26 December 2016

       Malo e lelei!
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

Jennifer Brown

To learn more about me, click here!

19 December 2016

      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

12 December 2016

         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

5 December 2016

         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