Elder Nelson Browning

Elder Nelson Browning
President and Sister Van Cott

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Last... Melon...

I'm not sure any of us thought this day would ever come. haha. No promises about emailing next week... If I have extra time it'll probably be spent working on transfers.
So! I'm trying to go out with a bang. Unfortunately there have been really good and really bad bangs this week... I'll start with the good.
We started teaching a couple more people this past week! Cameron has a friend name Steffan that is very interested and has a lot of questions. He was sincere and honest and wants to find truth, not just some church that seems decent to him. We gave him a Book of Mormon but by the time we were leaving he wanted a triple so that he could have references to the revelations from Joseph Smith. He lives in Hemet though, so he really should go to church down there.
We also started teaching a gril named Delicia. She's lived a super rough life but really wants to change her life around. She has been to other churches but feels like they all are missing something or wrong in some way. She talked about how she wants the happiness that she sees in us. She has a lot of addictions to overcome, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.
The other good thing is I'm trying to do every little thing right. There are so many little rules that missionaries have that I just have not been consistent about keeping. The big ones are easy but even murming about a leader or other missionary is so easy to start doing. So I'm trying to have these last two weeks be as obedient as possible.
So. The ugly. Or bad. Or whatever. I'm not sure how to say it besides being blunt... Elder Rosa went home. He's healthy, but a ton of stuff happened and President asked him if he wanted to stay or go home. After a couple days of serious thinking he decided to go home  and was on a plane Saturday morning. So it's been a hectic week. I had to help move other missionaries around on Saturday so that I would have a companion for this last week. So I'm with Elder Molesworth. He's going to be the next AP with Elder Bolingbroke since the other is going home along with me. So I'm teaching him some of the office stuff so that he has a headstart next transfer.
I had my departing interview with President. We talked for like an hour. It was pretty cool. There's so much I need to permanently apply to my life that I've learned from my mission.
Well. I have to go - it's 6 o clock. My flight number is 4456 to terminal 2 I believe. Dunno if that matters or not. haha.
I love you guys. Thanks for your support over these past 2 years! Ryan's fast for sure helped me out on Saturday. I definitely needed it. so thanks :)
In case I don't get to email next week... well. I'll see you next week anyways. :)
Love,
Elder Nelson S. Browning

Monday, January 6, 2014

2 Weeks

Holy wow! I cannot believe I'm down to 2 weeks. That is utterly insane! I'm joining the group that says missions go by super fast. At least once you're at the end of it. It was super slow during everything but SO FAST in hindsight.
Anyways! It's a new year. It feels like I left in 2011 and now it's 2014! Time's a churning. I was talking with some other missionaries and their new years resolutions were to work harder and be more obedient, since for a lot of them, this will be the full year that they're on their mission. I said "I want to serve a mission this year! Oh. wait." And made one of my faces. It was pretty funny.
So I finnaly met and had dinner with Bennie Lombardi. She's a funny one. Slightly off the wall and definitely not much for rules but a good woman with a caring heart. I'm sure grandma told you that Bennie called her while I was there. That was kind of weird. Anyways! I think she's feeding us breakfast tomorrow. She really took a liking to elder Rosa. They seemed to connect really well.
 
Most of the rest of the time has still been spent in the office. It's not as stressful as it has been but it's still plenty busy. Actually, I found out that Elder Houser got several of the newer cars confused and put plates that belong to one car on a different one and got the registration confused and swapped and now we're missing a set of plates. Great. I'm going to contact all the zone leaders today and have them check with all the missionaries in their zones if anyone has any plates lying around, especially in any of the new chevy cruzes. We had more lessons lined up this week but they fell through as we were on our way to them. Oh well. What can you do. We're going to try and work more on fellowshipping the many less actives in the ward and having more splits with the members so that we can get more done in the evenings. It might not happen until after I leave but Elder Rosa is determined to build up this area by the time he'll probably get transfered in March.
 
There weather here has been great. In the 70s every day for weeks now. I really am going to freeze when I come home. haha. I kind of hope it'll drop to the 50s so that It's not a huge shock being in sub freezing and even sub zero temperatures again.
 
I sent another package home. More boring stuff - books and binders, stuff that's dense and heavy. Feel free to just dump it with the other one in my room. As I've been getting closer to going home there is more stuff I want to keep than I'd originally thought so space is almost as much of an issue as weight. I might send a 3rd package of additional heavy/dense stuff depending on how much my luggage weighs. I won't really know before the 18th though.
 
Anywho. I have to go to take Rosa to his appointment. Wish him luck! I'll be catching up on my journal and on scripture reading while I wait. haha.
 
Peace, love (but not war),
Elder Nelson Browning

Monday, December 30, 2013

2014

Hey yall!
Can you believe it's the end of another year? I don't even understand time anymore. It doesnt make any sense to me. haha. Sometimes the minutes drag and yet the years fly by. So confusing.
 
So the stolen car was found! It's pretty beat up though. Doesn't look too bad at first but both bumpers need to be replaced, the wheel is rubbing on something metal (sounds like the axle is rubbing), the brakes sound horrid, the plastic undercarriage is trashed, and they smoked weed in the car so it totally reeks. What a mess. Part of me wishes he would've wrecked the car and we could've just totaled it. I probably will be gone before it's completely fixed.
So guess what happened sunday? Another freakin car got towed! But luckily it was the apartment management's fault so it got released for free. Still it cost us our whole Sunday morning getting it out. Poor Elder Rosa is stuck in this job for one more transfer. Brother Miller, our ward mission leader's dad, is taking on the vehicle coordinator position and will start in a week or two.
 
We had a last minute mission wide conference today with Elder Richards of the 2nd quorum of the seventy. He was coming to Palm Springs to visit family and asked President on Thursday if we could meet on Monday. So we did! I find it hard to apply some of the stuff that gets talked about now since it's more long-term mission centered and I only have 3 weeks left. But there's a lot of universal things that were talked about that I really liked. His wife talked about how our future kids and family can be motivation to be obedient and choose the right. I had kind of thought about that but not really. Motivation from wanting an eternal family I've thought about but not motivation from actually thinking about my kids. So that was interesting. We had a discussion about truth as well. Elder Richards said "even though words may be true, if they are not spoken by the spirit, they are not truth." It made me think of times when we joke with others and are sarcastic in a cutting way. Like the phrase "the truth hurts." And I realized that just because it is a true statement doesn't mean it is truth. Truth, in a gospel sense, is always edifying. Just because it's factual doesn't mean it's truth. It's not viewing the situation or the individual as they really are. So I thought that was interesting.
 
As far as the 2nd Christmas goes, it's really not that necessary. My views of what it was going to be like was entirely selfish with it being a "Nelson" christmas instead of a "Browning" christmas. So just a party is fine especially if that's easier. The stuff I'll need, and not all of it right away but by the start of school, are a phone, a laptop, a car (yikes), and clothes. Video games can wait but an ipod is right on the border of that "need" list. haha. I've taken care of my dress shirts and they're whiter than any other departing missionary's I've ever seen so I wont need new ones for a little while.
And the rooms... it sounds like taking the murphy bed room would work best. I'd like to take megan's room but it's girly and by all the girls and the bathroom trek is not a plus. As long as that small extra bed isn't in the murphy bed room and I can stick a small desk by the window I think I'll be good.
I was voted the least trunky of all the departing missionaries. So don't worry about me losing focus. haha
 
Speaking of serving the missionaries in the mission, I feel like that's my job on more than one level. Or not necessarily my job but my role. Today at the mission conference during lunch I went around talking to everyone I knew and gave them a hug or put my arm around them or (with sisters) shook their hand. I've noticed the influence I have now with the missionaries so I'm trying to make it as positive and uplifting as possible for as many people as I can before I leave. One guy in my zone was sitting by himself so I spent a little more time talking and joking with him. He's a good guy and has really started to come out of his shell in the time he's been out.
Administration is not so great but ministering is super great. Haha.
 
Anywho. That's about it for now. Only 2 more full length emails left to send on my mission... guess I'd better make them good! haha.
Love,
Elder Nelson Browning

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Adam

Hello hello!
Well what a fun week this is, huh? Christmas is great :) I think it has the ability to put just about everyone in good spirits.
Megan told me she got to speak! Cool :) cuz I got to speak too! We had dinner with the 1st counselor in the bishopric on Saturday and before we left he asked us to speak the next day since one of their speakers was going to be missing. I spoke for about 10 minutes without any notes about the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of Christ. I talked about the gift of the atonement and how using it, following Jesus Christ, and sharing it with others is the best way we can express our gratitude for that priceless gift.
I just read back through my "sermon" paragraph from last weeks email. I don't remember saying all that. But it sounds cool :) haha.
 
So remember how a car got stolen? That same car got stolen AGAIN on Thursday. Different sister missionary, same car. Poor girls. The police still haven't found the car so we brought the sisters another on Friday.
 
We've been super duper busy and have had like no time to visit people. There haven't been accidents with any vehicles but there have been 3 or so flat tires, 2 dead batteries, and a bunch of other repairs needed this week. We've had to switch the car we're driving 4 times now. We took our truck in to get the bumper repaired since a member backed into us when it was parked, got a headlight replaced, got an estimate on the car that was in the hit and run, took a cruze in to get the side skirt fixed, a truck with higher mileage that feels like it's misfiring, and we swapped out 2 more cars from indio on Saturday. Whew!
 
There was also an issue with one of the gas cards. Someone must have put a reader on the gas pump that these missionaries used and suddenly they had milked $800 worth of gas off that card. Luckily the cards have a limit on them so they weren't able to keep spend spend spending. haha. So I had to clear that up this week.
 
We really don't get to teach much which is a bummer. We got some more info that would help Cameron in his process towards baptism. I still haven't explained that situation to you fully. He's not really male or female. In a way he's both but at the same time neither. Anywho, it's been a long process trying to figure out what needs to be done in order for him to be baptized. Because he was born listed as a female and has a feminine disease, the 1st presidency said he could be baptized as a female, no problems. However, if he wanted to be baptized male, he would need to meet with several doctors and have some hormone treatments to more fully make that transition. He's prayed about it and feels like it would be wrong to decide to just go as a female and feels like his spirit is male. He won't be listed as transgender since he's not really either. So, he has to go through that medical process and will probably get baptized early this spring.
 
Whew again! haha. My wrist hurts with this typing. I showed someone a "flagpole" the other day (just think derek clement) and tweaked my wrist when they asked to see me do it again.
 
I kind of wish I wasn't spending the end of my mission in the office and was instead out teaching, but i guess this is where I'm needed. I really don't feel like I know much about cars. At least until recently. Most missionaries don't ever know what's going on with their car and ask me what's wrong. haha. They'll bring it to the office to have me look at it on occasion. So far I've been correct about every issue. We'll have to see if I was right about this misfiring truck. Oh! One of the managers at one of the auto body shops we go to asked if I wanted a job this morning. If it was in Rigby idaho I'd definitely take it!
 
So I might skype instead of just calling. The thought of just calling sounds much more boring. You lose a whole aspect of communication when it's just audio. Plus I think it helps get the whole family involved more with the visual aspect. And since time is limited, I thought that skyping would be better. President has budged to an hour tops so that gives a little more leeway too.
We're having our zone breakfast at 8:30 and we should be cleaned up around 10. I'm planning on skyping at 10:30 which would be 11:30 your time.
 
Love you guys :) Merry Christmas!
Elder Nelson Browning

Monday, December 16, 2013

'Tis the Week Before Christmas

Hi guys (:
So sorry if last week seemed negative. I have lots to rant about this week too! Haha but I won't. I'll try and just list some of those things that happened instead of going into details.
We had a car stolen on the morning of transfers. Yippee! We drove like 200 miles total that day. And another one got towed from some sisters' apartment 2 days later. haha. So it's definitely been interesting. Also on Saturday we needed to swap out some vehicles from the desert. So Elder Rosa and I drove separately all the way to and from Indio. I'm trying to get several vehicles prepared to sell before their license and registration expires, however, 2 have already expired and 5 more expire by january 28th. I'm a go nuts soon. haha :)
 
Most of our ward had finals this past week and are now going home for the holidays. We've really been struggling to teach just about anyone. We're always bushed when we leave the apartment. Suffice it to say I don't struggle to fall asleep at night. Haha :) We had one lesson with our ward mission leader and a friend of his on Wednesday. We read the nativity story with them and bore our testimonies.
 
You know what I miss? Home cooked meals. If we don't have a dinner appointment, we tend to eat out because it's quicker. And half the time, the members take us out to eat when they sign up. I've been working out and actually loosing a little weight but I miss healthier, normal food.
 
So we gave another blessing to the mom of a girl in our ward and she asked me to give the blessing. Afterward she asked if I had ever thought that I might become a patriarch someday. What? No I definitely haven't ever thought of that. But it was a very sincere compliment unlike any I've received before.
 
I feel like my letters are so boring now! Sorry :/ it's more mundane info than maybe what you're used to. I'll probably just call home on Christmas. Figure we can wait a few more weeks to see each other, right? :) I have not idea what time it'll be at. I might have more of an idea next week... hopefully. haha. President set a limit of 40 minutes on calls. Along with other things I disagree with. But I'm not going to rant! :) it doesn't do anyone any good anyways. How many times can you say "any" in a sentence?? Haha
 
Elder Rosa lost the hearing in one of his ears and it turned out it was just impacted with wax. He was told by the doctor that he is not allowed to use q-tips any more. haha.
 
I don't want it sounding like my life sucks or anything like that. It really doesn't! I just don't feel like I have a whole bunch of cool stuff to talk about :) unless you want me to describe all the jobs I do as the vehicle coordinator. haha. How boring would that be? Pull your hair out boring? (: I went to the ford dealer on Wednesday to pick up 2 new Ford Fusions for the mission. So that was a new experience, signing in behalf of the mission and church in general. I also got a notarized power of attorney. Look out! I have way too much responsibility. haha.
 
I was asked to say the invocation for our ward Christmas program yesterday. During the prayer I ended up talking about the Christmas season and the spirit of Christ. Since then I've kind of been thinking about it. The greater portion of the world celebrates, every year, the birth of Jesus Christ, whether they believe in Him or not. There's a reason this season is so important. It's not for the marketing, money making or presents and packaging; it's because, over 2000 years ago, the great Jehovah descended from his royal throne on high to the most humble of circumstances and humble of lives, to experience more trials and hardships than any of us ever could or would. And did he have to do it? Nope. But he did. For each and every one of us, even those who won't accept it. And that love, that great love that none of us can truly comprehend, is really what this season is all about. There is no other one thing in life from which more joy can come than from Jesus Christ; from his life, his atonement, his gospel, the plan of Happiness; that's where the true joy of the Christmas season resonates.
 
I love you guys :) I might not be much of a proselyting missionary anymore at the end of my mission, but "my assignment may be adjusted according to the needs of the mission and mission president," and I can do my best in whatever that assignment may be.
 
Love,
Elder Nelson Browning

Monday, December 9, 2013

Last Transfer

Hey fam!
 
So dad totally stole my subject line. :P so there.
 
 Well this week was fairly crazy and is going to continue to be crazy for the next couple days. The system that the church used for all the vehicle info just switched to a new system on Wednesday. So I've been having fun trying to figure it out. Yuck. It was super stressful the first day. None of the maintenance logs (of which there are about 100) got moved over to the new system. And the church knew that was going to happen but did it anyway. Doesn't make sense to me. But whatever. the new system is supposed to be easier to use. Attempts to make it simple have made it moredifficult in my opinion. I guess I'm just too smart for it. haha.
 
With that and the upcoming transfers we've been plenty busy. It's been a hectic time in all aspects. Lot's of annoying announcements/changes/additional rules. Just stupid stuff. They're moving us in with the APs which I'm not happy about. They're cool as long as they're not telling everybody what they're doing wrong, which is most of the time. Honestly I just don't want to pack up and move, unpack, and then re pack again in a few weeks to go home.
 
Anywho. Not a lot otherwise is changing with transfers. Lots of car swaps but thats about it. We're supposed to be selling cars soon and unfortunately it's falling to me to figure all that out. haha. Dunno why I signed up for this job. And yet they're saying they wish they could just give me a full time job here. That opinion I'm sure will soon change. haha
 
So Melissa also dropped us. She got anti-ed. :( dumb. Satan sucks. We found that out yesterday.
 
I think a lot of our extra time this week was spent ministering to some of the other missionaries in the zone. Some of them are struggling a lot. I gave and participated in 5 or so blessings this week. I feel like a blessing auctioneer! Never mind. Thats sacrilegious. haha.
 
Can you believe I'm only emailing 5, maybe 6 more times? Man I'm going to be home before I know it. Crazy!
 
Well that's about it for now. Since I'm in the office I won't have to wait to get a package so don't worry about it being late or anything. You could send it Friday next week and I'd still get it in time.
 
Love you guys! :)
Elder Nelson Browning

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dec 2nd

Hi Mom and dad :)
So it's still unclear whether President would rather have us email on Monday or on Saturday. I haven't been able to talk to him about it but he told elder Rosa that emailing on Monday was fine. But then he didn't say anything about Saturday. So i'm just as confused. haha. We usually have a few appointments on Saturday so we might just stick with Monday unless it's too busy in the office.
 
Anyways! One of the things I forgot to ask you about on Saturday was if you could get me all the addresses for aunts/uncles/grandparents/etc. I counted that there should be about a dozen addresses or so. That'd be great :)
I thought I had one or two other small ideas for Christmas but I can't remember what they were. Nothing important just something to go off of. We don't get fed as often in the singles ward and I'm sick of eating out haha. I guess you can't really send dinners though can ya? I just don't have time to really cook anything - it just takes too long. Pasta is like the only thing that's fast enough.
 
Dad, are you sure you want to sell your tax practice? I'm sure it's way too busy trying to do both so I guess you don't have much of a choice. Would it make a difference if I worked part time helping you out? There's not much I can do besides the kind of stuff I already was doing I suppose. If it would make a difference I'd be more than willing to help. If not then definitely do what you need to.
 
Anywho. Just wanted to say hey and bring up those several things that I'd forgotten. I love you!
Elder Nelson Browning

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Week

Hello family that I am oh-so-grateful for!
So this week was another week in the works I suppose. We haven't been able to teach hardly any lessons though. Everyone is busy or out of town for the holidays. Melissa did come to church though! As well as Cameron and Elaina. Elaina is the one who has been taught all the lessons and has a testimony but still has a hold up (her boyfriend). Our current game plan with her is to help her to help her boyfriend. They won't get married sooner and they won't break up so the only option is to overpower them with the spirit! Muahaha! Only by being "pricked in your heart" can some people really change.
We had Thanksgiving dinner with brother Adams (1st counselor in bishopric) and his family. It was fairly normal: turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, rice pilaf, green jello pudding (with pistachios! mmm), rolls, and yams that I casually passed on. haha. We also got invited over to another member's house with some other missionaries but it was later in the evening so I thought it was just to hang out and maybe eat dessert. Turns out they were actually expecting us for dinner! I was so stuffed I was barely able to eat more than some fruit, jello and another roll or two. It was fun though.
 
Coordinating the vehicles has gotten a little easier. I know what I'm doing as far as all the basic stuff. I get several calls every day, some of which are pretty funny. It's weird that missionaries call me thinking I would know exactly what's wrong with their car. I'm definitely no auto mechanic but so far I've had a good idea at least of what's going wrong. Some sisters were the victims of a hit and run on Thursday and those are the calls that are less fun to answer.
 
So the sisters in Indio that we swapped cars with had an issue last Saturday night. They called me complaining about Chevy cars and why I couldn't give them a toyota because now their car isn't working. haha. It wasn't turning on or anything and after asking a bunch of questions it sounded to me like a battery issue. I asked if they had any members that lived close by that could help them jump the car and they said they did and would call me again if they had any more issues. I thought it was going to end there but they called 10 minutes later. They said "so we got out and shook the battery and the car started up fine. We drove home and parked in front of our mailbox but when we got back in the car now it won't start again." Me: "so you parked in front of the mailboxes andturned off your engine?" Them: "Yeah and now it won't start and my companion is shaking the battery again and there are sparks flying everywhere!"  Oh dear. haha. Well I told them to stop shaking the battery and call their zone leaders to come over and tighten the terminals on their battery (since the sisters didn't have a wrench). Whew! It made me realize why the church only buys new cars and why, oftentimes, the sisters are driving the newest of the bunch. They didn't even know what a wrench was! haha... oh well. They're all squared away now.
 
Well I hope it doesn't sound like my life is boring. It definitely isn't. There are some really slow moments in the office where I would love to just listen to music. Some of the work is really a lot like what I did for Browning P.S. I've actually had a lot of laughs this transfer. So it's been fun.
Oh! We had dinner with Melissa Strong on Wednesday and she is Steven and Ben South's cousin! Crazy huh?? What a small world!
 
As far as Christmas goes, I actually have one or two small ideas. I could use a new black belt. One of the ones I came out with was already kinda old so the other one I wore like 80% of the time. They're both pretty worn out. Just make sure it's not a super wide belt because some of my belt loops on my slacks are small. I could use more garments... but I wanted to try out some slightly different kinds so I might just do that when I come home. A couple socks wouldn't be bad either since most of the ones I have are on their last leg. Or foot. haha.
Well that might not help much. haha. I already have a christmas tree so you don't need to send another if you were planning on that.
 
Anyways! We actually don't have to email on Saturday. Pres said we could just do it Monday since we're already at a computer in the office. So. Still unsure which I'm going to pick. I wish he would just pick one for me! When I told him I'd last Monday that I'd already emailed Saturday he was just like "well if you'd like to email your mom again and have time, go ahead!" So I might just go back to Mondays. I just don't want to feel like I have free reign. I'll talk to him about it again.
 
Love you guys! I'm definitely thankful for you all and for you mom and dad. I've realized what a blessing it is just to have a mom and a dad at home, especially ones who try to do everything right.
Love,
Elder Nelson Browning