Typhoons, General Authorities, and lots of rain

Hello my friends and family,

This week has been crazy, definitely the most event filled week of my mission. Last Tuesday was the start of our mission tour. It was a leadership meeting for all of the district leaders, zone leaders, and sister training leaders. It was an awesome meeting. Having a general authority and his wife teach you how to be a good leader is awesome. The next day we went up into the new territories. It was a great meeting. I think I took about 10 pages of notes. The next day we went to Wan Chai which is back on the island. I didn’t realize how much I missed that city until I went back. Hearing the same things for the second day lead me to only take about 1 page of notes. The third day was in Kowloon at the mission office. The third time hearing it only gave me about 2 sentences of notes. The fourth time was in Macau, I was translating the whole time, so I didn’t get any notes that time. The meetings were about the Atonement, Fall of Adam, and the Book of Mormon. I learned so much. Not just for the mission but for life, it was so good.

Macau was amazing. We got there friday night and slept at the elder’s apartment. It was cool to come in on the boat and see all the casino lights (even though I see big city lights every day). The next morning we had our meeting, then we ran and got on the boat. The typhoon had already started when we left, so there was a couple big waves, but not anything too big, we still got home in about the same amount of time. Yesterday was a pretty good day. There were still quite a few people that came to church. President Hawks was still in Macau, so we had to keep checking to see if the Typhoon reached a level 8 (which means everyone and everything closes down and missionaries have to stay in their apartment.) The report was that it would switch to an 8 at 5pm, so we decided that we would go out finding with the young men/young women. We only got about an hour into finding when they called us and said to get back to the church. So we made our way back to the church. The wind had really started to pick up. There were points where we just held our umbrellas sideways because of the rain and the wind. My umbrella even broke because of the wind. Luckily President Hawks got back in time. He caught the very last boat back from Macau, so I am glad he was here to control everything. We got everyone inside their apartments in time, and then we just did our studies, then went to bed. Before I went to bed I looked out my window. The road had turned into a little river from the rain, and the wind was still blowing pretty hard. It was a way cool sight. I only got woken up once by the wind, then this morning we all woke up at the normal time. Our apartment had lost all power, but there wasn’t any other damage to other apartments. In fact, there isn’t much damage at all. Hong Kong got pretty lucky, just a lot of trees with missing leaves. So that was my "terrifying" typhoon story. Nothing too bad.

M– got confirmed in church yesterday. It was such a great blessing. He was so happy. The ward is so supportive of him and all is going well.

Love you all!

Elder Brown

The ups and the downs (literally, the downs)

Well, it has been a very, very interesting couple of days since I last wrote. I guess I will just start right into it.

So Wednesday, I wasn’t feeling very good. There has been a slight cold running through the mission, and I caught it. Well, me being an Allred and all, I decided to just "tough it out". So we went finding for a couple of hours. The entire day, I was just out of it and had no energy. Then we taught a lesson, and I just couldn’t focus the entire lesson, luckily I’m not training any more, and my companion knows how to teach lessons. After that lesson, we went to go visit one of our recent converts in the hospital. He fell last week, and isn’t looking too good. He is 83 years old, and a big fall like that takes a big toll. His name is Uncle F–. As we were standing next to his bed talking to him, I started to get really queasy, so I took a couple of steps back from his bed. My vision started to go black, and I knew that I was seconds away from passing out. I took a step towards his bed to steady myself, and my first thought was "say a prayer". The next thing I know, I am waking up on the floor of the hospital surrounded by about 6 nurses yelling at me in Chinese, and my world just spinning around. Poor Uncle F– was yelling from his bed "Mister Brown, Mister Brown, are you alive?!" Luckily I chose the best place in the world to pass out, and they only had to take me down an elevator to get to the emergency room. Supposedly when I passed out, my stomach hit the bed, and it spun me around, so when I hit the floor I went face first, luckily my forehead caught my fall. So I spent the next 6 hours in the emergency room getting blood tests, x-rays, and all that fun stuff. The doctor said he didn’t really know what happened, but we are guessing it was exhaustion/sickness/dehydration/hospital air. So I came home and have been resting for the past couple of days. My head is fine now, and the only sign I have left is a little stuffy nose and a nice little bruise on my stomach. But really, I am perfectly fine now.

Then on Sunday, we had M–‘s baptism. It was such a great meeting, and we had so many ward members come to support him. Our other recent convert A– got to help baptise him, so it felt so good. Everyone just kept saying that Elder Jackson and I were just like two proud parents with our two children! haha I have attached a picture of the four of us. M– even bore a very powerful testimony after the baptism, it was all so perfect.

The rest of the week has just been getting ready for mission tour. This next week we are travelling the mission. It is us assistants, President Hawks, and Elder Wilson of the 70. We even get to go to Macau. I am very excited. We get to give an awesome presentation on training people about the gift of tongues and learning a new language. It is going to be great.

So that has been the past couple of days, nothing too exciting right? haha Love you all, have a great week.

Love, Elder Brown

Eye Towards the Temple

Hello my beautiful friends and family,

It has been such an amazing week here in Hong Kong. I know I say that every week, and you are probably starting to think that I am lying, but I am loving Hong Kong, and I am able to see so many amazing things every single day. It is weird how a place, a people, a language, a culture, and everything about Hong Kong can just grab my heart and become so entwined into my life. It is a pretty amazing feeling.

This week I had an amazing experience. One of our investigators, M–, was having his baptismal interview, and I was just thinking about how we could help the rest of his family accept the gospel. His sister was already baptised a few months ago, and now he is getting baptised this coming Sunday, how could we help the rest of his family. As I was thinking this, I looked out the window of the church, and it is the one that points right towards the temple. It helped me realize how amazing the temple is and how much family means in God’s eternal plan. I immediately took a picture, hope you enjoy.

This last week we also had a tag-along friend with us. His name is Elder Saroha. He is from India. He had VISA problems, so he wasn’t able to go to the MTC, and he wasn’t able to go to the temple, so he came to Hong Kong to go through the temple, and we got to be his companions for a couple of days. He was a very interesting fellow, and I learned a lot from him. He hasn’t been immersed into very many cultures, so coming to China was a bit of a shock for him and he wasn’t very prepared. Lets just say he was very racist towards Chinese people. It was pretty stressful at the time, but looking back now we have had many, many laughs.

Driving this week has been pretty fun. I am pretty used to driving on the other side, traffic, crazy drivers, and stuff like that. My only problem is that I have forgotten how to park. We went to pick some missionaries at the Macau ferry, and I had to do a 90 point turn just to get the car parked. Elder Jackson was just laughing at me the entire time, it was not fun!

We are working with this other family also right now. Their last name is K–. The dad and daughter were baptised before, and now we are helping the 11 year old son and the mom. They are such an amazing family and they cook us dinner every single Thursday. Sister K– is from Thailand, so she makes amazing food. W.L., the son, is only 11 years old, so it is hard to teach him lessons, but we have been using the "Book of Mormon Stories" picture book that has really simple wording in it, and he is loving it. It has also been fun for me to go back to thinking like a child and teaching him in a way that he will understand. Children are so great.

I had an awesome time at the temple this morning and had such a great experience. The thing that really stood out to me is how much Heavenly Father loves us. Did you know that? He loves you and wants you to be happy. HE wants YOU to be happy. And he cares about you personally. He cares.

Sincerely,

Elder Brown

SEPTEMBER!

Can you believe it is already September? Crazy stuff!

It has been an interesting, but oh so good week. Last week we had even more new missionaries come in, so we went to go pick them up from the airport. Their eyes are always so big whenever they get off the plane, it’s like deer in the headlights. It is fun though, they are always so happy to be here and start doing missionary work. It is interesting, one of them actually has a brother who is here in the mission field. They are in the same zone, so that is pretty cool. So we got to do training with them all week, sounds boring, but it was pretty fun.

This week I also started driving… It is so crazy. Driving through the middle of the city is not very fun, especially when everyone is on the wrong side of the road! I am now having to forget all the times mom yelled to me to stop hugging the right side of the road! As I was driving, I decided to switch lanes. You know how you hit the blinker stick as you spin the wheel? Well I did that, but I had forgotten that the blinker stick is also switched to the other side, so my windshield wipers started going. Let me tell you, when you are driving in crazy traffic and you accidentally hit the windshield wipers instead of the blinkers, it scares the poop out of you. I even let out a little yell. My companion was just laughing the whole time. Luckily there were no accidents or tickets, so we are still doing well, I guess we will see.

So the mainland visitor baptisms work like this:
They travel down and we teach them all the lessons in one day. If they have been approved for baptism, then they have an interview and are baptized that same day. If they haven’t been approved, then we send them back up to mainland until they get approved and they wait until they get approved and save up enough money to come back down to Hong Kong. It really is an awesome experience.

Let me tell you about our new investigator I–. He was found in a different area, but then they did a turnover lesson to us. He is so prepared. He even came to church today and loved it, including elders quorum! NOBODY enjoys themselves in elder’s quorum! He was laughing the entire time. And whenever I see other people laugh it makes me laugh, which makes everyone else laugh, so the entire elders quorum was just people laughing. It was great. I haven’t seen someone love church like that in a long time, God’s plan is perfect! I–studied at a science university, and now he does research, he is pretty cool.

Well, that is my amazingly interesting week. This next week should be interesting, President Hawks is going to be gone to the Asia Area mission presidents’ seminar, so it might make things really quite or really crazy, we will wait and see. LOVE YOU ALL

Love, Elder Brown

p.s. I love the car, I am looking forward to driving it when I get home.
p.p.s Thanks for all of the amazing letters I have gotten from you all, they make me so happy!
p.p.s. next week is temple week, so Email will be delayed.

The Best Days…

Hello!

This week has been so incredibly good. Very busy, kind of stressful, but oh so good. I love working with President Hawks. Him and I have always been pretty close, so it is nice being able to work with him. He is a great man. So I will start with the typhoon from last week. We had the typhoon warning come through Hong Kong last week. It was going to be a big one, so we were all put on house arrest and weren’t allowed to leave. Through the night the wind was blowing pretty hard, and there was quite a bit of rain. Luckily Hong Kong has a really good draining system, and so there wasn’t really any flooding. By the time morning came, the big signal was still hoisted, so we couldn’t leave, but by then it wasn’t really hard rain and wind, so President said we could run across the street to our office, so we could keep working. So nothing really too exciting happened. There was just lots of broken tree branches, and a couple of uprooted trees.

This week, I have been able to work with so many people from mainland china. First, I had a lady from Chengdu call me. She is from the Chengdu second branch. She said her friend was on her way to Hong Kong, and she wanted to be baptised. Because of rules with mainland and baptisms, we weren’t authorized to baptise her, but we were able to teach her some of the lessons, and give her a book of Mormon. The whole time I was just thinking to myself, "I wonder if mom and Jake saw this lady while they were in Chengdu?" or "I wonder is she know Juno" It was really fun.

Then, the next day we had some members come down from Guangdong, which is another part of mainland. They also brought one of their non member friends down. Once again, we weren’t allowed to baptise her because of the rules, but we were able to teach her. And because of the part of china she is from, her mother language is cantonese, which means I got to do the actual teaching. It was pretty cool. I have attatched a picture of her and her member friends. They are so powerful. I haven’t had members bear that powerful of a testimony in a long time. When mainland does open, the field will be harvested by the thousands.

This week I also went to this awesome boy band concert… Wait what? yeah, you heard me right. There is this band called beyond 5 (you can look them up) and they came to Hong Kong. 4 of the 5 members are members of the church, so we got free tickets, and we went and tracted people at the concert. It was pretty weird to be at a concert on a mission, but we got quite a bit done. It was also weird when members of the quorum of the 70 showed up for the concert. Haha They actually had a good message behind the concert. They talked about how all of their music has good messages and how they hope their music can be used for good. It was pretty good, and I hope some success comes from it. My companion and I also had the job of making sure missionaries were behaving themselves and not going crazy. They did pretty good job.

Let me tell you a little story about a boy named M–. About two months ago, a girl named L– got baptised. Then one day some missionaries bring this boy to church, turns out, it is L–‘s little brother. We have been teaching him, and he is about as golden as the angel Moroni. His family is originally from mainland China, so he is very receptive to the church. When we taught him the word of wisdom, his response: "It shouldn’t be a problem, I mean, God did give us this commandment." And this is all coming from a 15 year old. He is awesome.

Well, my week has been good. Sorry I don’t have a lot of time to write, but this will have to do. Love you all, have an amazing week. LOVES

Elder Brown