Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Busy and Spoiled in the OFFICE

Howdy Team,

We are so busy! I love it. being busy on the Lord's errand is fulfilling. I go to sleep at night knowing I did my absolute best for Him. There is nothing better! Dad said he loved serving in the office... and I can see why. Yes, we are so so busy, but we do get out at a decent hour and get to teach.. Plus we are so spoiled... I know boasting is frowned upon... but I can't help but be thankful for things like hot water, washers/dryers, and the love of President and Sister Peterson, Elder and Sister Packer! They have fed us on multiple occasions. Like last week, time is short. I imagine it will always be short. But, I love the work. I love my Savior. Love,

Elder Brown

the picture is brother joven from my last area. dang good peoples. the other one is us in the campbell's home.. i do love the campbells. that couple with us is the pilayan family.. brother is the branch pres and saw us off our last night.

Monday, August 20, 2012

San Pablo Office Transfer

Dear Loved Ones,

I apologize for the lack of journals.. here's what's up. Last wednesday morning I was just exercising all normal, had plans for the day, was going to execute them, until I got a text. I read the text. It went like this "These are the transfers for your zone: e.brown..." I didn't read past that right away. Me? transferred?? it was a shock, a surprise, and basically changed my entire day's plans. Sorta. We had to be all packed and ready for transfers before going to bed that night.. so while we still got to all of our appointments, there was much preparation to do. Then we traveled all of thursday, and friday morning came. I've been to a good number of transfer meetings by now. long story short i've been called as an office elder.. it basically means we take care of all the missionaries' temporal needs and keep the mission running smoothly. i've been here for four days now.. wow. i had no clue as to the sheer amount of work office elders do. we have had zero time from the moment transfer meeting ended until now. i live on the mission home property now. president is awesome, i love being close and learning from him. my companion is elder delos santos.. he's about 6 months behind me in the mission, and he's actually the only companion that i knew before we were made companions. the aps live next door.. that's awesome. elder diaz was my good friend in the mtc and elder navarro and i are batch. it's been cool working so closely with the office couple, the packers. they're amazing. anyways, as i said, time is super short. i still need to cook some pork chops and rice, plan, and sleep! about pictures.. they say we can't plug in outside memory cards or usb sticks as a precaution against viruses.. i'll try to get to the internet cafe outside next week to send those. bear with me. 

about the floods in manila: yes, our mission was affected, but not in the area i came from and not at the mission home. we are safe here. if i ever can't email on monday, something came up in the office and i will email tuesday. don't worry mother, i love you!

now, i've talked a bit with president since the new assignment. i like what he said. it went like this: you are called to bring people to repentance, and that is still your calling. i know the office work will take up much of your time, but i know you will find souls... etc. I can't remember the exact words, but what i felt was that there are souls in desperate need to be brought to our saviors arms of mercy. i have felt these arms encircled about me. i love my savior, and seek to serve Him. i rejoice in this calling, as a missionary called to preach repentance, and that is exactly what i will do. 

we've met some great people in the few days i've been here. i wrote about them in my journal.. so next week? no more time.. i love y'alls. 

elder brown

Elders, P Days and Breaking the Shell

pictures! at last! the first one is one of the companionships we visited to study with this week. my companion is the one on the far right. next one is from our zone pday today.. we went to the beach and played touch rugby with a cheap basketball, i bbq'd teriyaki chicken. way fun, a little rain cooled us down. that's not the whole zone.. the complete zone pics turned out too dark.. but yeah. love!

It's been quite the week, the work has been challenging and from it we have grown. One of my best friends in the mission, Elder Shepherdson called me yesterday and said, "Brown, it's done." For Sheps, service as a full time missionary is. That's pretty nutty. We served together 6 months in Santa Cruz zone, and for 6 months we were zone leaders to neighboring zones. Love sheps; paalam, my friend. Back to the work! We have seen roses this week. The 1st counselor in the district presidency bore an awesome testimony yesterday. He is the father of a model family, has worked hard his whole life, and the blessings are apparent. He spoke of trials, and how these are often exactly what we need to grow. A chick, before it escapes is egg-prison, has to exert all its strength in cracking the shell. This is absolutely vital to its survival. If it can escape on its own power, it will have gained the strength it will need to survive the next few days. If it is helped in breaking the shell, it will die. That is how important that trial is to the chick. If it succeeds, it lives. If it is helped, it is crutched, and dies. I see now that the rain last week was much like the shell. Those that make it to church, even in the rain, will develop great spiritual strength. Those who can't quite make it yet need to first gain the power to come, and that is where we come in, to teach them, to encourage them, and to let the act for themselves. Thanks for the rain!

My companion and I are doing well. He laughs more than I think healthy for a sane person, but that is good. We teach each other so much. Example: I am now a professional chef with a few dishes up my sleeve! One of my favorites is pork chops with curry powder. That, and of course adobo. I taught him how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, as well as how to add apples to that for a tasty crunch.

My dear family, I love my Savior. I know He lives. I know the only way to return to His kingdom is through obedience. That is it. All our Father wants is to bless us, which He can only do on conditions of obedience. One of my favorite passages on the subject is Hebrews 12.


Elder Trevor Brown

Philippines Rain Like Waves on the Beach

Howdy Team,

It's been quite the quick week.. both my father and grandmother mentioned that time is going fast.. and they are right. Scary.

We have been busy. That should be the norm, it is, and we love it. 

The work has taken a hit from the rain.. I will take a moment to explain rain in the Philippines. When it rains, it pours. Rain is about as predictable as waves on the beach, always here in rainy season just sometimes the tide changes funny or the swell leaves. That's when we see the sun, oh how great the sun is! I do, however, enjoy rain at night because it makes for cool sleeping conditions. That means I turn the electric fan away from me (I don't turn it off cause I like the background noise now) and sleep like a cat at midday. Anyways, back to rain. The season hit about 10 days ago, which means we have had two consecutive Sundays of rain. Rain on Sunday is a huge trail... and it has posed quite a challenge for my companion and I as we ponder how to teach our investigators and less actives in a way that will inspire them to get their toes wet enough to come to church! We have conquered trails before, and I have great faith that we will work through this one too. Rain is not enough to stop me from work, and it will not be enough to stop the faithful from the blessings of Sabbath Day observance!

President came to the island for zone interviews.. I do love to receive his counsel at these times. He also informs us on how to help our zone mates.

I am healthy, promise! I bought more bananas and we installed a new water filter today. I am forcing the 10:30pm lights out, which has forced me to manage my nightly hours better. It results in better health and better days.

Love, your Filipino,

Elder Trevor Todd Brown

PS Elder Shane Brown is in the MTC! What a joy to get an email from him! He will love your dearelders just as I did! Write him soon! 

Pizza And Working Out ...Because I have been given Much

Well finding Yellowcab pizza in our mission boundaries was one of the best things that has happened food-wise.. it is real, authentic, great pizza straight from new york. new york prices are standard, but it is so dang good! we've eaten there 3 times now.. and will be going back in august. $6 to be full of the best pizza in the philippines? I'm in. When are we moving to the beach?? ;) where is talega again? i forgot.. i'm feeling so good now. i still exercise but i found some cement dumbells.. probably weight in around 15 lbs so those have been fun to play with. i'll be in decent shape when i get home.. and i do plan on focusing the push ups around october so i can hit my peak 100 for dad right when i get off the plane ;)

Don't know how to start this one.. I have been diligent in my journals this week.. I got a new pen so they're easier to read.. and I try to write legibly. Yesterday was probably the most spiritual, special sacrament meeting I have ever been to. It was a rainy morning, so only half of our usual attendance was blessed by the meeting. Everything was just so beautiful, from the opening hymn, prayer, to the sacrament hymn (185 - Reverently and Meekly Now), to the very humble voices for our sacrament prayers, the district and branch presidency spoke, we were blessed by a sorta out of tone yet unbelievably beautiful performance by our branch choir, and the closing hymn they sung left the room uplifted, edified by the Spirit that dwelt there. The choir sang a Tagalog / English rendition of "Because I Have Been Given Much". They had a sister sing the first verse solo in english, the choir sung the whole song in Tagalog, and finished with a strong, gusto-filled, "Thus shall my thanks be thanks, indeed!"

(english). Thank goodness the Sarsonas were there to witness that!

I'm way stoked to hear that my brother and his gang are filing off to the MTC! That is awesome. They'll for sure meet up there and rejoice in what they are doing. I rejoice in this work! I love it. It means absolutely everything to me.


Elder Trevor Brown

Brother is off....and...The Lord's Plan

What a week! My brother is off and on his way to serve alongside me, Elder Hill has returned with honor, and life goes on on Mindoro! We've been busy.. I know the two pages of journals don't prove that.. so let me take a moment. Wednesday we went to district meeting, then walked, drove, sung, "tao po"'d every person we saw, and just lived the life. We worked hard Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Which reminds me, On Tuesday we met Ian. He's 16, from Davao (bottom end of the Philippines), and stopped here for 2 weeks as he and his mother make their way to Manila to finish High School. We were just going to teach Joven when we saw his grin that begged us to approach him. So we did. He was interested enough to sit in on our lesson with Joven about the Plan of Salvation. We unfolded the scriptures and laid out the plan. Now, I know true conversion doesn't happen in a moment, but moments certainly occur when true conversion starts; this was one of those. Has anyone looked at the Plan of Salvation recently? It is incredible--but that is a side note. We went back early on Thursday to teach Ian, his mom, and Joven about the Restoration of the Gospel on Thursday morning, hopped on the Supercat boat to mainland, and ate some Yellowcab Pizza with my bud Elder Butler. 

ZLC (zone leaders council) Thursday and Friday can be described in 2 words: big smiles. We're the happiest bunch of missionaries out there, I'm sure of it. There were lots of new faces, and as far as my count goes only 3 of us are still attending ZLC since my first one back in december. I like the new faces though, they bring good vibes. We spent some good time at ZLC talking about our mission vision.. you know, to save every living soul in the San Pablo mission. Elder Caubalejo (my comp) and I came back Friday night in time to teach the Sarsonas (the less active couple who came back last week). And then Saturday and Sunday I was feeling a little under the weather.. physically, definitely not spiritually. 

We went back to teach Ian and Joven on saturday, and helped them get to church sunday morning! Now back to the Ian story.. he and his mom continue off to manila tomorrow, but since we met them they have found members in the area they want to go to who will help them find a good apartment, get to church on sunday, and hopefully continue to fellowship them. All his mom could say was, "I'm sure there was some kind of plan in this".. rough translation. True conversion doesn't happen in a moment, but in the week I've been able to teach those two they have definitely experienced moments where their own true conversion has begun. About me feeling a little down... I'm back up and in the fight at full strength today, thanks to some extra help yesterday and good care. All is well, my friends. 

Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell-
All is well! All is well!

With love,

Elder Brown

ps the picture is from King and Fil's baptism on june 16.