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)