YOLO= you only live once (Jenni's contribution to the name of this blog) Elder Brown is only living once (for 2 years) in the beautiful West Indies, sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with the good people there.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Guyana Christmas

Well Elder Palavi and I have been getting sick but not majorly sick. It's tough being away for Christmas but it makes you enjoy Christmas so much more at home. I do feel kinda bad for Elder Palavi though because he has one more Christmas after this. Well this last week I showed Elder Palavi some old pictures from the beginning of the mission. That makes me feel so old. We also had our filter expire so we drank some bad water which is part of why we have gotten sick but we changed the filters now because they brought us new ones from over 50 miles away. My shoes are pretty mashed up and we are in Georgetown for the holidays. We are going to watch Frozen later today as a present and then do white elephant. By the way every Guyanese person loves Home Alone as a Christmas movie. Well I am rushed on time and gotta go buy some presents for stuff. It's going to be fun! Christmas rush. I got my package and loved it! Mom always sends random candy for Christmas. It has been fun sharing it. See you on Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Well I am getting excited for the Christmas season but it sure does not get cold for Christmas. I just wish it would get a little colder here. It's an endless summer. It's kinda a bummer that I get home just in time for summer. Well it has been a bit of a bummer because everyone seems to be avoiding us lately. Christmas time is always pretty hard but it makes me pretty happy to know that next year I am going to be enjoying a nice Christmas. I will probably treat the missionaries to a nice Christmas as well. We had a few funny moments this week in teaching people and they funny things they say. While teaching some age 40+ people we tried to teach them about the prophets. I showed them out of my little Bible I got the books of the Bible. I ask them: Now who wrote the book of Joshua? The lady replies to me "No one really knows you know." Elder Palavi had to answer for me. Then we ask who wrote Samuel and they tell us thinking they are all smart "Samuel!" And I go on to teach them that some books aren't named after the people "Like Psalms was written by-" She interrupts and yells "Written by Psalm!" Close it was by David. People are so funny. Well big news but not so much for me. The mission is getting split this upcoming summer. I will be enjoying myself but from the sounds of it Guyana and Trinidad with Suriname and French Guyana will be a mission with some islands up by St. Marten and then there will be a mission of the islands like Barbados and St. Vincent and so on. Well some more spiritual part of our week would be the message we have been going out and sharing. The church is doing the #ShareTheGift project and we have been teaching people about that. We have focused on charity and how that is the "Pure Love Of Christ" (Moroni 7) and we ask how we as members of the church can share the gift. It is really cool seeing how people are going to share the gift. There would be no Christmas without an Easter. I somehow forgot my planner back at the apartment so I forgot most of my good stories this week. Little Tarzan peed on me like 3 times because I scared him when I woke him up. So I shoved a banana in his face. Cute little monkey but man he can pee. Well that's about all I have got to say for this week. I am excited for Christmas and trying to keep myself untrunky. It's the most trunkiest time of the year. I will send pictures next week of the branch Christmas parties. It should be a blast!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Free Monkey

This week has been overall pretty enjoyable. Bushlot branch is still being hard for us but I bore my testimony in fast and testimony meeting about home teaching and visiting teaching. There were only 13 people there which is kinda average but we have gotten almost 30 people there before. It's because a ton of weddings happened this weekend. There was a big Hindu one that happened in Rosignol and we went at night to go get free 7 curry. This is my second time having it so I enjoyed it. Elder Palavi usually eats faster than me and finishes eating first but I ate mine pretty fast. It's wrapped up in a big leaf and it's cool to eat it with your hands. Well there were some Hindu people that we would pass by every so often and want to see their monkey. I took pictures with it a few weeks ago. We passed by and they called us in and just handed us the monkey and said "Here ya go." They weren't drunk or high or anything. I heard from the neighbors that they gave it to us because they heard monkeys have Ebola. Kinda funny that they gave it to us then. We can't have pets because it's against mission rules so we gave it to some members. They want to call him Caesar like from Planet of the Apes. I call him Tarzan. I will be darned if I do not just love this monkey though! He is so cute and cuddly. The Ramnoff family fed us last night and I wanted to sit next to little Tarzan and as soon as he saw I had a plate of food he stands up tall on his feet kinda like Libby would do. He is so cute! He doesn't bite unless you have him up past his bed time (Which we did) and if you tease him too much. I want to get him his shots and all that and take him home but I can probably guess what mom and dad are going to say in the next email. It is really nice seeing this family love the monkey so much though. The kids just play with him all day and they take him everywhere. If I can't have him I am glad that they can have him. Monkeys are cheap here though. Only $25 US for one. Well onto actual missionary work now. Jack is just not progressing. No matter how many times we tell him to come to church he just won't come. He is a bit crazy so we will probably drop him if he doesn't come to church this week. We have him scheduled to get baptized on the 27th. Shannon's husband has been so busy lately but we finally got to meet with him again yesterday. We taught the restoration to him and he is going to prepare for December 27th. We taught him the restoration so simply that even he can tell us it in 5 seconds. We just gotta get him to get to church too. He is awesome and has the desire to get baptized so we are praying and fasting for him. Well not much left to say but I hope to hear from you next week!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Berbice Warrior

Next Year I'll be listening to this CD with my family remembering my days here

we ran out of propane and had to cook outside

Leftover Turkey Curry

Animal of the week

Thanksgiving dinner

2nd animal of the week

Well being out here in Rosignol it seems like we don't get much support as I always say. Well 2 big bummers happened this week. We ran out of gas for our stove because it has been leaking and it seems like our washer has a slow leak so washing clothes has been no fun. As result of having no gas we decided to do it camping style. We took an oven rack and we made a fire. I made turkey curry because last Monday we had a nice Thanksgiving dinner in Georgetown with all the missionaries in Guyana. We ate till our bellies bust as they would say in the West Indies. At the end they asked "Who wants leftovers?" I ran into the kitchen without hesitation. I am tired of hot dogs, raman, and mac and cheese. We got to pack some pretty big bags with food. I eat that crappy food because they don't really sell anything good out here. Stores are a joke in Rosignol. We had Thanksgiving with this family who is LDS and works at the embassy. They had the cutest little white kids to play with and they just loved having us there. It got me ready to see my nieces and nephews again. Well I curried some turkey and some ashes got into it but it was still probably the best curry I ever made. I used masala this time and I think that's the key to a good curry. Then we had old white rice (so much better than the brown rice here) and I picked through the bugs and made some rice on the fire too. I liked it a lot. I am ready to make curry when I get home! So something that made me really cringe the other day was hitting a puppy. We always see dead dogs on the side of the road. I wonder sometimes if the dog just decides to end it all because life as a Guyana dog sucks. We were going down a road at night and the driver saw the puppy last minute. I was in the passenger side of the van and he tried to maneuver and get the puppy to be in middle of the car when we go over it but the puppy freaked out and I felt a little bump. It made me cringe. We had to turn around after a minute because he was picking someone up and we see the puppy having some kind of seizure in the road. Well things are getting tough. Jack wants to be baptized but he doesn't come to church. He is a little crazy though. We went to Rosignol branch this week and had a good amount of people but no investigators. Bushlot had 10 people because we didn't come. No investigators either. Balancing both branches is tiring and hard. Well we got our transfer calls and Elder Palavi is staying with me for a 3rd transfer. This is the first time I have ever spent 3 transfers with someone. I will have 2 transfers left and I requested that I go back to my first area in Diamond so I got my fingers crossed hard! Welp see ya later!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Boom Baptism!

Got tons of pictures this week so I might have to do a couple of emails for pictures. First I gotta say that we are in Georgetown for Thanksgiving today! I love Georgetown so much! Such a fast paced life. Get out of the way or you will get hit by a van. Gotta maneuver around the people. Well this week we were learning about how to have effective branch council and how to get the work rolling here. We discussed how to knit together in unity the hearts of the members (Mosiah 18:21) Also this week I held a cute little monkey and I will be darned if that monkey was not the cleanest monkey ever! They said they bathe it daily and it smelled nice. It seemed to like us. Shannon and Korwin got married and baptized. Well Shannon got baptized that is but she is such a great example that her husband wants to get baptized next month. We are going to pray about a date for it. Shannon is such a wonderful lady. Her faith is so strong! She has wanted to get baptized since before we met her. We watched the Other Side of Heaven at an activity and she thought her baptism would be like the one the girl has. It was the opposite. 2 members came and we were locked out of the church till one of the members rode his bike to get the keys from the branch president. I was so upset with the people. I could not believe that only 2 people came but Shannon was so happy! So we got into the church and got the baptism suit and rode an expensive ride to the "beach" and it was all mud. I found a small place of water and went in wearing all white. The mud went up to my knees. It was tough but she was still so happy. I could not believe it at all. She is truly converted even though everything in the world went wrong. Something also that touched my heart is that my other recent convert who is not that smart is getting so smart! The Holy Ghost really does help. I hear they get wiser after baptism. It is so true. We taught her about Temples and told her to prepare for it. She understood it so well when we taught eternal marriage and baptisms for the dead. What almost brought me to tears was after teaching her she said to us "This is a good life. I am happy with the Gospel since I changed." She is so amazing! It touched me so much to hear her say that. Well working with 2 branches is getting really hard though. We have a baptism this week in the other branch called Rosignol but I guess our baptismal candidate has not been going to church. It's hard to know since I can't be in 2 places at once. In Bushlot branch we have been told by the 2nd councilor in the mission presidency (The big guns) that we need to reactivate the Melchizedek Priesthood holders. He told us that he knows we are working hard but to work harder. I almost didn't know that was possible. From the looks of it we have a lot of success but little support. My challenge to anyone reading this is to help the Recent Converts! Help the missionaries! It's not their job alone! People here expect a lot from us but to be honest they give us absolutely nothing! You wanna see a miracle? Be the miracle! Missionaries cannot and will not do it alone. Go fellowship and work with the missionaries. I can't wait to do it when I get home. We had a Bushlot branch council and they usually get way out of hand so I ran it with an iron fist. If they got somewhere else I put them back in line. I stuck to the agenda and asked them why they didn't do their visiting teaching. (The branch is basically a few ladies with 2 Melchizedek Priesthood holders) They all made excuses and I told them that the only reason to not visit teach is if that person is dead. No other excuse will be good enough. Some of the people go to other churches is what they will tell me. I tell them that because we have no visiting teaching is why we have only 26 people at the max. I will not take excuses. Well sad news of the week I found out something that will forever change my life. Wonka discontinued Shocktarts or Shockers as some call them. I have craved it for my whole mission. If I die please tell me they are in the Celestial Kingdom. I want them so bad! Well we are still looking at baptisms to come and just working hard!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Success Smells Funny

Well it's another hot week in Guyana. Nope it never gets cold here at the equator. I am going to have to go up to Utah when I get home and jump right into a pile of snow. Well we are looking at some big success for the upcoming week and next week. In the 2 branches we cover we have a baptism for Bushlot branch this week and then a baptism for Rosignol next week. Lots of success coming and it feels nice. We have been working hard and it just gets a bit old going back and forth between Rosignol and Bushlot. It's a 30 minute van ride between them both. This Friday our investigator Shannon is getting her money to get married and then baptized on Saturday. We are so excited for her and she has been excited to be baptized even before we met her. Surprisingly she actually likes the reverence we have at church. People in the Caribbean usually like the loud yelling and singing. One of these days I want to just walk into a church that is yelling and ask them "Why are you yelling? I can't really feel the spirit." I probably wouldn't literally do that but I wonder what they would think about that. We live near a church and every week we just hear a man yelling while preaching. Just put a disco ball in there and it would be a club. Or just put padding on the walls and the floor and give everyone a straight jacket and it would be a mental asylum. Next week Jack is getting baptized in Rosignol branch and it makes me so happy to see. He is a little strange but a really nice guy. He loves Jesus and tells us about every 5 minutes. While contacting this week we met a guy who seemed somewhat normal but he ended up being kinda crazy. I don't know what point he was trying to prove but here is what he talked about. He asked what color Jesus was and I ask him what he thinks. He said he isn't too sure but he watches a lot of documentaries and some of them say Jesus is black. I told him I knew a scripture in Revelations that Rastas use to prove Jesus is black but since Jews are white that Jesus was more than likely white. He then told me that the Leonardo Da Vinchie painting of the Last Supper was Leonardo's dad and 12 prisoners used as the model. Then he said that in Psalms 46 (I think it was 46) That it says Shakespeare. Every 46 words it says it. First 46 words is Shake. The next 46 is Spear. He marked it up and all that. I told him that it was a different "Speare" instead of "Spear". He had his universe shattered. Then he left us with some "advice" He goes on to tell us "I have come to the conclusion. Anything that you see is a deception. The things that you cannot see is reality." I asked him if the tree next to me was real. He was just confounded. I am not too sure what he was trying to teach me but it was interesting. He saw my new ring that I got finished and he was confused a bit. There are no real Zelda fans out here so I explain that it's God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. It really stands for Courage, Wisdom, and Strength. Well things are going good here. I should be getting my gator gear soon. I will have to send a picture of my gator scripture case when I get it. Also my animal picture of the week is this random pig. Speaking of pig my recent convert fed us pork curry but she was a little scared because her husband who lives in New York is Muslim and she didn't want her neighbors to know that she made us pork. This week while eating at Church's chicken I was eating my food and CNN came on. It was strange seeing some stuff going on in America. The Vice President was doing a soldier funeral and it looked really neat. Made me proud to be an American but at the same time I realized how much is going on in the world. I read this card that has good missionary inspirational quotes on it that I got a year ago. I keep it in my wallet and I was thinking about it. One quote I like says "Most things in life are neither important or urgent. Sharing the Gospel message is both."
Just kinda hit me when I saw the news. What I am doing is of eternal importance. It was such a neat experience. Don't ever suppress a generous thought is a nice quote I remember we had by our fireplace at home. Never miss an opportunity to share your testimony. Well that is about it but I look forward to sending baptism pictures the next 2 weeks.

Love you all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Crazy vs Normal; What is normal?

Not too much happened this week. I guess Birthdays weeks are always better. We went and saw a member who came back from New York and asked her how it was there. As she was telling us all that she loved about it she wanted to get to know me. She asked how long I have been out and I just tell her "I go home in April." She replies "Oh so you are a Zone Leader?" Oh man stake to the heart. At least she didn't keep asking things like District Leader? It was funny because my companion just looks at me and laughs. Oh well that's not what it's all about. Later in the week we saw one of our baptismal candidates in Rosignol. He is a little crazy but then again out here who isn't crazy? In the middle of us teaching him about prophets he tells us that he used to be Hindu (Second time he told us) and that Jesus cured him of HIV. Funny enough he isn't the craziest person around. The members think he is normal too. He wants to be baptized so I guess we will just teach him and go through with it. We have another baptism hopefully coming up in Bushlot too. The lady needs to be married though. It will cost her about $35 US which out here is a lot of money. I just hope she will make that sacrifice because she really wants to be baptized. On Friday night I got really sick and had a throbbing headache/fever and all my joints were stiff and it hurt to even get up. I got my companion to do everything for me. I could not drink much because I would go to the bathroom and it would all come out. I stayed in whole day Saturday and most of Sunday. We went to church and I still felt sick I took some medication and had to do a weird diet of flat 7 up and saltine crackers and some probiotic yogurt. I could not get the medicine I needed out here so I just bought some Nyquil and some fever reducer. Being sick always makes you miss your mom. We went to the other branch too because one member (Who is actually pretty crazy and reads out of the dictionary for his testimony) went up to the stand and cursed at the branch president and his wife and just went crazy. I guess they took him to the police station but I don't know what to think of it. It's hard to find people who are a bit more normal. I am feeling much better now though but our budget for this week is way low. I decided to do a Ramen Noodle diet. I will have 2 packs of Ramen every day this week. They only have chicken flavor though so this will be interesting. I have actually been craving Ramen though. I will let you know how that diet goes next week!