Chris' Special Tie Knot

Chris' Special Tie Knot

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chlap ó chlap... (Czech for "Man Oh Man")

Nazdar, and man am I enthusiastic.

Sorry, none of you are going to understand that reference, but someday I'm going to read this after I've forgotten that I wrote it and just bust up laughing, haha. Hey future self...You sure look enthusiastic. ;)

On a less selfish/prideful/conceited/distasteful note, here I am, in the last week of the transfer! This one has been a wild ride. My goodness, my companion has been Elder R. He is from the Philippines, and his family moved to London when he was around 10, so he's spent about half of his life in both places. We have had the biggest blast doing missionary work together, and I would say that our experiences together have made us closer than I've been with any other companion. Love Elder R. to death.

Highlights of the week!!!

#1 Had pizza because we went on exchange. SO GOOD!

#2 We're such nerds in this district, when we get together the things we talk about would put nerd wannabees to shame. Love me some Star Wars.

#3 The Christmas Market here is so COOL! We got literally commanded to experience a Slovak Christmas, so we get to go see everything!

#4 Our English class is so great, I LOOOOVE teaching it! The best part is, they seem to love us teaching it too, S., another Hungarian girl who is about to become an investigator brought us all a really thoughtful gift on Wednesday to say thank you for teaching, it was so sweet.

#5 Elder R. (the other one in the district) and I were on exchange in the Chrenova area of Nitra on Thursday and we were very very worried. Elder K. is still a little nervous to speak Slovak because he's brand new, and Elder R. (my companion) is still learning English, and so learning Slovak from English is pretty difficult for him. We prayed so hard for them to get the gift of tongues, and guess what? They did! They went and taught K. and Sister Z., and didn't need to ask for any help the entire time. SO cool!

#6 Friday. Just, the whole day. Amazing. I took some videos that are too long to send. It was so great. We went to the home of the M. family, and we're getting to actually have a good relationship with Brat M's son, A., he's a man after my own heart. We were also able to have a crazy district dinner with a zaujemkina named A., who is just the sweetest of things, she's like a 23 year old Slovenka version of my sister Maddie. It was her mom's birthday and she asked us if we would sing happy birthday to her mom, it was great!

#7 Service tracting again, it wasn't as effective as last time, but boy is that so fun. Go out and just see people's faces when you ask if they need any sort of help around the house, they're always thinking something like, "THIEVES! Well guess what, you're not getting in my house toDAY, dobrovolnici (volunteers) my boot, I don't even think you're really from America!" I love it to death.

#8 Cleaning the building, we ended up having an awesome samurai battle with brooms. I felt like I was 6 again.

#9 Church on Sunday, Brat H. convinced his mom to come somehow. So cool, she really just loved it, and we may be going on a vylet (trip) with them sometime this week.

Anyway, its great to be a missionary, We're still enjoying every second of it (even the hard parts), because really, there's no place we'd rather be. I love serving the people of Slovakia, and I know this church is true.

Starší Brúso

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Nitra Thanksgiving


Haha, can you tell I'm in a good mood yet? This week has been nuts, I agree totally with Elder Brooks; the blessings come after the storm. So to start off, I love you all so much for your Thanksgiving wishes, and other holiday tomfoolery; it makes me proud to know you. Also, thank you thank you Taylor and Daniel for visiting my family! Congratulations Daniel on an Honorable Full-Time mission, that's what we were going for. I realized as well that I've been a bad brother and forgot one of my siblings in my Thanksgiving letter. So SARAH, here you go! Thank you for being so outstanding. You are an amazing dancer, who is nerdy just like her older siblings, you won't find that combination anywhere else. I love you so much for your attitude of gratitude, you're always telling me thank you for things, so I'm glad I get a little turn. Thank you also for asking me questions every time you email me, it always makes it easy to write back. I love you!

OK, now on to the week.

Monday: P~Day, nothing seemed to go right, except we DID get to play some games in the building as a district. Always a fun activity, but no miracles were noticed by me during the day.

Tuesday: For some strange reason, every single time we have apartment checks, our day just kind of seems to drag, and not go the way we want it too. The day was really good, don't get me wrong, we continued to help J. build his garage, and we had a crazy good game night where S. brought his friend and we had a blast. But it just wasn't what was expected. Miracle of the day was the busses. Despite our lack of sticking to our plan because the apartment checks went like 2 hours over, the busses all came exactly when we needed them. Good stuff.

Wednesday: YEHEHEHEEES! Taught P. again, and he's amazing as ever, LOVED the Plan of Salvation, and is happy to continue meeting with us, I think what would be best is to establish some daily contact with him, if that needs to be by phone, so be it. Also, English went really quite well, S. is getting less shy with us, which makes it nicer.

Thursday: Vdakyvzdanie!!! (Thanksgiving!!!) So fun, we had 2 chickens because turkeys cost like 30 Euros for a little one, and just had a blast. During the day we had a miracle and taught like 5 lessons, which doesn't usually happen on holidays and then we got to go to the other Elder's apartment (we claim to have the best District Unity in the mission), and Elder K (the baker's son) and I (the sick samurai) cooked 1 chicken marinaded in Vanilla Kofola, and another one that he did a lemon garlic onion rub to, and made some glorious mashed potatoes and gravy, and finished it all with bread pudding while Elders R & R played games. Before my mission I would have been a little urazeny (upset) that they just let us do all the cooking, but I really just loved joking around with Elder K and hearing them play. It was just so great, even if the end result wasn't as good as grandma's.

Friday: MIRACLE!!! Ok, this isn't going to make a whole lot of sense if you aren't in a missionary position here, but we went to teach sister P., and she was a little offended that we didn't have more than an hour for her, so when we called Brat M. to tell him we were ready to go, she yelled into the phone inviting them to come to her house. Sister P. is not a super strong member, and she has never met the Majtanovci, nor most of the members in the group. But get this: They CAME, and they MET, and they BORE TESTIMONY! It was so cool to teach Sister M. with 2 strong members who backed up everything we taught with testimony and personal experience, and she didn't feel ganged up on either just because she felt so loved by everyone in the room. I really hope we can get her on date this week because the experience was even cooler when we realized that if they hadn't come to Levice, we wouldn't have had enough cash to get home that night. Ridiculous blessings all over the wazoo!

The weekend was just as good as that day, we're on kind of a spiritual high, a Senior couple came from Brno to visit us on Saturday and took us out to dinner at Golden Hoffer, this wonderful expensive place, and then on Sunday Elder R. and I translated for them as they gave wonderful talks on Sunday during church. They were so sweet, they left us all with Milka and Kinder treats, and chapstick of course. Later last night we had another miracle: when we went to visit N., he lost the key to his gate, and that complicated our situation a little bit, but somehow it worked out and ended up with me giving a half hour long concert on the piano to a congregation of I think Born-Again Christians. Cool stuff, and impossible to tell where it was going from the start. We're really getting a good relationship with J., and I hope we'll be able to make a stir in his Ward, where he's an Elder of his church. Wish us luck, I'm praying for you, and I can feel your prayers for me!

Love you, happy holidays!

Elder Brousseau

Monday, December 8, 2014

"Jéééj!" (Yaaay!)

(Lol, that's the least happy "yay" (Jeeej) I've ever seen, and guess where I saw it? Tesco! Haha, that's right. Christmas season is here.)


So here's a good place to say thank heavens I did my thanksgiving letter last week. Thank you all for all you do, I know I wasn't able to get to everyone, but no worries, I'll eventually get around to it, haha. This week has been pretty weird, just with training and new things, but not bad, even a little bit, even though honestly I kind of expected it to be. It has been really cool to have these great experiences with prayer that are so potrebne (necessary) for missionaries and really for anyone lacking some sort of peace. We've been following a commitment from a leader to the mission and praying at every given opportunity, and boy has it been great.

So on to some highlights, I don't really have many highlights from the work other than this: The Lord answered my prayer, and we've been able to go at least contacting every single day this week!!! Haha, it's been so great. It's a little bit difficult right now, because we're trying to set the expectation right off the bat that we want to meet THROUGH the Christmas season, and that's kind of a put-off to a lot of people, but goodness, it feels good to be rejected again. Haha, that sounds sort of depressing, but seriously it's my #1 highlight from this week.

Another! I am sick and tired of hearing from different people that I'm prideful. Humility is not something you can just "reach," and I don't appreciate people telling me that I'm not completely there yet. However, working on it again is never a bad thing. Something happened this week, where, during personal study, something stuck out on a page in Preach My Gospel. It was 2nd Timothy 3:1-4. I went to the scripture with the attitude of, "ok, I'm going to be honest with myself and try to recognize which of these traits I can work on." Then came the big one, where I read through it and saw in myself not one, not two, but every single bad trait there was. I just sort of broke down, I was so struck. The awesome news is why it's a highlight of my week, I'm taking like two things at a time and working on them until somebody says, "wow, Elder Brousseau you are (example) very obedient to your parents!" It might take the rest of my life, but why not? In fact, I'm sure it will take the rest of my life, so I'm glad I started now.

Best news ever!!! R's back in the game! For those of you who don't remember, R is the most prepared man I've ever met, and he actually found us and approached us on the street a little while ago to say that he wants to meet, that the things that his wife said weren't true. I am so so so very excited to be able to continue this man's journey in the gospel. We'll see where it goes.

Anyway, that's pretty much everything I can think of, we had training this week, where Elder C introduced me to a wonderful game called Boss Monster, I strongly recommend it. Also, training was great. We talked about improving the little things in work. We found out that the church is now asking all missions to do exactly what we did last year to spread the success that we saw everywhere. That is, find people who are willing to meet during the Christmas season, and give the missionaries something with which they can do Christmas Eve unannounced visits. It's going to be cool, President told us that last year we taught more lessons on Christmas Eve than any other single day throughout the year, which is normally unheard of. We're going to do it again, this time with the "Because of Him" thing the church is releasing for Christmas. We don't get any special previews though unfortunately... Anyway, things are going very well for us in Nitra Klokocina. I love you all to bits, and hope that somehow this email helps you out.

Have the best of weeks,

Elder Bruso

Monday, December 1, 2014

Giving Thanks


Hey all, I hope that this letter finds you safe and sound like always. I'm in Nitra at the moment, but there's a chance that could be changing real soon, so I'll keep you posted. This week I don't really want to talk about my end of the spectrum, but more I wanted to have a little thank you session and try to get every person I'm emailing, so look out for yourself!

Taylor: Thank you so much for your support, even though it must be difficult for you. You are the best guy I know, so thank you for your example. Thank you as well for being constantly willing to help me out with whatever I need. I'm planning on cashing in on some more of that when I get to see your beautiful face in person again. Try and make sure your life is always pretty ok, but if it's not, that's rough, buddy, and I'll be here for you. Thanks for coming with me on all those random and sometimes really stupid adventures, like all those times to Lagoon and the zoo and wherever else we went. Thanks for letting me be right all those times, too. Heaven knows I needed it.

Dad: Thank you for everything. I don't know how to say it better. I am so grateful for you being a father figure for me. I was noticing the other day, it seems like throughout my life, whenever you haven't had a job, it was because you were needed to take care of me. If you hadn't been there my senior year, I would not be on my mission right now. I feel like as well, if you weren't sending me prayers and encouragement, I wouldn't be staying out here. Missions are hard, but I know, because of you, that they're worth it.

Maddie: Hey, girlie, thank you so much for your kindness to me over the years. When I get back I'm going to need a movie night with you. Thank you for never being ashamed to be my sister and for never looking down on me, even though I make all sorts of mistakes. Thank you for laughing with me so much on that lunch date I took you on before I left. I love you to pieces and then put you all back together again.

Alexis: Thank you for being such a dear. You don't know how much it means to me to have someone like you. My surrogate little sis, haha. Thanks for being Hermione, and for letting Taylor and me be weird. Thanks for always being willing for a party. Thank you for paying attention--I was talking to my companion last night about how grateful I am for that time you asked me to the dance using Legend of Zelda (was it Sadie's?). You mean tons to me, and thank you for it.

Lars: Thank you for pushing yourself all the time. One of the things that has been so amazing for me is reading your emails every week and seeing your example of perseverance. Thank you for being supportive as well, missions are hard and it's easier if you've got other missionaries to look up to. Thank you for being so intense as well. It's uplifting. I remember driving with you everywhere just rocking out to your music. It's great to be able to just feel free like that.

Chels: Thanks so much for being so willing and humble! I haven't really known you for too long, but your emails have meant a lot to me, especially to hear how every week you seem closer to the Lord. Thank you for being a light in Mexico. I wish I could be there to see it. Also, thanks for finding the good in every situation, like all the problems with your house there. You don't seem like someone who wants to complain, and I'm grateful for that.

Daniel: Oh goodness, where do I start? Thank you for being patient with me. We've known each other for more than 12 years, and I know from my family that I'm not exactly the easiest person to deal with. Thank you for serving in Peru. I always looked forward to your emails just because they were so YOU. Thank you for always being ready to laugh, even when it was ridiculous and sort of stupid. Thanks for being a good sport, too. I remember when you came up to the cabin with me, how I KNEW you didn't want to play Halo because you weren't winning, but you did it anyway so that it would be fun for everyone. Thank you for being accepting. You never seem to judge people, no matter how far into the dark side of the nerd realm they drift. Thanks.

Paul: Hey, man, thank you for being such a bang-up good person. It really seems like you love people. Thank you as well for helping me through the MTC. I wouldn't be here now if you hadn't been there back then. Thank you for keeping me in mind. It's cool to know I've got a real friend in you. Remember you've always got a room in my house, whenever you're in the mood.

Elizabeth!!! Thank you for being my life at family gatherings! Haha, you're always so good at making me be happy even when I don't want to be. Thank you for teasing me. That April Fool's joke is legendary. Thank you for your wonderful humility even though you're a freaking prodigy at everything you try. Thank you for always supporting me as well. I can feel your trust every time we talk, and it makes me trust you implicitly. Thanks for your wonderful smile. It brightens everyone's day. Keep calm and carry on, haha.

Favorite Uncle: Thank you for everything. I stand by my statement at my Eagle Court of Honor 100% that you have been an amazing example to me of always treating me like an equal. Thank you for playing chess with me, even though I called you Satan once or twice. Thank you for being ready to have fun all the time. I love your attitude. Thank you as well for being excited for me whenever I've been excited about something. It means the world.

Ryan: Thank you so much for being the most sincere guy I know. That's not saying other people aren't sincere, but I feel like no one is ever going to be able to convince you not to be you. Thanks for being such a stud. Whether it's guarding, the MTC, Halo, Left 4 Dead, or a mission, you always do it great. I love having your example to look up to, so keep it up. Steadfastness in all things.

Mark and Alisa Brousseau Family: Thank you so much for being the first to do things. I've been getting a very strong testimony of being the first to say yes, but more importantly, being the first to do. It always seems like when someone needs help in our family or when there's a gathering to be done, you're the first to volunteer service or help for it. Thank you for being so into sports as well. That's always helped me to push myself in everything I do, just remembering the attitude of, "It doesn't hurt that bad! Walk it off! Rub some dirt on it!" Haha. Most of all, thank you for being accepting of me. I have always felt very welcome with each member of your family, without regard to the situation.

Britta: I don't know where to start. Thanks for being such a help all the time. It seems like you are always building others up. Thank you for being supportive and loving, even when I haven't been doing strictly the smartest things, and sometimes, even when they were plain dumb. Thank you for being such a good example of loving your family. It has helped motivate me to strengthen my own family relationships, especially with my parents. Thank you for always asking permission as well. You're really not a person to force yourself into things, and it helps me remember that I shouldn't force my way into everything. Thanks for everything.

Steve: Oh boy. Thanks for your ridiculous smile, you can always tell when Steve is happy. Thanks for laughing at my stupid jokes. You make my day. Thanks for telling me all about Canyon View and video games and movies. Thank you for forgiving me so many times. You are the perfect little brother for me, and I wouldn't ever want it to change. Thank you.

Ricky and Karin Burton Family: Thank you for being so happy towards me all the time. Thank you, Uncle Ricky, for laughing at me whenever I deserved it, even if I didn't want it. Thanks for being so kind to my parents. It's amazing to me. Thank you as well for telling me all about the boys. I always get the perfect picture in my head for what's going on there, and it makes me proud to know you.

Poop, I'm running out of time, I'm gonna try and go quicker.

Gavin: Thanks for being the best Scout leader ever, your advice has helped me so much out in the field. Thank you for being supportive and humble, and for helping me to see the potential of the priesthood. I love you to death.

Grandma and Grandpa Burton: Thank you for being so happy! Thank you, grandma, for always being loving and for being so careful. I am confident that I am still alive because of my grandma's prayers. Thank you for hanging out with me and helping me to always remember my family and where I come from. Thanks for giving me a great family I can brag about to everyone I meet.

Kennen: Wow, buddy, thank you for being my bro. Thank you for being excited to be friends all the time. I am super grateful we're so close. Thank you for being the type of guy you can just chill with. I remember going to school with you for a day and having it be super fun and just the best de-stress. Thanks for being so freaking talented. It helps me push myself to be better. Thanks for your example on your mission. Make sure you find those Brousseaus and baptize them! Thanks most of all for helping me all those many years ago to feel accepted. You and Alan Phillips in Mrs. Siebach's class helped me so much. Love you.

Katie! Thank you for being so much like another mom! You have got to be just the best companion ever. You just take care of everyone. Thanks for being so impressed with me. It never ceases to amaze me how good you can make someone feel. Thank you for coming with me to do baptisms. That was something I'll never forget. Thank you for helping me with all those girls that I dated, too. You are just a miracle worker, and your excitement is contagious. Thanks for including me. You're the best. Never forget it.

Cesar: Thank you for everything, man. You're always the guy I think of if I want to know how to be happy in a random situation. Thanks for being kind to me, even if I wasn't being kind back. Thank you for always saying hi when we saw each other places. You really help people know they're your friends. Thanks for beating me at chess. I've always needed a little help being humble. Thanks for playing scum on the scout trips, and for tanning out in the sun at Lake Powell, and for teasing me about dating people. Those memories are amazing for me, and I hope they are for you too.

Drake: Thank you for being persistent. Thank you for always making an effort to be my friend. I remember back when you were in 7th grade, walking over to your house a half hour before the bus came, just so we could talk and mess around. Thanks for seeing something fun in every little thing, even plasma cars and trash cans. Thanks for being so sincere, too. I'm really looking forward to seeing how that blesses you on your mission.

Ok, well, I think that's everyone. Time to go!


Elder Brousseau

(Editor's note: this last paragraph was a full page below the rest of the email, and we only stumbled upon it accidentally. Chris has always loved to tease his mother and this is no exception...)

P.S. Thank you, MOM!!!!! Haha, I bet you thought I forgot you, huh?!? Well, NOT TODAY! Thank you for being so brilliant. You are the reason that I want to be better at things, because I see your thirst for knowledge. Thank you for always being excited for me, and proud of me, and supportive of my craziness, and happy for me. Thank you for being there, all the time. I've been giving a lot of thought to the day, when, I called you during the middle of school and you checked me out and took me to Apollo Burger just so we could sit and talk about how I was scared to go on a mission. That helped me so much. Thank you for pushing me to be better. Thank you for being so good at English. I could always ask you anything, and now it's paying off when others need help. Thank you for never freaking out at me when I told you something I did, like when I broke my window, or when I broke my leg, or when I got hit by that car, or when I wanted to go have a sleep-over at the cabin. I love you to death, and I wish I could remember everything I want to tell you thank you for. You're the best. Also Happy Birthday again.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Other Kinds of Work


Hey so here's a week where I found out WHY I'm glad I was called to serve a mission in Slovakia...again...

So first off, this is the first area I have been in that now is pretty much built. It's still in a group, but we have some members, we have some investigators with sincere interest, and we have some extremely recent converts. The big thing is, that with all of the referrals we're getting from out recent converts, all of the meetings that we're required to have with the recent converts, and all of the investigators that we have at the moment, we have almost NO time to find...and boy is it stressing me out, if I served a mission in a place where stuff like this happened all the time, I would go absolutely crazy. I mean, we haven't been tracting yet this transfer, and it's killing me. I know I'm cursing myself saying this, but goodness, I want to knock on somebody's door and get rejected and then laugh about how they thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses again. Good news!!! I still have a really long time before I'll be forced to leave this place, so I'm POSITIVE that I will have more chances at that. Anyway, enough ranting, on to the week!

We have been teaching K. for a long while now, and he has decided that he wants to be baptized on the 3rd of January. I think that's a little bit too far off, but I'm not going to push him in his decision. You can bet your bottom dollar that he's going to know as soon as he's prepared for it though. He still needs to come to church a couple of times, so he's got a while before that.

V. is amazing! She negotiated with this other Slovenka that she knows to get us free haircuts!!! She wasn't able to meet with us personally though this week, so we'll work on upping the amount of meetings per week this next one and see if we can't get her on track. She's still an atheist at the moment, and our next goal is to find out why, because everyone either has a story or a lack of interest, and in her case, we know that the interest is there.

N. is being stressful to us, we're going to try and make another move to put him into the church. For all reading who aren't actually members of the church, please understand: The church and Missionaries are, in essence, 2 separate organizations. They both have the same leader, but one of them has tons and tons of rules, and the other one doesn't. One of them is happy to teach you all about the restored truths which we have, and the other is happy to help your spiritual and physical well-being. DO NOT STRESS THE MISSIONARIES OUT! They're only like 19 years old, and on top of that, you're nowhere near the only person that they're worrying about. If you have questions about money and housing, and food, the missionaries are literally not allowed to help you, go talk with the local church leaders. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding.

The big highlights of our week were: First, coolest correlation meeting ever, we had lunch in Lefantovce with Brat G. and entered a contest to win our very own Pecatene prasiatko!!! Haha, what in the world kind of missionary work could we come up with using a pig? Chase him around the streets and be like, "look at how cute this pig is! Do you want to be baptized?" haha. #2 was at church, Brat M. is such a stud. Brat C. has been having a rough time because he doesn't really understand Slovak, and so coming to a church meeting in Slovak where the missionaries don't really speak Hungarian that well has been a little stressful for him. He confessed these feelings to Brat M., who bore testimony and took him to the temple. There a miracle happened. At the temple in Freiburg, Germany, the people all pretty much know where everyone is from, and there were some Hungarian members from Gyur there who noticed that there's this one guy from Slovakia who has perfect Hungarian. Long story short, we're moving his records to a Hungarian WARD on the border of the countries, talk about a miracle, he's so lucky.

Anyway, I love you all so much, I hope this letter finds you safe and sound.


Elder Brousseau

P.S. Taylor, I put you in as an emergency contact, I hope that's chill.

P.P.S. Mom, what in the world is my Social Security number?

P.P.P.S. haha, I've always wanted to write that.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Taking a Deep Breath...

Nazdar (Hi)!

Hey everyone, so here we are, another great week to be a missionary. Well we started off our week with a bang and a big surprise...well actually two. First, K. totally passed his practice baptismal interview with flying colors, that was honestly something I did not expect. The only thing that I feel like he has any trouble with is that he doesn't understand that the Prophet does not equal the Pope. That's ok though, really it's just an easy fix with a great lesson on authority. The other surprise was that O. decided she is 100% going through with her baptism and laid the whole thing on us to plan, because she said she trusts us to make it perfect. What a killer, right? I nearly stressed myself out of the roof trying to decide where it was, but in the end, everything went wonderfully. It really is amazing to see the sort of change that comes in people as they realize that the gospel is true. O. doesn't realize that as she has met with the missionaries, we've seen a big change in her as far as her attitude and confidence go. She started out with no confidence, scared to talk to us 1 on 1, and on top of that, she would always talk about what other people felt/thought, not what she did. Now, she is strong and independent, she has made her first big decision for herself, and I think that she will continue to rely on herself and the Lord, instead of others' opinions. I am so proud of her.

We spent most of our week this week making sure that O. had confidence in her decision and really didn't do a whole lot else, so this email is going to be kinda sorta short. My companion is amazing. He has been helping me de-stress about this whole N. situation we're in, and that has been really nice. We're confident that after the phone call he had, his attitude about rules is going to be a little bit different.

On Thursday, we went to the M. family. It was really good to see them again, they're doing well. Mrs. M. said, as usual, that she wants to stay in the same faith as her ancestors. Honestly, I'm not sure what to do with her, but I think this whole, less frequent meeting thing is starting to do its work. She was very very happy to see us this time. I hope sometime soon she decides that she has had enough signs from God that this is right, and just because she doesn't have the sign she WANTS doesn't mean she doesn't have a sign.

Friday was training and it was AWESOME. I loved it, especially the training. I have felt very strongly about family history and using it my whole mission, I've just never gotten around to using it, so I'll get straight on to repenting and going forward with it.

The baptism on Saturday was wonderful, we had Elder C. come down from Zvolen so he could see it, and it went perfectly, I had a cool spiritual experience there too. The first time I had imagined O. being baptized, I had actually imagined her having a ponytail, when she came to the water. I never told her, or anyone else for that matter, and when the time came, she didn't. I was helping her down into the water when she said, "wait!" and then she ran and did her hair up into a ponytail before coming back. It was so interesting to see, I feel like that was God giving me another one of those little, "Be careful what you wish for, I'm listening," comments, you know?

Anyway, such a wonderful week, I love you all so very much and can't wait to hear back.

Elder Brousseau

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Progress in Nitra, Slovakia!


Yes, well, good, so, first off, for anyone reading this who is a missionary or who is planning on going on a mission, you should know going into it that man, the best thing ever is asking people for referrals. I never really believed in it before this transfer, I mean, I had seen it work sometimes, but seriously, just ask everyonewhether it's a contact or a lesson, whether it's going well or badly, eventually you will find a referral machine with real intent. These people, whether they mean to or not, help you out, it's funny how God has a sense of humor. We will ask a guy about the gospel and he will say something like, "no," and swear at us, and then we will say something like, "well we are looking for smart people, do you know someone smart who likes good experiences?" And then he will be sarcastic and say, "I don't know anyone, try that guy over there" and point to some random guy. That's when you say thanks and go try it and it turns out that guy he pointed at is seriously prepared.

So at the moment, our missionary work is rocketing here, and I am convinced that it is all to do with obedience. Elder R and I are both doing our best to be obedient, and it seems to be paying off. This branch in Nitra is really starting to grow and it seems like it's going to grow quickly. In the last week, we had the opportunity of teaching K. some more, and he is doing great, we are planning on giving him a preview to the baptismal interview later today. M is progressing so fast! He feels like he has found something really special and it shows. He is ecstatic to talk with us every single time. N is still working on getting a place to live, but the church has given us some money to work with for a temporary solution so he can get up on his feet. OOOOOOOh my, this whole experience with him has been so stressful. Probably the whole reason I was called here to Nitra was to be patient and just love the poop out of him during this stressful time. D and V have both started to progress, I can't wait to see where everything goes with them, especially D. She's just so happy. This gospel would be the best thing for her.

We started looking at new buildings, so we will probably be sending pictures pretty quick. We found one I really like on the town square with a great view, about 3 times the size as the one we are meeting in right now. It would be a more convenient and well known location, in a well known building, and I think if all goes well, we might be able to convert the whole building to a chapel later. The problem is, since we are still a group and not a branch, we aren't entitled to a building so that might not actually bring itself to pass. Keep your hopes high though--we need it.

Here we come to the big one. O has decided to be baptized on November first, and oh my are we so excited. She told us that, despite all of the anti-mormon material she has read, despite all of her friends and family, despite all of everything, she knows it is true, and that knowledge makes her want to act. COOLEST GIRL EVER!! So that will be happening and our job at this point is to be there for her when Satan comes with his fiery darts. She is so happy about it too, we're so excited. She decided to surprise us, because on Saturday she would NOT do her baptismal interview. She was like, "it's not fair, I don't get to pick who does it," but then, she just went out in the hall with the District Leader, WITHOUT TELLING US, and had her interview in the middle of church. Man, it's hard to express my feelings at the moment, we are just so so so so happy for her, and how this is really happening. Take that, traditions! We are going to grow this church no matter where we are.

There is really not much else to say. We are going to be making sure that we get out of the building more this week. We have been teaching too much, and I'm getting antsy about finding again. Love you all lots. I hope that you get a good missionary experience this week that you can email me about.

Lots and lots of love,

Elder Brousseau

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Trying to Catch Up!

(Editor's note: due to bilateral knee replacement surgery, I have fallen behind on blog posts. I will try to rectify this by combining several recent letters from Elder Brousseau into one blog post. It will be a little longer than usual, but should be worth the time to read. Also, Chris has asked us not to include full names of his associates in the blogs to protect privacy.)

October 6, 2014

NAAAZdar Everyone!

So, I'm sending this email from a bar in Bratislava after a very very successful and sort of weird doctor's appointment...and week. I can't send pictures here because they don't have wi-fi, so hopefully I'll be able to give you some later today, we'll see. So let's go right into it, this week has been full of crazy miracles.

Ok, first off, I DO NOT WATCH GENERAL CONFERENCE UNTIL A WEEK AFTER, so please, kill it with the spoilers, I'll watch it in Slovak this Saturday and Sunday. 2nd if people start counting the weeks/months/transfers/days until I come back, I'm going to stop emailing them. :)

Now that the serious stuff is done with, I had another name day! Haha, when I get home I'm totally going to celebrate all 3 birthdays, they're April 8th, July 28th, and September 29th, and they all count. Name days are days where everyone with *that* name gets to have basically another birthday; it's pretty great. But anyway, we still are broke and eating nothing but potatoes and onions, we really need to be able to have some sort of financial cushion for travel, Elder G. and I have been living off of his personal funds, and it has been kind of nuts to see exactly how the Lord takes care of us, especially now, when all those tithing blessings come back to us.

K, so first miracle: Tuesday, we went back to some tracting success that we had had on Sunday, but the family wasn't home, so we decided naturally to keep tracting around, and guess who we found?!? Remember back to when Elder C. and I found the super rich old men? Yeah. Found the friend of the guy who owns the company that does all of the quality control for cars in Europe, and he has his OWN company so turns out that they are BOTH super rich. Also, his wife is super nice, and we got to speak with her for like half an hour really really cool lady.

Miracle #2 On Wednesday, we headed over to the college so that we could ask about opportunities to help students with anything that we could, and one of the English teachers liked us so much, she actually invited us to come to her class, we're probably going there this Friday. It was a really cool experience, especially because we actually got to talk to the Dean of the whole school who decided that you know, it would probably be chill to let them proselyte on campus, and maybe to even sanction our English class as the official class of the college, which would just be AMAZING.

After that we have my year mark on October 2nd. I decided to go a little bit crazy, and when Elder R. and I were in Nove Zamky to teach an inactive member, we got some lunch, and I tried roasted duck liver. Not half bad, it was pretty ok...But today N. told us that he decided not to get baptized as long as we were doing the baptism in Nitra, we gave another investigator a baptismal interview and she didn't pass, and then O. got too scared to do the baptismal interview, so that's where we were at. At least, until N. involved the Lord. He got an amazing answer to his prayer, and I was the one he picked to baptize him on October 3rd.  We took him out to dinner afterwards at Hoffer and had a wonderful conversation about life in the church and afterwards, went out on the nam to find. So all in all, on my year mark, I went all across my region of Slovakia, to Nove Zamky, Hrobonovo, Levice, Zeliezovce, Hul (Hungary, that's right, we crossed the border) and Vrable teaching people all over the place, baptized my favorite investigator, and then went to a bar and taught a new investigator there. I am so satisfied with it, it's indescribable.

On Saturday we had our Branch activity where we went up to Zobor on a hike, and M. C. came down from Bratislava for it, he's such a boss. Also O. came along with one other investigator and we got to introduce everyone to America, no one had ever roasted hot dogs over a fire before.

Last of all, today, we went to a castle with Brat G., and then Elder G. and I went to our doctor's appointments in Bratislava, and that's where we're at. Love you all, I wish I could concentrate at the moment better to make this email better, but I'm surrounded by silly internet gamers and it's a little hard.

Love you all,

Elder Brousseau

October 13, 2014


Snap, well this is going to be a very hard week to write about. It's funny how the last week of the transfer always comes so quick. I never thought I would actualy be surprised to hear President McConkie calling to tell us our transfer calls, but this time I was. So first things first, I'm staying in Nitra, and I have a special assignment to make sure that N. is staying active and strong, and also to continue to baptize people so that we can get a new building here because it's almost too small to fit everyone who comes to church. I'm getting my first companion from out of the U.S. later today. His name is Elder R. and he's from the Phillipines. My job is to make sure that he starts enjoying his mission, and I think I'm going to do that quite nicely. Elder G. is going to Prague to be an Assistant to the President, Elder U. is going back home to Oregon, and (the other...) Elder R. is District Leader and Training. This transfer is going to be extremely interesting.

Monday: Well I already told you a little bit about it, we went hiking and then I had my doctors appointment, it's nothing big, there's just some sort of fungal rash growing on my finger that kind of hurt, the Doctor gave me some cream with steroids in it and it's going away now so no bad news. Actually there is bad news, the taxi ride to the doctors in Bratislava cost 22 freaking euros. I'm destined to run out of money every transfer, the month has barely even started... Anyway, we got home alright, and I had a ton of fun advising some League of Legends nerds in the bar to do something better with their lives like read the scriptures, learn how to cook, and play DOTA 2 instead, it's way better. They were actually surprisingly appreciative of that advice, haha.

Tuesday: This was our important final prep day, We had decided that it would be a good idea to pull the same kind of deal as last transfer and have a concert in the Synagogue in Nitra. It has been SO cool to see the kind of change that has happened in the ladies at the Mestsky Urad with which we work in order to see that happen, they went from that first time to being super angry and rude to us, to now like joking and being super happy with us about everything. But the good thing about this rehearsal was: this is the first concert of all time for which I have NOT been worried a little bit. Even though none of the songs was perfect during this rehearsal, I had this wonderful sense of peace about it. I haven't felt that much peace about music in a long time, and I was very grateful to the Lord for helping me to feel the spirit through that music despite our lack of preparation.

Wednesday: Koncert Den! Haha, we rocked it, it was so great. I noticed it went a whole lot like seminary graduation, where Mark, Cameron, and I had been asked to sing that rendition of "Nearer My God to Thee" and we realized up on the pulpit that we had actually never practiced the song, let alone practiced it together, but just because we knew each other's singing styles and trusted each other, so we just sang our hearts out and killed it. Also, it reminded me of when I was playing the piano for the hymn and I just messed up so terribly bad, but it seemed like no one in the whole congregation could hear except for me. Happened again. You can't even hear the mess ups that I played on the recording, it's so crazy. Real testimony building experience, I love the Lord.

Thursday: Kind of another cool experience, we had a bunch of our lessons cancel, and so Elder G. and I said a nice sincere prayer where we said to the Lord, we spiritually discerned that we were supposed to teach 3 more lessons today, but no one can set up with us this quickly, so we're going to rely on you, lead us to those 3 people tonight. He ended up leading us to exactly that. 3 people who were prepared to hear us with open hearts, it was so cool. I think I've really been gaining a great testimony of exact obedience. The Lord works a lot like Mr. Wytiaz with his A-team in class. If you have an A, or in other words, you are being obedient, he sees that you're putting in the work, and allows you a bit of leeway to decide things for yourself. He knows that you know the material, so he allows you a little bit of room to negotiate with him. Developing that kind of trust with the Lord is something that doesn't have a precedant in anyone's life, and we missionaries are blessed enough to be able to help people develop that relationship for themselves.

Friday: I really don't have a lot to say about Friday. I am already out of money for the new transfer, and I'm not excited to learn how to survive until I get reimbursed for the receipts that I turned in...And yet, you can still see the Lord's hand in protecting the missionaries. We were supposed to go pay at the Mestsky Urad for the concert today, and I did NOT have the 70 Euros that were required. But the people at the Synagogue had made a mistake and not made an invoice for us, which made it so that we didn't have to pay until today (Monday), after I've had a couple of receipts given back, so that we're able to have everything dopadnut dobre.

Saturday: OK, here we are. The big one. 10 hours of Conference, YEEEEEEEEAAAAAHH! LEEEEEEEROOOOOLOLO(OOYYY JEEEEEEEENKKIIIIIINS!!! We had just the best day ever, I have to say, Elder Christofferson and Elder Cook both knocked it way out of the park. Elder Holland was sweet as always, and President Monson was amazing. I wish he hadn't as much trouble speaking during his priesthood session talk, it was a little distracting, but the award for the most spiritual talk of the first conference day goes to Elder Uchtdorf in Priesthood session. Here we were pointing out the dandelion in his yard at the beginning of his talk, when little did we know, he did his hair like that totally on purpose. So cool, I loved it.

Sunday: Conference again!!!=DF but better. We got to confirm N. today, and you should have seen his face, he was just beaming, I can't wait to see his path unfold in front of him, he has a long and wonderful membership in the church ahead of him, and he is going to be quite a resource of a strong testimony to the missionaries in the future. After Conference, which was extremely successful, Elder G. left for Prague, and the rest of us were in a little bit of a tripanionship again. That was a little bit nostalgic, except MAN is it awkward to contact people with 3 people. I understand completely why they say 3 is company, but 4 is a crowd, you're all like surrounding and towering over this little Slovak babicka in suits asking, what sort of faith do YOU have? So awkward...but  good memories.

Anyway, what more could a missionary ask for in a week? Sorry I feel like this email is a little bit lacking in the energy and funny department, I'm still recovering from going to bed late and getting up early a couple of days in a row to have everything set up for the Elders that are leaving. Can't wait to see what this transfer brings, I'm so ready to get some more success with the Lord's help.

Mam vas velmi rad,

Starsi Bruso

October 20, 2014


K, well again, not a lot of time, I'm going to see if I can't pull a Lars Anderson and write it all in like 3 sentences. New comp from the Philippines, his name is Elder R., he's a super nice guy, really enthusiastic about all sorts of everything, and we're working hard. Last week, we started getting a ton of referrals from this English teacher whom we found, and he's starting to be a really solid new investigator. K. is having trouble understanding that the gift of the Holy Ghost is the 2nd half of baptism, so he would have to be baptized before he gets it. Good news? He wants that gift hardcore. The new missionary in our district Elder K. already knew, like, everything about me as soon as he was here, it kind of weirded me out, and it was just because of the blog. His mom found it, and sent him dear elders of it while he was in the MTC. Also he read my profile which is where he got the personal stuff. He's a pretty good guy. Other than that, we've had a really successful first week, and we're expecting to continue to work hard and get stuff done. Being a missionary is entirely pretty ok.

From Slovakia with love

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Best Week Yet!

Elder Brousseau and his companion
Nazdar všetci,

Tak hej so first off, my new companion is someone close to home. Actually, he went to Hillcrest High School. Anyway, so this has been the best week of my mission so far, let's dive right in, I'm excited to talk.

Sword in the Stone-Chris could be King!
So first off, I'm loving Nitra, the city where everything is possible. To illustrate this, like 2 hours before my companion showed up, a guy, to whose brother we had given a contact card called US and asked to meet. We got to teach almost immediately after he showed up, and I noticed we were on almost exactly the same page when we taught, it was really cool. The only problem with this was something that has been happening more often than I care for: He went home and his girlfriend/mom/some woman on the street/girl that he knows flipped out at him and [said] he "can't" meet with us anymore. This guy who was so absolutely awesome and cool got restricted from the gospel by "the woman thou gavest me." Frustrating, but really kind of funny to deal with, we have heard some really just Great blasphemy in the last week from these women, napríklad, "How many times has Pana Maria showed herself to people? And Jesus doesn't show himself to ANYONE! Who's greater then?" No joke though, I really love talking to these ladies, teaching women with attitude has become a wonderful experience because when they find out the truth, they will fight tooth and nail to convince everyone of it. A fine example of this is our investigator, she started out all "O no yoo di'nt!" and now she's just awesome.

Chris and his friend

Another investigator is really on the path to baptism. His new date is the 6th of September, and boy is he excited. This man is just priceless, he was really sad when he found out that his date was changing, and when we talked about what was going to happen with him there, he asked, "How long do I have to stay under the water? Because if it's more than a minute, I'm not sure I can, but I'll try." He's just so Great. We actually got to go with him to Velky Cetin, where we found a river and a lake where he would be excited to be baptized, and had a wonderful experience while we were there searching everything out and picking plums and making fun of cults and all sorts of tomfoolery. He came to church this week, because he's understanding the importance of commitments, he also texted us this week telling us about this awesome spiritual confirmation he got that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. I wish I had recorded him sharing these spiritual experiences, they're just awesome.

We're off to a really good start this transfer as far as organization, my companion is a lot like me, and really likes a good organized area book, so I'm happy to announce that for the first time since the area's opening, our records and apartment are completely organized and up to date. That's really big for me, there are so many people that I feel would be ready and willing to accept the gospel if missionaries updated regularly and wrote legibly.

Levice, Slovakia
We had kind of a sad experience of some Romas who came to our building and listened to our message and everything and became new investigators, but they just for some reason could NOT handle us praying and just busted up laughing every time. It was really sad, but we dropped them and we're making sure we just hug it and love the experience, you know? I now have owning a professional pianist at the piano on my challenge completed list, haha. Our first singing display this transfer went pretty well too, my poor companion isn't much of a singer, so I'm going to be teaching him, so that will be wonderful, he's got a Great attitude, about which I am very glad.

So my Bible has turned into a weapon frankly, and I'm still trying to decide how I feel about it. We don't really Bible-Bash, mostly because I have a terrible hatred for using the scriptures to drive away the spirit, that just feels morally wrong, but when it does happen, the bible has itself categorized according to religion, and actually, brings really good experiences when not used in anger or retaliation. 

Elder Brousseau selfie
Priklad: Teaching this hot-shot who answers the phone with, "hello, this is So-and-so, the 7th day adventist." Our lesson started out BAD. He almost immediately started attacking our church, doctrine, and our Book, and pulled out his Bible to try and start proving it. We listened and didn't disagree with him, even though he was saying some really really not agreeable things. Then, when he had finished with his speech, which ended with, "And so, if it's not in the Old AND the New Testament, it can't be true," was when inspiration struck. I told him, "You realize we didn't come here to try and convince you, right?" We talked about how we have all sorts of evidence, like carvings in stone, and the stuff underneath the Aztec pyramids, but that evidence doesn't really matter to us. Evidence and miracles and signs are absolutely useless if you don't have the basis of faith. We then invited him to pray about it, and he agreed when inspiration struck again. Knowing that Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor, I listened to the spirit and started to show him the references that I've found in both the Old and New Testaments supporting the Book of Mormon, and he was really curious to see Revelations 14:6. We went and read it, and this lesson that had started out so incredibly zlé ended up with him teaching us for about 15 minutes why that had to be absolutely true. It was amazing to see the change. The difference between Bible-Bashing and opening someone's eyes to the truth is very simple. It's the attitude with which you complete the action. If you do it with love and trust in God that they can feel, it will work out, but if you're out to prove something or act in anger, the Lord won't support your testimony, even when backed up by facts.

My companion
We haven't had much time for lunch or dinner in the past week, so it was really wonderful to go visit a wonderful sister in the area and just get stuffed. She reminds me so much of my grandma, she's so sweet, she ended up giving us like several pounds of food to bring to a less-well-off investigator of ours, and she showed us around her little city, it was spectacular. Something cool about Slovak real quick, we have these crazy city names like Levice (where she lives) that are actually plural, so when you talk about them it's like, "Wow, these cities are beautiful," even though it's only 1...It was a little weird to get used to, and I still make some mistakes sometimes, but I'll keep pushing on. People here every day still think that I'm native, so I must be doing something right.

Anyway, that's all for this week, Love you all. I hope all is going well for you!

Lots of love,

Starší Chris Brúso

P.S. My companion has a big crush on my sister, just BTW. =)