Wednesday, December 17, 2014
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.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
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!
Monday, December 8, 2014
(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,
Monday, December 1, 2014
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!
(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.