Sunday, June 12, 2011

june 12th, 2011-Last Post-Astoke

Danny will be coming home so soon! We are very exciting to have him back!!!!!!!!!!!!! He has been very busy lately and is trying to get every ounce out of his mission experience. I hope he does not run too fast....
This may be his last post:

Well. I've got a week left.

Yesterday was Stake Conference. It was a very surreal experience. I ran into so many people that I had met over the last two years. Many people whom recognized me but I couldn't remember them. It was interesting to see so many people that I hadn't seen for so long also knowing that I will probably never see them again.

People say that the only thing in life that doesn't change is change. That really has to be the case. If we think about the purpose of life... the purpose of life is not to sit in the same spot and be as comfortable as possible. The purpose of life is to learn and to grow. Once we have done something, once we have experienced for ourselves, the only thing left to do is to do something else.

My mission experience is almost over.

I'm tired. Really, really tired. I come home every night exhausted, I wake up and when I leave the house I am still exhausted.

I am so tired that I can't even close my eyes while I pray or else I will fall asleep. I have fallen asleep while praying out loud with my companion and he has to wake me up.

I am so tired that I have to eat top-ramen spice packets during studies and stand on one leg so that I don't fall asleep.

I still have time to make a difference. I still have time to meet new people and impact them. I do it on a daily basis. God is still preparing people for me to find and teach. I run into them at their house, on the streets, on the subway, etc. I don't feel like my work is worthless. I know that my work will have great worth, even up to the very last day.

I wish I could do more. I wish I had more strength and energy.

I don't wish for more time. I don't have regrets. I know that God has given me this two years and only these two years. He has prepared a work for me and I did it. I feel that what I have done and what I will do in the next week is all that I can do. I really know what it means to serve with all your heart, might, mind and strength.

Literally, it feels like it is all gone. It feels like I have worked until there is nothing left. Not because I have given up, but because I have fulfilled what I had to do. And when I reach the end, I will be done.

I know that God has prepared things for me to do after my mission as well. With the end of every page, a new one opens.

See you soon,

Elder Brown

Saturday, April 2, 2011


President Smith visiting with Sister Sri,and presenting her with a copy of the DVD made for the church history department. It was a wonderful interview with her sharing her story of being raised by the Queen, reading the Book of Mormon and joining the church, and translating the Book of Mormon into Thai. The Lord prepared her from the very beginning of her life to be able to do this great work for the Thai people. The mission president knew her 40 years ago when he was a missionary in Thailand, and we feel very humbled now to visit with her and feel her love for the Book of Mormon.

'Keng' a member in thailand that helps the missionaries a lot, had this picture taken of danny and him and then sent it to me on facebook!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

mar 23th 2011-

Danny tells us that they have been flying all over Thailand doing a lot of training!! This is a picture from sister Smith in a training meeting at Chiangmai. It has the 2 current assistants and the 2 previous assistants. She has good things to say about all the assistants and enjoys the training meetings that they help run.

According to sister Smith,"These meetings have been wonderful and centered on the Missionary Purpose... (The Doctrine of Christ)" and Revelation through the Holy Ghost. The AP's have spent hours doing role plays with the missionaries teaching them better language skills and teaching skills and learning to follow the spirit of inspiration.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

mar 15 2011-Pakkret

Well I was planning on writing a bigger letter today, but time is so precious, and I seem to have less and less of it. I just remembered we are on Summer schedule so instead of having 40 minutes to write, I only have 10 minutes. So oh well.....
This week was full of new experiences. Just when I thought I had experienced everything, it changes- it is always good to see new challenges and have new experiences to face.
Today we had a baptism for a woman named P. The baptism went great, except for the fact that the whole priesthood body had an activity today and none of them could attend. I ended up conducting the baptismal service. I have never conducted a baptismal service before, it was interesting to be on the other side of the stand for the service. The room was really hot, I was nervous, and was wearing my suit coat. Not a very good combination, but it went really well.
Tomorrow will also be a first... the first time I personally baptize someone. A month ago we started teaching an investigator named Kha. We taught her all the way up to the point where she was to be interviewed. That day we found out that she lived one road outside of our area. So we decided it was best to give her to the branch that she belonged to.

The Elders over there took over and interviewed her. She passed and they asked her who she wanted to baptize her, and she picked me. Normally when I teach someone about baptism I ask them the question
"Which member would you like to baptize you Brother A, Brother B, or Brother C?"
That way, they never choose the Elders. I feel that it is important for them to have someone in the ward baptize them, it helps to connect people and keeps them active.

But when this missionary asked, she picked me. One rule, when someone picks you, it is rude to say no. So I guess I will have the opportunity to baptize on my mission after all. I am honored to do it, but am always glad when a member has the chance.
That is it for today. We need to get out and work.
I am sending some photos,

Elder D.E.B.

Monday, February 21, 2011

mon feb 21-2011-leadership training bangkok

these postings came from pres. smith's Wife's website; Elder Brown is traveling a lot with the President, they are keeping very busy!

"Leadership Training for the Bangkok zones
This week we had 3 days of leadership training in the Bangkok area zones. The training went very well. President Smith and his assistants (Yea Elder Brown!)did an awesome job. This coming week we will be doing the training in Roi Et for the Isaan zone leaders. Our missionaries are awesome and we love them all"......

...."This past week has been incredibly busy. The highlight was the Leadership Training in Roi Et for the Isaan leaders and trainers. I have attached a picture of the group in Roi Et after the meeting, and one of the Roi Et missionaries at dinner with us. We are in Chiangmai for zone conference next WEEK"......

Roi Et Province

FROM Elder Brown:
....It is crazy busy here!!!! Yes, my old companion, Eider C. left for home, (I will miss him) and my new companion-and the newly called AP, is Elder Mc. I knew him in my group at the MTC before we ever came to Thailand. and I am excited to work with him! We are traveling a ton and teaching the zones as well as still teaching the gospel whenever and wherever we can.

...Oh yeah. We still do missionary work every day. We still baptize like crazy. Elder C and I had 5 baptisms two weeks ago, 1 baptism last week, and 2 baptisms this week. Elder Mc and I are looking to find 6 baptisms in March. We are really busy, but not too busy that we can't baptize. It is not easy to find people in Thailand that are ready to hear and commit to Christ, but we have been so blessed ......

Elder Brown

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Feb 2011-travel

Last week I went and exchanged in Mahasarakham with Elder T. Pretty interesting exchange because that is my greenie area and also one of the missionaries that I trained. We traveled over to Mahasarakham and got to the house. We sat down and started to talk. We did some roleplays. There was just a lot of training that had to be done. We ended up not leaving the house the whole evening. I felt that we spent our time really well though. Sometimes training opportunities take place outside on the streets, but sometimes more valuable opportunities are in talking, practicing, and training. For dinner we ate at a restaurant that I really liked. Also saw two members Sister Nog and Brother Yong. It was interesting to be able to communicate with them. When I was in Mahasarakham as a greenie, I couldn't really understand them very well.

I've had a couple more exchanges the last few weeks...

Yesterday I was in Kohn Kaen. I exchanged with my old companion, Elder R. He has 13 days left in his mission. It was a good exchange. We talked a lot about the mission, the zone, his companion, and life. I gave him some good ideas of how to propose to his girlfriend. We also taught a really sweet lesson to a woman named Toy. She is the Aunt of these two people we baptized while I was there. One of the best lessons I've ever taught. We were really unified and the Spirit was really strong. We taught about having faith in Jesus Christ and conforming our lives to His teachings. She is really caught up in Buddhism. Basically every aspect of her life is heavily rooted in Buddhism: school, family, work, etc.. I've got a lot of hope for her.
Have a good week.

Elder Brown

feb 4 2011-zone conference

Hello. Wow it's February.

Things are going by so fast, it feels like a whirlwind. It's really hard to even write emails anymore because so many things happen. Even if I wrote a daily email, it would be hard for me to keep up.

I guess one interesting update is last week I went to my first Buddhist temple. Yeah, I know. Pretty pathetic that I have been in one of the most dominant Buddhist countries for the last year and a half and have never been inside a temple. On preparation days I am always doing stuff such as helping people get baptized or other such silly things. On feb 2 we had the Pakkret zone conference, after zone conferences the mission has zone activities, so we ended up going to a temple. It was interesting. After lunch at the church we drove the office vehicles to the Grand Palace and then took the ferry over the river to the “Temple of the Dawn” or Wat Phra Aran. It was awesome, but the stairs were unbelievably steep.
Haha. It might have been cooler, but President Smith was there and he didn't want us climbing up the high staircase. Not sure what is at the top, maybe it is cool.

Zone conferences are only once a quarter nowadays. The conference was pretty good. I was really tired, I wish I could've got more out of it.

I am out of time,
got to go,

Elder Brown

Friday, January 21, 2011

pakkret-Jan 22-2011


Well I'm tired! Definitely more tired than I have been on my whole mission. You know they say that being tired is good, because it means you are working hard. Yesterday I was translating at a leadership meeting. Translating from English to Thai for the Thai missionaries that were wearing headsets. At one point I fell asleep mid-sentence and my companion had to reach over and wake me up. It was pretty funny. I didn't really know that it was possible to fall asleep while talking, but apparently it is.

So, I got my drivers license. Pretty terrifying. The thing that is the hardest for me right now is just driving such a big van into such small areas. The streets are so small and are packed with cars and people. Very hard to not crash into anything. Luckily, there are crash sensors in most of the cars here so whenever I get close to crashing into something the sensor lights will turn on. In terms of the driving etiquette here. I actually like it. There are three main rules to driving in Thailand.

1: Pick - Pick is really important. If you don't know how to pick, you basically will never get anywhere. In America we refer to picking as "cutting someone off" but in Thailand it is fair game. As long as you can get your front bumper in front of traffic, you have the right-of-way.

2: Flow - Flow is hard to get used to. Regardless of how crazy people are driving. Example: Driving on the wrong side of the road, cutting across multiple lanes of traffic, six lanes going down a four lane road, etc. You just go with the flow. Don't ask questions.

3: Big - This one is simple. The bigger your car is, the more right-of-way you have. Buses hit their brakes for no one. So when you think about pulling out in front of traffic, you have to see if you are pulling in front of something small like a motorcycle or something big like a bus. Luckily, we drive a really big van so often times we win the battle.

After I was cleared by the embassy and got my documents it was ridiculously easy to get a license. There was no driving test, no written test, they didn't even check to see if I could read Thai road signs. There was a slight vision test, but not like any vision test in America. They checked long-distance color-blindness, weird. They tested reaction speed, really really easy. Lastly, they tested peripheral color-blindness. I totally couldn't do this last test at all, but they passed me anyways. I paid a couple of bucks then I was on the road.

So I've been in the office for two weeks now. I'm starting to understand my role a lot better. I'm still pretty lost, but there is a lot of change that I need to start assimilating quicker. Another three weeks and Elder Chiu will be gone and I'll have to run it by myself. This is basically our schedule:

Monday: In the morning we might be with President Smith for about two hours. We talk about the previous weeks efforts. We talk about individual companionships, districts, zones, and the mission as a whole. We discuss business that needs to be taken care of and other things that we need to do. Monday then turns into an office day. Lots of administrative tasks: calendars, emails, travel plans, hotels, interviews, exchanges, etc.. Then we call all six of the zone leader companionships to talk about their results and responsibilities. It serves as a weekly accountability interview. We try to make it out of the office by 5-6 to go out and work in our area.

Tuesday: Similar idea. We finish up all the stuff that we were given to do on Monday. We tend to get out to work in our area a lot quicker. One bonus about being here is that we don't teach English Class. Yay! One less thing to think about. The district leader takes care of English class for us.

Wednesday-Friday: Usually should be normal days. However, recently we have been having three-day leadership trainings all over the country so basically all these days have been shot. Those should be over soon so we will be getting more time in our area soon.

Saturday: Preparation day. Kinda. Basically preparation day doesn't really happen. We send email, but sometimes we just send it from our cellphone. Preparation day ends at six, but typically we are doing missionary activities the whole day anyways.

Sunday: We come into the office at around seven or eight to start collecting the missions weekly results. We call all the zone leaders and collect their individual key-indicator results. We also take the names of the people who are baptized. We put all the information into the computer. After making some graphs and lists we print them off and stumble home at around midnight.

That is our weekly schedule, but that doesn't really include some other duties. Every month we have to exchange with all six zone leader companionships for at least 24 hours a piece. Sometimes it is slightly hard because three of the companionships are over six hours away so often times we have to travel. Luckily, the common choice of travel for us is airplane. Aside from the zone leaders we exchange with other companionships that are struggling or companionships that President Smith assigns us to exchange with.

We collect daily key indicators from the zone leaders every night before going to bed. This usually keeps us up pretty late every night. We also talk to them quickly about questions or help that they need.

Once a month we organize transfer meetings. I haven't done this yet so I'm not really sure how much of a role we play. I know that we have to organize travel and stuff. Make sure everyone gets down here ok and help them get visas. Also we have to pick up new missionaries from the airport and send old missionaries to the airport. The first day the new missionaries come in, we get to work with them for an evening.

Once a month we have a zone leader council meeting where we get to train the zone leaders and follow-up on their goals. Several days a month we have specialized training meetings where we have to translate and also evaluate missionary roleplays.

We also get a lot of calls from members and missionaries that have questions. Basically we serve as a filter service for President Smith.

Yeah. As for now, that is a short list of what I am doing. It is pretty fun, kinda exhausting. We still get to work in our area fairly often. We still find, teach, and baptize investigators, just some of the other time gets sucked up by new responsibilities.

Anyways. I'm out of time.
Sorry, This email was kind of boring.

Elder Brown


Friday, January 7, 2011

1/7/2011-Friday- Pakkret

I'm all moved in here in Pakkret. Too bad I'll have to pack up and move again soon. I won't be moving areas, but we are moving houses real soon. We will probably change houses in about two weeks. As for me, I am really tired! The last few evenings I have been dead tired. Not really quite sure why, just really exhausted. I guess that is a sign that I am working hard.

My new companion is Elder C. He is a missionary that I have looked up to for a long time now, I am really glad to be able to serve with him. He was in the group ahead of me in the MTC, so I have known him since then. He was also my zone leader for a transfers while I was serving as a district leader in Bangnaa. He grew up on the East Coast and he is half Chinese. We live in the same house with the office elders. The companionship in the office right now is Elder P and Elder M. I knew Elder M from my student ward at BYU. Also serving as our district leader is Elder H, he was my companion in the MTC.

Here in Pakkret it is much hotter than it was in Kohn Kaen. We are just north of Bankok, we are touching the city so it is hard to even distinguish a difference between here and Bangkok. The first few days in an area are always a little bit weird. I don't know anyone, I don't know where anything is, and I don't know what any of my responsibilities are. I always feel bad for my companion for the first week or so. I pretty much am forced to watch and try to assist where I can.

This coming week will be my first trip up north. Everyone has always said that Northern Thailand is the best part of the county, but we have such few missionaries up there that I have never had the chance to serve there. However, I will be going up there to assistant in the leadership training meeting. In the month of January there will be three meetings. One in Chiang Mai(north), one in Asook(bangkok), and one in Roiett(isaan). Each one of these meetings is three days long. Each day is about ten hours long. That right there is nine days out of the month in meetings.

I am excited for my new duties as an assistant. A lot of time is spent out of our area, but we still have enough time in the area to scrounge together some investigators and baptize them. The assistants had three baptisms last transfers, so it seems like we are still able to baptize fairly well.
I think we are going to always try to email Saturday afternoon. But I bet there will be times where that will change. For example next Saturday I will be on a plane coming back to Bangkok around this time. So not quite sure what will happen...

Yeah. I still get to do a lot of on-the-street missionary work. Probably actually more than my last assignment. The thing is, about half of the work that I will be doing will be in other areas. We just have to travel so much.

I'm not really sure what my assignment entails yet, I'm going to have to work for a week or two to see. We still have an area, we still get to teach. Sometimes it is just abroad. As for when we are in our area, some of the deadhours(afternoon time) will be spent in the office. We will always be working on the streets in the evenings though.

On Monday I will be getting my drivers license. I am kinda scared for that. A couple of reasons:

1. They drive on the left side of the road here.
2. The steering wheel is on the right side of the car.
3. Driving etiquette in Asia is way different than driving etiquette in America.
4. I haven't driven anything but a bike in like two years.
5. Bangkok traffic is frightening even as a pedestrian.

Well that's about it. Wish me luck.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jan 03-2011


Well somehow transfers number twelve is coming to an end this week. I now am a teenager! Transfer number thirteen is about to start up. Elder Ritchie will be staying in Kohn Kaen and I will be moving to Bakkret. I really will miss Kohn Kaen. I was here for less than three months but I feel very close to the area, the branch, the converts, and the members. This week Kohn Kaen will be having another baptism. That makes eleven baptisms in the last six weeks. The work really has exploded here. We were talking to President Smith last night and he was mentioning the possibility of new buildings. One of the possibilities for future buildings he listed off was Kohn Kaen. The Area Supervisors were a little bit skeptical because Kohn Kaen's membership is still pretty low but he told them that Kohn Kaen now has families. That made me really happy to hear. Kohn Kaen is the District Center but it has always kinda struggled. I hope that this is the chance to change that.

I really don't know what to say about the work. It seems like so much has happened and it is really hard to express it concisely and in a manner that you could understand. Suffice to say, I have changed a lot the last three months. Not just as a missionary or in terms of missionary work, but as a person too. I haven't changed this much as a person since winter last year in Ubon. Last year was more of a forced change, this year was more of self-motivated decision. A lot of these changes have to do with communication. There were some specific weaknesses in the way that I communicate that I am really trying to fix. I feel that these things have helped me motivate and uplift the missionaries that I serve. A lot of these changes have to do with faith. I feel I have made leaps of progress in understanding the principle of faith and have figured out ways to build and use my faith. A lot of these changes have to do with pride. I'm a prideful person. It has to be my greatest weakness. This last month I have really come to terms with this weakness and have made a lot of progress towards being meek and humble.

I was realizing the other day one thing that I have learned on my mission. Just how every single person is unique. More unique than I previously thought. There are countless amounts of attributes, gifts, talents, etc. and everyone has a random assortment of them. Some people have a lot, some people have a few. Everyone has something that they are given. Everyone has the ability to increase the things that they struggle with. They also can hone the skills that they already have and make them even better. I'm grateful for the gifts that I have been blessed with.

On a lighter note. My old, disgusting helmet got stolen. Not sure who in the world would want to steal a two year old helmet that only fits an American sized large head. But oh well. I was too cheap to buy a new one, so Elder Ritchie and I have been riding helmetless for the ten days. I didn't want to buy a new one because I thought next transfers I wouldn't need one. Bangkok doesn't really use bikes. My foresight paid off. I just hope I don't hit a car in the next two days. Cross your fingers!

Last thing I want to talk about today is the guy who is getting baptized this week. His name is "M" and he is thirty-two years old. It's very interesting because as I have been striving to teach more efficiently I have noticed that God has prepared people to meet our teaching ability. Before I met M I thought that I had met prepared people, but this guy just blew everyone out of the water. He showed up at the church building last Sunday. He came in the afternoon hoping that there was a church service. He had been to one of our church services in Bangkok a year previous. He saw the name of our church and recognized it and was impressed to come in. On the first day we talked about baptism and committed him to be baptized in two weeks. He was very excited and accepted. The next time we met him we were on an exchange with President Smith. It was a pretty short lesson, only about twenty minutes but we taught the whole restoration message, parts of the gospel, the word of wisdom, the law of chastity, and many other things. He sucked it all up and was able to recite it all by memory. We met him for the third time this last week. Finished teaching him in about an hour. His comprehension and memory was absolutely out of control. He was able to grasp onto concepts such as the fall with ease without us ever teaching him. His main concern in life is to get married and have a family. We committed him to live the law of the sabbath and he agreed even though this week he went back home to be with his family for new years. That didn't stop him, he traveled over 100 kilometers from his house into the city and found a member to stay with that night in order to attend church the next morning. He is going to be interviewed today and I am confident he will pass. We only taught the guy three times. I know God prepares his children.


Elder Brown