Tuesday, August 15, 2017

LAST EMAIL (Basically) - Aug 15, 2017

Well, here we are. Basically my last email home in the mission. It has gone all too fast. I have learned, grown, and changed so much. I really struggle to find what to say. That's why I dedicated my personal study a few days ago to "WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?" and came up with this (sorry it'll be short for time's sake).

All that I have learned and changed has to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
1. Faith--Exceptional, Exceedingly Great Faith
     It has power to bring about miracles, change lives and perspectives, and is in general the key to success in life. It requires dedication, effort, works, and trust in the Lord, but all efforts are worth it.
2. Repentance--Humble, Sincere, and Continuous Repentance
     Without repentance the atonement of Jesus Christ has no effect. Without repentance we cannot progress temporally nor spiritually (nor eternally). It brings about a change of heart--not just of what we feel, but of what we desire and what we aspire to become. It is the pathway to total consecration unto the Lord.
3. Keeping Covenants--Exact Obedience
     See Alma 57:21, 25-27. There are no blessings without obedience. The best kind of obedience is obedience for love of God and because of a desire to serve Him, thought it is not at all bad to obey for the blessings at first. Unconditional obedience is the first law of heaven, and is the law by which all things in the universe are governed.
4. Receiving Personal Revelation through the Holy Ghost
     The Lord can take the goals we set and the plans we make and make them sacred "promises" toward which we can exercise exceptional faith and turn the plans into "instructions" which we can strive for exactness in following and which give us opportunities to repent. Also, if we are willing to share with the Lord our deepest desires and thoughts, He will reveal to us if they are good and how to bring them to pass, or He will tell us what would be better. We need only be humble enough to follow His instructions.
     This one is still hard for me, but it applies in EVERYTHING. In any field of work, study, games, social stuff, etc. talking to everyone is the key to success. Just as two heads are better than one, 20 heads are better than 2.

In general, the changes that have been wrought in me and in the mission are summed up by 1 John 3:21-24. I don't have time now to explain how, but I'll tell you next Thursday or Friday. ;D

I love you all so much. i am so very grateful for the opportunity I've had to serve the Lord for these 2 years, and I know that all these experiences will be for my good. I know that Jesus Christ is my savior, and that He has felt all things and knows how to succor us according to our weaknesses. I know that our Heavenly Father has a plan for each nad every one of us, and that He wants to help us fulfil our deepest desires so long as we consult with Him first.

See you all soon!
Elder Rowe

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Home Stretch - Aug 7, 2017

Hello there!

I don't have much time today, because I didn't get time to write yesterday. I went to Villa Esfuerzo with Elder W***** and we got caught in traffic on the way there. It was great to see all those people, take some pictures, get some WhatsApp numbers and FB addresses, and drink TONS of juice (literally every person gave us fruit juice to drink as we passed by).

Thus came to an end my last free P-Day in the mission field. Next Monday I have a self-reliance course they give to outgoing missionaries (I'm going to do it with the group that leaves the 15th because some guy from the Area has to come do it and won't have time my last Monday), and the Monday after that I will buy some touristy stuff in El Conde and watch the eclipse.

We have been without the bikes all week (they were super broken down so we sent them off to the capitol), but we should get them back between tomorrow and Thursday. Also, on Thursday last I gave my last testimony in the mission leadership council meeting (that was weird). Nothing else all too exciting this week. 

Sorry, no time for pics now. Love you guys!!

Élder Rowe

25 Days and Counting - July 31, 2017

Okay, I'm counting. Sorry. XD

Mom, YOU feel out of touch? (I told him that I had been at Girls Camp for 3 and 1/2 days and felt out of touch...) I've never had a smartphone, almost never had social media, and have been in a moderately advanced country for 2 years where everything gets here 6 months late and where I only have communication with anyone once a week, and at present I live in a town of under 500 people with minimal phone service and no internet access. xD Haha Then again, when I get back and the worldly things creep in I will probably feel the same after a week of camping. I was just realizing the same thing being out in Gonzalo in connection with the mission (or rather, the lack thereof). We are so far from everyone and everything that I know next to nothing about missionaries in other zones and the progress of the mission like I used to. Also, not having texting anymore means I can't just ask people stuff that easily (zone leader benefits).

This week was INSANE. At the beginning of the week we had 5 people committed to be baptized yesterday (Sunday the 30th). We lost Wednesday because we were in the capitol so Elder O**** could get his Dominican driver's license (they are doing that with all the missionaries that can drive now just in case they get called to the office in the future, but they haven't bothered with me because I'm old). Funny enough, the driver education and testing program is sponsored by the national brewery, and Elder O**** said that in the video they basically say that it's okay to drive drunk if it is only a little drunk. BUEEENO... cómo te digo... Over the next few days the parents of 3 denied permission and the grandmother of another one discovered an advanced cancer in herself and died within the week (specifically Saturday, and the funeral service occupied all of Sunday). In the end only one girl got baptized, but she got to bring all her friends with her--her friends in church that brought her, and some friends who are not yet members who she is now planning to bring to church. Although there was a TON of opposition in general, President Corbitt and President Smith have taught us to try to ride the opposition like a wave, and to seek the growth opportunities that the Lord is extending to us. I had honestly thought that I would have grown more at the beginning of my mission than at the end. At the beginning of my mission I became and obedient and a more diligent missionary, but at the end of my mission the Lord is refining me by opposition into a more faithful and more humble missionary. I am really coming to realize that this work is the Lord's and that there is nothing I can do of myself to bring it about. It is only when I keep the Lord's terms and conditions that He blesses me with the opportunity to participate as a tool in his work, as a laborer in the great harvest. I feel like while my actions were most changed at the beginning of my mission, it is my attitude that the Lord has wanted to change, and since I hadn't changed it sufficiently yet He has decided to put me back into the fire of opposition. This time, however, I don't get discouraged as easily, because I know the WHY of the opposition. Before I would always just see it as me failing or something I had done wrong, but now I see that it is for my good, for the growth of others, and perhaps not for what I said or did but for what I thought. It is our whole selves that the Lord wants, not just our appearances and actions. He wants us to turn up our convictions and our desires to Him, to share the deepest thoughts of our souls with Him in confidence so He can make our righteous dreams come true. The Lord is really out for OUR happiness, not his own. Thus should we all be out for the happiness of our families, friends, investigators, etc.

I love you guys so much! See you all soon, and have a great week!
Élder Rowe