Monday, September 25, 2017

Hello from Manado!!

Manado is GREAT!! It is SO different from everywhere else, just the feel is pretty different. It's more of a small town. Am I really that far away?? Wow.

I love it here already!  it's really beautiful. it's cool , so many people are Christian here, so it makes the way we work pretty different! It's been great so far. Elder McWhorter is one of a kind! He is a great missionary. He is so nice and fun and happy and he works really hard. His testimony is so  powerful - it is incredible!

But ya, last week was pretty crazy. I went on Tuesday to the mission home at Senopati and really enjoyed MLC there with all the Zone leaders and Sister Training Leaders and then slept in that house. In the morning, we flew to Surabaya and I got to work a day or so with Elder Siddoway and Wijaya, that was great!! I LOVED riding a bike again, even if it was only for a day!! Didn't feel the earthquake though, Then we had Zone Conference on Friday, which was really great!! We learned a lot. We've been doing a lot of role-play which is really helping us become more powerful teachers. One of the senior missionaries told me that elder McWhorter and I taught really well together, which was cool because we had never taught together at all before that.

Then on Saturday, we flew in to Manado and it is AWESOME!! It honestly feels more like Hawaii than Indonesia haha. I really love it though! We will see so many miracles here!! I am so excited.

Church was really great and the branch is cool! They usually have about 70 in attendance!

Anyways, everything is great.  Oh ya one thing more - it's interesting, because there are two houses here, so Elder McWhorter and I live alone, so that is a new experience for me!!
The house was really dirty when I came in, but we did some good cleaning!
I had to teach 3rd hour priesthood yesterday (I was told about 20 minutes before). We talked about family scripture study - so thank you for always being a great example of that!! You are amazing!!
I really like this new city but it is definitely different!! Here churches will play music and sermons over the loud speakers which is so different than in other cities haha!! I hope everything is going super great with everyone!!

So yeah everything is great!
Elder Brown

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