Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Planting Trees

Dear family and friends,

This week has been full of blessings and many great growing experiences. At the beginning of this week I was a little bit stressed because President Bush had given me the option to come home on the 15th of December or the 29th of December. Initially I had chosen the 29th of December thinking that it was the right thing to do. All of my mission buddies will be going home on that same date also. After making that decision I felt so bad because that would mean that my time at home to see everyone would be very limited. I prayed about it but I knew it would be better to choose the earlier date. I prayed so hard to be able to change it and when I called the immigration secretary said it was impossible! I was freaking out a little, but President Bush helped me to be able to switch the ticket. 

I love this country so much. I have learned so many things here and it will be so hard to leave. I know without a doubt that I was called here for a reason. I am so thankful for each experience, good and bad, that I have had because it has helped me to "open my eyes". I have thought this week about all the other many things that I have to improve and that I need to work on, but the mission has taught me how to do that! I know that the guidance of the Holy Ghost is the most important because it teaches us all the things that we can do. Throughout the week I notice thoughts that come to my head that I know are not my own. I know that those inspired thoughts are how Heavenly Father reveals to us His will. Obedience is paying attention to those thoughts and feelings and acting upon them. 

One impression that Elder Deeble and I received this week was to visit a family that we saw at church yesterday. We went to their house to teach them a lesson and we were going to teach them about the plan of salvation. The father had a job where he has to drive around his boss who is handicap wherever he wants to go. Sometimes he takes long trips and cant be home very often. Yesterday luckily they were home.. they have 2 little boys. After we prayed we asked them if they had any question of what they had been reading in the book of Mormon.The wife had been reading in 1 Nephi 14 where it talks about the great and abominable church. She had also been reading in 2 Nephi 5 where it talks about the curse that was put on the Lamanites. 

They had a neighbor tell them that we practice polygamy and that they shouldn't go to our church. They asked all of these things and I felt that the spirit was directing us to each of the answers and explanations. They didn't remember what chapters those verses were in but we had our scriptures marked and ready! It was  a great feeling to teach them about things that we have studied about. 

This week Elder Deeble got really sick. He is doing fine now, but we had to stay in a day because he was throwing up and all that. It reminded me of when I first got here to Honduras.. poor guy! He has been a really good sport, and we even accompanied the other branch in Santa Rosa to a tree planting activity! It was a little redundant because there were a TON of trees where we went, and everywhere for that matter. 
We have a few baptisms planned this week with some kids that we have been teaching and a guy in his 30.s. . They are great investigators and I feel that they have been saved and prepared for this time. 

I love and miss you guys! I love being a missionary and preaching the gospel to everyone we can! Have a great week!

Elder Dowell

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Growing in Gracias

Dear Family and friends,

It has been a week of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows! I am so thankful for the gospel that can apply to any situation! We have ran into a lot of success finding new people to teach and put for baptismal dates. We received a reference this week from our mission leader in the branch and we had a visit with him. In the first lesson he told us that he wanted to be baptized and we put a date for him! In my entire mission that has been a very rare thing for me and he seemed very sincere in his desires to follow the Lord. We will continue to help him progress by teaching and helping him connect with members.

This week we also were able to have a baptism! She is the niece of the branch president. She went to her house this week for vacation and when she goes to her house her family always talks bad things about the church and Joseph Smith, so when she got back we didn't know if she was going to get baptized or not. She told us that she doesn't know if the church is true and she wanted to postpone her baptism. We asked her a few simple questions, then felt prompted to talk about the Book of Mormon. We asked how she felt about it. She said that she felt good every time she reads it. We told her that was the spirit, and that she should have that feeling as the foundation of her testimony. We then branched out and asked her if the Book of Mormon is true, then what does that mean about Joseph Smith, the Church, etc. Something clicked were her and we invited her again to be baptized and she accepted! It was a great experience to listen to the spirit tell us what she needed, and I feel like we were able to help her in her search for the truth. 

On Saturday night President Bush and his wife came to see our baptism and the sisters baptisms too. There were 2 other people getting baptized and I did their baptismal interviews. Afterward they chose me to baptize them! I was honored, but I felt like i was stealing the show a little bit because I ended up doing all 3 baptism! Oh well, the next one my companion will do ha ha.. but after church on Sunday we drove with president to a place called Gracias. It is a city about an hour from Santa Rosa and is the same size. There we had a little sacrament meeting with a few members that just happened to live there, there is no church there. It was an amazing spirit to be there and feel how badly these people wanted there to be a church there. I felt blessed to be a part of that historic moment. It wasn't the first sacrament meeting ever, but the first organized one in about 10 years. I am the middle man so I will be checking in on that place and with one of the members, weekly. 

I have felt the Lord´s hand in my life many times this week as he has comforted me. I feel that He is constantly giving me promptings and I am the one who needs to chose to follow it or not. I am so thankful for the gift of the Holy Ghost that I received when I was 8. I know that the gift of the Holy Ghost is the key to revelation for those who are worthy of divine guidance. I love you guys and miss you so much!! I hope you guys have a great week and be safe!

Elder Dowell

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Nothing but the Real Thing

Family and Friends,

This week was the week of changes so we have some new people in our district here in Santa Rosa. One of the sisters is from the Dominican Republic and she talks super fast. Elder Deeble and I have been working hard to help the people here grow closer to our Father in Heaven, and I have felt the spirit many times comforting me, letting me know what I should say and where we should go. I feel and have recently learned more and more that there is nothing more than the guidance of the spirit. I absolutely love being a missionary and serving people. I love to teach, even if people have other views. I was saying to Elder Deeble this week that when we share the restoration, my testimony grows each time because at the end people either end up accepting it, or just saying that "God is good" and accepts any type of religion or behavior. I feel so blessed to know the truth and to teach it to others. 

This week we had an activity in our branch where the young men and women went to play soccer. we invited some random youth and they came and had a great time! they liked it so much that they went to church yesterday! They stayed all 3 hours! as well as the dad of one of the kids. We put a date this week to pass by and teach them more. They seemed very excited to be there. I always wonder how I would feel if I were in their situation. 

We also had the opportunity to visit with another investigator this week. She recently had to move but she was in town yesterday and we talked to her about the temple. That was very powerful to be able to explain to her more about the covenants that can seal us together forever. We also taught about covenants in a family home evening with a family in our ward. we have been teaching the recently married husband of one of the daughters and he seems to be progressing. It has been awesome to teach him because he is very smart so he really understands what we teach him.. especially when we use examples that apply to his life. For example he told us he was a banker.. so to explain him about baptism we asked him if he could accept false bills just because he felt bad for somebody. He told us no.. we then explained that a baptism by authority is the same way. Even if Heavenly Father feels bad for us, he cannot accept anything but the real thing! 

I have been able to see so many people with so many different problems. I know that it really doesn't matter the problem, money, cheating spouses, anger, tears, drugs, scars,etc, the gospel is the only thing that can completely heal everything. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He wants to heal us! I love you guys and I am so thankful for your support. Have a great week!

Elder Dowell

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Conference Week

Family and Friends,
This week was a great week as our spirits were lifted by the inspired messages of living prophets and apostles! Hearing them speak opened my mind and heart even more to the truth and mercy of the gospel and of the Savior. I am so grateful to have the knowledge of the gospel. Lately that has been what is motivating me to share it with everyone else! I was especially touched by the many talks of the plan of salvation. I am so grateful for that plan, and to hear it explained more in depth made my heart jump for joy in amazement for the love that Heavenly Father has for us. I know that He created such a perfect plan so that we could become like Him and be with our families forever. I am sure that is how each of us felt in the pre-mortal life when we first heard the plan.

This week we were able to invite many to the conference, but not many of our investigators came. I think 2 or 3 actually came. It makes me sad that so many people reject the prophets, just like they did in the days of old. I think what makes me more sad is that many people justify it saying that they are living the commandments, and that they will surely return to live with Heavenly Father. I am so blessed to know and teach the true gospel of Jesus Christ, that allows all to be saved if they will humble themselves and follow the simple steps of the gospel. 
One of the investigators that we have been visiting lives at the Branch President,s house so they have been helping us in teaching and sharing the gospel with her, as well as bringing her to church. She went home to her house 1 hour away from Santa Rosa and came back a different person. Her family had told her many things about the church that aren't true. One thing a lot of people are confused about beyond explanation is that they think that Joseph Smith is God for us. Many people, no matter how much we explain, refuse to think differently. Luckily, with the help of a close family, she is feeling  more comfortable and her testimony is beginning to grow once more. 
As I went to conference with many questions, i felt peace as the speakers answered the questions of my soul. I Now know how I can improve and become more like Jesus Christ. I know how I can be happier and have more joy in my life. and i also know how I can help others to do the same. I so badly want the things that I have learned in the mission to continue even after the mission. I know that these principles are not just to last 2 years, but for eternity. I love you all and want to be together forever! Have a great week guys! Love, 
Elder Dowell
Where you able to watch conference with any investigators?  With them no because we watched it in english!! but we had a few that went to see it! 
Have you had any contacts through tracting recently? Yes! Every day we meet people contacting. It is the easiest way to introduce the gospel, just go up and tell someone about it! After conference I was very eager to explain the plan of salvation to many people, and although not everyone accepted, i felt happy telling them why we are here in this life and where we will go after. 
What was the best thing you ate this week? Fried plantains! they are my new favorite food. and pupusas with chicken in the middle. 
What was your biggest challenge this week? The biggest challenge was getting locked out of our house and having to climb the fence to get out.. we will get the keys somehow though! the goodor bad thing was that it was fairly easy to break into our house with a screw driver
What makes a good member missionary? How does that affect you? Great question. A great member missionary is someone that finds a friend who is willing to take a discussion.. go to the discussion with the missionaries, and then before the missionaries go back, go check on them and see if they have any questions. many times people have questions but they are too shy to tell us what their doubts are. Many things that we have studied are because the members tell us what there friends doubts are and that is so helpful. It effects us because people witha friend at church are 100 percent more likely to get baptized! haha

Look like Barbie, smoke like Marley

Week of September 26

Family and friends!

This week felt like it went by so fast! I cant believe its already Monday. Elder and Deeble and I have been happy this week because our investigators, a couple, got baptized! She was baptized by one of our best friends Bryan who is a member of the branch here. His wife is the woman´s best friend at church. He told us that either one of us could baptize him so I let Elder Deeble do it. He seemed really happy to do it. I got to be one of the witnesses and it was such a satisfying experience seeing them come out of the water. The sisters in our ward had a baptism of a little girl named and I did her baptism interview. It made me happy to be able to help each one of them in some way to make the decision to get baptized. 

The woman was very nervous, partly because of the water, and partly because of the consequences that would come from her family knowing that she was baptized in the church. They are Evangelicals and they had been fighting with her the whole week so that she wouldn't get baptized. luckily, they did not shake her testimony and she was very happy afterward, and at church to receive the Holy Ghost. I think the best part of the week was yesterday when we were able to be in the circle as he received the Aaronic priesthood. They told us that there were 101 people at church.. when we got here it was around 70. The Church is true and it is growing! 
The classiest thing that we saw this week was a down syndrome girl with her mom in the street. Her shirt said it all.. "Look like Barbie, smoke like Marley". Poor girl had no idea what she was wearin!

The branch has been helping us out a lot with the people that we have been visiting. We have had many come to church and have had many experiences where the spirit has guided us to people who are prepared to learn of the gospel. Many people have been inviting their friends to church and we get the opportunity to teach them and to teach them! It is so much more powerful when there are friends in the lesson who can teach and testify along with us. Elder Deeble has improved a lot with his Spanish as well. People always ask him about Idaho and about his family. I can see many similarities between him and myself at the beginning of the mission, but he is awesome! We are enjoying our time in the beautiful hills of Santa Rosa. 

I am so excited for this upcoming general conference on Saturday and Sunday. I hope that everyone can have a chance to see the prophet speak and to receive personal revelation according to his inspired words. I love and miss you guys so much! Have a  great week!


Elder Dowell