Oh look another email

Ok so first off, sorry for last weeks email. The day was complete madness and we had barely any time to actually write.

This week was pretty great! Things picked up a lot here and we had some good successes. My only complaint is that for some reason I unintentionally hurt myself an absurd amount of times (sun burn, spider bites, ant bites, other unknown bug bites, breaking a blood vessel in my finger, catching my second cold of the summer, getting snagged in thorn bushes, cutting myself with a gardening tool, the list goes on and on). Maybe I’m clumsy or maybe my brain has it out for me.

 

Monday was a BLAST! Last thing Sunday evening we got permission to drive down to Greenville to spend the night because of historically bad traffic forecasts for the next morning, caused by literally millions of people trying to cram into a 100 mile strip of land. We saw more out of state license plates than in state ones I think.

Anyway, we spent the night which was fun, although I had to sleep in a hammock and I think it gave me spinal cancer or something cause my back hasn’t been the same since. Monday we kinda emailed and then we sat out and watched the eclipse which was DOPE! There literally aren’t words to describe it completely. I feel like it must have been something like what people experienced when suddenly the sky went dark in the middle of the day when Jesus was crucified, minus the near apocalyptic destruction and chaos (although I did really have to go to the bathroom during the entire thing).

All I can say is it was really cool. 9/10 would recommend. 1/10 wouldn’t recommend because 1 burnt his eyes out and can’t type up this review.

After the eclipse was over we went around Greenville but didn’t get to do much because the traffic was so bad. We started heading back early but the traffic was so thick it still took us 2 hours to get home. We spent the rest of the evening making calls and trying to get stuff set up for the week.

 

Tuesday was a good break for me because I didn’t have to do DDM as a result of zone conference being this week. We had ward coordination with Brother M. which went good. We worked on trying to get a new program going in the ward so we can start getting to know the ward better. Other than that, nothing of great significance happened and I honestly don’t remember too many of the details.

 

Wednesday we had President Innes’s first Zone Conference which was awesome! We talked about a lot of good things and got to hear President’s ideas for the mission. Good things are definitely in the future here, although I don’t know if I will be here for most of them. Zone conference almost lasted the entire day, including driving. Honestly, I am kind of glad it lasted that long because I was so exhausted after 10 hours of meetings I don’t think I could have done much more work after that. Something about meetings just takes it out of you.

 

Thursday we did a TON of service. We started by helping Sister S. (one of our recent converts) unload a grocery shipment she was getting, and then went to meals on wheels for a couple hours. After that we went to help an elderly member of the ward cut his grass, which ended up taking a whole lot longer than we expected. His yard was significantly larger than I thought. We try to avoid spending our entire day doing service but today it just turned out otherwise. By the time we were done with everything it was 6, so we took our dinner and worked for the rest of the evening. I was thoroughly exhausted to say the least.

 

Friday we worked at the soup kitchen. I’ve come to realize that there are two different types of people who go to soup kitchens. One type is really nice and grateful and they always are polite despite their raggedy looking conditions. The other type is literally just a bunch of people who are there for a free meal so they have energy to keep kicking baby animals and burning down orphanages. Usually, despite their conditions, the humble ones are happy people, whereas the other group is never happy. Anyway, some grumpy guy cussed me out and I wanted to be un Christlike and tell him to get a job but I just decided to walk away.

After the soup kitchen we did a lot of cleaning up of our area book because it got unintentionally messed up by previous missionaries. We tried by a bunch of people’s houses but hardly got any answers.

 

Saturday we did, yet again, more service, this time for a non member who needed her yard worked on. Her field was absolutely wild and the lawn mower I was using was getting jammed because the grass was so thick. I uncovered some gnarly ant hills and they in turn, graciously decided to see what I tasted like. Other than that though, the service went well and hopefully we will have a new investigator soon. After that we weekly planned and then went to an appointment with M. B., which went a lot better than the previous one. We had it in the home of Sister R. and I think that helped a bit. She seems to be doing a lot better. Also, I discovered that I actually enjoy green been casserole (queue the “I told you so” from mom and dad).

 

Sunday we went out with the young men’s president and visited a bunch of less actives. We went into a lot of backwoods places with no luck until finally we met a guy who seemed to have some potential. He was super nice and we talked to him for probably an hour or so. He is really attached to another church he goes to currently but I think we may be able to get him back into the fold. It’s interesting that most less actives out here don’t stop going to church when they go less active, they just go to a different church. I have met very few healthy southerners who don’t already go (or claim to go) to a church.

 

Anyway, I think that was about everything that happened this week. It was a good week overall. Definitely a lot more fun than previous ones.

This week at zone conference we watched a talk given in General Conference a while back called “The Divine Call of a Missionary.” It was given by Elder Rasband before he was called to be an Apostle. A lot of the things he said in it really touched me. He shares the awesome experience he had being able to witness the assigning of missionaries with Elder Eyring, and saw truly how inspired the calls are that missionaries receive. Its always an awesome reminder to realize that despite the church’s large membership and the general authorities’ ability to delegate responsibility to other numerous leaders, they still take upon themselves the responsibility of assigning literally tens of thousands of missionaries to their prospective missions through divine revelation. It truly goes to show how important missionary work is in the eyes of the Lord.

Elder Rasband finishes his talk by quoting the following scripture in D&C 15.

4 For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.

5 Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given you according to my commandments.

6 And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.

Regardless of whether or not we are full time missionaries or just normal members, it is important to remember that the Lord has advised us that the thing that should be of “most worth” to us is spreading the gospel. If you are like I was before I came out to the field, and don’t have a huge desire to spread the gospel, the best thing you can do is to ask God for the desire. He will give it to you if you sincerely ask for it. In fact, I am sure that he will be overjoyed by your asking.

 

Anyway, that is my thought for the week. Thanks for all the support prayers you send my way! I appreciate every bit of them.

yarg

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Pics:

Lots of pictures of us at the eclipse. Picture of the eclipse (unfortunately due to the unsatisfactory quality of my camera, I cannot take credit for the picture. photo creds Sister Christensen). Picture of a microwaveable container that decided to not be microwavable anymore, although the chicken still tasted good.

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Oh look the sun died

Well today’s email is gonna be way short cause everyone is going crazy
and we are getting a full solar eclipse here. It should be really cool
but it is going to affect my emailing.

Basically this week was about the same as last week. Nothing too crazy
has happened and there weren’t a whole lot of developments in
missionary work.

I will give a few highlights on the week.

On Tuesday we went on exchanges in Union which was fun. Union is even
more out there than Gaffney. Nothing too crazy happened on the
exchange.

We saw a lot of crazy people, rednecks, and did some service for a
less active family on their property and helped them try to pull out
an old tractor stuck in the woods.

Our recent convert has been out of town for the last few weeks so
there hasn’t been any development there.

That was most of the week. I’m don’t have much more to talk about and
I am running out of time to type this up.

Sorry Mom for the vagueness of this email… it’s probably my worst one yet.

Anyway, I gotta go get situated for the eclipse. Talk to you all later!

Love,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Pic: Gaffney in a nutshell

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Elder Brown’s area is within the point of totality for the solar eclipse. ┬áIt will be interesting to hear what his experience viewing it was like.

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Nothing to see here

If I could compare this week to anything it would probably be one of those short meaningless scenes that directors cut out of their movies for the sake of time and keeping their viewers entertained. I would follow suit and end the email here, however my number one fan wouldn’t be very happy so I will proceed to give you the details of this overly dull week. I guess I should clarify that when I say dull, I mean in terms of missionary work. We had some fun stuff happen but really not a lot of development with the work here in Gaffney.

So Elder N. and I are staying together for another transfer. I will have been with him for 6 months, which is kind of a crazy long time!

Monday was one of the more interesting days of the week. We went down to Greenville for P-Day last minute because a lot of missionaries were getting together to say goodbyes before transfers and such. It was a ton of fun! I got to see my old companion Elder B. which was awesome. He told me that he was going to be our new ZL so I was pumped about that as well! We went to the trampoline park and then we went to some of the other Elders apartments and grilled mutton. Mutton is good, but it tastes exactly what you would expect a sheep to taste like. That was most of the day. After P-Day was over we went and tried to get some work done but had little success.

Tuesday was nice for me because I didn’t have to prepare a DDM (we don’t have meetings the week of transfers). It was also really cool because my trainer Elder K. came back to the mission and I got to have lunch with him! It was really awesome and he is doing really well. It was kinda weird but really good to catch up with him and talk about the good ol’ days (burying dead horses, eating rocky mountain oysters, almost getting crushed by a semi-truck, etc.). It really made me miss being in training and made me remember how much I love being out here. I love the south and the people here, and I really don’t want to leave it.

Pretty much every other day this week was very slow. It just seemed like the more we tried to find people, the less people were home or wanted to talk with us. Maybe it’s because school starts soon and everybody is going out of town one last time. Whatever it was, it wasn’t very much fun for us.

We weeded through old formers, tried to find new investigators (which can be a struggle here because you can’t just knock neighborhoods), and hunted down less actives, but we really didn’t find much. Our recent convert M. is still MIA. We have tried calling and texting but have had no luck at all. Hopefully she just lost her phone again and isn’t answering our calls.

Anyway, I don’t have a whole lot more to report on. Sorry if that was depressing or dull. I hope for my sake that it isn’t. Sometimes it just turns out that way though.

This week I was reading in Mosiah and came across everyone’s favorite scripture Mosiah 2:41. I am sure that everyone has read/memorized this scripture thousands of times but I really wanted to highlight it this week and point out the simple message it gives.

41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

I would like to close up this email by pointing out the truthfulness of this scripture. Yes we’ve heard it time after time, but it’s true! Think about the righteous. Aren’t they always happy? From an outsiders perspective, I should be miserable. I usually don’t have a full stomach, can’t buy the things that I would like to, I don’t get to watch TV, listen to the latest music, or just hang out with friends. Yet, I am the happiest I have been my entire life (not to say I am anywhere near perfect though). This scripture may be used a lot, but it is so true! If you are looking for a little bit more happiness in your life, consider the bad that you can cut out. I promise you will be happier.

Whelp. That’s all I have to say. Thanks for all of your support and prayers!

Until next week,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Pic: The Upstate Elders

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6 months with the Neffmaster

Monday was a lot of fun! We went down to Greenville for the day and went to the trampoline park with a bunch of other missionaries. It was lots of fun and then I went to steak and shake for the first time and it was way good. Super good food for a really good price.

Tuesday we had DDM and then Elder F. (one of the Union Elders who are in our district) went on exchanges. It was a pretty good exchange although a lot of our appointments fell through which was a bummer. We did service for a family in the ward who needed some help with painting which was fun. It was a pretty good day although not a ton of success happened in missionary work.

Wednesday we exchanged back with the Union elders which always takes a long time because they live over 45 minutes away. This district is HUGE geographically which makes travel difficult sometimes. After that we had Ward Coordination with Brother M. and then did a little bit of missionary work. We finished the night with Book of Mormon class as usual.

Thursday we had a lot of fun! We did service for some non-members on their property and it was a lot of work. They live out in the middle of nowhere and their property is super overgrown so they had a lot of yard work for us to do. We were there for a good chunk of time but we are going to have to come back again because of how much work there was. It was literally a jungle in there and we almost got our car stuck trying to drive onto the property. After we worked on their yard we shared a spiritual thought with them and one of the non members said she was really wanting to get her life together and started asking us about baptism. Obviously we were glad to talk with her about that. We will be meeting with them again soon and hopefully good things come from that. The rest of the day was pretty low key and nothing too crazy happened.

Friday our morning was spent in the soup kitchen like usual. It’s always an adventure there. After that we had weekly planning and then we went and did some tracting. Finding new people out here is unfortunately really slow, and we have to live with the reality of uneventful times unless we are in a lesson. In the evening we took our dinner last thing of the day and had a cookout with the other Gaffney Elders. Elder A. made some Palmetto Cheeseburgers which were fabulous. In the middle of grilling we got hit with a MASSIVE thunderstorm, so we cooked and ate our burgers underneath a pavilion at our apartment complex in the middle of a torrential rainstorm. People probably thought we were crazy but we weren’t giving up the little food we had. It was worth it too, cause they were way good.

Saturday was a bit weird. We had a lesson with our recent convert M. and she wasn’t doing so well. It was a really intense lesson and she basically told us that she didn’t feel accepted or liked at church. We resolved a few of her concerns and then she asked if she was still allowed to come to church, which we obviously told her yes. She seemed to think that people there didn’t like her nor wanted her there. It’s interesting how hard it can be for new members of the church. I think that as lifetime members we don’t understand why new people don’t just fit in because this is what we have known our entire lives, and we can’t imagine not fitting in here. The church is weird to outsiders, and we gotta understand that and help people make the adjustments necessary.

In the afternoon we had a funny experience. I looked at the phone and saw that we had a missed call from President Innes, which obviously put me on edge because today was leadership/transfer calls. I called President back and he didn’t answer, so I sat in suspense for a good long time before finally I couldn’t take it so I called him again. He laughed and said that he didn’t mean to call us, so it was actually a false alarm. It still scared me half to death though, and made part of the day anxiety filled.

Sunday was pretty good. Nothing too crazy happened. Our recent convert didn’t show up which was a bummer. We are kinda worried about her.

 

Today Elder N. and I found out that we will be staying together for another transfer! That makes 6 months together, which is pretty rare. It’s all good though cause we get along well.

Anyway, that’s the week. Nothing too crazy, but we had some fun stuff happen.

This week I had the chance to hear a sermon from someone in the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen. It made me realize that though we are the only true church, there are many good people out there who have some truth in their life. As members I think sometimes we assume that because we are the only church with the fullness, every other church is evil and the spirit cannot dwell there. It’s good to remember that the Spirit witnesses of truth and non members can have spiritual experiences when truth is being shown to them. Knowing this makes me want to help them so that they can have even more of the joy they feel from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just a thought.

Well, I gotta get going. Thanks for all of the emails and support you send!

Lurvs

Elder Jeremiah Brown

 

Elder M. and I. He was in my ward at BYU during summer semester.

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