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


Thanks Again!

December 26, 2011

Hey Family,

First of all it was amazing seeing you all on the computer. I have a strong testimony of the gospel and how it brings family happiness. I'm so grateful for all of you and your sweet spirits.

Christmas was a great day. I'm so grateful for the spirit of Christmas. Our saviors birth is a wonderful event to celebrate. My morning for Christmas day was a bit different from the rest of you. We woke up at our usual 6:30am time and Elder Messenger was gracious enough to make breakfast for Elder Watkins and Elder Lewis (zone leaders). It was good being with Elder Watkins again for Christmas, i was with him last year in Eden Prairie. We opened our presents together and enjoyed each others company. We tried keeping each other busy Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Later that day we had lunch with some members, and they did a good job of taking care of a few lonely people in Duluth including missionaries +). The spirit let me know of my blessings because the lunch conversation was directed to "favorite Christmas memories". A man who doesn't have much shared his favorite experience. He explained that growing up his mother couldn't provide gifts for the kids, but despite their low income, his favorite memory was singing Christmas hymns with his family. It brought me to tears how sincere he was. All of the other memories were no where near as sincere as his basic and simple memory. We then went to church where we sung Christmas hymns. We had 5 investigators to church! Good thing, because we only had around 50 members =(

Christmas Eve was a great day and we were able to stop by most of our investigators and wish them a merry Christmas. Later that evening we caroled with the zone leaders. It was a good experience and we sounded pretty good. =) It's amazing to think of all the great memories i've developed on Christmas Eve being away from home.

Jaunney will be baptized this Saturday! She'll be the cleanest person for the New Year-- a great way to start a New Years resolution. I'm really excited for the baptism. Jaunney has been through a lot and the ward really needs this to boost their morale.

We were able to eat at the restaurant called Grandma's. There's a really big marathon race called “Grandma” up here. The restaurant is right up against the lake-- it is beautiful. I'll send pictures soon. Duluth is a unique city.

Well I love you all! Hope you have fun this week. Thanks again for the gifts. I'm wearing the hat and using the duct tape wallet right now.

Elder Browning


Merry Christmas!

December 19, 2011

Hey Family,

Christmas time is drawing near. It's been so fast that Duluth hasn't received its snowfall! What, a brown Christmas in Minnesota? We're getting close! This week went really well and the biggest highlight was yesterday we were able to help 10 people come to church-- 4 investigators and 6 less actives. What a great sight seeing most of your teaching pool at church! It really helped to build my faith. I'd like to make a special shout out to my wonderful parents happy 22nd anniversary!

As you know we had our Christmas zone conference last Thursday. It was a great day! President Clements really is a great leader for this mission. He had nothing but good things to say about Duluth because Duluth has been tearing it up in the last 2 months. We led in all categories as far as numbers. Oh and the biggest news, we watched the Disney movie "Miracle". Remember the hockey movie about USA vs Russia? Haha first time i've watched a movie in 18 months! I think for now on i'll only be able to see movies with a spiritual sense because i kept pulling out eternal principles and spiritual principles! All of the missionaries had a really good time watching this flick-- a great Christmas present from our president. Haha it's funny what happens on the mission. I was also able to catch up with my boy Elder Filby. He's in Thunder-Bay, Canada right now.

After the Christmas zone conference, i had the chance to go to Grand Rapids and exchange with Elder Campbell. Friday, i had the opportunity to interview one of their investigators for baptism! It was a great experience. I also had another interview on Sunday with one of North Shores investigators. I love being a district leader. I was able to do a few baptismal interviews when i was a zone leader, but that happened only when the district leader was having a baptism. My first training is this Wednesday and it's over skype because my district is so big!

I just left the computer and talked to a family that was kicked out of their home. They have no where to go but the library. They are such a good looking family! My heart goes out to them. We were able to give them a Book of Mormon and let them know the reality of Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas! I hope you all have an enjoyable week together. Make sure you give lots of attention to Tanner this Christmas. Thanks again for everything! I love you all so much!

Elder Browning

P.S. I'm sending ya'll a package and it will need to be wrapped! Thanks-- i'm too poor out here.

Duluth Minnesota

December 12, 2011

Hey family,

I would just like to start off by thanking the family for the Christmas package! I'm grateful to have a family that loves and cares about me. It was a great treat to receive it as i've been trying to adjust here in Duluth.

Transfer day was a kick in the behind. It really was a growing experience. I was able to catch the bus with 4 other missionaries. Elder Watkins (Eden Prairie companion last year) was coming up to Duluth with me to be my zone leader. My big bag weighed 80 pounds! It cost me an extra 30 bucks from my personal funds! The bus trip was about 3 hours.

I'm not frozen yet! People say the weather has actually been fairly warm. It's really is a beautiful place with Lake Superior. It’s crazy because it feels like an ocean! I was fortunate to come into the area with a baptismal date. It seems like people are a little more receptive and humble up here. Maybe that's because we're in the lower class part of Duluth. Thank heaven i have a few members up here that i'm starting to connect with. The Twin Ports ward is a struggling ward that's lacking in numbers. We had 50 people at church last Sunday. A lot of less actives here! Elder Messenger is awesome and we're getting a long great.

We have a Christmas zone conference this Thursday and i'll be heading to Grand Rapids this week for exchanges. I'm looking forward to the new role of a district leader. My district is probably the biggest district in the mission geographically. I'll have to skype in my district meetings!

Well family thank you so much for everything! I'll talk to you all later. Skype here we come!

Elder Browning

Transferred to Duluth

December 5, 2011

Hey Family,

I've been transferred to Duluth Minnesota! I can't believe I'm going up north of the cities. It will be a 3 hour bus ride from the Twin cities. I'm excited and extremely sad at the same time. My heart and home is here in Rochester. I've developed so many good relationships and friendships it will be hard to leave- I'm sure I'll have some teary eyes. I will be a district leader up there. Duluth has been known in the mission as the wilderness, cold and beautiful. I'll be able to see Lake Superior for the first time. Duluth typically receives more snow than the twin cities or Rochester. My companion will be Elder Messenger. I'm very sad to leave Rochester, but the Lord knows what needs to happen for me to learn and grow. I will do what the Lord commands!

This last week Rochester Stake had their annual Nativity display. It was a huge attraction for the city of Rochester. This was their 11th year putting this display together and they have created a good reputation for Rochester over the years. There was over 200 unique nativities from different countries-- it truly was a sight to see. The stake did not hold back on going all out. There was musical numbers along with light refreshments and a live nativity. Of course there were tons of non-members and we had a few investigators come which was great!

We're putting on a party for Elder Bowen. Elder Bowen has influenced me greatly on the mission. He is one of the best examples and leaders. He leaves for home this Wednesday. We've created a poster board with pictures we'll have a good time together with him playing dodge ball.

The snow is here! Last Saturday the storm hit! It will be cold from here on out. My goodness i'm scared for this winter because Duluth is a bit more extreme than Rochester. I'm grateful for my coat and my warm gloves and hat.

I will miss David, Amanda and family. David was telling us a couple days ago that he bought some handcuffs to keep both Elder Potter and I here. I will dearly miss them for i know why i was sent to Minnesota. I will keep close contact with them, and one day, i hope you all will be able to meet them!

Well Family i love you all! Stay warm and pray extra hard for me in Duluth that i may travel safe on Wednesday at 10:00am. I'm glad Dallin is feeling well.

Elder Browning