28 November 2016

          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)

21 November 2016 Elder Lasalosi (from 'Eua)

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!!!

Elder Brown

14 Nov 2016

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!
The signature elder brown ping pong bat (a.k.a. the superboard 5000). 
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.
Photographic evidence that I have the best members of all time. It was a surprise; they called us at like 8 and asked us to give them a blessing. 
We showed up and they had a giant cake, 3 pizzas, a bunch of ice cream, and assorted sodas. 
It was the best.
The goods
Junior, the boy we're going to baptize next week. 
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'll baptize him next week.
We came over to this house and the election was on. I was practically getting live updates from the ap's and office elders
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.
Elder Vailea returned home last week (he served in Tonga). 
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 finished product!! 
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

12 November 2016 Elder Brown- called as zone leader

From: "Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission" <2019418@ldschurch.org>

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! 
President and Sister Tui'one. 

7 November 2016

      Hello all!
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 man
Things 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

31 October 2016

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

mission prep class
My comp (left)(who is the man) and one of the RM's
Mother found me on the internet again; they brought us 4 giant sacks of beautiful sandwiches and choco pies
          the 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!
Zone meeting!  
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. 

Primary program
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.