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