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