A glorious week in Greenville 3rd

Ok so let’s just say it’s been a fabulous week. Also, I am typing this on a clunky iPad screen because the genius school district here decided to let their extra genius kids out earlier for Halloween (I think or maybe they all ditched), and they decided to spend their extra time uselessly surfing the web on the limited computers here. I hate adolescents. I’m glad I was never one of those haha *eye twitch*.

So down to the good stuff. B. got baptized on Saturday! It was an awesome experience and he is doing awesome! It was one of the most amazing baptisms I have been to on my mission. It is also technically the first one I have had out here (although we did technically have a baptism in the first week of my mission but we didn’t really do anything for that).

We met with B. a few times before the baptism and he was super excited! One of the coolest things that happened was probably the fact that B.’s parents (who were previously opposed to the church) came to the baptism and got really emotional. They were super grateful for what the church had done for him and told us they would be coming to church in a couple weeks! It was amazing!

As far as other amazing miracles go, a beautiful thing happened this morning.

As it is the last day of the month, we called our Bank of America cards to see if by chance our MSF had reset. You cannot imagine the blissful sound coming from our apartment, as three young adults jumped up and down on their beds screaming songs of joy at the top of their lungs.

We got an MSF increase.

Apparently the mission president talked to Salt Lake about us getting more monthly MSF because of how little we were getting as well as the fact that we aren’t allowed to have members feed us or anything like it. I can’t tell you how happy I was. We got a 25 dollar increase, which is a lot for us. It says something about how much we were getting before if the church was willing to give us that much of a raise.

Anyhow, this is a legendary week for he SCCM. Halloween has now become more than just a pagan holiday. It is Thanksgiving’s equivalent to a cool uncle.

So, aside from the baptism and all, it was a great week. We had a lot going on and got a lot of missionary work done.

Monday

Highlights of today include playing sports with the Greenville East Zone and going to Taco bell. It was a good day overall.

Tuesday

Today we went on splits with Brother G. He is a very interesting and strange man. He is one of those guys that you aren’t sure what he is going to say. Either it can be very funny or very strange and awkward. Anyway, we took him up to see a less active we had never met in Paris Mountain, which by the way is not a mountain but is basically a lame excuse for a foothill. South Carolinian’s don’t know what mountains are so an anthill is basically half dome.

Anyway, this less active lives almost at the top of Paris Mountain and is VERY wealthy. We were a little bit nervous going to see him because wealthy people are hit and miss, but we tried by anyway. He was WAY nice! He is an older retired fellow who’s wife is not a member and has just slowly gotten out of coming to church. He expressed interest in getting back to church, and of course we were very excited to hear that. He is a retired advertising director, which I found very interesting because that is what I have been considering as a career path. He spent a lot of his life in San Francisco and LA and then moved out here. I really enjoyed talking to him and I am hopeful that we can meet again.

Afterward we started our exchange with the Zone Leaders. I went to the Zone Leader’s area with Elder R. and Elder M., and Elder O. stayed behind with Elder D. Elder R. and I always have a really fun time talking because we both served in Blythewood for 6 months and we both were companions with Elder S.

Wednesday

Today we had the rest of our exchange with the Zone Leaders. We went around and visited a lot of people. We met some very strange individuals at Taco Bell that night. One homeless guy we met talked to us for a while. He literally did nothing but collect change off of the ground. He went around drive through’s and other such places and that is how he made a living.

We also went to what Elder R. calls the “crazy house.” I now understand why he calls it that. I literally don’t think there was anybody normal in there. It is a super tall apartment building that is in the center of Greenville and man that place is weird. It kinda reminded me of the apartment in World War Z that Brad Pitt and his family break out of in the beginning of the movie. Man this place gave me the creeps. We had to wait like 10 minutes to get on the elevator (cause we are pretty sure there aren’t any stairs, which I think is illegal). We finally got on the elevator with this strange little black man who had no teeth, was talking in a badly faked Chinese accent, and had brought a food mart shopping cart with him. He offered us his sound system on sale, for free cause he was getting a new one. We followed the guy to the fourth floor and actually went to the door right across from his apartment and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he had wild animals in there. The whole thing was a blur and I don’t think anyone in there was not doing something illegal.

That was our day in a nutshell.

Thursday

Today we had interviews with President Turner which were good as usual. Nothing too spectacular though.

Highlight of today was going to the B.’s (the part member family) for dinner and a lesson. It was a lot of fun and real food tasted really good.

Friday

Today we spent a ton of time closing down our old apartment. Nothing too exciting.

We also had a Skype lesson with B. and met some cool people with A. on splits.

Saturday

Today was crazy and awesome. We spent a lot of the day prepping everything for the baptism. After the baptism, which was awesome, we had the ward Trunk-or-treat and chili cook off. It was a huge success because we got a ton of our investigators to show up. H. and S., the people we worked with a while ago, came tonight which was great! We also got to be the judges for the chili cook off and man I haven’t felt that much pressure in a long time. There was some really good chili though.

Sunday

Today we had church which was good. B. was confirmed a member of the church! We also had a lesson with T. and K. B. (same people as Thursday) which was good. Those were the highlights of the day.
Over all, it was an amazing week! Lots of fun and cool things happened and so far this new week has been a blast as well. Today is Halloween so basically we have an all day P-Day because we are on lockdown tonight. I guess we will be playing some board games tonight or something.

Anyhow, I don’t know what else to say. It was a great week hands down.

Until next week,

Stay hydrated,

Elder Jeremiah Brown
Pictures as follows:

1. B., Brother M., and da eldaz

2. B. and I, post baptism.

3. Yep

4. I don’t know why this was taken…

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People never cease to amaze me

This week was a little slow. It wasn’t necessarily bad but we had a few days where we didn’t have much going on.

I neglected to keep I nightly log of what happened this week so I will just spout off some of the highlights.

B. had his baptismal interview yesterday! He passed with flying colors and I am super excited for this weekend. He is sooooo ready. Things have been going a lot better for him lately. He has a job now and is working toward getting a car. He still doesn’t have his son back, but it should be a matter of months and that will be all taken care of!

As far as our other investigators go things were good. We got back in contact with D., one of our other investigators. He has been overcoming a nicotine addiction so he has been really out of it. Hopefully he will fully overcome it soon so he can be baptized! He is a super solid investigator.

We found a really cool less active from the Pacific Islands that the Sisters had been working with until we switched up the areas. She came to church on Sunday and we think she enjoyed it. A lot of her family are non-members so we are probably going to be working with them a lot more.

Saturday was a weird day. We spent a lot of time looking for less actives and investigators we lost contact with. We went to visit this little old lady named E. we have been meeting with for a while, and I think she forgot who we were. She warmly invited us inside (which we are allowed to do! Perks of being in a three pack) which was abnormal because she normally had us meet with her on the porch.

She started talking to us about random stuff and then she looked at me and said, “I remember when you were just a little one. Your dad would have me watch you and we would go collect his money. You sure have grown to be a fine young man.”

Obviously I was very confused and I tried really hard not to bust out laughing. I told her she must have been mistaken but she continued saying, “You don’t remember? Your dad was a dealer and we would go out and collect his money (drug dealer). You know what a dealer is right?”

I almost lost it. I seriously considered playing along with it, but then E.’s 60 year old son who hasn’t lost his mind yet walked in and she exclaimed, “G., these are H.’s sons!” G. was like, “Really!? You guys have grown so much!” We straight up told G. that we were the missionaries and such and he seemed to understand.

I walked out laughing. E. also thought that the Jehovah’s Witnesses gave her the Book of Mormon. Before we left we asked (or “axed”, as it is pronounced here in the south), her to let the people who gave her the Book of Mormon into her house the next time they go by.

We probably won’t be going by again.

On Friday we had the opportunity to meet with 2 students from Bob Jones University. If you aren’t familiar with Bob Jones, it is a large Baptist university and is considered the anti-mormon capital of the world. It has a printing press dedicated to anti-mormon literature and they teach anti-mormon doctrine to their students. We got a text a couple weeks ago from a guy who found a Book of Mormon in his bookshelf and it had our number in it. He asked to meet with us over dinner to talk about what we believed in. We found out that he was a Bob Jones student, studying theology. Naturally, we were very nervous to meet with him but we agreed to meet at a Mexican restaurant. He ended up being really nice and we had a really genuine conversation with him about what we believe in. He did ask many very deep questions which I don’t think I was 100% successful at answering but it was still a good time. We also got to hear about what he believed in which was really interesting. I have never met a Baptist who actually knows what they are talking about until now and it was really cool to finally be able to understand why they believe what they believe.

It kinda dawned on me that people of other faiths really do believe in what they say they do. Like literally, as much as you believe that our church is true, they believe the same about their religion. It really made me think about my testimony and why I am a member of this church. I am really glad to have been born in this church and also to have a knowledge of the fullness of the gospel. Literally, it is the fullness. You can just tell that there is something missing from other faiths, and I really saw that when I met with this guy. I realized the magnitude of my calling and what I am trying to do. I am trying to redirect people’s already strong faith in God to faith in His restored church. Many places in the world this is not the case, but here in the south most people are religious.

Anyway, just a thought.

Anyhow. I really can’t think of anything else crazy that happened this week. We went home teaching with Brother S. on Thursday and got to ride in his convertible VW. That was pretty sweet.

On Monday for P-Day we played some tennis and then a game of Star Wars Risk. It wasn’t the most exciting P-Day but I guess not every one can be.

Today we will be playing sports with the Greenville East Zone. Elder K. is now home so I don’t get to look forward to seeing him there, but oh well. I’ll miss that kid.

I think that is about it. Hopefully this upcoming week will be more exciting.

mucho luvs,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Picture 1: G-SLEDZZZ!!!! The ugliest creation of the south. (Ghetto Sleds)

Picture 2: Brother S.’s convertable

Picture 3: Local church here

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Pics

not as many this week but here ya go

1. picture of all the missionaries after the baptism. except for C. you can probably find him.

2. only in the south do you see something like this

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Another transfer in the beautiful upstate of Greenville

This week was awesome! I actually have good things to report this week and we got a TON of great missionary work done!
Monday

Today we played sports with the Greenville East Zone. We did outdoor sports at a park nearby and cooked up some hamburgers and hotdogs. I got to see Elder K. for the last time before he goes home which was good. He will be going home next Wednesday as that is when this transfer ends.

After sports we took care of some busywork that needed to be completed from the move and that was pretty much our night.

Tuesday

Today we went on splits with A. H. and C. B. Elder M. went with them so Elder O. and I had some time to ourselves. We had a decent amount of success and were able to visit with a lot of people. We knocked on a door right next a less active who wasn’t home, to ask if they still lived there. The lady we talked to was really nice and told us that they didn’t live there, but we talked to her a little bit about our church. She wasn’t too interested and actually already knew a lot about our church already, but it was a good conversation. I was looking through the directory and realized that the lady we were talking to was the wife of the guy we were looking for! We accidentally got the name of the less active guy wrong and the address was wrong in the directory so we totally messed it up! It probably was for the better though because if we had approached her like the wife of a less active she probably would have been less receptive.

We stopped by a random potential investigator that was in our area book and met a guy named M. who was this guys brother. He was a really cool guy and we talked with him for a while. We gave him a BOM and he said he would read it and wanted to meet with us again.

We spent the rest of the day tracking down less actives.

Wednesday

Today not a lot happened until the evening when we had dinner appointment with T. and C., a less active, part member family. It was a good meal and we played a little bit of badminton with them afterward, which was a lot of fun. We are working towards warming C. up to the church and so far things are going pretty good I think.

Afterward we had ward coordination and saw B. for the first time since he went to jail! It was awesome!! I can honestly say that jail has actually been a good thing for him. He is a lot more mature, and is way more spiritually there! He is halfway done with the Book of Mormon, and he totally would be done but he is reading it super thoroughly. He read Mosiah three flipping times because he thought he didn’t understand it well enough! I seriously think he might know more about the first half of the Book of Mormon than I do, which isn’t saying much other than the fact that I’ve been a member my entire life.

He is going through a lot of troubles still. C., his son, was randomly picked up by his mom who he has not been around since birth, while B. was in jail. His mom has been missing for the last 11 years and has not been paying child support for C., or even trying to morally support him. Now she just came out of the blue and picked him up and is collecting his social security.

Anyhow, pray for B.

Thursday

Today was pretty good. The two main things that happened was that we had an appointment with M. (the paralyzed Hispanic guy) this morning. It was pretty good. We did the usual reading of the BOM en Spanish to him and then closed with a hymn and a prayer.

We also Skyped B. and had an appointment with him. He is living with his brother who happens to be pretty far away so we decided to embrace the miracle of modern technology. Skype is super useful as a missionary.

Anyway, he knows so freaking much about the Book of Mormon it is insane. He asked us if he was right about something he read and it sounded wrong to Elder M., Elder O. and me, so we told him that he must be mistaken. Well I did a little reading and realized that he was right! I have never had a time on my mission when my investigator is making me think long and hard about the BOM. It’s crazy awesome!

Friday

Today we had ZTM for about half of the day, which is normally pretty good. I am not a huge fan of long meetings but I guess I should get used to it because we have a lot of those. Afterward we went to Zaxby’s (one of the South’s greatest creations) with the Zone Leaders and then yea. Not much happened until later in the day when we went to a BBQ that the Elders Quorum put on. B. came and brought his family! (mother, step-father, niece, niece’s boyfriend, etc.) It was awesome because they got to see that we are normal human beings and they expressed to us afterward that they really enjoyed the time here and were really thankful for all we have been doing for Brian. Seeds=planted. C. B. also brought a non-member friend named D. who was really interested in learning more about the BOM and we were able to teach him a bit and he wants to learn more! He is awesome!

Overall today was one of those days where you get home exhausted but feel fabulous.

Saturday

Today we took C. B. out with us to a bunch of lessons. C. is amazing. Let me give you a bit of info on him. So I may have mentioned in the past that C. is a returning less active who just recently decided to turn his life around and has put his drug addictions behind him. We have been doing a lot with C. and he is always wanting to come out with us to do missionary work. Well the other day we found out that he was getting kicked out of his apartment (it is a special rehab apartment complex for recovering addicts) for sharing the gospel too much. He was really distraught and was thinking about just leaving and going back out west. We were really worried because we were pretty sure he would go back to old habits if he were to do that.

Well clearly he is being looked out for, because everything fell into place. A. H. (who has a lot of connections with a ton of people) sent C. a number for a rehab place that had an opening. They are super selective and the spot was probably going to be filled really quickly. He wanted to call but he was at work and his phone has been turned off for months because he hasn’t had the money. Literally as soon as he realized this he got a text message from his service provider and they just randomly gave him a free month of calling and texting! He called the place, was interviewed and selected over 12 people to come to this new center. C.’s faith never ceases to amaze me.

Anyway, we went out with C. and visited a ton of people. We had a lesson with B., met a couple of people standing on their porch, gave them a blessing, and met even more people! We got invited into one guys house who we are pretty sure is an ex-drug dealer.

Yeah that was interesting.

It’s too bad too because he was really interested and really nice, but definitely a little sketchy. The first thing we saw when we walked in his house was a ton of tv’s and a camera system monitor watching the outside of the house. There was a lot more too that made it a dead giveaway, like the fact he thought we were detectives at first.

Afterward we had a baptism to go to. H. Y., one of the 3rd Sisters investigators was baptized. I was asked about 2 hours beforehand while we were out with C. to give the talk on Baptism because someone cancelled last minute. I ended up putting it together in the 10 minutes before the meeting started, and I felt kinda bad, although I don’t think it was too terrible. That was pretty much our day.

Sunday

Today not a lot of missionary work got done. We spent a lot of time weekly planning and I had to put together the districts monthly reports for Stake Missionary Coordination. Fun stuff.

Church was good, life is good, food is good.

Yea that’s about it.
Over all it was a really good week! It definitely makes up for the last few weeks depressing-ness. Transfer calls went out this week. Elder M., Elder O. and I will be staying together for another transfer. Elder M. will be going home this transfer and then it will be just Elder O. and I, unless we get separated, which tends to be the case for trainers and trainees. Either way, I am pretty sure I will be here in Greenville 3rd for a long while. Who knows though.

I have no idea what we are going to be doing for P-Day today. Transfer P-Days are always weird and who knows what’ll happen.

Anyway, I think that’s about it. Until next week,

Stay hydrated,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Hurricanes, Homelessness, and Other Hectic Havoc

Let me just start this email by saying that I am writing this from a
computer running Windows XP, which apparently was made before the time
of spellcheck existing in email. So if my spelling and grammar are
appaling, you can blame Bill Gates.

Also, this week’s email is going to be really short and fyi no
missionary work happened this week so sorry if you are looking for
some awesome spiritual stories.

This week was complete madness. Let me start from the beginning.

So on Monday we went to Bob Jones University to tour campus. It’s that
one school that’s in our area. It’s the most anti-mormon university in
the world. It was fun.

We found out shortly afterward that the apartment complex we were
planning on moving into this week accepted our application but then
made some lame excuse as to why we couldn’t move in. So we got pushed
back to square one.  We basically spent the rest of
the day running around looking for new places to move.

We got home that night to our filthy apartment to find that we had no
power. Yay. We ended up staying the next few nights at the Zone
Leaders’ apartment which was crazy because they have a small one bed
one bath apartment. We literallly had a bed room. (see pics)

We got the power turned back on a couple days later and then we moved
back to the death pit, only to find that we had to move out again
because the water got shut off. Basically we were living nowhere.

All the while I came down with a cold and the state of South Carolina
went into panic mode over this hurricane. The housing coordinator
couldn’t help us very much because she was dealing with evacuating
half the mission and finding places for them to stay.

A miracle happened on Friday. We had found a pretty good place to move
into on Thursday and started the process of applying. On Friday, when
our water went out, our housing coordinator threw things into overhaul
and told us that we could move in that day. Unfortunantly that was not
enough time to give any members a heads up to help us move, so we
moved on Saturday. Fun fact, Saturday was the day that Hurricane
Matthew hit the SC coast. We had to move our mattresses and all of our
stuff in a flat bed trailer, so we basically loaded them up and prayed
that it wouldn’t start pouring. Luckily, it didn’t rain too hard and
they were only a little wet.

We spent the rest of the day unpacking and putting things in place. We
found out that our dryer didn’t have the right kind of hook
up so we had to go to Home Depot and buy a new cord for it and then
had to go back when we found out that they gave us the wrong one. Then
I spent a good hour trying to figure out how to install it.

Anyway, we are moved in. We are safe. All is well.

The hurricane did zero damage here. All we got was a little wind. The
missionaries down in Columbia are housing the evacuated ones and they
are all on lock down because it is still a little unsafe to go
outside.

This is a really short, summed up version of what happened this week.
I would add more detail but I don’t really think it’s very interesting
and also I don’t have enough time.

Basically just imagine what I have described x10 with more
inconveniences and lots of Taco Bell and crying myself to sleep.

Oh. To add to the mess of things here, Sister Fox (Sister Suggs
companion; they are in our ward and district) had apendicitis this
week and had to go to the hospital. Fun stuff.

Basically, this week was a vacation at Satanland.

Anyway, we have a home now. I am super excited to have a normal week
(knock on wood).

I gotta go now, but I will talk more next week!

Drugs are bad,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

To fam

 

I am safe, as are all the missionaries here. You should know that the
hurricane vortex pretty much hit everywhere in SC but here. So thanks
for the prayers.

Pictures:

The bed room.

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Rake boys.  (Not sure why they are posing with rakes).

First photo is me Elder Mitchell and Elder Oliver at Bob Jones
University. We had to take our nametags off under order of Sister
Turner because it would be very dangerous.

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Next photo is me holding a Book of Mormon in front of Bob Jones
infamous museum.

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Us and the ZL’s in Downtown GV a couple weeks ago.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

Elder Kuamo’o, Elder Oliver, and Elder Kuamo’os
trainie. “The Kuamo’o posterity lives on”img_0077

Me before DDM.

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Me after DDM with mis compadres

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I don’t even know

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Just one of those weeks

Well to be blunt this week was a big bowl of roadkill casserole. But hey, Elder Nelson told us to find joy in everything, so I’ll pepper it up for you guys.

As far as missionary work goes, this week equals 0, but I guess that means things can only get better. I hope.

We spent this entire week prepping, cleaning, packing, and signing papers for a move that we weren’t even sure would happen. Like literally, I’m not going to bother giving you guys a day to day update because for starters I didn’t keep a log this week, and also because it is all boring packing of boxes, signing of papers, cleaning, etc.

So let’s get down to what happened. We ended up trying to move into the apartment complex that would let us in the fastest, which happened to be one of the nicer ones in the area which is a plus. Everything was going good however we were having to get packed, cleaned, and moved all before the end of Friday, but we couldn’t get into the new apartment until Friday so we were having to clean and pack at the same time, which is when I learned that it’s hard to clean while the entire floor is covered in boxes and missionary junk collected over the years. We had to last minute announce that we were moving and made members scramble last minute to help us move to this place. Thankfully there were a few members with trailers who were understanding and helped us out.

We got everything packed up and ready to go, put in the back of cars and a trailer and headed off to the new place. We went into the office, only to find out that they denied our application and wouldn’t let us move in. So we packed up EVERYTHING, wasted members time and energy, and wasted a week of missionary work so that we could not move into an apartment last minute. So on top of us having to get the member to drive us back to the old place and unpack all of our stuff, we weren’t even sure we would be staying there because our lease expired THAT DAY. Luckily, the mission housing coordinator begged the landlord to let us stay there a couple extra days, so we are living out of boxes and suitcases right now. We also don’t have very much to cook with because we don’t have all of our stuff.

Fun fact, we made church history. According to the AP’s and the housing coordinator, who spoke with the folks at Salt Lake, the church has NEVER had a housing application denied in the history of ever. They think that it is because part of it may have been filled out inaccurately, but the other thought is that whoever was in charge of accepting the application was a Bob Jones graduate (the largest anti-Mormon school in the world that is in our area) and had it out for us. It’s still weird though, because this has never happened. Of all the things that could have gone wrong, this was the last of our worries.

Soooooooo anyway. We are hopefully going to move whenever they get the application situation figured out. Hopefully it will be in the next few days, otherwise I don’t know what we are going to do.

Now, lets focus on the happy things that happened this week!

On Thursday evening we visited J., the guy that we have been meeting with lately. He was going in for surgery on his knee and we gave him a blessing and talked with him for a while. It was a good experience for him, and he got a little emotional.

B. is going to be getting out of jail on the 10th! Last we heard he is doing really well and has committed to have the Book of Mormon finished by the time he gets out! He is on date for the 29th of October and it will be really cool to see him again.

Conference was really awesome! Conference as a missionary is a lot of fun and (maybe it’s because I actually stay awake) I get sooooo much more out of conference as a missionary.

I really enjoyed Elder LeGrand R. Curtis’s talk on the Book of Mormon. It was a really good reminder of how important the Book of Mormon is and how no matter who you are, you can gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, whether that be gradually or all at once. This is something so unique to our church! We are promised time after time that if we just read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, we will know it is true. No untrue church or false prophet could make such a promise. It is important to remember that we are always forming this testimony. It is not a one and done experience. In the beginning of the Book of Mormon it states that it will bring you closer to Christ than any other book. That is a bold claim, and if this claim is true, we should always be reading the Book of Mormon because our goal in life is to become like Christ! It is the only logical thing for a member of this church to do.

Anyway, just a thought.

I gotta get going. Hope this weeks update wasn’t too depressing. I am happy and alive. Though this week was a bit of a downer, good things still happened.

Until next week,

LUVS

Elder Jeremiah Brown