I’m a Grandpa!

Well this week was ok. It probably won’t be the most interesting to read about but hey, you can’t always please the fan girls.

Monday
Today was good stuff. After we finished emailing and shopping we went with the ZL’s to Dixie Republic, a store out in the middle of nowhere that is basically one of the few remaining places that sells real confederate items (real flags, license plates, memorabilia, etc.). It’s actually a really cool place, everything there will probably not be available in the next 10 years so it is cool to see the history there. I’ve thought about buying a flag because it could be worth a lot more 30 years from now

After we finished our P Day fun, we went to give A. a blessing. The poor guy was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis today and needed some comfort. That was pretty much all of our day

Tuesday
Today was a bit hectic but it turned out ok. We had DDM in the morning and that was good stuff. I trained on being a successful missionary.

For lunch Elder M. wanted to eat at The Clock for the last time, a food place unique to the upstate of South Carolina. It was pretty good but I didn’t really want to go because I hate spending a lot of money on food.

After that we continued trying to find Elder M. a bike box. I was so done with the search but Elder M. was determined to not pay $50 extra to have someone pack it for him.

We found a box that seemed promising (from what the guy on the phone said). We brought it home and let’s just say that we now have a 3rd extra bike box sitting around that doesn’t fit.

Finally, I had the bright idea of seeing if REI had anything. They did! And it was the perfect size! Only problem was that it also cost $20. Elder M. finally gave in and bought the box. Hallelujah.

While A. and Elder M. went to do that, I went with Elder O. to our appointment with G. and R. G. wasn’t feeling well so she couldn’t make the lesson, but R. still let us in and we had a great lesson with him. They are pretty much picture perfect investigators. We put R. on date for the 17th of December and he was very excited! We also taught him the Plan of Salvation because he asked us about the afterlife, and he was really touched. He talked about a friend that passed away who was a really good person but he wasn’t sure where he would be going in the next life. We assured him that after he was baptized, he could go and do the work of salvation for this friend of his. It made him feel really great!

After that lesson we went back to pick Elder M. up and then spent our dinner getting haircuts from B. G., a recent convert here who cuts hair. They have an awesome family and it is amazing to see how the church has changed their lives! Their daughter P. reminds me of Sophia when she was little.

That was pretty much the rest of the evening. Not much else happened afterward and it was overall a pretty good day.

Wednesday
As far as missionary work goes, today was not the greatest. It being so close to the holidays plus the fact that we have to get Elder M. prepped for home added to that problem. We had a few appointments we went to that fell through. We also spent a good chunk of time getting more materials to ship Elder M.’s bike home.

The T.’s, who had us over for dinner last week and were going to have us over Thanksgiving morning had to cancel but rescheduled for today instead. They made waffle-wiches, basically breakfast sandwiches with waffles as the bread. They were delicious and yep. That was probably the highlight of the day. Other than that it was pretty dull.

Thursday
Today was a lot of fun! Basically a day of party. And thanks of course.

This morning we had a turkey bowl. It was fun and all, but at the same time it really wasn’t because I am terrible at football and I was on the loosing team. We got annihilated.

We went from the turkey bowl to 7/11 because we were super thirsty and then we went back home to shower and get ready for thanksgiving dinner.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at the J.’s house. They are a super fun family! Their son in law D. (who I’ve talked about before) is really cool. He and his wife are freelance musicians and are actually really great! Their group name is Carpoolparty and we heard a bit of their work and it sounded really catchy. They try to make positive music so check them out!

After dinner at the Jackson’s we went to the church and we practiced the piano (Elder Mitchell and I).

After that not much else happened. We pretty much just went home and played Farkle for the small remainder of the evening.

Friday
Today was crazy. So today during comp study we got a call from President Turner. He told Elder O. that he will be whitewash training this next transfer! This is crazy because it is very rare for missionaries to have this much responsibility right out of training. He is one of three missionaries to ever do this right out of training (with this mission president at least)!

I have a Grandson! I am super excited for him but I am also kinda nervous. I think I kinda understand what it is like to have a child leave the home for the first time. I guess you could say that I have motherly paranoia.

Anyway, I will be staying here and getting a new companion. It should be interesting to see who I get. I have no idea who it could be.

After we found out that Elder O. was leaving I spent a good chunk of the morning putting the finishing touches together with packaging Elder M.’s bike. It is done now. What a glorious day!

After that we went to visit a few potential investigators and a few less actives. We weren’t too successful and most people weren’t home.

A large majority of the rest of the day was just taking care of other busy work. We needed to pick something up from the church in the evening and on our way over we got a call from the building coordinator asking if we could let the cleaning members in. They ended up being short handed so we stayed for a bit and helped clean up. After that we headed back home for the evening.

It was not the most productive day as far as missionary work is concerned but I guess it could have been worse.

Saturday
Today was just as crazy as yesterday. We got a call from the AP’s this morning asking if Elder O. knew he would be whitewash training. They told us his new area would be “interesting” and that he would like it a lot.

So a bit of a side story. Elder M. is a genius when it comes to predicting mission changes. We joke that he has the gift of prophecy because before he got to Greenville with me he had a dream that he would be whitewashing Greenville 3rd, and then did exactly that a couple weeks later! Anyway, the AP’s called back a few minutes later and asked where Elder M. thought Elder O. was going. Elder M. had also previously “prophesied” to one of the AP’s (who wasn’t an AP at the time) that he would be an AP when he was going home. He told them that he thought Elder O. would be going to Ridgeway. They went silent for a few seconds and then busted out laughing! He guessed it right on the first try!

Elder O. is going to be whitewashing Ridgeway! Ridgeway, in case you have forgotten, is the area that was right next to me in Blythewood. We would go on exchanges there often and man it is a crazy place. It is pretty much as deep into the “Deep South” as you can get. The city of Ridgeway literally has a population of just over 300.

Anyway, after the shock of that settled in, I sat and talked to Elder O. about what he should expect in Ridgeway, since I spent a lot of time there. He is going to do a lot of growing. It will be good for him though!

We spent a good chunk of the day sending Elder M.’s bike off. It is done! I am so glad I never have to see that piece of garbage again. We strapped it to the top of our car again, this time with packaging and electrical tape and it turned out pretty decent I think. Luckily we didn’t have to go very far so I just drove really slow.

After that we tried to visit a bunch of people but didn’t have too much luck because it’s the night of the Clemson vs. USC (University of South Carolina, not the real USC) game and EVERYONE up here is a Clemson fan. Seriously USC is terrible but for some reason the southerners here have a ridiculously heated rivalry with each other.

That ended our night basically.

Sunday
Today not much happened. Church was good and Elder O. and Elder M. said their goodbyes to everyone. G. and R. came again which was great! K., one of our investigators who is in a part member family came to church as well. I have noticed a change in him lately and I am hopeful that we might be able to make some progress with him sooner than later.

We went home and I made some homemade macaroni and cheese for “Linner,” and then we went and visited a few families. We tried by B., K. and J., but B. wasn’t feeling well so we arranged a time to meet next week. I don’t know if I talked about them last week or not, but they are becoming really solid investigators. B. has said that she has been really impressed with “the Mormons” and really wants to get into what we believe. I am really interested in seeing where this goes.

After we went and visited people, we went home and finished 12 week with Elder O. (12 week is the training program for new missionaries). We finished everything, so he is now officially graduated from training.

My boy is all grown up! *tears stream down face*

Anyway, it wasn’t the most interesting day, but not every day can be right?
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I guess you could say that this week wasn’t too exciting, from a missionary work standpoint at least. Actually in terms of missionary work this week was terrible. So, sorry if this email is boring. Wednesday is the day of transfers. I am excited to see who my new companion will be. Hopefully he isn’t a dweeb.

This Friday will mark 1 year as a missionary! It is crazy that the time has gone by so fast! It makes me kinda sad that I can only do this for one more year, considering how fast this last one went by.

After this next transfer I will have been here for 6 months. I am just fine with that too, because this area is AWESOME! There is a ton more work to do here and I want to be here for it to get done! I would not be surprised if I was here for another 4-6 months, and honestly I am fine with that. I love Greenville! I would actually consider living here.

Well, I think that is about it. I am super excited to see what this next week will be like. Hopefully it will be more exciting than last week.

Stay Hydrated,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Pictures:

1. Me in front of Gvill sign

2. Us and the ZL’s in front of the Gville sign

3. Our wonderful tape job

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1. Me at the Clock

2. Me at Turkey Bowl

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In memory of Smoky the Bear

SC decided to troll us the last couple weeks by lighting itself on fire. All I am saying is I probably smoked the equivalent of 10 packs of cigarettes just breathing this garbage air.

Anyway, my week, as you may notice, is a lot more detailed than normal. This is what happens when I actually keep a nightly log of what happened.

Cheers.

Monday
Well today was alright. Kinda expensive though. We decided for P-Day we were going to go bowling because we weren’t sure what else to do and it was super smoky outside from the recent forest fires in North Carolina. Normally bowling has been a pretty low cost fun thing to do, but man we got ripped off at this place. It costed us 9 bucks each to get a pair of stinky shoes and one stupid game. I was pretty ticked.
Afterward we went to Arby’s because they have $1 happy hour from 2-5 and got a small dinner. I started feeling really bad. Not really sure what happened but I was not feeling well so we ended up staying inside the rest of the night and yeah that’s about it.
Tuesday
Today was pretty awesome. We started our day on a really good note by having DDM (District Development Meeting). We had some good discussions as a District and I gave a training on obedience and hard work.
We made lunch at the church and then afterward went and visited people around the area. We got to meet with H. and S. M. and talked with them. They said they would try to come to church this week which was good. We are probably going to drop them soon unless they start coming to church.
After that we went and saw G. and R., the Hispanic couple that showed up at church randomly a few months ago. We lost contact with them for a while but they randomly started showing back up to church and this time we got their address to we could actually meet with them. The lesson was awesome! They are the type of people missionaries dream of having as investigators. They moved from Charleston just a few months ago and had been invited by a friend there to come to church. Somehow they remembered which church it was because they came and found it up here! They literally know nothing about our church, Joseph Smith, or the Book of Mormon, but said they felt really good when they came so they wanted to keep coming back! We were amazed! We spent a good amount of time getting to know them and then taught them the restoration. It went really well and Elder O. gave a really powerful testimony at the end.
After that we went and had dinner with the T. family. They are partially active so we are working on getting them back, but it also means they get to feed us! They had asked us to give their granddaughter a blessing for a surgery so we did that. S. T. is a cutco salesman and was showed us his fancy knives. They are super nice and wow they cut well but I can’t believe anyone would spend $1200 on a set of kitchen knives.
That basically ended our day.
Wednesday
Today was pretty great. A. called us in the morning and asked if he could come out and do missionary work with us today. (Pretty much nobody ever does this, that’s why I love A. He’s a missionaries dream come true.) We gratefully obliged and pretty much tore apart our area. We visited a lot of less actives and investigators. We weren’t too successful in talking to people but we still got a lot of work done.
Afterward we went to Ward coordination and Book of Mormon class. G. and R. showed up which was great! That was all of our day basically.
Thursday
Today we had a lot of busy work to do. Elder M. had to get a bunch of stuff done in preparation for going home. We ended up spending the bulk of the day doing service for the B.’s though. They needed help moving stuff from K.’s old house so we helped out with that.
We had an interesting experience in the moving truck they rented. We opened up the sealed bag of moving blankets that the uHaul trucks normally have in them, and sitting at the bottom of the bag were a bunch of needles and syringes. I’m pretty sure they were used and they had something in them. I guess the last users of the truck had a party or something. Of all places to find drugs I was not thinking in a uHaul truck. Gross.
It took a lot longer than we were expecting but it was all good because we got dinner out of it and we also got to have a lesson with K. and her kids.
After that we came home and I made calls, whoop whoop.
Probably the craziest part of the day was finding out that we will be having an Apostle, a member of the Presiding Bishopric, and a President of the Seventy coming to hold a mission conference in January! We aren’t sure who it is going to be yet but this type of thing doesn’t normally happen. It’s normal to have a general authority visit once a year, usually a Seventy, but not all this. In the past when we have had Apostles visit the mission it has only been the Apostle by himself. The fact that they are ALL coming this suddenly along with a normal planned visit from another general authority later in the month is crazy! It means something big is probably going to happen here. We are so confused haha.
Friday
Today was good. We spent a lot of the day working on getting Elder M.’s bike disassembled and packed up, which involved us finding a bike box for him. Once we actually got the box it took a year and a half to get the bike disassembled only to find out that the box was too small. I was super happy.

Other than that though the day was pretty good. We went and saw a less active named J. L. who is very interesting. You can hardly tell what he is saying because he has no teeth and he has a stub for a foot. We talked to him about coming to church and I don’t really think he knew that he was a member. He agreed to come to church in a couple weeks though! We are going to try to get an investigator down the street from him to drive him to church. This investigator, Ja., is a really interesting guy. He was sitting on his porch when we went up to talk to him and we asked him how he was doing. He told us that some lady that had been living with him had just gotten arrested for calling the cops too much. I guess I am a terrible person because I thought that was pretty funny. Gotta love the ghetto.

We ended the day by doing weekly planning. Usually we get that done in the morning but because it gets dark way earlier we have been trying to get out of the apartment as soon as we can.

Saturday

Today we had an appointment with J. F., who I neglected to talk about last week. We knocked into him last week and he let us into the house without any hesitation. We taught him the restoration and he was decently interested in learning more. He readily accepted a Book of Mormon and said he would read from it. He is originally from Missouri and knew a bit about us. It was really cool talking to him and I see good things in the future.

Anyway, we met with him and talked about what he had read. He had actually read a decent amount of the Book of Mormon and committed to read more! He said he would come to church on Sunday as well. We were pumped.

After that we went to Bob Jones University. D. S., our investigator from BJU, wanted to take us on a tour of their museum. I have to say it was really cool. They have one of the largest collections of Roman Catholic Baroque art in the world. There was some really cool artwork there. There was also some really weird artwork there, but that is to be expected with Baroque art I think, or maybe just any art for that matter.

I did a terrible job explaining stuff in my email last week, and I can’t remember if I talked about this or not. We met with D. last week and we were expecting him to have some good questions to ask us, but we were also looking to kind of drop him because meeting with him had been unproductive. Well it turns out that he didn’t have any questions for us this time, but he wanted to strongly caution us on our religious choices. Basically I just sat there and was like “Here we go again…” and listened to his lecture. We asked him straight up if he thought we were going to Hell and he said yes. I was like “cool bro love you too.” It was pretty awkward, but meh you can’t argue with Baptists so I just chose to listen and then testify of our beliefs. It did touch him I think, but I’m pretty sure it just made him think we’ve seen an angel of light or something.

In other news, we probably ended up on the front of Greenville Weekly as idiots of the week. After we did the tour we went to get a different bike box for Elder M. We decided to strap the box on top of our car with bungee cords, until a guy watching us from his truck pointed out that we wouldn’t be able to get in the car because we put the straps through the windows. The guys in the bike shop sat there laughing at us and then came out and offered to tape it down to the car. We took them up on their offer. We probably looked so dumb standing there in white shirts and ties trying to get a large box strapped to the top of our dinky Corolla. They said that we weren’t the dumbest people they met today. Super reassuring.

Sunday

Today was good. G. and R. showed up to church. J. didn’t end up coming, we aren’t sure exactly why but we will talk to him this upcoming week. After church we went back home and had lunch. Then we went to visit a couple of people. The first person we went to visit was a media referral we got a few days ago that seemed pretty interested. We got there and nobody answered, and just as we were about to pull out of the driveway a car pulled up. I hate it when this happens. Hate it.

A guy got out and he was super nice! He said that when he saw “Jesus Christ” on our name tags he wasn’t worried. He wanted to talk more with us later and he said that he would tell his wife (who was the media referral) that we came by. They seemed pretty promising.

Afterward we went to go visit a family who we had met previously and were very interested in meeting with us. We had stopped by a few times before and nobody answered the door. This time there was obviously someone home and nobody came to the door. We walked back to the car and were going to drop them, but when we were driving off they came out of the house and waved us down. Apparently each time we’ve come by they have been home but have had to put the dogs away and so they never get to the door in time. We felt kinda dumb but we had a super awesome lesson with them and they really wanted to learn more! They are super nice people and I would not be surprised if they become progressing investigators soon.

That was pretty much our day.
Over all it was a really good week. Next week I will find out if I am staying here or not. I probably am but we will see.

It has been awesome here and I am really excited for Thanksgiving. I hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving as well and remember who truly has given you all that you have.

Stay crazy,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Pictures!

1. Us after bowling
2. Us after eating at the beacon a few weeks ago
3. I dunno
4. Us being idiots with the stupid bike box (oh I forgot to mention that that one ended up being the wrong size as well)

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Just another week

So this week was pretty good. We got a lot of work done and had some
good success.

I don’t really know what to talk about because I am super unfocused right now.

It has gotten a whole lot colder here. It just randomly dropped from
70+ degrees to on Sunday it didn’t get over 50 and it rained.

One highlight of the week was listening to what everybody had to say
about the election. People are literally talking about moving out and
other people are basically worshipping Donald Trump. It’s pretty
hilarious actually.

We met some really cool people this week. On Wednesday we went on
splits with A. Elder M. went with A. and Elder O.
and I stayed together. We had a pretty cool experience together. We
were sitting in a parking lot after dark trying to figure out what to
do and I had the distinct impression to go visit this one random
potential investigator that lived far out in our area. I was afraid
Elder O. was going to think I was crazy, and at first he didn’t
agree to go but then as I persisted he went along with it.

We got to B.’s place and he was not there, so we knocked around. I
knew that there was definitely a reason why we needed to be there. We
knocked a bunch of houses around the area with no luck. It was dark,
cold, and windy and I was starting to wonder if I was crazy. We
finally knocked on a door and a guy named G. answered. He was really
cool and talked with us for a while about our church and agreed to
meet with us more. Elder O. and I walked away from that with the
knowledge that we definitely needed to be there and we were definitely
inspired by the Spirit to go there at that time.

We met some other cool people this week. Nothing much else though. I
am running out of time and I gotta get going.

I will talk more next week!

Stay hydrated,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Election week needs to be over

Well this week was good. It was different for sure. As far as missionary work goes, it was a little bit slow, but it wasn’t a bad week to say the least.

The big thing we’ve been hearing about lately is the serial killer that just got discovered this past week (if you haven’t already heard because it is all over national news). Spartanburg, the city that this guy lived in, is only 20 or so miles away from us. Kinda crazy that something like this happened so close. Interestingly enough, we were planning on going to Spartanburg today for P-Day to visit the Beacon, a burger joint nationally renowned for their incredibly large burgers.

Halloween was pretty boring. The Zone Leaders decided to ditch us and go to Columbia a day early for MLC so we just went around town looking at thrift stores and stuff. After 6 we just sat inside and played Monopoly. It was kinda lame but whatever. Today should make up for it.

On Tuesday I we went on splits and I was with Brother K. We visited a lot of less actives and nothing too exciting happened.

On Wednesday we spent most of the day closing up the old Travelers Rest apartment. It is finally done! We cleaned up the best we could (because the power and water kept taking turns shutting off), and turned in the keys. That was most of our day, aside from cancelled appointments.

On Thursday we had a lot of busy work but we still got some missionary work done. We had weekly planning and such. We stopped by this random potential investigators house and she ended up being super interested! To our dismay, however, she answered the door with nothing but a blanket on (gotta love southerners). We are going to be meeting with her later this week and hopefully she will have clothes on for that.

Friday we had ZTM which was good stuff. We had a lot of good spiritual trainings, but also a lot of new rules introduced. Starting January we will all be doing 12 week again (the missionary training program). We also are having Zone conference every transfer now, instead of every other transfer.

Saturday we met with D. S., the baptist guy from Bob Jones University. This time we met him on Bob Jones Campus, which was pretty terrifying. I kinda felt for Ammon walking into the Lamanite’s city, probably sticking out like a sore thumb and knowing that his life was in God’s hands. Maybe we weren’t walking into a hostile country but I do believe we are the first missionaries in a long time, if not ever, to openly proselyte on the most Anti-Mormon university in the world. We had a very interesting conversation with D. and I began to realize that his questions were becoming more and more “loaded.” I kinda called him out on it and he got kinda emotional saying that he feared we were going to Hell but wanted to truly see what we believed so he could make a judgement. It kinda took me back, but at the same time later it amused me. It did touch me though that D. was truly trying to look out for us.

Sunday was awesome! We had a great fast and testimony meeting and B.’s parents came, which was great. They really enjoyed the services and to my relief, there were great testimonies. It was actually kinda funny because B.’s step dad T. is a Pentecostal so he believes in the gift of tongues and all that funky stuff. He started getting really loud during one of the testimonies because he really agreed with what they said and started shouting “AMEN BROTHER” occasionally. I was afraid he was going to get up and start shouting and doing weird things (if you know what Pentecostals are like you should understand), but then the person bearing their testimony said “I know that this is the only true and living church on the earth.” I don’t think he agreed with that statement because he was pretty silent after that. B. gave an awesome testimony and the ward was touched.

The other highlight of my Sunday was later in the evening. We got a call from D.T., one of our investigators who did not come to church, apologizing for not making it. He had been going through some tough things and we had a really good conversation over the phone about his baptismal date and what he needs to do to qualify. D. really felt that he wasn’t spiritually ready, but I shared with him D&C 20:37 which basically states the qualifications for baptism. He felt a lot better about it afterward and we are working for a baptismal date in early December.

That was most of the week. Nothing too crazy happened. I am so done with election season, it is all we ever hear about. What I hear though scares me.

Elder D. had a really interesting point on Friday at ZTM that I would like to expound on. He talked about how most missionaries look back to the beginning of their missions with fondness, and with the longing to be in that position again. There is truly a special feeling that accompanies your time as a new missionary. This also applies a lot to our childhoods. There seems to be a special feeling that accompanied us as children that often times I think we as adults forget about, but long to regain. What makes this feeling? What makes the difference? I believe that it is the principle of growth. As a new missionary you grow at an incredible rate, however, after training that growth slows down. You gain comfort in who you are and what you are doing, and you tend to not leave that “comfort zone.” I believe that this applies to all aspects of life. In adulthood we may not grow at the rate that we did when we were children, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be pushing ourselves to grow. I think that there is more to the statement “There is no growth in the comfort zone.” While I do believe that there is no growth in the comfort zone, I believe that comfort and joy come from steady growth, whether that be spiritual, physical, or mental. So, as Elder D. challenged us, I challenge you to do something each day that pushes you out of the comfort zone. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should go do something dumb in front of a lot of people, but look for people to serve, to talk to, and to help. Leave your comfort zone and do something good! The gospel is not supposed to be comfortable. Remember the words from the Hymn “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today” and get up and do something more than dreaming of your “mansion above!” Go visit that home teaching family you don’t know, go comfort that person who looks sad, share the gospel with a friend! You will never regret stepping out of the comfort zone for something good. I never have on my mission, and I don’t think I ever will. The only regrets I have had are the moments that I did not put myself out there. I realize now that the greatest comfort comes from leaving the comfort we have for a good cause.

Anyway, there’s my thought for the week.

I hope you all have a great rest of your week! Life is awesome!

Vote for me,

Elder Jeremiah Brown