Tuesday, August 8, 2017

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

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