Week 3?

I think it’s week 3, I can’t remember.

This week was interesting, tough, and kinda fun I guess. Mostly tough.

Christmas was fun and all, but it really threw a wrench in our plans
of doing actual missionary work. We weren’t being lazy or disobedient,
but nobody wanted anything to do with us. I don’t blame them either, I
wouldn’t want to be bugged by random people who looked like
salespeople on Christmas Eve.

So, we got a total of 0 lessons this week. Ya.

This upcoming week should be better because Christmas is over, so
there’s hope there.

But I really don’t have much to talk about on the gospel side of
missionary work. It’s hard when you have only 2 investigators (yes
two), and no referrals. It just means a lot of knocking.

Anyhow, I will be sharing a lot of “tracting tales” today because
that’s really all we have done.

So many doors… *shudder* …so many…

There are tons of really interesting people out here in South
Carolina. I have “knocked” into prophets, gang members, and the works.

Oh and a Satan worshiper (kinda). I’ll get into that later.

Remember last week when I said that there is a lot of poverty out
here? Yea. It’s bad.

One of our pastimes is something we call “G-Stomping,” aka “ghetto
stomping.” Basically it’s where you go and “stomp” or knock around in
a run down apartment complex and see who you can pull up from the
place. It’s actually quite successful because poor people are always
more willing to listen.

Our favorite stomping grounds are the Commonwealth Apartments. The
wealth part of Commonwealth is definitely missing. It’s so bad, it
isn’t even common. The one thing that is common there is drugs. We’ve
heard gunshots a few times too.

I should note that even though this is not a super good area, we are
safe. Why? Because the locals know who we are, what we stand for, and
they respect us. We’re still cautious in these types of areas, but we
feel safe, and there has only been one occasion where we felt we
needed to leave.

Trust me, we are safe. If we ever felt unsafe, we would leave immediately.

In fact, we feel less welcome in richer, nicer areas, because people
are mean and un-open to what we have to say. We’ve had rich people try
to call the cops on us several times now.

Anyway, enough of the safety stuff.

We were g-stomping through Commonwealth when we knocked into a guy who on the spot claimed he was a devil worshiper. I remember thinking, “wow, well I can check this one off my list.” We had a very lengthy discussion with him about good and evil, and it wasn’t until the end that he said “naw guys I’ve been messing with you. I don’t worship
Satan, I am actually really religious but I like to mess with people
like you.” We felt kinda dumb, but it was pretty funny. He ended up
being a cool dude and we are going to meet up with him again.

Also during that stomp-sesh we knocked into a little girl,  asked her if
she would give a Book of Mormon to her mom, and she said she couldn’t
because she was on drugs. We thought she was being funny, but come to
find out later she was dead serious. Her mom was in bed, high as a
kite, on some sort of hardcore drug. We gave it to her sister instead,
and that was that. Yay.

Christmas was good. I got to call home which was fun. Honestly though,
it was kind of a pain because it made missionary work really hard. I
never thought I would want the holiday season to be over, but man, I
kinda do.

I had Christmas Eve dinner at the C.’s house, where I had the ending
of the new Star Wars movie spoiled for me. I am livid.

Christmas Day involved me sitting around a lot. We had no
investigators, which meant no lessons. Since we weren’t allowed to go
tracting on Christmas, we had to just sit and wait for our dinner
appointment. Yay.

Thank you for all of the packages and letters by the way! It made my
Christmas much more interesting.

The favorite thing I read this week is the section on the atonement in

True to the Faith. It is awesome, and if you haven’t read it you
should, especially if you struggle to understand the atonement.

Anyway, I gotta go. I’ll talk to you peeps next week. Sorry this one
was kinda short.

Later,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

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Elder Brown Christmas morning.

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No idea about this one, so I’d just say, “Random field in Conway, SC.”

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Finally an email

unnamedOh my do I have so much to say. It has been a crazy last few days…

First off, I apologize that I was not able to call home in the airport, I will explain the story behind that in a bit. I also apologize for the last few emails, I had very little time to email in the MTC, however out here I have much more time.
Anyway, let’s just say that I have learned so much and have more things to talk about than I have words.
I’ll start by filling you in on last week.
So basically the week was the same as the previous. The differences were that I had some successful lessons with investigators and even a baptism commitment.
I also can say that I set things right with Elder “Sheendawg” Sheen. I realized that I was being a prideful jerk and I started looking at the good in him. I left the MTC with the same personality, but a better understanding of how to get along with everyone, especially those who have nothing in common with me.
Let me give you a little background on Sheendawg now that he isn’t staring at me while I type this. He is from Twin Falls Idaho, he is the youngest of nine children, and his favorite things to do are walk and read. He is going to South Carolina as well. (I have no idea what area he went to though.) Literally he does nothing else for fun. You can imagine that we had nothing in common, and that’s a rare occurrence because I like a lot of stuff. The best word to describe him is “robot.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am really grateful that he was my companion, but man, he was tough to get used to.
I started realizing after about a week that I wasn’t happy. I realized that it was because I was really focused on myself. I decided to focus on him and look for the good in him. It took forever, and it was really hard, but I eventually started becoming friends with him.
Looking back, I would never have traded Elder Sheen for anyone. He showed me how to be a better person and I left the MTC with more knowledge about myself than I ever could have because of him.
Anyway, the day soon came for us to leave. We got up at 2 am, finished packing, and got in line at the travel office. It decided to snow, and it was cold. We finally got on the bus and drove to the train station, and then from there we took the train to the airport.
Our airplane took like 45 minutes to take off because they had to de-ice it. That’s why we almost missed our flight, and I couldn’t call you. Sorry about that.
Anyway, once we got to South Carolina we were met at the airport by President and Sister Turner. They are really nice people. They took us to their home, fed us, and then we stayed the night there. There were about 14 of us.
The next day was transfers, and that’s when I was assigned to be in the Conway South Carolina area. Conway is just a bit southwest of Myrtle Beach. Conway is awesome. There are some very beautiful and green places, but there are also some very ugly and poverty stricken areas. A lot of the area is very similar to the not so good parts of Sacramento, just more green.
My companion is Elder Kuamo’o. He is from Hawaii, however his family is living in southern California right now. He has 9 months left of his mission. He is really easy to get along with and we have a lot of similar interests.
We have been working really well together, and have been really successful considering our circumstances.
Speaking of our circumstances…
Me and Elder K are both new to this area. We are “whitewashing” the area. For those of you that don’t know, whitewashing is where they switch out all of the missionaries and start from scratch. Usually they do this when the past missionaries in the area weren’t doing their job.
We had no idea.
Me and Elder K get to our house (we are staying in an old small house that a member rents out) and flip on the light. Holy freak. It was appalling.
The last elders had trashed the place. Big time. There was dirt, trash, clothes and filth everywhere. Most of the lights didn’t work, the sink was clogged, and there was a huge accumulation of junk missionaries had left behind all over the place. I will send pictures next week, but I can’t today because the computer lab was closed for the holidays so I am sending this from my iPad. The only pictures I’ll be able to send are from my iPad today. So sorry about that.
We spent several hours cleaning, fixing and tidying everything up. It was disgusting. When you jumped on the carpet dirt would fling up.
Luckily, Elder K had some connections and a member was able to take us to the store, and she helped us get cleaning supplies and such.
The old elders also marooned us. We are fortunate enough to have a car, and our area is huge, so we kinda need it. Each area has an allotted number of miles allowed per month, so we have to be conservative with driving. I guess the old elders knew they were being transferred, so they blew all of the miles for our area, and we still had half of a month left! We called the mission office and they told us they couldn’t do much for us, but they gave us a few extra miles. It wasn’t until Saturday that we realized that there was no way we were going to be able to get around with what we had. We were having to plan out every single mile of our day and we still were not able to make do with what we had.
Saturday was pretty rough. We were sitting in a parking lot, not able to do anything because we had run out of BOM’s and we weren’t able to go home, because once we drove home, we wouldn’t have enough miles to do anything else that day. Eventually, Elder k decided to call one of the AP’s he was pretty close to, and he allowed us 350 extra miles for the rest of the month. Thank goodness they were friends, because there was no way we were going to do anything without more miles.
The old elders also did nothing with missionary work. They left us 2 investigators and that’s about it. That’s a small amount for those of you who don’t know what normal amounts should be. The investigators weren’t very solid either. You could say we were starting from below ground zero.
Anyway, despite these challenges, we have been doing really well. We have had a really successful week and have made friends with lots of the members, which is really important out here. We had “knocked” into a few new investigators, and we have done really well considering our circumstances.
Things about South Carolina
It is WAYYYY humid here. It makes Hawaii seem mild. The weather is bipolar too. It can be cold and in the 40’s, and then 86 degrees the next day. Christmas is going to be 83 degrees. I can’t contain my excitement….
I never really appreciated California’s anti smoking culture, because EVERYBODY smokes here. Let’s just say that when I get home at night, I reek of cig smoke. People are always smoking here. ALWAYS.
Anyhow, here’s a cool story.
So Conway was Elder K’s first area. His first contact was on a dark alley way in the middle of a rainstorm. The only way he knew someone was there was because he saw a cigarette flare up in the darkness. He was terrified, but the guy ended up being really nice, and he invited them into their home for hot chocolate and a gospel discussion. His name was Tim. He was a very religious man and has scriptures tattooed on his arms. They became friends with Tim, and although he never ended up being baptized, they still stayed friends. The first person Elder K took me to see was Tim. It has been 2 years since they had seen each other (Elder K has had a longer mission because he went home for almost a year). Tim was not doing well, his kids had just been taken from him, on false accusations of child abuse. Although he wasn’t in trouble with the law, his kids were not able to be with him until they cleared the case in court. At the same time, he had just lost his job, and his car broke down. He was not a very wealthy person to start off with.
We had come at a time when Tim had just hit his lowest point. We left a short message of comfort with him, and he wept. It was cool seeing a rekindled friendship between Elder K and Tim, and it was also cool to see the person that Elder K had already told me all about.
We don’t think it was a coincidence that we were sent here, and Elder K was sent back right during Tim’s life low.
Anyhow, that’s the story.
Amd that’s about it. It’s been a good week. A really tough one, but a really fun and satisfying one. I’m having a blast to say the least.
Later.
Elder Jeremiah Brown
P.S. Don’t use dearelder.com anymore. I can check my email daily, and dear elder takes longer here. Also, all packages sent to me need to be sent to the mission home with priority mail, otherwise it will take a transfer or so to get to me.

Week 2ish yo

I don’t have much time today, cause today is not actually my PDay, but I am allowed to email quickly as I won’t actually have a P-Day this week.
Ok so quick highlights of this week:
I have officially gained weight. Not sure how much yet, but I definitely have.
Thank you everyone for the packages and mail, I wish that I could respond individually to them but there were so many I didn’t know what to do. I literally have so much food from packages that I don’t know what to do. I have probably over 175 cookies and that is just the start. Thanks to Adrian, Caisa and family for the star wars socks. I am wearing them as I type this.
Things have gone really well between me and my companion. I will tell more of the story behind me learning to stop focusing on how happy I am, and just on others’ happiness in a later email, cause I don’t have a lot of time.
Our investigator Mina committed to baptism.
Sophia’s letter was amazing. One of the best parts of my week.
To Owen (I think): What the heck.
Basically this week consisted of me doing a lot of class and studying and then sleeping for the rest of the time. It snowed today which is awesome. Last time I’ll be in the snow for two years probably.
Ok I have got to go. I will call you tomorrow and we can talk then. I will give a more detailed email next week, I just am really in a hurry.
I have taken some photos, and they will be on a separate email.
Stay awesome,
Elder Jeremiah Brown
P.S. I highly recommend DearElder.com for mail that you want me to respond to quickly, because that is the fastest way of getting a hold of me. Also, don’t send anything to the MTC anymore because I will not be there. Peace.
(Jeremiah thought he would be able to call from the airport on his way to SC.  Unfortunately for unknown reasons that did not occur.)
Do I really want to post this next picture?  Here’s what Jeremiah had to say about it:
The MTC computers are dumb and they won’t let me send any more photos. So basically you get to see one photo of my messy desk. Yes dad nothing has changed, I am still a slob. Sorry about this, I’ll send actual photos next time, and I actually have some.DSC00416

Week 1 Yay

Ok, sorry Mom and Dad, I forgot to mention in my last email that that was just a check in email, not my P-Day.

Today is my P-Day. Sorry for making you wait.

Anyhow, I have a love-hate relationship with the MTC. A lot of times it is really fun, but then the other half of the time it is really hard.

The food here is good. It tastes exactly like the Morris Center food at BYU.

The highlight of my week was probably on Sunday when I got to see Elder Bednar’s Devotional “Character of Christ.” For those of you who have already been on missions, I highly recommend you go and find the written version of this talk online, because it is awesome. If you haven’t been on a mission yet and you are planning on going then just wait because you can’t see the video version of the devotional anywhere but the MTC as a missionary. It will be worth the wait, believe me.

I don’t have a ton of time, but I’ll try to give you a run down of how my week went, although it probably will not be as thorough as Elder Pickett’s…

Wednesday

Got to the MTC around 12:20, Grandma and Grandpa were nice enough to take me to IHOP with most of the Utah Brown family before I entered the MTC. I tried to find Elder Pickett so he could be my host but apparently he couldn’t be there. I ran into him later though. Basically after they gave me all of my papers and stuff I was sent to class, and we had class until dinner time. We have class in districts and there is sooooooooooo much. We spend like 12-13 hours a day in the classroom studying and being taught. My teachers are Sister Weiser and Brother Carver. They are pretty cool. I went to bed that night completely exhausted, but I couldn’t sleep. I love life sometimes.

Thursday

I don’t even remember what happened today cause I had no time to write in my journal. Thursday will forever remain a mystery.

Friday

We got papa Johns Pizza for dinner, that was a plus. We had lots of class and studying like normal.

Let me save myself some time. Imagine Brad’s-I mean Elder Pickett’s schedule and then remove language study. That’s my schedule.

I honestly can’t remember much of what happened in class except that we started teaching investigators on Friday. That went well but me and Elder Sheen (my companion) were still trying to get in the groove so they were a little rough.

Saturday

We started the day by doing service aka doing the janitor work for our dorms. Tons of fun. I did get to dump buckets of water all over the toilets though. Yay. We taught more investigators, and had more class time. It was good stuff.

Sunday

The highlight of my day was definitely the “Character’s of Christ,” but the Christmas Devotional was really good as well. Sacrament meeting was really cool too. Not much else happened, just a lot of studying and planning for future lessons.

Monday

Yesterday was hard. I was tired most of the day and we had tough lessons with the investigators. One of them went well though. The entire day I had issues focusing for some reason. The end of the day was crazy when a missionary in our residence chugged two liters of soda and ate 3 banana’s and puked everywhere. That definitely was the most interesting thing of the day.

Today I have done laundry and eaten food. I have done nothing productive and it is beautiful.

My companion is pretty nice. I kinda struggle getting along with him, but he doesn’t really struggle getting along with me.

He is a strange one. The only thing I can compare him to is a robot. I would tell you more but he is looking over my shoulder right now so i’ll tell you more next week.

His favorite things to do are reading and walking. He said so himself.

Lets just say I was going to rant about him this entire email but I decided not to because of Elder Bednar’s chastising remarks.

Brad’s entire zone knows me as “Photoshop Guy.” You can imagine why. I should really think twice about what I send in the mail.

Thanks for all the mail and packages. Special thanks to Owen for the horse tattoos. I really needed those. Pictures of them are to follow.

Stay crazy, stay awesome.

Love,
Elder Jeremiah Brown

(He added a few notes to us at the end, some of which I’m going to add here for your reading pleasure!)

Thanks for your guys’s letters, I appreciate them. I leave for South Carolina on the 15th. I have a layover in Georgia and then I’ll arrive in SC.

I am not too homesick don’t worry.

I ran into Brad today. Apparently his entire zone knows me as “Photoshop Guy” because of the picture I sent him. His companion put in a request for a photoshop job in 2 years so my schedule is already getting packed.

(He sent a follow up email stating that the pictures would have to come next week because they didn’t go through).

Jeremiah’s first email!

Here’s our first email from Jeremiah—a big surprise because I didn’t expect to hear anything for at least a few days!

 

Sup yo.

I’m in the MTC safely fyi. I only have like 2 minutes so I gotta be quick. Sorry for my grammar in advance.

The MTC is good. I can’t form an opinion on it yet because I haven’t been here long enough, but so far so good.

Just so you know, if you want to get emails to me the same day and not on p-day, use dearelder.com. They print it up and send it to me so i can get it the day of. Choose provo mtc mission.

Also, my companion is good. We are the district leaders (I am the assistant which means I am the senior companion all week.)

Probably the hardest part so far is not calling people bro’s and dudes and guys. Its a struggle. I gotta go soon.

Oh, I ran into Dave Gabitas’s brother Bruce. He says he knows you.

Gotta go. See ya

Elder Jeremiah Brown

PS Tell Rufus he is a doge because I cant and he will forget.