22 Feb 2016

Malo e lelei!

There has been a category five cyclone meandering its way through the south pacific. We've been feeling its effects, but it hasn't done any damage to the island I'm on. It just brought some rain and a pleasant breeze. It was all people seemed to talk about. Apparently, according to what the guy said on the radio, it turned southward towards Tongatapu, headed north, turned around and headed toward us, headed toward Fiji, turned around again, and then made up it's mind and decided to hit Fiji. It's been wreaking havoc over there; I think 10 people have died and a lot of damage has been done. The kids are all bummed because they have to go to school. but we could probably do without the 160 knot winds.

Salesi and Lotu Tamoepeau don't want to be baptized anymore. They haven't told us directly, but their family members have. The Korean ministers have been keeping them at church from 8:00am to 3:00pm to prevent them from coming to church with us (sacrament meeting starts at 1:00). They are fed well, so they don't complain.

Yesterday at church, however, we taught three new investigators. We taught with our ward mission leader and a ward missionary, areturned missionary who served in Tonga. My companion started, and it was painful, as usual. But the two who were with us jumped in and taught, so It went very well. I know that's not their job, but it was a real help. They want to be baptized.

When I pray and listen for promptings, I don't struggle to receive revelation/answers, normally. But until recently I've been listening for promptings only when I'm very discouraged or during nightly prayer. I've been reading in chapter 4 and trying to approach the day with a heart open to revelation. It's helped a lot. I read in chapter 6 this week about hope. It was very nice.

We have a few more possible baptisms. That's very exciting. It was a good week.

Ofa lahi atu,
Elder Brown
A companionship was supposed to head to Vava'u, but had plane/weather trouble after takeoff. They stayed with our district.
A very flattering picture of my companion and I role-playin during zone meeting
We caught a puppy. temporarily.
about to lose my totin' chip
Taniela Tamoepeau. He's a fine old man. We're trying to help him back to church. I love this man
some fat kid
Korean ministers home
weekly planning party

15 Feb 2016

Malo e lelei! 
A good week this week.
Over the past few months, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on 'family planning', a method by which the mission president and stake presidents hope to get the members more involved in missionary work. In the beginning, the family prays for a person to invite to church, they pray for them and read the scriptures daily, they invite them to church weekly, they fast for them monthly, and try to get them to the temple withing a year. Naturally, everyone was excited about it for the first two days. We didn't give up, and people have started to have real success with it. The excitement has picked back up. We are very happy to see this.
My comp's doing very well. Our relationship went from an 8.5 to a 9.
I've been reading about humlity in chapter 6 of Preach my Gospel. Very nice. This week I'll read about hope.
Sorry if I have a short email this week; I just listened to "safety for the soul" by Jeffrey R. Holland and got distracted for a good 15 minutes. don't listen to Elder Holland if you need to stay busy.
We went on splits with the ward mission leader. I don't have a picture of him yet. He's the bishop's son, and he just got back a little over a month ago from his mission in Papua New Guinea. 
We've been putting a lot of efforts into working with the members and it's beginning to pay off. 
that's my email; excuse the brevity thereof.
I had a very good week, but since I'm a lousy time budgeter, I don't get to tell you about it. 
Love all of you
Ofa lahi atu,
Elder Brown
rainy rainy
Guess where my watch goes
We taught another lesson at the elementary school. guess which one isn't a member
Hair cut 
additional haircut selfie
 Me laying down the law at district meeting

I've never had dork flavored noodles in america 

8 Feb 2016 First Transfer! Tofoa

Malo e lelei!

It seems like the whole mission was rearranged this week. The zone leaders let an elder drive who didn't have a license, and president saw them. He followed them home and told them all to pack their bags. They didn't get sent home, but they've been punished. The zone leaders have lost their positions, one is in the office and the other is in Havelu, in our district. The Elder who was driving was told he'd be sent home, but he's just going to be transferred. He's very relieved about that. We'll probably going to have two new district leaders as well. One of the AP's finished this week, one of the elders in our district is going to Niua (the coolest area in the mission, most of us feel) etc. people seem to be flying all over the place. Even the Elders who've been here a while say that this transfer has been unusually hectic.

We have two new investigators we are confident in: Mele Tamoepeau's mother and brother, Lotu and Salesi, respectively (Mele was baptized last week). They seem very receptive. Mele's mother was very much against it only a few weeks ago. It's almost suspicious (knock on wood). 

I went on splits with the district leader this week. I love his guts, so I was excited. But no one was available. We walked all over the area, back and forth but we couldn't teach anyone. We contacted some people, but no one was interested. lame sauce. We ended up with straight zeros for the day.

We got a district dart board, since all other sports are banned. Morale has improved

School has started again, so It's harder to get people at home; their parents are always gone/busy/uninterested and the kids are always studying.

Reading chapter 6 has been great. I focused on charity and love last week and i've already noticed a change. I'll work on humility this week.

My relationship with my comp has improved greatly. It went from a 4 to an 8.5 in only a week. I'm starting to be able to take the lead in teaching, which is fun. I'm on track with the Book of Mormon. I'll have read through Alma 61 by the end of study time. It has helped more than anything else.

Still no word on the two less actives with word of wisdom problems. We haven't really seen the man. We found some whiskey at the woman's house, but she insists it's her friends. her son told us otherwise, but nothing we can do about it until she's honest with herself and with us.

So ends transfer number one in Tonga. I'll probably be staying in Tofoa another three. things keep getting better every day; I learn more from the scriptures, I remember people's names better, the food tastes better, I'm starting to teach more powerfully, I'm getting tanner and skinnier etc. etc. This isn't a very easy thing but it's gettingt more happy than frustrating. Thanks for the emails, thoughts and prayers. I love you all!

Ofa lahi atu kiate kimoutolu!
Elder Brown
Chinese new year party
Laundry selfie
Sunset over the rugby field
teaching a lesson to the school children. very fun
We got a district dart board. I'm the first to get a bullseye!

1 Feb 2016 Baptism of Mele!

We were finally able to baptize Mele Tamoepeau, despite the best efforts of the crazy Koreans. Now that she's baptized and confirmed, they stop trying to get her to come to church; instead they just tell her she's going to hell, along with the rest of her family. Despite their assertion that we're saved by faith alone.

We went to the pizza place again with the stake president. It was very good. We saw Prince Ata. He's like 6'4" and was wearing a Defend Hawai'i shirt. He's got a very cool story. look him up.

A lady who was baptized several months ago has started drinking and smoking again. Worse yet, she tells her kids to lie about it. They have told us on several occasions what she's been doing, but she continues to deny it. We don't know what to do with her until she's being honest.

Another man, a soldier in the King's guard, has been growing frustrated with his wife, so he goes out and gets drunk. He hasn't been home the last few days, and we can't get a hold of him. He has a bunch of kids and they aren't learning good things from this example.

All of our investigators seem to be sprinting away from the strait and narrow as fast as they can.

Internal companionship drama hit a high point last week, so I've been reading Preach My Gospel chapter 6, and it's been helping quite a bit. When I want to strangle him, I pray my guts out and smile. That's been a good start.

I'm trying hard. I'm out of time again. I had a good week.
Me, my companion, Bishop Matakaiongo, and Mele Tamoepeau.
The highlight of my day
A cool one
Salesi Tamoepeau's birthday. We got him ice cream
I got my finger stuck in the stupid thing
Peter, the crazy alcoholic British man. Me trying to be of assistance.