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



Nov 28, 2011

Hey Family,

As you know the crowning event happened last Saturday. I'll never forget that experience. I have a testimony that if you do all that you can, the Lord steps in and always provides a way. I hope you enjoy the pictures! We took a few, and we're making a scrap book for David and Amanda's family.

The baptism of David and Angela was of course the highlight of the week. It was a highly anticipated event for the Stake of Rochester and Minnesota Minneapolis Mission. The turn out was overwhelming. We had 100+ people attend the baptism, and numerous investigators were there. Bishop Larsen commented that he's never seen so much support in his life for a baptism. A big solid family deserves a big support group. I'm grateful for the members in the second ward. As you know to complete the big stage, President and Sister Clements were in attendance for the baptism, as well as President Foote, the Stake Pres. We truly felt the spirit at this baptismal service. Elder Potter sang a musical number "Be Still my Soul" and it was powerful. David and Angela were full of light, and i couldn't but help smile as i sat by their family in the front row. Their whole family was glowing with light! They will be great members. Nothing brings me more joy than to see a kingdom builder family enter the fold. We confirmed David and Angela the same day. David asked me to confirm him and Brother Darsow confirmed Angela. It was an experience i'll never forget. Some big names were in the confirmation circle: Bishop Larsen, President Clements, and President Foote, men i truly look up to. A sister missionary commented after David's confirmation, " His face was beaming with light". Usually they're confirmed during sacrament meeting but David's friend passed away and he had to attend the funeral. I told David that before he went to see his friends in Wisconsin, that it was his duty to be the light and star to lead his friends to the truth during this difficult time. It's been neat to see so many deep relationships that David and Amanda's family have created. That's the only way recent converts will stay active-fellowshipping. Elder Potter and I have a very strong bond, so we'll be going over there tonight to decorate their Christmas tree with their family. =) I'm excited to keep in contact with them.

We've been working with a part member family. Tom (the father) is a member and his wife and 4 children have never been exposed to the church. Tom hasn't been to church in 20 years. He's your typical tough guy with a teddy bear inside. It's been hard to get him to church but he came and witnessed a powerful spirit at the baptism. Right after the baptism i talked to him and told him that we wanted this same thing for his family.
We still have a lot of work to do in the two wards. We're dropping a lot of investigators who are not progressing. We'll be focusing on working with the auxiliary leaders this week. We're trying to push the less active work because it's really the best source for teaching and baptisms plus bringing back someone that is lost. How can the Lord expect to bless a ward if they don't take care of their own members? We're pushing a Christmas message with all of the members. We're trying our best to inspire them to invite their friends to activities and try to have them take advantage of this holiday season. Here's the poem we've come up with, we're using this to get our message across.

Sounds like the family had a good time in Utah. Thanksgiving wasn't too lonely for myself. The weather hasn't been too bad here, and the snow hasn't arrived yet. Scary experience for Dallin and glad to hear he's ok.

Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Browning

Thanksgiving/ Upcoming baptism

Nov 24, 2011

Hey Family,

Happy thanksgiving! What a wonderful time of the year--the holidays are here! I'm so grateful for so many things and in this email i'll include a list and the majority will be my expressions of thanksgiving.

This week has been quite the experience but mostly because it's the winding down to David and their daughter's baptism. I have been waiting for this moment and i'm so grateful to be part of this journey with David. I can't wait until you meet him and his wonderful family. We're making this baptism a big deal over here in Rochester. President Clements and Sister Clements will be here on Saturday to attend the baptism. President Foote (stake president) will also be there. We're leaping with excitement because we're both taking part in the program. Elder Potter will baptize David, and I'll be baptizing Angela. The ward has really been behind us. It's been years since Rochester has had a full family come into the gospel. Bishop Larsen has been here for years and years and he can't recall a full family joining the fold. Yes! The hype is hard to control! It's on our mind every day, all day. David will be an amazing priesthood holder. He's been so faithful and has become a great brother in the gospel. I will not loose touch with him or his family.

It's amazing how trials hit before the final leap of faith. A good friend of David passed away from a car crash. David received this news 5 minutes after we left from a discussion. He read 2 Nephi 9 which talks about the plan of salvation, and it gave him a large amount of comfort. David will leave right after the baptism to see his loved ones who are suffering. He'll be a great light to his friends and perhaps trials do happen before something great comes. Amanda’s niece passed away unexpectedly before her baptism.

David has been a rock through his journey to quit drinking and chew and he's still going strong. This is a true miracle and i'll remember his faith and actions forever. The ward is taking some good action to invite them to FHE, dinner, activities, etc. David and Amanda's family are celebrities! They are social butterflies as they mingle with member families.

So Thanksgiving has been good. I'd like to make a special shout out to the Bessett family (ward missionary in 4th ward) for feeding us and taking us. There's a lot of people here right now, and i'm grateful for their willingness to feed two hungry orphan missionaries.

This morning we played the annual turkey bowl. Last year we played with a foot of snow, and this year has improved as far as the weather goes. It was still cold in the mid 30's and windy, but it was a lot of fun. I had an ok game with 3 throwing td's and 1 interception. the interception came at the very end where i made a final dive/tackle to save the interception touch down and redeem my horrible throw. I landed on the ground pretty hard, and i felt sorry because it was an older man that i hit and he was a bit dazed after. My left ankle suffered the consequence of my actions, and i can hardly walk. Then my right arm took a bang also. My turkey bowl career is over as a missionary. Haha.

What i'm grateful for:
I’m grateful for technology that allows me to email and keep in touch with my family. I'm grateful for my Heavenly Father and Savoir Jesus Christ. I've been able to really appreciate their influence in my life. I'm grateful for my testimony, it has tripled as i've been out here. I'm grateful for my family, I truly have the best family. I have realized the importance of goodly parents. It's really cool to see in the Book of Mormon, how Lehi teaches Jacob, and then to see Jacob teach and testify of the same things as his father. I'm so grateful for my mission. I have learned and grown so much. I'm grateful for David and Amanda and their desire to come close to Christ, and it's been the crowning event of my mission. I'm grateful that the Lord allowed me to be part of their conversion journey. They will be baptized this Saturday at 2 o’clock.

Have a great week family. i love you all and i'm grateful for your prayers and support! Have fun in the sun in St George Utah! Well i better go, Thanksgiving dinner calls!

Elder Browning


Crowning event

Nov 14, 2011

Hey Family,

Sorry this will be short again, but i had wonderful week again. David (Amanda's husband) is doing wonders and i'll explain details shortly. But truly right now i'm at the crowning moment of my mission. Also it's neat to hear about the exciting news that Jeren is coming home. I can't believe that. Time really goes fast! Also that's great news that Nelson is going to California.

David is doing super, he's amazing. He'll be a kingdom builder for sure. David commited to live the word of wisdom and has stuck to it! Chew and drinking will not longer be a problem. The cool miracle was the joint teacher we brought Brother Buman. He was perfect because he was able to relate to David's situation. Elder Potter and I didn't know the real reason why we called him, but the spirit told us to. David commented and said, “Boy you guys are good at what you are doing (bringing over a perfect joint teacher that relates)”. We told him it was God. The neat thing about this whole process is David is keeping himself busy. He's doing whatever it takes to stay away from temptation. He even moved his work schedule around so that he can make it to church to receive spiritual strength. It has been the best sight to see David and his family sit together. The ward is jumping all over this and they're really excited about missionary work. It has truly been a great experience. I have found my family! I’ve been praying for this moment on my mission. We got special permission to go to the gym a couple times with David and Amanda, to help keep David focused and busy. David and Angel will be baptized together on Nov 26. It will be a great day! I look forward to come back in one years time and see them get sealed in the temple.

I'm so grateful to be a missionary at this time. I'm loving Rochester! Elder Zwick of the 70 will be coming for a mission tour this Friday, and also he'll attend our Zone leader council. That will be really neat! I'm pretty pumped for that!

Guess what? I'm still running! Brother Buman has been pushing us to the limit, and the other day we went 8 miles! Our goal is 10 by the end of the transfer. It feels really good to run!

Well family I love you all! Give Jeren a big hug for me! He was an amazing missionary.

Elder Browning


Nov 7, 2011

Hey family,

This email will be a quick one. Elder Potter and I had a great week! We set a date with David! This will complete the family. David is the husband to Amanda. He came to church and has received a spiritual answer. David has told us of his spiritual conversion. Every time he reads the Book of Mormon he said in his own words, "The whole household gets quiet and peaceful. The kids even asked, “Daddy can we go to church again? It felt good".

This week has changed my life and brought me so much peace and love for those I'm serving. We committed David to the Word of Wisdom. He's grown up on this stuff, so it's a challenge for him. We brought over the perfect joint teacher, our Elders quorum president. He was able to relate to him really well because our Elders quorum president went through the same thing. We'll be working out with David at 8:00 at night to help keep his mind of the beer (that's his usual temptation time).

Sorry family i'm running out of time! I'll try to send another email!

Elder Browning


Happy times in Elder Browning's life

Oct 31, 2011

Hey Family,

I can't believe Tanner is going to Russia, I'm so excited and thrilled to here this news. He'll be a great missionary. My heart raced has i read Tanner’s well put together letter of his experience opening his mission call. What a great time for the Browning family! Russia is a little more extreme i think than Minnesota! But none the less to my defense anything is foreign when you're raised in Idaho. We're all called to different assignments for the Lord. I know Tanner’s call to Russia is from God. It really brought memories of that day when i opened up my mission call. I was so excited i couldn't even pronounce Minneapolis! Great memories, and that's a great tradition. I realize that i'll be second string when Feb 1st comes when it comes to letters. Haha Jk.

Rochester, Minnesota is doing well! We've been able to teach and pick up 6 new investigators. It's been a great blessing and of course the Lord has a hand in it. I'm grateful we've seen such great progress. The biggest update for Rochester is that Amanda's husband and entire family came to church. It was one of the most amazing sights to see a family of 6 come into the church building. We're super close to set a date with Amanda's husband. He's super cool, he's one of our buddies, and wants to be baptized while both Elder Potter and I are still in Rochester. This will be my first full family coming into the gospel. Another great update, Nathan received the priesthood at church. It will be amazing to see him pass the sacrament at church next week. There has been so much peace and joy in my heart.

We've seen a lot of success this last transfer. We're working with 20+ people and had two baptisms, We've had some pretty powerful first lessons with our new investigators and we had a church tour with one of our investigators. Church tours are great, especially when the investigator is shy or slow to come to church. It's a great way to slowly warm up to the church attendance habit. Rochester 4th ward had a Halloween party where they invited the missionaries to have a marshmallow contest. The goal of the contest was to stuff as many marshmellows in your mouth as possible. It was a lot of fun, and i was able to get 15 marshmallows in my mouth before i started gagging uncontrollably. Elder Potter was able to have 20! He doesn't gag easy though.

Well I gotta go carve pumpkins. Love ya’ll. Happy Halloween!

Elder Browning

Baptism in Rochester! And staying in Rochester!

Oct 24, 2011
Hey family,
Oh my word this week has been filled with so much emotion. I can't wait to tell you all of these miracles in person! It's hard for me to describe myself and express the joy i have over an email, but I'll do my best. This week has been the crowning event of my mission so far. Oh and i'm staying for another transfer! Rochester is home away from home.
It's killing me that i can't say their names over email--it's a new rule. I'll use fake names for the email.
This last Saturday Rochester 2nd Ward had two baptisms. Amanda and Nathan, were baptized into the church. It has been an amazing experience being able to witness and experience a true conversion. From the start, they both had very little knowledge of the gospel. I would say the best part of this whole miracle would be David, the father. He has accepted to be baptized and believes that this church will help unify their family. The whole entire family came to the baptism, They have 4 kids total, a 10 year old girl, 4 year old boy and 2 year old boy. It was amazing to see! The ward was very supportive and the attendance was great at the baptism. The whole entire Relief society room was filled.
I had the opportunity to baptize Nathan, and Brother Darsow baptized Amanda. The spirit was there, and it's something i will never be able to deny. I asked Nathan how he felt afterwards. He gave the usual response, "cold and happy!". I then confirmed Amanda and Bishop confirmed Nathan. It was another powerful experience. Amanda was so grateful that she shared the powerful influence of peace she had with us after the baptism. The church is true!
Alright, now what really touched me this week was David's progression. Last Monday we taught David with Amanda and Nathan. We originally prepared a lesson to prepare Amanda and Nathan for baptism but David surprised us and came down and sat in on the discussion. We of course being some what intelligent, geared the lesson toward him. We introduced the Book of Mormon, and gave a short Restoration lesson. David was rather quiet but you could tell he was feeling the spirit. I then extended a baptismal invite during the end of the lesson. He said yes! Amazing! The spirit was ultra strong and for the first time on my mission i felt the spirit of unity coming together with a family. Yeah it's true, i haven't baptized a complete family yet. Later that week we had a church tour for David. We invited the Buman family (Elder Quorum president) and Brother Darsow who has met David before. We set up pictures and used the building as a visual aid to teach about the restoration.
So let me explain what this church tour consists of. On this church tour, we start in the fourier and talk about the spirit and have a little mini lesson on the Holy Spirit. Then we go into the chapel and testify of the sacrament and talk about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and that he sent his Only Begotten Son to be the ultimate resource. Then we talk about prophets and show various pictures of prophets in the Old Testament. Then we take them through the gym and have them realize the distinction of the light vs the darkness and what happens to the world when evil men reject the prophets. Then we have a room full of light with Christ and his earthly ministry and then show a clip of the Restoration. Then we have a room set up with all the modern Apostles and Prophets today with a big picture of Christ in the middle. The spirit was there and David felt the love and peace of our message. David then came to me after the tour and said "I'm 99% sure that I'll be baptized, i just have to tell my family." Ahh! He then told us his reading in the Book of Mormon was coming along great. He said "I usually have a hard time retaining what i read, but the book of Mormon is different-- it makes sense." That is another testimony to me that the Book of Mormon is true. This experience has truly changed my mission and faith. I'll never forget this last weekend of miracles.
I can't believe Tanner will be receiving his mission call soon! I think he's going to Jacksonville Florida- that's my number 1 guess. Out of country would be Argentina. I'm flipping out and i'll be thinking of Tanner this week!
Elder Potter and I are staying for another transfer together. I'm so happy! We both wanted to stay and be here for David’s baptism which should be next month.
We woke up at 6 to go on a 5 mile run with one of our members. It about killed me! The weather is still reasonable here, and I’m still trying to stay in shape--it's difficult.
I love you all and hope everything is going well.
Elder Browning

Best weekend ever in Rochester

Oct 17, 2011

Hey Family,

Oh my goodness i have so much to tell you! However, my writing is weak, “therefore i cannot write but a few words which sufficeth me”.

As you know, Elder Cook came to Rochester! I had the chance to hear from him Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I can testify that he's been called of God. The quorum of the twelve apostles is the organization that Christ established for the latter-days. Let me try to convey this weekend.

Friday was a tender mercy. President Clements invited the city of Rochester to come up to Bloomington to hear from Elder Cook. We arrived early for interviews, which made it difficult because the anticipation was killing us for Elder Cook's arrival. After some study in the chapel to prepare for Elder Cook’s arrival, the time came and Elder Cook came through the door with his wife. I was so pumped to see my 150 brothers in arms with an apostle in our presence. Elder Cook's main message was "You're doing the best thing right now as a missionary". He shared some early church history experiences with the first missionaries. He talked about how all odds were against the first international missionaries, but they were able to have their first baptisms a week later after the arrival of missionaries in England. Sister Cook talked about the power of testimony in music. " What's stronger than truth? Truth in a musical setting". That really hit home because my passion for music has increased tremendously out here on the mission. I believe i was born with this passion. I know I'm a late bloomer to music and mom i should have listened to you and kept with my piano lessons.

Saturday was a super day as well. President Clements had Elder Potter and I help him in his talk to the Stake and ward leadership meeting with Elder Cook and Elder Payne of the Quorum of the 70. I sat right behind Elder Cook! We helped president set up the computer for the power point display before the meeting, and during the training we helped with the power point. So there are some perks to being a zone leader.=) It was the coolest thing because Elder Cook had an open question and answer conversation at the meeting. Elder Payne and Elder Cook went back and forth answering questions like Batman and Robin! It was amazing to see the wisdom and knowledge they had. Questions like, the future with missionary tracting, countries opening up, computer usage for missionaries etc. It was legit. Oh and during Presidents talk/training he shared the miracle of one of our (Elder Potter and I) investigators getting their answer after listening to Elder Cooks last conference talk.

That evening there was also an adult session of Stake Conference. We were able to get two investigators to go to that. We got the first two rows on the side and we made sure they would get a good view of the apostle. Both of our investigators loved it and took notes. The meeting was amazing and the talks truly talked to our investigators. Elder Cook then came down to shake our hands - we made sure we were first. I still remember what he said to our investigator, "Are you investigating the church?" -yes, "Have you felt the spirit today"? -yes, "Listen to these missionaries, whatever they say. You're on the right path". How cool is that? An apostle of the lord being able to testify to our investigator!

I'd like to finish with the miracle i might have mentioned. Due to the new rule, i won't be able to say our investigators names anymore over email.

One of our investigators came to the last session of conference and got her answer to be baptized after Elder Cook's talk. With this, we were very excited to have her listen to Elder Cook while he was here in Rochester to finalize that answer that she received two weeks ago. She wasn't planning on coming, due to health and late hours at work. But we we're able to testify of the need to hear Elder Cook speak in person. It was amazing how everything came together. Satan turned her alarm off, but she still woke up out of the blue on time and was able to come to Stake conference at 9:30 am after working late hours of hard work. Then, every talk applied to her. President Foot’s talk was about life after death and comfort of the plan of happiness (our investigator’s loved one is going through a hard time) and lots of things were answered. At the very end of Stake Conference, President Clements was able to get Elder Cook to meet out investigator. I was doing a baptismal interview at the time, so i wasn't there. But it's amazing how the Lord works! We have two baptisms this Saturday, Oct 22nd!

Well i most go golfing with one of our members love you all!

Elder Browning