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


Going to work in Rochester

Hey Family,
This week was far better than last week! It definitely helped that we were in our area for 5 1/2 days! We're starting to see the work improve in Rochester. I'm feeling more comfortable with the direction of balancing two wards. I've had a cold/fever for past 5 days. My noise is so annoying right now! i've probably gone through 10 rolls of toilet paper because of my stinky noise. I always can't breath at this time of the year!
A big unfortunate event happened in Rochester. The Stevens family from the Rochester 3rd ward lost their 19 year old son a week ago. He was hit by a car trying to cross the highway in Minneapolis. We'll be attending the funeral today after emailing.
We started off the week in Preston, Minnesota, a place very close the Iowa border, so it was a bit of a drive for us. Elder Potter and I had a really good time traveling the road and working with the Preston Elders. We were very impressed with the success in their area. What impressed me the most is Preston is a beastly 1,500 people with a few other small surrounding towns. They have all the odds against them for not teaching a lot of lessons, but they actually teach the most out of the whole zone! The Preston branch consist of 25 active members, which shows that if you have quality over quantity you can achieve greater heights. If an area is dead, it's not because of the people, or the city circumstance, it's always the missionaries.
As far as the work in Rochester 2nd and 4th ward goes, we picked up 3 new investigators. We're pretty excited about that, because we've been struggling to teach. Becca is a young single adult and she's solid. There is a cool connection here as well. Her grandma is sister Schmitt, and sister Schmitt is a member of the Rochester 1st ward (my first area). I taught she and her husband. I was very close to the Schmitts. We tried to get them both totally active again. Sadly, Brother Schmitt passed away a couple months ago. Right before i left for Eden Prairie, Brother Schmitt was diagnosed with cancer and they asked for a final blessing from me. That experience has been one of the most powerful experiences i have had on the mission thus far. Just a couple of days ago, i called Sister Schmitt again to talk to her about her granddaughter Becca investigating the church. Sister Schmitt opened up to me and thanked me because of the blessing I gave Brother Schmitt. It gave him the strength to come to church. A week before he died, he bore his testimony for the first time at a fast and testimony meeting. I'm grateful i was able to be an instrument in the Lords hands to bring about his work.
Yesterday i gave a talk in the 2nd ward. It was a last second notice that came on Friday night. I was happy to do it! The main point of my message was becoming more spiritually self reliant through the 3 basic resources -spiritual CPR (Church, Prayer, and Scriptures). If you'd like, i could mail a copy of my talk.
Elder Potter and I were able to meet with the Stake President, President Foote. He’s really missionary minded and has a desire to help the missionaries out. I have so much respect for the leaders who are spiritually self reliant.
Nick came to church again which was really cool. He loves coming to scouts and learning about God. Not a lot of 13 year olds have the drive to find God! He's one of a kind. We taught Nick with his mother Amy as well and met their father for the first time. YES! I think we were able to break the ice with him. Amy is such a good woman that wants good values in her home.
Juhnie (one of our 4th ward investigators) also came to church. He's been blind for 5 years! He came for the primary program and loved it! The spirit was strong as the kids sang songs.
Hey family i'll be sending you some pictures ASAP. Have a great week!
Elder Browning

Rochester Struggles

Sep 19, 2011

Hey Family,
It's been an interesting week. Coming into Rochester has been a challenge. As you know Elder Potter and I were white washed into 4th ward while still juggling 2nd ward. It has been difficult to manage both wards and really focus on the needs of the area. It's hard to remember names! One ward was hard enough let alone 2. We have a lot on our plate right now and it's a little scary! We had the worst week as far as numbers! Basically both 2nd and 4th had nothing on for some time.
We were able to visit some of our teams in the zone mon-wed. The Lacrosse Elders, and Sparta Elders. We have a phenomenal zone--strong missionaries and lots of faith --more than Oakdale. The Rochester Zone has always struggled so president is trying to stack it with good missionaries. I love working with other missionaries. It's the best way to show your love when you work side by side with them. Usually when we work we spend the night, and it's a great time to get to know them and also have fun! Clean fun of course! It's just like a sleep over with your buddies. You’re always at the mercy of their apartment though. Sleeping is always a challenge but my body has adapted well to a hard wood floor =).
The reason we went to Sparta was they needed a couple of baptismal interviews done. I had the opportunity to interview brother Tim. This man use to be anti-Mormon, but the spirit of the Lord overcame him and he read the Book of Mormon and he could not deny it. Conducting an interview is definitely a spiritual time. They always have a glow about them before their interview and you can almost see a physical change in their character. I love being a missionary.
Now as far as the work in Rochester 2nd and 4th ward, it has been interesting to say the least. We are eating a lot of food though! We have 2 big wards that have to fight over the dinner calendar. But we're not teaching a whole lot, and it doesn't help when we're only in our area for 4 days of the week. Our area is suffering big time! Elder Potter and I know we have to make some dramatic changes to try and get this north part of Rochester up and running again. We think we've established a reason why missionary work has always been difficult for 4th ward. It might be because there are so many young families and so many students going to school at Mayo. Their lives are just starting with their families and they have a lot to worry about. But Elder Potter and I are coming up with simple ways to help them share the gospel.
We have two investigators that are progressing. Amy and Nick. Nick was just made the scout troop leader! He loves coming to mutual and loves church. Elder Potter tracked into Amy and Nick 3 weeks before i came. Tracking still works!
Well family i love you all! I'm excited for this upcoming week! We have a lot of appointments coming up so it will be great!
I gave Tanner a # so follow up with him on that. Jon Shirley is a recent convert and is in Idaho for school--BYU I. Have him over for dinner!
Elder Browning

Rochester Life

Sep 12, 2011

Hey family,
It's good being back in Rochester! I have felt great so far being here. This last week has been crazy. Elder Potter and I have been white washed into 4th ward, which means two brand new missionaries start in a ward together. Plus we still have our old ward to watch over,Rochester 2nd ward. Now can you imagine trying to get to know two brand new wards! It's a challenge, but it keeps us busy.
Two investigators came to church, Amy and Nick. Both are amazing! Nick(12 years old) is Amy's son, he eats up the gospel and loves going to class! Missionaries tracked into them 3 weeks before i got here.They are social butterflies with the members and they go on their own to sunday school.
It really has been something else being in Rochester! I'm grateful for the chance to learn and grow. We're going to Sparta Wisconsin tonight. We'll be over in that area for about 2 days going on tour to see other missionaries.
Well i must go! I'll write a better bigger email next week.
Elder Browning


Crazy Life

Aug 31, 2011

Hey Family,
So the last week has been insane. We've had meetings, exchanges, activities, and best of all lots of appointments! Actually right now i'm in Cottage Grove, and we had a few spare moments to write this. We've just been all over the state! I'll try to give you a better email next week! Don't worry i'm still alive! We'll be having an exchange with the Cottage Grove elders and the Eagan elders will be tomorrow.
So the last two days we've had Zone Leader Council and Leadership training. President Clements has once again amazed me of his vision and intelligence. Elder Horgomo and I gave an hour long training at the leadership meeting. That was a growning experience! It was a little intimidating to train the best missionaries in the mission. It went well, and President was pleased with our training. I'll tell you more about that next week.
We also have been having appointments like no other! Jessica our newest investigator came to church this last sunday. She's 18 and we invited her to be baptized. She said yes! It was wonderful! We've exposed her to members and she loved church! Also we have a new investigator Angelia and she had dinner at the Schramms house. I love our members here.
Today we went down for another district meeting! Doesn't look like we'll have a p-day! Oh well.
I'm so happy we've been busy! It's a wonderful feeling as a missionary! Elder Horgmo is awesome, our zone is awesome and life is awesome!
Elder Browning

Where Did the Time Go?

Aug 22, 2012

Hey Family,
This letter will be short again! Basically, we've been busy! We've been able to build our teaching pool to a decent size to keep us busy and on our toes. I've really enjoyed working with Elder Horgmo, he's a little fire ball full of energy. He has one of the biggest testimonies though! He's been out for about 10 months, and i think our success has come from hard work and unity.
We've been struggling to get investigators to church. I'm not sure what we're doing wrong! We've involved more members that ever in all of our appointments, and so i'm not sure what the deal is. Right now we have two dates for baptism, Mike and Harvey. We had a super super spiritual lesson with Mike last Monday night. We brought our best joint teacher- Brother Dixen. It paid off! They were able to relate and open up with each other. Tanner are you reading this? Get ready to be a match maker! I'm serious, you're going to have to be able to put similar personalities together and introduce strangers. It's a lot of fun, and lately we've been praying on what joint teachers we should bring. The Lord always gives us an answer on who's the right fit. We committed Mike to be baptized on September 9th- it will be pushed back. He's been reading in the Book of Mormon and he's officially a book worm! We'll be teaching him again.
Harvey Is doing alright, but he didn't come to church which was a dagger to the heart (since he promised). However, last night we talked to him about commandments, mainly Church and baptism. He recognizes he's been blessed temporally from the Lord. Harvey made the comment that since he's been taking the missionary discussions the Lord has watched over him. We have one barrier with him though, his wife is a Jehovah Witness,yikes!
We had the opportunity to travel to Barron, Wisconsin last Thursday. Yep and it lived up to the name "barren". Dang i can't believe they have a ward up in the middle of no where! I thought St Anthony was a ghost town. The reason for the trip was Keyanne (Barron's elders investigator) had to have an interview by one of us. Baptismal interviews are always a spiritual experience. It's clearer than day- you can see the light of Christ that's in their eyes.The Barron Elders have been struggling as far as numbers. It was cool to help them and see a few miracles in the day. Exchanges always help missionaries refocus and boost their self confidence. Every area has potential. It just depends on the missionaries!
I hope Julia is doing ok! Also how was Carly's wedding? i bet it was marvelous.
As a Zone we're having a zone p-day next week, and so my email might be short again. We'll be housing 4 other missionaries next Monday night. The last couple of p-days we've just been playing the piano at the church and basketball. It's been really fun, and that's really all we can do as missionaries without breaking rules!
Stay safe and i love you all so much!
Elder Browning