Last Dinner Appointment with the Neilson Family- July 2, 2012


Happy Holidays!

Dec 27, 2010

Hey Family,

Happy Holidays! Hope things have been relaxing the last couple of days. It was great talking to you guys! I'll be honest i was a little distracted when i got off the computer. It was so surreal for me to see the family and talk to you guys. Thank you for the gifts! I just got done opening them and Elder Watkins was grateful too! The Bodylastics will do me wonders in the hard morning hours and i was so excited to see the scriptures. My studies will be more efficient. And a new sonic tooth brush? HA thank you! I'll also try to use the iron man action figures in a visual lesson, haha. Thank you again! I'll admit i was trunky after the phone call, it took me a good hour to get over my trunky mind set.

Right after i talked to you guys, we hurried and ate some Christmas lunch, then took off to see some less actives. About 6:00, we came back and ate dinner with the Larson's. After dinner we visited a guy named Bill. He's an older guy who's very lonely and he appreciated the visit. It was a good Christmas. Nothing exciting or blood pumping from material things, but a nice calm spirit made the day fantastic.

Yesterday, Sheri (investigator) attended church. She's in a wheelchair, so it put a little more pressure on Elder Watkins and I to make her feel comfortable. She seemed to feel comfortable and luckily she has fellowship friends who watched after her. Go members! Church is a stressful time as a missionary. Following up with auxiliary leaders, finding joint teachers, confirming dinner appointments, taking care of investigators, taking the meal calender around, getting to know members, GAH!

Transfer calls are in 1 week. I want to stay here in Eden Prairie. I've seen the growth and i know elder Watkins and I can do some damage. When i left Rochester i was ready to leave, but i know revelation is real in the church, and regardless what happens i know its where I'm suppose to go. So far i haven't been in a area longer than 12 weeks. We'll see what happens!
Mom i hope you have a great birthday, and happy new year! I can't believe 2011 is here! Best of luck with the upcoming year.

Elder Browning


Christmas is Here!

Dec 21, 2010

Merry Christmas family,

Where did the month of December go? It's going by so fast! These 6 months have flown by. The snow continues to fall here what i now call the north pole. We received another 4 inches to add to our 20 inches in the last week. Haha, it's a challenge getting out of our parking lot every morning. Sorry about not emailing monday. We had our christmas zone conference.

This past week has been great, we're growing in teaching. Can i tell ya how fast the day goes by when you have a busy schedule and your not tracking all day? How grateful i am to be busy! Our progressing investigator- Sheri- is coming along great. We met with her for the second time and taught her the restoration. The KEY to a successful lesson is to have a member present. We've brought 2 sisters each time from our ward- they relate very well with Sheri. The spirit was so strong, Sheri started to cry when she saw the first vision picture. The Lord prepares the elite!

So our Christmas zone conference was great. At the beginning, the zone leaders train the zone on a topic out of preach my gospel. President Howell jumped in as Santa Claus and sister Howell dressed up too! Their grand kids also played a role. We missionaries got a kick out of that! One by one we all sat on presidents lap. Ha, we had some good laughs. President and Sister Howell are doing their part to keep us missionaries happy this holiday season. We each received a CD. I'm in love with it. Solo piano- hymns but their exciting, fast, and intense enough to not fall asleep to.

The Zone Conference was obviously about Jesus Christ. I learned a ton about the atonement of Jesus Christ. How crucial it was to have a mortal mother and Heavenly Father as his parents. It all fits in the plan! He had to be a God to endure, but had to be mortal to feel pain and sorrow. He had to experience what it was like to be a mortal man so he could relate to us, and because he had to experience it, sacrifice was necessary. The only Begotten Son, Heavenly Father gave his best lamb to die for us. The old testament/law of moses clearly explains the God heads role. Small things like this help wipe away stupid misconceptions of the trinity. President Howell challenged us to find names that refer to Christ. There are more than 100 different references to Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon. So cool, check it out! Nephi likes to use Lamb of God- one of my favorites. I challenge you guys to try this out while reading scriptures as a family.

Well, family I'm excited to talk to you this saturday! I sent a package for you guys so i hope it gets to Idaho on time! Don't open it! I was too cheap to buy wrapping paper.

Love you all and hope you guys remember the true meaning of christmas! An awesome chapter for christmas is in Alma 7. I like verses 9-13. Check out this beast of a chapter!

Merry Christmas,
Elder Browning


Minnesota SNOWFALL

Dec 13, 2010

Hey family,

I'm sad to hear the passing of Grandma Smith. I truly looked up to her. She was a great example for all and she'll continue to be an example for generations to come. I have focused a lot on what a good example can do for a person. As a missionary i look up to so many people! Grandma Smith was one of the elite. I will be forever grateful for what she did for my mom and the Eliasons. Actions speak louder than words, she led her life with action and purpose.

I'm not frozen yet, I'm still alive! This week as been a crazy to say the least! As you have heard, Minnesota was dumped on by mother nature. Mission head quarters let us know not to drive Saturday and Sunday. The mission is pretty good when it comes to letting us know updates on severe weather conditions. It was a perfect time to tract! Elder Watkins and I took advantage of the severe weather morning/early afternoon. We knocked on as many houses as we could on foot. People thought we were crazy, but i had fun trying to survive the elements and a negative wind chill to go with the day! We also shoveled driveways- what a perfect time to show charity. Somebody let us in and we taught a lesson because we served first. We were able to talk to tons of people during the storm and the aftermath of the storm. However, we were not able to travel to our appointments in Chaska. Other than that our numbers our still on the up and up. My winter gear is holding up and i'm staying warm and dry. I love my coat, and my Scott gloves are amazing! The ecco snow shoes are doing well.

The work continues. We're progressing with investigators and lessons, the Lord continues to provide for Eden Prairie. We're starting to build our schedule in advance to give us a cushion. Two weeks ago we struggled to find things to do in a day. Now we're struggling to find travel time! The days go by fast when you're busy, that's a natural law.

It's amazing to see the Egbert family grow! Estella (the mom) is ready to be baptized. She's given up coffee and wants to obey the commandments big and small. Kevin is the 13 year old and he was a tough one at first, but has softened as we've taught him stories and brought God into his life. He now wants us to come over and teach him one on one! He has his Book of Mormon in hand ready to learn where as before he had no interest. This gospel is real.

We also picked up 2 new investigators, Sheri and Leonard. Sheri has big potential. We had two sisters from the ward joint teach with us when we taught her. Members are everything when they're present for the lesson, and they made the difference. It was a spiritual experience. Leonard was a former. We gave him a call, he was pumped to hear from us. He calls us his bible study peeps. We'll see if we can turn that into a Book of Mormon study.

I must tell you about the Neilson family. They are the best member family! I hit it off with their sons who love jazz basketball! They're from Boise Idaho! Our families have huge similarities! They are just classy and chill. They're missionary minded too! Quailty Idaho family!

Allright family i hope you're enjoying the Christmas spirit! I know I am! Drink hot cocoa!
My scripture this week is 2 Nephi 29. This explains what the world thinks about the Book of Mormon, and what God thinks about it.

Elder Browning


Eden Prairie Update

Dec 6, 2010

Hey family! 

I'm glad things went well for thanksgiving. It's a winter wonderland here, and I'm breaking out the big time snow gear. Minnesota had another snow fall of 8 inches! I'll let you know if i get frost bite. A storm is coming Friday, i think? My driving skills our sufficient for this snow!

Things are starting to pick up here in Eden Prairie. Things haven't been the same since the boundary change. We've been working hard to fill our schedule and we met and broke the ice with a lot of less active/former investigators. Now we'll be teaching a couple more families on a regular basis! We also picked up a couple new investigators! It's nice to see the progress of our labors as we realize it comes from the Lord. We met with a less active man named George. His wife and daughter are not members but have been exposed to missionary lessons before. We also contacted Chris and he's looking to get active again in the church with his family. He's 20 years old and a way cool guy who's been lost in the world. We totally hit it off! We have the same taste of music! He knows the band Digital Summer! Way cool guy. It was important for us to develop that trust with him. I'm really close with the Hawkes family, this has definitely been a tender mercy for me to witness. He came to church!

We had dinner with Jay and Andrea and we definitely broke the ice. They are just awesome! We shared the Book of Mormon with them, and also discussed what makes our church different. They know that there's something different with mormon families and they respect how we live. They know the church leads to a good path. I just hope they know the real reason we're there. Kingdom builder family! Wish us luck this week!

Ok so we taught the Egberts last night. And we have a BAPTISMAL DATE! Estella is ready to be baptized Dec 26! We fasted for them! We came in and told her with boldness and love that we wanted her to be baptized this Chrismas season. We basically said this was her gift to Christ. I truly have love for their family and poured out my feelings with them. She's ready and is willing to give up coffee! They also went to church this week. Carla and Kevin are not ready at the moment, but we'll be working one on one with Kevin for baptism. Their mom is the sweetest Mexican lady ever! She's always cooking us authentic meals and offering treats and hot chocolate. I've been teaching this family for 6 weeks and I've grown attached to them. Kevin is a big tough 13 year old that looks likes he's 17 and never seemed that interested in the gospel. Something was different in his eyes this time around. We asked him straight up if he believes that baptism could help him. He said yes but isn't ready and wants to know for himself.

Well, family I've never been more excited. i know the Lord can soften any heart. I'm really loving the people and i'm seeing a pattern. That was a hard principle to develop--true charity and love for the people. I'm now not focusing on my personal needs or desires. Even when i use my personal study it's for the Eden Prairie people and what they need.

Stay warm in shelley! Minnesota has been in the teens with a foot of snow on the ground.

My scripture for you is 1 Nephi 22. I've learned so much about the House of Israel and how important it is to learn the historical back ground to understand true missionary work.

Elder Browning



Nov 25, 2010

Hey Family,

Ok so sorry family for emailing late, obviously the mission moved our p-day to Thanksgiving. We just got done having our Thanksgiving dinner at the Maudens, there is so much food here! This means we have a lifetime supply of food! Eden Prairie is amazing because i don't have to buy groceries, ever!

So i gave it away-- transfers happened Tuesday. And...i'm still in Eden Prairie. Elder Petersen left me and went to Bloomington. Elder Watkins is my new companion and he's legit! We were in the same district in Rochester so it was cool to know my companion before hand. He's only been out for 3 months but we get along great! I'm really looking forward to the transfer. We've been on exchanges together in our Rochester days and we make a good team. :) He's way smart, he actually went to BYU Hawaii. He's a surfer from California so he doesn't know what to do with all this snow. He knows how to work and he's not overbearing like a lot of missionaries.

Today has been way busy and fun. At 8 o'clock this morning we were part of the ward turkey bowl. It was 7 degrees i think? Yeah i couldn't breath. Gaining weight might have helped with that as well. =) After we went on tour to people we wanted to catch home. We knew everyone would be home so we stopped by with DVDs as a gift and a personal card. It was cool to make a difference and we visited a couple people who were alone for Thanksgiving. We actually caught a former investigator home and got a return appointment! YES! We're building our teaching pool slowly but surely. Then we had dinner with the Maudens and the Myers (also members). The Maudens know how to cook so it was a privilege to attend and spend Thanksgiving with them. They were a less active family until we came around. Sister Mauden is single with two kids, Lora is 23 and Jeff is 18, and we're still trying to get Jeff to church. They are so great! Now i find myself emailing you guys this very moment.

Now the good stuff, the work. We taught the Egberts on Monday. We focused on faith and how faith means acting upon something. We read the scripture story about nephi building a boat and how action led to true faith. Our biggest problem with them is church attendance. I hope they'll apply this story (1 nephi 17). We've also been meeting with members. We'll start teaching member lessons on a daily basis. It feels like a brand new ward at times, but we have some amazing strong mature families.

We had a miracle yesterday. Elder Watkins and I prayed on where we should tract. We felt the road Redwing dr was where we were suppose to be at 3-4 o'clock. It started to snow and the roads turned into snow! We had a choice to either park our car in a parking lot and call it a day or fight the elements. We decided to go on and to continue to work. We knocked every door, but not a lot of success until our very last door. The couple let us in and told us they were trying to get a hold of the mormon missionaries. So Jay -the husband- his best friend is a member of the church. They are really close and his mormon friend's mother past away last week. This sparked an interest and they want us to come over for dinner next week! It just shows that if we do our best and truly give it our all, the Lord will provide.

Well family I'm really looking forward to this transfer. The last transfer was another growning experience, but this transfer should be another growing experience as well. My scripture for the week is 1 Cor 2: 9-11.
Love you all,
Elder Browning


First Snow! So Much Change!

Nov 15, 2010

Hey family,

So last Saturday Minnesota was drenched with 12 inches of snow! I knew it was only a matter of time before mother nature hit Minnesota upside the face. Elder Petersen was really excited about the snow( he's from Las Vegas) so this is new for him. We were excited to face the elements with our gear. Our Mazda 3 got stuck in the heavy wet snow in the parking lot. Our adventure didn't get far. We had two appointments fall through because of the weather, and one was with our newest investigator Kim.

We walked to the nearest neighborhood and tracted. We had a couple good discussions with people, and a few promising return appointments. The Lord's work continues vs all odds in the Minnesota weather! It really was chaos though. People were sliding all over the roads and a semi truck was hit by a train right by our apartment making it so we couldn't cross the tracts. The snow is melting now but now i know what a Minnesota snow fall is all about. Oh and my Ecco snow dress shoes are amazing! Elder Petersen is so jealous! My coat is extremely warm and my gloves couldn't be better. Thank you again for the support.

The boundary change has really slowed us down. Our teaching pool shifted with the boundary change, so it was a really slow week. We only taught 10 lessons, yikes. We practically lost all of our less actives and half of our investigators. For the next couple of weeks we'll be rebuilding the teaching pool. Mary (our investigator with a date), was transferred over to the Bloomington ward. She was not happy with the change because she was finally developing strong relationships so she'll be coming to the Eden Prairie ward until she feels comfortable. We're going to have dinner at President Howells house this week. We want to introduce Mary to the Bloomington bishop at the dinner.

Our Ward is huge now! It doubled in size and now feels like the Wakonia ward (our neighboring ward). We filled up the entire chapel. It was really overwhelming! I just got use to the original families in the Eden Prairie ward, now i have to learn names again. There are lots of mature families with youth and lots of leadership. It feels like an Idaho ward! The transition will be a bit rocky at the beginning, but i hope it will turn out for the better. We'll be getting to know members this week. Man there has been so much change for me! There's no such thing as a comfort zone here in Eden Prairie. The best word i can describe the situation with is --awkward.

The Egbert family didn't come to church, which was a huge disappointment. We helped paint their house and really thought that was the ice breaker. We'll be meeting with them again today for dinner and a lesson. That's how this week has gone. It's just one of those weeks.

Alright since i'm all about the Book of Mormon and Bible relationships, I have a scripture for you guys in both books. 1 Cor 1:27-28 and Alma 37 :6-7. I've been doing this lately, and it has strengthened my testimony of both books.

I love you all and keep warm! I'll be thinking of you guys as the holidays roll around.

Elder Browning


Change in Eden Prairie

Nov 8, 2010


So Eden Prairie and the Minneapolis stake went under some construction as of yesterday. With the whole process I thought of you dad and the Shelley South Stake. We lost a lot of young families, but gained a good amount of leadership. However, we lost our best investigator who's been investigating for some time. She has a baptismal date for December 11. Her name is Mary and she has quite the story. She's friends with Justin Osmond (Justin is the son of one of the original Osmond brothers). She wants him to baptize her and he won't be around until Dec 11. This is a prime example of what Eden Prairie goes through. So I'm excited for the change, and the opportunity to meet and work with new members. Things will even out. I think we're receiving a few new investigators from our neighboring Wakonia Elders. Whahoo, I'm always meeting new people!

The work in Eden Prairie has been awesome this week. We had a great week with less actives. This area is doing well bringing members back to church. The pictures you received were from a part member/less active family. I think activating an inactive member is just as good as a baptism in my opinion. We had 14 less active lessons this week, and 6 of them were at church. Yesterday we taught the Egberts (part member family) the gospel. We asked them if baptism is something we can work towards and they said yes. We're struggling with finding but perfecting the saints has never been so great! This week will be crazy with the change though. I'll keep you guys updated.

Alright so people keep telling me there is a winter here in Minnesota but I'm not buying that! This last week i put on my jacket once. It's near 65 degrees here. I feel bad after buying my expensive coat and not being able to use it. So as of yet, i have not experienced a really cold day in Minnesota but I've witnessed the rain fall and the humidity.

I've been really focusing on the Book of Mormon and Bible relationship. We are trying to show those we teach examples both in the Book of Mormon and Bible. When we show the relationship and hard evidence they seem to understand the Book of Mormon's role. Try it at home! I wish we would have done that while studying as a family. I've seen it help me understand certain principles when i read from both. I highly reccommend doing that as a family.

Elder Petersen and I are getting a long great. The first few weeks were a little shaky but maybe due to the fact he felt i was intruding on his turf. He's been here for 6 months and its his first area. I have respect for him and i continue to clean the bathroom and show service. I think we're over that awkward hump that most companionships go through.

Alright I'm sending you guys a package with a CD with a bunch of pictures and also a the memory card I've been using. I'll take a nice picture of myself. My scripture for the week is Mosiah 4: 27

I love you all and miss you guys!

Elder Browning


November Already?

Nov 2, 2010

Hey Family,

Thanks for the big updates in Shelley Idaho. I can't believe what's going on with the stake, but sounds like the Lords hand was with the changes. Speaking of change, the Minneapolis stake is making ward boundary changes too. They'll be having a meeting for the members to notify where the changes will take place. Haha what are the odds of the Minneapolis stake and Shelley South stake making changes at the same time. It will be interesting being a missionary when this actually takes place.

I liked how you guys said "change is necessary for growth", and its true. That's why missionaries are transferred so they can grow. This transfer has helped me grow and mature both in the gospel and socially. And there will be another change this week!

Eden Prairie had their Fall Festival last Friday. It brought back memories of home! Elder Petersen and I decorated our door for the Fall Festival. It was a missionary outfit with white shirt and a complementary name tag and the members were impressed. We ended the night with chili and pie. We had a few less actives show up to the activity so that was a plus. Getting to know members can be awkward and fun at the same time. I'm really trying to gain the members trust, first impressions are important. Speaking of members, the bishops wife is related to the Browning's. I think we're 3rd cousins? Anyway, I've enjoyed getting to know members and I've especially enjoyed having meals every night.

So we had 5 investigators at church. Whoohoo! The primary program does wonders. We also picked up 2 new investigators this week. Actually a cool story. Jennifer -our newest investigator- was talking on the phone with her Mormon friend about the missionaries. Right as she hung up, we knocked on the door. She let us in and told us that was a sign from God. She's married and has a 7 year old girl. She wants a conservative based religion-- hehe. I almost cried, i just witnessed the Lords hand!

I bought a North Face jacket. It's incredible! It was on sale so i had to buy it. I also bought a nice hoody/face guard. It was expensive-- it cost me $ 150.00, but i don't want to freeze this winter. It gets down to -20 degrees. It's really thin and stylish. Elder Petersen bought one as well and so we're matching for the investigators. =)

Hey if I'm catching you guys in a good mood you may read on. (Read with caution, contains Christmas present ideas.)
If not, wait to read =)
---a mini quad set of scriptures (red). It would help me study, and i would probably take those around to appointments because they're so portable.
--- a GPS that can plug into a house outlet (if there is such a thing). It would help me be more of an efficient missionary.

Well family i love you dearly. I've been loving the CDs you sent me (its my work out music every morning). Thanks for the pictures, i really enjoy looking at our happy family. I'll try and take a photo of myself today and send you guys out my memory card.

My scripture for the week: 2 nephi 26:33. Check it out!

Elder Browning


Eden Prairie

Oct 25, 2010

Hey Family,

Alright this week has been wonderful and exciting. Eden Prairie is an interesting city and it's been nice driving to and from appointments. It really is a beautiful area with trees and gorgeous homes throughout the land. This fall weather has been just perfect. Thanks for the package from heaven! I love the cds and the conference issue is perfect for a study aid. I'm so grateful to have a family back at home who cares about my needs. I loved the pictures! I was a little homesick, but it was a must to see some faces and new pictures.

Chelsea and Brittany were baptized last Saturday. It was a cool experience coordinating the program with the ward and seeing the results of a successful baptism. It was neat to see smiles of the two girls. I'm happy to see a less active family come back to the gospel with potential to be a strong influence in the church.

Last Monday we met with the Egberts (part member family) for dinner and watched the restoration. They have lots of potential to progress. The discussion went well, and they're all willing to read the Book Of Mormon. We gave them a reading assignment, 3 Nephi chapter 11. We'll be watching the testaments with them tonight as a review. We'll be having dinner with them as well and FYI, i haven't missed a day in Eden Prairie where the members haven't fed us. Wish us luck!

This morning we went to the Nielson family for early morning seminary. We taught a brief lesson on missionary work and how important it is. There was about 18 kids and i was impressed with their determination to attend seminary at 6:00 AM. After we were done, Sister Nielson let us pick 2 boxes of cereal each. They had a huge selection! I l love the members!

So last Tuesday evening was crazy. Our drunk neighbors down stairs in our apartment came banging on our door yelling and swearing. There was a couple of them trying to get in, picking the lock, and they were doing this for a good 5 mins. If you can imagine, i had the kitchen knife ready at hand to do battle! Elder Petersen had a hammer as his weapon of choice, haha. We called 911 for harassment. Nobody was hurt, and they ended up running away. We have a picture of Jesus on our door, and of course they ripped that off. I'll admit, my heart was racing a little bit, but me and Elder Petersen could take them. =)

Mission Tour was last Thursday. Elder Hinckley came and i shook his hand! What a wonderful man he is. He's over the missionary program. He talked about the area book and how important that is, and also the media campaign. Again this media campaign is a huge deal. The church has already seen miracles from the efforts of this campaign. It was amazing to see the prophets son and his determination for missionaries in the church. He really likes President Howell and said he's done an amazing job here in Minnesota. I was also able to see Elder Sorenson- he's from our stake. He's good friends with Kory Shaw and he hung out with the same people i did back at home. Oh we got a new car, Mazda 3. It's a light ugly green. It's a sister car. =p

This Friday we'll be helping out with our fall festival. As missionaries we'll be passing out candy to the little ones in the church. Halloween is usually the day when the climate changes for the worse.

Well family i hope you all have a wonderful Halloween. Don't eat to much candy kids! We come in early as missionaries on halloween night!
Elder Browning


Eden Prairie!

Oct 18, 2010

Hey Family,

So as you all know, I'm in Eden Prairie. Haha I'm glad you researched this place because it's amazing! Elder Petersen is a convert to the church for 2 years! He's an amazing missionary and he's been out for 3 transfers (all in Eden Prairie). He's very organized and down to earth. He's determined about the work and has an awesome relationship with the members - I'll definitely learn a lot from him.

So Eden Prairie is a beautiful place- 50,000 is the population. We also cover Chanhassen which is about 20,000. Eden Prairie is definitely one of the nicest areas in the state of Minnesota. There is lots and lots of money here. It reminds me of Sun Valley or a Jackson WY. I'll definitely send pictures of this place. We work with members and Elder Petersen has developed that nice relationship. President Howell has told Elder Petersen "we have to treat Eden Prairie different from other areas". Tracting is not effective here so we rely on the member referrals. We work with less actives and members. And guess what? We're having a baptism this Saturday! Chelsea and Brittany ages 10 and 8. Gilbert is the father and was reactivated a couple months ago. It's a cool story how the missionaries found him. Gilbert is from west Africa, so he speaks French and English, i love his accent. There's other part member families that could be baptized in the near future. Exciting!

All of the missionaries talk about Eden Prairie and most of them are jealous of this place! So the other night, i had dinner with Fahu Tahi, starting fullback for the Minnesota Vikings (star BYU full back). Cool eh? Haha he's a way cool guy and loves feeding and having the missionaries come over. And you know me, i asked detailed behind the scenes questions about the life of a NFL player. So can you see why this is the number 1 place to live in Minnesota? Most Timber Wolves/ Viking players live in Eden Prairie. Fahu Tahi told us where Brett Farve lives and where Adrien Peterson lives. This place has serious connections! The offensive coordinator for the vikings is also in our ward (Bevett family) totally awesome! We visited their home a couple days ago. It's cool to have these connections. Speaking of awesome members, we received a counter full of food--over 200 bucks worth of food. We eat very well here.

Well family i'm loving it here. It's different from Rochester. I'm looking forward to the adventure that awaits.
I'll let you know how the baptism goes. It will be my first baptism and i was blessed to come at the right time!

I think I'll buy my big coat here. I'll make sure i take a picture of myself before i send the memory card. Thanks for the letter/package =) I love you all so much. Mom i'm glad you're feeling better! I've been praying for you and will continue to do so.

My scripture is Alma chapter 12. This chapter is amazing and explains the fall perfectly.

Elder Browning


Hello Family! Goodbye Rochester

Oct 11, 2010

Hey Family,

Thanks for the updates last week! I'm glad mom is feeling better, she's makes the top spot priority wise, all day everyday in my prayers.

So I'm getting transferred! I'm going to Eden Prairie, MN. It's actually the "heart of the mission". It's right in the center, close to the misson home. I've heard it's a car area, so I'm excited about the timing in the climate change. Don't get me wrong, i loved the bike area, but with a Minnesota winter coming around I'll take the heated seats. My companion is Elder Peterson-he's been out 4 months.

Rochester is changing for the better! We received another 8 new investigators,making a total of 15 new investigators the last 2 weeks. We also taught 21 lessons,making it the most productive week I've encountered.
Our ward mission leader said the area hasn't been able to reach the mission goal( 20 lessons) in 6 months.

Summary of Rochester 1

I'm sad to leave the area when things are picking up and the future is bright, but i know the lord needs me elsewhere. Rochester is my birth place on the mission,and I'll never forget the memories and hardships i went through. Everyday i felt i was growing in the gospel. I learned how to study the scriptures and i would say this place confirmed my testimony of scripture study--it is so important!

My patriarchal blessing says if i study diligently and feast on the scriptures, that's how I'll take my testimony to the next level. Patriarchal blessings are essential! I'm grateful i was given a great trainer to spark my mission for the better, Elder Payne is truly a wonderful Elder and he'll do great being a zone leader here. Elder Barker is great, we're very different, but I've learned to look for the positives in my companion. He's lucky to take over the area at a terrific time.

Rochester 1st ward is a wonderful ward, small in number, but big in testimony. I'll miss developing those relationships. I was also blessed to have a ward mission leader who took his calling seriously. We went joint teaching with him last week and i was impressed by the balance of love and defense for the gospel. Well time to pack my bags and begin a new chapter in Eden Prairie.

Well family, i love this gospel. It truly has changed my testimony. I thought i had a big testimony before, but i think I've tripled it in the 12 weeks i've been here. I still have a lot of things to learn, but i know with the Lords help all things are possible. My scripture for you guys this week is Jacob 4:13. It talks about the real spirit of prophecy.

Elder Browning



Oct 4, 2010

Hey family,

So i hope you all had a wonderful week listening to conference. Our leaders are truly inspired men that have huge spiritual buckets of energy. I've seen miracles during conference weekend, I've had some hard questions and thoughts that have been bothering me, but they were answered perfectly! I would like to share some highlights of conference that i thought were helpful and straight up amazing. I have a testimony now that when we prepare to receive God's word and do all that we can to work towards our answers, he will make it known to our understanding and comprehension.

My favorite talk would have to be

Dallin H. Oaks ( Personal & Priesthood lines) (Sunday morning)

He starts out --God has given us 2 lines of communication, priesthood and personal. We need both to develop in the gospel.

The personal line is our testimony and our own witness/experiences with the gospel.

The Priesthood line is that set foundation of truth Jesus Christ, Church, Leaders ( natural laws, 10 commandments).

If our testimony isn't where we want it to be, we're failing in one of the two lines. We need a balance to bring his work.

So if we rely too much on the personal line, we let the natural mind take over our thoughts and justify commandments and lose true doctrine.

If we rely on the Priesthood line, we don't develop and grow and learn from our own experiences. I think of it as relying on your parents testimony or church leader.

We need to have both lines connect to our spiritual router for us to really progress. There are too many people in the world who rely just on the personal line. I've talked to so many people who have justified themselves so much, it seems convincing at times. That's why we have the Priesthood line, it keeps the personal line in check.

This was my favorite talk. It will help me and my foundation in missionary work for what's right and what's wrong.

October 1st we went served all day and helped some of the people with the after math flooding. We took upon ourselves white jump suits and had at it. Basically we gutted out everything from drywall to insulation. Everything was a complete mess. The flood height was 6 feet and 6 inch's of water and entire basements were underwater and some middle floors! It was a messy job to say the least. They transported us on a school bus and when we arrived it looked like a war zone. I have an idea of what Hurricane Katrina aftermath felt like. It was a small city but there was a lot of work to be done. It was cool however to see helping hands. Food and supplies were provided for the less fortunate. There was a good 300 volunteers! We helped out a lady whose basement was completely engulfed with water, we worked hard. The citizens noticed the Mormon missionaries.

We've had a great week as far as numbers. We picked up 7 new investigators and taught 13 lessons which is really good for this area. We have some promising investigators who came to the church right after the afternoon session on Saturday. Abby and Dan. Both graduated in 08, so we can relate well, and both notice how members of our church conduct themselves and really like how Mormon's live their religion everyday.

Well family i hope you're all doing well. I'm doing excellent here. Transfers are next week and i want to stay here in Rochester for another transfer. I can't believe it will be transfer number 3 for me! I've been talking to Philip Sutherin and Jeren on email! Tell Cameron and Casey to write me!

Mom i hope you're feeling better and i'm praying for you every day and night. My scripture for you guys would have to be Alma 34: 8-10 it's a beast of a scripture!
I love you guys and have a great week.

Elder Browning



Sept 28, 2010

Dear Family,

I'm so happy to hear from you all and the happy news from you mom was great! Sounds like the Browning's have been a mad house the last day. I hope Dad had a wonderful birthday despite the chaos. I've been praying for all of you and hope you all have a happy month with conference coming up!

So the lord works in many ways, we've received a new investigator who's actually accountable! Sue,she's single and is about in her 30's. We found her while we were biking around. Yesterday we talked about how to recognize the Holy Ghost and the fruits of the Holy Ghost. John Doolittle is a recent convert to the church, and he was our joint teacher with his wife. They're our new ward missionaries.

So Minnesota has been making weather headlines. We've received a good 8 inches of rain here in Rochester. We got caught in the storm on the 22nd. Haha it came down hard! We biked for cover from the buckets of rains and wind! I felt it was a hurricane category 4! We stopped at a local K-mart and tried to save our scriptures, the rain was too much however. My scriptures have slight water damage on the top right corners--from new testament to bible dictionary. What a sad day. I bought myself a box with a lid, so that this scenario will never happen again. My slip on Ecco shoes took a pounding, after 3 days they were dry. Haha i've never been so wet from the rain! We continued to our appointment and didn't let the rain stop us from the work!

We Had a zone p-day/mini zone conference. President Howell gave some fabulous training on the core doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which was perfect for me because I've started to wonder on less important things in my studies each day. Really, all a missionary needs is the basics. I'm grateful for the lord sending me to Minnesota because i get to dig at the doctrine in my own native language--which is nice because my testimony is constantly being attacked by other faiths. The core of the gospel: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End, are fueled on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. You can really spend all your life studying these 5 principles. So Tanner and Josh,go for the gold!

We received new phones! Wow, they're nice and we have texting! This is going to change missionary work. The church did a study with confirming appointments with a text, and they have found it to be more effective keeping appointments from falling through. These phones have a full sliding keyboard and all. I'm looking forward to the change. We also had pizza to top off the day, then played basketball!

Well Family i love you all. I've never been so excited to watch General Conference. Make sure you invite somebody to listen to the prophet of God. Listen and take notes!


Elder Browning


Re: Hello From Shelley

Sept 20, 2010

Hey Family

So i received your letter mom, and I'm very concerned about your health. That's the last thing i need on my mind! I'll fast and pray for you! I love you mom!

This week we received a bunch of potentials. Weekends are definitely for proselyting,there was actually a strip of houses we got return appointments with, cool! We'll see how this week goes as far as adding to our investigate pool. We're really trying hard to follow up with everyone we come in contact with that seems to have an interest in the gospel. Our goal this week was to receive 3 new investigators, we fell short but got a solid 1. Art is his name, really cool down to earth middle aged man that has struggled with drugs and worldly things. He's striving to change each day, and basically is willing to listen to anything we have to say. We'll be teaching him the restoration this week. As far as Stephanie, we haven't been able to make contact, so I'm afraid Satan has attacked her heart, I'll keep you updated.

Our ward activity was on the 18th. We had 9 non members attend the social out of 80 people. We were expecting double the numbers, but hey if one investigator had a good experience, we feel it was a success.Our investigator Kristina came with her friend and daughter! We had a delicious BBQ dinner with a church tour. Kristina was impressed with the church structure and I'm hoping she'll come to church next week. Kristina actually first just wanted us to come and teach her daughter about God, but we've been able to teach her as well. We'll teach her the restoration this week.

A miracle happened on the 16th. We found Quentella, a former investigator who dropped us a month ago. We've been working on the area book the last week and tracked into her new apartment. We tried her old home last sunday and nobody answered. We found out the real story why we lost contact with them. She wants the missionaries to return and visit with her. This was my first ground zero investigator, so it was a tender mercy to find them again. She actually pulled up into the driveway when we were walking back to our bikes. The Lord works in miracles.

Well family i love you all. I miss you. Let me know how the cougars are doing, I heard they lost to AF =(.
Mom i'll continue to pray for you. and i wish you the best. =)

Elder Browning


Second Week in the Transfer

Sep 13, 2010

Hey Family!
   So it's my second week in the transfer. Our district has changed, but we're still kicking.
Our new district leader is Elder Sechser, he's from grace Idaho! He's totally different from Elder Payne, but none the less a wonderful elder. He's been out 9 months and a strong cow boy attitude character. There is a new elder in the district- so I'm not the youngest anymore. It's hard being a greeny, missionaries don't give respect to the new kids on the block. Pride is the number one issue in missionary work i think. I want to make myself a promise never to be puffed up with pride when i get older and more wise.
We Picked up two new Investigators- Viccent is his name, way cool guy, i can totally see him as a bishop one day! We can thank the sister missionaries for the referral. It really is a team effort. Without referrals, nothing would progress. We jump on referrals like tigers on deer. President Howell  told us to treat referrals with care and be prompt to contact.  Tomorrow we're visiting a referral from temple square! 
Investigators are hard to retain. Stephanie hasn't answered our calls for a week. Things are not looking good. There is nothing worse in the world when your investigator makes progress then drops off the face of the earth and ignores you. Satan is real, he attacks when our investigators are almost at their peak. Luckily, the Lord is over all things, so I'm staying positive.
Our big ward activity is coming up this Saturday. Rochester 1st ward has been planning this for 6 months now. The dinner will be pulled pork- Bro Dali is in charge, and I've had his meat before-i'm so excited! There will also be folk band playing live music in the background. After the dinner and entertainment, there will be a simple church tour concluding with root beer floats in the gym. It's a very chill environment and us missionaries will be social butterflies. Brother Levitt is the ward misson leader, I have so much respect for this man,it will be a success.
I bought a jacket at JC penny, It's been getting cold. It's a 100 dollar jacket that i got for 60bucks. It was a must, i went without a jacket a couple of times in the rain/windy Minnesota climate.
I love you all and hope you guys have a great day/week!
Love, Elder Browning


Second Transfer

Sep 6, 2010

Dear Family,
Hey! So my second transfer is on  its way! What a crazy week its been!
So Sep 1 was a transfer day, we had 2 Elders leave our district. I'm grateful for my trainer -Elder Payne, he taught me so much and i do appreciate his patience with me. I met my new companion- Elder Barker. He's a way cool Elder and so far we've been getting along. It's my first experience with a new "style". I need to open my bubble for missionary work and look into different methods. Your second companion is your greeny breaker. Elder Payne warned me about the difficult stage this is for a missionary. I'm still taking pointers and ideas, but i don't want to be babied or bossed around. Elder Barker and I had a good conversation about this because i could sense a little bit of that ugly stage. I want our companionship to be awesome and i'll do everything in my power to make that happen.
Sep 2 was surgery day at the Mayo Clinic! Elder Payne was excited to get rid of his hernia at the world known Mayo Clinic Hospital. It really is a nice facility, and i'm a kid at a candy store walking through the spacious hallways and over looking the city on the 19th floor. Brother and Sister Moulenouxe-members of our ward- played the Dad and Mom role. I'm so happy they were able to make our day easy. They gave us rides to the hospital, bought us lunch and took care of paper work etc. I love members. They have a son who's serving a mission and well they hope someone would do the same for their son if anything happened. I hope you all do the same for missionaries in your area. It takes off the stress and makes us more efficient as missionaries. We were at the hospital from 6:30 am-3:00pm, and enjoyed our stay, relaxing in the family waiting room.
I'm definitely growing in the area. We met with Brother Levitt and talked mission strategy! We've been waiting to get this ward mission plan going, but we've been busy with the ward activity that's on the 18th. The ward has been putting a lot of effort into the activity and i hope its a good turn out. We'll have a really really good dinner -smoked pulled pork- with a live band playing, following a church tour for the non members. It's a non threatening activity that will help non members see our church.
Everyday i find myself stretching myself. It's easy to talk to everyone on the street, where as before it was a little frightening. I'll be sending some pictures that i took awhile back. We're at the church emailing today because of the holiday. I'm glad the Washington DC trip was sweet. Right now i don't have the best feelings for other religions, but i know we all worship God and need to keep him in everything we do. I started laughing when i heard about the throw up trip. I can totally see it! Just like a domino effect, once one child throws up, the next one has only a matter of time before he or she does!
Elder Browning


Zone P-day

Aug 30, 2010

Dear Traveling Family,
    Hey so last Monday was zone p-day. We had a great time throwing a football around and enjoying burgers and soda around the grill at a beautiful Minnesota park. It was nice to have  reflections from  past memories with family and friends. It made me a little homesick however, but nonetheless it was fun and relaxing.
We helped a couple more desperate people move today. I was glad to help, but we didn't get any proselyting time that day. Tina was the woman we helped from 3-8pm, she was in a emotional down slide with her circumstance. She had to be out of her house my 8pm, and with no friends or the proper vehicle, we were glad to help.
Wednesday was cool. We went to the 12th floor in the Mayo building to have Elder Payne's Hernia checked out. His appointment is scheduled for this Thursday Sept 2. I took plenty of pictures from the Mayo building, i'll try and develop them soon.
We found a new investigator! Her name is Stephanie. She came to church last week! She's a young single mother with a 5 year old son. She's seeking for a spiritual family, and a church where she can feel the spirit. 
It was a little awkward at church, but the relief society president fellowshiped  her. After sacrament, she went to primary with her son. I called her after church and it seemed like she had a good time. I hope we haven't pushed her to hard! Our next appointment will be next saturday. We're going to challenge her to baptism next saturday!
So today was transfer day! I awaited for the call from President Howell to find out the real gossip. Missionary gossip is fun like that, it reminds me of sport speculation, with trade rumors and such! Elder Payne's circumstance made it difficult for me to decide if i would stay or leave Rochester. However, Elder Payne leaked out that he was staying in Rochester,  so i had a 50/50 chance. i answered the cellphone this morning and it was one of the AP's. He put me on hold for President Howell. I talked to President Howell, and he told me I'm staying in Rochester 1st ward! My companion will be Elder Barker. (he's been out 8 months.) So another 6 weeks i'll be in Rochester 1st ward! I'm ready for the challenge to take over the area. Elder Payne is moving up to be a Zoneleader for the Rochester zone. They will be in a 3-some- until Elder Payne can recover from his surgery. The three some will contain 2 zoneleaders and a district leader! (that team is stacked)
I'm excited to strengthen my relationships with the ward members, I think i have a pretty good relationship with them so far. I 'm now use to the area, so i'm glad i don't have to start over again. Taking over an area though will be tough, I won't have my trainer to help guide me. I guess President Howell knows i'm ready to grow and develope into a powerful missionary. I do feel like i'm ready though for the challenge, i'll probably be crying next week in my email, and i'll let you know how it's going.
Well Family let me know how your Washington D.C. trip went. Send me some pictures, and a care package would be nice "hint hint"
Love, Elder Browning


Weird Week

Aug 23, 2010

Hey Family,
So its been a weird week. Elder Payne caught the flu last Tuesday and recovered mid Wednesday. I had lots of study/down time- but made the most out of it. I was lucky and i didn't catch the flu, I've been trying to eat lots of fruit and drink lots of water. I also take a couple vitamins a day.We are behind on missionary work, it was our worst week as far as numbers - we taught 5 lessons =(.
We were able to attend a baptism however, John Doolittle is his name. He's a 30 year old man and the sister missionaries found him. It was my first expierence attending a missionary efforts baptism and the spirit was strong at the service. That really pumped me and Elder Payne to continue to work in Rochester SE with faith.
Members of the Rochester 1st ward have given us so much love this past week. They have dropped off food and supplies for us when Elder Payne was sick. Soup and Gatorade was the  perfect source of nourishment we were in need of! The Member really do so much for us. The meals have been wonderful. Some of the best food I've had in my entire life has come from members. We stopped by the Cally's for a dinner appointment. They fed us gourmet steaks with homemade rolls and watermelon with peach pie to top things off. YUM. That's what keeps us alive and well off at the end of a hard working day. I usually get homesick though when i visit with a member in their home. It reminds me of my family and the memories of meals we would have on Sundays! So Dad and Mom, make sure you invite the missionaries over for dinner. And  treat them with a really good meal- it goes a long way.
So today I've been doing some deep cleaning around our apartment. For years missionaries slack off on cleaning and i need a somewhat of a clean area to live in. The tub is sick, the toilet was sick and the floors. I finally stepped in and cleaned the bathroom and kitchen. I feel much better now! Mom, i credit everything to you! I love how you made us clean bathrooms and certain parts of the house. So many people in this world live sick nasty lives. I will forever be a clean freak after the mission!
I'm finally finding a good personality for the mission. I don't want to be the crazy Shelley, ID Brooks Browning. I'm trying to be more professional in my conversations with people- so i can be the best representative of Christ i can be. It's hard to to bash with dumb dumbs who know nothing, but think they do. I just have to keep reminding myself  LOVE. Missonary work only happens if you have real love for one of God's kids. If I find myself not really caring about the person, i usually say something stupid or ignore their needs.
I'm trying not to get "trunky" -a missionary term for going home. There are always spurts of the day when i get trunky. I'm doing my best not to get homesick, but it will come hard at me at some point. I look at the family picture everyday!- Trunky.
Well family, i hope i have better things to email next week. This week was our worst week yet but we've received a couple of referrals from the Lord. I hope you guys have a great time in Washington D.C. Send me a email while you're over their!
Elder Browning