authority.  He was a master teacher, able to teach according to the needs of those around His.  Nobody could confound Him.  His teachings have laid the foundations of many people’s lives and formed the values of many cultures and nations.

And He performed miracles while on earth, such as healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and dead to hear, walking on water, calming the sea, and raising the dead.  These miracles were performed the prove the He is the Christ, and that he can forgive our sin (See Mark 2:9). Yet despite all these things he was rejected by his own, betrayed and Crucified.  Later his Apostles and His church was rejected by many and persecuted severally.  But that another topic for another day.

Because Mormons believe slightly different doctrine regarding Jesus Christ, many accuse Mormons of not being Christians.  Yet despite these accusations, Jesus Christ and who he is are at the very center of our church, and of who we are.  As Joseph Smith said:

The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. (Teaching of the Presidents: Joseph Smith, pg. 49)

I add my testimony of Jesus Christ to those already given, I know He is the promised Messiah and that He lives today, and leads His church in our day just like He did in days of old.  I know that the testimony of the scriptures and prophets regarding Him are true.  These things I have learned by living His Gospel and receiving the mighty blessing He promised.

These things I share in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

LF7

Most of my Zone at Chick-Fil-A

 

March 19, 2018

This week was an awesome week, in the area in and in my personal life.  I have begun my last 12 weeks so training feels like a countdown to my return home.  But Elder Nettles is such an awesome missionary who is doing really well, he has grown so much in the short time I’ve been with him; one of the best companions I’ve ever had. We have had some awesomely high goals that we have set this week, and due to faith and diligence we have hit them.  We are seeing miracles every day.

I’ve been studying a lot about the Gospel and a lot about Jesus Christ, and I’m seeing big changes that have come into my life as I’ve done that.  I have found that the gospel has the biggest impact when applied on a daily basis.  My testimony of Christ had become very large and I have had many opportunities to share it.

One thing I have encountered is many people here in Utah have questions on if Joseph Smith is a prophet or not.  We have had many opportunities this week to testify of the reality of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Last days, which has greatly strengthened my own testimony of this great truth.  I have learned from my own experiences that Joseph Smith is a prophet, but every single person must learn for themselves from God that he really is.  There is no hardcore proof either way that proves or disproves him.  We must learn as Jesus said: “by their fruits ye shall know them.”  (fruits meaning the results of what they did).  For me the Gospel restored by Jospeh Smith has brought me the most personal satisfaction and peace in my life.

Here is what happened in Jospeh’s life according to his accounts.  As a young boy he had questions about what church he should join, and he really didn’t want to make the wrong choice.  Many of the preachers of that time taught about how serious choosing a religion will be in eternity.  Joseph wanted to make sure he was joining the right church and not a false one.  So, he searched. His search led him to the Bible, he learned a lot but was unable, as young as he was to know what doctrine was correct as so many people interpreted the same passages different ways. He felt lost.

But he kept reading and he found a scripture in the Book of James, 1st chapter 5th verse which reads:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

This scripture made an impression on him and he decided that he would ask God. He went out into a grove of trees near his home and knelt down and prayed to God.  Then his world Changed!

He had a vision. And this is what he said about it:

I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.  When the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air.  One of Them spake unto me, calling me by name and said pointing to the Other – This is My Beloved Son.  Hear Him!” (JS-H 1:16)

This is the great moment of the Restoration, where God once again spoke to man. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith, they answered his question and told him that none of the churches currently on the earth were true, and that the fullness of the Gospel will, at a later day, he made known unto him. In time, God fulfilled his promise and called Joseph Smith to be prophet, and the Gospel was restored unto him.  As part of that restoration God sent angels, John the Baptist and Peter, James and John to restore the priesthood to Joseph Smith.

Through Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ reestablished His church, complete “prophets, apostles” (Ephesians 4:11) and so forth.  God has continually called prophets since Joseph’s time with the current prophet being Russel M. Nelson.  God also taught us that we live in the last days, the time before Jesus Christ will come again, this is why the church is named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This is the message of the Restoration.

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

LF9

Me after a rainy day

Choosing Happiness, Longing for the Things of God

LF2

Me at the Utah Logan Mission Office. Also me having run out of time to share on P-Day.

 

February 19, 2018

This was an amazing week.  Lots of things happened this week.  We had a Zone Conference and the Hansen family from “Love, Kennedy” came and spoke to us.  In case you don’t know “Love, Kennedy” is a movie based off a true story about a family in which their oldest daughter, named Kennedy, is diagnosed with Batons disease, which eventually kills her, and the miracles that the family and she experienced and how she was able to share the Gospel despite her afflictions. It was a really inspiring Conference, and I learned a lot from it.

Later President Allred taught us and so did Elder Larsen, an Area Seventy. We also got the chance to give talks this week in church. With one of the talks we had a week to prepare, with the other we found out Sunday morning. But it was a great experience, and it was Elder Nettles first talk on his mission. He did a great job.

We have had a lot of miracles in the work this week. There have been issues that we have had a hard time working around. But for a couple days we had issue after issue resolved and have been able get a lot of things set up for this week. It has been cool to see the Lord reward patience.

We met a lady who is Greek at a dinner and we had a wonderful conversation about all things Greek. That was such an awesome moment this week.

Another lesson I learned this week is that happiness is a choice, and we choose that happiness as we follow Christ.  It doesn’t matter what goes on in our life—as we choose Christ we gain happiness. We choose Christ as we live His Gospel.  Coming unto Christ, by living his Gospel, is the only path that will bring lasting happiness. That happiness is available to us and to our family. God gave us our families. They are ordained of God and provide the best place for the children to learn and grow. The love we feel for our families is some of the greatest love we can feel in this life.  As such. family relationships can bring some of the greatest joy, and some of the greatest sorrow.

Look at the example of the Kennedy family, they experienced so many sad moments as they watched their daughter suffer. But on the other hand, all the good that Kennedy accomplished brought miraculous joy into their home, as well as into the homes of others.

God’s plan provides the way to forever bless our family; through the Gospel of Jesus Christ families can be together forever, and all the sorrow we suffer will be healed by Him and we will receive joy. Broken homes, broken hearts can all be healed by Jesus Christ, as individual members of the family accept and apply His Gospel.  Or as the prophets have said, “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (The Family: A proclamation to the World)

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

LF3

Elder Nettles and I in a planning session

 

February 26, 2018

This week has been good. I have learned a lot this week, and I have had opportunities to apply the things I learned, which doesn’t always happen. We didn’t have any special meeting this week unlike the last three weeks so we finally had a district meeting. It was a really good District Meeting in which Elder King and Elder Hudgins trained the district about planning better. 

We got to go up to Logan today because of an appointment at the mission office. So, I worked on my Ecclesiastical Endorsement. It was a lot of fun to be able to come back up to Logan and see my old stomping grounds, even if it has only been a couple weeks. 

A long time ago (about 2-3 years) my parents taught us about “Ponderizing” the Scriptures and we set a goal to do that; they showed us a general Conference talk by a Seventy in which he taught the benefits of meditating on the scriptures. I don’t remember how long we remembered to ponderize ( I think we stopped after a few weeks).

Fast forward to this week—and as I was thinking of ways I could improve my study of the scriptures the word “ponderizing” that my parents taught us to came into my mind.  So, I started that up again this week, and it really blesses me with improved mental health. 

Ponderizing is simply to memorize 1 scripture a week and think about it while you memorize it. 

 Anyway, it was cool to see how something my parents taught me a while back came back to my memory and had an impact on me this week. It’s always interesting when old things that we have treasured come back to us. My favorite video game is one of the first I played. Right before my mission it was rereleased; to play it again after years of missing it was so sweet, it felt like reconnecting with an old friend. 

We all have a special place in our hearts for nostalgia. It is a powerful feeling. It can influence us to go out of our way to try and rekindle those past feelings. And it is one of the most rewarding things to successfully bridge the gap between past and present, and recover that which was lost.

But could we become nostalgic for spiritual things that mankind once knew and cherished the same way a teenager is nostalgic for a video game he played as a kid?  Yes. 

God has taught to us his Gospel from the very beginning of the world, from the days of Adam. It is one of the oldest things upon the face of the earth and is the most cherished thing by all that have received it.

Yet mankind has lost it on many occasions.

The Gospel has always been taught by prophets. Prophets are men that God has called to preach his gospel to all the world, and whom God has given priesthood authority to do so.  Prophets receive revelation from God, from which they receive the Gospel, then they share it to the people. All prophets teach about how Jesus Christ will come to save us from our sins and free us from death. 

There have been many prophets on the earth: Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham and many others were all prophets and taught the Gospel to all that would hear it. However, over time the people eventually distort, disregard or reject the Gospel.  Sometimes they even kill the prophets.  When this happens, God removes his prophets from the people, and Gospel becomes lost, and mankind is left to his own devices.  We call that state Apostasy.

God removes his Gospel until his children are humble enough to accept it again, God won’t force anybody to accept the Gospel. Over time people will begin to yearn for the blessings of the Gospel that their fathers held, and God will send another prophet on the earth to teach the Gospel anew.  And thus, the Gospel is restored. 

The Bible shows many instances of people rejecting the Gospel; and it also shows many instances of the Gospel being restored.  Any time God has a prophet on the Earth is called a Dispensation. 

I have found that as I have accepted the Gospel, which God has restored in our day, that a joy has come into my life, and it has felt to me that I have found something I have lost for a while.  Christ invites all to come and try his Gospel,

“Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive” (3 Nephi 9:14). 

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

LF5

Waiting for a ride and trying to look cool

 

 

LF4

Thanks for the Caramel Popcorn, Mom! And thanks for all the birthday wishes!

P.S. I found out that my return date is June 27th, 2018!

 

 

God Is Our Loving Heavenly Father

YSA60

February 12, 2018

This week was a good week. We have had a lot of teaching appointments, though most of them fell through. Yet it really doesn’t matter if appointments fall through or not.  What matters is that we give people the best chance to accept the restored gospel which will bring them to Christ.

This week we had a meeting called ADTM which is when our Zone Leaders train us on a couple things that the mission president wants them too. We talked about Grace, what it is, how to access it and what it can do (it can do anything good in case you are wondering).  Then we talked about getting the work done.

So overall it was a good week.

One thing I want to do on every weekly email is share a principle of the doctrine out of Preach my Gospel with every week that remains on my mission. This week it will be God is Our Loving Heavenly Father.

This doctrine is simple and fundamental. It teaches us who God is, and why he does what he does. Very Simply God is Our Heavenly Father, we are his children, we are part of His Eternal Family. Like how a parent loves their children simply because they are their children, our Heavenly Father Loves us because we are His Children.

That loves shapes the way we live, and how we interact with Him. He wants to bless our lives and give us gifts that will make us eternally happy. The ultimate gift he wishes for us is for us to eventually become like him. He gave us this life so that we can be able to learn and grow and become more like Him.

However, he knew that we would not be perfect and that we would make mistakes that would hold us back from the life he wants us to have. Yet he made a plan for us that in spite of our imperfections we could be able to achieve all that God want us to. And that is in and through Jesus Christ God’s only Begotten son, who made a perfect sacrifice that if we come unto him, through his gospel we might be saved. God’s Love is made manifest in the divine gift of his son.

For as Paul has said: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Regards from Elder Brown.