Favorite Scripture: 3 Nephi 5:13

Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.

Enduring to the End

Monday, October 1, 2012

Family and Friends,
   I can't believe the time has come!  Honestly, it hasn't hit me until I just read all the emails from my family that talked about coming home tomorrow.  I have so many emotions going on right now that I can't describe.  Excited, anxious, depressed, happy, are just to name a few.  I am sad that this amazing experience of a mission is ending.  Having said that I am excited to take on the world and do the things the Lord would have me do as a member missionary.  My mission experience has been very sacred to me.  I have been able to really understand what it means to have a relationship with my God.   There have been so many times on my mission that I have experienced denial, rejection, persecution, hatred, and many people mis-understanding of what our purpose is as missionaries.  At all these times of rejection,  I have had to find ways to help myself get motivated to continue forward and press on.  The only way that I could get through that was relying on my Heavenly Father to get through the tough times, to receive that extra boost of energy.  To have that extra ounce of charity towards that individual that just cussed me out.  To be able to have the ability to have the spiritual eyes that Christ has.  To act as a representative of him.  Prayer has been a huge and important factor of gaining that relationship and understanding of that.  Then, I realized that they are not persecuting for Elder Josh Brown's sake.  They are persecuting the majestic individual Jesus Christ who did the most important act in eternal history by fulfilling the Atonement so that we can  come back to live with our Father in Heaven.  He too was persecuted, judged and killed by the world.  He suffered it because  he loved us.  So I count it a honor and a blessing to have the experiences I have had on my mission, good and bad, in the name of my Savior Jesus Christ.
   I had an amazing experience of prayer and fasting.  I really desired going out with a bang.  I wanted to do the things that the Lord would have me do in the Irvine Westpark Ward.  I prayed to heavenly Father that we would find somebody to teach and bless their lives for the better.  Sunday night was my last chance, my last push to endure to the end.  I was running full force going door to door.   Knowing my time was limited.  After dinner we went to a apartment complex.  It was 7 a clock and for some reason a ton of apartments were dark and nobody was home.  We still exercised faith in finding that one person that last individual that Elder Wood and I could touch and bless.  Around 8 a clock we knock on this door.  A little child answered the door.  We asked him if his father was home.  He opened the door wider and looks back.  His father was laying on the bed yelling, "what do we want".  We told him that we are representatives of Jesus Christ and are sharing a message about him.  He kind of waved his hand at us and said He already knows about Jesus and doesn't need to learn more about him.  Elder Wood then said that more scripture has been revealed about the Savior and his dealings with the ancient American people.  It caught his attention.  He said "I am really sick but please come in and share".  We found out that he has been sick for the past two weeks. We go in and teach about how we got the Book of Mormon and shared the Restoration.  He believed every ounce of it.  He said that he has been looking for answers and he had almost given up hope.  He accepted to read the Book of Mormon, to come to church with his family, and also to be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God.  It was a miracle!  He was so prepared for this message.  The most prepared individual I have ever met on my mission.  He just thanked us so much.  As we closed with a prayer I received a prompting from the spirit.  Feeling bold I said , "Jeff, as representatives of Jesus Christ we hold the Priesthood authority of God.  As part of the restored church of Jesus Christ we hold the authority to heal the sick and afflicted.  Just like the apostles of old.  Do you have faith sufficient to be healed?  He said, " I do".  I said, "We would love to give you a priesthood blessing to heal you of your sickness". Elder Wood and I had the opportunity to give him a priesthood blessing.  God sent us to Jeff!  He knows all his children and answers their prayers.  He answered mine and Jeff's in one experience.  I was flying high as a kite with the spirit when I left his apartment.  Satisfied with my offering to the Lord in enduring to the end.  I thank my Heavenly Father for the blessing of ending my mission like that.  I will always remember that experience.  I am sad that this is ending, I love being a missionary.  I Love you all and appreciate all of you that enjoyed this journey with me by reading my blogs.  I am going to miss this but I am excited to see my family and enter into the next chapter of my life.
(3 John 1:13-14)
Elder Brown

Elder Brown's 21st Birthday Party.......Thanks Bobi so much!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happy 21st Birthday Elder Brown......

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hi, this is Elder Brown's mom.  It is hard to believe that Elder Brown (Josh) will be coming home next Tuesday, October 2nd.  He will be flying into the Salt Lake City Airport at around 1:00pm.   As a family, we could not be more excited.  We have missed him so much!  We are busy making posters, buying yellow ribbon and ordering yellow balloons to decorate for his arrival.   Today, Josh officially turned 21 years old.  Having a P-day on your birthday was great.  He said that he was so busy responding to all the birthday wishes that he did not have enough time to write his weekly blog.   But he told me he did a little grocery shopping and bought Steaks to celebrate.  He and his companion ate them for lunch.  He went to Bobi's  (a member in his ward and family friend) house for a birthday dinner! Thank you to all the members in the Anaheim, California mission who loved my son and treated him like their own!   He said it has been a great birthday and we can't wait for him to have a big birthday celebration with us when he gets home. Josh said he will write his FINAL blog next Monday and express some of his feelings of what his mission has meant to him these last couple of years.  

His homecoming talk will be Sunday, October 21st at 1:00pm.  The address is 9600 North and 6000 West in Highland.  (Just a block from our home).  Please join us for lunch after!

Octopus soup, Yum!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Family and Friends,
   This week was crazy busy!  I had exchanges with both the Vietnamese and Korean Elders,  we had zone conference, and we got a new set of missionaries in our ward serving with us. 
    I was able to go on exchanges with Elder Leonard from Mobile, Alabama!  We had a good time in Westminster finding Vietnamese people.  I had a cool experience with one of the gifts of the spirit.  We were going to talk to a potential when we see a Vietnamese guy sweeping his drive way.  So I go up and wave smiling.  He smiled back and Elder Leonard started speaking with him.  As they are talking I was able to have an idea of what they were talking about.  As they are just talking I have just this huge grin on my face.  He then turns to me and says something as if he was asking a question.  I felt prompted that he was asking me what my name was.  So I told him I was Elder Brown.  He had a hard time pronouncing my name but bowed as he said my name. It is out of respect to do that.  After Elder Leonard told me that he was shocked that I was able to answer him.  I said yep the Lord blessed me with interpretation of tongues for that short visit that was a very joyful experience.  I had a great time with Elder Leonard.  He is a great missionary that is learning a very hard language. 
   We had zone conference this last week and it was amazing!   I had the opportunity to go up to Yorba Linda (my old ward) and do service for them.  Our whole mission painted fences off of horse trails for the community and it was a great experience.  It was cool to have service as part of our zone conference.  We did that all morning.  We then gathered together in the Bryan building in Irvine and finished the rest of the zone conference.  I love when Sister Bowen and President Bowen speaks to us.  They are so knowledgeable and spiritual.  They speak with such power that always lifts you and encourages you.  It rejuvenated my spirit to hit the pavement and continue to work hard and look for the truth seekers.  As I was pondering on this, President asked for all the departing missionaries to come and bear their testimony for the end of the Conference.  He then says my name.  I could not believe that this was my last zone conference.  It is a tradition that all the departing missionaries bear their testimonies at the end.  I totally forgot that this was my last zone conference.  So I was able to bear my testimony and it was a good spiritual experience.  I know without of a doubt my testimony has grown leaps and bounds more then when I first came out.  I was grateful for the opportunity but shocked that it is the very end of the middle of my mission.
    I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the Korean Elders.  I went to North Korea with Elder Kim and a brand new missionary Elder Cook.  I was able to spend the day with them and teach a lot.  It was hard because Elder Cook and I had no clue what was being said.  It was by far the hottest day of my mission hitting 110 in Garden Grove.  I just sat there baking in an apartment with no A/C.  I prayed for the investigator we were teaching to accept the Gospel and also that I will not die of heat stroke. haha.  We were able to have authentic Korean food and it was very interesting.  I had a lot of Kim chi which is fermented cabbage, zucchini, horse raddish, any other vegetable that can be fermented.  I like the Kim chi cucumber but that is about it.  We also had this sea food soup.  For some reason I was the only one that got a huge octopus with gigantic sucking cups.  I was like there is no way I can eat that.  I decide to just try one of the tentacles then I just tapped out and apologized that I could not eat it.  They rewarded my with some concord grapes that were delicious though.  We were able to get a family to church that we taught and they are progressing wonderfully.  Korean Elders are on fire and I love them very much!
    We were able to get Natalie one of our investigators enrolled into seminary which is great.  She will now have the opportunity to be fed spiritually before she goes off to school.  Her testimony is going to grow into a huge tree until she can be baptized when she is 18.  She is amazing!  She has a lot of courage and determination to follow her heart.  We had some step backs with our investigators but I know that the Lord is the master and he is preparing their hearts to accept the Gospel. 
  Have a great week.  I know that I am.
Elder Brown

Recognizing the Spirit

Monday, September 10, 2012

Family and Friends,
   This week was crazy and tiring!  I had so many crazy experiences and things that I am not able to really discuss them.  All I can say is that I am tired and the work is true. haha.  Elder Wood and I had a lot of opportunities to exercises our faith.  We went out and talked to every one followed the spirit and every thing.  It was just not our week numbers wise. A lot of our investigators got busy with school starting this week and every one is running hundred miles an hour.  Saying they have no time for God and spiritual things.  Wo wo unto them. Ha ha. We were able to have a lot of spiritual messages with individuals and it was great.  I was able to feel the spirit do its magic.  We had the opportunity to be trained by the assistants what we are focusing on this month as a mission.  It is exactly what I have talked about!  Recognizing the spirit in Ch. 4 of Preach my Gospel.  We then have one companionship study to teach our zone of 16 missionaries the importance of the spirit.  Every time I feel like we are not as prepared as I would like.  The Lord really has our back and gave us the words we needed to say to get our message across.  It was amazing to feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost on what to say and what to do.  I was chastised by the spirit that there were some things I needed to work on to be a more powerful missionary.   We read D&C 121 about the Priesthood how it is only performed through righteousness.  If we do anything that is carnal, low or cheap, we can say goodbye to the priesthood or the authority of that man.  I believe that we have the best missionaries in the mission in our zone.   I don't have to worry about any of them whether or not they are doing the work.  We just talked about ways that we can sanctify ourselves more fully.  It isn't going to be anything big.  Just little things that will give us more power and authority in our teaching.  We will receive a greater adage of the spirit.  (EX. Getting out of bed on time, keeping our conversations on missionary work, getting to studies on time, etc.)   I know the Elders will do the things necessary to take it to the next level.  Our zone will be lifted to a whole new playing field. 
   Crazy stuff.  Well I will let you know some more stuff that happened when I get home because I would be here for hours if I wrote every thing.  Tune in next time
Elder Brown

Excited to Hit the Pavement!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Family and Friends,

   This week started off really good.  We were teaching a lot.  We were able to get right in a door.  We met a man by the name of John who is a Presbyterian head usher.  He loves us Mormons he told us.  We are the ultimate examples of a Christ-like people.  He tried to talk to us about how amazing Mitt Romney was and how he is trying to get his whole congregation to vote for him.  It was really funny.  He is just an awesome old man.  We had to let him know that the church is neutral in politics and that we had no clue what is going on with the election.  We were able to share the Book of Mormon with him and invited him to read.  We found out a member already gave him a book and that he has read first Nephi.  I was so happy.  He says he loves Mormons and he knows the Book of Mormon is true but he has always been going to the Presbyterian church and he will stay.  Really nice man that is a good voice for LDS members outside of the faith. 
    We were able have a great lesson with Cathy.  She has been having a lot of trials in her life.  We were able to bring a great couple from the ward with us and we were able to teach the whole Plan of Salvation in one sitting.  That is a miracle in itself.  Her only concern was the degrees of glory.  She didn't really comprehend that.  She feels like they are elevators going up and down.  We were able to solve that concern.  She is so ready and prepared.  She doesn't even know it.  We need to teach her a couple more lessons.  Her baptismal date is going to be pushed back a little bit.  Hopefully she will be ready in the near future. 
   This next part was a miracle.  We knocked into this kid that looked like he was our age named Justin.  He is a very strong kid and buff.  We asked him how old he was and he said he was 16.  I was like, "really?"  He told us that he is Catholic and goes to Mater Dei high school.  I was like awesome that was in my last area in Santa Ana.  So we got talking and found out he plays football and is a middle linebacker there.  So imagine this kid and how huge he was.  We asked him if we could share our message.  He said sure.  He feels like he doesn't get too many spiritual experiences because he rarely goes to church and just hears stuff from school.    We started teaching him the Restoration.  He is one of the most humble kids I know.  He was starving spiritually.   He believed all our words.  The spirit was so strong.  We shared the first vision that Joseph Smith had.  We asked him how he felt about it.  He said that he could believe it.  We invited him to read the Book of Mormon.  He accepted.  The way he answered our questions was with so much humility I know that he is a truth seeker.  He is going to read and come to know for himself that the Book of Mormong is true.  He said that he would love to get baptized when he knows for himself that these things are true.  So we were really excited. 
    From that day on we had a lot of appointments fall through and investigators not come to church.  Got a lot of doors slammed on us.  Some guy got in my face wanting to fight.  Knocking 15 doors nobody answering.  Things that make you discouraged.  We were able to get pass that.  Good things are going to happen and the adversary doesn't want it to happen.  Excited to hit the pavement this upcoming week to reap!
Elder Brown

The Lord's Will!

Monday, August 27, 2012

  This week was crazy!  A ton of ups and downs.  It was an emotional roller coaster this week haha.  There is so much stuff that it is just too complicated to talk about or try to explain.  I actually think that I could write a novel on this week alone on my mission.  I was able to figure out the will of Heavenly Father and go forward with it even though I had a different idea that satisfied my selfish demands.  So I am going to explain briefly the things that happened this week.
    We will start of with Joy.  She is a single mother that has had a lot of trials in her life.  I was able to talk about her in my last post.  Well,  we had some amazing spiritual lessons that bore witness to her that she needs to get baptized.  She knows that is what she needs to do and she just needs to do it.  Well, we were able to schedule a date for August 31.  She was so excited and ready.  We were teaching her every other day.  We talked about baptism again and asked her if there is anything that could be getting in the way of her getting baptized.  She expressed her situation with her daughters not approving her faith and what she believes.  She wants them to be a part of her baptism and celebrate it with her.  They are so against it.  She explained that she has the mommy extincts.  How her kids are always first.  That she will not do anything for herself until her kids needs are taken care of.  She believes that she is being selfish being baptized before her kids.  We understand that she feels that way.  We talked about how Jesus Christ was baptized to be an example unto us and to show us the way.  We promised her that she will be that example to her family.  That her kids will have more of an opportunity to accept the Gospel with her being a baptized member with the gift of the Holy Ghost rather then her not being baptized.  The spirit testified what we said was true.  She said that she is still planning on it.  So excited we call the Bishop and let him know and get people ready to support her on this great day.  Flying high as a kite the next day we are in a lesson and I get a text from Joy.  She told us not to panic but she prayed and feels like the 31st of August is not the right time for her to be baptized.  That she wants her kids to be more accepting and be at the baptism and support her.  I went from seeing rainbows and flowers to getting knocked out by Brian Urlacher (linebacker for Chicago Bears).  I was so frustrated.  We did everything we could!  Feeling like a failure we go home to finish weekly planning.  I check in with my Heavenly Father to let him know the event that transpired.  I was able to bring my will to his and felt an assurance that her time is not yet.  That we need to be patient to her needs and just have charity for her.  So I was able to be comforted that it was the will of the Lord and that she will get baptized at a later date.  I don't know if it will be while I am here or not but no matter what she will enter into the waters of baptism.  That is all that matters!
    We were able to get another investigator to progress tremendously this week.  We were able to get Natalie to keep the Word of Wisdom which she has been already been doing for two weeks.  She was able to go to her friends baptism that she knew since kindergarten.  She came to church for the first time staying all three hours!  She loved Young Womens.  She loves everything about the church and feels very confident that she is going to be entering in the water of baptism in the near future! 
   Busy as ever! There is no other way I would like it!
Elder Brown