July 2, 2012
Hey Family, This is my last letter. I'm excited to see you all! My mission has been amazing, here's my last presidents letter.
Mom gets the first hug when i arrive, =)
Elder Brooks Browning
MMM Experience- A Change for Good
My life has changed for the better. This came through my Minnesota Minneapolis Mission experience. I hope and pray I’ll be able to express my thoughts and feelings in this letter.
These two years have meant the world to me as I’ve been able to participate in bringing souls to Christ. Helping my brothers and sisters who have forgotten that rest is available, was life changing. My love for the people in Minnesota has grown so much. It’s emotional for me to write this letter as I reflect on the difficult and joyful times. My mission had a good amount of challenging experiences. The bitter taste of defeat, disappointment and self-doubt was a regular task to overcome. Every transfer was a learning experience. I learned real quickly that my capacity was limited. My mission taught me to rely heavily on the Savior Jesus Christ.
I’d like to focus on three main points that have helped me make a change for good. 1. Testimony 2. Example 3. Miracles
“ I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.”
Being engaged in this work has strengthened my testimony to the point where I know without a doubt that God is real. That Christ is the Redeemer of the world, and that the Gospel is the only avenue that provides true and lasting peace.
Jesus Christ is the foundation of my testimony. I have learned that through His Atonement he can change our desires and our hearts. Rest is available, hearts can be healed, and attitudes can be changed.
My testimony has increased as I’ve been able to feel his Holy Spirit on a daily basis guiding my life. There is nothing more peaceful and joyful than the Holy Spirit. I thought I knew joy and happiness before my mission. My old ways of obtaining joy and peace hinged on worldly success and this came through my rock band, or sport teams having a winning season. These things never brought me any true comfort or joy. The Spirit has shown me a better way, a constant and lasting peace. Two things stick out and helped bridge my connection to the Holy Spirit.
Doctrine of Christ
My life has changed as I have discovered the formula to progress and develop for the better. I know the doctrine of Christ is a true path that brings good change. I have seen evidence of this as investigators apply the doctrine of Christ. The power of the Atonement always came through for my investigators and I. I know it’s true because my perspective has changed, my carnal appetites have been removed and my desires have improved. I know as I continue to apply the doctrine of Christ, I’ll become more like the Master.
I was able to see the doctrine of Christ through the scriptures. The scriptures have become a part of my life, and I’ll never go back to my old ways of neglecting them. I did not understand the scriptures before I came out on my mission. I didn’t understand how they could help bridge a testimony and the Atonement. I learned very quickly how the scriptures have power contained in its pages. I relied heavily on the scriptures in teaching and finding answers to questions of the soul. I’m grateful for the opportunity I had in studying these precious books on a daily basis, and primarily the Book of Mormon. It has given me so much comfort and has helped me see life lessons that I didn’t recognize before.
God knows me so well, and that’s why he provides certain leaders and examples to influence my life. He knows my weakness and provides a way to overcome those by showing me the correct way of living, and this came by others demonstrating how to act. I’m grateful for additional inspirations such as the scriptures and the experiences contained in the Book of Mormon. They have helped me see the true meaning and purpose of life. I would have achieved little if it weren’t for certain examples and influences.
Jesus Christ has been the biggest example for me. As I’ve been on the mission I’ve realized the doctrine of Christ was utilized to the max when Jesus came to this earth in the meridian of time to show us how to live and gain peace while in this life. One thing that sticks out to me was his humility. Gaining this attribute is rather hard for a mortal man, but I believe that it is the way to overcome the natural man.
I’m also grateful for God sending men who we can trust, and President, you fall into that category. President Clements, I have learned so much from you and your family. What great examples your family is, leaving everything behind to come on a mission. I am so grateful you were sent here. I believe you had the right style for me to learn and benefit from. The way you conduct and live your life is inspiring. You played a big role in helping me have a greater desire not to hold back our will in God’s work. I made a big effort to reflect and represent you. You taught me how to have confidence in our message. As I attended your trainings, I could see the confidence and power and authority that you held as a mission president. As I witnessed your attitude and constant desire to improve and bring souls to Christ, I felt a need to improve and wanted to act as you did and have that same desire. I started to emulate and conduct myself after you and those strengths you showed and as a missionary. This helped me have a strong longing to do better.
Other missionaries of course, gave me motivation and inspiration. My All-star list is the following: Elder Kinikini, Elder Payne, Elder Stewart, Elder Bowen, Elder Horgmo and Elder Potter. These Elders taught me a lot of things that have helped me become a better missionary, and I’m so grateful to them and their example.
Members who lived the gospel to the fullest really helped me see how powerful families are who obey the commandments and gospel standards. To me, this is the evidence of the truthfulness of the restored gospel- by their fruits ye shall know them. I have met some of the most amazing stalwart people of my life serving in Minnesota. I’m grateful for the leaders in these wards and branches who so diligently served. I would have achieved little if it wasn’t for faithful leaders and members to help.
The Lord by his grace let me see miracles that helped me see the truthfulness of this gospel. This was real evidence that helped me gain a greater testimony and increased my desire to serve and work harder and to follow counsel.
Every baptism is a miracle. Shawna Day’s is the latest miracle I have seen. Her desire for truth is what keeps her pushing along. For the longest time, she prayed for truth, and she felt prompted to quit coffee before being introduced to the church. The Lord was merciful to let me be a part of her journey.
The Bauer family in Rochester changed my life. I was looking for a family on my mission, and I found one. I am so grateful that the Lord sent me to Rochester at the right time. My testimony increased and my love for the gospel was spilling out of my being as I saw the Bauer family accept and apply the gospel in their home. There is something about a complete family. My life has forever changed since that experience. I love them so much, and will always remember them.
Anna Johnson and her family was a complete miracle. We contacted her on the street at the right time. She just got back from Liberia visiting family. During her visit out of the country she became more aware of her painful state. She was seeking for help and strength. Since our first contact she was solid and ready as ever.
Listening and Applying Counsel
My testimony of the restoration has increased dramatically as I’ve seen miracles; these miracles have come from following and applying counsel from you. It has been a tremendous experience witnessing this true principle. Being able to overcome the natural man and rely on faith and humility has been such a blessing. I have had so much joy in the work as I’ve been able to forget about my own carnal desires. As I obeyed and followed counsel, I felt more unified with the Lord and with you. My desire increased, I had more energy and confidence in the work, and my faith became unshaken.
I will forever remember my mission. My testimony of Christ’s grace and mercy has increased and my testimony of the Restoration has become real. Through different examples from people and leaders my testimony and MMM experience was deeper and richer. By the Lord’s mercy, He allowed me to see miracles that strengthened and solidified my testimony. The Lord was present in my mission experience.
Elder Brooks Eric Browning