Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fruits of his labors - May 30, 2016

Hey guys!
Thanks for all the love notes! Really appreciate it out here.
Sounds like you guys had a great Memorial Day weekend! You know what Memorial Day weekend has meant for me? Apoyo (monthly allotment of money from the mission) still hasn't gotten here! So... I've definitely pulled out like $50 in personal money, because there is no money left. I'm already developing a budget for the next apoyo, and I plan to take my time with it, since it'll be the one I use the whole rest of the mission.
So, remember how I told you about É**** C*****, the guy whose wife lives in NJ? He got baptized Sunday. Guess who did it? THIS GUY! He asked me to come back and baptize him, and President Corbitt gave me permission! It was awesome! The service was really special. His family was there, as well as most of the ward leadership. His father called in to give a talk (I'm not sure where he was). So, that was the first time I have physically baptized someone in my nearly nine months out here (NINE MONTHS? Goodness, how time flies).
We have two families we are working super hard with right now, and a third has just entered the picture. The first is the Familia M****-V****--J***, L***, A*** (18), and C*** (13ish). They are fixing an error in one of the birth certificates which didn't exist before (GAAH--that is a problem in almost every complete family I've met), but they are within two weeks of being able to get baptized. We have them set for the 11th of June. Also, we are visiting the Familia M***-- W****, J****, and J**** (15). They need to get married, too, but the issue there is having them pay a portion, since they are poor (not dirt-poor, but poor-finances-debt-and-credit poor). As soon as they get together a few hundred pesos, they are set. Finally, this week we found the Familia D****--M**** (they call him B***), his wife (can't remember her name), Y**** (8), and S**** (3). They are SUPER nice. The parents are Haitian, but are both legal citizens here in the DR. They love our visits, and we are going to start visiting them more often.
Pics next week--time is up for me here.
Élder Rowe

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Our Mission is Going Places (His title) - May 23, 2016

WEY! you guys saw CIVIL WAR!?! You can't tell me anything! ;)
Mom, I really like that bit from President Packer. (I teach Sunday School and shared with him part of a talk from 1991 I told him... "One of the things he said is that when countries are at war one of the best tactics is to jam communications.  President Packer said that Satan works to jam our communication with the Lord through loud music, distractions, tv shows, etc.")   That really is true: Satan jams our sensors with everything he can, and we have to actively block out the noise to hear the Spirit whispering through. In my study this week, I noted that repent comes from the Latin re (again) and pen (think); in other words, repentance is just thinking again--fixing things right away when they're wrong, and thinking twice before making a mistake as well. That has really had an impact on me this week. The two are rather related; if we see our communications being jammed, even if we like what might be coming through, we need to get it out right away.

This week we have been SUPER busy--I am just exhausted. Our area is tiny, but I feel more tired at the end of every day. We are exercising now! Our gym owner is lazy (doesn't open until 7:30) so we just go do some ab workouts, push-ups, and we run sprints (Elder Sm**** wants to lose some weight). Our baptismal dates have been falling through this month, but we still have one for sure. We are working with two families at once, the familia M*** (who need money to get married--they need to put forth a portion, and we and the ward will cover the rest) and the familia M****-V**** (who need to fix a daughter's birth certificate to get married). Apart from the aforementioned issues, all goes well with them. We have been working hard recently on contacting more, and talking with everyone (not just rushing from appointment to appointment). There are really a lot more people open to listening out there than one might think. We met a guy on a bus today who lived in NY 25 years (starting from age 6) and was pretty interested in the Plan of Salvation. He is super busy and lives alone, but accepted a pamphlet and the invitation to study on his own time and to call missionaries over when he's free. Thanks to my companion pushing me to overcome my fear and talk to someone, even our bus ride to Megacentro had an evangelical purpose.
Not much time left, and not much else to report yet. Elder Sm**** and I are great friends, and we've been having a splendid time together. I've been learning a TON from him. We sing together; we play recorder together; he's going to get a guitar so we can guitar and piano together; etc.
Our mission had the goal in April to have every companionship baptize, and over 95% of the 91 companionships did so. Unfortunately, it was because of disobedience in a few that we couldn't do it, but now we have the goal of 2 people per companionship in June and 3 in July, and so long as we continue with Exact Obedience, Extraordinary Faith, and True Unity, we will see the miracles flow even more than we've been seeing them up until now.
Love you guys! More updates on the mission as a whole as well as the area next week.
Élder Rowe

Monday, May 16, 2016

Transferred! - May 16, 2016

Cordial Salutations!
My new area is AWESOME. Our internet center has A/C, newish computers, fast internet, and nice keyboards! The area is the perfect mix of city and campo. Slow-and-easy lifestyle, but closeness to city conveniences and district meetings. Colmados don't make a ton of noise playing dembow except on weekends. We have an investigator who owns a candy-and-cookie distribution shop, and when I first met him he gave us a pack of vanilla wafer cookies on the house. We have another family of investigators whose dad is a taxi driver, and has been our means of getting around during transfers and other meetings at the office. My old companion is now training, and my new one just finished doing so. Elder S**** is a total Star Wars geek and the two of us have very similar personalities. He has almost 16 months in the mission, and is from Syracuse, UT. Yeah, we get along great.
When I was going to be with Elder S****, President Corbitt told me two things: first, that I was going to be his help for Spanish because he still struggles a bit, and second, that he is one of the most family-focused and family-baptizing missionaries out there. I have been trying to put together some spanish study activities to do together. The second statement I have found to be super true. He really knows how to bring families together for lessons. He also is very humble. He recognizes that his spanish is lacking, and thus depends on the Lord to carry his message to the hearts of investigators by the Spirit. He is a great example for me, and I am already learning a lot from him. He has had a rough life, but he is a shining person in spite of it.
Well, David (a young man from our ward just returned from his mission to Mexico City) has lost 25 pounds? I've gained 30 (it's the rice and the being lazy with exercise; that's been fixed already, since Elder S**** wants to lose weight and we're going to focus on exercise and a healthier diet). It shows in my face.
I dunno that there's much else at the moment. More updates as they come!
Love you guys,
Elder Rowe

Ozama Zone (in their zone shirts) from his previous area Los Tres Brazos

Jacob and his new comp eating pineapple

Making passion fruit juice which he says is DELICIOUS!

Monday, May 2, 2016

No Time To Share All of the Great Experiences! - May 2, 2016

Last weeks letter said "Time running out because of ridiculously slow internet. Tons of exciting news, but I cant share until next week, because no time. 
Bye! Love you all!
Elder Rowe"
It also said he didn't have any specifics about skyping on Mother's Day...

No time again. GAAH.
cut/paste pres. letter:

We have truly been blessed as a mission this month, and I know that we can, together, reach 200 baptisms in May. Among the miracles I've seen, we may include:
Sister R*** A***(mother of Bishop A***** ) received the impression in a stake conference near the end of March that, nearly 18 years after her son´s baptism, she was ready to be baptized. She struggled with coffee until the last week before her baptismal date, when she was able to drop it and has not looked back since. Her son was able to baptize and confirm her, and their eyes were full of tears of joy in both moments.
R****, a youth we´ve been working with (and have put 2 baptismal dates already), somehow has a habit of disappearing on us without warning, then showing up a week later saying he'd gone to work with his father. He now has a steady job, 8am to 7pm with only Sundays free, and on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays he has school starting at 7. Thus, it´s been difficult for us to find him. I had almost lost hope that we´d see him again. Then, one Monday evening, we felt the impression to go check on his house. It was 6 o'clock, and he shouldn't have been home by our reckoning, but we went anyway, with faith that we'd find him. Sure enough, there he was, taking care of his younger brother, who'd been sent home from school that morning because of the rain, forcing R**** to stay home from work. We sat down to talk with him about preparation for baptism before the end of the month, but then his mom got home. She shouted a few bad words at R****, then told us we were losing our time, that he was a hablador, etc. However, we felt the impression to call her back and share with her, too. We were able to share the good traits R**** has, that he's neither in the street nor drinking nor chasing girls, and that he has desires to be baptized. Her heart was softened--she said we could come back Sunday to talk with them as a family. Unfortunately, we were coordinating a baptismal interview with R*** A*** so she could enter the temple today to do baptisms, and we couldn´t make it to their house. However, Elder d**** and I are agreed that they can be baptized together this month; we just need to get the mom going to church and get some appointments in at 8pm when they are both home.
As we helped with the baptisms in Sabana Larga the night of the 30th, we came out late, around 8:45 pm. Being a Saturday night, we couldn't go directly to the Venezuela (the area not the country :) ) to catch the only gua-gua (bus) route that goes to our area. We managed to get over to a lower part of the Venezuela, away from the nightclubs, and suddenly a carrito passed by going to Los Tres Brazos. There are no routes that pass by there normally, but by that miracle we got home before 9:30.
I have also seen lots of little things in the day-by-day. We'd be walking to go catch a gua-gua and decide to take an alternate route. We received 2 references that way. We also found out that one of our investigators, Y**** C*****, is a friend of both M**** E**** and M***** R*****, two returned missionaries with whom we are most often able to go out. We also got to introduce one of our investigators to our Relief Society president, and in the process found out that the husband of that investigator was a progressing investigator, with a baptismal date and everything. We're not sure what happened, but we will keep looking into that. 

love you guys, look forward to seeing you next Sunday. I will be calling from a members laptop.

I want to send photos and tell stories, but no time. GAAH.

Élder Rowe