Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week Seventeen

Dear People,

It's been snowing every day almost all day for the last couple days so it's super pretty but super cold. It's especially humid in my area because we are right by the ocean so the cold pierces through all your layers and you always feel slightly damp. It's the greatest thing ever...

This week was a little depressing because of the cold and there were a couple days that we were trying to find less actives and former investigators with no luck. Also there was a really poor turn-out at church and every one looked super tired. I understood about twice as much of church than I did last week which is so encouraging. My brain has finally stopped rejecting Korean and it finds meaning without me having to consciously translate every sentence! I'm at about 50% comprehension and 60% ability to convey meaning.

So Tommy, the coolest investigator, is making some realizations. He recognizes our love for him, and our genuine testimonies of the things we are teaching him. He asked about in a kind of humorous hypothetical way "What's the worst that will happen if I never believe in God? I'll just go to Hell?" In a super guided-by-the-Spirit way we explained how Hell won't be God's punishment because we didn't do what he said, but it will be more of a personal torment, guilt and regret for not doing the things we learned we needed to do to return to his glorious presence. It was clear that that really hit him, and he repeated the word "regret" thoughtfully. He told us at the end that his original interest was learning English, and he never thought he would take the religion part of us seriously. He still won't come to church because he feels like it could be a turning point in his life and he is doesn't feel ready to take that step, but he committed to keep the Word of Wisdom this week! He took us to dinner that night too. I feel so much love for him, I just want to be his friend forever. We have three or four investigators who's best friends throughout their whole lives have been the missionaries. We are often the first time people have felt real love from anyone, and we need to let them see that they can feel that love continuously from the Savior. We are nothing compared to His perfect love.

Remember how I don't have a sense of direction? Well I certainly still don't. If I'm not super-concentrating on where North is, I become completely lost. Whenever I'm in a building I'm completely lost. All the buildings look the same and there are a whole bunch of identical chain convenience stores that throw off your orientation. And in just a few weeks I'm going to have to introduce this area to a missionary who has never been here before. Yay!  I'm learning. It only took about six years for me to figure out ​the basic layout of Cedar City, so this will be cake.

Since I was set-apart I've had a goal to re-read all of The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, and The New Testament cover to cover as a missionary. The more I read the more inadequate I feel in my scriptural knowledge. I was kind of discouraged earlier and felt like I wouldn't be a very effective missionary until I read and understood it all, but of course I realized that that's not how it works. I can still testify of what I know just as effectively, and as I do the doctrine I will learn it much better than I could studying it. I love the scriptures so much, meaning just flows out of every page, they are overflowing with knowledge and the time I get to study them is so short. I have never taken scripture study seriously enough in my life, it is the most joyful thing on earth. They are perfect, the words of the prophets are perfect, it all works together flawlessly.

I thought it would be six months before I missed anyone, but I was wrong, I miss you all so much. Do the little things.

Current favorite scripture: "Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven." -Jo Smith, D&C 123:13

-Elder Brown

This sign says in essence "If any 'cult' churches or Jehovah's Witnesses knock on my door I will call the police." We almost knocked on the door with the planned response of "Oh, sorry it says 'cult' churches, we represent the only true and living church on earth"

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