Monday, December 20, 2010

Dec 20th 2010


It was so fun to find this picture on facebook of danny playing the piano at some meeting! Nice to know he is still really alive and well!!!! I knew there was a good use for facebook! I will find some time next week to post up a couple of letters!

Danny would love to hear from you for CHRISTMAS! It is not too late, feel free to write him!

Please Write Danny! He loves your letters!

All letters go to the mission home in Thailand.

Elder Daniel Elling Brown
Thailand Bangkok Mission Home Address
50/829-832 Muang Thong Thani
Chaengwatana Road, T.
Ban Mai A., Pakkret, Nonthaburi 11120
Thailand

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nov 29 2010 - kohn kaen


Hello all,
Sorry not much time left to write, you can post the following that I wrote to Nate and parts of my letter to the Mission president...

I am still serving in Kohn Kaen which is out in the sticks. I am Serving in the country over by the Laotian border. This is where I have been for almost all of my mission. I had a few months outside of the southern tip of Bangkok but then they threw me back into my homeland. It is odd that I have been out here so much, simply because the majority of the missionaries serve in Bangkok, and I still haven't been in the main part of the city my whole mission. The city I am in is called Kohn Kaen. It is a pretty main city. We have shopping malls and all that jazz. I am serving as a Zone Leader which I have really enjoyed. I was called as a Zone Leader about 3-4 months ago. It was a big change! I trained for a very long time. Then they moved me with a veteran companion. I feel like I am still learning so much! I will be here for another 5 weeks then I will be transferring. I will most definitely be heading to Bangkok. I don't really have any other option at this point. That should be an adventure.

Danny tells us that he is excited to speak at an upcoming Zone Leader Council.... ...It is on a topic that I feel very passionate about. I have caught a new vision and I hope to be able to share it with everyone. That is one thing I love about being a Zone Leader is the opportunity to train. Sure, being a trainer was an opportunity to train; train the basics in finding, teaching, and planning. But the training as a Zone Leader is different. I have learned so much about my responsibilities as a Zone Leader the last few months. I love being able to see a problem, after identifying the problem I love to make plans and receive revelation for the District Leaders. Then after that is the hard part, being able to implement the will of the Lord in a loving way so that they will actually accept it. I love seeing changes. I love seeing people repent, whether it be investigators or missionaries. I love the perspective that I have been blessed with.
Missionary work is not hard. We must be personally worthy, seek the will of the Lord, and be humble enough to learn and grow in the ways that the Lord wants us to. If we do it any other way, then it is hard.
I feel so blessed!

Elder Brown

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nov 8th 2010-Kohn Kaen


Hope all is well and that life isn't too crazy.


This week went by very quick. I was only in Kohn Kaen for one day this week, Sunday. All the other days I was on the road. Many, many hours spent this week traveling.

Time on a bus: Tuesday to Bangkok 6 hours, Wednesday bus home 6 hours. Thursday bus to Udorn 3 hours, Friday Bus home 3 hours. Saturday bus to Korat 3 hours, Saturday Bus home 4 hours. Sunday bus to Banphai 1 hour, and 1 hour home. Yeah, I spent about two entire proselyting days on a bus. Oh well.

With all of this traveling and training I have really become to appreciate the time that I do have in my area. It makes it necessary to use every second that we do have. It is fairly common to be on splits with members every night that we are actually in Kohn Kaen just trying to get investigators taught.

Everything is going well. The weather is fantastic. The new Book of Mormon is out.

Speaking of which, a few copies released this week. The main shipment should be coming within a couple of weeks.
It will be great to have. Let's hope the translation is accurate.
Later
Love
Elder Brown

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nov -2 -1020


Hello

This week was pretty busy. I spent 4 days in Roiett for training.


On Tuesday we went down there to teach a district meeting about how to find people to teach. It was a really good meeting. We started out by talking about our purpose as missionaries. We taught from 2 Nephi 31 and talked about the Father's purpose, Jesus Christ's purpose, Nephi's purpose, and how our purpose is related to theirs. After that we talked about the importance of showing love for the people we meet. Then we talked about the importance of extending specific and firm commitments when contacting people on the streets.


I want to talk a little bit more specifically about those three things.

Our purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Yeah, it is a mouth full. It is very interesting to note that this is the mission of God as well, we as missionaries simply play a different role in this mission. The Father is the creator. He came up with the plan. It is His kingdom and His eternal life. He has made the rules. Jesus Christ is the way. Jesus Christ filled in all of the holes and made it possible. He showed us the way. The purpose of the prophet is to guide mankind and show them how to follow Jesus Christ. Being perfect is quite hard and simply seeing the example is oftentimes not enough. God has given us prophets to guide and direct us in following the example of Jesus Christ. We as missionaries have been called by the Prophet to help him with this work. We are guides to help people find, understand, believe, use, and follow the restored teachings of Jesus Christ.

Love is a harder thing. It has always been hard for me to love people, especially when I don't know the person. One thing that has really helped me is my love for Jesus Christ. Even though sometimes it is hard for me to love everyone, I do know that Jesus Christ loves everyone. So I can feel confident that when I approach people that if they can't feel my love, at least they can feel the love of Jesus Christ.

Lastly, the importance of commitments. Commitments are things that go hand-in-hand with missionary work. It is going to be very hard for me to go home into "normal life" and not give people commitments to repent and to change. Everything we do, regardless of it is teaching, finding, or simply calling on the phone, we are committing people to change their lives. One important thing that I have learned about commitments is asking people very specific and direct questions. This ensures that you are giving them a clear choice and that they can actually use their agency to pick between choice A or choice B. In Thai it has been difficult to break out of habits of asking lackadaisical questions and starting asking direct questions. Whenever missionaries are struggling, usually the first thing I suggest is to change their commitment pattern. Be bold. Be direct. Always invite people to repent.


We went back home Tuesday night to teach English and got a phone call from the Assistants that we would have additional guests staying with us that night. We have been trying to clean our apartment the last few weeks, and it was still a mess. We ended up having 8 people stay at our house. The next morning we headed back to Roiett for a Leadership Training Meeting with President Smith. The meeting lasted three days and focused on teaching more effectively. The hotel we stayed in was way swanky. The breakfast in the hotel was incredible. They even had bacon. A lot of it.

We got back to our area Friday night. We went companion exchanges with the Assistants. I worked with Elder C(he was my zone leader a couple of months ago) and Elder Ritchie worked with Elder G. The exchange was pretty good. Taught a lot of lessons. Extended a baptismal commitment to a new family I found last week at the market. They are very excited. This family consists of a mom, a daughter, a grandmother, and other assorted relatives. They seem really interested and we have a goal to have them baptized by the end of November.


Anyways,

Elder Brown

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mon Oct. 25th 2010


There has been a lot of flooding in Thailand in Oct. Here are a couple of pictures. President Smith is standing in what was a field.








This week has been crazy busy and the craziness is only getting crazier. I really feel that my life as a zone leader has actually started. Before the change to merge zones together, zones were too small and the role of the zone leader didn't really exist. Now with the combined zone, suddenly zone leader are no longer just some sort of glorified district leader. I've come to discover that the role of a zone leader is very similar to the role of a trainer, except for the fact that I live in different cities than my district leaders, work in different areas, and never see them.

I finally had a chance to meet a couple of our investigators in this area. There is a sweet family whose names are Jeep, Bee, and Boom. Jeep is the father, Bee is his wife, and Boom is their little son. They are both teachers at a local college and have been learning with the missionaries for over a month now. I have seen them once and we taught about praying as a family. As I have been teaching families for awhile now, I have really found that the commitment to pray as a family is so very important. I think it is overlooked by a lot of people, but I think it helps so much because it involves a principle of accountability. One thing I have learned on my mission is: if something is not working the way it should, it is most likely a problem of accountability. I'll explain. When we have fathers and mothers take the responsibility to teach and pray with their kids, it makes the parents study and do the things they are teaching their kids. It makes them the teacher, not the learner. Also it makes them accountable to their kids for the things that they are teaching them.

I met another investigator named Oobah. She is female in her mid-twenties who was referred to us by a member. She has been learning for about a month and has had an interesting learning experience. She has lots of friends who are members of many different sects of Christianity, so she has been "shopping around" for awhile now. Fortunately for us, she had the chance to talk to Elder Perkins, of the Seventy, for about half an hour last week. She has almost stopped learning several times but I really feel that she is almost converted. Right now we are really trying to help her build a relationship with God. She believes in God. She thinks that God can help her, but without a clear belief of who God is and how He relates to us it is almost impossible to get an answer. God is not running or hiding from us. Contacting God is not a difficult search that we have to read many books or study with many teachers to accomplish, but contacting God simply is humbling ourselves to the point that we actually believe that it is easy enough as to ask and receive. Sometimes this humbling process takes a long journey, but it most certainly does not have to be long or hard at all.

I also met a cute little family. The fathers name is Bradit and the moms name is Noy. They have 4 kids. Three adolescent girls, and a baby boy. Also their grandma lives at the house too. The grandma is absolutely hilarious. She is really old and has a hard time hearing so oft times she will say things that are absolutely off topic. She always tells us that we are really good people and that she likes us, which is actually really interesting for the older generation. Typically the very old generation is more shut to ideas of Christianity or ideas of listening to foreigners, but she is convinced that we are holy men that can help her family. Bradit was actually taught by the elders about two years ago. He finished the Book of Mormon but never really attended church. Things just never really worked out. I'm excited for them and feel that there is a lot of potential in that family. Noy really opened up last lesson. I feel that she has been really left out of the whole thing for too long and now she feels included.

Kohn Kaen is very busy. The next two weeks are going to be hectic. This week I will only be in Kohn Kaen for 2 days. I will be spending most of my week training or getting trained. President Smith is coming up for a couple of days to do another training. That should be good.


Elder Brown

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oct 18-2010-Kohn Kaen



Just as I predicted, I moved to Kohn Kaen with Elder R. We are now the zone leaders for a huge new area with 30 or so missionaries to watch out for. We have no free time cause this district is so large and spread out; Some of the areas are 5 hours away from us. (a long way on bikes) We have to sacrifice two full days to do baptismal interviews or companionship exchanges.
---- I think we need a private plane-- :> Also we need to work with the companionships a lot more than usual simply because they are all so new. We have some companionships that have a senior companion that has been in country for only 3 months!!!!

Even though Kohn Kaen is 2 hours down the road from Udorn, I still traveled 8 hours to Bangkok to transfers meeting. The trip was a little crazy. In the past the mission has used trains for traveling to Bangkok but recently we have just been renting very large tour buses. This puts the responsibility on us for getting all of the craziness figured out. The bus driver this time was completely clueless. The biggest problem was that the drivers compartment was not connected to the area that we sat in (it is a double-decker bus) so, we were unable to communicate with him. Often times he would get lost and simply pull over and not do anything for a long time. I've never been a bus driver, but I swear its not that hard. All you have to do is follow the big green signs that say "Bangkok."

The funniest part about the whole trip was when we were finally arriving at the chapel in Muang Thong. We were pulling down the street that goes to the church and we hear the buses engine die. I was confused... because typically you want to park the bus before you turn of the engine. I made a joke that it would be funny if the bus died. We hear him try to start the engine, and yes. The bus was dead, about 10 feet from the church. Pretty good place to break down, except for the fact that we were on a little tiny 1 line road blocking everyone from leaving their driveway and going to work. I got off the bus and noticed that there was gas all over the ground so I had everyone evacuate. The genius bus driver went outside and let up a cigarette. He then stuck his head under the bus, while continuing to smoke the cigarette, only to find out that the gas tank and tubes were leaking like crazy. Yeah, not the smartest guy ever. I'm just glad that God was looking after us.

The transfer meeting was pretty hectic. Many, many people leaving and many, many people coming in. In the end our zone was renamed to the "Isaan" zone and was given almost 30 missionaries, the majority of which have been in country for less than 6 months. Needless to say, the mission lacks training and we have very few people that can give that much needed training.

After renewing my visa we got the bus all packed up and headed back to Kohn Kaen. The ride home was just as much of a joke, the driver got lost. I arrived in Kohn Kaen late on Thursday night. Today is Monday and I still have not worked in my area! Friday was shot because Elder Ri was really sick. Saturday was shot because we had to go to Sakonakorn (which is a 4-5 hour bus ride one way) where I interviewed a baptismal candidate. Sunday was used at a two hour branch council meeting followed by a very long, but very needed planning session at the house. Hopefully tonight I can get out and work in the area.


Anyways. I'll give you an update next week.


Love,

Elder Brown

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oct 12th 2010-Udon

New arriving missionaries!

Hello.

This week I headed down to Bangkok for my first Zone Leader Council. This meeting was newly implemented about 6 months ago as a mandate of the new missionary curriculum. Since then, I have always heard from the Zone Leaders how great Zone Leader Council is. Although the travel time from both ways from Udorn to Bangkok is about 17 hours on a bus, the 2 hour meeting was worth the ride.

The meeting started with a Bishop from Bangkok stressing the importance of helping our zones get their investigators involved in the seminary and institute programs of the church. After that we gave an accountability of the zones baptismal results and goals for the next two months. As a mission in the month of September we baptized 30 people. The goal for October was 39, but the goal for December was over 100.

After that we had a couple of trainings. The first training was on how to use the Introduction to the Book of Mormon. You might ask, why are the missionaries in Thailand just training on using that page? Well, because we don't even have it in Thai yet. The new edition of the Book of Mormon in Thai is finally coming, for serious this time. The mission ordered 10,000 copies and they will be here in November. I am really excited for the new book, not only because it will have a dictionary, index, and introduction, but it will also be a lot easier to understand by the Thai people.

The other training they gave us was on resolving concerns with the baptismal commitment. We took a poll in the mission and came up with the three most common concerns that are given by investigators. They were: 1. I'm buddhist, 2. I'm not ready, and 3. I don't understand. We talked about the various ways to resolve these concerns and specifically we emphasized the importance to train our missionaries to answer these common concerns using the scriptures.

After the trainings we received a big announcement. The mission areas/zones/districts are changing dramatically. Currently in Thailand there are 8 zones: 4 in Bangkok, 3 in the Isaan, and 1 in the North. After this transfer there will only be 6 zones. There will only be 3 in Bangkok, 2 in the Isaan, and 1 in the North. The reason why this is significant is because one of the zones that is closing is the Udorn Zone. That just happens to be where I am serving right now. So yes, I am moving. Where I am moving to? Well, I'm not sure but the obvious guess is that I am moving to Khon Kaen to be companions with Elder R. The reason why this is the obvious guess is because the Kohn Kaen zone and the Udorn zone are combining to be the "Isaan Zone." Elder R is Elder D's companion before I came, so that would be fun. Not only are there going to be a lot less zones, there are going to be a lot less districts. Most zones will now only have 3 districts. The reasons they are doing this is because the mission is VERY young right now. The majority of missionaries have only been here for a couple of months, so we will have a lot less leaders. I am really excited for these changes because it will make training and accountability a lot more effective.

This is Elder D's last week as a missionary, so his letter was pretty short so he wants to leave, so that means that I have to leave. Remind me next week to tell you a story about someone named Ploy.


Bye,
Love,

Elder Brown

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oct 4th 2010-Udon





Hi.


This week Moot's wife, Bow, had her baby. The baby had to be C-sectioned. The birth was also complicated by a fairly large tumor. In the end the baby was born without any problems. They named her Eve. (actually in Thai the name Eve is translated to Aewaa) We went and visited them in the hospital the day after; they were very happy. We taught them about the importance of families and gave them a nice copy of the proclamation to the world. We talked about temples for a little bit and Moot informed us that he already has a goal to attend the temple with his family in a few years. They are doing really good and will be baptized soon.

Friday started off with a new "specialized training." Every month we will have a training inside the zone on specific teaching skills. Elder D and I gave the training. It was pretty easy because all the trainings are standardized lessons from church head quarters, so we pretty much just have to read a paper. This training was on "How to Begin Teaching." I feel that the zone really benefited from what we had to say and feels a lot more confident on first lessons. After the training President Smith came and worked with Elder D and I. We had four appointments, but two of them fell through. President Smith drove us around in his car and taught the other two lessons with us. It was really good to talk with President Smith. He is a man with a lot of experience and he likes to talk.

This week will be a pretty short week. Tuesday and Wednesday will be taken up by traveling to Bangkok for Zone Leaders council and then the weekend will be taken up by General Conference. I hope we can get some work done this week.


Sorry, I tried to type more this week, but the Internet cafe's internet kept crashing! Sorry did the best I could before I ran out of time.

Catch you next week,

Elder Brown

Sunday, September 19, 2010

sept 20-Udon

This is a shrine in udon.



HI,
I thought I would fill you in on a few things in Udon:

The food in Udon is pretty similar to the rest of Thailand. One interesting point to note is that they serve soup with almost all of their meals. This is unique to Udon and the surrounding areas. The plain soup that they have is a bland chicken broth that is jammed full of MSG and other substances. I like eating my food with soup because I like to pour the soup on top of the rice; I think it makes everything taste better.

Udon is a pretty big city for being in the middle of nowhere and it has a lot of white people. Udon is basically a haven for all the old, retired, white men to come and find a new wife and live a happy life. I think they like it because it is out of the city and it is very close to Laos so they can renew their visas easier. So with that being said there is a lot of foreign food. (foreign food meaning American food) American food is fantastic. Burgers, sandwiches, steaks, fries, etc. they are all just so good. Thai food is good, but as of lately I really like eating a good ol' American (kinda) burger.


We actually don't have an apartment here. It is a house that is rented. It is a pretty nice house that the Elders have lived in for a long time. It is at the end of a street behind a nice gate. Inside the gate there are two houses, the sisters live in the one on the left and we live in the one on the right. The house is two stories. It has 3 bathrooms and about 4 bedrooms. It also has a full kitchen. Almost the entire house is air conditioned. There are four of us Elders that live there.

I'm having a great time with my new companion. Elder "D" (he goes by Elder D because no one can say his name, most people have a hard enough time pronouncing "Elder") is a fun guy that is really easy to get along with. It has been fun to be "trained" again. This is my first moves as a Zone Leader so it is his job to help me understand all my new responsibilities. Unfortunately, after this moves he will be going home and I will be left as senior companion for the rest of my mission because all the Zone Leaders that are older are all going home. It is very likely that my next companion will be from my MTC group.

It has been so relieving to work with an experienced missionary. I have been working with brand new missionaries for a long time which made it so I had to teach and talk a lot. I like talking and I like teaching but unfortunately when I talk and teach it gives me very little opportunity to think and to listen. As I have been working with Elder D I have really had the opportunity to teach as a companionship and to teach a lot more effectively because I don't have to make everything up as I go; I can take a couple of minutes to ponder about what I am going to say.

We are teaching a lot of good families right now. This week we had 13 investigators at church, which is great. We have a family that is scheduled to be baptized on the 10th. The family keeps growing and growing. Right now we are teaching six members of that family, but we hope to add another 4-5 to that group.

We also teach an English class each week.
When we teach English we are mandated to teach a gospel lesson as well. But I usually just make the entire class oriented to the gospel. All the activities and readings that I use come from scriptures or liahonas. At the end I also give a 10-15 speel about what we come and teach. English class used to be a great finding tool for the Thailand Bangkok Mission. As of right now, I feel it has become less effective because 1. we find/invite a lot better and 2. most of the students at English class are young and don't have families(we only teach families now) But that is ok, it is still a fun service opportunity that we have every week.

A couple more details from this week.

Elder Perkins from the seventy toured the mission this week. We had the opportunity to hear him and his wife speak. It was a pretty good meeting, but I didn't get much out of it because I was translating almost the whole time. It was interesting that they chose me to translate for the conference just because I am still pretty young. It wasn't too hard except for when we got to the "questions and answers" part, then I was overwhelmed. People were asking ridiculously deep questions and I simply didn't have the vocab to translate correctly. Oh well. At the conference we learned that our mission is now on par with the world in getting investigators to church! The average missionary in the world gets 3-4 investigators at church. This is amazing that Thailand is now on par. Just one year ago we weren't even close. I'm excited to see what will happen in the coming year.

This week in sacrament I gave a talk. It was pretty interesting. I talked about charity and how it leads us to share the gospel. If we understand the atonement, we will have charity and we will want to help others come unto Christ. I used examples from 2 Ne 31, Enos, and Mosiah 27.

I had a chance to work and train the district leader in Sakonakorn for a couple of days. The district leader out there is named Elder P. It was a good switch offs. I like Elder P. He is a hard worker and knows how to do missionary work. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to eat dog. Maybe next month I'll have that experience.

Oh and my bike exploded. I hope I can get it fixed... It will probably be expensive.
Sorry,

Ok. I'm out of time.


Elder Brown

Monday, September 6, 2010

mon-Sept 06-10-Udon


- Udon

Temple in Nongkhai




Hello Hello

Well I moved. Finally. I was getting very antsy to move. I'm not really quite sure why. I loved Bangnaa. The area was on fire, the ward was fantastic, and all the areas in the district were doing great. Sometimes I just need a change and I got it. President called me last we and asked me if I was having a good preparation day, I said I was. After that he told me that I probably wouldn't be having preparation days anymore because he wanted to call me to be a Zone Leader. So now I'm a Zone Leader serving in an area called Udon. It is a pretty big city but it is definitely in the sticks. I'm glad I have been studying Lao for the last few moves because it is definitely coming in handy out here.

The zone is pretty small. In our zone there are only 10 missionaries, making it the smallest zone in the mission; however, it includes some fun areas that I am excited to work including Gumpawapi, Sagonakohn, and Nongkhai. Gumpawapi is the smallest city in the mission; they have no convenient stores and they only have one 7-11 that was just built a year or so ago. Sagonakohn is famous for its unique choice of animal meat; yes I will be eating dog within the next few weeks. Nongkhai is the newest opened branch in Thailand. It is literally connected to Lao; you can look down the street and see Laos.

I am starting to get used to the Isaan again. Lots of people from Laos and cars from Laos too! It is weird to see cars from Laos because in Laos the steering-wheel is on the left side of the car instead of the right.(yeah, same as America... that is weird to me) The Branch here is actually really good. The church building is the only building in all of Thailand that has more than one branch meeting in it. There are two branches that meet there; one morning block and one afternoon block.

I am really enjoying being a Zone Leader. It is so different working with an experienced missionary. I have been with young/green missionaries for the majority of my mission and now I am with a companion who is about to go home. I have a lot more time to get everything done, simply because the work is now divided in half. I just hope that I can be effective at doing my new responsibilities as a Zone Leader simply because about half of the missionaries in my zone are older/more experienced than I am.

In terms of an update, that is all I can really think of at the moment, but I will share a thought I have been thinking about lately. I would encourage all priesthood holders, and specifically missionaries to read Alma 13:1-9 and ponder on its significance, particularly verse 3. How great is our responsibility. I don't think that there is any way that we can grasp or understand the magnitude of our calling. Such few people get called to labor in the high priesthood. Our call has been given to us and we have been prepared. This is why we are on this Earth. We are here to serve. I am convinced that this life, particularly for priesthood holders, is all about service. Sometimes I feel that we focus too much and think that this life is about ourselves; proving ourselves or fixing ourselves. But I now feel that our main purpose is to reach out and bless others. I don't want to explain much more than that, but I strongly encourage everyone to read Alma 13 and ponder.

Yeah, I'm out of stuff to say. Later.


Love,

Elder Brown

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sept 02 10 -bangkok meeting



Leadership training meeting this past week! 12 hours of training a day, such Fun! It was good though. Here are some pics~!
Elder Brown

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Aug 25th-2010-bangna


Sabaay dii

1. This week it rained a lot. That probably doesn't mean very much to you, so I will describe what raining "a lot" means. On Friday we headed out of the house at around 11:30 to go eat and teach an appointment at 1:00. As we were teaching this appointment it started to rain. Thailand rain storms typically last for a very short duration but the rain is very hard. We waited in this guys house for about an hour before it cleared up and biked to a nearby mall. Over there we proceeded to contact some people. As we started to contact it started to rain again. This time it rained for about 3 hours. After all was said and done, the streets were flooded. Once the sewers fill up with water, the roads just flood like crazy. All of the main roads were flooded with about two feet of water. Bangkok traffic + two feet of water = problems, yes lots of problems. We had two appointments at the church that night, so we proceeded to bike to the church. At this point it wasn't raining anymore so at first I attempted to try to stay on my bike and stay dry. But after biking I realized that the task of staying dry would be impossible. While biking the water from the road would reach up my shin almost to my knee at times. Yeah, dress pants and leather dress shoes. I'm sure we looked ridiculous as everyone looked on at us wearing their shorts and flip-flops.

2. Zone Conference was this last week. The topic was the Book of Mormon. It is a good book, you should read it or if you are too lazy to read it at least watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkKblIMfmjI - I know this book to be a true book.
This is Jesus Christ's book. Jesus Christ commissioned it, wrote it, and preserved it for thousands of years. There is no other book that can give you more faith and hope than the Book of Mormon. The Bible has confused people for thousands of years. Their misinterpretations of the law caused the Jews to miss their Messiah. The Bible still confuses people in the present and has caused many devout Christians to miss their Messiah again in these last days. The Book of Mormon is a rock. It plainly testifies to the divinity of Jesus Christ and the restoration of his church through his prophet Joseph Smith. Through reading it we will know the truth of all things.

Elder Brown

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Aug 16th- 2010- Bangna


Well today I am a little bit tired.

Last night right as we were turning off the light to go to bed we noticed that there was a rat in the house. (this happens way more than you might think, pretty sure this is part of Satan's plan to make me more tired and keep me from working as hard as I could with a full nights rest) So Elder Hardy and I went through the regular procedures of catching this rat. We got our trusty broom and our trusty bucket. The strategy is to close off all the exits and to sweep it into the bucket so that we can throw it out of the house. So as we were doing this, this rat was fairly resilient. It manages to escape all of our efforts for nearly 20 minutes. After repeated attempts we trapped it back behind a cabinet with two exits. I was on one side with my broom and Elder Hardy was on the other with his broom. The rat was trapped. It was scared. It had nothing else to do. It finally made a break for it across the ground towards the bathroom, but on the way it suddenly stopped and fell over. It had a heart attack and was on its back with all its limbs pulsing in and out. After about 5 minutes it finally threw up and died. Not a pretty sight. Well it is still in my head. No animal cruelty or anything intended here, it just died!

So yeah. Pretty good week here in Bangna. Things are going really great. I feel that my understanding of missionary work and teaching has grown amazingly in the last few months. In the last six weeks as I have been focusing all of my efforts on finding families, we have 4-5 progressing families that are very serious investigators. This is such an obvious change from how missionary work was done when I arrived in Thailand. I am very excited for the future of Thailand, especially for the future of Bangna. I have been here a long time. Six months is a really long time. I love the place, but to say that I'm not area-trunky would be a lie. Bangna has been a special place for me simply because I have seen growth and progression here. In my other areas I always felt that the work and the area was heading in a backwards trend, but in Bangna I have seen remarkable improvements in the ward mission program and in the priesthood organization. I am grateful to have been a part of the progression in this ward.

Yesterday evening we had a couple of hours in the evening free to go out and contact. This was wonderful because we are almost always busy in the evenings, especially on the weekend. We went over to an area that I thought that I had invited every street. (after being in the area for 6 months, I have been down every street and know pretty much every shortcut in the entire city, Elder Hardy is always amazed how I can navigate through small alleyways and shortcuts to get us to a destination in half the time) We got to the end of a little soi, that is the Thai word for street, and I started to talk with a couple of people at the end. They wondered if I had come to give them money. They had us confused with the last christian group that came through. This soi was next to a Lutheran Church/School. After talking with these people, I learned that this soi was MUCH bigger than I thought. What I thought was a dead end actually was a tiny alleyway back into a giant ghetto. I didn't really want to back there, but my curiosity got the best of me. We decided to take a walk back there. We were met with mobs of begging children, adults, and elderly people that just wanted us to give them money. It was fairly depressing. The lack of misunderstanding was impossible to breach; all they wanted was money. (which we aren't allowed to give) They did not want to listen to us. God really wants to help these people. God wants to help all of His children, but sometimes they refuse to let Him help.

Being on a mission is a very unique experience simply because it gives you such an opportunity to gain experience without having to face any of the usual consequences of experience. The transition from childhood to adulthood has to happen for everyone, but typically it is a painful experience resulting in addictions, debt, unexpected children, pain, etc.. However, on a mission the transition takes place in an artificial reality; it is completely outside of the realm of my past and the realm of my future. In the last month I have learned so much about parenting. After making a focus on teaching families, I have been able to see the inter working of families, lots of them. I go up and talk to a 20 year old couple on the street with a baby on the way and ask them if they are scared to be parents. The typical answer is no. They just say they are going to "go with it." No plans, no preparation. If they even had the slightest clue that one day they are going to be accountable for the individual stewardship of each one of their children, they would be scared silly. Punishing and beating children is looked very down upon here in Thailand. I challenge anyone who is against punishing their children to come look at the family situation in Thailand, you will be convinced. Justice is a law that must be satisfied. Mercy cannot be applicable in all cases and in all situations; look at the Plan of Salvation, if everyone received absolute mercy, would there be a point?

So we accidentally ran into Jesus-Shirt man again this week. He was less drunk this time, but just as crazy as ever. He asked me to say a prayer for him, so I did. In the prayer I attempted to cast the demons out of him. It may have worked, afterwards I committed him to pray about Joseph Smith being a prophet. We will see if he shows up to church.


Love, peace, and rainbows,

Elder Brown

Aug 2010- Bangna


Hi.

More interesting things.


1.

This week I was out inviting and I found a guy who was pretty interested. I offered to give him a ten minute message about the Book of Mormon and he accepted. We went up and talked on his porch. I told him that I wanted to start with a prayer so we prayed and after we prayed I opened my eyes and there was this big African man standing in front of me with his wife. He said, “Hey! Were you just praying?” This kinda took me off my guard. He was way excited to see that people were teaching about Jesus in Thailand. He pushed his wife over to try to learn with us. In the end I got his number and handed it off to the international Elders. It is really fun talking to people from Africa. All I have to do is go up to them and say in a really excited voice, “We teach about JESUS!” and then their eyes light up and get way excited.


2.

Last week we were biking towards the church and I hear someone shout at me “Hey Elders, whats up?” This was a little bit strange so I turn to see this really muscular white guy talking to us. I thought that this was very strange. I examined the man; about forty years-old, maybe 300 pounds, looks American, his entire body covered in tattoos and his head and eyebrows were shaven meaning that he was just a monk. I start talking to him and find out that he is from Philadelphia and is friends with the Elders over there. He is Buddhist and comes to Thailand like once a year. This was pretty weird but then this situation was interrupted as this crazy crazy old Thai man comes in. I quickly examine him; about 60 years old, looks like he hasn't bathed in AT LEAST 60 years, and he is wearing a T-shirt with a giant picture of Jesus on the cross. He started talking crazy stuff. He was telling us that he used to go to our church a number of years ago, but then he found a new church that gave him three new T-shirts, so he changed religions. At this point there was just too much weirdness for one contact so we said bye and biked away. I guess the moral of the story is: the church that gives you the most free T-shirts is the best church.


3.

Well I got a new greenie this moves. After training Elder Tibbetts for 3 months I guess that God decided to give me another chance to do better. Hopefully this time I won't fail or else I might end up training again! My new companion is a guy named Elder Hardy. He is 23 years-old and was just in the Air Force for 4 years. He is a really good worker and should be really easy to work with. To this point in my mission, I still have never had a companion that is younger than me. He is doing what your average greenie always does. Falls on his bike a lot, says funny/inappropriate things to locals on accident, and is confused when members call him a “greenie” in Thai. I guess that is one word they don't teach you in the MTC.


4.

So last week Niwad was confirmed a member of the church and was given the priesthood. The Bishop chose me to be the one to confer the priesthood to him. This was an interesting experience. This was the first time I had ever done it, typically recent converts are given the priesthood by the bishopric without the involvement of the missionaries, but I was happy to do it. I have ministered a confirmation, a confirment of the priesthood, priesthood blessings, etc. but I still have never baptized anyone. I have a goal to never baptize someone on my mission. Baptizing people isn't very good in terms of the long run. The person who baptizes them creates a unique bond that they will always remember. I would much rather have that be a member than have it be me. This week at church Niwad showed up in his newly purchased white shirt and tie to be able to minister in the sacrament. It was really cool to see just because of how quickly he progressed. I invited him just over 2 months ago and he already is administering the sacrament. It made me feel really good to see him glow like that.


5.

For the last month or so a phrase has been going through my mind a lot. The phrase is “A hope for a better world.” It has just been ringing in my head for a very long time now. I actually ended up writing a song based off of that phrase. Interestingly enough this week I was reading the scriptures in Ether(I haven't read Ether in about three months) and found the phrase in Ether chapter 12 verse 4. I am positive that I didn't read the phrase in the last several months, but it was just floating in my head. When I saw this scripture it really shocked me. I really think this scripture might be my very favorite scripture in all of the standard works. “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” I really like this scripture because the Thai people have no hope. None at all. They have no goal for today, tomorrow, or next week. They just wake up and go with it. This is because of their belief system rooted in reincarnation. They have no focal point were they can focus their efforts towards. But when we believe in God when we believe in His plan of happiness this gives us a hope for today, a hope for tomorrow, a hope for next week. Through our faith our life is held strong and we are filled with light. I know this to be true.




Love,


Elder Brown

Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28th, 2010-Bangnaa

LDS Chapel-Bangnaa


Hola.

Couple of interesting things from the last two weeks.

1. Well last Sunday started out pretty normal. We woke up at 6:00 A.M. like we usually do. We got ready and studied like we usually do. We walked into church 30 minutes early like we usually do. But as I walked into the sacrament room last week there was something unusual. Elder Pratt from the Seventy decided to drop in on our Sunday meetings. I received the opportunity to pass the sacrament to him, which was a good experience; however, through that he noticed how unpolished my shoes were. He talked to us afterwards and gave us some advice. He told Elder Tibbetts that he needs to polish his companions shoes more often. Oops.

2. This passed week I had the opportunity to teach one of the funnest lessons of my life. Unfortunately I am a bad missionary for doing it. The whole lesson was over three hours long. (which in case you are unfamiliar with missionary work, that is an absolutely ludicrous amount of time to waste on one person) The lesson was with a man named Brichaa. Brichaa is a man I've been teaching about once every other week for the passed two months. He is in his early fifties and is extremely intelligent. He has degrees in law and in business. He has been a devote Christian for the passed 33 years and knows the Bible. The man REALLY knows the Bible. The Old Testament and the New. He has read them in Thai and in English more times than I could even imagine to ever read them. I met him and introduced him to the restored gospel and the Book of Mormon. The first few times I met him, he was very quiet. He wouldn't ask or say much, he would only listen. He is about to finish the Book of Mormon, and he has a goal to read it again. This last time I met with him we talked about so many things, he had so many questions and I just gave him the answers. This experience really impressed me. This learned man... very intelligent... very studied could come to me, a twenty year-old kid and I could tell him things that I learned in primary in my youth and he is absolutely dumbstruck with how much I know. Sometimes I forget how much we have that most people don't have. He asks me about translation, transfiguration, angels, Zion, temples in Jerusalem, resurrections, etc. and I can answer. Multiple times in that lesson his mouth and his eyes were left wide-open. We have these answers, all of the answers he has ever wanted. At the end of the lesson he finally hit an epiphany and was convinced that the Book of Mormon was not written by Joseph. He says he is not sure who wrote it, but he said it was either God or someone who was very very learned and intelligent. He told me that if God answers his prayers he will change religions and do everything he can to convince all of his friends to do the same thing too. At the end he just wanted to hug me and tell me how much he loved me. He told me that when I get transferred to a new area that he will drive and come and find me so that he can learn with me still. I hope God answers his prayers and he can have the chance to be baptized.

3. Yesterday two of our investigators got confirmed members of the church during sacrament meeting. This was all fine and dandy until the Bishop called me over and told me I was going to be the one administering the ordinance. I was kind of shocked because I've never seen anyone besides the Bishop or a councilor confirm new members. I was willing to do it, but I wish I would've had some time to prepare! I was unprepared because I thought missionaries were not involved. I did well, the Spirit gave me utterance and overall it was a very good experience for me. I like being put on the spot in high pressure situations, especially when it is in a strange language that sounds like throwing pots and pans down the stairs.

4. I washed the dishes.


Love,

Elder Brown

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mon. June 14-2010


Hello! Well today I don't have much to say and I don't have much time to say it, so I will just entertain you all with a couple of stories that happened this week.

1. Almost all of my efforts in inviting have been changed to finding families. So when I see a nice family walking down the street I will go interrupt them and invite them to receive salvation. So I was doing this, just as I do every day and I set my eyes upon a nice looking family: a mom, a dad, and a little girl that was about five years old. They were walking down the street towards me, all carrying parasols as most people like to do in Asia. I went up and talked to them, and oddly enough they didn't try to run away like most families usually do when they are approached by a scary white person. I asked them how they were and they said great, they said they just got done with a meeting. I asked them what kind of meeting, but I didn't understand their answer. That was when I realized they weren't Thai, they were Korean. They said they had been in Thailand for about eight months. I asked them what they were doing here and they proceeded to pull out a pamphlet about the great message that is "really" contained within the Bible; my bubble was bursted. I invited the Jehovah's Witnesses missionaries to learn about Joseph Smith anyways. Hope they give me a call!

2. We were sitting down by a bus stop making calls and talking about our plans for the night and we saw a nice, clean-cut man about to walk by so we stopped him and talked to him. We started to talk to him and he wanted to learn more about our message. We met him and we taught a pretty good lesson, he was fairly interested. The lesson was interrupted a few times from someone calling him and asking when he would be home. I asked jokingly if his girlfriend was mad he was getting home late, he laughed pretty hard and said no. We set up a return appointment for the next week. Before he left, he asked to get a picture with us. This was an unusual request, but we decided it couldn't hurt... figured he was just sentimental. Later that night we got a call from his boyfriend asking if we wanted to go hangout later. Needless to say, I don't think we will be keeping that return appointment...

3. Invited a guy the other day, he invited me to go teach him and his family at his house the next day. We showed up and inside the house, there were a lot of people, about 8 or 9 middle-aged people, with lots of kids outside the house. It is always intimidating to teach large groups of people. I have to use all the charisma I can muster up to try to get all of them to pay attention and to receive my message. This particular instance was fairly difficult because there was one man in the back that was drunk as a skunk and very openly out-spoken against Christianity. Any chance he could get to speak he would go on about how every religion was good and then the next sentence he would say how Christianity was bad. Throughout the course of the lesson I managed to get all of his 8 friends onto my "side." I told him that if he didn't want to change his life and progress that he didn't have to listen. I asked him if he wanted to change, he said no. I asked him if he wanted to change for his family, he said his family already left him because he wouldn't change. In the end, having that guy in the lesson actually helped me. He was living evidence that what I was teaching could help them avoid unhappiness and be closer as a family. It was fairly amusing, I kinda felt bad using him as an example of what not to do, but I think he was too drunk to notice anyways.

4. The church was robbed. Yeah, I think someone hid themselves and a crowbar inside of the church after English Class on Tuesday. They stole everything. Oh well, maybe if I am lucky I will find him and invite him and teach him about repentance!

5. I interviewed another baptismal candidate this week. On the cab ride over I was hoping I was going to have the Spirit during the interview just because taking a cab through Bangkok you have to "swim through a sea of filth." When I got to the church, I knelt down and asked for the Spirit. Not only was I blessed with the Spirit but I was also told that the guy that I was going to be interviewed was ready for baptism. Before I met the guy I already knew he was good to go! I met him and interviewed him and he was great just as anticipated. Just goes to show that the Spirit knows all, regardless of how sick and gross Bangkok is.
Hello! Well today I don't have much to say and I don't have much time to say it, so I will just entertain you all with a couple of stories that happened this week.


Well have a great week,

over and out. (as well as under and in)
Love,
Elder Brown

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday-June 7th 2010


Hi All,

This past week was great. We are teaching a lot of serious investigators. Unfortunately, almost all of them are single. We don't really have any families. This next week(and month and year) I will be focusing all of my efforts on finding families. It was something that really hit me hard. I only want to teach families. It is the most efficient thing we can ever do.

I don't have much to say today, but I will share a couple of thoughts that I had this week.

I remember a number of years ago... probably about 15 years ago. I was in a primary class at church. We were asked the question, "If you were being broadcasted on international television and you only had enough time to say one sentence, what would you say?"

Yeah, it was kind of a deep question to be asking 5 year-olds, but that is ok. At 5 years-old, we however were smart enough to infer the teachers motives. We had learned to automatically answer any question the teacher asked us with "Book of Mormon, God loves us, go to church, etc." 99% of the time that was the correct answer.

I think I finally figured out what I would say. Yeah, I know.. 15 years later. I am a very slow thinker. My sentence would be: Jesus Christ is our Savior and this is His church.

I feel quite a bit like Nephi in his closing chapter in verse six when he says “I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.”

This really is the only thing that matters at all. We come to this world in order to figure out how to overcome this world. We need to figure out how to overcome death and sin. As we try to figure this out, we will realize that it is impossible. This will cause us to look for a way out. That way out is Jesus Christ.

I have received a personal witness that Jesus Christ is my Savior.

The next step is to find His path, or find out how to follow Him. I prayed and received a personal witness that this is Jesus Christ's church. He established it and He is at the head of it.

Everything else in life is simply a footnote, a secondary point. It doesn't matter where Kolob is, it doesn't matter where we are going when we die, it doesn't matter how many wives Joseph Smith has. All that matters is we found Jesus and are living our lives the way He has told us to.

Jesus Christ is our Savior and this is His church. I know that with absolute certainty.


Love you all,

Elder Brown

Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday-May 31st 2010


Hello All,
The end of another week here in Bangnaa. Things are going so great! This is the most I've been blessed on my mission.

Over my mission my perspective has really changed a lot. The first few months of my mission, I was concerned about myself. In the MTC and the first month or two in country, my concerns were focused on trying to keep myself alive. After a few months, my perspective changed. I had a rough couple of months that removed all of my focuses on myself and my own abilities and focused entirely on my companion. After awhile, when I became more experienced and more capable, my focus changed to my investigators and my area. As a district leader my focus has become bigger, instead of my own area, my focus has really been changed to the whole district. I really feel a sense of responsibility of the work that gets done in all the areas that I oversee. I am also really glad to report that everything is going great. Numbers are way up and attitude is way up. Every companionship in the district will be seeing baptisms in June and July.

Our vision as a district has really been focused towards what I call a "realbie", as opposed to a "fakebie." All of our efforts have been focused towards finding investigators that WANT to investigate, not that we WANT to investigate. There is a very important difference. This week is my one-year milestone as a missionary. I have seen a lot of stuff; I have worked with a lot of missionaries. I have decided that I don't want to waste anymore time teaching people that won't ever go anywhere. There are thousands of people in Bangnaa that have been prepared, that have been hand-selected by the Lord to hear and accept the gospel. I want to find those people. Through my desire to find people like that, we have been finding them! Simply wanting to "learn about Christianity" is not enough. If people aren't serious from the start, I won't teach them. Spending months and months trying to convince someone to keep commitments is not only a waste of time but it is a disaster waiting to happen. If they have trouble keeping commitments before baptism, then they won't be able to keep covenants after baptism.

There are lots of "key-indicators" as a missionary. We track our work in various ways. The mission keeps track of daily results such as: lessons taught with members present, other lessons, referrals, new investigators, and new potential investigators. The mission also keeps track of various other statistical indicators weekly. This is to help find out how many "potentials" it takes to turn into a baptism. The mission has calculated that 90 new phone numbers or "potentials" will turn into a baptism. While there is a brute-force, quantitative method... I think it is much easier to sort the wheat from the tares since the moment I open up my mouth and talk to them on the street. Working closely with the Spirit really is the key. There is no substitute to working with the Spirit. Anyone who is preparing to serve a mission or who is serving a mission now, I will repeat myself: learn to work with the Spirit.

As a missionary we are called servants of God. I fully believe that a missionary can go two years as a missionary and NEVER have a single day where he was a servant of God. Waking up on time, teaching lessons, even baptizing people does not make someone a servant of God. Studying the scriptures, being a good person, and not drinking coffee also does not make someone a servant of God. These may be good indicators of a servant of God, but they do not define servitude. A servant of God is someone who has a personal relationship with God; someone who knows God's will at any given moment and is willing to do it. The only way we can know God's will is through the Spirit. It is amazing what God will tell us if we ask! I really think most people would be amazed as to how much revelation is waiting for them if they simply asked. It is because of our lack of faith. We fear that we wouldn't receive an answer, so we don't try. I see many missionaries who are teaching investigators and they say "Oh, I don't know if we should keep teaching him. I'm not sure he is progressing." Why not pray to God and ask him! If I want to know if Max is interested, I ask God. If I want to know if I should see Joe today, I ask God! He really answers. This is how we find the elect. God has chosen them, we ask God who they are.

With one year behind me as a missionary and only one year left. I wonder where I will be in another year. I feel like I have changed a lot in the last year. I feel like I have gained a lot of confidence. I have gained a lot of happiness. I am always smiling nowadays for no reason. I really hope that in the next year I can accomplish everything that God has for me and that I can become the person that He wants me to be. Serving a mission is the best thing anyone can do. I have gained so much insight about myself, about people, and about life.

Love,

Elder Brown

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

mission president email 5-27-2010


Picture of Buddhist monks in Thailand praying for Peace in Bangkok.

Because of the recent concern for the missionaries in Thailand the Mission President Smith, sent this out.

"Sister Smith and I feel like we get the very best missionaries that the Church has to offer to come and serve in Thailand. I don't want to minimize the situation in Thailand, however most of the reports that you get on the news are very localized. Bangkok is a huge city in terms of population and geography. What you and the rest of the world have been watching on the news happened in downtown Bangkok comprising a few blocks in total. Our missionaries have not been in any immediate danger. We have monitored the political unrest very closely and have been in close contact with General Authorities and Church Security. Church Security bulletins basically restate what I have written so far. All of our missionaries have cell phones, if we hear of any problems even remotely close any proselyting area, we call the missionaries in that area and ask them to stay home until we can assess the extent of the problem.
Our proselyting activity has been very fruitful lately. The last couple of weeks we have established new highs in new investigators and lessons taught since we have been here. Most of our branches and wards are experiencing increased activity.
Today we had a landmark event for the Church in Thailand, we had a Priesthood Leadership Training for Stake and District Presidency broadcast by satellite to other countries in Asia originating at our Asoke Chapel in Bangkok. This training had been on the books for months. We had Elder Oaks, Elder Hallstrom, Bishop Burton, and Elder Pratt from our Area Presidency in town for the training. It was a wonderful uplifting experience for our stake and district presidencies."

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 23rd 2010-Bangnaa

Hi All,
Well this week has brought a number of entertaining events. I will try to say something that is good.

On Saturday I had the opportunity to interview two people for baptism. That was a pretty fun experience. The night before I was feeling kind of nervous; I was thinking about how little I know and was hoping that I would be able to understand everything and make the right decision. When I woke up on Saturday I was feeling confident that I could make the right decision. It turned out to be really easy actually!
The first guy who came in for an interview was an older man, about fifty years old. From the very first question I asked him, I received the confirmation that he wasn't ready to make covenants with the Lord. We talked for awhile and in the end I told him that more preparation would have to be done for him to qualify for baptism.
The second man came in, he was a little younger, probably in his late thirties. I asked him to say the opening prayer, and after about the first two or three words that he spoke in his prayer I received the confirmation that he was ready to be baptized. It was a great experience because it helped me realize that this is not the church of man, this is not the church of Bangnaa, this is not the church of Elder Brown, but it really is the Church of Jesus Christ. He is the one that approves people to join.

This weekend was a milestone occasion for the church in Thailand. On Saturday their were four general authorities in Thailand. Thailand has never had this many GAs in the country at the same time. Elder Oaks, Elder Hallstrom, Elder Pratt, and Elder Cohi. They came in on Saturday for a Priesthood Leadership conference that was held in Thailand and broad casted throughout all of Asia. It was actually pretty cool because the state of the country has been a little bit shaky the passed few days and the church that was chosen was in the center of most of the problems, but when the GAs showed up all of the political violence stopped. All of their meetings happened without any problems.

On Sunday Elder Hallstrom held a meeting for the entire Bangkok area so we went to that. Almost all of the talks focused on strengthening the family. It was a really good meeting and we had four investigators in attendance, so that was good. I was surprised we had four people there just because the meeting was so far away. It was about an hour in a taxi on the other side of the city. On Monday Elder Hallstrom held a meeting specifically for missionaries. It was a good opportunity to hear from a leader in the church. He gave some motivational words to help us work harder.

I am glad to report that the situation in Thailand is getting much better. I was in central Bangkok today and everything seems like it is back to normal. Almost all of the city is back open and all of the mass-transit is running.


Love,

Elder Brown

Monday, May 17, 2010

May 17-2010

Hi All,
I don't have much time today, but I thought I would take a little bit of time to talk a little bit about my area and my investigators.

This week we had nine investigators at church, which is a great number. A lot of them are new people that we found this week. I'll talk about each one of them a little bit.

The first five is a family that was actually brought to us by a recent convert. There names are Jum and Worawut, they have three kids. I'm not sure how much we will see them in the future because they don't live in Bangnaa. They will be here every once in awhile and they will come to church when they are in town.

The next guy is a new guy named Joe. He is a guy that we met on Saturday. The Sisters actually met him first and they gave us his number. I gave him a call up that day and met with him. He is a very serious investigator. He is dedicated to studying and to coming to church every week. He wants to study and find the truth so that he can share it with all of his friends and his family. He has a wife and a kid, but they live in another city.

The next guy is a new guy named Go. I actually met him about two weeks ago but he was out of town. The guy is a great, honest guy. He is not married. He is in his early 30's and he works as the head of a Nike factory.

The next guy is a guy named Doh. He is an older guy(50's) and has a young daughter. I actually stopped teaching him about a week ago, but I had the thought to just call him and invite him to church. He showed up, so that is great.

The last guy is a guy named Nog. He is a great investigator. His baptismal date is on the 30th of this month. He is very ready. His family is also learning; his Mom and his sister. We are trying to start teaching his Dad as well. His dad will probably start coming to church at the end of this month.

The Lord has really been blessing us lately. I feel like we have received a lot of prepared investigators lately. I have noticed that the more we trust the Lord, the more He will trust us. I hope things can keep going this well.

This is all I have to say today. Love you all.


Elder Brown

May 14-10-Update


Many of you have asked me about Danny's safety and about the political situation in Thailand. This is what I have heard from danny and other missionaries closer to the unsafe areas. Danny is outside Bangkok and has avoided the uprising in his area.

But Danny shared that he heard that Bangkok was burning. "The Last thing I heard was from other missionaries on Saturday. They were evacuated from their area. Missionaries gave me reports of gas stations being torched. But I don't know much besides that. Lots of other scary details that I probably shouldn't tell you. Haha. I haven't seen anything out here in Bangnaa though".

The main centers for most of the protesting are in Asoke,
and we avoid it like the plague. Plus, if there's even a
whisper that there will be red shirts in an area, we just don't go. To quote
President Smith, "Your safety is worth more to me than all your
investigators and results combined."
So please, don't worry. The Lord
watches out for us and we've got a good hold on the whole situation. If
anything does end up happening, plans are in place and everyone will be
taken care of. The mission is organized incredibly well, being able to get
in touch with everyone within a matter of minutes. We appreciate all your
prayers and concerns though and will let you know they are definitely being
answered.


from Sat morning...

As far as the protests, we are watching them super close. It is definitely
a mess and all the Elders in those areas (International, Asoke and Din
Daeng) have been sent to other areas, away from the violence. They are even
going to church out there and not making the trip in. President Smith gets
security reports from the internet, members, leaders in the church, us (we
get them from missionaries close by, who we have now moved), news, and any
other path he can get them from. He's well aware of what's going on and is
making sure all our missionaries are safe.



It is in the Lord's hands,
Please continue to pray for all the missionaries' safety wherever they are serving.

Danny's Mom

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mon May 5th 2010


Hi,

Well this week has been a crazy week. This week was the end of my sixth moves-cycle as a missionary. Six down, only ten left to go. That means my time in Thailand is more than 1/3 over.


On Monday, Elder Webb received a call from the President to go Zone Leader. He is now serving in Chang Mai, probably the most coveted area in the mission. On Tuesday I received a call from the President. He started the phone conversation by saying, “Elder Brown, I have a couple of things for you.” I was very shocked that he said the word couple. Turns out God has called me to go Senior Companion, District Leader, and Trainer all at the same time!!!!##%%:}


This has been a fairly large jump in responsibility.
I'm starting to deal with the stress a little bit better though. On Thursday my left eye wouldn't stop twitching. That was interesting; I think I am coping better now though.


The best part of the story is that our district has also increased in size. The elders in Samup Pragaan joined into our district. President Smith has combined some districts together to reduce the number of district leaders and to increase the number of members in a district. This is great news because one of my favorite missionaries just moved into Samup Pragaan. Elder Fowles from my MTC group is now in my district! I will get to work with him and learn from him. He is a really hard working, brilliant Elder.

(so all the next part is in missionary speak-baby, grandchild, kids are how they refer to eachother)
So I am training! I got a beautiful wonder-bread-white baby. It would have been fun to train a Thai person, but I think training an American will be even more fun. My "kids" name is Elder Tibbetts, he is from Mesa, Arizona. Training really has been pretty entertaining, it brings back a lot of memories from when I was new; except this time, I get to be on the other end of the string. My trainer, Elder Nance, finished his mission this moves. It was pretty sweet that he actually got to meet his "grandchild". Elder Nance is now at home trying to find a girlfriend. Maybe I'll be kind and send him some dating tips.


Having a "kid" has really showed me how far I've come in the language. He asks me all sorts of questions about Thai and usually I can answer them but I can't tell him a reason. All I know is that “it sounds right, so I say it.” He usually doesn't like that answer, but as fluency increases, I just don't need to know all the “rules” I just speak and it works.


Yesterday was a pretty stressful day. Yesterday was Sunday and we called all the people we had appointments with and they canceled. Also we had a two hour ward council meeting that was very frustrating. After the meeting I went home and grabbed some fruit and said a prayer. It really helped. We left the house and went finding for about three hours. In that three hours we found about six people, got into two houses, and gave one of them a baptismal date. That was a pretty sweet experience. We will see what happens to him.


Hey that's all I have. Thanks everyone for the continued support. Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes. God will bless you! Keep praying for me, this moves is going to be hard.


Love,

เอ็ลเดอร์ บราวน์
Elder Brown

Monday, April 19, 2010

Apr-19-10




Hi.


The water festival was insane. I am sending a couple photos of the street and a photo of our "get wet" clothes.



So, yesterday at church the 1st counselor in the Stake Presidency came to visit. His message was good, but unfortunately he couldn't speak Thai. Even though the other 3 missionaries at the ward have all been here for a year and half, I was voted to translate for him. Up to this point in Thailand I have done translation in meetings for individuals from Thai to English, from English to Thai, and I've even given sacrament talks in Thai. But I've never had to translate over the pulpit on the spot. That was hard! Gives me motivation to study the language more. I did pretty well though, everyone seemed to be able to understand. Unfortunately I didn't know the word for "to spit" or "to turn the other cheek." Yay for circumlocution.




The other day I had an interesting thought about the "Restoration" and the term "Apostasy."

Typically we explain Apostasy as the period of time that the Earth is without the Power of the Priesthood, thus a period of time where the saving ordinances of the gospel are unavailable. The longest and most important Apostasy was the Great Apostasy, the 1600+ years after the death of the apostles of Jesus and before the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Typically we explain Restoration as the period of time that God restores the Power of the Priesthood once again to the Earth, thus a period of time where the saving ordinances of the gospel become available once again. The most recent Restoration was the Restoration in 1820 through the Prophet Joseph Smith.


The other day I had a thought, the thought is: I don't think the Restoration is finished. I think the doctrines and the ordinances have all been restored, but the world does not know that. A big part of the Restoration is to restore all the inhabitants of the earth to the knowledge of their fathers, to the knowledge of the gospel and its saving power. The restoration is not complete until every single person gets the opportunity to hear the gospel, or a.k.a. Jesus' plan of happiness.

There are billions of people in this world that are in a state of personal-apostasy. They have not been able to hear the wonderful news that the ordinances have been restored. These people must be brought to a point where they can accept restoration or stay in a state of apostasy. That is our work! Joseph Smith started the Restoration, but the work will not be done until the end of the Millennial Period. The Restoration is not a closed book; it is a story that is being written, and we all have major roles in the play.


Every-time I teach someone about the Restoration of the Gospel now, I always have the thought that the Restoration is not just about Joseph Smith. This story is about Elder Brown, this story is about Pii Dxan, this story is about his kids, and it's about his neighbors too. As they learn of Joseph, they too get their questions answered. They too become restored unto truth; out of the darkness and into the light.

Think about how each of us has a part to play in bringing others "into the light".


Elder Brown

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12-1020



These are pictures from last year's festival. For more information go to
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj0RiebBNdA&feature=player_embedded


Hi All,
Songkraan is the name of the holiday. What, you have never heard of it? Well do a google image search for "สงกรานต์"

Thailand's most celebrated festival is the Songkran Festival. It starts April 13 and lasts between 3 and 10 days, depending on where you are in Thailand. The word Songkran is from the Sanskrit meaning the beginning of a new Solar Year, but nowadays Thailand celebrates the New Year on 31 December.


Well, this is the holiday that everyone waits for all year long.(even missionaries, of course) This is the holiday where literally everyone is off work for a week.(except for missionaries, of course) Everyone packs up their bags and heads back to their home city.(except for missionaries, of course)

The holiday lasts three days. In the morning they all go to the temple to give thanks to their ancestors. They also ask for blessings from their living parents as well. Then once the sun starts to get up into the sky, things get crazy. Everyone is out in the streets throwing water at each other. Thousands of people with squirt-guns, garbage cans, or pales of water. They also enjoy putting ice in the water too. As you may have guessed, two white people biking down the street in shirts and ties are more than prime targets.

It is not just water though, they also use flour. Just walking down the street for less than 1 minute you will be soaked from head-to-toe with ice-water and then covered with flour. It is quite fun.

Things also get more interesting because groups of people will hop in the back of a pick-up truck and go around soaking people from the back of their car.

Although it is fun, you can only imagine how much it slows the work down! First of all, all of our investigators have returned to their home city. Second of all, everyone is drunk all week long. Third of all, we can't go anywhere without getting covered in flour. Fourth of all, anyone we meet/talk to here is probably from another city and will return after the week is over.

All in all, it should be a fun week. Be awaiting some more pictures next week!

Tjock dee pii mai! (Thai for Happy New Year).


Elder Brown

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mar-29-2010-Bangnaa

Bangnaa Ward building


Hello!

Good week here in Bangnaa. Things are starting to get back to normal. After a week working in this area we are seeing a lot of success; everything is turning around. So many people just waiting to see us. This last week we taught and found five new families, we also had five new investigators who had never been to church go to church as well. We are just talking to everyone, teaching everyone who will listen to us, and having some of them invite us back.

I've adopted a new motto for this moves:

Use faith, see miracles.

It really has been working. Our goals for this area are very high; I don't care what anyone says about the area, I think it's fantastic. The entire week we have only invited in one neighborhood, because we just haven't had time to even go anywhere else.


Just some notes about the area to try to paint a visual picture for you all.

Bangnaa is a factory city. The majority of the people who live here work in factories. They work a lot too. Almost everyone we talk to/teach works over time every single day. It is not uncommon to meet someone who has an 8 AM - Midnight schedule, seven days a week. Especially right now because the Thai New Year is coming up in two weeks so they work a ton so that they can take the three days of Sonkraan off. (I'll talk about this more in another two weeks. It is crazy.)

Bangnaa is in Bangkok. But it is by no means central Bangkok, it is no where near as populated as some areas of the city. There are still a lot of white people here though. Out in the Isan I would go 4-5 days without seeing a white person, now I see one every 10 minutes. There are a lot of foreign companies close by too. I have been eating American food a lot more. Within biking distance there is Sizzler, KFC, McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Auntie Annes, Pizza Hut, and many more. Elder Webb is a great fan of American food. He has taught me a new eating strategy. We eat oats for breakfast, ramen for lunch, then go to an all-you-can-eat American food buffet for dinner. He is a genius!

We live in a town house. I think that is what it would be called... It is in a gated neighborhood where all the houses are all touching. (they are connected but they all have front doors and they don't have doors to go into the other houses inside the house.) Our house is 6 stories. Or maybe 7... I'm not really sure... I've never gone all the way up the stairs. Each floor except for the main floor only has one room and a bathroom. It is kinda weird, but it is nice. Also another random fact, our neighbors speak some weird language that we haven't been able to figure out what it is. I think they are from some mountain tribe in Burma.

Tons of taxis here too. Taxis are weird here... I don't think I ever told you but in Thailand taxis are all bright colors. They have pink ones, blues ones, yellow ones. I remember at first I thought it was really weird, but nowadays I kinda forgot that that is weird.

Yeah, I'm pretty much out of time. Nothing too interesting today. It is my birthday in two weeks, 20 wow! I can't believe how fast the time goes! I guess that is cool.

Love
Elder Brown
เอ็ลเดอร์ บราวน์


Bye!

Mar-29-2010-Bangnaa

Hello!

Good week here in Bangnaa. Things are starting to get back to normal. After a week working in this area we are seeing a lot of success; everything is turning around. So many people just waiting to see us. This last week we taught and found five new families, we also had five new investigators who had never been to church go to church as well. We are just talking to everyone, teaching everyone who will listen to us, and having some of them invite us back.

I've adopted a new motto for this moves:

Use faith, see miracles.

It really has been working. Our goals for this area are very high; I don't care what anyone says about the area, I think it's fantastic. The entire week we have only invited in one neighborhood, because we just haven't had time to even go anywhere else.


Just some notes about the area to try to paint a visual picture for you all.

Bangnaa is a factory city. The majority of the people who live here work in factories. They work a lot too. Almost everyone we talk to/teach works over time every single day. It is not uncommon to meet someone who has an 8 AM - Midnight schedule, seven days a week. Especially right now because the Thai New Year is coming up in two weeks so they work a ton so that they can take the three days of Sonkraan off. (I'll talk about this more in another two weeks. It is crazy.)

Bangnaa is in Bangkok. But it is by no means centeral Bangkok, it is no where near as populated as some areas of the city. There are still a lot of white people here though. Out in the Isan I would go 4-5 days without seeing a white person, now I see one every 10 minutes. There are a lot of foreign companies close by too. I have been eating American food a lot more. Within biking distance there is Sizzler, KFC, McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Auntie Annes, Pizza Hut, and many more. Elder Webb is a great fan of American food. He has taught me a new eating strategy. We eat oats for breakfast, ramen for lunch, then go to an all-you-can-eat American food buffet for dinner. He is a genius!

We live in a town house. I think that is what it would be called... It is in a gated neighborhood where all the houses are all touching. (they are connected but they all have front doors and they don't have doors to go into the other houses inside the house.) Our house is 6 stories. Or maybe 7... I'm not really sure... I've never gone all the way up the stairs. Each floor except for the main floor only has one room and a bathroom. It is kinda weird, but it is nice. Also another random fact, our neighbors speak some weird language that we haven't been able to figure out what it is. I think they are from some mountain tribe in Burma.

Tons of taxis here too. Taxis are weird here... I don't think I ever told you but in Thailand taxis are all bright colors. They have pink ones, blues ones, yellow ones. I remember at first I thought it was really weird, but nowadays I kinda forgot that that is weird.

Yeah, I'm pretty much out of time. Nothing too interesting today. It is my birthday in two weeks, I guess that is cool.

Love
Elder Brown


Bye!