Buffets will be the death of me

Well this week has been a pretty good week, although I am not sure how interesting it will be to read about. Things have been a lot less slow lately and we’ve had some fun times.

So I’m getting this email off a little bit later than usual because we went down to Charleston for a doctors appointment and partied it up down there for a few hours. We went to this Mexican place that was WAY good. They had this Mexican street corn that was hands down the best corn I have had in my life. That’s been our P-Day so far.

On Monday we weren’t sure what to do for P-Day so we went to the Temple grounds and walked around. It was pretty cool and that is the first time I have visited the temple here. I wish we were allowed to go inside but we literally are not allowed to.

After we walked around the temple we went to a church book store across the street, Nephi’s Books, and looked around for a while. I couldn’t bring myself to buy anything though cause it was expensive.

Tuesday was ok. My bike started having problems so I had to spend a good chunk of the day working on it. I hate spending time on bike maintenance and I am terrible at it.

On Wednesday we did service for SBP as usual. We put the finishing touches on the house we have been working on and it is pretty cool to see how it has changed since we started it.

After the service we had an appointment with a bible referral. Usually bible referrals are pretty lame but lately we have been getting some really good ones. This one was pretty cool. He was just moving in from Florence and was interested in meeting with us and really wanted to see what we believe in. We are hopeful that maybe he will actually progress, but who knows. We wrapped up our evening by going to ward coordination and then going to give one of the new sisters that just transferred in here a blessing. Overall it was a pretty good day.

On Thursday we did service for PAALS as usual. Playing with dogs is always fun. Nothing else too notable happened today though.

Friday was the opening ceremony for the house that we worked on. It was cool because the local news was there as well as a whole bunch of missionaries from Columbia. I will send pictures of the event when I get them.

After the ceremony we went to visit Sister A. Man it is really hard to get myself to go visit her. The place is still really smelly and while we were in there I literally saw a mouse crawl up the wall and into an outlet port. The rat infestation there is so bad that they are living in the center of their family room on an air mattress because the rats have taken over everything else. It is disgusting. Hopefully we will be getting them some help soon.

On Saturday we went out with Brother E. for a while. We didn’t have too much success but it was good to go out with a member for a while. He insisted that he would take us to lunch, so we eventually gave in. He told us he was taking us to some cafeteria place nearby, but it ended up being Golden Corral. My oh my I ate way too much food. I also discovered that the rumors are true, they do have all you can eat cotton candy. It was pure bliss.

Sunday was pretty great. We biked a ton and got a lot of work done, although we didn’t have too much success.

I really can’t say that anything too crazy happened this week but it was just a better week for missionary work than the last few weeks have been. We found out this week that I will be here with Elder C. for another 6 weeks in Columbia.

Other than that I don’t think much else happened here. I guess that’s my week.

Until next week,

Lurv

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Pappa-rick-a

Well this week was good. Lot’s of cool stuff happened and this has probably been my favorite week of the transfer.

So on Monday we did usual P-Day things but this time us and the ZL’s went up to hang out with the Sandhill’s elders because we have been feeling bad for them. They never get to do anything with any other missionaries on P-Day so we gave them a break I guess. We just played board games and stuff. Nothing too crazy though.

On Tuesday we had DDM as usual. It was pretty good and I trained on how we can be more motivated as missionaries, which seems to be a bit of an issue in this District. This was an interesting training coming from me because my biggest struggle (in life, not just missionary work) is being a motivated person. I am just not blessed with the natural ability to motivate myself easily. I think it turned out ok though. Maybe I’ll talk a bit about it at the end of this email.

After DDM we did usual missionary work. Nothing too crazy happened I guess because I can hardly remember what we did.

On Wednesday we had SBP, which is always a lot of fun. We were putting the finishing touches on one of the houses we have been working on for some time now. We did a lot of painting and priming. It’s pretty cool to see how far the house has come since it was flooded. They will be reopening the house to the owners this Friday and so we get to be a part of the reopening ceremony that they do for all of their houses. Should be cool.

After SBP we went home and started cleansing our apartment because it was filthy and we had housing inspections on Thursday. Let me just say that I do not think Elder C. knows how to clean. It requires a lot of patience on my part, and yes, dad, there is someone messier than me out there.

On Thursday we had housing inspections in the morning which we passed surprisingly. After those we went to do service for PAALS like usual and that was fun. We got to walk the dogs for the first time and they are awesome animals. They actually listen to you when you tell them to do stuff, unlike certain dogs I know…

After PAALS we had dinner with our investigator H. He wanted to meet us at Outback Steakhouse, which I absolutely could not afford, so I was just planning on getting a cheap entre or something like that. Well it turns out that he wanted to pay for us, so I ended up getting a steak dinner which was really good. We had a very interesting discussion. I kinda saw it coming too, because he seemed too eager to meet with us and he is Baptist. As we talked he little by little started to express his concern over Joseph Smith. Eventually he pretty much straight up said that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. And so my suspicions were confirmed, we were his investigators. On the bright side, however, we got a free steak dinner out of it, and let me just say that Outback’s clam chowder is way good.

Elder C. pretty much told H. that unless he read the Book of Mormon he could not say that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. Clearly the guy had just been reading books on how to stump Mormons because all the stuff he brought up was the same stuff I always hear. Anyway, we told him that there was really no reason to meet with him anymore if he wasn’t going to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, so he agreed he would do that.

Like I said though, we still got steaks.

On Friday we had a cool experience. We went to go see a bible referral, which we usually don’t get too excited for because they are always just ghetto people wanting their free handout. This time it was different though. The man who requested the bible asked for it to be in large print, so we already weren’t too excited about it. But, to our surprise, when we got there he was very excited to see us and he warmly invited us in. He told us that he had met with missionaries in the past after a member in his family had died, and they taught him the Plan of Salvation and it really brought peace into his heart. He was interested in meeting with missionaries again after he gets out of a surgery in a week, so we are pretty excited for that.

On Saturday we had a pretty normal day. In the evening we had the adult session of Stake Conference which was really good. Elder Alba of the Seventy was presiding over the meeting and he is a really awesome guy. Stake Conference was also cool because I got to see all the missionaries in the Zone and found out that Elder B., my last companion, is training, which made me really happy because he is an awesome missionary.

On Sunday we had the actual session of Stake Conference. I got to go to the early morning Spanish session with the Zone Leaders which was really cool because I got to talk to Elder Alba one on one and he gave me a hug. I found out that his wife grew up in Antelope, which is really cool as well.

After Stake Conference we went to the W.’s house like we usually do on Sunday’s. W.W.’s mom was there this time and let me just say that she is CRAZY. She apparently had a head injury years back and so she always seems drunk. Imagine Jack Sparrow even more drunk than usual, and in woman form. Anyway, we were talking to W. and then she started going on a rant about how she is the “greatest cook in the world,” and that she cooked for George Bush and that he blew a kiss to her or something crazy like that. W. started messing with her a bit and said “Mom, you are not a good cook. You burnt the fried chicken the other day.” She went off on him about how the chicken wasn’t burnt but it was brown because of the “pappa-rick-a” (paprika). She said “Pappa-rick-a is da secret to all da good. It be more dan a spice, itsa flavor.” It was SOOOO funny, but maybe you just had to be there. Then I started trying to talk to W. about the gospel but his mom started singing gospel music really loudly, staring at me the entire time. She was CRAZY. When we left, she walked us out the door and to our bikes, singing gospel music the entire way. The funny part was that she was actually pretty good.

Anyhow, that was the week basically.

So this week I did a lot of thinking on motivation and how we can get ourselves motivated to do good. I realized that the strongest motivator that a missionary or really anyone can have is to be motivated by the gospel. The issue is, it isn’t easy to make the gospel one of your motivating factors. I read a talk by President Uchtdorf called “The Power of a Personal Testimony.” It was a really cool because it talked about how we can make our personal testimony one of the greatest motivators of all. If you really think about it, all of the most courageous acts, or hardest work seems to be done by people motivated by their testimony to do good. So, if you are struggling with being motivated, especially in doing good, consider what your testimony is like, and see if you can find a way to make it more of a motivator in your life.

Well, I think that is about it. I hope you guys have a good week.

Murch lurv

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Pictures!

Elder H. at his finest

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The District

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The Columbia Zone (Elder Brown is just off center to the left in the second row)

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Elder C. and I

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Oh Columbia

Well a week has come and gone, and it really doesn’t feel that way. The weeks are going by so quick I can hardly even keep up with myself.

This week was pretty normal, but it is way too warm to be winter. Yesterday I’m pretty sure it hit 80, but on Tuesday or Wednesday we had a big freeze. You gotta feel bad for the meteorologists here cause SC weather has a bad case of bipolar disorder.

On Monday we had a sports day, so nothing too exciting. We ended up leaving early and then played a few card games with the ZL’s.

Afterward went and tried by a few people but didn’t have too much success.

On Tuesday we didn’t have DDM because of ZTM this week. That was a nice break for me. I don’t remember too much of what happened today, however we did spend a lot of time preparing for housing inspections, woot woot.

On Wednesday we had the usual service with SBP. This time I got to be a demolition worker which basically meant I got to break stuff. That was a nice stress relief I guess. I got to see Elder O. there and he seemed to be doing pretty good. He is in a tough area but seems to be handling it pretty well.

After we finished breaking things, the most notable thing that happened was ward coordination. It was actually probably the best ward coordination I have had here which was really nice.

On Thursday our service with PAALS cancelled so we had to find other stuff to do last minute. I always hate it when service projects cancel. We ended up spending a lot of time weekly planning.

I guess I had a pretty cool experience while I was planning. A few weeks ago a random guy stopped me and Elder LeCh. while we were on exchanges and gave us his business card and told us to call him and he would love to meet with us. Well I had tried calling a few times before and had not had any luck, so it had kinda fallen to the back of my mind.

So I was sitting there and had the sudden inspiration to call this guy again, so I did. He answered and warmly said that he would love to meet with us so we agreed to meet at Dunkin Donuts. I am glad that I followed this inspiration otherwise I do not know if I would have ever talked to this guy.

Anyway, our afternoon was pretty slow, but in the evening we had an appointment with a less active family. Man that was interesting. They had a washing machine explode and leak everywhere, and their house is filthy. It is quite possibly the most disgusting house I have been in on my mission. We left smelling like mildew and dog pee, so you can imagine how bad it smelled inside. The floors were basically dirt and they were living on an air mattress. There were piles of garbage everywhere and the floor was covered in old food, and dog waste that had been left on the floor. Those poor dogs were so dirty too. We tried to help her solve her rat issue but I do not know if you possibly can in that house.

It was a bit of an eye opener to see what other people are living in. Even here in America there are people living in poverty. The interesting part is that they have a 90+ inch flat screen TV.

Enough of that though. Afterwards we coped with some McDonalds and then went home for the evening.

On Friday we had ZTM, which was fun. Every single one of my previous companions that are still in the mission are in this zone, so I basically get to see all of my friends. It’s really great to see them, especially Elder H. We have become really good friends and we will definitely do stuff after the mission.

After ZTM I went on exchanges with Elder B. in Sandhills. It was weird being in the area that I lived in (we lived in Sandhills when I was in Blythewood) for 6 months of my life. Kind of like a weird nostalgia that brings a bit of nausea and eye spasms.

Ok, just kidding, I actually really enjoyed Blythewood looking back. It was just a very tough area.

Elder B.’s tire exploded on his bike, so we ended up having to walk everywhere. We walked like 8 miles and man my feet were sore. For dinner Elder B. took some black eyed peas and rice and put some peanut vinaigrette on it. It sounded really weird to me at first, but it was actually really good and I think he has invented a new type of food. Seriously though.

On Saturday we exchanged back and then had our appointment with H., the guy that gave us his business card. It was very interesting and it reminded me a lot of the time we met with that guy on Bob Jones University, except this time the person we were teaching seemed willing to do what we asked. Hopefully he will read and pray over the Book of Mormon and good things will happen.

On Sunday we had a good Sacrament meeting. I ended up going on a mini exchange with the ZL’s to the spanish group for convenience and logistics reasons. That was kinda fun but I didn’t get too much out of it. I only understood bits and pieces.

After church on Sunday we went to visit the W.’s. They were doing pretty good and we had a good time talking to them about the Temple and what they need to be doing to get there. They seem really excited and I am hopeful that they will make that a priority in their lives.

Anyhow, that was the week. This week transfer calls go out. I am pretty sure that I will be staying here with Elder C. for at least one more transfer, but you never know. They like to surprise us.

I gotta go. The computer is about to kick me off.

With as much as I am allowed to express this Valentine’s Day,

Love,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

I done turned mahself old

I was trying to think of what happened this week and then I remembered that it was my birthday. Yay! I am one year closer to dying.

This week was pretty alright. I don’t remember too much of what happened and I did a bad job of doing a nightly journal entry. It was kinda slow for missionary work though.

On Monday we had a pretty laid back P-Day. We just sat at home and played board games, which was actually quite refreshing.

On Tuesday we had DDM. It went ok but some of the Elders who were supposed to speak were not able to make it so it kinda threw a wrench in the program. Luckily Elder C. filled in for them and it ended up being pretty good I think.

On Wednesday we did service for SBP, the service organization that helps re-build homes that were damaged in the flood. That was pretty fun and it ended up taking up most of the day. We were working on mold removal and also putting up insulation, so we got to wear protective suits (we were working with some gross chemicals) and I felt like I was in Breaking Bad.

During service we went to lunch at Five Guys and some random member payed for our meal. That was pretty cool.

On Thursday we did service for PAALS, the dog training place. That was good as usual. I found a lizard and let it bite onto my ear and it made the supervisor lady freak out. I felt accomplished.

Afterward we went by and visited a bunch of people but didn’t have any success in actually getting into peoples homes.

Oh ya, and it was my birthday! I almost forgot about that. It was a good birthday, obviously nothing too exciting though because I’m a missionary. It sure beat last birthday when I spent the day packing up to leave Conway.

On Friday we biked a bunch and really didn’t see too much success. We went to Texas Roadhouse for my delayed birthday dinner. I have never been to Texas Roadhouse before and it was pretty good. We ended up having to take our food to go and eat it later because they took a long time and our dinner hour was over by the time we got our food.

Saturday was probably the best day of the week. We got to see W. J., our recent convert. He is doing really well, and he shared a lot of his back story with us. He got out of 10 years in prison only a year and a half ago and is now married, in the church, and is supporting a family. For someone who’s only 28, I would say that is a big accomplishment. He truly has been blessed by the gospel.

We got to visit a few other people but nothing else crazy happened.

On Sunday we had Sacrament meeting which was good as usual. There were a lot more people there than normal, which was surprising considering that it was the Super Bowl. Man I do not like the Super Bowl out here. Nobody wants to talk to you when they are watching people chuck leather around in tights.

So basically Sunday wasn’t the greatest for missionary work. We biked around trying to talk to people but everyone was busy.
Overall, a pretty slow week. But that’s fine, you get those sometimes. I feel like all of my emails have been pretty boring lately so hopefully some cool stuff starts to happen and I can spice these things up a bit.

I think that is all. Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes and emails!

con muchas gatos,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

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