For your "closet mechanic" neighbor, a cellphone with a camera could have been his best friend but hindsight is 20/20.
Briggs parts break down will not be helpful. About your only hope is that a picture may be available in the MTD's online owners manual, but even that's a stretch. Beyond that a Briggs service manual may have something that can give you a few hints.
It's not brain surgery--should be only two cables, a throttle cable and a choke cable. Should not be difficult to determine what goes where.