Christmas was yesterday, which was a very happy thing. We got to go to church, take the sacrament, and call home!
I got to see the effects of Christmas on a bunch of missionaries. For most of us, it seems, it was a fun, spiritual, uplifting and motivating time. On the other end of the spectrum, some were really missing the presents, the snow, the songs, the lights and the family. Some were simply having a hard time with the work, others were crying, and one elder ended up going home this week because he missed his family so much.I love my parents and all they do, and I'm very glad how encouraging they are. I see a lot of parents who write "I miss you so much" every time they write a letter or an email or send a package, and that seems to take a toll on the missionaries. My parents are the best; I know they want me out here.Transfers was today, I'm staying with my comp. I would have liked to move but he's my favorite comp (or at least tied for first) and many changes have happened in the zone, some of which seem interesting and challenging. This should be a busy transfer, and we'll get the work back up and running and avoid getting sucked into the busy-ness.We drove everyone everywhere and ended up going like 150km today, so our miles are all but out. I'm low on time, but I should have time next week to email the parents and the siblings. I love you all!'Ofa atu!Elder Brown
Malo e lelei!
Malo e lelei!
I can't find my camera, so I won't be able to send pictures for now, I'm sorry. I don't think it's been stolen, but I can't seem to find it. We'll be cleaning our house today, so I'll look for it then.We cover two villages, Longoteme and Folaha. Most of the work seems gets done in Folaha, but the highlight of this week happened in Longoteme. My companion, Elder Lasalosi, worked in Longoteme a year ago so it's interesting seeing him go back; he already knows the houses to go to and where to get food and who will give us rides, etc. He worked there for several months and had one baptism. We get to go with her to the temple on Tuesday! We got to teacher her with her husband (a non member) and it was a great lesson. Elder Lasalosi, who taught him before, says he seems much more receptive this time around, so we have good hopes for him! The fact that the temple in part of the equation makes it cooler and I think they really want to go together. We should have a baptism coming up!!!I am very excited to call the family next week! I seem to be running low on steam so I look forward to the phone call as a way to re steamify myself!!I love it here very much! It definitely feels like Christmas; we talk about Christ everywhere we go and that's a happy thing. We don't have any presents, they don't play christmas music here, and it's coming up on the warmest part of the year, so it doesn't feel like any other christmas I've every had. People here aren't much about the American Christmas festivities; I think if they were it'd be a lot easier to be homesick. They are, however, very enthusiastic about Jesus, and I'll never forget it! This will be my only Christmas in Tonga, which is a special thing.I love you all!'Ofa lahi atu!Elder Brown
Malo e lelei!
I had to leave early last week so I'm sorry to the family members I didn't get to email.We stayed very busy this week, and ended up spending very little time in our area. There was lots of bidness to be done and in ended up taking almost all of our time.There are people to teach here, but many of them are experiencing roadblocks of one kind or another that are keeping them from progressing, being baptized, returning to church, etc. Although we haven't stopped visiting any of them, our focus has shifted to finding more people who want to be baptized. The work was very fast a couple of weeks ago, but it's gradually died down. This has been a struggle, because I don't want to go back to knocking on doors! I felt really good while teaching and baptizing, and have become comfortable with all that goes into it, I guess this means I need to learn how to find people again! I did a lot of that in my last area and remember it being very rewarding and very hard work! I'm relying on my father mother and siblings to get me in the door knocking mood!!! let the motivational statements fly!!!!I love it very much and here and love the people here very much!!I love this time of year! I think many of the missionaries end up thinking a lot about home this time of year, and their girlfriends, and their parents. The others think about Jesus. I've been thinking abot what He's done for me a lot and I love him very much. Out of everything we teach as missionaries, from prophets to the word of wisdom, my favorite is just talking to people about the Savior. I find we can take it anywhere from there, depending on what they need. I know that he lives!!I love you family and friends! Everyone always talks in church about the 25 methods in 25 days thing that the church has put out. Unfortunately, no one has bothered to print out the thing so we don't have any idea what we're supposed to do. But yous have the internet so I hope you all are taking advantage! I just looked it up and think it's way cool.I love you all!! 'Ofa atu!Elder Brown
Malo e lelei!
Another good week full of meetings!The pacific area president, president Haleck, came to Tonga and did zone conferences all throughout the mission. We talked a lot about our purpose, a lot about the doctrine of Christ and how to fix specific problems exclusive to our mission.I learned about how important it is to emphasize the first principles of the gospel as we teach and prepare for baptism. Many missionaries find people who want to be baptized and them submit them for baptism without teaching them. Or others may teach the lessons quickly and move on to baptism. What I learned is that the most important thing that our investigators should do as a result of our teaching is not necessarily to be baptized, it is first to have faith, then repent. Then Baptism comes next. This is a thing that I've know for a while but never quite been able to put my finger on or put into words. This will help things out a lot.Elder Haleck told us that it is easy to overemphasize baptism in missionary work, and he shared with us the possible results; people getting baptized without a testimony, children getting baptized without their parents, and people quickly becoming less active in the church. He said that emphasizing faith and repentance should be our focus. Those who have demonstrated faith by repentance should then be baptized!This makes missionary work make more sense, and the tools the Lord's prepared for that process seem much more helpful now that I've started to look at it this way.We have the master key for the zone, so we have to go to ha'ateiho and unlock the missionaries' apartment there. I will email you later if I can!I love you all and thanks for all the support!!'Ofa lahi atu!Elder Brown
Malo e lelei!
We had a baptism this week! Malia, the woman we started teaching last sunday, was baptized and is now one of the strongest members in the Folaha 2nd ward. She read every pamphlet and asked very good questions. She is a great example of what I wish every investigator would do and be; she had concerns and serious questions, mostly centering around Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, what salvation is and who qualifies. Many people have similar questions and either don't know how to address them or don't take the necessary steps to have them answered. Malia was different; she would listen, pray, ask questions, and read what we gave her to read. When she hadn't feel like her prayers had gotten answered, she'd pray again. and now she knows it's true! It's a thrill to see it work so well.We had 6 baptisms in the district this week! the work has really picked up.Next week, I think either one of the seventies or the area president will come to the mission and we'll do a mission conference. I hoped that would mean that everyone in the mission would all come and we'd have a massive meeting with everyone, but they've divided it up into like 4 groups so we'll be having smaller meetings. It will be fun! We have MLC next week too, so this will be a ton of meetings. We have one today, district meeting tomorrow, so we'll see how much time this leaves for work.We found another promising investigator named Lina. She has already received all the lessons, reads the Book of Mormon, and wants to be baptized, but she's afraid to tell her parents. It just so happens that her parents are very good friends with an active family in the second ward, so we're confident about her.I found a book called 'the discourses of Brigham Young' and have been loving it. (this is different from the JD, it's a compilation of various statements by topic) I love the prophet Brigham Young and am coming to understand why they call him the lion of the Lord. He's one of my favorites.Things keep on trucking out here in Tonga, I've been in my area a couple of months so I'm used to things and friendly with the people. I'm in a good area!'Ofa lahi atu!Elder Brown
Elder Brown and the Vahe eating kulii
(Elder Brown and the zone eating dog)
Malo e lelei!
I hit my year mark last week! It still feels like I'll be here forever; I still consider Tonga my home and I still tell people 'next year' when they ask when I'll be finished. It doesn't feel like this will ever end, which is a happy feeling. I love this work and this people.
We're continuing to see miracles here in Folaha! We've had a baptism come up out of nowhere! Her name is Malia and she's awesome. She's come to church a lot, has read from the Book of Mormon, and she really wants to go to the temple. Both her parents have passed away. Her father was a nonmember, and her mother was a member (strong as she could be under the circumstances). Her father had received the missionary lessons and was to be baptized on a Thursday. He died the Saturday before the service. She received the lessons over a year ago, but she still remembers a lot. We'll reteach everything and baptize her on Saturday!
With the old mission president, we focused a lot on chapter 8 and planning, and beginning with the end in mind. I've found this to be especially true in cases like these. The fact that we're working to make her family eternal is an awesome thing, in the true sense of the meaning. It's a great source of energy and motivation, not only as we work with her but with our other investigators as well. This is a blessing that is simply not available to them unless they fully accept the gospel. It makes me want to talk to everyone.
I am companions with Elder Lasalosi from Ha'atu'a 'Eua. He's the man! This is the coolest opportunity I've had to learn the language; I don't ever speak English anymore; I write in my study journal in Tongan, and I read the scriptures in Tongan. It's only been a week and I already feel more confident. He finishes in February, he's a remarkable teacher and one of the funniest people I know. I love him to death and he might be my favorite comp. or at least tied for first.
Although you all email me every week, send me pictures, tell me you miss me, and tell me you love me, and although there have been very hard times every since I've been out here, I have never wanted to return home. The Tongan people have a way of making me feel at home and I love them to death. I'm not almost done, and I don't feel almost done, but I already know that this will be a hard place to leave. I'll be happy as long as I'm here.
Although I'd love to go to school, find a wife and go fly airplanes, I'm in no hurry. Or maybe I am in a hurry; I'm already half done and it only feels like I've been here a month. People always tell me (especially now) that it'll be over before I know it. I hope it's not.
I love this work and this gospel and it makes me so happy to be a part of this work.
Kou fiefia he faingamalie kuo tuku mai kiate au keu lea atu kiate kimoutolu. 'Ofa pe na'e hanga 'e he'eku ki'i tohi ni 'o fakamaama'i mo fakafiefia'i 'a kimoutolu, he ko eku taumu'a ia. Kou feinga ma'u pe keu mo'ui taau ki he ngaue ni, 'aki ha'aku tauhi faivelenga ki he ngaahi fuakava mo e ngaahi tukupaa kuo u fakahoko pea mo 'etau 'Eiki. Hange ko Nifai, 'oku ou fiefia 'i hoku Sisu. 'Oku ou laukau'aki e siasi ni, mo 'etau 'Otua, pea u 'ilo fakapapau ko e ngaue 'eni 'a'ana. Kou fakamo'oni atu kiate kitautolu 'e lava ke fakama'a kitautolu 'o tupunga 'i He'ene 'alo'ofa, pea 'i he'etau mo'ui'aki e ongoongolelei ni, te Ne hanga 'o fakama'a kitautolu 'o fakapale'i 'aki 'a kitautolu e mo'ui ta'engata. Kou falala malohi kiate ia, ko e fakamo'oni eni kou loto ke vahevahe atu pea kou fai eni 'i he huafa 'o Sisu Kalaisi, 'emeni.
'Ofa lahi atu! Tau toki sio he ta'u fo'ou!!!
THANK YOU to all who shared birthday wishes with Elder Brown!
Malo e lelei!
I'm a bit pressed for time, but should still be able to get a message off. My comp's last day before transfers is today, so we're eating dog with the boys!I'll send pictures and give detailed commentary, and I think that will prove sufficient! prepare yourselves!
Using this exquisite piece of machinery I have beaten all the serious competitors in Folaha at least once (at least the ones who dare challenge me).A couple weeks ago, Elder Tuha played one of our investigators who's having family problems.He said said if he won, then our investigator would have to come to church.The oposition was fierce and the match went into overtime, but my comp won!The boy came to church, liked it, and has come back since!As a result, my skills have picked up, just in case I need to 'overthrow the money changers' table' as it were.
We showed up and they had a giant cake, 3 pizzas, a bunch of ice cream, and assorted sodas.
He has the shortest attention span I've ever seen, but when he listens he remembers everything.He asks good questions and remembers everything we drew on the board.With a little coaxing, he remembers the whole plan of salvation!He was set for baptism on saturday, but his grandma (a wesleyan) found out and wouldn't let him leave her house.
We've baptized a couple kids over the past few weeks, so we've been working toward their friends.
They all hang out together, so we've talked about Jesus, America, and why we're here as missionaries.Eventually we shared the restoration and plan of salvation (once they were convinced that we weren't crazy people).Then afterwards they climb a tree and get us something to drink.
President decided to send everyone home a couple of days early, so his mother asked us if we could help get the house ready.We helped by making the banner.
The ping pong table
That's all the time I have for today, I hope this suffices! This is a fun area, and people kept telling me I was moving again. I'm not going anywhere.I hit my year mark next week, so I'll send you a crazy email'Ofa lahi atu!Elder Brown
From: "Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission" <email@example.com>
Malo e lelei!Hello from Tonga, we just wanted to inform you that Elder Brown has been called to the position of Zone/District Leader. Elder Brown has been a great missionary here, he has worked very hard, he is a good example to those around him. He is trustworthy, obedient and he will be a great leader. That is why he has been called by the Lord to fill this position. We are very excited to work with him while he serves as a leader in our mission. We know that he has the ability to help the mission become what the Lord wants it to become.We ask the Parents and the Stake President to congratulate Elder Brown on this calling. This calling brings a great deal of responsibility as he has the opportunity to lead and watch over his fellow missionaries. We also ask that the Parents and Stake President, through weekly emails, encourage and push him to continue to be obedient to the mission rules and to be a light and example to the missionaries whom he serves.We want to thank the Parents for raising and sending us such a great young man and the Stake President for helping him prepare to serve, your efforts are truly appreciated. Elder Brown through his hard work and dedication has changed many lives here in the Kingdom of Tonga, he will continue to do so. We have great faith in and a love for this Elder and we know that he will help the Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission continue to be the greatest mission in the world!Sincerely,President and Sister Tui'one.
I haven't much time; there are 5 other elders waiting for the computer. We have a zone P day going on, i'll write you until I'm kicked off and then i'll go eat pig and play rugby!We had a lot of lessons this week; we have one ward that's been awesome and another that's kind of dead, so this week we got the work up and running, our bishop is the manThings are going very well, Thanks for all the birthday emails!We have the best members on the earth, and they made me a cake, bought pizza, and brought ice cream from town. Al; those things are very expensive here, so I'm very grateful for that.I'm being kicked off.
'Ofa atu! Thanks for all the letters and love!Elder Brown
Malo e lelei!Good week!We had a surprise baptism! His name is Samuela, and he's 11 years old. We've been working with this boy since I got here, but it was a big surprise to get permission from his father.The father and mother were both baptized once upon a time (many people in Tonga have been) but have become strong in the Wesleyan church (which happens too). The father said no the first 50 times, but he said yes this time! Samu is a lovely boy who really loves Jesus, and even though his parents still make him go to church with them, he's still been coming to all 3 hours of church every Sunday for a while. He even came to general conference! He's the man and we're so happy it worked out.He's a strong boy and his faith is awesome! we know it will be hard for him to keep coming to church by himself, so we're going to teach the rest of his family and get them back to church!! That would be a miracle and I hope it works. The mother showed up to the baptism (a surprise) and we set up a time!We've had a week chock full of cool lessons and topped it off with a baptism!We went on splits with the AP's, which was a lot of fun! I learned a lot. Elder Hosea, the Elder I went with, has been out a few months longer than I have and he's the man. We only got one lesson taught, but it was one cool lesson. We had a lot of fun.The primary program was this week. For those of you who know any 5 year old Tongan kids, I'm sure you can imagine what kind of thing that was. It was more fun than I've ever had in church. Many of the kids were encouraged to share their own thoughts and speak in their own words, and there were some very inspired and powerful comments, punctuated by uncontrollable laughter. The Tongan people get that combination better than any other people I know.I'm thankful for the Lord, I have seen His hand everywhere this past week. He is so patient with me and I know he loves me. That keeps me going, and the more I try the more I know it! I love the book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith. I'm proud of my mission and I'll never forget it; I can already tell.My year mark comes up in a couple of weeks; I feel like I've been here all my life, but that still doesn't feel very long. I'll miss it here. I'm glad I still have some time.'Ofa lahi atu kiate kimoutolu!Elder Brown
Mother found me on the internet again; they brought us 4 giant sacks of beautiful sandwiches and choco piesthe boiz after the project
The district (minus the sisters) in Ha'atafu for a baptismal service before the transfer!
and the members gave us a guitar!
I had to do a lesson, and even though we're all friends it was still scary
the look on my face should give you some kind of an Idea how the teaching went, notice the tongan - white spectrum
Baptism! The boy's name is Tevita, and he's the man. He was worried about the green water, but we told him jesus was baptized in green water and he was eager!
Splits with the APs, visiting my old area, old members, and old comps, memory lane!
One of the office elders' parents sent tortilla chips and freeze dried cheese, so we had microwave nachos for breakfast! As you can see we put a lot of cheese because we didn't want to waste any of it.
one of the best meals I've every had, this was the family that got us a baptism this week! We had Ice cream afterwards.
I have only an hour, and I was at another church building and I wrote a good bit, but it looks like It didn't save, so that's three weeks in a row with a lame email!malo e lelei!
The internet was being very uncooperative last week so I didn't get a chance to send much; I got one off to mom and dad, but no one else. I did my best, so please bear with me!Many prospective missionaries in Tonga have to wait for their visas, so they start their work in Tonga. Like 6 missionaries all gt their visas at the same time, and we got to be transfer patrol for the day. We'll probably be transfer patrol tomorrow too.I composed quite a letter as we waited for one of these missionaries to pack his stuff. I wrote it at the church building next to his house, but it didn't save, so if I seem a little frustrated, I'm sorry; I had a lot of time set apart to write you guys this week but it got jacked upBidness!! We had a baptism the week before last, and 4 more coming up. We know the investigators well and they are sharing their concerns, which makes our job seem a whole lot easier. Although we don't let the relationship get casual or inappropriate, I feel like i'm good friends with all my investigators and this helps a lot. My companion has shown me how effective this can beI've made more progress with the language over the past couple weeks than I have in a while; my companion speaks fluently and most of the people we deal with are men in their 20's, so I'm starting to learn more about how people actually speak TonganThe work here is great and I'm so happy here, but we had a lame busy day and I'm so I'm struggling to express the butterflies and sparklesI love you all! I have a little time left, so I'll email my siblings and mom and dad!'Ofa lahi atu!Elder Brown
Scroll down for original email :) I cleaned it up:
Malo e lelei!
I'm very sorry; the spacebar just quit working and i'm low on time so i'll have to write like this.I lost my wallet, which had my american license, temple recommend, and debit card in it, so as of this week I am not driving a car.The work is going great! we have 5 baptisms coming up!!Conference was great!I got to watch the last session in english, so the last session was the best!I am very very sorry, but i'm being kicked off the computer now. I'm sorry! I'll email next week; things are going very well.I love you all so much!Love,Elder BrownMaloelelei!I'mverysorry;thespacebarjustquitworkingandi'mlowontimesoi'llhavetowritelikethis.Ilostmywallet,whichhadmyamericanlicense,templerecommend,anddebitcardinit,soasofthisweekIamnotdrivingacar.theworkisgoinggreat!wehave5baptismscomingup!!!conferencewasgreat!Igottowatchthelastsessioninenglish,sothelastsessionwasthebest!Iamveryverysorry,buti'mbeingkickedoffthecomputernow.I'msorry!I'llemailnextweek;thingsaregoingverywell.Iloveyouallsomuch!Love,ElderBrown
Malo e lelei!
Transfers again! Transfers are always fun and my new companion, Elder Tuha, is the man! I'll be working in Folaha. I'm still in Te'ekiu for the time being, but I'll be headed over either later today or tomorrow. We'll have a car, so I get to get my license this week!We haven't baptized anyone in this area, which is a bummer, but the next elders to work here are gonna have like 50. This was a very fun area, a very busy area, and I learned a lot.This last week was relatively slow; still lots to be done, but we found ourselves with a bit of free time and we have no creative juices left so we went and visited random houses and tried to get friendly with people, with some success!I somehow have gotten really friendly with the office elders, the ap's, and a couple of the elders in high places in the outer islands, so I knew about most of the transfers about a week out. I found mine out on Saturday. people have been offering to pay me to find out where there going, so I'm involved in deep secret combination type stuff over here.The new AP has been out for less than 12 weeks, which is the mission record
We're going to go fishing after this, and I still need to write president. I'll write a lot next week!'Ofa lahi atu!Elder Brown.
https://youtu.be/y-EyLnLDtgA?Imagine how I gasped when I saw PETER!
OH HAPPY DAY to see this good young man after more than 10 monthsThis clip is the final 8 minutes of the 2 hour video celebration- 100 years of the Tonga, Nuku'alofa Mission. Peter seems to know where the camera is, and stations himself quite nicely at appropriate times!
Thank you ALL for the love, support, and prayers offered in his behalf.
From Elder Brown:
You found me on youtube! The members showed me that video when I worked in 'Eua and made fun of me for awkwardly standing right where the camera ishahahahaha! Shumway was standing just off camera, I was standing awkwardly to try to get a picture with him.
They haven't translated conference into Tongan yet, so we will see it next week. Don't tell me yet!!!
We eat twice a day, and the members feed us. We eat a lot of 'ufi (tongan yam), sweet potatoes, and manioke (i don't know if there is such a thing in america). we eat a lot of canned meat (fish, beef, chicken). We eat a lot of sheep, beef, chicken, and fish. Occasionally, we eat a pig or a dog or a horse.Last week, we had the best pig I've every eaten in my life.
The members (in this area, the brown family, interestingly enough) do our shirts and tupenus, we do our own garments.
I'm getting transferred tomorrow. I like this area, but it's always fun to get transferred. I know my new companion and he's the man!
I love you very much! Thanks for the email! and thanks for being a missionary!!!
'Ofa lahi atu!
'Ofa atu ka moutolu
Malo e lelei!
We have quite a time limit now for emailing, so rather than write 5 lines and quit I've decided to copy and paste parts of my letters to the mission president. If it seems out of context or worded strangely or it there are any Tongan words that don't translate directly to English, I apologize; bear with me. I love long letters from other people, so I'll write a long letter back, to the best of my ability.We have well over 20 investigators in the pool, which we're quite proud of considering the 0 we had a month ago. People know I like it here so the transfer rumors keep on comingWe had ward conference yesterday in the Te'ekiu second ward and 17 nonmembers showed up!! a new record!We're going with the zone leaders to go fishing. There's an abandoned boat floating in the water near in our area, so we're waiting to hear back from the ap's whether or not that's okWe've been teaching a lot and doing a lot of work! I'm getting fat again because the members here feed us really well and our area's really small. I really like it here.I got my absentee ballot from the office! I don't know if it's too late but it's worth a shot! #buildthewall!I've been going through 'missionary work' in the topical guide and I've found some of the coolest stories and learned some of the coolest truth. I've begun reading about the life and ministry of the apostle Paul and all he went through, his powerful conversion story and the strong witness he bears, I've always loved Abinadi, Alma, Ammon, Amulek, and all the rest, so I've been having a grand old time during personal study.I've also been studying chapter 4 (regognizing the spirit) in a new depth and with a more real-life application in mind, I guess. We teach such a broad pool of investigators (everyone from Baha'i to Muslim to Pentecostal to Athiest) that I can't get anywhere using only my brain and the understanding I have, just because there's so much ground to cover and my mind doesn't work that fast. I've found myself getting overwhelmed when I try to think and devise clever ways to find faults in their reasoning, and that often leads to either 1. poor teachings or 2. visits where we do little more that have a nice gospel conversation. I consider this section from preach my gospel to be a revelation to me:How you approach an investigator's concern will depend on the nature of that concern. Determine whether the concern has come up because the person does not have a spiritual confirmation of the truth of the Restoration or whether the person does not want to commit to living a true principle. Understanding the source of the problem in this way helps you know whether to focus on testimony or commitment. (preach my gospel, chapter 10, help people resolve their concerns).Looking at it this way makes my purpose seem more clear to me, and a lot simpler: teach correct doctrine, help them know for themselves, and invite them to repent and bring their lives into alignment with the Father's will. This is why they wrote the book, and was among the most enlightening finds of the week.I also learned quite a bit from reading in the 'listen' section of pmg chapter 10. I have a testimony that we receive words "in the very moment" if we ask in faith, teach in love, and try to render ourselves worthy of that gift. I really try to understand people and love them, and it works!!kou fiefia he faingamalie kuo tuku mai kiate au ke u ngaue ki Tonga ni. Ko e me'a fakafiefia mo'oni kiate au pea u 'ilo'i ko e ngaue eni 'a e 'Eiki. 'oku ou ofa lahi atu ka moutolu!!!!This is the true Church and I love you all!Elder Brown
Malo e lelei!Good week this week! We had a lot of fun, did a lot of work, and ended up stupid tired as a result. Not much has changed from last week. We still teach a lot, get along well, and stuff is rolling along pretty well.We finally got a hold of Bailey, the Muslim man in our area. He doesn't get much company, so we talked for a good hour and a half. He wouldn't take a Book of Mormon, but he said he would join a church that God told him was true. We're making progress with that one, however slowly.We met with a young woman yesterday who wants to be baptized, and technically could do so (she's over 18 years old) but if her parents find out she'll be kicked out of the house. We'll be continuing to work with her. Her sister was baptized, but hasnt showed up to church since her confirmation.We went to the Crown Prince's house and did a service project there. We got to go back later that week and present a gift. We gave his family a big picture of jesus and a big copy of the family:a proclamation to the world. I got to shake his hand, and in a couple decades he'll be the king!Good week! I love you and thank you for the letters!'Ofa atu!Elder Brown
Malo e lelei!We had a very good week this week.
Although I've been trying, I'm still not very good at talking to everyone. There were a few times where I was scared to talk to someone and passed them on the street. Elder Mahe has been a great help; every time I'd pass someone, he'd talk to them instead. He's very committed and I love his guts. He learns a lot every day and it's a lot of work to keep up with him. I love him to death.
Last week we found 10 new investigators. Talking to everyone works! We tell the members about people we've been teaching and visiting, and they give us more! we've received many referrals over the past week and we're struggling to keep track of them.
This is the most diverse teaching pool I've seen; we're teaching old women, young boys, a Muslim man, a Baha'i family, an athiest British man, and everyone in between. It really makes things more interesting. My experience is limited to Siasi Tonga, Wesleyans, Catholics, etc. so it's interesting and fun to have such a diverse crowd of people to teach.
I feel very focused on the work. This is a good place to be. It's a lot of work, but I feel like I'm being the missionary I'm expected to be. My companion and I have been stupid tired for like a week. We fell asleep like twice yesterday at church and in meetings.
I really love it here. our ward mission leaders are wonderful, and our bishops are always willing to help. The members work very well here and we're happy to work with them.We found a bag of the malt-o-meal captain crunch knockoff. It's way sweet and I wasn't such a fan.Great week this week! I love you all!'Ofa atu!Elder Brown
Malo e lelei!
This won't be to wordy; I spent most of the time getting the pictures uploaded, which I hope you'll like. Thanks for writing me, even if I couldn't write you!The work is picking up! we have a couple of investigators who seem interested. We haven't gotten anyone to church, but things are still looking good.
We are starting to get the lay of the land and are getting friendlier with the members and less-actives. We have a big map on the wall on which we are writing the names of all the houses we visit. Google maps is the best.We're talking to everyone and going door to door, which is something that the Tonga mission as a whole doesn't do a lot. It requires a lot more effort and I need a lot more help, but the Lord is always there. I feel like more of a missionary now that I talk to everyone! And it's getting easier. It was a lot less scary and awkward once we decided to give it a shot.
My companion is the best! He wants to work really hard and be obedient, and he's already pulling the normal weight with a smile. I love him so much!We heard there's a Muslim man in our area, so we're going to baptize him! we haven't met with him yet, but we met his wife and she served a mission. We'll try to get them both to church!
I love you all!'Ofa lahi atu!Elder Brown
At king Tupou VI's palace
Big 'Ovava tree, the one they based the Avatar tree off of (maybe you find that interesting; I dont)
Elder Mahe, that poor frail soul
Location: Eua, Tonga
Malo 'etau toe ma'u!Please forgive the last couple of weeks!!!!!! I am so sorry, Long story short, we just didn't have access to a computer. We tried very very hard.Furthermore, I have to rush; President Tui'one has established a 45 minute time limit and I will be following it.I got transferred to Te'ekiu and Masilamea in the western part of the main island. I am training again. It is a small area and it's been a while since they had a baptism. We've found a couple people to teach, but things are still slow. We have yet to get the lay of the land and we don't know the members very well yet; we only go here a few days ago.From what I've seen of the area so far, this is a very very nice place to be. We have two wards and a branch to work with, and the priesthood leaders are very excited to get work done, so we have an unusually busy week coming up. We're really excited; the members are very cool.I was bummed to leave 'Eua; that may well go down in history as my favorite area of the mission. We had many preparing for baptism and the members were outstanding. Not to mention it's just so darn pretty and cool.My companion is elder Mahe from West Jordan, Utah. He has a full ride scholarship waiting for him to play football at BYU. He's a d lineman and a big boy indeed. He understands Tongan very well (he attended a Tongan ward in Utah) and is making very good progress with the speaking aspect. He is full of love and goodness and seems to be making the transition to mission life remarkably well; I was scared sick for like a month, but he's been all smiles ever since we met. I love him to death. He wants to work and be obedient, which is a definite blessing.35 new missionaries came in last week, so everyone and their dog is training. The mission president is trying to put missionaries 1 per ward, so many more should be expected over the next months as well.'oku ou fie fakahaa atu 'eku 'ofa. Kou kole fakamolemole atu ko e me'a 'I he fuoloa 'eku ta'etohi. Pea mou kataki hono si'isi'i o 'eku tohi he uike ni. Kou 'ofa lahi atu ka moutolu!Elder Brown
Location: nukualofa, tonga
Malo e lakoifie!
The King of Tonga came to 'Eua this week! we didn't meet him or shake his hand or anything, but we saw him up close and got a picture! Once a year, as I understand it, the king comes and visits 'Eua and all its villages. Everyone in our area was gone, so we went and checked it out. It was like a big fair where everyone had their fish, yams, produce, livestock etc. to sell and display it was a lot of fun and we saw some very cool performances.The 100th anniversary of the Tonga mission is this week, and President Tui'one is bringing all the missionaries from 'Eua and Ha'apai in on the boat, so we're leaving later today! we'll be there for a week(ish). We'll also be attending MLC and going through the temple, so we're really excited!We have an investigator, a 45ish year old man, who has agreed to be baptized! we're very excited and very confident about him. We only recently found out about the celebration and don't know how long we'll be on Tongatapu, so we have no definite baptismal date anymore, but I'm confident it will be in a week or two.I've been listening to a lot of talks by Elder Bruce R. McConkie. I've been pondering and fasting and praying to try to understand who God is, and trying to get my head wrapped around what it means to be omnipotent, omniscient, all powerful and perfect. I know he lives and would encourage all of you to think about the gospel, the commandments, the scriptures and the words of the prophets in a more real sense. The more I understand, the stupider sin seems and the lower my jaw drops. I don't understand it all, but I know that God lives.I love this gospel, and it is my privilege, responsibility and blessing to deal on a daily basis with the stuff that changes lives and saves souls. The more I learn about our Father, the more real this all seems.The clerk changed the password, so we got started pretty late; I'll write more next week. I'd like to express my love to you all and I'm very grateful for all the replies! I don't have the time to write you back individually, but I want you to know that I never read one without feeling loved. Thank you!This is true!'Ofa lahi atu,Elder Brown