Monday, August 26, 2013

..".Brown?!" 7 - 15 -13

Howdy Team!

"The moment you have all been waiting for!  Transferred: Nielson, Winters, Leal, Brown,..."  ...."BROWN?!" I shouted in my head.  That echoed throughout my entire frame as I read the transfer announcements text... I'm transferred!  What the heck?!  I just got here.  I spent six months in my last area.  Here? - six weeks!

With that being said, I'm short on time today (also, we went to the zoo!) so here's a quick, to the point update: it was hot, we walked far, went to the beach on exchanges in another area, made salad (rare), dug out a tree, ate SHARK, met plenty of new investigators, found out I'm getting transferred, said goodbyes, and finally, took lots of pictures!

I'm a little sad to be leaving so soon.  Pilar is great.  I guess I'd be more sad had I been here longer. E. Hatch and I are pretty bummed.  We were really hoping to stay together another transfer (six weeks).  But, I'm needed elsewhere.  I'll let you know about my new area/companion next week.  Time to keep preparing for the move.  We have to get on a jeep at 5 AM tomorrow to get to the transfer point on time. (we just show up Tuesday morning then they take us to our new area).

I love you all and sorry for the short update (made up for by way too many pictures?).  Thanks for everything! (:

Love, Elder Brown

This, again, is my new address for this mission:

Pictures (LOTS) - 

1.  A year's worth of planners!

2-12.  Pictures

13-25.  Members and people we taught.  The ones with the Dad not looking is the really cool blind guy!

26-32.  Beachy stuff (some totally staged pictures)

  33-49.  The Wild Life/ Recreation Center


Howdy Family!

It's been another awesome week in "THE GREAT leGATSBI" Mission (...remember that book "The Great Gatsby"?).  Time is wizzing on by!  We got to meet our new mission president, President Guanzon on Friday.  He's a Filipino who used to be in the area 70!  A great experience that made the week go by even faster - somehow we're already at the last week of the transfer! (this week).

With transfer day next week, it's about a 50/50/ chance that someone will be transferred between me and Elder Hatch.  Either way though, Hatch and I sure have had a good time.  So the whole American "Up here" (high five) thing is a really big deal here.  The kids LOVE it.  They'll run across the street or from far away screaming "Ap'eer Joe!  Aap'eeeeeerrrr!" (up here) just to slap hands with one of us Amerikanos.  Well last week we decided it was time to teach them the "Pound it" (fist bump).  Basically, wherever we went, kids would of course always run up shouting and laughing for their high five but each time, we'd show them how to pound-it.  After a week, we finally had kids charging over to us to fist bump instead of the high five!  We felt quite proud of ourselves.  Although we worked so hard to pass that habit (much cleaner), we stopped and gone back to hhigh fives because not only can no one properly pronounce "Pound it", they all say the "Up here" is more fun...

As more evidence that Hatch and I doing well, he finally told me a story of when we first found out I was going to be his companion:  We had shortly met each other once before I got to this area.  He got to the Philippines the same time as my kid (the elder I trained, E. Simmons!) so he saw me at the training for trainers and knew I was E. Simmons companion.  This, keep in mind, was very shortly after I had had a Filipino companion so my accent was a lot stronger than it is now.  Because of that, when Hatch quickly introduced himself and I replied back, he thought that I was Mexican and English wasn't even my first language!  He then went home and everytime he would think of me, I would get more and more Mexican looking in his head.  Hatch absolutely "knew" I was Mexican when he pulled out the mission directory and saw that I'm from "Ranch Santa Margarita, California" - that eliminated all doubt.  Well... he now knows I'm not Mexican and English truly is my first language, but it was still funny to hear as he storied it to me.  

As always, coupled with those terribly exciting and drawn-out things I share every week, I had spiritual experiences as well.  Here's one:  I've been praying and striving to be a more in-tune missionary.  As in, in-tune with the Spirit.  Yesterday, we were teaching a 20 year old who STILL has not asked in prayer is the Book of Mormon is true, we weren't sure why.  As I listened to him, a thought, distinctly not my own, said to me "Nahihiya siya" (he's shy).  What a simple reason.  But it's something I never expected.  With that answer as to why he wasn't praying came a question to ask which helped him to express his feeling of being shy.  It seems like a small thing to stop someone from praying, but I'm glad I had help, because I would not have thought of that on my own, and if that simple reason was keeping him back, it's a good thing we were able to help him with it!  Lesson went great and even in his closing prayer he asked if everything (specifically) was true!

Phew!  That's enough for this week.  Enjoy the pictures and have a great week yourselves!  


Elder Brown

Pictures - 

1.  Our electric fans

2-5.  Some views

6.  When it rains hard, I have to wear my bag in front

7.  Look at this BIG rock!

8-9.  Meeting the new mission president

10.  Riding on a jeep

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Legaspi Mission and tropical Storm "Gorio" 7-1 -13

Hello Family!

Last week was my last week under Naga Mission - today, July 1st, is officially my first day in the Legaspi Mission (best in all the land)!!  Us two "imports" (that's what they call Hatch and I) are certainly excited.  Apparently all of nature was quite happy too because on Saturday, we heard the roaring cheers of Tropical Storm 'Gorio'!

At 9:13 AM Saturday morning, a text from our Mission President popped up on our phone - Storm Gorio, Signal 2, "Missionaries should go home when the wind picks up."  Heyo!  With that, we quickly finished planning our lessons/ tweaking our schedule and scuttled out of the house to teach as much as we could before "the wind picked up."  And pick up they did!  We left at 10 AM, got back at 10:03 AM.... My great, storm proof "HydroTechno" umbrella had holes in it.  Grabbed my orange one and we were off!  The rain was thick.  The wind was powerful.  We were trudging on.  As in, literally trudging.  This was no brisk, light walk midst a few drizzles of rain.  This was a trudge through floods and tempest level downpours.  My waterproof shoes were true to their promise until the paths were filled with water deeper than the tops of my shoes.  The whole waterproof thing was great until the water got in through the top and had no way our for the next four hours!  Anyways, we realized it was time to go home (and how much God protects His missionaries) when we stopped for a moment, then all of a sudden took a few steps forward to just barely dodge a huge branch which without warning fell right where we had been standing only seconds before.  Great experience!

Well, investigators continue to come to church and I continue to strive to be my best.  We watch the World Wide Leadership Broadcast (about missionary work) last night.  That got us even more excited for the changes to come.  I think I've got it pretty great - I reported to the MTC last July, I've had about a year in the Naga Mission with the normal mission setting, only just starting to see this flood of missionaries and now I've got another year in the Legaspi Mission naman to really see everything play out.  This is a great time to be a missionary.

I'm doing great.  I'm happy (:  Hope you all have a great 4th of July without me!  We've already celebrated Independence Day in the Philippines!

Love, Elder Brown 

This again is the new address for the Legaspi Mission:

Elder Shane Scully Brown
Philippines Legazpi Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
P.O. Box #225
Legazpi City Post Office
Legazpi City, Albay
4500 Philippines

Pictures - 
1-2.  Our HUGE (sarcasm) apartment
3.  Elder Hatch in his awesome rain coat that he has never worn
4.  Service Project.  We were excavating a foundation
5-6.  Me in some pictures
7.  The whole "Endure the Elements" thing would be a lot cooler if you could see how rainy it was
8-9.  Playing in the rain
10.  Finally caught the rat
11.  Gas is so expensive here!  Joke only.  That's in pesos, not dollars.

Happy Fathers Day 6 10 13


Happy Fathers' Day (yesterday) to all (fathers)!  Again, about zero recognition here, but Wednesday was Independence Day!  Hatch and I didn't reminisce on the victory from Spain years ago, but we did enjoy several Filipinos (drunk and sober) singing us national pride songs.

I guess this week was just filled with indicators that not only am I serving in a 3rd world country, but I'm living in a 3rd world country.  On top of the thousands of bugs/ scary beetles, baby birds (see pictures) and of course, Independence Day, we every boys dream that was never filmed when Steve Irwin was still the "Croc Hunter."  There is a special kind of huge lizard here (not sure of the name).  Sunday, we were walking out of our apartment room and saw that a little bird had fallen out of the nest.  We were touched and admired the little guy as he hobbled along, not about to take flight. He tool a turn for the worse (literally) and hopped into the grass.  Out of nowhere, one of this giant lizards suddenly charged out from the brush and tackled the bird to the ground - I think you know where that unhappy ending goes.  Lots of lizard activity here though. Our house is spotted with geckos which make for great protection against the hosts of bugs. 

In Tagalog, the word "malayo" means "far".  It's funny though because Filipinos' concept of far is so much smaller than ours so they'll say something is unreachably far but it's really just a 20 minute walk.  That is generally true.  I tried to explain this to Elder Hatch on Wednesday when we were looking for someone's house and everyone said it was way too "malayo" for us Whites.  To prove my point to Hatch, I announced we'd walk and I'd show him that peoples' idea of far really isn't as far as they blow it up to be... In short - I was WRONG!  We committed ourselves to a death march.  A brutal, two hour hike through the mountains.  Literally so pretty, but literally, so far!  When we got to the house, we met this guy's amazing family and had a wonderful lesson.  I instantly loved this family.  However, the whole time , I knew in the back of my head that we could not afford a 4-hour treck through the jungle and across rice fields to teach these people/  I some-what expressed my concern and guess what!  Hatch and I are just two ingnorants because we took the largest way around possible.  Turns out, their house is a quick ten minute walk from the high way if we would have taken the correct path.  Still, our march will forever be in our minds as, "The Hike."

We found several new people to teach this week because quite simply, we're doing (or at least striving to do) what we're supposed to.  I could expound, but... next time na lang!  Also, tomorrow (Tuesday, June 18th) is my favorite (and only) sister's birthday - HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISt!!!!

That's my second week in Pilar, the Pilar of Light.  Love, Elder Brown


1.  Walking on "The Hike"

2.  Cleaning the apartment/ defrosting the fridge

3-4.  Eating Bird

5-11.  Pictures

12-13.  Weird Stuff

14-15.  The Beach