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


Last Email- Final Count Down

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

Dear President,

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

Alma 29:9-10
“ 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.”

1) Testimony

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.

2) Example

 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.

 3) Miracles

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


The Journey Continues

Jun 25, 2012

Hey Family,

Whoa i'll make this email short, too much has happened this last week. Therefore, i will write but a small amount. However the journey continues in saving souls!

It has been an honor working with members. I'm so grateful for them and their willingness to help us missionaries to move the work forward.  I have a strong bond with a lot of them. One of my favorite parts of my mission is working with the members. I had no idea how powerful a family can be who applies the gospel in their own home.

Right now i'm at the Levefre home. Their son just got home from his mission last week. They are an amazing family! They have 7 kids, and they're very similar to our family. It was a tender moment when we met their son Logan (return missionary) at church. The Weaver Lake ward asked me to open up for Logan (return missionary). Before i gave my remarks the whole entire priesthood sung, "I hope they call me on a mission". It was a cool experience singing that song as a missionary, reflecting back when i was a boy thinking about a mission, then thinking about my mission experiences and how it's coming to an end. It was a big tender mercy to experience that. After the song I gave a quick 6min testimony/talk.

We're gearing up for Shani's baptism this week! We have enjoyed meeting with her and teaching her the truthfulness of the gospel. It will be a great way to go out!

We set two more baptismal dates. Jonathon and Sheim, a father and son. We're really excited about this because we've involved a recent convert -Brother Hendrickson. What a kingdom builder! He's probably the most mature man and has the most life experience in both the professional world and every day life. Missionaries tracked into him a year ago! It was actually my trainer -Elder Payne that taught him.

We've started to teach Jonathon’s Mom as well. She’s a lot more open in conversation and seems to be very interested. We're having dinner at the Hendrickson’s home Wed with Jonathon and Sheim's family. Should be good!

We have some great appointments coming up. This will be a great time for me to really finish strong and put my shoulder to the plow. We'll be meeting with a lady named Pat, and Tony and Cary will be there tonight as well. Both are super close in feeling comfortable to coming to church.

Love you all so much!

Elder Brooks Browning


Baptisms in Plymouth

Jun 18, 2012

Hey Family

Another great week in Plymouth! The work continues to go forward. I'm so grateful for the experiences i've been able to witness thus far.

Ann and Jarom were baptized last Saturday. It was a glorious day. As the baptismal service was going on i was pondering about their journey to the gospel. It was just amazing to think how far they've come from our first contact on the street to their baptism. Ann and Jarom were prepared by the Lord and i'm so grateful they were put in our path. We involved a lot of wonderful people in the Plymouth Ward and this made all of the difference. We had a good turn out with all of her fellow shippers attending the service. There was a great spirit. I was in tears as i witnessed Ann in tears after she came out of the water. These moments are precious and i will never forget them. I love this work!

Shani continues to progress. It has been a great experience working with her. She came to church for the 3rd time and loved it. We're still on track with her baptism for the 30th. She's just so prepared, and as we teach her, she understands everything. She read the entire General Conference ensign and loved it! Shani has told us countless times how the church has brought her more peace and joy. Tonight we'll be having Family Home Evening at a members home with Shani. We're excited.

We had big success with teaching this week. We went above and beyond our goals, and picked up 5 new investigators. The work continues here and i'm thrilled to see the Lords hand in our everyday work. I love the people here, and will be very sad to leave them. There isn't enough time.

Our district continues to see miracles. My testimony of the Restoration has increased greatly with following our leaders council. The Lord has to bless us as we respect his servants. We've had 4 miracle baptisms come out of thin air as we strive to follow and apply president's latest council. I'm excited to share more of these things with you later!

Have a great week! I love you all,

Elder Brooks Browning


Miracles Begin Again

June 11, 2012

Hey Family,

This has been one of the most powerful weeks for me as a missionary. I continue to see the Lord’s hand. My joy is full and my love for the people continues to keep me focused. I'm grateful, and get ready for an amazing email.

We'll start off with the first miracle. We received a member referral last week from the Hall family. Her name is Shani and I'd say she has been prepared by the Lord for some time. Elder White and I were super excited for the lesson because member referrals are rare and precious. We met with Shani for the first time at the Hall home last Monday. We taught her the Restoration of the gospel and invited her to be baptized, and she said yes! Her Baptismal date is for June 30th. I must say, Shani seems like a member already. She has the light of Christ with her. About a month ago, she was impressed by the spirit to quit drinking coffee. On top of that she has read half of the Book of Mormon on her iPad! She reads the pamphlets 4-5 times each, and reads far beyond her reading assignment. She has been asking Heavenly Father to guide her to truth and she has found it. Bro Hall then struck up a conversation with her at a park and invited her over to his family’s home. There was an immediate connection. She came to church the following Sunday and again this week. Shani is recently separated and has two kids ages 5 and 2.

I'll begin the second miracle. We found a man by the name of Jon. He invited us back over and he told us that his 16 year old son wants to be baptized. We met with Jon and his son Shakiem the following week with our awesome joint teacher Brother Rose (related to coach Rose -BYU basketball). We invited them to both be baptized and they said yes! We read out of the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 31. It was a powerful thing. We had Bro Rose pick both of them up for church the next day to insure their attendance. They both came and loved church. The members of the Weaver Lake ward really reached out and did a good job of making them feel comfortable. We now have baptismal dates for both wards that we love- 3 in Plymouth and 2 in Weaver Lake. The work is exploding! I'm so grateful for this experience. We'll be teaching his wife and 12 year old son this Thursday and hopefully pick them up as new investigators.

 Ann and Jamar are doing great! Ann came to church with her friend yesterday who's interested in the church! Ann always says that she's super happy and giddy after church. She's seeing the blessings of Sabbath day observance. After church we followed Ann and her friend back to her house and taught George and Ann's sister. We invited George to be baptized and he said yes. There is power in following the council of our leaders. We've been instructed to invite everyone to baptism their first lesson with us with a proper explanation of baptism. It establishes our purpose perfectly. When we follow the council of our leaders it's an outward sign of our testimony of the restoration. My life has changed as I've been able to apply Presidents council in the mission. The Lord blesses us.

Zone conference was amazing. As a mission we have struggled to get people to church. President Clements is inspired. The main thing was our investigators have been committing to us and not the Lord. We learned that we need to provide a connection of our love for God and linking the Atonement with the commitment to Sabbath day observance. The spirit told me this was true. We applied this, and had 5 investigators to church this week! Best we've had in a long time in this area. We've been seeing miracles in our district.

I received my packet for my flight plans. I was not excited to see it. I looked at it briefly and put it down-i don't think I'll look at it until i start packing. I'm not sure why they send it out so early, i still have a ways to go. 

We'll be having a birthday bash today as a district. The sisters wanted us to all meet at a park and play tennis and basketball. Four of us in the district had birthdays in the last 2 weeks, so we'll have a good time.

My testimony of this gospel continues to grow. I'm grateful for this gospel and I know we are about the Lord’s business. 

Love you all so much!
Elder B Browning


Success in Plymouth

June 4, 2012

Hey Family,

It has been a great week. I must say i love the work so much. My passion for the work continues to increase, and my testimony continues to grow, I love this work!

Highlight would have to be our baptisms! Kaylee and Jeff were baptized Saturday. I'm grateful i was able to assist in the teaching process. President and Sister Clements were able to attend, and they were very impressed with the fellowship that Kaylee and Jeff had. It's always an honor to have your mission President attend a baptism. We were also able to teach the restoration at the half time show (changing period during baptism). There were some nonmembers at the baptism, so we had to deliver the spirit in a way for seeds to be planted. It's always a fun experience to teach in that setting. Kaylee and Jeff have a glow about them. Their Mom has been so pleased with the whole process, and she's happy that she's been activated into full activity.

We had leadership this last week in Bloomington. It's always intense and the spirit is always full there! I think it might be because the room is full of powerful missionaries who diligently move the work forward. We learned how to be more effective in our new accountability calls which district leaders implement.  President Clements is so inspired-- he has changed my outlook on the mission. I try to model everything after him for I look up to him so much. We have Zone Conference tomorrow so we're all looking forward to that.

Monday we went to the Twins game! It was a really good experience, and I couldn't have asked for a better ball game--great seats! The weather was perfect, and it was a pretty entertaining game. It came down to the 9th inning and the Twins pulled off a rare win! It was strange wearing normal clothes in public. =)

Elder White and I are really working hard, and we're having a lot of success. Ann and her son are doing well and are still on track to be baptized June 16th. We talked to Ann after church last Sunday and she told us she had a question answered! She's been dealing with some things and in Relief society her question was answered by the teacher who shared the lesson. I have a strong testimony that questions of the soul are answered for our investigators.

We got a solid member referral from the Hall Family. They brought their friend to church this last Sunday and she is ready to receive the gospel. We'll be teaching her for the first time in the Hall home later tonight. Super excited!!

I was thinking about Amber and JT on Friday, and i wish them the best in life.

Sorry i have to make this short, we taught a lesson today and we're helping some less-actives move.

Love you all and have a great week!

Elder B Browning


Strong Week

May 28, 2012

Hey Family,

What a great week it's been in Plymouth Minnesota! I'm grateful for the good experiences we've been having. The week was wet and stormy! No wonder it's so green here! I can't believe the rain we've been getting. It literally rains all night long. There was one point in the week where it rained for 48 hours straight. But it was a strong week with our numbers for we had a good balance of finding and teaching this last week. We are pleased with our efforts.

The lesson at the mission home went ok. No baptismal date with them yet. We went into the lesson really prepared and confident that it would be a spiritual experience. The stage was set and the pressure was on. This was my first time teaching with President Clements’ family in his home! President said we did a great job teaching. The problem is the lack of desire that Jen and Doug have. President gave us some good inspiration though on what we needed to do. He called us later that night and felt impressed for us to teach them a certain commandment. The spirit bore witness to my heart that this was what was holding them back. We looked at our teaching record and found that they hadn't been taught this commandment! President is truly inspired and i know he has the keys for missionary work in the Minnesota area. It was really a neat experience to bond with President Clements. I have really enjoyed being close to the mission home. I've developed a greater relationship with President Clements being in the cities again. That's one of the nice perks, you run into and communicate more with President Clements here!

 The reason this week was so successful is hard work of course! We found another family! We tracted them out and taught them last Saturday. This is great news because we're trying to build our teaching pool in Weaver Lake. We'll continue to build our teaching in the Plymouth and Weaver Lake wards.

Our date sets are doing great! Kaylee and Jeff will be baptized this Saturday at 2:00. We went over the baptismal interview questions and to our surprise they were able to answer most of them. I guess we did something right while teaching them =) Kids are usually the most difficult to teach. The ward is super pumped. It has been a joy to bring members to their home, for that is the best way for people to get in the missionary spirit is to join and experience it for themselves. This has been one of the best experiences: working with members to bring souls to Christ. We'll be breaking the dry spell that hit the ward. I'm grateful too because the Plymouth ward is probably the most elite all around. Eden Prairie and Plymouth are very good all around in fellowshipping strong families.The ground is ready to be harvested here.

 Ann is doing well and she's still on track for the 16th for her baptism. We taught her the word of wisdom. She had a worried face when we talked, but courage was among her countenance. She accepted to live the word of wisdom. The kids were all for it, they were happy to follow God's health code. Ann came to church and sat with the Lee family and really connected with them.  Ann was able to finally drop off her daughter in nursery since she turned 18 months, and this allowed Ann to really participate in class and to have a spiritual experience. We learned about the spirit world this week and she loved it. Ann text us after church and told us how much she enjoyed church! It is so important to continue to concrete their fellowship and testimony. Ann also gave us a referral for one of her friends! She's been sharing the gospel with her friends.

Elder White and I received a phone call on Friday. It was a member of the bishopric asking us to give a talk in sacrament meeting because a member dropped out last second. We only had to talk for 8 minutes so it wasn't too bad. We both were assigned to talk on the plan of salvation, a topic i'm very familiar with +)

This week we'll be having leadership training. I just know President Clements will be cracking down on us. He's a very talented man and knows how to solve problems. I'm excited for the training, this will take place tomorrow 8-3.

Exciting news, Elder White and I with a member will be attending a Twins game today. It’s the only monday game during day time hours of the season, and that’s a bit of a tender mercy. If it wasn’t for the day time hour we wouldn't be able to attend. I figured this might be my only opportunity to go to a baseball game, let alone a Twins game that's in Minnesota! We bought 45 dollar tickets hoping to have a descent experience.- as much as a baseball game will offer =) It's no NBA basketball game, but it will be my first time going to a professional baseball game. I'm looking forward to it. A member is driving us and attending with us. I'll send pictures next week.

A special shout out to Amber and JT for I wish them the best this week and i'm happy for both of them! They are perfect for each other.

Have a great week!

Elder B Browning


Last Transfer Begins

May 21, 2012

Hey Family,

 I can't believe I've made it to this email -this will start off my last transfer. I have a great up-date. I'll be staying in Plymouth to finish my mission. Elder White will also be staying and helping me finish strong! Both Elder White and I were hoping we would stay together and see these 4 dates through. I get emotional thinking about how this is my final transfer. I have to finish strong and make sure our 4 baptismal dates go though in June.

 This week was a blast, full of highlights, and it was just a big improvement overall from last week. We were able to find 2 new investigators and teach 10 investigator lessons. We're really being blessed right now and we are really enjoying the work right now. We've had beautiful weather to tract in and it should be another hot week here.

We ended up pushing back Katie and Jeff's baptism to June 2nd. They are great kids. Katie is starting to get involved with the young women and Jeff loves his age group and plays with other kids his age in the ward.

Our other two baptismal dates are coming along great! Ann and Jarom came to church and are really starting to feel comfortable at church. Jarom is 10 years old, but has the wits of a 20 year old! I love this kid. He's super smart and funny, super social and fun to be around. We brought them to cub scouts this last Wednesday and Jarom loved it! He's part of the pack. His younger brother Jason had a good time at scouts. (Jason will be 8 in august.) The ward is doing a good job of fellowshipping and reaching out. We continue to introduce members to Ann's family. This family is such a blessing. They really have been prepared! Ann wants the best for her children. She has great morals and standards for her kids and has taught them well. Members of the ward have commented multiple times how well behaved her kids are.

My district meeting training went well with President! I must say i was a bit nervous to present, but i think it went well. I had a couple comments on how others benefited from it. President Clements is a wonderful mission president. I look up to him so much. So at the end of each district meeting we get to role-play with one another and practice our teaching skills. Well i had Elder White and I role-play with President! Haha, that was quite the experience. President Clements received some revelation for our investigator as President Clements pretended to be our investigator and we were the missionaries. This particular investigator has struggled to keep commitments. We came to the conclusion to have her come to the mission home and be taught! Yep that's right our investigator committed to come to the mission home to be taught with our president's family. And the appointment is today and 7:30! Keep us in your prayers. Elder White and I will be leading out in a discussion for our investigator in the mission Presidents home. President Clements and his wife will be there, along with their 18 year old daughter who lives with them. The stage is set big! We'll be inviting them to be baptized. Elder White and I worked pretty hard today during companion study to come up with a lesson plan. We both have left it in the Lords hand with our efforts to make a powerful lesson. We'll be teaching out of the scriptures. The scriptures have the most powerful conviction out there, and are far more eloquent than 2 young missionaries.

Well family i love you all, keep up the good work in Shelley. I'd like to invite you guys to invite a nonmember family to our home for dinner. That's the simplest way to be a missionary-- let the spirit of our home testify. I'd like to commit you to do that this next month! I'll be following up.

Love you all!

Elder B Browning