Monday, March 28, 2016

Semana Santa!

Family and friends,
This week was different than normal because it was a week where everyone in latin america has a vacation week. It is called Semana Santa! That means Holy week in spanish. Of course, it is called that because this was Easter weekend! 
Everyone and there mother takes a trip to the local river or beach to go swimming and spend time with family. It was super hot, so even the people with darker skin looked a little burnt!
Although this was a week for all to remember the Savior, we had a few experiences that made me reflect on my own faith and how I remember the Savior. 

Elementary School in Honduras

The first was on Wednesday, we visited one of our investigators who has been having some troubles within their family. About half way through the lesson we hear some guy yelling, so we poke our heads outside to find an older crazy guy waving around his machete and swearing at his cousin who he was fighting with. He was yelling super loud about 2 houses down and was threatening to machete her face! I wished for a moment that I didn't know Spanish so that I couldn't understand the bad things he was saying to her.. but we just stayed in the house for a little bit until the situation calmed down and everyone went back to their house.

Many of the main investigators that we have been visiting were traveling this week, so we had the chance.. or many chances.. to knock doors this week! There were a few degrading experiences, but always in good fun! haha one lady, as we were explaining about prophets, couldnt help but laughing at us. I felt like it wasnt worth it to keep talking if she was just going to laugh at us, but we finished what we had to say and left. To say the least, I dont think she will call us back..haha

Another experience that we had was a little more helpful, as the lady told us straight up that she didnt like our church. When we asked her why, she said that she didnt like that we were representing Joseph Smith and teaching people that they should worship him. I was a little butt hurt, and told her to please not say those things if she has never visited the church or with the missionaries. I was thankful for my testimony, and I told her that there is no other way to enter into the kingdom of God other than through the Savior Jesus Christ. That gained her respect more, although she still didn't want to hear what we had to say.

It was a great week to teach and testify of the Savior. I know that He lives and that He loves us. I have felt His love for me, and for the people that we teach. I dream of the day that I can see His face, although I will never feel worthy to stand in His presence, as he Himself has said, He is the light and the life of the world, and I know it is true. I know He paid for my sins and he payed for all those who have lived, are living, and will live in this world. He is my example, and the example of all of us. I love Him. 

This Semana Santa, I have felt like I was able to walk in His shoes a little bit. Being rejected many times, standing in the heat, having people preach to us when we should be teaching them the truth. I am thankful for all that Jesus has done for me.

Elder Dipko, my campanion, is an awesome guy. It has been such an awesome experience to teach him about this crazy country, and we continue learning together! I love you guys so much!! Have a great week!

Elder Dowell

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Training days

Family and Friends,
THis week we had changes and I now have a new companion. His name is Elder Dipko and he is from Saratoga Springs, Utah. He knows spanish very well, just coming out of the MTC. He went to BYU for a semester before leaving, and he studied spanish for 5 years at school. He is a new missionary and has about 5 days in Honduras, and I have the opportunity to train him. I am very excited and a little bit nervous too! I hoep that I can set a good example for him and teach him a bunch about this crazy country! I know I will learn alot from him too. 
This week was crazy as the transition to different companions has never been easy for me to do! haha I always get a little anxiety, and sometimes.. alot! But that doesn't take away from some of the great experiences that I have had this week. It was a little hard trying to find people to teach, but One of the experiences that i will share made all of these hard experiences worth it!
This week in church was fast and testimony meeting. I had challenged our recent converts Ashley, hazel, and gustavo to bare their testimonies. They were hesitant, but on Sunday, they told me that they would go if I went first. I always get a little nervous of messing up in spanish but I bore my testimony and felt good. After that, the other missionaries, my companion and the other 2 missionaries bore their testimonies. afterwards Gustavo, who is 11 years old, walked nervously up to the microphone. He said in front of everyone that he was grateful for me, and that I had taught him the gospel. He said that he has learned alot from me and that one day he wants to serve a mission too. He went on to bare his testimony. He said that he knows that the Church is the true church of Jesus Christ. He told everyone of his testimony of the book of mormon and of the prophet joseph smith. Many people after hearing his testimony spoke about how it impacted theirs. It was a very spiritual fast and testimony meeting. 
As far as the people who we are teaching, many are willing to be baptized, but their situations are a little bit difficult. Many are not married and 2 of them are even living with someone that is not their actual wife. they got seperated, but the paperwork never got done so that is a difficult situation. But an older lady named Argentina commited to be baptized on the 26th of march. We hope to be able to help her towards that date. 
I love this area here in Paraiso. I feel like I fit in and get along with the members and investigators that we have very well. I am excited to keep working here. I love and miss you guys! Send a few pics, I hope you guys are doing great! Have a great week!

Elder Dowell

Growing in the mission

Dear Family and friends,
This week has been a week of what felt like a lot of work and not much pay off. We went out of our way to meet many new people, but were sad to find many unwilling to listen and unwilling to change. My view of missionary work has shifted a little bit in these past few months. At first I thought that the mission was just going and serving others, helping them with their problems and teaching them about Heavenly Father and the Plan of Salvation, but it is much more than that. Our main purpose is to help people to have faith and repent of their sins. There are many people who don't know how to repent, so we are able to teach them how. 

It feels so good when we find someone who wants to repent. For us, this week, that was one of our contacts. We had contacted him a while ago, and a member of the church told us that he wanted us to visit him as well, so we went like 3 times and he wasn't there. We were about to give up, but we prayed to encounter him and ended up teaching him how to repent. He opened up to us and told us that the lady that he is living with is just his girlfriend, and that he is technically still married with his ex wife and that he feels bad for that. We taught him that he needs to repent to feel better and he told us that that is something that he wants to do.
We teach 2 other families with a similar situation. In Honduras it is very hard to get married, and even harder to get divorced! So people just do what they want regardless of their status in the eyes of the law. 
We had a baptism scheduled for this Saturday, but when we went to swing by the houses of our investigators to bring them to church, each of them had a different excuse for why they couldn't go, even though they had told us the day before that we should swing by. I wasn't too surprised, as this has happened more than once, but I felt bad for Elder Dipko because he looked a little heart broken. I told him that we were going to learn a lot of patience here with these people haha.
We were happy to find out that one of our buddies that goes on visits with us will put his mission papers in soon! It made me think of Marshy, I am so proud of you Marshy!! I hope you get to come to San Pedro Sula!!! 
As far as the ward goes, I just had to laugh a little. Those who teach classes, with the exception of our  new convert, don't

prepare their classes and end up talking about opinions instead of the truth, or doctrine. The topic was the restoration, and the class ended up talking about a bunch of random stuff. 
Either way, I know that this church is true. I have felt the spirit testify to me many times that the work that we are doing is the work of the Lord, and that He puts us where we need to be to help His children. Have a great week everyone, I love you!!

Elder Dowell