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


Little colder, little stronger

January 23, 2012

Hey Family,

Minnesota is finally living up to what it should be for weather. We've had some -30 below days with the wind chill. The snow is coming down right now, and everyone is grateful for this because the snow actually helps insulate the water pipes from freezing and breaking. Elder Olavason is such a cool guy and he's been out for about 6 months. We have so much in common. He loves basketball and loves BYU. We're working hard together. He's from Rigby, Idaho and knows a few of my friends in Rigby. The week was strong in some aspects and weak in others. We had 3 investigators to church, Missy and Kortney (our date sets) came and loved church. It was a good all around week for us. We found 5 new investigators too. We also introduced and implemented the idea of setting our monthly missionary goals (key indicators) to our ward council. It was a really neat experience to have the leaders in the ward come forth and get excited about our goals.

Missy and Kortney have been doing really well! So well, they're sharing the gospel with their family. We've started to teach their mom and 11 year old brother. We met at their house to teach the whole family. It's been really neat to see the light of Christ in Missy and Kortney's eyes as they share the gospel. I'm telling ya, the Lord blesses our testimony when we share it. The Lord will only strengthen our testimony so much before he expects us to share the gospel. My testimony has never been stronger, and it's because i share it 24/7. We're also working with a guy named Matt. He has voiced he wants to be baptized and wants to change his life. He's going through a lot of things right now, so hopefully we'll be able to get him to church.

Transfers were rather crazy. We had the Thunder Bay Canada elders come down to pick up their new trainers. Elder Filby (i trained him in Eden Prairie) is now in Thunder Bay. We were companions again for about half a day. It was a great experience! Who ever thought we would be together again in Duluth? Elder Filby and I are very close, and we'll definitely be hanging out when our missions come to a close. We looked at each others pictures on our camera's and talked about the good old days in Eden Prairie. We had so many funny and spiritual experiences together- a good night of laughter!

We'll i'm loving life. There is nothing better than missionary work. I'm so grateful for my time here in Duluth. We had the best week as a district! 35 new investigators the last 2 weeks! We also had 14 investigators to church as a district! We also made our goal of 3 baptisms in January. We have 5 baptism dates as a district for February. I have really loved this role as a district leader.

Elder Filby and I @ our apartment.
And the other was in the morning when it was below zero- my eyelashes froze!

Stay warm and happy!
Elder Browning

Transfers and more!

January 16, 2012

Hey Family,

This week has been great! We're teaching a lot of people! The big news for this week is transfers! I'll be staying in the Twin Ports ward! Elder Messenger is getting the boot and will be heading to Shoreview (St Paul). I am pleased to announce that my new companion will be an Idahoan. Elder Olavason is his name! I actually was his Zone Leader when i was in Rochester. He's a very hard worker and he's been out for about 6months. President is expecting big things to happen with us two Idahoans being together. I'm a really big fan of Elder Olavason and i know his good work ethic and testimony. I'm really excited for this transfer-- i know it will be a good one.

Missy Evan and Kortney are doing ok. They did not come to church this last week- they slept in. This 9 o'clock schedule is brutal on our investigators. Right now we're in a dry patch with 0 investigators to church in the last 2 weeks. This is really dumb because we've been averaging 4-5 each week before the dry spell. Satan really works hard to stop the work! We were able to teach them right after church. Brother Grew came with us and we taught about keeping the Sabbath day holy. =) They understood it really well and know they have to do a better job.

I'm really loving the people i serve. There just is a deep love and concern for those who you associate with. Even though the ward is terribly small, the members embrace us, and we embrace them. Except for one man that was hard to love. One of our less actives invited us over while surprising us with one of her hardcore Baptist friends. He destroyed the lesson by bashing and attacking our beliefs that we were trying to teach her son. It was terrible and he attacked everything. We ended up giving him a Book of Mormon and asking him to read 2 Nephi 33 which talks about Nephi's final testimony of Christ. How can people deny that the Book of Mormon is the word of God? Read the book with a sincere heart and God will give you a witness. All i could say was, " I have received a spiritual witness, and this witness hasn't come from man, but from God". I felt the authority of our calling as we testified of the restored gospel.

I gave a Sacrament talk this last week. They asked me last second on Thursday night. I prepared a 10minute talk on the Sabbath .My main point was that as we live the Sabbath day we renew ourselves and rest. It had a big Atonement influence and sacrament focus. I shared a personal experience about my working career before the mission-Piano Gallery. As a piano mover i had many different obstacles. Every delivery was a different challenge. The only way we were able to accomplish our deliveries and not break our backs was a piano dolly. It took the load and weight of the piano so we didn't have to struggle and carry the hard load. I used this to relate to the sacrament. We all have weight and struggles in this life that we can't carry alone. God has provided a resource- the sacrament to be that piano dolly and take our heavy load from us. We all have to move a piano in life, let us use what God has given us – the sacrament.

I'm so grateful to be a missionary! I'm excited for this new transfer! I think i only have 4 transfers left! Yikes! Time goes way too fast! I'm grateful for the gospel and i know this church is true.

Elder Browning


Warm with success

January 10, 2012

Hey Family,

It's been a crazy week! My goodness i've learned a lot from everything! Last Sunday we were able to set 3 baptismal dates with a family! Yesterday we had our interviews and a training hence why this email is today. Sorry this email will be short but enjoy the pictures!

We set 3 dates yesterday! Missy, Evan, and Kortny. We're super excited. Missy is the mom with her oldest son Evan and his step sister Kortny. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and it was a super powerful lesson, probably one of the most powerful Plan of Salvations i have taught. Missy wants to give up smoking! She's been wanting to quit, and her husband (a less active member) said he'll quit with her so he can clean up and get worthy to baptize them.

We were also able to have a small miracle with a man in the area book. I was looking in our area book one day when i came across a name that i thought we should stop by. We stopped by at the right time as well! His name is Mark. He requested the missionaries to come to him but no one came. He's super solid, and wants to change his life and knows there is something about this gospel and our church. We taught him a powerful lesson on baptism and the reality of Christ. We read Alma 7 and invited him to be baptized. He said yes. We haven't set a specific date yet, but we think it will come soon! Mark is dealing with family problems and he knows that baptism is a good way for him to be able to cope with these challenges. I love the area book! This is where you can find people that have already been prepared.

The weather here in Duluth has been crazy! 40 degrees! It was 50 degrees at one point. This is totally opposite of last years winter. All of the native Duluth citizens keep telling me this is very very odd, and that we usually have a couple of feet of snow by now. The Lord has put me here at a good time-- i'll tell ya that! We don't have any snow on the ground yet but it will come i'm afraid. I'll enjoy it while i can.

I'm looking forward to this week. We’re teaching a lot of people! I'll keep you all posted.
The pictures are of the harbor down by Lake Superior two weeks ago for p-day.

Elder Browning

Happy New Year!

January 2, 2012

Hey Family,

It's a New Year and time to make to most of it! 2012 sure came and I'm grateful for the lessons i was able to learn in 2011. I pray that this year will positive and joyful. We truly kicked the New Year on the right way. I hope you guys were able to enjoy each other’s company with family and Tanner of course.

Johnra was baptized on the 31st of December. She was confirmed the following Sunday. It was a great thing to behold. It was a little scary because she came late, and seconds before missing the time to be confirmed. Her boyfriend was able to come and support her. Elder Messenger and I had the chance to testify of the Restoration during the halftime show of the baptism. It really was a great experience. We had a bit of a scare with Johnra right before the baptism. She had a small concern that was taken care of by our bishop and ward mission leader. Man i tell ya, Satan works overtime with these investigators, even to the very day.

We're now teaching her boyfriend. He's super interested and wants to come closer to Christ. He came to church and loved it. He also taught him afterward. He has some concerns about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith which is a good sign that he's really investigating and not just doing this for Johnra.

I love the Book of Mormon and i don't know if i told you, but last week we met with a pastor at our church. I know the Book of Mormon is true and therefore i know this church is true. No matter what questions or concerns the world has, they can be resolved when they take it to God and ask him. I was reading in 2 Nephi 27-28 today, and it lays it down! The Book of Mormon is the word of God and I highly recommend these chapters.

The work is really going well though. We only had 1 investigator come to church, but we taught a lot of investigator lessons with members. Our ward is very small compared to other wards i served in. We roughly had 60 people to church this last week. We're stretched out pretty thin for joint teaching and the last thing we want to do is burn out our members because they've been more than willing to help us and our efforts. It's been a really nice experience getting to know the few members and use them more often. I'd always pick quality over quantity any day. The Twin Ports ward has that quality. I'm becoming very close with these members.

I was able to set some goals for the New Year. I have my spiritual goals, physical goals, interest goals, and education goals. I split up my goals into two different blocks. My first block as a missionary- 6 more months and the second block when i come home. I'll concentrate now on my missionary goals for my last 6 months, but still be able to ponder and see ahead for my future goals when i come home. I hope you all made some missionary goals. I'll be following up with you guys!

Happy Birthday Mom! I love you! You are still hip!

Love you all and wish you the best the next year!

Elder Browning