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!
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