Elder Brown Last Email

Friends and Family,
Your love, prayers and support of Elder Brown over the past two years means more than we can express. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. 

Feel free to find a nice Tongan to translate his final message, or use the Hawaiian setting on google translate for a loose interpretation :)

'Ofa atu,
Jennie and Jim

ko ha ākonga au 'a Sisu Kalaisi, koe 'Alo 'oe 'Otuá. Kuó Ne ui au keu malanga 'aki 'Ene folofolá 'i he lotolotonga 'o hono kakaí, koe'uhí ke nau ma'u 'ae mo'ui ta'engatá. 3 Nīfai 5:13

'Oku ou lau 'eni ko ha tāpuaki mo'oku koe faingamālie kuo tuku mai 'e he Tamai Hevaní keu 'omai ki Tongá ni 'o hoko ai ko ha faifekau taimi kakato. 'Oku ou fakamālō mo fakafeta'i kiate ia koe'uhí ko 'ene tataki mo fakahinohino'i aú 'i he'eku fonongá. Neongo pē 'eku ngaahi tōnounoú kā he 'ikai pe ke ai ha taimi ia 'e 'osi ai 'ene 'alo'ofá mo 'Ene katakí

'Oku ou tuku heni ha fakamālō makehe ki he'eku ongo matu'á koe'uhí ko 'enau 'ofa lahi mo 'enau poupoú. Ka ne 'ikai ko kinaua, mahalo na'e 'ikau keu lava 'o 'ikuna'i 'ae ngāue ko 'ení. 'Oku ou fakamālō foki ki he'eku tokouá mo fanga tu'ofafiné koe'uhí ko 'enau fakalotolahi'i aú. Fakamālō foki kia Pisope Meyer, kae uma'ā 'a palesiteni Matsunaga koe ngaahi tokoni fakalaumalié kuó na fakahoko mai kiate au. Faka'apa'apa lahi foki kia palesiteni Tupou pea mo palesiteni Tui'one, kae pehē foki he kau faifekau kātoa ne tau ngāue fakataha. Na'a mou hoko kotoa ko ha ma'u'anga tokoni kiate au 'i he'eku ngaahi faingata'á.

He 'ikai ke ngalo 'iate au 'ae 'ofa 'ae kakai ko 'ení; koe kakai Tongá 'ae kakaí ia 'oku ou mālie'ia taha ai, pea oku nau hoko ma'u pe ko ha fiefia'anga kiate au. Fakatau ange pē 'e ma'u ha'aku faingamālie keu feohi ai mo ha kau Tonga 'i he ka ha'ú

'Neongo kuo 'osi atu 'ae vaha'ataimi ko ia na'e vahe'i ai aú keu hoko ko ha faifekau taimi kakato, kuo te'eki ai ke 'osi 'eku ngaahi ngāue fakafaifekaú. 'I he'etau hoko ko ha ngaahi mēmipa 'oe Siasi 'o Sīsū Kalaisi 'oe Kau Mā'oni'oni 'i he ngaahi 'Aho 'Kimui ní, koe fatongia ia kiate kitautolu ke 'oua na'a tau tuku ke holomui 'ae ngaué ni, tatau ai pē pe ko e fē 'ae feitu'u te tau 'i aí. 'Oku ou 'ilo fakapapau kuo 'osi hina 'ae ngoué ki he utu-ta'ú.

'Oku ou 'ilo ta'e toe veiveiua 'oku mo'ui hotau 'Eiki ko Sisu Kalaisí. Ko 'Ene ngāué eni. Kuo toe fakafoki mai 'ae ongoongoleleí ki mamaní 'o fakafou mai 'i he palōfita ko Siosefa Sāmitá. 'Oku 'i ai ha palōfita mo'ui he lolotongá ni pea mo ha kau aposetolo ke tataki kitautolu. Koe ngāue eni 'ae 'Eikí, pea 'oku ou laukau'aki 'ae faingamalie na'a ku ma'u keu hoko ko ha me'angaue 'i hono to'ukupu 'i hono 'auhani 'oe ngoue vaine ko 'ení.

Ngāue ke ikuna, ikuna ke fiefia, fiefia ke ta'engata

'Ofa atu

Elder Brown

Elder Brown 2 October 2017

Malo e lelei!

Yet another good week, despite some shenanigans on the part of our investigators.

Salome, the investigator I wrote about last week, pulled a fast one on us and ran away on Friday to go get married. She should be off to Niua some day this week. We called Elder Pakalani in Niua and told him the info, so hopefully she and her new husband will be baptized soon. They haven't had a baptism in Niua for a long time, so I hope they're grateful.

On the bright side, Her older sister came to church in Feletoa and she said she'd be interested in talking with us. We will go visit her tomorrow and see what we can get done!

Earlier today, a teenager was driving irresponsibly near Saineha high school and hit a couple of students, so President Makai asked us to go to the hospital to see what we could do. I didn't end up needing to give blood, but we got to see one of the boys who got hit. There were'nt many workers, so they asked us for help pushing him around and lifting him on and off various tables and carts while they did tests. He has a neck brace on and some scrapes on his hands and he's pretty drugged up, but other than that he seems fine and is expected to walk again.

We went to Feletoa and were supposed to teach a class to some nonmembers and less-active members on Sunday evening, but nobody showed up. We had a great scheme to do a short class on Wednesday evening and then have a volleyball session shortly thereafter. We think we'll be able to get a lot of people to come; even if they skip out on the lesson, everyone will still know that it's the place to be. We'll see what happens!

We will watch conference next week because of the date and time difference and because they need to translate it into Tongan, but we cheated and watched elder Holland's and Elder Uchtdorf's talks on youtube. We're excited to see it next week

I fly back to Tonga Wednesday next week, so this will be my last full week of missionary work until I'm an old man, which is a fun thing. Kind of sad. I want to make the most of it. This has been the happiest part of my life and I've learned a few things.

I know that Jesus is the Christ. We can be freed from our sins and mistakes. He was perfect and suffered and died for us. He rose again on the third day and broke the bands of death. 

We are the children of God and he loves us. He answers our prayers. He will protect us and strengthen us as we obey his commandments. The Holy Ghost will sanctify us as we live worthily of its companionship.

God called the prophet Joseph Smith to restore the gospel to the earth. The Book of Mormon is true. We have living prophets and apostles on earth and they show us the way.

Tongan people are my favorite people. I hope I get to be around them wherever I end up spending the rest of my life. They have been a source of happiness to me during the hard times and I will remember their love forever. I will miss it here.

I love you all!

'Ofa lahi atu

Elder Brown

Elder Brown 18 September 2017

Malo e lelei!

The zone leaders flew back to Tonga for a little while, and they asked us to teach one of their investigators, a 9 year old girl named 'Ofa from Ha'akio. She was baptized on Saturday. Her parents were just divorced, and her mom grew up in the church and wanted her baptized, but her dad said no. Now that they're divorced she's started coming to church again, and since her daughter is 9 years old she needed to be taught by the missionaries before baptism. She's a great girl and she was a lot of fun to teach.

This week I read the Book of Mormon (the one after 4 Nephi) and it really impressed me how much Mormon's life stank. He literally had to stand at the front of the Nephite army and watch his people fall apart. They were past the point of repentance and their downfall had been prophesied since the time of Nephi, so he knew what was coming and couldn't do anything about it, but he kept on trucking and got the records passed on like a man.

Compared to Jesus, anyone's bad day seems pretty good. I love him. As time goes, study time always seems to turn into that. It's all about Jesus and I love him.

I wish I could go to some little island somewhere where nobody'd heard of the church yet. Every time we go and teach someone, with the exception of little kids, it seems like they already have a good idea of what we're about and they have a good idea of how to say 'no'

I love it here, and even though I know the coming months will be a lot of fun it will be hard to leave this behind. I'll never forget this people.

I love you!

Elder Brown

Elder Brown

> Malo e lelei!!
We had a good week this week. The work's still slow, but we're trying our best to be fast anyway! I will be staying in Mataika with my comp, which is welcome news. We were hoping nothing would change. I left my last area without a baptism, so I'd really like to find someone before this is all over. I'd better hurry and find someone; I only have 6 weeks left and the last 6 weeks have gone by insanely fast.

My companion's birthday was on Tuesday and we had a crazy blowout party after district meeting. We had heaps of pizza and cake and chips and he felt the love. I love that guy and he's made the last 6 weeks a blast for me. Happy birthday Elder Nau!

Yesterday we got to participate in a stake musical fireside, which was beautiful. We had been practicing for a couple weeks and were a little shaky, but we ended up sounding great. There were many spiritual talks and a lot of beautiful music.

We've heard about a guy in Feletoa who really wanted to be baptized, but had to go to Tongatapu for a while. He has returned and we'll go and hunting for him tomorrow after our district meeting.

We made a map on our wall and we want to fill it up before I'm done. Mom and dad have been writing me and giving me my travel plans and we're trying to nail down the schedule and itinerary, plane and boat tickets etc. It's pretty surreal. I'll be back in Hawaii with a job looking for a wife in a couple of months.

I love the Lord, this is great and I love it here. This is the true church and if that sounds crazy then ask about it!

'Ofa atu

Elder Brown

Let's go to the movies! https://www.moviepass.com/referral/emailSubject/yhnHxgWiRUfgh08L%252FcXQNVZNn5mqMfuK9GuiD5ZATS0%253D/1504396398009

Hi family-
This a great deal of you like to see movies in the theater! (You can see a movie a day for under 10$)

I subscribed to MoviePass, a service that lets me see a movie a day in theaters nationwide for only $9.95/month, and I want you to join, too! MoviePass is the BEST way to see all the biggest hits so sign up today! See you at the theater! https://www.moviepass.com/referral/email/yhnHxgWiRUfgh08L%252FcXQNVZNn5mqMfuK9GuiD5ZATS0%253D/1504396398009

Elder Brown 28 August 2017

Malo e lelei!

We had zone conference this week, which was cool. President should be here until tomorrow, and we're going soo to a P day activity with all the missionaries in Vava'u. I'm really excited; there are a lot of people in the other zone that I haven't seen in a while, so it will be fun to see them again.

Zone conference was great. President Tanner from BYU was here in Vava'u on Thursday, and he got to come and speak. They came with a couple of major donors to the university, who have a sone who served in Tonga from 2013 to 2015. He's held on pretty well to his language and it was a lot of fun to talk about some of the old guys from the mission who've already finished. Time sure flies.

I want to get a baptism before I leave! I haven't had one in months; I'm sure there's someone somewhere who's ready. We just need to find them!

I'm going to head out; if I can, I'll check later this evening if anyone else writes.

I love you!

Elder Brown

Elder Brown Pictures 21 August 2017

1. Elder Tupou and I on mount Talau after our district meeting 
2. Elder Brown with the '8 weeks left' look on his face
3. Flooding at Sione Latu's house
4. The beach down in Feletoa. It's a bit of a walk but it's sure pretty here.
5. A pretty view indeed. There's an old white guy that supposedly lives in that little house way in the back, right in the middle of the water. It would be fun to see how he's doing.

Elder Brown Pictures 21 August 2017

Elder Brown Pictures 21 August 2017

Elder Brown Pictures 21 August 2017

Elder Brown Pictures 21 August 2017

Elder Brown 21 August 2017

Malo e lelei!

The elders in my old area were able to Baptize 'Ofa! We had worked with him for a while and didn't respond well to the baptismal invitation. But, Elder Le'ota and Elder 'Uvea didn't give up! I'm way happy because of those guys; they didn't give up! I saw 'Ofa at stake conference yesterday and he looked great; he shaved and showed up in a suit looking like a million bucks. He has a lot of close family in the Church, a couple of whom have recently returned from missions, and the young men in Tu'anekivale are great. He' got a lot of help behind him and I can see him going on a mission and going through the temple. That was definitely a highlight of this week; now I know that all that preaching in Tu'anekivale ended up was worth it!

We went door knocking in Vaipua after district meeting; I went with elder Tupou and we had a great time. We got a few names, got in a couple houses and passed out some pamphlets. We also took a half hour or so to climb mount Talau and took a couple of pictures. We had a lot of fun getting work done and smelling the roses along the way. The elders in Taua (elder Sulunga and elder Tafengatoto) have a massive area with heaps of hills so they were grateful for the help.

With all door knocking success we've had in the past couple weeks, we figured we'd give it a shot in Feletoa and we didn't really get anyone. We went around during the slow part of the day, so not many people were home and those who were home told us to come back later. I met a lady from Folaha (an old area of mine) which was fun, but she asked us not to come in because her husband doesn't like the Church. We'll try to get a hold of the man and see what's the deal.

We had stake conference yesterday and on Saturday. One of the area seventies came and conducted, and it was great. I don't remember the guy's name, but it was great. I have a lot of fun watching seventies and apostles speak; they show up with their scriptures and their life experience and they always end up telling us exactly what we need to hear. This church runs on revelation, and its always a thrill to feel that and to see that.

I'm a little excited to be done, but the Lord always manages to find some way to get me excited about the work again. The Seventy showed a couple of videos, one of which showed the growth of the church and missionaries all over the world; it got me really excited and I felt like I could move a mountain. That combined with 'Ofa's baptism has got me excited.

This is the Lord's Church and He never lets us down. I love you all!

'Ofa lahi atu!
Elder Brown

Elder Brown 14 August 2017

Malo e lelei!

I was sick for a few days this week. That's two weeks in a row, and it's definitely a lot less fun to be the sick one. On the bright side, I was feeling lazy the week before last from spending time indoors, and being sick (and getting better again) has put a little spark back in me.

My comp and started running a couple days before I got sick. We run to Ha'akio and back. The hill on the way back, right before we get home, is killer, so by the time I get back I'm going to have calves of steel like my brother in law. We've been eating very little and walking a lot as well. My comp is great and he keeps me going.

We've started a new program as a district where after district meeting all 10 of us knock doors in whichever town we met in. We did that in Leimatu'a for 2 or 3 hours last Tuesday and we got into every house we knocked. Leimatu'a is the best! I can't wait to give it a try in Mataika and Feletoa, because we've gotten in one house in Mataika. It seems like mataika's been knocked on 50 times over so people have the 'go away' speil memorized.

Once again, I've started sharing the story of Alma and Amulek with the members;I think it's perfect here. Alma got kicked out of Ammonihah until he started working with Amulek, the guy who already lived there, knew the people and had their respect. We go around and when we share messages we ask the members if they can be like Amulek and get us some Baptisms!!

I love my companion. He's been a great help and we get along great. He's very easy to get along with and he ants to work. He keeps me going and gets me out of the house. I'm having a lot of fun with him.

'Ofa lahi atu!

Elder Brown

Elder Brown 24 July 2017

Cool final transfer news! Elder Nau is related to our ward mission leader, and Kathryn's seminary teacher!

Malo e lelei!

Transfers was yesterday, and I'm goin to Mataika with Elder Nau from America! It looks like I'm finishing in Vava'u, which is gonna be very cool. Elder Nau's already been there a couple transfers so he knows the area well. I am very excited about Mataika; it's a bigger area and everyone who's worked there says it's very cool. President told me last week in our interview that I might be going there, so I had some warning.

Tu'anekivale taught me how to be a different kind of patient; it's one thing to be patient when things aren't going your way. It's another to be patient when it seems like nothing's ever happening. I followed my father's advice, trying to make something noteworthy happen every day. That helps me go to bed feeling accomplished. I hope Mataika will be busier and that Elder Nau will help me sprint to the finish!

The group of Elders who I've grown closest to over the past year and a half or so finished last friday; it's really weird to see them gone and I'll miss them. I'll see many of them at BYU but it's weird for them to be gone. It seems like yesterday they all hit their year marks. This is going very fast.

I will write more later if I can; there is a mother here that has asked me to do a transcription of a letter (a few pages long) for her son, who is on a mission in New Zealand. On top of that, there's only one computer here. I'll do my best.

'Ofa lahi atu!
Elder Brown

Jennifer Brown

To learn more about me, click here!

Elder Brown 17 July 2017

> Malo e lelei!

We went to town with the zone leaders last week and got a few blocks of cheese and tortilla ingredients, so we make quesadillas from time to time. At first they weren't very good (we were using some pretty sharp cheddar which kind of threw things off) but now that we've gotten the tortilla making technique down and the cheese balance right they're a thing of beauty. Cheese is by no means a part of the Tongan diet, so our members and investigators haven't had anything like it before and they love it. The members will remember me as the guy who introduced Mexican food to Tonga!

We spent a lot of this week doing zone conference related stuff, and (unfortunately) spent a lot of time waiting around at the house.

We were told at P day on monday last week that President Tui'one would be interviewing us the following day. Our phone had been broken so we were told to stay in the house and wait for him to show up. We normally leave at 10, so we waited and waited till 2 and got sick of it so we went out and got something to eat and waited at a member's house by the road. We ended up peeking out the window every five seconds to see if President and the crew would come through, and by about 6 o clock we ran out of steam and called president on a member's phone, only to find out that he wasn't coming.

The next day was Zone conference, which was a very good and rousin' meeting. Once again, president told us to go home and wait at our house for the interview. The meeting ran a little long so we got home at 4 and waited for president, but no one showed up. Eventually it got dark and we're out of money so we had to go steal (borrow) a box of crackers from our neighbors so we wouldn't die.

Then we went out and did our thing on Thursday and got interviewed! I had an awesome conversation with president and although he was short on time I felt like I got across exactly how I was doing/feeling in less than 5 minutes. He gave me some promising transfer news (secret!) and told me he'd put me in a situation where I could go out with a bang! Tu'anekivale has been great.

This week Friday my last 12 weeks start, which is surreal. The last couple of months have flew by so I know this will be done before I know it.

We've been teaching and visiting a less-active man named Sione. He and his wife have already been sealed in the Temple but a couple weeks afterward he started smoking and drinking kava again. We've shared a lot with him and last week his wife shared with him the parable of the prodigal son, and for the first time since we've started teaching him regularly he's opened up to us and told us he needs help. He shared that he feels like he's eating with the pigs and he's too embarrassed to try coming back to church. It was a really emotional lesson and we got to sit there while him and his wife had a good talk and sione promised he'd quit smoking. He wasn't here for church yesterday but hopefully he'll start showing up. He's a good guy and we love him.

Good week this week! I'll be on a little later to email family!

'Ofa lahi atu!

Elder Brown

Elder Brown 10 July 2017

Elder Brown 10 July 2017

Elder Brown 10 July 2017

What a treat for Elder Brown to meet Elder John Groberg and his wife Jean. Elder Groberg's experiences serving as a missionary in Tonga inspired the film "The Other Side of Heaven". 
He returned a few year later and served as Mission President, organizing the first stake in Tonga! 
The population of the Kingdom of Tonga is now 107,000, with 65,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

Jennifer Brown

To learn more about me, click here!

Elder Brown 3 July 2017

Malo e lelei!

I missed last week so I knew I had to make this letter super good, but I'm low on time and a little under the weather so the creative juices aren't flowing the way they should. We had a good week and got work done!

On Saturday we went on splits with the district leader, Elder Nonu. He is done in three weeks and this was his first area so he was really excited to come here. We'd hoped that he'd be able to make it for fast and testimony meeting on Sunday, but president said no. He was super excited to come back and I swear he opened like 5 doors to us that we haven't been able to get in before. Normally when we visit a referral or go knock on a door they tell us to come back next week, that they're busy, etc. and this game seems to go on indefinitely. Elder Nonu was here for over 7 months so he taught a lot of people and I'm really happy he got to come here. He only got to stay from like noon to 8 in the evening, so we get to go again on Tuesday. Him coming here was an answer to prayers.

I'll probably be able to get on in a few hours in Ta'anea to read any responses, sorry I'm short on time. I love you all!! Thanks for all the support!

Elder Brown

Elder Brown 19 July 2017

Malo e lelei!

Another fine week in paradise!

I've made a reputation over the last week as 'elder Brown the fix-it man'. People often ask me if I am good at fixing cars or phones or computers and, up until last Tuesday, I would usually say no. But on Tuesday we were eating at a member's house and they asked me if I was good at fixing TVs, and I said yes. He needed help hooking up the dvd player so I did it and he was impressed and gave me a pat on the back. So ever since then I've been leading everyone to believe that I'm a master fix it man and they ask me to 'fix' all their stuff. When they say 'fix my lawnmower' it usually means that there's no oil,  or when they say 'fix my weed wacker' it usually means they ran out of trimmer wire, all problems well within my area of expertise. The citizens of Tu'anekivale are all duly impressed and I've managed to find yet another way to leave my mark on the place! When mom and dad come and everyone's lawnmower's are running smooth and everyone's ceiling fans are properly wired you will be very proud.

President Groberg came to Tonga and came and visited us in Vava'u. He is like 80 but he's held onto his Tongan pretty well (If my Tongan is that good when I'm 80 I'll be a happy camper) and he's got all kinds of the craziest stories. He worked in Niuatoputapu and then spent the rest of his time in Ha'apai, so he never made it out here  to Vava'u, but he said that Vava'u was somewhere he always wanted to work. He shared a bunch of cool experiences and he's a great guy. For a guy his age he's full of energy and he's a lot of fun to be around. 

As far as getting any baptisms goes, we've hit a bit of a dead end once again. We talked about baptism with 'Ofa and he seemed very uncomfortable. We teach him with a member who recently returned from his mission in Australia, and he is pushing pretty hard for him to get baptized, so when we asked how he felt about baptism or what he thinks would be holding him back we had a long awkward silence party. We'll try to talk to him in his own house and try to get a feeling for where he's coming from.

My dad is the best! I didn't know it was father's day until today, but I love him so much and we're grateful for all he's done for us. He's a special man and I can't wait to see him again!

'Ofa lahi atu!
Elder Brown

Jennifer Brown

To learn more about me, click here!

Elder Brown 12 June 2017

Malo e lelei!

The internet has been weird all over Vava'u over the past couple weeks so I'm glad it's back to normal, knock on wood. We don't have anything to do today but email since everyone's getting moved around today, so I'll give you two weeks worth of goodies! I even promise to email Ali!!!!!

We got a new investigator last week who's talked to quite a few missionaries over the years. He is the only one in his family who hasn't been baptized; his father was just ordained as the stake Patriarch and his sister got back last month from Korea. At first we could tell that he didn't really want to be there, so we asked him if he was really interested and he told us no, we joked around a bit and he asked "we all pray to the same Lord, why don't you leave us alone? I already believe in Jesus." We hear that question like every day so we gave him our best lesson 1 and he said he gets it now. He came to church last week but didn't accept the invitation to be baptized, we're good friends by now and we'll continue digging.

Yesterday was transfers, and my comp and I are both staying. I love my members and the people we teach so that was a happy phone call.

Yesterday president Makai and his wife came to our sacrament meeting. They brought with them a couple of their friends from Utah and they asked me to translate. I had a really hard time following along over the sound of my own voice. Every once in a while, I'd come across a phrase that I'd have to think about, so I would end up falling behind a few seconds; I would invariably end up lost. I would start out each talk okay but a couple of minutes in they'd tell a joke or use a Tongan idiom and I'd be lost, so I'd make up my own talk and my own jokes so now they think I'm a Tongan expert. President Makai was sitting right there and he gave me some quizzical looks, but then he realized what was happening and we started laughing. it was bad for my linguistic self esteem but it ended up being pretty funny and me and President have an inside joke that isn't going away anytime soon. Mom and dad area coming to pick me up in October, so they should be aware of this before asking me to be their interpreter. Go find someone that speaks Tongan :)

This is a small area, and we have a day or two a week that's full of cool stuff that the rest of the time goes by pretty slowly. Everyone's gone until 1 or 2 and its hard to find stuff to do, Teaching doesn't happen as often anymore and we only get 3-4 lessons a week with an investigator. When it happens, it's a lot of fun and I appreciate it a lot more than I did before. I hope I get to finish in a crazy area so I can get some work ethic lessons in me again.

I love the Lord and this church is true. Sorry the internet's been uncooperative; hopefully it won't be happen more. Thanks for all the emails and the support!

'Ofa lahi atu!
Elder Brown

Jennifer Brown

To learn more about me, click here!

Elder Brown 22 May 2017

Mother's Day Skype with Elder Brown!

Malo e lelei!

I got a camera, so although I'm short on time I'll post some pictures!
We went this morning to Mount Talau and had a grand old time. We woke up at 5 but the truck didn't show up till 6:30, so we didn't get to see the sunrise from the mountaintop. I got a picture on the road though and the sunrise was beautiful.

A quick cultural lesson about Tonga: Tongan Time is different from Hawaii Time. In Hawaii, things run a little behind schedule. It's not strange o start a meeting 15 or 20 minutes late. Tongan time is totally different and unpredictable: if we're supposed to have a meeting at 6, the thing starts right at 6 half the time and at 6:45 the other half of the time. My companion swears that he can tell when something'g going to start on time or not, but I have no Idea how it all works. I've just gotten used to waiting :)

President Tui'one is in New Zealand, so the first counselor, President Makai, took over and a few surprise transfers have taken place. My companion, Elder Langi, was transferred to Talihau and I'm now companions with Elder 'Uvea from Ma'ufanga. He came in about two months ago but he's very confident and he's a lot of fun. I love this guy! Elder Langi was hard at first and we left on a bit of a bad note; I think time will heal that one however and we'll be best friends before we know it.

Things have been really slow here; we knocked on everyone's door in our area last week and very few people let us it. We have a tiny little area so I'm not sure what to do from here other than go back to the people who weren't home. Knocking doors was the thing I was always scared to do when I got in, but now it's fun. I just wish more people would listen to us.

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous this week; its been sunny and like 70 degrees and windy. Just another day in paradise. I love it here and this place is absolutely beautiful.

It was such a blessing seeing my mother's face on mother's day! I know she prays for me along with all of you and I know that your prayers help me when I'm out of juice. Last week while we were going door to door I just wanted to sit down and go to sleep, but I said a little prayer and I made it. This would be a lot harder without all of your prayers and encouraging words.

I love the Lord,my companion, and the people of Tu'anekivale!

'Ofa lahi atu!
Elder Brown

Elder Brown 25 April 2017

Malo e lelei!
This will have to be a short one, most of the baptismal plans have dropped through except for Semisi and Loleini and their family; it doesn't seem clear whether or not they'll be able to be baptized before the transfer, which has us at least a little nervous because word on the street is that this transfers going to be a weird one. We'll see what happens.

Elder Langi and I are getting along a lot better now than we were before, and things are a lot easier now in our area

The bishop is about to leave and I don't know what else to write about, so I love you and I'll continue to email to the greatest extent I can!

'Ofa atu!
Elder Brown

Elder Brown 17 April 2017

Malo e lelei!

We had a good week this week! We came early to the church and the network is cooperating, so I should be able to email everyone today,

The Wesleyan minister here went over to talk to Semisi and Loleini about the LDS church, and it's not super clear what they talked about. We've gone over a couple times since then but they tell us they're busy. They said to head over tomorrow, so we'll see what's up then. I know they felt the spirit and they've had all the lessons, so the ball's in their court. My blood is clean but it stinks to wait on other people like that.

Last week went pretty quickly; a lot happened and lots of people have made progress or lost interest; Everyone seems to have either gotten to a point where they're comfortable or where they want to change, and we're focusing on preparing people for baptism. Semisi and Loleini still seem to be the most likely for baptism, so we fasted for them yesterday and will be going to them tomorrow.

Friday and today are holidays, so the temptation to go swimming has been in full effect. I won't do it!

I love the Savior and we went around the whole week talking about him. We gave as many spiritual thoughts and- lessons or scripture verses as we could, and that made this week special. I love this church and I know that Jesus is the Christ and that he leads us.

'Ofa atu!

Elder Brown

Elder Brown 12 April 2017

Malo e lelei!

The internet was down again on Monday, so sorry I wasn't able to get a letter off. The bishop and my companion assure me that it doesn't happen often, and even though most of the areas in Vava'u have computers the connection in many areas is spotty at best. The internet people came yesterday and the computer is up and running, so we're sneakily here netting on a Wednesday. It's been two weeks in a row now, so I didn't want to wait till next week

Since I've gotten to Tonga, people have been telling me that the work in Vava'u is slow, and it definitely seems slow so far; I, however, happened to transfer in right when a bunch of people (whom missionaries have been working toward for months) are deciding that they want to be baptized, and so we have our hands full and we get to teach almost every day.

The family we're feeling the most optimistic about is Semisi, his wife Loleini, and their two kids. They have been talking to the missionaries for months now, but never seemed very interested. Last transfer, the district all came and helped to build a fence around their yard, which we were able to finish last week. This is one of the best wards I've worked in as far as fellowshipping goes; there's no awkward barrier between the Mormons and anyone else and it's taught be a lot. Semisi is still trying to quit smoking, so we're aiming for the 22nd for baptism. We love them and know they will make it.

We're teaching a 40 year old Australian guy in Ha'alaufuli. He's a lot of fun and a cool guy. He leads a congregation in the Churches of Christ, and he's very well read. He is the personification of the philosophies of men mingled with scripture, and it's been a challenge to teach him, even though he shys away from arguing and yelling. Teaching in English is still very awkward for me but we do the best we can, and the Elder I go teach with (elder Sulunga from Sacramento) is awesome. He reminds me of my brother Jacob and he's a great help.

General conference was great and many prayers were answered. Things in the companionship have been rough, and I found a lot of helpful thoughts and advice. I know that we have a living prophet and apostles.

I love you all! Thanks for all the letters!

'Ofa atu!

Elder brown

Elder Brown 27 March 2017

Malo e lelei!

President came around and interviewed everyone in Vava'u today in preparation for zone conference tomorrow, and so we ended up waiting in the house for hours. We would have emailed if we knew he would have been late. I've been limited on time for a couple weeks in a row now so I'll do my best.

We went earlier this morning to M'ounga Talau, the highest peak in Vava'u. It's one of the prettiest views I've ever seen and We got some cool pictures. It was awesome.

The work here's very different and a lot of fun; I'm really glad to be in an area like this and I'm loving it. Vava'u is a lot slower, and there are a lot of less actives. There are a couple of families we are working towards and we are still teaching a lot. We're working a lot with the less active members, and we got one family to show up and they brought someone who hasn't been baptized yet, so there's another baptism potential there too!

The members love us and would do pretty much anything for us. We love them and they love missionaries. They would let us eat their food, use their car, kiss their daughters, take their boats, whatever we want to do they would let us do it and no one would ever find out about it. Integrity is important!

I love it here! 'Ofa atu!

'Ofa atu!
Elder Brown

Elder Brown 20 March 2017

Malo e lelei!

I have been transferred to Tu'anekivale, Vava'u and am companions with Elder Langi from Kolomotu'a. This has been a major motivation booster and I couldn't be happier right now. I know Elder Langi from before, he used to be in my zone when I was a zone leader and I love the guy. We're very excited to work here. Lots of people tell me that this is a slower area, but I've already met a cuople of the members and I love them. It's cloudy here, but if it wasn't I'd send you pictures. It's really beautiful here.
That's all I can get off today; They've got internet here so I'll be able to email weekly as long as it's cooperating. It took a little while to get the pictures uploaded, so I'll fully update you next week.

'Ofa atu!
Elder Brown

Jennifer Brown

To learn more about me, click here!

Elder Brown 16 March 2017

The internet was down for a few days….so happy to hear from Elder Brown this week!

Malo e lelei!

A good week this week! Our efforts centered around teaching Tangikina 'Olevao and working with her family. They have returned to activity and I have high hopes for them; I have no doubt that they will make it to the Temple in the near future and become one of the great families in Folaha. Teaching her was a lot of fun and working with their family was a very motivating experience. I love them very much.

We're still doing the normal thing over here, and working towards the 'Olevao family has the Folaha first ward excited. The second ward is feeling the heat and came up with six referrals during a ward council meeting (which we forgot to go to). The transfer is next Monday, so if I stay at least I'll have something to do.

Brother Truman G Madsen of BYU gave a series of 8 lectures about the Prophet Joseph Smith, each about 45 minutes long. I downloaded them all and listen to them while I shower, iron my clothes, eat, and whenever we have time at the house. He also has a series on the prophets of this dispensation, and I've listened to the Joseph Smith and Brigham Young ones, and this morning I skipped John Taylor and listened to the Willford Woodruff one, which is a favorite of mine. I love the prophets and apostles of our dispensation and it's amazing to see how the Lord worked through them.

I've thought a lot about what the early saints had to go through, and what it did to them. The same goes for the early Christian saints, the Israelites, seemingly every Book of Mormon prophet, and others. When we read about it, it seems clear and inspiring why things happen the way they do. When it's happening to us, however, it's not so fun.

It certainly would have made things a lot easier for Job if, before he lost everything, he got to see the conversation between Satan and the Lord, and learn exactly what the Lord had in mind for him. It would have been easier had he known the Lord would double his flocks and herds, or if he knew the date and time that the struggles would end. But he held on to his faith and waited it out, ending up a better man in the process.

I've gotten a lot of good advice from my dad and other friends about this topic, and I've been thinking about it a while. It would be nice to know why I'm here, why I was put with my companion, why I've been here so long, and when I'm leaving. Sometimes it's hard to sit still and say "when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." We see this pattern in the scriptures and we've definitely had some remarkable examples among the leaders of our dispensation. We all experience trials, big and small, and I think it's safe to say that no one can expect the kind of blessings we read about in the scriptures without being absolutely to keep being faithful and obedient till it's over. 

I love the gospel, and (at least in a small way) I'm doing my best to wait it our and pray for a few things to change. I know the Lord will come through for me, and that he expects me to be willing to go through whatever he has in mind for me willingly, and that after I have patiently endured, I will receive the promise. (Hebrews 6:15, thank you Jacob for that verse)

This is a lot of fun and I love Tonga very much. Thanks for all the Letters!


1. Battle damage sustained while engaged in the war against sin
2. Folaha
3. Elder Hirinuki and I in Longoteme
4. Teaching Tangikina, along with every other kid who wanted to come. She's the one in the gray and pink dress, and her two brothers, Maloni and Tu'a, came with her. She was pretty shy at first, so teaching her with her friends helped a lot. It ended up being a lot of fun and she got to meet some of her primary classmates, which is a great thing.
5. Baptism of Tangikina! Her family is a great one, and her parents are some of the kindest people I know. It was a lot of fun to teach her and to meet her family.
6. There was no internet on P day, so we went to Vaini. The internet ended up being dead there too, so we went to one of the members houses and played ping pong and cards. Then we found boxing gloves (just three of them, 2 left and 1 right) and had a series of one handed boxing competitions. With any luck, we'll find the second right hand glove and the shenanigans cup will be filled to overflowin

'Ofa atu!

Elder Brown

Elder Brown 6 March 2017

Malo e lelei!

I just got a camera today, and I was able to get a few pictures off of other people. It's not a whole lot but at least it's something!

Another slow week, but we have a baptism coming up! We've been working with a less active family who've started to come back to church, and they want us to baptize their daughter! They're a good family and they were very willing to start coming back, all they needed was a reminder.

The below picture was taken at Hufangalupe a couple of months ago with (left to right) Elder Wolfgramm, Elder Brown, Elder Tavo (now in Vava'u) and Elder Lasalosi, my old companion who has finished and gone back to 'Eua. This is the coolest place to go in our zone and we got a few pictures. Elder Vaisa (not pictured) was with us at the time and is the one taking the picture.

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and outdoor

Last week we cleaned up around the Palace and helped to paint the fence (I'm not much of a painter). This is me with Elder Lesueur, who was in my first district. We're good friends and it was a lot of fun to see him again; he was in Niuatoputapu (where Kolipoki was trained) for several months and then moved to Vava'u for several months more; it was a lot of fun to see him again

We've visited virtually all the houses in Folaha and I can't help but feel like I've done what I could do here. We're having a more fun with Longoteme, which is easily the most Catholic are I've ever served in; We're teaching people and we have a couple of hopefuls, but we experience a lot more subtle opposition that I'm used to. I've never been spit on or slapped or shot at, nor do I ever expect to be; people respect ministers here, no matter what church. But it's harder there than I've ever experienced.

I'm sure there are plenty of places in the world where the missionaries aren't so lucky; I tend to think such is the case everywhere but the Islands. I love it so much here; this isn't an easy job but I know it could be worse. These people are special to me and I'll love them forever.

I was reading in Alma 17 last afternoon after church and couldn't help but wish I was in a more dramatic situation having more of an 'adventure' and getting thrown in jail and shipwrecked and shot at some more; that's what I always hoped my mission would be like, something like what Ammon or Aaron saw. Later that night, I came across the lyrics to 'I'll go where you want me to go' in the English hymnbook and found my answer once again. I'll have plenty of time for adventure after the mission, and whether or not the next several months have any of that in store is not up to me. I do know that I will be happier and more productive as I work hard, so I'll keep that up and see what the next month or two blows by way. I've heard a lot of advice on this subject over the last months and years, and once again it's made it's way into my heart over the last week. 

I love the Savior and I know that this is His church. I love the Book of Mormon and I feel closer to the Savior whenever I read it.I love it here and time is flying. Thanks for all the letters! I love you all.

'Ofa atu
Elder Brown

Elder Brown 27 February 2017

Malo e lelei!
Still no camera, I will have it tomorrow or I'll beat someone up

We had a couple of service projects this week; we just got back from one earlier so this may get off a bit late.

The Queen's mother passed away, so her funeral is being held later this week. We got to go to the palace and repaint the fence, pick up trash and clean the adjacent field. It was a lot of work and a very welcome break from the normal routine.

Earlier today, we walked through my first area and swept the sidewalks and picked up litter for the Queen and her family and helped to decorate the roadside. It ate away at our P-day time, but it was fun anyway.

The work here, even in Longoteme, has been slow this week, so we've started spending most of our time going door to door. We're running out of doors, so hopefully the members will feel sorry for us and give us someone to teach.

There is a girl named Lose, whom we taught last week. While we were teaching about Jesus, we invited her to be baptized and she said "Yes, can I be baptized on Saturday?" which we wish would happen more often. The mother is a member but, unfortunately, the father isn't the greatest fan of the church. He still lets his wife go to church every week, which is a blessing (normally the wife adopts whichever church the husband is a part of) and he is good friends with the branch president, so we have a good feeling about this one; we haven't been able to teach her since, but the father is a good man and I believe at the very least he will be willing to let his daughter get baptized.

As a boy, my brother and I would listen to John Bytheway. I have loved him for a long time, and he has become a favorite of my family's. One principle that has stuck with me is the importance of daily prayer and scripture study. We all hear about it and know it's good, but fewer of us follow through on that. The highlights of the week have come through personal study and personal prayer, and I have found real comfort as I've made meaningful prayer and study a priority. It's amazing how much a chapter or two can change our perspective on things and it's remarkable to see how clear the path can become when we pray for help. I love the Lord and I know that this is His church. 

I love you all!! Keep fighting the good fight!

'Ofa atu!

Elder Brown

Elder Brown 20 February 2017

Malo e lelei!

We didn't get anyone new to teach in Folaha, but Longoteme is still doing very well. We walk back and forth a couple times a day (a bike would be nice) and that can get boring, so we invented a game called 'molokau hockey'. There are a ton of centipedes on the road, so when we see one we each run to find a stick and try to hit it at each other. We have yet to play it because yesterday was Sunday and that's not a Sunday game, but we'll definitely play it next week. I'll keep you updated on that.

We're teaching a man named Lisiate. His wife was baptized a year ago and we got to go through the temple with her. He was baptized in a Pentacostal church and, although he's been taught for over a year now (and despite the constant poking and pleading on the part of his wife) he has trouble accepting Joseph Smith, the word of wisdom, the book of Mormon, and anything that Joseph Smith touched. We read the Book of Mormon with him, pray with him, and talk about baptism like I've never done before.

Most of all, we have the longest question and answer sessions I've ever seen. Yesterday he and his wife invited us over to eat after church, and while the food was cooking Lisiate asked a million questions and brought up a million concerns. It was interesting and he gets it a lot more now. We started talking about why Moroni's on the top of the Temple in Liahona, he asked if we kill cows there (like Moses) and why not, etc. We covered everything from the restoration to the word of wisdom to the Godhead to temple work and it turned into a great lesson. My favorite ones are the ones which don't go according to script, and this was definitely one of those. We pray for him a million times a day and we love him to death.

Elder Renlund, President Hallstrom, President Haleck and their wives came to Tonga and we had a great meeting. We all feel very energized as a result. Elder Hallstrom's wife quoted Elder Jeffrey R Holland, and it has become a new favorite quote of mine:

"I would walk on hot lava, I would drink broken glass to find one more word, one more phrase, one more doctrine, any parable that anyone could give me of the life of Christ the living Son of the living God. The doctrine of Christ means everything to me as a result of [my feelings] for the author of the doctrine of Christ."

The new vision for missionary work, and our new goal for this year, it to 'preach repentance and baptize converts'. The first principles of the gospel have taken the forefront, and we have been assigned and challenged to develop a love for the Savior Himself, what He did, who He is, and I am already beginning to see it change the way I teach and think about the gospel.

I am listening to my new favorite talk, "come unto me," a talk given at BYU by Jeffrey R Holland. I swear it's one of the best talks I've heard. I felt like listening to him today, and I stumbled across this one. I found this quote especially meaningful:

"The Prophet Joseph Smith taught in the Lectures on Faith that it was necessary to have 'an acquaintance' (that's his phrase) with the divine attributes of the Father and the Son in order to have faith in them. Specifically he said that unless we believe Christ to be 'merciful and gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness,' that unless we can rely on these unchanging attributes, we would never have the faith necessary to claim the blessings of heaven. If we could not count on 'the excellency of . . . character' (that is also his phrase) maintained by the Savior and his willingness and ability to 'forgive iniquity, transgression, and sin,' we would be, he said, 'in constant doubt of salvation.' But because the Father and the Son are unchangeably 'full of goodness' then, in the words of the Prophet, such knowledge 'does away [with] doubt, and makes faith exceedingly strong'"

I've been teaching about faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end for over a year now, I love the Savior and all he's done. I've come to see the Savior as the center of the all we teach, as he well should be; and this quote is illustrative of the sort of spiritual breakthrough I've made over the past week: The Savior should be the center of every lesson we teach, and when we forget that there's not much power there. I look at the gospel differently now; it makes me happy every time I think about it. I love the Lord!

I'm working on getting a camera!!

I love you all! Good week!

'Ofa atu,
Elder Brown