Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Almost to Angola!


First packages mailed off to Angola....

First "practice" packages to see if he actually gets them, both were filled with food & treats.  The envelope was 2 lbs. and cost $17 to ship and the box was just barely under 4 lbs and cost $30.  Anything over 4 lbs will be considered express and requires tracking and emailing the mission home (see a few posts below). Will see how long they take to get to him.....

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mailing Information

A post office has finally opened in Luanda, and the “Angola Luanda Mission” has opened a post office box. Now our missionaries can send and receive regular letters. To send a letter use the following address:

Elder Keegan Brown
Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos S.U.D.
Caixa Postal 18404
Luanda, Angola

It currently costs $1.05 to send a letter from the United States to Angola. However, it will cost about $3 (US) to send a normal letter from Angola to the U.S. It should arrive in less than 2 weeks in either direction. The missionaries are starting to receive mail and they are extremely happy!

If you want to send a package via the US Post Office please follow these instructions exactly:

If the package weighs less than 1 kilo (2.2 lbs.) it will arrive at the Post Office where we have a post office box with no problems. If the package is over 2.2 lbs it must be sent “Express” so that it will be delivered to our Post Office.

If you send a package please DO NOT put the missionaries name in the address. This will make it very difficult for us to claim the package unless the recipient missionary actually goes to the Post Office. PLEASE NOTE: If you are sending a package put the missionaries name at the beginning of the return address. Then we will know who it is for. For example, the package should be addressed as follows:

Elder Brown
Brown Family
123 Elm Street
SLC, UT 12345
                                    Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos S.U.D.
                                    Caixa Postal 18404
                                    Luanda, Angola

We have received “Express Mail” packages. In order for us to pick up “Express Mail” packages, the post office is requiring the tracking number as well as a list of the contents with their values. Without these two things we cannot get the package! Please email these two things as soon as you send the package to angolamissionoffice@gmail.com

Elder Brown's Flight Plans


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Last letter from the MTC

Oi! Friends and Family

Well I am off in 2 days to Angola. Crazy that the two months are gone and here I am about to go live in Africa for two years. Not gonna lie I am kind of nervous because its going to be this whole new experience that I know I will grow to love but still, it seems a little daunting. But I know I can do this, and just power through. 

We had a sad moment this last week, one of our elders in our district, Elder Clifford, won't be coming with us when we leave on Monday. He has to have surgery on his shoulder to see whats wrong with it, so that puts him out for two months. He had the choice to go home and pause his mission and get the surgery there, or wait it out here until he has recovered. He chose to stay here for the next few months which I think is really good. We gave him a blessing on Thursday and that was a really spiritual experience for me and then the following day, yesterday, we fasted for him and Elder Rameka to help them in their health needs. It is really sad but we know he will be with us soon, and two months will come by fast. 

Yesterday I got a Dear Elder from my mission president Thompson about how they wished they could be there to meet us, but they are having problems with their visas. So when we get there a Brazilian Senior Couple and the Zone Leaders will pick us up from the airport and take us to the mission home. And then we get a brief orientation and given our first assignment. He already said that we have already been assigned an area and a trainer, so when we get there we will get all that information. Sounds like I will be hitting the ground running when we get there on Wednesday morning. 

Today we started taking the malaria pill, and thats a pill I will be on for the next two years of my life. It's starting to get more and more real. I am grateful for this time here in the MTC, there is no other place than this where I could learn a language this fast to be at least competent when I get to Angola, and a place where my knowledge and testimony of the gospel has grown. Haha I am just so ready to get out there and do my best every day. 

This last week was nothing really special, just wrapped up classes and such. Yesterday we had In-Field Orientation, which is pretty much a big long workshop about important principles out in the field. 

Its sad that I am going to miss Mason and Peyton coming in here by two days. But they will enjoy it. It seems like I have been here forever, but the time has flown by, and I know once I get out in the field that it will come and go even faster. 

Sorry for the short email, there really isn't anything to exciting to write about since all were really doing is packing and preparing to depart. Well I know what I am doing here is the right thing that I need to do to be blessed in the rest of my life. I know that this gospel and church is true, and I am going to go bless the lives of the Angolans in a couple of days. I thank you all for all the support and letters and packages I got here in the MTC. It meant alot and helped me get through these last two months. I love you all, and my next email will be chalk full of everything I experienced in my first couple of days in Angola.


Friday, July 20, 2012

 Oi! Family and Friends!

So yesterday we finally got our official travel plans! This is my travel itinerary: Fly out of SLC on American Airlines flight 1604 at 8:05 AM on July 30th and arrive in Dallas at 11:40 AM. Then I have a little over 5 hours of a layover in Dallas where I will be able to call my family:) Then we fly out of Dallas at 5:15 PM on British Airways flight 1562 to London where we arrive in London at 8:30 in the morning on July 31st. In London we are there for 12 hours until our next flight. Our next flight out of London is on British Airways flight 77 at 8:20 PM and we arrive in Luanda, Angola at 4:55 AM on August 1st. 

Crazy that its almost time to go, but I'm happy that I am because I am so ready to be out in the Mission Field and just start working. Only 10 days till we travel into a whole new world, new culture, new people, new everything. It will take some time to adjust most likely, but I know that I can do it because I was called there to Preach the Gospel. It's just going to be some exhausting days of traveling haha. On that Monday we have to report at the travel office at 5 in the morning so not so stoked about that, but oh well. 

For letters and packages, if you wanna send more that great, but make sure it would get to me before Friday night, because after that I wouldn't be able to get the mail because it would come after I already left. Also with the Dear Elders, make sure that there in the deadline so it can be sent in on Friday night. I think the deadline is like noonish on Friday to get it in, so any sent after that time I wouldn't be able to get because they would come Monday night and I would be gone, so just a heads up with the mail and the Dear Elders and such. Also next week for my email it will come on Saturday instead of Friday because on Friday we have In-Field Orientation for the whole day so our P-Day got switched over too Saturday, so thats when my last email from the MTC will come:)

Anyways same old same old from this past week here. Really the only thing new and different this week was the travel plans so that was exciting. Thats way exciting for Devon! Congrats to him, he is going to do great in Lima Peru. It's crazy that the time he enters the MTC, I will already have been done with a quarter of my mission. And it sounds like Andrew is having a blast down in Ogden. And now Mason and Peyton are gearing up for their missions as its coming up super fast as well. We're all gonna be great missionaries in our mission fields. And I can't wait to get back together and catch up and swap stories for hours about our missions haha. 

This past Sunday for our fireside we had Jenny Oaks Baker come. She is Elder Oaks daughter, and she is a world-class violinist. She graduated from Juliard, has made the National Symphony, and was just recently nominated for a Grammy. She was so good, she played like 4 or 5 songs for us and her children performed I Am a Child of God for us as well. It was a really cool fireside and amazing how good of a violinist she is. There is a short video on her on LDS.org under the Media Library talking about her music and her testimony.

Other than that nothing really much else to talk about, except that I am so ready to get out of here. Sorry about the short letter but I don't know what else to really talk about haha. Just know that I love you all and am so thankful for all your support and prayers. It's crazy that two months have already gone by, and I know that once I get in the mission field and start working that time will go by even faster. Only one more email to go here, and then the next one is coming from Angola! Love you all!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Going Crazy!

Oi! Family and Friends!

Well officially I am going crazy in here. I want to get out of the MTC so bad and just get into the mission field. Got two more weeks left then I am off to the other side of the world. It feels like I have been in here forever, but I know that it will soon come to an end and I will be preaching the gospel in Portuguese to Angolans. I am just super excited and pumped to get out there and just go to work, becoming a tool in the Lord´s hand to bring true and everlasting happiness to families and people. Thats all I can think about right now, and I am just trying to work on my language and teaching skills and studying the gospel as much as I can before I get there. 

Well this past Sunday Night, Richard Heaton the Administrative Director for the MTC spoke. He talked about missionary work and just tidbits of advice and help that we can use in our missions. One thing that stuck out to me is when he said, ¨ The greatest miracle on the planet is the conversion of a soul to the gospel of Jesus Christ¨. And its true, what a miracle for a person to change their way of thinking and way of life and flip it upside down just because they have such a strong feeling that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. Its quite remarkable and its even better when its people that we love. Thats why I need to really love the people of Angola, and I am sure I will. And thats why we every member is a missionary because we all have people we love who doesn´t have this great and amazing message in their lives. And if we truly do love that person we need to open our mouth and share with them the gospel and about our church, and give them the chance to follow Christ or not. I know that if we do this then the Lord will bless us for trying to bring his children back to him.

Anyways, oh yeah this last saturday we got our first baptism with Benedita, so that was awesome. Now that she has been baptized Irma Hart will be a new investigator for us when she gets back, and we will probably have this one till we leave. And we have Chines´ baptism this weekend so hopefully that holds out for us, cause we have struggled a bit with him but we got through his difficulties. If you guys haven´t seen them yet, theres this three part Africa story on LDS.org with President Holland that is really good, and we´ve watched it countless times, so you should go by and watch that. On Wednesday morning I got my ingrown toenail taken out. I was able to talk to the podiatrist a bit because I told him I worked in a Podiatrist office before. So we just talked about the procedure he was going to do and just other random tidbits, haha it was kind of funny and reminded me all those hours I spent at Dr. Petersen's office:) Good Times:)

On Tuesday night Rober Steuer who is an Emeritus 70 came and spoke. He has been working on the translation of the Portuguese bible into an LDS version one and a more correct one because the ones that we have are from somewhere else. He also talked about missionary work, the Temple, and the Gospel. One thing that he said which will help my next temple visit is he said that everything in the Temple symbolizes or relates back to the Atonement of Jesus Christ and that the focus of the Temple is the plan of redemption. I never really thought about it that way, so my next temple trip I will for sure be looking out for that. He also gave a good scripture in DC 101:36 which talks about in this world our joy is not full but rather in Christ our joy is full. Things of this world are nice but the focus of our life is to draw closer to Christ through his gospel and his teachings. Family time, reading scriptures, etc. are very important because that is what will bring us the real joy in this life and continue to grow our testimonies. One thing he said about testimonies is that there an earned legacy. He talked about how people who have pioneer ancestrey could not live off their testimonies. That God is so equal and fair to us that we all start from at the same point and have to gain and grow our testimonies. We cannot live off of borrowed light, but truly for ourselves go out and find the truth of these things through reading the scriptures, studying the gospel, and praying. 

Lastly, one thing I liked that he said was that no matter what, even if my testimony is attacked, the prophet attacked, all of our testimonies and the church are attacked, the truth will defend itself. The pure truths of the gospel will defend themselves against anything that is thrown at it. And that is promise from our Heavenly Father that I will take with me into the mission field. So it was a pretty good week. 

Language coming along, studying and all is too. Just gotta keep grinding these last two weeks out. This upcoming week we should be getting our travel plans, so my next email should have all my flight details when I leave! I love you all, and thanks you for all your support, letters, and packages!!


Friday, July 6, 2012

My Testimony

Eu tenho mutio testemunho sobre o evangelho de Jesus Cristo e A Igreja de Jesus Cristo Dos Santos Dos Ultimos Dias. Eu sei que Jesus Cristo é nossa Salvador e Redentor. Atraves de Expiação, nos vamos voltar atrás a Pai Celestial e Jesus Cristo. Eu sei que Joseph Smith foi um profeta verdadeiro de Deus. Deus e Jesus Cristo apareceram para Joseph Smith. Eu sei que isso um profeta vivo dirige a igreja hoje. Eu sei que Thomas S. Monson é um profeta de Deus. Eu sei que o Livro De Mormon é a palavra de Deus, e nos podemos vir mais perto a Deus. Eu sei que eu preciso estar aqui no CTM. E eu mutio animado e feliz a servo as pessoas de Angola e trago eles a Cristo. Digo estas coisas em nome de Jesus Cristo, Amém.

I could say more stuff like I did when I bore my testimony this last fast sunday, but its a lot harder to write it out than speak it haha, can't wait to bear my full portuguese testimony once I get back. Love you guys!

3 weeks to go...

Oi! Family and Friends

This week was alright, nothing too big happened. The Fourth of July was two days ago. It was a pretty average day, we had the same schedule up until like 8 O' Clock. Then we had a Fourth of July Fireside which was a former Judge that talked about religious freedom and the advancement of technology after 1820. It was pretty interesting. Then we had some musical numbers, and one was two guys from my BYU ward so that was cool. Then a short program about missionary work all over the world. After the program we got ice cream bars and watched the fireworks from Stadium of Fire outside in the MTC Parking Lot. They were pretty good and I got video and pictures of it too. So that was our Fourth of July, nothing too out of the ordinary.

We had a sub this week because Irma Hart was gone so we had Irmao De Groot, who is a really funny guy and he served in Portugal. He told us some of the things about Portugal and about the Angolan people because he taught tons of Angolan people in Portugal. So it was fun having him as a sub for the week. He is also going to be subbing next week as well because Irma Hart is also gonna be gone again. This past sunday for our fireside this guy named Ted Gibbons did a whole monologue acting out as Willard Richards, Brigham Young's cousin and one of Joseph Smith's closest friends. I learned alot about what the story was around Joseph Smith and being in Carthage and other fascinating facts that I never knew. It was an amazing fireside and an amazing experience that I will never forget becasue it strengthened my testimony of the Prophet so much, and I have such a strong testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

The language is getting better, we learn new grammer principles like every day, and yesterday we tried to Fala Sua Linga all day, which was a challenge but it showed me how far I have come in the language in 5 weeks. And I know I will learn the language the most once I get to Angola with the different dialects and such. But it is going better, just trying to keep learning how to explain all the gospel lessons in Portuguese. I also got an ingrown toenail on my right big toe, and I would have already got it taken care of earlier this week but the Podiatrist comes in twice every month and does things for missionaries for free, so he comes in on this coming Wednesday. So I have had to just stick it out till next Wednesday, and it reminded me of all those times in Dr. Petersen's office haha. 

Well not much else to say other than I have three weeks from this coming monday till we travel to Angola, and I can't wait!! Love you all, especially for all the letters and packages that everyone has sent!