Elder Brown in Montauban

Elder Brown in Montauban

Monday, April 16, 2012

La Pluie

Elder McCarty and I have been caught off-guard multiple times this week by fast-moving rain clouds, but aside from swimming home to the apartment to change clothes we've had a great week!
Jeanne made it to church!  She and Madeleine were both there! They had been awake since 11 in the morning on Saturday (I'm not sure why they didn't find the time to sleep), but they made the effort! We also had two other investigators at church: Marie and Jeremie!  We taught them for the first time on Wednesday.  Both are members of "l'église réformée d'Agen", a protestant evangelical church here.  They were doubtful about reading the Book of Mormon, but accepted our invitation to come to church with us...if we went to church with them!  So, with the permission of President Murdock, we went to a church meeting on Friday night.  It was...a lot different, to say the least!  Everyone there was very kind, and we were treated very kindly.  As I sang along to the songs played by the band (the words were up on a projector screen), it just made me want to share the restored gospel with everyone there!  Here I was, surrounded by tons of people with plenty of faith in Jesus Christ.  They worship God with the light they have received, and I'd love to help them find more.
So, back to Marie and Jeremie!  As promised, they came to church on Sunday morning!  The lesson in Priesthood and Relief Society: Temple work!  So that was new for them.  At church, I gave Marie a copy of the Livre de Mormon with my testimony in it and several scriptures marked.  She texted me throughout the day yesterday saying: "I'm reading 'Testimony of Joseph Smith'", and "wow! There are a lot of great things in the Book of Mormon! I would like to talk again!"  I love it when people READ the Book of Mormon.  It's such a simple thing to do, but SO MANY people find some lame excuse to not read it and thus miss all the truth and power written in its pages.  If all of our investigators would really read the book...that would be SO COOL.
One other thing:  On Saturday morning I said "bonjour" to an old lady passing by on her bike.  She flashed me the kindest smile I had seen in a long time.  But then she was gone.  In the afternoon, we were the ones on bikes, and I said "bonjour" to another old lady on the other side of the city.  But then I saw that same smile and realized it was the same woman.  I hit my brakes and turned around, with Elder McCarty following.  We rode back up to her and I said "Je pense qu'on s'est vu ce matin, n'est-ce pas?" She told me that indeed, we had seen each other that morning.  She had been surprised that two young men she didn't know would say hello to her.  We got to talking a little, and she explained that her husband had died less than a year ago.  She's catholic.  I asked her: "do you believe that families are forever?"  She looked at me with wide eyes and said: "I don't know.  What can you tell me about that?"  We then talked about the restoration of the gospel and the plan of salvation.  When I explained the Great Apostasy, she said: "I have asked so many different representatives from so many different religions and you are the first who've been able to explain that to me."
In short, Madame Bouysses is, in my opinion, prepared to receive the gospel!  I'm so excited to call her in two weeks when she comes back from a vacation! We left her with two brochures on the restoration and the family.
I am loving my time here in Agen.  We are working and searching!  The Gospel is true!
I love you all!
-Elder Brown

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Salut tout le monde - April 10 2012

Salut, tout le monde!

I'm glad to hear that spring break went so well for all of you! We had a great time too!

Dad, je suis d'accord avec toi; mois aussi, j'ai beaucoup aimé les discours faits par Elder Hallstrom, Elder Holland, et Elder Bednar, ainsi que celui d'Elder (bishop?) Edgeley.  Est-ce que quelqu'un pourrait m'envoyer les adresses de Jason Walker, Alex Peck, et Colton Nachtwey?
Mom, I gave the easter candies to Jeanne's kids on Sunday, and they were very excited! So was Jeanne, although I daresay she dreaded the thought of little tiny balls of chocolate rolling all throughout the house!
Kendra, oui, nous avons mangé un excellent repas de Pâques, car Madame N'Diaye nous a préparé quelques plats africains! Mmm! Ça me fait bizarre de penser que tu passe du temps avec Laura et Janet, car on les voit tout le temps sur les DVDs de "The District"!
Drew, I know how you feel not wanting to work in school.  I have no advice except this: RUN FAST, BOY!!  Who needs school?! Nah, just kidding.  Pray for a greater desire to do your homework and then get it done. I'm cheering for ya, bro! By the way, make sure somebody takes videos at your meets.
Steph, from what mom says you'll soon have a whole herd of baby farm animals!  Is the guard llama really a guard llama? How's your swing coming?  Keep up the missionary work, bubba!
Trev, that's my kind of spring break!  How's the pole vault coming along?  Have you been trying other events too?  Go get that freshman record!

Alright, here comes an update on what we have going on here in Agen...
Mom, you're right about Elder McCarty; he's such a great companion.  So humble, such a desire to serve the Lord and his fellow man, so diligent and hardworking.  Now that's my kind of companion!  The work is moving along!  As for your questions, mom, Jeanne and Madeleine are doing quite well!  When we gave Madeleine her baptismal calendar, Jeanne said: "I think I'd like to prepare to be baptized on the 5th of May as well.  That means I'll have to come to church on the 15th, the 22nd, and the 29th..."  So that's the goal we have for this week: help Jeanne make it to church!  She had been planning to come for Easter sunday, but was awakened at 2:00 in the morning by the police ringing her doorbell.  I won't give you details, but please pray really hard for Jeanne, because she has so much to deal with right now.  She feels overwhelmed morally and physically. 
On saturday night something really cool happenned; we had spent all day being yanked around the city like dogs on a leash from one rescheduled appointment to another.  In the end, amm of the "appointments" fell through.  Around 7:30 we were feeling pretty sorry for ourselves--not because of fatigue, but more because we felt that we had not accomplished much that day; the apointments that our amis moved around and then cancelled had prevented us from going were we wanted to in order to find new amis.  In any case, we were determined to keep working in faith!  As we walked, Elder McCarty stopped, looking back, and said: "Elder Brown, est'-ce qu'on peut parler avec cet homme-là?" So we went and talked with him, only to realize that he spoke only spanish!  We recited our MTC phrases: "We are missionaries of the Church of Jesus christ of Latter-day Saints" and "the Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus-Christ." I turned around, looking for someone that spoke my language, and voilà!  Standing right behind us were Cecilia (a less active member from Columbia whom Elder Tulley and I had met during our first week here but who had not felt ready to meet with us), her husband Patrick, and their son Raphael.  turns out the spanish-speaking man was Cecilia's brother!  I asked if we could teach them, and they agreed!  It was a cool experience to share the message of the Restored Gospel with Cecilia and her family, and we'll be seeing them again tommorrow!  I'm not sure where that will go (because they want to go VERY SLOWLY), but I'm grateful the Lord placed them on our path!
This morning we helped a man with some renovation work on his house (we're going back right after this);  I'll tell you more about la famille Abezzot next week. We hope to be able to teach them soon!
Alright, emails time is up.  I love you all!  I love serving the Lord and I know that the missionary work in which we are involved is His work.  Christ has restored His true Church to the earth!  I'm grateful for the gift of His Atonement and Resurrection.
I love you all! 
à bientôt,
Edler Brown

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012

Chers famille et amis,

I'm sorry to hear of the lousy weather back home, but I sure hope you managed to get a few pictures of the flooding!  Did the little pigs get washed away?
Trev, you won 1000 dollars in eCyber mission?!  That's legit!  Sorry you didn't get a chance to vault this week, but keep up the good work and you'll set a freshman record!
Steph, that's one cute little pig you've got there!  What's its name?  How's your swing coming along?
Drew, 41.4?! Good work! That must have felt good to take the race by a tenth of a second!  It sounds like vaulting and hurdles always step on each others' feet; usually, they should let you have a run-through if you have to leave and come back...keep it up, bro!
Kendra, tu t'es fiancée? C'est vrai que je n'y ai pas cru quand j'ai vu ton message, mais comme tu l'as dit: 'tout est possible à BYU' ! Merci de m'avoir inscrit à mes cours, mais je te garantis que je ne vais pas les regarder!
Mom,  I'd like to see a few families in Montpellier but I have no clear idea.  La famille DeBarcellos...if I have other ideas I'll tell you.
Dad, Je viens de recevoir un message de la part de Serge Petelo, qui m'a souhaité un joyeux anniversaire!  Veuille le remercier de ma part! 

This week was so great!  On monday I had the enormous blessing of teaching a lesson with Pierrick; he's INCREDIBLE--So full of light! He bore his testimony to the ami (Anthony), and shared the experience of how the Lord answered his prayer about being baptized.  I was so moved by Pierrick's testimony that I very nearly cried during the lesson!  What a stud. We talked for a while after (before he had to take off for the movies with the other young adults).  He's been thinking a lot about serving a mission; for the moment he wants to help his family learn more about the church. "If I left right now, my grandma would say: 'that church kidnapped my grandson!'"
I spent all of tuesday in the train/bus.  It is always so much fun to see the other missionaries (there were sixteen trainers all told).  Elder Bollero, Elder Winslow, Elder Garlock, Elder Turley, Elder Gouttin (his uncle lived in Toulouse when I was there), Soeur Harline (she was in my District in Nice)...so much fun!
Elder McCarty, my new companion, is a miracle!  He's so humble, so diligent, and so ready to work!  He's speaks pretty decent french, although he doesn't think so.  Please pray that he may receive the gift of tongues.
As for General conference...we were supposed to watch it at Frère Zambo's house, but soeur Zambo called us at nine in the morning to say that we couldn't come because her son, Yannick, was very sick.  That left us hanging, to say the least!  But in the end we found a solution; As we were riding out to a neighborhood to knock on doors (the back-up plan), we rode past our usual cybercafe and it was open!  I explained the situation to the owner and he said no problem--even let us stay inside when he closed down the shop at lunchtime!  We just did a two-session marathon of the priesthood and saturday afternoon sessions.  It worked out better because we got to watch in english! We watched the Sunday morning session with Jeanne and Madeleine (their mom didn't watch but she cooked us a delicious african dinner!).  They both loved it, and really felt the Spirit as President Monson spoke! 
I loved General conference!  As usual, we still haven't been seen the Sunday afternoon session, but as for the ones we saw I say hurrah for Israel!  I'm so grateful for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life, and I know it's true.  I'm grateful for the inspired men that God has called as prophets and apostles to guide this great Church. I love being a missionary!!!!! And I love you!!!!!!!!
-Elder Brown

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thanks for the BIrthday Wishes - March 20 2012

Oh, wow.  I love seeing those track photos!  What a studly family I have!  Keep sending 'em!
Dad, do you know un frère Deforge?  C'est l'évêque de la paroisse d'Angers.  Notre amie, Lénise, va déménager à Angers en juin, donc on lui a donné l'adresse de l'église puisqu'elle a passé le weekend là-bas.
Mom, you fed almost two hundred ATHLETES?!  Good work!  I bet more than half of them never get to bless their food before eating it!  Also, thank you so much for the birthday package!  I'm excited to give away those easter baskets.  Good photo work too!
Kendra, I sent you a message and a letter.  Je t'aime!
Drew, I like that hurdles picture but it looks COLD!  The vaulting will come.  One thing I missed my senior year was being able to do more than two events.  I wasn't as much of a decathlete as you are!
Steph, looking lovely and strong!  By the way, I got the cinderella reference.  As for "flopping over the bar", that happens because the pole is beating you--if it starts recoiling during your swing, your energy will be wasted "fighting" to get vertical before the pole does.  Thus, you end up "muscling" over the bar at the end rather than adding your swing energy into the pole and then "riding" the recoil. Even if you're take-off is weak and you're left arm collapses (I did that a lot), you can immediately repent by rowing the pole upward as you swing.  In this way you'll stilll be "putting bend in", instead of letting it come out, as you swing.  Good luck, bubba.
Trevor, I'm excited to hear about you're vaulting!  That'd be sweet if you can make varsity this year, but just remember that you'd probably be confined to pole vault alone.  Make sure to work other events while you have time!  Why is Mckay injured?

Alright, let's talk about Agen!  We've been running about twice a week to a track not far from our apartment--I ran a 5:40 mile last week!  Not bad for an out of shape missionary!  Don't ask me to run anything shorter, though; that's where "out of shape" takes on more meaning!
We've had an interesting week.  A lot of unexpected stuff happenned this week.  We found out a bit more about David; I won't go into any details, but keep praying for David. For the moment he's decided to cancel his baptism.
Sorry to start with the bad news.  Xavier is doing well!  Unfortunately we've only taught him once this week (he loved the Plan of Salvation) because he hurt his ankle really bad and couldn't get around.  He's better now, though!  We'll be teaching him tomorrow night. 
Madeleine (Jeanne's sister) is really progressing in her reading!  She loved Lehi's dream, which we read together.  We also taught her the ten commandments, and she is happy to be growing in knowledge!  She fell in the stairway on saturday, which made it impossible for her to come to church.  Jeanne couldn't make it either because her friend's daughter had a sudden appendix emergency...
We found a single muslim woman and her five kids yesterday!  We'll be teaching her and her kids again on wednesday.
Last week we had zone conference and blues (trainees) conference.  While in Toulouse I got to send a few texts to Pierrick with Elder Hemsley's phone!  He's doing great, and he had also written me a postcard! 
I'm out of time once again, but I'd just like to say that I know President Murdock is an inspired man.  He's just so full of light and love, and I'm so grateful for his inspired leadership.  It's such a joy to serve, and it goes by too fast!
I love you all!  Thanks for helping me have an awesome birthday!
-Elder Brown

Monday, March 12, 2012

Quelle Joie!!!!

Bonjour à tous!

Quelle semaine!  We had such an awesome week!  The happiest thing for me was to get the news of Pierrick's baptism!  He was baptized two days ago, and I would have given anything to be there!  Elder Larson called me Saturday evening to give me a little run-down on the service; Pierrick's parents came, and stayed after to talk with the young adults and Bishop Depuydt.  Elder Larson said it was one of the most touching baptismal services he'd ever attended!
Getting that call just made my week.  I'm so proud of Pierrick!  I hope to be able to introduce you to him.
We're getting an exchange student?  Right on!  I hope his English isn't to good; that way he'll be forced to speak french with me, all day!
Thanks for all of you news!  I love reading it!
Dad, Je suis en train de relire le petit bouquin que tu m'as écrit! Merci encore maintes et maintes fois, car en lisant je ressens l'amour que tu as pour le peuple, l'oeuvre, et moi!  Merci de ton exemple; t'es le meilleur papa qu'on puisse avoir!
Mom, I love you!  Thanks for everything! We need a primary really badly...
Kendra, merci pour tout le travail que tu fais pour moi!  Vas-y, je te fais confiance.  Inscris-moi dans tous les cours qui te semblent bons, et puis on verra ce que ça donne., Je t'aime, et JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE!!!
Drew, try to do technique training before running the workout, if you can.  It's best to work on technique when your fresh.  Keep it up, bro--I'm proud of you!  P.S. no, you didn't write too much.
Steph, what a gangsta you is.  You should be locked up!
Trev, vault high, mon petit frère!  I'm excited to hear about the season!

ALright, I only have a few minutes left, but I'll just tell you that our ami David is going to be baptized on the 24th!  He's been taught a lot in the past but never managed to get over his cigarette addiction.  He's finally done it, and now he's preparing for baptism!  Pray for him!  ALso, we have a new ami named Xavier--it's weird to think that he's younger than Drew, because he turned 18 in february!  He is from an atheist family, but he's accepted to be baptized on the 31st provided that he receives the answer to his prayers! 
David, Yolande, Xavier, Madeleine, Madina, Lénise, and her kids all came to church yesterday!  Jeanne didn't make it because she didn't want to leave her mom to deal with all of the kids.  Next week we'll put together a primary so she won't have an excuse to not bring them!
The Lord is helping our area so much!  We don't deserve it, but we are deeply grateful for the enormous blessings that He's pouring out on Agen!  It is such a privilege to participate in this marvelous work, and it truly is a wonder!
I love you all!  Have a splendid week!
à bientôt!
-Elder Brown

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Comme Il fait beau!!! - March 6, 2012

 Alright, time for some english, for the benefit of the general population!  We had another seven days full of blessings this week! Our amis are doing great! 
Unfortunately, Jeanne was feeling really bad on Sunday morning and so she didn't make it to church. However, Madeleine and Madina (Jeanne's sister and cousin) both came!
Christophe Mariette came again, and Quentin too!  Church went pretty well, with just a few unusual hang-ups...
Christophe is really progressing quite well!  He wants to be baptized on March 24th!   We'll see how that's gonna work out...
We had a really great second appointment with Michaël and Maria, and la famille Zambo! They didn't make it to church because they were tired from moving the day before.
We have an awesome new amie named Marlène!  We were supposed to see her this evening but she just called to cancel because of a schedule change.
On saturday (with permission from President Murdock), I watched a rugby game for the first time in my life!  Lisiate, one of our rugby-playing amis, gave us free tickets!
We only stayed for the first half (forty minutes, but the clock never stops).  It was pretty cool but really confusing!
Yesterday we had another unforeseen dinner; we arrived at Jeanne's house to teach them, and her mom said "D'accord, vous allez faire la lecture ensemble, mais d'abord à table!"
She had prepared a delicious meal of steak and fries, just for us and frère Zambo (the rest of the family had already eaten)!  I almost couldn't bring myself to eat.  Firstly, we had just eaten lunch two hours before.
Secondly, and more importantly, Jeanne works all week, sixteen hours a day, to provide for her kids.  We insisted on her letting us come over next Sunday to help her out with cleaning before the appointment.
We'll see if we can sneak over and do it on Saturday so she can have a restful sabbath day.  Their entire family already loves us!
today I made an apple cake for Jeanne's birthday on March 8th!  Oh by the way, mom; I don't know if there's anything specific you could send for Jeanne's kids, but who knows?
I'd sure they'd love anything you can think of (maybe even some primary stuff...).
Alright, I gotta go!  I am loving the time the Lord has given me to serve here in Agen!  We're here for a reason, and I know the Lord is helping us in our work.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is TRUE, and it is restored in it's fulness!  Tell somebody about it, and have a great week!
Je vous aime!
-Elder Brown

Monday, February 27, 2012

Explosion of Awesome Awesomeness - February 27, 2012

Yes, I know the heading of this message is a bit redundant, but that's the only way to describe what happened since last monday.  I have NEVER seen a week like this. EVER!  
First off...
Mom, good luck with your new calling!  
Kendra, thanks for getting my housing done!  You have no idea how much I haven't been thinking about that at all!  Thanks for all the stress you went through.  Also, thanks for checking on Craig and Auston.  Jeanelle and Jake!  I might have known; that is SO fun!
Drew, get well soon.
Steph, don't race.
Trev, run fast!

Alright, it's a shame that I don't have much time to write. This week we found just about a million new investigators!  We're going to see la famille David in one hour.  Nicole and Jacques are both about 75 years old; Jacques is very Catholic and Nicole doesn't believe in God anymore since her son dies four years ago at forty years of age.  Later tonight we're heading off to see Christophe Mariette, who came to church this week!  Lydie (an old amie that we re-found this week) came to church as well!  Tomorrow we'll be teaching Madame Castin, a woman of about 70.  She's really...spicy!  She let's you know what's on her mind.  We'll also be seeing Michael and Maria (I mentionned them about four weeks ago) tomorrow.  
Also, we ran into Opeti and Losi again; we showed them the Restoration DVD, and they cooked us (without warning us) an enormous tongan dinner.  I was seriously not hungry at all the next day.  Our other new amis are Rodrigue and Jean-Charles, and I want to tell you a story about the other three...
But first, we taught Quentin last night!  We just rang his doorbell and he let us in!  We're going to see him again on Wednesday to read together.  He's still searching as hard as ever, but not in the right places; he had stopped reading the Book of Mormon. However, last night he sent me a text message in which he quoted 1 Nephi 3:7 and said "I was wondering how I'd manage to find the time to read with all of the schoolwork I've got, and then I read this verse. I called my friend to see what we had to do for tomorrow; nothing!"  
So, as for our last three investigators; we found them yesterday.  We went to an appointment with a man that had wanted to teach him and his wife.  Frère Zambo came with us.  The man wasn't there, but the woman who answered the interphone suggested that we go looking for him at the little fair that was going on.  We searched in vain, but came back and rang again.  He still wasn't there, but I told the woman that we were missionnaries, and asked if we could come up.  She hesitated, then pressed the button to unlock the door.  We went upstairs to meet Jeanne (with whom I had talked on the interphone), Madeleine, Madina, and their mother (I don't know her first name and I won't even try to spell her last name.  La famille N'DIAYE (I abbreviated, I think) is from Mali and Senegal.  After a few minutes of waiting, we managed to have the whole family sit down on the couch as we taught the message of the restoration.  As I listened to Jeanne (she talked the most) explain a bit about her past, her religious background, how she works sixteen hours a day  every weekday to support her five young kids, and how she and her husband are separated since four years ago, I felt so calm.  It was so peaceful as we taught the mesage of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus-Christ.  We immediately laughed together and had a room full of friends.  It's difficult to describe that wonderful feeling, which came from the Holy Ghost.  Jeanne accepted our invitation to be baptized on March 31st.  Her sisters wee more hesitant, and her mom is muslim.  I haven't felt so at peace in a rendez-vous for a long time.
I gottat go, but I am so grateful to be working here in Agen.  The Lord has showered blessings out upon us, to the point that we don't have room enough to recieve them!
I love you all§  Have a great week!
-Elder Brown