Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!‏

¡Hola Todos! Hope you have all had a fantastic week.  Once again the weeks are flying by and I can't believe it's Monday again.  I'm feeling really good about how things are going here and for the future of this area. Yesterday we had our first coordination meeting with our new ward mission leader. He's perfect for the job and is ready and willing to take charge of the missionary work here. For the first time in my mission I really feel like we aren't the ones driving the work here, but that we have a great leader in the branch who we are here to help.  I'm really excited to see how things turn out as we work toward accomplishing our goals,

 So funny story, all of us were under the impression that Thanksgiving was this thursday(Nov. 20), so me, thinking I'd be nice for my district, I decided to put together a makeshift Thanksgiving dinner. So I got stuff for turkey sandwiches (keeping the tradition from last year) instead of mashed potatoes I found a french fry stand and bought a bunch of fries, and got some slices of an apple pie-ish dessert thing.  It was super funny, but we talked about what we are thankful for and everything.  The funniest part is that it apparently wasn't even Thanksgiving yet so I guess we'll have to repeat it this thursday haha.
Cameron's early "Thanksgiving" Dinner

Quellon District at lunch

This week I was reviewing my favorite talk from this last general conference by Elder Klebingat of the seventy.  He talks about six things we can do to make sure that we have a good standing with God. 1. Take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being. 2. Take responsibility for your own physical well-being. 3. Embrace voluntary, wholehearted obedience as part of your life. 4. Become really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly. 5. Become really, really good at forgiving. and 6. Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience. I really liked these six points because at times we can get so stressed out, thinking that we aren't doing enough or when we realize how many things we can be doing better that it brings us down.  Really, if our hearts are in the right place and we are trying to do the right things, we can be at peace with our lives and know that it's all ok.

Thanks everyone for your support, I couldn't do this without you! Have a great week!

Love, Elder Cameron Dower

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Rollercoaster Week

Hey everyone! Hope this email finds you all happy and healthy. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster week for me, but I'm feeling good at the moment.

So this week, as I mentioned, we had the opportunity to have a special mission conference with Elder Russell M. Nelson of the quorum of the twelve.  So, Tuesday we traveled eight and a half hours to Osorno to have the Conference on Wednesday. It was really great, I got to see a lot of my old friends on the mission and it was a great conference.  Elder Nelson is basically everything I want to be in life, he was a famous heart surgeon, like I want to be, and he is pretty much the happiest, most positive person I've ever met.  Sister Nelson also spoke and I love what she said about spending time wisely. She said that we should each ask ourselves every day "if I knew that the Savior was coming tomorrow, how would I use my time today?" In reality, the Savior is coming tomorrow, we just don't know which tomorrow, and we don't want to have regrets about all that we could've done to help and serve others in our lives. My favorite thing from Elder Nelson was what he said about just being happy.  "Just smile and the people will open their hearts to you."  Something I realized this week is that the biggest thing we have going for us as far as missionary work is that we really are happy as a result of what we know and believe. Just think of all the blessings in our lives and how happy we really are because of this gospel.  If everyone could understand that, they would be a lot more receptive to the gospel.

The rest of the week has been quite frustrating for me. I just got to a point where I was tired of things not going my way.  We hadn't been able to visit with our top investigator Yohana for a couple of weeks and found out that because of the bad example of a certain member, she doesn't want to be baptized anymore. I really cannot remember being more angry in my life than when I heard this.  All the time and energy and love and work that I've but into this my last three months here gone down the drain because of the bad example of another member of the branch. We realized that the same thing has been happening to many less actives, recent converts, and investigators because of this same member who should really be the best example in the branch. Yesterday I was at the point of just giving up. What more can I do if the members are just going to ruin it anyway by not showing a good example of the church? After lunch yesterday I took some time to just say a prayer and read through some of my old letters from home.  I found one that my sister Madi sent to me a while ago.  She mentioned a scripture from D&C 76:60 "And they shall overcome all things." This letter from months ago was an answer to my prayer.  No matter how many things are working against us, and how hopeless it can seem, while we are on Christ's TEAM we will overcome all things.

Well that's about it for this week.  Thank you everyone for all of your help and support.  I love and miss you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Cameron Dower

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Another Week in the Books

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a great week! I sure have! I know I always say this but seriously the time is going by so fast I really feel like only a couple of days went by but I am loving life here in Quellon.

Last week I officially recieved my second visa here in Chile so I'm all set until the end of my mission.  The bad news was that we had to spend almost all pday waiting to register the visas of my companion Elder Arp and Elder Hardy so that wasn't fun, but we did find an amazing completo shop in Castro that has the best hot sauce I have ever had in my life! The guy that runs it loves basketball and was talking to us the whole time about the NBA and how bad the Jazz are, it gave me a pretty good laugh haha.

Great news! This Wednesday Elder Russell M. Nelson of the twelve apostles is coming to our mission to have a mission conference! Two Apostles in the same year! We're super lucky to have the chance to hear from these servants of the Lord. Tomorrow we will have to travel eight hours to Osorno, have the conference, then eight hours back, good thing I've learned to love bus rides! ;)

As far as our work goes.  It's been another slow week. I don't know what's going on wiith Quellon lately but it seems like nobody is in their house haha.  All of our investigators were gone, and when we went to knock doors, nobody was home either.  But o well, we're keeping a good attitude and enjoying it.

So I've decided to begin memorizing a new scripture in spanish each day, I'm starting with the scripture mastery scriptures and one of them from this week has really impacted me.  I only know it in spanish but if you want to look it up it is 2 Nephi 31:20 "Por tanto, debéis seguir adelante con firmeza en Cristo, teniendo un fulgor perfecto de esperanza y de amor por Dios y por todos los hombres. Por tanto si marcháis adelante deleitándoos en las palabras de Cristo y perseveréis hasta el fin, he aquí así dice el Señor, tendréis la vida eterna." I love it because it tells us what we need to do in order to gain eternal life, have faith in Christ, hope, love for God and everyone, delight in the scriptures and endure to the end, in reality, these things are not that complicated, but if we can do them, everything else will follow. That is the beauty of the plan of salvation, sometimes we can be overwhelmed with all of the things we have to do in this life, but all God requires is our effort.  If we are trying, it'll be ok. I'm grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and for the plan that He has made for me and every one of us, and for the peace and comfort that it gives me.

Thanks everyone for all the love and support, you're all the best, have a fantastic week!

Elder Cameron Dower

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weekly Update

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a happy Halloween. Well prepare yourselves for a pretty boring update this week because once again, once I get here at the computer my mind draws a blank and I can't think of what the heck happened this week.

This was a really wierd week as far as the weather goes.  At the beginning of the week it was seriously the coldest I've ever felt down here in Chile.  Just when we are all freezing trying to study in the morning, we ran out of firewood! So after a couple of days of trying to tough it out and bundling up, we decided to see how much spare change we could come up with and get some more wood.  It was pretty funny when the truck came and we paid him all in change (remember, it's about 600 chilean pesos to a dollar). But we finally were able to make fire to keep us warm when the sun came out and we've had some of the warmest days of all my time in Quellon the past few days.  Just another week in the south of Chile trying to share the gospel haha.

This was a super slow week for us, mainly because yesterday was Dia de Todos los Santos, which is basically like memorial day, except much more popular.  Everyone goes to visit the graves of deceased family members, so most of our investigators were out of town.  Thus my companion and I set out to do a bunch of good old fashioned door knocking, only to be reminded of why I don`t normally enjoy doing that haha (seriously if I had a dime for every time I've hear the phrase "no that's ok, I'm catholic," this week, I could have bought us all lunch today).  But I'm excited to start a new week this week.

So miracle of the week. My very first day here in Quellon my companion and I went to visit this less active guy named Walter.  He was super cool, but did not want to hear anything about religion, just eat food and play chess (I did almost beat him though haha) well after that visit, my companion and I decided it would be a better use of our time to use it visiting someone else who we could share more with.  Well, yesterday I was practicing playing the hymns on the piano (I've been playing in sacrament again here, and butchering almost every song each week haha) and lo and behold, Hermano Walter walks in the room.  I was floored, he said that we wants to come back! Just another experience that has shown me that really, it is the Lord that does the work here and I am just an instrument.  I have been humbled so much on the mission and come to see just how much I really rely on the Savior to get me through each day of my life.  I am so grateful to have this gospel and to be able to be on His team for these two years.  Hope you all have a great week, I love you all!

Elder Cameron Dower