Week two at the MTC
has been pretty good! Nothing too exciting has gone on this week other than we
study all the time and we have two new investigators to teach; by investigators
I mean they're our teachers and they act like investigators.
The language is
difficult and I knew it would be. I can
almost pray without notes and bear a small testimony! I’ve memorized the missionary purpose and am
working on the first vision. I blame public high school for my lack of success
because I have no idea how to conjugate verbs and where to place nouns and . . .
All four Elders (Romanian)
are always together.The other two
elders are way funny and pretty cool kids. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as
often in my life! Even though I’m
drained mentally, I always catch myself laughing at almost everything!The Sisters in my district are very sweet too.
It’s fun seeing
people I know in the MTC and it reminds me of home. In the fireside on Sunday I
ran into Sister Peterson (friend of the Frey’s). She complemented my tie but had no idea who I
was so I just said thank you and laughed as she walked away.
go out to little Damon who can now ride a bicycle without training wheels - WAY
TO GO BUDDY! Someone give him a beso and
hug and tell him that I love him and he is a stud!
We say our
prayers at the same time each night but it’s all over the place in the morning.
I think of you all while I pray and pretend we are together.I can feel your prayers and know you all are
helping me.I love getting mail and
hearing about your lives.Thanks so much
for your support in everything.You are
My companion is
Elder Bonner from Heber. Nice kid - He dances, sings and is always
full of energy!
When it comes to the
Romanian language, I have no idea what I’m doing! We teach a fake investigator once a day that
speaks only Romanian which becomes a challenge.When she asks questions, it becomes hard. Just yesterday we misunderstood and told her
the going on a mission was a commandment!
Our district has four Elders
and five Sisters. The other two Elders are Anderson, a super nice kid from
SoCal that is actually normal; his companion Elder Duker. Duker reminds me of Sheldon off of the Big Bang
Theory. He is from Iowa and was home schooled. The kid is wicked smart. The sisters are all cool!Two are from Utah, one from Boston, Texas and
Georgia.They’re all super nice and get
on us when we get off task.
We had a pretty
cool experience this week. Sister Hovey (Boston) felt really sick the Friday
after we arrived. She went to the doctor
in the MTC and he gave her a few numbing pills that gave her no relief. He said that it was likely her appendix and it
may have to be removed. She asked ME of all people for a blessing; I’ve never
given one! I had to read from the
handbook how and borrow oil from the Italian Elders. The cool part was that
after the blessing we went down the hall and left Sister Hovey with her
companions. It had been five minutes when we came back, to find her crying. I
thought we had messed-up the blessing and she was either mad or just hurting. When I asked her what was up she replied
"it’s gone" (meaning the pain). It was pretty cool, but I learned quickly that
I need to be more prepared; even if it’s only your 3rd day in the MTC.
About a year ago, I went to a church meeting that I didn’t
want to attend. I don’t remember which, but I was either forced out the door,
or dragged by my leg to the relief society room on the west side of the
building. I don’t remember the exact name of the speaker but he called himself Abie,
which was a nickname given to him as a kid. Abie was a well dressed man that
told us he was a member of the LDS church, from Africa.
His story began with a neighbor of his
speaking to the Mormon missionaries. His father informed Abie, who was about
19, and the rest of the family that if any of the family were to talk to the
Missionaries, they wouldn’t be welcome back into their home. A few days passed
and Abie was approached by the missionaries. Abie let them know that it wasn’t a good idea
to be talking to him at that time, but he was curious and wanted to know what
they had to say. It was decided that
they would meet with Abie in the forest deep behind his home. He learned of the
first vision and the restoration of the church and continued to set up meetings
behind his father’s back. Abie made the
decision that he wanted to be baptized but knew what would happen if anyone
found out. As anyone would be, Abie was terrified to tell his father and his
family who he loved so much. Abie decided that not only would he be baptized,
but he would also serve a mission. The preparations were made and papers were
filed and he was given a call. I don’t remember where exactly he was called but
it wasn’t any further than days trip from his home. At this point he still
hadn’t told his father about the things he had been doing or the choices he had
been making. It was within weeks of him leaving on his mission and he finally
worked up the courage to tell his father. What happened was exactly what Abie
feared most. His father told him he wasn’t welcome in their home. Abie packed
his things and wasn’t given anything from his family other than a ride out of
When he got to this part of the story he kept reminding us of how much he
loved his family and father despite of everything going on. He told us that
when he entered the MTC he had nothing other than one pair of dress pants and
one white shirt which had been a gift. Not
because he grew up in poverty, but because his father literally left him with
nothing. He served his mission, writing only a few letters to friends back
home. When he returned from his mission he didn’t immediately go back to his
home. I think he told us he waited many months before working up the courage to
go back home. I’m pretty sure when he went home that he crawled through the
window of his brother’s bedroom late one night. Now I can’t remember how
hostile the reunion was when this happened but I think he was reminded that he
wasn’t welcome at home.
This story isn’t nearly as cool or powerful without the
ending he gave us. He told us that the Lord softened the heart of his father.
Not only enough to allow Abie back home but enough for the entire family to
become members of the church. That alone I thought was awesome but Abie told us
that at the time he was speaking to us, his father was in the bishopric of his
I tell this story for a few reasons but the main one being
that at the time Abie had spoken to us, I myself was debating whether going on
a mission would be a good idea or the right fit for me. I had a ton of good examples and people that
would support me if I chose to go but because of some selfish reasons I was
still on the fence. I had a million and
one excuses of why I didn’t need to go. They could have brought in a few
hundred other guys that day to speak to us and it probably wouldn’t have made
that much of a difference in my decision to go on a mission. Abie’s message
. . . on this specific day . . . to speak to us . . . and tell us his story . .
. WAS FOR ME PERSONALLY. I know Abie benefited
the testimonies and lives of other people who had heard it . . . but I’ve never been so blessed by a single
meeting. The entire time he was talking I was just going through the excuses in
my head of why I couldn’t go on a mission. I didn’t know enough doctrine or
scripture to go . . . Abie had only been taught for a few months and knew very
little. I had to sacrifice time away from the people I loved . . . Abie had to
give up those people and thought he would never see them again. He had nearly nothing that would allow him to
go on a mission, but he decided to go. All
of my excuses didn’t even come close to what he had to go through to serve a
mission. If Abie could do it . . . with
all of these sacrifices, I wouldn’t feel okay choosing NOT to serve a mission.
I had been given so much more than Abie . . . and I was just going to take
advantage of those blessings and not give anything back to Heavenly Father.
There are so many other great meetings and examples that helped me make my
decision to go on a mission, but I feel like that specific meeting made
everything clear.At that moment, I
decided to serve a mission.
I wish everyone could see the faces of my parents and Bishop Wadley
when I told them. When I stood at the pulpit and announced that I would serve a
mission in Romania/Moldova I watched one lady’s jaw bust off her face and hit
the floor. Not because of the place, but because it was Keegan Brown standing
at the pulpit.
To the topic at hand . . . I’ve been asked to speak on
Following the Prophets.
Listening and following the teachings of the Prophet. I broke
it down it down individually into first listening, then following and finally
partaking of the blessings that come from living the council of the Prophets.
First . . . listening to the teachings of the Prophets. This
could be the easiest, or perhaps the most difficult of the three. Easiest, because we all know where to go or
where to look to find the teachings of the Prophets. It’s sometimes as simple
as turning on your television conference weekend and having the Prophet speak
to you while you sit in your living room. Difficult, because most of the time
we think we have other things to do or things that we would rather be doing
during that time. But just like I was
forced into that meeting a year ago, any single church meeting or talk could
make a huge difference. Why do we have
to listen to the modern Prophet if we already have teachings and commandments
from past Prophets?I always asked
myself . . . “What if Christ were to be giving a talk tomorrow, would you go? I
was asked.” Ya I would go, I totally set myself up by saying that because they
came back with “The Lord continues to speak through his Prophets today.”
In Amos chapter 3: verse 7 “. . . surely the Lord God will do
nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the Prophets.”
In D&C chapter 1: verse 4 “. . . and the voice of warning
shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in
the last days.”
In a talk given by Sister Virginia Jensen, she said. “Prophets
ancient and modern were and are giants of the Lord, chosen and ordained before
they came to this earth. Our Prophets are men whom the Lord has raised up
specifically to preside over the church for the particular time in which they
have served. The Lord is working through the leaders of his church today, just
as he has always done in the past.”
With the change of the mission age announced by President
Monson . . . our modern day Prophet . . . I am able to leave for my mission one
month before I turn 19. How exciting!
But it really was exciting, to watch as the kids my age, attend seminary and
church more often. How almost every Wednesday, over several months, meant
someone you knew well would be called to serve a mission. One of my close friends, left the week after
graduation. I know there’s a reason behind me leaving so late . . . maybe so my
mom got to spend time with her baby-boy for just a few more months.
Second . . . following the teachings of the Prophets. Isn’t it true that this step is only possible
by doing the first step?It may be the toughest
one for my age group because we are always being taught doctrine in church and
seminary but to actually follow some of the commandments given us, may require
the sacrifice of other things we find more enjoyable.
The Teachers manual gives a lesson about following a Prophet
today and says, “Some people believe in following in everything they think is
right. However, when they think something
isn’t right or it doesn’t appeal to them, they become their own Prophet. They
decide what the Lord wants and what the Lord doesn’t want. When we decide that
we will not keep or follow some commandments, we are taking the law of the Lord
into our own hands and becoming our own Prophets. We will be led astray. Those
who follow the living Prophet only when it is convenient become false Prophets
I know I’ve shrugged-off things, thinking that some
commandments aren’t as important as others and I can get away with ignoring certain
things. I just think about how appealing that looks to the Adversary. A member
of the church who begins to make their own decisions, the Adversary could
easily tempt these people and they would begin to listen to him thinking “I
think that is really what the Lord meant when he gave me that commandment.” It’s a trap!
There’s a talk given by President Ezra Taft Benson. Titled:
Fourteen Fundamentals in following the Prophet. I’ve selected a few to share .
Number two on his list reads: “The living Prophet is more
vital to us than the Standard Works.” Sweet! All I need to do is watch
conference and I’m good! Of course President
Benson still wants us to read and follow the standard works but is just
emphasizing the importance of listening and following the Prophet’s teachings.
The fourth: “ the Prophet
will never lead the church astray” this one is by far the simplest of the
fourteen but I feel it’s the most powerful.
The fifth: “the Prophet is not required to have any
particular earthly training or diplomas to speak on any subject or act on any
matter at any time.” Dad - I’ve been meaning to tell you that I don’t need to
go to college when I get home . . . and I know he will tell me, “oh well, the
world needs ditch diggers too!”Back to
President Benson . . . This one just reminds us that the teachings of the Prophets
are the Lords voice and He is using each Prophet as His voice.
Ninth: “the Prophet can receive revelation on any matter,
temporal or spiritual”
Twelfth: “the Prophet will not necessarily be popular with
the world or the wordly.” I think this is something we deal with every day.
People just don’t understand why we do the things we do in the church, but they
won’t take the time to learn it for themselves. A woman I met on vacation
talked with me about the church and at the end told me she couldn’t believe
that I could go all this time without living a certain way that she was more
familiar with. However, another woman .
. . a newlywed kinder-garden teacher from Boston . . . whom we’d only met days
earlier . . . when we said good-bye . . . hugged me and told me how proud of me
she was. Brothers and Sisters, I didn’t do this myself . . . it wasn’t just me
. . . I’m no different from any other missionary . . . no different than you .
. . or the young men and women who will stand here next month or year . . . the
Lords hand was guiding me . . . the Lords hand was guiding her.
Fourteenth: “ the Prophet and the Presidency, the living Prophet
and the First presidency, follow them and be blessed, reject them and suffer.”
It wasn’t until I began to live this last one did I find it to be true
The third step is receiving the blessings that come from
listening and following the teachings of the Prophets. I have many blessings in
my life that I was given even before I was old enough to understand many of them.
The greatest blessing . . . I’ve been
given . . . is my family.
Brothers and Sisters, I know the council of our Prophets,
both ancient and modern, is true.We
just have to listen, follow, and reap the blessings and rewards promised to us
by doing so.