Friday, December 15, 2017

Week Sixty-Two: Transfer Calls!

Dear People,

We got our transfer calls after district meeting yesterday and you'll never guess where I'll be serving for the seventh transfer straight. 


I'll give you a hint: Gwangyang.

This is wonderful news because I've learned more in Gwangyang than I did in all my life before Gwangyang collectively, so why would I want to go anywhere else? 

I don't have much time but some highlights of the week were:

While preparing for a message to share with a member family Elder Jackson came up with a super cool object lesson. I forgot to take pictures of it so I'll try to be descriptive. We attached a few toilet paper tubes together and on one end taped a little drawing of the tree of life so if you shine a light behind the drawing you can see it when you look down the other end of the tube. When we visited the member we had them turn off the lights so the only light was the flashlight behind the tube. We had them each move in front of the beam of light coming out of the tube to see what was inside. We pointed out that in order to see the tree, they had to be directly in line with the tube (on the straight and narrow path/holding onto the rod) and if they moved to either side, the tree was obscured. Then we asked "If you move out of line with the tube, how do you know how to get back?" You follow the visible light coming out of the end! Without the flashlight, you would never know whether or not you were lined up.

Who is the light of the world?

Yup, Jesus.

Repenting is going back to the light. Studying and following His example again.

And then the message is super easily applied to missionary work thanks to Mat 11:14-16:
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

"What can we do to be the light shining out the end of the tube that guides people to be able to see the tree?"

Yup. Make friends.

Maybe I'm just weird but I thought this analogy was awesome and it's helping me understand repentance.

Ok I'm actually out of time but I have one invitation to all you who are not full time missionaries: Have a physical copy of Preach my Gospel and read a little everyday. It needs to be physical. The Gospel Library version is an awkward format. Preach my gospel is what all the new programs of the church are based on: Come, Follow Me, The new monthly teacher meetings, Teaching in the Savior's Way, the English Connect English learning program, and a lot of other stuff. Preach my Gospel is the greatest.​​

Life's good, I love you, Merry Christmas,

-Elder Brown

Week Sixty-One: The best week of my mission

Dear People,

Christmas is the best. 

Elder Baker and I spent an entire exchange making a super sweet "Light the World" photo frame. He put on his Santa suit and we took pictures with a ton of students and tactfully got their numbers before they even suspected we were a cult church. Bwahahahaha! 

Analogy about corn that really impressed me: A new Elder in my district named Elder Lawrence has basically Celiacs disease except it's with corn instead of wheat. So he gets really sick for days if he even eats a speck of any corn product (corn syrup, corn starch, most natural flavors, red 40 etc.). In case you were unaware, if you are in America and you see food, it has corn in it. Luckily Korea is not as corn crazy as 'merca but he still has to be careful. Anyway, the other day at a service project we were talking and he compared it to living the gospel. When he went to BYU he got super good at monitoring his food and would not eat anything unless he prepared it himself or he could see the entire ingredient label. After going faithfully for a few months and feeling great he described how it was easy to think: "Maybe corn doesn't really hurt" "Maybe I was just imagining it" "Maybe I cured it" etc. but then once he slipped up it became very clear that corn still hurts. 
How often do we do that with the little things in the gospel? After we go a week of having really fervent morning and night prayers and reading the Book of Mormon and trying to follow the Spirit and life is just going great how often do we stop doing the things that led to that!? I do this all the time. I learn a spiritual truth (for instance that my physical attitude and location is really important for my nightly prayers,) I do it for five days, then I guess I convince myself that I've mastered it or something and I STOP!
I'm so silly.
Earth life is about doing the right things consistently. A lifetime of consistently doing the same things seems really boring, but it's small and simple things that bring the reward of joy.

Don't even look at the corn for too long!

From the beginning of our beloved President Madsen's reign, he has told the missionaries at every zone conference to each morning look in the mirror and audibly say "I am a child of God" and each night to say "I did my best". thoughout my mission. I probably did the morning one about thirty times throughout my first year (it usually wasn't very meaningful), and I probably said "I did my best" about five times max. Doing it every day of this week is what has made all the difference because honestly, I rarely did my best for the entire day and I felt awkward saying those words. Now that I know I will have to face myself and say it each night, I'm actually doing my best, and because that's all He asks of us, I am experiencing joy.

I know God lives, I know a relationship with Him brings more happiness that anything the world can offer. I know that Jesus Christ is my savior.

I love you,

Elder Brown

​​This was a service project that would have taken an hour for five people to finish but our whole zone got to go! I'm sure there will be much good that comes from it though.

Week Sixty: I'm living my dream

Dear People,

We frequently teach English as service here and on Sunday we were just having conversation practice with a potential investigator. A common conversation question is "What is your dream?" After I asked that I was silently thinking to myself about my own answer to that question. I realized that I am living my dream. There is nowhere I would rather be, nothing I would rather be doing. There is no greener-looking pasture on the other side of a fence. If I choose to, I am in a position where I can serve God with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. I know that nothing is more rewarding. I just can't lose sight of that knowledge and convince myself there is something better, or fun.

Speaking of teaching English, speaking English to intermediate level English speakers is an art form. I've had a ton of practice so not to brag but I'm really good at it, but something that happens is when missionaries spend too much time doing it, our English gets kind of corrupted and we start saying unnatural sentences and new missionaries give us weird looks.

I got pretty sick early this week, which was the first time I've been sick my whole mission. I almost made it to my year-in-country mark (which is today!) πŸŽ‰

Lots of other great stuff happened this week but I'm out of time. The Light the World campaign is going great. Korea still doesn't celebrate Christmas which is just a little depressing, but it's ok.

I love y'all

-Elder Brown

​I splurged and bought a 64gb micro usb flashdrive​

The greatest street food on earth is sold right outside our house and the lady loves us so we're going to get fat.​

Week Fifty-Nine:Elder Oaks and Ballard are really cute

​Just a random kid on a bus. His hairstyle is really handsome according to Korean beauty standards right now.

Dear People,

The face to face with Elder Oaks and Ballard was so so encouraging. Please please please watch if you didn't. At one point an investigator sent in a question asking what she should do to know if the church is true. Elder Ballard's excited response will change the way I teach from now on. His advice was study the life of Jesus Christ. Find out everything he did and increase your faith in him and then you will naturally come to desire to know where the covenants and ordinances are today. 

Who can say too much of Jesus Christ?

I fall into this mode of trying to persuade others that because the restoration and the Book of Mormon makes sense you need to join the church. There is never power in that. That doesn't incite desire to change. That knowledge never incited me to change, it just made me proud that I knew about it and others didn't. 

Studying the life of Jesus Christ is drawing me to change with irresistible force.

Our fearless President and Sister Madsen came to our branch conference this Sunday to speak and give training to all the branch leaders in our district. It wasn't the words he spoke but the Spirit he brought that made a difference in the Gwangyang branch. The training after church was awesome as well. He had all the presidents and auxiliary leaders learn and sing the "Smile Song" (If you chance to meet a frown...) Elder Jackson and I got to stand in front of everyone and do the exaggerated facial expressions. Sometimes there is so much emphasis on trying to convert people to the church and not enough on making the church a place people want to be. Members of the church of Jesus Christ in whatever country they are in should be the most joyful people in that country with little exception. Otherwise there is no point in missionary work. Why would we want to take people from their happy fulfilled lifestyle and tie them to a group of discouraged depraved people.

Life is so good. Do the little things. 

​​If you aren't sweating by the end of it, it doesn't count.
Also we are looking for service projects to do for the light the world campaign. So if you can please think of and send ideas for service projects we could do here. The campaign officially starts on the 24th I dare you to be more excited that I am about it. 

-Elder Brown​

Week Fifty-Eight

Dear People,

Pepero is a famous Korean snack which is basically a biscuit stick dipped in chocolate. November 11th is "Pepero Day" because 11/11 looks like Pepero sticks. So all the boyfriends buy lots of Pepero for their girlfriends. A homeless-looking guy in a bus terminal gave me a box. In that same terminal while Elder Jackson and I were talking to a girl sitting on a bench, a college-aged couple sat next to me smiled really big and handed us each a soda saying "Because it's hard." (missionary work). I was taken completely off guard, this was a super weird scenario. Sometimes old weird people will buy us stuff, but I've never seen a young couple do anything like this. If he hadn't been with his girlfriend I would have honestly thought he was drunk. My mind was blank, so I just said thank you and smiled at them for like five seconds. Before either of us said anything else, someone called out that the bus we needed to take was about to leave so we just had to go, as I sat down on the bus I felt super bad that I didn't say anything more to this possibly golden investigator couple. Right as the bus was pulling out I heard a knock on the window right next to me and saw them standing there smiling. The boyfriend shouted in accent-less English "We're members!"

Members are the best.

I've grown so much in the last few weeks. Missionary work is so humbling. Something I started doing last week is listing all the little habits I've always wanted to eliminate or develop and I'm choosing one to focus on per week. (cracking my knuckles, drinking water, not making distressed noises etc.) I have seen awesome results. I've noticed that If I have too many goals I don't end up accomplishing anything and just get discouraged. 

I've finally got around to reading "Jesus the Christ" by James Talmage. The beauty of that book cannot be overstated. Yesterday I read the chapter of about His boy/young manhood. I never really appreciated that he grew up like any other boy. He studied the scriptures and prayed, only gradually coming to know that he was the promised Messiah. I never imagined Him studying his own words to Moses and the other Prophets humbling coming to realize that He was He that spoke them. I never imagined that Jesus was my age. He is becoming more real to me, and I'm better understanding the phrase "follow Him".

On the 24th of this month the church will release the "Light the World" campaign. We already got to see the video because missionaries are cooler than normal members. It is so good. Please don't let this campaign just pass by. It is inspired. This zone conference, after watching the video, we each made our commitments to "Light the World" I thought about mine for a long time and decided that I would battle sarcasm and negativity, I realized that my sarcasm was chasing away the Spirit and I feel really good about my goal.

Isn't it so wonderful that we can change and improve and that we aren't just the result of our environment? Change is so joyful. That is the joy of missionary work: changing and seeing others change. There is no joy in submerging someone in water, but there is great joy in seeing someone change and become happier.

Just change. There is no satisfactory alternative. You'll just be discontent.

I love you all,

Elder Brown​​​

Friday, November 10, 2017

Week Fifty-Seven: Elder Jackson

Dear People,

My new trainee is Elder Jackson. He reminds me of a mix between Sterling, Elder Calhoon, and Kip. We get along great. He helps me calm down when I start feeling responsible for the spiritual nourishment of all our 150+ less actives. He reminds me that we just need to be obedient and find new investigators. ​​For example yesterday I was getting stressed about something and he suggested we just go outside and talk to people. We looked at the map, said a prayer, and started going wherever we felt prompted to go. I felt like going to a park I've seen a few times but have never visited, but there was no one there. On the way to somewhere else we felt like going, I saw a middle aged man leaning against his car a good ways away from us. He was far enough that Satan convinced me not to go over to talk to him but as we walked past I kept looking at him and when we made eye contact I greeted him. He got excited and asked where we were going so we walked over to him and started talking. He apparently studied American history so he knew about Utah and stuff​​. He was catholic we talked about religion and it was really hard to get him to understand that we weren't just another branch of Christianity, but once he figured out our message he seemed very interested and asked if he could keep the pamphlet I had been reading with him. He wants to meet again so that could be awesome.

My brain has been so fried. I'm happy and working hard and learning, but my thoughts are just gone. I just need to slow down and focus on one thing at a time. 

One thing that isn't fried is my love of the Book of Mormon. I love it and know that it is true.

Ooh, another principle that was reinforced with me this week was the necessity of member missionary work. Members are just undercover missionaries. If I try to be nice and show interest in people or offer help it is often rejected because my motive can appear to be impure. "He's only talking to me so he can eventually talk about his church" Just talk to everyone! Be friendly, ask questions, make friends with people. I sometimes feel like it would be more effective if I didn't wear a tag and just wore casual clothes everywhere because then people would talk and believe that I wanted to be their friend and am talking to them because I am genuinely interested in them. That's were the real missionary work happens. The real Christlike fellowship from members. The full time missionary's job is to leave the heavy commitments and make sure they understand the doctrine.

I love you all, pray to know who will accept your friendship and be a real friend.

Elder Brown

​The Korea Burgerking guy. He's the mascot for a bagillion companies here cuz he's super handsome.​
Elder Jackson learning how to use chopsticks

I'm doing a video journal thing. This was an especially stressful day.​

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Week Fifty-Six: Smart Phones and Training Again

Dear People,

Transfer calls yesterday. I'm staying for my 6th transfer in Gwangyang and I'm training again! Apparently I still haven't learned the lesson that I was supposed to learn here. . . I've been here since April's general conference. This is going to be an interesting transfer.

My mind still hasn't processed that we are going to be using smartphones, I'll write about it later probably.

For the last couple months we've been planning this musical family home evening with the three branches in our district and it finally happened this Sunday. The night before I was stressed about how little I had been focusing on it and felt like I should have done more as a district leader for it. On Sunday morning I prayed saying I know I should have prepared better for this, and you have been giving us so much, but please just let this work out.  Seven investigators came. It was super awesome, everything worked out. 

I can't even think right now, so much is happening, I need to prepare for my new companion, but here's my spiritual message for the week. There is no faith without obedience. We won't have faith to see miracles if we aren't striving for exact obedience because we will know deep down that we are unworthy. We won't be able to believe miracles will happen, because they won't. 

Life's good, the church is true. Be good

-Elder Brown

Here are persimmon picking pictures from a couple weeks ago. I'll be able to send pictures every week now because I have a camera!

Week Fifty-Five

Dear people,

Really hard experience this week. We were walking to the church for an appointment and a woman driving slowly past rolled down her window and asked "Jesus Christ?" to which we naturally said yes. She immediately pulled over and got out of the car with her hands outstretched as if demanding we give her whatever we have. She super excitedly explained how she's a convert to Christianity for three years and has been going to different churches around Korea praying and trying to find one that was true to the Bible, but eventually decided that there was no true church. When she saw us she remembered that she used to cut missionary's hair before she believed in God and when she saw us she took it as an answer that we came from the true church. She started crying as she explained all of this and she talked really fast so we didn't try to interrupt her. She wanted to meet that day. She just seemed golden in every way.
Our meeting lasted three hours even though we only taught the first lesson. She loved everything in the restoration pamphlet, especially the great apostasy. She emphatically agreed that the the true church was lost. When we got to the first vision her countenance changed a little. It was clear that she was not expecting this. She seemed equally surprised at the Book of Mormon and I was a little worried but when we talked about finding out its truth through prayer she said "I've already received an answer". So that was kind of weird/cool. It wasn't a perfect lesson and we knew she didn't fully understand what we taught, but she was still super happy and wanted to come to church the next day so we were confident that in further meetings we would be able to clarify everything. At the end she said that it was all very new to her and she needed to process it.

Late that night we got a text that said "Don't wait for me at church tomorrow. The path I need to take is different from your beliefs. I would be grateful if you didn't contact me."
That was heartbreaking. The hardest part is that we don't even know her reason. We're praying for her and trying to figure out what to do. 

Sorry for the sad story but I know God has a plan for her and I think we will be able meet her again.
We also had a couple really positive experiences this week. Yesterday Brother Jung the man we've been meeting for English became a real investigator and he has a ton of potential. We also got to go picking persimmons at a member's farm. That was super fun, I have some pictures I'll send sometime.

Life's good. I'm happy. God lives. The church is true. Read the Book of Mormon.

-Elder Brown

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Week Fifty-Four: Naganeupseung

Dear people,

This week felt like three.

First things first, the blessings really do come after the much tribulation. The last few weeks have been super hard, so many disappointments so much stress, but Sunday night made up for everything.

Around the time I first started serving with Elder Hyun we got a notification that a sister from Seoul wanted to refer her boyfriend who lives in our area. We called her and she gave the typical response of "I think he needs some time, I'll call you when he's ready"  We called once more about a month later to follow up and she gave the same response. We asked for his name so we could pray for him, but honestly we just kind of forgot about them.
On Sunday morning we got a call from an unrecognized number. He Identified himself as the boyfriend and said he wanted to meet today. We called the girlfriend to let her know the news and ask for any useful information about him. Apparently she asked him to call us. She warned us that he would probably be pretty quiet because he's investigating the church for her and doesn't have a ton of religious interest personally, so we braced ourselves.
We met at the church and had a really awkward first impression. I don't know how to describe it, it was just awkward. We painfully transitioned into trying to teach the first lesson. When he showed interest in family I gave him a proclamation to the world tri-fold and said that I thought he would like it if he had time to read it later. He opened it up right there and read the whole thing silently. He proceeded to pick up the restoration pamphlet and read the entire booklet as we just sat there in surprised silence. This was a first for me so I didn't really know what to do so I just let him keep reading. When he was done he seemed really satisfied. He liked how it encouraged people to study out and pray about the message before just accepting it. Long story short, we sat together in the church for over an hour, and even though we barely taught anything and his face showed almost no expression throughout the meeting, before he left he said he received a "conviction" that this was the church he needed to join and had a really good time. That's a really nice thing to hear as a missionary. We said a really emotional thank you-prayer right after he left.

I'm so excited about him. His name is Sung-ook by the way, and don't tell his girlfriend, but he told us he wants to marry her. The church is true. Families are forever.

There was an outpouring of other miracles this week but I'm out of time.

The church is true, I love you,

-Elder Brown

I finally have pictures. These are from Zone Conference when we went to a 600 year old village that is still inhabited by people who have continued the lifestyle of the original inhabitants making it a living museum. It was the coolest place I've been to so far. So many persimmon trees.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Week Fifty-Three

Dear People,

A couple weeks ago we met a Brother Jung who called off a free English advertisement. Yesterday was the fourth time we've met him. The second time we met we shared Mosiah 2:17 about when you serve others you are serving God because he is part of a service organization and says he feels really good about serving. He liked that and agreed to let us continue to share spiritual messages as we meet. Yesterday we shared the initiative video "Because of Him" which led into a discussion about his feelings on Christianity. He sheepishly shared how he doesn't go to church but he believes in God and Jesus Christ. He expressed his frustration with all the different groups that all seem to believe the same thing but fight with each other. The way he said it was almost apologetically, like he was sorry for not knowing more. We struggled to contain our excitement as we testified that our message explains why that is and how the original church of Christ has been restored in all its simplicity. He accepted a Book of Mormon and restoration pamphlet and is excited talk about it more next time. 
Meeting these kind of people is what makes all the memories of the hard times melt away.  

Everyone in Korea has these kind of feelings about religion, they feel that Jesus Christ is important, but the churches are corrupt. They are sick of having it pushed on them by hired "proselyters" that walk around giving out material and give robotic messages. 
We are so blessed in Korea that we can, like Ammon, first show our true intent by serving through teaching English. Service is awesome. Serve.

I still haven't watched all of Conference in English, but so far my favorite talk has been the finishing talk by Elder Anderson. The Spirit confirmed his special witness of the Savior that he gave at the beginning of his talk and it made me listen with more intent to everything else he said.

The church is true.

I love you,

-Elder Brown

Week Fifty-Two

Dear People,

I feel so boring for never sending pictures, we just don't really do anything cool. We should probably start doing cooler stuff. We're supposed to get smart phones in the next month or two so that will help. 

Last night I arm wrestled a super drunk guy. We were sitting at a bus stop, the street was basically empty besides him, he walked up to us with a big smile and said "let's arm wrestle". I won. We gave him a Word of Wisdom pamphlet.

A couple days as we got onto a bus one of the only passengers shouted "Foreigner! Hello" I sat next to him and started some small talk. He seemed very excited that we wanted to sit with him. He talked about sports and English and a bunch of random stuff. For some reason it didn't feel right to bring up the gospel and we soon learned why. He talked really fast and used words I've never heard talking about the intricacies of Buddhist doctrine, so I was mostly quiet and let my companion respond. Elder Hyun would address him as "Brother" like we do everyone so at one point he stopped us and said "That's so strange that you call me brother" to which we apologized but he said "No it's just that I don't have any brothers." He started crying as he explained that he used to have two really close friends but they have since turned away from him and now he feels like he has no one. He further explained all the trials he was going through and after we listened to him pour his heart out he told us that we were just like little brothers to him. We got his number to meet again and later that night he texted us that "You two healed my heart tonight. You are my models."

We did literally nothing but listen to him. If we had just robotically given our little presentation about our church I don't believe he would have opened up to us. It's so important to love.

We only have two investigators right now and we haven't been able to meet with either of them for over two weeks so that's really hard, but we've been meeting cool people and are almost finding a potential investigator every day. On Saturday we did a proselyting activity in a train station and a few people played the grand piano that's available for public use there. I sang "Homeward Bound".

I've grown so much this week. I've never been more humbled in my life.

I am focusing more on the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ. I used to think people who focused so much on Jesus Christ were kind of boring and I remember thinking that they didn't really appreciate all the other cool stuff about our church. Jesus Christ is everything. Everything else in the church is appendage. Everything else is just designed to help us get closer and learn more about Him. 

I love you,

-Elder Brown

Here is a picture of some bibimbab. I eat this sometimes. It's not even my picture another missionary sent it to me, I just feel so bad for not sending any pictures. I promise that members take pictures of stuff and I tell them to email them to me but they don't . . .

​Also here's the inviation for our musical fireside on the 29th. Y'all are invited.​


Week Fifty-One: One Year Older and Wiser Too

Dear People,

My year mark is on the 28th. Two years are short.

I just want to share one experience this week. We felt like we should try something new and take a bus to a part of our area where almost no one lives. Upon arriving, we realized the accuracy of my last statement. No one was there. We started walking to find a more central part of the city where there might be more people but stopped when we saw a super old, very sad woman walking out of a house towards us. She sat on a bench and we sat with her. She said she comes out to sit because her body hurts. We tried to talk about God a little and she told us that she doesn't believe in God or in anything else. "I don't know anything, go talk to people who know about God, there are probably some in that mart over there. Even if I died and came back to life I wouldn't know anything about God. " It was strikingly clear that nothing about the restoration or Book of Mormon would have any meaning to her and that the only thing we could do is try to help her feel that someone knows what she is going through and loves her. We testified accordingly and asked if before we go it would be ok if we could say a prayer with her. She didn't respond and just stared straight ahead. We said a simple prayer that her pain would go away and that she would feel God's love. She said Gamsamnida "thank you" and was silent until we left. 

The conversation lasted probably around 10 minutes because there was a lot of silence. I don't know if she felt anything by the end but I sure did.  Things like that help remind me that our message is not be complicated. If people really feel that the first principle "God is our loving Heavenly Father" is true, everything else falls into place: If God loves us of course there is a reason for our being here. Of course he would give us a way to be happy. I'm going to try to focus more on that principle.

Life is good, the church is true. I love you

-Elder Brown

Week Fifty

Dearest eternal family members,

When I first came to Gwangyang a few months ago we had a district proselyting activity in a nearby city called Suncheon. As we were walking into the park where we were going to do the activity I felt prompted to talk to a college-age guy walking next to me towards the same park. I honestly fought the prompting for a while but finally opened my mouth to find that he was super happy to talk. He said he not only had never seen missionaries before but had never spoken to a foreigner. I introduced our message a little bit but he politely said that because he already has a belief that it would be inappropriate to meet with our missionaries. Even though nothing came from it that experience has given me a lot of confidence with talking to people.

Because one of the Suncheon Elders was emergency-transferred out and couldn't be replaced, we have been in a trio with the remaining Suncheon Elder, Elder Summers, and have been covering both Gwangyang and Suncheon for the last two weeks. On Thursday morning, Elder Summers suggested that we go street contacting in a part of Suncheon that he's wanted to go for a while. We took a bus to a seemingly random place and after walking around for about an hour not finding anyone to really talk to, we took a break in a convenience store to sit down and have a snack.  After about five minutes, literally the only person that I know in Suncheon walks in: the student I met five months ago in the park. I jumped up and greeted him like an old friend. He was almost as excited as I was. Upon sitting down and talking with us we learned that in contrast to when I first met him, he has been looking for religion and also has interest in learning English because he wants to visit the US. We taught a simple version of the first lesson in that convenience store, he took a Book of Mormon and is excited to keep meeting. I'm just a little bit bummed that I won't be able to teach him because he's not in my area, but by this point it's pretty clear that I can trust God's plan for these people. 

That was one of the coolest miracles of my mission so far.

Good stuff is happening, I'm really happy. Yesterday we got transfer calls and I will be staying in Gwangyang to continue training Elder Hyun but this transfer I will also be district leader. That is an exciting new challenge, I'm going to learn so much especially because there will be two new missionaries in our district.

Ooh! I also got to sit next to a German guy on a 45 minute bus ride, that was pretty cool. He had never really heard anything about the church and assumed it wasn't in Germany. He was really good at English and I awkwardly told him that "Ich spreche ein 쑰금 Deutsche" Dang it Korean. After I gave a basic introduction to the church, he started talking about how all organizations like governments and churches no matter how well they start out, will all become corrupt eventually. If he had said "all organizations of men" he would have been correct.

1 Nephi 18:2 "Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men."

This work is led by God. I love how clear it is that the church is not an organization of man. It will not shift to the world's moral standards. I've been trying to put more focus on studying the words of living prophets in the recent general conference and I have felt the Spirit's strong witness that their words came through Him. 

I know this church is true. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that if we ask God, he will tell us where we need to place our priorities. I still don't know very much about Jesus Christ and my relationship with him is still weak, but I bear my testimony that He lives and will replace our weaknesses with joy if we let Him in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Elder Brown

Week Forty-Nine

Dear People,

In a train station in Jeonju we met a very drunk previous investigator of the Jeonju Elders. He asked in English: 

"Are you happy?" 

I automatically responded that I was very happy to which he replied: 

"I'm happy right now too, but I don't know if I will be happy in a few days."

He talked about a bunch of random other stuff, that first response really struck me. Even in this man's drunken state he knew that his alcohol and the pack of cigarettes in his hand was only giving him temporary pleasure. He had no certainty in his future. I'm so grateful that I can be truly happy with no artificial aid and more importantly for my certain knowledge that throughout all my future this peace and happiness be remain. I know the unchanging keys to happiness and only I can remove myself from it. God's laws won't change.

The American Brother Youngs who moved into our branch a couple weeks ago was just called as the branch mission leader! Our last one was inactive so this is really good news. He is so amazing.
We taught Simone a super random string of principles going from the godhead to the gift of the Holy Ghost to the Book of Mormon. She seemed to be interested the whole time and we're really hopeful about her. Brother Youngs helped a lot.

I had a powerful Book of Mormon testimony building experience this week. I won't write about details but I tried Moroni's promise sincerely for the first time in my life. I've always felt awkward praying to know the Book of Mormon is true because I've always known it was true and have had so many different undeniable witnesses of it, but I figured that to testify of the specific promise I would need to have tried the specific promise, so I did this week with actual faith that I would get a clear answer. Right after the prayer, nothing unusual happened, it was just a spiritual prayer, but I didn't think much of it and got up to start making a lesson plan for Simone. For some reason I was writing out what I specifically wanted to say to her when testifying of the Book of Mormon. As I was about halfway through writing the sentence "It will bring you a greater knowledge and love of the Savior" when I was suddenly overwhelmed and started sobbing. Luckily Elder Hyun was praying in the other room or that would have been a little awkward.

I know God lives. I know that we are never unworthy to pray to Him. I know that Jesus Christ was more than an influential teacher. I know the Book of Mormon was written by ancient prophets inspired by God. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as currently organized with Thomas S. Monson as it's president is Christ's authorized church. I bear my testimony of this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Elder Brown

Hey look I found another awkward picture of myself! The guy who's not a missionary is our fearless new branch mission leader Brother Youngs. He basically gave this member visit's whole spiritual message despite not even knowing MTC Korean gospel vocabulary.​​​