The Plan

 

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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.

 

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Me and my companion at a dinner appointment.

 

 

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The Book of Mormon; Conference Week

 

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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

 

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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

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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.

It Shall Be Opened Unto You

 

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Meet my new companion, Elder Nettles, from San Diego.

 

 

January 31, 2018

This week we were able to attend a devotional with Elder Renlund and his wife.  It was a really good talk about the Holy Ghost.  He compared being led by the Holy Ghost to using a Stethoscope.  It takes mastery and practice to learn how to use a Stethoscope, and you must also continue to practice maintaining that skill.  This is the same with the Holy Ghost; we need to study, prepare, and follow the Holy Ghost to learn and maintain our ability to hear and follow the Holy Ghost. That talk was awesome!

Transfers happened this week. I’m going to be training again!! That has always been interesting, so that will be cool again.

But for the first time in forever they are transferring me!!!  I’m going to the Lorin Farr II area. That being said, I am kind of sad to leave my area and Cache valley.  On the other hand, it will be good for me. And this will be my first time whitewashing [Editor’s Note: “Whitewashing does not involve paint. Instead, it is LDS missionary lingo for both missionaries being transferred out of an area and replaced with two new missionaries.]

Wish me luck with packing and figuring out the new area after 9 months in the same area.

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

February 5, 2018

So, my new area is awesome! And so is my companion. His name is Elder Nettles (I didn’t know his name until transfers).  He is from San Diego. That makes him my third companion from San Diego (I get a lot of those apparently).  The work has been going great.  Wonderful miracles have been happening.

Lorin Farr is a really interesting name for the Stake, apparently it is one of only two LDS stakes in the whole world named after a person.  So that makes it quite unique. Being back in Ogden has been fun. Lorin Farr has always seemed like this mystical area when I was first in North Ogden, but now I realize that I am here it is just like any other area.  Learning that when I got here was great because I learned I didn’t need to reinvent the wheel in order to work here. The Principles of missionary work always apply, in every area, in every situation.

In fast and testimony meetings there was a lot of testimonies about the Lord answering prayers.  This got me thinking about my experience with the Lord answering my prayers.  I’m going to share a bit about what I learned. One thing I noticed is that the Lord sets the time frame on when He will answer prayers. Sometimes in my life He’ll answer prayers very quickly; other times He will wait for a while and then suddenly, without warning, answer the prayer.

For example, a couple months ago President Nelson, then the president of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles came to USU to give a devotional. Knowing of President Monson’s failing health, I figured that President Nelson would be the next prophet.  So, I prayed that day to know if he was a man of God or not, so I could trust him as the prophet.  The answer did not come that day, so I continued with my day and figured that I would get an answer later.  This January the same day President Monson passed on I was watching a Mormon message with President Nelson in it.  While I was watching that video, I felt very deeply that President Nelson is a Man of God and is a Prophet of God. I reflected on that moment several times, and it amazes me.  I would not say I was seeking an answer at that moment. I was kind of just wandering in the Gospel Library, but yet in that moment the answer came.

There have been countless other moments like this in my life.  Each time it happens it builds my testimony.  It’s helps me understand that the scripture “Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” is true. So if you lack wisdom, say a prayer to Heavenly Father.  He will answer you, maybe not at first or when you expect it, but he will answer.

Regards from Elder Brown.

Essentials to Spiritual Health

 

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The empty sink. My companion and I went out for ice cream and ordered the “Kitchen Sink” (See Below) and were able to finish it off.

 

January 23, 2018

 This has been a good week. We had several lessons set up and things to do.  This is also one of those weeks where I learned a lot personally and I got answers to questions and whatnot.

I love the time we have set apart for personal Study. I love the quote by President Spencer W. Kimball,

“I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns.”  

I have found that this quote is true that immersion in the scriptures brings connection to God and the Holy Ghost.

This is particularly true of the Book of Mormon and New Testament but applies with all the sacred books of scripture. Daily nourishment in the word of God is essential to spiritual health.

In addition, I have seen that sabbath worship is also essential to spiritual health.  The concept of the Sabbath is to have rest from temporal problems, so we can give our spirits room to shine. From my experience I find that this principle is true. The times I have chosen to honor the sabbath the most are the times I feel a new energy and life come into my life.

Lastly, we need prayer for our spiritual health.  Prayer is coming to our Heavenly Father and communicating with him. He asks us to pray to him daily. He wants to bless us. There are times when we won’t want to for a variety of reasons. I definitely have had moments where I don’t want to. Elder Uchtdorf has told us to pray “even when we don’t want to.”  It is that important to our spiritual health.

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

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The “Kitchen Sink” at Angie’s Restaurant in Logan Utah.

 

 

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In the middle of eating the “Kitchen Sink.” Editor’s Note: Eating this much ice cream on a regular basis is not conducive to physical health. 

 

 

Proof Is In The Fruits

 

YSA60

We had the opportunity to go to SLC and Temple Square for the YSA fireside on Jan 14th.

 

January 15, 2018

A lot happened this week.  And it was a great week.

We found a couple of investigators and we have a bunch of referrals currently.  So, the work is going great; to me it shows that faith and diligence, combined with patience, brings the blessings of Heaven.

We also had interviews with our mission president and during my interview we talked a bit about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I felt inspired to focus on the gospel: faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Covenants, and receiving the Holy Ghost, daily. In the past, as I have focused on these things, I have seen the biggest changes in myself and I have learned the most about recognizing the Holy Ghost.

To me, applying the gospel of Christ is a great evidence of the truth of the Restoration.  We learn the gospel (in its fullness) from the Book of Mormon.  And once we know the Book of Mormon is true we know that Joseph Smith is a Prophet.

In Moroni 10:3-5 we are invited to pray about the Book of Mormon with “real intent,” we learn from modern prophets that real intent means to be willing to act on the answers we receive, or in other words act in faith.  Therefore, faith is essential to learning if the Book of Mormon is true.

In Alma 32 we learn how we can gain or grow faith.  Essentially, Alma sets forth a method we can apply to see if the fruits, or results, of something are good.  A central message of the Book of Mormon is that gospel of Christ brings peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come, through Jesus Christ and His Atonement.  In the gospel the Holy Ghost and the joy, peace, and happiness it brings are considered the fruits of the gospel.

Sometimes we overlook peace in this life.  Of course, everybody wants peace in this life but discount it as we focus on just enduring our trials here until we can get the eternal life in the world to come.  However, I have learned that the peace and joy we gain in this life by living the gospel of Jesus Christ is way more important than I first thought.

The apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 1:22

“Who [God] hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (emphasis mine).

I want to focus on the word “earnest.” The bible dictionary definition of “earnest” teaches something amazing:

A pledge or security. The word thus translated is a commercial term denoting the deposit paid by a buyer on entering into an agreement for the purchase of anything. As used by Paul (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14) it means that the Lord gives us His Holy Spirit in this life as a foretaste of the joy of eternal life. The Spirit is also the Lord’s surety that He will fulfill His promise to give eternal life to the faithful. (LDS Bible Dictionary)

When we apply the gospel, and feel the Holy Ghost, it is much more than being happy. It is a divine assurance that we will receive Eternal Life.  The gospel brings us joy so we can know for ourselves that it is true; that we can know that it brings us ‘good fruit.’  Every time we apply the gospel and feel the joy that follows, it is evidence that the restored gospel is true and good!

And when we know that the restored gospel is true and good, then we also know that the Book of Mormon, which teaches us that gospel, is also good and true. And when we know that the Book of Mormon is good and true then we also know that Joseph Smith is a prophet, that Jesus is the Christ, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom, and that we have living prophets today, that God loves us and made a plan for us.

It is my testimony that I have seen the fruit of the gospel. I have definitely felt that joy and peace. I hope to feel it every day. I know that the gospel and the Church that preaches it is true.

Regards from Elder Brown.

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Me and my companion Elder Oostyen at Temple Square, SLC

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I am wearing my UNC-Chapel Hill hat that I received for Christmas. Thank you Chapel Hill First Ward!

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At my 18 month mark, I burnt all my ripped and worn out clothes. 

 

 

The Remarkable Unremarkable

The Remarkable Unremarkable

 

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Me and Elder Oostyen (pronounced O-stein)

 

January 1, 2017

This week was great, there was a ton of holidays, Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Calling home last week was super awesome.  I love my family. They are so awesome.

Christmas is really interesting as a missionary serving in the YSA Stake. On Christmas Eve we ate with a bishop. Funnily, we ended up eating with him again Christmas Day. Most YSA people are not home for the holidays. But thanks to some miracles, we actually found people who were home somehow, and so that was also awesome. We had a Christmas tree dressed up with Krispy Kreme and mission swag. But ultimately calling home was the best part.

Also, the work has started to pick up in our area as we have set better goals and worked harder.  It has been cool to feel like awesome stuff is about to happen.

Sorry for the short email I’m running short on time

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

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Our Krispy Kreme topped Christmas Tree.

 

January 8, 2018

This was a great week.  Things got better every day. We are getting many things done here in the Stake. One thing we are trying hard to do is to find people to teach, and we have had ideas come straight from God helping us figure out what to do.

But for the most part the work was unremarkable by the world’s standards: no standout miracles, no super prepared people; just randomly popping up. Yet I still feel great joy and satisfaction in the work.

And honestly that in and of itself that is amazing remarkable to me.

How is it that we can feel joy and satisfaction even in the “Slog?”

To me two principles taught to me by the Zone Leaders this week stand out as at least part of the reason why. These principles are Faith and Diligence.

As missionaries, we make goals and then work to accomplish those goals. Working with faith and diligence means that we believe that we can achieve our goals and we work energetically, steadily and courageous until there is nothing else that we can do.  Our goals actually strengthen our faith and diligence because they give us something to stretch towards. But our faith and diligence also influence our goals and plans, and it was interesting for me to observe this this week. As we work with faith and diligence we grow closer to the Holy Ghost and we receive more inspiration in our planning.

This can be summarized by this Scripture (D&C 50:24)

That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

I got to see that in action this week.  And that makes this week super remarkable to me, it builds my testimony to experience the promised blessing of this scripture. Sometimes, the greatest miracles are the most overlooked. Often times, it is the “small and simple things” that God uses to bring about “great things.”

I love this Gospel. I have come to know that this Gospel is true because of how much good that has come from it.

Regards from Elder Brown.

 

YSA56

On Splits with Elder Lowe

 

Whom the Lord Calls, The Lord Qualifies–And Transfers

 

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Out on Exchanges with my zone leader, Elder Iloa

 

December 11, 2017

This was a week in which I learned a lot. I love my District. The missionaries that I serve are wonderful and have such a great capacity.

Lots happened this week. We had a wonderful zone Conference about the Savior Jesus Christ.  I was able to go on many exchanges and we were able to do a lot.  AND A KRISPY KREME OPENED IN LOGAN!!!  (I’m gonna get fat).  #southernfood

But sadly it hasn’t snowed this week and the snow is disappearing off the ground.

This week I have definitely seen that the principle, “Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies,’ often taught by president Monson, is true. This transfer I have had the most responsibilities I’ve had on my mission; those responsibilities include training, being a district leader, and being the senior companion leading the area. Often times there seems to be a three way split on how I have to manage my time. It is a constant balancing act. It is really difficult.  However, the help from God this transfer has made this a wonderful experience for me.  I have found that no matter how hard a task is, with God it both possible and a positive experience.  I find what I have to do is rely on God, study his word, partake of the sacrament, pray and act in faith.  On occasion he will inspire me on an idea that I should try, or he’ll give me words to say, strength to continue, peace, joy etc.

On the other hand, when I act immaturely, be disobedient, prideful or un-Christlike unrepentantly I find that I’m left on my own, and things don’t end well.  Instead of ideas that inspire, my mind goes blank; instead of words that fill my mouth, I struggle to get words out; instead of strength, tiredness; anger instead of peace; unhappiness instead of joy.

But when I humble myself and do the things that bring God into my life, the faults cease and the blessings flow. No man is big enough for the tasks that God will give to him; God is aware of this, and he has sent His Son to perform a perfect atonement, whereby man might become better than he is.

I have a testimony that Gospel is true, and that it works.  The power that enters the lives of those that love the Gospel is the power of Jesus Christ, which he obtained through his perfect Atonement.

Regards from Elder Brown.

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December 19, 2017

Today Transfer happened again. And I’m still here in the Providence YSA Stake. And I have a new companion, Elder Oostyen.  And I’m still in the Providence YSA Stake, it’s awesome!

This week was awesome as well. We got a lot done with the members and we found somebody who wants to be baptized. Elder Score has become such a great missionary.

We got to go the temple today as well and we were able to spend a lot of time in the temple. I have found that what people say about the temple that spirit of the Lord is the strongest in the temple is super true. You could feel the Holy Ghost inside that place everywhere. It made it so peaceful and joyful. The temples are truly houses of The Lord.

Sorry that this isn’t longer don’t have too much time.

Regards from Elder Brown.