Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pushing to be better - December 19, 2016

EYY! I am super excited to talk to you all on Sunday! Thank you all SO VERY MUCH for the package! I got it intact (including Emma's surprise--I CALLED IT). All I have been hearing of the States here is that it is COLD everywhere, so it is good to hear that you're all alive. Yes, I will call around 3, or perhaps later--I'm not sure exactly how long the others will take or when they will call, but just keep skype open and in mind. 

This week was a bit slow as far as the work goes--I feel like I'm hitting a missionary's block--that part of your mission when you have enough time to be considered a veteran but you still have a lot of imperfections and still need to be overcoming them but are getting senioritis about it. I know I am not a very effective missionary compared to my potential and compared to what is taught in Preach My Gospel and the Missionary Handbook. I know what things I have to do to get better: I know I need to talk to everyone and ask for more references from everyone and to manage time in lessons better to make sure there is always a baptismal invitation and a couple of commitments at the end of the lesson. I know I need to have more courage in talking to people in buses and cabs, I need to find a better way to work with less actives and recent converts who are struggling, and I need to be more sincere and focused in prayer and in study. Even when I split these goals down into daily or hourly fractions, there is always opposition (which is to be expected). However, most of the opposition isn't from other people--it is from myself. I fight against the Spirit because I am afraid or because I want to wait for "the right person." Then I wait expecting a response and don't feel special about anyone, and thus don't talk to anyone. I have become too comfortable being a missionary who teaches without finding, and one who waits for people to come to him. One can have success to a degree as such a missionary, but...not enough. I am not meeting the Lord's standard. Our mission has the vision of baptizing 300 or more people a month, because we have the faith that there are more than enough people waiting for us out there. Think about 300 people compared to the 4,000,000 that live in the East Mission. That is NOTHING. Somehow I still can't get myself to do anything about it though. We are doing a "holy week" as a mission this week, in the which we have all committed to be EXACTLY obedient for AN ENTIRE WEEK, and to repent with all sincerity when we fail. I am seeking the strength to be that better missionary the Lord wants me to be especially this week--I am learning a lot about sincere prayer and true repentance. Pray that I can have that strength, please--I'm going to need it. In the last week the opposition has gotten much, much stronger on all sides. Simple failures and general errors have come back that I thought I had left behind transfers ago, and it is getting harder and harder to be obedient and focused. I don't want to fail, but if I continue moping about about how hard it all has become I will never progress. I love you guys so much. You are all great examples to me. I know that the Lord has many blessings in store for each of you, and I know that He lives and really can bless us with strength. I have faith that He can help me become more than I am and that He can truly change my heart. 

Have a great week, and see you on Sunday!
Élder Rowe

PS--Sorry that was a bit of a negative rant--I just felt that I needed to share it with you. The Spirit has really helped me to further commit to these goals as I have shared them with you. In a mission tour we had recently, Elder Zivic of the 70 talked to us about breaking paradigms and sharing our vision. I can testify that as we share our vision with others and with the Lord that He gives us the willpower to do it. I feel the Spirit so strongly now that I have shared this with you, and I hope that each of you can set some goals for who you want to be and what you want to do this year. Then, share them with me--how you can be more exactly obedient to the Lord this year, or this month, or even this week--in our call Sunday. Try it as an experiment: plan everything out down to days and weeks, imagine yourselves reaching your goal, then share it with me and with each other before you go out to do it, and I promise that each of you will feel the Spirit carrying you through opposition until you become or change what you want to.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Brain Splurge (more than usual) - Dec 12, 2016


  It is always the same temperature here--at least 75 degrees with 100% humidity. The good thing is that I live by the ocean so we get a nice breeze and occasional rainfall.

Brad asked ...In the last month:

   1.  Best thing you made to eat:  Black Bean Smoothie (black beans boiled with cinnamon, sweet cloves, and a bit of nutmeg, thrown into a blender with evaporated canned milk and sugar. Can be served hot or cold.)
  2. Favorite food/meal eaten:  Sancocho (everything stew--too many ingredients to list here. Served over white rice)
  3. One thing you wish you had not eaten:  Mondongo (diced sautéed cow stomach with sauce served over white rice)
  4.  Largest family seen under one roof(give approx number):  15, in a house the size of the upstairs living room there in WA
  5. Most interesting member of your ward/branch:  M****, a recent convert who always tells us to "not drink too much rum or party too much without inviting him." He is 20, and he has become a total bro. Whenever he's not working he accompanies us to lessons wherever we need.
  6. Happiest moment:  When we got a 7 km ride home for free after helping a guy start his truck by pushing it, when we had no money and were going to miss ward council for having to walk the whole way. That day we had already seen A TON of tender mercies (we had found 2 new investigators who were über interested), but that took it over the top.
  7. Most memorable teaching experience:  An agnostic came up to us in the middle of a lesson and started ripping on us for being too focused on religion and not enough on God; we somehow managed to save the spirit of the lesson when he walked away.
  8. Craziest companion "antic":  My companion is peaceful. In the house, though... ELder O***** came running from one room to another shouting something while I was doing my DL call and slipped into a full splits on the floor that was slick from an AXE spray war he'd started just minutes before.
  9. Funniest thing your heard someone say:  It's a joke that is better told in person. It is WAY too long and loses its effect when written.
  10. Grossest thing seen(I'm asking for Elijah's benefit):  A pile of day-old chicken-butchering leftovers so covered in maggots it looked like the feet were still twitching
  11. Most spiritual moment:  When we invited a couple of long-time investigators to be baptized this dec. 23 in a huge stake-wide baptismal service and they both accepted with excitement and started making plans to do so.

  Transfers indeed came, and...everything stayed the same! One of the other elders in our house (Elder C*****) got sent away and we got Elder G***** (Elder "G") in the house now. Energy, excitement, and positivity are as high as ever!

OSKAY. Now I can relax a bit.

Not too much is new in the work here. Oh, except that on Thursday there was announced a White Night (stake-wide baptismal service) for December 23. And the 40-day process of purification (as far as exact obedience goes) we started as a zone on Sunday. And the super-prepared family who are going to be baptized that day (they have been investigators for months but haven't been baptized for a number of reasons, all of which have since been cleared up). Not to mention the new half-american family Elder C**** and I found on Saturday who already knew the missionaries and who asked at the end of the lesson if we could start making weekly visits and teaching them together with their kids. And that's not counting the other new investigator who contacted us asking for English practice but ended up being more interested in the Restoration than in English, and who has been reading the Book of Mormon like crazy. All in all, a pretty sick week.

That is all that's on my mind at the moment--my brain is mush today for some reason. I love you guys and miss you. Hope everything goes well this week, and enjoy the cold (oh, how I miss it)!

Élder Rowe

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Jacob's not letter - Dec 5,2016

power went out at the other internet center, and so we ran 20mins to another one to finish the mission stuff and send you this. Life sucks sometimes. Love you guys!
Élder Rowe