Chris' Special Tie Knot

Chris' Special Tie Knot

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas in Slovakia!


I am SO excited to email today I can hardly SEE STRAIGHT, haha. I will be emailing all about the last 2 weeks, and I apologize right now to my fam that Skyped with me, they might already know a few of these stories. So...first off, what the heck, why does my sister get a car?!? Ok, got that out of my system, I don't actually want an answer, I'm sure that will be taken care of when I get home...*wink*

Alright, so last week before Christmas was just wonderful, I couldn't believe all the success we've been having, we got 16 new investigators that week, and we are struggling now trying to schedule when we can meet with all of them because we're the only 2 missionaries here so it would be impossible for us to do splits. I'm praying that with the Lord, we're going to be able to make all of that work, because it feels like this city is ready to light up in missionary work.

Now, to my sister: Well everything, where can I start? This is the warmest winter they've had in like 35 years or so, there's no snow anywhere. Everything except Europa (the mall) is something really old that has been refurbished and is being used as something else now. It is SUPER foggy here, especially on the border with the Czech Republic, btw Banska is in the middle of Slovakia so thank heavens I don't have to associate with that border very much, it's just straight up unhealthy, but so foggy that you can't even see your hand in front of your face with a car that has its brights on behind you (I tested that, it's true!) but most of the time it's pretty ok. It is really quite a nice atmosphere most of the time, and the people are generally very helpful. When we contact in English for our English class, most people stop because they think we need help finding something, and actually, when we DO need help finding something, people will stop whatever we're doing and just lead us there no charge or anything, it's amazing. My really motivated, and he's really calm and composed. 

The food here is all SUPER heavy, like they put on their menus exactly how much mass is in every meal, and it averages about 300 grams, but goes up to about 1500 grams on some meals. Everything is really tasty though, you can tell that they really pride themselves on their traditional cooking, for example, one Christmas tradition is called Kapusnica which translates to saurkraut soup. I know, I know, it sounds nasty, but gosh, it is some heavenly stuff, it makes me wish that Christmas is year round. It's like this spicy sour cabbage soup with sausage and ham and it's just SO good. Or like Svickova, what I had my first day here. it's this tenderloin steak in the middle of this plate just FULL of sauce, like seriously, you saw the picture, there is more sauce than anything else. The goal is to use the knedlicky (pieces of bread) to soak up the sauce and finish the bread, the sauce, and the meat all at the same time. It's actually really rude to finish one thing before anything else in a meal,  because the meals are all geared towards the last bite, in which you are supposed to have a tiny bit of everything still on the plate so you can finish it all at the same time in the last bite. I'm working on making a missionary recipe book for myself, and I'm regretting extremely forgetting my recipe box at home because I'm just stuck with the recipes that are in my head, but I'll be sure to copy everything down and make some for you when I get home, haha. 

As far as the music goes, we hear American music nearly all the time, because the Slovak bands aren't very good, and the people like American stuff more anyway, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to be up to date or anything, you should make a Spotify playlist of every song that you think that I would like that I'm missing that I'll listen to when I get home or something, that would just be wonderful. Little kids are entirely too cute here, haha! They are just so sassy but they're just little and they do all the things American kids do like run around and scream for no reason, or cry when their mom dresses them up in some cute little bear suit that they don't want to wear, even though it will keep them warm, and laugh at the funny American missionary (my companion), which leads me to my news!!! On the 26th of December, make note of this, I got asked by a lady on the street if I was native!!! I was so surprised, especially because I didn't even really say anything, we were contacting about family history, and I just used the word for geneology instead and basically I just said, exactly that, we teach a course every Tuesday for everyone that would be interested in becoming closer to their ancestors and she said, "Ste Slovak?" Then she looked at my nametag and was like, how do you speak so well, french people are not very smart. And I was just stunned, so I just said I'm a quick learner, but she's the only person who's done that, but most of the kids think that I'm native just because they don't really understand the difference in accents yet so they talk super fast to me and it's so cute, they're so matter-of-fact about everything, like I cased something wrong the other day, I think it was just river which is rieka, I said rieku when I should have said Riekym, and this little girl was just like, "I don't know why you said that you silly, nobody wants to walk in a river, that would just not be the smartest thing, especially if you aren't having any purpose, I mean I don't have that gladly at all!" Because the cases change the meaning of the words, that actually makes sense, just btw. I don't really get to play any sports, just because pretty much the places where people play sports in the winter is in Switzerland and I'm not allowed to go there... But in the summer time if I'm still in Banska, there's a sweet outdoor basketball setup right next to the apartment and we have a pretty good ball we could use, so that would be cool. But I hope that answered at least most of your questions, and maybe created a few more.

So last week I had the opportunity to go all throughout my mission with 3 other Elders and do singing displays and concerts because somebody said that I could sing to President and he assigned me. We did concerts in lots of places, and that was a Monumental amount of travelling, but my favorite one and it has the best story too was Uherske hradice in the Czech Republic. We drove there and got to where we were supposed to do our concert like 4 hours early, it was this huge outdoor cafe with a stage and everything like they do concerts there all the time, and so we had the opportunity to practice singing a bit and get our parts for the quartet down, we sang an arrangement of "Beautiful Savior" in Czech, and "Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming" in Slovak, and I did a piano solo and also had to accompany another elder when he sang a solo of "Come Lord Jesus to the Manger" from "Savior of the World." I had to learn that whole song in 2 hours because he decided to tell me 3 hours before our first concert that he still needed an accompanist, I did not appreciate that, but I played it pretty well and in this city I had learned and gotten it all down by that point so it wasn't much trouble, I still just felt conflicted about playing for him, but anyway, it astounded me here by how many people showed up, it was completely full with like 250 people sitting and another 50 standing up just watching us and I was even more astonished to learn that there were only like 5 people there who weren't members of the church. I'm used to having maybe like 3 people at church who aren't missionaries and we got to sing with a choir of members that came there too, and it was all just so amazing, I wish I had video-taped something, but I was too focused on being there and meeting people and playing/singing so I forgot and I just got kind of a lame picture of the 4 of us. 

After that, we had to drive to Brno, where we were going to sleep before we went to Praha (Prague) the next day. Our GPS (we named it Tomaško) lead us on this super creepy winding windy road through the dwarf mountains and we passed through like 6 towns where the population was less than 100 people on their little signs that I'm sure no one has read in 30 years because there's a freaking FREE-WAY we should have been on. But our GPS is crazy and doesn't know it exists. It got so soupy foggy that we couldn't see anything. Like all we could see was that our lights were on, we couldn't even see how far they were shining. And I started to get really scared that something bad was going to happen, and we all were for a little while but it only lasted about 10 minutes and then we all just had this peace come over us. It was so cool; we felt like we were literally in the hand of the Lord, and we navigated through by using the GPS just because it knew where the turns were and which direction we were pointed and somehow we stayed on the road, and no axe murderers were hiding in the trees and we saw like 500 Christmas trees that were bigger than our apartment building (seriously, they're huge), and we made it to Brno safely. It was just so cool to actually see the prayers that people offer for missionaries every day truly work in my life and to see that we are protected from ALL harms, in every sense. The point is that when we're here, it doesn't matter what we're doing, the Lord always makes sure that we are protected and that good comes from whatever happens. In my case, about a week before Christmas, we got one of the drunk guys as a new investigator! Anyway, just some amazing experiences that I know can only come in a place like Slovakia right here, right now, just for me.

In conclusion, I just want to thank everyone for their Christmas wishes and for all of the gifts that I received, I was so touched by the presents that I got, like this guitar pick that I'm wearing around my neck, or this amazing scarf that I'm matching my companion with, the wishes really do mean everything to a missionary, and I want to with each of you the same love and success in everything you're working for right now.

Milujem ťa!

Starší Chris Brousseau

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Safe Arrival!

We received this email today:

"Dear Brother and Sister Brousseau,

This morning Elder Brousseau met his new companion. Attached is a picture for you to enjoy.

Today they will travel to their area called Banská Bystrica.  It is a town approximately 9 hours away from Prague by train, in Slovakia. There are just the 2 Elders in that town. However, they aren’t too far away from a town called Zvolen which has another 2 Elders and 1 Senior Couple.

P-Day is next Monday. Elder Brousseau will contact you then to share his adventures."

Chris is growing a little with each passing day. The MTC is sort of a spiritual greenhouse where a missionary has a lot of experience and inspiration crammed into a very short period of time. Those of you who have been following the blog will note the remarkable growth in Chris already. We are looking forward to continuing reports from Chris and we're planning to update the blog weekly, so check back frequently!

Thank you all for your support for Chris and our family! Your love blesses and strengthens our family each day.

Here are the first pictures from Prague:

Chris with President & Sister McConkie from Salt Lake City!

Chris with his first companion

This is a map of the Czech/Slovak Mission. Chris' first area is a city in the center of Slovakia called Banská Bystrica. It required a nine-hour train ride from Prague!

Monday, December 2, 2013

We're On Our Way!


Chris' MTC District
So this is my very last msmku here in the MTC! I can not believe every day how fast it has gone by. The MTC is a wonderful place, it is very hard to get used to all of the rules, like no music at all anywhere, but every one of them is in place for a reason. The hardest part for ME to get used to, was, say you're the best at basketball...No one cares. Or you have the most scripture mastery scriptures memorized...No one cares. You could be growing up to be the next prophet and no one will [care] about you any more than [any other] Elder... The only thing that gives you like ANY status here is where you're from, where you're going, and how well you speak your language, which is exactly what everyone tells you NOT to compare yourself to. I've never felt the spirit so strong anywhere else.

This is the group traveling to Prague today!
So in this last week, let's see...We got our flight plans! We leave at 7:30 am on Monday and fly from Salt Lake to Dallas, Dallas to London, and London to Prague. I'm really nervous about going because I'm finding more and more the differences between Czech and Slovak, and I'm scared I won't be able to understand very well, but I'm praying for comfort and peace and that has been working really well so far. We got challenged at in-field orientation yesterday to give a pass-along card to someone before we meet our mission president, so I wrote pamätajte prósim o Ježišovi Kristovi on the back, and I'm not expecting much from it, but you never know.

So time for a 'tender-mercies-of-the-Lord' story. On Sunday sometime, I left my journal somewhere, I still cannot think of where it was left, but I was so worried because there's a lot of stuff in there, you know? And I wasn't really freaking out about it, but I kept looking all of Sunday night, and all of Monday too, then on Tuesday when I had finally just gotten it through my head that it was gone and I just needed to start over with a new one, I checked the mail after dinner, and someone had found it and MAILED it to me! My goodness I was surprised, but it was so cool to be reminded that the Lord takes care of the little things too, not just the crazy huge life decisions.

Here are the Slovak missionaries!
On Sunday, I got to see the Character of Christ film from David A. Bednar, and for all of you planning on coming into the MTC, don't do what everyone tells you to, they don't understand what they're talking about. Save that film for the week before you leave. It is so worth it to wait because at the end of your stay you're in more of a missionary mindset and are more ready to understand the message that he is trying to convey. His main message is about how every time when we would turn inward in pain or fear or selfishness, Christ turned outwards, like for example, read the JST after Christ had been fasting in the wilderness for 40 days and Satan was tempting him. In the Bible, he calls angels who minister unto or help him regain his strength. In the JST, he sends the angels to John the Beloved who is in jail instead of helping himself, he helps others every time. It is absolutely stunning to behold the magnitude of his love for each of us.

So nothing really happened the rest of the week until Thanksgiving, which was awesome! We started out our day with a devotional from Russell M. Nelson who talked about how we can turn gratitude into revelation, both from God and about ourselves. I love apostles, all of them have such an intense love of the gospel and of God. I got to sit on the front row, like close enough to see the shine on his forehead kind of thing, I felt so lucky, he kept looking RIGHT at me. Then later remember how I made it into 3 musical numbers? I thought that was cool, but not very amazing because I saw there were like 45 different groups of people trying out, so I was assuming there would be like 15-20 musical numbers or something like that. Turns out, there were 4, and I was in 3 of them. I was so surprised I was almost too nervous to play, but I went up and played through my fear and did really pretty well. On Harry Potter, I only made 1 mistake, and people have been telling me at least like 15 times a day since then that they loved it and were so impressed, it's been really humbling for me to see how much people appreciate things like that. The duet I did with the fiddler went wonderfully, I didn't have a hard part, and he's like 'my cousin-good' so it was cool. Then on the Joseph, I actually got my confidence up enough to look right into one of the cameras while it was on me and wink. Everyone laughed except the MTC presidency who happened not to be watching at that moment.
Chris playing piano for the Thanksgiving Program

Anyway, it's been a really fun week and just an overall great experience here at the MTC. An update on my investigators, we got a new one on Tuesday, who really isn't interested in the gospel and I can't see it going anywhere. Another man got baptized and confirmed on sunday, which was awesome, and another man was baptized on Saturday last week. I'm ready to go out and declare the gospel in a real setting, we've been practicing street contacting, and gosh it's too awkward, but I think I'll be able to get over that pretty soon. I think it's about high time I gave another testimony in Slovak, so here goes.

Ahojte, mojí kamáratkí. Dufám že viete že žije našých spasiťel. Viem toto a viem tiež že môžeme robiť ničo ako potrebujeme postrednictvom uzmierenia Ježiša Krista. Viem že potrebujeme vidieť že naš ciel predtým ako a pótom ako ideme na misia je posvať ostatných aby prišli ku Kristovi tým, že im budeme pomaháť ziskať znovusriadené evanjelium postrednictvom viery v Ježiša Krista a Jeho uzmierenia, pokania, krstu, a daru Ducha Svätého, a vytrvania až do konca. Môžeme posvať nikto, viem to s mojou celý srdce. Tiež viem že oni budú počuť lebo to nie je nový pre nikto. Už vieme toto evanjelium, musime to najst zasa. Je to môj svedectvo o pracu misionarom a hovorim tieto veci v mene Ježiša Krista amen.

MTC Christmas lights are on!
(Google translation: Hello, my friends. I hope you know that our Savior lives. I know this and I also know that we can do as we need Nico postrednictvom Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know I need to see that our goal before and then as we go on a mission to help others to come unto Christ by helping them we help to acquire znovusriadené gospel postrednictvom faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and perseverance to the end. I know it with my whole heart. I also know that they will be heard because it is not new to anyone. We already know this gospel, we have to look it up again. It is my testimony about the work of missionaries and speak these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.)

Milujem ťa,

Starší Chris Brousseau

(Editor's note: we were able to speak to Chris on the phone this morning during his time at the SLC International Airport. He left this morning for Prague and will likely arrive early Tuesday morning, Mountain Standard Time. He sounded so excited and so nervous to get started! Please keep him in your prayers.)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013



These are the missionaries traveling next week!
So this week has been so crazy. But there's some big news in order! First off, I just received my travel plans to the Czech Republic! I am so excited, we'll be departing next Monday, and they sent that we need to be prepared to face subzero temperatures from the FIRST MINUTE we step outside of the Airport! I am so beyond excited, this whole experience will be so crazy for me, I'm going to love it. The other big thing I'm excited to tell you about is...............I got to Skype on Monday with my investigator's mom!!! Haha, and Guess who she is?!? She's the lady who translated the Book of Mormon, AND Preach My Gospel into Slovak! I felt so inadequate talking to her, but we were able to bear our testimonies, and she said she was very excited to have missionaries like us coming into Slovakia, because apparently they only send the best, haha. Some of you may be wondering right now, "wait, I thought she was an investigator..." Good wondering! Keep it up! She IS a legitimate investigator who lived with her dad (her parents are seperated), and I am so excited, she goes home this week to go talk with her dad about letting her be baptized.

Writing and illustrating at the MTC
So let's see, what else happened this week...hmmm....Even MORE good stuff! I got a PACKAGE from my best friend this week! I opened it up during class and when I saw who it was from and all the stuff in it, I just started to cry, I am so blessed by you people. You are the most perfect friend I could ask for.

In other news, yesterday I tried out for another musical number because the first one went sort of ok, and the MTC president's wife had me stay and evaluate other performances with her, and suffice it to say, I tried out for 1 performance, and I just got letters not 10 minutes ago confirming I will be playing 3 times in the Thanksgiving Day devotional. I'm not sure how I feel, I'm like beyond nervous, but at the same time, I'm sort of excited because I'll be playing for 1 or more apostles. I'm playing Hedwig's Theme, I'm accompanying a girl who is singing a medley for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and lastly, I can't believe I'm doing this, but I'm doing a duet with a fiddler on the Orange Blossom Special....I'll be playing the cello on that last one. I feel so humbled that these talents that I've always thought were cool, but never really put any store in are being so immensely appreciated by the MTC, especially from someone who doesn't play hymns.

Chris' b-ball blackeye
Anyway, things are going wonderfully, and I am so ready to leave and go to the field in a little less than 2 weeks. This is my last real P~Day in the MTC because of Thanksgiving next week, so I don't know if I'll be able to email until December 9th (Mondays are my P~Days in the field), so if I don't get to say it before I go, I love you from the very depths of my soul, your support has meant everything to me here in the MTC. I know that missions are hard, and it already has been hard, but I also know that with support like what I'm getting, I will never have to feel like giving up. I am prepared to go and spread the work of the Lord in every land and tongue, and more importantly, I'm prepared to lose myself doing it. I will serve a complete, full-time, honorable mission.

Milujem T'a,
Starsi Chris Brousseau

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Time of My Life


So this week has been rather crazy/wonderful. Our investigators both agreed to be baptized! One man has some troubles right now that prevent it from happening for at least a couple of weeks, but
Chris learned a new knot!
we're texting him every day with encouragement and we can already see him improving. Another man agreed I think because his friend is Mormon, and I'm personally working with him to show him how the plan of happiness actually applies to him specifically, whether he's LDS or not because he seems really confused on the matter. As far as our other investigator goes, she wants to get baptized, but doesn't feel comfortable making these huge life decisions without her family, so she's going to go home for Thanksgiving and Christmas and meet with the missionaries there, so keep her in your prayers because she's so ready she has a testimony of nearly every principle so we're just waiting on the family approval!

I have been working really hard this week on something that I've struggled with my whole life. Unfortunately it doesn't seem so be going very well. Whenever I'm having a really good day, like everything is just going so right it always seems to happen where something little will hurt my feelings REALLY badly, and I know it's dumb, like I shouldn't even let it bother me, but I just can't help it. I don't know how to make things not bother me, does anyone have any advice on that matter? On Sunday it was manifest to me that the Lord recognizes my efforts in the matter though, and is willing to help, so I will keep doing my very best.

The Sunday night devotional was with the MTC administrative director and it was about chastity. I have been astounded at how often we get talks and lessons on chastity here in the MTC, and every time the speaker specifically directs it at missionaries. It makes me so grateful that I AM worthy and ready to be here in every aspect, because I've seen a couple of missionaries go home already because of things like this. The talk was actually really great though, the emphasis was specifically on those who live the law of chastity enjoy the strength and wisdom that comes through self-control.

Chris' zone at the MTC
Monday morning the Bulgarians and the Croatians left at 4:30 AM, and I have been missing them so severely. There wasn't one of them whom I didn't like, and they were all spiritual giants. I was so grateful that they picked me to give them their send-off prayer and "speech". I gave it in Slovak, and everyone was able to understand except for the new Polskies, but they're coming along. Those men and women were such examples to me. Our branch Presidency told us this on Sunday, and I don't know if it's true, but it seems to fit. They said that the Lord will only pick the missionaries with the strongest conviction, the most patience, and the least judgmental tendencies to serve in Eastern Europe, because the people there will only learn and grow in spirit through the best examples that the Lord can give. I seriously almost started crying while the branch president was telling us that because I don't feel like it fits for me, but everyone else it describes their personalities almost exactly. Especially the Bulgarian elders. They are all fun and energetic, and they can joke and laugh with the best, but I've never met a group of people more down to Earth. Bulgaria currently has 4 active members, but I have a feeling that that's about to start growing, especially because we have the first 2 Bulgarian sister missionaries EVER here!

Tuesday was absolutely fantastic, we had a devotional from guess who?!?.................................................................................................................................................................L. TOM PERRY!!! He spoke about companions, and I was just floored. I've never actually seen him bang on a pulpit before that night, but you could see and hear, that this man has seen the works of the Lord, and he can't hold his feelings about the gospel in. He spoke about Moses and how through all of his doubts about his mission, which was to go to the most powerful man in the world at that time, and try to get him to willingly give up his means of power, and provided a way for him to get through all of them. Moses said, but I am slow of speech, and God replied, "Who made man's mouth?" I cannot emphasize the power of the Lord in this endeavor. Last night for TRC, my companions and I taught 3 Slovakian native members at the same time, and not one of us misunderstood a single word. The spirit of missionary work is extremely palpable every time that we prepare ourselves to feel it, instead of preparing our investigators to hear us.

Chris was asked to welcome new missionaries last week!
On Wednesday I hosted to try and catch one of my friends when he came into the MTC, but I actually have yet to even see him. Instead, I got to host 4 new in-state elders who's spirits are so strong. One Elder in particular I could tell, was from Ogden Utah, and just watching his mom the whole time they were saying goodbye, I could tell that he is a special soul. He's going to South Carolina, and wow, those people are in for one heck of a missionary.

I already talked a bit about Thursday, but hey guess what? Thursday marked the end of the 6th week! Our companionship is surprisingly united at this point, so much so that it's really hard for me to think about going somewhere without my elders with me. I'd like to testify about companions, referencing something I was very surprised that Elder Perry didn't talk about with Moses. Moses' companion during his mission was none other than his brother Aaron. Moses doubted, so the Lord gave him a companion. Through the spirit, this companionship was able to complete true miracles, and I know that that will happen to my companionships throughout my mission. I will probably never be blessed with a tripanionship again throughout my mission, but the Lord can easily make do with only two.

New Slovakia tee-shirt
In conclusion, I'd just like to emphasize how much I love you. I enjoy so much getting your letters and your Dearelders, they literally brighten my days every time I get to read them. I'm so glad I have the best friends and family in the church to support me through this short time I have to give all of my efforts towards furthering the work and glory of God. You are each in my prayers every morning and night, and I pray continually that my service will in some way bless your lives. I constantly remind myself here that faith doesn't make things easy, it only makes them possible, but the Lord knows your faith every time perfectly.

Milujem T'a,
Starsi Chris Brousseau

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Progress & Maturation


I am so glad that I get to email all of you again!=) We are getting a lot closer to our branch presidency now so I get to practice my English more often and I'm so excited. So first off, last Saturday we all had a devotional about the Polish elders and sisters who left last week and talked about what we'll do to welcome the new ones. It was really interesting to hear about how everyone thought of the old Pols, especially because there wasn't a single one I didn't like or get along with. I didn't say much, but I think that's ok because I'm getting more used to just being inside my head and I like it in there.

Chris with departing Elders going to Poland, 'hanging loose'
The next day was Fast Sunday, and at the MTC boy are those hard. Especially because of daylight savings, we had an extra hour of no food, and by the end of it, I'm sure I was more than a little cranky. The good part about that day was I got to talk to Elder Geirische and we just had like a heart to heart for like an hour, and I really like him. I mean, I did before, but he's definitely my favorite missionary here right now. At the end of the day, this might sound dumb, but we had this amazing experience as a zone. We went and were watching the Book of Mormon movie after the devotional and we were making fun of some of the lines because they're creepy in English, let alone when they're translated into our languages, like this one where the girl asks, " you didn't as my name..." and the guy says, "I know your name." with this really bizarre look on his face and in Slovak it translates back to, " I am already familiar with that which is your father's," and we were just busting up. But the spiritual part for me was that there were no more chairs because the room was so full so we were just sitting on tables and the floor all huddled up together in the back corner with our language headsets on and I just looked around and thought, "this is how we become brothers." It was cool to see everyone together just smiling and being spiritual as a zone instead of being off in companionships or like not paying attention and things like that.

Monday was not a good day. At like 8:30 am I started to feel a headache and I mean, I've been having them, but this one was so bad that I ended up throwing up and my companions were trying to get me to go to the doctor and stuff and I was telling them that I'm fine and they just wouldn't listen so I was just super angry with everyone all day because their voices hurt my head and they wouldn't just be quiet. For all of you who want to serve missions, just know it isn't easy ever. On the roughest days though, I usually come to the point where I remind my self that so far my track record for getting through bad days is 100% and that's pretty good.

Chris with one of his MTC teachers
Tuesday was just normal, I love Tuesdays though. I forgot to say, a week ago the Polskies left us their fridge because I was their favorite elder (especially Elders Retallick, Hubbard, Kimball, and Whiting), so now we have this huge store of cold drinks in our room, it's so wonderful.=) But we had a devotional and I felt really bad because I really didn't pay attention to it at all...I was too busy thinking about all the lessons we teach and stuff like that. I teach André Tuesdays and Saturdays, and he's actually starting to open up to the gospel, I'm really liking that from him. I teach Martin on Wednesdays and Mondays, and he still won't commit to being baptized, but fully believes the church is true, he just doesn't want to change. I should probably explain this before I go into this next part. Most of our investigators are return missionaries from Slovakia who are just role-playing as investigators so they aren't real investigators. But last week I think I might have told you, we were blessed to be given a real investigator from Slovakia named Natalie. She has agreed to be baptized, but we don't have a date yet because her Saturdays are very busy. We meet with her twice a week whenever she can come in, and lots of times she'll surprise us like right in the middle of class or something. I am so excited for her to learn the gospel completely and be prepared for returning to her family in Slovakia (her family is all members except her, it's so golden for us).=)

Wednesday is where everything cool in the week happened. We got our new Polskies, 7 elders and 1 sister. They are pretty cool, especially Elders Taylor from Texas, Weggerson from Oslo Norway, and Garcia from Vienna Austria. I am having such a blast speaking with them especially the European ones who know french, but I'm having even more fun playing basketball now that there are enough players in our zone to have good games.=) but beyond that, I did an activity on page 5 of PMG where you read your ministerial certificate, and I don't know why, but my thoughts all turned to how Christ-like my wonderful mother is. I love you Mamdré, I was straight up bawling during class, and I'm actually tearing up now just thinking about how you've never discouraged me in anything, whether I was good or bad, you always tell me to do my best and help to make sure that I get there. Thank you so much for the package too, it made my week all worth it.

So that's pretty much my week, email me any questions and I'll get back to you next friday around the same time.

Milujem T'a!

Starsi Chris Brousseau

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween at the MTC


I am so excited to talk to you all again! My companions and I are starting to really teach with unity because of the lessons we are learning here. It is good to watch.
Chris' official Minister Credentials

It is a little funny to me to have so little to say, but so much to tell you about, so here goes.

So this week has been wonderful. I'm getting really close to being fluent in Slovak, but Czech is getting a little harder. We have gotten through nearly all of the grammar in both of the languages and are working on memorizing what we have learned. The hardest part for me is casing the nouns throughout your sentences. These languages require you to already know your entire sentence before you start speaking, otherwise the things you say don't make sense. It's amazing though how quickly we get it, the spirit is helping us with every aspect of the work. On Monday I got a blue no english smiley so I am only supposed to speak my languages and am required to bear my testimony to at least 3 people outside my zone every day! It is very hard, especially because my language is hard for English speakers to understand, but I just go over to the Russian building and speak with the Starashinas usually.=)

So I have been seeing many people that I know from before my mission and it makes me very happy to have that communication with them. I have seen in this past week, Ben Thomas, Ryan Alvord, Nate Hunter, Taylor Vanburen, and Ryan Sheppard. It always makes me happy to see their faces when I speak. They say it is like I am from my mission already. It is sad though to know that I can not see all of you here, but I love to get pictures, especially in letters because I can take those and carry them around with my so that everyone can know that I have the best friends and family of any missionary. On Tuesday we had a very inspiring devotional from Elder Godoy of the seventy, who talked about his conversion story in Brazil. He was such a funny speaker, he is normally at the Mexico MTC, and doesn't speak much English, so he gets his point across through his hands. One day I hope to have as powerful a conversion story as his.

Chris with one of his MTC teachers
I am constantly amazed by the spirit here at the MTC. We are teaching 3 investigators at this point, named Rado, Martin, and André. Rado is going to be baptized tomorrow, and then we will start teaching him about the priesthood and how he can prepare to obtain it!!! Martin still does not feel prepared for baptism, and our companionship is working on how to help him know that this will change his life for the better. He wants to be baptized, but I think he is scared because he does not understand how it applies to him. André gets on my nerves. Our lessons go something like this, "Ježiš Kristus zomrel pré vas. Prečo mýslite to stalo sa? Neviem, On zomrel pré mňa? Áno, pretože miluje vám. Prečo zomrel?" or in English, "Jesus died for you. Why do you think he did that? I do not know, he died for me? Yes, because he loves you. Did Jesus even die?" It is very frustrating. I think I am going to let my companions field his questions so that I do not hit him.
Book of Mormon in Slovak!

I know there is more I wish to say, but I can not think of it right now, so I will continue to write and hope it comes to me. My little sister Maddie is an angel, oh my goodness. I have never met someone who can write a letter that makes me cry no matter how many times I read it. She is beyond sweet and I think of her every day here at the MTC. I can not wait to see how much she has grown spiritually by the time I come home. There are 3 other angels whom I wish to speak of as well. Kuddlebug, Katesters, and Aleckay! These 3 girlies made my Halloween wonderful, and speaking of which, guess what I dressed up as??? STEVE! From Blue's clues! My companions helped me with the idea. It is so fun to see the creativity of the missionaries here, Elder Christensen dressed up as Dracula, and Elder Asay dressed up as Elder Hubbard. Sister Walker, one of the Croatian sisters dressed up as her teacher, Brat Hansen, and actually did very well with her costume. It is so fun to have friends like these. OH! yesterday I tried out for a special musical number and made it! I will be playing the piano, and it will most likely be broadcast to every MTC sometime in November. I am so scared, but I know that God wants to bless his missionaries through music and won't allow me to mess up. Elder Asay is done with his email, and is helping my English on this one.

I love you all so much, and enjoy all the mail I receive. If you haven't already tried it, is the most wonderful thing for missionaries, I love getting those. I am out of time, but know that everything you do blesses me, and I hope that I can bless you in the same if not better ways.

Milujem ťa od moje srdce!

Starší Chris Brousseau

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Christ-like Attributes

Chris pointing to his mission on the famous MTC world map
I can't believe how immersed I'm getting here at the MTC, we started TRC (Training Resource Center) last week like I told you (I think), and this week they sent us hard-balling. I had to teach TWO MEMBERS FROM SLOVAKIA!!! Oh my gosh they were so crazy fast at talking, and I was surprised by how absolutely beautiful it is sounding (I heard one of the Bulgarian natives give a prayer and it sounded like he was gargling rocks or something), and guess what surprised me even more?!? I could understand almost 3 quarters of what they were saying!!! I've only been here 3 weeks and one of the people, a 19 year-old girl going to UVU from Býča, Slovénska Républíku complimented me on how fluent I am, I was so excited!=D The gift of tongues is a real thing, and it's manifested even more as we ask for it. In Slovak, while I was saying my prayer before the lesson I said, "Prosím požehnaj s darom jazykov, a Duch Sväteho tak môzem byť ako kapela pre vás môj Pán," (Please bless us with the gift of tongues [or language], and with the Holy Spirit so we can be one with you, my Lord) and it was totally answered in exactly the way I needed. I am so grateful for the Lord's willingness to help missionaries with anything and everything.

So Martin this last week: he was kind of beating around the bush with commitments, so finally I just straight up asked him why he won't pray, he said he doesn't know but he likes it when I pray and he started saying something else, but I cut him off and said, No, you're going to pray NOW. Do you know how? Because if not, we're gonna do some learning. His prayer was wonderful and he actually felt the Spirit more strongly than he did before, after the last lesson, he's been reading his scriptures and praying along with that so we're preparing to pop the baptism question (...AGAIN...), but teach him more about what it means first.=) We're getting a new investigator today by the way, I can't wait to see who I get to love next.:)

Chris connects with his cousin Elder Allen
We had our 1/3 interviews with our teachers 2 days ago, and I was very surprised by my teacher. He commended me for my patience and wisdom. He also said it was really cool to watch in companionship study how I hardly say a word, but my message is always clear and poignant and usually ends up being what we teach. My teachers are amazing.=) Brother Zabriskie is dating Cameron Hernandez' older sister and I constantly tease him about it! But it's cool, he reminds me a lot of Ian Schwarting except with the mannerisms of a 5 year-old boy, it's kinda funny. Brother Fish I thought was this like elegant dignified gentleman who is just always composed, but now that he's been around us for a couple of weeks, his weird, crazy side is coming out. Last but not least, Brother Bodily is a prodigy with the language, his accent and speed are just as good if not better than the natives I've spoken with, and I'm working really hard on being able to speak like him and practicing as much as I can, it's really hard, but I love it.=)

Well anyway, I can't express how much I love you guys, every letter, dear elder, and email are being saved in a drawer in my room, I've read all of them like 5 times, but don't worry, I'm not being distracted from the work of the Lord that I'm learning how to accomplish. Keep being outstanding individuals! BTW TAYLOR WRITE ME LETTERS YOU TARD! Get my address from my fam, just text my old number it will be easiest.=)

Milujém ťa (I love you),
Starší Chris Brousseau

Friday, October 18, 2013

Manifestations of the Spirit

Chris wearing the famous orange dot on day 1 at the MTC
So, I wanted to start out this email by getting mad at everyone about how I didn't get any mail this week, but I'm not feeling it. =) I love you all so much and can't wait until I have some really amazing stories to share. So let's see...last Friday after I emailed/sent letters out I found out we were going to have a really special Tuesday devotional, but I didn't know what was going to be goin' down or why it was special or anything. Last Saturday we started learning all of the casings for Slovak and my gosh, this language is SO much easier than English, I can't believe it.=) Basically, you talk like a caveman, and through conjugating the verbs and casing the nouns your meaning mostly comes across. The main way you tell the meaning of what someone's saying though is intonation, it's 80% of the language, that's why it's coming so fast. Update: So on Wednesday we got our new batch [of missionaries], and I'm no longer the only missionary learning 2 languages at a time. There are 2 new zones of people staying for TWELVE WEEKS going to the West Indies learning Spanish and French, and Cyprus learning Greek and Turkish. Pretty cool stuff, although, I'm thanking my lucky stars. 9 weeks is more than enough for me at the MTC, haha.:)

So Sunday we had our first actual Sunday [General Conference was the week before], and things are really cool here. For sacrament meeting everyone prepares talks, and then the branch presidency announces during the meeting who's actually going to give the talks. It's weird though, I realized exactly how much every day is like Sunday in the MTC, the main difference is that we don't have class that day. The spirit is just here all the time. BTW, I figured you might want to know this, but I'm actually sleeping every single night here, but it's weird. Since the [bike] accident last year I've never slept so much, nor have I ever been so tired. I wonder if maybe my body is getting used to sleep again and not liking it or something. Sunday was the rehearsal for the choir for the Tuesday devotional (yes, I'm going to choir, against my will I might add. I didn't want to do it at all, I was just gonna take a break from all things musical for a couple of years, but my district leader won't authorize any splits, so I HAVE to follow my companions to choir...) and guess what??? I sat next to R. from high school in the choir!!! =D=D=D I couldn't believe the extreme wave of nostalgia that came over me, we were both like showing off our language skills, he's pretty much fluent in Portuguese at this point, and we just like talked and joked around and stuff, I was so happy. :) Anyway, here's some advice for the MTC for those of you wanting to come. STOP WATCHING MORMON MESSAGES. They show them every Sunday night, and while I love them, I've seen the Monson Documentary, the Bednar: Characters of Christ, and the Only a Stonecutter films like 16 too many times and you're required to watch at least one cause you aren't allowed back at the rez (residence, it's where we stay) until 9:30 for DPS (Daily planning session).

Cool name tag!
I feel a lot more quiet than normal while I'm here. It's not a bad thing, in fact, I sorta like it. I don't really talk unless people talk to me first and I don't tell them things unless they ask. I can tell it sort of annoys some people from other zones who are curious and stuff, but I like getting lost in thought more than I like them, so it's okay. On Monday we started teaching a new investigator. He's frustrating because he doesn't have any questions about anything, just sort of accepts what you say, but then he never keeps any commitments. We're trying to get him to have some sort of spiritual experience with God that will give him some incentive, because he won't even pray with us yet and we've had 3 lessons with him so far. So just pray for us, I know we can get him to come around.

So the Tuesday devotional was with Elder Dallin H. Oaks, whose talk brought me a lot of hope. I got to sing in the choir, we sang the Mac Wilburg [arrangement of] "Praise to the Man," and I was right next to R., thank heavens. =) But the part of his talk that stood out to me the most was when he talked about the first vision. He said that Christ did not condemn the churches that were already established on the Earth. Christ told Joseph [Smith] it was the creeds that were untrue. Those churches were founded upon true and worthy principles of God, but without the fullness of knowledge that comes from the spirit, they were forced into denial and bureaucracy. Do not make the mistake of condemning those truth seekers you have not yet met, based solely on the fact that they do not believe you yet. Those seeking truth are entitled to revelation by the God of truth who WILL provide.

Wednesday we got our new batch of missionaries, and gosh are they funny. =) I got ahold of one of the "No English" tags, and when I went to host I scared the pants off of this poor missionary from Maryland by only speaking Slovak to him until we got to his rez. He kept wondering if someone else could host him so he'd know what was going on, but I think he'll be fine. =) That reminds me, the missionary that hosted me, Elder F. is leaving this Tuesday for Montreal, Canada. I'm going to stay in touch with him and everything, I've been having a blast speaking French to him whenever I see him.

Chris loves his scarfs, made with love, by Tracy B-)
Today I went on splits with the Bulgarian Elders to the temple. I love Elder P., he's such a fun guy, he's got a super high voice, and he's just so energetic.=) I'm making so many friends here in the MTC, and I can't wait to write all of them while they're out there. My favorite by far is Starzy (polish) R., from Birmingham, England. I've been spending to much time with him during my time here that it's actually really hard to speak like an American when I'm speaking English. I wonder if I'll have some sort of accent when I come back because of that. I'll be honest, I don't really want one, I can do enough [accents] haha, but you never know, I'm assuming I won't be hearing a lot of American English around in the Czech/Slovak mission.

So all in all, I'm having a blast and I can't wait to hear from all of you again. PLEASE SEND ME PICTURES!!! I want to show all of you off to my polskie friends like Starzy R. and Starzy H. and K.=) I'll do my best to keep sending them as well, but it's hard, I'm only allowed 15mb per email, and with an HD camera it's difficult.=S Ták teráz, to je čas pre môj svedectsvo. Circev Ježiša Krista svätých neskoršých dní je pravdiva. Milujem evanjelium. Neviem čo robim ne s to. Budem hovorím s slovénska a ja nemôzem upokojím. To je veľmi dobre, áno.
Milujem ťa veľmi pre slova, 

Starsí Christopher Brousseau

(copy and paste the preceding sentences into the translation box at to see what it means. It's in Slovak.)

PS: male missionaries are given the title of Elder. The closest equivalent in Czech/Slovak is Starší, which means "older".

Friday, October 11, 2013

Joy in Service, October 11, 2013


Elder Brousseau's MTC District and one of his teachers
I can't believe the amount of love I've felt in the last week, both from others and for others as well. It didn't start out very well either, the MTC has a way of taking everything you thought was special about yourself and making it seem dull and ordinary. My companions are great. I'm not really sure what to write, I'm not actually used to speaking in English anymore. My entire district (me and my 2 companions), and the district of the Czech elders decided to do our best to speak in our languages amongst ourselves, and I've been finding that I actually can speak a lot more than I thought of other languages as well, like Spanish. Spanish-speaking elders all like to show off their language and I found out that not only can I understand them, but I can speak back pretty well also (I'm not fluent by any means). Also, I've been using SO MUCH FRENCH while I've been here, I'm actually finding myself usually thinking in a language that isn't English.
I adored general conference, especially Elder Holland on Saturday and President Monson pretty much the whole time. Someday I aspire to be even nearly that spiritual. Instead of giving you all the spiritual insight I was blessed with at that amazing conference, I'll just tell you guys the quotes that touched me the most, deal? Good.=)
"What is said is not as important as what I hear, and what I feel."
"When it comes to serving the Lord, it is not where you serve, but how."
"The past is to be looked at, but not lived in [...] faith is always looking ahead toward the future."
"It may break our hearts, but [...] we honor their right to worship God according to the dictates [...] which we claim for ourselves."
My faith can make me whole in any & all ways.
"Do not vote against the preciousness of life by ending it. Broken minds can be healed."
The whole section from Les Mis, haha.=)
"We do not become champions without discipline, or in other words, without making mistakes."
Well to close, I'm so glad I'm here, I miss you all so much, but it's more of an I wish I could bring you guys with me than an I wish I could come home.=) Stay strong, love the gospel, and email me back, I get to read emails and letters whenever, but I can't respond to them till Friday, just so you know.=)

Milujem T'a, Evanjelium v Jesiz Christus je pravdiva,
Starsí Chris Brousseau

Friday, October 4, 2013

Exerpts from Starší Brousseau's first MTC email!

MTC drop off, October 2, 2013
Hey everyone, I'm so amazed at this experience, it's hard to describe, but the best way I can think is that I would be overwhelmed completely if the Lord didn't bolster up his missionaries in every way imaginable. Everything has a time, a place and a schedule here, and if you miss something, it doesn't hurt anyone but you. Thankfully I haven't missed or been late to anything, and I don't intend to.:)

I don't have my camera attachment with me, or else I would be sending you guys my first batch of MTC pics! I'm in the ***** building on the fourth floor with my whole Zone, which consists of every missionary going to: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovenska Republica, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Hertzogovenia, and Turkey! Guess how many people that is?!? 20. Yeah, I'm part of an extremely select group. I have 2 companions, and the 3 of us make up our district.:) My companions are Starší C. from Hurricane Utah, and Starší A. from St. George. I love these brothers so much. A. is our district leader for the first 3 weeks, and I'm Senior companion the first 3 weeks (we just rotate), and it's amazing that in 3 days we've already been receiving  inspiration that makes our companionship better. They are both so strong in the gospel, it's unbelievable, but they've only made my testimony stronger as well. I'm so impressed at how fast us 3 elders, and the 1 sister, Cestra S., have been learning Slovak. I'm the only one learning multiple languages in the whole MTC!!! I found out 2 days ago that my 3 hours of language class every day is split up into 1.5 hours in with Brat Z., moje Ucitel for Slovak, and Brata F., mou Ucitel' for Czech. These languages are so pure, it's amazing the testimonies that you can build when the words are simpler and more prone to multiple meanings. I'm humbled every time that I am in the classroom (and I'm there 90% of the time cause we're supposed to be whenever we study, even when class isn't in session). We have a fairly new program called SYL or speak your language, in which, our teachers never speak English to us. We have to basically fight and give ourselves headaches every class every time he says a new word just to figure out what it means based on sight, sound, and pronunciation. He gives us clues, but he can't just tell us, you know? And the gift of tongues is real. I'm progressing so quickly in both!

The food here is not very good unfortunately. It's better than school lunch, but I'm used to a bit more of a higher standard...=S Also, for those of you considering serving missions, STAY AWAY FROM THE ORANGE JUICE! I was very tempted cause I love orange juice, but I took the advice of wiser elders and didn't drink it, one of our Czech missionaries, Starší B. didn't get off the toilet the whole first day, I swear. 

Today I got my first batch of mail, and guess what was in it?!?!?! You guessed it, no letters.;) Haha, I'm not sad though, cause I got a HUGE package from my mom and dad with the sweetest letters and some homemade cookies and some sugar cookie pop tarts, I'm so excited to share with my companions! Thank you all so much for your love and support, I hope that it continues because the Lord knows I need it.

Milujem T'cha (I love you with all my being),

Starší Christopher Brousseau