Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Day of Children

Dear family and friends,

This week was a long week and a half without a p day! but there were many great experiences that made the time fly. Elder Deeble and I have been working with some references that members had given us when we got here and 2 of them are going to get baptized this week! They both have strong testimonies in the restored gospel and it has been such a satisfying experience being able to teach them of the truths of the restoration and helping them to recognize an answer from Heavenly Father.

To help the branch get active in missionary work, we have been having some activities at the church. In Latin America they celebrate the Day of Children so we did an activity with the kids and had a great time. We have gained the confidence of many of the members in our ward, to the point where they have given us references of their family members. That makes me feel good about the work that we are doing because even some of the members have worked harder to bring their friends to church. Recently it has been hard for us to get people to church.. but yesterday we had 7 investigators show up to church and they seemed like they loved it! I even got to give the principles of the gospel class and we talked about what happens after death. 

This week one of the members of the church passed away from old age and sickness.  I was asked to give a short message on the resurrection at his funeral. I thought that only family members would come, but it turns out he was a very popular man so we had about 150 people or more come into the chapel. I got a little nervous, but truly felt the direction of the spirit as I spoke about the resurrection to many who had never even been in the church before. That helped build my testimony more about the direction of the spirit.

On Tuesday we had a visit with Elder Alonzo of the 70. It was a peculiar experience. President Bush was asking us some questions and passing the microphone around. Eventually some elder said that he was a ¨natural man¨ and Elder Alonzo stopped him and in front of everyone told the missionary to have an interview with President Bush after the meeting. He took the microphone from there and humiliated the Elder a little bit. Then told us that its not ok to teach false doctrine. I felt really bad for the kid and I was too scared to open my mouth for the rest of the meeting! haha so was everyone else. 

We were able to have many spiritual experiences teaching and helping others. My heart feels so much better when I am helping and serving. I am so thankful that I am a missionary in these latter days. I watched a video this week with my companion on the construction of the Salt Lake Temple. My heart was filled with gratitude for my family and friends who have taught me and showed me the way. My love for the Savior and testimony of Him as our Redeemer has grown much because of these experiences. I love you guys so much! I hope you Have a great week!


Elder Dowell    

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Push ups for cookies

Hey Family and Friends!
In the coming week we will have a member of the 70 come talk to us and for that reason today (Friday 9/9) is P-day!! Even in these 4 days there has been much progress in our investigators! We have been working hard to visit with members and the friends that they have, and has seen that it is so much more effective when we do that. We have been visiting with a 64 year old evangelical man. The fact the we do it with a member has helped him to progress and he has accepted a baptismal date for the 24th of September.

Our other investigator told us that she received an answer that the things that we were teaching are true and she told her mom that. Her mom is a die hard evangelical lady and she told us that her mom told her that if she got baptized, she wouldn't have a mom. Basically saying that her mom would disown her. That being said, she still allows us to visit her and we are encouraging her to choose what she has felt through the spirit over what her family has told her. I don't know what i would do if I was in her situation, but I feel for her. I think she will choose the right decision because she has good intentions.

I will be sending pictures of an activity that we had last night that was a total success for the members and investigators. We invited tons of people and it was a great turn out. We did an activity representing the Atonement. I gave each person a cookie and my companion Elder Deeble had to do 3 push ups to pay for each cookie. It was a great way to have everyone remember what Jesus did for us, whether or not they wanted to eat the cookie. 

We are seeing the hand of the Lord in His work as we have been asked to baptize or activate 7 worthy priesthood holders above the age of 18. there are not many guys willing to choose the right, but of the few, we are working with them and continuing to find them. I am so thankful that each day we are able to help others grow closer to Heavenly Father. It helps me grow closer to Him, too. I love you guys and hope you have a great week! 

Elder Dowell

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Santa Rosa

Hey guys!

This week was an adventure continuing to get to know our area in Santa Rosa. On numerous occasions we had the opportunity to talk to people in the streets, many of which were drunk or in need of the gospel message. We were stopped by 2 guys in the street who asked us if we wanted to go smoke with them. We just laughed and told them that we don't do that because its bad for us. They proceeded to tell us that it was ok because the elders 3 years ago used to smoke with them as they were teaching. I was surprised at that! It made me realize how desperately important it is to really try to be a good example. 

This week we also have been working with the members to be able to have us teach their friends and family. I have not had a baptism in a while, and although the "numbers are not important" I feel that the best way to get a baptism is working with members and those who they love because they are more likely to help us. That being said, we put 2 people this week with a baptismal date in the coming weeks. The first is 23 years old. She told us that she feels that our message is true. We were so excited to hear that. Sometimes after so many people not understanding or rejecting our message, it feels so good to have someone that gets it! haha The problem with her will be her family. They are very evangelical and always give her a hard time about our visits. I was able to tell her about dads experience of baptism. We assured her that it is more important to do what God asks, and stick with the consequences, than to do what your family says. She agreed that it was more important. 

The second guy we are teaching was an evangelical pastor before, but he has learned of the truth of the restoration of the gospel and it has been amazing to see him understand, without battling on scriptures! haha normally a preacher would have tons of questions about the scriptures for us, but he listens with an open heart, ready to learn, and we have felt the spirit very much in  our lessons.

On Thursday I was definitely thinking about gameday, but we had the opportunity to put our work in as well. the lights went out in the evening hours and the rule is that we would have to go home. So we did and took off our ties and everything. When we got done planning, we still had about an hour and a half left and the lights came back on. We saw it almost as a test, and chose to put the ties back on and go outside and see who we could teach. We found many opportunities to serve and help others, and even teach. I know that putting in the extra mile will always pay off. In trying to do more of what the Lord would have me do, i feel happier. I know that I have much to improve, and I want to make a bigger impact on these people so that they will come to the waters of baptism. Now that the time is winding down, the thirst is much stronger! I love and miss you guys. GO BIRDS!


Elder Dowell