Sunday, July 5, 2015

June 29, 2015

Week of "Lasts"

O my goodness.  I can't believe that I'm really sitting here writing my last email of the mission.  This week has been really strange, just about everything I've been doing has been my last time doing it.

So really quick highlights of the week.  Finally, we got to see the new church movie Meet the Mormons.  We've been working on a multistake activity for the last week that happened on Friday.  It was really sweet, a bunch of members were able to invite friends and family to "meet the mormons," The movie is sweet and brought a really powerful spirit which made me really grateful to be a member of this church.

My mission is ending on the greatest note.  Saturday was the baptism of Domitila, our investigator who we've been working with basically my whole time here.  It is definitely been the biggest miracle of my mission. When I got here she didn't want anything with the "b-word" and has gone from that to having a sincere desire to follow the Savior and have an eternal family with her son, who was able to baptize her.  On Sunday I had the honor to confirm her a member of the church which was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I'm so glad to have had this opportunity to serve the Lord and His children.

As I reflect back on the last two years I am literally without words to express what I have learned and felt in the service of the Lord.  It is impossible to sum up everything that has happened.  I hve learned that obedience is key, when we are obedient to the Lord and His servants, we are blessed and happy.  Every time.  When we are not obedient, we miss the blessings and are sad and frustrated. Every time.  I've also learned that the only way to be truely happy in life is to serve others.  The less we thing about ourselves and the more we focus on others, the better life is. I've also learned that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real.  I am not a perfect missionary or a perfect person, but I don't have to be, at least not right now.  For now I can rely on His grace and power in order to do what I need to do. He loves us always, despite our weaknesses and constant failures and gives us the opportunity to keep trying.  And last but not least my favorite spanish phrase "Ser Mormón es ser feliz" (to be mormon is to be happy). It's true!

Thanks everyone for your constant support and encouragement the prayers and inspiring emails each week. I would not have been able to do these last two years without each and every one of you. You are the best.

Well, see you all on Friday!

Love, Elder Dower
June 22, 2015

Weekly Update‏

Hey everyone!

One more week in the books down here in Valdivia Chile.  We had a pretty good week, with so many good things happening down here we've also seen the "oposition in all things" but we are also sure that everything will work out fine.

So I mentioned that last week we had quite a few miracles, one of them being our investigator Domitila who has a date for this Saturday for her baptism.  Well, saturday was supposed to be her interview but as I said, the opposition just had to come.  We were trying to call and confirm the time of the interview one last time and when we finally got ahold of her we figured out that she had had a problem in her work and wasn't going to be able to make it.  To make matters worse she left that night for Santiago and doesn't get back til tomorrow.  The good news is that there is still time and it looks like she is still excited and ready for her baptism.  We will be praying for a miracle with this one.  That same day my companion and I were taking some time to knock doors and were just getting rejected every one.  I've learned that days like that happen all the time on the mission.  I mention all of this because I remember having days like that at the beginning of the mission and how frustrated and discouraged I would sometimes get.  This time was different, I didn't feel down or frustrated or anything, we just kept on going and eventually things got better.  It was cool for me when I realized the difference betweeen how I felt in those early days of the mission and now as I have more experience.  I'm grateful for this experience and for the blessings I have received in my service down here.

Thanks everyone for the support, talk to you next week!

Elder Dower
June 15, 2015

Fasting Works!

Hey Everyone

It's been a great week down here in Chile.  The good news is that this week hasn't been quite as rainy as the past, just really cold.  So those of you who are entering summer right now, count yourselves lucky.

As mentioned in the subject line, I have had many experiences in my life that have strengthened my testimony of fasting.  This week we've had many difficulties with some people who we are working with and decided that we needed a bit of extra help.  One family we are working with needs the dad to get divorced from his ex wife so that he can get married to his current wife and then she can get baptized. He's planning on communicating with her this week so they asked us to fast with them so that things can go well there.  Another investigator we've been working with has had some issues with her mom.  She is really interested in the church and wants to be a part of it, but her mom absolutely forbids it. A group of her friends asked us to joing with them in fasting for her to be able to figure things out. So yesterday, we left the church after the meetings and headed to our house to end our fast and head to lunch when we got a call from the bishop.  We hurried back to the church and he pulled us in to his office where we found our investigator, Domitila, (the mom of a young man in the ward who I've mentioned before) and she proceeded to tell us that she had decided that she's ready for her baptism and that she'd already taken work of for the 27th of June. It was an amazing experience because we had been fasting for very different purposes, but the Lord saw fit to bless us with something different according to His will.  I was grateful to recieve a witness that He really is aware of us and knows what is best for His work.  We're really excited to prepare her for her baptismal interview later this week.

Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying summer vacations.  Talk to you next week!

Elder Dower
June 8, 2015

Rain Rain Go Away!‏

Hey Everyone!

Well once again the week has flown by and I can't believe I'm here again on monday morning.  It's been a weird week down here in Valdivia, it literally has hardly stopped raining and hailing all week, I'm finally starting to realize why they call this place "Valdlluvia" (lluvia means rain in spanish).  We've been soaked all week haha.

This week has been full of ups and downs down here, some of the highest points of my mission along with some of the lowest ones. Probably best to start with the low one.  So Elder Nielsen who is from Clinton Utah has been sick this week so saturday we did divisions with him and his companion, Elder Kvarfordt, in order to let them work in their sector a little bit.  So Elder Kvarfordt and I head to a part member family that they are teaching, they had an investigator with baptismal date there but she was busy so we just talked with her in laws and tried to get them to invite her to church the next day for us. The father in law just got really angry with us that we were doing this and I still don't understand why, in the end he literally kicked us out of the house.  I had never had something like this happen to me in my mission.  High point, last week I mentioned how one of our members introduced us to a friend. We got to teach her this week and I really have not taught someone so prepared for the gospel in my mission. We had left her a pamphlet that explains the restoration and when we met she had underlined and highlighted the pamphlet. I'm really excited about continuing to teach her his week.

I've been studying and pondering a lot this week about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I think above any other thing, I have learned about this topic on my mission.  I have come to realize my absolute, complete dependence upon the atonement.  We learn in the scriptures that, in reality, no matter what we do, we will always be in debt to Him. Well, as a missionary, I have to admit I am quite imperfect.  I am constantly making mistakes and dropping the ball on things that I have to do.  But, because of the atonement of Christ, that's not the end of things.  I am able to keep trying and I am still loved and valued by God.  And along the way, I can overcome these weaknesses, with His help.  I have a strong testimony of this, I am sure that Christ really did suffer and die for us and that makes a huge difference in my life and the lives of everyone else. How fortunate we are to be members of this church and to have this knowledge and hope in our lives.

Well that's it for now, have a great week and choose to be happy everyone!

Love, Elder Dower

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Good Bye May

Hey Everyone!

Wow I can't believe that June is already here, May came and went faster than I can believe.  It's been a really good week, pretty crazy, and pretty entertaining as well.

This week was the week of sickness in the zone of Calle Calle, the ironic thing about that is that we had our annual flu shots on Tuesday, so you would think we all should have been nice and healthy.  On Thursday as we were getting ready to eat lunch I got some pretty bad stomach pains.  I wasn't able to eat lunch and went home to lay down and wait the pain out a little.  Just as I started to feel better, we got a call from some missionaries in the zone letting us know that one of our missionaries was in the hospital and that they were going to keep him overnight for observation. We went out to relieve his poor companion who had been in the hospital all day long and I stayed with the sick misssionary through the night.  I got to sleep on a sweet armchair and everything! The next day they transferred him down to Osorno where they still have him in treatment.  We then had to run back to our house and get over to the interviews we had that day with President Obeso.

We've had some good success in finding people this week.  One of the young men in our ward took us to a friend who has been attending the mission preparation classes to play the part of investigator in the practices that they do. She is awesome and accepted the invitation to investigate the church with real missionaries, we'll be teaching her this week.  We were also able to teach the brother of one of the members of our ward who we have with a baptismal date for the 20th of June.

I was very gratefull for our interviews with President this transfer. Obviously this was my last interview with him until the end of my mission and I really appreciate the councel that he gave me.  One of the things that I really admire about President Obeso is his ability to discern through the spirit exactly what the people need to hear.  It is an ability that I want to develop myself.  Lately I have learned a lot of things in my mission and I have found myself thinking many times "why didn't I figure this out earlier in the mission?" but he helped me realize that that happens in really any position.  We are continually learning new things and overcoming past weaknesses and it does us no good looking on the past like that.  Rather, it does us a lot more good to look at the now and try to use what we have learned and do our best in our current circumstances.

Well that's about it for this week, hope you are all doing well and feeling happy in whatever you are doing.  Til next week.

Elder Cameron Dower

So just thought this was funny, so you can all see how much we are suffering down here in the end of the world, this is the weather forecast for this week. ;)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Weekly Update‏

Here we are again Monday morning at the beginning of another week. I say this just about every week and I'll say it again, I can't believe how fast time goes by out here.

This week was transfers which is basically the most hectic time of my life out here on the mission.  Monday was Elder Bustamante's last day in the sector, we said goodbye to all the members and investigators.  Tuesday we sent him off to Puerto Montt and I stayed with two other elders in the zone for the day.  Tuesday we were in the bus terminal early at 8 30 in the morning and were there coordinating trasfers with missionaries constantly coming and going until my companion finally got here at about 11 at night. It was a really long day haha but I've realized that I should be grateful for the opportunity to learn to coordinate things like that.

Friday was our mission leadership council.  I really enjoyed it this time and learned a lot about how to be a good zone leader (finally! after four transfers!) which I was really grateful for.  My favorite part was being able to see so many of the missionaries from my MTC group all together there.  President Obeso made a comment about it because we have nine zone leaders and four sister training leaders that are finishing the mission this transfer.  Basically we have the choice to be "trunky" and not work as hard as we could and pretty much kill the mission or we can use all of the potential that we have and leave the mission much better than we found it.  It made me think about the choices that we have in life.  We can either use our influence to bring others down or we can build others up and be true followers of Jesus Christ.  We all have that same choice and we can decide how we are going to live our lives.  I'm really excited for these last weeks of my mission and for the opportunities that I have to help life others up and  help them follow our savior Jesus Christ.

Til next week,
Elder Cameron Dower

Saturday, May 23, 2015

One Transfer to Go!‏

Hello everyone!

So today marks the beginning of my last transfer in the mission. Today we got transfers and my companion, Elder Bustamante is leaving to another zone of the mission.  My new companion will be Elder Dennis.  I'm really excited to be with him, we lived together for four months while we were in Quellon together and I consider him one of my good friends in the mission.  I will miss my Colombian buddy though, my spanish has improved a ton this cambio and it'll be a little tough to keep it to the end of the mission.

We've had a pretty good week out here.  The best news is that our investigator who I was talking about a while back who had baptismal date is back on.  She'd had some issues with her son but things seem to be resolved and she's excited again for her baptism for the sixth of June.  It's been another testimony to me that God really is in control of His work and as long as we are obedient and do our part, things always work out in the end.  I'm so grateful to be a part of this gospel and to have the comfort of the knowledge that our Father in Heaven is in control and knows what He is doing.

Hope you all have a great week back in the warmth of wherever you are!

Elder Dower