Elder Keegan Karsten Brown

Elder Keegan Karsten Brown

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sarbatori Fericite - Happy Holidays!

This year we had a Christmas get together as a branch.  I helped cook all day long (no surprise here in Romania) and we had cabbage and pork.  I was also Santa's helper and handed out gift bags to everyone. Elder Manning was Santa and it was fun.  I also presented the United States Christmas traditions to the whole branch. 

Christmas Eve was caroling, eating food, listening to music and playing Settlers.  Christmas Day, we woke up and went to the church for a gift exchange.  I received Elder Manning and gave him a Disney Princess sparkling cider and a mermaid doll . . . He loved it!  We ate crepes, hung-out, watched movies and skyped you guys. 

On the 26th, the District President for Romania-West invited us over for dinner.  The Geambasu family shared a Christmas family tradition of reading the book ‘You Are Special’ and feeding us. They gave us some fruit and candy as well.  I haven’t cried too much on my mission, if at all, but President Geambasu shared some very kind words with me and broke me down pretty bad.  Thanks pops for the sensitive trait. 

We visited an investigator’s farm outside of the city which was fun. He is a dope young guy and showed us around the village life.  This is how I thought my mission would be (pictures below); dirt roads, farms, humble people, and animals!  Gotta love it! 

Yesterday, I found mold in our apartment . . . lots!   I opened a closet, we don’t use, and found tons of mold from floor to the ceiling.  It was incredible!  It took me forever to clean and I then cleaned the entire apartment - Great day, great day! 

Not much going on.  We fly to Bucharest on the sixth and I think I have a cavity . . . That’s the news!

I love you guys and miss you!
Farm Life
Outdoor Plumbing

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014


I’m staying in Oradea with Elder Manning - Can’t complain, love the city, love the members, and it’s the warmest part of the country for the winter!  

This week was jam-packed!  Here is my journal entry for Saturday . . . 

December 6th,

We just finished our exchange with the Assistants, which went better than I thought.  We woke up early to get to the church and clean a little bit, but then left the church key at home.  Then we got everything ready for Zone Training but had to start 30 minutes late because two of the cities didn’t get to town on time. The meeting started, and as he usually does, President uses way too much time!  Our reservation for the lunch was almost lost because we showed up 45 minutes late.  Sora Ivory was stressing me to get the food all week long and that it would be good, cheap, and ready for us right as we got there.  Luckily, that went pretty smooth.  Then we rushed back to the church to get ready for the Christmas concert.  We expected lots of people and a TON came!  Sora Geambasu surprised me right before the concert with a solo of Silent Night in Romanian.  For me, the first time singing in front of a group, didn’t go so well.  The bodily tremors and sweat could probably be seen from far back in the room, but I didn’t pass-out - Another success!  After the concert, we cleaned the church for the third time and then passed out on the floor after a stressful, but relatively smooth day.  I’m super glad that it went better than I expected and nobody died!  Super blessed with extremely understanding people and also received the approval of President Ivory and more importantly Sora Ivory!

I’m stoked to be skyping with you guys soon!  We don’t really have that figured out yet and we don’t have the best internet connections here, but we will get it taken care of. 

I love and miss ya! 


Christmas Challenge

I have a favor/challenge for you guys.  I know your lives might get a little hectic over the next few weeks but I want you to do something extra with me.

I have now read Jesus the Christ, the Infinite Atonement and finished the New Testament yesterday.  It’s crazy how much I didn’t know and learn every single day.  After reading these three books, I will never be the same.  The Savior is incredible and I know you will learn something new too.  The shortest of the three is by far the Infinite Atonement, but first I challenge you to read the New Testament.  If you've read that, then read Jesus the Christ.  Jesus the Christ is crazy informative!  You will never get a more in depth look at the Savior's life.  If you've read them both, then read the Infinite Atonement.  It WILL change how you look at the Savior, the atonement, the sacrament, prayer, repentance and the love of God. 

I just felt like Christmas would mean so much more for all of us if we were doing something together.  I hope that you can finish one of the books on-time. I’m just giving it to Mom and Dad, but if any/all would like to participate (family or friends) - DO IT!   As for Mom and Dad, there are no excuses - FIND TIME!  That means, no Biggest Loser, or Bachelor, or any Little People sitcoms – Haha! 

I love you and please share what you learn with me EVERY WEEK this month!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Compadre' Manning
Designated Stuffing Chef'

Well Hello People of America!

Thanksgiving rundown for y'alls.  We woke up and made some food; I made stuffing and Elder Manning made pies.  We then went to choir practice and got ready for the big feast.  Of course we ate waaay to much food as usual, but it was incredible.  A sister here makes the best chicken pot pie.  The other Elders prepared the turkey and that was great too.  Potatoes, gravy, rolls, the whole shabang . . . it went well! 

Every time we meet with Augustin he reminds us that he wants to be Mormon.  The guy is great - Super cool!  However, he mentioned to us this week that he did have a problem. He doesn’t feel very welcome at church.  He said that only the "American brothers" at church (missionaries) are friendly and that the Romanians or stand-off’ish.  We spoke to the Branch President in correlation meeting and I think it will be better from here on out. 

This week we’ll be pretty jam packed!  We have a skype call with President Ivory tomorrow, choir practice a few times and zone conference on Saturday.  Plus Branch Christmas Concert on Saturday!  We need to pretty much get everything ready and try to (somehow) feed over 40 people this weekend!  Should be fun and stressful! 

Today is Romania Day and the streets were jam packed with peeps!  Everyone had their flags out and was play’n in the frozen rain! 

Love you guys!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Augustin in His Shiny Leather Suit
The Boys (Elders) from Cluj

La Multi Ani – Happy Birthday!

Well, today isn’t actually P-Day.  President moved it to Thursday so we can chat with you on Thanksgiving.  I thought I would just send this to let you know I’m alive and well and might not get back to you today; I will on Thursday. 

I felt pretty sick early this week so we took it pretty easy on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I had a sore throat and Manning was coughing pretty rough as well.  We met with Augustin on Wednesday and Friday.  The Friday lesson went real well; Wednesday we taught the Plan of Salvation.  Augustin got really off-track, talking about aliens and all kinds of stuff, but it was alright.  He thought we were nuts for not watching TV and phoning our families as missionaries.  He was so concerned about it that he offered me money, thinking I didn’t have enough to call you guys – Haha!  He is a funny dude.  The end of the week went a little better...

Here is my birthday breakdown ‘cause mom wants to know! 

We were on exchanges with some Elders in our zone, so I woke up and make a huge ol' stack of pancakes for us.  Our hot water went out so I didn’t get to shower . . . We went to lunch at the Lactobar.  It’s a retro-burger place that’s pretty bomb.  I had bruschetta and a fat cheeseburger - Thanks Grandma Flo!  We later taught Augustin which went real well. He called and said "before we talk about the church, I need to speak to you alone."  I didn’t know what to expect, but he just hooked me up for my birthday!  He got me a men’s smell good kit.  Some cologne, shampoo and deodorant.  He is dope.  The lesson went real well and he made it to church on Sunday as well.  We then worked on zone finances and had choir practice.  It was a good day!

Love you guys!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy Birthday Mom!

I hope you all had a good week and celebrated Moms Birthday!  I wish I could've been there but I won’t miss it next year!

I’m going to start with the conference we had this week.  Our entire zone went to Bucuresti this week for a combined three zone conference.  We had a guest speaker, Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy.  He is a cool guy from England.  A convert to the church, he had some good input on missionary work from an investigator point of view.  It took him two years of receiving lessons before accepting baptism.  Pretty cool guy!   His quotes: "you utterly bursted my bubble,” "I love the joy of your ringtone,"  "that was cracking" and "rubbish" multiple times.  We met with him first as zones, then the next day as mission leaders where he wasn’t as much fun, but said some good stuff.  We flew back Friday night to Oradea. 

As for our boy Augustin?  He is good!  We had a two hour (way too long) lesson with him on Saturday and talked about authority and the importance of baptism.  He had all kinds of questions and was super stoked when he found out that we have a living Prophet and Apostles.  With all his questions it took us forever to get through the lesson.  By the end he said "I wanna be Mormon" and accepted baptism.  We haven’t set a date for him yet, but I’m sure that will follow soon.  He just wants to be more prepared before picking a day.  We meet with him again on Wednesday.

Not much else is going on right now.  We don’t have plans for my birthday yet, but will probably go out to dinner and stuff.  There is a place here that serves really good red velvet cake, so that is pretty much what I’m stoked for most.


Love you guys!

Monday, November 10, 2014

We Had a Decent Week!

Glad to say we’re actually teaching someone right now.  The guy just turned-up out of nowhere and he is pretty sweet!  The Sisters met him and gave me his number.  I called him that day and we talked and he said that after the call he prayed for a sign to know if we were legit or not.  Well not even an hour later, we were walking and I said to Manning "hey lets go this way and see if anyone wants some English cards."  The first guy I talked to looked at me weird and says "are you Mr. Brown from the phone?"  I said, uh, maybe?   Haha – Turns-out it was the same guy and he accepted that as his sign from God.  We had a pretty cool first lesson and he seems to be perfect as of now.  I’ll keep y'alls updated.  Augustin is his name so please send prayers his way. 

We are doing a weekly game night and this week we had the treats.  I decided to pull the old Craig Morrison trick and mix some dog treats into the situation.  I got a bowl of regular mixed snacks and trail mix and tossed in a few dog treats.  Before you know it, I have two Romanian gals eating them and they didn't even notice!  I lost it laughing!  Haha - Then a Sister missionary ate one and realized.  Luckily nobody got mad and I had a pretty good laugh.  But, I’m waiting for it to come back and ‘bite’ me. 

Dad asked me to let you know about the ZL administrative side of things.  Other than doing zone finances, refunding everyone on planet earth and working out missionary's accounting errors, it’s not that bad.  We collect numbers from the four District Leaders in the zone (easier said than done) and then report them to Presidents Assistants.  We also have a Sunday night conference call with President Ivory where we report all the people that are being worked with in the zone and go over numbers and stuff.  This week we had to do everyone’s travel plans to get down to Bucuresti for a mission conference.  Getting everyone trains to-and-fro, it’s been a little hectic lately.  I’m ready to be a District Leader again, or better yet just a normal missionary - Haha! 

Love and miss you ‘ya! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Day of the Dead
Grave Lights

Transfer Nine!

I’ll be staying here in Oradea for another transfer which sounds pretty good to me!  We went to Bucuresti to drop off the Italian and pick up my new companion.  Baielli will be finishing his mission in Ploiesti of all places. My new guy is Elder Manning, from Fruit Heights.  He is my age and went to Davis.  We don’t know each other or any of the same people.  He’s a pretty chill kid and I think it will go well. 

We are still working on finding peeps . . . I feel like that’s been my standard email for a while.  We did visit another less active member this week.  He’s a 22 year old kid and his 14 year old sister.  Apparently the oldest brother was the first to be baptized and then left for Hungary.  Since then, the other two have struggled to make it to church.  It was really awkward at first and probably the weirdest start to a lesson I have ever had, but we basically got the point across and I changed the subject to school and things to do here in Oradea.  We talked about soccer and stuff and that opened them up a little bit.  It’s been a while since I've been the Senior Comp, so I kind of forgot how it feels to carry the conversations. 

We tried to carve pumpkins for Halloween but it turns-out that you can’t find pumpkins in Romania, so we just hung out with some English students, played games and ate crap food!  It was alright; the 31st didn’t feel like Halloween at all.  On the first of November we went to the cemetery in Oradea for their "day of the dead" which was pretty cool. The place is freaking giant and almost every grave was lit up with candles and stuff!  It was incredible how many people showed up. 

Anyway, I love and miss you guys! Talk to you soon! 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Oradea Crew
Utterly Impressive!

Short Timer - Baielli

Elder Baielli is leaving Oradea in three weeks.  He is bummed!  I will be staying and getting Elder Manning as my comp.  Don’t know too much about him, but he’s eight months or so into his mission.  

It’s been a pretty normal week.  Baielli has been pretty stressed that his mission is ending soon, so we've been going pretty hard trying to find people.  Weather has been cold and rainy making it hard to do much!  

We took a trip outside of the city to visit an older woman.  It’s fun to get out of the city and walk on dirt roads, see cows and be in the middle of nowhere.  It’s what I thought Romania would be like. 

I’m taking a train to Bucuresti today and will be there all day tomorrow.  Not too much else going on. Stoked that the Utes won again.

Love and miss you guys!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Baielli & Brown
Traditional Hungarian & Romanian Costumes


Well, here we are in Oradea and again nothing too big to bring to the email.  It rained, we had English classes, and Elder Baielli got sick. 

The big news is that I’m officially a year in the books.  Both incredibly exciting and a little sad.  It’s weird how time has gone for me, but it’s generally fast!  It will really hit home when we get ourselves into 2015 and I have just 9 short months left. 

Oradea is a quiet little Hungarian town.  It’s incredibly beautiful with amazing buildings and river.  Our English classes are pretty large and for the sixth time, I am teaching beginners.  On Tuesday we had 26 women show up to class and not a single man – Hahaha!  Most stayed for the spiritual thoughts which is cool, but we are still finding people all day long. 

We had the Temple President from Germany come and speak to our stake/district this week which was cool.  He had some dope things to say and really answered the questions of the members here. 

The first iPads are in the mission, but I don’t expect to be getting one until the end of the year.  Hopefully in time to skype from it, but we will see.  

Baielli is sick with the flu, so I’ve done nothing but clean the apartment and read for two days straight. 

This email is terribly boring – Hahaha.  Love and miss you guys! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Our New & Modern Apartment

Mit Cinas!

Good to hear from y’all today.  I can finally say that I am emailing from the beautiful city of Oradea; it’s amazing here!  We live in the best apartment in the mission by far (I found it) and right on the river!   We walk to and from the city center using the riverside walkway and its nuts.  Little did I know that I would be entering into a different country upon arrival.  Almost everyone here speaks Hungarian and its annoying.  They will just start talking to each other in Hungarian about you, knowing that you don’t speak it, and then they will start back in Romanian with you.  I've run into a few people that have said that I speak better Romanian than they do, and they've lived in this country their entire lives! 

No old man buttocks this week, but it was a good week anyway.  We had a really lame Mission leadership conference this week via skype . . . we didn’t fly to Buchurest.  Our skype didn’t work very well and we were only able to listen.  They didn’t receive our audio or video and we didn’t receive their video.  We just sat and listened to them speak back and forth for three hours.  It was pretty lame. 

This week was Oradea Days and they had some crazy festivals going on all week in the parks.  It was like the park in Centerville on the Fourth of July, but every day for a week long!  They had live music, amazing traditional foods (heavy Hungarian influence) games and all kinds of stuff going on.  We saw some parades and watched the Romanian armed forces perform some crazy stuff too.  The week ended last night with Oradea's birthday and another parade and fireworks!  It was a freaking zoo in Centru and really fun. 

Time is passing like crazy and I can’t believe that this week will be October 16th!  This day a year ago, I gave my farewell talk and stayed up till three in the morning with friends – haha! 

Love and miss you guys,


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Just Us

Mit Csinazc (whats up) !

As you can all see, I’m working on my Hungarian since more than half the members in my new city of Oradea speak fluent Hungarian. I’m actually not in Oradea yet, but will be tomorrow - hopefully!  I’m excited and president has some high expectations from us.  We’re kind’a under the microscope right now, which is slightly nerve wracking, but I’m good. 

We had a good week saying goodbyes AGAIN to the same people. They've begun to start asking "when are you guys leaving?" - hahaha but its good. I’m pretty sure they are getting sick of us saying goodbye, then seeing us on Sundays again! 

Well it was a good week with football.  I gotta say I’m sad I missed it and jealous that the whole family went down to watch the games.  Also the old guys hit 30 years of marriage and I’m not sure what they call that marriage milestone, but it should be "The Pampers 30" (hopefully I don’t have to explain that joke).  

Speaking of old people and their problems, we visited an old man today named Sandor from Hungary.  He moved here a while back, but we can barely understand the man due to his thick Hungarian accent. He has had some surgeries over the years to repair a crooked spine and when he thought I wasn’t understanding him well enough, he stood up, pulled down his pants and underwear, then continued to turn around and moon me while pointing out the incision scars on his back and butt.  I love this country.  I gotta say that it wasn’t the first time I've had that happen either – hahaha! 

General conference was good.  We still haven’t seen all the sessions and need to listen to some of them in English so I fully understand, but it was pretty sweet. 

Love you guys, keep it real and go bolts! 


P.S.  I’ve included photos - This guy is Stefan!  He has a huge drinking problem and we have been working with him. His wife is a member and is very humble.  He cried when we left and said "other than the first elders who taught me, you guys are the coolest!"  He is the man! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Branch President's Pigs
Foxes in the Hen House . . .

Chickens and Pigs

Well, just a quick update . . . I don’t have too much for you this week but I’m still living in Arad. I guess President has been in Moldova and hasn’t been back to Bucuresti to sign our apartment agreement yet. So in the meantime, we've been chillin' in Arad trying to keep busy. 

Pretty crazy thought, but according to the MTC's date they issued me, I’m going home a year from today - September 29th, 2015.  So for mom, and those of you who are counting down, we have 365 more to go!  For me, its nuts!  I can’t believe I've been in a foreign country and learning this language for so freaking long and still don’t feel like I've figured it out yet.  I will probably freak out again on October 16th, considering it’s the actual year day. 

We didn’t have a baptism in Arad this week like we wanted. Turns out she had some last minute doubts and doesn’t want to be judged by members for being a little bit "lower class."  It’s a big problem here because people are so racist against Gypsies!  If you have darker skin, you are automatically disrespected.  Amazes me how relaxed they are while discriminating.  Hopefully she feels more comfortable and gets baptized in the future.

We also visited our Branch President and took some photos with his animals.  

I got pretty sick this week, but with the help of Lipton Fruit Tea, Tylenol Cold and Flu, and some serious sleeping, I was over it in about two days. 

Nothing too crazy going on lately. Sorry you guys don’t receive sick stories too often, but I will work on getting into some trouble or something. 

Love you guys and Go Bolts!

Monday, September 22, 2014


Hey guys, 

Today was a long day as we are trying to get out of Arad and move to Oradea. We got a ride up to Oradea today to look at some apartments and I got pretty car sick; the roads aren’t amazing!  We are going to have an amazing apartment.  Seriously, it might be the best one in the mission!  I will send photos as soon as I can, but we won’t be moving in until Saturday at the earliest so we’ll have another week in Arad. 

We were able to leave Arad yesterday to visit a family of seven.  The father died last year and they haven’t received visits from the branch for over three years!  They were so happy that we made it out to visit and we brought the District President and his family from Oradea with us. They were all pretty emotional and it went pretty well.  Arad is sick and I’m kinda sad I’m leaving so soon! 

I don’t have too many stories this week.  Everyone in the district is getting sick so I’m just trying to stay healthy.  I woke up with a runny nose today. Football is looking good at home!  I will be looking to hear more stories for you guys. 

Kill it!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Culture Festival

Just a Little Bit of Transylvania!

Well here is your weekly update from Romania!

We’re moving after just six weeks in Arad.  President is moving Elder Baielli and myself to Oradea. It’s a little larger city just about two hours north of Arad.  President thought putting the Zone Leaders there would be better for us.  Also, the city of Cluj will be part of our zone as well.  We’re going to be apartment hunting this week and trying to get all that junk figured out. I’m pretty excited to be there! 

We had a Cultural Event, Zone Conference and District Conference over the weekend in Oradea.  For the Cultural Event we had about 75 in attendance and around 100 for District Conference!  It was pretty sick! We sat down to start the Zone Conference and President looked at us and asked "who is conducting?" We respond "uh, no clue."  Then he put me on the spot to conduct - Just shows you how unorganized everything is! 

Nothing too crazy from this week.  It’s been eleven months tomorrow since I left home!  Pretty insane to think a year from now I will be getting ready to come home. 

Go Bolts! 

Elder Brown

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Flying back to Arad
Food Service?  This isn't Delta!

Hey guys!

Well I had a little bit of time to breath this week and it was pretty nice!  We were able to do what we wanted and meet with some people that we haven’t been able to meet with.  The pictures from Lucy's birthday look fun, and I’m glad to hear the Utes handled there game with ease.  

We made a visit to a member that had a stroke right before I arrived here in Arad.  It’s sad because she was such a great member and she may remain in this condition for a year.  Her entire left side is paralyzed as of right now but she can feel when you touch her hand and foot.  She has a very small support system and it meant a lot for her that we came and visited.  I feel horrible that it took me a month to get there. Mom knows how hard it is to be in a hospital bed for that long and I felt for this member. She cried when we left and was very thankful that we were able to come. 

A man named Bene from Togo Africa just arrived here in Romania as a volunteer to work with children in schools and stuff.  He got referred to us when he expressed interest to learn English.  Only speaking his native language and French, it has been a challenge.  We invited him and his friends to come play soccer with us and he brought two other Africans and another volunteer from Turkey.  It was crazy to play soccer with them and probably the most African/South American mission experience I will have here on my mission. They were freaking amazing at soccer and played barefoot on a crummy field that looked like the sandlot. It was amazing, but I don’t have photos.

We also went paintballing with our entire zone on P-Day and it was freaking fun. I’m covered in welts, but it was sick. 

Hope everyone has a good week and that the Bolts get a win tonight! 


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ZL Business Trip
Does He Know What's Coming?

Ciao Ciao!

Heyyyo!  Well hope everyone is loving their first week of REAL FOOTBALL!  I will be asking for good reports over the next few months so be prepared.

We’ve seen huge improvement with investigators, from one progressing investigator at the start of the month to eight by the end!  In fact, a Baptism is scheduled September 13th.  Plus, President Ivory notices our zone’s progress! 

It’s been a fairly insane week for us, full of: carrying old men up and down 5 flights of stairs; attempting to milk a goat; making homemade doughnuts with a Romanian private investigator; taking an overnight 11 hour train to Bucuresti in seats instead of a sleeping train (we missed our train); and to top it all off, we flew home from Bucuresti.

The animal situation occurred when we visited our Branch President who invited us over to see his new piglets. We ended up playing with all of his lovely creatures and I had the opportunity to chase down a chicken and catch it.

The elderly man is the father of one of our Sister members. He is super mentally ill and too old to even get himself out of bed. Elder Baielli and I had to sit him in a chair and carry him down the stairs. We then took him to the hospital for a few tests, brought him home and back up the stairs. At one point he opened the taxi door when we were traveling at about 80 kilometers per hour . . . amazing!   She was very appreciative and it was good. We are also teaching her husband who is an alcoholic and could probably use all the help he could get at this point . . . very nice guy, but when he’s drunk . . .  

On Sunday night, we left to go to Bucuresti but missed our first train so had to take another one.  The second train was from 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM the next day (Monday).  The problem was that we had to sit; we didn’t get sleeping tickets with a bed.  They were sold out so I didn’t sleep at all that night.  Then we have a six hour meeting right after we arrive in town, so we didn’t even shower. After the meeting we had just enough time to go to the mission office and pick up everyone’s mail, then they put us on the plane back to Arad.  I was searched and got an extreme pat down going through security.  Then my bag got searched because someone’s package had shampoo in it!  I’m surprised the airport security let me get on the plane. Meanwhile, my comp is taking video of my pat down session and the other security lady goes over to him and is mad for filming and makes him delete it!  When we got back to Arad, it was 10:00 PM and we couldn’t sleep in our beds because Gabi Oanta had our apartment deep cleaned and we weren’t allowed to go in . . . so I slept on the other Elders couch.  It’s been a rough few days, but tonight I get to sleep in my own bed. 

Elder Baielli has been really stressed the last few days because we are always doing something and or on the phone.  I've noticed that when he is stressed, I've been laughing.  I’m loving all the chaos and how unpredictable being a Zone Leader can be.

Here’s some photos and I love you guys!