Saturday, January 31, 2015

Semana 3 already?

Family and friends,
I will try and answer all of your questions quickly because I don't have that much time to write! 

This week has been very interesting and I have learned a lot about myself and about the gospel. 
the best experience of the week came on Thursday so it has been hard because I've wanted to tell you all about it since then. We do this thing called TRC where we talk to real people, members or not, and we try and help them with their problems. The lady we were grouped with was from mexico who had an 18 year old son that was not a member of the church. She said he has not been baptized and he has a problem with the word of wisdom. While other things were hard this week, this brought so much peace to be able to help her. We showed her a scripture in D&C 89 about the word of wisdom and the blessings her son will receive if he follows the commandments. We told her to relay this message to her son and that he would be blessed for it. We did all this with the little Spanish that we knew! After that, something made me feel like no matter how well I learn Spanish, I will be able to get my point across.

That being said, we have started teaching our lessons with fake investigators without reading off of a paper! We do this by asking lots of questions and then trying to pick out words that they say to identify the problems that they are going through. Slowly but surely we are understanding. 

This is going to sound terrible but the second best part of this week was when our district leader elder Jensen pretty much threw a tantrum in our class. Our teacher is awesome, his name is Hermano Saenz and he wants us to always speak Spanish and elder Jensen didn't like this so he threw his jacket on the ground and said stuff like "you cant make me speak Spanish" and "I'm not gonna do what you say". At first I was just so happy that it was him and not me. Then I felt bad for being so happy about this and I realized that everyone is in the same boat. We all have struggles and trials. Mine is missing home and trying to focus on learning this language. 

Here's a picture from this week.  Elder Wight and I are ready to go, but our district leader is still asleep.  Kind of the way things roll around here.

This week I felt like I should read the story of Job. He went through so many trials and God knew that He could count on Job to always praise Him. I don't want to be like Job and have all these bad things happen to me, but I do want Heavenly Father to be able to rely on me the way He relied on Job. I need to be more obedient and have more faith. This is something that Elder Wight has helped me with too. 

I am getting a little annoyed with everyone but I assume that's normal around this time. Elder Wight served me by making it clear that we can only worry about ourselves and that we need to work harder. I served him this week by answering one of his questions. He asked me if he thinks that God and Jesus get sick of us complaining. I answered him "no" because I know that Jesus´s patience is perfect. As we pray for things and wonder why we are having trials, it helped both of us to recognize His perfect patience.  Try to recognize the patience that He has for all of us, I will do the same!

Much love from Mexico City,

Elder Dowell

Friday, January 23, 2015

Semana 2!

Family and Friends!

Week 2 has come to a close and has treated me just slightly better than week one. I have a feeling that is how the process of the CCM will go. Thank you for all of the love and support. This week my Spanish improved little by little each day. When the teachers speak in Spanish I can pick out a few more words each day. I usually don´t notice it until I have to talk. It is very overwhelming at first and I feel like I have learned nothing, and maybe even forgotten a lot (as if I knew any to begin with), but my teacher told my companion, Elder Wight, and I to tell our family and friends that we are improving and he is proud of us for how far we have come this week and that our parents raised us well. 

The food this week has been the same as always, usually eggs and fruit in the morning, tacos or enchiladas for lunch and for dinner tacos or some kind of meat. Just yesterday they served up some pizza but something was up with it because half of the CCM was up last night throwing up. It is such a blessing that I was able to dodge it, but I will be more careful of what I eat. 

I share a room with my companion and one other companionship (4 of us)

My closet

I have learned a lot of things this week, about Spanish and about the gospel. My friends and family, there are some things about what we believe in that can seem very weird. This is because they are weird. But this week my testimony has grown about the truth of these things, particularly the Savior's Atonement for us, and the restoration of the gospel and priesthood power on the earth. When I think about these things, i cannot base my faith off of knowledge, I am slowly learning that my faith can only come from the feelings that I receive from the Holy Ghost when I invite it. I am thankful for the small whispering of the Holy Ghost. 

As far as relationships with my companion and other Elders, my companion is an awesome guy. we learn more about each other every day and that brings us closer and helps us to work harder. We are both terrible at Spanish but we're trying. My district leader is the exact opposite of everything that I stand for, but I'm guessing that part of this experience is being patient with him. That is much easier said than done when I go to open my Krispy Kreme box and a doughnut is missing. 

Today was temple day also! The Mexico City temple is under renovation so we could not go in but we visited their visitors center and could still feel the spirit, even in the midst of the chaos of Mexico city shops and traffic. It was nice to get out of the CCM for a while! 

At the Mexico City Temple Visitor's center

 Elder Wight and I at the Temple

Maybe those guys at Eastern Washington were on to here and scroll

Enjoying the Temple

Thank you so much for all of your emails and support, I have felt so much love since I got here. No matter the feelings of doubt and homesickness, I know I am in the right place. 

Elder Dowell

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Week 1 - The CCM

Family and Friends,
I have been in Mexico City for a week now and the weather couldn´t be better! I have been battling homesickness this week (a shock, I know) but missionaries that are about to leave give me hope that it gets better. They didn't have to leave a family like mine, though! Mom, Dad, Marsh, Syd, and Savannah I love you more than you will ever know. Grandma and Grandpa thank you for sending your love, it means so much to me, I love you. To all others who have emailed I will respond as soon as possible.  Thank you to the Gardners for the gift box, such a huge lift!

The Mexico MTC is called the CCM (Centro De Capacitacion Misional Mexico). It is a beautiful old high school campus surrounded by the sounds of Mexico City. Police sirens and dogs barking day and night, with air planes blasting advertisements that I can't understand. The food here is not authentic Mexican food, more like Minnesota Mexican. But don't worry because every Tuesday night they bring in Costco pizzas!   We were given water bottles and there are tons of places to fill up, so staying hydrated is not a concern. 

My companion´s name is Elder Noah Wight. He is from Brisbane QOD, Australia. We will be companions the whole time we are here in the CCM.  He worked in the mines mining copper, he is 19 as well. We get along very well, we are similar in many ways (other than mining and homesickness). He has been a great example to me in studying and staying 'keen'. Being from Australia, he always says things that make me double take at such as 'let’s be keen today' or 'let’s take out the rubbish'.  He is struggling more with Spanish than I am, especially with his 'shrimp on the barby' accent, I will try to help him more this week

The language has been stressful, mostly because they really try not to speak English to you, even though they know it. High School Spanish did help a little, but I am nowhere near where I need to be. I know this is where faith comes in because Elder Wight and I have had many experiences where we feel so incredibly overwhelmed and that we cannot do this on our own without the Lord’s help. 

A day in the life at the MTC is waking up at 6:30, studying, breakfast, studying, lunch, studying, gym time, studying, teaching, studying or devotional, sleep and repeat. My favorite part of the CCM is gym time.  The service project was pretty fun we had to scrub some walls around the campus, and the guy whose job it was to instruct us was SO pumped that we did that for him. That was a cool experience.
Dad, you asked me to tell you the first thing an Elder would correct me on.  The answer is…everything. I hadn’t even put on my nametag yet and some guy walked up and said," you gotta do it like this, the other way is wrong". So that’s what goes on here 24/7.

Mom, your kisses have got me through this week, this was definitely harder than the first week at college. I know He has a plan for us and He is in every part of our lives. Play some FIFA and watch The Office for me! 


Elder Dowell

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Next Stop, Mexico City

Well, he's outta here! Chandler, or Elder Dowell, left the US for Mexico City yesterday (Jan 7th). It was a tearful moment as we said goodbye for 2 years, but he is gone. Here is a last look at him as he got on the plane. 

He was able to write confirming that he made it, here are a few highlights of his first email as a missionary: 

"Mom and Dad! 

I don´t have much time to email they give me 5 minutes.. just want to let you know that I made it safely to the MTC. I almost got my stuff stolen at the airport. I saw a guy putting my luggage on his cart and I wasn't going to say anything but he didn't put it down and I know he was going to steal it because he apologized way too much. My companions name is Elder Noah Wight.  I will email as soon as I can. I cant send pics now for some reason but I will soon. 

love, Elder Dowell" 

Chandler will be in the Mexico City Missionary Training Center (MTC) for something like 8 weeks while he learns spanish and how to share the gospel in spanish. After that, he heads to Pedro San Sula. We (Nichol and I) were overwhelmed by the support from friends and family in getting Chandler prepared. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers.

I will share his updates with you here (this blog). Thanks for the great idea Cameron (see Russian Ryan's blog link on the side)!

~Rich (Chandler's dad)