Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4, 2012

Wow…well I guess this is the last email... Probably won't email next week, I will be heading down to Cape Coast in the morning. So if I do, it will probably just be a short one from the mission home. Can't believe that it actually is here.... just doesn't seem real. But, I know it’s time and I am pretty content with myself right now! Just gotta sprint to the finish I guess. Today was a pretty cool last P-Day. We went up to a place called Kintampo, about an hour and a half north east of Sunyani. It is the exact center of Ghana, and there are some waterfalls there, so we went to go see those… they were some pretty sweet waterfalls. As for the week past, it was pretty good.... my mind is kind of all over the place though. We had some good lessons, a great one with Benjamin earlier in the week. We taught about the Holy Ghost and how we will feel good when we learn something that is true and we will feel bad when we learn something that isn't true - God won't lie to us. He said that made a lot of sense and he realized that anytime he was meeting with us, or reading the Book of Mormon, or praying, he always felt good, and every time someone said something bad about the church, he felt bad. So it was cool! What else from the week... it’s rained almost every day. We are in the heart of rainy season, so it will be way hotter in Tejas next week than it will be here... not excited for that. I remember when Dad and I were walking out of that one building downtown after we had voted, just before I left. It was dang hot, and I said "man, I am so glad I am leaving to get out of this weather!" He just looked at me like I was crazy and said "Umm.... you're going to AFRICA" Hahahahaha. I cannot wait for wintertime!!!!!!!!!! I went on splits to Fiapre with Elder Mensah on Saturday. Great missionary, we had a great time. Fiapre is probably the hardest area in the mission…the missionaries there are working so hard. The work is still going along in our area - got some more referrals this week and the members are doing well, the recent converts are progressing. Members are excited about the work. Just gotta keep that going. We have a baptism planned for Saturday, a young man named Daniel. He is a referral from Samuel - he is his cousin somehow. He is a carpenter and is getting ready to go to university. He is a really cool dude and knows funny little sayings from American English that make me laugh - like "I'll be back in a jiffy." I'll also get to go down to Kumasi for one last ZL council on Friday, and then we have a football match with the members planned for Saturday - against the Church of Christ - and the baptism at night. Then, after church on Sunday, I'll head down to Kumasi to meet up with my MTs - Hatch, Bassey, Dodd, and Fawole. Ghana Cape Coast Mission woho!!! Woho paaaaa!!!! -Elder Brown

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012

Waddup!!! Life is good here too!!! We had a nice week... my last zone conference was on Friday. A lot different than I expected when I gave my "departing" testimony. I remember my first zone conference down in Cape, there were 6 zones there, almost a hundred missionaries, and five missionaries gave their departing testimonies in front of everybody. So, I totally pictured mine being given down in the Ola chapel in Cape Coast, or in the Bantama chapel in Kumasi, in front of like 50 missionaries. But, it was in a little rented building in Sunyani, in front of 8 missionaries, a senior couple, and the mission president. Not exactly how I had imagined it 22 months ago. But, it’s exactly how I would've wanted it. It was a great zone conference, Elder McFarland and I instructed on how to do "Gospel Conversations", or casual contacting while we go along our ways through the day, and about "Going about doing good", serving in simple ways every day. It seems everyone received it pretty well. Then we learned about how to work with members better. Outside of the zone conference we just had a pretty normal week. Did some service in Estates to plant some corn in order for the church to have a little something to have the next few months, and played a football match with the members on Saturday, against the Church of Christ. It was fun... the same here as back home though, sports DOES NOT bring out the best in Mormons!!!!! Haha :) I was exhibit A when it came to that back home!!!! Haha. Oh my gawsh... intramurals woho!!!!! BYU intramural football better get used to the Brown-Brown connection down there on there on the football pitch, I mean field. Taught Princeton again yesterday, moving along slowly, he was busy with finals this week. But we talked a lot about the Book of Mormon yesterday and he was very impressed that it wasn't a commentary on the Bible, but rather a book of scripture comparable to the Bible. I am sure he has read the Introduction and all that, should see him again on Thursday, he lives out in a place kind of far, so we only go there on Thursdays and Sundays. The twins were busy all week selling their refrigerators, but we did get another sweet new investigator in the same area, Albert. He is a radio announcer and is super interested in the church. Researched a lot on the net, and wants to be baptized. So just gotta teach him a lot and see when that can happen!! Maybe before I go!!! Could be too fast though. Big news, Andrew is gonna be a father!!!!! Pretty sweet!!! I told you that Elder Adams got to be at his sealing, now he is going to have a kid!!! Hopefully it’s a boy so he can name him Griffin Garrett!!!! Or something like that haha. It’s just awesome... it’s just so true that if you bring one soul, that’s all that matters. All while I have been on mission, Andrew learned the gospel, was baptized, received the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods, was called to be the Ward Executive Secretary, was sealed in the temple, and now will have his first child, born in the covenant. Wowzers. And honestly it was nothing I did that caused this to happen, Elder Adams and I just got the wheels turning by teaching him what he wanted to know. And to think that Cosmos will have that soon, Barnabas and Felicia.... it’s just too much to think about sometimes. Life is great and the blessings of the gospel and missionary work are real. Ennye easy koraa, but eyie!!! Eyie PAAA!!!!!!! Love you guys so much!!!!! Your support has been invaluable, I just keep mustering the courage every day to realize that yes, even though I have accomplished a lot here, it’s not over and I can't sit back and relax, gotta keep going strong!!!!! Love you all!!!!! -Elder Brown

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012

Oh boyyyyyyyyy. Alright well it was another week! Glad to hear from you guys again as usual, and I am happy that all has been well since the phone call! The week was good once again. Still just moving forward, trying to find new people to teach, and trying to strengthen the recent converts (which is... everyone in Sunyani :) We had some good teaching experiences this week though. First guy I will tell you about is Princeton (that’s a sweet name btw). The Fiapre elders sent us a text on Wednesday referring this guy to us, they had contacted him in Fiapre. They said he was really interested and wanted to meet with us. So we give him a call and meet him on Thursday. Turns out he is a Nigerian here studying Theology at the Catholic University. Anyway we had a good first meeting just introducing our message and getting to know him. He has been here for a few months, and plans to be in Sunyani for a few years. He had heard about the church from a friend in Nigeria, and researched a little on the net. He was pretty happy that the missionaries in Fiapre contacted him. So anyway, at our second meeting yesterday, he had read the Restoration pamphlet through twice and had questions about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the Restoration of the Priesthood. We spent over an hour talking about everything in lesson 1. He thought it was pretty cool, and said that he will go home and pray to know if these things are true, without us even committing him to do that. He's definitely got great potential. We continued to teach the Atta twins, they are moving along nicely. Very smart guys and really intrigued by our message. Anyway, what else happened this week.... went on splits with Elder Morrison in Estates. Another stud missionary in sunyani. I have been so impressed with all these guys here. All of them are such hard workers and are so ready to do the work. Elder Morrison is still relatively young on mission, just about 6 months. He spent his first 6 months in Cape Coast in a place called Kissi. He is from Accra (even though his name is Morrison) and is just a super humble dude. We had a great day and taught like 9 lessons or something... haven't had that in a while. He and Elder Otagba are going to be quite the team in Estates. Hopefully Elder Otagba stays there this transfer. While on splits there we went to teach a recent convert named Shirley. She used to play for the B/A stars, the pro soccer team up here. It was sweet because I realized that I had been there on splits the very first time the missionaries taught her, over 6 months ago. So it was cool to remember that I had a part in teaching her and now she is a recent convert, and a super strong one at that. We had a special meeting yesterday after church, a senior couple came up to give a presentation on Family History - Elder and Sister Houssian from Florida I think. People from all four branches came to learn about Family History, it was pretty cool because they are going on a temple trip next week, so they got even more preparation for it. It’s cool to see all of the members in Sunyani gathered together. Because sometimes we seem small, but then they come together and we are actually pretty big!!!! Elder Houssian has a cool background - his father is Muslim, his mother Jewish. Don't know how he joined the church exactly. Wellp....... Other than that, life is moving on. It hit me big time on Wednesday that my time here is short. Honestly every person we met asked me how much longer I will be here, from Benjamin, to the Mills, to so many other investigators and members.... I wanted to keep it quiet, but it kind of slipped to a few and now everybody knows. It's weird. But all is well!!!!!!!! I am happy the way I am finishing, even though we probably won't have any baptisms before I go. I know I have been doing what I can, and things will happen in the Lord's timing. Love you guys, thanks for everything. -Elder Brown

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012

We had a great talk with Elder Brown during our phone call on Mother’s Day. He sounded great. He continues to have great success in his work and continues to work hard during his last weeks in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission. He says hello to everyone and thanks all for their support, letters and packages.

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012

The weeks are just flying by and it is crazy to be where I am at. But great things are happening each and every day and life is great. Honestly, I am so happy every day... even though things aren't perfect and physically I am just toasted, walking around each day I am so happy... it’s sweet to be able to look back and see the things that have happened on my mission and not have any regrets. Makes me happy for every little thing I did over the course of these couple of years that played into that - every prayer, study sesh, companionship study, ironing my shirt, shining my shoes, not listening to music or watching movies or whatever... life is good. Thanks for helping me make those good decisions every day!!! One of the sweetest parts of the week was teaching a new guy. A few weeks ago, we had contacted a different guy. He was pretty cool, a university graduate. We talked a little bit and eventually asked if he went to any church, and he said that he didn't see the point in going to church anymore. We explained to him that we have a message that gives a fresh view on Christianity and religion that we would like to share with him. He wasn't that all that interested, but said we could come back later when we had time. We went back the next week to see him, and instead found his twin brother. He was the same - a graduate of KNUST in Kumasi (where I stayed for a few months last year before going to Kwamo) and fed up with religion. But he was willing to listen to us because he read about us on Wikipedia the night before. Read about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and our belief in Eternal Marriage. It was pretty tight. The next day we gave the entire message of the Restoration in about 30 minutes, and he loved it. Went back on Saturday, he had read over 10 pages in the Book of Mormon, and said he prayed for the first time in 3 years and that it felt good. We taught a lesson that went into depth with the Book of Mormon - he was taking notes and eating it all up. And then... the next day he came to church. And said he was "touched" by the service. Pretty awesome. He is ready to go, hopefully can teach everything over the next few weeks and have everything ready to go for him. Pretty stoked to teach him more!!!!! We had our first Sunyani district conference yesterday. President Shulz came and organized the district. Elder Thayne is the President and Bro. Mintah, who was the Penkwase president, will be his counselor. We had almost 200 people at the conference - all of the missionaries combined had 34 investigators there. Pretty legit. Everyone loved it, and it’s going to do so much with having the district here now. Well a lot else happened this week, but that’s all the time I got right now!! I got some packages this week - the pics of Dad on his mission are CRAZY!!! Haha honestly it is so weird to see him. The one of him reading GQ is pretty funny - don't think that was in the missionary approved library!!!! Haha. It’s good to see that missionaries are always immature, even if they are your Dad 30 years ago :) Well anyway, life is great and I am doing my best to finish the best I can. I love you guys and thanks for everything!!!! You are da best!!!!! -Elder Brown

Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30, 2012

Holy moly another week!!!!!!!! Time is flying like a newborn
grasscutter in bolga!!!! But all’s is well. Life is good in Sunny town.
For my last transfer.... I will be in Sunyani with Elder McFarland!!
Glad to be staying put, finishing in a place I know and love with a
companion who works like crazy and has fun. I've really never
been happier on my mission, even though we're not having gobs of people
to teach. That is changing though - yesterday we went on splits with
members again and taught ten lessons and got a lot of new people. Doing
this every week will accelerate the work so fast. It’s exciting to
still be here and be a part of it.

This week was sweet; first let me tell a story from last week that I
forgot to tell. So, to introduce, you have to remember that EVERY
member in Sunyani has been a member for less than a year and a half,
so they all still have pretty tender testimonies. So
anyway, one day we were walking around trying to find somebody, and
for some reason we decided to go to visit a guy we contacted like a
month ago who seemed interested, but we never saw him again. As we
rounded the corner, we saw a member sitting at a little
provision store right across the street. She lives far away, so we
were pretty surpirised to see her, and she had a look of shock on her
face when she saw us. She was just in the area for something and was
stopping to buy her nephew a juice box. We chatted for a bit, then
chatted with the man who was working there. He wasn't very friendly,
not even talking to us until we bought something from him. We talked
for a few minutes, he said he knew a little about the church, but said
he was not interested, so we went on our way. The next day we were in
the town where she lives, and passed by to say hi. As we were
sitting down, she told us that the man that worked there did not like
the church at all, and that just before we came, he had launched into
an attack on the church that she didn't know how to deal with. I can
imagine what he felt like when he saw me and Elder McFarland, two - ok
one - big strong dude and his American companion round the corner in
white shirts and ties carrying scriptures and wearing name tags that
said "Jesus Christ" in big bold letters on it. Elder McFarland is an
intimidating dude, and me, well, you know :) Haha. Anyway, the guy
didn't say a word from there, and hasn't given her trouble since.
The funny thing is, we had absolutely no plan to go to that place, it
honestly randomly (well I guess not-so-randomly!) popped into our
heads as we passed that area, and after we talked with her and the man, we
turned right back around to go where we had been before. The Lord puts
us where He needs us!!!!

We did some good ol’ fashioned door knocking this week in a place we
had never gone too - airport residential. We met a university
professor who teaches courses on Religion and
Development. We had an hour long discussion about the Restoration, he
had known a little about Joseph Smith. He found it very interesting
and accepted to read from the Book of Mormon, and then we saw him
driving through Nkwabeng the next day. Hopefully the spirit works
within him to get something going!!

Oh yeah, guess who is the new Assistant!!!! Elder Nzuki!!! Pretty
tight huh?! I love that guy, he is so awesome. One of the hardest
workers and most faithful people I know.

Anyway, things continue to move on here. Trying to just keep my shoulder
to the wheel and not get in the way of the work going forth!!! Hope
all goes well with these last few weeks of school!!! Finish strong
H!!! I love all of you guys, thank you so much for everything. Life is
great :)

-Elder Brown

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23, 2012

Well I hope you guys are having another good start to another good week! Things are going well out here, we had a good week in Nkwabeng, capped by a stellar day yesterday. We had a good day at church, several investigators came to church, including Kwabena, and Maxwell, a new referral from our recent convert Samuel. Then, after church, we talked to some members and got them to come out with us, so we split up and covered a lot more ground. I went with Effah, he did really well! He is so excited about the gospel, it was so good to take him out to proselyte yesterday, because it just boosted his spiritual energy even more. He referred to us 3 people just yesterday! He and I had a successful day together, taught several lessons and made several new contacts. Then Elder McFarland went with Wilson and also had a lot of success in Odumase. Ended up the day with over 10 lessons between the four of us and 23 new contacts. It was pretty sweet! And, on top of that, two other members - Alex and Douglas - found out we had gone out with Wilson and Effah, so they decided to go out and visit recent converts on their own!!!!! I found that out at night, and it just made the day even better!!!! So it was probably one of the most productive days of my mission, a lot of good things will come from it. If we can do this every Sunday, and maybe even Saturday, we will be able to get serious work done in Nkwabeng.

Outside of Sunday, the week was pretty good. I went on splits with Elder Obasi in Fiapre on Saturday. An awesome dude as always. Hmm what else.... no big news from this week. Transfers will be next week, hopefully I stay put in Sunyani for just a little while longer... but you never know I guess. Oh yeah - there are TWO more Elder Brown's coming!!! Haha - so there will be 4 Elder Browns here after I am gone. One is from Australia and the other from the US somewhere. Probably won't be able to get a pic with all three of the Elder Browns right now, unless they all came up to Kumasi for some reason!!

We did some good ol fashioned door knocking this week. We rarely do that here, we do most of our contacting on the street. But we are trying to find some more families and future leaders, so we headed to the SSNIT Flats - a pretty big apartment complex in our area. It’s the best place to find families together. Found a few solid people  - so hopefully it brings some fruit. Still trying to work with Kwaku, our Rasta man. I pray it works out!!!! Most of the recent converts are doing well, and with people like Alex and Douglas going out on their own to visit them, it should really help! Elder McFarland and I teach the Young Men at church on Sundays. There is only about 5 of them, but it’s going to be sweet to have the chance to teach them. There just aren't enough priesthood holders to have a YM prez yet, so we are the interim ones!! They take things pretty seriously, so it will be sweet to help them become powerful Priesthood holders and one day serve missions!!! The first missionaries to come from Sunyani!!!!

Well, things are going really well in Nkwabeng. Everyone is happy and working hard, members are excited about the work, and the Thaynes are helping out a ton. We aren't baptizing a ton in the zone right now, but I can feel big big things getting ready to happen in the next few months, as long as we keep having faith it will happen. I love you all, thanks for all the support!!!!

-Elder Brown