Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy 18th of September!‏

Ok well actually it's the 22nd of September, but this week we celebrated Chilean Independance day the 18th and 19th of September.  the 18th was pretty boring since we weren't allowed to work so we got the house cleaned really well and just hung out.  The 19th was a lot more fun, we had our branch activity that day.  We made "anticucho" which is basically a bunch of meat grilled on a shishkabob, and "sopaipillas" which is fried bread with salsa.  We played a ton of games which was a lot of fun, sack races (I won!), a game similar to dodgeball, and a bunch of others.  For those of you who know how competitive I can get with stuff like that will understand how I was pretty worn out by the end of that day and may have possibly injured my knee (don't worry, it feels fine now). But I had more fun than I think I have my entire mission, it was a blast.

So Tuesday we had our conference with Elder Viñas.  Monday night my companion and I got to help the assistants to the president set up the church where we had it and clean it up.  We had to fill up a bucket to mop the floor in the hallway, but the bucket wouldn't fit into the sink, so we devised the brilliant idea of using the emergency firehose to fill it up.  What we didn't know is that once we had filled it up we had to drain all the water out of the hose that had remained there.  We spent about another hour trying to get the hose put back into its place.  We were laughing pretty hard.

The conference was really great.  Something that called my attention that Elder Viñas said was that in the mission, and in life, sometimes we need to learn to "sufrir con gozo" or "suffer with joy."  The mission, and life, is hard, sometimes more so than others, but that is part of the plan that our Heavenly Father made for us, that we would have to pass through difficult times in order to learn and grow and progress.  Difficult doesn't necessarily mean bad, nor does it mean that we can't be happy during the difficult times in life.  We can "suffer with joy" and be happy during every moment of our life because we know that the Atonement of Christ is real and that He can help us overcome any challenge that comes to us.  He will never throw something at us that we can't handle with His help. And because of His Atonement, as long as we are putting in the effort to follow Him and keep His commandments, we can have the peace and calm of knowing that everything will be alright, not easy, but alright.  I have a testimony of this, I know that through Christ, we really can pass through every moment of every day of our lives, being happy.

Have a great week everyone, hope you are all doing great.  Thanks for all of your support, it really is a great feeling to get in here each Monday and see all of your emails, it means more to me than I could ever express.  Be Happy!

Elder Cameron Dower

Answers to Questions

1-7. What did you do each day this week? (Mon, Tue etc.)
1. Mon. went to Puerto Montt hung out in the mall, helped AP's set up the church.
2. Tues. Conference, returned to Quellón at like 10:00 at night.
3. Wed. Big service project, we chopped eight meters of firewood between the 4 of us.
4. Thurs. 18th, cleaned the house, played ping pong in the church, really boring.
5 .Fri. Branch activity, tons of food and fun in the church all day
6 .Sat. Worked to find all our investigators again, taught Yohana.
7 .Sun. Church, training, lesson with recent convert family.
8.  Package?
8. I got my package!!!  Thank you soo much!  I've been wearing my Sanuks around the house whenever we aren't out working and tell Madi I LOVE that blanket, it's awesome!

9.  What is your favorite meal so far?
9. Pastel de Papas, it's delicious!

Glad you enjoyed the temple dedication, sad I missed it. We'll all have to go when I get back.

Love you all, Cam

Monday, September 15, 2014

Weekly Update

Hey everyone! Sorry I'm writing a little earlier than usual.  I am in Puerto Montt right now. We have a special conference with Elder Viñas of the Seventy tomorrow so we had to come up from Quellon a day early and have our pday here.  The best part of that is that there is a McDonald's here! I ate the first Big Mac I have had since the Dallas airport the day I left and it reminded me of why I never ate there before the mission, I feel terrible right now! Haha guess I had forgotten in the last fourteen months but it was nice to have a little taste of America.

So this week we had transfers and I am now training my second son on the mission, Elder Arp.  He is from Twin Falls Idaho and went to the Mexico MTC almost exactly a year after I did which is pretty cool.  Elder Dennis, who is training in Quellon as well, and I went up to Osorno on Tuesday to pick them up on Wednesday.  We were in the bus terminal waiting for an Elder to get in from the south and I had to watch like 10 buses leave for Rio Bueno, I was so tempted to just hop on one and go say hi to everyone.  I resisted but the cool thing is that I ran into Julio, the ward mission leader there and my best Chilean friend in the terminal, as well as Elder Walker who I haven't seen in a while.

It's been a bit of a tough week to start out this transfer.  The 18 of September, the Chilean Independence Day is coming up (I can't believe this is my second one in the mission!) so it seems like everyone has started their vacations early. We actually haven't been able to contact most of our awesome investigators this week.  We were a little dissapointed about that, especially me as I'm trying to give my new companion a good impression of the mission, so we decided to go to a less active member's house to see how they were doing.  Well lo and behold Yohana and our other awesome investigator, Jorge were there hanging out.  Big time miracle, we were able to see how they were doing and Elder Arp taught his first lesson of the mission.  Hopefully this week will be more busy.

Hope you all have a great dieciocho.  I know I will eating tons of empanadas and grilled meat.  Love you all!

Elder Cameron Dower

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

We Are Free!

You may be wondering what the heck that subject line means so I'll explain first.  This week the fishermen of the island of Chiloe have been on strike.  Basically the amount of a certain type of shellfish they have been approved to take out is about to run out.  They had been told it would take another month to finish it, so they were all about to be out of a job for a month. So, in order to make their position known, they grouped together and blocked off the highway for the past week.  Thus for the past week no one has been able to get into or leave the city of Quellon.  This was a little worrying for us as transfers are this week (more on that later) and we wouldn't be able to leave for that. As my companion, Elder Cummens says, we were basically under siege. Well the four of us down here decided to fast yesterday that the strike would end and we would be able to leave for transfers.  All of the members told us that it wasn't going to open until maybe Wednesday.  Well we ended our fast and about three hours later we heard that the strike had ended and we would be able to leave.  Just another experience among many that has strengthened my testimony of fasting.

So you're all probably wondering why we would have to leave for transfers.  Well Saturday morning I got a call from President Obeso telling me that I will be training again this cambio! I'm super excited to have my second son on the mission. He's a gringo named Elder Arp.  About five minutes after, President called Elder Dennis and told him that he is going to train too.  I'm really excited to have two people training in the same house.  Funny story with that, Elder Dennis is a huge prankster. Friday night while I wasn't paying attention, he got into our phone and switched the number listed under President to their number, he then went into the bathroom and called our phone.  It started ringing with President's ringtone and said that he was calling us.  I got really excited and yelled "guys, President's calling!" I also had just taken a bite of a super dry cookie and decided to spit it out in order to talk to President easier. I answered and heard only laughing on the other end.  Needless to say, I felt quite foolish haha.

This week has been really great.  Yohana is progressing pretty well, we were actually able to meet her parents the other day and teach with them there.  They're really nice, and even though they are catholic and have no desire to change religion (if I had a dime for every time I've heard that in the past 14 months...) they have no problem with their daughter going to our church.

Hope life is great for everyone.  It sure is down here.  Have a great week and I'll see you all later!

Love, Elder Cameron Dower

Monday, September 1, 2014

Wake Me Up When September Ends‏

Haha I'm chuckling over my clever subject line because it's September today and I'm really tired this morning! Hey everyone! Hope you are all doing fantastic and enjoying life, I sure am!  This has been a really great week for us down here and I'm really loving it.

This week we got to start teaching Yohanna, the sister of one of the members here.  She is super receptive and excited to learn.  We were able to put her with date to be baptized the 27 of September, I'm really excited for that.  The young women in this branch are awesome and are always inviting their friends to the church which is awesome and really helps us out a ton.  Now if we can just get some of the adults going, we'll be golden.  Friday we had a fun "Minute to Win it" activity and Yohanna came along with some other friends of the youth.  One of them, Jorge, came to church and we have an appointment to teach him as well on Wednesday. I'm hoping we will be able to put him with a date as well and get them progressing and to the church this week.  So be praying for the everyone!

So other interesting news is that the highway between Quellòn and Castro, has been in construction for a couple years now, and now the workers there are going on strike (there is always a strike going on down here, I'm just glad it's not the mail again).  This means that we won't be able to go anywhere until it ends, so I won't have to go to Castro tomorrow! The interesting thing is that we have transfers this next week so there might be a possibility of us all staying here another transfer for that haha.

Well hope you all have a great week, thanks for all your support and prayers, love you all!

Elder Cameron Dower