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


Hot, Humid =Horrible

Jul 25, 2011

Hey Family,

This week was probably the worst week I've had in the Hudson area. Well it's on my top 5 worst weeks on the mission. The weather had no mercy, we suffered greatly, and of course we tracted like mad dogs the entire week. That's how it always works out i guess. The Lord must try our faith. Our teaching pool has shrunk to a tiny teaching pool. What happened? We're still trying to find out what happened. So this week we really had no fruit so this letter might be a short one.

As i said before, our teaching pool is small. We have 1 progressing investigator and 5 others to consider investigators. Yikes, this means tracting in the hottest month of the year- yippee. We move on to those who have a sincere desire to improve their life and come to Christ. Tim and Roxane (investigators) invited us to have dinner at their house. They then showed us a 2 hour sermon of their pastor. I'm not sure if they're trying convert us or what. Tim and Roxane are the sweetest people you'll ever meet, and both have degrees to be ministers. But we will move on if they don't keep commitments.

One good result from our 20 hours of trackting in the hot weather was a potential guy named Denise. He's confused about all of the different christian religions and it makes sense that there would be only 1 christian church. Denise's biggest hang up is why bad things happen to good people so we whipped out the plan of salvation and gave him a bigger picture to look at. Denise liked the idea and said he would pray and read the Book of Mormon.

We're also meeting with Brother Dixen's mother and giving her a church tour. It's amazing to see this family grow in the gospel. Brother Dixen joined a year ago and now is working on his mother. Can i tell you its all about the members! We can't do anything as missionaries. Our best resources as a missionary are #1 the Spirit, #2 the Book of Mormon, #3 the Members, and #4 Technology. This makes a lot of sense because we tracted our hearts out the last week with very little success. A couple nights ago i was wondering if we were doing something wrong and that the Lord was holding blessing from us because we lacked in a certain category. I know the Lord will bless us for our efforts, but the days sure do seem discouraging when you have an empty planner which forces you to tract all day everyday.

We went golfing again today. I really enjoy golf! I still have a lot of work before i get to be an average golfer but something is relaxing about the sport. I'll be starting this up when i get home.=) We're also getting a new car on Wednesday! Right now we have a 2009 mazda 3, and we are pretty excited!

Well family i love ya, and i told you this email would be short and sweet. Wish me luck in the heat. I got Carly's wedding annoucement last Saturday. Crazy!

Elder Browning


Another Great Week!

Jul 18, 2011

Hey Family,

Despite the extremely hot weather, this week has been another eye opener. Josh Hudson was baptized yesterday and confirmed. Then i was able to attend the temple for another sealing. This makes it two times in 2 weeks - not a lot of missionaries get that luxury. It actually has been really nice being so close to the St Paul Temple. It approximately takes us 20 minutes to get there.

Josh Hudson has entered the waters of baptism. Elder Bowen baptized him and i had the privilege of giving him the Holy Ghost. Being on the mission i have learned the importance of the Holy Ghost and how real and sensitive it really is. It was extra neat because the Hudson Family is a broken family. Sister Hudson's husband past away years ago, and she has 3 kids at home with Josh being the oldest. Can i tell you this is wonderful news for them? They will soon have a priesthood holder in their home. The Hudson family was baptized a couple years back but it took Josh a while to make the commitment. He finally did and what a wonderful sight it was. As i confirmed Josh a member i promised him that if he stayed true to his covenant he would be an example for his family and help take care of them with the priesthood. I was really drained after the confirmation/blessing because i tried my best to be in tune with the Lord and exerted all my energy to say what the Lord wanted.

Also I was able to see the Weaver's get sealed. They're an older couple that Elder Bowen reactivated a year ago. My Testimony of the temple continues to become more refined.

This last week we were in our own area for a total of 3 days. Where have we been? We've been working with other missionaries in our zone. Elder Bowen and I are really big fans of blitzing other areas and sacrificing our own time in helping other missionaries. It's a great opportunity to get to know the missionaries in our zone which allows us to help them and their personal development in becoming more excellent servants for the Lord. We usually spend the night and go on a mini exchange or split and work in their area and then have PPI's. I have really learned to love other missionaries. We're all in this together and i've been able to make some great friends in the process. Because we're also on the road, we eat out a lot. I'm not going to complain here, but it's pretty hard to not go broke in the last two weeks of the month. HAHA

The weather has been crazy. Sunday was a hot humid day. It's really hard to describe the feeling of 90% humidity on top of 90 degree weather. Let me just say it's not a comfortable feeling! It feels like I'm in the amazon jungle over here, and I'm definitely not in Idaho. Wednesday we had the biggest thunder storm. Boy the storms are crazy here. Lots of homes had flooded basements. You know how a typical movie has a thunder storm and it just sounds perfect? Yeah it feels like I'm in a movie here with the weather. Right as the thunder sounds the lighting follows then seconds later the rain comes- just like your typical movie.

The last two weeks i've been working on my golfing skills. Now i can't do too much because it's expensive, but i think i'll pick up this sport when i come home. Grandpa Eliason has always had an influence on me!

The basketball hoop looks legit! I hope you guys have some good games coming. Remember me in spirit.

Love you family and hope the dry heat treats you better than the humid heat. Pray for me to survive this week. We're doing a bunch of finding this week, which means a lot of door to door contacts and I get to work on my farmers tan =) I'll be drinking lots of water. Alright i just memorized a sweet scripture, Alma 5:7. Check it out!

Elder Browning


Spiritually Uplifted

Jul 12, 2011

Hey Family,

This week was full of the spirit! The number one highlight would be that i witnessed a family get sealed for time and all eternity in the St Paul Temple. It touched my heart at an unreal level. I also learned a lot about leadership and being able to love missionaries even though you have every reason to judge. Also our Ward is in full force! When i say that i mean they're inviting their friends to dinner appointments and just sharing the gospel! We also have a baptism this Sunday! Josh Hudson will be baptized at 6 o'clock.

Saturday morning i had the chance to see the Dixen family get sealed in the temple with their two kids. Brother Dixen is a recent convert that just hit his 1 year anniversary. It's been quite the journey for the Dixen family and they are converts to the church. Sister Dixen joined in 2007 while Brother Dixen was a little more difficult to convert but joined 3 years later. Their family conversion has helped me see how the Gospel truly does change families for the better. Before Brother Dixen converted to the church, he had no intentions of joining. He was one of those guys who would ask the really hard questions trying to trip up the missionaries. After a long 3 years of taking lessons and attending church, Brother Dixen prayed and knew he had to be baptized. For a while he read the Book of Mormon secretly in his workshop (he didn't want his wife to know). Now the Hudson ward calls him the church Nazi.

We went through the endowment session with him. It's an experience I'll never forget and will make it on my top highlights for my mission experience. Then when the Dixen family came all together in white i was overcome by the spirit and i could not stop the tears of joy. This is what missionary work is all about and i knew they would be together forever after this life. How grateful i am that my family is sealed. It brings me so much joy and my comprehension has improved on this subject.

We also had the chance to witness President and Sister Clements. They focused on the same material they taught us at ZLC. However i learned to appreciate them even more and my full trust is with them. Our Oakdale Zone did a good job of welcoming the Clements family. We made poster boards and a journal with pictures and personal letters. We also gave them a giant poster board of an oak tree with descriptions of sacrifices our missionaries would make to help the Clements family. It was cool organizing, delegating and preparing these materials for what our zone could do to welcome our new mission president.

Last Tuesday we had a bit of a problem with the Menomonie Elders. Originally, we went over to the Menonmonie's apartment to drop off supplies and materials and we tried calling their cell phone but no answer. We then walked into their apartment and found both of them sleeping in with the lights completely off- it was 9:15 am. Yikes! Both of these missionaries are trunky! One is about to go home and has checked out while the other has 2 transfers left. Elder Bowen and I prayed for guidance on what approach we should take with these Elders. The following day we had PPI's which is a private priesthood interview. Elder Bowen went in one room, and i went in another. There was a lot of pressure what to say and what kind of approach would work. I was a bit worried about performing this interview, and i had a prayer in my heart. The interview went well, and to show our love we took them to lunch. Something i've learned recently is loving other missionaries no matter how odd they might be. I look at strengths before i look at weaknesses. I never did that before the mission, and it's something i hope i will do forever!

The work in Hudson is going way good! We're picking up investigators left and right! Eight weeks ago, we had a weak teaching pool. We have flushed every single investigator on the old list and replenished an entire new set of investigators. Josh Hudson will be baptized this Sunday at 6:00 o'clock. We're pretty excited for it! Josh has come out of his shell and has expressed his feels towards baptism. He announced it in priest quorum last Sunday which is a big deal because Josh has been shy about the whole conversion thing with others. Elder Bowen will baptize him and I'll confirm him the same day of his baptism (we got special permission).

Tim and Roxane came to church last sunday! We made an agreement with them on going to their church sometime this week. Both Tim and Roxane have degrees to be ministers, and so basically they know their bible like i know my cereal--very smart. They seemed to enjoy the ward. They commented that what stuck out the most to them was the feelings of love and unity between the ward. It was cool to see how every talk, lesson, and hymn was right on track for what Tim and Roxane needed to hear. The entire meeting was focused on prophets and Elders Quorum talked about family relationships.

We taught Josh Pritchett yesterday, and he actually picked us up from our training meeting! Man you know when a investigator is legit when they give you rides back! We've also picked up what could be families! We've been teaching a couple of people and there might be potential. Tonight we'll be teaching one of our new investigators Lori with the Schramm's.Our ward is doing a great job! Our ward has really strived to get non members at our dinner appointments.

Well family i love you all! Keep going strong. The basketball hoop will be a great investment of fun summer evenings. I can't wait to see pictures. I was also touched and the spirit overcame me as i read about Tanners' expereince on HT. HT was my testimony's foundation of the restoration. Keep me updated and it would be cool if Tanner wrote me a hand written note!

Scripture of the week John 16: 33

Elder Browning


Miracle Baptism!

Jul 4, 2011

Hey Family,

Whoa, that's all i can say about this week. I don't know if i have ever seen the Lords hand as much as i have this very week. We had a baptism! Crazy i know and out of the blue. Jon's heart was softened and we were able to baptize him before the month of July. It has been a week of adventure and change. At Zone leader conference we had the chance to meet our new Mission President, President Clements. I know he's been called of God. Oh and i'm over the hump--it's been a YEAR!

Jon's Baptism! To start with the story, Jon was an investigator that has been investigating for about a year now. He's 19 years old and his girl friend is a member of the church. For the longest time we've been trying to get this guy baptized because really, nothing was holding him back. I mean nothing! Jon's so legit he's taking a Book of Mormon class for school and will be attending BYU Idaho in the winter. Elder Bowen and I couldn't figure out why he didn't want to be baptized. We invited him several times in the past, but he always came back with "I didn't receive my answer yet". We then received revelation to teach him about missionary work. Does it seem weird to teach a investigator about this topic? I think not! It was pure revelation from the spirit and something I'll never forget. He pulled us aside and told us he was thinking a lot about that and his girl friend has been thinking about going on a mission. We basically told him that his talents and abilities were needed in the Kingdom of God. And so this last Thursday, Jon decided to be baptized-- the 30th of June! Our mission was also looking for 1 more miracle baptism to reach our goal for 60 baptisms! The whole mission was praying for Jon when we invited him to be baptized on Wednesday. Revelation again, because he told us for some reason that that date felt right. Jon knew he was supposed to be baptized in 22 hours time (3:00 pm Thursday). He accepted and we began to coordinate the baptism in less than a day! The ward was wonderful, members came and supported Jon and his special day.

What was really cool was Jon's parents were able to make it. They are very busy people but the Lord made it happen. Jon's parents are very supportive in his decision to be baptized. Elder Bowen baptized Jon while i had the responsibility of teaching Jon's family and the ward members the restoration lesson in between the actual ordinance and the Holy Ghost talk. As i taught the restoration with Elder Berns, there was a lot of hype in the air because Jon's parents have their own faith and are very strong in that. The members were a little timed i guess you could say in being bold. It was a little more stressful because Jon's family were staring me down sitting on the very very front row. Despite the pressure, Elder Berns and I were able to testify and teach the restoration lesson in 8 minutes. After Jon came in, he was a new person, and he had a new light about him. I look back and i know that the Lord really did give this miracle to us. The bad news it wasn't number 60. We finished with 58 baptisms for the month of June because two baptisms didn't go through. My heart was broken after all the hype and hard work to try and send off President Howell with doubling our baptisms. Oh well, we're going for a repeat for 60 in July.

Jon's confirmation went well the following Sunday. His parents again came and supported his confirmation. Jon's father came up to us and thanked Elder Bowen for the blessing, and then he commented " I think i have something that i can learn here. We'll have to have you boys come over one of these days". Sweet! We would love to teach Jon's parents!

As for other Hudson news, we had a surprise investigator show up at church. His name is Josh and the missionaries taught him before in the past. He's 25 years old and is looking for a church. Haha the Lord blessed us again! He's so legit and he's giving us a ride to St Paul next monday for a specialized training! We haven't even known this guy for a day yet. We believe he'll get baptized.

We met President and Sister Clements @ zone leader conference. We met him his 3rd day in the mission but most missionaries won't meet him till the 11th of July when he tours the mission to meet every missionary. I was blown away by President Clements! His whole way of communication and teaching style is brilliant! He's very similar to President Howell. He's very meek and humble but intelligent enough to draw attention. Everything about him i love! We are in great hands and i can't wait to get to know him more! He's very personal and just has a style about him that i love.

My face is totally sunburned! P-day was great today! Elder Bowen and I were able to go to the Hudson ward party and play some football/softball. We wore normal t -shirts and shorts! It felt good to just have some fun and get some sun shine on my white albino legs. It might take me awhile to recover.

Man you travel a lot being a zone leader. Last week we were only in our area for 4 days, and this week looks similar. We'll be going on exchanges with our struggling teams.

Well family i know God performs miracles! I know this is his work and his true living church! Love you all! Stay cool!

Elder Browning