Tuesday, October 25, 2016

So Transfers are Happening... Oct 24, 2016

AYYY. Whattydo?
Before anything else, we had a baptism this Saturday! D****, an early 40s lady with a rather strong temperament, asked that I baptize her. She showed up late (in classic Dominican fashion) but made it on time (to the minute) for her confirmation Sunday. Her 15 year old daughter M**** is now next in line, but she still feels too unready to even set a date. However, we'll see what the Spirit has to say about that one...
I am (finally) leaving Villa Esfuerzo (everyone has been saying so since Thursday). I will be headed to Los Molinos B in the Las Americas zone (my area goes from the Hipódromo [hippodrome] to the ocean, if you want to look it up on a map). I will be training (round 3), and being a district leader again. By virtue of training and transferring at the same time, I will also be whitewashing. :/  So yeah, that's happening. The good news is that I will be in a house of 4, and one of the missionaries in my house just spent four months in my area before getting transferred to the other half of it. That will make life easier. Blessings are everywhere guys--you've just got to look for them.
One of my converts here, E****, has plans in this week to give the missionaries TONS of references. We are super pumped about that. We also met with a less active lady this week named C**** (she showed up at church this Sunday--WOOT). C**** has about 2 years as a member, but around 7-9 months of that being less active. She has the most incredible testimony of prayer that I have heard in anyone. She shared experience after experience and her eyes filled with tears as the Spirit flooded her house. She has just been making excuses about people visiting her as reason to not go to church, but she felt the need to return and stay back. She is a sure reactivation.
On Friday we had a couple of great lessons, but then everything started falling, and we weren't sure why. We then saw 3 miracles in a row. We went to tell Hna. M**** (another recent convert) about D****s
baptism, and by chance came across her in the street before getting there. We also coordinated so that she could bring C***** to church, or at least remind her. We then wanted to go by Hna. J****, who has been bringing an 11 year old daughter-of-a-friend named A****to church, to see if she and A**** could go to the baptismal service. We promptly proceeded to see her getting home from work, and got to chat with her. We decided to invite the U**** family to the baptism in person, since they are the primary fellowshippers of D****, and went by their house. By chance they had just gotten home. Hno. U**** had been sick early that morning and went to the hospital because he was chest-congested, and just as he left the hospital he had to go pick up his wife from work early, because she was feeling bad. They went to a different hospital, and as it turns out Hna. U**** had that day lost a baby she didn't know she had (2 weeks) because she was overexerting herself at work. We showed up just when Hno. U**** was praying that we could be there, were able to give them both blessings, and were able to lighten their spirits a bit. The Lord really guides us through what we sometimes think are our own ideas, but they really come from the Spirit. If we let Him, He will guide us to those people who are prepared to hear the gospel or who are in need of a visit, whether or not we are missionaries and whether or not the day is going well.
Hna. A***** is doing well. She proposed marriage to her husband and he accepted, so she will be getting married here soon and will be baptized the 6 of November. I'm going to see about getting permission to go back for that one, since I will be so close to the area anyway. She offered us dominican spaghetti last night and had us take arepa (delicious sweet cornbready stuff) for breakfast this morning. I am going to miss visits with her and her family.
I hope the internet centers over in Los Molinos have more functioning USB ports, because the internet centers here don't. I have so many pics I want to send but can't. Maybe next week.
Elder W**** is staying here to receive a Guatemalan named Elder G*****. The immersion will be good for him. He has already progressed so much in spanish and in teaching abilities, and I am excited for him and for all the opportunities he will have in the area.
I think that is everything for now. I love, miss, and pray for you guys! Can't believe I hit 13 months yesterday. Time flies. Be safe, and have a great week!
Élder Rowe

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Miracles - October 17, 2016

Yup. We had a BOMB week.
First, responding to what you guys said.
-WOOT (the BYU game)
-TORNADO? What?? How? (On the Oregon Coast - Manzanita I believe.)
-Missionary work DOES BRING JOY; case in point, this week. (I encouraged him to find Joy in the work.)
-Humility is EVERYTHING as a missionary. We are potter's clay. We are instruments. We can do nothing of ourselves. Every time I try to carry myself in whatever it is (especially teaching), I fail. I am weak, but the Lord's power is perfected in weakness. Humility brings peace and focus. Humility leads to greater obedience. I am immensely and immeasurably grateful for the grand lessons the Lord has given me on humility, and they will be with me for the rest of my life.
I want to send photos so bad, but this computer's USB connections are out of service. :( I've had a really nasty infection on the back of my hand (that Dad and Emma would love pics of) for the last week and a half that is finally better, and i was hoping to let you guys in on that today. We also had a zone activity and took zone pics, but... next week.
Wednesday we were talking with A****, a psychiatrist who loves to study on his own time. He has been sincerely praying, and as a result has gained a testimony rapidly. For some time he's been feeling like he still needs more preparation, but we talked to him about faith and let the Spirit work in him. He decided, FOR HIMSELF, that he's going to get baptized the second or third weekend of November (depending on when his family reunion is). We were thrilled, and we were grateful that the Lord has wrought a mighty change in his heart.
D*****, once a free-spirited, street-loving alcoholic, is all set and super excited for her baptism this weekend. Her daughter P*** M***** is totally on board, too. We had a mini baptismal interview on Friday, and she is beyond prepared for her actual interview this Thursday.
On Sunday we met with the mother of a convert of about 9 months (De***) whose name is Do****. She has been progressing somewhat slowly because we can only see her once a week and because she has said that she wants to do things at her pace. However, we met and talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and when we asked her to be baptized again, although there were phones ringing and other people walking all over the house, she said YES. She said she feels prepared already, seemingly out of nowhere. She said we could put the baptismal service as soon as we could, and that turns out to be Sunday, November 6. The Lord has really opened her heart, and she is going to be the gateway (together with her daughter) to getting to the agnostic son and the father of the family. Miracles are real, people. They have not ceased among the children of men, wherever there is faith.
To show that there must be opposition in all things, we met earlier that afternoon an anti-american atheist who blames all the problems in the world on the USA and boldly declares that we have neither purpose nor potential in life, yet somehow believes in ethics, and who doesn't [want to] understand that without evil in the world we would not know the good nor experience joy. The odd thing was, he was super cordial about it all, invited us in, and even praised us for being youth focused on religion and on making the world a better place (though he said we should go back and preach to the American government instead). We had a good laugh about the stark queerness of that visit that night.
I am SUPER PUMPED for this week. It is the last week of the transfer, and we are going to have 2 baptisms on Saturday, and we have set more goals to be even more obedient and see even more miracles. I pray that the Lord will bless you guys back home with the same joy and desire to warn your neighbors as I am feeling right now.
Love you guys, and have a great week!
Élder Rowe

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I Lied about Hurricane Matthew... Oct 10, 2016

It rained a lot here. As in, we had the worst flooding I have ever seen. We were still able to get around it, and we didn't get super wet, but, HOLEY COW. Most of the bad rain was at night though, so while we were dry living on our 2nd story, we had TONS of members and investigators whose houses flooded up to 2 feet of water. They had to get up at around 3 in the morning and start bailing with buckets and sweeping with brooms. Thankfully, houses here are concrete and tile, so it didn't matter that much. We didn't get the wind, though. The DR was mostly protected from the hurricane, thankfully (TEMPLES for the win). Haiti, as far as I have heard, got DESTROYED. They are in everyone's prayers over here.
As far as people coming to Christ this week, I am pleased to report that we found 3 new families this week, all of whom (at least, those who we've been able to visit for a second time) read the pamphlets we left them and are praying about what we share. I think the biggest things in coming unto Christ are 1. Sincere Prayer and 2. Sacrifice (Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, Sabbath Day Observance, etc.). When people pray sincerely, you can tell, because they progress, they have a light in their eyes, and they express genuine concerns and questions with confidence.
We did a service project this weekend at a member's house. We emptied, bucket by bucket, an 8 ft x 8 ft x 12 ft well (at our mission-brained, can't-remember-math calculations, that was about 1200 gallons of water). It was actually kind of fun, and they gave us mangú (mangoo) for breakfast--mashed potatoes but made with plantaines instead of potatoes. Elder W***** and I felt every single one of those buckets the next day (although he emptied more than I did for reasons I'll explain next week for time's sake).
I learned more this week about making my teaching WAY more effective. We talked about boldness and simplicity in our zone training meeting with Pres. Corbitt, to the point of inviting people to be baptized on a specific date in the FIRST VISIT. We also talked about making teaching more ofa conversation in our training study hours this week. Sharing the gospel should be a MUTUALLY EDIFYING EXPERIENCE. As in, both parties talk an equal amount and express their thoughts and their testimonies. I'm working hard on that, and it's hard when you want to control the lesson to make sure the Spirit is there. However, I am finding that the more I let people express themselves, the more the Spirit testifies of truth. President Corbitt told us this week that it is better that a doctrinal truth come out of an investigator's mouth in a lesson than that it come out of amissionary's mouth. A missionary's job, then, is to lead them to find that answer for themselves.
Love you guys! 
Élder Rowe

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

World's Fastest Slow Week - Oct 3, 2016

This week was rather slow, if you look at the numbers. There were some pretty epic highlights, though.
First, just a thought. I have been a missionary for over a year. I am immensely grateful for the Spirit with which my benevolent and merciful Father in Heaven has blessed me insofar, and I find incredible the quantity and grandness of the things I've learned. I have learned how to work when I feel like I can't anymore. I have learned to consecrate even my thoughts to the work of the Lord and His glory (I am nowhere near perfect in that yet--ongoing goal). I have learned what is required for and how to arrange papers for the marriage of a family. I have learned how to be completely fearless in the midst of seemingly dangerous or precarious situations (spiritually precarious, more often than not). Most of all, however, I have learned that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the only true and living God. I have come to begin to comprehend the depths of his mercy and the endlessness of His desire to trust in and forgive me. I have come to realize how I am truly nothing, and that if I fail to strive with all diligence to be exactly obedient, I become an impediment and even an enemy to God and His work. I have come to know by miraculous experience that nothing can impede the rolling forth of the stone cut out without hands, and that I can either be a part of the stone or I can be crushed thereby. I know that I am a literal son of God, and that my potential, as is all of ours, is ETERNAL. Not just endless; ETERNAL ("of God, Godlike"). Our Father wants to bless ALL of His children with the restored gospel in its plentitude, and each of us is called to warn our neighbor (seeing as we have been warned). I am learning, as I am now applying it more, the value and power of sincere, heartfelt, open prayer, and how that power can be applied to me in any place at any moment with any righteous end.
To respond your Q, Mom:
I got to see Conference in English, no subtitles, because about half of the zone is training and we were able to coordinate with the stake president to set up an English room. It was great, since last year I saw it in Spanish.
So you guys know, Hurricane Matthew seems to have missed our part of the island, so don't worry. As of last night, we weren't going to be able to leave the house today or tomorrow, but it only rained and the hurricane isn't too close, so they lifted the caution.

Although I've always taken notes and done my best to make conference serious for me, I feel like I was utterly blown away this conference. Talk after talk about sincere prayer and true dedication to the Lord (which I am particularly working on), having a proper gospel focus (not overlooking the mark and making the BoM the keystone of my testimony), not comparing myself to others; there was even a talk in there that was written just to make Mom so grateful she'd cry (during K. Brett Nattress's talk, I thought of you, Mom).
Favorite talks (this is going to be really hard):
Carol F. McConkie
J. Devn Cornish
Quentin L. Cook (specifically the "looking beyond the mark" bit)
Dean M. Daniels
David A. Bednar
Ronald A. Rasband

I need to stop the list there, or I'm going to write the entire conference down. XD
One quick story before I close. We had an intervention on Wednesday with a lady in our area named D****. She and her daughter are preparing for baptism, but she needed to stop smoking and drinking. She has been getting an allergic reaction now every time she drinks, and has taken that as a sign that she should not drink. We put up sticky notes with "don't smoke; love, the missionaries" all over the spot where she normally smokes, and took all the cigarettes and coffee that she had left in the house. From Wednesday onward, she has neither smoked nor drank coffee nor drank alcohol. She got to come to General Conference and LOVED it. We moved her baptismal date to later in October, because she is making plans to get married and wants her future husband and his daughter to receive the lessons from us and get baptized at the same time. Miracles. We suddenly have 4 stone-set baptismal dates in the month of October and have found 2 new, already interested people to teach.
Love you guys! Be smart and safe, and set at least 3 goals for yourselves of things you will better or change as a result of conference. The Lord will fill you with His Spirit.
Élder Rowe