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

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Training - Aug 8, 2016

Yes, I have a son. (When you train the missionaries like to talk about it in terms of a family... hence the new companion that he is training is his son.) His name is Elder R*****. He is from Austin, TX. He wants to be a neurosurgeon. He's pretty cool. We found out that we were at BYU summer term together; we were just in different wards. Summer term is small enough, however, that we had both seen each other (we lived in the same building, just on different floors). He stayed through winter semester, spent the summer at home, and then came out here, while I went out when he started fall. Fun fact: the only American sister from his group, Sister A*****, was in fact in my ward over the summer.

This week has been really cool, but stressful. We don't have any baptismal dates for the month, and few people with enough attendances to make it. We are striving to keep our goals high like last month--at least 3 people or a family--and we have the faith that the Lord can give it to us if we work hard enough. The mission is NOT about numbers, mind you. Numbers are just how we get ourselves to work harder. We have only completed a mission-wide numbers goal once in my time as a missionary here, but that doesn't mean that individuals haven't done so. Since April we've really been pushing for more exact obedience and more faith, and every month since then I am happy to report that through our valiant efforts and obedience the Lord has been able to bless my companions and I with the opportunity to reach our goals every month since then. It is difficult, though, to see others pushing so hard and being so obedient but not getting anything in return. With how hard everyone worked in April, we kind of ran out of steam in May when things started to fall through and opposition showed up. 

Anyhow, we have faith that the Lord will help those people who we are visiting to be able to be baptized as soon as possible (and be converted beforehand, of course). For example, we reestablished contact with B**** this week, a haitian who actually speaks really good Spanish too, and with his 8-year-old daughter Y****. They are beyond prepared for baptism. They went to church for the first time this Sunday, and B**** got up in fast and testimony meeting and BORE HIS TESTIMONY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON AND THE RESTORATION. Whaaat?!? It was completely of his own volition, too. The only thing is that he and his wife are not married and are having serious relationship problems (to the point of separation, nearly) and thus don't want to hear a word about getting married. They still live together, so...yeah. They need to keep the law of chastity before anyone there can be baptized. GRR.

Being a trainer really gives you a great opportunity to reinvent yourself as far as obedience and hard work goes. What your companion sees is the first thing they see, and you can't rely on them for counsel about certain situations--you've got to take the initiative. If they see you working hard, they will think the whole mission works hard. If they see you being disobedient, they will think that the whole mission does likewise. I am nowhere near the best missionary, but I can only hope to be putting forth a good example of work and desires to serve. And improvement. One thing I didn't really learn until further along in my mission is the constant need for improvement. If you're not actively striving to fix problems and meet personal and companionship goals which are meaningful, you will only regress into bad habits. Satan makes sure that the river we're swimming in has a current. We can overcome the current with the strength the Lord gives us, but if we're not actively swimming we are headed backwards towards the waterfall. That point of no return is of course after we leave this life, but if we don't keep ourselves far from that point we will fall over in the end. 

Also, as a trainer you really put this into practice: the best way to learn is to teach. I have been learning so much about the teaching style I have and why I say what I do. I have been learning about how I can better extend commitments and help people to pray effectively. I am learning about how to be more fearless. Most of all, I am strengthening my testimony upon teaching the doctrine to others, just as much my companion in practices as investigators and less actives in actual situations.

I've been thinking about D&C 10:4 a bit recently. I know I can be running faster, so I will still strive to do so, but I feel like perhaps we haven't been fulfilling our goals mission wide because perhaps we have different levels of strength. That is not to say that we can't all develop it nor that we can't be equals eventually, but every individual has different gifts and abilities. Everyone has different opportunities to be tested and to grow, but not everyone grows at the same rate. The Lord, by our faith, can give us more strength, so really the scripture reads in my mind that we should not run faster that we have faith that we can run, because although our strength runs out the Lord can always cover for us.

That's all from me for right now. Sorry for the rambling...I've gotten really bad with that with Elder Robertson, since I just want to brain-dump everything. I talk way too much. XD

Love you guys! Hope you have a great week.
Élder Rowe

ps  I don't think I've told you guys yet, but my house is da BOMB. Like, according to every missionary who's seen it and been though it, it is one of the best houses in the mission as far as size, comfort, working things, and cleanliness. I feel blessed ...

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Transfers Bring Opportunities for Growth - Aug 1, 2016

Saludos tiernos a todos!
Soo...Elder R**** won't be staying with me another transfer (darn it). Why? Well firstly, because he's headed to Villa Mella. Secondly, because I am no longer district leader here. Why? Because I'm going to train (insert deer-in-headlights here). So yeah,tomorrow morning I will meet my kid around 9ish in Gazcue at the mission office. This is going to be interesting.
I am better (I just had some virus thingy, turns out).
(Some one asked him how keeping covenants has helped him teach the gospel.) With regard to keeping covenants: keeping covenants IS how you preach the gospel. The Missionary Handbook starts out by saying that the rules and standards therein have been approved by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. Thus, since all things that come from the mouths of those 15 men when moved upon by the Spirit is scripture (see D&C 68:3-4; see 1-6 if you want the missionary-motivator application), the rules and standards in the Missionary Handbook are commandments. Wherefore, they fall under the higher covenants of the temple endowment, not to mention our baptismal covenant to keep the commandments. If one is not exactly obedient as a missionary, one cannot have the Spirit, and if we receive not the Spirit we can not and SHALL not teach (D&C 42:14). It is almost frustrating sometimes how easy it is as a missionary to lose the Spirit's guidance. You leave the house late, you don't exercise in the morning, you don't follow a prompting to change your lesson plan--whatever the problem may be, the Spirit is out the door. It is an effort at first to keep covenants, or so it seems. You can't let yourself get loose or lazy about anything. However, as time goes on, you recognize how much the you really need the Spirit, and you strive to be obedient out of that need, and out of a profound and honest love for God and for all men.
Oh, so, miracle for the week: Tuesday we went to see the mission doctor, since I was mostly better but still having problems and because Elder R***** had some kind of heartburn or acid reflux problem that was making it nigh on impossible for him to eat (from the pain). We left and decided to stop by McDonalds on the way home, since it was around lunchtime. There we get in line to order our food, and a lovely older couple from the States asks us to come over and sit by them to help them translate between a family they were visiting with. Then the guy came back over and bought us our food. Then we sat down and started sharing. The two are from the Idaho Falls area, and they had gotten back a year or two ago from a mission in the West Indies. They had come to Santo Domingo to see the sealings of three families they had met on their mission. In the meantime, they were sitting with a Haitian family who their son had baptized on his mission to Haiti over 11 years ago. This family consisted of a father (still in Haiti--the rest of the family lives in Boca Chica in the DR), a mother, an RM, two soon-to-be missionaries (the ward mission leader of Boca Chica and his sister), and two younger kids. The ward mission leader had just returned from a SOY encampment (the outdoors latino version of EFY) as a counselor. We helped translate between the old couple and the family, and it was really, really special. The Spìrit was super strong there, and there were some really tender smiles shared.

I don't have too much else on my mind at the moment. I love you guys! Be safe, and enjoy the Rowe reunion! Keep striving for unity in everything (D&C 38:27). Disfruten su semana, y nos vemos aquí pronto.
Con cariño,
Élder Rowe