Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Goat meat gives you energy?? - April 18, 2016

Hi there guys! Love you!

This week wasn´t all that out-of-the-ordinary. We helped an Adventist teen write a talk for the celebration of a year from his aunt´s or grandmother´s passing, went to a cosecha (all the missionaries go to one area and either go contacting, looking for old investigators, and/or looking for less actives--we did the first two) in Alma Rosa, went to the temple gardens with C**** and family, E**** and M****, and a kid named C****, met a new investigator, picked up C****´s birth certificate so he and A**** can get married this week (we´re still waiting for approval from A****, though), and had a dinner lesson with all the extended family of one of our less actives, E****. That extended family included various people who were visiting from Italy, and they kept calling us Ancianos (ancients), because that´s what the missionaries are called there XD. We ate goat burgers, which were actually really good. We didn´t sleep well that night, but not from indigestion or anything. Apparently goat meat has a reputation for giving people a lot of energy. I woke up at least 6 times that night, but even with that I didn´t feel tired the next day. Elder d****  saved one for the next night to test the theory, and while I slept fine, having not eaten one, he had trouble sleeping. Case ·probably· closed?

I don´t have much time left, nor do I have too much to say. I love reading these letters every week, I really do. Jessica--I´ve been to the temple 4 times--twice just to the gardens with investigators, and twice through sessions (we go as a mission every three months). Also, it is super crazy to say I almost have seven months out here. The time goes by WAY to fast. Also Emma, yeah, it is actually a little odd to read English, and I´m TERRIBLE at speaking it right now, because there are so many spanish phrases that simplify things or because I forget how to say something in English. I do still remember a lot of vocab, though :) funny enough, even at district meetings most of the gringo elders speak spanish to each other, even if their accent isn´t the best.

Anyway gotta go. I love you guys! 
Élder Rowe

Optimism about the future - April 11, 2016

Hey there guys!

Quick insert of letter to Pres. Corbitt...
  We came across tons of new people this week. And most of them were references! We met P*** and G*****, who are some of the "children" of Hna. G**** in our ward (she calls all her friends who are younger than her "children," and is continually offering company, food, etc.). P**** seems really interested, and asked to borrow the copy of the Book of Mormon my companion had in his hand. While we shared with Hna. G**** and her actual son, M*** (with whom we´re working towards putting a baptismal date in May), P*** was leafing through the Book of Mormon. By the end of the lesson, she wanted us to come visit and explain more about the Book of Mormon. She´d heard of it before, but noted that it was NOT a Bible. We have her phone number, and we have tentatively an appointment Tuesday.
  We also met a chorus of children in and near the home of Hna. N***, one of the more recent converts in the ward. Specifically, we are focusing on C****, who already has a Christian background and loves to go to Church in any form. He is around 10 years old. We aren´t sure why neither he nor Hna. N*** made it to church Sunday with the huge group of children, but we plan to find out here in a day or two. The bad part is that we´re out of minutes. Well, worse than that is that neither his mom nor Hna. N*** has a phone--the only number we have is that of the neighbors, and if they´re not there, then we have no contact. However, we have high hopes with regard to C**** and his brother, whose name slips my mind.
  As of yet we have six baptismal dates for the coming 24th of April. R**** (who´s going to start working all week long but will still be able to come to church Sundays), R*** A**** (who is progressing rapidly with leaving coffee behind), C*** and A**** (with whom we´re working through birth certificates to get them married), and K*** and A**** (the daughter and grandson of C*** and A****). We also potentially have E*** C***, who is only waiting to hear about a date when he needs to go get his visa (since he´s moving to New Jersey to live with his wife, N****), so that his wife can come down for that appointment and thus be there for his baptism (she´s a member). He will receive that notice before May 15th, so he will be baptized soon.
  My testimony of the power of fasting has also grown. The same Sunday as we were fasting, in Priesthood Executive Council we were talking about the situation with C*** and family, how one son had not been declared and they´d been working through that process 5 years already, and how one of the daughters had been declared by a grandparent and thus carried neither last name of the family. We were worried that all the children had to be included, but as it turns out those two children can be added into the matrimony legally later on because they are still considered undeclared. The Lord is clearing the way for this family to be baptized, especially since now one of the other daughters, M****, is showing a lot of promise and progress. We are going to extend a date this week with her as well.
  We also found a less active member, D***(24), who is niece of Hna. M*** J***, wife of the bishop´s first counselor. We found her by means of her cousin, E*** J***, who often goes out with us. She is well, but overworked--she is working like crazy organizing wedding ceremonies, waiting until the summer to write her collegiate thesis and graduate from college. She said that in her two years living in Los Tres Brazos missionaries had never visited her, and that she was saddened by that fact. She also (as we found out by way of her aunt) sealed but divorced. We don´t know what went down there, but she just calls it a "personal problem" and moves on. When she showed up to Church Sunday, it seemed like the whole world knew and missed her. She still hasn´t had an interview with the bishop, but by the looks of things she will be our first reactivation for this month. We will keep visiting her whenever she isn´t working.

Yeah, life is pretty good right now. That Little Sambo´s place (a resturant in Lincoln City, OR that we have seen in the past and decided to try out over Spring Break.  The theme is based on a children's book that Grammy used to read to Brad and we have also read to our kids.  It was not very good!)  looks and sounds meh, but I can tell you I have eaten in much-worse-looking places here and have had some of the best food on my mission. XD You never know.

Because Elder d***** and I already know how to cook a lot of dominican cuisine, we´ve been asking around for local recipes. We´re going to try Arepas probably this week, and today we did a "púdin de guineo" (which is the name here for banana bread). It turned out alright, but we put in too much milk and it came out with the consistency and flavor of flan with a little bit of banana. Forgot to take a picture... darn. We´re also going to try a bread pudding this week, we think.

There isn´t too much else of note this week. We continue pushing forward with faith, and working so that our fast that the mission can have every companionship baptize and reactivate every month can be brought to pass, at very least, here in Los Tres Brazos.

I love and miss you all. Have fun starting school again! I´ll just stick to studying scriptures for now... :)
Élder Rowe

Conference Insights - April 4, 2016

Hi there everyone!

This week DRAGGED. Not because it was a bad week, but rather because it was interrupted by meetings and filled with appointments falling through. I kinda feel like we didn't work hard this week, and that we really could have done better. At the same time, Conference was a huge spiritual pick-me-up, and I have a lot of insights about the future and present. If I had time, I would share them all, but I don't have that kind of time. Here are a few:

President Eyring--If I'm not receiving the word of God by the Spirit, but rather by some other means (ex. logic or book learning), I'm not receiving it into my heart, and am merely learning with my head like anything else.

Elder Renlund--The closer we get to the Lord, the more we realize hes always at our side.

Elder Arnold--Working with less actives is just as important as working with investigators, and the Lords promise of joy upon bringing them into the Good Shepherds fold applies to them, too.

Elder Ballard--FAMILY COUNCIL. Enough said. Definitely putting that into practice in my future family; touched me to the core.

President Uchtdorf--The point of the family is that it lasts into the eternities; its not just something to enjoy until it gets old and then start a new one.

President Uchtdorf--Obedience is how we discover what we are really made of and what we can really handle.

Elder Oaks--The simplest, most important questions I could answer as a missionary are the ones I cannot answer for anyone else; that answer comes SOLELY from the Spirit.

Other than that, I don't have too much to say. Today we went to Sambil, ate, and bumped into another elder from my group. We sat talking and eating Krispy Kreme for a good half hour or so--that was nice. This week is looking to be a lot better as far as going out with members and having firm appointments. I got recipes this week for Arepas, Bread Pudding estilo Dominicano, and Habichuela con Dulce--I'm going to see what happens with each this week.

Love you guys!
Elder Rowe