Elder Keegan Karsten Brown

Elder Keegan Karsten Brown

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mihai and Ocidiu Ciocan

Salutari - Regards!

Let’s start with the Top 20 reasons why I love Romania.  These do not follow any particular order and I have left many things/people out, but that does not make them less important. 

1. Sarmale - Traditional food
2. Oradea - City near Hungary . . . served there for 4 months
3. Bucuresti - Ugly, but I fell in love with it this summer
4. Geambasu Family - Members in Oradea
5. Mihai Zgarburi - Investigator in Chisinau
6. Clatite - Traditional food like crepes
7. Gombots - Hungarian food, but still delicious
8. Kurtos Kalacs - Hungarian pastry, but still delicious
9. La Tara - Romanian country side . . . incredible rolling hills . . . green
10. Language - A true Romanian sings, doesn’t speak. . .drunks are just as amusing
11. Bread - The best on planet
12. Hospitality - You can’t go into a Romanians home and walk out hungry or thirsty
13. Covali Family - Members in Chisinau
14. The Musat Family - Members in Ploiesti
15. Superstitions - Romanians will avoid any kind of draft through the air which could cause many different illnesses, tooth aches or even back pain
16. Architecture - See Piata Sfatului in Brasov
17. Sacrament Meetings – It’s all good to yell from the congregation with your opinion
18. Lack of Sensitivity - See funeral story from a month ago
19. Lack of Personal Space - I can’t tell you how many forehead kisses I've received from old men
20. Colloquial Speech - So many examples, but one could be that EVERYONE is considered "mami" / Mother

I’ve sat through many homecomings and heard missionaries tell us how Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Australia, North Dakota . . . are the best places on planet earth. How the best and most kind people on earth are found where they served their missions. In all honesty I thought they were just pretending like they had the best mission.  But I understand now though. Romania is the best place on earth and it has the best population. These stinky, superstitious, Eastern Orthodox, blunt, stubborn people with horrible dental health have become my favorite people. I don’t know how and I don’t know when I realized that, but just like everyone else it has happened to me. 

I’m sure at the end of my mission everyone expects me to blow them away with all the stuff that I’ve learned and experienced.  That my final email should have all these life lessons and stories. I don’t really have too much to say.  I hope that I haven’t changed who I am. In reality, I have learned way more than I had expected. I appreciate family, home, people and their stories much more. I appreciate culture and language.  I have learned more about the church and its teachings in these two years than I ever learned in the 12 years since being baptized. I understand the importance of daily service. I had no idea what I was getting myself into 36 months ago when I decided to do this. It was absolutely 100% different than I expected it to be. The principles and experiences I’ve had have changed my outlook and my habits, but don’t be surprised when you see the same long haired kid who slept on the couch in his underwear.

This week was good. I’m enjoying the little things and trying my best to milk it for every moment. 

I love you guys,

Monday, September 14, 2015

Stuff You Don't Get to Read - From Elder Brown to His Mother - Two Weeks To Go!

Hoping Keegan doesn't mind me posting this . . .

"I'm ready to see my family and friends, to eat the foods I've missed and sleep in a familiar bed.  

But I wish I could stay. This country is incredible.  I've met the most humble and amazing people.  I've made friends and have become comfortable with the most insane culture on planet Earth.  I can't think of waking up, walking outside and not hearing Romanian being spoken.

I'm happy, tired, nervous, excited, anxious, stressed, loving the moment . . . 

I don't know what else to say."
Rasnov, Romania
The Citadel

Băăăiii mai ai două săptămîni - I Still Have Two Weeks!

Hello good people...

Happy Birthday David!
Go Utes! BYU?

I've had a good week here in Brasov.  Fall came around and I had to break out the cold weather clothes that I thought I'd never touch again.  We had some members just get back from the temple and they had a good experience.  Elder Brown talked with this guy on the bench the other day and it turned into one of the funniest conversations I've ever had in Romanian.  This guy has family in the U.S. and talked about all the crap going on, then about Romania and we learned a few new Romanian curse words.  I would've left but he was the only guy on the road.

The members here are dope.  We have this big guy named Stefan Croitoru who is about 6'5 230 and picks me up everytime I walk into the church.  This guy is the former Branch President, is a little rough around the edges, but we seem to get a long pretty well.  I'll have to get a picture with him for you guys next week.

I should be telling you about all the lessons I've learned and all the great experiences that I've had, but honestly I'm in denial about this whole coming home thing. . . maybe next week!

I love you guys! I'm having fun!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Best Skype I Can Do for Lucy!
Elder Brown's Dancing Partner

Happy Birthday Lou!

Sounds like fun at home . . . birthdays, football, construction and celebration cupcakes! 

We took a trip down to Ploiesti this week for an exchange of Zone Leaders. It was fun to be there and see all the stuff I barely remember. It’s weird how easily you forget stuff and how you can forget people. I was also able to see a few members and spend some time at the chapel. 

It’s been fun training a new missionary . . . Romanian quotes of the week:

Said: We are beginners here for free!
Intended: We are teachers here of English for free!

Said: Bless us with baptizers!
Intended: Bless us with baptisms!

Plus, he was dragged into a traditional Romanian dance with a nice young lady who said "you can’t turn down a girl!"  I was laughing and trying to get my camera out, then I told him I was going to call President and rat him out - It was great! 

Emotions are high.  I don’t know what to think about time.  It’s sad, but I’m trying to have fun as I go.

I love you guys and miss you!

This picture is for the birthday girl Lucy who wanted to skype with me - too tempting!
Elder Brown’s dancing partner is in there somewhere.