Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pushing to be better - December 19, 2016

EYY! I am super excited to talk to you all on Sunday! Thank you all SO VERY MUCH for the package! I got it intact (including Emma's surprise--I CALLED IT). All I have been hearing of the States here is that it is COLD everywhere, so it is good to hear that you're all alive. Yes, I will call around 3, or perhaps later--I'm not sure exactly how long the others will take or when they will call, but just keep skype open and in mind. 

This week was a bit slow as far as the work goes--I feel like I'm hitting a missionary's block--that part of your mission when you have enough time to be considered a veteran but you still have a lot of imperfections and still need to be overcoming them but are getting senioritis about it. I know I am not a very effective missionary compared to my potential and compared to what is taught in Preach My Gospel and the Missionary Handbook. I know what things I have to do to get better: I know I need to talk to everyone and ask for more references from everyone and to manage time in lessons better to make sure there is always a baptismal invitation and a couple of commitments at the end of the lesson. I know I need to have more courage in talking to people in buses and cabs, I need to find a better way to work with less actives and recent converts who are struggling, and I need to be more sincere and focused in prayer and in study. Even when I split these goals down into daily or hourly fractions, there is always opposition (which is to be expected). However, most of the opposition isn't from other people--it is from myself. I fight against the Spirit because I am afraid or because I want to wait for "the right person." Then I wait expecting a response and don't feel special about anyone, and thus don't talk to anyone. I have become too comfortable being a missionary who teaches without finding, and one who waits for people to come to him. One can have success to a degree as such a missionary, but...not enough. I am not meeting the Lord's standard. Our mission has the vision of baptizing 300 or more people a month, because we have the faith that there are more than enough people waiting for us out there. Think about 300 people compared to the 4,000,000 that live in the East Mission. That is NOTHING. Somehow I still can't get myself to do anything about it though. We are doing a "holy week" as a mission this week, in the which we have all committed to be EXACTLY obedient for AN ENTIRE WEEK, and to repent with all sincerity when we fail. I am seeking the strength to be that better missionary the Lord wants me to be especially this week--I am learning a lot about sincere prayer and true repentance. Pray that I can have that strength, please--I'm going to need it. In the last week the opposition has gotten much, much stronger on all sides. Simple failures and general errors have come back that I thought I had left behind transfers ago, and it is getting harder and harder to be obedient and focused. I don't want to fail, but if I continue moping about about how hard it all has become I will never progress. I love you guys so much. You are all great examples to me. I know that the Lord has many blessings in store for each of you, and I know that He lives and really can bless us with strength. I have faith that He can help me become more than I am and that He can truly change my heart. 

Have a great week, and see you on Sunday!
Élder Rowe

PS--Sorry that was a bit of a negative rant--I just felt that I needed to share it with you. The Spirit has really helped me to further commit to these goals as I have shared them with you. In a mission tour we had recently, Elder Zivic of the 70 talked to us about breaking paradigms and sharing our vision. I can testify that as we share our vision with others and with the Lord that He gives us the willpower to do it. I feel the Spirit so strongly now that I have shared this with you, and I hope that each of you can set some goals for who you want to be and what you want to do this year. Then, share them with me--how you can be more exactly obedient to the Lord this year, or this month, or even this week--in our call Sunday. Try it as an experiment: plan everything out down to days and weeks, imagine yourselves reaching your goal, then share it with me and with each other before you go out to do it, and I promise that each of you will feel the Spirit carrying you through opposition until you become or change what you want to.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Brain Splurge (more than usual) - Dec 12, 2016


  It is always the same temperature here--at least 75 degrees with 100% humidity. The good thing is that I live by the ocean so we get a nice breeze and occasional rainfall.

Brad asked ...In the last month:

   1.  Best thing you made to eat:  Black Bean Smoothie (black beans boiled with cinnamon, sweet cloves, and a bit of nutmeg, thrown into a blender with evaporated canned milk and sugar. Can be served hot or cold.)
  2. Favorite food/meal eaten:  Sancocho (everything stew--too many ingredients to list here. Served over white rice)
  3. One thing you wish you had not eaten:  Mondongo (diced sautéed cow stomach with sauce served over white rice)
  4.  Largest family seen under one roof(give approx number):  15, in a house the size of the upstairs living room there in WA
  5. Most interesting member of your ward/branch:  M****, a recent convert who always tells us to "not drink too much rum or party too much without inviting him." He is 20, and he has become a total bro. Whenever he's not working he accompanies us to lessons wherever we need.
  6. Happiest moment:  When we got a 7 km ride home for free after helping a guy start his truck by pushing it, when we had no money and were going to miss ward council for having to walk the whole way. That day we had already seen A TON of tender mercies (we had found 2 new investigators who were über interested), but that took it over the top.
  7. Most memorable teaching experience:  An agnostic came up to us in the middle of a lesson and started ripping on us for being too focused on religion and not enough on God; we somehow managed to save the spirit of the lesson when he walked away.
  8. Craziest companion "antic":  My companion is peaceful. In the house, though... ELder O***** came running from one room to another shouting something while I was doing my DL call and slipped into a full splits on the floor that was slick from an AXE spray war he'd started just minutes before.
  9. Funniest thing your heard someone say:  It's a joke that is better told in person. It is WAY too long and loses its effect when written.
  10. Grossest thing seen(I'm asking for Elijah's benefit):  A pile of day-old chicken-butchering leftovers so covered in maggots it looked like the feet were still twitching
  11. Most spiritual moment:  When we invited a couple of long-time investigators to be baptized this dec. 23 in a huge stake-wide baptismal service and they both accepted with excitement and started making plans to do so.

  Transfers indeed came, and...everything stayed the same! One of the other elders in our house (Elder C*****) got sent away and we got Elder G***** (Elder "G") in the house now. Energy, excitement, and positivity are as high as ever!

OSKAY. Now I can relax a bit.

Not too much is new in the work here. Oh, except that on Thursday there was announced a White Night (stake-wide baptismal service) for December 23. And the 40-day process of purification (as far as exact obedience goes) we started as a zone on Sunday. And the super-prepared family who are going to be baptized that day (they have been investigators for months but haven't been baptized for a number of reasons, all of which have since been cleared up). Not to mention the new half-american family Elder C**** and I found on Saturday who already knew the missionaries and who asked at the end of the lesson if we could start making weekly visits and teaching them together with their kids. And that's not counting the other new investigator who contacted us asking for English practice but ended up being more interested in the Restoration than in English, and who has been reading the Book of Mormon like crazy. All in all, a pretty sick week.

That is all that's on my mind at the moment--my brain is mush today for some reason. I love you guys and miss you. Hope everything goes well this week, and enjoy the cold (oh, how I miss it)!

Élder Rowe

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Jacob's not letter - Dec 5,2016

power went out at the other internet center, and so we ran 20mins to another one to finish the mission stuff and send you this. Life sucks sometimes. Love you guys!
Élder Rowe

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Power issues in the DR- Nov 28, 2016


I don't know what it is about going to the temple that is so exhausting, but it really is. We went through (3 of the zones in the mission) on Friday, which involved getting up at 5 in the morning and being at the temple until 3.  I pulled out some money and bought my district pizza today. The crust was great, but it had low-quality, sweet sauce and weak cheese. We ate at the Conde, which is a street in the colonial city section of Santo Domingo (pretty cool, if we ever decide to do a DR trip--lots of old buildings, artifacts, and general history to be seen. Did you know that the DR has received US military interventions twice here? Once was to try to make it a US territory in the 19-teens, and once was what they call the "war of april," when the US sent troops to prevent a rebellion against the dictatorship they were in favor of.). Lots of touristy stuff for sale. Especially this one kind of precious stone only found here on the island called Larimar (it's a really cool light blue, and when I am leaving the mission I'm going to get some for you guys--earrings, bracelets, rings, necklaces, you name it, they have it in larimar).

So, yeah, Thanksgiving was not a thing until at the end of district meeting one of the sisters in the zone said "Happy Thanksgiving." Suffice it to say we did nothing. Scratch that, last Sunday I ate a canned beef stew for lunch because we had to run back to the chapel so I could play the piano for another ward's conference. 
That is quite the Thanksgiving experience. At least there were delicious leftovers! XD

 I emailed on Tuesday (I asked why he emailed last week on Tuesday instead of Monday) because power was out up here Monday, and our only internet center is in Hipódromo (where the power was out), AND it doesn't have an inverter-battery system. We still haven't moved to the apartment we were discussing, and I think it's for a couple of reasons--first because there are some companionship unity problems in the house (at least there were until recently), and second because President is now into arranging transfers full-time. We find out what will go down on Saturday night, and I am still in shock of how fast the time has flown.

Hey Dad, I think I may have grown around half an inch thus far, but it can be hard to tell sometimes because these Dansko shoes make me a full inch taller. Props to Elijah for the growth spurt! (We measured Elijah and he is now 5' 6") I think it would be cool if he passed me up, because we'd get the full reversal family-wide: younger brother taller than older brother taller than dad, and younger sister taller than older sister taller than mom (We measured last night and Emma and I are about the same but Jessica is about an inch taller than both of us.) Ha!

So... power went out and this is all that Google had saved when I got back on... welcome to the DR. XD

Love you guys! This week was slow, so you're not missing much by the fact that I can't write anything more. Until next week!
Élder Rowe

(I googled it and found this picture of Larimar)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My Brain is Mush - Nov 22, 2016

We had our first baptism Saturday (in this area)!! A lady named A**** from our area finally got her chance! She has been waiting for a long time, and was basically a dry member. She hasn't been able to be baptized for some time because her boyfriend wouldn't marry her, but he suddenly moved away upon my arrival in the area, and so she is good to go. She will be super faithful and active.

Thursday we went to the temple with the ward and investigators. A**** couldn't go, but a whole family who we've been working with went. We are trying to prep them for December. They have a charitable foundation which, among other things, provides free English classes. the downside is that the professor can only show up Sunday mornings. We were thinking of offering our services another day so that they could clear up Sunday mornings to come to church. The wife is a dry member and has a HUGE testimony (even told us a story of how a few months back she dragged the missionaries form house to house of her diseased friends offering them priesthood blessings because of how great her faith was in their capacity to bring healing!), and the husband's testimony is slowly growing. The only thing right now is that they can't go to church...GAAH! The best people always have the most opposition between them and baptism--this I had never realized before the mission.

Well, I'm not exactly sure of what else I can say. I am exhausted, and can't believe that we are now in Week 5 of the transfer. This transfer has gone by incredibly fast. It is as if each week is fast, although each day takes FOREVER. While the ward went cold just before we got here, we are working super hard to reactivate and rejuvenate them, and I love the people here. We are going to go through the temple as a mission this friday, and I am super excited. I have been preparing myself (and as a mission we have been preparing ourselves) more than I think I ever have in anticipation thereof.

I love and miss you guys. More from me next week. Also, tomorrow I hit 14 months (WAAAAAT?). Time flies when you're serving the Lord.

Élder Rowe

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

An Average Week - Nov 14, 2016

Life treated me pretty well this week. Nothing too crazy, nothing too unusual, nothing too exciting. I did get a few birthday miracles, though. They were mostly small things that would require a ridiculous amount of explaining to give context to, but for example we were waiting for a bus in the dark to get home and some members pulled up and gave us a ride that put us home exactly on time. Don't freak out--we knew they were members right away because they had General Conference playing on their windshield-mounted phone, and it turns out they are from a neighboring ward and are siblings of a family here in Los Molinos.

We set our first baptismal date of the transfer and month on Tuesday! Her name is A****, and she has been waiting on her boyfriend to commit more to the gospel and to marry her so that she can get baptized. Suddenly the boyfriend decided that there was nothing there for him and moved out, and so now she can get baptized. WOOT! We are super grateful and excited.

We're looking into moving out of our house of 4 (at the request of the office elders) and we found a pretty nice little apartment out in La Ureña where we work, so that we don't have to pay 160+ pesos every day just in transportation. Updates on that later.

On Friday, we did a service project for an investigator of the other elders here in Los Molinos, which involved shoveling up a pile of dirt, rocks, tile, cinder blocks, and general trash in one corner of the yard and depositing it in another corner of the yard to make the dirt even. We got some lovely blisters from that one (yes, we've been using antibacterial ointment and bandages).

Sunday we met with a couple of Haitians for lessons (in our area there are TONS of them). One of the guys speaks Spanish pretty well, so we taught in Spanish, but the other only speaks Creyole and English, so I taught in English and translated for Elder C***** (it also helps that he lives with a young RM in the ward named B**** who speaks Spanish, English, AND Creyole). Both are super interested in finding out for themselves, seeing as they are both surprisingly well-educated. We are looking forward to much progress there.

I actually do feel older, having hit 20. When you're 19, you think of people who are 21 or 24 as so much older, but when you hit 20 that mental barrier is broken and you start to realize how close to your age they are. I imagine that the same-age spectrum only widens with time. It has been really weird trying to remember to tell people I am 20--my companion has had to remind me a couple of times XD. The weirdest thing, though, is that I will return from the mission at age 20. I am rapidly approaching my last Christmas, New Year's, and Easter in the DR. That is INSANE. Time just needs to slow down and take a breather, because as of right now all it's been doing is accelerating.  I have found so much joy in being here serving others, and I don't want it to end. but, it's like (I-can't-remember-which-general-authority) said: We are celestial beings unaccustomed to the ending and beginning of things. We expect everything to last forever, but this world is nothing if not temporal. 

I love all you guys. I hope everything is going well for you. I pray for you. I feel your prayers. Share the Gospel! It feels so good. Make a goal to spread the good tidings especially this Christmas season. Invite the whole world to come and see! 

Till next we meet,
Élder Rowe

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

That week where things didn't go as planned but are looking good for the future - Nov 7, 2016

Let me start from the beginning of the week, so I can keep my thoughts in order.

Monday--Went to eat Mexican food, did shopping, met our ward's 1st counselor in the bishopric (after a week in the area not knowing him), no lessons.

Tuesday--Called at 6 in the morning to remind me to be at the mission office at 7 to renew my residential visa (in other words, I was not advised; I was asked by the elder who was supposed to do an exchange to go with me, who was waiting for me further down the route). Got an agenda (got organized again), had ward council (SUPER people-focused; it was awesome), no lessons.

Wednesday--Paid $$ to get out to La Ureña--nobody was home. Had correlation mtg (not effective at all--just us and the 2nd counselor in the bishopric), then found the ward mission leader's house and visited him. He is a programmer, and leaves home at 5 every morning only to come home at 8 pm, and is thus not able to fulfill his role as ward mission leader; no lessons.

Thursday--Stumbled though weekly planning, but made plans to contact some investigators the missionaries were already visiting. Ate Venezuelan arepas with a Venezuelan lady in our ward. Lost 2 hours there because other elders got too comfy; no lessons.

Friday--Morning spent walking in the sun in the semi-american neighborhood to no avail. Met R**** (recent convert) in the afternoon, and out of nowhere she referred her best friend to us. Super shy, but super receptive (also friends of other religions are bugging her to join ANY religion, and were pumped when they walked by and saw us sharing). Also met with recent-convert-less-actives R*** and W***, who are struggling with the simple doubts (well, he is--if it were for her, she would go every Sunday. but she can't with her small children unless her husband takes her there on his motorcycle); lessons.

Saturday--International Day of Service (at least, in the Caribbean Area). Cleaned some streets and a mini rec center. In the afternoon frantically helped a sister in the ward move (no priesthood could be there except the guy with a pickup) before rain and Sunday ended all prospects of continuing. There went the whole day. No lessons.

Sunday--R**** didn't bring her friend (didn't even come), and R*** and W*** didn't show (again). Went to La Ureña, set up lots of appointments, met a guy who talked to us for an hour and a half as we tried in vain to direct his ramblings, and met a lady who is 100% ready for baptism who has already had a baptismal date with whom we are going to set a date for this weekend if we can.

Today--usual P-day stuff; Went to Megacentro (I ate a very large [XXL, to be precise] burrito from Taco Bell and ate 200 pesos of raspberry-kiwi frozen yogurt), bought more cologne [they have lacoste white here :)] at a place that mixes the fragrance with other stuff so it lasts longer  and sells it cheap (I got 50 ml for 580 pesos, and that with an "8-hour guarantee" [if the fragrance doesn't last 8 hours on you, bring it back for a refund or exchange]).

Jessica--(She asked how keeping the Sabbath day holy has helped him on his mission.) Keeping the Sabbath day holy is something I thought would be impossible to not do as a missionary, but the point of the Sabbath day is to not do stuff we'd do other days. Even if it means just ironing and shining shoes the day before, it makes a HUGE difference in how you feel during the day. Also, having a focus and repenting BEFORE you get to sacrament meeting makes it SUPER spiritual and special.

Mom--(I sent quotes from Pres Benson's talk on pride given in April of 1989 by Pres Hinckley.) Thanks for the notes on pride. I feel like it really is true that many of us sin in ignorance. It is one of the hardest sins to avoid and repent of. Could you send the entire talk in an attachment next week? (already done :) ) I want to print that out and study it in full.

Love you guys! More spiritual stuff next week--this week I feel kind of de-focused because of the lack of teaching and all the stuff that happened. 

Élder Rowe

D****'s baptism from his last area

A nasty infected mosquito bite.  He says it is healed now.

The U**** family from his last area

His new Companion Elder C**** and the mission President and his wife

Missionaries love to eat :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Santa Vaca! - October 31, 2016

I don't have much time, so I'm just going to brain splurge:

It feels like I just went through the last 12 months of the mission this week. Whitewashing stinks in this area. We live in a house of 4, but we all work in the same ward. My ward (Los Molinos) extends from the Km. 12.5 of the Las Americas highway until Valiente (it's like 9 kilometers long). The area division is pretty stupid, but we survive. My area is Invi-Dorex and La Ureña. The other elders have everything else in between. It costs 80 pesos for a round trip to la Ureña (because we'd waste a lot of time walking). It's about a half-hour walk to the ocean from where we live in Invi-Dorex, but there are no beaches. We just take public transit everywhere, to have as much proselyting time as possible. Invi-Dorex (we just call it Hipódromo) is full of rich people with almost American style houses (lawns, high fences, two stories, open layouts, etc.) and apartments. There are some members who live up there (ourselves included), but it stinks as far as proselyting goes. People hardly live in their houses, and when they are home they make sure it looks like nobody's home. I've only been down to La Ureña twice and it is huge; however, from what little I've seen it will be the best as far as proselyting and finding investigators goes. The thing that stinks is that it's a 10 minute, 25 peso bus ride and a 15 minute walk from the church, so a lot of investigators and members out there struggle to come to church for money reasons. It is half city (the half by the Las Americas highway) and half campo (up by the Av. Ecológica), and there is always a lot of movement. It feels more homey to me, seeing as I have been in the city for a year. My new son is a stepson,  Elder C**** from Sinaloa, México. Stepson because I am technically finishing his training, since he served one transfer in the Mexico DF North mission while awaiting his visa. The other two guys in my house are Elder Co*** (7 months) from Portland and Elder O**** (13 months--my group) from Brasil. The district is just us four. I have been a little disappointed by the obedience in the district and zone thus far. There seemed to be so much more unity, effort, and organization in Hainamosa, and Las Americas A has been different. Not to say it can't get better, nor to say it is the fault of anyone in particular. Suffice it to say that there will be some changes in the obedience of my household ASAP. I always thought that such things as I'm seeing had been done away with already, and that I was still somewhat disobedient by lack of effort. I don't meant to be prideful, but I feel like I need to bring some others up to the level that I'm at before we can push for consecration. I just hope that the Lord can tell me how to do so without pride and without causing problems between our companionships.

Yikes that sounds so negative. I need to better my attitude this week. I have tons of pics, but they will have to wait. Basically, all I am saying is that there is a lot of work ahead of me right now. I just need to take things one day at a time. 

I love you guys. I pray ever for your safety and well-being. I feel your love and support; I really do. It is hot here. Really hot. I got sunburned for the second time on my mission (my first time since training) when we went out to La Ureña to just walk around with the other Elders (ELder Co*** was just serving there) and meet people. Our house was messy and full of junk, but we got most things organized, cleaned, and trashed already. Talk to you more coherently next week!

Élder Rowe

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

So Transfers are Happening... Oct 24, 2016

AYYY. Whattydo?
Before anything else, we had a baptism this Saturday! D****, an early 40s lady with a rather strong temperament, asked that I baptize her. She showed up late (in classic Dominican fashion) but made it on time (to the minute) for her confirmation Sunday. Her 15 year old daughter M**** is now next in line, but she still feels too unready to even set a date. However, we'll see what the Spirit has to say about that one...
I am (finally) leaving Villa Esfuerzo (everyone has been saying so since Thursday). I will be headed to Los Molinos B in the Las Americas zone (my area goes from the Hipódromo [hippodrome] to the ocean, if you want to look it up on a map). I will be training (round 3), and being a district leader again. By virtue of training and transferring at the same time, I will also be whitewashing. :/  So yeah, that's happening. The good news is that I will be in a house of 4, and one of the missionaries in my house just spent four months in my area before getting transferred to the other half of it. That will make life easier. Blessings are everywhere guys--you've just got to look for them.
One of my converts here, E****, has plans in this week to give the missionaries TONS of references. We are super pumped about that. We also met with a less active lady this week named C**** (she showed up at church this Sunday--WOOT). C**** has about 2 years as a member, but around 7-9 months of that being less active. She has the most incredible testimony of prayer that I have heard in anyone. She shared experience after experience and her eyes filled with tears as the Spirit flooded her house. She has just been making excuses about people visiting her as reason to not go to church, but she felt the need to return and stay back. She is a sure reactivation.
On Friday we had a couple of great lessons, but then everything started falling, and we weren't sure why. We then saw 3 miracles in a row. We went to tell Hna. M**** (another recent convert) about D****s
baptism, and by chance came across her in the street before getting there. We also coordinated so that she could bring C***** to church, or at least remind her. We then wanted to go by Hna. J****, who has been bringing an 11 year old daughter-of-a-friend named A****to church, to see if she and A**** could go to the baptismal service. We promptly proceeded to see her getting home from work, and got to chat with her. We decided to invite the U**** family to the baptism in person, since they are the primary fellowshippers of D****, and went by their house. By chance they had just gotten home. Hno. U**** had been sick early that morning and went to the hospital because he was chest-congested, and just as he left the hospital he had to go pick up his wife from work early, because she was feeling bad. They went to a different hospital, and as it turns out Hna. U**** had that day lost a baby she didn't know she had (2 weeks) because she was overexerting herself at work. We showed up just when Hno. U**** was praying that we could be there, were able to give them both blessings, and were able to lighten their spirits a bit. The Lord really guides us through what we sometimes think are our own ideas, but they really come from the Spirit. If we let Him, He will guide us to those people who are prepared to hear the gospel or who are in need of a visit, whether or not we are missionaries and whether or not the day is going well.
Hna. A***** is doing well. She proposed marriage to her husband and he accepted, so she will be getting married here soon and will be baptized the 6 of November. I'm going to see about getting permission to go back for that one, since I will be so close to the area anyway. She offered us dominican spaghetti last night and had us take arepa (delicious sweet cornbready stuff) for breakfast this morning. I am going to miss visits with her and her family.
I hope the internet centers over in Los Molinos have more functioning USB ports, because the internet centers here don't. I have so many pics I want to send but can't. Maybe next week.
Elder W**** is staying here to receive a Guatemalan named Elder G*****. The immersion will be good for him. He has already progressed so much in spanish and in teaching abilities, and I am excited for him and for all the opportunities he will have in the area.
I think that is everything for now. I love, miss, and pray for you guys! Can't believe I hit 13 months yesterday. Time flies. Be safe, and have a great week!
Élder Rowe

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Miracles - October 17, 2016

Yup. We had a BOMB week.
First, responding to what you guys said.
-WOOT (the BYU game)
-TORNADO? What?? How? (On the Oregon Coast - Manzanita I believe.)
-Missionary work DOES BRING JOY; case in point, this week. (I encouraged him to find Joy in the work.)
-Humility is EVERYTHING as a missionary. We are potter's clay. We are instruments. We can do nothing of ourselves. Every time I try to carry myself in whatever it is (especially teaching), I fail. I am weak, but the Lord's power is perfected in weakness. Humility brings peace and focus. Humility leads to greater obedience. I am immensely and immeasurably grateful for the grand lessons the Lord has given me on humility, and they will be with me for the rest of my life.
I want to send photos so bad, but this computer's USB connections are out of service. :( I've had a really nasty infection on the back of my hand (that Dad and Emma would love pics of) for the last week and a half that is finally better, and i was hoping to let you guys in on that today. We also had a zone activity and took zone pics, but... next week.
Wednesday we were talking with A****, a psychiatrist who loves to study on his own time. He has been sincerely praying, and as a result has gained a testimony rapidly. For some time he's been feeling like he still needs more preparation, but we talked to him about faith and let the Spirit work in him. He decided, FOR HIMSELF, that he's going to get baptized the second or third weekend of November (depending on when his family reunion is). We were thrilled, and we were grateful that the Lord has wrought a mighty change in his heart.
D*****, once a free-spirited, street-loving alcoholic, is all set and super excited for her baptism this weekend. Her daughter P*** M***** is totally on board, too. We had a mini baptismal interview on Friday, and she is beyond prepared for her actual interview this Thursday.
On Sunday we met with the mother of a convert of about 9 months (De***) whose name is Do****. She has been progressing somewhat slowly because we can only see her once a week and because she has said that she wants to do things at her pace. However, we met and talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and when we asked her to be baptized again, although there were phones ringing and other people walking all over the house, she said YES. She said she feels prepared already, seemingly out of nowhere. She said we could put the baptismal service as soon as we could, and that turns out to be Sunday, November 6. The Lord has really opened her heart, and she is going to be the gateway (together with her daughter) to getting to the agnostic son and the father of the family. Miracles are real, people. They have not ceased among the children of men, wherever there is faith.
To show that there must be opposition in all things, we met earlier that afternoon an anti-american atheist who blames all the problems in the world on the USA and boldly declares that we have neither purpose nor potential in life, yet somehow believes in ethics, and who doesn't [want to] understand that without evil in the world we would not know the good nor experience joy. The odd thing was, he was super cordial about it all, invited us in, and even praised us for being youth focused on religion and on making the world a better place (though he said we should go back and preach to the American government instead). We had a good laugh about the stark queerness of that visit that night.
I am SUPER PUMPED for this week. It is the last week of the transfer, and we are going to have 2 baptisms on Saturday, and we have set more goals to be even more obedient and see even more miracles. I pray that the Lord will bless you guys back home with the same joy and desire to warn your neighbors as I am feeling right now.
Love you guys, and have a great week!
Élder Rowe

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I Lied about Hurricane Matthew... Oct 10, 2016

It rained a lot here. As in, we had the worst flooding I have ever seen. We were still able to get around it, and we didn't get super wet, but, HOLEY COW. Most of the bad rain was at night though, so while we were dry living on our 2nd story, we had TONS of members and investigators whose houses flooded up to 2 feet of water. They had to get up at around 3 in the morning and start bailing with buckets and sweeping with brooms. Thankfully, houses here are concrete and tile, so it didn't matter that much. We didn't get the wind, though. The DR was mostly protected from the hurricane, thankfully (TEMPLES for the win). Haiti, as far as I have heard, got DESTROYED. They are in everyone's prayers over here.
As far as people coming to Christ this week, I am pleased to report that we found 3 new families this week, all of whom (at least, those who we've been able to visit for a second time) read the pamphlets we left them and are praying about what we share. I think the biggest things in coming unto Christ are 1. Sincere Prayer and 2. Sacrifice (Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, Sabbath Day Observance, etc.). When people pray sincerely, you can tell, because they progress, they have a light in their eyes, and they express genuine concerns and questions with confidence.
We did a service project this weekend at a member's house. We emptied, bucket by bucket, an 8 ft x 8 ft x 12 ft well (at our mission-brained, can't-remember-math calculations, that was about 1200 gallons of water). It was actually kind of fun, and they gave us mangú (mangoo) for breakfast--mashed potatoes but made with plantaines instead of potatoes. Elder W***** and I felt every single one of those buckets the next day (although he emptied more than I did for reasons I'll explain next week for time's sake).
I learned more this week about making my teaching WAY more effective. We talked about boldness and simplicity in our zone training meeting with Pres. Corbitt, to the point of inviting people to be baptized on a specific date in the FIRST VISIT. We also talked about making teaching more ofa conversation in our training study hours this week. Sharing the gospel should be a MUTUALLY EDIFYING EXPERIENCE. As in, both parties talk an equal amount and express their thoughts and their testimonies. I'm working hard on that, and it's hard when you want to control the lesson to make sure the Spirit is there. However, I am finding that the more I let people express themselves, the more the Spirit testifies of truth. President Corbitt told us this week that it is better that a doctrinal truth come out of an investigator's mouth in a lesson than that it come out of amissionary's mouth. A missionary's job, then, is to lead them to find that answer for themselves.
Love you guys! 
Élder Rowe

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

World's Fastest Slow Week - Oct 3, 2016

This week was rather slow, if you look at the numbers. There were some pretty epic highlights, though.
First, just a thought. I have been a missionary for over a year. I am immensely grateful for the Spirit with which my benevolent and merciful Father in Heaven has blessed me insofar, and I find incredible the quantity and grandness of the things I've learned. I have learned how to work when I feel like I can't anymore. I have learned to consecrate even my thoughts to the work of the Lord and His glory (I am nowhere near perfect in that yet--ongoing goal). I have learned what is required for and how to arrange papers for the marriage of a family. I have learned how to be completely fearless in the midst of seemingly dangerous or precarious situations (spiritually precarious, more often than not). Most of all, however, I have learned that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the only true and living God. I have come to begin to comprehend the depths of his mercy and the endlessness of His desire to trust in and forgive me. I have come to realize how I am truly nothing, and that if I fail to strive with all diligence to be exactly obedient, I become an impediment and even an enemy to God and His work. I have come to know by miraculous experience that nothing can impede the rolling forth of the stone cut out without hands, and that I can either be a part of the stone or I can be crushed thereby. I know that I am a literal son of God, and that my potential, as is all of ours, is ETERNAL. Not just endless; ETERNAL ("of God, Godlike"). Our Father wants to bless ALL of His children with the restored gospel in its plentitude, and each of us is called to warn our neighbor (seeing as we have been warned). I am learning, as I am now applying it more, the value and power of sincere, heartfelt, open prayer, and how that power can be applied to me in any place at any moment with any righteous end.
To respond your Q, Mom:
I got to see Conference in English, no subtitles, because about half of the zone is training and we were able to coordinate with the stake president to set up an English room. It was great, since last year I saw it in Spanish.
So you guys know, Hurricane Matthew seems to have missed our part of the island, so don't worry. As of last night, we weren't going to be able to leave the house today or tomorrow, but it only rained and the hurricane isn't too close, so they lifted the caution.

Although I've always taken notes and done my best to make conference serious for me, I feel like I was utterly blown away this conference. Talk after talk about sincere prayer and true dedication to the Lord (which I am particularly working on), having a proper gospel focus (not overlooking the mark and making the BoM the keystone of my testimony), not comparing myself to others; there was even a talk in there that was written just to make Mom so grateful she'd cry (during K. Brett Nattress's talk, I thought of you, Mom).
Favorite talks (this is going to be really hard):
Carol F. McConkie
J. Devn Cornish
Quentin L. Cook (specifically the "looking beyond the mark" bit)
Dean M. Daniels
David A. Bednar
Ronald A. Rasband

I need to stop the list there, or I'm going to write the entire conference down. XD
One quick story before I close. We had an intervention on Wednesday with a lady in our area named D****. She and her daughter are preparing for baptism, but she needed to stop smoking and drinking. She has been getting an allergic reaction now every time she drinks, and has taken that as a sign that she should not drink. We put up sticky notes with "don't smoke; love, the missionaries" all over the spot where she normally smokes, and took all the cigarettes and coffee that she had left in the house. From Wednesday onward, she has neither smoked nor drank coffee nor drank alcohol. She got to come to General Conference and LOVED it. We moved her baptismal date to later in October, because she is making plans to get married and wants her future husband and his daughter to receive the lessons from us and get baptized at the same time. Miracles. We suddenly have 4 stone-set baptismal dates in the month of October and have found 2 new, already interested people to teach.
Love you guys! Be smart and safe, and set at least 3 goals for yourselves of things you will better or change as a result of conference. The Lord will fill you with His Spirit.
Élder Rowe

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Garfield has Mondays, I have Sundays - Sept 26, 2016

Two things in particular that have become strengths in the mission are my patience and my prayers. Patience, because things don't stress me out as much as they used to. I get worried and I work hard, but I don't snap. Also, as a missionary you really learn how to pray sincerely. I have realized out here that my prayers before the mission were not sincere at all. I have discovered how much peace and energy you can get out of praying, and how much of a renewing experience it can be.
So, I have a new personal goal as of last Friday. Sundays, where they should be renewing and edifying experiences, have become somewhat deanimating. While I do feel good personally, my attitude about missionary work tends to drop on Sundays. Why? SO MANY PEOPLE DON'T GO TO CHURCH. They literally live 10 or 15 minutes away, walking, and they give excuses like "I didn't get up on time" or "I managed to get some time off of work to go but I had to do laundry instead." If they are actual excuses, I understand, but also I feel bad because tons of people have actual excuses--stuff Satan puts in the way--every week. We have on Saturday 10 or 13 people committed to come to church and only 4 show up, and all late at that. Every week. I feel super sad because I know what these people are missing out on, and I know that they can never progress if they don't come to church, and I know that if it happens too often when they've committed to go we may have to drop them. I just want them to see how they can be blessed for keeping the Sabbath. I just want them to feel the Spirit. I do everything I can to explain and to have the Spirit there when I do. Nothing works. Well, the Spirit works, but people let it blow over them, even when I stop to help them recognize it. Anyhow, rant through, my goal is to never let Sunday be a sad day again. Instead of lamenting over all the people who didn't show, I will rejoice more over all the people who did. Any helps there, or suggestions?
I was sick this week, so Yay! Life was good, though. We had a bomb lesson with a less active in the ward, and the Spirit actually managed to pull tears out of me. W*****, the less active, talked about the hole he feels in his life (he's been through the temple, sealed and everything--he isn't living with his wife anymore, but they haven't been divorced), and how the Spirit in that moment was filling it. Then what? Saturday night we practically ran home because an appointment of ours ran late (old ladies telling irrelevant stories are patience-trying) and so we missed our appointment with him. We had seen him during the day, however. Anyhow, he proceeded to NOT SHOW UP SUNDAY. This is 4 weeks in a row that the one or two lessons we have in a week are super spiritual and he just doesn't go because he says he "loses the desire to go" when he gets up in the morning, and then goes back to bed and doesn't hear us when we pass by. He knows he is condemning himself, and I can't stand it. I am actually crying right now thinking about it. He has such a sincere and beautiful soul, and all his family problems would be erased if he would just come back to church--that is the only thing he is missing--but he doesn't do it. I am so sick of excuses, but not in the impatient way. It just makes me sad how people lose God as a priority in their lives, although they'll tell you otherwise.
Sorry this email is kind of sad. I am fairly happy right now (still shaking off the cold) and I have a good feeling about this week. I just...I don't know. It's like you said, Dad--the emotion swings are really a thing.
I love and miss you guys. I thought I would be able to not miss you still, but the homesickness (although miniscule) is hitting late. Be faithful to your covenants--it makes life so much better.
Élder Rowe

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My son is CASH (or so he says) - Sept 20, 2016

Guess what? My kid already speaks Spanish too! Elder Williams is from Sandy, UT, loves skiing, and uses "cash" and "money" as though they meant "awesome" or "sick" (must be a Utah thing). He's really chill as a person, does his best to always be learning by asking tons of questions, and has TONS of energy. He wants to go talk to the whole world. It's just great. He is keeping me alive in this tiny place. Villa Esfuerzo is nice and all, but...I definitely had to set some personal goals to push myself this transfer so nothing gets old.

This week the area woke up again--we put 2 baptismal dates for next month and found a few new families. We also had 8 investigators at church this Sunday (which is super awesome becase we've been having problems getting people to church my whole time here despite the smallness of the area)! Also there are now 3 kids in the ward (all age 20) who are prepping to head out on their missions who all come out with us regularly (it's like as a companionship we have 3 sons)--W****, who is headed to Mérida MX early in November; J***, who is headed to Oxaca, MX at the end of November; and J***, who is working on his papers right now.

This transfer I've made a goal to make out companionship study more effective, and the results have been great. We have been studying more for others than for ourselves (obviously with balance, since Elder Williams needs training, too) and every lesson has felt much more powerful. Have you guys ever tried that? Thought of a person with whom you want to share the gospel, then sat down and studied how you'd do it (scriptures you'd share, materials, pamphlets, or videos you'd use, what you'd testify of)? There's my challenge for you guys.

AH. The reason I am writing today (not yesterday) is because we had Zone Conference yesterday. We left the house at 6:45 to be able to be at the mission office/Santo Domingo stake center at 8. We got caught in traffic, and didn't show up until 8:30. We find out that we were going to start at 8 because a doctor was going to give us shots, but we were saved from certain band-aids because he was not able to arrive. We sat and studied until 9:15ish when we started. We ended at 5. Yes, 5 pm. We were literally sitting in a meeting (with 2 -10 min breaks and a 30 min lunch) from 9 to 5. XD Because from 4:30 to 6:00ish the capitol is gridlocked trying to leave, we didn't get home until 8:00, and rushed to an FHE with a Haitian family who are progressing like crazy (even the wife, who has only just started to warm up to us). So yeah, it was good to not sit around all day today.

I don't think I have too many new things to say. Oh, our mission theme is D&C 6:36-37, if you want to read it. It goes with what the apostles have been sharing about recently as far as missionaries go--the next level lies in the attitude of the missionaries and who they think they are. It must be a celestial and faithful vision of the future.

Love you guys!

Élder Rowe

Jacob said he can't believe he was cold with just a fan blowing on him.  I guess that means he has acclimated.  Such a Jacob face!

His progress on his missionary tan...

New companion Elder Williams

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I Got Wet. - Sept 12, 2016

It rained. A LOT. Well, just the first couple of days in the week, but STILL. Much flooding, because our area is like a bowl, and the drains get clogged up because everybody throws their trash in the street when they see a bunch of rain so they don't have to deal with carrying it away.

Today I'm going to be kinda short, because I have some stuff I have to do for an upcoming mission tour with Elder Zivic of the Seventy. I do have a few nuggets, though.

This week we met a family (mom(60ish), daughter(35), 4 grandchildren) who were investigators for a couple of years, but lost contact with the missionaries about 2 years ago. They are super cool, super receptive, and if it turns out that they remember lots of stuff when we start reviewing the lessons this week, super prepared. However, it seems that they were with some pretty disobedient missionaries when they were investigators. We passed by after our visit a couple of days later to say hi and happy birthday to the daughter, and she totally invited us to stay...suffice it to say we said no right away, not only because we have more important things to do but because the atmosphere there was NOT good. They also are planning to go to Boca Chica (famous tourist beach) this weekend, and INVITED US ALONG. What the heck?! Again, no, but we just felt really weird every time they said something like that. For example, they said that they used to go to the missionaries' house when one busted his leg, and they'd go make food and talk and hang out. uhh.... Anyhow, they are excellent, and I feel like they will surely desire to be baptized in October. They would be SUPERB members of the church, because they have the really friendly way of always offering food or a seat and of knowing everyone in the neighborhood.

We also had a temple trip with D****, the adult daughter of a less active member of the ward. She LOVED it, and really liked going to church yesterday. Although externally she doesn't show her interest too much (it sometimes looks like she's disagreeing or falling asleep), she says she feels a special Spirit when we visit, and we feel it too. Another person who popped out of nowhere and is super prepared for baptism.

On Sunday we met another girl who I honestly thought was a member already. She is the only person in her family coming to church, and the missionaries have never visited with her. Miracles. Another person whose family could really benefit from the Gospel.

OH--TRANSFERS. I am staying AGAIN in this tiny area. I'm going to have 6 months here. I have mixed feelings on that one. I find consolation in the fact that tons of potential has popped up in the area this week, and in the promise that the Lord has people prepared for me. Also, they are taking my son away! :( Elder R**** is headed to another zone. I hope I trained him well, because I am going to train again. This group is huge, so there are TONS of trainers. I'll let you know next Monday who the second born is.

Love you guys! So much more I want to write, but I never have time! GAAH.

Élder Rowe

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Many Less Actives do Not want to be found! - Sept 5, 2016

That is my week. Tons of stuff fell through, so we did lots of contacting and looking for less actives this week, since we finally have a ward list. Most of the less actives did not look happy that we found them, but for courtesy agreed to be there when we'd go by. Of course, they'd purposefully disappear on us, causing EVEN MORE stuff to fall through. It's cool though--I feel good.

We did have a superb lesson with a couple of less actives who do want to work with us. They are a father and a daughter, Wilfredo and Wilda. While Wilda is a little further behind on the reactivation progress, Wilfredo really feels the hole in his life and is defeating temptation and lack of energy to come back. He came to church Sunday. :) Also, his daughter promised us HOMEMADE rice pudding when we go back Wednesday. :D

We are working with a girl named Mérolin (Marilyn) too, and she is doing quite well. Her mom told her about six months ago that she couldn't get baptized until she hit 18, and she just turned 17 in June; however, her mom's reason was that Mérolin didn't usually commit to stuff, so she was worried that her daughter would just in-and-out with church and said she needed to wait (at least, as far as I'm told). If such is the case, we figure we just need her to be super committed and we can get permission out of her mom. We are working super hard on getting her to church. getting her involved in Mutual, and having friends from church come with us to visits and go on their own time. As yet, she is the happiest I've ever seen her, because I think she also sees that if she is committed enough her mom will let her get baptized. And she is feeling the Spirit a lot more, too--that might have something to do with it. XD

Today we went and played basketball at the stake center. Elder R***** (my companion) has played basketball since he was 3, and we have a couple of other good players in the zone. However, they are almost all shorter. In other words, I was a rebounder. That was it. It was fun though--I pulled a couple of clutch shots out of nowhere. After that we went to Bravo, a supermarket that has lots of American products. Elder R*****, being Texan, bleeds hot sauce and Dr. Pepper, and was thus elated to discover Dr. Pepper there. Among other things, we found Smarties, Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce (multiple varieties), white grape juice, and REAL MILK. That's right, made and bottled by the supermarket the same day, kept in a gallon jug, and requiring constant refrigeration MILK. We still haven't opened it because we put it in the fridge as soon as we got home, since the trip was about a half hour and the milk was only slightly chilly when we got home. Update on that one next week. 

Have a great week! Moroni 7:15-19 has been something I've shared a lot this week, but it has also carried me a bit. Remember that instead of fumbling around in your mind wondering what to do, just make a decision and take it to the Lord. He WILL let you know. I have really developed a strong testimony of that here in the mission. Also of thought control, like Mom was saying. If you think it, you will become it; if you don't, then you won't.

Con mucho cariño,
Élder Rowe

PS did you know that in mexico, according to Elder R*****'s dictionary, a ladybug is called a "vaca de San Antón" (which translates to St. Anthon's cow)? Also that if you say "me importa un rábano" (it is as important to me as a radish) it means that you couldn't care less? XD

The pics:
Limoncillo, a fruit that you suck on and scrape with your teeth and spit out the pit (tastes like a cross between passion fruit and lemon)
Our shopping trip (total value approx. 2,000 pesos)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wet! - August 29, 2016

It rains. A lot. I have soaked my legs through 4 times this week (out of 7 days). The umbrella covers my upper body and bag, but there is no guarantee on anything else. It's good, though. It means that the hottest month of the year has been bearable. The one day the sun came out I thought I was going to die.
This week was pretty good. Sounds like you guys were packed over there. In talking with one of the members of the ward here this week (José A***), I was reminded of Dad. José is a family man, a really relaxed guy with an accounting job. He has Dad's same style of humor, and does not seem like the kind of guy to start spewing slang out of nowhere, yet he does it without care for his image and he gets the laughs. I felt a little trunky talking to him when he came out with us. I love you too Dad! I feel like you have been my example in having a missionary "son." The most important thing is to lead by example, because it's as though I were a parent when my son is a teenager--he knows how to do most things, but I am easing him into doing stuff all on his own. I really appreciate how you have always been one to help me do stuff, instead of doing it for me. I need to work on that more, because I am the kind of person to just do things to make sure they get done right. better that i work with Elder R***** to do stuff together. i also need to tighten up a little on my example--since he was sick this week and needed some rest, I slacked a little on companionship study effectiveness. i am also being a terrible example as far as contacting goes--because I have long enough in a small area, I feel like I have already contacted every house (even though I absolutely have not).
We've been meeting with a pair of people who are SUPER prepared this week. Their names are A**** and K****. They are a husband and wife who are super interested, ask tons of questions, seek to study effectively, and do everything else a golden investigator should do. Every visit with them is super exciting and super spiritual, and i am super excited for them to get baptized. They don't have a date yet, but i have been thinking about extending one to them for October or something, because they want to know before they do something like that. Also, as a mission we have been seeking a lot of improvement recently and i feel like it has to do with planning. instead of just putting dates with people as soon as possible, it is better to put it way in advance and then move it closer if change is required. Also, I feel like the mission is getting a little too last-minute-focused. instead of making certain plans for next month, we strive too much to put plans for this month or for before the end of the transfer. It is much better to not baptize but leave an area with tons of progressing investigators that to baptize everyone and leave nothing for the following transfer. I know, Mom--baptisms are not success. It is in the planning that I am talking about success. We need to plan things WAY more in advance if we want to be good instruments in our Father's hands--I mean, He spent who knows how long planning the creation so that all would go well in the day he should decide to bring it to pass. He planned the Atonement and the events in Christ's earthly ministry thousands of years before He actually sent His Son to Earth.
Sorry about the brain dump--i always feel rushed. The shoes are treating me fine Mom. Thanks for getting them out! (Also thanks for the Gold Bears--they are always a favorite). Recently in Gospel Principles we were studying about the principles of a successful family (ch 36). The points came to my head super strong and I remembered doing them at home. I thought a lot in the moment about how I would apply them in my future family. Again I got trunky. (Come on man! This isn't supposed to happen! Note to self--CONSECRATION. FOCUS, BOY. XD)
Love you guys! until next week.
Élder Rowe

Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22, 2016 - I'm Tired!

So yeah. I'm tired. Elder R**** and I worked our butts off this week, and even still our 3 baptismal dates for the month ALL FELL THROUGH this week. Two girls moved away without warning, and the other lady didn't come to church, even though the night before she told us she had already done all the cleaning around the house and was "without fail" coming to church. I don't even know. Next to nobody came to church in general--members and investigators.

I really appreciate all the love and support from home--it makes me feel great.

So this computer doesn't let me send pics for one reason or another, and I've gotten it two weeks in a row. Just so you know, I do have more photos to send from the last two weeks. Lots more rain and flooding last week, and this week it has just been hot. Infernally hot. Wow.
We met with a new couple this week who are SUPER AMAZING. They already know tons of ward members and are super open and interested investigators. Between our first and second appointments (about 3 days) the husband had read from the introduction through 1 Nephi 4, and had written down questions, remembered names, and spoke very positively of the doctrines displayed in the Book of Mormon thus far. They came to church, and stayed though the second hour.
Anyhow, I don't have too much else on my mind at the moment. I love you guys! 
Élder Rowe

Aug 15, 2016 - So I'm in a rap music video...

Wuey KLK.
This week was pretty good. We FINALLY have baptismal dates for the month. Two were a miracle; we were passing through mutual to talk to the bishop and two girls came up with a recent convert and said that they wanted to be baptized. A few days later we met with them both and set a date. They both have already been going to church for some time (I honestly thought that they were less actives who were being reactivated). In short, we are going to baptize this month.
About the subject heading... on Thursday night I got a call from Elder S**** and Elder d**** in San Pedro (both past companions). They said that while they were talking to some youth in the ward that the youth claimed to have seen Elder d**** in a rap video. They showed him a snippet and, as it turns out, it is of him and I going down the big hill in Los 3 Brazos with the Bishop to visit C*****. A car full of girls had passed by us, and suddenly a camera emerged from the car (Elder D remembers this; I don't). We apparently waved to the car. Dominican rapper Tim Blake (I think) called us "chivatos de la CIA" (CIA tattletales, basically). That happened. President Corbitt already knows about it, and while Elder D was worried about the image it would present, I just think it's plain funny. As I may or may not have told you, oe of the earliest problems for the Church here was the fact that many people thought we were CIA agents. The fact that the mentality still continues among the uneducated is just funny to me.
This week I felt like my personal study was kind of scattered. I've started an in-depth D&C study, so I get lots of little things about missionary work and then lots of stuff that does and doesn't apply to my current position or circumstances. However, I think the main reason I don't remember much has been because my heart wasn't in it. I got too comfy with things as they were this week, and it has shown a bit in how I've felt. I've felt tired, but like there was still so much more I could've done when I had energy. Next week I am going to go hard with regard to contacting and filling time up with talking to people. I've been a terrible example as of yet as far as contacting goes. Elder R***** needs all-around training, not just basic teaching abilities and Spanish practice. BTW, Elder R***** has already gone through Spanish 3. Although he doesn't speak fluently yet, he already understands about 75% spoken and 90% read. So Jessica, those 3 years of Spanish will in fact mean something if you go Spanish speaking. I am confident that Elder R***** will be speaking fluently by the time he has 3 months out here. He has already shown incredible progress.
Anyhoo, I love you guys! Thanks for the scripture, Mom (I've been thinking about the same this transfer a lot)! (I referenced D&C 64:33-34...  Wherefore be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.  And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.  Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.)  Have a great one.

Élder Rowe