Thanksgiving and other madness

Well this week was tons of fun! It was incredibly busy and ironically I think I ended up losing weight this Thanksgiving because we lost track of time on Monday and didn’t go shopping, so we had like no food this week. We literally had to skip meals this week so we could get everything done.

With how much we did, I wish I could say we got more done. With Thanksgiving and just the way things worked out, we didn’t have as much missionary success as I would normally like.

Anyways, it was still a good week.

Monday was fun but not much to talk about. We did stuff here with the Gaffney Elders. We pretty much just hung out and ate food. After that our appointment in the evening ended up getting canceled so we had a pretty slow night.

Tuesday was very tiring. We had zone Conference which went from 9-5, and then we had an hour long drive home in the worst traffic I have seen in SC since I’ve been here. Zone Conference was very cool, though it was very long and grueling. Our mission is one of 12 missions to pilot a variety of new programs the church is hopefully going to implement soon. We will be the first to have access to the new preach my gospel and white handbook they are releasing, as well as some really high tech information gathering technology. Also as a part of these changes, they are basically completely changing the way we go about doing missionary work. Our focus is still the same, but they are eliminating and replacing a lot of the ways we go about fulfilling our purpose. For one, knocking doors is pretty much not a thing anymore. We are encouraged to spend time finding through more creative methods. There also isn’t a structured lesson order now. We are to center our lessons around people’s needs rather than covering all the topics.

Anyways, there are a lot more changes, but I won’t bore you with the smaller ones. This stuff is probably a lot more exciting to missionaries than it is to anyone else.

After Zone Conference we had dinner and then went to an appointment with B. and J. It went really well! We had a really good discussion with them about reading the scriptures and read through some of the Book of Mormon with them. After that, we stopped by J. to talk to him and his family and then went home and ended our day.

Wednesday was a ton of fun. I took care of a lot of going home stuff in the morning, we tried and failed to get an oil change for our car, and then we went to the Habitat for Humanity re-store for a while. We had to move a bunch of nasty wet couches and carpet, and then did more furniture demolition as usual. On the way home we drove past some cool graffiti so we decided to take some pictures, and then had dinner. After dinner we went and visited the M. family (non member/recent convert family) and talked with them for a while. It was a pretty fun laid back day overall.

Thursday was way awesome! We had Thanksgiving Dinner with Brother T. and his non member children. It was really fun and the food was really good. They deep fried their turkey, and I may be converted to that method now because it was really good. We spent pretty much all of the day with them playing games and talking. It was a way fun day!

Friday we went back over to Brother T.’s to help him set up his Christmas decorations. We helped him go buy a tree and decorate it, and set up all the Christmas lights. We spent a large chunk of the day doing that and getting to know Brother T.’s non member kids. I don’t think we made much progress with them, but who knows maybe one day something will come from it. Other than that not much else happened. I spent a good chunk of time dealing with getting rid of my bike too, but that’s not very important.

Saturday was wild. We spent a good chunk of the morning/afternoon getting our car worked on. We didn’t really feel like sitting around to wait so we walked around town which was fun. After the car was done we went to our usual Saturday appointment with the M. family. It was good except I discovered a roach infestation in one of their closets and we spent some time dealing with that. There were SO MANY ROACHES. SO MANY. By the time we got done there it was late and we hadn’t had dinner so we ended our day and had a late dinner.

Sunday was pretty slow and all. Church was good as usual, though we didn’t have anyone show up. After church we did weekly planning, which took quite a bit of time with the new methodology we are to use now. Our evening was pretty lame cause our appointment with the M.’s was canceled and our usual Sunday appointment with J. W. didn’t happen either.

 

So the other day I was working on an online study course that the Church has departing missionaries take called My Plan, and something that was said really struck me. In an interview, a returned missionary said that one of the things that makes missionary work so special, is that missionaries give up 2 years of what is arguably the most selfish time in their lives, to focus on others and become selfless. Now I don’t bring up this point to raise myself or any other missionaries onto a pedestal, but I bring it up to point out that this is true in aspects other than the church missionary program, especially with the Christmas holiday.

The Christmas season is an amazing time, and honestly my favorite time of the year. Something amazing changes in the world for the season, as we celebrate the Savior’s birth. Unfortunately, the world gets carried away and the holidays can become the most selfish time of the year, with so much focus on ourselves, receiving things from others, and focusing more on fulfilling traditions than the real meaning of the season. If we can take this time of selfishness, give it back to the Lord, and make it a time of selflessness, we will have the “happiest holidays” possible. The church has embraced this idea, with the Light the World Christmas initiative being rolled out for the second year in a row. The church doesn’t normally reuse Christmas initiatives, so there is something special about this. I would encourage everyone to find ways they can help others this Christmas.

Anyways, that is all I have. Things are getting weirdly surreal here with my time running out here. I am just trying to make the best of what I have while I have it.

Until next week,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Zone Conference Pictures

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Graffiti pictures

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Really starting to run out of titles here

It just seems that I have had less and less time to email lately. Probably because I am trying to cram as much into my last few p days as possible.

Anyways, for the sake of time, let me get down to business.

On Monday we spend P-Day in Union with a bunch of missionaries from around the zone. It was really fun and we cooked venison burgers and chilled out. After that we went and had a game night with a member family and some non members. It was really fun and good overall!

Tuesday we had a zone wide District meeting, which was kinda weird but good. The reason for this was that they had to replace the TIWI box in all of our cars. TIWI is the name of the black box that yells at us for driving badly. Most of the boxes in the mission were broken, and we were enjoying the life of freedom. You can imagine we weren’t too happy about getting them back. After that we had a few good appointments and I don’t really remember too much else.

Wednesday was fun as usual. We had service at the MTCC and then afterward we went to Habitat for Humanity to do some more service. We did a TON of demolition and I was very exhausted and sore afterward. We finished the night with Book of Mormon class, that we taught, and that ended the day.

Thursday and Friday were pretty slow as we had most of our appointments cancel. We did have a couple good appointments with some less actives, but that was about it.

Saturday was crazy busy. We had an appointment with B. and J. M., which went ok. Things have been back to normal for them, but I personally think we did a poor job of teaching the Plan of Salvation. I hadn’t taught it in a while and I was a little bit rusty. They liked it though, so I guess that’s what matters. Hopefully they come to church soon.

After the appointment we helped Brother T., a less active member, go shopping for Thanksgiving. He recently had a surgery and can’t lift heavy things, so we were his muscle for the afternoon.

After that we had dinner and then had an appointment with our recent convert J. It was a lot of fun, mostly because J. is hilarious. He’s the only active member in his family and is only 12, so we work really hard to make sure he stays active. That pretty much finished out the day.

Sunday was pretty quiet. Church was good, but other than that it was slow. We had one appointment but we didn’t get to teach much. That was about it.

It was a pretty good week overall. This upcoming week should be really interesting. We are having zone Conference tomorrow and apparently they are going to be piloting a program that is going to change the way we do missionary work completely. I’m pretty excited, even if it won’t affect me for long.

Anyways, I gotta go! Talk more next week!

lurv,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

Here’s a weird picture of me because I don’t have anything else to send. Sorry.

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Another week

So this week was good. Due to some scheduling conflicts though, I have hardly any time to email today. Not that I ever have much time to email, but this ones gonna be short.

Anyways this week wasn’t nearly as fast paced as last week, but it was still good!

Monday we spent the day in Gaffney with the Gaffney Elders. It was kinda weird going back to my old area but it was fun. We just hung out and played games.

Tuesday we had DDM and I went on exchanges with Elder Br. in Boiling Springs. It was way fun and we had a lot of good stuff happen. Elder B. and Elder E. (who swapped places with me for the day) had a really good lesson with our investigator B., so that was awesome!

Wednesday we exchanged back and then went to do some service for the MTCC. After that we went to Habitat for Humanity and did some more demolition service for them, which was fun. We finished the night by having Book of Mormon class, which went a lot better than last weeks because we actually had people show up.

Not a whole lot happened on Thursday but in the evening we had a dinner appointment with a non member and her member friends, which was awesome. They took us out to a really nice Italian restaurant and it was way good. After that we had an appointment with a recent convert, which went well.

Friday and Saturday were pretty slow, but weren’t bad. We just didn’t have a whole lot happen.

Sunday was really good. Our investigators didn’t come, which we were bummed out about, but they had a pretty good excuse.

They asked us to come over later, because apparently they had some really weird, creepy stuff happening in their house, and it got really bad right when they were getting ready for church. I won’t go into too much detail, but Satan is working hard to scare them away. We blessed the house and had a good discussion with them. We also had a good visit with Brother T., a less active member.

Anyways, that was about all that happened this week. Sorry this email is kinda vague, we keep cramming too much into our P-Days.

I’ll talk more next week! Thanks for everything!

Love,

Elder Jeremiah Brown

First week in the burg

Well it’s been a crazy week. Kinda stressful week as well. Where do I begin?

Spartanburg is awesome! I am really liking it here and my companion Elder B. is way cool so we are having a blast here. Elder B. is a very good (and healthy) cook, so I am eating better than I have anywhere else on my mission. My body is rediscovering what vegetables are.

Spartanburg 2nd Ward (or at least our part of it) covers the towns of Duncan, Lyman, and Welford. It is very middle class, which is very nice for missionary work, although after serving in Gaffney and Windsor Lake for the last year it seemed very upper class at first. Like literally, our ghetto is the equivalent of the upper class of East Gaffney (the part of Gaffney we covered).

Monday and Tuesday were the bulk of this week’s stress. Trying to cram a week’s worth of work into two days was madness. Lots of time was spent saying goodbyes to people and packing up all of our stuff. We said final goodbyes to Sister B. on Monday evening and then said goodbye to Sister S. and her son J. on Tuesday evening. Many of you probably saw pictures of that on Facebook.

Wednesday was good but rough. We transferred early in the morning and I went straight to Spartanburg rather than going to the Transfer Meeting in Columbia, because Spartanburg is right next to Gaffney. I spent the day running off of 3ish hours of sleep and it was bad. We also happened to have tons of service planned in for most of the day so I got wrecked. We moved literally thousands of canned goods from the community center to a storage unit, and then afterward we went to Habitat for Humanity and did demolition on old furniture for them. It was very fun putting sledge hammers into entertainment centers, but it was very tiring. I slept very well that night.

Thursday we went to the community center again (we normally only go on Wednesdays) because they were critically in need of some help. We moved even more cans, and I definitely wore myself out. After that we went and had an appointment with a less active sister. We answered a lot of questions she had about D&C and then she committed to going to church this week, without us asking at all! From there we went to go see a potential named E. He was really nice and we had a good conversation with him. We are probably going to dinner with him next week, so that should be good. After we visited E., we had some dinner and then went to see a less active part member family. To our surprise, the non member wife started asking us a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon and then we had a really awesome lesson with her and her husband. She basically said everything a missionary dreams an investigator would say, like “Why don’t people try this out. I don’t understand why it’s any different from trying out any other church.” Basically we had a killer lesson with her and good things are going to happen there in the future.
After that we went and had a lesson with a less active family and it went really good. We talked to them a lot about the Book of Mormon and why it completes the Bible. Then, after that, we went and I was introduced to a recent convert family. Their 12 year old son J. is the only active one anymore and he is something else. Imagine untreated ADHD mixed with the wildest imagination you’ve ever heard of, plus teenage hormones. It was a fun visit and a good way to end the day. Anyways, Thursday was way good overall.

Friday was pretty good. We did weekly planning and then went and visited a less active family who’s son we are trying to get back into church. We basically hung out with him for a while and tried to slip in some gospel motivation here and there. Hopefully we will get him to church soon.

Saturday we had to go to Gaffney to get some stuff I had left behind, help wrap up the closing of the apartment, and hit the pharmacy. It was a pretty busy day overall but not a lot happened.

Sunday was really good. Church was awesome and I got to officially meet the ward. They are all way cool. Nothing else too notable happened during the day aside from us having an amazing fast breaking feast and getting in contact with a long lost less active.

Overall, it was a way good week! I am still getting used to the hustle and bustle here, as the work here is much faster paced. I suppose the exponential difference in population has a bit to do with that.

Anyways, I gotta get going. My computer time is about up. Thanks for all you do!

yarg

Elder Jeremiah Brown