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