Thursday, December 9, 2010

White Christmas

Hey y'alll!  Did you get the cd with the pictures?  I hope so.  There's some fun stuff on it. Sounds like you've been having a great time in Mesa.  What's Ethan's mile time?  I bet he'll be faster than me when I get home if he isn't already.  We excercise every day except Sunday, and sometimes we are at the temple on P-day so we don't do it then either.  I do a lot of push ups.  Like, more than I thought was even reasonable before I started doing them every day.  We have weights too, and of course the bikes that we're on all day.  The weather has been better here and a lot of the snow has melted.  We might get more this Friday, not sure though, because Utah weather is unpredictable.  This will be my first Christmas away from home...I hope I don't get too trunkie.  Today is Elder Seivert's birthday!  We went to a breakfast buffet over by the temple this morning.  I don't know if I'll still be here with the same companions on my birthday or if that will change next week.  We'll do something fun though, if not on my Birthday, then on yours.  Wow, so many food events going on at our house.  Make sure to eat lots of cheese and crackers.  That was always one of my favorite things about Christmas.  We had the Mexican version of Sister Udall's sausage wrapped in steak wrapped in bacon last week.  It was really good. 

Miracle Moment:  So, these last few weeks have been a little slow.  Only one baptism at the very beginning of the transfer.  That's unusual for Zion missionaries.  So we pulled ourselves together and started having what the Book of Mormon refers to as "exceeding faith."  The first miracle is that it's gonna be a White Christmas (Baptize on Christmas day!  woot!)  The second is that although we had made some plans to tract a particular apartment complex, we took a detour because we were kind of on autopilot and not thinking so we went to a Part-Member family that we had been working with.  The mom told us that she had a friend who was going through a hard time and could really use the comfort of the gospel right now and could meet with us in half an hour.  Great!  So we came back in half an hour and went across the street with them to meet her friend.  We had already met her twice by ourselves and she had told us both times that she was Catholic and she respects us but No Thanks!  The third time when we went with Sister Juarez, we found out that her husband just left, she needs the help of the  church and its members, and that she was going to be baptized before, but her mother said that she had to choose between the Mormons and her, which is the reason she was so quick to turn us down before.  And thus we see that it is through the members that people will accept the missionaries and be willing to learn.  I promise that as you introduce people to the gospel and to the missionaries, you will see the blessings of the Lord come into your life and into their lives.  Think of someone that needs the gospel.  Now stop thinking of reasons not to share it with them.  The spirit put that name into your mind first because you need to do something about it.  Will you a) invite them to church b) introduce them to the missionaries or c) give them a book of mormon?  Yes.  You will do one of those three things. They may say no, but they will not be offended.
Hoping all is well.


Elder Fine

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"The Storm of the Decade"

Hello buenos padres y amados hermanos mios,

I haven't sent the pictures yet, so sorry, I don't mean to complain, but p-day is kind of stressful here and I've fallen behind on letter writing and picture sending and similar endeavors.  Today isn't even p-day, we just get to email today -  they changed this week to be p-day also so that we could participate in turkey bowls if we have the opportunity and too much proselyting time wouldn't be lost.  We might not have a whole lot of time to do P-day things because, as I mentioned, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  I'll do my best to write a few letters though.  Weather Report:  today:  continuation of "the storm of the decade" (I think they just say that so people will watch the news), snow, a high of 17 and a low of 3.  Public advisory is to stay indoors so that when the missionaries come, you're guaranteed to be there.  If you speak spanish, you're more than likely to let them in.  My clothes are keeping me warm, with the occasional exception of the featherweight suit pants.  I have a scarf now too, which is quite helpful.  We can't exactly be on bikes in this weather, but we'll continue working even if it does mean we have to walk.  Our message is that important.  Oh, yes I got the birthday card from Grandma W. and a letter from dad.  Thanks very much!  Grandma is always so punctual with birthday cards.  I still don't have any information on my visa.  As soon as I get it, I will have an interview at the consulate and leave within seven days.  I will not leave the country without first telling you, so don't worry.  I did hear that a visa waiter in another zone left already, so there is some progress.  I think there are almost 20 missionaries in this mission waiting for their visas.  I'm glad to hear that the youth is focusing on gaining a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  That is the root concern of any problem that anyone has with the church.  If the Book of Mormon is true, then, as the introduction says, Christ is the Savior, Joseph Smith is his prophet, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God.  So many people want to argue about whether or not Lamoni really had horses.  I don't care, I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and because I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, I know that Lamoni had horses.  I also know that Lamoni's horses aren't going to save me in the kingdom of heaven, so I don't worry about it.  Anyway, the church is true.  Well, I'ma try to get some work done.  I love you all.  Have a wonderful day!

Con Carino,

Elder Fine

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Giving Thanks

The weather has been a little warmer this week, but it's supposed to snow soon I think.  I'll be fine though.  I've been through fall and winter in Utah before.  Not that it was a super pleasant experience the first time, but I'll know what to expect ;) I'm enjoying riding a bike, even though it's sometimes frustrating when we ride all the way across town to have an appointment fall through.  I heard about the leadership meeting as well.  Apparently there's going to be a lot more focus on what President Monson describes as "the rescue" aka ward missionary work.  I don't know if you've seen the process that was designed by Elder Perry, but it's going to change the way Ward Councils are done.  Speaking of Elder Perry, I saw him again today, he just walked into the temple, there was nobody with him this time.  Luckily, he didn't come over and talk to the missionaries because he would have chastised us.  He always asks the missionaries how many lessons they taught last week and if it's less than 20 they're in trouble.  Don't worry about thanksgiving.  We've got more options than we can handle.  The young men's president Hno. Campbell (he's a white guy) offered to feed us since he's probably the only one in the ward that has the knowledge and ability to make an American thanksgiving meal.  Not that I'm opposed to having mexican thanksgiving, but it's nice.  We'll also be having Laotian thanksgiving because there's a sister in our apartment complex who "I LIKE MAKE FOOD AND BRING DOWNSTAIR FOR YOU OPEN DOOR AND I BRING FOOD OKAY?" so that's fun.  Regarding Ethnic food, this week Venezuela soared into first place with steak, potatoes, salad, fried bananas, arroz con leche, and fresh cheese.  I printed pictures today at Wal-Mart.  You should be receiving several in the mail this week.   I'm amazed at how quickly my time here has gone.  It felt like I was in the MTC for at least half an eternity, but here in Zion it feels like nothing.  Last week I kind of lost my animo because a lot of stuff was going wrong and we weren't teaching as much as we wanted to, and the people we were teaching weren't progressing. But this week so far has gone so much better.  Last night I went out with Jesus and taught 3 lessons and all of them were miraculous.  In the first one, we taught lesson 4, the commandments, and by the end of it Julio Cesar was so excited about observing the sabbath day because god wanted him to go to church, and living the word of wisdom because God wanted him to be healthy, and here's the best part:  When he found out he was living in adultery, he turned to his girlfriend Karen and said "Quieres casarme?" which is being interpreted "Want to marry me?" and she said "Si."  Right there in the lesson.  I'm so excited.  And I also got ahold of Rosbin, he's from Guatemala and we thought he had disappeared off the face of the earth because we haven't been able to find him for weeks, but guess what?  He went to church last week and he's still reading half an hour in the Book of Mormon every day.  That's how you know someone is elect, if they lose contact with the missionaries and keep progressing by themselves.  Wow.  Okay, so now I'm just kind of rambling on about how great my area is and of course you don't know who any of these people are.  Do you think I should divide my letters in paragraphs or have any form of reason or organization to them?  Nah, waste of time.  Well, in case you were wondering, the Book of Mormon is true. But as Geordi LaForge would say, you don't have to take my word for it.

Much love,

Elder Fine

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Burned Out? Hardly.

Hi Mom!

Let's start with the bad news.  3:00 AM on the morning of Saturday, October 30, a fire was intentionally started in the chapel of the LDS meetinghouse where the Miller and Granite Spanish Wards meet.  The building was extensively damaged and will be unusable for many months.  Another building on Main St was also burned, but caught sooner.  Luckily, there are many meetinghouses here in Salt Lake, and other stakes kindly took us in, but it is further away, and many of our members walked to church before it was burned.  South Salt Lake Police have arrested the person responsible.

But that didn't stop our ward from having 3 baptisms that same morning, or having the primary program the next day.  Our Stake had a pretty cool Halloween carnival.  The missionaries had a booth where we would ask questions to the kids and give them prizes when they answered them.  Who baptized Jesus?  What did the Lord command Nephi to go and build?  Questions like that.  We spent Saturday Evening at a Member's house with the whole zone because we had to stay in and, well, might as well have a zone activity.  Details se encuentran en Lauren's email.  We had to wear proselyting clothes, so my halloween costume was a black suit, black tie, black sunglasses, and a black raincoat (which I have).  Transfers were today.  Elder Seivert and I are staying in our area, but Elder Chavez is leaving and we have a new companion, Elder Guillen, from Paraguay.  Native Companion!!!!! Yessss!  Elder Chavez was technically a native speaker but not really because he grew up in California and spoke English more.  We also are moving apartments and no longer have a car.  Hopefully Obispo Melquisedec Matute will let us use his truck to move some stuff (like my mattress because we have 3 misioneros and the new apartment only has 2 camas).  Anyway, gotta get back to baptizing nations ;)

The church is true!

Elder Fine

Monday, November 1, 2010

Patience is a Christlike Virtue

Hey Mom!  I'm still here in Salt Lake and haven't heard anything about visas.  One thing:  it snowed this week and it is possible that I could be here for another transfer or longer.  With this in mind, I would like to request, if possible, gloves and a black beanie.  I think I'll be ok without a winter coat, unless Adam wants to take a date to temple square and drop it off at the mission office (the address that I sent) on his way.  If not, and I still need one, there's a DI pretty close.  I don't think I'll need it though.  After all, we have a car.  Sorry the pictures didn't work!  I'll try again next week.  The reason that P-day is on Thursday today instead of Wednesday is because Elder David F. Evans of the Seventy was speaking to us yesterday.  That's the third time he's spoken to a group that I've been in within the last two months.  Once at the MTC, once at the regional conference last Sunday (along with President Uchtdorf and Elder Nelson, did you know they and the other apostles go skiing together?), and then yesterday at the mission tour.  It was pretty amazing.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to immediately apply the great things we learned because Elder Seivert was sick.  So we had to stay in and were able to review our notes and clean and I got a haircut.  P-day next week will also be thursday, I think, because transfers are on wednesday, I'll probably stay here in the Granite Park Stake though, they like missionaries to get to know areas, and members in the area to know the missionaries, and since I'm a visa waiter, there's almost no chance of me getting transferred.  I hope you all have a fun Halloween.  We're staying in Saturday night.  Not really sure how Sunday is going to work, but we'll be doing missionary work that night.  Baptisms the next two weeks! :)  Brenda Martinez on the 30th and Jasmin (step-daughter of Ernesto) on the 6th.  To Sister Knight:  No problem!  I made it a goal at the beginning of my mission that I would reply to every letter that I received, which, I admittedly haven't been perfect at (Sorry Diane and Sister Beecher, I owe you letters, and everyone who wrote me last week, I haven't had any time today to write letters so you'll have to wait, but patience is a Christlike attribute, so you'll be blessed).  Well, I guess that's it for this week.  I love you all. Eat lots of candy!

The church is true,

Elder Brandon Kevin Fine

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Let the Holy Spirit Guide

Dear Family:

PICTURES!!!! (note from the editor: sorry about this photo teaser, my mom said there weren't any photos with the email. Perhaps he forgot or there was an attachment error. Either way, we should have some pictures of Elder Fine soon)

Ernesto got married and baptized!!!! woot.  The Lord is working some mighty miracles in that family.  12 year old Ernesto Jr. (Gordo) was baptized a month ago and is pretty much a miniature general authority.  He's very smart, has a huge desire to learn and a strong testimony and he wants his family to have it as well.  Ernesto Sr. is also amazing.  Smart, unlearned, but smart.  Gordo gave the talk on baptism at his dad's baptismal service, and it was amazing.  12 years old, pure doctrine, powerful testimony, delivered with love, and he's only been a member for a month.  He basically holds that family together.  So, I don't want to bore you with too much character background, but this is all leading up to a pretty amazing story.  Well, it was amazing when it happened and I'll try to convey the amazingness when I tell it.  So last night we went over there to get the details for Ernesto's baptismal record (place of birth, children's full names and birthdays, etc.) We had some extra time before our next appointment so we decided to watch a church film.  During the film, it didn't really seem like anyone was paying too much attention, and then afterward we bore testimony of God's love for his children and the truthfulness and power of the Book of Mormon, and that we were the only ones who have the restored gospel.  Jasmin (14), who had never been interested in talking to us, at least not since I've been here, started asking questions and really showing what is referred to in the scriptures as real intent.  Even before the movie, she was kind of ignoring us and Gordo said in a perfect annoying little brother tone "I'm gonna keep praying for you until you realize that church is good for you, you know that right?"  Anyway, probably because of him, she started paying attention.  So we knelt down and had her ask God, right then and there if this was his true church (that's how she phrased it "your true church").  And then we stayed on our knees for what could have been anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes, I'm not sure.  How do you feel?  "weird" The spirit feels weird when we don't know what it is.  It's a good weird, but yeah.  She agreed to prepare to be baptized on November 6, and this is where Ernesto Jr. says "hey, can I say something?" and in three or four of the most powerful sentences I've ever heard, bears testimony to his sister of how this decision will make her a better and happier person and that's what he wants for her.  Nothing we could say was going to top that, so we closed with a prayer and then left in absolute awe of how the spirit directed everything in there.  We didn't go there to talk to Jasmin, nor to watch a film.  We weren't even planning on having a lesson!  If you had asked me beforehand if Jasmin would accept a baptismal date that night, I would have laughed.  Gordo doesn't know a whole lot of doctrine, but he  knows how to follow the spirit when directed, and he knows that going to church is good for you, because when men speak by the power of the spirit, it carries their words unto the hearts of men.  We do not know who God has prepared.  The field is white, already to harvest.

This week is Stake conference.  It's in the conference center and we'll have the opportunity to hear from one of the Twelve.  It is also possible that one of the first presidency could be there as well.  Gettin kinda tired of always interacting with prophets here...yawn...Chiste! I love it.

Re: Christmas
It's up to you.  I get mail on Monday, so it's possible I won't have it until next week if it gets here after Monday, but what I've heard is that I will be here for a week after I receive word of my VISA.  Since I have not received word, I will still be here for at least a week, possibly more.  So, yes.  I will be here.  I don't care what you send me.  A harmonica would be nice.

Found in the pictures is the missionary light saber photo trick (done by holding a scripture highlighter close to the camera), the reason LDS missionaries support tide to go (before and after)  I think there's a mexican flag one, and the I was reassigned picture, some from GENCON 2010 pt 2 and one of me and my buddy Adam at the provo temple.

The church is true.  The book is blue.  I love the food and I'm getting pretty good at "smashing" (that's what happens when missionaries eat with members, which we do every day).  Keep building Zion.  Good luck.


Elder Fine

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Mountain of the Lord

Family, Friends, and People of Mesa,

I am having a wonderful time in the Salt Lake City Mission.  Let's start with a cool story.  This morning we went to the Temple.  It was my first time doing any redemptive work in the Salt Lake Temple.  The live session is very cool.  As we (a group of missionaries) were entering the temple, we were stopped in the hall by some bodyguard-type brethren and we saw Elder Perry walk by.  Then around the corner, smiling cheerfully, come President Uchtdorf and his wife.  President Uchtdorf looks at us, says "well this is a good looking group of missionaries" and walks over to shake everyone's hand, tells us to "enjoy the temple" and then goes into his meeting.  Needless to say we were all a little in awe.  You can't see it on tv, but President Uchtdorf radiates happiness.  He had a great big smile on the whole time and you could tell that he was genuinely happy to meet us and just a very happy person in general.  I heard that some other missionaries saw Elder Oakes as well, but we were already inside at that point.  Yesterday was zone conference.  I played Come thou Fount on a borrowed violin.  Considering that I pretty much had to sight read it there, I did a good job.  If I had time to practice it, it could have been better, but that's not what I need to be spending time on.  I got an email from President Tervort of Mision Mexico Ciudad Mexico Noroeste today.  According to him, they only have about 100 missionaries in a 200 missionary mission, a 12 by 12 mile square with millions of people in it.  They've been fasting for the visas.  I'll be glad when I get to go, but I think I'll miss it here.  I can understand pretty much everyone except Ernesto, but nobody understands him so it's ok.  I can even sort of speak spanish, very slowly and simply.  At least I won't overcomplicate any doctrine.  I forgot my camera again but there is a picture with the back of my head in it from the lds newsroom that I'll attach for you :).  Sorry Arizona had some pre-millenial storm trouble, but I suppose that's to be expected.  Especially with the way the talks are leaning in recent general conferences.  Spanish Joke! (upside down question mark) Que dice Pinnochio cuando tiene hambre?  Yo quiero ser real!

That's all folks!


Elder Fine

General Conference

Hello Family!!!

Well, conference, as you are probably aware, was AMAZING.  We were down at temple square for every session and were in the conference center for both sessions on Saturday.  I saw a lot of people from Mesa and BYU and I also went to Deseret book and got Handel's Messiah as performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra and the 1985 Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  It's quite good.  We also saw Alex Boye standing outside being a famous mormon and doing whatever it is that famous mormon singers do.  I keep forgetting to bring my camera, but next week I'll send pictures.  Mom, no se preocupe.  One of the themes that was stressed in conference was trusting the Lord. As Elder Bednar would say, "Quit worrying about it.  Be a good girl.  Keep your covenants, and the spirit will guide your decisions."  I do not know the status of my visa. I will know as soon as President Winn gets any information and as soon as that happens I will be shipped out within a few days.  Little by little I'm getting better at just randomly talking to people I don't know.  It's pretty hard to pull a conversation out of thin air, especially in Spanish, but as my companions pointed out "If you feel awkward, you're doing it right."  Missionaries shouldn't be comfortable. 

Inspirational story of the week:

Elder Chavez, Seivert, and I were at Temple Square Sunday evening and had a tour planned for some of our investigators.  They would see the family presentation, feel the spirit, and get baptized and be saved for eternity and all would be well in Zion.  Despite our efforts to confirm the appointment and remind them where to be and when, they didn't show.  This, in and of itself, was pretty devastating, but what's more, we now had no ride home (and were not permitted to buy trax tickets on sunday).   We called a few people in the ward who did not answer and found that we truly were stranded.  So I said a prayer, asking for a miracle, as Elder Seivert tried dialing any number he could find in the phone. Half an hour later, we were picked up by the brother of someone that Elder Seivert had accidentally called because she had the same name (Carla) as the daughter of someone in our ward.  This brother had served in the SLC South mission and knew Elder Chavez from California.  The Lord answers prayers and watches out for the missionaries.

To the familia Grubbs:  Elder Josh Carter is in my zone.  We had some good times talking about the strange connections we had with you guys.  He's a great missionary.

I love you all.  Have a great day, gotta go!


Elder Fine


Here is his letter.  I thought his P-Day was Thurs, but I guess it is Wed.

Thanks for your support!

From: Brandon Fine []
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 1:13 PM
To: Kevin Fine
Subject: Re: Letter from Mom 9-26-10

Hola Familia Fine,

Everything is going well here in the Salt Lake mission.  I'm speaking Spanish on Spanish here, and it's been a pretty crazy first week.  My address here is:

Elder Brandon Kevin Fine
Utah Salt Lake City Mission
3487 S 1300 E
Salt Lake City, Utah 84106-2951

I don't drive because a) I don't know where anything is. b) I don't have a TIWI card to log in because I'm not actually a permanent Salt Lake City missionary and c) I probably shouldn't be driving anyway.  A few things I learned this week include:  Mexicans are very forgiving and patient with those who are trying to learn their language and they'll still understand you even if you conjugate something incorrectly.  The definition of "agua" is not limited to water, but includes juice, horchata, kool-aid, and basically any other drink.  Interesting mission story of the week:  We stopped by to visit Ernesto, who is planning on being married and baptized soon and has a 12 year old son who was baptized a few weeks ago.  I was feeling rather awful and we had eaten an abundance of taquitos at a member of the bishopric's house.  Gordo (the 12-year-old) informed us that his dad had just gotten home and was asleep and maybe we could try to talk to him later.  I became increasingly aware that I was not okay.  Luckily Gordo speaks perfect english and is a huge fan of the missionaries, otherwise it might have been awkward for me to ask if I could throw up in his bathroom.  Moral of the story, you never know what it is that's going to get you inside talking to investigators.  Once we were in, we were able to answer questions and plan for Ernesto.  Now, don't you worry about anything.  I got some nyquil, some rest, and a priesthood blessing, and I'm feeling much better.  I can actually breath through my nose!  I've really had to hit the ground running here.  There's no time to waste.  Get here, get with your companion, and go teach, testify, and invite people to be baptized, in spanish.  I'm not very good at it yet, but I can tell that with the help of the spirit I am rapidly improving.  They give us money periodically.  Because I'm not technically a permanent part of this mission, I don't actually have a card, so they put my money on Elder Chavez's card and then we go take it out of an ATM.  Simple enough.

Ok, so you got the bad story.  Now here's the good one.  Prepare yourself.  On Monday we went to do Temple Service in the Salt Lake Temple.  The first little bit of it was moving cabinets and stuff around and riding up and down in the freight elevator in the basement.  Then we went up to the fourth floor and moved the Apostles' chairs from their room to the solemn assembly room on the 5th floor.  You have to keep them in order because they're all memory foam and contoured to fit each individual apostle.  Then we put their personal hymn books, which they all write notes in (Elder Holland writes the dates that each is sung), on their chairs.  We couldn't find Elder Nelson's at first because it was on the organ in their room, because he had played the hymn on Sunday.  We also got to see the top of the dome.  Simply incredible.  Trivia question:  There are three portraits of the three witnesses outside the Apostles' meeting room.  Why are they there?  Do you know the answer?  I didn't.  Turns out the three witnesses were assigned to call the very first quorum of twelve in this dispensation.  Interesting stuff.  So I've now been inside the Salt Lake temple and in parts of it that most temple patrons don't go but haven't yet done anything redemptive in it.  I'll be downtown for conference making sure our investigators know where to go and we might even be able to get into a session.  We'll probably attend priesthood in Spanish with Ernesto and Gordo.  Not really sure what the plan is.  I'm excited though.

Let's see, you requested a typical day.  I haven't really had one of those yet, but I'll tell you some of the things that are fairly consistent.  Wake up at 6:25, excercise for half an hour, shower, eat, personal study, companion study (role play for practice).  Mornings like that are pretty regular, the time for language study shifts around depending on what we have going on in the mission and with appointments.  Dinner is usually at 5 and we are very well fed.  Good thing I like mexican food.  They put this sweet chili pepper powder stuff on watermelon.  I thought it was kinda weird, but I liked it when I tried it.  Have you ever heard of that?  Most of our teaching appointments are after dinner during the week because that's when the most people are home.  We keep pretty busy.  Sometimes people aren't home, so we leave them a note and go talk to someone else.  We always have someone to talk to.  It's great.  Anyway, life is good, the church is true, the book is blue.  Have a fantastic week.  I love you all!


Elder Brandon Kevin Fine
Reply to all

The Land of the Prophets

He leaves the MTC tomorrow (Thursday 9/23) for SLC.  I love that he referred to our family motto. (And Lauren also used it this past week in a BYU writing assignment).  If anyone doesn’t know, the Fine Family Motto is:

We’re going to do the best we can with what we have to work with.

This came from a few experiences where whining set in, and we heard things like, “Wow, this is hard”, and “It would be easier if….” – to which we would say (insert motto here).  We said it so many times, we started calling it our family motto and it has apparently stuck (much to my delight) – My kids actually remembered something I taught them, Hallelujah!!!

Thanks so much for your love and support.
From: Brandon Fine []
Sent: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 1:46 PM
To: Kevin Fine
Subject: Re: Letter from Mom 9-20-10

Mother, Father, Brothers and Sisters,

Today is my final day in the MTC.  I'm not feeling sick anymore, and my voice is back, so I'll actually be able to talk when I get to el campo.  Estoy tan animado para salir al campo.  I do not know the address of the Salt Lake City Mission, but I suspect that is something that you or I could easily find out by asking the right people or researching.  I saw the Patchetts yesterday!  They will be great missionaries.  That would be pretty crazy if I saw Dad and Ethan in Salt Lake over conference weekend.  I'm not sure how conference in the mission field, especially in Salt Lake, will be, but I'm sure it will be different.  I want you to know that I am not discouraged or disappointed at all in my reassignment to Salt Lake City.  Some of the Elders are, for some reason, thinking that preaching the gospel in Zion is less cool than Mexico.  The way I see it, God knew long ago that I would be called to Mexico City, but needed to serve first in Salt Lake.  There are people waiting in both of those places that I promised to teach the gospel to before I came to this earth.  I am not going there to wait until I get my visa.  I am going there to bring people to a knowledge of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Scriptural thought of the week:  "Why is missionary work so hard?"  Jeffrey R. Holland answers:  "Because Salvation is not a cheap experience!  It was not easy for the Savior.  How dare we think that we can do it without even coming close, experiencing an ounce, a tiny drop of the cup that He drank"  Similarly, President Simon Peter, the first president of the church after Christ, declared "Think it not strange considering the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.  But rejoice in that ye are partakers of the suffering of Christ" (1 Pet. 4: 12-13)  I'm pretty sure both of those are quoted wrong, but the message is there in both of them.  I do not expect it to be easy.  But I will happily and faithfully do the best I can with what I have to work with.  To paraphrase the apostle Paul, "The time of my departure is at hand.  I will fight the good fight.  I will finish my course.  I will keep the faith"  I finished reading the new testament all the way through today.  Good book.  The biggest thing I learned from it was that we REALLY need the Book of Mormon.  Also, the ministry and atonement of Jesus Christ are just amazing.  I like the manner of prophecying among the Nephites quite a lot better than the manner of prophecying among the Jews.  Like Nephi, "my soul delighteth in plainness."  Oh I almost forgot:  Adam, the tutor for our zone, Brother Warr, served in Baton Rouge.  I think he left right before you got there, but he knows a lot of the Elders from your mission that were there before, like Elder Fife.  Probably knows a lot of the members and investigators too.  Anyway, you're all Awesome.

Con todo el amor de mi corazon,

Elder Brandon Fine

A Fun Phone Call

I just got off the phone with Brandon.  It was so wonderful to hear his voice – of course I broke into spontaneous tears as soon as I knew it was him.  J

He had 4 minutes, and I shared some of those with Diane and Ethan. 

He is going to the Salt Lake City mission on Thursday (9-23), where he will serve (Spanish speaking) until his Visa comes through, at which time he will proceed to the Mexico City Northwest Mission, where he was originally called.  He doesn’t have any further info on how long he will be there, so it will be a surprise for all of us.

I guess it makes sense that it is cheaper/easier for the church to send him from Provo to Salt Lake for his waiting period than to send him anywhere else, but then again, maybe there is divine purpose in his stay in SLC.

Words cannot express how GREAT it was to talk with him, even just for a few minutes.  I love that boy!


No Visa, but he's still everywhere he wants to be


1) No
2) No
3) I do not yet know where or when, but I will almost certainly be reassigned.
4) Yes I did, and I love them.  I wonder why I didn't bring any of the amazingly gorgeous ties that I have the first time.

That's exciting to hear about your VT comp.  Even in the MTC I've had the opportunity to watch real people come unto Christ, and it is a beautiful experience.  If you remember the TRC volunteer I told you about that turnted out to be a real Catholic.  She wanted to be baptised, but wanted to put it off for a couple years because she was nervous about telling her parents and stuff like that.  Anyway, I haven't had much chance to talk to her, but I got her an English Book of Mormon and had her read 2 Ne. 31 (best chapter ever for showing people who have felt the spirit the need to act on it).  She emailed me today saying that she has been working with some friends and decided to be baptized on her birthday in January.  It's still a little far away, but I have faith that she will follow through with it, and since I'll be in Mexico, I won't really have much influence, so i'm glad her friends and neighbors are working with her. 

Still Alice:  I've heard of that book, but I didn't know what it was about...sounds interesting. 

I sang last week with a 4 other Elders in Sacrament Meeting "Conmigo Quedate Senor" (Abide with me, 'tis eventide) and I played the piano in Sacrament Meeting as well.  President Clegg (counselor in MTC presidency) and President Brown (counselor in District B presidency) were both there.  The week before that, i translated the testimonies into English for President Breinholt (other counselor in MTC presidency).  So we've had a lot of MTC higher ups visiting our branch lately substituting in for our own presidency which have been sick and on vacation a lot.  I'm so glad to hear about everything.  You should be getting some hand-written letters on fancy paper soon.  We've started using classtime exclusively for teaching lessons, lots of lessons.  It's great practice and I'm feeling comfortable teaching and explaining things.  Also, we're speaking spanish this week, and Elder Moss and I have both made a personal goal to not say a single English word tomorrow. 

I'm gonna get a haircut today, because we're supposed to get one the week we leave and that is supposed to be this week, but it will likely not be.  I ran into my old roommate Jeremy Cooper at the temple last week.  He served his mission in Chihuahua.  Anyway, he's engaged!  How about that!  I also saw a couple friends from my BYU ward across the street as I walked up to the temple on Sunday.  It was fun.  Oh, I forgot to mention last week that Elder Stephen Hancock is in my zone and his companion went to your high school, Parkway West, in St. Louis.  Anyway, the MTC is great and all, but I'm ready to get out of here and start Dan Jones-ing it up in Mexico, or wherever.

Much love,

Elder Brandon Fine

On Sun, Sep 12, 2010 at 4:22 PM, Kevin Fine <> wrote:
Hi Son,

The most important questions I have for you are

1)   Did your Visa come through?
2)   Are your going to Mexico City on Sunday?
3)   If not Mexico City, where are you going and when are you leaving?
4)   Did you get the ties we mailed to you?


Querida Familia,

Thanks for the updates!  I'm sorry to hear about Brother Sabbe, but the knowledge we have of the resurrection is very comforting, and will bring joy to many in Mexico.  I am so excited to go.  I should find out this week whether or not I have a visa.  I love my district and am so proud of all they are accomplishing.  We are all striving to obey all the rules, even the ones we don't understand.  Sometimes God gives us commandments just so he can give us more blessings for obeying them.  Speaking of pictures, I wouldn't mind getting some from you lot.  Or my ties, that would be good, too, please.  Take good care of the lemon tree.  Hermano Pace's last day was on Saturday and our new teacher is Hermano Diaz, a Peru native.  He's a really fun teacher and was the only one of the teachers in out class building who knew how to say "jellyfish" in spanish (medusa).  This was important because high fives are not allowed, so if someone were to attempt a high five, I would have to make a jellyfish motion with my hand to avoid breaking the rules.  I'm not sure if that made any sense.  Ask lauren to explain "jellyfish/bigger jellyfish."  I'm sure Adam will make the right decision.  The temple is a great place to ponder difficult questions, especially the 4:00 session on wednesdays ;) chiste.  Last night's devotional was Elder Hinckley (Yep, that Elder Hinckley); he and his wife taught us the keys to a successful mission.  The main thing I got from both of them was just to stay happy, be excited, and have a good attitude (Elder Hinckley also mentioned stay on your medication and be careful).  When he was a new mission president, he was feeling like maybe he couldn't do this for 3 years.  When he mentioned that to Sister Hinckley, she said "Why don't you call your dad and tell him you want to go home?"  After that he wasn't discouraged anymore.  He looks and sounds SO MUCH like his dad, it was kind of strange listening to him.


Elder Fine

For Dad:
After his talk, Elder Hinckley invited us to ask questions.  One Elder asked him "What was the most important thing you learned from your father?"  He replied, "He was not a preacher at home, but the example he set and how he lived his life was a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel."

Dad, I want you to know that I honestly cannot think of a better man than Kevin Paul Fine.  I have tried.  You have been that example for me, and because of that, I hold you higher in my mind than anyone else.  I love you, and I figured I needed to thank you for being such a great man, because not everyone is as lucky as I am to have the greatest man on the planet to be their father.  So thanks.

On Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 9:25 AM, Kevin Fine <> wrote:
Good Morning, Sonshine!

It is Monday morning and I am writing you before I head off to work. 

First, THANKS for sending pictures!  I loved them.  The one of you pointing on the map is on the fridge.  And I got your other pictures developed this week – so your plaque at church has your cute picture on it, and your picture on the wall is no longer your senior picture, but is a new missionary one, and I replaced that framed pic of Adam that we kept in the living room with a pic of my new missionary – so it was a picture filled week.   J

You look happy and well, which makes me happy!

Speaking of being happy – your sister is having the time of her life at BYU.  Here are a couple of texts I got this past week
“This library is possibly the most amazing place I’ve ever been.”
“On the first floor, they have an exhibit with original writings of famous authors like Charles Dickens – their actual handwriting.  I about died of joy. J

We skyped with her yesterday and she looked and sounded great.  Of course, today is the first day of classes, so the fun may dwindle somewhat with the actual “School” part of school. 

Adam was called to be the Sunday School President in his ward.  He will do a good job, I am sure.  From what I can tell, he is still deciding about whether to date Katie or Lanae – he hasn’t shared anything about it.  He wants to get it figured out first, then tell people – I guess that makes sense.

Diane is cheering in her first game on Thursday of this week.  I have never been to a Poston football game – but I will be going to several this year! 

Ethan will be starting soccer soon.  I hope he likes it.  I am a little tired of him practicing in the house!  But he is full of energy and is a good kid.

Yesterday was our first Sunday with just 2 kids. – kind of strange.  We sat on the same bench with the Millers.  We really can’t justify an entire bench to ourselves with just 4 people!  It still feels like home, though, and you three who are gone are often in our thoughts and conversations and always in our prayers.

I am going to John Sabbe’s funeral this morning.  He passed away last Thursday.  I am both happy and sad for him and Sandy.  These past few years have been hard.  This is when a testimony of the resurrection really matters. 

We pruned the lemon tree tons this weekend.  All of the branches had become so heavy, they were about to break.  I hope it will live.  – I know you think of that as your tree – and we are doing our best to have it be here and healthy when you return.

I was happy to hear about some VISA’s being on time.  I am very interested to see how that plays out for you.

Thanks for your fun letters. They make me smile all throughout the week J

Take care!


Un Mes

He Aqui, Uno Mes. (Behold, One Month)

Selections from the Missionary Journal of Elder Brandon Kevin Fine

Excerpt One.  21 Agosto, 2010

...At dinner, when I was getting salsa for my chimichanga, the Elder in front of me accidentally got a few drops of salsa on my favorite tie (the red paisley from Brother Barton).  I was pretty annoyed but I refrained from saying anything beyond "!En Serio!" to him; however, I did say other things when describing this event to my district.  I had scarcely done so when immediately my hand slipped and my fork flung salsa and sour cream all over my white shirt...Wo unto him that is quick to anger... Anyway, right after I had badmouthed this Elder, I had done far worse.  Clearly to teach me something of humility.  So I laughed it off and changed my shirt and tie and used an entire Tide to Go Pen.  Took Before and After pictures too, in case Tide ever wants to use the catch phrase "LDS missionaries support Tide to Go!"

Excerpt Two.  22 Agosto, 2010

...We took some great district photos at the temple with a Mexican flag.  Got some great ones of me wearing it like a cape and looking really heroic with Elder DeYoung's Mexico scarf like a sash.  Devotional was Stephen B. Allen.  I like him.  He allows us to take off our suit coats and is always fun and uplifting...

Excerpt Three.  24 Agosot, 2010

...Elder Moss and I taught the entire first lesson in spanish for the first time.  It went really well, could be better, but it was good...Elder Holland came today and gave the devocional (I accidentally spelled it in spanish in my journal).  It was amazing.  Such a strong spirit was there and it made me want to go Christlike the socks off of everyone in Mexico.  So motivating.

You should be getting some photos from me soon.  None of the photos that are mentioned will be included because they are too recent for me to have printed.  but there are some pretty great ones there.  I'm having a great time here and learning a ton.  If y'all want to send me Lauren and Adam's addresses, it'd be cool to send them letters at BYU.  I got almost no mail at BYU.  Recently, visas have gotten better.  A group going to Mexico got theirs ON TIME last week.  Entonces, we shall see.  My mission is open.  I do not have the address, but you might be able to find it online at this point.  There's a website where you can search for a mission or even a missionary and find the address.  When I checked it before I left, the Northwest mission was not on it, but it might be now.  The signs on the front are still gone.  I don't know that it was vandalism, that's just something that I heard here.  You can't be sure of a lot of things that you hear at the MTC.  Speaking of things I'm hearing, what is going on with BYU's sports program?  I heard they might go independent but haven't yet made the decision.  And...I really need more ties.  The ones I have aren't gonna last and there are some I left that I wish I had.  We figured out the trick to not having freezing showers, so that's good.  Anyway, the church is true.  The book is blue.  Moroni is on the ball.

Live long and prosper,

Elder Brandon Fine

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Loving It

Hey Familia,

Sounds like you've been pretty busy! I'm fully settled into the routine now and time just seems to go by so fast here, four weeks already! It seems like I got here yesterday. On sunday I was assigned to be the district leader for my district. In the MTC that means get mail and interview people once a week, and a couple extra meetings. Not too difficult. I guess the only thing that I might worry about is being the best example I can to the other missionaries. I'm finally understanding what "teach with the spirit" actually means. Yesterday Elder Moss and I taught Lesson 2 (the plan of salvation) to another missionary in our district, as himself, not pretending to be an investigator or anything. Because of a series of circumstances, we had no time to prepare our lesson. Nevertheless, as we involved the other missionary and taught him according to his needs and understanding, the spirit lead us in the best lesson we have yet taught. I actually learned something I didn't know and taught it in the same sentence. How does that work? No se. Anyway, spanish is coming along quite nicely, all the reflexives and subjunctives that don't exist in english are loads of fun. Dad, I don't think I'll have time today to write a spanish letter for you, but maybe. If not, thank you so much for answering my questions. Very Bednar-esque "Quit worrying about it." Sorry this letter is short because I had a few emails to read this week. One from the TRC investigator I told you about. This is very poorly organized writing. Anyway, take good decisions, have luck, make your prayers. God wants that you are happy. Speaking English in spanish is fun. It makes 4 weeks that I am in the center for training missionaries, and I love it.


Elder Brandon "The Power Convertor" Fine

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Visas and Rumors of Visas

Querida Familia,

There's an investigator I need to email today so that should save some time at the end. Also tell Sister Beecher I've been meaning to write her back and thank her for the donuts but time just disappears on P-day, I can't email pictures in the mtc because there's no way to get them onto the computers here and then into an attachment, but I should be printing some in the next week or so and I will send those home :) The food here is abundant, sometimes questionable, and extraordinarily unhealthy, I think I have actually managed to gain weight for the first time in a while, I'll keep doing resistance band curls and sit ups to prevent it from becoming a problem. This week in visa rumors: The head of the Mexican Consulate is taking a 2 week vacation starting sometime this week, and the Consulate in Utah is a mormon hater. Speaking of Mormon haters, the big concrete signs in front of the MTC are gone. Rumor (which is all we really get here) is that we got hate crimed and the signs were vandalized badly enough to warrant replacement. Well, I love you all and hope you are well. Dad, if you could read up on whether or not taping a memory card inside a cracker box or a pringles can or putting stickers of Jesus across the seal or any other variation of that and shipping it actually works? Let me know what you find out. Thanks!

Elder Fine

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Miracle of a Mission

Hola Familia,

Good to hear from you! The family reunion sounds like it was a lot of fun, sorry I couldn't be there, but I could still feel your love, so I guess that's all that matters. Speaking of temples, we get to go every week on P-day and it is buenicimo. Did I tell you Cathy Beecher sent me donuts last week? yeah. that was awesome. Especially since Elder Moss was kinda frustrated with me that day because I don't do anything quickly and he's a lot more task oriented than I am. also, he's 6'3" and walks really fast, or faster than I do...oh well, of all the things that could be wrong with a companionship, walking at different speeds isn't really the worst one, is it? Regarding visas, Mom, you're right that they used to send missionaries somewhere else once their time in the MTC was up and then send them to their mission. They are no longer doing that, first, because there are so many missionaries that are having this problem, and second, because they want missionaries to get to their assigned mission as soon as possible. If they have to wait too long for a visa, they will simply be reassigned permanently to a different mission. So, to answer your question, yes, there are missionaries that have been in the MTC for 16 weeks. I can't believe I've already been here for two weeks! At the same time, I can't believe it's only been two weeks. @Dad, I won't have time to write a spanish letter today, but you'll get one next week. Regarding parasites: One of the things they gave us along with our language study materials (which are brand new and really useful, Adam didn't even have the spanish materials that I do) was a water filtration bottle and an extra filter for it (so I have two charcoal filters). Supposedly you can put anything in this bottle and drink it. I read up on it and there is definitely nothing getting through that filter alive. Just to be safe though, I'll try to avoid stuff that has to be filtered in the first place. Well, my half hour is already almost up. Oh, and my departure date is 0919, not 0921, I guess it changed between the friday they sent it to me and the wednesday that I got here. So make sure to put that on letters, I don't think you have to worry about it on dearelder. And if Lauren could let facebook know, that would be nice. I miss you all, but I know that I am doing the right thing. I can feel myself changing for the better, and I know that the spirit is guiding me. My teachers, Hno. Hunt and Hno. Pace are awesome. They're very passionate about missionary work and I can tell that their missions meant a lot to them. We watched a video yesterday by Jeffrey R. Holland that he gave to the MTC in 2000 called "The Miracle of a Mission." If you can find it and watch it, I think you'll really enjoy it. He speaks more directly and passionately in it than I have ever seen him, and that's saying something, because he's Elder Holland, and he does not mess around. It really made me think about my purpose and what God wants for me. I have a minute and a half. Anyway, I am so thankful for all of you in my family for what a great example you are to me, especially to Dad and Adam, thank you for serving missions and being so respectable. I love you. Have a great week!


Elder Fine

The Joys of a New Life

Hi Family!

Since I don't have any email addresses, I'm just replying to your work email. Thanks everyone for the letters. I heard about Tempe Town Lake. Elder Hunt said it happened just before we left. I wasn't really paying attention when we drove past the Lake to get to the airport. I guess my mind was on other things. I haven't had a chance to play the piano. I am eating a lot. They're remodeling the gym right now so we all go accross the street to the missionary field to exercise. I usually play volleyball or frisbee or run. I also am using Adam's perfect push-up gizmos and they gave us an elastic band to work with in our rooms. There's also a pull-up bar in the hall so I use that too. P-day is today, wednesday, so that's when you guys will get email while I am in the MTC. I think it's great that you guys hung out with Logan and Tommy. They really are two of the best people I know, and I hope you guys continue to be friends even though I'm not there. Maybe Logan will ask Lauren on a date or something. I want to hear all about vacation and what you guys are doing. Dear Elder is free, and getting mail is fun, so just tell me something unimportant or random that happened that day, and I'll enjoy it. Dad, I wrote you a letter en espaƱol. You'll probably get it when you get home. If you want to correct it for grammar or make suggestions, that would be great, and also write or email me in spanish as well, I think it would be good practice for me. I probably won't have time to email in spanish, but that's okay. Well I made it through the first week and all the initiations are over and we're finally in a consistent routine. I'm actually doing much better at the 10:30/6:30 thing than I thought I would be. I guess early to bed and early to rise really does make a man healthy and wealthy and wise...okay maybe not wealthy, but I can definitely see the blessings of obedience in how well I am learning the language and teaching skills. I think spanish comes a little more naturally to me just from hearing it a lot. I wish I was better at teaching, but I guess that's why they send us to the MTC before we go into the field. A warning for you all: it is highly likely that I will have to wait for my visa. There are missionaries that have been here 16 weeks (that's a 6th of their mission!) waiting to go to Mexico City. They just had us fill out a form that I remember filling out once already for our visa applications. Hopefully all goes well. I think I get to call you guys when I get my travel plans, so that'll be exciting. Okay, almost out of time, so...I love you all and you'll be hearing from me next week! Have fun!


Elder Brandon Fine

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Elder Brandon Fine's First Day at the MTC

Hi everyone. This is Adam Fine, Brandon's older brother. This morning I dropped Brandon off at the Provo Missionary Training Center. Brandon will live at the MTC for the next nine weeks as he studies Spanish, learns from Preach My Gospel and the scriptures, and prepares himself to enter the mission field in the Mexico City Mexico Northwest Mission. Throughout his mission, I will be updating this blog with his most recent letters and pictures and his current address. Thank you for your support of my brother in his service.