Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Questions of baptism

April 25th

This week was a great week because I really feel like Elder Dipko and I were trying to find people to teach. I love Honduras and all of the Hundure├▒ans, but they really are hard hearted sometimes! Nonetheless they always greet us with a warm smile. We have been visiting with a few investigators that we have really been trying to get baptized, but this week they didn't seem too excited or willing to commit to anything. The first week visited were two sisters. We have explained and testified to them many times about the Book of Mormon and why it is so important to read it to find out if it is true. Sometimes they halfheartedly say that they read and prayed, but they do not do it consistently as we have taught. In our lesson this week, we taught them about the importance of going to church, and the blessings that come from it. During the lesson their grandma who is a die hard catholic asked us what were our intentions in our visits. We told her that our purpose is to help everyone to come unto Christ through faith, repentance, baptism by authority, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and persevering to the end. She looked at us like we were stupid! haha She straight up told us ¨they were baptized when they were kids in the catholic church. BEING BAPTIZED 2 TIMES IS A SIN¨. She didn't yell it but she said it like we were 2 babies just sitting in her house because we wanted to.. I had to hold my tongue a little bit or I was going to say something that I didn't want to haha.. but it really hit me that we need to have patience with them, just as Heavenly Father has patience for me. We asked them if they wanted to be baptized and they said no, but they want us to come keep teaching them the word of God. 

Respect for the Temple

Another one of our investigators is one that we have had for a while. She has some problems with the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. We have been trying to help her repent of these things so that she can be baptized, but she is having trouble doing so. We tell her so much about the consequences of what she is doing but it just doesnt seem to click. I hope that the Spirit can touch her heart and help her to change her ways. I know she will be baptized soon!

The most interesting lesson that we had this week was with a Jehovas Witness. He let us in to talk to him for a little bit and we shared a message about the book of Mormon. He asked many good questions about where it came from, why we have it, and why it was necessary for him. It seemed like he really was interested in knowing for himself if it is true.. but as we invited him to read and to pray, he told us that his salvation came through the bible. Many people have told us that  as we contact and talk to people. That is a very new thing for me to hear and try to understand. Our question to them is always, if you only need the bible, how do you think youre gonna get baptized? Well, he finally told us that he would read and pray about the book, but didnt really want us to come back. So we offered to say a prayer and he rejected the offer, saying that because we had different beliefs he wasn't going to pray with us. I was a little bit offended, but i just hope that he really reads and prays on his own!

We had a cool experience where a guy that we had previously contacted asked us who was Moroni! I was super excited to tell him, but noticed aproaching 2 shy kids from church. They take seminary, so I assumed they would know who Moroni was. We turned to them and asked them to explain who Moroni was. After a long day of rejection and trying to explain things to people that dont want to understand, it was so good to hear this little 16 year old shy kid say, ¨Moroni was a prophet¨. I know the smallest truths are the most powerful. I have felt the spirit testify of the message we share. I sometimes just smile of the simplicity of what it takes to gain a testimony. If any of ye have wisdom, let him ask of God. I know he wants to hear from everyone.

I love you guys and I hope you had a more successful week than I did! haha no worries, there are always people to find!

Have a great week guys!

Elder Dowell

April 18
This week was a great week, but always feels a little bit hectic. I suppose that is life everywhere! We were really trying to push our investigators (with love) to be baptized this week. They sometimes lack the will power to make decisions, so we tell them to pray and read the Book of Mormon, but sometimes they even have problems with that. 

Long story short this week we were able to help 2 of our investigators to the waters of baptism! It was so cool to see the change in them before and after their baptisms. We normally would have to go get them to go to church, but they were willing and ready to do make the covenant of baptism. They are 2 friends, and at the baptism they leaned over and just thanked us for what we had done for them. I think it wasn't until baptism until they really realized the importance of these things, and they were very grateful for us. That made all the hustle and bustle worth it. 

As for our other investigators, they resisted the push a little bit. Suyapa is 23 and told us a a grandmother that had passed away. We taught her about baptisms for the dead and it freaked her out a little bit. She couldn't really comprehend why we would do it, and thought that we were taking away the agency of people. We explained that everyone will have the choice to accept or reject this gospel, and she understood a little better. It made me really appreciate the ordinances that we do in the temple. They really are ordinances of salvation. She has little kids and we taught her that she should raise them in the gospel so that they can receive blessings of the restored gospel, and that maybe one day her kids could serve the Lord on a mission. I told her that a big reason why I am here is because mom would always read the scriptures, she taught me how to pray, and the importance of going to church. I told her that her kids will grow up better if she does the same for them. I started to tear up so I just changed the subject. After the lesson she asked me why I was tearing up.. I told her that each time that my mom would read the scriptures in the morning or iron my white shirt, I never really appreciated it. I told her that I wish I would have done it differently. I think that made an impact on her because she told us that she wanted to be baptized. I hope we can help her this week to be motivated to change her life. 

We also got into it a little bit with a preacher. this week it felt like nobody really understood that our message is so simple. There are prophets with authority on the earth, and not all of the churches can be true. Many people here think that salvation comes just from doing good deeds and reading the bible. We testified to this preacher that there really was only one true church and that God speaks to prophets in these latter days. On another occasion, a lady was talking to us about salvation, and we were surprised to hear her say that she was going to heaven no matter what she does she will go to heaven. We explained (maybe a little to harshly) that that was false doctrine, and that she needed to repent and be baptized by authority to receive eternal blessings. 

This week Gustavo ( our recent convert who is 11) told us about some family problems that he has been having. His parents fight sometimes and he doesn't like it. He told us that he said a prayer and felt like he should talk to us. He said he felt the spirit. I did too. We told him to keep praying and to share his testimony to his parents because they are not members. We plan on sharing with them the proclamation to the world. Gustavo also told us that he wants to see his parents get baptized, and he wants to serve a mission! I thought that was awesome. This week there are changes, but I am staying here in Paraiso with Elder Dipko. I am convinced it is because of Gustavo. He said he prayed for me to stay here for another change.. I love that kid.

On top of the best moments of this week is the baptism of Argentina and Gloria. They were late for church and didn't think they would get confirmed but we prayed alot during the sacrament and when I opened my eyes they had snuck in so they were confirmed! Also, we had a visit with one of our investigators who is a 50 year old lady. She was laying in a hammock and as we approached her, she closed her eyes super fast to make it look like she was sleeping, as if we hadn't just seen her! we said her name, but she still acted like she was sleeping so we just laughed and kept working.. it was a little bit pathetic, I wish they would just say no instead!! haha

This week we will be working on getting some older investigators into the font, and also finding new people to teach. There are always people to be found, I know this gospel is true and I know that everyone will have a chance to hear it and know of its blessings. I am so thankful for everyone who helps my testimony, I am trying to help others grow theirs as well! I love and miss you guys!! have a great week.

Elder Dowell

Monday, April 4, 2016

Baptisms on the way!

Dear Family and friends,

I have nothing that can top Marshall's call to South Carolina!!! I am sad that I couldn't be there to support, but I am more happy that he will be serving the Lord where he has been called!! I am filled with pride and so excited to know that he has made this decision. Marshall, if I can give you some advice, I always remember what Elder Busby told me.. The mission is the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. There is no truer statement than that. You will have good times and bad, just remember that Jesus Christ is with you through them all. I am so grateful for your example to me and that you are so willing to go wherever you are called. I know you will be a great missionary! 

This week was a little bit slower. We went to many of our investigators houses but many didn't remember our visits and didn't seem to feel too bad about it. What frustrates me the most I think is not that they forget.. because we can always reschedule a meeting. But when we gotta go to their house and its so hot and they act like they really don't want to talk to us, I feel heartbroken. Its like having a giant delicious cake and wanting to share it with everyone.. but nobody wants to try your cake because their friends told them that it sucked.. so they wont even try to listen to us! well, that's the way it feels sometimes. There are other times where are just so humbling and awesome! Those are the times that are worth it. This week one of those humbling experiences was with one of our investigators. She is an older lady probably in her 50s and has been meeting with us for a few weeks. This week we explained to her of the Plan of Salvation. As we taught she opened up to us by telling us about her son that was killed about 10 months ago. We taught her about temples and baptisms for the dead. The spirit was so strong as it testified to her of what we were saying, and she was brought to tears. When she was crying I thought of all of my experience with baptisms for the dead and going to the temple and I was so so thankful for the temple and the eternal perspective and blessings that it gives us. 

We have also been preparing another sister for baptism this Saturday! She is about 60 and doesn't know how to read.. but she is excited for baptism as she has grown her testimony in the restored gospel. She likes to joke around with us. 

As for a much less spiritual experience, we went to visit a less active member because she told us that part of her family weren't members, so we walked to her house in the horrible heat. We sang a hymn and prayed and three drunk dudes came out and sat on the ground where we were teaching. I think they were friends or maybe cousins of those who we were teaching. They started to get really loud and annoying. I was trying not to make eye contact with them so they wouldn't talk but it was helpless. Within moments they were criticizing us and I just had to smile. I have seen it before, but Elder Dipko wanted to try and teach them as they said, "the Book of Mormon is not true" and  "you guys worship Joseph Smith as a God". I told Elder Dipko that we should leave so we shook their hands and left.. 

General conference was also one of the main highlights of this week. I am not just saying this because I am a missionary.. well maybe.. but I LOVE GENERAL CONFERENCE!! Before I really wouldn't get much out of it, but being able to testify of living prophets every day has made my appreciation grow for this restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know Thomas S. Monson is a special and chosen servant of the Lord who has all of the priesthood keys to bind in Heaven what is bound on earth. Jesus talks to him! and he talks to us. I love and miss you all so much. Marshy, words cannot explain how proud I am of you and what you are doing. You are an amazing example to me!! 

Do you ever meet people who know alot about the bible?  
Everyone thinks they know a lot about the bible! ha ha and they have many scriptures memorized which is good.. But when people try to preach to us its hard to listen because I feel like we should be the ones talking.. but there are a lot of people that just want to change our minds and don't really want to listen.

Have you ever felt that someone was prepared for you?  What made you feel that way?
I sometimes feel like no and others yes. I always have faith that there is someone prepared just for me.. but other times it is discouraging when it feels like nobody is progressing. I feel with the investigators how I imagine Heavenly Father feels with me!

Is it still so hot?  
Yes. i don't even know why I bother showering.. I am sweating by the time I am dressed again.

How are you helping this new elder to adjust to his new life in Honduras?  Has he seen anything crazy yet?
That experience with the drunk guys was a little eye opening. He has gotten a little discouraged this week because he is wearing out of the MTC phase which is "the gospel is amazing and everyone wants it".. He has had a little taste of people who don't want to listen to us and so I have been trying to help him keep having faith in finding people and also helping him improve his Spanish. He is really good and a good learner too which is good. He is a humble guy which is a nice change! haha

I Love all of you guys! Have a great week this week! Congrats Marshy!!!!!! SC doesn't know whats coming!!

Elder Dowell