Of Talks and Trainee’s

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Meet Elder Lowe, fresh from the Mission Training Center. He is great!

 

August 21, 2017

My Trainee’s name is Elder Lowe.  He basically came pre-trained. He is an excellent teacher and he already invited an investigator to be baptized. His speaking skills are really great. He’ll go far on his mission.

Something kinda funny happened this week—I had a bishop pull me over and “rebuke” me for wearing super worn down shoes. (See photo below). Eventually I need to get new shoes. Man, I really blew apart a pair of shoes in just one year of my mission.  Hopefully I can make the rest last till the end. [Editor’s note: I ordered Alex a brand new pair of shoes.]

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My shoes have given their all for the Lord.

 

We also gave three talks this Sunday. Elder Lowe did fantastic. I saw a lot of people cry as he was speaking. He is a really good speaker, and had great messages.

I’ll put some notes from my talks in this letter:

First Talk: How to improve your repentance. Repenting might seem hard, but that is often because people forget what repentance really is.  Repentance is the second principle of the gospel and comes after faith.  It is a change of our thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that are not in harmony with God’s will. Note how repentance comes after faith; Elder Bednar in a recent broadcast to missionaries said that all the principles and ordinances of the gospel are inseparably connected.  Repentance without Faith in Jesus Christ is incomplete.

At the Martin Harris Pageant there was a cool part of the play that demonstrated this principle very well.  Martin Harris was commanded to repent and humble himself after he lost the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript. If he would do this, he would see the plates. But he struggled he didn’t know how he could repent (he couldn’t just bring the pages back).  When it was time to obtain the witness, Martin was unable at first to see it and departed to pray.  Joseph came to Martin and told him that he needed to have faith that the Savior’s atonement could heal him.  Martin prayed again thanking Heavenly Father for The Savior’s atonement; and then suddenly the angel appeared and showed him the plates in a stunning display.

Building our faith in Jesus Christ through scripture study, prayer, and service build enables us to fully repent.

Second Talk: Special Language of Prayer

When we pray we use more formal language in address God: Thee, Thy, Thine, and Thou.  Why? Because it shows respect and reverence to Heavenly Father. It is like in computer science. Syntax most of the time determines if a program will work or not.  As we improve the language of prayer we will feel closer to Heavenly Father, and we will feel more love and reference for him.

Third Talk: Always remember Christ.

The inn keeper who reject Joseph and Mary missed out on having the most important person ever born, be born in his Inn.  But he was too busy?  He didn’t have room for Christ?  Are we too busy for Christ? We covenant to always remember Christ.  Do we do this?  Do we have room for Christ?

Of us Christ has said:  “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.”

He has not forgotten us, nor will he ever.  Will we forget him? Here are some ways we can always remember Christ:

  1. Seek to do the will of Christ
  2. Be accountable to God
  3. Seek the aid of The Savior

Regards from Elder Brown.

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Elder Lowe and I at a member’s house for dinner

 

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The best food I have ever made–with Elder Lowe’s help, of course–on my mission.

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Worth More Than Its Weight In Gold

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Anna at her baptism!

 

August 7, 2017

This week was fantastic.

We worked hard, and had lots to do this week. We found a new investigator, and learned about many people who seem really ready. But most importantly, this week one of our investigators was baptized!!!

Her name is Anna. She has been investigating our church for nearly three years, and has had a testimony for the longest time; but she was afraid to be baptized. But as we taught her she just spontaneously set a baptism date, and she didn’t waver from that. Her baptism was amazing! It was amazing to see her already rock solid testimony grow after she was baptized. And after she was confirmed it grew even more.  I am so glad that she was able to make this sacred covenant. I know it has already blessed her life.

One thing she said during her testimony was that when she set her baptismal date, she felt like she was stepping out into darkness (because she had a lot of fears), trusting that Heavenly Father would help her.  But after she was baptized she said that Heavenly Father showed her that she wasn’t stepping into darkness at all; instead she was stepping out of it.

I have been studying the role the Book of Mormon plays in conversion.  Anna had many experiences with the Book of Mormon leading up to her baptism, and I have thinking about how amazing the Book of Mormon is lately, so I’m feeling like this is what I need to talk about today.

One thing I have been focusing on lately is on gaining a stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon. And I’m not just doing this for fun, or because everyone tells me I need to. I’m doing this because I realize how much hinges on the Book of Mormon.

What exactly hinges on the Book of Mormon? Well, if the Book of Mormon is true, then there is a God and Jesus Christ is the savior and redeemer of the world.  Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God, and through him God restored his Gospel and his church once more to the earth.  And through that gospel we learn the correct way to live life, the way back to God, to happiness in this life and eternal life in the life to come. So basically, everything hinges on the Book of Mormon. Which is why I’m putting such an emphasis on it my life.

I love that the way we come to know the Book of Mormon is true is by receiving a witness from the Holy Ghost. As I was reading and praying about the Book of Mormon an experience I had came to my mind. I would like to share that experience today.

When I was eight and I had just been baptized, my parents had a party afterwards to celebrate. That night my parents told me that I needed to receive for myself a witness that the Book of Mormon is true. That night knelt down in my closet and asked God if the Book of Mormon was true and if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints was God’s church. At that time, I didn’t really understand how the Holy Ghost witnesses to us, so I just decided it was true and I went on with my life.  Clearly, I didn’t get a witness at that time, but I was eight so I didn’t care.

Sometime later I was walking to church from the car and I had a thought, “the Book of Mormon is true because we have it”. That because we had the Book it has to be true. I mean books don’t just come from nowhere.  But alongside the thought that came into my mind, came this overwhelming feeling of confidence, that the Book of Mormon was absolutely true.  I felt like I nobody could ever convince me otherwise. I had my witness—my “proof.” That was my first testimony of the Book of Mormon. It was less of the thought, looking back at it now, that logic is not sufficient to “prove” the Book of Mormon true; it was more of that feeling I got.

Now on my mission, reading the Book of Mormon really in depth, really trying to understand it, I’ve gotten that same feeling. But this time that feeling came with a feeling of love for that little book.  I read the pages and I find so much in those thin little pages that I can’t help but believe that the Book of Mormon is true.

I know I don’t know everything, but I know what I feel. I have never felt bad reading the Book of Mormon. I have never felt dread, or worry, or depression as I have read the Book of Mormon; in fact as I really read the Book of Mormon those negative feelings wash away, and I am left with feelings of awe, peace, love, and a desire to change and become better.

I would bet my life on the Book of Mormon. And I know that everyone needs to read the Book of Mormon daily.  This book contains the fullness of the gospel, a strong witness of Jesus Christ, and a grand promise that can lead us to the firmest foundation we could ever have. I believe just like the Angel Moroni, that the Book of Mormon is worth more than its weight in gold.  And I am glad to have it. In the Name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

Regards from Elder Brown.

God Is Calling

 

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On an exchange with Elder Faroni

July 31, 2017

This has been an interesting week that taught me a lot about the power of hymns.  It all started with a zone conference we had this week [Zones are divisions within a mission. Zone Conferences are meetings of all the missionaries serving in the Zone and happen once every six month.]  One of President Allred’s best friends from Washington came to our conference and taught us some methods we could use to find more people.  Most of what he said was about how we needed the Holy Ghost with us at all times to be able to do anything. But one thing he said stuck with me, and that is how singing hymns (i.e. sacred music) invites the Spirit into basically any setting.

Since this conference, I have decided to put a bigger focus on using hymns in the work.  For daily planning and companion study we now sing hymns before we pray, it really brings us together (even if we are not the best of singers) and invites the Spirit.  We also try to have a hymn before we teach any lesson now, and we try to make it topical.  It seems to really help, and set us apart as servants as the Lord.

Also, hymns can help us calm down. This Sunday I felt myself beginning to get frustrated, but as we were driving, we were also listening to some hymns about Jesus Christ. As I started to sing along I felt my frustrations melt away. It just goes to show the power of hymns. Hymns are powerful and I encourage everybody to use them more in their lives.  It really brings the Holy Ghost.

And in case anybody is wondering my favorite Hymn is called “Israel, Israel, God is calling.”  I especially love the message it contains in the third verse:

Israel, angels are descending

From celestial worlds on high,

And to man their pow’r extending,

That the Saints may homeward fly.

Come to Zion, come to Zion,

For your coming Lord is nigh.

Come to Zion, come to Zion,

For your coming Lord is nigh.

For your listening pleasure, here is a link to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing this song:

As a missionary that is my message to the world. God is calling. He promises protection, eternal life, happiness in this life, eternal families, second chances, new beginnings, a better life, mastery of his world, knowledge, peace, and comfort. Do not delay, do not procrastinate, for the Lord comes very soon, on a day we don’t know.  Therefore, the only day you have for sure to get with the program is today.

I can promise that life inside Zion is better than life outside Zion. Yes the rain of affliction will fall on the just and unjust, but only in Zion does the Holy Ghost also pour out from heaven like rain, and only in Zion can sins be forgiven.  I know that this is the case because there have been times in my life where I’ve not been doing the right thing, and I felt terrible and wasn’t able to function. But when I corrected myself, repented of my sins, then I came to know God and what true joy is.

In the name of Jesus Christ.   Amen.

Regards from Elder Brown.

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The Cache Valley North and South Zones, with President and Sister Allred and the Assistants to the President. Can you spot me?