Calgary skyline

Calgary skyline

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah for Israel!

April 7, 2015

Hello family,

The time has come where I get to send my last email. The feelings and thoughts that keep running through my head as I either lay in bed at night, or walking in downtown Calgary, are thoughts that I cannot begin to express. I am nervous of going home. I am nervous to begin this new chapter in my life. I have been comforted by the Spirit that all is well. It is time to leave my home, as I did the first time, with faith and trust in the Lord. I am not going to tell you how the week has gone, as I will be able to tell you in person. I want to explain three principles that I have learned on my mission.

Trust in Him
Even from when I was a small kid, I heard about the stories of Jesus, and how He performed many miracles. I was told how this “man” loved me. That He cared for me. It was not until my mission where I truly learned on how much He cares. I have learned, not heard, that He was not just a man, but a God. That He walked on this earth 2,000 years ago for me.

In Mosiah 24, it talks about Alma and his people, how they were in bondage to Amulon. They had many tasks put upon their backs, or in other words, afflictions. They prayed to Heavenly Father for help, but Amulon threatened whoever prayed again, would be put to death. This is where the trust comes in. They did “pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.” (Mos. 24:12) Because the people acted on the Lord, they were blessed. Just a few verses later, the Lord gives them a promise and teaches them why we need to have a solid trust: “I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, even you cannot feel them upon your backs… I do [this] that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.” How many times on my mission that I thought of this story when I was going through a hard time are too many too count. I can now stand as a witness that Jesus Christ will always help you through any trial. I stand as a witness that He will never leave anyone. I now stand in full trust that He will always pull through.

The Truthfulness of the Book of Mormon
I have taught many people on the street, on the door step, and even one time at a stop light, that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on this earth. My testimony of this book was always there. I have known, because of goodly parents; that the Book of Mormon “puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do in this life to gain peace…”

The knowledge of the Book of Mormon came through diligent study and specific questions that I asked in sincere prayer. I was told before I left my mission too not waste the precious time in the morning. Some of my most sacred experiences on my mission came through studying the Book of Mormon in that personal study time. I know that this book, that gave us our nickname, Mormons, is true. If anyone takes the time to read from the pages, have sincere questions to ask, they will know, as I do, that they can find answers to any question that they have. The Book of Mormon brings clarity and adds to the Bible.

The Principle of Desired Difficulty
In 2nd Corinthians 12:7-12, which happens to be one of my favourite scriptures, talks about weaknesses and why we need them. This is the Apostle Paul, and he is talking about one of his weakness that he has had his whole life. “…there was given to me a thorn in the flesh…” He was given a weakness; it was like a thorn to him, something that hurt, and hard to get out.
He continues in verse 8, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.” We learn that Paul was in constant prayer about this weakness. He wanted it to leave him. He prayed over it many, many times.
The Lord comforts His Apostle, by telling him: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul then testifies on why we need weaknesses, “…will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me… Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

When we have these thorns, wither they be in our flesh, or spiritual, they are for us to be made strong through Christ. I have seen my weaknesses, I have noticed the thorns that I have given me the most pain, but that is how I have come to know the Lord. I am grateful for the thorns He has given me. I have many more thorn bushes to pass through, but I know it is so I can stand as a witness of Him.
Game Over
My mission is coming to an end. I am getting on a plane that is taking me back to Idaho in just a few days. I have always dreamed about this moment, how I would feel, and how I would react. Now that the time is here, I am acting and feeling different than I ever thought. It is time to come home. I feel like I have given my all.

The number one thing that I will take back from my mission is my testimony of my Saviour Jesus Christ. I know that He lives, I know that He is real, and I know that He is there. I will always be so grateful for the things that I have learned on my mission. I know that this gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I will never leave, He will never leave me.

I can now stand up and shout hurrah! Hurrah for Israel!!!

Hurrah for Israel,
Elder Browning III

Monday, March 23, 2015

Clutch Time

March 23, 2015
Hello family,

It was a stellar week in Canada. Elder Kelly and I stayed healthy and busy all week. Now that spring is upon us, the weather gets grim, of course, it is Canada… But this didn’t interfere with B-Town and Kelzer! We had missionary work to do.

Angela’s baptism was such a good experience. We had a very good turnout, so I tip my hat to the Westbridge Ward. We had so many people; we had to use almost all of the seats in the building. As we filled up the font, which takes a while, I began to think about how blessed I have been on my mission. The people I have been able to teach, the people I have been able to see be baptized, and the spiritual experiences that come along with it are just a few of the tender mercies I have received. The baptism started on time, and when Angela was in the water, and came back up, she had the biggest smile on her face. Later on that night she told us that when she first walked in the water she felt normal, but when she came back up, she felt “new”. It was a perfect baptismal service, with no hiccups or interruptions, it just went… perfectly.

I am seeing the clock tick down on the 4th quarter of my mission, and realizing that I don’t have as much time as I thought. These final moments, or minutes, shows my true character as a missionary. Am I going to throw in the towel now, am I going to start being disobedient, because what are they going to do? Send me home? President told me that now is the time you are most effective, so don’t throw it away. It is clutch time!

Elder Kelly is doing a good job on keeping me focused and busy. I am not trunky, but I can’t help but think about it. It is inevitable, that is what every missionary, member and their dog like to talk to me about, home. But I know that this isn’t a time to dwell on the fact that I have been out for 23 months, but dwell on my purpose is still the same, whether it was my first day in the field, or the last. This is what is keeping that spark alive in me. Hoo-rah!!!

We are looking forward to this week, as we will be traveling throughout the mission for various meetings and exchanges. This is going to make time run by, and I won’t be able to catch up to it. Keep praying for Elder Kelly and I, we need it. Love you!

Hurrah for Israel,
Elder Browning III

Angela's baptism

These are the programs we made for her. 
Don't be too shocked... I was crafty!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Exchanges to Bedridden

March 16, 2015

Hello family,
The spring time was in the air just a few days ago, it was beautiful weather, but now we have gone back in time to winter. We woke up today to snow a lot of it too. Whenever you think you are safe from the cold and snow in Canada, it always seems to creep back into life. O, Canada.

We were able to go to Calgary this last Wednesday and Thursday for exchanges. I went back to my old stomping grounds, yes, the East. It felt like it was just yesterday that I was either walking or riding the bus with my trainer. It was a very nice spring day; it was 15 degrees, which felt like summer to us. Something that the east zone is doing to increase their finding is a free hot chocolate stand. We posted up right outside a very busy bus station (one that was very familiar to me) and started talking to people. It was a very good success as we were able to place over a box of copies of the Book of Mormon in just an hour. The week prior, they were able to get 20 new gators for the zone. Who says missionary work is cannot be creative?

The next day we traveled out to British Columbia. Since this will most likely be my last time to BC, we decided to go the scenic route, which is through Banff. It was a great drive, but a long one. It took us just over 6 hours in total to make it to Cranbrook. Right when we got in BC, we started feeling sick. The next morning, we decided to head back to home base early. Both Elder Kelly and I got the cold badly. We threw everything inside and jumped in bed. We were out. For the next few days we could barely even sit up. We have finally been able to feel a little bit better. We need to get better ASAP because we have another busy week of exchanges and a baptism.

This Saturday Angela will be getting baptized! We are so excited for her. I have been able to see her come so far and see how the gospel has helped her. She has made an event on Facebook and has invited all of her family and many of her friends. This is a tender mercy for me. I cannot wait for Saturday!
I love you all! I am happy to be able to see you soon, but for now, it’s game time.

Hurrah for Israel,
Elder Browning III

Monday, March 9, 2015


March 9, 2015

Hello family,
Okay we had a great experience with our investigator, Angela, this week. I will get to that in a bit, but this whole week was a great one. We were able to be solely in our area, which has not happened in weeks. This was refreshing for Elder Kelly and I, it was just one of those weeks that the sun was shining, lessons went through, and were just happy to be missionaries.

So on to the “huzzah” part. We had a lesson with Angela this last Tuesday, we had planned to go over lesson three with her, and invite her to be baptized. It was something that we have been praying for a long time, since she is ready. We got to there, started our small talk for a little bit, then the lesson started. We were so anxious to get to the baptism invitation; we kind of rushed through the first two points, so we could get to talking about baptism. The moment of truth came where we asked her to exercise her faith in the Savior and be baptized. She didn’t even have to hesitate, she just told us, “well I work on the 14th, so I guess that means the 21st is when I should be baptized.” Do you know those moments you are so excited, but you don’t want to shout, so you just make some weird grunting noises and do many fist pumps? Well, that was me. I was so happy for her! I have seen her from day one, and seen how much she has changed. She just laughed us and told us that she had already planned on the 21st of this month, but waited for us to invite her, as she knew we always did at the end of each lesson. Thank goodness we invited her. This experience made us randomly bust out some dance moves, because of how excited we are. It was just too good.

I had my last interview with President, before my departing interview, which happens a few days before the plane ride. It was such a good interview. I have really come to love President Nicholas. I have been told that when an Apostle assigns you to a mission, they don’t necessarily think of what area needs you, but what Mission President you need. I can testify that President and Sister Nicholas is exactly who I needed. I hang on to every word he says, trying to learn everything possible from him. I will not be able to thank him enough when I leave. In the interview, he helped me find that extra gear that I need for this last transfer.

I am looking forward to another huzzah week in Canada. Great things are going to be happening in our area and in the mission. I am staying focused, working hard, and preaching the gospel of peace. I love you!

Hurrah for Israel,
Elder Browning III

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

16 Down 1 to Go

March 3, 2015

Hello family,

Another transfer has come and gone. It was a very busy two weeks but we are now through our busiest time. To think that I am on my last transfer kind of scares me, but puts a fire underneath me as well. There are still many things that I need to learn/do in a very small amount of time. I got to take three of my companions to the airport, Elders Bjarnson, Engstrom, and Jackman. This really hit me thinking that I am only six weeks behind them. Game time!
Elder Kelly and I get to spend most of this transfer in our own area, which we are very excited about. We have some good things that are going to start happening here very soon. We are working with one main investigator right now who is progressing very well. She is reading the Book of Mormon every day, comes to church every Sunday, and even goes to an institute class. We are meeting with her tomorrow in hopes of leaving that lesson with a baptismal date for her. We are so excited for her. She has come so far in learning the gospel; I have been able to see her desires change for the better. She will be baptized, I just hope it is while I am still in this area.

I have made a goal this transfer, which is to not let anyone know that exact amount of time that I have been serving. Anytime I tell someone, all they want to do is make me trunky it seems. I can’t have none of that! So, I have resorted to the trick of “I have been out just over a year.” So far it works with the old folk, but the YSA know that trick to well… But I am determined to not let anyone know that I have fewer months than some missionaries have years. Elder Kelly is helping me with this, as anytime he thinks I am feeling a little trunkier for that particular moment, he is quick to pull me from it. I love it. The work of Salvation is at hand, home can wait.

In reality, I am excited to come home. I am also looking forward to seeing the experiences that I will have this last transfer. As I put my trust in Him, work hard, obedient, humble, and willing to accept His will, it is all going to work out for the better. There are a few minutes on the clock still. I don’t quit until I hear the buzzer. Game on!

Hurrah for Israel,
Elder Browning III

Got to go to the Calgary Temple on Friday. 

Saying goodbye to Engy at the airport! See you in six weeks ;)

Monday, February 23, 2015

I’m Still Alive!

February 23, 2015

Hello family,

Yes... I am still living...

This is going to have to be a quick email. I am sorry that I wasn't able to email last week, as we have been so busy with transfers we can hardly breathe. But now I have a few minutes to shoot off an email. It is always an interesting week with transfers coming up, but a good opportunity to see and travel the whole mission. What made it even a more hectic week is the fact that I am NOT getting transferred.

Yep, President has asked me to stay my last transfer where I am. Too be honest I was looking forward getting out and being in my own area, and that is all that I would need to focus on. The whole last week or two I have been thinking that I was going to leave my beloved west Lethbridge and move on. So when we met with President and he said that I was staying, I leaped for joy! Haha, I am so excited to finish my mission in the YSA ward that I am currently in. We are going to have some great things start happening; especially because it will be my last hurrah. But for this week we will be spending it in Calgary.

I am so grateful to be a missionary right now. This is the best thing that I have ever done; it is so good I don't want it to end. I can't even talk about it... It makes me too sad.

On a better note, we have some good lessons set up, once we get back in our area. The Lord has been blessing Elder Kelly and I so much. It is unreal the miracles that we have been able to witness in just two transfers together. Can't wait to see what lies ahead.

I love you all. Next week I should have a longer email, and get to email everyone back. But for now it is back to work!

Hurrah for Israel,

Elder Browning III

Alberta- the heart of the north! 

Got to go the Cardston temple with St. Anthony natives, the Birch's, who are now serving in this mission at the office! 
Love them.

This is Simi. She is someone Engy and I taught who was baptized this last weekend. No effort is wasted.

We the north.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Spirit Comes Through Every Time

February 9, 2015

Hello family,
This week was full of exchanges. I sometimes wish we were able to be in our own area for a longer time than just the weekend, but whatever. The weather has been very weird. One day there is white on the ground and the next morning there is no sign of any snow. The winter has been very mild compared to last year’s -56 C. But hey, I am not complaining!

We were able to have a good amount of teaching appointments, even if we were gone almost the whole week. We have a lot of investigators right now that are on the brink of baptism. It is something that has taught me that the Lord has His own time table for those we teach. We had an awesome lesson with one of our investigators on Saturday night. We have been teaching her for a while now, but it is starting to make sense to her. We invited her to be baptized, she said she has to think about it, and she even fasted for a date to be baptized on! We were so happy, cloud nine for sure. The spirit was able to guide Elder Kelly and I, it built my testimony of never giving up on someone. She said she will tell us her decision by this week. We are hoping and praying that she has felt the spirit confirm to her that this is all true.

At times when I feel like a certain investigator is "stuck", the spirit is able to work with them to help them to not just get unstuck, but to help them progress forward. Lately in my studies I have been focusing on how the Holy Ghost is the teacher. We are just there to be the messenger, if you will. My favourite thing to do is to testify as a missionary, I get a confirmation that what I have been teaching is true, without fail. It is all possible through the Comforter. This is why we have to be obedient, so we can teach with the spirit. So when we have times like we did last Saturday, not knowing how to get her to progress, the spirit can take over.

Well we have another great week ahead of us. We will be in Cardston, the other Lethbridge zones, and maybe even Medicine Hat. Keep praying that I will be able to teach with the best tool we have; the spirit. I love you all.

Hurrah for Israel,
Elder Browning III

Built upon the rock.

Big Green Truck

This is who I got to go on exchanges with, Elder Barlow.