Saturday, December 29, 2012

One Week To XMAS Skype!

Hello family!

I'll be skyping you in two days so I'll keep this short.  But here are some updates from week 2 in Baao!  Also I guess we're all really blessed to be emailing each other right now, because right, wasn't the world supposed to end on the 21st or something?

This week was great.  Elder Balanon and I have gotten into a grove.  Good hard work.  But the most excited this is our meals.  He cooks, I do dishes.  I love it.  We didn't really have to worry about that too much though because we got fed almost every meal this week!  Good, tasty Filipino food.  And I got to try some tasty new foods (intestine, dinuguan - basically cooked blood, as well as chicken head) to add to what I've already experienced here.

We had a two hour bus ride the other day.  I guess it was the Philippines' Christmas present to me because they played Taylor Swift the whole way!  I guess I just blurted out my "guilty pleasure" to you all.  

We had the missionary Christmas Conference last week so I got to see a bunch of people that I haven't in quite some time.  The next day was our Branch Christmas party.  We thought after that there would be a bunch of people that went to church in our little group on Sunday, but the holidays proved to be the opposite.  Only 16 of us at church!  Elder and I both blessed and passed the sacrament.  I'm still easing in to the culture shock.

Saturday I had my first baptism!  Justin, just nine years old.  His mom recently started coming back to church and now their little family are some of the strongest members of the Baao Group!  Yay!

That's it.  Can't wait for skype in two days!  Love,

Elder Shane Scully Brown

Pictures - 

1. I didn't actually make it to the top.  Much too scary for me.

2.  E. Apolinario, he was the first Filipino that I met.  We hung out at the airport in Manila and spent our first two days in the field together.  We saw each other again for the first time at Christmas Conference last week.

3.  I forgot to put on my white tie before the picture!

4.  Justin (9) and his family. 

5.  This is where we go to church.

6.  This is where Elder Balanon and I teach the youth class

First Week in Baao

Two pieces of excited news - Trevor is home from his mission!  We had a good run of two Browns in the Philippines for three solid months!  I'm so proud of him and am ever learning from his example.  Next week I get to skype home, couldn't be more thrilled!

Anyways, I'm about to report on the best week I've ever had on my mission!  So much great joy this week!

Last week I got transferred from Naga out to Baao (as in the "ba" in ball - the "ou" in ouch).  It's like going from New York City to George Town before it was settled.  Way, WAY more small town kinda stuff.  We're pretty close to a big extinct volcano (they're everywhere here, and I'm not actually sure that it's extinct) and as you can see from the picture of the National Highway, it's all quite rural here out in Baao.  We're surrounded by coconut trees and expansive rice fields.  The beauty here is incredible.  I wish my camera could capture the surreal feeling that it gives - almost like it's all just a fake set out of a movie.  Because the population isn't very big, we're not assigned to a ward... we're not assigned to a branch...  Instead, we're assigned to a "group" of about 30 active members.  As a meeting place, we go to a member's small little house with an extended roof to fit some chairs that the "mother branch" (group is part of the Iriga Branch) gave to us.  After the sacrament meeting, the adults stay seated, kids go inside, and the youth just get up and walk into the trees a ways until they find a good spot that they want to have class in - the missionaries are the teachers for that.  No third hour.  Since it's all so small, the missionaries have a lot more involvement.  On Sunday, we went to the Branch sacrament meeting at 8:30 AM until 12:30 (extra hour for a meeting), ate a quick lunch, then went to go to church with the group from 2:00 - 4:00 PM.  There were many opportunities to help out in terms of leadership - I gave a talk in both sacrament meetings, passed the sacrament, and in the Baao Group taught the youth class.  Lots to do as missionaries here!  It was so different going to church in a Group.  Everyone is very close there though, and I already feel a great love for the members here.  

Saturday we went with the district near the top of Mt. Iriga to the Agta Tribe (native Filipinos, imagine an undiscovered Native American village) for a service project.  We taught their kids the story of Christ's birth using a picture book then played games with them/ handed out candy.  It was so pretty up there.  And their little village was amazing.  We had to go up on Friday (my companion is the District Leader) to get permission from the Chieftain to make sure the "Americano" wouldn't get killed... (:  I feel so blessed to have visited those kids and shared with them my love for Christ.

Although population is low, our area is huge.  We walked for an hour and a half to get to our farthest appointment last week!  I'm really looking forward to my stay here.  There is so much potential for the area, and for me.  I know it'll be hard, but my action plan is to become like Christ.  That'll help.  With skype, Christmas, and a baptism, next week is already shaping up to be just as good, or better than this one!  

Thanks for everything, your love and prayers mean a lot to me.  I'll send the service project pictures in another email to keep the email size down (:


Elder Shane Scully Brown

Pictures -

1. It's like this everywhere I look here!

2.  My new district

3.  New Companion, Elder Balanon

4.  Me!

5.  Sometimes we get to teach outside in places like this.

6.  This is the "Interstate-15" where I live (the National Highway).

Monday, December 10, 2012

First Transfer

Hey Team!

Lots to report on this week.  I'm transferred, I ate balut,  the "Pacman" fell, and we got a temporary companion as we finished our last week strong. 

Saturday we got the text... I'm transferred!  Not sure where I'm going yet, but I do know that I'm supposed to report to the mission office at 7:45 tomorrow morning.. And that's about all they told me.  It's been a good three months though here in Naga City.  I'm not sure I'm ready to leave the SM and only air-conditioned apartment in the mission, but training has been great.  We worked hard, and I learned a lot.  I feel especially blessed to have been able to progress in my Tagalog and be able to work with the members and other missionaries here.  But, the Lord has called me another way, and I will go.

On Wednesday we had exchanges with the Pili Elders.  As usual with exchanges, we met up with Elders Sorensen and De Dios around 8 AM.  The special part about this exchange though, is that Elder Sorensen and I were in the same MTC district!  It really great to be able to work with him after all the times we had in the MTC.  Elder Sorensen came with Elder Vidal to our area.  It was a great day of laughs and hard work, but the point of this story is to get to what happened at night.  We pressured each other into eating balut (you know, the half developed chick still in the egg?)!!  It was NOT good.  At all.  I'd send a video of it but  it too long daw to send over email... and it's REALLY EMBARRASSING!!!! ;) 

Manny Pacquiao lost a big fight the other day (yesterday).  I guess it's a really big deal here in the Philippines.  All the members have been talking about it.  Maybe someday I'll get into boxing...

Last Sunday the AP's came home with Elder Vidal.  There was an emergency transfer in the mission so he came to work with us for our last week.  It's been great to have him and our threesome companionship as really made some progress.  Lots of smiles, laughs and hard work this last week.

That's my report... Thanks for everything!  Enjoy the pictures!

Pictures -

1. Relles

2.  Taking pictures with members before I left (in the middle temporary addition to our companionship, Elder Vidal)

3.  Our always smiling Elders Quorum President

4.  More members

5.  A staged tracting picture


Subject: Last week of training!


Tuesday I took a lot of pictures while on exchanges with Elder Vaki so I hope that means I can keep this short and my mother won't get upset (:

Church was great yesterday, I guess it was just a good day to go to church because just about everyone we've ever taught went!  That was super cool.  Kinda hard to get all the kids to classes and stuff though.  It was fun.  Also the four hymns we sang in sacrament meeting.. Christmas hymns.  Every single one of them.  The Filipino's have already been celebrating for three months and now that it's December, they're really ramping up the Christmas stuff.  Which means...  I get to skype home in just three weeks!! 

Anyways, it really was a great week (:

Thanks for everything! 


Elder Shane Scully Brown

Pictures -

1. Elder Vaki and I after a long day of work

2.  Elder Vaki and I again (during our long day of work)

3.  Cool contraption to keep me cool

4.  Hello!

5.  In the rice fields

6.  Super pretty, skinny path

7.  Me walking from far away

8.  Giving an Alkat ni Mormon to a monkey

9.  The close up of that

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Philippine Thanksgiving

Howdy team!  

Had a great week this week.  And yes, I actually have some excited things to report on!

I'll start with Thanksgiving - Hah... I forgot that Thanksgiving even happened.  There is absolutely zero recognition for it here in the Philippines.  It wasn't until I got home for the night that I realized.  Whoops.  So I guess you didn't have to worry about me being homesick on my first holiday in Asia!  An awesome family who owns a streetside (and more delicious) version of KFC (minus everything but the chicken) invited us over for dinner on Friday.  They made a MASSIVE meal and also invited the office elders and the sisters who are both close.  It made up for the lack of a Thanksgiving feast.  The most nakaka-homesick part of the whole Thanksgiving was hearing Adelle for an hour while eating at the members'.

I gave another talk in church on Sunday!  Unlike my farewell(s) at home, I actually had a good joke this time (:  "Hello brothers and sisters, sorry for the Tagalog but dae ako tatao magtaram ning Bicol" (I don't know how to speak Bicol, in Bicol!)  That sure got the congregation laughing.  Sacrament talks really are crazy here though.  Because the church is trying to incorporate English into everything, people will get up to the pulpit, address everyone with a big "Hellooooooooo", then start into there topic switching between Tagalog and Bicol whenever they want as they read the scriptures in English.  Somehow I started to learn Bicol.  My Tagalog is basically good enough that I can start to learn it from Tagalog so I don't get twisted up with the languages in my head.  That being said, we were at a family home evening last week and we played a really fun game.  Then all of the kids wanted to play a game and they explained how to play in Bicol... Everyone had more fun than me on that one... (:

I sowed a shirt pocket last week.  Then when I went to grab the one I fixed a few days later, I couldn't find which one it was.  I guess my sowing job was just that great.  Except for my shirt ended up being in the laundry basket... That's why I couldn't tell it apart from the others, it wasn't there!  I really got excited for a second thinking that I could sow all of a sudden.

People always ask me if a wear contacts?  Blue eyes are a rarity here.

Anyways thanks for everything!  Enjoy the pictures!


Elder Shane Scully Brown


1. Cool old church..

3.  Super nice family we're teaching!

4.  Exchanges in the middle of a rice field with Elder Velasco

7.  Missionaries with some of the De Guzman family

Monday, November 12, 2012

Liver, Big Fish and Beauty of the Philippines

Hey team!  

We had a good week this week!  We continued with our hard work, doing good, and of course playing basketball on Monday mornings.  However, I did get the opportunity to branch out from the regularity:

I had the opportunity to have my first taste of liver, and eat a fish - just a whole fish, laying dead on a plate.  Hah I was a little hesitant at first, but it ended up not being so bad.  The liver, with it's sauce on rice, was actually one of the most delicious things that I've had in a while (:  

Turns out, I've been here for just about as long as I was in the MTC for.  Doesn't seem like that at all.  To me, I feel as if I was in the MTC for two or three days, then I came over to the Philippines and I've been here for about a day and a half - which means I gave me farewell talk in church just last week.  Crazy how that works out.  I've really loved it though.  Of course I'm reminded that I'm a completely different world quite often - stray dogs/cats everywhere, rundown buildings, huts for houses, constant rain, and all that coupled with indescribable beauty, the lush green, the fire flies, the ring of light around the moon every night -  but I'm starting to really feel at home here.  I love it (:

Thanks for all the support, I love you all!

Elder Shane Scully Brown

Pictures - 

1. That's me walking (Thumbs up sign)

2.  Most of the elders in my district.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Elder BROOWWWNNN you're White


Good week! Was there a hurricane or something in the US? It was plenty warm here in the Philippines. Wednesday was intimidatingly hot, Elder Fronk said that it's just a hint of what is to come in the summer so that'll be fun. I feel like I'm getting used to the heat here though, of course, it's still wet season until January. But I'm adapting quite well here to the lifestyle. Minor obstacles for my complete immersion into the Philippine culture would be adjusting to the roosters waking me up every morning. There's nothing like a few "cockle-doodle-doos" to get me up early in the morning. Tagalog is going great! When I first got here, people would ask me if I knew Tagalog and replying back in my very broken language I would explain that I'm learning. On Saturday though, one of the little kids I always talked to asked if I know English! Apparently my Tagalog now pasts the test of an 11-year old!

Because last week was transfer week, our District Leader (12 missionaries in our district) was transferred so Elder Fronk became the new DL. Really doesn't mean too much for me, BUT, I get to go on exchanges once a week now! Basically for exchanges we meet up with another companionship on Wednesday at lunch then one companion comes with me back to our apartment, and the Elder Fronk goes with the other back to their area until the same time the next day! Super fun to get to meet other missionaries and hear their stories.

Not sure if I mentioned this before, but because of the change in the minimum missionary age, our mission is going to go from 154 missionaries to 250! President said we'll start to see that in June or July of next year as all of the people who are in school right now finish up. So maybe, a lot more of you still waiting to serve will come to the Philippines!

Was Wednesday Halloween? Thursday for us was All Saints Day. It's a huge holiday in the Philippines. So huge in fact, that we had to be back in the apartment at 6:00PM (instead of 9) so as to not get too involved in the festivities. Anyways, every goes to the cemeteries to remember there dead. How was Halloween in America? I remember the day I decided I wasn't creative when thinking up costumes so I became a "Professional Scooter Rider" for I think four years in a row. Hah I would just throw on a motorcycling jersey with some pants and call that my costume. Never would have thought that for Halloween this year my outfit would be a white shirt and tie. But oh how I love it. Rather gorging on kit-kat bars and other assorted chocolates, I've been able to enjoy the sweetness that comes from spreading the Gospel. That sweet, pure joy.

Love you all and I hope the pictures make up for my degrading English!

Elder Shane Scully Brown

Pictures -

2. The Cemetery during All Saints Day, wish I could have gotten a better picture!

5. Some kids that love to say hi to "ELDER BROOOOOOWWWNNN" (Ai! But you are white pala!). Sorry the sun is so bright...

Week 6 OCT 28th Bananas

Howdy Team!

How's everything going doon sa America? I hope it's great, but I'm pretty sure it can't be as awesome as the Philippines (: Even though it was my mother's birthday last week. Oh I forgot to announce that in my last email, my mother's birthday was last week, make sure you don't forget! I celebrated by buying some bananas. That's my new thing. Bananas. They are so much better here than in America... and cheaper. I eat them with pretty much everything (: I'm sure I'll get sick of them pretty soon, but you can rest assured that I'm eating healthier for the time being! There was a huge storm last week, luckily the bananas survived.

The first transfer is over! I can't believe I've already been here for one... Time sure goes by fast. After this next 6-week transfer period I'll officially be done with my training! Not that I won't have more to learn of course (because learning is a life-long occasion) but it means new companion, and possibly a new area.

Being on a mission has really helped me to keep working hard and doing good. I've learned though that I should always be "anxiously engaged in a good cause." (D&C 58: 26-28). Of course it's easy for me to say now that I'm here, but I wish I would have let myself be more involved with service and things like that when I was home. Now I have a set schedule and it's a lot easier to know how I can help, but I have a renewed desire for service here - I love it. Anyways, just some food for your thoughts.

Well our area is going great. Despite opening it up from scratch we were able to hit the mission standards of excellence this week in terms of lessons taught. It's amazing to see how much hard work coupled with prayer and faith can do. We're doing lots here, and I could go on and on about everything that we're getting done, but you know that "pictures say a thousand words". That being said, I've attached 4000 words for you to look over after this short little update (:

Love ya!

Elder Shane Scully Brown

OCT 21 College Kids Church Tour


Another week in the Philippines. This is the last week of my first transfer... Crazy how fast time has gone. I can't imagine how fast it'll have gone by after being here for more than just one month! I've hit some great milestones already (not really). First, we finally started cooking a lot. Basically we make some tasty meats with yummy vegetables and throw it on some rice. Not too bad the more we do it. Also, you know the game kids play where they clap their hands together and sing something like "Lemonade (clap clap clap) Crunchy Ice (clap clap clap)"? Well I learned a Tagalog equivalent of that. Pretty fun. We played a bunch of Filipino games in our district meeting today as well so when I come home I'll have a bunch of new exciting things for you to play.

Oh, something I forgot from last week - On Friday we were doing our weekly planning and the Assistants texted us saying that there was an emergency and we had to get to the chapel right away. We left right away and when we got there we saw huge group of kids sitting outside the church just talking. We went into the office and the AP's told us that we were doing a church tour. I guess the stake set this thing up for the religion classes of a college to tour a bunch of churches and learn about them. Long story short, I got to bear my testimony in front of a million people and then after we watched a video about the Restoration of the Gospel, we did a question and answer. Pretty fun!

Tuesday, everyone who is in training met up for a halfway point review type of thing. As part of it we had to practice inviting people to be baptized and things like that. For one of the role plays we taught the President. Hah we had to do it in English and for some reason I had the hardest time talking about churchy things in English, especially teaching a lesson. So I wonder how messed up my English will be when I get home... I should get a Filipino companion in December after training so that'll be fun.

I read a cool scripture this week. There is so much to discourage a missionary here (and so much more to support), then I read Mormon 8:22, "For the purposes of God shall roll on, until all his promises are fulfilled." So it doesn't matter what people try to do to stop this work. It'll go forth, by the power of God. Heyo, I wouldn't want to get in the way of that. I really appreciate the opportunity I have here to help the work progress, to help people progress. Eternal life is the goal, I hope to be a tool in the Lord's hands to bring as many as we can to that knowledge.

Good to hear from everyone! Dearelder works here if you want to send a letter!


Elder Shane Scully Brown (Hah I forgot that I have a first name... Elder Brown na lang).


1. My whole district at our activity this morning for the last week of the transfer

2. Elder Cobing, Elder De Dios and I 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Giant SPIDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Subject: In the Field - Week 4?

Hello family!  

We had an awesome week!  Not sure where to start...  On Wednesday we had exchanges so I got to lead the area with my District leader, that was pretty fun.  It's so nice finally getting the area down.  My sense of direction was off for the longest time after getting off the plane.  Hah it's still hard to find new places that we don't already know because in the Philippines.... There are no addresses!  For all the information of our investigators and others we have to draw maps so the next missionaries will be able to find them.  Unfortunately my sketching skills aren't quite adequate so my companion takes care of it.  Once we finally find the people we are looking for though, it's great.  Except for we had some very interesting experiences this week:

1.  We found a lady to teach who lives right next to a meat market.  We were having a great lesson with her then about halfway through, a pig just started squealing extremely loud in the meat market for like a minute straight.  And then.... silence... I'll admit to have been pretty distracted by that.  But certainly not as distracted as what happened to us the next day.  That brings us to interesting experience number two.

2.  We were teaching a member in a poorer part of the poor neighborhood that we were in.  We had to use a candle-lit lantern as a light for our lesson.  After the opening prayer Elder Fronk asked if this brother had a Book of Mormon.  He pointed to a shelf so elder Fronk reached his hand in there to grab the book of mormon.  You might be able to tell where this is going...  He pulls it out and there was a MASSIVE spider crawling on it!  At least the size of my fist!  I was so scared.  Fronk yelped and dropped the Book on the ground and the spider started crawling super fast towards my feet.  At this point, I just about lost it.  Everyone in the whole room was yelling clambering up unto their stools.  The gigantic spider then crawled up onto the leg of a stool and just sat there the rest of the lesson.  After that, my mind was no longer focused on what we were teaching - at all.  All I could do was keep glancing at the big fella hoping it wouldn't move towards me...  The room being lit by a small candle only amplified my terror....

So yep, I pretty much live in fear nowadays, BUT, general conference was amazing!  As you know, we have to watch it a week late because of our time zone, so here a just a few of my thoughts:

President Uchtdorf's talk from Saturday morning - It's great that we're going to be happy for all eternity after this life, but we need to stop and smell the roses as well.  Life is not a race, it's a journey - allow ourselves to be happy now as well!  Elder Holland's talk from Sunday morning session was amazing. All about Christ.  What I got out of it was basically if we love Christ more than any of the worldly temptations around us, let show Him that!  Elder Bednar's message about conversion was great.  One of my favorites though was Sister Anne Dibb (Young Women's Presidency...yata...).  She talked about seeing an I'm a Mormon statement on a girl's shirt, and though to herself, if this little girl can be bold, so can I.  She went on to present this as an idea to post on a shirt, "I'm a Mormon.  I know it, I live it, I love it."  That is so awesome.  Her exuberance really made me want to have the vibrant conviction when I bear testimony to the world every day just by how I live my life.

Well the Philippines is (are?) great! I can't get over the beauty here.  Every night there is a huge circle of light around the moon, and as we walk home, I see fire flies in the fields and up above - even as I ponder the blessings of eternal life, with my loving, eternal family...  What more do I need to describe beauty?

Thanks for everything!

Love,  Elder Shane Scully Brown

Lots of Rain In Naga

Hello family!

I feel like I can't talk about my week until I first address conference!  I'm so sad that we have to wait until next weekend to watch it because of the time difference but it was quite a big deal that they changed the mission age!  Ahh that's so wild.  It's going to change the whole culture at BYU.  So weird to think about.  I'm glad that I got to do a year of college  before I left, but I would have gone after high school if they made this announcement two years ago!  Wow that's a crazy thought!  I'm anxious to be training kids that are apart of the new program.  Hah the MTC's will be so crowded for the next few years as everyone who has been waiting for their 19th or 21st birthday can now go.  So so crazy.  I can't wait to listen to that talk!

Okay my week -

It's been another awesome week in the Philippines.  My Tagalog is absolutely nowhere near the point of actually sounding like a true Filipino, however, after we had been talking for a few minutes at church, a member asked me how many years I had been in the Philippines for.  That made me feel good about my slurred Tagalog.  I'm getting closer to being able to understand people, that has been the hardest part about learning the language here coming from the MTC.  As I've said before though, the members are all really great.  We got fed I think three times this week and two of them were at night so they either took us home in their taxi or tricce.  I really appreciated that.  So did my feet (:  I think we walked like five miles the other day going from one side of or area to the next, then back again - hard work!  Serving a mission really does take it's toll of both my poor, frail body, as well as my mind.  But, there's nothing like the sweet joy I feel while I'm doing it.

Before we start our studies, we always sing a hymn.  Because the Christmas season starts here in September and goes until the end of December, we've been singing some Christmas songs.  It totally reminds me of being with the whole extended family at Christmas Eve.  I'll be back there in two years though so it's not a big deal at all (:

I read something awesome in the Book of Mormon during personal study the other day. 2 Ne 2:25-28.  Jacob is talking and he lays out agency for us.  Obviously, we all have the ability to choose what we will do with our lives.  In the end, it comes down to - will we choose to serve the Lord and have joy, or will we follow the Devil aaaaaaaand.... be miserable.  I really like Jacob's stern advice in verse 28, "Choose eternal life..."  Ummm Okay!  That sounds great.  That's what I'm doing.  I'm choosing eternal life, and I hope to help others do the same both as I serve the people of the Philippines and for the rest of my life!  Because the last verse in John 14 (not sure of the verse) rings in my head.  I love you all, I love this work, and I love my God!

Elder Shane Scully Brown

Monday, October 1, 2012


Hey team,

Just realized, there is no way for me to upload pictures here....  I'll try again later today because we might have to come back.  Sorry!

Anyways I'm doing great!  It's crazy, in the first week and a half I've been here, I feel like I've experienced a little tidbit of everything!  Hard times, lots of rain, too little/too much food, wild experiences with the members, and of course spiritual experiences with those we teach. 

That being said...  I feel like I could never summarize even just this one week.  So I'll start off with last P-Day after I emailed.  I was told my mission would be a very humbling experience, and I declare that yes, there is perhaps nothing more humbling that spending two hours washing laundry with a board and bucket.  I'm convinced.  So hah that was quite the experience for me.  On Wednesday we went to a family history event and they played Taylor Swift on some speakers.  Whatever their plan was, it must have worked because plenty of teenage girls showed up after that.  They love American music over here.  Haha I wish you all could come visit the Philippines.  The whole atmosphere is so great.  The roads of course are your own game of Frogger (one stoplight in my entire mission), and everything is such an adventure.  I'll try and get more pictures of everything next week (:

One of my favorite things is walking down little old streets in beat-down neighborhoods.  On one side of my area all of the kids say "Americano, Americano!" and a bit mockingly will say things like "What's your name?" "What's up dude?".  With them, I generally go up to them and start speaking to them in Tagalog which usually takes them by surprise.  Hah also it's fun to ask if they want to speak English.... They never do...  We do get some teaching opportunities sometimes though.  On the other side of the area, the kids love the big, white Americano.  As soon as the little 4-10 year olds see us coming they yell "Elder Brown, ELDER BROWN!!!!!" and come for handshakes, high fives, and other things - never fails to put a smile on my face.

The lessons here all have their ups and downs.  We've gone into homes hoping to teach a less active family and Tatay is drunk or smoking, other times no one is there or they see us coming and just leave.  That being said, we do have amazing experiences as well (as long as we rely on the spirit to know what to say).  We also see progression in people, even those that at first completely reject us, see us and quite literally walk away ignoring us.  Earlier in the week we found a kid, 18 years old, and started talking to him (because he was doing the whole "Americano, Americano!" thing), we then got invited to teach him a few days later.  We taught him and his father the first lesson (Restoration).  That went super well and they felt the spirit.  We went back last night to teach him but his dad was there.  After the opening prayer his sister came out and wanted to join.  Hah we were excited because Salvation should be a family affair.  The lesson we were going to give was based on baptism.  We taught for ten minutes or so out of 2 Ne 31 v 5,7,10 and challenged the boy to be baptized.  He accepted our baptismal date.  Then I felt like we needed to ask sister, I did and she accepted.  After just ten minutes of teaching!  It was a true acceptance as well.  All of us really felt the spirit in that lesson.  This family truly is prepared.

Before you jump the gun, yes, I am very aware that my experiences here are only after two weeks-ish.  But I love it so much already.  I know I will continue to do so.  Philippino ako sa puso, at Philippino ako sa tsen ;)

The Church is true!

Love ya!

Elder Shane Scully Brown


Wow.. Internet is slow here...

Well I got to see everyone in LAX which was super awesome!  I'd elaborate, but...  I'm sure there are a bunch of pictures out in the real world of that.  Anyways I made it past the extremely long plane ride and I'm now in Naga City.  We got of the plane and president picked us up then we went to the mission home for a little orientation.  After that we met our trainer's and got shipped to our area.  We are opening up a new area right here in Naga!  Why they had me, a trainee, be involved with opening a new area, I don't know.  But, it's been a lot of tough and hard work trying to find people.  President said about 75% of our work is going to be reactivation because there are so many inactives here.  I guess the Philippines is supposed to play a huge role in spreading the church to other Asian countries (China, North Korea, etc...).  That's why they send the best missionaries here (Elder S. Brown and Elder T Brown), lol JOKE LANG!  Oh, I got to see Trevor and Uncle Randy getting off the plane though, it was so great.  Shout out to my brother who decked me out with all of the best gear around!  He gave me my green bag with everything I could ever need in it.  I'm set now.

So we've been doing a lot of walking here.  That's what we do.  The roads (one road in the city with one stop light somewhere I've never seen) are crazy.  People pretty much take the Philippino version of a taxi everywhere.  They're called trices (try-Cee).  Basically they fit as many people as they can on a metal frame bolted onto a motorcycle.  Pretty cool.  When we cross the road's though, it truly is like playing a game of Frogger.  There are chickens and dogs everywhere.  We have an SM in our area (only one in the mission).  It's basically America squeezed down into a mall.  Besides that, it's pretty 3rd world here.  Hah my trainer (Elder Fronk from Ogden UT) says I have it so nice here.  I guess I'll get eased into the culture.  I've been doing my best to submerse myself in it though!  It's crazy having everyone speak Tagalog here.  We have a goal that whenever we're outside, we speak Tagalog.  So I'm getting it down a lot faster than in the MTC.  My favorite thing, after four days, is when it starts randomly raining (happens all the time) to buy some siopao.  Super yummy hot role with some king of meat inside from people on the side of the street.  I shouldn't get too sick.

Walking around in the neighborhoods makes me feel like I'm in line for Pirates of the Carribean at Disneyland with the fog-ish weather at night and little streams everywhere.  Oh better yet, I feel like I'm where the Lost Boys live on the movie Hook.  Totally feels like it's the Lost Boys everywhere in the small neighborhoods.  People have crazy hairstyles with plenty of tatoos and piercings.  I guess people really are lost here, and my job is to help them come back and feel what I do every day.

Well, the heat hasn't been that bad.  It's super humid, but I can bear it.  Random rain is fun.  I'm super glad to be here though.  It's quite the adventure.

Thanks for everything and it was really great to see everyone at the airport, though that seems like that was forever ago!


Elder Shane Scully Brown


I freakin' love it here!  My area is Naga 2.  We opened it so it's been a lot of hard work building up a teaching pool and things.  We have an SM five minutes walk away though (:  Same with the office!

Hah I know it was such a bummer how short our visit was.  But yes, you are real!  Freakin' everything you gave me was amazing.  Thank you so so much.  I carry my green pack around everywhere I go.  My supplies fit perfectly - water bottle, handout Aklat ni Mormon, pamphlets, camera. unbrella, and of course, the mini book of Mormon.  One scripture that you highlighted (Alma 29:9) is also a favorite of mine.  I used it for my mission plaque in the ward building.  Seriously though, thankyou so much for everything.  And I got your pouched letter.  Since it's in the office I have pouch access all the time.

Haha yeah people always say "What's up dude" "What's your name" or sing "Hey I just met you" (you missed that song in America...).  It's so great being here though, really.  It's fun speaking so much Tagalog too.  I'm glad you'll send your iPod though!  One of our struggles - we're teaching two girls who are not married (19 and 18), we get members present so that's fine, but one is super pregnant and the other had a miscarraige.  Super bummer that they aren't married, they are very interested and accepted baptism (I got to do the invite!).

My comp is Elder Fronk from Ogden, UT.  He is a guatamalan, just like Uminsky.  He's been out for a year and a half.  Read the family email for church.  Let me know later though if you want more basic details other than my family emails!

I seriously love you so much, and truly, I AM proud of you.  I'm proud of us.  I can't wait to be truly reunited.  Keep strong, and let brotherly love continue!!!<3