Testimony of Tim Brown
2001
Saturday June 30, 2001
I really wasn’t looking forward to this trip.  I was doing it more out of obligation
to Mike than anything else—not the best way to start the trip.  But, there were
older people going on the trip that might need medical attention and that added
incentive to go.
We started our trip with a prayer.  Mike asked me if I would offer it.  As I began
to pray I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.  At the point I knew that this was
going to be more than just a “trip.”
Neil talked about a lot of things, but to me the “hill” was the most alluring
subject.  In private conversation with Neil, we talked about the “treasure” buried
there and how they might be brought forth.  Neil has truly been blessed with
knowledge and insight.
Oh, to be able to see the treasure hidden in Hill Cumorah.  What wondrous gifts
await the faithful.  Not for personal gain, but to be able to bring forth to the
world the LIGHT of God’s plan.  To be a part of a work that validates the
testimony of Christ to the world!  What an honor!
We arrived in San Antonio, Texas about 8:30 PM and I shared a room with Mike
and Neil.

Sunday July 1, 2001
We had a Communion Service as a group.  Again, the Spirit was present.  We
shopped at Wal-Mart in Laredo, Texas for last minute items before we crossed
the border.  The border crossing was not uneventful.  We started the process at
about 12:30 and at 3:45 we are still waiting for our bus permit.  Mike and Neil
are working to accomplish this task—finally, we have the permit.  We are off to
Saltillo, Mexico.
Let’s see, where do I start?  My worst fears have been validated—Mike is a
criminal!  We left the border somewhere around 4 PM and got into Saltillo about
8 PM.  We ate a good dinner.  After putting everyone to bed, Mike, Neil and I
went to fuel the bus and service the bus restroom.  While we were out someone
hit the bus with their vehicle after Mike had completed making a left turn.  The
truck was totaled and the passenger was injured.  I attended to his injuries until
the ambulance arrived.  The police then arrested Mike and impounded the bus.  
A taxi driver stopped at the scene and helped us with the mechanical workings of
the bus, then he took Neil and I from the impound lot to the police station to try
to help Mike.  To shorten an extremely long story the taxi driver stayed with Neil
and I, drove us all over the city, helping us with the police, the hospital, the
insurance, and just about everything else.  Mike was finally released, the bus was
returned to our use, and we were once again free to continue our trip.  I am
certain that Satan was trying to divert and discourage us and God provided the
means to liberate us through this goodly taxi driver.

Monday July 2, 2001
After touring Saltillo all night and into the morning we got back to the hotel at
about 1 PM and still had not got fuel in the bus.  We got things in order and
finally left Saltillo about 2 PM.  We arrived at a hotel in Queretaro about 10 PM.  
It was raining.  The motel was nice.  Mike Neil, and I went to get a bite to eat.  We
talked about the “hill,” the challenges that were before us and the blessings we
had received thus far.  The bed at the hotel was a rock!

Tuesday July 3, 2001
We left Queretaro and ate breakfast at a place called Las Mission—a great buffet
with atmosphere.  Even though we have spent long hours on the road with late
night suppers, the group has bonded and supported each other in an
unbelievable way.  We are bonding for a reason.
We arrived in Teotihuacan around 2:30 PM.  It was overcast and storm clouds
were building.  Allie, who works for Mike and lives in Mexico City, met us and
guided us to the pyramids.
While there I had a tremendous experience.  As we were leaving the Temple of
Quetzalcoatal the lightning and thunder was increasing.  Neil, Joseph and I
walked up the “Avenue of the Dead” to the Pyramid of the Sun.  We met the
group there and a cold breeze began to blow and the lightning drew even closer.  
As we left the pyramid of the Sun and headed to the covered murals, it began to
rain fairly steady.  With the rest of the group running forward I began to slow
down and I started to pray.  The simple prayer was for my brothers and sisters
that may never get the chance to see this place again—just then the rain stopped
and the breeze turned warm.  I sit in awe as I write this and contemplate the
glorious blessings of my Heavenly Father.  The storm split with rain on one side
and rain on the other side, we only got a few sprinkles.  We ended the day with a
dinner in a cave at the pyramids—very nice. We spent the night in Mexico City.

Wednesday July 4, 2001
Happy Independence Day!  We had breakfast at the hotel then went to the
Museum of Anthropology where we saw some very interesting stuff.  Had lunch
there, and went to Cuilcuilco.  This site was being excavated.  This was a great
site and as we were walking back it began to rain again!  On our way out of town,
Mike got stopped again and had to pay a bribe, I mean a fine, so that we could
continue.
Finally we got out of Mexico City and headed to Puebla.  It is beautiful country.  
As we were coming down off the mountain just outside of Puebla, the u-joint on
the drive shaft broke in a very convenient place I might add.  We limped into a
Pemex station and made some phone calls.  We decided that we could probably
coax the bus into Puebla. As we pulled back onto the highway the drive shaft quit
completely. The people from the hotel in Puebla met us with a pick up and a
van.  We sent everyone with Mike into Puebla in the van while Neil and I
unloaded the luggage out of the bus and into a small covered pick-up.  The police
stopped us and said we needed to get a mechanic or have the bus towed.  Neil
and I piled into the pick-up with the driver and followed the police to the next
rest stop that happened to have several mechanics.  We piled into the small pick-
up with the driver, Neil, and Mechanic #1 in front and Mechanic # 2 with all the
tools and myself and the luggage in the back.
The mechanics got to work on the bus and in about 1 ½ hours they had the parts
removed from the bus to take it back to the shop to repair it.  Again, we piled into
the truck (same arrangement), gave them 300 pesos for parts and headed for the
hotel.  We got to the hotel about 2 AM, unloaded, and prepared for bed.  Mike
had supper waiting for Neil and I—very thoughtful.  Thank you, Mike.  We went
to bed about 2:45 and talked and laughed for ½ hour or so.  Crazy.

Thursday, July 5, 2001
Neil and I got up about 7 AM, ate breakfast and traveled to the mechanic shop to
pick up Mechanics # 1 and # 2 with the parts to fix the bus.  Success!!  We
arrived at the hotel about noon, ate lunch, loaded the group and went to
Cacaxtla.  We left for the ruin about 2:45 and got back in about 6 PM. Earlier
while Neil and I were getting the bus fixed the group visited a ruin called
Cholula.  Everyone else ate dinner at the hotel, while Neil and I went downtown
to pick up stuff for tomorrow.  It’s now about 11:52 PM.  I’m going to read a little
bit from the Book of Mormon and go to bed.

Friday July 6, 2001
Happy Birthday, Mom.  We left Puebla and took the back roads to Tuxtepec.  
Talk about a “white knuckle” road, or path, or trail—it all depended on where you
were on the route.  It took about 8 hours to get to Tuxtepec, but as we were
coming out of the mountains there stood a majestic hunk of rock.  It was huge!!  
We were informed this was Cumorah and that’s where we are planning to hike
up tomorrow.
We got to Tuxtepec, into the hotel and we made plans for the hike.  As High
Priest Stanton Brown (dad) offered a prayer over our forthcoming hike the Holy
Spirit was present in abundance.  I had major problems trying to sleep.

Saturday July 7, 2001
We got up at 3 AM.  A taxi came about 4 AM and five of us piled into the little
vehicle.  Riding in the back seat felt like being in a sardine can.  We got to the hill
about 5 AM and entered the lower portion of the hill through a gate we had
spotted the day before as we drove by.  Neil Steede, Mike Brown, Joseph
Mangum, Wayne Stanton, and I started up the mountain with machete in hand
and hope in our hearts.  Finally, we made it to the cliff face about 12:30 PM and
started searching for the landmark below the cave that Neil had told us about.  
Okay, I was stupid and got separated from the rest of the group, then proceeded
to get lost.  I figured that if I headed downhill I would eventually get to the
pasture and then the road.  So, around 4:30 I started down.  I hadn’t had any
water since we split up about 12:30.  Not a smart move.  I finally made it to the
pasture and every muscle in my body decided it wanted to punish me by
cramping up—they succeeded.  Eventually, I got hooked up with everyone else,
but all the water was gone by then.  I know they thought I was dead so why save
any water for the dead guy?
Anyway, at about 9 PM we were able to catch the last bus of the day from Jalapa
de Diaz to Tuxtepec.  Physically, it had to be the most exhausting day of my life.  
We were successful in locating the cave area, but that was about it.  Neil’s foot
was in really bad shape—it looked like a piece of hamburger.  He really did a
number on it. It serves him right for drinking all my water (just kidding).  No
trouble sleeping tonight.

Sunday July 8, 2001
Left for Villahermosa.  We stopped at La Venta and Comalcalco on the way.  Neil
ran into an archaeologist friend at Comalcalco.  What a neat place!

Monday July 9, 2001
Went to Palenque.  Awesome place!  We spent most of the day there.  We saw
the inscriptions at the Temple of the Cross.  To think, we were standing in the
square at Bountiful where Christ walked and taught.  If only the stones could
talk.  What stories would they tell?  We spent the night in Hotel Palenque in the
town of Palenque.

Tuesday July 10, 2001
We’re coming home.  This time we are driving along the Gulf Coast for the most
part.  We were talking on the bus and since most of our pain from the “hike” had
subsided, it was decided that we should return to Cumorah next spring and be a
little more prepared.  We’ll try to establish a group who want to give substance to
their faith.  We drove by a fatality accident on our way to Veracruz.  Spent the
night in Veracruz.

Wednesday July 11, 2001
Scenic drive back to the border.  Crossed over to the USA late in day.  The
crossing was uneventful.  Mike was NOT arrested.  We spent the night in San
Antonio, Texas.

Thursday July 12, 2001
Home at last.  This trip will be remembered for years to come.  What a blessing.  
For someone who wasn’t looking forward to going it had a tremendous impact
on my life.  I can easily say it has set me on a new path and I’ll never be the same.