Monday, December 30, 2013

Ok so I decided I am going to try something different for emails now, so that I can get to everyone easier I'm just going to send one big email to everyone and then reply to each of you individually.

It's been a really crazy week with Christmas down here in the bottom of the world.  We got to spend Christmas Eve with our ward mission leader and his family who are AWESOME.  We decided to bring some American Christmas with us so we decided to bring some sparkling cider, which did NOT taste the same as it does in the States, my companion was worried that it was real alcohol that night but don't worry, we figured out that it wasn't real alcohol.  Just imagine if two missionaries brought wine to a members house haha.

Christmas was great, we had district meeting in the morning, my companion was Santa and brought out all of the packages that just barely came in for everyone in the zone, which was pretty funny.  We got to talk to our families, which was really wierd but really made my Christmas.  I'm really grateful that we have the technology to be able to skype clear from down here in the bottom of the world.  It's been a different Christmas, being so far from home.  But I've really realized the true meaning of Christmas here more that at any other time in my life.  It's been great to be able to share that with everyone else here.  I've seen how much our Heavenly Father really loves his children and wants the best for them.

So as far as our investigators go, it's been a pretty slow week, everyone was gone for the holidays, but luckily we got to talk to him yesterday and he's been reading the Book of Mormon.  He told us about how he read the story about Jacob and Joseph being called as teachers because the people were wicked.  It surprised me how that's what stuck out to him but hey, as long as he's reading, I'm happy.  He's been eating up everything we teach him which makes me really excited.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I love you all! Have a happy new year!

Love, Elder Dower

We had a great time talking to Cameron on Christmas.  He is so happy and enjoying the work.

Monday, December 23, 2013

It has been a really good week this week.  It's been fun getting ready for Christmas, it's funny how concerned all of the members of our ward are for the missionaries.  Bishop assigned two families to have us over for the night of the 24th so we are going to be spending Christmas Eve with our ward mission leader and his family so I'm really excited.  We'll go to some other members on the 25th to call at about 5 or 6 here, so expect 2:00 your time.  I'll get on email and send one to Dad to make sure we're good.  I think I will need your email and username to call though so if you could send that that would be great.  We get about 45 minutes to call.

We have three main investigators right now, José, Roberto and Christian.  The greatest thing about them is that they all contacted us, not the other way around.  Yesterday we put José with baptismal date for the 18th of January, so I'm really hoping I stay here this next transfer because I really think it'll go through. Roberto and Christian are really good. Right now I think the main challenge with them will be getting them to attend sacrament meeting so we'll see how that goes next week.

I'm really excited to be able to open my presents finally, they've been sitting under the tree for like a month now and are driving me nuts!

So in Chile Christmas is a little different but not too much.  For them, instead of it being Christmas Eve and Christmas, it's one night, so the have parties with the family and everything the night of the 24th and "Viejito Pascuero" or Santa comes at midnight, then after that the kids open their presents.  They don't have to wait until 7:00 in the morning til their parents let them open their presents haha.

See you Wednesday!

Love, Elder Dower

Monday, December 16, 2013

Wow, I really can't believe it's Monday again already!  Even more I just realized that five months ago I left on my mission!  I really can't believe it's already been that long, next month I will be done with a fourth of my mission! It's crazy!

Well the bad news for this week is that Hector went back home up north, but he's going to be baptized there this weekend, which is really what matters.  But we still got an investigator in church.  We contacted Jose a really long time ago, he live on the Hermana's side of the ward but he actually started talking to us while we were on the way to visit the bishop.  I think they talked to him at some point this last week and invited him to church, but he called us and said he was at the church at like 9:00 sunday morning, so we hurried to get there haha.  We're going to continue teaching him because he lives alone and have an appointment with him Tuesday.  We also got contacted by two other people who seem really good.  Roberto really wants to know about the church, but is really busy finishing studies so he asked us for a Book of Mormon to read until we can come by again, and Christian knows our ward mission leader and wants to know about the church.  I'm really excited to keep going with them.

I meant to mention the move last week but forgot.  We're helping Bishop Abanto build the house so we should be finished in a few weeks I think.

I'll make sure to have everything figured out by next week to let you know what's up for Christmas.

Have a great week!

Love, Elder Dower

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's been a really good week.  We had our Christmas Zone Conference which was really good.  President Rappleye said "we are not baptizing because we do not have the Spirit..." Wow! smack to the face!  He's seriously one of the smartest people I've met, and a great leader.  So yea, we're focusing on keeping the Spirit.  Hermana Rappleye also spoke and talked to us about talking to everyone.  My favorite quote from that was "be NORMAL!"  because there are a lot of missionaries who are not normal when they talk to people and who wants to talk to some random white guy trying to speak spanish? Not many haha, but when we become their friends, then the want to listen more. It was a good conference, we sang Christmas carols (in English, the five latinos in our zone had no idea what was going on haha) and... I got my package!  I'll send a picture of my tree here in a sec.

We're finding more good people this week and I'm looking forward to the next week.  The biggest highlight is that we found a new person to teach.  He's from another city up north in the Concepcion mission and was being taught be the missionaries there, but moved down here in our sector.  Basically, he already knows everything and really wants to be baptized!  Hopefully he will be baptized the 21st, if he decides to stay down here longer.  I'm really excited to see what happens there.  Saturday night we got a call from these zone leaders from the concepcion mission about it.  They started yelling at my companion on the phone that we can't baptize him or whatever so after they called, Elder York just called President Rappleye, then President Rappleye called them and gave them a talk they won't forget haha, because number one, they aren't allowed to call outside of their mission and two, they were just mean, it was funny haha.

So I've started doing something, I've noticed that pretty much every day, something really funny/weird happens, so I'm keeping track of them, for example, Thursday, we talked to one lady outside of her house, in the end she tried to give Elder York a besito (which is like a little kiss on the cheek that everyone does down her but not the missionaries) but he had to evade it haha, also we knocked a door and talked to this old lady who was just chowing down on an apple haha. Friday I had an intercambio with Elder Jimenez, from Santiago.  We talked to an old man on the street and in the end he told Elder Jimenez that he speaks really good spanish...I laughed a ton walking away. Funny things happen as a white guy trying to talk to people about religion in Chile haha.

I can't believe Christmas is only in two weeks! I'm really excited for it and to see and talk to you all!

Have a great week, I love you!

Elder Dower


What do you do each day?  lots of walking and lots of contacts,
On Pday? we do laundery, write, and buy food each pday and then whatever we want with the time leftove (within the rules of course)
Do you really have everything you need?  YES!!!
Is there something you would like to buy yourself for Christmas?  Maybe
What is it? I might get a portable DVD player that I can use to teach people, and I'm probably going to buy some hair clippers to use to cut my hair, I taught myself to do it when I used Elder Nuttall's
Do you still fit in your clothes, or are you gaining weight and need new clothes?  Yes I still fit!!! I've gained a little I think, but not that much haha .

Monday, December 2, 2013

I seriously can't believe another week has already gone by!  It's really been an uneventful week, when I look back on it I really can't think of anything really exciting.  We weren't able to get in with many of our main investigators because one is studying a ton lately because the school year here ends in a couple weeks and the other has been in the hospital... But the big highlight of the week was our "Thanksgiving"  which was really funny.  The only turkey we could find down here was sliced sandwich meat so we got a bunch of that and brought that to Ariel and Leslie's and we had turkey sandwhichs for Thanksgiving!  But the best part was that Leslie made and apple pie!  So I got to have turkey and apple pie for Thanksgiving, it was really cool.  We went around the table as we ate and had everyone tell about what they are grateful for.  They all said they were grateful for their family and to have the church in their lives the past year.  I really think they will be baptized.  I would love to be the one to do it, but if it doesn't work out, someone after me will do it.

I'm really looking forward to this week.  President Rappleye is coming down and we'll have zone conference which will be good.  I'm thinking I should get my package when they come down.

So I think we'll be able to do Skype in a member's house for Christmas.

Hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Dower
Our Thanksgiving Meal

Monday, November 25, 2013

Well it's been a crazy, interesting week.  Sorry I didn't get to send pictures last week, we had very little time to write last week. Well I'm now done with training and a real missionary!  Elder Nuttall left on Wednesday which was really wierd.  I didn't realize how used I had gotten to having him in the house haha.  Elder York is awesome, he is from Tooele and actually was Elder Holt, my MTC companion's trainer before he came down here.  We've had a fun time laughing at that.  We've had a pretty good week, Elder York did something awesome that I'd never thought of before.  We had two really good contacts the past couple days and had good conversations with them.  Elder York challenged them to baptism and put them with baptismal date right there! And they accepted!  It'll be interesting to follow up on that.  We weren't about to talk to Richard this week, he's been really busy with studies, but Ariel and Leslie went to church without us having to call them in the morning!

So wierdest/coolest thing about this week.  On Saturday we were about to help with a stake young men's activity when the bishop called us and said "Elders! there's a gringo from Utah at my house who doesn't speak spanish! Come help!" so we went to his house and sure enough, we met Dan Burton from Eagle Mountain, Utah. He's going to attempt to be the first man to bike to the south pole and is stuck here because his flight got delayed because of weather in antarctica. He found the bishop's house on the app on his iPhone. During this time of year there's a lot of tourists down here so all of the hotels are full.  The bishop was awesome and offered to let him stay at his house or a fe
w days.  We had a little family home evening with them last night which was really fun.

  We're going to do something for Thanksgiving, I wasn't actually sure what day it was, but we're actually going to visit Ariel and Leslie on Thursday which will be fun because they're always really curious about American stuff.  It's a lot warmer now than when I got here, it just depends on the day how warm.  The school year is actually almost over here, they have summer vacation in a few weeks.

I'm really looking forward to this week, it'll be fun. Hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Dower
Elder Nuttal and me with the Penguins
Elder York and me with Dan Burton from Utah

Monday, November 18, 2013

First of all, sorry this is a little later than normal and I don't have a ton of time to write today because this P day has been WAY busy.  I had to do some stuff with my visa, then send one of my companion's suitcases to Puerto Montt, then buy food, and then...we went to the penguins!!!

So on Wednesday we have transfers and my companion is leaving and I get a new companion. My new companion will be Elder York, I have no clue who he is but it'll be interesting to have a new companion. I'll miss Elder Nuttall, we've had a lot of fun together.  It'll gonna be interesting, half of our zone is leaving so there will be a lot of new people this week.

We've had a pretty good week, I don't remember if I mentioned it before but we have a good new investigator who we've been teaching.  He's 20 years old and goes to the university here so we can only meet with him on saturdays, but he came to church yesterday!  It was funny, he couldn't find the chapel so he called us halfway through sacrament meeting and we had to run all the way to the end of our sector to find him in his house and bring him to the chapel and we only saw the last 20 minutes of the meeting.

To answer your question, there are 7 wards in our zone, I think, plus 2 branches. There's at least one companionship in each, some have two like ours, there's about 24 missionaries here. The zone is all of Punta Arenas plus two small towns, Porvenir and Puerto Natales. Our sector is right in the middle and we have centro, or the city part of Punta Arenas.

So in response to your question, so far I have two favorite foods here, empanadas and lentejas (I think that's how you spell it).  Chile is very different from America, there are dogs all over the streets, but they're so used to people that they usually don't bother you...usually ;)  All of the houses look a lot worse on the outside than the inside and almost everyone has a big flatscreen TV.  They're also very honest, our bishop's wife tells me that I'm gaining weight but I don't believe it... Hopefully no haha.

Well that's about it for this week, talk to ya next week!

Love, Elder Dower

Monday, November 11, 2013

Well as far as teaching goes this week hasn't been much better than the last few...but for whatever reason I feel way better about it.  We've been doing a lot of finding which I'm starting to like a lot better haha.  It's kind of fun to knock on a door and see who opens up, some people look at us and close the door right away, some listen for a little while, it's fun to see what happens.  We've found some nice people who said we could come back another time and share with them so I'm excited for that.  My companion and I have been talking a lot about our success as missionaries.  A thought came to my mind a quote from the movie Forever Strong, the coach says, "it doesn't matter who scores, it only matters that we score."  We're all on the same team and have different roles to play.  At the moment we are on the finding team to find the people who are prepared to hear the gospel.  Some people are on the teaching team and others on the baptizing team, but everyone has a part to play.

The weather this week was really weird. For a couple days we got groups of clouds going over so it would rain/snow for like 30 minutes and then be sun for 30 minutes and then switch again, it was very confusing to know whether to wear a coat or not haha.

Dad, what I learned from you during that time has made me who I am today.  I know that God is always there, even if sometimes he lets us struggle and perservere through trials, I know that they make us stronger and we learn more during the difficult times than any other time, so thank you for that.

Well this next week will be the last one of my training and we have transfers on the 20th so we'll see what happens, if we change or stay the same here.  I'm a little nervous because I know my next companion will be a native but I guess that's an experience that I'll need.  Guess we'll see!

Hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Dower

Here are some pictures from my sector

Monday, November 4, 2013

Well here we are once again haha, well I guess you could say it's been another week of patience, we haven't been teaching much, just lots of walking and knocking on doors, but for some reason, I'm feeling good about this next week. We need to find more investigators and that is going to be our focus this week.  As I'm sitting here I'm starting to realize looking back that we haven't really put our whole energy into finding people, so that is what we are going to do this week.  It's been tough with Elder Nuttall being our district leader, we see all the numbers from the other two sectors in our district and how they have so much more that us, it's a little discouraging.  But, it's going to get better this week, I really feel it.

Halloween here was really fun, we had a stake activity which was a lot of fun.  We also helped out with an activity for another ward, they sent all of their youth out with the missionaries, so we had another companion for Saturday.  Poor kid got really tired walking the streets all day haha.

Don't worry, I do have a blanket haha, we have a ton in the house, it's just been a lot warmer lately so I'm good with just my sleeping bag.  We do our laundery for now in our landlord's house in front of us, hopefully we're going to get our own soon.  Normally, I don't cook a whole lot because I don't have time, in the morning I eat granola, and at night a sandwhich or something. And yes, I do have a closet for my clothes haha.

Well sorry the email's a little shorter this week, but hopefully more will happen this next week.  Hope you all have a great week!

Love, Elder Dower

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wow I can't believe it's Monday again already!  To be honest, it was another challenging week, Elder Nuttall and I are trying to figure out what to do to better our sector but, it's been hard.  I've been thinking about it and I've realized that I've been looking for the magic idea that would fix everything, but I don't think there is one.  We just need to keep working and the success will slowly but surely come.  There have been times when I look back on the week and don't think that I've made much of a difference, but I realized that there have been a few little things that happened.  We were only able to find our baptismal goal once again (my compainion convienently just told me last week that we're not supposed to mention people by name for some reason so just forget that I did that haha) but we were able to visit our other eternal investigators who are usually harder to find and I feel like they are starting to progress more.  We're also starting to focus on helping a less active member, who has a son on a mission, to stop smoking and get active and get sealed with her son in the temple when he gets back.  And another less active family who hasn't come to church since they moved down here from Viña del Mar, we have a Noche de Hogar (family home evening) with them tonight.

We also had stake conference this week and our stake presidency also got reorganized haha.  Two Seventies and our Mission President came down and we had our Zone Conference with President Rappleye.  He shared a lot of really great stuff.  He talked about whenever we are feeling down or have a bad day, read D&C 122, which really helped me.  It talks about how everything that goes wrong in life is for our benefit.  I thought about Joseph Smith and how he probably felt a lot like I do sometimes when no one would listen to him, he probably felt like he was wasting him time, but like it says, no one besides Jesus Christ did more for mankind than him. During stake conference every talk was about member missionary work.  They told every family to have a family home evening and talk about who they are going to invite to listen to the missionaries and then do it.  What they are wanting now is for the members to invite, and the missionaries to teach.  Personally, I love that idea because we are having a really hard time finding right now.  We're really excited to work with that.

They actually do have Halloween down here, we're having a stake activity on the 31st for it, it'll be interesting to see how it is here.  I'm really good on everything down here, I've stayed dry when it rains fine, luckily it's starting to warm up more, today is really nice.

Have a great week!

Love, Elder Dower

Monday, October 21, 2013

Well this has definitely been a challenging week.  We had some great plans set for the week and basically they all fell through.  It was really frustrating to not be able to teach very much this week, but it ended pretty well. We weren't able to find our investigator with a baptismal date until Friday and he wasn't able to go to church this week, which means he has to attend three out of the next four Sundays to be baptized on his date, hopefully things will improve this week.  On Friday, we had an intercambio with our Zone Leaders and Elder Covington came to our sector with me.  I learned a lot from him, he is a really good teacher and reaching the end of his mission.  It's weird, it seems like every time we have an intercambio, we can actually do things because we were in a house teaching almost all of Friday.  We also had a really great experience this week.  On Tuesday, we contacted a girl while knocking doors and she said we could come back on Thursday when her dad would be home.  We went by on Thursday and he was just leaving and told us to come back Saturday.  When we went on Saturday night, her mom answered and invited us in.  We talked for a while and she told us that her daughter was in the hospital. At first she didn't really want to listen to our message, but by the end, she said that she felt a lot calmer after we taught the restoration.  I'm really looking forward to teaching them this week.

Even though it's been a tougher week, I've learned a lot and come a long ways.  I've learned a lot. I have a lot of work to do and every day I find a new weakness, but that is the beauty of the gospel, that we can continually improve on our weaknesses. It's amazing to think that I boarded a plane for Mexico three short months ago and I already have made so much progress. I really know that I am in the service of the Lord and He is helping me.  I will try to take some pictures this week to send, I keep forgetting.

So it's supposedly summer today, but all of a sudden it doesn't seem like it because it snowed yesterday!  The weather has been really weird the past couple days, we've had rain, sun, and snow all in one day within hours of each other.

Have a great week!

Elder Dower

Monday, October 14, 2013

This week has been really great!  We taught more lessons this week I think than we have in any other week I've been here and Victor has a baptismal date for the 23rd of November, which is really exciting!  We decided to put it out there a little further so we wouldn't scare him and so that he'll have more time to attend three sacrament meetings in a row.  It's really great to see a change in him, each time we teach him, he's more interested and participates more in the lesson.  Other than that, nothing else huge has happened.  I've noticed a huge improvement in my teaching and speaking spanish this week, it's really nice that I can actually joke around with people in spanish haha. Last night we visited with Hermano Luco and his wife.  He is working here, building a school for people who never finish high school and his wife, who lives in Santiago came down to visit him and leaves today to go back home.

So some really good news is that the temperature is warming up a lot, but the bad news is that the wind is starting.  Yesterday when we were walking around the wind was so strong at times we couldn't really move.  Also with the change in temperature a lot of people are getting sick, I've had a little cold the past couple days but today it's a lot better.  On Saturday I got to give a priesthood blessing to an 8 year old member, which was really great.

No, I haven't gotten the package yet, apparantly it takes a lot more time to get down here in Punta Arenas, but I would bet it's gotten to Osorno by now

Have a great week, Love ya!

Elder Dower

Monday, October 7, 2013

Holy cow this has been a great week! The biggest blessing was getting to watch all of Conference in English!  It was a very different experience than before the mission, every single talk gave me something that I can use to work on in my life here and helping the work progress as well. I'm trying to think of which talk was my favorite and honestly can't think of them.  Both of Presiden Uchtdorf's talks were great. The one on the first session of Saturday was awesome, he talked about why people join and leave the church, which really helped me out. I loved the one in Priesthood session that said "You can get up now" I felt like was just for me. He talked about how we aren't expected to be perfect right away, we're here to learn from our mistakes and continually improve.  I also loved Elder Bednar's talk about tithing, how we get small but significant blessings from paying tithing, I applied that to missionary work as well.  I've been blessed and am going to be blessed with other things that will help me become who I need to be throughout my life.  Conference was a huge blessing because we felt a little more connected to the rest of the world for a couple days. It was cool to think that I was watching the exact same thing at the exact same time as you all.  We were really sad when it ended.

We also had interviews with President Rappleye this week on Tuesday.  Every other transfter (6 weeks) we have interviews.  It was great to be able to talk to him and get advice from him.  I also learned how to sew from Hermana Rappleye while I was waiting.

As far as the work goes it has been a slow week.  We tried to challenge Victor to a baptismal date but his mother answered for him and said that he wasn't "ready" yet.  We decided that we didn't really explain it very well and are going to try again this week.

Well I am officially done with my first cambio of the mission and am halfway done with my training.  It's crazy, it's gone by so fast! I will be in this same sector for at least the next cambio and I think the one after too.  Our district leader, Elder Carranza goes home tomorrow, so my companion, Elder Nuttall is going to be our new district leader.  I'm exited to take what I've learned from my first cambio and Conference and go into the next one.

Thanks for the stories from your mission. My companion and I have talked about how each mission is made specifically for what the missionary needs. Your mission prepared you for the rest of your life, and mine will do the same for me, I can already tell. I look forward to working that much harder this next cambio to better the work here.

I knew you were going to be worried when I said I was a little sick.  I'm fine! It was just a little stomachache, I've had them a lot before.  The food and water are fine.  I had a lot more problems with them in Mexico, I think by the time I got here I was adjusted.  It sounds like the house you found would be ours.  It's a pretty good house for down here, the bathroom just needs a little work haha.

The weeks are starting to blur together, it really doesn't feel like I've been out for this long, I'm really loving being a missionary right now, especially after conference. Like you said, missionary work was a big theme of conference, especially from the members.  I've really seen how much it helps when we have members helping us out.  They can do things we can't.  I challenge you all to take Elder Ballard's counsel and pray to know who you can share the gospel with.

Thank you for all of your prayers.

Elder Dower

Monday, September 30, 2013

Wow, it's funny that it's going into fall back home, because it's spring here.  It's really nice that it's warming up and I only really need to wear a sweater most of the time.  It's been a great week for us here, the work is starting to progress a lot more.   I started out with my first intercambio with Elder Carranza, I was really nervous because I couldn't speak English for 24 hours, but it ended up really good for me. He's going home next week and had a lot of good advice to give me. The best news is that we finally have a progressing investigator!  I mentioned the less active member we have been working on whose kids burned down their car, we've been teaching one of her sons and he said that he's prayed and recieved an answer that the church is true! We're really excited and hoping to put him with a baptismal date soon.

I'm really excited for General Conference this week! We are going to watch it live, but because of the time change it's going to be 3 hours later than usual. I'm pretty sure we're going to have it in English too, which is a relief.

I've been pretty good, yesterday and today I've had a little stomachache, which is annoying, but I'm fine.

I'm really excited for this week, it's going to be really good, talk to you later!

Elder Dower

Monday, September 23, 2013


This has been a really slow week with the 18th and everything going on but it was fun nonetheless. I realized that I forgot to mention something last email, last Sunday I gave my first priesthood blessing! We visited an older lady in our ward, Hermana Donatti, and just talked to her for a little while, just as we were starting to leave to our next appointment she just started crying about how her body is in pain and she can't really do anything anymore. She asked us for a blessing, we always ask who they want to do which part and usually people have Elder Nuttall do the blessing and I anoint but this time she asked me to do it, which was pretty scary because I had to do it in Spanish and when you do blessings and prayers, there's a different form of "you" that you use that we don't really use very much.  It ended up working out though. The same thing happened Thursday night.  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we were supposed to visit as many people as we could and then go back home before it got dark, especially for us because we have centro in our sector which is where all the bars and strip clubs are and borachos (drunk people).So Thursday we were in our house and the sister missionaries in our sector called and asked if we could come give Hermana Marlene a blessing. Her husband came back and she's been having a hard time with theire relationship and everything.  She asked me to give the blessing and commented on how much better my spanish was. It was a testimony builder to me that when the Lord needs us to do something, He can use us to do it no matter how weak we are, He can work through us.  We've had the opportunity to give a lot of blessings here because the two of us make up half of the Elders quorum along with the bishop and ex bishop (who has been out of town in Peru), so we've had to do a lot of the things that normally the members would need to do.

So since today is my companion's birthday I realized I haven't mentioned much about him.  Elder Nuttall turned 22 today, it's pretty funny, he's three and a half years older than me.  He went to West Point (the Army acadamy) before the mission and has been working on some paperwork to get back in after.  I think he also went to the same high school as Chelsey and Jessica. He's been a great trainer!

Like I said last week, we finally got the house cleaned up. Some of the elders before us didn't take very good care of it so we get to clean up after them. Next week I'll try to send some pictures of it.

Tomorrow I get to do my first companion exchange with our district leader, Elder Carranza.  He's really cool, he's from Peru so doesn't speak English and this is his last cambio in his mission so he goes home in two weeks.  To be honest I'm a little apprehensive to not be able to speak English for 24 hours, but it will be good for me.

Ariel and Leslie finally came to church for the first time in almost a month yesterday, which was really exciting.  One of our less active members who we've been working with has been struggling.  Her kids aren't into the best things and on Tuesday they were smoking in her car and set it on fire, it's sitting out in front of her house still.

It's been a great week, the time keeps flying by and I'm getting better at everything, little by little.  We're still trying to get more investigators but we're keeping ourselves busy enough without having to knock doors too much, which makes me happy.

We live in a house behind a house behind another house.  It's kind of funny but pretty common here. We do our own laundery and so far I haven't made any of my shirts pink.  Like I mentioned before, we eat lunch with a different member each day of the week, so I have cereal in the morning and make sandwiches in the night for dinner so I don't really have to cook much.

I'm very happy!  The members here really are awesome. The Spanish is coming along slowly but surely. I can pretty much understand anyone who isn't Chilean.  The Chilean accent is the hardest to understand because they speak so fast and don't always complete their words.  I can say more or less what I need to, but when they respond I'm kind of at a loss haha.  Transfers are every six weeks, and I'm not sure how they work. I'll be in this sector for at least two transfers for training, after that I could go anywhere. Usually we stay down here in Punta Arenas for longer since it's so much farther from everything else.  My companion was in his first area for 6 months, and I would love to be here longer. I want to be here when I'm more comfortable with the spanish.

It's getting warmer here, but the wind has started.  The wind gets very strong here during the summer and we can hear it during the night and it sounds like the house is going to fall down haha.

I love you all and miss you tons.  Thank you for your prayers.

Elder Dower

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 17, 2013

I'm just writing a quick email to let you know that I'm ok haha.  Today we got to take a trip as a zone to Torres del Paine, which was really cool, but we got back late and don't have much time to write so we're going to be back tomorrow and I'll write more.

I'll just answer a few of your questions really quick.  Number one, we have a different member scheduled each day of the week to have lunch with, which is fun because they're all great.  We have a tiny ward here, we usually have about 25 people each Sunday, including the four of us misionaries but we have a really nice chapel not too far from our house, about a 5 min.  Number two, no I have not seen any penguins, apparantly very few missionaries get to see them but I am hoping to be able to, keep the prayers up for that!

I'll be back on tomorrow to say more, Love you!


The activity yesterday was great I'm gonna send a couple emails with pictures from it after this. Unfortunately it took up all of yesterday and we're still trying to recover and get everything done like laundery and writing but hopefully we'll get back to normal after a while. Tomorrow begins the Chilean patriotic celebrations, which is pretty much like the fourth of July but a lot crazier.  We're only supposed to visit members or investigators and if not, we're supposed to be in the house, so I'm really excited that I might get to relax a tiny bit, which we don't really get much of.

It's been an interesting week, not much has happened. Both me and Elder Nuttall feel like we really need to get back into everything now that everything's cooled off from the zone activity.  We only had 21 people at church this week because a lot were gone for the holiday. But 2 of our less active members were there again and are doing really well, the other one had to be in a parade, which they have with all the schools for the holiday so she couldn't go, but her husband came back a couple days ago and I think they're doing well.  We had a couple lessons with Ariel and Leslie, which were great.  I think we're finally getting more into they're doubts about the church, which is great because we can take care of them. Leslie told us that she has prayed about the Book of Mormon but didn't feel anything, which is a very tough doubt to answer because it's basically what we promise everyone, that if they pray they'll feel an answer.  I'm thinking it's because she doesn't really have much faith that she'll get an answer but we'll see how everything goes, I'm optimistic.  We got a new investigator this week named Alejandro.  He's another eternal investigator that the Hermanas have been teaching and gave to us to try.  He believes and has a testimony about everything, but hasn't been baptized because he's not married (I've noticed that's the case with a ton of people here) so we're going to work on that.  I'm really looking forward to the next week.

I'm starting to get a lot more used to life here. We're hoping to be able to really clean the house this week which will be really good because we've been too busy and haven't had a whole lot of time to do it this week.  I also need to get more organized and settled in.

Hope you all have a great week, thank you for your prayers.

Elder Dower

Pictures from Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine
Elder Dower at the bottom of the world

Elder Nuttall and Elder Dower

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9, 2013

It's been a really good week. I'm slowly but surely starting to get the language down more. I can definitely tell a difference between my understanding of people between now and when I got here.  We still don't have a ton of people to teach, but we're trying to work with our less active members more.  We had three people who hadn't been to church for a while at church yesterday which was awesome. We've noticed that a lot of less active members have family who aren't members so we're hoping that we might be able to get some for investigators from that.  One of them is named Marlene, she was a missionary a long time ago and really is a very faithful member, but her husband and son aren't members, so a little while ago she decided that she just couldn't take going to church and hearing about eternal families and everything when she knew that she didn't have one, it was a really hard situation. Monday night, my companion and I were trying to figure out who to go visit, and decided to just go visit her.  We got there and she said that she had just been praying for someone to come help her, because her husband had left a few days before and she didn't know where he was. We had to go run around to try to find a male member to go by with us because she was alone.  We went to a member's house and it turned out that he needed a priesthood blessing, so I annointed him with oil in Spanish for the first time. We went back to her house and it turned out that her son was home so we could go in and had a good discussion and she had what my companion calls a "come to Jesus moment." The next day, we had a couple appointments fall because the people weren't home (that's happened a lot this week) so we decided to say a prayer to know what to do, I asked Heavenly Father to let us know where we can to the most good.  Like 30 seconds after, she called us and asked if we could come over, her son was home.  We went and ended up teaching her and her son about the Restoration, and we challenged him to baptism and he said yes, if he gets an answer if the Book of Mormon and everything is true.  It really was an answer to our prayers because during my first week in the training program I'm supposed to do just that.

Everything is slowly coming, I'm starting to realize that that's how it goes. Maybe somewhere before the mission I convinced myself that everything would be easier for me or something, but it's not.  I'm learning patience a lot. 
Our mission president gave us a talk called "The Fourth Missionary" that I've been reading, it's really helped out a lot. If you get a chance, look it up!

I still miss everyone a ton, but I'm starting to get more used to things here.  Our house is alright, we have a gas heater, which is awesome because everyone up north has to chop wood for heat. Our bathroom is the only problem, but it works haha.  Keep being nice to the missionaries, because the members here are awesome, especially the bishop, he's always asking if there's anything we need.  They really look after us.  One of my favorite things to do when I'm meeting with people is to show them pictures of my family, they always say how "linda" our family is.

Thank you for everything, you're all the best. 

Love Elder Dower

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I'm Here

I'm finally here!  It was a very long trip and I'm pretty tired here in the mission home.  I just had my first interview with President Rappleye.  My first assignment is Punta Arenas.  I'm going to the bottom of the world!  My first companion will be Elder Nuttal.  I haven't met him yet, but I'm excited!  Everyone here is really nice.

So I have to mention an awesome experience I had yesterday in the airport.  While we were waiting for our plane from Mexico City, a couple of other Elders and i decided to talk to another lady waiting for the plane too.  Her name was Paula, and she was very receptive to our message.  one of the security guards, who was a member, came up and shared his testimony and a scripture with her.  She said she would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.  I hope she did.  It felt amazing to teach her!

I'm so excited to be here.  I feel completely out of place, the people here do not speak any of the Spanish I learned in the MTC.  But I know that the Lord will help me.  I'm so grateful to be able to help the Lord with this work.  The Church is true!  Christ is our Savior and He lives.  The Book of Mormon really is true.  I knew these things before I came, but they have been confirmed to me time and time again.  I love you all and miss you tones.  I am so grateful to be together as a family forever.  Hopefully I can help other families have that too.

Love Elder Dower