Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016


I honestly have loved being a missionary during this Christmas season. It has been amazing to represent Him during the time when everyone is a little more sensitive to Christ's message. 
I got the chance to go to a Christmas Catholic Mass. It was my first time going to a mass and it was a good one because it was Christmas Eve. IT WAS PACKED. We decided to be Christlike and give up our seats so an elderly couple could sit for the service. All i could think throughout the whole thing is how eternally grateful i am for the knowledge of the restored Gospel and Priesthood. It is real. and i felt the confirmation of the Holy Ghost testify to me in a Catholic Church that the restored Gospel is true. ahh it was pretty crazy. 
Christmas was awesome because we get to watch any PG movies we want. We ended up only watching the Grinch who stole Christmas and this movie called a Castle in the Sky which was way weird and amazing. (prolly cuz i haven't seen a moving in like 5 months). We didn't stop watching shows all day.  hahaha
ODD side note: it kinda sucks not doing anything now. I use to be good at not doing anything, but now its hard.
Anyway, I had a wonderful Christmas. I cannot believe that i will only have one more missionary Christmas.... time is absolutely flying. I love the Lord and i love this Gospel with every fiber of my being and I'm so blessed to know what i know. 

I pray you had a wonderful Christmas as well. Happy New Year!

LOVE ELDER BRIAN

Monday, December 19, 2016

Edwardsville

Well hello,
This week has honestly lasted, probably about 16541 weeks. It has gone on forever, I swear. BUT it has been the funnest week of my mission so far. Lets begin at the start.
On Tuesday i get transferred. I say my goodbyes and get in the car with this kid thats like 20ish named Brandon. (Turns out he is one of the coolest kids ever.) We drive until i start noticing all the dead corn all around me. So much dead Corn.
Edwardsville, is a small town in Illinois that is pretty much the opposite of my first area. I like to refer to it as simply "the best mission place on the entire world." 
We finally made it to the apartment and i meet my companion. Elder Serage. Turns out he is the coolest companion anyone could ever ask for. I'm semi sure that we already have a better relationship then peanut butter has with chocolate - and thats sayin' something. He is a huge nerd but he is also ripped because he loves basketball and working out.. haha I'd say he is a mixture of two of my best friends Stax and Hunter. haha 
i guess you could say we are getting a long quite nicely.
I'm here now, just having the time of my life. We are doing so well together and having a blast in the service of God. A few days ago we set 2 dates for people to be baptized and it was amazing. The members here are the coolest people ever, and right now people are literally contacting us because they want to learn more about the church. It is the best place ever.  I also got to meet this guy named Ron who is crazy. Honestly he is probably the craziest person i have ever met. Ron must like the taste of soap or something because he cusses like a sailor. He is so funny though, and has a genuine concern for the missionaries and he told us he would try coming to church again, but the last time he did that his car wouldn't start when he tried to leave (early) and so he doesn't want that to happen again. hahahaha One crazy guy. 

So i attached these two videos so you can see what i mean when i say that elder Serage and i are pretty good homies. We had a little bit of freeze rain and once we were able to get home, (almost dying like 3 times) we made the best out of the situation, by sliding our way into town and getting some pizza.(don't worry this was all on foot)  I fell really hard 2 times but elder Serage destroyed himself and it was the funniest thing i had ever seen. i wish i had a video of it, but i don't so everyone can just take my word for it. hahaha When our tummies were full we slid home and what happened? These videos happened.  hahaha Well, i thought i should throw in something that has been on my mind recently. 
Everyone listen to these words:
It's as simple as this. The Book of Mormon has the answers. If there is any question that is on your mind or if things are hard and you need direction, the Book of Mormon has the answers. God is a loving God and he will never ever leave us with no hope. We are children of God. We ARE Gods children. This simple fact is what is changing all the people i talk to. 
This Christmas season, i just want to encourage everyone to remember Christ. Jesus Christ. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. That wonderful man who suffered the sins of the world. Every individual, one by one, he suffered. For me alone he bled. I know that he is my Redeemer and  i will do everything i can to follow in his footsteps.
 In life's worst storms, with the strongest winds. I know of one thing that we can hold on to and remain grounded and safe. That is the Book of Mormon and its teachings. That is my testimony. This is real.

video
video

Well, I love you all so much. Hope everyone's having a wonderful Christmas season. I wish you a merry Christmas, I wish you a merry Christmas I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.  
Note to Mom:  MOM!  I love my new area with all my heart. I refer to it as the Celestial kingdom. AND my new companion, totally would have been in la fam if he had been by us. He is the coolest kid ever. He is a mix between Jaxon and Hunter. hahahaha

Monday, December 12, 2016

Getting Transferred!

Well that's all for me in Frontenac, I'm getting transferred. I'm going to this place in Illinois called Edwardsville. My new companions name is Elder Serage or something like that. I hope he is cool... I don't know right now if that is a good thing or a bad thing to be moving to Edwardsville because I honestly don't know anything about it besides it is kinda the opposite from Frontenac. I’m hoping that means more investigators! 
This past week has been a good one. My first birthday in the mission field was a lot different than what I thought it was going to be. I have to say a big THANK YOU to everyone that was sending your love to me on the 10th. In the mission when your birthday rolls around its like you wake up in the morning and go..."woah its my birthday." and then you forget about it until someone says, "hey, happy birthday" and then you realize it's still your birthday. hahaha I had a ton of fun though, and I got to play some birthday sting pong with the 5 other elders in my apartment complex. I got Mom’s package and the Ugly Christmas sweater was a hit. I wore it to play basketball in the morning with the AP's and everyone laughed super hard. I also loved the “positive affirmation button” that says, “you’re awesome” when you push it! Oh, and we got a car again so that was a wonderful birthday present!
I have been saying my goodbyes to all the people that I've become close to here, but I am not sad because its not like i'm dying. I can come see them sometime in the future. 
I had a grand time on exchanges this past week. We, at the time, didnt have a car and so it was a biking day. I got a different bike because the old one only had one pedel and that made it kinda difficult... so this new bike looked awesome. We started biking and when we came to the first intersection I realized why this bike was free to me... #nobreaks so i just rolled on through the intersection kinda like the grandma on the Mulan movie. hahaha To make the day even better, it was around 20 degrees outside. My companion during this exchange was an office elder that hadn't been doing stuff like this for the last 3 months and he was dying. That made it WAY more funnyr. He kept saying, "I cannot feel my hands or my face." We went and visited a few people, stopped by this old folks home because it was the day on the light the world thingy to do that, and then biked all the way across town to visit a few other people. It was s'cold. hahaha
Finally the time came for a dinner of a lifetime. The only problem was, that the dinner was approximately 15 minutes away by car and we only had bikes. I thought, "no problem” because I had already called this priest age kid to give us a ride. Just as I was telling this to my companion, Elder Timmereck , we got a call and the kid was actually going on a date soo… hahaha I started calling a ton of people. We finally found someone that was willing to give us a lift and made it to this wonderfully fantastic dinner. After which we waited outside in the 15ish degree weather for our ride. Elder Timmereck was so funny 'cuz we were both freezing. hahaha

Well fam. The truth is that no matter where you go, no matter how hot or cold, the church is true and everyone needs to be told. ( i just made that up and it came out sounding a lot cooler then i thought it would) I have grown immensely here and Im excited for the fun coming my way in Illinois. hahaha
 Love you all,
Elder Brian



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Time is flying

Well hello everyone. I cannot believe that it is December. Time is totally flying.

First and foremost, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! you da man. 

Now onto the content of this letter. 
Whelp, just to update anyone that is interested. We are pretty much still meeting with and talking to the same people i talked about before. hahaha its just kinda harder to get to their houses now. 
Let me tell you, we are getting dang creative out here in the Frontenac area. We have been relying on the members of the ward for rides places and then also bumming rides form the other elders that live in the same apartment complex as us. It has been wild. But there are always good things to come of hard things and I truly believe that through and through. And here is the evidence that that last statement is correct: 

The other night we went to a members home for dinner. We got there a little late because we had to wait for a member to take us there because its pretty far away and it was dark out. We ate dinner and what do you know, they turn out to be probably one of the most missionary-minded families on the planet. I mean they have a daughter in 2nd grade that brings a Preach my Gospel to school and keeps track of all the commitments she makes to her fellow school mates. (blew my mind.) So we talk about how their kids are probably better missionaries than I am and how they are constantly inviting people and looking for opportunities to serve and they told us they had been praying to be able to give someone a ride to church. They asked and we told them we would let them know if one of our investigators needed a ride. Soooo, we leave their house and they just think we have a car so they say bye and close the door and we just started walking... in the dark... it took about ten steps before I pulled out the phone and started to call all the other missionaries that lived in our apartment complex to come and get us. hahaha They decided that they wouldn't make us sleep in the streets and they told us to just get to the main road where they could see us and pick us up. So we wandered around until we got to the main road and just sat by this gas station. (This is where it gets cool)
As we are sitting there I hear this terrible scraping sound from down the road. I walked out and there was this car coming that had sparks flying out of the back of it as it drove! It pulls into the gas station and I get a good look at the two rims that he was driving on. hahaha- totally destroyed. I walked over as this man gets out of the car and I almost started laughing. This little ole Chinese man gets out and says, “I think I hit something." hahahaha He had hit a curb going pretty fast and blew up both his tires on the passenger side of his car, and then drove a good 4 or 5 miles (destroying the chance that that car will ever be able to drive again) before he decided to pull into this gas station right where we were standing. 
As we were standing there I realized that the Lord just given us this man to teach and he cant even get away because he was just as stranded as we were! hahaha We talked for a moment and he was actually on his way home from his bible study class. He realized that we were trustable and so he asked us if we could give him a ride home. We cant do that as missionaries, but I knew of someone who had been praying for an opportunity to give someone a ride... We called up the member we had just had dinner with and he came by and ended up giving this man a ride to his home with us in the back seat teaching the whole way. He lives out of our area but he is definitely gonna get a few missionaries knocking at his door this week. it was awesome.

That's a good story. hahaha Well things are good here and i'm not dead and I am doing what I've dreamed about doing my whole life. Everyone do the light the world thingy  (#lighttheworld) because its gonna bless your lives! hahaha, just a little plug right there. I love you all and hope that this Christmas season is just absolutely amazing.  

Keep on keepin on
Elder Brian

Monday, November 28, 2016

Goes down in history.

This week was a week that I will never ever forget.
>
> First off, it wasThanksgiving and that was absolutely wonderful. We got to eat at this members home who is amazing. We got there and i guess i wasn't really expecting it but there were about 14 people there and 5 of them were not members of this family. hahaha We had a TON of food to eat. My companion and i made one pie each to take over and when we got there we found out that there were already 5 pies so we had 7 pies and we almost finished all of them.
>
> We tried to meet back up with the little guy i talked about last week, but his family wants us to move at a very crazy sad slow pace with him so we have appointments set up with him for every two weeks. Its painstakingly slow but it gives me time to set up lessons using some video game analogies that will help him understand better. hahah
>
> So the reason for the whole "goes down in history" title of this email is because I am now going to go down in the history of this mission - and not in a good way. I will be talked about 10 years from now as the infamous Elder Brian. I am pretty sure I have the fastest time in the mission for crashing a car… yep - I”m not proud of that!  It was a bad one too. It was the rain and the bald tires that caused us to crash but I was behind the wheel so I’m at fault and I get pounded for it. We were making a left hand turn at an intersection and when I pushed the accelerator, the car didn’t move - the tires just spun and an oncoming car hit us going about 40mph. I dont know a lot about whats going on at the office because everyone is being nice to me because it was “traumatic.”  And I don't know for sure, but I think the car may be totaled - it was definitely not drivable. Procedure is I shouldnt be allowed to drive after this, but its up to the mission president and the office sisters tell me he really is hoping my tires were bald so he can call it a car malfunction and let me keep driving. sooo... and the tires were bald - I have been trying for weeks to get the vehicle coordinator to approve new tires but had not received permission. SILVER LINING: I know that the Lord was watching over me and my companion. If our car would have skidded a little more, the passenger side would have been t-boned and destroyed and I don't know how my companion, Elder Richins would have ended up. It was such a blessing that no one got hurt.
>
> Pretty much the rest of the week was hard cuz, we had no car, and we had to walk places.  Eventually my District leader gave us some bikes - I got his and he is probably 5'6 so I look like I am riding around on a 12 year olds bike right now and its awesome. hahahaha
>
> I will say it was an eventful week - but I”m grateful.
            >Love,  Elder Brian
My pie:
 Car crash:
 Being fed by Sister Gore and Sister Kroupa - they take good care of us!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

What up,

Let me tell you, I am getting fat. I swear I exercise every morning and even buy salad at the store but I am always getting fatter no matter what. So that is great news.

This past week was actually absolutely amazing. My new companion and myself have just decided to 'faith it up' out here. It's been kinda hard to “find,” and knocking doors for hours isn't very fun or effective, but we finally were able to have a meeting with the bishop that saved our keesters. hahaha Our bishop told us that he doesn't want us tracting as much (still do a little, to show the Lord you are willing to do the hard stuff...) because he said that in the area we are in -the mansions- the people don't really want to listen. So we've been going hard visiting all the members we can and having the faith that we will be able to find someone to teach. The weirdest thing happens when you apply faith... it works.

Last night, we were asked (by a member... oh yeah) to come with him to a part member family's home for a home teaching visit. We showed up and walked in and there was a young boy - about 10 years old. His father is a member and he wanted us to answer his sons questions. He came and sat down and we decided to teach the first discussion. As we are going  along, the little 10 year old keeps asking questions and just couldnt understand a lot of what Elder Richins was saying because they were kinda big words... Then the boys father looked at us and said, "see if you can relate something to him... like video games or something." So i started teaching the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to him in the terms of Minecraft. (mom, i cannot believe that the time i spent on that stupid game paid off) By the end of the lesson he had a pretty basic understanding of how Jesus gave Joseph Smith direction to Restore all the “blocks" of the church back on top of each other and make it perfect again. Just like how Jesus had originally made it. Then the little boy said, "so i wanna be dipped in water so i can be a member of the church. Can we do that?"   My mind took a second to switch from minecraft to baptism... but once i realized what he said i almost started laughing out loud. His home teacher was shocked. hahah we are planning on meeting with him a lot more frequently now.

I know that the Lords hand is in every aspect of my life out here. The church is true, the book is blue, and the gospel will go to all.

Love you all tons!
Elder Brian

New companion - Co-Seniors

Well hello there. Let me tell you a few things about this week. hahaha

Well, i got a new companion. His name is Elder Richins. He is from idaho, and he is a crazy optimist! (i cant tell yet if that is good or bad) haha Elder Richins has been out for one transfer longer then me and we are going to kill it here in the richest part of the mish. He is one smart cookie. He is going to be a joy to be around. My only complaint is he listens to talks and things alllll the time. It's awesome - I’ll learn a lot. hahaha  He came from a poorish area of the mission so its been kinda a shock for him.

This week was a whole lot of fun. At transfers i got to see Elder Humpherys, and Elder Marlor and it made me soooo happy. I will send the pic. hahaha I met my new comp and we went to an appointment that fell through. (i hate that) haha but then we went and unpacked and i got to know him a little. 

To be honest we dont really have too many investigators but we did get to go to another hospital.  A man named Scott was in the hospital for who knows what, but we stopped by because some sisters from a different area told us about him. When we talked for a little it was clear he was looking for some sort of relief from the pains of the world. We gave him a Book of Mormon and let him know that he was a son of God and that he is loved and being watched over. He looked at us like we were crazy, but something weird has happened to me where i just disregard the look of 'what the freak' and i just continue to explain and try to help people understand. I asked him if we could say a prayer with him because he was going in for surgery the next day and he said yes that would be wonderful. I said a very simple prayer and left the room letting him know that he could call us any time. The lesson i took from that is how simple the gospel can be, and how the spirit can simply testify of the truth in peoples hearts. 

It got cold and i think i might be getting sick because i dont have my mom to tell me to wear a jacket. hahaha but thats okay because i bought those vitamins that taste like fruit snacks. I figure that should combat the illness. 

I love life. I should write more details, but its weird because when i start my emails, it takes everything in me to keep writing stuff. Sorry. hahaha 

Shout out to Collin and Ben, Happy birthday bros!

Disclamer to my family, I AM BEING SAFE DONT WORRY! hahaha I am in the safest place i could possibly be right now. 

Love you all 

Elder Brian
 I got to see Elder Humpherys!
My new companion, Elder Richins 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Not the "baby" anymore!

Well this is gonna be short and sweet... hope that's okay...

This past week has been a odd one. Elder Thomson and i spent a lot of time visiting people that he had taught or that he had come to know really well with his six months here in Frontenac. We had the opportunity to share spiritual thoughts with a lot of people.

I also had the chance to go the the scary part of town on exchanges, and of course it never fails to be awesome. We had to bus and we talked with some people but then i kinda gave up because i couldn't understand what they were saying. hahaha We made it to this appointment but then no one answered the door and it smelled like drugs so we decided to go knock on all the scary doors and see if anyone wanted to learn about Jesus. (Genius right?) As we are walking I see this lady across the street staring at us and then started cussing us out but then told us to come over to her... (sending very mixed signals...) We went over and met her crew which consisted of the Drug dealer sitting on the steps with a huge bag of drugs he was putting into smaller drug bags, two girls smoking some sort of substance together (romantic) and a dude that was looking around all funny and talking on the phone. When we walked up, the guy on the phone looked like he was gonna punch the elder I was with but he was just said in not so nice words, "who are you?"  We told him who we were and what we were doing and the lady about flipped. She was out of her mind. She told us that we were in the wrong place but that it was the place we needed to be because we are surrounded by sinners.... (I almost laughed) Then she put down the drugs that were in her hands and asked us to pray for her. Then she grabbed my hand and my companions and we had a little prayer circle and my companion offered a prayer for her. The drug dealer guy said some of the most terrible things i have ever heard, but I think it was just how he talked and he was trying to tell us good job. 

I love my mission. I am learning a lot. I am definitely one to say that God sees our potential, even those people have that amazing potential to become something great. 

I love y'all and i will talk to you later!

PS. I'm getting a new companion, hence the name of the email, and we are both new. He is one transfer older than me and we are co-senior here in the rich, bible-bashin-fun town of Frontenac. Here we go...


Love, elder Brian


Monday, October 31, 2016

Paint Louis

Hey team,
Happy Halloween to everyone that is cool enough to actually read any of this. hahaha holidays are different here and I was devastated when I learned I couldn't go trick or treating. It's whatevs though. hahaha

This past week has been wild. We get asked by a less active and a recent convert to come over all the time and help them with things and this past week we sorta went the extra mile. I am getting pretty good at home repairs. i have now taken carpet out along with stairs and a dishwasher. Re-layed a floor in a home. Stripped paint off of walls and door frames, and sanded and primed. I'm sure that I'm gonna be able to get a job at Home Depot now.

Other then being a work crew, haha, the mission effort has been going wonderful. Its odd how much more confident I am with talking with people now. My companion is just about to leave me so we are trying to see all the people he wants to see before we go. We had the chance to talk to some members, the Nings, who are like Japanese/Chinese/Korean and now they are living here and learning English. It was an emotional lesson for my companion but I had the chance to bear a very simplified version of my testimony of prayer. It was amazing to watch the spirit flood the room and bear witness of truth to even those who may not understand my words. 

I got to go to Paint Louis and it was sweet. It is huge wall that is covered in graffiti and they have competitions each year to see who is the best.  Here are some pics. Pretty much WAY cool. hahaha 

Keep on keepin' on,
Love, Elder Brian


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

My parents stood on my doorstep

Momma! Send me that picture right this minute hahahahahahah you guys! haha
My parents were on a trip in the midwest and spent their last night in St. Louis. They dropped off a package for me while I was at church. Sneaky sneaky.

Hey, everyone... its been awhile. hahaha

These past two weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster. Don't worry, I wont make this a whole novel, but there have been so many things going on I probably could. I'll just paraphrase.
Starting last last Monday, Holy cow it was a rough week. At times I sorta felt likeI  was just being pounded. hahaha There was a solid three days where every single door we knocked on, resulted in someone yelling at us or a dog trying to eat us or something else crazy. It was insane to say the least. After a good whooping from some guy with a lazy eye that told us to get off his property and never come back we walked about half way down the block and i started laughing super hard. My companion was a little bit shaken because the man was mostly mad at him for ringing the door bell, but when i started laughing my companion was like what the heck man we just got cussed out and you are laughing? I told him that i was laughing because i felt so blessed to be able to feel a little tiny piece of how the sons of Mosiah felt, or how Alma the younger felt, and it was awesome. The rest of the day we walked around getting yelled at and told to leave town and all sorts of fun stuff. haha and I always smiled as we walked away. 

Luckily, the Lord tells us that blessings come after the trail of our faith. This past week on Monday, I got to go on an exchange with another missionary that came out in the same group as me, Elder Havili. We relied on the Lord for so much because that's all we knew how to do. It paid off. In one day we picked up more investigators and taught more lessons than i had in the past 2 weeks combined.
About an hour before we were going to have dinner, we had just not quite reached the goal we wanted. We had already had a successful day but both of us felt like there was something more we needed to do. We pulled into this neighborhood and the first door we knocked on let us in. We talked to this lady and her husband about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. They followed the lesson perfectly and asked wonderful questions, but at the end when we invited them to take a copy of the Book of Mormon, they refused and told us that they had both studied religion in college and felt like there was nothing more out there for them. Elder Havili and i both knew that these were the people that the Lord wanted us to see and to teach, and we were pretty determined to pick them up as investigators. Something happened and i was speaking without knowing really what i was saying, and i told her that if she read one page and prayed about it that the Holy Ghost will testify of its truthfulness to her and her husband. It went quiet and she said, "One page?"  As the words came out i couldn't believe what i was saying but I just said, "One page." We have an appointment with her later this week to see if she actually did it but the spirit was so strong and it was an amazing experience. I know that they will feel of the spirit if they read and pray, and now I'm just hoping they are willing to act on that feeling.

On a secular note, I get wrecked at ping pong//sting pong, and I now have welts all over me. hahaha I am loving the cooler weather and the fact that I am not sweating to death all the time now. 
Things are good here. no complaints. hahaha 

Love, elder Brian




Saturday, October 15, 2016

The One In White...

So for this weeks email, because its only been a few days because my mission president is changing everything that we are used to, I'm just gonna make it short and tell a good ole funny story.

On Tuesday of this week we decided that we would have all the missionary's in our District (the little group thingy of missionaries that live close to us) come and 'Blitz' our area. This just means we have 5 sets of missionaries in our area at one time. I was put with one of the Zone leaders who is in our area named Elder Ward. He is a super stud, from Idaho. He and I quoted Brian Reagan the whole day and had a blast working together. 
This Elder knew what he was doing. There wasn't a person we saw that we weren't talking to. It was so cool to see him interact with all the people. 
Anyway, we had just picked up a few people to go see in the coming week and we were on our way to see if we could talk to some people that had let missionaries in before. As we are pulling out onto the main road, we saw the most beautiful thing ever. I couldn't tell for sure, but it was like Gandalf the White had gotten lost and was on the streets of St. Louis. I almost peeled out, and drove straight to the nearest parking lot and jumped out of the car. Ward was right on my tail and we ran a good block to catch this mystical man. 
Well, we are behind him - and all the cars are honking and he is giving everyone the peace sign and I was almost in tears. We said "HEY Sir" and this old man turned around and gave us the biggest grin. (at this point in time I was praying he'd say something like, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" but it didn't happen...)
Let me describe him before I attach the picture at the bottom. An older man dressed to the best. Wearing a white hat, white gloves, white robe, white shirt, white pants, white socks, and white shoes. He welded a staff of the finest wood. And in his eyes was a little bit of crazy.
We talked to him and he gave us some very important news. He said that all the Mormons in the whole world need to move to Missouri and take over the state, and kick out any non believers in Jesus. Then God will rule here and there will be one good place on the earth. He said that he had been preaching the good word for (buckle up this is gonna knock your socks off) 28 YEARS. He didn't proclaim himself to be Jesus, or God, or Moses, but he said if he dressed the part maybe he could become like them. 
He was amazing. That is commitment. He said he's only got beaten up once and that was this year... but then he said that he forgave them and it was all a misunderstanding. hahaha 

So things are still going great. We got a few new investigators this week due to the Blitz so we are keeping busy. I love the Lord and his work. 

Love, Elder Brian


Monday, October 10, 2016

True MVP"S

For anyone that actually reads these and is not my Mom and Dad, i am currently clapping for you. You are true MVP's. hehe

This week was fantastic. Let me just tell you that i am getting really good at knocking on doors. I have plenty of chances to figure out my signature knock and i think I've decided on the band aid commercial song. Still developing but i feel good about this one. 
We got to teach two lessons this week with our investigators. Jennifer (one of those investigators) read from the beginning of the Book of Mormon to the middle of Mosiah between our first and second visit. When she said that I'm pretty sure that my mouth dropped like it does in the cartoons and stuff. I just kept saying, "That is Awesome!" over and over and i probably looked crazy because i just couldn't believe what was happening. We had a wonderful lesson about the Plan of Salvation. My mouth opened even wider when she said she had always felt like the idea of only Heaven and Hell. She agreed mostly with everything we said. I was flabbergasted. At the end I asked if she would give the closing prayer and she DID. I felt the spirit so strong as she prayed and i am so happy to see that joy of God's plan really play an effect on someone who had never heard it before. 
Our other investigator went wonderful as well. Just until the end when he handed us an Anti-Mormon book that he told us he had been reading and he wanted to know if any of the stuff in there was right. We kinda stole the book so he wouldn't read it, and now we are using it to set up another date with him. hehe (sneaky elders).

Let me tell ya. I gave another blessing to the crazy guy that told me he wanted to kill me. It was a good one. At the end he stood up and looked at me in the eyes and gave me the most loving hand shake he could muster. (He's a manly man, and will never ever hug me. So the hand shake meant a lot.) He stood up and just said, "Perfect, just like He always is." 

I smile a lot. I laugh probably too much. I love where i am, and i know the Lord loves me. Life is good. I wish everyone could just realize the joy the comes through Him. 

Love y'all and thanks for reading this thingy
Elder Brian


Monday, October 3, 2016

Hello. It's me.

Hello. 
Its me. 
I was wondering if after all this week you'd like to read. Or go over everything. 
They say that Satan tries to get ya, but i'm just out here smiling. 

^ that was pretty good  hehehe

Holy cow. what a time to be alive, am I right? This past week i saw yet another miracle or two. AND then we had General Conference and I was spiritually pumped to the MAX.

At the beginning of the week, we got to meet with the referral we got from the mormon.org people and she was so cool. This girl said that her father was a professor at a local university and he had had one of his students give him a Book of Mormon  awhile back. The book had sat at their home for a long time and she had taken a religion class and came home and saw it. She decided that she wanted to learn more about what the "Mormons' believed so she called and said she wanted a tour of our meeting house. We had some sisters from the relief society there and we walked around and got to teach the Restoration. Jennifer, the investigator, mostly agreed with all the things we were saying. We kinda slid in that there are multiple discussions that we have with people to fully inform them the basics of our beliefs. She agreed to meet to have all the discussions! I was so happy. I know that as we share the truths of the Gospel with her she will see them as they are. Undeniable honest truth. Ill keep everyone posted on how shes doing.
The next day we decided to go find some people that had already had contact with missionary's before. We came to this guys door and he answered and stepped out of his house to talk with us. He was very into politics and we asked if he knew much about Mormons and he said, "Well sure, i voted for Romney!" So we knew he knew nothing about Mormons. hehe We talked for a while and shared with him a book of Mormon and then all of a sudden we were like yeah could we tell you about it and where it came from. Next thing i knew we were in his living room teaching the Restoration. He only believes in the bible... for now, but he has great faith in Christ. I think he liked hearing what we had to say. It was cool because we made sure everything made since and it sorta felt like he was realizing that all of the stuff we were saying didn't seem wrong at all. We set an appointment to come back, and he said that if he felt like what we were saying was true by the power of God he would be baptized. CRAZY. hehehe it was amazing and i know that the spirit was guiding us in our search to find those seeking the gospel.

We also had a chance to go to the Hospital again to give yet another blessing. We were at the icu and a family came up and talked to us. They were very scary looking but had the cutest little girl and boy. As we got to know them they were actually less active members and the lady we were called to give a blessing to was this sweet sisters mother. We talked and the the man told us that he had been part of a gang and that he hopes to be in the military one day, but even with all of this he was the one that called us. He said, "I knew that you boys would be able to do so much more then i could." It was amazing.

Things are good, and then Conference happened and my mood went through the roof. I'll make this short and sweet. FOLLOW the word of the leaders of this church. They know what they are saying. The Lords words were just handed to us and now its our job to act and to receive true JOY! I promise that by living by the words of the Book of Mormon and the Prophets we will never be lead astray. NEVER.

My companion loves to talk in his sleep and i laughed all night last night because he sat straight up and mumbled something then i woke him up and he had no idea what was happening  or where he was. hahaha i laughed for probably an hour. hehe

GUYS, this Gospel is good,
LOVE Elder Brian
We watched General Conference at the church
Leaves are starting to change!
Filling up our packs for the day.
Ping pong table at the office elders apartment - Good times!

Gotta love Mormon.org

Alright to be frank, this week has been really cool. No super amazing out of this world experiences, but I've come to realize God hears our prayers.

So here in Frontenac, we are blessed with only talking to very wealthy white folks, who are very comfortable where they are. It has been a real challenge to have any investigators because no one knows that they want to hear the good news of the Gospel. I've been praying hard to receive some help from above. 

We had Cage, but he's been hiding from us ever since we told him he was gonna get baptized and I think he got a little frightened. no worries tho, we will pick him back up again in the coming future. haha and then we have this man named Bill. I dont think his real name is Bill, but that is what he told us. haha We got to teach Bill this week and it was my first experience with this type of investigator. He is an older gentleman who is very Hindu. I thought that was pretty cool but I could tell my companion was not too thrilled. Something I learned is that his religion lets him believe in all religions. He believes in ALL the beliefs of God. hehe no matter what we said he said, ah that is nice.*(Indian Accent)*  I had no idea what to say. We left him with a copy of the Book of Mormon, and asked if we could return later in the week and he told us it wasn't necessary. hahah So i was a little down with how things were going. We lost our investigators and we were back to tracting a TON. haha but we kept praying and hoping and loving the people. Heavenly Father loves that diligence. 

We got a 2 calls within an hour. Both from Mormon.org people who rarely ever call missionaries. They called and first told us about this lady named Jennifer who is looking for some missionaries to tell her more about the Church. Pretty much GOLD as a missionary. We meet with her on Wednesday. We were just calming down when we got another call and they asked us if we could go teach in a Catholic school about what Mormons believe. Which never ever happens. THEN on Sunday this less active man who could be a  Seventy if he just went to church came to church and sat in the back during sacrament. The man has not been to church in 6 months. Blessings were raining down. 

Looking back it is such an answer to my prayers. He was listening and is always listening and we just have to listen and watch for the answers. I Love being here. I love the people, I love them even though they arn't very nice to me sometimes. haha I can feel the love of the Lord. I hope  you can as well. 

Love Elder Brian

Monday, September 19, 2016

Don't let knowledge supersede your faith

Okay, 
The experience I had this week is so different than the one that happened last week. We are still having a hard time finding people to teach, Cage our only real lead wasn't there for our appointment, and it rained a ton. But I luckily love to look on the bright side.
We had this appointment we were forced to go to, because were a threesome for the day with an Elder who is usually in a threesome with the Zone Leaders. This pretty much means that we have to do whatever that elder wants to do for the whole day. So we were at this appointment that he had set up and as soon as we walked in I knew that this wasn't a good place to be. It looked like a normal home with a normal large guy and his tiny wife, but there was something off. On the far wall they had some decorative signs that said things like "FAITH" and "LOVE" and all the other good stuff, and even those signs didn't seem right. As we began talking we found out that we were talking with a man that had  his PHD in Theological Studies specializing in the Bible. He use to be the Preacher at a Southern Baptist church.  I thought "wow that's good because he will understand pretty much everything we talk about." Boy was I wrong. 
We started talking and he told us that the whole conversation would be in vain unless we could answer him two questions. The first being "How wide is the path into heaven?" or in other words how far can I go astray and still make it into heaven. His second question was, "What physical evidence do you have about anything you believe?" These questions were something I thought about for a few seconds and knew the answers to. I let the other Elders talk for a solid 40 minutes, in circles, as the man refused to talk about the restoration. I lost my mind and started spouting the gospel in his face. 
I began by asking questions about his beliefs, and that's when I realized that this dude was an Anti- Christ. He was pretty much Korihor. He didn't believe Jesus was a real man, he didn't believe that God is a loving God and he didn't believe that prayers could be answered by God but he still prayed anyway. This guy knew Hebrew and Greek and everything he had read the Bible in multiple languages and chose to not believe a word it said. He then told us that if we rely on faith that he didn't wanna hear about it because he cant trust his feelings. 

I EXPLODED. I went off on how I know. The spirit testified so strong and I even got a little choked up because this man was so far off. He had been lead so far off. Satan had his grasp on him and he did it the same way that he tempted Christ, though quoting scripture and then twisting it. I answered his question simply and plainly. 1. The width of the path into heaven is faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. 2. You have proof that I can hold in my hand -and that is the Book Of Mormon. I know its true. There is nothing anyone on this planet can say that an didn't know what to do because I testified a long time. We left and the man was no closer to the Savior simply because of his belief that he, a mortal man, was smarter than God.

I learned a good lesson that day. Knowledge is a powerful tool and ally as long as it doesn't supersede your faith. Faith is first. "... By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." Moroni 10:5  Its by that power alone. I know because I've been told. Not by my mom or dad, or my friends, or by a teacher. I know because the Spirit of God has told me, and NO ONE can tell me I'm wrong. 

Anyway, hahaha i had a fun week. hehe just to let everyone know I'm still a child, and I stacked four beds on top of each other to sleep on and its fun.  hehe
I love and miss you all

Love Elder Brian

PS. if you read the whole thing I am clapping for you right now.
BTW i ate that entire loaf of Banana Bread in less than 10 min

Monday, September 12, 2016

Okay, what a week. Twins!

Okay, what a week.
    Let me tell ya, being set apart as a missionary is so cool. Not a lot of changes in how much tracting we are doing, but i am learning more and more to actually love it. I wrote the first letter that I've written in my whole life and I'm now loving studies. I am no longer afraid to share what i know and love and i honestly can attribute all this good stuff to an experience i had this past week. 
     We have two hospitals in our area and they are absolutely huge. The other day we got a call from a lady who we didn't know who asked us to come and give her daughter a blessing who was pregnant with twins in the hospital. Upon arrival we found out that the pregnant women was a non-member, her husband a less active of over 20 years and they were kinda sorta okay with us being there but the soon to be grandma was the one that called us and she insisted on the blessing. We chatted and i told her about Maddie and how i have a niece and a nephew, and i kept saying this is amazing this is so good and exciting. I think i freaked her out because i just was so happy for her and her soon to be bigger family. We gave the blessing and there was a good spirit in the room. After, i felt overwhelmed to tell her that everything was going to be okay. We found out she is in about 9 weeks early then they were supposed to come and she was very nervous. We left and i was on a cloud and it was so cool. Little did i know that wasn't the end. She had her babies literally the next day. Twin boys who were very early. We got a call a day later and they said they wanted us to come back and hopefully give the babies a blessing. I was so excited to hear that we were going to go back to that family, but then i realized that we were going to be unable to touch the babies due to them being in incubators and under lights and the whole shabam. We called our mission president to see what we should do and he told us to simply be as close as we can. We got there and the now new mother was so so so happy to see us. She had felt the spirit and she knew that this thing we were doing was real and worth while. She took us to the NICU to go see the babies, and as soon as we stepped through the door the whole world changed for me. This was a sacred place. We saw the two tiny little people in those boxes and i almost lost my mind. This was a visual evidence that God is real, that he loves us, and that He works miracles today. We talked and i was without words for a long time, but then out of the muffled sound i heard them say that Elder Tompson could put a drop of oil on the babies heads. (Yes, the same one that practices knife skills was about to touch a brand new baby.) hahaha He dabbed his finger in the oil and lightly touched the first ones head. I was in the clouds again and then everyone looked at me and i was asked to give the blessing. HOLY COW. We couldn't touch the baby so we put our hands on the Incubator. The blessing began and i again, was almost speechless. It felt as if i could feel the baby breathing. There was a tangible force pulsating. The priesthood is remarkable, it is the authority to act for God. It is not my power it is our Heavenly Fathers and it is no doubt real. I felt it quite literally hit me. The exact same experience happened for the next child and by the end i was holding tears back. I looked at the mother and i knew that she recognized the power that was there.  We said thank you and told her that if she needs anything to just let us know. As we walked out, the three of us (we had a Zone Leader with us for the day) all said that we felt the exact same feeling of radiating power of the priesthood.
       Let me tell you, I can say that without a doubt that this church is the true church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. From this one experience alone I'd be willing to say such a statement. I Testify because I know and I've felt for myself that Joseph Smith has to be a Prophet of God because if not, I would not have had that experience in the NICU. Its been restored guys, I know it. 

I'm learning a lot. Im figuring out ways to cope with my companion and trying to enjoy him even. He is goofy but not as bad as ya think. (Im just used to living alone) Im getting good at knocking on doors but i cant quite get my distinct knock down so if anyone has any good knocks let me know. hehe My comp used to tell me that i need to talk more and last night he told me that he feels like he can't say anything anymore because i talk to much. hehehe- my bad. Im loving what I'm doing no matter how hard it gets, because its gonna be so worth it. 

Follow up on Cage: We talked with him some more and he does not believe that he will ever convert because he's already found truth. hehe We shall see about that. We invited him to a baptism but he was getting food with a "politician" so he couldn't come. We meet with him on Saturday for a lesson.


I definitely don't have a six pack. 

LOVE YA,
Elder Brian

p.s. Okay so here is the scoop. Everyone wants a robe now. I have worn that stupid bath robe like every night and morning and everyone thinks its so funny and cool. hahaha so if you see any robes around, go ahead and send em my way because people are begging me to get them one and asking where I got mine. Also thank you so much for sending that stuff. I loved the pudding and all the Elders got a kick out of it because I'd always offer everyone a "puddin." In our apartment complex there are two other sets of elders - the Zone leaders and the office elders, the senior sisters, and the car people so we always have the elders hangin' at our house at night and I make them laugh and its so fun. One of them really wants to date Aubrey or Ellie and is planning on it when he gets home, that's ELDER BOTT. He's a silly kid. he also wants me to ask you to get him a robe pretty please with a cherry on top.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tracting and testifying

Hey gang. whatsup?
   It is so crazy hot out here. haha. This last week has been a good week. Lots of tracting and trying to find people, but I think that this trial for me is definitely something that is going to help me in the long run. 
 While tracting this past week we knocked on this guys door named Cage. I knew from the moment we saw his house that this was going to be a good person to talk to. They had bumper stickers on their van that said, "God is Real" and other things like that so I knew they were going to be religious. We knock, and a large black man opens the door, smiles and then says, "Boys, you came at a bad time, how about this Saturday at 11 you boys come back and tell me what you have for me?" Then I started to try to say that we were missionaries and then I gave up and just said, "You bet, we will be here at 11. Thanks, and have a good day." It was the first time ever that we knocked on the door and didn't say anything and then were invited back in a few days. Part of me was skeptical and I was thinking that maybe this dude was playing a prank on us or something because we can never get into peoples homes that easy. 
Saturday came and we were there right on time. He opened the door and invited us in and I couldn't believe what happened. Cage was a minister, but he didn't necessarily belong to any denomination. This guy could preach. I had to stop myself a few times while he was talking from saying out loud, "AMEN," because everything he said was so spot on. He talked for a while and literally ended up teaching us the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He finished and said he wasn't going to talk and he wanted to hear what we had to say. We brought out the Book Of Mormon and he was like, "OHH yeah, I've read that thing before!" and my companion and I looked at each other and just started laughing. He couldn't really tell us what went on in the book, but he had listened to it on tape before and based some of his ideas of religion on it. We asked him to read a few things and told him we'd be back to see what he thought and he was excited to read them. I'll keep you posted on Cage - and his baptism and stuff hahaha hopefully.

Okay guys, I've gotta tell you a little something about living with one dude for a while. My companion is insane. I knew it from the beginning but I'm pretty sure its getting worse,. The other night he had some caffeine and it was a terrible mistake. I went in to change out of my proselytizing clothing and when I walked back out he had a knife and was practicing his moves. I was honestly a little scared but he's just a little different and I'm learning to love him. He also likes to tell me that he was a janitor at home and I can tell you folks that he had to be a terrible janitor. hahah (MOM you'd be so proud of me)  I keep everything I have separate from him so nothing gets touched by him. I cleaned the counter and the fridge and the microwave and the stove after he cleaned them and I am pretty sure if I hadn't of done that we would have gotten deathly ill... okay, I may be exaggerating a bit -but yeah...

Throughout this week I know I've seen the Lords hand in my life and in the work. Doing missionary work is so amazing and I know I haven't felt a happiness quite like this before. Its pure joy when you testify of the love of God and because of that love he sent his son Jesus Christ. That joy is something everyone deserves to feel. I encourage everyone who gets this far in this email, be bold and talk about the Gospel with those who don't have it in their lives. To become like Christ we must strive to do as he did, and pretty much all he did was testify to every person he talked to about the truthfulness of the Gospel. Just start talking and the spirit will guide you. I've seen it happen, I have a first hand account. Get after it.

I love you and miss you all.
Love Elder Brian 
With Elder Bott - visiting the Senior Sister missionaries.
 (All of these pictures are from Sister Gore.)

With Elder Havili. Both of them "greenies."
Sister Gore and Sister Kroupa had them over for dinner. (Bless them!)



Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 2 in the mission field 8/29/2016

Hey, hows it goin'?

This past week I went on exchanges with Elder Peterson, and I got to go to Pagedale. This place is literately the ghetto. We talked to so many people and almost all of them believed in Jesus, which was awesome. We were walking down the street and I walked up to this guy and asked him if i could share with him a message about Jesus, and he was like, "yoooo- heck yeah, brother."  Then he proceeded to tell us that he is in the gang Crips and that if we ever need any help to do this weird call thing then tell the people that show up that "Richie" told us. Elder Peterson didn't realize we were talking to a full blown gangster and he started laughing and I was like, "we are just gonna leave ya with a card." hahaha as we were talkin, another guy walked up and said, "you got any money?" In my mind i was thinking holy cow its happening... I'm about to get robbed, then my comp. said, "probably as much as you do" and I thought we were done for. Then Richie said "Hey man, these boys work for Jesus." the man that asked for money then shook our hands and walked away. The name tag I am wearing saved my life, I swear. hahahahaha
We walk a little further and decide we have to get on a bus. We sit down at the bus stop and this older looking guy walks up and is like, "Sup."  So, we naturally start talking with him. It doesn't take long to find out that this guy had just got out of prison the day before for homicide, and he was on his way to his momma's house! He showed me all of the 19 bullet holes on his body and a whole bunch of stab wounds, and I was thinking, "holy freaking cow, I am going to die today." Turns out this guy was from the Bloods, a different gang, and this guy was one of the leaders in the area. I asked him if he was going to change and be a better person now that he's out of prison, and he was like, "yeah, I gotta change- but I still have some stuff I gotta finnish up. You know - pow pow." then he started laughing and said, "Jesus Forgive me," and told me he was kidding. He wasn't,I'm pretty sure. He told me he always believes in Jesus and tries to give back to the streets like Jesus would.

IT was an awesome experience in the Ghetto, and i hope i get to serve there some time. hahaha Everyone there has so much faith in God and Jesus they just dont act like it. 

Now im back in Frontenac and we are back to people telling us they dont need God or Jesus. Nothing gets me more mad than when people tell me that, but I try to be kind. haha Im eatin well and having fun. Its been a month since i left home and i cant believe time goes by that fast. I love you all and miss you.

Love Elder Brian
my MTC companion, Elder Martin

My Trainer, Elder Thomson

Workin'

Week 1 in the mission field - Aug 22nd

Hey fam (and friends)! First week in the field has been absolutely amazing. I feel like I've already learned so much. My Trainer is Elder Thomson, and to my surprise he is an absolute stud. He's very goofy- but who isn’t? He is a nerd and he's proud of it, and he's from Herriman Utah. He is teaching me by getting out and doing the work and its been going great. Its hot but good, and I want it to rain but it just wont for some reason. 
Missouri is absolutely beautiful. The craziest part about it is my first area, Frontenac, is one of the richest parts of my mission and it is massive. The mission home is in my area, and the temple, and all that fun stuff. The Batemans are actually in the ward we go to. We go mansion knocking and it is the weirdest thing cause most of the people in the huge houses are not kind. BUT we go knock doors every day. Right now our investigators are down to one and he just invites us over to sorta bash with him. HOLY COW there are so many religions here. I never thought that people would use the bible to push us out, I just keep saying, " WE ALSO READ OUT OF THE BIBLE." hahaha no one will talk with us so I'm starting to get a little bit more creative. I tried complimenting people when they open the door, I've tried switching up what people usually say and I'm getting to the point where I'm gonna start singing a song when they open the door just to get their attention. It gets a little bit frustrating but I know we are doing the Lords work so I don't let it get me down. Plus its kinda fun. 
We've taught like 4 or 5 lessons and two of them were old people that let us in just cause they liked us. haha but I am Learning a lot. It was weird for me at first to talk to people but now its easier.

OH YEAH, we get fed. The members here are super cool and they are keepin me alive. I miss my mommas cookin and my dads eggs but I've been cookin a few things here and there. (ramen and toast) hehe but we've had dinner 2 times and I've been here less than a week. It’s awesome. The microwave is full of mold, and it grossed me out so now I make all my food on the stove top… so I count it as a blessing. hehe I’m eating lots of fruit and avocados in honor of Millie.

Okay my companion is a really good kid. He is trying his best to show me the ropes. He is always encouraging me to do better and I'm learning to take criticism. He loves to talk about some card game called ‘magic" so we get a long very well. Elder Thomson obeys the rules and wants to find people to help. He sometimes gets heated during lessons if someone doesn't understand. He knows the doctrine very well and mostly teaches the lessons exactly -so we differ at that point. 

I really am doing okay, I’m happy and optimistic. The people are kinda set in their ways and sometimes angry but some are super nice so I guess the people are great. haha 

Life is good, and I hope you know I'm praying for all y'all back in Utah and the rest of the peeps in the rest of the world. The spirit is the thing that converts and as I've been here I've seen it convert me more and more. Keep reading, Keep praying, keep going to church, doing good, and keep finding new knowledge, I know I have. 

This is Elder Brian calling all auto-bots we are here and we are waiting.
   LOVE YA