Sunday, November 18, 2012

Makeup 10-11

Howdy team:

Just a few thoughts this week:

Conference was amazing. I know that comment is a week late, but I have never had a better conference experience in my life. Don't get me wrong, family, there is nothing like waking up to homemade cinnamon rolls on a chilly October morning. This conference was different. Truth be told, only one investigator made it to the stake center here, but it seemed conference was just as perfect for her as it was the rest of us. Who could possibly forget President Eyring's powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon, or Elder Hales' sweet assurance that "waiting" on the Lord is not just idly letting life slip by, but actively enduring, living Christ-like attributes, and maintaining that perfect brightness of hope? Those two talks were just the first of a powerful, uplifting conference Sunday. They followed a divinely coordinated Priesthood meeting and exceptional Saturday sessions. I loved this October General Conference. Watch it again, cherish the words of the prophet; you know I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my November Liahona.

We got to go to some more waterfalls this week. I didn't catch any photos... but I'll try and get some from other missionaries. It was beautiful. Pagsanjan falls.

The work is great. I am training Elder Guba, a recent convert of two years who has diligently prepared to serve. It's definitely a difference experience to train, but I am enjoying the challenge and we are working hard. 

Thank you for all the support! Love,

Elder Brown

Makeup 8 1 11

Howdy team.

First things first... my birthday isn't for another 8 weeks! But I got your packages on Saturday! THANK YOU MOTHER (: It was just what the Dr. ordered. 

Not too much time this week. But here's the awesome stuff:

Flor (the young lady we're marrying) got all her information ready and we are eagerly awaiting approval from the government to get her hitched. She's excited and just laughs when we suggest we go looking for a white dress for her. Come on, people, she's like 200 years old. This is a riot. But she's got faith and that's what counts. 

We're marrying another couple! Geline (spelling) is 21. She has 4 kids and another one on the way. She has been to church almost every week since I've been here, but she wasn't quite ready to repent. She was scared to admit things to her live-in boyfriend and father of her children. But after 6 weeks of working with her, we decided to be more bold. It really is a simple thing, no matter where you are in life. If you are scared of something that is holding you back from eternal life, that is just silly. There is nothing more important, even fear. Anyways she talked to her man, and they worked things out and are ready to pass in their papers to the government and get married!

Just for fun.. we have another couple we might end up marrying if all goes well. Chris (non-member) has been coming to church and slowly warming up to the idea of truly investigating. His wife is helping a ton (member).

I never thought I would help so many people get married here. I love this.

A new American came into our zone this week. I opened up my journal to my first few days in the field... Brought back some good memories. It's been an incredible 6 months here.

I love you all tons and especially my mother! Thank you for all the support.

Elder Brown
Hello mother... lookin fly!

I got your birthday package!!! Thank you (: Just what the doctor ordered. The Reese's might have been my favorite (2nd of course to Dr. Pepper).. They didn't even melt too much.
Love the updates, always good to hear that you are all doing well. When y'alls move, can you make sure not to throw out my guitar and piano? thanks (: and yes you did write me about your day with shane! Glad he did that for you. We can go on a mom date in just 16 months! Plenty of time to plan a good date. 

I only got to sit on the bike for a few minutes.. it was a member's from another ward. I do miss all of our activities.. biking, surfing, dirtbiking, the lot. We are so blessed. 

Thanks again for the wonderful package (: I'm stoked to get the MoTab cd on my little mp3 player.. but this computer store doesn't have a cd drive so i'll go to a different one later tonight. 

I'm learning a ton still mom. But like the Sons of Helaman, you have taught me so well. Turn to alma 56:47-48. "Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the aliberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it."

I have never doubted your faith, and that has been a huge help for me in my life. Thank you mom (: 

If you're looking for something extra.. I ran out of things to read this week so I read through the Liahonas from the last 2 years that are stocked in our apartment. They have some awesome faith-building stories and ideas to help our family. Love it. 

For things to send.. toothpaste is running low ha. arm and hammer is still the fav but i can probably live off of colgate if its a hassle at all. I could definitely use some more books. I'm getting really into learning more about the modern-day prophets.. reading everything i can find about thomas s monson and gordon b hinckley from Church News magazines and Liahonas and Ensigns we have stocked up. If you want to pick out a book written by or about one of them i would love that (: also I've been looking for the TEACHINGS OF PRESIDENTS OF THE CHURCH: BRIGHAM YOUNG. He's one of the only prophets they don't have in our church buildings.. therefore exactly the one i want to read from. Just suggestions. Thank you!

Welp I love you lots and that is all for the week. thank you mother!


Makeup 7 11 PICS 7 17

sorry i don't have much.. but this is our pday earlier. I'm on the top right.. jedi! and my comp is second from the right on the bottom row. elder lacson.

second one is the kid we baptized when i first got here. he was the last of his family, and his dad (new convert, too) baptized him. they're awesome. fernandez family. the two older sons work with us every once in a while.

and i threw the third in cause the internet is fast and i'm in it. same fam but me, my comp, and the BML are in it too.

July 17
Howdy team!

Short on time this week because so many of you are awesome and emailed me!! Sooo if you are one of those, you get a special response from your special someone in the Philippines.

Anyways I'm doing well. Just hit my ONE MONTH mark in the new area.. kinda crazy how fast time goes. I remember last summer I thought it would be fun to work in Oregon and only lasted that one month. The Oregon adventure seemed much longer. 

We baptized Lea yesterday! She's the first person I really got to teach in Pila. As the last member in her family to accept the Gospel, it's been fun to teach her and see improvement and change in her young life. I'm trying to upload a picture from yesterday but this computer is having problems. It happens. Anyways back to Lea... we've also been teaching her cousin, Milky, and she was supposed to be baptized yesterday but never showed up. idk kids.. if you want to know what the hardest moments on a mission are, it's those. When you've spent a month preparing someone and something big comes up to block it. But I guess there was a real life emergency that she had to be at, and I'd hate to force someone to get baptized in an emergency. So next week hopefully! And if this computer can't get pics, you'll just have even more to look at next week.

I read the Miracle of Forgiveness last Tuesday.. great read if you haven't dived in yet. Some claim that it causes feelings guilt.. but if we have things to feel guilty for I think that's a good thing. So read it and feel a new motivation to strive on toward forgiveness and perfection!

Love all y'alls from the bottom of my heart, especially my mom!

Elder Brown

Make Up Pics Harvesting Rice 4 11

Makeup Pictures 4-11

                                            Ronalyn, Maria, and Kenney were all baptized! 

Nanay Amican and Ate Pacing. They are so great! Nanay washes my clothes and teaches me Tagalog (: and Ate Pacing is the Primary President

Makeup 3-28 Special request Letter

Mother! I love you!

I am glad you're doing well (:
I've got a few things to ask for...
So I've realized that I can't eat all the yummy foods I want and live within the mission budget.. It just isn't enough. Luckily, I think it would only cost like $50 a month extra to eat as well as I want, and have money to spare.. I know things are tough but if we could just do that I would appreciate it so much. You could just put it in my bank account and I'd withdraw it here. i love to eat things other than rice (:

But speaking of rice, I need some recepies! All the yummy things you make.. terryaki fried rice, sweet and sour, etc. Things that are pretty simple but delicious. Tacos, anything you can think of. Also.. still no package but I go to the mission home next week for training so hopefully it's there.

Another thing.. I really want to learn to play the guitar. And there's an elder that just got transferred to our zone that is helping me. I'm buying my own as soon as I can get back up to Infanta, they've got a music store there. But there's this awesome magazine that sends CD's of fingerstyle songs (love them!) and the sheet music to learn how to play them. Soooo it would be so super awesome if you could subscribe me for just a year, and if I like it we can subscribe again (: And then just send the magazines to me in support boxes as they come every two months. Check out the website and tell me if it seems like a good idea. I would love it!

Last thing.. I love you! I know it's tough back home and I haven't asked for much over the last few years because of that.. but these are just a few things that I can't do myself. But if it's at all too much, just say the word and I'll figure something else out (: Thank you thank you!

I'm doing really well. We're doing well as a companionship. We love to cook together and teach and all that fun stuff. In the next box.. We would love some salad dressing mix, BBQ sauce, and some candy! Love you lots and can't wait till next week!

Elder Trev Brown

Makeup Pics Balut and Waterfalls

Makeup 2-27-11 Special Mothers E-Mail

I'm here at internet again cause my comp needed to. But anyways, you get an extra email (:

Things a mother would want to know:

I'm healthy! I eat fruit and veggies every day, and I keep my room more clean than you have ever seen. I fold my laundry (secret - we have a ward nanay[mom] who washes our clothes for $3 a week. not allowed, but don't tell! she's endowed so she can wash everything)

I brush my teeth morning and night, and floss every day.

I miss things like In N Out, toilets that flush, and carpet.

I work out in the morning while other missionaries are being lazy.

I read every day, no matter what.

I teach with the Spirit.

I sleep on a thin, soft mattress. I only use a sheet and a fan to keep me comfortable.

I put on DEET on my arms every night in case the fan doesn't blow the mosquitos away.

I treat myself to fresh baked cookies when I have a hard day.

When I don't feel like walking, I ride a trike home.

When I'm sick, Elder Harris is good at taking care of me.

We cook really well for lunch, combining lunch and dinner hours for a gourmet, cheap meal every day!

Elder Harris is a super good cook, super good at Tagalog, and an incredible teacher.

I am as obedient as possible to mission rules!

That's all I can think of right now... But I love you lots and can't wait for that care package!! One every 3 months or so should do the trick. Just cheeze its, gummy things, cereal if it's not too expensive, and if you want to subscribe to Surfing the magazine I wouldn't complain ;) I miss surfing like crazy!! My zone is the only one in the mission that has a beach with waves (facing the Pacific Ocean) so I'll be sure to take a PDay trip up there to check it out!

OH!!! Also, if you can have shane burn me some Mo Tab cd's, and church hymns, and that kind of stuff, it would be much appreciated. If he can't, I'll order them from the Mission Office. More good news: At the end of my mission, or like 3 months before the end, I will buy tons of souveniers and gifts and stuff. Then I put it all in a big box, and send it on a "slow boat". It costs like $60 to send an elephant-sized box of goodies home, but takes 3 months to get there. So get excited for that to come home with me in December 2012!

I hope all is well, send everyone my love, and i'll check back in a week!


Elder trevor Brown

Makeup 2-14-11 Kumusta Otherside of the World

Kumusta ba kayo???

So.. here's what's up. I'm alive! Yes, I may be literally on the other side of the world, and yes, it is definitely 2am at home and 6pm here, but I live!

I'm assuming you're all very eager to hear how it is here. And I'm quite eager to tell you. But here are the rules:
1. You're not allowed to worry about me. I'll be fine. The Lord protects His servants.
2. Keep writing me. Dearelder takes literally forever to get here, but when it arrives I will be VERY happy. Shane... can you please put up some instructions so no one gets lost trying to dearelder me? Eh I'll do it. Just send it as pouch, to the Philippines San Pablo Mission.. with my name on it.. and BOOM. It'll be here in 12-845 business days.

This is the Philippines: (Sis, throw in a pic or two here). I'll email pictures in the next email.

It is incredibly beautiful. I'm in one of the four zones in our mission that is pretty much all out of the city. I live in this little town called Siniloan (east of manilla). The poverty is insane. But the people are so happy. I don't get it... ok maybe I do. For the most part, they lead difficult lives of hard work and little excess. But through that hard work, they have joy. They have families, they all believe in God, and they all want to know how to become closer to Him. I love working here. We have 6 or so PI's right now... I'll be sure to bring more into the fold once I get the language down.

About Tagalog.... hmmm. How do I say this... It is so difficult! I thought I was really good in the MTC. And for MTC standards, I was. But here... they all speak so fast, using words I don't know.. it's difficult. But it is getting much easier to understand already.. only day 4. So give me two weeks, and I promise I'll be conversing with the best of 'em.

I'm working really hard. Sometimes not everyone around me feels the same burning to do the best they can, and it's all I can do to help motivate them and do my best. Just know I'm giving it my all for the next two years.

The Church is just as true in the Philippines as it is at home.. just in Tagalog. The Church schedule is a little different (Elders Quorum, Sunday School, Sacrament), but the principles and ordinances of Christ's gospel are the same. I genuinely love the people here. They are so helpful to me. They want to learn. I love the gospel, and am more than happy to give my all to preaching it for the next 2 years.

Love you all and read the BOM everyday!

Elder Brown

Makeup 2-7-11 TakeOff Day

Trevor Brown Sighting!
Hello!! This is it. The big day has arrived. In just 8 hours, I'll find myself reporting at the Travel Office. I'll fly for who-knows-how-long and land in Manilla, Philippines some time tomorrow night (9ish) America Time. But it will be 11:15am in Manilla on Wednesday.

The MTC has been a riot. Tons of fun, tons of work, and tons of spirit. I can gladly report I gave my all to be where I am now. I've let the Spirit change and shape my life, and would exhort you to do the same. It really is better when we're together.

I learned some fun facts about the Philippines. Don't let them scare you, I'll be just fine.

1. You only shake with your right hand--no joke.
2. Always wear sandals or shoes of some sort.
3. It's going to be about 428x hotter than I imagine.
4. Everyone will be speaking a foreign language--no matter how much Tagalog I think I know.
5. The people are ready.

We watched Mountain Of The Lord last night. Great film. Really got me excited to go there and share the greatest joy on Earth with the people. Point is, I'm super stoked!!

Here's some important info:

1. I don't think I'll be allowed to email anyone but mom and dad. So, you have two options. me (takes 3ish weeks) or use the Church's pouch system (same time est.), or you can email mom or dad and have them forward it. I am trying to be obedient... Apparently it's a big deal or something ;)

Hopefull my sister will figure out how to put up some more detailed instructions for writing me. I'll be able to mail home through the pouch system. It will just be slow. Sooooo don't stop with the joyous letters! I'll write back. They come in bunches so if I don't write back, you could get two at a time! Get excited. I'm gone to serve the Lord!

Mahal Kita,

Elder Trevor Todd Brown

p.s. I don't know my address yet but I'll get it up real soon.

Makeup 1-31-11 1 Sq Mile Week 8

So. Here we are. Let me take a minute to describe what's going on.

I've been on the same 1-sq mile plot of land for the past 8 weeks. It definitely has the potential to make you a little crazy. But other than that, there is no better place on Earth to be right now. But that's all about to change!! I leave in 7 days for the Philippines. After 22ish hours in the air, a few date-lines to cross, and plenty of good ol' trying to sleep on a plane, I will arrive in the Philippines on Wednesday, February 9. 11:15 local time. SO stoked!

Here's a recap of my journey so far:

1. Get yourself on a mission if you have the opportunity. There is abosolutely no better thing to do with these precious years of life. There is no where you will learn more about the beautiful plan our Father has for us.

2. Be prepared. The past 8 weeks have been the hardest of my life, but I have grown more than I thought possible as a result of that. Be worthy, and the Spirit will do the rest. Give it your all, wherever you are in life.

3. Stephen B. Allen taught last week that we go through 4 phases every time we have a drastic change in life. These changes  can include anything from starting a new school year to getting married to having a new companion (the latter applied to me). The phases are:
a. Honeymoon - everything is good, you're stoked about the change.
b. Hostile - everything is bad! you think that everything is going against you, you think you are being treated unfairly, etc. The secret is that it is only you that thinks that way. Because only you can control your attitude, the only way to get out of this is to  serve.
c. Grin and Bear It - you have made that shift in your mind. You have decided to serve, put a smile on (however forged), and get through the day.
d. Endure To the End - Your efforts have paid off. By serving, you have developed a deep love for whatever it is you are going through. Not only do you continue to serve, but you do so with a genuine smile. All is well.

4. My Branch President's wife, Sister Taylor, taught one thing this Sunday. "Remember your covenants, never lose sight of your goals." President Taylor expounded by telling a story. His brother was going through a very difficult marraige, and when he asked why his brother didn't just divorce her, his brother replied, "Because I made a covenant." If we can all just keep that mindset, we will be eternally blessed. When faced with opposition, remember that you have made a covenant with your Father to be obedient, to do whatever is it that you covenanted to do. He will always bless you more than you earn for being obedient. I know that is true.

5. I've been thinking a lot lately. I just want you to know, whoever you are, wherever you are, that I love you. I really do. But more importantly, your Father, your literal father who created your spirit and this earth, loves you. If that is the only thing I learned here in the last 8 weeks, in the next 2 years even, it was worth it. I know that He lives. I know that His son, Jesus Christ, our eldest brother, loves you. Because of that love, He has provided a way for you to be cleansed. I don't know what is going on in your life, but He does. He experienced every type, every level, of pain and sorrow and suffering for you. He knows EXACTLY what you are going through. Please, for yourself, accept that wonderful gift. Becuase of His love for you, all He wants is for you to be happy. He gives us commandments, He gives us everything so that we can be happy. Turn to Christ, turn to your savior, turn to our brother. Turn to your Father. Turn to my Father. Turn to your God. He is always, no matter what, ready to accept you back into his loving arms.

I know this Church is true. There is absolutely no doubt. I tell you these things, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Makeup 1-10-11 5th Week

Family and Friends-

Another successful week in the MTC. Week 5 down... They're all starting to look pretty similar. 4 to go... and if they are all as fast as this was, I'll be out of here in no time. So, write me now before it gets difficult to do so in the Philippines (:

I love getting your letters, keep them coming! It's so good to hear how all of you are doing. I"m pressed for time, ever second here is spent learning and growing. But I will do my best to write y'all back today!

So on Tagalog. It's really not that bad. I think it is actually easier than Spanish, once you get the backwards sentence structure down. That clicked for me this week. I've taught the first lesson in Tagalog twice now, and I'll only be speaking that from here on out. It's cool to be able to help the others in my district too, but at the same time it's wierd to be in classes where not everyone is smarter than me. I loved that about BYU.

This week I read D&C and the Pearl of Great Price. I've noticed that although the keystone of the Church, and a great builder of faith, is the Book of Mormon, the Church could not function without the Doctrine and Covenants. It's got some pretty awesome stuff. The early saints were given tons of direct revelation, through Joseph Smith, building their spiritual strength so they could endure immesnse physical trials. Today, we are given immense physical strength, health, and a general comfort of living, so that we can bear spiritual trials of the likes this world has never seen.

So I've got some advice- If you've got any questions, about anything, read D&C with a prayer in your heart and an open mind. The Spirit will wisper when our Father wants you to pay close attention to a specific section. Although it was written to an earlier saint, the section will apply directly to your life, and you will know it when you read it. Also--remember your physical blessings: comfortable living, health, etc. Use them as a platform to grow your spiritual strength. We are all so blessed, and unfortunately it took me the better part of 19 years to realize that. Don't take anything for granted, especially your families. While I'm doing great out here, and not homesick really (sorry family, you know I love you!), there are so many people here that just aren't blessed with a strong family like I have been.

So thanks, really, for everything. I love the support I've got out here, and I'm eternally thankful for the great family and friends that I know are doing well at home. Write me about anything!! If you're looking for an answer, D&C can help. And I can point you to a section that will apply to you.

1 month down, 23 to go!

Mahal Kita, lagi,

Elder Trevor Todd Brown
MTC Mailbox #238
PHI-SAN 0207
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604

PS- I should get my flight plans in 3 weeks. Be patient, you know I have to be!!

Makeup Christmas Week 2010

So this week has been pretty crazy, it being CHRISTMAS and all! Thank you so much for all of the Christmas joy!! Everything that was sent was exactly what I needed. I had to have those athletic shoes this morning because we cleaned the temple. Pretty cool experience except all we did was scrub out the lockers.

About Tagalog....

It it pretty much the best language ever! At first I was bummed because it was Spanish, and my Spanish knowledge was kinda messing me up. But now I know better.

1. Everything is PERFECTLY phonetic. It is spelt exactly as it sounds. It sounds exactly how it is spelt. No exceptions.
2. There aren't 168 conjugations for every verb like Spanish.
3. Everyone in the Philippines is really laid back, and the language definitely reflects that. Example:

In English, you can be cutting the pinneapple, you can throw the pinneapple, you can smash the pinneapple, you can eat the pinneaple, etc. In Tagalog, you pinneaple. You are pinneappling. That's pretty much it! Any noun can be made a verb, and it makes perfect sense to them. Now I've just got to learn how to catch on to context and figure out if you are cutting, throwing, eating, etc. the pinneapple.

4. There are a lot of Spanish words and English words mixed in. The language is a little sloppy like that, but it is beautiful when you can say it all right. When you want a high five, you say, "Uphere!" and there are many more. My name tag says, "The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints". Instead of "Ang Simbahan ni Jesukristo ng mga Banal sa mga Huling Araw".

I've got no time cause class is starting right now, but I love you all and the Church is true!

PS I spent about 4 hours no more than 15 feet away from Elder Russell M. Nelson. It was really cool. He was with us Christmas and the day after. So much learned!!


Elder Brown

12- 12- 2011 Beach House

My beloved family and friends! It's been another busy busy week. I will explain the pictures first...
1.      The balcony. We sleep in the room right next to it and sometimes outside if it's too hot in the house. I like to sit there (facing the other way) and watch the ripples roll in.
2.      What happened here is everyone was getting in the car to go off to pday activities, and I realized I didn't have a picture of how close we are to the water! So I ran outside and invited  Elder Smith (zonemate) to work the camera. So.. there. We live on the beach.
3.      Front of the house.. Truck (yes it needs a bath.. but it rains like every other day anyways).. And the random guy had just given us the electricity bill.
4.      Best part of pday! We took a tiny little boat (called a bangka) out to a tiny little island off the coast. There a super awesome member (Noel.. guy) cooked us fried chicken and we hung out on the sandy shores of a little hidden cove. On the way back to our bigger island where we live I asked the dude driving the boat if I could try. He said, "yeah that's cool man". Well not really.. but it translates to something like that. Anyways I ended up standing on the back of the little boat holding the steering stick (left hand). I felt a lot like Captain Jack Sparrow in the first Pirates movie as he sailed his sinking ship in glorious humor. Pretty much the only thing I had on Captain Jack Sparrow in this case is my ship wasn't sinking. It also felt a little tiny bit like surfing because I stuck behind the boat ahead of us and rode its wake. I figure that's as close as I'll get in the next year.
5.      This picture is awesome. It's the second boat we took out.. I'm not on it but I feel that was unavoidable seeing as I took the picture. I want y'alls to see the bangka. The colors aren't real; I magicked them in with my camera skills (is 'magicked' a real word? It's not showing as a typo on my spell check). It was still a very beautiful day. 
So.. yeah! Go missionary work! Ha. I had to brag just a tiny bit about my new zone and pday activities. There is definitely still work to be done in Gasan (the area). And we're getting to that. The area is ready to harvest. We are reopening because both of the elders there before went home at the same time. So.. I will have much more about our investigators next week. This week we went back to the mainland for Zone Leaders Council. That was unreal. 19 of the finest missionaries I've seen met up in the mission home and I had the opportunity to be there as well (so there's 20 of us there). We discussed the strengths and weaknesses of each zone, sought and gave council, and were taught by President Peterson. He is amazing. The mission is about to change.. the focus for every mission in the Philippines for that matter. One of the greatest problems in this country is inactivity. For every 6 people baptized in the last 50 years, only 1 is active. There are currently half a million children of God baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ not receiving the full blessings of membership in His Church. That is devastating. So for 2012, the focus in no longer find, find, find. It is find, reclaim, and reactivate. I'm excited about this change. I felt the truth of the revelation as President Peterson explained our new focus. Just that Spirit made ZLC the best days of this week. We also had time to get to know President better, hang out with the other ZLs, and shoot some basketball in the rain. I still can't shoot. I've accepted that (:

This week I should be getting my pinoy (filipino) license, we have Zone Conference on the mainland, and we will finally get to reopening Gasan! OH! Mother I got your package!! I love the presents all wrapped up inside. I plugged in the Christmas lights and they were wonderful as we ate dinner Saturday night, but then they died because the power here is double the volts compared to home and I didn't think to use a converter.. ha.. but I still have them hung up and I love you so much!! and I forgot to mention this a few weeks ago but Katie I got your package too (: thank you thank you thank you! I realized I never send you a letter back after that.. sorry I'm going to do that this week! Thank you!

Welp, I love you lots. Lots and lots. Excited to see your faces on Christmas (yes, we can Skype still!) even if it's just for a few minutes (Pres wants us to stick under an hour). And I will definitely be giving you a call Gong Gong (:

Your missionary, 

Elder Trevor Todd Brown

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Howdy Team,

I have been pondering often the power of repentance, and the miracle of forgiveness. Please indulge me as I speak for a moment in general terms.

In our work, we have focused much of our efforts on families that have wandered from the path. They generally recognize the loss of the Spirit in their home. They understand, at least in part, the effects of their current lifestyle on receiving the blessings that God wants to give them. And you know, that pains them. It weighs on their hearts and, more often than not, leads to embarrassment, fear, or regret. 

This is a sharp, saddening contrast to the JOY of the Gospel! The joy of strong families, the surety of Christ-centered direction, the peace of being clean. How true is Gospel! How great the love of our Father and His Son! What a blessing it is to serve good, honest brothers and sisters who so desperately want these things. What true joy it brings me to sit with them, talk with them, and deliver hope. Good, true, real hope. Often, their eyes glisten with tears of acknowledgement and tears of hope. Tears of hope.

What is this hope I speak of? Moroni wrote, "And what is that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised to life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise." Moroni 7:41.

This is the promise, as given by Christ Himself. "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more." D&C 58:42.

We must have faith in this promise. These brethren I work with have started, once again, to repent of their sins. We teach them the Gospel. They become more active in the programs of the Church, which are designed to save us. To use the words of Alma, "And those priests (or prophets, or apostles, or leaders in the Church, or any worthy priesthood holder, including you and me) were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption." Alma 13:2.

And so we have done: we bring this hope, we teach of the promise, and the Spirit bears witness to those we teach. The individuals act, repent, and families have been changed forever. 

You know of the Obrado family. They are one example I have introduced through email. I don't know if I have to send another picture to get the message across. No matter what, no matter the past that has come and gone, the promise is sure. We can always return. The events of the past are insignificant when we are made clean by the atonement. The Obrado family are testimonies of that promise. I love to visit with them, because the Spirit has transfigured their truly humble home into a temple of the Most High. His Spirit resides there not because they are perfect but because they are repenting. Temporal blessings have not been withheld from them either. Brother could not speak Tagalog very well when we first met him, but now converses just fine. They are currently living on borrowed land, but many more land-owners have come offering better land to take care of and live on. These are miracles for them. 

Because of their righteous living, many more have asked about the Church and who we are (us, missionaries). We have met sister Kai, who, after being invited to be baptized, said, "YES. 100%." When asked if she wanted to do anything before being baptized she responded after some thought, "I will need to repent first."

As we repent, the Lord will keep his promise and forgive us. I cannot imagine greater joy and peace than that which I have felt personally and witnessed first hand in those I teach. The Gospel is true, the promises are sure.


Elder Trevor Todd Brown

picture - this week they harvested the coconut trees next to the mission home. with great skill, this man cut 2x6 boards with a chainsaw all day. that is amazing! and all the pictures for the next.. next week again. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Love the Obrados Outgoing Missionaries and Hamburgers

Howdy Team,

I didn't get quite as much journal writing in as hoped for.. so I will try to make up a little with some pictures and a good email. We've been SO busy this week! This was my last transfer week.. kinda a weird feeling, really. My good friend and once companion Elder DeYoung went home! Which means I am next. Interesting how that works. Anyways they came in Sunday evening (all the outgoing), we had the normal to-do with them. I guess I'll write it out now so you've got an idea of what will happen. We all eat dinner together Sunday evening, and then President conducts the final interviews. That is always a very good experience from what I have heard. We get some rest, play bball in the morning, and then Monday is a day at the Employment Resource Center. Here Sisters Montague and Walker (senior sister missionaries--so great) teach about job interviews, resumes, all that good stuff. We get to send a quick email home.. very quick, we go home two days later.. and then we have the outgoing Family Home Evening. I've attended two of these now, they are powerful. Each missionary gets to bear a final testimony and President and Sister give some last words of truth. We all wake up for some more bball Tuesday morning, we eat breakfast, and get shipped off to Manila on a bus (busses and jeepneys are always passing by the highway we live next to). In Manila they go to the temple, can visit other sites, sleep at the Airport Hotel, and fly home the next morning. 

This transfer week seemed extra busy. Lots of stuff came up.. like missionaries forgetting luggage at the mission home.. moving the Packer's upstairs with us (they used to live in San Pablo.. 30 min away.. now they live next door!)... oh! and one of the larger holidays in the Philippines lined up perfectly to hold us up in the world's greatest traffic! ha. sorta. The day of the dead (nov 1) is pretty big here. Everyone goes to the cemeteries and hangs out with their loved ones that have gone ahead, they drink and do all sorts of stuff I really know nothing about. We stay clear of that. Transfers was just really busy this week. 

Then to top it all off, Sister Packer called us Saturday and said, "I've got a bunch of burger patties [from America], would you like to buy buns so we can eat them on Sunday?" YES I WOULD SISTER!!! So we did. Thanks mom and dad for teaching me to be a grill master, I cooked all those patties for us, the APs, the new Alaminos elders, the Packers, and President and Sister Peterson. Better than Jollibee, Macdo, and even Burger King. So tasty! If only we had Jack Daniel's sauce from TGI Fridays. 

So that covers the subject line ^^.

We're doing really well. Surprise! Elder Delos Santos and I will work together until I leave! We have already been companions for the normal two transfers (three months), and President felt we should stick together for the last transfer. He'll be my second 4month-companion. Elder Miranda was the first. That's a long time to be with one person, but we really do enjoy working together. I'm happy about this. There is still much for us to learn together, and the experiences we have shared are truly memorable.

I would like to share one that happened last night. We were walking to teach brother Fernando and sister Sheryl and their family, when we saw them ride away on a motor[cycle]. They promised they'd be back soon, so we walked down the street a few houses and knocked on the big pink house. Knocking on big houses is sometimes frightening, but we do it. And so we did. "TAO POOOO!" That's how you 'knock' on a door. Yell, "TAO POOOO!" A young man turned around and asked, "bakit po? (why?)" We explained we were missionaries and had a message for them, from Jesus Christ. His mother, Sister Precy, came out and entertained us very well. She seemed somewhat interested, and the Spirit was there. She invited us to return on Tuesday around the same time, and promised to bring one of her friends that lives next door. This friend sounds very promising! The friend has read over half the Book of Mormon (daw) and was taught by missionaries in the past. We are excited to return and teach them more about the Gospel. These experiences are blessings. Our companionship has been filled with them, and we are excited to work together for another transfer.

Have I told you how much I love the Obrado Family? I wish I could take them home with me I love them so much! And I am grateful that such a humble, true family lives here in this ward to bless the people of Alaminos. I think I'll send their picture again. Anyways, they continue to progress. Sister is one of the few active visiting teachers, and is blessed with experiences similar to the one I told of above. Brother has some things to work through, but he is repentant and now understands that nothing, nothing at all is more important than securing his family's eternal potential through the ordinances of the temple.

OK I'm out of time. I love y'alls, and yes I am very excited for the coming weeks I have as a missionary. Love,

Elder Trevor Todd Brown

PS Pictures!

1. We walked on that little cement wall between the irrigation and rice field for about a mile to get to an investigator in calauan that my companion interviewed for baptism. It was hot, hence the bandana. Live long and prosper!
2. This picture might be best with a made up story. I think I was trying to call down lightning to strike a rebellious tree in the path. But really I saw that beautiful area driving to Lucban last week and decided I had to have a picture, and in the real picture of me just smiling I closed my eyes. This is the next best one.
3. I think I have a problem with sleeping happily through pictures, cause this is the best of our district last transfer. Ha.

4. I included the Obrado Family at full image size. It's worth it. Likely my favorite picture, ever (:

The World is Awaking

the world is awaking!

i loved that song in conference. the philippines love it too, but MoTab has a special sound and feel when they sing.

Elder De Young's batch is here in the mission home.. they head out for manila and to their respective homes tomorrow morning. It sufficeth me to say that.. well that's just weird. They're the last batch I'll watch go home from the office.. then it's our batch. Interesting how that works. The day breaks, the sun sets, and time continues. We've got a good amount of days remaining, and much to be done.

Coolest thing that happened this week was probably Saturday evening. We had just finished up our office work and were about to leave when president asked to come with us (full account in journal). Teaching with him was so great! 

<time break>

President just called me into his office.. that's was rad. I'm learning so much.. all to be written in the special part of my journal. Anyways, read the journals, I was diligent this week on writing. 

The Gospel is true. The promises are real. I know it, and I live it. Love,
That family from last week.. yes! they did come! They were the family President came with us to teach, and we gave them a vision of re-entering the temple. That was enough hope and excitement to get the mother and one daughter to have courage and come to church. We will visit them again tomorrow. 


Elder Trevor Todd Brown

Is There Church Today

Howdy Team,

This week can be summed up in a sentence and a story. 

The sentence: The view is worth the climb.

The story: So, basically, every time we were feeling pretty down in the dumps from being punted or teaching people with hard heads, the Lord saw fit to bless us, and that gave us strength to press forward. Run-on sentence. Yesterday (Sunday) morning, we left the apartment early to go pick up a less active sister and her non-member husband. They had requested that we help them get to Church for the first time in a while. Wait.. background first: we have been teaching the less active family for a while now, and each week is another excuse forged to rationalize. We got to their house on time, and sister was gone! She had gone to her family's house (she lives with her husband about a three minute walk away), so we followed to the family's house. The sight we found was just sad.. All the kids (now old and with their own families) were sitting on the porch and had their excuses prepared. "Elders.. next week na lang... pasensya na.."(we'll just come next week.. sorry.) And it felt like my heart was being wrung out like a towel. It hurt! You just find a deep love for people you work with.. and to find them like that was just depressing after a beautiful Sunday morning walk to their house. We left the invitation and reassured them that we loved them and were excited for them to come, with slight hopes that they might get dressed real quick and walk up for sacrament.

That was the climb. It happens. We have done all we can to help this big, temple-sealed family repent and regain that eternal promise of a forever family. 

So, we went back up the road to go to Church. I saw a lady standing on the side of the road in front of the Church. I thought, "Man, it would sure be great if I could just invite her and she came to Church this morning." To my surprise she motioned to me like she was stopping a jeep and asked, "Is there Church there today?" pointing at our building. "Oh, yes!" I replied in awe. Turns out she had seen the Church every day for six years and only now found the courage to stand on the side of the road instead of continuing for work. She is an inactive member from Negros (southern philippines). Now, I don't know if she would have come inside on her own power, but I do know that my Father was aware of her needs. He was aware of my disappointment of just a few moments before and saw fit to bless us immensely that beautiful Sunday morning. There is a God in Heaven and He knows us, each one, personally. I cherish that knowledge and seek to serve Him every day. 

That is the view.

We've been so busy.. I've only got two days worth of journals, and will work better on that next week. Elder Packer shared his thoughts on President Monson's sunday morning talk, and pointed out the prophet's subtle prompting to write in our journals. President Monson said, "My daily journal, kept over all these years, has helped provide some specifics which I most likely would not otherwise be able to recount." I am grateful for a living prophet!

The work continues. The office has more blessing than challenges.. KFC, yellowcab, and burger king to name a few :)


1. Me talking to Jelly-Anne and Jojie. They are getting baptized next week. Daughters of Carina Berto, a recent convert in this area. I walked over to them because Jelly-Anne (the one in the green top) was kneeling in the middle of the grass with her head up. I wish I had a picture of that, it was great!

2. The Obrado family. You will learn more about humility and love by spending 5 minutes in their home.. Man I love this family
Elder Trevor Todd Brown