Elder Keegan Karsten Brown

Elder Keegan Karsten Brown

Monday, January 27, 2014

Larisa's Baptism - A Great Day!

Can't Avoid This Stuff!

Ploiesti, The Branch & Elders Quorum

How’s it going everyone!

Weather - We got about a two or three feet of snow over the last four days which was pretty sweet!  It’s getting a little crazy out there now.  People waited until the snow stopped before they decided to shovel.  Instead of pushing strollers around with their kids, they put them on rail sleds and pull them around!  Cars are completely snowed-in and we push people out of the snow constantly.  Don’t worry Mom, I’m keeping warm with all my sweaters and jackets.  It’s been pretty fun in the snow though which helps keep time go fast.

Investigators – Yes, we have investigators here in Ploiesti!  Pretty crazy but it’s been fun!  First we have the Raducanu Family.  They were found by Elder Barclay a little over a year ago. The dad, Larentu, was baptized a few transfers ago. Then there is Mari the wife, Alex 18 year old boy, and Grati who is an eleven year old boy.  The rest of the family hasn’t been baptized.  They are really hesitant to be baptized but love the missionaries and the lessons so much; they always want us over and teaching them - Especially Mari!

Another investigator we have Big Alex.  He is in his 20's and we meet with him every Saturday.  We do a 30 minute gospel and 30 minute English lesson with him.  He really likes to talk and we don’t progress too far with him.  Hopefully we can invite him to church soon.

Church - We were supposed to have President Hill up this weekend for interviews, but because we got so much snow he decided to push it to this week.  Anyway, he was going to teach priesthood meeting yesterday but obviously couldn’t.  Well Saturday, after the Larisa’s baptism, President Hill asked that I prepare the lesson for the next day.  Guess what Dad, it’s late notice in this Elders Quorum too - Haha!   Needless to say, I was freaking out and nervous.  The talk was by Bednar and was ‘Windows of Heaven.’  It was about tithing and went really well actually!  The EQ is the same here that it is at home; meaning that if you ask them a question, they will talk for 15 minutes straight before stopping.  I only got through about 1/4 of my lesson, but they all enjoyed it.

Last night, we went to go check on Mari Raducanu because she got offended in Relief Society.  We didn’t have a lesson planned but she wanted one anyway.  I pulled out my lesson from Priesthood and I pretty much gave the lesson.  She loved it and asked if she could keep the talk and my notes.  She could not believe that the Quorum of the Twelve pray where the tithing money should be spent before they spend it!  She was an extremely faithful orthodox member and knew they did some corrupt things with tithing. Anyway, I felt really good about it after that!

Hope all is well at home and I miss you guys!

Elder Brown

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Transfer #2 ????

Buna Ziua! 

Well this week was interesting!  I’m no longer in Buch.  There has been a little change and I’m in Ploiesti.  On Wednesday night, after Elder Barclay and I came home, we noticed President Hill had called.  When we called him back, he asked to speak with Barclay and sounded pretty serious.  I guess there is a Russian speaking Elder in Moldova that has been in a little bit of . . .   The result was that I go to Ploiesti, one Ploiesti Elder goes to Moldova, and the Russian speaking Elder comes down to be Elder Barclay's companion in Buch.  I packed and left on a train Friday afternoon.  They sent me on the train by myself and the Ploiesti Elders picked me up.  My new companion is Elder Harris from the "DC area."  He has been here for seven months, is 19, and went to BYU for a year before his mission. 

The new apartment is a little bigger, but the place is trashed!  Mom always thought that I was messy but she hasn’t seen these missionaries here yet!  The district here is alright.  For the most part we are all really young.  There are two sisters and four Elders.  Everyone is pretty strict.  When I say strict, I mean like today I went to put on jeans for p-day and they said "we usually wear church attire on p-days."  I’m wearing jeans right now.

Ploiesti is alright so far; haven’t really experienced too much yet, but it’s been kind of cool! What I’ve been told though is that the city isn’t pretty to look at but the branch is awesome! They were right, the branch here is pretty sweet.  Since being here, we've had a few lessons and there is a baptism this Saturday!  The girl hasn’t decided who is doing the baptism yet, but there is a chance that she could choose any of the missionaries which would be sick if one of us could do it.  Either way, it will be sick to see a baptism!

Before I left Buch, we were still doing less active contacting with the car and things were going alright.  Nothing too exciting but it was fun.  We went and visited one crazy member who we think was told to not come back to church.  He invited us into this basement that was super dim.  Only thing lighting the room was a few hanging bulbs.  His place was insane!  I felt like I was in some intense movie!  The guy had paintings everywhere you look and they were actually pretty good!  Before I realized how much money he wanted for them, I almost bought one.  He wanted about 500 euro for it though.  The reason I say that he is crazy, is that he prays to the universe.  When we asked if he wanted to come back to church he told us he had to see if the universe agreed with it.  He stepped aside, started mumbling and looking to the sky, then returned and told us that the universe was okay with the Mormons.

Anyway, I hope all is well at home and I love hearing about everyone and everything.  I think about you all the time and miss you to death.  Sounds like a pretty interesting Super Bowl coming up, but I don’t mind missing this one. 

Love y’all,
Elder Brown

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Buna Ziua Prietenul Meu - Good Day My Friends!

After making it through the first game of the playoffs, as you all know, the Chargers lost to the Broncos on Sunday - NOOO!  I hate the Broncos – haha!  I saw a few highlights and don’t wanna talk about it any further.

This week has been an interesting one. I didn’t tell you, but earlier last week Elder Barclay went to President Hill with a few concerns about transportation here in Buch. The result of the conversation is that we are the only missionaries (with exception of the assistants to the pres. and office elders) with a vehicle . . . Yes, we drive a car now!  The reason being, we have a list of about 50 less active members that we’re trying to visit in our area.  President has allowed us to use the car to get from block to block across town to contact these people.  When we finish the list, we return the car.  So far we have been to about 25 of the member’s homes.  Some addresses led us to dirt lots.  One led us to an angry orthodox mother who won’t let us talk to her son - who is a member.  Some led to people who have moved to France, England and Italy.  But one, led to a man who was baptized 7 years ago.  We pulled up to his house and right then he came out to greet us!  We began to tell him who we were and he responded "yes, yes I know, you are the missionaries!"  He let us into his home and we started talking to him. He said he hasn’t been to church for at least three years but that he would be willing to come, if there was somewhere closer to go to.  We responded . . . "perfect, that is why we are here.  We have a branch in Aviatiei and we are inviting you back with us."  Long story short, we gave a little lesson and he will be coming to church with us this Sunday (hopefully). 

The language is still slow. I struggle to speak Romanian and I’m trying to work hard.  I read an email from Blair McFarland, who is serving in Spain.  He wrote that he is reading the book of Mormon in Spanish and that he understands up to 95% of the words.  That is crazy! Talking to missionaries here in Romania, they've told me that even after a year or so they still can’t understand very well reading from the Book of Mormon.  At least I know I’m not the only one struggling with the language!  I have seen a lot of improvement though and I’m sure it will get better over time! 

Weather here in Romania has been great over the last few days!  The fog hasn’t been as thick and I haven’t had to wear my jacket nearly as much.  We've spent a lot of time in parks contacting and playing sports on p-days.  I've heard that it is supposed to get bad again though in a few days.

This week, President Iacobescu told us that his New Year’s goal was to turn our little branch in Aviatiei into a ward.  Now, I think that it is awesome that he wants to do that and I want to see it happen too. Sadly though, last week President Hill told us that he was thinking about closing the branch entirely . . . kind’a sad that Iacobescu has been working so hard but hasn’t seen any results.  I wish it wasn’t being closed down, but I see why President would be doing it.  The whole purpose of this branch was to bring back the less active members from the north side of Buch.  As of last week we had ten missionaries, President and Sora Hill, one senior couple, four American embassy workers, President Iacobescu (who speaks English very well) and one Romanian. I hope things get better over the weeks and we can get people back to church. 

Anyway, I hope you guys are all doing well and I love you!  Enjoy the Playoff Season!

I don’t have any pictures this week because I forgot my camera.


Elder Brown

Monday, January 6, 2014

First Transfer!


So here is the news on the transfer - My whole district is staying the same!  Barclay will continue to train me and we will remain Aviatiei!  Pretty excited about it and it should be fun.

New Year’s Eve was great!  We celebrated from the roof of the mission office and watched as Bucharest lit up the sky!   Everyone was setting-off fireworks and they were all pretty big!  Nothing too exciting other than that but we had fun.

Not too much has happened this week. I went on exchanges with Elder Duker from the MTC.  It was pretty insane to have us both in our first transfer and contacting. On the other hand, we actually had some success by Romanian standards.  We knocked one door and this guy turned us down pretty quick and we turned away and started walking when a woman came out of that same door with two oranges.  She insisted that we take them even though I told her we didn’t want anything.  Everyone thinks that if you knock on their door, you just want food or money.  I ended up just saying that we will take her oranges, if she would take one of our pass a long cards - She was more than happy to!

I got a little sick over the weekend with a pretty big head cold and my nose was running like crazy.  After church, we did a few things and ended up home at 4:00 PM, I slept from 4-5:00 PM, then ate some food and took some Melatonin and other drugs.  I slept from 6-11:00 PM then made myself eggs and sausage, then slept again from 12-8:00 AM this morning – It’s amazing how much better I feel today!

Pretty crazy story from this week - So we have all our district meetings and all our lessons (all zero lessons) at the Mission Office here in Buch. The building has eight stories and the church is on the 7th floor.  On Friday, just hours after our district meeting, at about 11:00 PM Romania time, there was a large fire that started on the 2nd floor. The office elders were there and luckily the BFD (Buch Fire Dept.) had the fire put out before it got too big!  I have a link at the bottom of the email plus a picture. Elder Phelps (Bountiful) is being interviewed.

Anyway, I don’t have much to say for this week. What I learned from my first transfer is....
1. This isn’t a normal mission in terms of teaching and actual mission work.
2. How hard the language is going to be; that I actually have to work for it!
3. How to make a great English Breakfast!
Obviously I’ve learned a lot more.

Anyway, I love you guys and hope you have a good week!

Mission Office
New Year's - 2014!

Fire at the Mission Office: Link