Wildest Day

These past few days have been the craziest of my life. I wish I could tell you all the things that are happening. But I’m flying out of South Africa tomorrow, Tuesday at 6PM SA time to America. The church has a chartered plane for us to evacuate, and will be flying from Johannesburg to SLC. Don’t know anything else. 

My heart is shredded right now, but I feel at peace and I’m excited to see the family in AZ. 

Boy do I have a story to tell you guys in a little bit. 

Love you all! 

-Elder Browning

 

Thank heavens we have a Prophet

Where to start… Haha

We were just right about to start our daily planning when our phone started spazzing out with messages and then we check and it’s the first presidency’s announcement about church being suspended. WILD. I was really torn because we were expecting a big week of people at church and now I’m just kind of lost on what to do to help these people.

Then to add on all of this I hear the 2 star players of the Jazz are the only 2 with Corona… eish.

But a member showed us the video of President Nelson’s video about the whole thing, and that was just a comforting video. Made all of us feel a little better. 

Immediately when I read that I thought of how amazing it is that we have Come Follow Me. We went to a few member homes to do Come Follow Me with them and it was good! Totally strengthens my testimony that this is Christ’s church and He is giving us all the things for these situations. This could really help people figure out this 3rd hour of church thing.

We did have a really awesome week though. Towards the end, we kind of lost our focus and now I’m just a little confused on what to do next, but we are continuing like normal and spreading the amazing joy that the gospel brings. It’s still true!

A total miracle we had was, we have been visiting Nancy & Chipo. They came to church after googling it and were baptized years ago and decided to stop by. We visited them and started teaching the lessons again and to see the light that has been with them and how their understanding has been growing again. Then, we were talking of Baptism’s for the dead, and the Plan of Salvation and then Nancy says, “I really want to get to the celestial kingdom, but I just found out that I have never been baptized.” We were a little shook. She was talking to the missionary who taught her years ago and said that she never actually made it to baptism. So now she’s got a baptism date! The Lord needs Nancy on her side. We were so hyped!

That’s about all. Keep safe. The U.S. has quite a bit of cases of this. South Africa is going up too. Please keep us in your prayers!

Hurrah for Israel!

-Elder Browning

 

Mmm wonderful week

The week was so awesome! We set a goal to break records for each of us, and we did come up just short, but we saw the Lord’s hand in our entire week.

Our Saturday’s always look nice nice with appointments, but everyone cancels, so that day I was praying really hard that the day would go as planned, and we only had one canceled appointment, and it was really good that it did, because we had to go do something else then. We were busy from 10AM-8:00PM! Such a blessing! And then Heavenly Father put the cherry on top as we’re sitting with members in their home and then I see on BBC WORLD news, all of the sudden my boi Donovan Mitchell and they talk of how the Jazz have won 4 games in a row on the road. And then that was the only thing they said of basketball and kept talking of coronavirus again. Something simple, but the Lord kept showering blessings that day.

Sandra was also baptized! She’s been plowing past the Book of Mormon and we challenged her to read up to 3 Nephi 11 before her baptism, and she did and got up and bore such a powerful testimony of the restoration. She mentioned as she read the stories of Nephi praying for his brothers and of Enos praying for forgiveness, that is what moved her to pray and ask if the Book of Mormon was true and immediately had a “blanket” of warmth wrapped around her… But after we baptized her, I forgot an extra pair of garments and a white shirt and was sitting in my grey suit soaked… haha, looked really bad.

A funny experience we had is we were asked to give a blessing in the hospital, and we were pretty lost, but people kept giving vague directions, and we past like 4 supposed to be locked doors, and somehow ended up in the emergency room and walked into a surgery room and saw someone getting like cut up, and then tried to skrt out of there quick and walked into another room with some surgeon walking in and explaining how he’s about to cut into 2 people who were in accidents and all of this and nobody blinked an eye at us. Lol. South African hospitals are crazy man…

That’s about all. Loving the work. This coronavirus apparently is everywhere now and has been big since January or something? Let’s hope it doesn’t start spreading in Africa. That would be really bad.

Hurrah for Israel!

-Elder Browning

 

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Mission tour was so nice! Elder Palmer really broke down some scenarios how to help the branches and wards more involved in working. Another thing he mentioned that I really liked is he said how missionaries expect members to just give people to teach as if the members owe us something. And he just stared at us and said, they don’t owe any of you a single penny. Haha! What a beast.

We didn’t have a whole lot of time in the area, but we were able to get some good stuff done still. I was also able to do exchanges with Elder Killpack from Firth, ID. Good time talking about some people we both know from back home.

So we’ve been working with our complex and have been walking with a lot of kids to church who have been wanting to come. They have been loving it and on Sunday night they were all singing “I will go and do” in our complex. Let’s go! But they came home with Book of Mormons, and one of the moms did the wrong thing, and googled the church and then started telling our whole complex of what she read. So we felt prompted to go to their little huddle and talk with them. We figured a lot about of what they heard that was some of the most wild ideas of the church. But we were able to chill out the fire. 

But the mom agreed to meet with us so we could explain things, rather than the internet. And when we showed up, not really knowing what to expect, she was so very sick with some sickness where her entire body was having spasms and it was kind of scary. But we were able to tell her of giving blessings, and said we will come back in a little bit and gave her a chapter to read in the Book of Mormon. It was amazing to see how this situation softened her heart with us and was so touched that we were willing to give her a blessing. Came back and gave it and we were able to see her at a lot more comfort. Then the next day we see her come greet us before we leave and she’s completely better! Of course none of that was our doing, but the Lord really came in clutch for us, and we saw a miracle with her and she’s gonna be coming to church next Sunday! AYO

Thanks for the birthday wishes from everyone!

Hurrah for Israel!

-Elder Browning

 

Let’s Work Bois!

Yoh we hit the streets hard this week. So many people were canceling with us. So we did hours upon hours of street contacting. We know it doesn’t really produce much fruit, but we’re doing it to show the Lord we’re willing to put in the work.

But we’ve been seeing huge changes throughout the zone. All these missionaries are way hyped to get out and put in the work, and we saw some big improvements from each of the areas. Shows that all the opportunity we can to just hype each other up in district council and call ins just gets everyone fired up and so they can go out and grind till the sun is gone.

We had Elder Palmer teach us yesterday. It was way nice and his accent is so silky smooth. But it was a really good meeting and then tomorrow we have a combined SA zone conference with him. That’s gonna be really good.

The joy that comes from missionary work is real. I have gained a strong testimony that this is the Lord’s work and that the spirit teaches each individual if they do not harden their hearts to the message. I’ve been able to see that with people we are teaching and it’s a real blessing to be apart of.

A lesson I’ve also learned being a missionary is that the Lord doesn’t just put things in our lap if we do nothing. We should be anxiously engaged in a good cause of our own freewill. Agency is too big of a part of the plan of salvation. Go out and prove to the Lord that He can trust you with whatever you need of Him.

Still no camera, but here’s a throwback!

Hurrah for Israel!

 

Too Much Nice Nice

Miracles are happening like crazy this side!

This last week we were able to get 10 referrals from people, who are mostly less actives. They have been our target lately and we have been inviting them to bring a friend as a commitment, but every time before we’re about to invite them to do that, they always just interrupt and say, I have someone I want you guys to meet. So this week we should be able to see them!

We got a call from a member who said he has someone he wants us to teach, so we go over and met Stephan, his son. Stephan is this cool big Afrikaans guy who has lost a lot lately and has been wanting to connect with God again. He was so accepting of our message and then he had two more referrals for us! Let’s go!

Then we got a call from a member who has not been to church for almost 5 years and she called us and said she wanted to come back to church and was asking who could give her a ride. We met with her and I have not seen anyone so determined to get things straight and come back and receive the blessings that she knows will come from living the gospel. Her life also has hit a rough spot, but she knows it will be going up from here.

We also found a number in our phone who I did not know, and found Gabisille, who is also a member, but had not had missionaries over for 7 years and did not know the church was here. So we were able to meet her and find out that her entire family are not members, but she wants us to teach them. She said she would always pass our church (it being an old dutch reformed church) and had no idea it was there. 

And also, another one, yesterday we dropped by Sandra to give her a pamphlet and then on the street this family stops us and asks who we are. They asked us to come by their house and tell them more of what we were doing. They told us the last week they were talking saying they needed to go to church again, but did not like how people turn it into a business and were going to settle for this church, but then they saw us on the street. They are way powerful, and their daughter who loves books said she will have the Book of Mormon finished by this week… Haha! We’ll see.

But there are even more experiences we saw this week that kept testifying to me that I am indeed on the Lord’s errand and that this is His work. The work we are all apart of is the greatest work in the world and the satisfying feeling after each day and counting the blessings that we have seen throughout the week are incredible. The Lord blesses His children and I know he loves us and cares about all of us. I love serving these people so much. 

This email is pretty huge. Hope this counts for like the next 5 weeks. haha! 

Hurrah for Israel!

-Elder Browning

 

This work is real!

The area of Montana is going to pop Brothers and Sisters. We are working with some really awesome people who have potential to go very far and have that desire to know the truth! I can’t wait.

We had a pretty nice week working with some of these people. We started teaching Harry this last week. He was a church headquarter referral who found the church website and requested a Book of Mormon. He’s from Ghana and was a Muslim all of his life. He was then taught more of Christ and he said it just felt so right. And now he is wanting to know why we must need the Book of Mormon. And our lesson went super well. He said he’ll start reading it, and a lot of people say that, but I think he really means it. He’s way chill.

As of late, I’ve been really developing a deeper love of working and working and working. I’m seeing that this time is going by really fast and when you finish a day where you just feel good and fulfilled, it shows the truthfulness of this work. Those who go to serve, receive so much! This work is real!

I was reading Jacob this past couple of days and yoh! Jacob 3 and 4 are so so good. Definitely becoming some of my favorite chapters as of late.

Well, much love from this side.

Hurrah for Israel!

-Elder Vanilla Brownie

 I forgot to add a small miracle I had happen. On Tuesday, while driving to the office for transfers, there are a lot of police that are on the roads and wave people down and check if they have their license and check things, and this happened like 5 times, and I forgot my wallet at the flat, and each time we almost got chosen, which would have been really bad. The next day the prompting came to put it into my missionary handbook instead of just leave it in my wallet. Later, after an appointment, we got waved down and were chosen for their license thingy check. And I forgot my wallet again. So if I didn’t put it in my handbook, I would not have had it, and that would have been bad… The Lord watches out for us!   Alright sho!

 

The Temple!

I’m a chubber john these days. We’ve been getting fed out the wazoo. We got news that Elder Curtis is leaving to the one and only Tzaneen with Elder Lima! Those guys are going to enjoy life grinding it out in Tzaneen.

Me and Elder Curtis had a good run together, but now I’m getting my first Idaho companion. I’ll be chilling with Elder Wright from Burley. He’s a way cool guy and and dedicated missionary. Life should be good! 

Montana is so nice though! I love it here. I was actually really scared I was going to get transferred, but luckily I’ll be trucking it out for at least another 6 weeks. We were able to have a bunch of people at church yesterday, and we even had a baptism for Nathaniel! It was such an awesome time.

But since Elder Curtis is leaving, a lot of people want to feed us last minute. We got fed 4 times yesterday we even have been having appointments today to feed us. People are too generous here.

But one of the best parts of my mission was being able to attend the Johannesburg temple for the first time in a really long time. I just had this amazing feeling walking into the temple and being able to pull out my recommend and have them greet me with that “Welcome to the temple.” Felt like coming home almost. There is a special spirit in the temple that will not be felt anywhere else in the world. You know you are in a holy place. And especially the feeling of being in the celestial room. I was able to have the spirit speak to me in a way that it has never before. We are so blessed to have temples all over the world and we are so blessed to have temples everywhere in the states. I was able to see how much more I was able to pick up in the temple after all this knowledge I’ve obtained as of being a missionary. 

Hurrah for Israel!

-Elder Browning

 

Kobe, the Legend!

We had a really nice week. The work in Montana is picking up to new speeds! 

We have been seeing the crazy importance of working with members. We had 3 new referrals this week and they are all so cool! One of them was Sandra who we met the previous Sunday at church and then taught her at the members house and talked of the restoration and the Book of Mormon and we gave her one and asked her if she would read it and catch up with the Come Follow Me or at whatever pace she understands. Then on Sunday, we catch her before she left and she had her own Come Follow Me with her and her Book of Mormon and she told us she was in Jacob… And apparently in Sunday school she was quoting scriptures and just loving church. So cool to see!

The other people we were able to see and work with were also just really nice. We’ve been building strong relationships with this area and with people we see everyday and are not interested in learning. They told us how they were impressed how even though they rejected us, we still stop by and see how they’re doing. Small acts of love go a long way.

I was so shocked to hear news today about Kobe Bryant. I love basketball and it was so sad to hear terrible news like that. Makes you think of the eternal perspective. How we are indeed in a probationary time, and when we are called back home, we will be able to look back at our works and account for them. Whatever we are doing now, will it really matter is 40 years? How do we want to be remembered in our lifetime and for what we did. Basketball doesn’t matter, or movies for me, haha. But the reason we are here on the earth is so much more. 

Love you all and I’m trying to do my part of what the Lord expects!

Hurrah for Israel!

(Still no camera)

-Elder Browning

 

The Lord is on our side!

Great week! Saw many good people, were able to teach two new people who we think are very solid and will be able to progress pretty well. Lamees and Donald. Lamees is Indian and her mom keeps saying she’ll make me Masala Curry and I’m still waiting patiently, but they’re really cool. And Donald is the head interpreter at the Pretoria Magistrate office. He speaks all 13 official SA languages and he comprehends English really well. It’s nice.

Elder Curtis had his birthday and we got 2 cakes, lots of food and I felt very blessed to be with someone for their Birthday.

The work is picking up a lot and we constantly are seeing miracles everyday. The Lord is on our side!

Love you all and I’m enjoying Montana very much so. 

Hurrah for Israel!

-Elder Browning