Christmas Craziness

Well this week was pretty much the best week ever until Friday morning and then our joy ride of a week got hit by a semi truck. Let’s get down to business.

So Monday for P Day we weren’t sure what to do so we just went around town taking pictures in front of stuff (your welcome mom). After that we went to E. H.’s house and had a lesson with him. It was a pretty good day.

On Tuesday we had DDM in the morning. It went pretty well and I gave a training on key indicators and how they can be more useful. Later we had a really good appointment with G. and R. We taught the Word of Wisdom and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It went really smoothly and they are super excited for baptism in a week! After we went to G. and R.’s, we had an appointment with the G. family. They are a less active part member family and are way cool! We had dinner and shared a Christmas message with them. They are from Alaska. They are just way fun people to be around and I look forward to working with them more in the future.

On Wednesday we had a service project planned for the afternoon at a soup kitchen. We were really disappointed to find out last minute that they had more than enough people so we didn’t need to come. That threw a huge wrench in the day’s plans because we had set aside a large part of our day for it. Elder B. and I decided that we were going to find some other service to do instead. We called Habitat for Humanity and asked if they needed some help today and they said that they would be more than happy to have us come right then. So we got the entire district to show up and help out at this place! It was awesome and we had a ton of fun! The man in charge there is actually from Utah (he isn’t a member) and knew a lot about us and what we did. We are probably going to start doing service there weekly!

After we did service we visited a few people and then finished our day.

Thursday was crazy. We literally had 5 different people ask us for blessings. We had a less active member call and ask us for a blessing because she was going to the hospital for surgery. We had never met her before but she lived just down the street from us so we went over to visit her. Sister Sz. is awesome! She is married to a non-member who is from Uruguay! I have met a lot of Hispanics out here but never any from Uruguay, which was really cool because we had a lot to talk about (porqué mi abuela es de Uruguay). The surgery Sister Sz. was going in for was to put a chemo therapy port into her body, which they had already attempted twice before and were unsuccessful. She had decided that if they didn’t get it in this time, she would just let the cancer run naturally. Anyway, we gave her the blessing and we actually heard from her the next day that the surgery went well and they got the port in! I was super glad to hear that it went well. After that we went to another lesson with G. and R. and we taught them all of the commandments. It went really well and they committed to living all of them. Then, after that, we went over for a dinner lesson at T. and K.’s. It was really good food and I beat them both in Ping Pong. It was on the ride home that things started going downhill for the week. We got a call from the Zone Leaders and they told us that we would be giving them our car for a couple days because they somehow put a hole in their transmission. You can imagine we were overjoyed. Before we lost the car, however, we gave a blessing to another less active family who was going through some sickness. They had been less active for at least 18 years but were now looking to get back into the church. The Mom’s non member husband had just recently divorced her and he would not let them go to church. We were super excited to start teaching them but later we found out that they were actually not in our area. They were literally on the wrong side of the street! We were a little bummed out but we gave a great Christmas present referral to the other missionaries.

Friday morning was when we gave up the car. It was also when I started feeling a little weird. I started realizing that I was getting sick but I biked anyway and I think that was a bad idea because now I feel like garbage. We were supposed to have a couple members coming out with us today but they both had to cancel, so we were marooned on our bikes for the whole day. Normally that’s not bad but because I was sick and we had appointments far away, it was kinda bad.

Saturday was fun but it was kinda painful. We did service literally all day, which was great! We spent the entire morning raking leaves for this old lady, and then we went to one of the ZL’s members houses to help set up a trampoline for Christmas. The trampoline itself was pretty easy to set up but man the enclosure around it was a royal pain. It took us from about 2 o’clock to 7 o’clock to finish putting that mangled mess of fishnet together. It was fun and all, and we were happy to serve, but we didn’t eat any lunch or dinner and the ZL’s ditched us halfway through to go to dinner with our car and we spent the evening putting the rest up in the dark. Right after that we were supposed to go caroling with the district so I had a Christmas Eve feast quickly before we left, a Hot Pocket. Christmas Caroling was fun, although I was struggling to be happy because I was sick, tired, and a little annoyed. We ended up singing to this random family that told us to sing to them and it was hilarious! They were super funny and we got a cool video of us singing with them. I went to bed early, exhausted and feeling like garbage.

Sunday was pretty good, although I was out of it most of the day. We got up early so that we could open our Christmas presents before we had to go to breakfast. We had breakfast at the Kn.’s, a family in the ZL’s ward. They were super nice and we played a white elephant tie game where I ended up with the worst one. It was a fat, wrinkly, bright orange tie and man that thing probably scared the children away. After that we went to Church and had a good hour long service there. There were some good musical numbers and such. From there we went over to the B.’s house to have lunch and Skype home. That was good stuff and we had a fun time with them. Then we went to the Sh.’s for a final Christmas dinner. G., R., and a ton of other Hispanic less active members were there. I was actually a minority and I related a bit to missionaries who serve foreign missions and struggle with the language. It was weird being around so many people who don’t speak much English. We were there for a really long time, or at least a lot longer than I wanted to be there. I wasn’t feeling too well and kinda wanted to go home but we were in the mercy of Brother Sh. giving us a ride home because we didn’t have a car, so we waited until pretty much the entire night was over. After that I did calls and numbers and then went to bed because I was pretty much a vegetable.
Interestingly enough, this week was pretty awesome, minus the last couple days. The last few days have been hard. I kinda wish I was able to enjoy Christmas more, but it was still a good time. I hope you all had a great Christmas and have a great New Years as well! Thank you to everyone who sent me letters and packages! I really appreciate them and it makes Christmas out here a lot easier.

Well, until next week I guess.

Merry Birthday

Elder Jeremiah Brown

PICTURES!!!

Christmas Breakfast with the Zone, thanks to the Kn. family!  They texted this one to us. (Note the orange tie over top of his tie!)

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Serving at Habitat for Humanity.

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Raking leaves.

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View in Greenville with ZL’s.

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Nice view with Elder B.

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Christmas Fun and Coldness

This week was tons of fun! It is definitely starting to feel like Christmas around here, although apparently it’s just me because all the Utah missionaries around here won’t stop complaining about how there isn’t any snow.

It has started to get very cold here. On Friday it didn’t get above 40 and before you judge me and call me a wimp, understand that 40 degrees here is WAY colder than 40 degrees out west. The humidity here makes things 10 times colder. It’s seriously crazy. Missionaries from Utah and Idaho have told me that they would definitely take the weather from back home over this.

On Monday I spent the entire day editing our District Christmas Video and had a ton of fun doing that. It’s been at least a year since I’ve gotten to do video editing and I forgot how much I like it. Our District Video was alright considering our circumstances I guess. I wish it could have gone better though.

Tuesday I went on exchanges with Elder F. and that was pretty great! We had a really good lesson with G. and R. who are now feeling better. We taught the Plan of Salvation to both of them and had a really good discussion about their baptism scheduled for the 31st now. We got to talk to a lot of Hispanic people because Elder F. speaks Spanish. We met this Hawaiian lady who gave us Hawaiian Host macadamia nut chocolates. Those were pretty much gone before the end of the night.

Wednesday we exchanged back and Elder B. and I had a pretty slow day. I don’t even remember too much of what happened.

Thursday we had a very cold day. We were running low on miles so we biked around and man I froze. We didn’t have too much success talking to people either cause nobody really wanted to come outside. I don’t blame them either.

Friday was AWESOME! We had Christmas Zone Conference and that was a blast! We got to see all the missionaries from the upstate which is always fun. The AP’s and President gave some great trainings and then we had a pizza lunch. After that we showed all of the District Christmas Videos which were pretty funny. Then we got to watch a movie. I was expecting something like “Meet the Mormons,” cause that’s the type of stuff they’ve shown in the past, but they surprised us. They showed “Christmas in Conway,” a movie that takes place here in SC so they show a lot of footage of Conway and talk about places here. I was pretty surprised that they decided to show us a Hallmark chick flick of all things but whatever, it was a movie. I did think it was kinda funny because I am the only one in the mission right now that can say “Christmas in Conway” applies to me, because I literally had “Christmas in Conway” last year. I really miss that place. I probably had the most fun I have had on my mission there. I hope that I can serve around there one of these days so I can go back and visit.

After Christmas Zone Conference we had dinner and then went Caroling with both of the zones in Downtown Greenville. Downtown GV is definitely one of the coolest downtown’s I have ever been to, especially right now because they have Christmas lights up. It was VERY cold but I think we were successful. Some of the missionaries wrapped Books of Mormon up as presents and handed them out, which I thought was pretty clever. Anyway, after that we got some hot chocolate and went home. Great day. 10/10 would recommend.

Saturday was pretty good. We went to a senior care home with the district and did some Christmas caroling to them. It was pretty easy because they can’t really hear us in the first place. We could literally sing On Top of Old Smokey in falsetto and they would think it was the best performance of Jingle Bells since Burl Ives. It was fun but man let me tell you I would hate living in one of those places.

If I ever get that senile I want my children to take me skydiving over and over again until my parachute stops working or I have a heart attack cause that would stink. Literally. My diaper would be stinky and I will not pay anyone to change it.

Sunday was a little slow. G. and R. came to church. After church we went and tried visiting a bunch of people but didn’t have much success. We did meet a lady who had a fully grown pig living in her house. I thought it was a dog at first but then I realized there was no way a dog could be that big. It was HUGE. I still have no clue why anyone would let that thing come inside the house.
It’s been a fun week overall. The holidays can slow missionary work down a lot but we handled it pretty well and still had a fun time. I am excited for Christmas, especially because it is on Sunday. When I was younger I remember not appreciating Christmas on Sunday because it meant that we would have to wait until after church for presents. I guess you could say that I have a different perspective now. I would like to encourage everyone this Christmas to consider the significance of Jesus’s birth as you take the Sacrament on Sunday. What you are celebrating this holiday is what makes the Sacrament possible. I think as we make the Sacrament more meaningful we will have a better experience at church and especially this Sunday feel the Christmas Spirit.

Have a great Christmas!

Love or hate,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Christmas Zone Conference

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Caroling in Greenville (we can’t yet find Elder Brown in this one…)

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Addresses that don’t exist

Like literally we went to 5-6 houses that didn’t exist this week.

Anyway this week was pretty tough. Like it was good and we worked really hard but it wasn’t a very fruitful week I guess.

It’s starting to get pretty cold here. The humidity here makes the cold feel WAY colder. There is a chance of snow next week and there is one day that won’t get over 36, so we may be on lock down for icy roads a couple days next week. People out here don’t know how to drive on ice and even if you know how to drive on it it isn’t safe because they will hit you. Drivers out here appall me.

So on Monday we spent most of our day working on our district Christmas video. Every Christmas we are allowed to make a video to show in Christmas Zone Conference. They are usually pretty funny although I am not sure how ours is going to turn out because we didn’t get very much done.

I will send the results.

After that we tried by a less active family who told us to come by Monday evening. We weren’t expecting them to keep the appointment (as most LA’s don’t seem to keep them) but to our surprise they were still planning on having us over and even made dinner for us. Brother and Sister S. are a Hispanic family that has gone less active since the Spanish branch closed here. They made us some really good Mexican food, and probably the first real Mexican I’ve had in a year or so. We had a really good conversation with them about the gospel and invited them back to church and to the Christmas dinner.

On Tuesday our appointment with G. and R. fell through because they were super sick. I was a little bummed out because we will probably have to push out their baptismal date to the end of the month but hopefully things will work out.

We went and visited a ton of less actives with A. and saw a bunch of crazy people. We went by one less active person’s house and they were standing there holding a gun and their dogs ran after us and they didn’t do anything to stop them so we decided to just call them later.

On Wednesday we biked a TON. It was really nice outside so we decided it would be a good day to do some biking. We biked to a lot of potential investigators and less actives houses and didn’t have too much success. There were a lot of people who didn’t want to talk to us like usual. We did talk to this one guy who was doing landscaping outside someone’s house and he was pretty nice. Other than that we talked to a ton of Baptists who did not want to have anything to do with us. There are SOOOOOO many Baptists here it is crazy. After we biked we went to Book of Mormon class and then Ward Coordination and that wrapped up our day.

On Thursday we had a lot of busy work. We had to do weekly planning in the morning and then after that we did service for C. K., a less active member in our ward. We helped him paint his house which was a lot of fun and we had a good talk with him. After that we visited M. C., the paralyzed Hispanic guy, and read him some of the Book of Mormon. The rest of the day was pretty unfruitful. We finished weekly planning and then visited some random people who didn’t answer and/or want to talk to us.

Friday we had ZTM which is always fun because we get to see the missionaries from all over the Zone. There were some cool things announced there. The Apostle visiting the mission will be Elder Gary E. Stevenson, so that will be awesome!

After that we visited a bunch of people and nobody wanted to talk to us until the evening when we had an appointment with R. C., a less active member who is looking to become active again.

Saturday was much more fruitful than the rest of the week. We knocked around a less active’s house and the first door we knocked we were let in without much of an introduction and we were offered a drink. The man’s name was E. and he was a super nice guy. He is a very devout and active Catholic and we had a really good discussion with him about our beliefs as well as his. He was actually very receptive of our message, although he didn’t completely agree with it, and I think we touched him. Hopefully he reads the Book of Mormon and prays about it. He was very sincere and I am really glad we got to meet him. It was refreshing meeting with a Catholic. All we ever get to talk to is Baptists and man do they get old.

After that we had an apt with J. F., a guy we have been meeting with for a little while now. Their house didn’t have any heating in it because their gas isn’t hooked up yet so it was like 40 degrees in their place. The lesson was pretty good but J. hadn’t done too much reading since we met last so there wasn’t a lot of progression. He promised to read more before we meet next week.

After that we had the Christmas Dinner and I was a little bit disappointed because nobody we invited showed up. Meh. The food was good though.

On Sunday we had a good Sacrament Meeting and all. After church we spent a lot of time trying to contact less actives without much success. I was super tired and had pretty low morale so I was struggling to find things to do. Finally I had the thought that we should go visit E. H., a recent convert here in the ward. I am really glad we went by because he has been going through some hard times and hasn’t been to church in a little while. His family is going through a divorce and it has been really hard on him. We talked with him for a long time and then shared a message with him about trials. I think it really helped him and he was super thankful for us coming by and taking time to talk to him. It really made the day seem worth it.

That was my week. Hopefully it didn’t put you to sleep. It’s been one of the slower weeks we have had here in a long time. Hopefully things start to pick up here.

I have got to go now, but I hope you all are doing well and are enjoying the Christmas season!

HAGS

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Me and Elder B. in front of the treeimg_0228

Me posing by one of the rarest things in SC… A bike lane!

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Answers to some of mom’s questions:

I thought I told you guys but Elder B.(his new companion) is from Bicknoll Utah, which is basically the middle of nowhere in southern Utah. He is a farm boy and worked on a cow farm most of his life.

The daily schedule is good. Even after a year of doing it, getting up at 6:30 every morning is still hard. We don’t get up early for language study or anything. Normally for workouts I just do a bunch of push ups and sit ups and then we have a bench press so I go on that as well. When we bike I don’t usually work out too hard cause I don’t want to tire myself out.

We have put up some Christmas decorations, as you see in the picture. The tree we got was left here by past missionaries which was nice.

A year in SC

Well this week marks a year since I started my mission. It’s crazy to
think that it was only a year ago that I went to the MTC.

So a lot happened this week. I have less time than usual today
and I neglected to keep a nightly log of everything so I apologize if
this is short.

We spent most of Monday and Tuesday getting ready for transfers. Elder
M. and Elder O. said goodbyes to a bunch of people. The
B.’s had us over for dinner and cooked us each a rack of ribs. They
are way too nice to us.

Transfers was fun. There were a lot of old missionary acquaintances
there that I got to see again which was a lot of fun.

My new companion is Elder B. He came out with Elder O.’s
group so he’s been out for about 4 months. He’s pretty cool and is a
really genuinely good guy. He’s also a super hard worker which is
really nice.

We got a lot of missionary work done this week. There wasn’t too much
progression with our more solid investigators but it was still a good
week. Lots of doors slammed, lots of angry people. Oh how joyous
tracting can be.

Overall nothing too notable happened. The coolest part of the week was
Stake Conference, particularly the adult session. Presiding at the
meeting was Elder Juan E. Uceda of the Seventy. He is a really amazing
person. He actually spoke last general conference.

He shared some awesome experiences and it was a really spiritual meeting.

It is getting colder here now. Yesterday the high was 43 and it rained
all day. In the morning time when it was colder there was actually a
bit of snow falling, although it melted on contact.

Anyway, I gotta get going. We are making a Christmas video for
Christmas Zone Conference in a couple weeks. It should be fun stuff.

Until next week,

LUVS

Elder Jeremiah Brown