Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Responsibility and the blessings of Obedience- June 20, 2016

So...transfers are here. And the verdict is: I stay. I will be a district leader now, so...yeah. More responsibilities. More work. It should be great, though. I will be receiving an Elder R*****, who I know nothing about, but with whom I've been coordinating by means of his companion since he is SUPER sick. Like, sick to the point I'm not sure if he'll be able to be transferred tomorrow. I may have to stay in a trio (I am already in a trio, since Elder B**** from my district went home today and transfers aren't until tomorrow). Elder Sm*** is going to be a Zone Leader far away in the campo (San Pedro). He is worried about it, but I'm not. He is super intelligent, an excellent leader, and knows how to tough-love improvement out of people. He will do great things out there. Funny thing, he's going to be zone leader with my last companion, Elder d****. It will be an awesome transfer for them both.
This was a great week for finding new people. While we don't have any fixed baptismal dates for July yet, we have TONS of new potential. Our recent converts are doing great for the most part. The only downside is Y***, whose friends in the Church are almost all less actives and/or "loose" with the standards. However, they have been much more active recently with Y***'s baptism, so...we will see if we can't get some reactivations out of it.
I am super grateful for the time I have had as Elder Sm***'s companion. I have always striven to be obedient, but I have often still felt the tug of the world making me not want to be so. I have been guided by a great example this transfer, and upon being EXACTLY obedient (even the tiny stuff like always staying in the same room in our house) I have developed a desire to do so always. It actually hurts when I do something wrong, because this transfer I have seen the blessings and benefits spiritually of being obedient and I don't want to lose that. I have felt the Spirit these last couple of weeks more deeply and continuously than I have ever felt it in my life. The cool thing is, it hasn't even been that hard. It seems hard from the outside, but once you get started it is easy. THe hard thing is continuing to work super hard, because I am always tired from being diligent. I know the Lord is giving me strength, because I would not be getting up at 6:30 at home if I were doing as much during the day XD. I feel ready to be an example to my companion, and to not lower my standards for him or for anyone else. I feel a little uneasy about the extra responsibilities as district leader, but although the first week or two may be rough the kinks will work themselves out.
We had a ward karaoke party this week, and we invited tons of investigators and less actives to be there. We went for a bit, sang We'll Bring the World His Truth as Elder Sm*** played the guitar, and did a duet of Glorious by David Archuleta before leaving. It was fun. We have really been able to wake up the members here to the plight of the ward (their attendance has been dropping and they haven't been going out with us much), and they really like us. Elder S*** will be sorely missed. It has been in this transfer that the Elder Sm*** has been invited to eat at members' houses, and he has eaten multiple times with various people. I'm super excited to stay; the area is in a convenient location to get to meetings and such, and it is exploding with potential.
Anyhow, until next week!
Élder Rowe

Jacob was very happy to send Trix shapes cereal! (He sent usa picture but I thought I would spare you.)

Baptism of W**** and J**** M*** and Y***.  W**** and J**** were married on Friday and baptized on Saturday.
                                   Jacob trying sugar cane.  He said it was actually pretty good.

                                                                    Jacob's district.

His companion made him jello popcorn (caramel corn, but with jello for flavoring and with a reduced amount of sugar). It was lemon-flavored, and he said "it was AMAZING!"  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Baptisms! - June 13, 2016

Wey! ¡KLK!
Emma, you STILL play Viva Piñata? You haven't beaten that thing yet? XD
Jessica: yes, I was reading in my patriarchal blessing this week, and it provided a lot of comfort for me. One of the most interesting things was looking at my lineage, and the responsibilities that stem therefrom. Really a great missionary motivator. Thank you so much for the suggestion, and I'll keep it up!
Elijah: What a delinquent! Skipping school? In 6th grade? (Elijah opted out of going to the last day of school.  It was a half day and they had an assembly so the classes were 20 mins long.  He probably could have opted out of the last week.  He was watching movies in 4 of his 6 classes.) Ha! Make sure to keep busy this summer--7th grade is gonna show up sooner than you think!
Firstly, HUGE thanks to Uncle Rick, and to you, Mom and Dad. I really appreciate all the counsel, and those conclusions were the ones I was getting to this week. (Here is a little of what we shared with him... If you feel an impression to do something that is good, it is from the spirit. Anything that inspires us to do good is from the spirit!  I remember this principle is something that was solidified for me in the mission field.  However this is something that gets lost a little as you jump back into life post-mission.  I still sometimes doubt when a thought comes in my mind if it is from the spirit.  Reminding myself of this counsel has helped.  That doesn't necessarily mean that just because someone's name comes into your mind that you need to go visit right away, but that you can pray to get more guidance.  I love uncle Rick's counsel of writing down the impression so you can act on it as soon as you are able.  The other aspect of this is that we don't always see or hear how following the Spirit helps others.  However, acting upon the Spirit means we will be blessed for being obedient and it helps us be more aware of the whisperings the next time.  You have always been very analytical.  The gospel makes sense to you so you can see proof of it's truthfulness.  The truthfulness of something can be argued or explained away, but when you know it is true because of how you feel that is not as easy to explain away.  One of the things a mission can do for you is to help you rely more on how the gospel and the Spirit make you feel.)  I am improving slowly, but I am beginning to think less and feel more. I am super grateful that the Lord is giving me a greater portion of His Spirit--it's something I haven't felt strongly this consistently in my entire life this far.

Second, WE HAD 3 BAPTISMS THIS WEEK! W**** and J**** M**** were married Friday (with our Mission President as one of the witnesses--W**** works at the tower where President Corbitt lives) and baptized Saturday. They also brought W****'s less active brother, wife, and kids, as well as a niece of W****'s. They are desirous to come back to church frequently, and may be some of the next reactivations here in Villa Esfuerzo. Also, a 15-year-old named Y*** was baptized...she didn't get confirmed, though. She showed up over half an hour late to Sacrament Meeting, because she was waiting on a less-active best friend. Unfortunately, the best friend is more the leader and example than Y*** is, so...we're going to have to fight to keep her active. Y*** won't be confirmed for another two weeks, since this coming week is Stake Conference.
We also have a lot of progress showing in W******, a tall, lanky old man who is in the reactivation process. He has two Sundays already, is MASSIVELY happier than he was when we first met him, and is working to introduce us to his daughter, another less-active, who lives with him. We had a really spiritual lesson about the temple and its importance. Thus, I have a question for you guys: Now that summer is opening wide before you, are you going to take advantage of all the opportunities to go to the temple? Try an experiment--go weekly for a month, just to see what happens. You will be surprised. It's what keeps a lot of people active out here. I know I was a terrible example of this principle, but better that I learn late than never, verdad?
Love you guys! I miss you. Have a great week, and don't let the mosquitos bite and give you ZIKA. ('cause that's happening to a TON of missionaries out here).  (I have heard of a couple missionaries in his mission getting ZIKA.  they have flu like symptoms for a few days and a nasty rash.)
Élder Rowe

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Simple Pleasures - Carl's Jr and unlimited refills! - June 6, 2016

Hi there,
So this week was super busy. We are trying to fix a bad birth certificate for the M****-V**** family, and spent an entire day going from one junta to another seeking docs and fixes and only got a portion of the process done. That was WednesdayTuesday most everything fell through and we spent the day contacting.Thursday was district meeting. Friday we spent the morning setting up a date with a judge for the legal marriage of the M*** family next Friday so that they can get baptized next SaturdaySaturday we did exchanges, and had a cosecha to get all the less actives to church for ward conference Sunday, for which we had to get there early so I could play prelude with the choir (Elder S**** was in the choir). Today we left the mission (woot) to go to Agora (we got special permission from Pres Corbitt), and Elder S**** bought a guitar. There they have a Carls Jr, and it is the only place in the DR I know with UNLIMITED REFILLS XD!
Jessica: I wish I could say exactly how my patriarchal blessing is helping me, but I can't because I haven't diligently studied it in a transfer or so. That is actually a great idea, so I'll put that in my goals for this week. Thanks! :)
I'm ahead of you as far as a challenge goes, mom! (In my letter to him I challenged him to find an aspect of being a missionary that he has not fully thrown himself into and change that this week.) I want to work a LOT more on discerning the Spirit. Because of past mistakes and lack of focus, I never really developed the habit nor the ability of listening to the Spirit unless it was a super strong gut feeling. I feel sometimes like a kid on a bicycle--I know when I have the Spirit with me, but I don´t know what to do with myself to keep the balance. I don't yet understand which way or what word or to whom the Spirit is indicating. I get insecure in that sense, and am still dependent on my companion for that. For example, Saturday we were out and about, and I felt bad, as though something had happened or was going to happen to someone, or that we shouldn't have been where we were, or who knows what. I prayed with my companion, and still wasn't sure about what to do. I had a couple of names of people pop into my head that we should visit, but those people always pop into my head, and so I was unsure of whether that was me or the Spirit speaking. My companion decided to help me be more independent, and waited for me to give an answer. We wasted like 20 minutes standing around and praying before we decided to get moving and I kind of let him guide me. I felt like we should pass by the M*** family's house, so we did, but...we had an appointment later that afternoon anyway, and it seemed that we didn't avert any crisis by passing by early. 
All of this is not sign that i am doubting being out here--it is just that I am frustrated by my seeming inability or incapability, even almost 9 months into my mission and over 11 years into my church membership, to understand what the Spirit is telling me to do, say, or avoid.
That is my goal this week--to better it. Anyhow, love you guys, and until next week! 
Élder Rowe