Thursday, January 27, 2011

1-24 Update

Woah. Another week down, already? Time is flying. I'm getting good at teaching. And I can Tagalog. In my humble opinion.

With only two weeks to go, this kinda puts pressure on the missionaries to decide whether they will slack off and accept where they are with the language and the gospel, or whether they will kick it up and put all they've learned about teaching and planning and learning to the test. I chose the latter. I honestly feel like I haven't wasted a moment the last few days. Between making lesson plans in Tagalog, practicing teaching lessons, my frantic reading of the Standard Works, and everything else that goes on here, I am busy. Which is good. Something changed. I'm not sure exactly when, but it was this week for sure. I'm just much more motivated. I think that getting this close to teaching real people, with real needs, with real souls, is helping me realize just how much they need me to be prepared. So with that said, life is good here! I love the learning. I love the teaching. And I seriously love the people. The members of my zone, the teachers and leaders, but especially the people of the Philippines that I haven't even met yet. I just know that I am going to be the tool in the Lord's hands that brings them His gospel, and a joy in life that they could have through no other means. Not to mention the eternal blessings.

We got new missionaries this week! Finally. Christmas is a slow time for the MTC, so we didn't get new Elders when we were here for 3 weeks, like usual. But at our 6 week mark, we finally got 17 new missionaries in our zone. Awesome! It's fun to show them all that we know. The things I wish the older elders would have taught me, and the things I learned on my own. I just want to make sure that they end up leaving the MTC better than me, if at all possible. I think that's how you must feel, parents. It's really good though, I love it.

I was in the sacrament meeting program way too much this week, but it was so much fun! The elders in my room and I practiced a version of "Come Thou Fount" in 4 parts, and of course I pulled the bass ;) I got to bless the sacrament (in Tagalog! super difficult), it felt like I was 16 again blessing for the first time. Tagalog is more difficult though, let's just say that. And of course, I played the piano for the hymns. I'm improving there, too. The first week I played was horrendous. But now it's good. And apparently they've got pianos in the Philippines too!

My favorite thing here is teaching. But even better, is teaching a Teacher who is pretending to be a progressing investigator. My companion and I have two, Elena and Charlie. (not related). They are both portraying real people, Elena is herself before baptism, and Charlie is his favorite investigator. We teach to their real needs, and they feel the same spirit that they did 2-3 years ago. It's is easily the best part of the week. We also get to prepare as a companionship to teach these people. We pray about what they need to here, we prepare a plan to teach them that, and we learn the Tagalog necessary to do that. The Age of Preach My Gospel really is amazing. Sorry, old-timers, but I am so grateful that I get to teach by the guidelines established in that book.

I am still reading a lot. I'm in Isaiah now. I loved 1&2 Samuel. I loved Psalm 51 about David's repentance. I think the people of Israel are insane. But it is super cool to read that account. Isaiah is fun haha. But I'm learning a ton!

All is well with me, what about you? Write me. Put your address and please date the letter or email cause I never remember to!

Much love,

Elder Trevor Todd Brown

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Elder Holland Love Christ? Share the Gospel

Monday, January 17, 2011 10:51 AM

So three weeks (ish) from today I'll be on a plane to the Philippines!! Pretty stoked about that. I'll have my flight plans next Friday, so you'll get them in two weeks. And of course, a long layover in San Fransisco means plenty of talk time!

This week was.. welp another week in the MTC to be honest. After 6 of them it gets a little monotonous. I mean that in the best way possible. There's just less to report on. The Spirit and the truth of this Church are still 100% true, and the reason I am here.

The highlight was definitely Elder Holland coming and talking to us on Tuesday night. He is so good! Again, I was only a few rows back. I'm positive we made eye contact, which pretty much makes me famous. Sorta. Anyways, he delivered the most powerful talk I've ever heard. Hands down. I guess you can say stuff in front of all missionaries easier than you can to the whole world. So he didn't waste a moment before chastising us that we don't study hard enough, plan well enough, or teach well enough. It seemed like a lot of the missionaries took it kinda hard, but I didn't have a problem. I study hard, plan well, and teach by the Spirit. But there's room for improvement in all things. He then went on to talk about the "Age of Preach My Gospel". Apparently the Church has been having a big problem over the last few decades, in that missionaries come back from 2 years of dedicated service just to fall away from the truth. Elder Hinckley (President's son) was there, and mentioned that his dad (President Hinckley) said the missionary program needs to be changed. Thus, Preach My Gospel was birthed. It was created to help missionaries be converted in their hearts before they recited wrote lessons to countless investigators. We are taught 100x better, and expected to be 100x better, than Elder Holland was as a missionary. That's paraphrased. But what really hit me was when he brought up the story of the Savior coming back to talk to his disciples after the Resurrection. Peter and friends were fishing, not being apostles basically, when a man told them to cast the net on the other side. Once Paul recognized who was talking, he rushed overboard and swam to meet his master. You can find this story towards the end of John. But the point is, the Savior had to repeat 3x "Do you love me?" to Peter before He got the emotion in the answer he was looking for. And when Peter said, with passion and true love, "yes," all Christ had to say was, "Then feed my sheep."

Don't you get it? If you love Him, freakin get to work!! That was the theme of Elder Holland's talk, and it will be the theme of my mission and the rest of my life. I could hear Holland scream at me, "DON'T YOU GET IT?" over and over throughout the talk. Though he didn't actually say those words, that's all I heard. Don't you get it? If you really understand His love for you, His atonement, His infinite sacrifice, you would love Him unconditionally too. And once you've established that (and it's black and white, either you love Him, or you don't), you need to get to work.

Oops. Got a little carried away there. But that was the best thing that happened in the last 6 weeks here, hearing those words from an Apostle of Christ and a messanger of God. I love this Church, I love my Savior, and I am going to feed his sheep. In three weeks!! So stoked.

PS I won't get mail too often in the Philippines, so if you've been meaning to write do it soon!

You can always email, too. Just leave a return address so I can write back. (

Love you all and thanks for all the support!!

Elder Trevor Todd Brown

Monday, January 10, 2011

Read and Pray!

First off, the MTC is pretty cool. But I'm almost half way done and I'm ready to hit the Philippines. I mean, after I learn a little more Tagalog of course.

Second, thanks Hill family for giving me that awesome copy of Jesus The Christ!! I started reading it last Sunday.. and finished it yesterday. One week. I literally held it in my hands from the moment I started to the last page. Dinner, class, service, nothing could separate me from the book. Great read. It's not that I learned all that much (facts) from the book, because I've been taught well in Sunday School, but reading the stories in a book, with the commentary of Elder Talmage, was essential to furthering my understanding of, and faith in, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I finished the Book of Mormon on Christmas Eve.. also a good read. I would recommend those two, in that order, to anyone who desires knowledge of our Father and His Son.

Also... I counted how many times we pray each day here. Without the random prayers of comfort throughout the day, we are expected to pray upwards of 16 times a day. Woah. But I'm positive it's one of the reasons I've been able to grow so much through the spirit here.

I never have enough time to email, but that will get better once I'm in the Philippines. Please continue all the great support with letters!! Also not much happens here except learning.... no crazy stories yet.

Until next week,

Elder Trevor Todd Brown