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
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,
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,
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 mormon.org 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