Saturday July 22nd Elliot Brown married Jamee McNeill in the Salt Lake Temple. The ceremony was so nice as was the yummy luncheon at the Lion House afterwards. That night the happy couple enjoyed ice cream in waffle cookie bowls with all their friends and family at the Carmelle Reception Center.
Elder Evans and his wife (who are in our stake) were on assignment to Cusco, Peru. After they finished speaking to all the missionaries, Elliot went up to them and introduced himself as being from their stake and in their daughter Becky’s ward. Sister Evans ended up visiting with them for about an hour or so. She came home the next week, sent us a lovely email, with some really nice praise for Elliot and his companion and this photo and then she delivered a handwritten note from him. People are just so nice.
Elder Brown is serving now in Curahuasi Peru. He loves the branch which has about 150 people in it, even though apparently only 35 or so members actually attend. They are guessing that about 60 of the members they have records for have moved and these days it’s quite a job to get their records moved out as well (as any ward clerk will tell you.) He loves the area and says it’s very beautiful. It was so fun to be able to Skype with him for Mother’s Day. We’ve never Skyped with a missionary before, and it was so great to see and talk to him. He’s still has his fun loving personality with a little extra maturity added on.
After spending the first 18 weeks of his mission in Puno, Peru, Elliot was transferred to his new area in Juli. It was hard for him to say good-bye to all the people he had come to know and love. They were all very kind and sent him off with a special dinner, cake and gifts.
Juli is apparently out in the middle of nowhere, so now his letters sent through DearElder have to go to Lima, then Cusco, then Puno and then Juli…I guess that’s why it takes about 3-4 weeks to get there! I’ve just had to decide that nothing about it is every going to be fast or efficient. What do you expect when there aren’t even any addresses?
“Saturday: THE BAPTISM! So it was pretty dang hectic. EVERYTHING is always behind schedule here in Peru. Also, it was the gloomiest, darkest, coldest day yet. So that was neat. (Elder Cardenas and I decided that Satan wasn´t happy with us.) But eventually, 40 minutes late, we started our little program in the chapel. I played the piano–it´s my job now. Then we went to the font (pila) for the baptism. It didn´t really seem to be below ground, which I thought was a thing, but oh well. I baptized Leydi Rocio Maquera Gutierrez, and E. Cardenas baptized her mom. I practiced saying her name and the prayer a lot, and it all went well. There was a great feeling of happiness and peace.
Sunday: I confirmed Rocio as a member of the church and gave her the Holy Ghost. I was pretty focused on the prayer and the words during the confirmation, but afterwards I couldn´t stop smiling. I was just filled with happiness. It was awesome.”
Elliot has been in Cusco (actually Puno now) for 4 weeks. The big question is…will he get to stay? Apparently he and 10 other missionaries traveled on a visitor’s visa and don’t have their regular visas yet. So, next week we find out if they will all fly back to the United States on August 15th. We are praying and crossing our fingers that he will get to stay, but realize that his mission is in the Lord’s hands.
Meanwhile, he has been having some great experiences in Puno with his companion Elder Cardenas from Mexico. They have been busy opening a new area, which means they are starting from scratch. Their mission president is also brand new, so I’m sure there a few kinks to work out. Elliot sounds good though and hasn’t had any altitude sickness and only an occasional problem with the food. I think having a pensionista — which is a sister in the ward that shops, cooks and does the laundry for the four of them — hasn’t been too much of a problem either!
Excerpt from his letter about his first P-day: “There’s a giant bird statue on top of a mountain. And if you´re a missionary that has nothing better to do, you can climb up the steep streets to the beginning of the stairs. Then you can climb the 646 (who´s counting?) stairs to the top. Pretty tiring, but the view was pretty great. I could see my area and beyond, Lake Titicaca and lots of mountains.”
After 4 months, still no visa to Peru. So disappointingly, Elliot was reassigned from the MTC in Lima Peru to the Provo MTC. We decided to just be grateful that he wasn’t asked to wait 6 weeks before reporting! The crazy/hard thing is that his girlfriend, Kelsey, as a missionary headed to Argentina, entered the Provo MTC the same day and within hours of being there their paths crossed! Hopefully they won’t see each other too often! 🙂
The initial report is that Elliot is doing great and enjoying the MTC and his new companion. Of course we miss him, but are so proud of him for being willing to serve his Heavenly Father by sharing the gospel with others.