Tuesday, March 31, 2015

7th Week - 1st Assignment Arkansas!!!

Dear family and friends:

      This week has been my first week in the actual mission but 7th week out.  Oklahoma is a beautiful place but very flat.  If you know me, you would know that I tried to place a Book of Mormon on the plane ride here.   Me and my companion shared the gospel with 2 people, and the first people rejected us, but we did give a Book of Mormon to the second person and she said she would definitely read it.

When I finally landed in Tulsa the weather here was so humid but it was much nicer than dry Utah.  I stayed at the mission home that night and of course met my mission president and his wife and they were some of the most loving people I have ever met!  The best part of the first day though was THERE WAS A TORNADO just 20 miles away from me! There were sirens going on and off the whole night! There was STRONG lightning and thunder unlike anything I have ever seen!  It was flashing white outside every 5 seconds!  The wind and rain was so strong it was almost falling side ways!  The clouds were moving rapidly fast!  It was so intense you had to have been there! AND this was my FIRST day! The best part was they gave me my bike and said you can give it a test ride real quick if you want!  Of course I did... but I lived another day!

I met my companion the next day.  His name was Elder Reed.  He was recently a zone leader who dropped down to train me.  We live with a member and it's just me and my comp in their house with them.  THEY ARE LOADED!  We live in a mansion!  Check out the pictures!  Apparently this is the best house in the whole mission!  We also have a car but we don't use it everyday.  It's a 2014 Ford Fusion!  We also signed up for gym memberships at Planet Fitness and bought protein!  But do know that working out is not my focus out here, it's just to stay in shape because the members out here try to fatten you up!  My comp has put on almost 30 pounds since he has been out!  We were at a members house this week for dinner and it was a sweet old lady.   I went and filled my plate with food and she saw my plate and was like..., "OH THAT'S NOT ENOUGH" and put more on my plate and I just couldn't say no! WELL... after that we had ANOTHER dinner appointment....  SO my focus is serving a mission, but I will work hard so I can stay in shape! Also, I went to the store for my first time and bought my own groceries for a week!   Well, if you know me you know I ONLY bought healthy food.

The area I am serving in is Fayetteville, Arkansas.   If you didn't know where my mission is, it's in the middle of 4 states (Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas,and Missouri).   Also, me and my companion are "shotgunning" 2 areas which means we both are new to the area and we are starting from scratch!  We were called to serve in not 1 ward but 2 wards!  Fayetteville Second and Fayetteville YSA.  Our area has the Arkansas University so there is a lot of youth out here going to school!  It's very beautiful out here but definitely in the middle of no where!  Get this, on Sunday we had 2 wards; 1 at 10:00 and the next at 11:00 and somehow we managed to go to both sacrament meetings and bear our testimony both times.

The YSA ward out here only has 80 members and get this... only 30 are active!  There was only 20 at church on Sunday!  Talk about a quiet testimony meeting!  It was pretty awkward!  Also, they don't even meet in a church building, we meet in a house!  It's actually the institute building here but it's the only place they can meet.  They don't even have enough people to fill that up!  The Fayetteville Second Ward was a little bit more normal but they had a bunch of young couples out here with babies so there was like 20 babies crying during testimony meeting... No joke!

Me and my companion fasted this Sunday that we could find someone to teach and we received a referral from a ward member about a family we could stop by and when we did it turned out that there daughter was there with her fiance and their son.   It was perfect because we showed up just in time because they were there to pick up their son, but we ended up teaching them a lesson and gave them a book of Mormon and asked if we could return and teach them.  They seemed very excited to learn more and said they felt the spirit during our lesson.  We now have their phone number and address and will go visit them this week!  I cant wait to get this family through the temple!   I have good feelings about them.

We have also been tracting... I never though in my whole mission I would go tracting but we had to because we are shotgunning the area and there are no leads at all.   Something funny about here is there is SOOOOO many religions.   Like there's a LOT of religions and there's a lot of preachers and pastors and whatever, so yea... we have been told to get off people property and to leave and just been shut down a lot, but we have met a couple potential investigators that we will meet up with this week. Even though we get kicked in the face, I know that we are being blessed and that we are doing what Heavenly Father wants which is to give everyone a chance to hear the gospel, and if they rejected it that is there choice.

Heavenly Father gave us our agency to choose what we want and I know that this church is true.   Serving a mission has been the best choice in my life!  We are working hard to start a teaching pool of investigators and we know the Lord is blessing us as we are very obedient!

My companion is awesome!  I love him!  He is a great example to me!  He has been out for 21 months and even though I have only been out 5 days, we make a great team!

I LOVE it here and I don't know how long I will be here before I receive my mission but I know the Lord sent me here for a reason!

I LOVE YOU ALL! thanks for all your support and prayers!

-Elder Horton

Impressions of Fayetteville Arkansas:

  • Mountains are not a thing
  • There is a different church on every street corner...

My new Address (PLZ write):
       Elder Brennen Horton
       6111 Jana PL
       Fayetteville,  Arkansas 72704

7th Week in pictures!

Transfer Day - Going to Arkansas!
Just trying out my new bike an hour before one of the worst tornadoes in Arkansas!  Sortly after this picture I started to get rained on!  Very exciting!  Lov'n it!
My 14,000 sq. ft. pad!  I LIVE HERE!  It's the best house in the whole mission!!!
My Bedroom!  

Media room.  


Our car.

My closet!  Organized as always!  My companion has the bottom rod, I have the top.

My companion Elder Read.  I love him!  We are an awesome team!

Our church building.  It's a house! !

(The following is taken from Sister Shumway's blog, the Mission President's wife, dated Wednesday March 25- Friday 27, 2015   Transfer Week dated Wed. 25th - www.http://oklahomashumways.blogspot.com)  They picked up Brennen and all the elders from the airport.

Oh my goodness!  What a transfer week we had!  We picked up the new missionaries from the airport.  Their flight came in late so we didn’t even get them back to the mission home until after 4pm.  On the way home, the black clouds started rolling in.  We had heard earlier in the day that the weather today was set up for tornadoes-  but you never know.   We were going to stop at the office with our group like we usually do, but the sky was looking ominous so we drove straight back to the mission home.  The assistants, with the van and trailer were right behind us.  It started raining, but not too bad, and the wind hadn’t picked up so we thought we were probably ok.  We had so much training to do, very quickly, so we weren’t paying too much attention until the sky really got black and it started to lightning.  That always comes first.  We got right on the computer to check the weather.  They were showing the makings of several tornadoes headed right toward Tulsa.  Just about that time our tornado sirens went off.  Those sirens mean – take cover.  So we pulled everything out of a couple of closets and made ourselves ready, while President Shumway stood on the back porch and watched the clouds for signs of tornadoe activity.  The sirens went off and on again twice more,  and there was lightening for a couple of hours and heavy rain, but thankfully, the tornadoes didn’t actually come close to us or harm any of our missionaries.  There was some damage in Sand Springs, which is in our mission, but no one was killed.   There was a tornado on the ground in Broken Arrow-  my assistants were here helping me in the mission home while their families were at home hiding in their closets.  The power in Broken Arrow was out for hours. 

So-  that’s the start of tornado season!  May it be the worst we have to deal with this year!  We always worry about it.  So many of our missionaries are far away from us and we worry about them. Wonderful members take care of them, and we have protocols in place for reporting how everyone is, but it is a little scary.  We just have to trust in the Lord, and we do.

"One Dead" Oklahoma Tornado:

Friday, March 27, 2015

6th Week at MTC - No visa yet! Transferred Wednesday to Oklahoma

Hello All;

As I await my visa to Brazil, I have been reassigned to the Tulsa Oklahoma mission.  I leave TOMORROW at 3:30 a.m.

 If you look on the LDS maps, This mission is in the middle of 4 states; Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri.  I look forward to serving in possible all of these states.  I will continue to practice my Portuguese everyday so that I don't loose it, but i'm not worries, I know Heavenly Father will bless me for my efforts.  Once I receive my visa I will fly to Brazil.  My friend Hannah told me a quote I really liked about mission calls; "The best missionary is one who does not need a time and place to preach, they can do it anywhere and anytime." 

Elder Kessel and I are the last ones in our district to leave.  Everyone else has already left.  It's weird how close you can get to people when your around each other almost 24-7 for 6 weeks and then they leave.  This MTC is great and you develop many greats friends here!  I know I will meet up with them again some day.  

I was able to host this week for the new missionaries coming into the MTC.   I welcomed Elder Montoyo, Ellis, and Hodges.  I remember the positive impact my host made for me on my first day and it felt great to be able to do that for others.  I want to let you all know that I came to this MTC thinking that I would learn Portuguese but I was so wrong.  If they wanted me to learn Portuguese they would have had us do it before we came here.  At the MTC, I have learned teaching skills of how to better love everyone around me.  I have learned how to help people in their needs, and I have learned how to teach by the spirit.  My view of the MTC from the beginning till now has changed 180 degrees.  I have a testimony greater than when I entered and I know this church is so true!  I knew before, and I would say that because i believed it, but now I REALLY know its true.  I know you all can know this for yourselves through the power of the holy ghost.  I love you all and all of the support you have given me.

-Elder Horton

3 Impressions of this week in the MTC
  1. If you check your vents often times you find people have stashed random stuff in them.
  2. In Utah they actually have a "spring" 
  3. Piano becomes your apple iPod or mp3 player.
  4. Till we meet becomes a weekly Sunday song

*My address is no longer the MTC.  I will post new address when I get it!


This was half of the food sent from packages to
six of us Elders during the MTC.
(All of our room's food combined.  That's a lot of Care Packages!)

Temple Day!

Reflection pool at the Provo Temple

Missionaries at work - statue at the MTC

One of the Elders closets in my room.   This is just so beautiful.

Loving my new trench coat!  Finally!  Thanks Dad!

Elder Gomez and the Elders in my district.

My companiero!  Great Guy!

All the elders in our zone.

Elder Greenwood.   He's from Texas Dad, and his Texas pride is REAL!!
He gets up every morning and says the Texas pledge!  He's a great guy.

Elder Nelson - Buds for life!
Elder Christiansen!  He can make everything funny  -  love him.

My whole MTC zone (You can see it's different from the last zone picture
because everyone left but us and its all new people)

Elder Gines

Elder Arnold (he was from georgia, cochran georgia, he had a southern accent
and he was such a loving man to everyone)

Elder white ( he was from New Zealand with a STRONG Australian accent, he was ripped, I met him in the gym and he plays rugby and wants to play for BYU)

Sister Unbedact and Breathauer; hard names I know!  So did I tell you about the girl I met on Instagram going to the same mission as me leaving the same time?
Well that's Sister Unbedact the first one to my left.  Small world! 

Sister Andrews and sister Nielson

Sister Andrews and sister Nielson

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Brennen's Reassignment letter:

Dear Elder Horton

At this time, we have not yet received your visa to travel to your mission. You will be serving a temporary assignment in the "Oklahoma Tulsa Mission" until your visa arrives.


(Elder Horton writes:)

I leave from Salt Lake City and I fly to Detroit Metro.  I then leave from Detroit Metro to Tulsa and arrive at 7:00.

The Oklahoma Mission covers the corners of 4 states: Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas.   Elder Kessel my companion is going with me.  He says that there's about 50-70% humidity all next week so it'll be a good transition from Utah to Oklahoma.  

From our district the reassignments are as follows:
Five are going to the California, Rancho Cucamongo Mission;
One to Las Vegas West;
One to Jackson Mississippi; and 
Only one to Brazil 
Elder Kessel and I are going to Tulsa Oklahoma.

Brother Nate Read - A great teacher here at the MTC!

5th Week in MTC - Last Week at the MTC! Elder Brennen Horton

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission Again:

Hello all!

Elder Arnold in our district is the only one who received his flight plan to Brazil this week.  The only reason Elder Arnold received his visa is because he is the only one out of all of us what went through the Georgia consulate instead of the LA consulate.  Therefore, everyone else who did not receive flight plans, including me, will be reassigned this week to a state side mission.  Time to guess where I'm going again!  I'll keep you posted!

It's finally my LAST week in the MTC!  I never thought in 5 weeks I would be ready to speak Portuguese but I am pretty confident I have a basic concept of the Portuguese language now.

The other 2 Portuguese districts above us in our zone left today so now we are the oldest missionaries here going to Brazil.  We received a new district this week of 3 elders and 6 sisters. There are more sisters than elders in our whole Brazil zone and get this..., tomorrow we are receiving 2 more districts going to Brazil/ Portugal/ Capo Verde/ and 1 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  That's a total of 19 missionaries (13 Elders and 5 Sisters) and even then we will still have more sisters than elders.  In fact, there's almost more sisters than elders at the whole MTC.  I thought it was crazy because we had a devotional with the whole MTC and the speaker asked all of the sisters to stand and there was SO many.   Next he asked how many of you sisters still would have served if they didn't lower the age limit.  After he asked this almost ALL of them sat down... INTENSE!

Speaking of devotionals, we had an Apostle come this week!  About time!  Quetin L. cook came and gave a talk on Missionary calls and work.  He talked about how there is 3 things that usually decide where your going and this is usually the same with every apostle:
  1. You will do well with a certain mission president.
  2. You will need the language at some point in your life
  3. There is someone out there that only you can touch

He also said that if he assigns you to somewhere that was wrong that he will get a STRONG feeling that he needs to go back and rethink where he sent you.  I also found out that reassignments even come from the apostles. 

So Elder Nelson had his family send every elder in my room matching purple ties this week so when all 6 of us walk around, we find that everyone is staring at us because we stand out.

I finished reading the Book Of Mormon.  This time read it slow and tried to take in more than just read to finish. It has been very beneficial to me as I now have marked it up with references for any question I could ever get. 

We had Skype TRC with members in Brazil and we gave them a lesson in Portuguese.  The name of the member I taught was Renan.  It was during this lesson I realized I knew a lot more Portuguese than I give myself credit for. He said my Portuguese was great and he could feel the spirit when I talked, so that was a great motivating factor to me.  I realize now that I didn't come to the MTC just to learn Portuguese.  Yes that is a big part of it, but I have learned so much more than just Portuguese.  I have 2 teachers here who served in Brazil and Capo Verde. They are both students at BYU and have been back from their mission for about a year.  Even though they always speak Portuguese, they have taught me how to really teach by the spirit.  That it will not be me that converts people, but it will be the spirit.  I am merely the Lords mouthpiece. 

I love the spirit I feel here everyday and I recognize it better now.  I feel the prayers everyone offers for me and they definitely strengthen and help me.  Thank you all for all of your love and support. 


-Elder Horton

My address until March 25, 2015 to the MTC is:

Elder Brennen Tyler Horton
2011 N 900 E Unit 201
Provo UT 84602

Elder Nelson had his family send every elder in my room matching purple ties this week. So when all 6 of us walk around we find that everyone is staring at us because we stand out.  
The "Purple Tie" District

Elder Key our Big Samoan Brother, he is probably the biggest dude here at the MTC. he got a package last week the size of a store, he is always giving us food and one of the most loving men i have ever met. whenever he sees us he yells " BRAZIL"

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

4th Week at the MTC - Elder Brennen Horton

Since I have been here, 2 Districts have left in my zone.  There is only 1 above us now who leave in a week and then we become the "senior" district for Brazil.  I have been called to be the District Leader on my district.  That means: I assign missionaries to give prayers everyday; Choose hymns to sing in Portuguese; I teach lessons on Sundays and Tuesdays; I pick up the mail for everyone in our district; Go to leadership meetings and a few other things.  I really enjoy this position because it helps me to love everyone personally.  
My Portuguese is coming along real well. We had TRC which is where real members who speak Portuguese come in and we teach them a lesson in Portuguese.  It's really fun!  This week we will do a Skype call to a member in Brazil and teach them!   I have found out that people in Brazil speak Portuguese really fast compared to other places... so that was "GREAT" news, but i'm not to worried!  Our residence room is the BOMB!  Someone who left in our zone this week gave us Christmas lights... so you know me I took some hangers and put those lights up on our roof.   I also put up some glow in the dark stars for night.   I hung up a banner on the roof with some dental floss, and I made a Brazil banner out of cardboard boxes. I have put car freshers in the vents.... and to top it off, one of the elders in my room plays the ukulele so yea, it's the next best thing in our room.  

The snow here has all melted away.   There's only a little left on the mountains and things are starting to heat up here so no more running around in the snow fields. I FINALLY am NO longer sick!... it only took me a month! 

Sister Carri Brinkman came in!  It was a joy to see her and be able to talk with someone I knew! It seems like everyone knows each other here because everyone goes to BYU and then goes on a mission.  

I Hope we get to escort soon.  After about a month you get to escort new missionaries at the MTC and it's the best!  I remember my escort still "Elder Power!"  He made a great first influence on me at the MTC and became a good friend of mine here.   He is no longer here, he is serving in Taiwan now!  I still do not have my Visa so it seems that I will be reassigned in about a week.  I HOPE to get reassigned to serve with my cousin Elder Brian Benson who serves in the Saint Louis Missouri mission!  That is where I want to be reassigned to so I can be companions with Brian!  Also, I seemed to have ripped my pants again!   I was helping stack some chairs after an event one night so there was a lot of elders and sisters around and I bent down to lift up the chairs but as I went to do so it sounded like a machine gun as each string ripped. Everyone just kind of stopped and looked at me and i was like..."Yup!"  AND THEN... me and my companion didn't even have to stay there because we stayed after to help but after I ripped my pants he was like lets stay and help them finish when they were pretty much done and I'm like DO YOU SEEEEE ME? THAT'S NOT HAPPENING LETS GO!  Meanwhile, I have a huge rip you couldn't miss it!  We got the heck outa there!  So yea, I think that my pants are just done now... they are to small, "sorry Dad!"  I hope you are are doing well!  I LOVE YOU ALL!  Thank you for all your emails and packages and love!
-Elder Horton

Impressions of the MTC:

1: If you go to school at BYU you will know everyone in the MTC
2: If you bring Christmas lights, your residence becomes the best room at the MTC
3: Don't rip your pants at the MTC.... just don't...

Our MTC Dorm Room Companions
Hanging in the Snow at the MTC!

Gaining Inspiration near the Temple...wonder what people are thinking

Our MTC District

MTC Laundry Room...just massive!
Ugh... a second blowout on the suit pants!  I think the repairs did not hold up well.
Elder Horton adding a creative touch to the walls in his MTC dorm room

Gives the room that "Homey Feeling"
Our Room Companions found use of the lights
Christmas lights found in a barren room
Last District that left for Brazil handed down the flag for the MTC Dorm Room

My address to the MTC is:
Elder Brennen Tyler Horton
2005 N 900 E Unit 201
Provo UT 84602

( *This address is TEMPORARY! after I will NO LONGER be in the MTC)