Monday, March 31, 2014

Last Day in Punta Arenas

My Birthday at Mamita's house

Elder Gutierrez, Elder Thomas and Elder Dower at transfers

week 1 transfer 6

Wow this week has flown by, I can't believe how fast time is going here in the mission.  So this week I got my new companion, Elder Walker, who is 6 foot 6, and from Provo.  It's pretty hilarious walking around on the streets and seeing people faces when they see him haha.  We're having a really good time here in Rio Bueno and I'm really looking forward to this transfer, besides the fact that summer has ended and it has been really cold and really rainy the past few days.

So this week has been really great.  We've been trying to focus on strengthening our relations with the members these first couple weeks of the transfer so that we can have their support for the rest of the transfer which has been working really well.  Last transfer I never really got to know a lot of the members so I've enjoyed getting to know them and hearing their stories.  Almost everyone here are converts so it´s great to hear their stories about how the missionaries found them and how they found their own testimony.

As far as investigators go, it's been a good week. Hernan and Carolina came to church yesterday and we had a lesson with them last night.  We talked about how the Spirit can help us in our families and how Hernan recieving the gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism will help them in their relationship.  Basically once they get married and Hernan gets baptized they'll be able to have the Spirit more in the house and won't have as many fights as a couple.  Hernan really wants to be baptized, he said that if he could, he'd do it right then, they just need to take that step of faith and get married.  Something has happened this week that changed Carolina's attitude because before she said that she had already made up her mind that she was done with Hernan but last night was more open to the idea of marriage.  We challenged them to pray and fast about getting married and to go to General Conference next week.  We also met with Jessica this week and she's awesome, she wants to follow the gospel and everything, it's just more difficult for her to go to church.  We also haven't seen Felipe for a while either so hopefully we'll be able to visit with them both this next week.

I'm really looking forward to this next transfer.  As a companionship we've been focusing a lot on looking for ways to hasten the work here in Chile, ways we can find to do the work a lot more effectively than it has been done in the past.  We're trying to follow the counsel of our leaders and work through the members.  It's been said so many times just about every time the prophet or apostles speak that it must be extremely important for us to work together in the work.  So my challenge is for those of you who are not full time missionaries to pray for opportunities to share the gospel with someone, and then look for it to come.  I know that it will and by sharing the gospel we will enjoy our own lives much more.

Thats all for this week, thanks everyone for the updates and for your support, hope you all have a great week, love you all!

Elder Dower

Ok, question time.
1. How many people did you talk to this week? Was it more than last?
We definitely talked with more than last week.  Instead of trying to find which person I'm going to talk to its a lot easier to just talk to everyone I can, It's gotten a lot easier.
2. Were you able to meet with any of the people you found last week?
Not really, its been wierd, everyone is gone this last week, I don't know why but hopefully we can see them this week.
3. How many people came to church?
In the branch we had about 80 we had one investigator, Hernan.
4. How do you do transfer s there? Do you take your companion to osorno, or do you wait with other missionaries in your area?
Normally, up here in the north we go to the big city that is closest, for us, Osorno, or Puerto Montt or Valdivia, and wait for our new companionl

Monday, March 24, 2014

Preaching the Gospel 3 by 3

Hey Everyone!

This has been a pretty crazy week because on Wednesday in the morning, we got a new companion.  Elder Gutierrez is from Bolivia and was serving in a mission in Venezuela, but there have been some problems with the government there apparantly so, they pulled all of the foreign missionaries out and sent them to other missions throughout South America.  So, we've been in a trio since Wednesday working here in our sector.  It's pretty interesting to serve a mission in a companionship of three, it's a lot more fun but difficult to teach, so we took advantage of the situation and did a lot of splits with Julio, our ward mission leader, so we were able to teach a ton of first lessons this week.  It's awesome because he knows just about everyone in Rio Bueno and we went to a few people who had visited with missionaries before and are really great, I'm excited to see what happens this next week!

This Wednesday we have transfers and sadly, both of my companions are leaving and I will have a new companion, Elder Walker. I don't know anything about him other than that he is gringo which will be interesting after being with two latinos for a week haha.

So as for our investigators, its been a pretty good week.  We haven't been able to see Felipe and Jessica this week and they didn't go to church yesterday either, so their baptismal date fell.  We have an appointment this week so we'll see what happens, they need to make a decision as to whether they want to be together or not and act on that decision, get married or separate.  Hernan and Carolina are about in the same situation, we had a family home evening with them and talked about how things are going. Hernan wants to work things out by Carolina is pretty much fed up and doesn't want to give him another chance.  They also need to make a decision as to what they want to do and just do it.

If there is anything I have learned so far in the mission is the importance of obedience.  I have seen over and over again the consequences of disobedience to the commandments of God.  It always make me think of the scripture in Alma that says that "wickedness never was happiness."  Obedience to the laws of God always lead us to the safe path in life every time.  Disobedience always brings about sadness and difficult problems in our lives.  What a blessing it is to have a Heavenly Father that loves us enough to tell us the way that will lead us to happiness.

Thats about it for today.  Thanks everyone for your support and love, it really helps a lot, have a great week!

Love, Elder Dower

Questions of the week.

So, now for the questions.

1.  What fun/interesting experience sticks out in your mind this week?
Honestly, this whole week has been fun with our trio, I can't think of anything in particular.
2.  What spiritual experience sticks out this week?
Hmm, I honestly can't think of one moment.  But after one of our lessons yesterday, I realized how much I have progressed in my ablitly to speak the language and teach with the Spirit which was really great.
3.  Any Pictures?
I just got my camera charged so I promise I will send some next week.
4.  Have you started exercising more? (Brian told me that you asked him for some quick exercising ideas)
Haha, its just that in the morning when I'm really tired its hard to get motivation to exercise so I thought that if I have a plan it would be easier to have more motivation in the mornings.
5.  Do you walk or ride the bus the most?
We walk pretty much everywhere within our sector, if we need to go to La Unión or Osorno we take a bus.
6.  What was the favorite thing you ate this last week?
Sopaipillas, which are like scones, our mamita makes them with guacamole really good.
7.  How many people did you talk to this week? (you have mentioned that you are trying to open your mouth more and speak to everyone)
We haven't been really good at keeping count this week in our trio, but we are focusing on it more, I'll let you know for this next week.
8.  How many people came to church this week?
O I forgot to mention that in my other email, we had Miguel, you is 15 years old and finally came for the first time, we'll try to put him with date this week
9.  Anyone new to church this week?
See number 9 haha
10.  How are your contacts progressing?
We taught a ton of first lesson this last week (12) so we have a lot to visit this week.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The End of Summer

Hey everyone! It's been a really great week down here in Chile. We've had a lot of success and I am really happy despite the fact that summer seems to be ending sadly.  That means that the three or four months straight of rain are about to start.  But I'm excited, it will be an adventure haha.

As far as the work goes, we've been doing really well.  I've learned a lot this week especially on friday I went to the city of La Unión for an intercambio (companion exchange?, I think that´s how you say it in English) with Elder Torres.  He is from Santiago, Chile and is about to finish his mission next week.  He has a lot of experience and is doing everything he can to finich his mission strong.  Like Elder Ballard gave us the promise that if we talk to as many people as possible, we'll find more people to teach, Elder Torres taught me a lot about doing contacts and talking to people.  Like I said last week, its usually a struggle for me to stop random people on the street and talk to them. I've been really blessed this week in that aspect.  I've really been focusing on that and trying to work on it.  As I've put forth that extra effort, the Lord has helped me to be a lot more comfortable with that.  I've found that it's a lot easier to just talk to everyone instead of questioning who I can I talk to.

Our investigators are doing well. I laughed a lot when we made our progress record this week because they are almost all couples with relationship problems haha. I don't know what they deal is but we're just trying to teach the gospel and apply it to their lives and let them figure out the problems for themselves.  It's sometimes a little complicated since we're not really too experienced when it comes to marriage haha.  All I know is that by living the gospel, they can fix whatever problem that they have.

That's about it for this week.  Thanks everyone for your support, I couldn't do this without you. Love you all!

Elder Dower

Monday, March 10, 2014


Well here we are at another Monday and I still can't believe how time flies on the mission.  It's been a really good, really busy week down here.

We'll start with last Monday.  After P day we got a call from our Branch President telling us that a member in the branch had passed away.  We had to go to the church to help out with the viewing.  We ended up singing hymns while all the people were there.  It brought the Spirit really strongly.  I've never really been one for singing but I've gained a testimony of the Spirit that the hymns can bring.

Wednesday we had a Zone Conference in Osorno with two other zones.  It was pretty cool to see other missionaries I've met before in Punta Arenas that left before me.  First we had the mission doctor who is over all ten missions in Chile talk to us.  When he started talking he talked about how his mission helped him prepare for the rest of his life, including as a doctor.  I liked hearing that because I want to be a doctor as well and it's pretty cool that what I'm doing now will help me with that.  Presidente Rappleye talked about how we can apply the things we learned from Elder Ballard.  He talked about how we need to be talking to everyone we can about the gospel.  This Is something I've struggled with throughout my mission, being able to talk to random people isn't the most natural to me, but I realized that that is just Satan trying to stop me from helping these people.  If he can stop us from talking at that first point, the rest of his job is already done. I always get really excited to go out to work after these conferences.

This week my companion and I have felt a bit like marriage counselors haha. We have two pairs of investigators with problems in their relationship (I can't say marriage there because neither of the two pairs are married).  One is a couple that we just got with baptismal date that we are really excited about, they've had problems with fighting throughout their relationship (she threw a cup of hot water on his back a few weeks ago...) but they have the desire to change and are willing to accept our help.  The other is a family where everyone are members besides the dad.  The Hermanas have been teaching them for a while but about two months ago the mom and kids left to Santiago on vacation and left the dad alone. The Elders before me passed by a few times and helped him, but he felt alone while they were gone for a month and a half and fell back into drinking one day.  When the mom got back and found out she doesn't want to forgive him and they separated yesterday.  We're going to try to help them see that by living the gospel as a family they can fix these problems.

Personally, I'm feeling good this week. The other day I read a conference talk by President Uchtdorf called "Regrets and Resolutions" he talks about the regrets that people have when they are about to die. One of these was that they regretted not taking more time to be happy.  He says that sometimes we go throught life waiting for something to happen that is going to make us happy.  It made me think about my mission and how I can apply that here.  A lot of times as missionaries we can get so caught up in stressing over trying to have success, more investigators, more lessons, more baptisms, things that are all obviously great, but we stress so much about this that we miss all of the experiences and miracles that happen all around us.  I made the goal to be happy during whatever situation I'm in.  As long as I'm working as hard as I can to improve, the Lord will take care of the rest.

Hope that everyone has a great week, I love you all, thanks for your support!

Elder Dower

Answers from this week's questions

Glad you had a good week.  You're right, it's honestly a little frustrating that I've almost completed a third of my mission without a baptism, more than that without being able to really find and teach many people which is the entire purpose of being a missionary.  This week has been better, I've learned a lot about how I can get better and that I need to be happy with my effort in that.  I thinks that's a lesson I've been needing to learn.  My whole life, things have kinda come easy to me, in school, track, etc.  But now I'm facing a different situation and I need to work a little harder and be happy with the results.

So for the questions...
1.  What is your house like, other than you have your own bathroom?
1a.  Are you keeping it clean? that one is for Mom
I'll try to take pictures this week and send them.  The battery in my camera died this week and I haven't charged it yet.  And yes it is clean haha.
2.  Are there a lot of hills in your area?
Here it is pretty flat, unlike my old sector.
3.  How are the clothes holding out?  you mentioned you need more pants, anything else?
Their all good, like I told Mom, my pants get holes in between the legs because as I walk they rub together, but for the most part I can sew them together.
4.  Are you feeling more comfortable with the language?
 I'm pretty comfortable with it.  It's helped to have Elder Thomas as my companion because I HAVE to speak Spanish the whole time.
5.  Any funny stories that has happened that you can share?
 Haha funny things happen all the time, some of them probably wouldn't make sense if you weren't there, but I'll tell one.  The other day we were eating lunch with mamita and papito with their two kids, Benjamin, 8  and Abby, 4. Papito is the seminary teacher of the branch so we were watching a seminary video during lunch about obedience that shows a man in Africa who wants to see the animals so he leaves his camp and climbs over the fence that surrounds it. The video shows him slipping in mud and falling (you assume that he go eaten by a lion or something) and his glassed fall in the mud.  Abby says "Aw, his glasses got dirty..."  I don't know if that's that funny to you but it was hilarious for us haha.
6.  How is the investigator that you told us about last week?  the lady that met the gringos a long time ago
We had an appointment with her but it fell.  She's really hard to find haha.
7.  What is your favorite thing to eat?
My favorite thing to eat...hmm that's hard, the bread here is really good, (the reason I've gained weight I think) and the cheese is REALLY good so at night I like to eat bread with cheese and jelly.  Its a really good combination.
8.  What is the temp like in your new area?
 We're starting winter I think, it's been a lot more cloudy lately. When I first got here it was really hot, but its starting to cool down.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Here are a few pictures of the Rio Bueno, Chile area that we found.  Cameron said he would send some of his own pictures soon.

Hi everyone!  This week has gone by really fast! I can't believe it's already monday! We've had a really great week and I've learned a lot.

So here in Rio Bueno there have been a lot of baptisms in the past but in this past transfer, they all stopped.  It has seemed to me like the pool of good, progressing investigators ran dry.  So we've been working really hard to find more people and get or investigators to church and progressing.  So far, we haven't had a ton of success in that aspect, which has been really frustrating to me.  I got really frustrated one day when all of our appointments fell and we had no one progressing, so I went in to my bed and prayed to know what to do.  After praying we went to work.  That day still wasn't filled with success and finding a ton of golden investigators, but I felt I special calm that I've never really felt before.  The next day in my personal study I read in the Book of Mormon about the people of Alma who were a people very righteous, doing everything right and living like they were supposed to. In Mosiah 23:21-22 it says, "Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to achasten his people; yea, hetrieth their bpatience and their faith.Nevertheless,whosoever putteth his atrust in him the sameshall be blifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with thispeople." Later the Lamanites come and they are put under captivity, even thought they were doing everything right. Later, the Lamanites put them to work and their burdens were almost too heavy to bear.  They pray, all day long, in their hearts, and the Lord, "Lift up your heads and be of good comfort,for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I willcovenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the aburdens which are put upon yourshoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, evenwhile you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand asbwitnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a suretythat I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their cafflictions."  Later the Lord provides they way for them to be freed from bondage.

For me, this story taught me a lot.  Sometimes, even if we are doing everything right, being completely obedient and have the Lord first in our lives, we are going to have challenges.  The Lord has a plan for each of us and will guide us to be who he wants us to be. And as He brought us to the challenges, He will bring us through the challenges as well. I may not end up with the most baptisms or most "success" here on my mission, but as long as I am obedient and working as hard as I can, the Lord is going to help me get out of it what He needs me to get out of it.

Hope that everyone has a great week, I love you all, thanks for all the support!

Elder Dower

The following is some answers from Cam to some of Mom's questions.

First of all, no, I cannot believe that it's March, in two weeks I will have completed a third of my mission and I still feel like I'm just starting! That's crazy that Ash is 16! I feel like I just turned 16 and that was 3 years ago!

So for your questions...
1.How is the work in Rio Bueno?  Do you have a lot of investigators? Are you tracting quite a bit?
 I mentioned a little of that in my other email.  We're doing a lot of finding (I don't like the word "tracting" haha). We have lots of investigators but none of them has popped out as a real prospect for baptism so far.
2. I want to send a package soon.  Would you like a couple new ties?
 Funny that you ask that because yesterday, our mission leader bought a giant bag of a thousand ties to sell and let us have the first pick. He sold them for 5 for about a dollar, so I ended up buying 20 haha, they're kind of old ties but it was fun.  As a missionary, you can never have too many ties, so if you'd like to send a couple, I would be happy haha.  
3. Does your Mamita do your laundry or does she just fix lunch?
Mamita just does lunches, we take our laundery to a different member each week to do.
4. How is the physical area different than Punta Arenas?
It's HOT here. Haha your right 80 is about what it is here in the middle of the day. Here there are a lot more trees than in Punta Arenas, but really, it looks a lot like Syracuse here, I don't know why.
5. Is the food different?
The food is about the same as in Punta Arenas, which isn't way different than in USA.
6. Do you get more/less rain than other areas of Chile?  Have you had a lot of rain yet? Have you used your rain gear yet?
It hasn't rained yet since I've been here since it's summer. In winter it starts to rain a ton in all parts of our mission besides Punta Arenas.

I'm going to try to take more pictures this week to send.