Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Moving to Manado

Hello my good family and friends!!

I hope you all had a stupendous week full of happiness and heealthiness!

Exciting news of the week: President called to tell me that I am moving - I have been given a new assignment in . . . MANADO!! Which means that I am going off of Java! There are only two missionary areas that are off of Java -  Medan (on the island of Sumatra) and Manado (on the island of Sulawesi). So that's pretty cool! I don't know if you remember, Mom, but when i first recieved my mission call, we looked up all the crazy Indonesian food. Turns out that most of the crazy stuff we saw  is actually from Manado haha! It will certainly be an adventure to go off of Java and experience another side of the culture, though I will be very sad to leave Jakarta.

I told President Rowley last week that I wanted to stay in Jakarta until the end of my mission. Obviously President doesn't put too much weight in my advice haha. So no, he didn't listen to me, and i am sad to leave, but excited for a new adventure. Leaving everyone was really hard on Sunday. I took a lot of pictures after church. Goodbyes can always be rough.
But in other positive things - my new companion will be Elder McWhorter - who is a stud of a man. I will technically be finishing up his training, which in mission terms makes me a "step-dad", but he is way awesome so that will be great! I also have the chance to be in the same city as my old MTC companion Elder Bennet!! So that's cool and his companion Elder Wibowo is a super great guy too. I will be really sad to leave Elder Johnson - I have LOVED serving with him. He is a fantastic person, a great friend and a wonderful missionary. i'll miss him and the entire district a lot!! Jakarta really is amazing.

The week wasn't the most killer week we've ever had, but we still saw many miracles. One highlight of the week is that i was able to go on Exchanges with my good friend Elder Forston. We saw many miracles - we met so many cool people. we had the chance to give a new investigator a date for baptism, so Elder Johnson and his new companion Elder Hunt will help him progress towards that. Also we made an appointment with a contact and he brought four friends and we had a killer lesson in McDonalds! Even with the loud worldly music, I felt the Spirit strongly testify of the truths of the restoration.

One of our other progressive investigators came to church and he went in to the bathroom and was in there for a long time. When we eventually went in to check, we realized that he had just figured out how to put on his tie and he said "It's been a really long time since I've worn a tie" and we thought it was so cool that he wanted to wear his very best for the Lord. He also told us that he as stopped drinking tea and coffee and smoking (which are all parts of the the health code that we follow in our church) so that was great. We hope he can be baptized either this coming Sunday or the next!
SO yeah it was a really good week as always. It's really strange too be leaving Jakarta. I will certainly miss it. But on to another adventure!!

I love you all! I know the work I am doing here is truly the work of God, because I have seen so many changes in  my investigators, in my companions and in myself as we all have learned more about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it is true.

Love Elder Brown

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The only bearded missionary

Selamat hari Senin semua teman dan keluarga terkasihku!
Or as we say in the States Happy Monday my beloved friends and family!

I hope everyone had an awesome week! I hope everyone is happy and healthy! We had a pretty good week this, actually a week that was luar biasa!

We had a lot of fun. There was a companionship that was struggling in our zone and we gave the what I have began to call (or right at this moment will begin to call) the "Perfect-Missionary Challenge". So we decided that for this week we would do our very best to do everything just like a perfect missionary would do it - so 100% exact obedience, talking to EVERYONE, and the like. Then every night we would call and report how well we did. and I am certainly not a perfect missionary but it certainly helped the four of us do better this. It was great! Many times I didn't want to talk to someone but I did because I knew I needed to be a better missionary and I saw many miracles :)

One cool miracle we saw this week - we did a district fast on Saturday for our investigators. Elder Johnson and I just about died but with great perseverance (and a tad of complaining:) we managed to endure. And within 30 minutes of breaking our fast, the two investigators that we had fasted for texted us to tell us that they would come to church! And they both did! Yay! I know that as we sacrifice, we can receive the gift of faith and strength from God. Even with just a small sacrifice, God blessed us SO much. That was a really great experience!

Church was another miracle - we were sitting in the English ward and in walks one of our old investigators out of the blue. That was way exciting. He told us that He had been in Malaysia for the last two months. So that was  really great, and he even brought a friend! It was great.

We found some new people to teach and had to drop some of our old investigators. #evilcunningnessofsatan that's always a bummer, but the Lord is preparing people to receive our message, I know that!

Another thing that happened - i developed some kind of skin condition on my face... ya not fun haha. BUT, what it means, is that I have a beard. I know that was a little abrupt, but because of the scabs and stuff Sister Rowley told me not to shave so I am officially in the mission and potentially in the world haha. So that's kind of funny. But don't worry, it's pretty much healed up, so I should be unbearded again soon! So no worries :) I'll send pictures of my beard haha. It's kind of lame because I don't really look like a missionary, so hopefully it will come off soon, so I can be a better representative of Christ... but than again almost every representation of Christ has a beard... I don't think President Rowley would go for that logic though haha.

Oh ya, one other cool experience we had. We were trying to inspire a companionship of Sisters in our zone, so we just called them up and asked what their plans were. They were planning to go contacting in the kampung (meaning they would walk around and ask people for other people to teach, then you go visit them - actually works pretty well). Anyways that was the same thing that we were planning on doing, so I said "Oh great, well we have a goal to find two new investigators and we want to give the same challenge to you." but the only thing was we realized we only have an hour and a half because we had an appointment later that day. So we just decided to pray and work our hardest with faith. We ended up finding four new investigators. I share this story just to show how much this truly is the Lord's work and not ours. Faith is truly a powerful thing. We believed that the Lord could lead us to people prepared to receive and because of that faith,  we went to go find those people and the Lord blessed us so that we could find them. Really this work cannot be done with out the Lord. IT cannot be done with out His direction.

Anyway, life is really great!! I hope that everyone is having such a great day! and you all have a great week! I know that as I saw throughout my week, the Lord is truly aware of us and He really wants to help us all in the things that are important to us. He wants to help us do that which is right in His sight. I know He loves us. And that is why I am in Indonesia telling everyone about a loving God who cares enough to give us guidance today, who cares enough to call a prophet and build His church on the earth.

I love you all so much!

Elder Trevor Brown


Monday, September 4, 2017

Kebebasan Untuk Milah

Hello to the world!!

How was the week?? Did everyone smile and sing and laugh and just love life? I hope so! I also hope everyone had a chance to help someone else this week!

For us the week was pretty biasa (or as we say in America - normal). But also great as always!! The beginning of the week is honestly just a blur. I pretty much can't remember it haha. Time has been weird lately - my time in Malang seems like it was merely days ago, but the beginning of this week feels like it was years ago.

Well one really notable thing is that we had the chance to split on Friday. We brought up Elder Fowler and Elder Widigdo from Bekasi. I got to go on Splits with Elder Fowler (my good friend who was my District Leader back in Malang). It was AWESOME. Tons of fun! We had some great experiences together with a healthy dose of miracles. Two guys we found out in the kampung (or like the more neigborhoody part) were really awesome. One of them, who seemed like he was about to violently reject our entire message, took the Kitab Mormon and said "I'm so excited to read this, it will help me re-strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ" And I was like "Yeah it will!!" Two great lessons about how to not judge others and to never underestimate the power of truth from God!

I learned so much from Elder Fowler, even though he is nearing the end of his mission, he is still working so hard and is such a wonderful example of pure love for those he serves. He also said the split helped him as well, which boosted my confidence and made me feel great!

Our investigators are doing well, but some have been difficult to meet with. Pak F came to church and i think he really enjoyed it. It was really cool - he and  Brother B (who was baptized recently) had a cool talk where they basically testified to each other about the truth that is found in the restored church of Jesus Christ. So that was great.

We got a new Uskup (Bishop today) - Uskup Daniel. He is awesome and we are excited about that! We also got to attend the baptism of an 8 year old in the English Ward. Good Sunday!

SO yeah we are working hard, because we know that there truly are people here that God is preparing to receive the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our new Bishop was supposed to teach in Gospel Principles class (which is the Sunday School class that is mostly intended for people invsestigating the church and for new members) but obviously he was otherwise occupied. So he asked me to teach for him. I had the opportunity to teach about "Kebebasan Untuk Milih" or "The Freedom to Choose". That was really fun because I love that subject. I don't know if anyone else learned, but I certainly did, about Free Agency and how we are all free to choose what we will do and as consequence where we will go and who we will become. It is really incredible, after all is said and done, it is truly up to us. 

And because of Jesus Christ, we truly can choose. Because of his redeeming power, if we want to repent, if we want to become better, we CAN. As we trust in and believe in Jesus Christ, we are given the power to choose our destiny, in a very literal sense. Every choice will bring us closer to Christ or further away from him. As we yield to te enticings of the Holy Spirit (as we learn in Mosiah 3:19) and make the right choices, we can become who God desires us to be. I'm sorry, i don't mean to preach, but it is such a sign of God's love for us that He allows us to choose. I know that Jesus truly suffered for our sins so that we can repent. I testify that each of us CAN choose what is right and we can become who we desire to be, and if we desire, we can become who God wants us to be.

So let's all make good choices :)

Everyone have an amazing week!!


Elder Brown

Saturday, September 2, 2017

All things Indonesian

Hello my wonderful family!!!

I hope you are happy and smiling and laughing and loving :)

A lot of great things happened this week for us. It was actually a week with lots of ups and downs. kind of a hard week in some ways but totally an AWESOME week in most ways.

One hard thing was that both Elder Johnson and I had some sicknesses, but we are mostly over them (meaning I am fully over it and Elder Johnson is not, poor guy). On top of all that Elder Johnson even got an eye-infection. The struggle is real.

But besides all of that, we had a good week. We started everything with Tuesday on with an awesome time at MLC (Mission Leadership Council) and we learned so much. We did a bunch of role plays and learned a ton about how we can teach so much better than we have been. It's interesting, because this is the work of the Lord and the Holy Spirit is the only one who can truly teach to their hearts. But we learned so much about how we can teach better to bring the Spirit and to help our investigators feel that Spirit. It was great and we were really stoked to put it into practice.

The only issue was that the next day we had DTM at Senopati and then we had a meeting at Senopati at 5:00 with President Djarot the Stake President of the Jakarta Stake and that was all super good, but the problem is Senopati (which is the Church offices in Indonesia) is not even in our area. So we spent all of both Tuesday and Wednesday away from our area which can always be rough. But on a side note, Wednesday night, President Rowley invited Elder Johnson and I to go eat dinner with him and Sister Rowley. That was just a really great experience to be able to talk to them in a informal setting. They are really amazing people with many really cool stories.

But the rest of the week we saw a lot of miracles. Sadly our friend got sick so she wasn't able to come to church. That was a bummer, but she's still doing really great! We went to go teach them and it was so great. As we walked up, we saw through the window that she was sitting reading the Book of Mormon. My heart just about melted haha.

And then today after Church, we didn't really have a good plan. it had been kind of a rough week and I feel the Lord really just put things in place for us. We were able to find 5 new investigators. Two of whom were from a Island in Eastern Indonesia. We just had a really powerful lesson with them and they committed to read the Book of Mormon!!

So yeah great week. I wish I had an abundance of funny stories t tell to make you laugh your heads off, but I can't think of a single thing.

But this week I have gained a testimony of second chances. We all mess up and sometimes it feels like we're just too far gone. Its too late to fix it. But it's not!! Because of Jesus Christ we can have clean slates, we can have second chances. It is NEVER too late. You haven't been the Dad, Mom, Brother, Sister, worker, student, boss, disciple you want to be? Change it now. You can! With the help of God, there is absolutely nothing that is impossible! 

Stephanie told me once "It is never the wrong time to be who you want to be." 

It is so true and we truly CAN become the people we want to be! I know that is true. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all mankind. He lived and died for us and He truly does live again.

I love you all so much.
Have an amazing week. Be a little kinder, help others a little more and be happy :)

Love Elder Brown

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Why I Am Here

Hello my wonderful family!!!

How are you all?? How was this week?! I hope it was amazing! I hope you all laughed and sang and smiled and maybe even cried a bit (but definitely not too much crying!). And most, I hope you made some else laugh and sing and smile (but not cry haha).
Wow I just love you all so much!

Okay so highlight of the week - Pak B was baptized this Sunday!! As in yesterday, that is! It was so great, all throughout Church the members were SO accepting and welcoming to him! Our Elder's Quorum President had him stand up and introduced him and he was mentioned and welcomed in the Sacrament talks and also it was a great Baptismal service after. He asked me to baptize him, which was a great honor! He's elderly, but he's still strong so there weren't any problems. Anyway he is so great and he is so funny. He made us all laugh during Gospel Principles. Anyways, it was just a really great experience!
But the rest of our week was just crazy - sadly we had a lot to do that took a lot of time from our actual missionarry work.
So this is kind of a short summary of our week:

Monday: P-day, didn't do that much just kind of relaxed and then had a good appointment that night.

Tuesday: We went to Bekasi to interview one of the Bekasi Elders' Investigators for Baptism. She was really prepared and had a strong testimony. Great experience!

Wednesday: We went to be interviewed by President in preparation for PLD (or Zone Conference with President). In West Java, we combine both the Jakarta Zone (Jakarta, Bekasi, Medan) and the Batagor(Bandung, Tangerang, Bogor) Zone. IT was way fun because I also had to get my Kitas ( a part of the visa) so my entire MTC group came in and we went together to get our Kitas renewed. It was SO fun to see all of them. Wow, they are all so amazing! Such incredible missionaries and people! It was just wonderful to see them all - it took us back to the great times together in the MTC. So after that we also had interviews and we had to order all the food for PLD, so that took a lot of time which was frustrating, but it was important as well!

Thursday: we went on splits with the District leader and his companion. I got to go with Elder Tracy ( who is an amazing person and great friend ). We went and interviewed Pak B, because we literally could not find a workable time with our District Leader Elder Gasio. So that was great and then we had to go back and pick up another missionary because they had come from Bandung for interviews and we didn't want them just wandering around Jakarta themselves. I was with Elder Sukarlis, which was WAY fun, since I haven't seen him much since Magelang days.
Friday: PLD. This was great - we learned a lot about how to teach like the Savior! It was great. Elder Johnson and I did a role play and it was great because President was able to give us specific council about how to improve our teaching. We learned a ton and it is always such a blessing to be with all the amazing missionaries in our mission.

Saturday: President asked us to speak at the Stake Ward Mission Leader and Bishopric meeting - a little nerve-wracking haha but great. And then we got roped into translating for the general priesthood session - which was great, but again a lot of time. We filled up the baptismal font while this was happening. Later that night, about 10:00, Elder Johnson turned to me and said "Elder, we forgot too turn off the water." My heart just dropped. SO we had to make the call of shame to the Assistants, jump in a taxi go turn it off and get home. Got to bed a bit late haha. But thankfully a wise man had designed the baptismal font to self drain and nothing was flooded!
Sunday: great day with Church and Brother B's baptism!

It was a sweet experience to see Pak B be baptized and to hear his testimony and see how he has changed. It just reminds me of why I am here doing this. I am here to bring others unto Christ the Savior of the world. I have been thinking about Mosia 2:41 and about the blessed and happy state of those who keep the commandments of God. I just know that God loves us. We ARE His work and His glory. Everything He does is truly for us. And He has given us the Gospel of Jesus Christ and all the commandments to bless US. not for himself, but for US! Isn't that amazing?
I know that as we follow His path, that is what will bring us the MOST happiness in life.

I love you all SO SO much!! Have a fantastic week!! and don't forget to share smiles with everyone you meet :)

Love Elder Brown

Monday, August 7, 2017

Splits with whip cream and syrup

We had a pretty crazy week.
Monday was biasa aja(just normal). Elder Johnson likes to just rest and take it easy on p-days, so we just emailed, cleaned and slept/wrote some letters. So hopefully you all will be getting some soon (sorry I'm pretty bad at that haha). 

Selasa(Tuesday) was pretty great. We spent the night at the Assistants house on Monday and went on splits with them on Tuesday. I got to go with my good friend Elder Grundvig, who is a STELLAR missinary. It was a ton of fun. At one point, we had an appointment at the church but we awkwardly realized that we didn't have keys to the church right before our appointment, so we had to find somewhere to sit down to teach. We saw this cafe and we went in but we thought we have to buy something. it was all SUPER expensive, so we got the cheapest thing, not really knowing what it was haha. never the best idea. Luckily it wasn't beer or Champagne like Steph experienced but it was this one tiny thing that cost twenty times what we usually paid for it uggh haha. But it was a good appointment. We also got to teach a referral that I had given to them, so that was cool. Anyways just an all around great day, awesome to work with Elder Grundvig. 

Then that night, we made... WAFFLES!! Because the assistants have a waffle iron, but they have never used it! We were all stoked, we bought syrup and REAL whipped cream. Sadly we are all terrible at making waffles, so it was kind of a disaster. But hey, you put whipped cream and syrup on anything, it's pretty delicious!

Wednesday and Thursday were just normal.
On Friday, we brought our Bekasi District Leader Elder Forston (who is my beloved friend from the MTC) and his new companion, fresh from the states Elder Earl up to split with them. It was awesome!! I got to go with Elder Earl - he is a way cool kid from Utah. Super positive and just a great missionary. We had an awesome and quite unique day haha We had four different appointments at the church and also taught English Class. So we were just at the church pretty much the entire, which is a good thing because we were teaching the entire day, but it was definitely weird to be at the church that long. it was great though - we found a new investigator and taught some other investigators that are progressing. We also saw some miracles as we tried to use our 10 and 30 minute breaks to go outside and contact people! 

Then after that day, we went back to Bekasi and do splits on Saturday with another companionship in Bekasi! That was way fun - I got to go with Elder Gomez, an Elder from the Philippines. That was way fun. He's still pretty new, but a great missionary. He was trained by my boy Elder Hansen, so of course he is way fantastic. So anyways a lot of fun! We had a good time and we felt the Spirit leading us.
But the thing is on Sunday- I was WAY tired. I was just dead. Elder Johnson and I were walking around contacting that evening and I felt like I almost fainted (then again it was also Fast Sunday haha)! But we had a great Sunday! four simpatisan came! Brother B should be getting baptized next week, so that is pretty exciting! 

We had a pretty crazy experience and we kind of have a feeling that we've been getting phone calls from an Angel haha. we don't know if anything will come from it, but there was just too many coincidences, so we will follow up on that for sure haha. just kind of a cool experience.

Whether or not that was from the Spirit guiding us or not, I do know that the work we are doing is truly the work of God. I know that He leads this work. I know that Jesus Christ is truly our Savior and He loves each and every one of us. And because He loves us, He called Joseph Smith to be a prophet so that the true and living Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in its fullness. I know that Christ leads this Church and I know He leads this work. I'm so grateful for the chance I have to be part of it! It is incredible.
I love you all and I hope you all have an amazing week.

Elder Brown

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I love my Savior Jesus Christ

Hey Mommy!
It's been a bit rough this week with finding those other three, we have one who made a baptismal commitment but didn't make it to church so we were kind of bummed about that. But hopefully there is sincere desire and commitment to follow Jesus Christ.

Elder Boenari lives in Bekasi which is really just a section of Jakarta. His English is good, but my Indonesian has also become much better since those days haha!

A lot of really good things happened this week. MLC was this week - that was a great meeting that I hope will inspire us all to work harder, have greater faith and rely more on the Lord! We also went on a split with the Jakarta District Leader this last week. I went with ELDER Daniel Gasio. He is AWESOME! I loved the time we spent together! It was a great day!! We also had some good lessons! We got to teach a pastor which was pretty fun - we'll see him again next week!
PB came to church again, so we were glad about that! We think he will be ready to be baptized in a couple of weeks.

So everything is going great, sorry I can't really think of anything else.

I am really working on my ability to follow the Spirit and rely on the Lord. It's hard!! I think a large part of it is just why am I here and really what is motivating me to be here. Also the love I have for the Lord and for the people here!

Anyway, I love you all so much!! I miss you!
I know that we are truly God's children - each of us and that He loves us and I want to share that with everyone. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I know that He also loves all you as well!!
Have an amazing week!!

Elder Brown

Ate some awesome food!

Got a package from Stephanie!